Before I learned about the health benefits of using essential oils to ease minor ailments, I and probably like most people, relied on over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceuticals.
During my over 15 years of yoga practice, seeing my teachers using them in classes, I gradually became interested in their health benefits. Ever since then, I have been reading from various sources and experimenting with different kinds of essential oils out there. Because all essential oils are derived naturally, they are considered relatively safe as home-remedies.
Here, I’ve put together a mini-guide to help you get started.
There are basically three ways of using the oils– topically, aromatically and internally. Of these, the aromatic way is probably the most familiar to us. Topical application can ease tension on certain pressure points and on parts of the body. As for using it internally, it is probably the least popular for newbies, because they can taste bitter even though some may carry a sweet smell.
With this said, I would like to name a few oils for using this winter.
I start with what you can internally ingest, to show you just how non-intimidating it is. My personal favorite and for starters is lemon or “citrus limon.” It is a great one for preventing a common cold and easing a dry throat. Lemon is also good for fighting air pollution and clearing respiratory system.
All you need is put 1 to 2 drops of concentrated lemon essential oil (not the blends- I’ll go over those next time) into a clear glass of water. You can do this as often as you like throughout the day, but I’d take no more than three glasses a day.
Another one for breathing and boosting immune system is frankincense or “boswellia frereanna.” The smell of it reminds me of being inside a temple somewhere in East Asia. It has a deep woody note and a earthy tone, that goes well with sandal wood (an example of “blending” but more on this next time). For using Frankincense, place 1-2 drops under the tongue can alleviate depression and help with memory. Because of its strong flavor, I usually take it just once a day.
As for topical and aromatic applications, they can be similar in the sense that both involve inhalation. However, when applied directly onto the skin, it tends to be soaked in more concentrated form than if vaporized with water mist.
Sandal wood or “santalum album” belongs to the same woody and earthy family as frankincense, in terms of aroma, although it is a little sweeter.
This oil is more often used for aroma therapy, and a favorite one for yoga studios. It is historically used to enhance meditation. In more modern usage, it is said to calm nervous system and help alleviate muscle tension.
For aroma therapy, use 2 to 3 drops for your diffuser because of the strong scent, it is better to let it permeate the room slowly without using too much at a time.
In a few weeks, I would like to introduce some oil blends. Check in with me again, if you’d like more information. Feel free to comment or ask me anything.
Also, you may be interested in learning how to avoid yoga injuries.