Prevention & Recovery

5 healthiest essential oils and how to use them

Escents Image by: Escents Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

5 healthiest essential oils and how to use them

You might have noticed essential oils and diffusers popping up in stores recently. These oils aren't exactly a trend—they've been used to treat ailments for thousands of years—but they're beginning to regain popularity as Canadians look for more natural options for their health and skin care.

The highly concentrated oils are distilled from botanicals including things like flowers, leaves, stems, roots and seeds. To get their aromatherapy benefits, you can diffuse them or dilute them in an oil or lotion, then apply them on your skin. (Only lavender and tea tree oils can be applied directly to the skin.) Interested in giving aromatherapy a try? We spoke to Silvia Enescu, scent specialist at the aromatherapy retailer Escents, about the most versatile and beneficial essential oils for everyday health and well-being. Here are her picks for the oils she can't live without.

1. Rosemary
Need help focusing? Try some rosemary. Enescu says the essential oil has stimulating properties that can help you concentrate and reduce stress. She suggests diffusing the oil so you breathe in those tiny molecules through the air. Rosemary oil is also know to help with skin issues like acne or eczema, and it has antiseptic properties that make it a great addition to natural home cleaning products.

2. Eucalyptus
Make this your go-to remedy for sinus congestion. Whether you're dealing with seasonal allergies or cold and flu season, inhaling eucalyptus oil can help open up air passageways and even help fight off viruses with its antimicrobial properties. Enescu suggests putting eucalyptus oil in a diffuser, so you breathe it in, or putting it in a cold gel to massage on your chest when you're sick and experiencing congestion. You could also apply it to the soles of the feet, a method that provides the fastest absorption for your body.

3. Peppermint
Peppermint oil is a great remedy to help stimulate and awaken you, mentally and physically. Enescu suggests adding the oil to a bath or using it in a massage oil to help relieve muscle fatigue or soreness. If you experience headaches, try massaging an oil with peppermint in it at your temples or wherever you're experiencing the pain, or apply the diluted essential oil under your nose during migraines. The molecules you inhale will travel to your brain to relieve the pain.

4. Lavender
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils—and for good reason. This oil is known for its stress-busting properties and its ability to soothe both the mind and the skin. Enescu says lavender has incredible healing properties for burns or wounds and helps rebalance sebum production for those with oily skin.

5. Tea tree
Another popular essential oil, tea tree, has been used for years to address all kinds of skin ailments, from acne to excessive oil to psoriasis. Like rosemary, tea tree also has antiseptic properties, which makes it a great addition to your home cleaning arsenal.

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Prevention & Recovery

5 healthiest essential oils and how to use them