Essential Oils 101

Chances are you’ve come across essential oils in one way or another. They hide in skin and body care, in some candles, and can be bought directly from the store. But what exactly are essential oils, and why should you use them? Read on, my friend!

Essential oils are literally the essence of a plant, and have been used for thousands of years. They can be found in the seeds, flowers, bark, and other parts of a plant. Pure essential oils are very beneficial not only for the moods and emotions, but also for skincare and can even be used instead of chemical cleaning supplies!

Evgenia’s Top 7 Essential Oil Recommendations:

I love essential oils and have a growing collection at home that I use aromatically, topically and even internally!

Lavender

My favorite way to use lavender essential oil is to apply it to the bottom of my feet before sleep. You can also put a drop on your pillow, or a few drops into your bath water to help you relax. It’s also great to have around for when you may feel anxious or stressed during the day. You can put a drop in your hands and rub your hands together, then cup them to inhale to calm down your emotions. Lavender is also great to put over insect bites to stop the itching, and calm down the skin.

Lemon

We’ve all heard of the benefits of lemon water in the morning. You can use lemon essential oils for the same purpose. Put one drop under your tongue or in a glass of water when you wake up to jump start your metabolism, and detox your system. Lemon essential oil is also great to use while cleaning your house, as it’s a great disinfectant. Just mix a few drops of oil with distilled water (and white vinegar if you choose) and clean your surfaces. It’s great to use on kitchen counters, as we don’t want our food to come in contact with nasty chemicals. Lemon oil can also help you uplift your mood when you diffuse it, or inhale it by cupping your hands. Note that lemon oil is photosensitive, so if you use it topically on your skin, avoid sun for the next 12 hours. Lemon oil is also great to get rid of the stubborn price/label stickiness on jars, or grime on your hands.

Mint-leaves-2007Peppermint

Peppermint is great to help relieve headaches. Inhaling it from your hands has a great aromatic impact, and you can also rub a little on your temples and the back of your neck. The same kind of application can help you feel more awake, so next time instead of the umpteenth cup of coffee, go for peppermint oil on your temples and/or inhaled. It’s also fantastic to help cool you down in the summer heat, and if you rub it on the back of your neck and shoulders, you can help alleviate tension while it cools you off. Another reason to use peppermint essential oil is to help aid digestion. You can put one drop in a cup of hot water, and enjoy it as you would peppermint tea, or even just rub it on your belly to help digestion. You could also make a spray bottle with distilled water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and spray it into your sports shoes to keep them fresh.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is great to help ease your breathing. During cold or allergy season you can diffuse it, or smell it directly from your hands. You can also rub it on your chest to help with coughing and congestion.

Tea Tree Oil

This oil is also great to disinfect your home, and can be used on countertops, handles, whatever you want to spray to get rid of bacteria. Tea Tree oil, when applied topically, can also help with athlete’s foot, acne, cold sores, nail fungus, insect bites, warts and even sunburns.

photo-1449831438585-6f419654d73eGrapefruit

I really like grapefruit essential oil. It’s a great way to add a little bit of flavor to your water (one drop is enough). It helps even out cellulite when used topically, as well as help with lymphatic flow. You can use it the same as lemon oil to clean the house sans chemicals (or mix lemon and grapefruit together). Aromatically it can help uplift your mood when diffused or inhaled from cupping your hands.

Frankincense

Frankincense is considered to be the king of essential oils. It’s really great for practically anything. It can be used topically as part of your skincare routine to help prevent skin aging, aromatically to ease tension, stress and help uplift the mood, to repel mosquitos and flies, on warts, to help even out scar tissue, and soothe insect bites.

A few important notes:

lemon21.) Not all oils are created equally. I didn’t know until about a year ago that some oils which are labeled as pure, are in fact not. The problem with oils not being pure is that they can contain chemicals and synthetic fillers, and we’re trying to get rid of chemicals in our life! You can shop my favorite essential oils here and email me {evgenia@kouklawellness.com} with any questions, I’d be happy to help you choose the perfect essential oil for you.

2.) When applying essential oils topically, use a carrier oil to prevent skin sensitivity. I like coconut or olive oil, but you can choose whichever oil you prefer, such as almond or avocado. For the face you can use one drop of oil, and mix it with your regular moisturizer.

3.) If you take oils internally, it’s important to note that only pure undiluted oils can be used, and must be done in small amounts and with care. Make sure to avoid plastic cups and bottles.

Will you be adding essential oils to your wellness routine? Let us know in the comments!

Evgenia Ilienko
Evgenia Ilienko

Evgenia was born in Ukraine, grew up in Prague and spent close to a decade in NYC until she followed her heart to Crete. Passionate about movement, she decided to turn her hobby into a job she would actually like and became certified in classical Pilates at Core Pilates NYC, where she later taught. Living a healthy lifestyle and wanting to help others get on the wellness path led her to become a certified Holistic Health Coach. After going to Crete for vacation, she decided to move there and aims to bring more health and wellness to this side of the world.