Peppermint oil is my second best essential oil after lavender. It took a long time for me to figure out how to use this essential oil because I am just gradually beginning to unravel the goodness of essential oils as a whole.
Essential oils have been used for many years now. The first time I heard of them was during my master’s degree (in Organic Chemistry). When you are closing in on your project year, you are going to be split into two groups – Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Products.
All of my close friends at the time were in Natural Products while I was in Synthetic Chemistry. I really didn’t mind. We were taught enough of Natural Products in theory and I didn’t see the need to know more about them.
The most popular topic in Natural Product Chemistry is Essential Oils. These are oils that are extracted from plants, distilled and concentrated (purified).
My first introduction to essential oils
My first practical introduction to essential oils was rude. It gave me a bad headache. I can’t remember exactly what oil was being distilled but it was a mixture of love and hate. I loved the smell but it was not good for my head.
Afterward, I would check in on my friends during distillation of the essential oils. I was also in many of their relaxed conversations about these oils. They were all men so they never ever thought to care about essential oils for skin care, hair care or total wellness.
All they were concerned about was how to determine the active compound(s) in the oils, research on how they can be used in medicine and propose different medicinal applications of them. Shout out to Medicinal Chemistry, one of my favorite courses!
It is 2019 today and I can’t believe that all of what I was exposed to as at the time was going to be so relevant in much more practical terms. It is totally amazing! I am grateful to have been introduced to essential oils and the different methods of using the content of these tiny, beautiful bottles.
So far, it’s 3 months of essential oil use and I must say that I am amazed and happy at the same time. Little do you know that you need these things in your life. They come in and they turn your life around completely.
I want to share with you, my best 5 essential oils to date, what they are used for, how I have/I use them and other necessary things you should know about them. I am also, in this article, going to show you how to purchase these oils if you are ever interested in having them in your life.
You can jump to the table of contents
Now, this might seem a very long article and this is because it is going to be very comprehensive. It is going to cover every single thing you need to know about my favorite oils so far and my own personal experience with using these oils.
What I need you to do, if you can’t go through it all at the same time or feel that you do not need all of the information right now is to click on the items that you need on the table of contents.
Say you want to read about peppermint oil or thieves oil, for example, all you have to do is click on it and it takes you straight to that section.
Alright, let’s go!
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are liquid substances that are extracted from plant materials. They usually smell like the plants from which they are extracted. In these oils are all the benefits of the plant materials combined in their purest forms.
If you are interested in replacing all of the chemicals and harmful substances in your day to day living with natural and harmless substances, then you most definitely should consider essential oils. Essential oils are in themselves your natural wellness substitutes.
The process of healing using the vapour from essential oils (by breathing in deeply or diffusing from a diffuser is known as aromatherapy)
How are essential oils made?
Lucky you, I have got all the insider info on the process of extracting essential oils from plants, aha! This is why you should have an Organic Chemist as a friend.
If you are curious to know how essential oils are gotten from plants, you must really understand some tiny, layman concepts of extraction.
Methods of extraction
Now, there are different methods of extraction and they include Steam Distillation, Maceration, Enfleurage, Cold Press Extraction, Solvent Extraction, CO2 Extraction, and Water Distillation. Not just any kind of extraction method can be used on any plant.
The reason why this is so is not far fetched. Some plants have oils that can be tampered with under a certain amount of temperature and pressure. Therefore each plant is studied to be sure they can be processed for oil extraction under the conditions the methods are characterized by.
If a wrong method is used, the quality of the oil might be affected. We do not want this as we want oils in their pure, unadulterated forms. Steam distillation is, however, the most popular type of oil extraction. The process is simple, straightforward and safe for the oils.
It is also safe to include this at this point – you can get these oils, not only from their leaves. A plant’s oil might be most potent in its stem, branch, bark and even roots.
Process of extracting essential oils from plants
Plant sourcing and harvesting
First, the plants are harvested. Now, for Chemists, we might not be going for a particular end product. We just go to harvest plants that we think might have properties that are medicinal. So in essence, we blind extract.
