The use of essential oils has proliferated the alternative and complementary medicine literature over the past decade. And as our understanding of the power of these botanicals to improve our health and enhance our beauty grows, we are discovering even more uses for these natural compounds.
Creating home remedies with essential oils does not have to be hard. Most of the time, you need very few ingredients and just a little bit of time.
But using these natural compounds can keep you healthy and beautiful without any complicated steps, chemicals, or products. So, why should you use essential oils? Let’s find out.
What are essential oils
Just about every plant has some natural oils contained in the flowers, bark, stems, roots, or leaves. The oils found naturally in plants help to protect the organism from disease and pests, and when humans consume these oils or apply them to their skin, we can enjoy many of their medicinal properties, as well.
Essential oils are extracted from plants using one of two types of distillation. The oils that result are highly concentrated versions of what is found in a single plant.
Distillation can be used on the whole plant or on various components to extract these essential oils, which can then be used singly or in blends for a variety of health and wellness applications.
It is important to differentiate therapeutic grade essential oils from other oils. 100% therapeutic grade oils are the only ones that have therapeutic benefits. These are not artificially scented oils, they are pure grade and therefore able to deliver therapeutic benefits.
A Brief History of Essential Oils
Throughout history, many cultures have used essential oils for their therapeutic and medicinal properties. As far back as 4500 BC, Egyptians were renowned for their use of plant compounds to create healing ointments, aromatic oils, and even beauty products.
Over time, and around the world, this knowledge has expanded immensely. Essential oils were used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, during the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and as a part of herbal healing traditions in nearly all parts of the world. You can see evidence of herbal healing and the use of botanical oils in nearly every culture’s history.
In 1653, a book titled The Complete Herbal was published, and it is still one of the most valuable resources regarding essential oils even to this day. It was not until the early 1900s, though, that aromatherapy was introduced, which sparked renewed interest in botanical oils, as well.
As our understanding of the healing properties of plants has grown through research and practice, essential oils are used today in a variety of settings to achieve health and wellness for many. Medical and holistic healers alike recognize the role that essential oils can play in the treatment of diseases, ailments, and other maladies.
And, essential oils continue to be used, as they have throughout history, as a part of spiritual and religious rituals, to combat odors, as a part of natural cleaning solutions, and to enhance the beauty of skin, nails, and hair.
The Health Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils are widely used today to treat a number of problems as well as help with beauty and household needs. Essential oils are popular to use for treating headaches, colds and coughs, skin irritations, motion sickness, bruises, inflammation in joints, rashes, digestive problems, and much more.
Healers have known for centuries how plants can help repair and restore the human body, and we reap the benefits of their collective wisdom today when we use essential oils.
Many plants have health benefits, ranging from anti-inflammatory to stimulating, from antimicrobial to calming, from antidepressant to detoxifying. They are still a cost-effective and natural way to treat all sorts of problems at home.
Below, are just a few of the many benefits of essential oils, so that you can see how including them in your home remedies is an easy decision to make.
Boost Your Immune System
One of the greatest advantages of essential oils is their ability to help your body naturally defend itself against microbial invaders. Many herbs have anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antibacterial qualities that can help your immune system protect you from infections.
Foreign pathogens are deterred by essential oils like peppermint, frankincense, eucalyptus, myrrh, lemon, cinnamon, and ginger are all excellent essential oils with antiseptic properties.
Some oils, like oregano oil, can even boost your immune system itself, promoting its natural ability to keep you healthy and strong.
Balance Your Hormones
Hormonal imbalances are responsible for a number of diseases and symptoms. Keeping hormones from your thyroid, adrenal, reproductive, and pituitary glands are essential for your everyday health.
And since high or chronic levels of stress contribute to elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can have negative effects on your health.
Keep your hormones balanced with essential oils like rose, geranium, clary sage, and thyme.
Improve Your Digestion
Taking care of your digestive system is another important health benefit of essential oils. Essential oils can help improve symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, stomach cramps, and other digestive maladies.
Many oils stimulate digestive enzymes, which can help your body absorb nutrients and prevent constipation. Essential oils are excellent for relieving nausea symptoms due to motion sickness, morning sickness, and from medical procedures like chemotherapy.
Ginger, fennel, lemon, and peppermint are just a few of the essential oils that aid digestion.
Relieve Pain and Inflammation
Essential oils are effective at relieving pain due to several conditions and diseases, including headaches, arthritis, soft tissue damage or injury, and even gynecological pain. Many hospitals and surgery centers are using aromatherapy to help relieve post-operative pain, as well.
Many scents help relieve pain by activating specific areas of the brain which release “feel-good” hormones that help improve your tolerance for pain. Others are effective at reducing the inflammation that could be causing your pain, such as in joints.
