Oils that heal

Nature has its ways of healing. Take the case of essential oils that have for ever been used for aromatherapy, consumption and skin application.


As they say ‘good things come in small packages’, the healing power of nature gets concentrated in the form of essential oils. For thousand years, oils have been used for their healing and purifying qualities. These oils, containing potent medicinal and cosmetic properties, are a versatile part of nature’s medicinal cabinet. Fondly known as essential oils, they have been used for aromatherapy, consumption, and skin application. These oils are high in antioxidants and are in concentrated form. They come from raw plant materials such as flower, wood, bark, seeds, roots and even peels. The ingredients are then distilled to vapourise the volatile compounds. The vapours are then collected to get the concentrated extract.


Some of the more known essential oils include lavender, lemongrass, cinnamon, roman chamomile and hibiscus. With regular researches many other essential oils have become known to the people. It is always advisable not to use these essential oils directly on the skin and should be mixed with carrier oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil or almond oil. These oils can also be diluted in water and used for aromatherapy. Seek medical advice before using any of the essential oil on kids.


Another way of using essential oils is by inhaling. It can be done with the help of a diffuser or by steam. Dry evaporation, in which, several drops of essential oil are placed on a cotton ball or tissue and allowed to evaporate into the air is another effective technique to inhale the essential oils.



Lavender oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which can reduce the healing time for scrapes, bites and stings. It is also known to promote relaxation and sleep and can even cure mental disorders and acute pains. Try adding a few drops to the bath, or on your pillow to help you unwind and fall asleep. Lavender is safe to use for everyone including children. Lemongrass is another famous and widely used essential oil. In traditional Chinese medicine, lemongrass has been used to treat stomach pain, rheumatism, headaches and colds for thousands of years. Its pungent and earthy aroma heightens psychic awareness, and purifies the mind. The antiseptic properties of Lemongrass oil make it a good application for external and internal wounds as well as an ingredient of antiseptic lotions and creams.


Ylang-ylang oil is derived from Macassar-oil plant, a tropical tree which originated in Philippines. This oil is known for its fragnance and is primarily used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure and normalise sebum secretion for skin problems. Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood scents. Rose essential oil is extracted from Rose petals and is highly concentrated. It can be used in aromatherapy as well as can be used for massage by diluting with carrier oil.


Roman chamomile oil has a beautiful, mild scent that is known for its ability to help unwind, but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is the ideal choice for red, inflamed or sensitive, acne-prone skin. Recommended for delicate skin, this oil can even be use with antibacterial carrier oil such as coconut oil to help treat and soothe eczema. Star anise is one of the favourite Indian spices and it is distilled to make star anise oil. It is used to cure respiratory tract infections, lung swelling, cough and bronchitis. If you are travelling to a foreign land, carry a small bottle of Cinnamon oil with you. The antiviral effects of cinnamon bark guard against diarrhoea, E. coli, and salmonella. To help prevent food-borne disease, take one drop of cinnamon bark oil in a cup of water several times a day. Soothing to the respiratory system, the eucalyptus oil helps with colds, coughs, and sinus infections. Dab a few drops on the tops of your feet and your veins will transport the oil up to your lungs in less than 30 seconds.


Peppermint oil has wonderful cooling properties that can help you beat the heat of a hot day. Ideal for summers, just add a few drops to carrier oil and rub on your back, neck and chest for an instant cooling effect. The smell of peppermint can also help combat feelings of nausea making it a great choice for motion or morning sickness. When combined with a few drops of lavender oil and applied to the temples, it can also reduce the intensity of headaches and migraines.


Basil (tulsi) is another famous Indian herb. Its oil was earlier used for respiratory troubles and snake bites. It can be mentally stimulating and can help one be clear in mind. Use it to re- energise yourself about a project especially when there is doubt or distrust involved. In this case, it can be particularly uplifting! It has a strong herbaceous scent. Once you become familiar with these basic essential oils, branching out and creating your own combinations is simple and fun. They can easily be incorporated into your daily life, whether it is as a home remedy or even just aromatherapy to boost your mood. Though, these essential oils are great healers but can turn dangerous if not handled properly. The level of danger is based upon the concentration grade of the oil. The use of essential oils in pregnancy is not recommended due to extra sensitivity to smells and taste; these essential oils can cause irritation and nausea.


Essential oils for the rainy season. Monsoon is the ideal time for therapies based on the essential oils. With humidity increasing in the air, diseases like common cold, cough, flu and mosquitoes become a regular deterrent in our lives. Essential oils can really come handy to cure these common diseases. These oils can be of much help as they can be put to a wide variety of use including therapeutic, medicinal, cosmetic and culinary.



Kanchi Batra
Associate Editor

Easy reading is damn hard writing.