We use essential oils in every single product we offer, except of course, our unscented natural soap. This is because essential oils not only smell really pleasant for the most part, but they all possess naturally healing properties that are a part of the biology garnered by the plant they came from.
When I used to think about essential oils, I only thought about how they were used to achieve pleasant scents and evoke certain emotions in people. I thought they were sort of a “hippie” alternative to chemical perfumes and scented products. I never knew that they had benefits beyond pleasing our olfactory senses.
However, the many essential oils that can be extracted from plants now are actually therapeutic for the human body in so many ways other than just “aromatherapy”. While their role in aromatherapy is undeniably important, there are actually certain properties to the oils themselves that are bioactive when applied to the skin and absorbed into our blood stream, which carries them throughout the body.
Lavender among the most therapeutic of the oils
Inhaling lavender has actually proven to change the way the brain behaves. It relaxes tension and promotes calming brain activity. Lavender also has many applications topically. It is used as an antiseptic and anti spasmodic, and has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which is what makes it perfect for our lemongrass, tea tree and lavender acne soap.
Many even have powerful antioxidants in them. Essential oils of caraway, lavender, carrot seed and cardamom are all muscle relaxants. There are even essential oils that increase circulation and are good for those with poor circulation, or even for those that want to help treat cellulite afflicted areas.
These oils include copaiba balsam, ajowan, and cumin. Many essential oils act as anti-inflammatories for the skin, and they can also help to condition the skin and soften it. This makes them excellent additions to soothing skin creams, lotions and salves for abrasions or scars that are still healing.
Healing and anti-inflammatory oils
These oils include cypress (which has a wonderful woodsy scent, and is a key natural deodorizer in our all natural deodorant), labdanum, lemongrass (which is a key ingredient in our anti inflammatory acne soap), mandarin and myrtle. They have the effect of working as a toning agent for the skin as well as an antiseptic, without drying like certain types of alcohol can do.
Ylang-ylang, which is a potent perfume-smelling essential oil that you tend to either love or hate, is good for relieving stress and tension, including muscle tension. Zanthoxylum is another essential oil that relieves stress and tension. Just as essential oils can be very therapeutic, misusing them or over using them must also be avoided.
Some essential oils, such as bergamot for example, should be used in small quantities in any preparations that are applied to and stay on the skin, such as lotions. It has a really pleasant citrus scent to it, and it comes from unripened orange-like fruits.
It can be phototoxic when applied to the skin, meaning it makes you more susceptible to UV burning by the sun, and it can also have toxic effects if over applied to the body, so it must be used with care. Fennel essential oil works as a muscle relaxant and antiseptic, however this is another essential oil that has definite benefits but also must be used in moderation to avoid toxicity.
Carrier oil dilution
Essential oils are most often diluted in what is called a “carrier oil”. Carrier oils are the term used for oils that are best suited to combine with essential oils. Jojoba is a very popular one, as well as fractionated coconut oil, which is liquefied coconut oil that contains none of the scent the solid form does.
When they are mixed with these carrier oils, it makes them easy to apply, and dilutes them to a safe percentage of active oil. We use several essential oils in our all natural deodorant formula due to their naturally antibacterial nature.
It is bacteria that causes underarm odor, and these plant oils naturally neutralize any odor. Essential oils have many other uses as well. They can be used in solutions that work as surface cleaners that are nontoxic to your family, massage oils, and even natural insect repellants.