8 essential oils for health and wellness

When it comes to treating minor ailments, nothing seems to beat the effectiveness of essential oils. I say this not as a healthcare professional, for surely I am not, but as someone who recently dumped two drawers filled with over-the-counter remedies in favor of essential oils. To say I am pleased would be an understatement. And while a bit of experimentation has been involved, each day my confidence in these miracle-worker oils grows.

Something that is often confusing to newcomers to the world of essential oils is that many oils seem to do the same things and one list of uses looks very similar to another. The reason for this is that many essential oils have common properties, such as antiseptic, anesthetic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antidepressant. Most essential oils will have at least two or three of these properties, and many oils have more.

The goal today is not to confuse you with a huge laundry list of essential oils or combinations of oils that are out there to help with first aid and other minor health concerns. Instead, I am going to focus on just eight essential oils that will resolve a myriad of health and wellness woes. In addition, I have a downloadable and printable chart that you can keep with your medical supplies so you can easily jump to the right solution to what ails you.

But first, how do essential oils work?

How do essential oils work?

The actual science behind the effectiveness of essential oils is best described by Debra Fulghum Bruce, Ph.D. as follows:

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances extracted from a variety of different parts of a plant, including the flower, bark, roots, leaves, wood, resin, seeds, or the rind (in the case of citrus fruits). The oils contain healing vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics and represent the “life force” of the plant.

Scientists agree that essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant’s immune system. In other cases they may simply be end products of metabolism. Essential oils are said to be healing because they contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins, and other natural elements that work on many levels. For example, essential oils can be sedative or stimulating. Some are antispasmodic, and most are antibacterial. Essential oils are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs.

When you think about it in terms of gardening, this makes sense. You plant a seed, it germinates, a plant grows and more seeds are created. Each plant has its own circle of life. So from an unscientific and nontechnical perspective, to transfer the essence of a plant to the cells of a human body means we are taking advantage of this essence for a mostly, if not completely, positive outcome.

OK, that’s enough science. Here is the chart I have put together for you. This is my go-to chart when I don’t have time to look something up in my essential oil bible, “Essential Oils Desk Reference,” or online. And remember, I have created a download link for you so you can easily print out a copy for reference purposes.

8 essential oils for your health and wellness kit

Here they are, the eight essential oils you need to cover a wide range of maladies. Except for frankincense, all are very inexpensive ($5 to $8 maximum) and will serve you well for a variety of conditions.

Lavender

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Colic
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Insect bites
  • Sunburn
  • Earaches
  • Sleep

Rosemary

  • Muscle aches
  • Arthritis
  • Dandruff
  • Dry scalp
  • Circulation problems
  • Rheumatism
  • Dry skin
  • Strengthen hair
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Joint pains and arthritis
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Bad breath
  • Mental clarity

Peppermint

  • Asthma
  • Colic
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Scabies
  • Vertigo
  • Sinusitis
  • Digestion problems
  • Decongestant

Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

  • Respiratory ailments and bronchitis
  • Fungal, bacterial or viral infections
  • Acne
  • Chickenpox
  • Cold sores
  • Cold and flu
  • Corns and warts
  • Minor cuts and scrapes
  • Insect bites
  • Ringworm
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Head lice
  • Dandruff
  • Dry scalp

Lemon

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Colds and flu
  • Corns
  • Cold sores
  • Psoriasis
  • Warts and skin tags
  • Minor cuts and wounds
  • Dull skin
  • Oily skin
  • Varicose veins
  • Warts
  • Mood enhancement
  • Hard water stains
  • General cleaning solutions
  • Remove sticky labels

Oregano

  • Burns
  • Insect stings/bites
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Skin irritations
  • Diaper rash
  • Gum soreness and infections
  • Digestion problems
  • Menstrual issues
  • Lice
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Gas and bloating
  • Mild fevers
  • Allergies
  • General cleaning solutions

Frankincense

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory issues
  • Bronchitis
  • Scars
  • Arthritis
  • Stress relief
  • Stretch marks
  • Dry skin
  • Menstrual issues
  • Emotional issues
  • Cold and flu

Clove bud

  • Toothache
  • Sore gums and throat
  • Insect repellent
  • Indigestion
  • Tension headache
  • Stress relief
  • Burns
  • Pain relief
  • Acne

A note about quality

There are many companies that make and sell essential oils. It is beyond the scope of this article to evaluate the effectiveness of one brand over another; however, I do have my favorites. First let me say this: there is no official system that grades essential oils as A, B, C or therapeutic grade. That is bogus. If any website claims its essential oil is “FDA” or otherwise approved, run for the hills since it is marketing hype and not fact.

On the other hand, a company may legitimately indicate that its oils are of a “therapeutic grade” (without reference to certification), which will likely mean it is manufactured according to strict standards of purity. That may also mean that under certain conditions, the essential oils may be taken internally (not something I have tried).

So here is the scoop. For wellness purposes, I personally use essential oils from Spark Naturals. There are a lot of reasons, the most important being the company’s commitment to both quality and value. I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical-grade purity.

For cleaning solutions and DIY household products, I tend to use less expensive essential oils from NOW Foods (available at Amazon). They are inexpensive to the point of being downright cheap, and they work. I use and recommend both brands.

Please keep in mind that I am not a healthcare or medical professional and when in doubt, consult with your own physician regarding the use of essential oils for a particular ailment.

The final word

Once you start using essential oils, it is easy to get downright evangelistic about them even to the point of becoming preachy. That said, they really do work and can play a vital role in a potential survival situation where over-the-counter remedies are in short supply or nonexistent. The beauty of essential oils is that they take up little room, store well and, perhaps best of all, a little bit goes a long way.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
–Gaye Levy

Note: If you do decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, you will receive a 10 percent discount by using the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. I do earn a small commission on your purchases.

Gaye Levy

By Gaye Levy

Gaye Levy is an ordinary gal trying to make sense of our changing world. She is addicted to DIY projects, essential oils, grown-up coloring, prepping, and ballroom dancing. Gaye lives what she likes to call a Strategic Life and believes you should too. Everyone needs to live a joyful life that includes wellness, happiness, and comfort, right? You can follow Gaye at her website at https://strategiclivingblog.com.