Written by Karen Rollins

A beginner’s guide to essential oils

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Essential oils have become increasingly popular as people look for health and beauty products which are more ‘natural’ and don’t rely on artificial chemicals.

Chamomile, jojoba, peppermint, tea tree, and lavender et al – there seems to be an oil for everything and the list goes on.

So with several oils to choose from (with a variety of uses and properties), Yello thought it might be helpful to put together this ‘beginner’s guide’, so you can know your rosehip from your eucalyptus.

Firstly, what is an essential oil? Basically, an essential oil is a highly concentrated plant extract but it is only natural if grown, harvested, and extracted properly.

Some essential oils are extracted from the leaves of the plant while others come from seeds, stems, roots and flowers. Good quality essential oils are highly concentrated so you don’t need much and the average shelf life is two years.

Why are essential oils popular? Even though oils seem to have gained attention recently, they’ve actually been in use since ancient times, especially by the Egyptians who incorporated them into their daily lives. There are also references to some natural oils in the Old and New Testament in the Bible.

If you want to use oils for beauty, medicinal or therapeutic purposes, it is highly advisable to read up about their individual properties, but several of them have been proven to help relieve pain, inflammation, nausea and skin conditions.

What else can they do? Various essential oils can also be used around the house as aromatherapy or in homemade cleaning products.

Three of the most popular essential oils are:

Jojoba – derived from the seeds of the wild jojoba shrub. It’s known to be good for the skin and can be used to treat mild acne.

Tea tree – strong antimicrobial properties. It’s used in a range of products including shampoo, body lotion and soap and has a long history of use as an antiseptic.

Lavender – said to improve sleep quality. It’s also thought to reduce anxiety and stress and can be good for the skin.

Sources: Global Healing Center / Essential Oil Haven

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