Using Essential Oils to Treat Minor Ailments

Plants have been used for centuries to support the body’s natural healing process. Not only have they been shown to be effective in curing common ailments, they’re also used for the prevention of both simple and complex illnesses.

There are plenty of simple plant remedies that can be used in the form of essential oils. Essential oils are a practical way to treat common problems because they are easily stored, and when purchased from a respected source, they are extremely effective with little to no side effects.

Our bodies understand that essential oils are a part of nature’s way of balance, and readily accept their life energy without interference with bodily function, as can be the case with over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The acceptance of that life energy is what causes their effectiveness not only through healing, but providing a positive mental and emotional state that can improve the quality of life.

That doesn’t mean that modern medicine does not have its place, but there are minor inconveniences in our lives that can be treated with essential oils, removing the need for expensive doctor’s visit and prescriptions. Most importantly, these remedies only require some very basic knowledge of essential oils in order to be used safely and effectively:

- Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin, with the exception of lavender and tea tree oil. Other oils should first be diluted in a carrier oil (such as olive, sweet almond or sunflower for example) to avoid skin irritation.

- When smelling oils as a form of remedy, never sniff directly from the bottle. Waft your hand over the top and then smell the air to avoid irritating the delicate mucous membranes of your nose and eyes.

- Some oils may not be safe for pregnant women, and should be clearly marked when ordering from a respectable source. You can also ask your health practitioner should you have concerns.

- Essential oils should not be ingested, with the exception of peppermint, and then only if the manufacturer approves their oil for such use.

- If it is your first time using a particular oil, do a small patch test on the inside of your arm or other inconspicuous area, and wait for at least 8 hours to check for any adverse skin reactions. If irritation occurs, discontinue use.

If you’ve followed all of the information above very carefully, you’ll find that the following oils are very easy to find, inexpensive, and can be used for a variety of ailments. I highly recommend them for your medicine cabinet at home:

Lavender – Apply directly to the skin for cuts, stings and minor sunburns. Place a few drops into bathwater to reduce allergy symptoms. Earaches can be soothed by a couple of drops in both ears. Headaches caused by eyestrain can be treated with a few drops of lavender on a warm washcloth and then placed over the eyes.

Peppermint – Add one drop to a tablespoon of raw honey for indigestion, or add to baking soda for an all-natural toothpaste. Use two drops in a bowl of steaming water and inhale to relieve sinus pressure and to provide mental clarity.

Tea tree – Add one drop to baking soda for an all-natural toothpaste that will help to heal bleeding gums. Apply oil directly to skin to treat warts, athlete’s foot or ringworm.

Eucalyptus – Adding a few drops to the bath will quickly open up the nasal passages and ease chest or nasal congestion. It can provide energy much more effectively than caffeine through inhalation, but without the dehydrating side effects of coffee or soda.

About the Author

Burgundy Shank makes handmade personal care products using peppermint, lavender and other essential oils. She regularly publishes articles on natural home remedies in her newsletter, “Beauty Secrets from Around the World,” which can be found at

Burgundy Shank