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  • Writer's pictureWendy Ashworth

Essential oils you need in your home!

I've used essential oils at home for as long as I can remember and have a large box of assorted oils for medicinal, household, making my own products and even just 'nice smells' purposes.

But, I wondered, if I was only allowed to keep 5 of them, which would I choose? My absolutely 'essential' essential oils if you like. It was no easy task, but I eventually got there - so I'm sharing my desert island picks and why I've chosen them, in no particular order.

Your top 5 will almost certainly be different to mine - feel free to drop into ur store and sample our oils to discover the ones that call out to you!

1) Bergamot

I just love the lemon zesty scent of bergamot; instantly uplifting and cheering and a bit more spicy and subtle than other citrus oils. In the orange family, it is really too sour to eat, although it is often used as a food flavouring - think marmalade, cocktails and Earl Grey tea.

It has a reputation for helping to relieve anxiety and stress and regulate mood by triggering release of dopamine and seratonin. The uplifting effect can also help to open up your airways and clear the senses, used in an oil burner or massaged onto the skin in a carrier oil.

It is a good anti bacterial/antiseptic, making it useful in helping to cleanse and also heal skin damage and infections. You could add it to hand soaps or washes or even your moisturiser. It helps that it also smells amazing!

Bergamot's calming properties may help with digestive comfort too. You could try adding a couple of drops of bergamot to a carrier oil ( jojoba or coconut are good) and massage your stomach in an anticlockwise circular movement


2) Lavender

It might seem an obvious choice, and I know the smell can divide opinion, but it's so useful and versatile that it just has to be on my list.

Made by steam distilling the purple flowers, everyone knows about its calming properties. Because it is so gentle, you can dab a drop on your forehead to ease a headache or calm yourself before a difficult phone call.

A few drops on a tissue tucked under your pillowcase is a great way of helping you drift off and promote a deeper sleep. But there much more to it than that.

Natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties means that it may help to keep skin concerns at bay, particularly with oily skin or where it is prone to breakouts. Anti-inflammatory properties make it super useful for redness, itching and burns, both from sun exposure and in the kitchen. I always keep a bottle of lavender oil by the kitchen sink where it is handy to dab directly onto oven burns* (my husband Matt is super-clumsy), put a drop or two into the washing machine to freshen it, or add it to my surface cleaning spray. Pretty useful!


3) Geranium

Strongly floral-sweet, almost marzipan-scented, the aroma of Geranium is quite powerful and may take some getting used to!

If you can handle it, great, as it is indispensible. It has a strong reputation for being especially well suited to women; it supports the reproductive system, menstrual cycle and during the course of menopause. Emotionally, it is a calming and balancing oil, which makes it potentially helpful with anxiety and depression, or just balancing the mood.

Its benefits don't just end there; the balancing effect also applies to the skin, where it is excellent for balancing the skin's production of sebum. For this reason it's a must for me when making any skincare preparation.

As an astringent, it can also be helpful with hemorrhoids and varicose veins. It may also help to soothe neuralgic pain and inflammation - think shingles or nerve damage.


4) Frankincense

Frankincense has an ancient history going back well before the nativity scene and the 3 kings. Made from the resin of the scrubby looking but incredibly tough and long-lived Boswellia tree which grows in the dry, mountainous regions of India, Africa, and the Middle East, the oil has a woody, spicy smell and can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or taken as a supplement.

It has pronounced anti-inflammatory properties and is good for skin inflammation and research suggests it can help with the arthritic pain too.

Inhaling the oil has a very calming effect, and works to deepen and slow the breathing - making it excellent for relaxation, destressing and meditation. I'll put a couple of drops in my burner with some bergamot to help me get to sleep when my mind is a bit busy. Some people even report that a sniff of the oil can help calm an asthma attack.

Frankincense has antimicrobial effects (kills germs and bacteria in plain English) which makes it useful to add to cleaning products, or even instead of chemical cleansing products - I'll put some drops into a spray bottle to keep work surfaces clean.

According to numerous studies, frankincense may reduce redness and skin sensitivity and also improve skin tone and elasticity. I use several skincare products in the Neal's Yard Frankincense range and I'm sure that my mature (I'm not going to say ageing!) skin really benefits. A drop or two of the oil in your regular moisturiser could be a game changer if you have mature skin like me!


5) Mandarin

This is such a lovely, gentle oil. The scent is gorgeous (I've met nobody who doesn't like it) -

fruity and sweet with an uplifting but relaxing feel; it tends to be less stimulating than most other citrus oils but is still a wonderfully uplifting oil.

Because it doesn't overstimulate, and the scent is so pleasing, it is a brilliant oil to have in the house if you have young children around. Diffusing this oil in the evenings before bed can help to settle and calm.

Physically, it is a useful oil for the skin, in particular for treating scars, acne and brightening dull skin. It also has a useful reputation for easing nausea and anxiety.

This versatility already earns it a place in my top 5 , but on top of this it also blends so well with many others, including citrus, floral, wood, spice and herb families of oils. What's not to like?


*NOTE: Never apply neat essential oil to your skin (other than Lavender) because it can cause adverse reactions. Be careful about essential oil concentration as they can be very powerful. If in any doubt, refer to a reference book or contact us for information.

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