If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of self-care for your everyday wellbeing. On the dreariest of days, you owe it to yourself to indulge in a steamy shower, generously lash on your expensive body cream or light your most gorgeous-smelling candle. By no means are we claiming that these relatively frivolous practices are a panacea for the covid blahs. But hey, if it makes your day even 1% nicer, it’s a worthwhile endeavour in our eyes.
Many have taken their self-care regime a step further, delving into the vast and slightly mysterious world of essential oils. Practitioners of aromatherapy swear by their natural healing powers for a host of health-related issues. Essential oils are simply plant extracts in their purest form, derived from the heart of the flower, seed or root. They can be applied topically on the skin (usually diluted first with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond), diffused into the air, sprayed on surfaces or in some cases, consumed.
One of the main reasons that people use essential oils is for their supposed mood-lifting properties. Proponents believe that inhaling them or absorbing them through the skin transmits signals to the limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotion and memory. This can induce physiological effects, including an increase in the so-called “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine.
Having said that, conclusive research on the efficacy of essential oils is limited, making them a rather controversial topic. If you do decide to find out for yourself, make sure to do so safely. Essential oils can be highly potent and should be used with care and caution. Appropriate doses will depend on a number of factors including age and general health. Make sure to read the instructions closely, and if you have any underlying conditions it’s best to consult your doctor first. Further, we do not advise using alternative medicines as a substitute for standard care.
Different essential oils are known for different qualities. Ask yourself how have you been feeling lately, and how might essential oils benefit you. Here is Inish Pharmacy’s take on which essential oils are best for your mood.
If you’re working or studying from home at the moment, you’re probably no stranger to the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Instead of reaching for the biscuit tin or pouring yourself another cup of coffee, why not experiment with essential oils to get yourself over the hump? The invigorating scent of lemongrass has been known to awaken the senses, boosting energy and mental alertness. Its effects may help you to focus on the task at hand with a clear mind when you need an extra push. Undiluted lemongrass essential oil can be used in a diffuser or vaporiser, allowing it to permeate the air in your home. Before applying to the skin, make sure to mix it with your favourite carrier oil (it is recommended to use 5 drops of essential oil per one ounce of carrier oil). We are loving Tisserand’s Lemongrass Pure Essential Oil at the moment, with its sweet yet sharp lemony fragrance.
Peppermint essential oil is another natural pick-me-up that could give you a second wind when you’re feeling distracted. Its bracing, refreshing scent may promote mental clarity, allowing you to sharpen your focus and increase productivity. According to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience, participants exposed to the aroma of peppermint experienced enhanced memory as well as increased alertness and processing speeds. The energy-boosting benefits of peppermint oil can be reaped in many ways, but we like to diffuse it around the home or apply a diluted solution under the nose. One of our best loved peppermint oils is by Essentially, and can purchased today on our website.
Does a having a blocked nose make you sit down and think about those carefree times when your nose wasn’t blocked and how much you took them for granted? Same. Nasal congestion can be tricky to shake, especially in the winter months when the sniffles are rife. Many people swear by eucalyptus essential oil to clear the sinuses so they can breathe without restriction. In fact, several over-the-counter remedies for sinusitis contain eucalyptus oil. The most effective way to use eucalyptus to relieve a congested nose is to inhale it. Try adding a few drops to boiling water to create therapeutic steam. Breathe the vapour for no more than two minutes at a time. You can also add eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser, to your bath, or your massage oil of choice. We carry several eucalyptus essential oils, including the Ireland’s own Ultrapure Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
We all have our bad days. Life is full of challenges and obstacles, and sometimes they can seem too much. Whether it’s your job, your relationship, or just a general case of the lockdown blues getting you down, allow yourself time to breathe. Try practicing regular relaxation techniques to ease your busy mind. Bergamot essential oil, extracted from the peel of the bergamot orange, is known for its calming and uplifting effects. A 2011 study suggests that bergamot may actually relieve anxiety and stress at a biochemical level. If you need a boost, bergamot oil is best used as an aromatherapy treatment. For the ultimate zen experience, try adding a few drops to a hot bath and let the oil-infused steam gently soothe you. Tisserand’s Bergamot Pure Essential Oil is among our most popular oils.
