Most people have heard of essential oils, but many do not know about their varied uses, or their traditional healing and aromatherapy properties.
Pure essential oils are the distilled essence of various aromatic plants, which have been used throughout the ages for their traditional healing and wellbeing properties.
Essential oils are mainly extracted from highly scented herbs and spices, such as clove, eucalyptus or rosemary.
Because they are so concentrated, they come in small bottles with a dropper.
Pure essential oils should never go directly onto the skin, but be diluted, either by water in a diffuser or oil burner, or with a carrier oil.
There are dozens – if not hundreds – of pure essential oils. For those with no experience of using them, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
But there are some scents that should be in everyone’s basic kit, including pure lavender oil, ginger essential oil, lemongrass oil and pure peppermint oil, among others.
Here, we look at a few more in detail. It is worth noting that several essential oils are not recommended for pregnant women, or some health conditions.
So it is always worth consulting a healthcare professional for advice before using essential oils if you are unsure.
Tea tree oil
Sourced from the Australian tea tree, Melaleuca Alternifolia, this oil is one of the most well-known thanks to its distinctive smell and many uses.
Traditionally, tea tree oil has been used by Aboriginal people as a natural antiseptic, as well as for insect bites and stings.
Its purifying properties have made it a popular ingredient in beauty products for those dealing with problem skin concerns.
Tea tree oil also blends well with other essential oils, including rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus and lavender.
Another key Australian aromatherapy ingredient is eucalyptus.
Made from the majestic trees of the same name, eucalyptus oil has a powerful smell that has been harnessed by indigenous Australians for centuries.
It is great for helping to clear the senses and, when used in massage, it can help support circulation in yours hands and feet as well as help to ease muscle cramps.
Eucalyptus oil blends well with other essential oils, including grapefruit, rosemary and peppermint.
Pure patchouli oil
While tea tree and eucalyptus have fresh smells, patchouli oil is a completely different oil.
Patchouli oil has an earthy fragrance which is both calming and sensual. Traditionally, it has been used to help ground the user and ease feelings of stress.
The essential oil is made from the dried leaves of the patchouli plant, a member of the mint family, native to many Asian countries.
Patchouli essential oil blends well with other essential oils, including ylang-ylang, sweet orange and jasmine.
With its distinctive earthy, yet sweet smell, there’s no mistaking the classic scent of sandalwood oil, which is often used in perfumes and air fresheners.
Sandalwood oil originates from the East Indian sandalwood tree, which is renowned for being one of the most valuable trees in the world. Both the heartwood and the roots of these precious trees are used to make sandalwood essential oil.
Read more about this oil by checking out our 'sandalwood oil: uses and benefits' article.
Tisserand essential oils are some of the most famous in the world, thanks to the pioneering work of British aromatherapist Robert Tisserand in the 1970s.
Not only does the brand benefit from Robert Tisserand’s aromatherapy and research institute, but it is maintains pristine ethical standards, and all of their products are either organic, wild crafted or ethically harvested.
There are several benefits of buying organic essential oils. One of the main ones is knowing that the plants used in the oil were not grown using man-made fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides.
This means the soil is healthier, not only for the plants that went into your essential oil, but contributing to a healthier ecological system in general.
Cutting out these man-made chemicals means no pollution is leaked into the soil or water.
A brand with a huge range of products is Miaroma essential oil. If you are looking for an unusual scent, try this brand, which has tangerine, star anise and juniper, among many other pure essential oils.