Y’all, can we have a conversation here? Do you use essential oils?
*whispering* Do you actually believe they work??
I recently acquired a few of the most popular essential oils in order to do a review here on the blog for you fine readers.
Prior to this opportunity I had not had much experience (at all) with essential oils. I think I had an old bottle of lavender EO from the drugstore kicking around in the back of my cupboards because some blog somewhere told me to get some for xyz brilliant DIY project that I’ve now totally forgotten.
Oh, and some peppermint oil because I experimented adding it to my Homemade Clay & Coconut Oil Toothpaste recipe. Other than that – I’m pretty much an essential oil newbie.
On Monday we talked all about how to combat the cold & flu season naturally with guest poster, Bre. She talked about a number of different natural methods for boosting our immunity. She especially talked up the essential oils and explained their awesome abilities to promote healing. (I was totally impressed.)
I, on the other hand, came into it slightly cynical. I don’t know why – I mean, I believe in natural remedies, but this just seemed so… hokey to me. “Some nice-smelling oil in a little bottle is going to treat actual medical issues??” I wondered incredulously. Surely they can’t do much more than scent my homemade cleaners or make my bath smell nice?
Boy was I ever wrong.
Snacking on a big ol’ hunk of humble pie as I write this.
So I’ve been reading and perusing articles on essential oils for a while now, especially as I’ve been dabbling with these oils myself.
Here’s a gigantic list of 50 of the ways I’ve found to use essential oils, and at the end I’ll share the 3 things I tried first as an essential oils newbie.
Spoiler alert: I’m a fan.
(Please Note: This is a general list meant to inspire you to look further. Please do some research on each oil and its official recommendations before actually using it for your family, taking into account age and proper dilution guidelines. Essential oils can be very powerful! Also – this list is certainly not exhaustive – these are just the things that have caught my eye that I think are really cool – you can consider it my ‘EO To-Do List’.)
50 Amazing Uses for Essential Oils
1. Lemon oil removes odors from laundry that you forgot in the washing machine. Throw a drop or two in when you re-wash. Not that I’ve ever actually forgotten a load… this is purely just a PSA for those forgetful types. Of course.
2. Eucalyptus for decongestion (in a humidifier, or a diffuser, or even a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head and breathing in the steam deeply).
3. A few drops of lavender into your hand cupped with hot water while standing in the shower can create a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere from the steam.
4. Try the same thing with citrus oil or peppermint oil for an invigorating, wake-me-up scent.
5. Diluted lavender rubbed into the soles of your kiddo’s feet before bed helps promote better sleep.
6. No need for those artificially fragranced baby bath soaps! Add 5 drops of lavender in the bath tub.
7. Lavender can calm down unruly sinus issues, defiant allergies and other respiratory issues. Just apply diluted on the back of your neck, chest, and between your eyes.
8. A few drops of lavender in a bowl of hot water makes a great foot bath for dry and cracked feet.
Image by Billy Reed
11. Add essential oils to your favourite DIY body care products. I’ve been wanting to try homemade body butter for ages, and some essential oils would be the perfect addition.
12. Add some essential oils to your homemade beeswax tea light candles for naturally scented candles.
13. A couple drops of melaleuca in a spoonful of coconut oil makes a great zit zapper. The anti-bacterial properties reduce the inflammation so it can heal quickly.
14. Make homemade Clay and Coconut Oil Toothpaste.
16. Add a couple drops of your favourite scent to a jar of baking soda, poke holes in the lid (mason jars work great for this) and leave in the bathroom to absorb odors.
17. Sprinkle some of that baking soda mixture on the carpets, wait a few minutes, then vacuum it up to remove odours.
18. Lavender on a pillow helps promote a sounder sleep.
19. DIY Breathmints
21. Feeling lethargic or in a brain fog? Peppermint has been known to improve blood circulation and awareness, leaving you with an energized, awake feeling.
