Whether it is about being struck by a nasty cold or a throbbing headache, we all have our gloomy days. But the instant relaxation that comes along just with the inhalation of Eucalyptus oil or Peppermint oil is astounding. It takes away most of the uneasiness, allowing us to heave a sigh of relief, setting us ready once again to get back on our feet to move along the hustle and bustle of life.
Ever wondered what exactly are these essential oils, and why are they so effective? This article will guide you through everything you need to know about essential oils, their benefits, and uses. It’ll also help you identify the right essential oil for your needs.
Plants have been of use to mankind since ages unknown. Over the years, many of the beneficial plants have been experimented with to derive useful compounds. The essential oils are the volatile aromatic derivatives of the extracts of these beneficial plants. They are manufactured in the concentrated format from the source plant’s roots, leaves, bark, stem, resins, flowers, etc.
They are called ‘essential’ because the oil encapsulates the plant’s essence, flavor, and scent. Further, the plant from which the oil has been derived gives the essential oil its complete name.
The scent of the essential oil is much stronger than the plant used to derive it as the number of active ingredients in the oil is much higher. The amount of substance needed to make the oil requires multiple plants of the same kind causing the extract to be very concentrated. The different aromatic components in every plant give each essential oil its characteristic essence.
The two widely known techniques to derive the oil from these incredible plants are the cold-press and distillation methods. The process through which essential oils are extracted and manufactured is crucial as it determines the overall quality and efficacy. In case the method used is chemical-based, the benefits of the essential oil reduce considerably.
Organic Essential Oils by Kama Ayurveda are made by distilling hydrophobic liquid, sourced from different parts of the plants like the flowers, roots, barks, fruits, and leaves. They contain volatile aroma compounds that emit a mesmerizing fragrance and are ideal for massages, aromatherapy, and wax candles.
As of today, there are over 100 Essential Oils across the world with their unique aroma and healing properties. In this section, we’ll talk about some of the most-well known Essential Oils and highlight their top benefits and features.
Want an all-purpose essential oil with a sensual and exotic floral fragrance? Ylang Ylang is the perfect essential oil to promote inner peace, confidence, and relaxation.
This oil contains properties that work against skin irritation and aging of the skin and help retain a youthful glow. It can be applied on the hair to keep the hair shiny, bouncy, and tangle-free. The fragrance of this oil works as an antidepressant, and its mild sedative effect relieves those suffering from insomnia and stress. It is even beneficial in controlling the blood pressure levels and stabilizing the heart rate.
Suffering from skin problems and want to heal them naturally? Tea Tree Essential oil derived by the steam distillation of twigs and leaves of tea trees is well known for its beauty applications. It is considered one of the effective methods for spot treatment of acne, pimples, and blemishes. It even relieves from dry skin-related issues like eczema and psoriasis.
Tree oil also works against dandruff formation and also aids in getting rid of lice infestation on the scalp. However, this oil should not be applied before heading out in the sun as the UV rays could sensitize the skin adversely.
Basil's benefits are already quite well-known for many years as it aids in warding off many ailments of the respiratory system. The traditional Ayurvedic medicine considers Sweet Basil as an incredible immunity booster.
When used topically, it helps to keep bringing back the luster of dull skin. It also works against acne symptoms. While applying on hair, it adds to the shine while stripping away the greasiness or previous product build-up.
Don't we all need an energizing aroma to uplift the mood from time to time? The exhilarating scent of Orange essential oil works as an instant stress reliever. Its citrus scent appeals to the senses and promotes a feeling of warmth and joy.
This oil is high in antioxidant properties and acts as an immunity booster as well. It contains a significant amount of limonene, which promotes collagen production and, at the same time, reduces aging-related complications like wrinkles and dark
This oil has banked the name of ‘liquid sunshine’ because of its yellow color. Cold-pressed from the peel of fresh limes, this essential oil is a highly refreshing and energizing ingredient with a variety of positive effects. It has powerful anti-microbial and immunity-boosting properties.
This essential oil is particularly useful for alleviating mental tension, lifting negative energy, and fatigue, and PMS. Its aroma instantly lifts the mood and induces positive energy.
If you’re looking for an essential that works as a natural air freshener and makes you feel closer to nature, then Lemongrass essential oil is perfect for you. It uplifts, exhilarates, and deodorizes naturally. The light lemony relaxing and hypnotic fragrance relieves anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
This oil is filled with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties providing relief from muscle and joint pains. It also has anti-microbial properties hence reduces the formation of unwanted bacteria.
With a uniquely fresh aroma, this gorgeous woodsy oil is cold-pressed from Pine trees grown in regions like the cold climes of Himachal in India. A crispy, woody scent is known for evoking feelings of stability, energy, harmony and comfort.
