It is better to be prepared than caught off guard, even when it comes to your health.
A robust, healthy body has better chances of survival in comprising conditions. Prepping your body with over-the-counter drugs is not good for the long run since most synthetic medicines are attached to the long list of side effects. Essential oils are a healthier alternative. They have been in use for centuries, way before the pharmaceutical industry entered the picture.
Essential oils are packed with therapeutic properties that help aid the symptoms of many mild to severe health conditions, from eczema to asthma to rheumatism.
The best thing is that essential oils are easily accessible, rather inexpensive, and quite easy to use. If you have not yet tried making your own essential oil remedies, there is no need to worry because this article will guide you through all prepping steps.
Note: Essential oil remedies are not a substitute for the treatment provided by your medical specialist.
1. Choose the Right Essential Oils
Before you jump into the actual process of mixing and blending, you should first precisely choose your essential oils.
Choose Quality Essential Oils
It is self-evident that you should always use pure essential oils that do not have any fillers or fragrances added to them. Buy your essential oils from trustworthy local brands or manufacturers that do the third-party testing on their products. A quality collection of oils will ensure your therapy yields the desired results.
Take Your Medical Condition into Consideration
Once you have stacked your medicine cabinet with quality essential oils, you can start experimenting with them. Now, every essential oil has its unique therapeutic properties. To create an effective remedy, you will have to take your medical condition into account.
Study the symptoms and causes of your illness. Based on that knowledge, pick the essential oils that will help you ease or completely cure your ailment.
For instance, if you would like to treat athlete’s foot use antifungal essential oils (oregano, tea tree) and if you would like to reduce the rheumatic pain use analgesic and anti-inflammatory essential oils (ginger, eucalyptus).
The following list will introduce you to the specific health benefits of some of the most commonly used essential oils.
Health Benefits of 5 Common Essential Oils
Lavender essential oil
Provides protection from free radicals (oxidative stress), induces relaxation and relieves stress, supports cognitive function, heals injured skin (burns, cuts, wounds etc.), relieves headaches and migraines, promotes healthy sleep, reduces pain (is a natural painkiller), etc.
Peppermint essential oil
Relieves joint and muscle pain, benefits respiratory health, alleviates headaches and migraines, repels insects naturally, relieves itchiness (poison ivy, bug bites etc.), reduces nausea, promotes skin health, etc.
Frankincense essential oil
Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, helps boost the immune system, improves skin health and has anti-aging effects, reduces inflammation and pain, aids sleep, etc.
Rosemary essential oil
Reduces stress hormone cortisol, has potential anti-cancer properties due to the component called carnosol, helps aid respiratory problems, helps boost the immune system, relieves pain, treats indigestion, helps detoxify the liver, etc.
Tea tree essential oil
Repels insects, protects wounds and cuts from infections, speeds up wound healing, reduces inflammation, fights bacterial, viral and fungal infections, relieves acne and psoriasis, aids respiratory illnesses, etc.
2. Essential Oils That Complement Each Other
Essential oils work great on their own but they also work together in harmony. Blending essential oils is a common practice exercised by professional and self-thought aromatherapists. Some brands even sell their own unique proprietary blends.
Essential oils enhance each other when blended. Each plant extract brings its unique chemical makeup to the mix, creating one-of-a-kind remedy. For instance, applying different antibacterial oil blends to your infection will reduce the risks of antibiotic resistance.
The art of blending is not difficult to master. First, you will have to group your essential oils to know which complement each other. Take these three grouping methods into consideration when prepping your essential oil blends:
Group Essential Oils By Effects You Are After
Group your essential oils by their effects and stick within the group when blending them. For instance, calming essential oils should make one group while detoxifying should make another. Whenever you are feeling anxious or stressed out blend those calming essential oils together and enjoy the benefits of your aromatherapy.
Take a look at this classification:
- Calming group: Lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, neroli, geranium, melissa essential oil, etc.
- Energizing group: Peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, lemon, basil, grapefruit essential oil, etc.
- Detoxifying group: Peppermint, mandarin, juniper, grapefruit, patchouli, helichrysum essential oil, etc.
Group Essential Oils By Scent
You can also arrange your essential oils by the smell. Some plant extracts may fit into more than one category depending on your sense of smell. You do not need to stress about it. Just follow your taste and you will soon be inspired. Essential oils of the same group usually complement each other.
The following grouping will give you an idea of how to approach your prepping:
- Flowery: Lavender, jasmine, geranium, rose, ylang-ylang essential oil, etc.
- Woody: Frankincense, cedarwood, cypress, myrrh, juniper, sandalwood, patchouli, helichrysum essential oil, etc.
- Spicy: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, ginger essential oil, etc.
