Home is a haven, a safe place where we relax, work, play, and enjoy each other’s company. Ensuring that safety and that peaceful feeling is a paramount concern for all of us. Essential oils can play an important role in creating a happy atmosphere for our families.
What “Home” Smells Like Our sense of smell has a powerful influence on our emotions and mood, and is strongly tied to our memories. Studies have shown that the smell receptors located in the upper surface of the nasal cavity have direct links to the limbic system of the brain, the area that governs emotional responses. You experience this connection on a daily basis as certain odors trigger memories or specific feelings. Some aromas even directly impact mood.
Intriguing new research has also helped demonstrate the benefits of aroma and how they extend beyond just emotional regulation. In addition to influencing the limbic region of the brain, olfactory centers are also intricately linked with the hypothalamus, which controls physiologic functions throughout the body. These studies show that aroma is capable of interacting directly with the hypothalamus, influencing neurochemistry throughout the body and creating potentially powerful health benefits.
All of this is to say that you can positively affect the health of your family just by controlling the way your home smells. Think of walking into your mother’s kitchen after a cold day outside and smelling a loaf of freshly baked bread. What memories come to mind? How do you feel physically as you recall those memories? Re-energized? Just a bit happier?
Every individual, of course, is different. Odors evoke different responses. But the principle remains the same. Your sense of smell has a powerful inf luence over your mood and health. Essential oils can be a powerful tool in creating those benefits.
Essential oils have a long history of being used aromatically for therapeutic benefit. Depending on the effect you desire, essential oils can evoke feelings of peace and reassurance, or they can be consoling and comforting, inspiring and uplifting, or balancing and grounding. Using essential oils for their aromatic properties is simple. One method is to diffuse the oil into the air. Not only does diffusion make the oil accessible to the body, but research indicates that there are also air purification benefits when diffusing oils. Make sure to use cold air or hydrodiffusion with essential oils as burning or heating the oils can alter their delicate chemistry. Alternatively, simply dropping essential oils into the palm of the hand and then cupping around the nose and breathing deeply is a convenient and easy method of using essential oils anytime, anywhere.
Home Is a Clean Place
With so many potential health hazards in the world today, maintaining a clean home is important. But, while cleaning is a necessity, sometimes cleaning products can be just as bad as the hazards we’re trying to eliminate. More than ever, people are looking for ways to clean their home in friendly, natural ways.
Essential oils have complex chemistries that offer diverse benefits. Many essential oils have powerful cleansing properties. They are highly effective yet nontoxic, making them ideal cleaning agents. There are many ways essential oils that can be integrated into your regular cleaning routine—use oils to clean kitchen counters, bathrooms, and other surfaces; diffuse the oils to purify the air; or use oils to cut grease and other tough stains. Citrus oils tend to be excellent cleaning agents and stain removers because of their high monoterpene content. Beyond cleaning, essential oils can also be used to protect your investment in your home. Combined with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, essential oils like lemon can be used to safely polish wood furniture and floors as well as leather. A blend of essential oils and a carrier oil also have the added benefit of not using harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances. Essential oils are also great for stainless steel appliances.
If your garbage disposal could use a refresh, essential oils can be a great alternative. With a little baking soda, salt, castile soap, water, and lemon essential oil, you’ll have a great recipe to lighten up any odor. A similar recipe can be used to create fizzing bath bombs that turn your showers into a daily morning spa experience.
Finally, because of both their cleansing and health-promoting qualities, essential oils can be used to protect your family from environmental or seasonal threats. Whether you’re creating cleaning compounds or diffusing, essential oils can help create a safe, healthy zone for your family to live, work, play, and relax in.
We’ve looked at how essential oils can help create a peaceful home through their aromatic benefits. We’ve also discussed how they can be used to help keep your home clean and safe. A final aspect of essential oils is what they can do for you personally.
Many pure essential oils can be safely ingested or applied topically as well. Some oils may require a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil to protect against sensitivity, but the vast majority are safe to apply to your skin. Many people have found essential oils to be effective means of dealing with a number of issues, from dry to irritated skin, or as a deodorant and for shaving. Melaleuca, commonly known as “tea tree oil,” has a myriad of uses and appears in shampoos and conditioners, lotions, and other toiletry items. You’ll also find peppermint, spearmint, and other essential oils in many of your favorite products. Perfumes and colognes rely heavily on essential oils; you can even create your own unique scent just by blending different essential oils (with the added result of enjoying the healthy benefits of those oils when you apply them).
Because many essential oils can be ingested safely, you can also use them in your favorite recipes. In fact, many of your favorite seasonings—oregano, thyme, black pepper, dill, and rosemary just to name a few—are essential oils. Essential oils are diluted, however, so a little goes a long way. You can experiment with adding a drop or two of essential oils in place of dry seasonings, or to increase the flavor profile of your favorite dishes. Just remember to read the label first as some oils are not meant for internal use.
More Than You Know
Essential oils can be used in more ways than you may have ever considered. From positively affecting the mood of your home through their aromatic benefits, by keeping your home clean and safe, or through personal use and cooking, you can employ essential oils.