The oil is extracted from the leafy needles of the pine tree. It is majorly used to treat skin related ailments like acne, psoriasis, athlete's foot, itching, and eczema. It even keeps any kind of redness, swelling, and inflammation away. When applied on the scalp, it counters dryness and dandruff formation.
Peppermint essential oil has an instantaneously recognizable minty fragrance that invigorates the mind and body. The calm, soothing effect of this oil helps it work against muscle cramps, owing to its antispasmodic properties. It even fights against inflammation and gives relief from pain. Considering all these properties, it is highly beneficial as a post-workout massaging oil. It also eases PMS and soothes headaches.
Cherished for its unmistakable aroma and myriad benefits for beauty and wellness, Lavender has contributed to the most used essential oil consumption globally. It has a myriad of benefits. This oil has soothing and cooling properties, because of which it reduces the irritation and redness on the skin. When applied on the scalp, it works as a toner and provides relief to itchy scalp. The fragrance of this oil helps in reducing the cortisol levels, therefore, acting as a stress reliever. Adding this oil to bath water helps soak away stress and promote restful sleep at night.
Cypress oil has the superpower of controlling the sebum production when applied over the skin. It, therefore, is a must-oil to combat issues faced by the oily skin type. It aids in cleansing the skin and tightening the pores. The aroma of this oil is known to enhance the mood and evoke a feeling of wellness.
Bergamot is a light citrus oil that has properties that aid in reducing the scars and pigmentation. It also works in balancing the production of melanin and tones the skin. When used with a carrier oil and applied topically, this oil diminishes muscle ache and is also useful in relieving arthritis-related discomforts. It even works as a natural perfume and is widely used in the production of scented candles and soaps.
Filled with purifying properties, Eucalyptus oil aids in clarifying and cleansing the skin. Its aroma works as an effective immunity booster and also relieves muscle tension.
It has antiseptic properties and works to relieve pain or itching caused by insect bites. It has medicinal properties that help ease breathing and clear nasal passage specifically for conditions like asthma. It is advised to use a carrier oil and not apply eucalyptus oil directly over the skin as it could give rise to an allergic reaction.
This oil has the potential to work as a detoxifier that aids in clarifying the skin complexion. It is also known for its medicinal properties as it is antiseptic and prevents wounds or injuries from getting infected. It relieves menstrual cramps and also soothes inflammation occurring in the digestive system. It works as an insect repellent and deodorant.
This spicy warm oil has antioxidant properties which replenish the skin and works as an anti-aging product. It also fixes the skin condition that gives rise to inflammation, redness, and rashes. On application on the scalp, it boosts the hair growth and fosters shine along the lengths of the hair. Its fragrance works against nausea and adds a sense of harmony and comfort in the surroundings.
Germanium oil is known for its ability to eliminate dead skin cells and promote restoration of the skin. It has astringent plus anti-aging properties that aid in providing firmness to the skin and lessening sagging and wrinkles formation. This oil allows muscles to contract, thereby providing it a tightened appearance and fostering a toned body look. The fragrance of this oil is known to provide relief from insomnia and stress.
Next, let’s understand more about categorized use of these essential oils.
Now that you are aware of a variety of Essential Oils and their role in promoting our general health and wellbeing, you might be curious to know how effective they are in offering all of the benefits discussed above?
The answer is - yes. But, you must only the purest and the best quality essential oils for the best results. In this section, we’ll talk about the many effective uses of Essential oil for health, cosmetic and relaxation purposes.
Since ancient times, the essential oils have been used to combat cold and flu-related symptoms. They help in inhibiting the harmful bacteria and enhancing the immunity of the individual. Few of them even help in preventing diseases due to their antibacterial properties.
Being invisible to the naked eye, the spread of germs in the air is the main reason behind most air-borne diseases. Using the diluted version of the oils rich in anti-microbial properties as an air freshener helps eliminate these microbes. Adding essential oil like Eucalyptus to boiling water and inhaling the vapors have proven benefits of sinus decongestion. Some essential oils like Peppermint and Lemongrass work wonders for those suffering from muscle ache and joint pain. They also help in easing out menstrual cramps and PMS.
Essential oils are also used in cosmetic products to enhance the result provided by the end-product. For example, adding these oils to moisturizers enhances the capability of just moisturizing to include other benefits like clearing the skin, diminishing blemishes, and reduction in aging-related symptoms like wrinkles and fine lines.
Essential oils also possess cell-regenerative potentialities. Many skin conditions like acne, Eczema, Psoriasis are reduced with the application of these oils, due to their healing benefits.
When applied on the scalp, the oils work efficiently to promote hair growth, increase the volume, and add to the shine. Also, dandruff and lice treatment are possible with the use of these oils.
