Alright, so as promised, here are my 7 favorite essential oils, and some of the reasons why! I've listed them from most favorite to least, although of course they are all my favorites, so it's kind of hard to rank them down to least favorite! This is in no way meant to be a list of all or even most of the things these oils can be used for, or are said to do. Rather, this is just what I love most about them, and what I personally use them for most often. If you want a more in-depth look at essential oils and properties there are several books I can recommend that will fill you in on many more details, uses, cautions etc.
Clove made it to the top of the list because it is my favorite go to oil. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands, and are primarily harvested in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They have a numbing effect on the mouth tissue, and other tissue also for that matter. The compound eugenol, found in cloves is responsible for much of the numbing effects that clove oil has. You may not know what the dentist numbs your gums or the inside of your cheek before injecting you with anesthetic is made from clove oil. Almost every dentist uses clove oil in some form because there is no arguing with it's safe amazing numbing abilities. That can't be said about many natural products, because the medical community scoffs at most of them! That being said, cloves numbing action can come in very handy, from sore gums or tooth pain, to teething babies, painful ear infections, or infected and painful ingrown nails, painful scrapes, down to back pain. Ear infections are my favorite thing to use clove oil for, as there seems to be nothing that can kick that horrible pain that can keep you awake when you have a nasty ear infection! A few drops of clove oil mixed in some olive oil is a sure way to ease the pain in babies and adults alike. Of couse being the mixer I am I always throw in a few other oils just for good measure!
I have suffered with migraines for as long as I can remember. At age 5 I had them quite regularly, and would often spend the afternoon laying on my bedroom floor with my head under a blanket because the light hurt my eyes, and the aura I would get would make me really dizzy and so nauseous I couldn't move without getting sick. My dad had them regularly, and my Grandma too, so it was always chalked up to being in my genes. Any of you who suffer with migraines know the intense pain, and crippling side effects that come along with migraines. I am not claiming that peppermint will cure your migraines. I still have them. I still take meds for them. But that being said, peppermint helps me a lot. I've read a lot of stuff about how people use peppermint for their migraines. Some say they dab oils on their temples, some say they put it on the back of their neck, some say they inhale it etc. For me, the only thing that has worked has been an agressive approach. I take between 1 and 3 ml of essential oil and squirt it onto the top of my head, where it runs town my head towards my back. Then I get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can stand it, put just enough water on my head to suds, then put shampoo on my head, rub it all around, and let it stand for a couple minutes. Then I rinse it off with as hot of water as is comfortable, not using too much water or trying to get it all out, just enough to get my head all hot again. Then I let it sit again. After a few more minutes I rinse and get out, or just let the hot water run and breathe in the peppermint steam for a while.
NOW... don't go home and try this right away. If you haven't used peppermint much and don't know how your skin handles it, start slower. Put 3 or 4 drops on your head and do this. Then if there is no discomfort work your way up to more peppermint oil.
The reason this helps so much is because you are getting the peppermint all over your scalp, which you usually wouldn't be able to do without having a really oily head. Also, the heat from the water opens up the pores in your head and allows it to stimulate blood flow to your brain. And the steam vaporizes the peppermint oil and lets you breathe it in as well, which helps ease sinus pain and tension that comes along with migraines too, and the cooling effect peppermint has it soothing as well.
And I don't use the "it helps" term lightly. I take some very heavy duty medications for my migraines, and not always, but quite often it either helps enough I can just take tylenol and be ok, or, even though I still have to take my meds, it reduces the other effects I usually get from migraines, like nausea, sensitivity to light, and dizziness. Imitrex, is one of the most prescribed migraine medicines right now, and it works my opening the capillaries in your head and allowing more blood flow, this easing the symptoms of a migraine. Peppermint works similarly.
I also use the exact same "shower technique" when I have a head cold, it sure does help the misery!
Also, I use a variation of this "technique" for Hudsen when is is stuffy. I just don't apply the oil to his body, I just drip the oil on the walls or floor of the shower, let really hot water run over it for a minute to get the bathroom nice and steamy, then adjust the water to a more comfortable temp and sit in the bottom of the shower and let the steam help clear out his sinuses.
I love this oil because it is safe for use undiluted, although once you become more familiar with oils you will find many of them can be used undiluted in different situations, but often caution must be used. Lavender is great for pain, bug bites, insect repellant, and healing irritated skin. I use it in all my diaper rash creams, muscle rubs, etc. If an area in too sensitive to use clove on to help numb or deal with pain, lavender is your next best bet. While I feel that claims for lavender oil have been greatly exaggerated, and claims for clove oil greatly under-exaggerated, I do still feel there is a wonderful place for lavender oil in any medicine cabinet. It is gentle enough to use on tener skin, like in babies and children, and gentle enough to place directly on most cuts, scrapes, and boo boos. Like I discussed in my previous blog post "Outrageous Claims Are A Turn Off", while I do think that essential oils have antibacterial, and anti-viral properties, what delights me the most is the immediate results that you can see. And with lavender oil dropping a drop or two on a cut, sting or boo boo and watching a child's tears fade away as it soothes the pain is wonderful to see. For adults, who don't mind a minute or two of burning before relief sets in, I'd highly recommend using clove oil for painful cuts or scrapes, because while it is a bit more harsh, the numbing effects are much stronger than lavender. It's the next best thing to being able to have lidocaine on hand whenever you want! But lavender possesses many of the same properties, just in a milder form.
#4. Tea Tree
I like tea tree oil for the usual things you would expect and a few things you might not. It is of course great for skin irritations and boo boos. It is great for acne and oily skin. But I also love it for its deodorizing properties. Tea tree and orange are my two favorite oils for getting bad smells out of laundry. Including diaper, spit up, cat pee, and nasty work clothes from men.
This is an oil I rarely use by itself, but mixed with other oils made it popular enough to put it in my top 7. Because ginger simulates circulation so well, it is beneficial in dealing with quite a few aliments. The one I use if for most often is pain, or healing. If I have back pain, it is usually because something is not right, and needs my body to heal it. So, increasing circulation is always helpful in allowing the body to do it's own healing. It is also the same for wounds. Increasing circulation helps them heal. Also it is great for stomach issues, stimulating the digestive tract etc.
Everyone should have one oil that just makes them happy. At least that is my opinion, and sandalwood is just that for me. I love the woody, earthy nature, and the sweet undertones it has. That being said, Sandalwood is also excellent for skin ailments, and helps heal and soothe itching and inflammation from psoriasis, eczema and other types of dermatitis. For this reason, I love sandalwood for sunburns, diaper rashes, eczema, and other annoying itchy skin problems me and my loved ones have had. It is a very gentle oil, that is great to use on baby's bottoms when they are all raw and burned. Always mix it with a carrier oil when applying it to babies though. Sandalwood is an expensive oil, but you can purchase it mixed with a carrier oil already and it is quite reasonably priced then. And for most applications you are diluting it anyway, so using it already in a carrier oil works just fine!
This is one of my favorite baby oils. It is so soothing for irritated skin and so gentle on fragile little bodies. Using it for diaper rashes, a few drops in bath water to soothe tender skin, or just to calm a fussy baby down. I have given hudsen most forms of chamomile at one time or the other. I regularly made him a "tummy tea" as I called it that had chamomile in it, put it in baths when he had a bad diaper rash, and now I give him drops before bed time and they calm him down so well it is nothing short of amazing. Even traditionally minded medical doctors often recommend chamomile for its soothing and sedative properties. It's primary action is that it calms nerves, and this is great for young and old alike.
So there are my top seven essential oils, and why I love and use them the most.
Hope it has been helpful and maybe you have learned something along the way!