Natural Healing: These Essential Oils Can Help You Destress and Relax
Considered a branch of herbalism, essential oils have been used for centuries for health and wellness benefits and are typically used for aromatherapy purposes as an alternative healing method.
Oils can have stimulating or sedating effects on the emotional, physical and spiritual body. To find out more about the benefits of using popular essential oils to help destress and relax, we chatted to Coco Chan (Co-Founder of metaphysical lifestyle portal OMSA) and Elma Pena (Global Scent Designer at House of Pure Essence). From rose to ylang-ylang, here we list the essential oils to incorporate into your daily life and help you achieve your health goals.
Rosa Damascena oil - or rose essential oil as it is commonly referred to - is often used to help alleviate moods of depression, anxiety and stress. When it is used with the right carrier oil like rosehip seed, it can also help with skin issues like acne, dehydration and premature aging. Pena explains that rose oil is also “good for female reproductive problems like menstrual irregularity, endometriosis (and) dysmenorrhea”. On top of the physical and emotional benefits, Chan also highlights that there are spiritual benefits of using rose oil as it has the energy to heal trauma, and other negatively charged emotions, open the heart and promote feelings of forgiveness.
Widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy, jasmine absolute has a sweet fragrance that has made it popular in alcohol, sweets and desserts. Pena explains that jasmine oil is “useful for stress, depression, fatigue, lethargy, anxiety and low self-esteem” issues; with Chan describing it as an essential oil that “brings one back to a feminine state of flow, (as it is) heart opening, calming (and brings one back to their) centre”.
Lavender oil has a range of benefits including relieving stress, anxiety, nervousness and panic. For those suffering from insomnia, lavender oil has a calming effect that can be used to help relax and aid in a sleeplessness night, however too much can be energising. “I would say this is a must-have in every household!” Pena exclaims, emphasising it as “one of the very few essential oils that you can apply directly on (the) skin. From minor cuts, burns, and grazes to mosquito bites”.
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Ylang-ylang essential oil - or Cananga odorata oil - is great at relieving feelings of stress, anxiety depression, fatigue and insomnia. It has also been used to relieve premenstrual syndrome as it helps calm and soothe the body, making it easier to cope with period-inducing stress symptoms. Chan adds that ylang-ylang is “a great alternative to rose oil, if on a budget (as it) balances the yin and yang energies”.
Clary Sage Oil
Also known as Salvia sclarea, a native plant to the northern Mediterranean Basin, clary sage oil is often said to have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-anxiety effects. It has also been found useful for menstrual problems including reducing menstrual cramps, however Pena and Chan strongly warn against using the oil during pregnancy.
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Tea Tree Oil
Melaleuca alternifolia - also known as the tea tree plant - is native to Australia and has grown in popularity in the past decade, for its benefits in treating dandruff, acne, wounds and cuts. Pena describes it as one of “nature’s most powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal” essential oils, due to the heavy amount of research that has found tea tree may inhibit flus, and prevents mould and bacteria. Chan recommends using it in household cleaning mixtures and homemade hand soaps, stating that it is “a great oil to have at home during flu season to keep everyone germ free!”. However Pena strongly recommends not to ever use it in it’s pure form and to make sure it is diluted, as it is incredibly potent and can cause skin irritation.
For those who are generally suffering from stress, Pena proposes a blend of relaxing oils including petitgrain, Roman chamomile and rose, while Chan suggests using essential oils like vetiver, lavender, cypress, and a mix of citrus oils also known as "happy oils" including orange, lemon, bergamot, lime, mandarin and grapefruit for alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety.
Pena also recommends for individuals who are prone to depression to try a blend of stimulating oils like grapefruit, orange, peppermint and rosemary. Chan on the other hand advises using rose, frankincense, ylang-ylang and multiple citrus oils to relieve depressive moods. For a general blend of balancing oils that can be both stimulating and relaxing, Penna suggests using lavender, geranium and lemon, as it “calms you down when you’re nervous and energises you when you have a lack of energy”.
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