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Elixirs of life: 6 popular, must-have essential oils and their uses

With everyone looking for alternative therapies and treatment methods, essential oils have made a successful comeback in this modern age. Many are taking up to essential oil treatment, thanks to the  safe and harmless therapeutic effects of oils. Add to these their stimulating and relaxing properties, essential oils are great alternatives to oral prescription medications that carry with them a train of other ailments in the form of side effects. With more than 100 essential oils available, getting started with aromatherapy is not easy. It requires adequate knowledge to judge an essential oil and use it appropriately for a particular ailment.

Below are a few popular, must-have oils and their uses in aromatherapy:

1. Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil is extracted through steam distillation from Eucalyptus globules plant. It has a strong aroma which is a mix of fresh, earthy, camphor-like scent with a  medicinal tint. A thin, clear oil, Eucalyptus is used topically for relieving muscle tensions, rheumatic pain, treatment of cuts, wounds and burns on account of its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. An air disinfectant, it is used in treatment of lung disorders like bronchitis, sinusitis and other ailments like flu, cold sores and arthritis. It also aids in circulation and hence can be used to energize a painful part of the body. However, Eucalyptus oil should not be taken orally and should be used only under medical supervision for serious ailments.

2. Chamomile oil: Chamomile essential oil is used in a variety of treatments. It is a thin pale blue or gray color oil with fruity, sweet and herbaceous odor. Owing to its analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral and digestive properties, Chamomile is used in controlling acne, curing blisters, boils, relieving nervous tension, anxiety, depression, and even skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. The oil is also effective in treating flatulence, gout, colitis, PMS, rheumatism, headaches, wounds and sprains.

3. Lavender oil: Lavender oil is a thin, clear oil with a floral, sweet and slight fruity aroma. Light yellow in color, Lavender oil is widely known for its therapeutic and soothing effects. An analgesic, anti-inflammatory oil, it has diuretic and sedative properties that help cure many topical ailments like psoriasis, acne, eczema, burns, sunburns, wounds, sores and insect bites. A sleep-inducing oil, Lavender oil is used to treat insomnia, along with asthma, depression, chickenpox, migraine, vertigo and flatulence.

4. Geranium oil: Geranium essential oil is effective in treating ailments related to female physiology. It balances hormones, relieves breast pain and treats menopausal symptoms in the female body. Noted for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and anti-spasmodic properties, Geranium has a sweet, floral and earthy scent and is used in the cure of eczema and edema. Its water retention properties are helpful in curing conditions like rheumatism, poor circulation, tonsillitis and PMS.

5. Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil is extracted from mentha piperita plant and has strong minty aroma of peppermint candies. An amazing digestive tonic, peppermint oil is used to help with conditions like slow digestion, indigestion, nausea, flatulence etc. It helps in clearing blocked sinuses, curing headaches, asthma and exhaustion. It is useful as an insect repellent too.

6. Tea Tree Oil: Tea Tree oil has a varied range of uses owing to its antiviral, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. It is highly effective in treating all kinds of fungal infections from athlete’s foot, jock itch, warts, insect bites, scars and acne. Free of side effects, Tea Tree oil treats even chickenpox and cold sores.