Ah, essential oils. One of the most hyped products from the last five years. It has become so popular across different age groups that you could see it in every self-care starter pack if you are up-to-date with those kinds of trends. But the truth is, essential oils are not a modern invention.
Its first use can be traced back to the prehistoric era when the first humans used it to draw figures on the cave walls. The cave paintings were found in Lascaux, Dordogne, a region in France. Then there are the Egyptians who use essential oils to create salves and ointments for spiritual ceremonies, aesthetic purposes, and medical treatments in 4500 BC. It was also used in China in 2597 BC, as evidenced in a book on medicine that had a dedicated chapter on the use of aromatics (trivia: this book is still being used as a reference by people who are practicing Eastern medicine).
Essential oils also play a pivotal role in Ayurvedic healthcare. It is extensively discussed in the most sacred book of religious texts and hymns in India, the Veda. And today, Ayurvedic traditions continue to gain popularity in the US. Those who have read the Bible would be familiar with an incident in the book of Exodus where Moses received the recipe for the holy anointing oil and it was described as a combination of olive oil, cinnamon, clove, myrrh, galbanum, cassia, and spikenard.
Fast forward a couple of decades later and the use of essential oils became considered unacceptable and inappropriate by the Catholic Church, causing those who use them to keep the knowledge of oils a secret. People, especially women, who are caught in the possession of oils were persecuted and sentenced to death under the suspicion of witchcraft. Moving forward, this ancient belief was eventually abolished, and by the 1800s pharmacists began to prescribe oils for curing different illnesses.
Essential oils have a long history and today, everything you need to know about it is in books and online, available with just a few swipes or clicks on your smartphone or laptop. This article is not an exception, as we will discuss the essential oils 101 for modern women. We will cover the following topics:
What are essential oils?
Benefits of essential oils to women’s health and which essential oils to try
Essential oils defined
Now that we have a short background on the way essential oils were used throughout history, let us try and answer the most basic question: what are essential oils?
According to an online article by the Cleveland Clinic, essential oils are concentrated extracts derived from plants – from their seeds, leaves, roots, barks, and rinds. Essential oils are extracted using methods like cold pressing (mechanically squeezing or pressing the plant matter to release the oils) or water or steam distillation (where water or hot steam is passed through the plants to get the essential compounds). For the record, it takes a huge amount of plant matter to make essential oils, so do not be surprised if you come across some really expensive ones.
To give you an idea of how much plant matter it takes to get essential oils, you need about 250 pounds of lavender flowers to produce one pound of lavender essential oil and about 50,000 pounds of rose petals or lemon balm to produce one pound of rose or lemon essential oil.
Benefits of essential oils to women’s health (and which ones you need to try!)
Modern women live in a world that is full of contradictory demands – the pressing need to hustle hard in order to stay on top of the game and the constant urge to slow down and take a breather. And this is exactly why modern women are always on the lookout for quick, go-remedies that will help navigate a busy life without sacrificing self-care.
It is a crucial balance and essential oils make that possible. Essential oils help promote relaxation of the mind while improving its ability to concentrate and focus. It is also good to know that essential oils have many holistic uses, from puberty to the age of menopause.
The right blend of essential oils can help a woman cope with life changes (and the unpleasant symptoms they sometimes bring) and at the same time, having a personal favorite aroma or blend can boost one’s self-confidence.
Our hormones – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone – fluctuate constantly and when they do, the results can either be good or nasty. One of the effects of these fluctuations is acne. Sure, local pharmacies and such are saturated with anti-acne products but of course, nothing beats the natural ways to support skin health! Essential oils like tea tree oil have great acne-fighting properties, and if combined with camellia or grapeseed oil, the results could be amazing. Tea tree oil is also used to address skin itchiness, irritation, and body odors.
Lavender is another essential oil that is good for both skin and hair. You can add a few drops of it to a carrier oil to help fight dry scalp and dandruff. When added to moisturizers and cleansers, lavender oil can make the skin clear, soft, and looking hydrated. Carrot seed and bergamot essential oils are recommended for those with dry skin.
Modern women can use essential oils to combat the signs of aging, too. Resign-based oil like elemi, myrrh, and frankincense can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the face to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Stress prevents us from becoming the best version of ourselves, so to combat stress and uplift the mood, try essential oils like neroli, bergamot, and lavender. Rose or pine oil, on the other hand, can soothe the senses.
And if you are wondering if essential oils can be used to lose weight, the answer is yes! But take note: there is no magic oil that can make the process of losing weight easier and faster, but there are specific oils that can help support your weight loss journey. These are cinnamon leaf, lemon, grapefruit, turmeric, and ginger root.
There are essential oils for specific needs and concerns, so I hope this article was able to give you an idea of how to use them properly. Just make sure to use only small amounts, or just a few drops, because essential oils are powerful. Once you get to know how to harness their strength effectively, your life will surely change for the better.