Essential oils can be found in leaves next to glaciers, flowers in the rainforests, berries on the mountains and your local health food store.
What are they?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants by distillation or cold pressing. They hold the powers of the earth and are usually diluted with other oils due to their high level of potency. Found in bouquets of lavender soap, citrus scented perfumes and vanilla infused candles, essential oils have become part of our everyday rituals. Also used in alternative medicines, pure essential oils can be dangerous and should not be used without the guidance of a professional like your doctor or aroma therapist. So as the warmer months arouse the desire for fresh and floral fragrance, here are the pros and cons of summer’s essential oils
Citrus Essential Oils
Orange essential oils help fight depression, while lemon and lime essential oils exude energy. Bergamot has a slightly floral fragrance mixed in with its citrus scent, and can be used for acne and oily skin. Use a mandarin essential oil before bed or while relaxing on the beach, and try a grapefruit essential oil to wake up to or for rejuvenation before an evening out.
Citrus essential oils can be phototoxic, meaning they can become toxic when exposed to light. Never put essential oils directly on your skin unless advised and diluted by a professional, and keep away from direct sunlight if you are using a prescribed topical essential oil. Organic citrus oils should be chosen to avoid pesticides from the fruit, and kept away from fire as they are flammable. Citrus essential oils should also be kept away from children as their familiar fragrance could inspire ingestion and intoxication.
Floral Essential Oils
Lavender and chamomile essential oils can reduce anxiety with whiffs of unobtrusive sweet scents-diluted for perfume, shampoos and teas; these are popular and available flowers for everyday aroma rituals. Try Ylang Ylang’s fruity and floral fragrance, which eases palpitations caused by stress, or jasmine’s inviting and light aroma to help reduce menstrual pains.
Flower and shrub essential oils can cause allergic reactions, nausea and headaches. Floral essential oils can be toxic when ingested and are also extremely flammable.
NOTE: Please contact your physician before you start using essential oils. Remember that although some use may be beneficial, lengthy use of any essential oil can also cause liver damage. Essential oils are not recommended for animals, children or pregnant women.