For oil producing companies, however, they go straight for the plant they want. They want lime oil, they go for lime. Lemon oil, they go for lemon, grapefruit oil, they go for grapefruit.
After deciding, these plants are then harvested at peak periods. These are times of the day when it is sure that they have their medicinal products exposed.
If you were wondering why oils are extracted instead of consuming the plants themselves to experience the medicinal properties, it is because the oils are easily absorbed into the body system and also at a faster rate too.
The plant is afterward made to dry under room temperature. This is so that moisture is naturally removed from the plant. It is dried under room temperature so that the molecular structures of the medicinal compounds are not tampered with in extreme conditions.
These plants are then soaked in a suitable solvent (hexane or ethanol) to produce a herbal extract. What happens during the infusion is that the components of the plant material dissolve in the solvent.
Now that the useful compounds in the plant material have been absorbed into the solvent, it is time to extract the needed oil from the solution, in its purest form.
This is in summary, how the essential oils are separated: the herbal extract is heated up. This causes the steam to vaporize the oils which are volatile. The oils then go through a condenser which converts the steam (vapour) back into liquid. The end liquid is the oil we are expecting.
I believe that this has helped to give a general overview of the mechanism behind the production of your favourite oils.
Steam distillation for extracting essential oils (video)
This video is a short yet very explanatory one to summarize all of what I have explained above. You can simply play to view if the explanation in the text has confused you. It is by Tazeka Aromatherapy
As Chemists, however, we go further to isolate compounds from these oils. These are compounds of interest, we do not use the essential oils for analysis as they have a whole lot of compounds in there. Essential oil companies, however, use these compounds altogether, they do not isolate any of them so that you eventually reap from all of the benefits combined.
Do not forget that some other plants and oils may involve a different method and a more elaborate process (like I mentioned earlier) but this is so that the components of the oils, the compounds are kept intact at the end of the day.
My best essential oils and how I use them
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Lavender was my favorite before the most recent favorite – peppermint. Lavender is known as the most popular essential oil in the history of man and why not? It is so all-encompassing.
What is lavender oil?
Lavender oil is an essential oil that is derived from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. If you have ever seen a lavender farm, it’s all painted purple. This is because this flower is purple. It is such a beautiful sight to behold.
Lavender was reported to have been widely used as an antibacterial in World War I as it is believed to have sedative, anti-inflammatory, carminative and anti-depressive properties, not to mention, its recognized antimicrobial effects.
Benefits of lavender oil and how to use lavender oil
1. It can be used to treat acne.
Because of its antiseptic properties, it can neutralize the bacteria responsible for your acne. In this case, it can be applied topically to the acne spots.
2. Lavender oil can be used on insect bites.
It gives immediate relief, stops the itching and reduces the appearance of the insect bite on your skin. Lavender oil is mild on the skin so you can apply directly or mix with a carrier oil like coconut oil to be safe.
3. Lavender oil can be a relief for tiredness.
If you are tired from work or having a generally cranky day, lavender oil is a very good remedy for this.
Add a few drops of lavender oil, say 3-4 into your bathtub with warm water. What you feel afterward is a calm and muscle relief. I do this almost every night. You can also diffuse it in your diffuser,
4. It is a good massage oil.
If you know how to give yourself a good treat at home, lavender oil is an awesome oil to massage your body with. You will need a lot of the oil to spread all through your body so you want to dilute with any carrier oil of your choice.
If you run a spa, you definitely want to diffuse this oil in your spa or use topically in your mixtures on clients. You can also introduce lavender to them so that they can use at home.
5. Lavender oil can be used to treat insomnia
If you are having troubles sleeping, lavender is just perfect. It helps you to sleep faster and calms your nerves. You can diffuse this oil with a diffuser. You can also put a few drops on your pillow.