The essential oils are commonly found in natural beauty products. Ditch the commercially manufactured chemical products for natural ones to experience the cosmetic benefits of these essential oils visibly.
When using these oils as air fresheners or diffusers, their stimulating effects are known to improve the mood of the person and effectively instill a sense of peace, gratitude, and relaxation. They are used as an effective stress buster to declutter the mind.
The subtle aroma of these oils described as woody, earthy, spicy, and clean is used in religious environments to enhance the mystical experience one embraces. The use of these oils could be inculcated in a person’s routine by topical application or inhalation. However, it is advisable to ask and confirm with your general practitioner before using them to avoid irritation.
We have seen how the essence of these oils can enhance your physical health and the surrounding space. Now, let's talk about the significance of essential oils, according to Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest known health systems. Even with the onset of modern medications, Ayurveda is in the limelight. It is known for its holistic treatment approach, which often contradicts the present rage of instant cure of outward symptoms.
To begin with, Ayurveda classifies every individual into a specific dosha type. Our body reacts to the surroundings on the physiological or psychological forefront based on the dosha a person possesses.
All people based on their energy could be categorized into the following three types of dosha: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, every essential oil has a unique characteristic that can be used to balance the doshas.
Stress and anxiety are significant elements faced when Vata is aggravated. It leads to coldness and dryness related imbalances in the body. To counter these, warming essential oils like Rosewood, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Basil, Clove, Ginger, Camphor, Bergamot, or Oregano could be utilized.
Pitta has the characteristic of inducing heat in the body when irked. As a result, problems like skin irritations, odorous sweating, and inflammation appear. They can be treated with cooling based essential oils like Peppermint, Lavender, Lemongrass, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Gardenia, and Jasmine to induce a feeling of calmness and dispel heat.
Kapha is known for a soft, slow, lethargic, and cold-based nature. The most commonly face issues leading to accumulation of fluids like mucus causing illness such as running nose, bronchitis, cold sweat, itching. These can be treated with warm and spicy overtones of essential oils such as eucalyptus, clove, basil, cedar, black pepper, and orange.
Many ayurvedic practitioners recommend balancing the doshas with aromatherapy over the topical application or internal consumption of these oils.
Since we have understood the benefits and effectiveness of the essential oils, let's dive into the next section that directs one on how these essential oils should be used.
Essential oils can be inhaled by vaporization, ingested, or applied on the skin or scalp. However, there are specific instructions and methods that one needs to know before use.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, essential oils are derived and stored in a highly concentrated format. Direct use could do more harm than good, like skin irritation, redness, and burning in many cases. It is recommended to use carrier oils along with the desired essential oil.
You need a carrier oil to dilute the concentration of the essential oil. The carrier oil does not impede the therapeutic properties of the essential oil nor dilute the effectiveness. It merely performs the duty of carrying the properties of the essential oil along with their own. There are many carrier oils available in the market, few of the beneficially well-known ones are as mentioned ahead.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids and polyphenols, making it an ideal carrier oil for massages and skincare. They can easily penetrate the skin as their molecules are small in size. The oil molecules of the essential oil are also considerably small; these oils, when combined, provide wholesome nourishment to the skin as they are readily absorbed.
Coconut oil itself has moisturizing and soothing properties that help to lubricate the skin, prevent dryness, and keeps it replenished.
Jojoba oil is not considered to be oil but is classified more as a liquid wax ester. The specialty of this oil is that its chemical composition closely replicates that of the human sebum that is secreted by the sebaceous gland of the human body. Because of this property, our skin readily accepts this oil, which works as an excellent carrier oil as the essential oil when diluted with jojoba oil allows it to be penetrated deep into the skin.
Jojoba oil is rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria while retaining moisture and promoting suppleness.
Olive oil has immense therapeutic properties. It is used as a carrier oil majorly for exfoliation and cleansing purposes. This oil is also known for its collagen-boosting properties allowing the skin to regenerate, revive the radiance, and benefit as an anti-aging product.
Essential oils can be inhaled by vaporization, ingested, or applied on the skin or scalp. However, there are specific instructions and methods that one needs to know before use. These needs vary depending on the essential oil and the requirements. We’ll discuss them in detail in the next section.
Essential oil can be applied to the skin through topical applications. Before the application, dilute 2-3 drops of essential oil with 1 tsp of carrier oil. After dilution, the oil can be massaged on the skin or be used as a spot treatment.
The essential oil can also be added to your bathing water. However, one needs to note that directly adding essential oil in the bathing water is not recommended as the oil does not dissolve in water and would remain afloat over the water in the form of a film. When the skin comes in contact with the oil, the whole strength of the essential oil will strike and expose the skin surface, causing adverse skin irritations.
