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How Essential Are Essential Oils?

I recently started to learn more about essential oils, and I was intrigued by the rave reviews I was seeing. I decided to give them a try, and I was surprised by the way they worked for my family. If you're looking for a more natural way to keep your family healthy, you might consider giving essential oils a try, too.

Essential oils are liquids distilled from plants or other sources. You can use essential oils in a variety of ways, including smelling them for aromatherapy, rubbing them on your skin, or ingesting them. While you can buy oils and starter kits from companies such as Young Living and DoTerra, you can also get oils at health food stores. My local store carries a wide variety of oils, and the employees are always willing to answer any questions I have.

Besides smelling wonderful, essential oils have other positive properties. Oils have been used for centuries for healing. While it might sound a little crazy — it did to me at first — a few drops of oil may be enough to solve some common complaints. For example, peppermint essential oil can knock out a headache quickly without additional medicine. Simply place a drop of oil on the spot on your head where you feel pain, then reapply as necessary. Peppermint can also work wonders for nausea caused by morning sickness or a virus.

Having problems sleeping? Whether it is you or your child that needs help relaxing to doze off, dropping lavender oil into a carrier oil can help. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils. Rub the oil concoction on your feet during your bedtime routine or place the oil in a diffuser right in your child's room, and you may relax easier and sleep more deeply.

If you're looking for a little help with PMS symptoms, sniffing or rubbing some geranium oil, clary sage oil, or chamomile oil on your skin can help you feel a bit more balanced. Try juniper berry oil to tackle bloating.

If you're hoping to prevent sickness overall, try spritzing or diffusing a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary oils. This combination has antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help your family avoid whatever illness is going around. Plus, it makes your house smell amazing!

Before trying essential oils, consult your doctor if you have a chronic condition such as asthma, lung disease, or respiratory or skin allergies. Pregnant women should not use aromatherapy because some oils, such as juniper, rosemary and sage, may cause uterine contractions, according to WebMD. If you get the go-ahead from your doctor, head to your local health store and start simple with one versatile oil, such as peppermint or lavender, and a carrier oil. Ask the employees at your store or check the Internet for tips on using the oil properly. You might be surprised by how you feel after you start using oils. And if you don't notice any changes, at least you and your family will smell great, which is always a bonus!