Support Health Brain Function
Essential oils can provide neuroprotective effects that can help with conditions that impair cognitive function, like dementia.
Many essential oils have antioxidants to inhibit damage from free radicals while other improve the function of areas of the brain that control memory and focus.
Some oils have calming effects that are effective for those with cognitive impairment who experience agitation.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Many essential oils can help calm you and help you feel more relaxed. Reducing stress is a vital purpose in today’s busy world, and essential oils can help you lower your anxiety. Many oils can also help reduce feelings of depression.
Essential oils can help improve the condition and appearance of your skin and hair. They are effective at improving your sleep and even boosting your overall energy level.
Essential oils can help treat many chronic disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis, migraine headaches, skin disorders like eczema, acne, lupus, COPD, and anemia, just to name a few.
It seems there is not much that essential oils can’t do to improve your health and appearance!
Home Remedies Using Essential Oils
Now that you know the many benefits of essential oil, let’s explore the many ways you can use them to create home remedies. Essential oils can be used in a variety of applications, including topically or in a diffuser. Some can even be ingested but be sure to do your research before taking any essential oils internally.
If you plan to apply oils to your skin, you should dilute the essential oil with some kind of carrier oil to protect skin. Carrier oils are usually cold—pressed, neutral oils that allow the aromas of the essential oils to shine through without evaporating quickly on your skin.
Common carrier oils include almond, argan, coconut, jojoba, magnesium, neem, and rosehip oils. Choose the one you like best for your application.
Inhalation of essential oil is also another popular method. You can use a device like a diffuser for aromatherapy, or you can place oils on a tissue or cotton square, or even directly to your palms, then inhale. Steam inhalation is also a popular method.
Below, we have divided our favorite home remedies into categories, including health, beauty, and first aid. In this guide, we are not including home and cleaning uses for essential oils, as these are plentiful and need their own guide.
42 Home Remedies For Health Needs
Create your own sore muscle rub by mixing equal amounts of eucalyptus, cypress, and wintergreen essential oils with your favorite unscented lotion or coconut oils. Massage into sore muscles several times per day.
If you have arthritis and want a nice rub for your joints, combine two drops each of lemongrass, cypress, and wintergreen essential oils with your favorite carrier oil or unscented lotion. Massage into affected areas.
You can add up to ten drops of grapefruit essential oil to your bath water to boost blood circulation, which can help lower inflammation and treat joint pain, too.
Improve your immune system before getting on a plane or attending a crowded function. Add one drop of oregano to four drops of carrier oil, then massage into your feet before traveling.
You can also create your own immunity spray to take with you on the plane. Combine clove, eucalyptus, lemon, cinnamon, and rosemary oils in a spray bottle with water. Shake well before using.
Fight back against allergies by using lavender and frankincense essential oils in an aromatherapy inhaler. They can help calm scratchy throats and relieve itchy eyes.
Reduce your migraine symptoms by applying several drops of peppermint and lavender oil to your temples.
Lower your anxiety by diffusing lavender essential oil in your room or next to your bed.
To relax and calm your body, combine a few drops each of peppermint, lavender, and chamomile essential oils, then rub into your temples. You will feel cooled and relaxed quickly.
Boost your mood and fight back against depression by adding rose essential oils to your bath or room diffuser.
Enhance your mood using lime essential oil. This oil enhances energy flow and helps you feel more energetic. Another good choice for enhancing your energy level is cinnamon essential oil. Both can be used with aromatherapy techniques.
Support your metabolism and boost your weight loss efforts by taking a combination of cinnamon, ginger, and grapefruit essential oils three times per day.
Reduce asthma symptoms and lung irritation with a vapor rub. Combine peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils with coconut oil, then rub into your neck and chest.
Peppermint essential oil can calm reactions to poison ivy and oak. Simply mix the peppermint with a carrier oil, then apply directly to the affected area.
Relieve menstrual cramps with either rosemary, sage, or basil essential oils. Mix one part of the oil of your choice with four parts carrier oil, then massage onto your abdomen. Use a warm compress or heating pad for 20 minutes to increase its effectiveness.
You can rid yourself of head lice with a homemade scalp treatment. Combine three drops each of thyme, lavender, and eucalyptus essential oils to coconut oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp and cover it with a shower cap or plastic wrap. Live this on for at least thirty minutes, then shampoo your hair. Treat with a nit comb to remove eggs and lice.
To help with insomnia, sprinkle chamomile or lavender essential oils onto your pillow before bed or diffuse your favorite next to your bed while sleeping.
Fight a col by taking three drops each of frankincense and oregano oils up to three times per day.
Cool feverish skin with a cool compress that also contains lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils.
