In our previous post, we explored what exactly it is that makes a good essential oil and why they’re so darn fantastic. We also took a walk through the doTERRA wellness advocate and LRP programs, and how to go about getting the most from your oils.
In this article, I’m going to examine some of the many uses for essential oils, from joint pain to eczema. By the end of the article, you’ll have dramatically improved your knowledge of how to use different essential oils to solve everyday illnesses and ailments, and you’ll be that much more excited to get your hands on these wondrous elixirs of health!
Remember, however, that we’re not doctors – if you’re ever in doubt about something, consult a professional first!
Using essential oils to treat coughs
Coughs are a common enough occurrence around the home, especially during the winter months. But rather than knocking back nasty chemical-laden cough syrups or formulas, why not make up your own anti-cough essential oil formula? Here’s some of the most effective essential oils proven to treat coughs and other respiratory problems:
- Frankincense – a strong anti-inflammatory oil that helps to clear the lungs and nasal passages and regulate breathing
- Eucalyptus – helps to break down mucus in the lungs and alleviate inflammation in the respiratory system
- Tea tree – can treat bacterial and viral infection associated with coughs
- Lemon – long used as a potent weapon against colds and flu, lemon essential oil can fight the cause of your cough and boost your immune system
- Peppermint – this essential oil is dynamite against dry coughs, and is a decongestant as well
Because the cause of your problem is located in your respiratory tract, the best way to use these essential oils to treat the cough is to use a diffuser. doTERRA has an excellent petal diffuser which you can buy through our store that we use every day, or you can grab a well-regarded diffuser on Amazon. Otherwise, make up a balm by adding a few drops of one or a few of the above essential oils to 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Rub the balm on the neck and chest (wherever the cough is bothering you) a few times a day.
Using essential oils to treat cramps
I’ve been known to wake up in the night with a teeth-grinding, often shriek-emitting cramp in one of both of my calves. Added to that regular feet and jaw cramps, and that’s a whole trifecta of pain right there! Do you suffer from these sorts of muscle cramps as well, or perhaps even menstrual cramps? Either way, you’ll agree that they’re not nice. Here’s a few easy solutions, essential oil styles:
- If it’s general muscle cramps that you suffer from, mix up some coconut oil with a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender or helichrysum essential oil. Rub it on as soon as the cramp hits, or in advance if you have a sneaking suspicion that there’s cramps in your future.
- If you regularly have problems with menstrual cramps, clary sage, cypress, lavender and ylang ylang are all effective ways to naturally balance hormones, increase circulation, reduce stress, and ultimately alleviate cramping. Use a carrier oil (such as coconut or castor) to rub in 2-3 drops of these essential oils onto your lower abdomen and groin. For even better results, use a warm compress after applying the oils to really get them working deep into your lady bits.
Using essential oils to treat diarrhea
You’d be surprised by how often this comes up! And rather than rushing to the drug store to stock up on Immodium if you’ve got a bad case of the runs, do your health a favor and give these essential oils a try first:
- Peppermint essential oil – this can lower bowel inflammation and prevent the formation of loose poop
- Ginger essential oil – in addition to it’s anti-fart (not the scientific term!) and anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is also a great natural anti-diarrhetic.
- Geranium essential oil – this is an age-old natural remedy for diarrhea and other issues of the gastrointestinal tract, and by all accounts it works wonders!
While it might seem logical, ingesting essential oils is generally considered rather dangerous. Instead, apply them topically by mixing with a carrier oil and rubbing directly onto your abdomen – with the aid of the carrier oils, the essential oils will still be able to penetrate your GI tract and work their wonders.
Using essential oils to treat earaches
Earaches can quickly make your day a whole lot less enjoyable. Essential oils make a convenient, effective way to treat earaches, but only when they’re used correctly. Because the ears are so sensitive, make sure you don’t let any essential oil get inside your ear canal. I’ll talk about how to use essential oils safely around the ears, but first here’s some of the more popular essential oils for treating earache:
- lavender essential oil
- chamomile essential oil
- tea tree essential oil
- eucalyptus essential oil
- rosemary essential oil
Probably my favorite way of treating earaches with essential oils, and one of the safer methods, is to use a hot compress. Simply soak a cloth in hot water for a minute or two, wring out the excess water, then place 2-4 drops of essential oil (lavender and chamomile are a great mix) onto the cloth and hold it against your ear for 10 minutes, or until the cloth cools. Another way to treat earache is to place a small amount of carrier oil in your hand, mix in 2-3 drops of one or several of the above essential oils, and gently apply to the backs of your ears.