To counter this, it is thus advised to use essential oil with the help of a dispersant, for example, adding the oil to few tablespoons of full cream milk would also work. Another formula that could be used is adding six drops of essential oil like Lavender to two tablespoons of the following mixture: Epsom salt, one part baking soda, and three parts of sea salt.
A plethora of hair benefits is known for various essential oils. Right from boosting hair growth, preventing hair loss from maintaining shine, different essential oils have their specific advantage.
An essential oil can be applied to the hair along with a carrier oil. Simply take 2 or 3 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and mix it well. Next, apply it on the scalp and massage it thoroughly. Leave this mixture overnight or rinse it away after a couple of hours.
You even make their hair spray with the help of purified or distilled water and coconut sugar. To begin with, heat the water for a few minutes, after turning off the heat source, add one tablespoon of coconut sugar and keep mixing until it dissolves. Next, after the mixture cools down, add about 25 drops of the essential oil you desire based on your needs and store it in a glass spray bottle.
The bottle should be shaken thoroughly before every application. Also, the shelf life of such hair spray is around 3-4 weeks.
It is widely recommended to use the essential oil through inhalation. Each oil provides unique benefits through aromatherapy. They help in relaxation and in uplifting the entire aura of the surroundings. To use these oils for their aromatic properties, you will need a diffuser.
The diffuser is an electric or battery-run device that aids in diffusing the essential oil in the surrounding atmosphere. Essential oils cannot be burnt directly as there would be a drastic change in the chemical composition of the oils rendering it harmful or useless. Diffusers generally use water or cool air with the help of inbuilt fans or reeds to disperse the essential oil molecules into the atmosphere.
Massages are also a fantastic means to reap the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil as it combines aromatherapy and reflexology or plain rubbing. About 20 to 30 drops of essential oil can be mixed with 2 ounces of advanced quality vegetable carrier oil and massaged all over the body. Those with sensitive skin could use ten drops of the essential oil for 2 ounces of the carrier oil.
Massages allow relaxation, improve circulation as well as tone the body considerably.
Next, let’s find out which essential oil aids in combating which specific skin issues.
1. Essential oils for skin tightening
French Cypress essential oil is specifically known for its cleansing and toning effects. This oil aids in tightening the pores as well as controlling the sebum level of the skin
2. Essential oils for oily skin
Ylang Ylang essential is known to balance and regulate oil production when applied topically. It prevents excessive oil production and, at the same time, soothes any irritation caused by oily skin.
3. Essential oils for dry skin
Lavender essential oil works wonders by moisturizing and retaining the hydration for those affected with chapped and dry skin. It can even be used to treat dry skin conditions like Eczema as it has antifungal properties and reduces inflammation.
4. Essential oils for acne scars
Tea Tree Oil is rich in antibacterial properties that aid in soothing acne breakouts and diminish the scars left behind by past acne.
Next is the list of essential oil to treat various hair related complications.
Tea tree essential oil is a fungicidal oil which can eliminate dandruff and reduce the flaking considerably. It boosts the circulation and thereby aids in hair growth as well.
2. Essential oils for hair loss
Cedarwood essential oil has regenerating properties due to which it’s beneficial for stimulating hair growth. It allows new hair growth and naturally reduces hair loss. It also tightens the hair follicles and reduces the thinning of hair.
3. Essential oils for hair growth
Citronella essential oil protects and nourishes the hair extensively. It cleanses the scalp removing dead skin, dirt, residues, and stimulates hair growth.
4. Essential oils for dry hair
Rosemary essential oil moisturizes the scalp and reduces the dryness of the scalp. It even reduces dandruff and itching caused by dryness. We also recommend Eucalyptus essential oil and Ylang Ylang essential oil for nourishing dry hair.
Many of the essential oils have proven benefits of inducing sleep and providing relaxation; the following are three of such essential oils.
Bergamot oil has soothing properties and works against sleep disorders like insomnia. It collectively reduces lethargy and makes a person more energetic and lively.
The aroma of this oil uplifts one’s mood instantaneously, relieving stress and anxiety. It induces a refreshed and relaxed atmosphere.
Eucalyptus oil is known to soothe physical as well as mental discomfort. It eases a person’s mental exhaustion and boosts circulation to the brain.
Apart from these oils, Lavender essential oil and Ylang Ylang oil are also well known for their sleep-inducing and relaxing effects.
We hope that our complete guide to the essential oils helped you understand all that you needed to know about them. It is also recommended to consult your health practitioner before inculcating any essential oil in your routine. You can book a free consultation with our Ayurvedic Beauty Consultant by following this link.
Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.
An ayurveda doctor with 14 years of experience in yoga, panchakarma and general wellness. Currently working with Kama Ayurveda, analysing and remediating dermatological concerns and queries of the consumers via in-store, virtual and IVR consultation.