Whether you’re one of the people who subscribe to the healing potential and health benefits of essential oils or part of the population who thinks that it is all New Age hullabaloo, no one can deny that essential oils have become a lot more commonplace nowadays. Below, I break down nine of the most pleasant essential oils you can find and what their benefits are for you and your home (ALSO SEE: Aromatherapy for your Home)
Bergamot is from the citrus family; its rind is extracted to create the essential oil commonly used today. What people may be unaware of is that it is also a vital component in the preparation of black tea, specifically, adding bergamot to regular black tea is what we all call Earl Grey tea. As an oil, it is found to stimulate hormonal secretions that helps maintain the optimal metabolic rates and reduce nervous tension in the body, acting as a relaxant and/or sedative that relieves ailments associated with stress.
As with any scent that is based from wood, this has an earthy and sweet fragrance to it, perfect for a night in with some tea. Similar to bergamot, it tones the organ systems and stimulates metabolism, acting as a general health tonic and diuretic that also aids the body in fighting off hypertension, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and a host of other illnesses. Cedarwood also keeps those pesky flies and mosquitos away, hence its common use as an insect repellant along with the health benefits it provides.
Everyone has been entranced at one point or another by the wonderful smell of a freshly baked roll from Cinnabon. This oil takes that wonderful aroma in its essence, and turns it up a notch. As one of the most popular spices in both flavoring and medicinal use, it serves both form and function. It improves blood circulation with its natural blood thinners, and is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory to aid in reducing stiffness in the joints and muscles. Some care must be exercised in the usage of this oil, however, as it can cause allergic reactions and irritations.
While geranium is one of the more uncommon and unfamiliar oils for those who are not in the know — I admit that I mistakenly thought it was “germanium” when I first heard it — it has become something of a fan favorite. Its main health benefit is that it is an astringent; that is to say that it induces contractions in various parts of the body. For example, contracting the body’s muscles and skin help prevent them from sagging while contracting the gums helps with the loosening and/or loss of teeth.
The smell of fresh fruits is always an aroma that one can enjoy, barring some notable exceptions. Almost all fruits smell of life and vigor, and grapefruit essential oil is no exception to that list. The fruit itself may not always be available all year round, but the smell most definitely can be. As with any member of the citrus family, it is chock full of vitamin C, which is known to boost the immune system and protect the body against various oxidants and toxins which would otherwise cause such ails like premature aging, macular and tissue degeneration, and general sluggishness.
If a rose would smell as sweet by any other name, then so would a jasmine in any other form. Taken from the jasmine flower, its pleasing and sweet fragrance is commonly associated with romance and love. What it should also be commonly associated with is its ability to combat infections due to its antiviral properties; it can even provide relief from a cough by clearing out the phlegm that congest your respiratory tract.
One of the most extensively used oils in aromatherapy, lavender oil has a multitude of uses for health and wellness, as well as fragrance. Studies have shown that it has the potential to reduce brain edema and can serve as a neuroprotector in that regard. It is also proven to be an excellent tonic for stress and anxiety issues due to the elements found in the oil that have anxiolytic abilities; this also helps promote sleep and can be used as an aid for those suffering from insomnia. Last but not least, especially here in the Philippines, it can be used as a bug repellant that is potent to mosquitos and moths.
No one can deny that the lemon is one of the most distinctive citrus fruits in the world, and the citrus family is known for its zesty scents; after all, there’s a reason why the phrase “lemony fresh” exists. Lemon essential oil is known to be very calming in its nature and aids in calming the body and the mind, hence its common use as an air freshener. Along with grapefruit and the other members of the citrus family, its vitamin C components help boost the immune system and improves blood circulation as well.
Sandalwood oil comes from matured sandalwood trees that have reached 40 to 80 years of age; much like wine, the older the tree is, the better as it contains a stronger aroma. A common fixture in Hindu culture, it is often used in social rituals and offerings to the gods. For us mortals, it can serve as an antispasmodic due to its relaxant and sedative nature. The oil relaxes nerves and blood vessels which allow for greater circulation and lessened spasms or contractions. Its relaxant nature extends to the intestines as well, preventing excess gases from forming.
While what has been listed above are the benefits of the oils themselves, please do note that these effects can still be felt even if used in a diffuser or vaporizer (SEE: Choosing between diffusers, humidifiers, and air purifiers). In any case, it is also up to you to decide what kind of aroma and ambience you want your home to be filled with. Whether it be the fragrant soothe that is jasmine or lavender, or the more rustic and woody smells of cedarwood or sandalwood, I hope this helps you in your journey for a healthier and happier home.