Calm motion sickness by inhaling ginger, peppermint, or lavender essential oils. If you have nausea due to morning sickness, try inhaling ginger, lemon, or wild orange essential oils.
Boost your concentration with aromatherapy using grapefruit seed, bergamot, or peppermint essential oils.
Relax and enjoy a soothing massage by adding several drops of cedarwood or lavender essential oils to your unscented massage lotion.
Take care of a nagging cough by opening your airways with eucalyptus essential oil. Use in a diffuser, with steam inhalation, or by applying to the chest or under your nose.
Boost Liver Bile Production
Boost your liver bile production and blood circulation with lemon essential oil.
Improve your digestion with supplements of fennel, peppermint, and ginger essential oils.
Stiff joints will feel better when you massage them with wintergreen, juniper, or vetiver essential oils mixed with your favorite carrier oil.
If you want to curb your appetite, inhale cinnamon or peppermint essential oils.
Clean Minor Cuts/Disinfect
Clean cuts and remove microbes by diluting tea tree oil and applying to open wounds.
Stay awake and alert while driving or after a long day by using either sage, lemon, lemongrass, basil, or frankincense in your diffuser.
Cure your hangover by taking a bath using sever drops each of juniper berry, cedarwood, lemon, lavender, and rosemary essential oils.
If you grind your teeth at night, try massaging lavender oil into your feet or behind your ears before you go to bed at night.
Calm Upset Child
Calm an upset child by sprinkling chamomile or lavender essential oils onto their favorite stuffed toy.
Get rid of ringworm by adding tea tree oil to coconut oil, then massaging directly into affected areas. Repeat this twice daily until the infection is gone.
Help treat gallstones naturally with lemon essential oil, which has d-limonene, a naturally occurring chemical that aids in dissolving gallstones. Lemon oil also helps with the breakdown of fat, which helps prevent gallbladder problems.
Treat acid reflux easily by drinking a glass of water that has one drop of either peppermint or lemon essential oil. This will calm excess stomach acid production quickly.
Those who suffer from occasional excess gas can use peppermint, fennel, or ginger essential oils to calm your system. Drink one or two drops of oil in water or tea, or apply a few drops mixed with a carrier to your abdomen and massage.
If you have anemia, try helichrysum essential oil, which is known to produce the production of red blood cells as well as reduce inflammation.
Blood Glucose Levels
Stabilize your blood glucose levels with cinnamon essential oil. Take one or two drops in a glass of water or tea to help reduce glucose levels and fend off cravings.
Lower blood pressure and treat hypertension by using bergamot, cedarwood, citronella, or clary sage essential oils for aromatherapy.
Soak in a relaxing, stress-reducing bath. Reduce your cortisol levels by soaking in hot water mixed with 20 drops of bergamot, one tablespoon of sweet almond oil, and two ounces of sea salt.
Help regulate your hormones by using lemon myrtle for your aromatherapy. The scent helps regulate the release of hormones by many of your endocrine glands.
If you have a blister, help it heal faster with two drops of tea tree oil mixed with your favorite carrier oil. Apply to the blister every few hours for the best results.
Soothe bug bites with lavender essential oil.
Help bruises heal quicker by using a hot compress that includes five drops each of frankincense and lavender essential oils.
Create your own sore throat remedy at home. Squeeze one lemon and combine the juice with one cup of room-temperature water. Add one teaspoon of honey and six drops of lavender essential oil, ensuring that it is food grade quality. Gargle with this mixture several times per day to ease sore throat pain.
Freshen breath by adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to your tongue.
If you have a sunburn, you can soothe your skin by combining chamomile or lavender essential oils with coconut oil, then applying to reddened skin.
Stave off bug bites
Stave off bug bites with a homemade bug repellent. Combine any of these bug-repelling oils with your favorite carrier for a lotion that will keep you safe. Good choices include lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, clove, catnip, or peppermint.
Peppermint oil is an excellent way to get rid of the hiccups. Place one drop of essential oil on the roof of your mouth, diluting it with olive or coconut oil if it irritates your soft palette.
Heal minor burns faster by mixing aloe Vera gel with lavender essential oil.
26 Home Remedies for Skin, Hair, and Nails
Combat Hair Loss
Combat hair loss by combining burdock, rosemary, thyme, and yarrow essential oils with a carrier oil, then massaging it into your scalp. Other effective oils for hair loss include sage and lavender. Create your own hair growth shampoo by adding ten drops of rosemary, clary sage, and lavender oils to your favorite shampoo.
Reduces The Appearance Of Fine Lines
Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by mixing three to five drops of frankincense, lavender, geranium, and sandalwood essential oils with your favorite unscented lotion. Apply to your face daily, avoiding areas close to your eyes.
Create your own body spray by adding your favorite essential oil to water, then using a spray bottle to spritz your skin, clothing, or hair.
