Do you use essential oils? Do you know exactly what they are? They are concentrated extracts made from roots, leaves and blossoms of plants or seeds.
People have been using essential oils for therapeutic purposes for almost 6,000 years. The ancient Egyptians were the first to use them for aromatherapy, and healing aromatic herbs. They were also used in China, India, Greece and the Arabian empire too.
Before the drug companies came along, the practice of homeopathy and the use of essential oils, aromatherapy and natural herb remedies was common. Now I think we need to follow their example and look to natural remedies, in addition to modern medicine.
I always remember in Turkey we had essential oils like strawberry, vanilla, lilac and walnut oil. Today, I’d like to share five of my favorite essential oils that you might like to try.
First, peppermint oil. This is my favorite and the one I use most, it helps you focus, gives energy and helps decrease stomach ache, headache and nausea. When you wake up try putting a few drops on the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and smell it — take just a couple deep breaths and you’ll be wide awake!
You can also add just a couple drops to a glass of water and drink it, as a great natural remedy for indigestion.
Second, lemon oil. This is also good for increasing focus, also for acne therapy, to cleanse toxins from your body, help with fatigue, reduce anxiety and improve your mood. My favorite is to mix it with baking soda as a natural tooth whitener.
Third is cinnamon oil. It helps regular blood sugar, and even just the smell of it before eating can make you feel less hungry. It also relieves joint pain and improves circulation.
I love the smell, but the great news is that mosquitos and bugs don’t like it! You can spray it on you, or around your home to keep the bugs away.
The fourth one is chamomile oil, which helps decrease nervousness, it tones your skin, cares for your hair and can help you sleep better. You may like to try a few drops on your pillowcase, or one of my favorites, chamomile tea.
And the fifth essential oil is eucalyptus. This is great for muscle and joint pain, it helps with asthma and breathing problems, can increase concentration and helps with skin problems, too. You may like to try adding a few drops to a pan of boiling water and just inhale the steam to clear out your sinuses. Mixing with lemon oil is a great bug repellent, too.
I suggest you make sure that you choose high quality essential oils — yes, they can be expensive, but they are highly concentrated plant extracts and you really only need a few drops each time.
P.S. please remember, if you’re planning on ingesting essential oils for health reasons then you may need to ask your doctor first!
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com and (808) 276-6892.