Using essential oils to treat infections
If there’s one area that essential oils particularly excel in, it’s infections. They have long been used to treat both external (i.e. superficial) and internal infections – ranging from grazes to bacterial overgrowth and yeast infections. In this section, I’ll talk specifically about treating external infections, as things like yeast infection are a whole different ball game. Here’s my top picks for anti-microbial essential oils:
- Tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil – this is my go-to for anything infection-related. Tea tree oil has potent antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, making it a great all-rounder for treating almost any infection under the sun. I prefer to mix a couple of drops of tea tree with a small amount of coconut oil to dilute it and ensure it doesn’t irritate the area of application. If I ever get a graze, cut or surface wound that looks like it has the potential to get infected, I clean the area with water then immediately apply tea tree and coconut oil. You can also use tea tree to effectively treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
- Lavender essential oil – second only to tea tree, lavender oil is another great treatment for infection. It not only has good antibacterial and anti-viral properties, but also smells amazing and helps to alleviate stress and anxiety, which often come hand in hand with an injury. Because it’s a bit more mellow, you can apply lavender directly to the area of concern, however I still generally mix it with a carrier oil.
- Oregano essential oil – this stuff is seriously potent, and is the sworn enemy of any unwanted visitors to your body. It has been shown to effectively treat staph infections, along with a wide range of bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. Remember that oregano is a hot oil, meaning it can easily irritate the skin if you don’t dilute it with a carrier oil. It’s also good to remember that a little oregano essential oil goes a long way!
Using essential oils to treat yeast infections
I’ve talked at length about treating bacterial overgrowths and yeast infections like Candida in my book The Paleo Guide to Beating Candida Naturally. It goes through changes you can make to your diet, lifestyle, and outlook to kick Candida and keep it where it belongs – including using essential oils to give it the boot. If you’re looking for some quick tips on how to use essential oils to improve your yeast infection woes, however, this may be of use:
- Oregano essential oil – as discussed, this is a potent anti-microbial oil, and can work wonders against Candida and other yeast infections.
- Thyme essential oil – the volatile oils in thyme have been repeatedly shown by studies to provide an effective anti-parasitic and anti-fungal treatment.
- Tea tree essential oil – as above, tea tree works just as well against internal infection as it does against external infection.
- Lavender essential oil – anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral. Enough said.
I’ve taken oregano and thyme essential oils internally to treat parasites without any ill effect, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else do this without expert guidance. Your best bet is to mix together 2-3 drops of all these oils and a carrier oil like coconut, and rub it onto your lower abdomen and around (not in!) your lady area at least twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Again, you can use a hot compress to allow the oils to penetrate deeper and give that pesky yeast infection the old heave ho.
Using essential oils to treat joint pain
Here at Thrive Primal, we always advocate using diet and lifestyle as your first defense against sickness and ill health…including joint pain. If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, chances are your body is responding poorly to something you’re eating or excess stress you’re exposing yourself two. Often both.
But often there are times when that just isn’t enough. Or perhaps you’ve just come off your bike at high speed, kneed the corner of a cupboard, or literally fell out of bed and landed on your hip. Whatever the reasons, here’s the essential oil solutions:
- Ginger essential oil – contains active natural compounds that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, making it a great oil for alleviating the pain and symptoms of joint inflammation.
- Frankincense essential oil – no surprise to see this versatile oil here – it’s ridiculously anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent the breakdown of cartilage.
- Myrrh essential oil – combined with it’s old friend frankincense, myrrh makes an effective and time-tested treatment for arthritis and other forms of joint inflammation.
As usual, the two best methods to use these oils safely and effectively is either topical application or aromatically. If you suffer from chronic joint pain, diffusing a mix of frankincense, myrrh and lavender essential oil will help to soothe your mind and ease the inflammation in your joints. If you’re seeking to ease intense or localized pain in your joints, however, your best bet is to rub a few drops of any or all of these oils into the affected area along with a carrier oil like coconut or castor oil.
Using essential oils to treat skin problems
This topic actually merits it’s own post, as there’s just so many skin conditions out there and so many essential oil-based solutions! But to get you started, here’s a few of the more popular essential oils and their uses for maintaining healthy skin and healing unhealthy skin:
- Lavender essential oil – surprise, surprise, it’s lavender again! Just as this essential oil can soothe your mind and disinfect your cuts and scrapes, it can also soothe irritated skin. Mixing it with a moisturizing oil like coconut or argan oil can provide an excellent soothing ointment to apply to irritated skin and rashes.
- Geranium essential oil – geranium helps to regulate your skin’s oil production. This means that if you’re suffering from acne or even dry skin, geranium essential oil might be a good addition to your daily moisturizer.
- Chamomile essential oil – this oil is kind of like a jack of all trades – it can be used to treat acne, eczema, cracked skin, inflammation, and overly sensitive skin.
- Frankincense essential oil – forget anti-aging creams: frankincense contains high concentrations of free radical-fighting compounds that help to maintain skin elasticity and prevent pigmentation – two of the leading signs of aging in the skin.
Getting your hands on these essential oils
If you’re serious about making essential oils a part of your life, your best bet is to sign up with a company like doTERRA or Young Living. We use doTERRA, and are always really happy with the quality of the oils. You can read more about doTERRA here. To sign up, or simply to buy oils through the regular online retail store, we’ve provided a series of easy steps in this post.
Did I miss anything out? Do you have a go-to essential oil that you can’t be without? Have you noticed whether they’ve made a big difference in your life, or helped you recover from something monumental? Comment away, people!