Pamper Your Feet
Pamper your feet by adding peppermint oil to an Epsom Salt foot bath. Or, if you have nail fungus, add tea tree oil to your foot bath instead. If your feet are sore or tired, you can add lemon or eucalyptus essential oils to revive muscles.
Rub tea tree oil mixed with raw honey onto your face to fight acne breakouts. After applying, rinse with cool water.
Reduce The Appearance Of Age Spots
Reduce the appearance of age spots by applying frankincense essential oil to darkened skin up to three times per day.
Soothe Diaper Rash
Soothe diaper rash by mixing several drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil or a carrier of your choice. Apply several times per day until the rash resolves.
If you have COPD and have difficulty breathing, open your airways naturally by using either eucalyptus, orange, thyme, or lavender in your diffuser.
Make your own toothpaste by combing baking soda, coconut oil, sea salt, and peppermint essential oils.
Thicken Your Hair
Thicken your hair and boost its volume by adding rosemary essential oil to your regular shampoo.
Reduce the appearance of stretch marks by mixing coconut oil with five drops each myrrh, grapefruit seed, and frankincense essential oils. Apply regularly to stretch marks to moisturize skin and reduce their appearance.
Dry Cracked Feet
Sooth dry, cracked, feet by adding coconut oil to several drops of lavender, then massaging this into your feet at night. Wear socks to bed to protect sheets and allow the oil to work better.
Treat skin disorders like psoriasis or eczema by mixing lavender essential oil with shea butter. Apply regularly to reduce redness and irritation.
Fight dandruff by combining your favorite carrier oil with equal amounts of rosemary and lavender essential oils, then massaging into the scalp. Leave this to rest for ten minutes before shampooing.
Regulate oily skin and reduce acne breakouts with lemon myrtle essential oil. Use as an astringent mixed with witch hazel. Or, use lemon myrtle to treat cuts and scrapes, as it limits the growth of bacteria and viruses.
Relieve dry mouth with spearmint essential oil. Dab a drop on your tongue or place some on your toothbrush and gently rub your gums and tongue after every meal to stimulate your salivary glands.
Exfoliant For Skin
Create an exfoliating facial scrub by adding five drops each of patchouli, grapefruit, and lavender essential oils to one-quarter cup each of yogurt and cornmeal.
Whiten Your Teeth
Whiten your teeth by mashing fresh strawberries and adding lemon essential oil and coconut oil. Rub the mixture on your teeth, allow to sit for two minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Reduce The Appearance Of Dark Spots
Reduce the appearance of dark spots on your skin with Calamansi essential oil. Applying it regularly to age spots or dark patches of skin will improve skin discoloration over time.
Help Decrease Oil Production On Your Scalp
Help decrease oil production on your scalp with an oily-hair treatment. Combine carrier oil with ten drops each of lemon, myrrh, and frankincense essential oils. Massage into the scalp, allow to sit for ten minutes, then wash your hair as usual.
Soothe Itchy Scalp
You can also soothe an itchy scalp by adding cedarwood, lavender, or basil essential oils to your regular shampoo.
Strengthen Your Nails
Strengthen your nails by massaging a mixture of lemon, myrrh, and frankincense oils mixed with Vitamin E oil into cuticles. Repeat daily for two weeks, then several times per week after.
Create Your Own Facial Scrub
Create your own facial scrub by adding several drops of grapefruit or lemon myrtle essential oils with almond oil and brown sugar.
Condition Your Hair
Condition your hair by combining a carrier oil with five drops each lavender and sandalwood as well as 15 drops of rosewood essential oils. Heat before applying to your hair, then wrap in a warm towel for 10 minutes before shampooing.
Make Your Own Lip Balm
Make your own lip balm by adding beeswax to coconut oil and lavender essential oil.
Essential Oils for First Aid
Including a few essential oils in your first aid kit is an excellent idea. Used widely to treat wounds, calm burned or irritated skin, and fight infection, essential oils make a great fit for a natural first aid kit. Here are ones to include:
- Eucalyptus for colds, coughs, and asthma
- Peppermint for joint pain, digestion problems, fevers, headaches, and sore muscles
- Ginger for nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
- Lavender for anxiety, trouble sleeping, rashes, and burns
- Frankincense for inflammation, scarring, and to boost immunity
- Tea tree oil for skin disorders, fungal infections, and wounds
- Lemon or orange oil for antiseptic properties
Harnessing the power of nature and using essential oils to care for your health and well-being is easy.
With just a handful of essential oils, a few of your favorite carrier oils, and the right know-how, you have all you need to create some effective and useful home remedies.
Plant compounds are excellent for treating a wide range of health problems, and they make taking care of your skin, hair, and nails a breeze.