- Citrus: Lemon, grapefruit, citronella, bergamot, neroli, orange, lemongrass essential oil, etc.
- Herbal: Chamomile, marjoram, peppermint, basil, rosemary, pine, eucalyptus essential oil, etc.
Group By Essential Oil Notes
You can group your essential oils based on how quickly their smell evaporates. Essential oils that evaporate within 1 to 2 hours are classified as “top notes”. Those that take about 2 to 4 hours to fade are called “middle notes”. Essential oils that linger around for the longest belong into “base notes” group.
Take a look at this classification:
- Top notes: Eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, lemon, peppermint, bergamot, spearmint, grapefruit essential oil, etc.
- Middle notes: Chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, fennel, tea tree, geranium, marjoram, ylang-ylang essential oil, etc.
- Base notes: Cedarwood, ginger, frankincense, myrrh, helichrysum, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver essential oil, etc.
When prepping your therapeutic essential oil blends you can stick within the same group or follow the 30-50-20 rule. Add 30% your top note oil, 50% of middle note oil and 20% of base note oil to your blend to achieve the recommended ratio.
3. Choose Carrier Oil for Topical Application
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. It is estimated that they are about 75 to 100 times more potent than the dried herb in question. To give you a better perspective, near 5000 pounds of rose petals yield only one pound of essential oil. Because of their potency, essential oils have to be diluted and used in small amounts.
If you are intending to use your prepped essential oil blends for aromatherapy then you do not need to dilute them. Simply put a couple of drops of your blend into the diffuser and enjoy the aromatic sensation. Topical application, on the other hand, requires dilution.
So, what are the best dilution agents?
Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from the seeds, nuts, or kernels of the plants. These oils blend well with lipophilic essential oils, making them less irritable and easily spreadable on the skin.
It is recommended that you always dilute essential oils, especially hot oils (cinnamon, clove, oregano, cassia etc), cooling oils (peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, lemongrass etc.) and photosensitive oils that cause abnormal reaction on the skin when exposed to sunlight (anise, ginger, bergamot, lemon, grapefruit etc.).
Most commonly used carrier oils are: Fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, apricot oil, olive oil and rosehip oil.
Other Commonly Used Dilution Agents
You can dilute your essential oils with plenty of other dilution agents. Try using oil-based creams and lotions. Simply add a couple of drops of frankincense or rose essential oil to your body lotion for anti-aging effects. An aloe era gel or jelly works great as well. Aloe vera soothes dermal irritations, rashes, and sunburns.
Do Not Use Water
Do not use water when prepping your remedies because water and essential oils do not mix well. If you would like to treat yourself to an essential oil bath or foot soak, you will have to use an emulsifier. Epsom salt is a great emulsifier with a number of healing benefits. Other options include milk, yogurt, and honey.
4. Recommended Dilution Ratios
To prep your essential oil remedies you will need an appropriate dilution ratio. So what is an appropriate concentration you may ask?
Well, a number of factors will determine your ratio:
- Age: The younger you are the more you will have to dilute your essential oils.
- Skin sensitivity: If you have sensitive skin, make the concentration of essential oils lower.
- Application: Medical conditions also dictate the dilution rate. For instance, acne remedy has to have a lower essential oil concentration than joint pain remedy.
- Type of essential oil: Some essential oils are gentler and do not need to be heavily diluted. For instance, maximum topical use for cinnamon bark is only 0.1% while lavender essential oil can be used in the higher percentage.
A 2% dilution rate is considered safe for adults and for frequent use.
2% dilution = 3 drops of essential oil per every 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of carrier oil.
A 4-5% dilution is acceptable for treating acute injuries.
5% dilution = 7.5 drops of essential oil per every 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of carrier oil.
These dilutions are generalized. You should always check the maximum dilution for specific essential oils before use. They significantly defer from oil to oil. If you notice any adverse reactions when using your diluted remedies, immediately seek medical help.
5. Pick Right Utensils and Storage Containers
It is important that you use equipment made of impervious materials when prepping your essential oil remedies. Essential oils are highly corrosive and not all utensils can handle their potency. Cinnamon, thyme and citrus oils are especially known to damage plastic containers. You should also avoid using aluminum packaging for your undiluted blends to prevent the aluminum contamination.
The glass is the best material you can use to mix and store your remedies in. Feel free to use stainless steel bowls and spoons for mixing as well.
Store your prepped massage oils and salves in glass bottles and jars. Since sunlight can alter the chemical makeup of essential oils, it is preferable that you use tinted glass containers. Make sure you always tightly close your jars and bottles to prevent evaporation and oxidation. Store your prepped remedies in a cool, dark place out of the reach of children.