Another way to enjoy lavender oil for sleep is to dilute a few drops with water in a spray bottle and spray on your sheets and all over your sleep area. You’ll fall asleep in no time.
6. Lavender oil heals wounds faster
With lavender oil, you can help wounds to heal faster. Lavender has antiseptic properties that promote the acceleration of wound healing.
7. You can use lavender oil as a perfume
No doubt, this oil smells so good. It can comfortably replace your perfume. Put lavender on your pulse points: your wrists, neck. You can also apply to your armpit.
If you want this smell to last longer without having to waste your lavender oil, you can get a chain diffuser. I used to have one until my sister collected it from me.
It is a chalet in which you can add drops of oil. It comes with soft white round balls where you can soak in your desired oil, in this case, lavender and you move around with it.
Your body heats it up and diffuses the smell constantly around your body. Isn’t that just awesome? It really is. Speaking of replacing synthetic and harmful chemicals with natural and safe products.
What is peppermint oil?
Peppermint oil is an essential oil that is gotten from peppermint leaves. It is one of such universal oils that seems to solve almost every health challenge, from indigestion to pains of all sorts. According to a report by Arab Ameri S et al. (2016) on the Effect of peppermint (mentha piperita) powder on immune response of broiler chickens in heat stress, menthol found in peppermint has been reported to stimulate bile flow.
Benefits of peppermint oil and how to use peppermint oil
1. Peppermint oil helps to alleviate headaches
Even though I use peppermint oil for so many other things, this has got to be the most common use of peppermint oil for me. When I want it to work faster, I put a drop or two on my palms, rub it and inhale deeply.
Try not to rub this oil on the whole of your palm, just the middle is okay so that when you are putting your nose in between your palms, the oil does not touch your face. Not like it’s a disaster yet, it’s just that it is a very hot oil. It might irritate your skin.
A better alternative is to add these drops in your handkerchief and inhale directly from there. It even lasts longer that way.
2. Peppermint oil can be used for cold/allergy induced cough, sneezing and/or catarrh
My sister came over one day with terrible sneezing and catarrh. I still think hers was a result of air irritants though, certainly not sure.
I tried to think of all the oils that could work very fast and I went in for peppermint oil. This time we diffused it. By morning, it was all gone, totally gone.
3. Peppermint oil can be used to freshen breath
Well, we know that some of our toothpaste have peppermint oil. Because peppermint oil kills bacteria and fungus that are responsible for different oral infections, it is an effective essential oil against bad breath.
You can use peppermint oil for this purpose by adding a drop of it into your normal toothpaste and massaging the tube to mix it in. Another thing you can do is to add a drop of peppermint under your tongue and then drink a glass of water.
4. Peppermint oil repels cockroaches and other insects
If you want to naturally detox your home of insects and cockroaches especially, diffuse peppermint oil at night. It is so effective.
Another way you can use this is to fill up a spray bottle with water and add in two to three drops of peppermint oil. Shake well and spray away.
My sister and I applied peppermint oil topically when we were experiencing mosquito invasion in the middle of the night. We literally couldn’t start on the anti-insect spray so we mixed peppermint oil with coconut oil and rubbed it all over.
That was the end of the mosquito episode. Not only did they find it difficult to perch, but they also could not stay in the environment as the smell of peppermint oil filled the room.
5. Massage with peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has such a cool, calm effect on the body when applied topically. Be sure to mix with enough carrier oil so that it doesn’t burn you especially if you have sensitive skin.
You can dilute in almond oil. For added benefits, add lavender. Remember that I mentioned that lavender soothes and that it is a good massage oil. Imagine combining this with peppermint.
6. Peppermint oil heals aches of all kinds
Backache, joint pains, whatever kind of ache that you have, including headache lol, peppermint oil is the solution. Dilute a few drops with a carrier oil and massage the concerned area.
You can also diffuse it in addition or alternatively for pains. It will help you sleep better if you add lavender to the diffuser.
What is thieves oil?
