Essential oils have become extremely popular and for good reason!
They are therapy that uses fragrant plant extracts to help support your overall wellness. Essential oils are, in fact, extracted directly from plants, so they have an intense scent of the plant they are extracted from. They are typically not used alone. In most cases, these are mixed with a carrier oil, like almond oil, olive oil, or coconut oil, to create a product that can be safely used on the skin or scalp.
There are various types of essential oils available at present and each of them has certain unique properties and benefits.
Typically, essential oils (that are combined with carrier oils) are used during massages. They may also be used in an undiluted form as aromatherapy, where an individual is made to inhale the scent of the oil. Essential oils, unlike many carrier oils, usually cannot be ingested. While different essential oils have varied benefits, many of them are believed to help regulate normal sleep cycles, promote calmness, and maintain energy levels, among other things.
In addition, essential oils are also great for freshening up the surroundings.
If you want to use the best essential oils for your skin, make sure to consult an experienced Ayurvedic doctor who can prescribe the right type of oil for your needs.
Essential Oils: An Ultimate Guide
Ever since Brahma handed down Ayurveda to humans (more on that below), essential oils have become an integral part of Ayurveda, with a market value worth more than $17 billion, according to Statista.
This is a comprehensive guide on the relationship between essential oils and Ayurveda, how it works, the health benefits, the best essential oils for skin, head, hair, and the do’s and don’ts when dealing with essential oils. Before you get to all that, how about finding out what they are?
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils refer to concentrated plant extract from roots, flowers, leaves, bark, stem, or fruits, depending on the species.
There are three common ways of extracting essential oils:
- Expression involves a good old scraping or grating of the fruit peel.
- Steam distillation means you direct steam through the plant’s material, which vaporizes chemicals in the plant material. You can then condense the steam to form two products: the essential oil (rose oil), and the hydrosol (rose water).
- In CO2 extraction, you use carbon dioxide as a solvent and then reduce it to form an essential oil.
That said, essential oils do not feel oily because the ‘oil’ refers to the oil-soluble chemicals found in the plant.
Now that you’re up to speed keep reading to find the connection between essential oils and Ayurveda.
Essential Oil and Ayurveda
As mentioned in the beginning, Brahma, the Earth’s creator, handed out the Ayurveda teachings to his disciple Daksha Prajapati, who later conveyed it to the Ashvini Kumaras, the Gods of Health and Medicine. The Ashvini Kumaras handed the hymns of Ayurveda to Indra, Chief among Gods, the King of Heaven, and the God of Thunder. To ensure the practice reached Earth, Indra passed it down to the Great Sages.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to wellness because its practitioners believe that your mind, body, and soul are connected to the outer world. That means any imbalances in your diet, relationships, or the environment can aggravate or reduce the optimal levels of your primary functional energies (Doshas), leading to health issues.
Ayurveda takes a different approach from others as it’s all about prevention, and as you are aware, prevention is better than cure.
Using Ayurvedic therapies will help your body maintain the optimal levels of your dominant Dosha, and the assisting Doshas, thereby helping maintain a healthy system that can sustain in the long run.
Kerala Ayurveda, with a legacy of 75+ years, continues to use the same Vedic recipes with the same care and quality but has also modernized the process by testing the essential oils in modern labs to ensure potency and purity.
When it comes to classifying an essential oil in Ayurveda, it depends on its effect on your body’s unique Dosha constituent and it’s health benefits.
Now that’s out of the way, you can now understand the types of essential oils, and how they work, as discussed below.
Types of Essential Oil
If you are looking for helpful ways to maintain your emotional and physical health and support healthy cognitive abilities, you’re in luck as we have highlighted some of the best essential oils to help you out:
Rose: It’s hard to resist the sweet scent of the rose flower, and research shows that when you inhale rose oil, it can help soothe your mind and elevate your mood. Additionally, it contains antioxidants, making it a potent essential oil for helping balance moisture in the skin due to its hydrating effect.
Lavender: Helps as one of the best essential oils for refreshing the mind, it has other health benefits. Lavender will help you relax and rejuvenate.
Hyssop: It has a sweet scent, with earthy and herbal undertones. That said, it can help maintain healthy skin, uplift your mood and invigorate your senses.