6. Shelf Life of Essential Oils
It is highly recommended that you prep your essential oil remedies. Medicine cabinet containing at least one essential oil salve for cuts and bruises will give you a piece of mind.
When an accident happens, the last thing you want to do is start measuring, mixing and blending your ingredients. When in hurry, we tend to make mistakes and as we have established, essential oils have to be used with precision.
It surely is great to have prepped remedies on your hand, but how long will those last you?
Well, the shelf life of pure essential oils is determined by their chemical composition.
- 1-2 year shelf life: Essential oils rich in oxides or monoterpenes such as frankincense, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, tea tree, etc.
- 3-year shelf life: Essential oils high in phenols such as bergamot, basil, fennel, juniper berry, oregano, melissa, neroli, rosemary, etc.
- 4-5 year shelf life: Essential oils containing monoterpenols, ketones, and esters such as cinnamon bark, German chamomile, geranium, clary sage, lavender, helichrysum, peppermint, ylang-ylang, etc.
- 6+ year shelf life: Essential oils high in sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenoids such as cedarwood, copaiba, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, wintergreen, vetiver, etc.
This information refers to unadulterated essential oils in their purest form. Determining the shelf life of prepped essential oil blends is not as straightforward.
To be on the safe side, let the essential oil with the shortest shelf life determine the expiration date of the whole blend. For instance, an aromatherapy blend for sleeplessness made of neroli, lavender, and chamomile would have an approximate shelf life of 3 years.
Essential oil remedies that contain other ingredients (carrier oils, honey, yogurt etc.) have a much shorter shelf life.
Massage blends containing carrier oils will last you up to a year while remedies containing ingredients that need to be refrigerated will last you up to a week. If you are ever in doubt, check the smell, consistency and look for other visible signs of spoiledness.
7. Homemade Essential Oil Remedies
Here are a couple of recipes that will hopefully inspire you and help you get into the prepping mode.
Aromatherapy Blends For Your Diffuser
Calm your mind: 4 drops of lavender, 2 drops of wild orange, 2 drops of cedarwood, 1 drop of ylang-ylang
Headache-be-gone: 1-2 drops of each lavender, peppermint, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary
Brain power: 2 drops of cinnamon, 2 drops of peppermint and 1 drop of rosemary
For cold and flu: 2 drops of peppermint, 2 drops of eucalyptus, 2 drops of lemon, 1 drop of lime, 1 drop of rosemary, 1 drop of clove
Sweet dreams: 4 drops of cedarwood and 3 drops of lavender
Massage Oil For Muscle Soreness
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of marjoram essential oil
- 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
- 30 ml carrier oil of your choice
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Store your massage oil in a tinted glass bottle.
- Massage your aching muscles preferably before bedtime.
Aromatic Milk Bath
- 2 cups of whole powdered milk
- ½ cup of baking soda
- ½ cup of cornstarch
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- Mix all ingredients in a glass jar. Close the lid and shake well.
- Let the ingredients infuse for 24 hours.
- Pour 1-2 cups of mixture to your running bath water.
- Soak in the nourishing and aromatic milk bath.
Mosquito Repellent Spray
- 12 oz of witch hazel
- 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil
- 15 drops of citronella essential oil
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Mix all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
- Pour the remedy into a glass spray bottle.
- Use the spray on your clothes and skin, avoiding the eyes and mouth.
- Shake well before each use.
- Store the remedy in a cool, dark place.
Wound Care Balm
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 2 drops of helichrysum essential oil
- 2 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons of beeswax (optional)
- Melt coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler.
- Once melted, add essential oils to the mix.
- Mix well to combine all ingredients.
- Carefully pour the mixture into your container.
- Place the remedy in your refrigerator and allow it to solidify.
- Use the balm on cuts, scrapes and minor wounds.
Prepping is a form of art that is not difficult to master. It is always good to have a few prepped remedies up your sleeve when your wellbeing is at stake.
Having a basic muscle pain massage blend and go-to wound care remedy in your cabinet is highly recommended especially if you are an active person or have kids.
Essential oils have a rather long shelf life so your personalized blends will last you for a long time. Essential oils are highly effective and versatile. For that reason, it is recommended that you include pure essential oils in your survival kit as well.
Take a look at these last tips to ensure your prepping goes according to plan:
- Label your remedies to keep a track of your inventory and expiration dates.
- Store your prepped remedies in tinted glass containers, in a cool, dark place out of reach of children.
- Never ingest essential oils!
- Always dilute essential oils before topical application. 2% dilution is sufficient for adults. Add 12 drops of essential oil per every fl. oz. of carrier oil.
- Do a skin patch test to make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to the homemade remedy.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your doctor prior to use of essential oils.
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