23. Bath salt fizzies.
25. Heavily diluted oregano oil for achy joints.
28. Peppermint oil can act as a concentrated natural pain killer and muscle relaxant, especially with painful gums, teething or recent dental work.
29. Help ear infections.
30. Lavender in some coconut oil makes a great bug repellant. If you forget to go the prevention route, lavender soothes bites, itching and inflammation.
31. Wild orange oil to help fight fungus.
32. Make a sugar body scrub: brown sugar, olive oil, and a few drops of your favourite EO.
33. Make your own lip balm.
34. Freshen your mattress. Same method as #17.
36. Add a few drops of lemon oil to your dishwasher soap container with each load. Your dishes will come out looking like new… spot-free!
38. Make your own deodorant.
39. Homemade floor cleaner.
40. You don’t need to hunt down that “single use” stainless steel cleaner anymore. Multi-use lemon oil is great for cleaning stainless steel appliances. You’ll love the way stainless looks and smells!
42. Diffuses peppermint oil to activate the limbic function in your brain. The limbic function helps control things like emotions and long-term memory and is related to olfactory structures in your nose.
44. Got a mind numbing headache? A few drops of diluted peppermint dabbed on your temples, neck and sinuses can quickly spring into action and chase that headache away!
45. Cutting boards can harbor bacteria in your kitchen. Rub them with coconut oil and lemon oil to get them clean.
46. Massage peppermint oil diluted on your abdomen to relieve a digestive issue. (Try this blend of oils for a powerful digestive remedy.)
47. Clean granite or porous stone. What is living in the pores of your natural stone counters or floors? Lemon oil cleans deeply, seeps into stone and leaves you with a “real fresh lemons” aroma, rather than that fake lemon chemical smell.
48. Lavender in coconut oil can give protection from the sun.
49. Lavender can help relieve allergy symptoms.
50. Lavender on a cold washcloth helps relieve puffy eyes.
And for the 3 Things I Tried First…
So, maybe you’re wondering how exactly I became a convert? I definitely haven’t tried all of these things yet… BUT now I want to. Know why? Because I’ve had a small taste of the powerful impact that essential oils can have.
1. Eucalyptus for congestion
When I have been congested and stuffy, the only, ONLY thing that has worked to help me breathe enough to sleep is the wondrous thing called eucalyptus oil. It is worth its weight in gold. Nope – scratch that – WAY more.
We bought a humidifier with a “medicine dispenser” in it where we put a few drops of oil. That worked great but when it broke, we decided to get a diffuser from Costco. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it during times of congestion!
I figured: if eucalyptus oil can work *that* amazingly well, then surely there’s something to this whole EO thing. And that’s about as simple as it gets, really.
Most of these natural health ventures happen organically in our lives like that – we try something out and like it, and see the results for ourselves.
2. Peppermint for headaches
This one works amazingly well for minor headaches. Unfortunately, it didn’t work on my migraines, and I don’t want to pretend here that oils are a cure-all. They’re not. They’re just one piece of the puzzle in a complex myriad of factors for any health issue.
A bit of diluted peppermint oil on my temples *did* take away a minor headache, but when I had another one that didn’t respond to the oils I actually was thinking it was related to a yet-unknown food sensitivity. These things can be tough to pin down. I have heard a lot of success stories with peppermint and headaches, so it’s always what I will try first before moving on to something else (if necessary).
3. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) for Diaper Rash
Lastly I tried some melaleuca (tea tree) oil mixed with coconut oil for Canaan’s diaper rash. It was a really bad sore that had a tough time healing, and was getting infected.
Two applications of the melaleuca/tea tree oil in a day, and the redness had disappeared and healing had begun. The same thing happened when I tried it on a pimple I had gotten at that time of the month. I was impressed.
[UPDATE: I had an absolutely incredible experience with Tea Tree Oil healing my badly infected finger. I shared about that here.]
Overall I’m totally thrilled with the results thus far. I’m convinced enough to think they’re actually worth my time and money, which is a tough feat!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Nourishing The Home, but opinions are all mine.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.