Last week the #HealthyHabitsChallenge2017 challenge had us trying essential oils for the week. Do you remember our video about how much fragrance can impact us without realising it?
I already own some essential oils from making a body butter Christmas present a couple of years ago but I honestly didn’t really know how else to use them or what they were good for - apart from Lavender for sleep and diluted Tea Tree as an antiseptic for skin.
Essential oils are extracted from all different parts of a plant (the leaves, the flowers, the root, the stem) through a distillation process. Fresh plants are steamed in a container and the steam pulls the oil out of the plant. That steam rises and is captured and separated from the plant container using tubing. Pretty cool eh! Cold presses and compression are also used to distract oils from other plants. You typically need a lot of produce to distill a good amount of essential oil which is why the oils can be on the pricey side. But they should equally last a long time. A good tip to test and see if your essential oils are pure and high quality is to see if it dries clear.
Essential oils can have several health benefits. As for the ones I have in my possession:
Lavender oil - Great for sleep (also this is great if you discover you have bedbugs as they find the taste off-putting) - you can either use it in a bath, apply it to your wrists and temples or sprinkle a bit on your pillow before sleep.
Tea Tree oil - This is great if you have blemishes or anything on your skin that can do with an antiseptic, it needs to be diluted otherwise your face will feel like it’s on fire and that’s never good.
Grapefruit oil - This is an antioxidant oil and has a large quantity of Vitamin C. These compounds boost our immune system and help if you’re feeling sluggish. It can reduce your blood pressure as the uplifting fragrance helps if you’re feeling down or stressed by helping you relax. It’s also a great disinfectant and antiseptic.
Eucalyptus oil - Great for use in a bath or within steam therapy to help with allergies and asthma, it can be used as an antiseptic and be a great treatment option for small wounds and burns. A study also found that it can stimulate your immune system response.
Orange oil - This can ease anxiety, anger, depression and some bodily inflammations. It’s relaxing to muscles and can help if you suffer from spasms (think continual coughing or muscle cramps). Like Grapefruit it’s good for your immune system and can be used to help with acne and dermatitis.
Patchouli oil - this one I think is an acquired smell as I haven’t used it very much, but apparently it’s good as an antidepressant and stimulates pleasure hormone such as serotonin and dopamine. It can help if you have a fever and much like the others on this list can be used as an antiseptic.
You can read some great information about essential oils here, the illustrations are super cute too. And here are a bunch that are great for your skin.
You can typically use essential oils around you and on your skin as they’re completely natural. Some can be digested (think peppermint or lemon in baking) but do your research as it’s not always safe to ingest them.
HOW DID IT GO?
I wanted to make use of the oils I already had as there are so many to choose from and they’re quite expensive that it didn’t make sense to go out and get more. I’d love to have some Jasmin oil as it’s my favourite fragrance but alas. Essential oils seem to work really well blended but I’ve mostly focussed on the one oil at a time to introduce myself a little more. In the last week I have:
Had a bath where I used grapefruit & lavender oil as I was feeling quite tired and overwhelmed and wanted something uplifting yet calming.
I had a chocolate orange mylk drink which had used orange oil in it as flavouring which was pretty nice.
Used diluted tea tree on my face to give it an extra boost for tackling skin problems - I’ve been doing this for a while as it seems to work pretty well. I had a friend who is also using sweet almond oil on her face for calming as she has very sensitive skin.
I also made an air freshener that Sabine shared a tip for using a little tin and some salt. I put a combination of Eucalyptus, Orange and Grapefruit and it’s delightful. I could smell it last night while relaxing on the sofa and I felt really happy every time I caught a whiff. This I will definitely be carrying on and experimenting with.
In the past I have also used them in oil burners to make our flat just smell super nice.
I’m really fond of good smelling surroundings and feeling like I smell nice - it’s probably more important to me than how I look to be honest. Fragrances can have such a big impact on your memory and your emotions so to me it’s important that scent is used well around me and essential oils are a nice way to go about doing this without releasing a lot of chemicals into the atmosphere. Healthy Habit done, healthy habit will be incorporated.
Next week we're going hiking at the weekend for our healthy habit! See you next week!