Roman Chamomile: Another oil that can help put your mind at ease after diffusing and inhaling its steam is Roman chamomile. Not only that, the oil also helps conserve healthy skin.
Ylang ylang: Its beauty care properties will make your jaw drop. It emits a sweet, spicy aroma that experts say will help you relax and maintain your calm, destress the mind and uplift your energy levels. Moreover, many industries use Ylang-ylang in cosmetic products because it has properties that make it one of the best essential oils for the face and for supporting normal hair growth.
Frankincense: Has a distinctive scent that will remind you of the holiday season but other than that, it has plenty of health benefits, such as supporting normal digestion, supporting healthy immune response, etc.
Grapefruit: If you are looking for a bitter yet fresh scent, grapefruit is the way to go. Extract the oil from the peel and use it in a diffuser.
Watch: Do Essential Oils Really Work? And Why?
Myrrh: It’s sappy-smelling aroma is legendary, and researchers say it can help sustain healthy skin.
Vetiver: The essential oil has a smoky yet sugary scent, properties that mark it out for aromatherapy to help uplift mood and maintain calmness. Besides, it has anti-oxidative properties, making it a good essential oil for supporting optimal skin health.
Peppermint: This has a fresh, minty scent that can support healthy digestion. If you apply it topically with an appropriate carrier oil, it produces a cooling sensation. It’s also a great essential oil to support skin health.
Spearmint: Much like peppermint, this has a minty scent and produces the same benefits. It is slightly sweeter.
Melaleuca/Tea tree oil: A common oil with a medicinal scent and not by accident because you can use it to aid healthy skin.
Watch: Essential oils to help improve your health – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FU0pD988Xw
Basil oil: Helps sustain your calmness and maintain your health, also helps conserve the normal shine of your hair.
Lemon: Like grapefruit oil, lemon oil helps sustain healthy energy levels and normal respiratory health.
Lemongrass: not to be confused with lemon essential oil, lemongrass is a natural air freshener that will lift your spirits and help you relax.
Pine: As expected, it has a woody aroma, and its health properties are essential for maintaining normal skin and scalp health.
Helichrysum: Gives off a pleasant smell of hay and honey. It has impressive and helpful health benefits when used externally.
Arborvitae: Has a woodsy scent that’s known to help sustain good skin and uplift the mood.
Cassia: This essential oil produces a spicy fragrance like cinnamon because it’s derived from the Cinnamomum cassia plant. It promotes calmness and supports a healthy immune response.
Oregano: It aids in good skincare. Additionally, its strong scent makes it great for aromatherapy.
Orange: As you probably guessed, Orange oil is a Vitamin C powerhouse and it can pass its impressive and helpful skincare benefits to your skin.
Bergamot: This is another citrus oil that can help maintain healthy melanin levels in your skin. It can also support optimum muscle and joint health.
The next section discusses how exactly essential oils can affect different parts of your body.
What are the Health Benefits of Essential Oils?
This part of the guide will highlight the ways essential oils work on different parts of your body, all backed by solid scientific research:
If you feel like your work life or relationships are being affected, you’ll be glad to know that essentials oils can:
Help calm emotions: they have helped at least 43% of people by helping maintain calmness, whether through massaging or aromatherapy.
Essential oils support healthy hair and scalp. They help your scalp to have a healthy moisturization and nourishment level. Essential oils can be paired with carrier oils like Sesame oil and applied on your hair. Most essential oils aid in regulating normal blood circulation that helps maintain the optimal volume of your hair.
Essential oils support normal sleep and a healthy sleep cycle which helps create positive reinforcement for you at your job performance or schoolwork. A review of 15 studies shows that some essential oils can help sustain your sleep quality, especially if you’ve just given birth. Its effects can aid in peaceful and healing sleep.
4. Best essential oils for skin
Worry no more! Essential oils for skin are here to help restore and maintain optimal skin health.
The best essential oils help sustain the healthy oils in your skin as well as maintain the skin pores. Essential oils for oily skin can help regulate oil production. They also aid in moisturizing and retaining hydration. Melanin levels are regulated with the help of essential oils.
Great, but how do they work?
How do Essential Oils Work?
The primary means through which most essential oils work is aromatherapy, where you inhale the oils through various means because you’re not supposed to swallow them.
