I have to admit I have always been a little afraid of essential oils. They are powerful, concentrated extracts of the most essential parts of plants, and they have amazing benefits. But they can also overpower the body and cause intense irritation if not used properly. Until recently, I found the synergistic benefits of all the plant cells useful but avoided the essential oils to prevent the possibility of their harmful effects.
As the use of essential oils has become more popular among my patients and consumers in general, I felt like it was my duty to become more knowledgeable about how to safely access their benefits. I continue with caution in my medicinal use of these oils but have found that specific elements are so beneficial to patients that it is a disservice NOT to use them, especially for stress prevention. The following is a list of my favorites:
Lavender essential oil: Lavender is widely known for its calming effects. It can be used topically or internally in small doses to calm the nervous system. Put a few drops in a hot bath or on the underside of your pillow for a relaxing aroma.
Holy basil oil: Holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that is used to help the body react in high-pressure situations. You can add 1-2 drops (diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil) on your wrist or into a diffuser to create a balanced response to a stressful day.
Chamomile (blue tansy) oil: Chamomile has been used traditionally for calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety. The oils can be applied safely to the skin when diluted in a carrier oil, added to a bath or in a diffuser to give your entire house a feeling of calm.
Rose oil: With its intoxicating aroma the rose flower has incredible power to evoke relaxation and has even been used to reduce anxiety in pregnant women. Add a few drops to a foot bath for a sensuous soak or dilute 2-3 drops in ¼ cup of massage oil (avocado, olive, and sunflower) to calm the nervous system.
Lemon balm oil: This essential oil is more uplifting and soothing than those above. It has a restorative effect but also has the ability to decrease anxiety. Inhale lemon balm directly from the bottle or add to a diffuser to enhance the entire room.
I am continuing to discover the uses of essential oils both personally and in my practice. I use lavender and orange essential oils in our DHB anxiety tincture to balance the formula and give a synergistic boost to the other botanicals included.