Essential oils are those oils that are derived from plants and also have medicinal values and several other applications. They are different from fatty oil and contain the odor or the essence of the plant from which the oils are derived. Actually, these oils are called as essential not because they are essential (have dire need) but because they contain the aroma of the plant from which they have been extracted. They have many applications, like in aroma therapy, as pesticides, apart from medicinal purpose as mentioned before.
These oils are manufactured by the process of distillation via steam. But many industries produce them by mechanical process like cold pressing. The reason I am discussing the methods of production because the production method is very important for the essential oil as the sophisticated chemical methods are not considered to produce the real essential oils.
What Are They
From every essential oil, you can get the aroma of the plant itself. Like mustard oil has strong scent of mustard (depending on different species), lavender oil is mainly used for fragrance, eucalyptus oil. To name some more, there are garlic oil (produced by distillation from garlic plant), ginger oil, lemon oil, neem oil, turmeric oil. So, you can understand the name of the essential oil is based on the plant from which it is derived. Other notable essential oils are bay leaves oil, basil oil and jasmine oil to name some.
Why I Should Use Essential Oil
The essential oils are used widely. They are used not only in cooking and other uses but also as medicinal form. Many people use essential oils to keep away from stress and depression. About 45% of people who have depression and stress use essential oils as alternative therapy. People use these oils to massage their body while relaxing which give them a great mental peace as well as physiological benefits like good circulation. Additionally, the aroma provides a complementary effect to the user.
You can find many oils for treating headache, are available in the market. Like peppermint oil or lavender oil which gives a soothing effect while applied in the forehead. In reality, it has been seen, these oils are good in treating headaches and migraines.
Many medicines containing essential oils are available Over-The-Counter (OTC). Like those ointments containing capsaicin are well and good for applying in areas where there is pain. Some people prefer these ointments over the oral allopathic drugs. Eucalyptus oil and oil containing menthol are much famous for this usage. Many people use these oils because of the fact that these oils have minimal side effects as compared to the oral drugs. Another effect is that the onset of action is quite faster than the oral drugs. As soon as you apply, you start feeling a soothing or counter effect.
Some essential oils like agathosma, are used for their diuretic effects. Although they are under clinical trial and research.
In many parts of Indian villages, they use mustard oil for the massage or as moisturizer. While massaging, they enhance the blood circulation which in turn makes everything beautiful. Like the amount of oxygen is supplied to different parts in more and more amount, skin get adequate nutrition, etc. Oils that are readily used for skin care are coconut, olive oil and avocado oil. We also use this oil for hair care and constitute cheap, natural, daily cosmetics for common people in many parts of the world.
How Many Times a Day Do I Apply Essential Oils
Over all, essential oils are very safe to use. But yes, there may be some cases where essential oils caused few issues. You have to understand that they are natural products. They can be allergen. There are some cases where people used and it and got some skin reaction. Although it is rare, while applying for the first time, you should test it once. Like put some oil to the skin and wait for few hours and see whether there is any kind of skin reaction like dermatitis. If not, you are good to go.
Choice of essential oil is also very important. Obviously, you will feel no better if you use coconut oil in arthritis pain. In case of bone pain or muscle pain, you should use ointment containing capsaicin. For another instance, coconut oil is good for hair while mustard oil is good for skin. Again, lavender oil is good for its fragrance and it is often found in perfumes. It is also little harmful to boys of pubertal age and pregnant mothers. Because lavender oil is estrogenic and anti androgenic. But lavender oil is also a good insect repellant. You can use them for this purpose also.
The big question is how many times you should use in a day. The number of times you should apply the essential oils, actually, depends. People, who have oily skin, cannot apply essential oils so often. They may use essential oils once a day. If the skin is normal, you can use 3 to 4 times a day. For dry skin, 5 times or more than that can be used. You can use 5 to 10 drops of essential oil. If your intention is just moisturizing, then, you can take a little less. If you want to have some relaxation or massage, you have to take much more than that. Keeping in mind the uses and your skin conditions, you should choose the perfect essential oil and decide on a regime (how many times you will use it in a day). The peppermint is available in the market should be bitten all the time. Because your teeth may have significant wear and tear effect in the long run. So, the usage should be individualized.
Over all, the essential oils are very friendly and safe. But to optimize their application, you should be little serious on the amount you use and the type of oil. They have short term benefits as well as long term benefits. Apart from healthcare purpose, essential oils are used in cooking and as pesticides. Every person should use an essential oil of their choice as it keeps your health including skin and hair healthy with minimum damaging effects. To be clear, there is hardly any damaging effect. Only an oil may be little reactive in one person and not in another. So, you should do trial and error for the very first time. After that, you can easily use that oil on daily basis.
Let us know what oil you are choosing and what your experience is.