What is this elusive essence derived from plants known as an essential oil? An essential oil is described as a volatile oil derived by a physical process of extraction. These oils are the chemical components which give each plant their distinct fragrance. Essential oils are discovered extensively in the plant kingdom in flowers, leaves, fruit, roots, stems and other parts of the plant. The yield of essential oil depends on the number of oil glands or ducts present in the plant. Within the plant, there are specialised secretory structures which are found either on the surface of the plant or within the tissue.

There are various methods of implementing essential oils into your lifestyle but for now, I’m going to focus on essential oil diffusing.
Diffusing essential oils into a room has a multitude of effects on the body. For starters, there is a distinct olfactory pleasure as our senses begin to be stimulated. Essential oils are known for having therapeutic properties and provide a feeling of wellbeing. Inhalation of essential oils targets the mind predominantly, therefore are effective in combating stress, depression, anxiety or insomnia.

Methods of inhalation:

Direct inhalation – with this method, one would drop 1-2 drops onto a tissue or handkerchief, hold to the nose, and inhale.

Vaporisers/Diffusers – this is known to be the most effective method to use. One can use an oil burner or vaporiser. When using a candle vaporiser, place a small amount of water in the dish above the candle and add 5-10 drops of your essential oil. You can then light your candle and keep it alight for between 15-30 minutes. Remember to never leave your candle unattended nor let the oil and water dry out. If you are using an electric burner, simply place 10 or more drops on the top of the vaporiser and turn it on. Always follow your burner manufactures instruction.

Steam inhalation – with this method you can add 5-10 drops of essential oil into a bowl of steaming water. Once you’ve performed this you can place a towel over your head and inhale the vapour for a few minutes. Remember to keep your eyes shut throughout your inhalations.

What conditions respond the best to inhalations:

Respiratory problems
Sore throats
Blocked sinuses
Nervous tension
Mental and physical fatigue

Which essential oil am I supposed to use?

There are copious essential oils that can be used for many different conditions. However, I am going to focus on a few of my personal favourites.
Whenever I need to focus on any respiratory-related conditions I like to burn cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree. Whenever I need to focus on any nervous system conditions I like to burn basil, bergamot, frankincense, geranium and lavender.

Ok, so what do these essential oils do?

Basil – it has a sweet-spicey fresh smell with a bit of a woody undertone. This oil helps to clear the mind while also providing mental strength and clarity. It also doubles up for respiratory conditions as it helps to relieve sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis etc.

Bergamot – has a fruity, lively but gentle, floral scent which gives it a sedative but uplifting quality. This oil is perfect for use in people who are tense, stressed, anxious or depressed as it is a calmative and an antidepressant.

Cedarwood – this oil is a tricky one, as its odour is not exactly pleasant, with a slightly sweet but wooded undertone. This oil also doubles up for both respiratory and nervous system conditions. Cedarwood helps to reduce stress and anxiety due to its sedative qualities. It is also known to be a fantastic mucolytic and may be used when one has a phlegmy cough or bronchitis.

Clary sage – this oil has a sweet, fruity, floral and herbaceous odour. Another essential oil that doubles up for both systems. Clary sage is known for its euphoric effects making it advantageous in treating anxiety, stress, nervous tension and depression. It helps to create balance as it is strengthening yet relaxing.

Eucalyptus – this oil needs no introduction as it is a prominent oil used far and wide. What a refreshing odour this plant radiates. This oil is infamous for its decongesting benefit often used to relieve cold and flu symptoms. It helps to improve the functioning of the respiratory tract.

Frankincense – the odour is fresh with a subtle green-lemon undertone. It can help to alleviate anxiety and stress-related conditions. It has been used traditionally to treat various respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. It also helps to slow down one’s breathing making it an ideal choice for individuals who have asthma associated with nervousness.

Geranium – has a sweet, rosy, herbaceous odour. It has an excellent regulating effect on the nervous system allowing relief of stress, nervous tension, depression, headaches and anxiety. It provides a sedative but uplifting effect on the mind.

Lavender – this is one of the most common scents in the world. It is characterized by a sweet, floral, herbaceous, refreshing odour with a woody undertone. Lavender has a harmonising effect on the nervous system by inhibiting sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system functions. Therefore, lavender can assist with our response to unproductive stress. It can also exercise a sedative or a stimulant action depending on one’s needs. It is generally the first choice in the treatment of insomnia, especially if it is stress and anxiety-related. It also works phenomenally in the relief of migraines and headaches. It is known to have a sedative effect on the respiratory system, making it beneficial to enable easier breathing.

Tea tree – this is an odour you either love or hate, it has a warm, spicy, aromatic scent. It aids in the relief of most respiratory conditions.

Honestly, there’s nothing better than inhaling beautiful aromas and good vibes in the comfort of your home or pretty much anywhere. The best part of my day is coming home and unwinding with powerful aromatic odours, which clear my mind and allow my day to slip away. Simply select your essential oil of choice and allow your senses to take over.