Thieves is the most popular kind of essential oil if you are buying from Young Living. This particular oil is a blend of different oils and it contains clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary oil.
Also, you might be wondering – why the heck is a blend of oil called Thieves. Well, I might just make a quick stop here and give you a brief history of Thieves.
History of Thieves oil
A long time ago, four thieves were stealing from infected dead bodies. They never contacted the diseases like everyone in town expected. When they were summoned, they mentioned that they had a mixture of herbs they rubbed themselves with.
Till date, the combination of these herbs is referred to as Thieves as patented by Young Living. This oil has birthed one of its successful line of products – from toothpaste to household cleaners.
Thieves oil is one of the strongest antiseptic oil known to man. In fact, because of the costly treatment of cancer which is just as harmful as helpful to the patient, many people are switching to alternative therapy, which includes essential oils.
Thieves has proven to be one of the major pillars of alternative treatment to cancer. According to Sara Siegfried and Jennifer R Schroeder on the Toxicity of thieves oils to mcf-7 and mda-mb-231 breast cancer cells, clove and cinnamon, Thieves components, were the most useful in cancer studies and therapy.
I have a thorough, unbiased review of the Thieves toothpaste right here. You can click on it later to read on all it’s about.
Thieves oil is used for a whole lot of things but I will highlight the ones that are immediately necessary and that I have used it for myself.
Benefits of Thieves oil and how to use Thieves oil
1. It is a very effective household cleaner
Not only does thieves oil help to clean any surface, but it also leaves behind a crispy and fresh smell. I usually add a drop to half a bucket of water and then I use to mop the floors.
The smell of this oil is so refreshing that you can use it as a home deodorant and room spray. Diffuse this oil when you want your home to smell nice or you are expecting to have guests around. It is an excellent air freshener.
2. Thieves oil helps to support the immune system
Remember the story of the four thieves and how they had such a strong immune system? Well, you can benefit from this by adding a drop of thieves in your honey and lick off.
If you have an empty vegetable capsule, add one or two drops with coconut oil and then swallow. You can also add a few drops to your palms, cup over your nose and breathe in deeply.
3. You can use it as a breath spray
Add a few drops of thieves oil into a spray bottle full of clean water and shake. Then, spray the mist into your mouth as needed. You can also use this even on pets. Your dog may have an odour, spray as needed. You can also add a drop to your toothpaste when it’s time to brush your teeth.
Where to get these essential oils
You can get these oils at a retail price when you sign up on the Young Living website. If you however what a good deal, it’s best you sign up as a wholesale member. It is very easy and straight forward.
This way, the oils are heavily discounted for you. You can start off by getting a Premium Starter Kit. Thankfully, all of my favorite oils come in the premium starter kit with 8 more awesome oils.
There are a total of 11 essential oils and a Young Living dew drop diffuser. In the Premium starter kit by Young living, you also have an oil guide and a few other oil materials. You have a free ‘thank you’ product in addition.
List of oils/resources in the Premium starter kit by Young Living
- Dewdrop™ Diffuser
- Lavender 5-ml
- Peppermint Vitality™ 5-ml
- Lemon Vitality™ 5-ml
- Copaiba Vitality™ 5-ml
- Purification 5-ml
- Thieves® Vitality™ 5-ml
- Citrus Fresh™ 5-ml
- Raven™ 5-ml
- DiGize™ Vitality™ 5-ml
- PanAway® 5-ml
- Stress Away™ 5-ml
- Thieves Household Cleaner 1-oz. sample or toothpaste
- Product Guide and Product Price List
- Essential Oils Magazine
- Essential Edge News
- Essential oil flat holder
- Member Resources
- 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
- 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
- 2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
How much does it cost to get these essential oils
If you are going for the Premium starter kit with the 11 essential oils and a diffuser, it costs $400 but when you sign up as a member, it will cost you just $165. This is a good deal. Signing up as a member is also free of charge.
If you have any questions as regarding signing up and how to get started, please send me an email, I will be happy to help
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