When inhaled, the oils will interact and influence the limbic system, which is the part of your brain that deals with the sense of smell, emotions, behavior, and long-term memory. This explains why scents can help trigger emotions and memories. You may also apply it to your skin, paired with a suitable carrier oil, where it will absorb some of the oil.
You’ve just got a glimpse of the connection between essential oils and your sense of smell; read on to find out how that relates to Ayurveda.
Essential Oil and Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy refers to the inhalation of aroma of essential oils as per the recommended therapy. You can do this by releasing the essential oil into the air using a diffuser or placing a few drops on a cloth and then inhaling it.
Ayurveda concerns itself with a holistic approach to wellness by embracing your body’s unique levels of the Doshas. To help maintain a state of health, essential oils and aromatherapy work on your body’s three Doshas: Kapha, Pitta, and Vata.
Different essential oils affect the three Dosha body types differently. For example:
- Vata body type is mainly characterized by dryness and cold. Use warm and sweet scents to help maintain the optimal level of Vata. The essential oils ideal for a Vata aggravation includes rosewood, clove, sage, patchouli, and rose geranium.
- Pitta body type would benefit from being kept cool using sweet and cooling scents because when it’s aggravated, it causes your body to accumulate heat. Use oils such as sandalwood, mint, fennel, and jasmine.
- Kapha body type is predominantly earth and water elements, meaning moist, cold, slow, and heavy. To help maintain it, use drying, warming, and stimulating aromas with a hint of spice. Examples of essential oils ideal for this body type include cinnamon, cumin, thyme, and black pepper.
Since the oils affect different people differently, it would help to keep reading to find out the other dos and don’ts of using essential oils.
Dos and Don’ts of Essential Oils
Have you ever encountered a situation where you tried out something that everyone told you was the best, but it reacted negatively with your body type? The same thing goes for Vedic supplements. Depending on your situation and unique body composition, essential oils may or may not work for you. To ensure you have the best experience, here are some dos and don’ts:
- Use them when you want to maintain calmness of mind: If you need some help to calm down, you may want to try out chamomile. Take a whiff of the oil, or massage the diluted version onto your skin.
- Check the quality: Check out the label to confirm the use of quality ingredients. Further, ensure that the product comes from a reputable provider such as Kerala Ayurveda, the oldest and most awarded traditional Ayurveda company globally.
- Dilute: When you purchase them, they are likely to be too robust for use, straight out of the bottle. Use creams, bath gels, or vegetable oils to dilute potent essential oils.
- Consider age: Teens and adults are at an optimal age compared to the young and elderly, who are more sensitive. For instance, if you have a baby, avoid using essential oils on them unless recommended by a pediatrician. For kids lower than six years, avoid wintergreen and birch altogether.
- Consult your doctor: Your healthcare provider should assess if you are right for using essential oils as some of them. Certain essential oils might interfere with your current medications. eucalyptus, affect how your skin absorbs the 5-fluorouracil cancer drug. Moreover, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before starting any essential oil routine.
- Stop usage if you notice a reaction: Once you’ve applied a small amount of the oil and you see a boil, rash, bumps, or itchy skin, wash it off and avoid further use.
- Store safely: Seeing as some of the essential oils can have some effects on kids, make sure you store them away from their reach.
- Try them out: If you don’t, how else will you find out if essential oils can work for you?
- Use them anyhow: Just because they smell nice doesn’t mean they’re OK to eat! Some of the best essential oils for skin should be used externally and not on your eyes, nose, or private parts.
- Keep them for longer than three years: Keeping in line with the above, oils get exposed to oxygen and get spoiled, leading to skin irritation or allergic reactions. If the oil changes color, smell, or feel, it’s likely spoiled so toss it away.
- Use on broken or damaged skin: Such skin will expose your body to more essential oil absorption than necessary leading to an unforeseen skin reaction.
- Apply too much: However effective an essential oil is, you should never apply too much of it as it can lead to a bad reaction.
It’s time we started considering the effectiveness of essential oils and how it can help our body. We all know prevention is better than cure, and Ayurveda is a big proponent of helping provide holistic health that targets prevention.
As a big part of Ayurveda, essential oils can help ensure emotional, skin, and hair health. Visit Kerala Ayurveda today to find potent essential oils with proven safety as they use ingredients recommended by Vedic text and lab tested for purity and potency.