The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be understated. But even if you go to bed at 9 o’clock with the best of intentions, our body doesn’t always cooperate. For many it can be difficult to switch off after a long day and surrender to slumber. Tossing and turning often seems to make matters worse, compounded by the frustration of not being able to doze off. Lavender is a time-honoured remedy for insomnia, and one of the most heavily researched. A study conducted in 2005 examined the effects of lavender on the sleep patterns of young, healthy men and women. Results showed that lavender increased the duration of slow and deep-wave sleep in participants, with each one reporting a feeling of “higher vigour” the next morning. Its snooze-inducing properties offer a cheap and natural alternative to sleeping tablets, which can leave you feeling groggy and sluggish. Drift off and dream sweetly by pouring a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before bed time. We recommend Essentially Aromatherapy Lavender Essential Oil for a “long and lingering lavender aroma” as put by one of our happy customers.
Are you a mosquito magnet? Some skin is prone to being bitten by bugs, particularly during the summer months or in countries with warm climates. Horseflies, midges and other biting insects can leave the skin red, inflamed, irritated and of course, itchy. Many people use tea tree oil as a treatment for mild bug bite symptoms thanks to its anti-swelling qualities. Tea tree may soothe the irritated area and reduce the urge to scratch. In fact, research suggests that tea tree oil could actually be a natural antihistamine. Tea tree oil is also antimicrobial, helping to prevent bacteria from growing on a bug bite and subsequent infection. Treating such skin irritations with tea tree oil works best by applying it topically on the affected area. As usual, make sure to mix with a carrier oil prior to contact with the skin. Essentially Aromatherapy’s Tea Tree Essential Oil is a favourite at Inish.
No matter your schedule, we all have those days when we feel positively shattered. Of course, the best way to combat fatigue is with a nap. But sadly that’s not always an option when you have a job to do or a household to run. In times like this, it may be worth ditching the caffeine and giving rosemary essential oil a whirl. Rosemary is commonly used for mental strain and exhaustion in folk medicine. The research would appear to back this up; when 20 young healthy adults inhaled rosemary oil, they reported feeling around 30% more mentally refreshed and 25% less drowsy compared to a placebo oil. Another study suggested that applying diluted rosemary oil to the skin caused subjects to feel significantly more attentive, alert, energetic and cheerful than when using a placebo oil. Essentially Aromatherapy’s Rosemary Essential Oil may just put some pep in your step, too.
Are you a bundle of nerves before exams, presentations, flights or any other daunting prospect? Nervousness is triggered by your body’s stress response. As you prepare to handle a perceived threat, you often experience a rush of adrenaline. This can feel like a mix of anxiety, fear, excitement and apprehension all at once, sending your heart racing and butterflies to your tummy. While usually harmless, excessive nervousness can impact your performance or stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone altogether. If you find that your nerves are getting the better of you, aromatherapy may be worth a shot. The rich and exotic scent of jasmine is said to have calming effects on the nervous system without causing drowsiness. Next time you’re on edge, rubbing some diluted Tisserand Jasmine Absolute Pure Essential Oil on the skin may help you regain your composure.
Love them or loathe them, essential oils appear to be more than just another fad. But with so few studies on their effectiveness, much of what we’re told should be taken as hearsay. What’s likely is that everybody’s experience with essential oils is personal. The most important takeaway is to do your research before jumping on the bandwagon. Always consider the potential health risks associated with essential oils first, and follow the instructions on the label to help minimise them. Inish Pharmacy is one of Ireland’s most trusted suppliers of essential oils. To shop the products mentioned above and more, visit our website today.