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Lifestyle

The Best Essential Oils To Breathe In, Relax And Repeat

Breathe in deep and gain some balance in your life with these beneficial scents.

There’s something about stress that causes great damage to your immune system and general health. A body that is not under stress has a more robust immune system which would make it less prone to infections and illnesses.

If you are feeling anxious and depressed or suffering from poor sleep, you might want to try getting into essential oils. Essential oils, which are natural extracts made from flower, herb, and tree parts like bark, roots, peels, and petals, can help with stress reduction and relaxation.

Of course, good health is a holistic effort that requires good nutrition, exercise and even meditation as well, but research has shown that aromatherapy can activate certain areas of your brain, like your limbic system, which plays a role in your emotions. Essential oil scents could also have an impact on your hypothalamus, generating feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.

We’ve all heard of chamomile, jasmine and lavender — they are the most commonly known beneficial oils for encouraging relaxation. But do you know what others do? We spoke to Anna Brewster from The Natural & Organic Co, who looks after aromatherapy and natural body products, to give us the lowdown on the best essential oils for our health.

Read the below and get yourself a few. We suggest adding drops to your diffuser or on the floor when you’re having a hot shower. Or add some to a carrier oil and use the blend to massage your hands and feet. Then…just relax.

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1. Tea tree
This is very widely used and for very good reasons. It is versatile and can be used in several areas, from treating acne to fungal infections to the prevention of the spread of flu bugs. It is one of the rare oils that has combined anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and is also a very powerful immunostimulant which makes it excellent for immune function. 2. Lemon
Not only does it give a cheery and uplifting fresh scent, lemon is also known for its important ability to stimulate the body’s defence mechanism against infection, as well as being a powerful bactericide which makes it another great oil for the immune system. A strong and robust immune system is essential in warding off illnesses, from simple infections to cancers. 3. Clove
For centuries, clove oil has been known for its anti-infectious properties and for the prevention of contagious illnesses, especially the plague. It’s a powerful antiseptic and also a ‘hot’ oil which means great care needs to be taken when using the oil. In some cultures, clove oil has been traditionally used as an antiseptic in midwifery. 4. Eucalyptus
As a strong immunostimulant, eucalyptus oil is great for those who are run down and prone to frequent colds and sinusitis. It is commonly used in formulations for the flu and respiratory infections as it is known for its powerful antiviral and bactericidal actions, which make it an effective treatment for colds by easing nasal congestion and preventing the spread of the virus. It is also a good insect repellent. 5. Thyme
Well-known for its use in cooking thanks to its amazing flavour, it is also known to slow down the proliferation of bacteria on meat, especially before the days of refrigeration. It is also an intestinal antiseptic, which fights against gastric infections. Thyme is useful for all forms of infections as it stimulates the production of white blood cells which strengthens the body’s natural resistance. 6. Frankincense
Frankincense has been used since biblical times and has been valued not only for its highly calming effect on emotions, but also its usefulness in respiratory infections. It is an oil that encourages slow and deep breaths — this cleanses the body and increases oxygenation, which promotes health and boosts the immune function. It is also known an a ‘spiritual’ oil and is often used in meditation. Incidentally, it also a tonic for skin, slowing down the appearance of wrinkles which makes it highly sought-after in skincare. Some research have shown frankincense may be promising for the treatment of cancer. 7. Lavender
The most versatile and popular oil is undoubtedly lavender. The antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic properties of lavender make it a valuable oil for the treatment of coughs and colds during a flu bout. Lavender also reduces inflammation and restores the mind and body to a balanced state, so that natural healing can take place. Among others, it can relieve headaches and muscle pains, and soothe various skin conditions while stimulating the growth of new healthy cells, which makes it popular in skincare formulations. 8. Lemon Myrtle
A native plant of Australia, lemon myrtle gives off a vibrant fresh scent. It is a potent oil with antibacterial, anti fungal and germicidal benefits, and has been said to be even more powerful than tea-tree oil. A great oil to diffuse when there’s a flu bug in the home to promote quick recovery and to prevent the spread of infection. 9. Ravensara
Known for its antimicrobial properties, ravensara prevents and fights bacterial and viral infections. Besides boosting the immune system, this oil is also uplifting and induces relaxation, which is overall very beneficial to the immune system. 10. Oregano
Studies have shown that oregano is power-packed with compounds that fight various infections, promotes detoxification and are loaded with antioxidants as well as antihistamines. It is a fantastic immune booster and is very helpful in treating infections and allergies. This is a very ‘hot’ oil and great care is to be taken when using it. It is never to be used undiluted on skin.