Some time ago, I reviewed several books on essential oils (Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. and Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirley & Len Price). I said then that I was going to buy some essential oils and I'd let people know how they worked.
I've really enjoyed working with the therapeutic grade essential oils that I've bought from The Ananda Apothecary. They smell so nice, and essential oils are amazing stuff. I've now used 27 different essential oils, but I'll just talk about the three essential oils I've found the most useful (plus they're some of the cheaper ones).
Peppermint Essential Oil is great for digestive problems. One undiluted drop on the tongue will temporarily clear stuffed up sinuses, calm an upset stomach/nausea/vertigo, and stop diarrhea.
I get motion sickness very easily. One drop, and it's gone. Immediately.
My dad and a friend of mine get upset stomachs frequently. I've tried this, too. One drop, and the upset stomach feeling is immediately gone. (I recommend following the drop by drinking some water, by the way, but this doesn't appear to be a critical step.)
For diarrhea, one drop is enough for mild forms. Two seems enough for bad cases.
Note that peppermint oil should not be used with children under two years of age.
Tea Tree Essential Oil is great for healing cuts and such. It's safe to use undiluted on your skin or on your tongue.
I got a "paper cut" from some grass I was trying to pull up while weeding. Before I went to bed, I put one drop on the cut, then put a band-aid over it. I removed the band-aid about 10 hours later, and the wound was closed, not-red, and almost completely healed. With no further action from me, it was completely healed by the next day.
One of the first wounds I used it on was a huge (about 2 inches in diameter) puss-boil-thing on my dad's back. My mom (a nurse) carefully sterilized a needle and popped the puss pocket. Lots of puss. Yuck. Anyway, using sterile pads, she worked out as much puss as she could, then I put a drop of tea tree oil in the opening of the wound (much to her initial shock--I was apparently supposed to put it on the edge of the wound if it was normal medicine--but she saw it wasn't a problem, so we continued putting it in the wound opening). We did this morning and evening every day for a week. My mom was amazed. There was no infection, and she'd never seen a wound heal so quickly. It took a few months for my dad's body to "fill in" the depression left after the puss was gone, but all other evidence of the wound was gone long before that.
As in, it's powerful stuff. And as a bonus, it (locally) numbs pain for several hours, so it soothes a wound rather than stinging it.
In fact, when my mom had some dental work done, she rubbed a couple drops over her aching gums afterward. No infection, and no pain.
I also use Tea Tree, Peppermint, and Thyme (Linalool) in a home-made mouthwash that doesn't sting and does a great job. You can also use it as a gargle for sore throat. My recipe: 16 oz water, 5 drops tea tree essential oil, 5 drops thyme essential oil, 3 drops peppermint essential oil. Shake well before using.
Lavender Essential Oil (Lavendula angustifolia) is great for burns and insomnia.
I have a mixture of 100 drops Hazelnut oil, 1 drop tea tree essential oil, and 1 drop lavender oil. I'll rub a very small amount of this on my forehead if I'm tired but having mild trouble going to sleep. If my muscles feel sore and that's keeping me awake, I rub some over the sore muscles. The tea tree numbs the pain (for a few hours) and the lavender helps me get to sleep. I was originally using this mixture on skin blemishes and sunburn, which it also works well on.
Also, if you're interested in making your own lotions, I love Ananda Apothecary's Organic Coconut/Jojoba Cream Base. For a massage oil base oil, I use Organic Sweet Almond oil.
I'd be happy to chat with anyone wanting to know more about essential oils. And, no, I'm not getting anything from Ananda Apothecary. I'm just been very pleased with their service and their oils. Their prices are good, too. (A 5 ml bottle has about 100 drops of essential oil and a little goes a long way, so it lasts longer than you'd expect.)