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It’s that time of year again. The leafs are changing from green to brilliant yellow & red, the air is crisp & cool, and yes, we’ve even had snow.
It’s Autumn in Edmonton.
I love autumn. Not as much as I love winter, but it’s definitely my second favourite season. I love dressing in layers of scarves, drinking warm mugs of black coffee, having soup for every other meal…I get a lot of flack for this, but I am a self-proclaimed Summer Hater, so as soon as the first leaf hits the ground I am stoked. However, there are some things I’m not a fan about that tend to go hand & hand with the season change such as colds, dry skin, and mental exhaustion. Enter essential oils.
Essential Oils are a great way to combat many different ailments, and can also be used for household cleaning, or for general enjoyment! I love essential oils, whether I’m massaging mint oil into sore muscles, or filling my diffuser with lavender and water to promote better sleep. However, I’m no expert! So I sat down with my dear friend Andrea to discuss the benefits of essential oils. She is a huge advocate of essential oils (check out her instagram, @thenourishedfireside for more info!) and an inspirational mama. Andrea’s interest in holistic & natural living drew her to essential oils.
My first question for Andrea was What exactly are essential oils, and how are they used? “Essential oils are volatile oils, that are fat-loving and water-hating,” Andrea explained, “Basically, they are the lifeblood of whatever they have been distilled from.” For example, eucalyptus essential oil would be steam distilled from a Eucalyptus plant. If you’ve ever brushed against a eucalyptus bush, you’ve experienced the beautiful scent it has! Andrea explained that there are three ways essential oils can be used:
Aromatically: Essential oils are used in diffusers, on jewellery, heated gently in a carrier oil, or spritzed mixed with water to release the aroma & experience the benefits.
Topically: Oils are used directly on the skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil to dilute/spread the oil.
Internally: Essential oils can be taken like a pill, spritzed into the mouth/throat, or taken as drops. PLEASE check with your doctor before consuming any essential oils.
So, what are the benefits of using essential oils? Andrea told me that although they have no nutritional content, “the properties of essential oils and how they react with your body are beneficial”. For use in mental health, essential oils can help combate things like anxiety, depression, insomnia, alertness (without that double shot espresso!), improve focus, and so much more. On the physiological side, the list for essential oils is seemingly endless. Topical burns, acne, joint pain, dry skin…so much! A few of my favourites are chest/throat balms for battling colds, lavender dabbed on the temple to relax, and rolling my favourite blends on as a perfume alternative. Andrea, like me, is a big fan of lavender oil. “It was the first oil I used!” she told me, “It’s a great sleep aid, it helps with anxiety, you can use it as an air freshener or as burn treatment”. Seriously, y’all. Get some lavender oil & change your life. Another go-to essential oil for Andrea is Frankincense, which she recommends for treating headaches, migraines, post concussion syndrome, and as a skin toner. To stock your first aid kit, make sure you have tea tree oil available. And for all moms out there…Andrea has a secret weapon. Citrus oils are basically all-natural “Goo-Gone”. So say goodbye to sticky labels, gum in hair, and…whatever that is on the carpet…
Now let’s talk safety.
Andrea recommends using your best judgment. “Statistically, swimming in a pool is more dangerous, but be smart,” especially if you’re using essential oils for the first time. Pregnant women & infants/children should use caution and check with your doctor before trying them out.
Finally (cause I gotta), let’s talk about essential oils & the environment. Diffusing oils is much better for the environment (and you!) than burning candles. Paraffin wax is often used to make household candles, which is a petroleum by-product. When you burn a paraffin candle, toxins are released into the air. Beeswax candles are a good alternative if you’re stuck on that beautiful ambiance (I need a candle burning when I take a bath), but why not try diffusing a beautiful blend of essential oils that can destress your brain & give your home a little humidity? Or make your own room freshener by mixing a cup of water with 10-12 drops of your favourite oils in a spray bottle.
Most quality essential oils will come in a darker coloured glass jar, with or without a plastic dropper or metal roller. These materials can be recycled, so don’t toss your jars when you’re done! If you’re really keen & green, you can try reusing the containers.
If you haven’t used essential oils before, Autumn is a great time to try them out! And if you have, let me know your favourite essential oils & how you use them!