The Minimalist Guide to Essential Oils

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At Food Matters HQ, we love nothing more than an aromatherapy vaporizer filling the air with motivating/healing/relaxing essential oils, restoring our Zen and keeping us focused.

In fact, essential oils are one of our favorite holistic ways to remain energized, with these little power packs of goodness offering hormonal, mental, physical and emotional support just when we need it.

So what exactly are essential oils, and why are they so fantastically useful?

1. They are Mother Nature’s gift.

Essential oils are naturally occurring plant extracts (found in flowers, trees, plants, roots, bushes and seeds) which are packed with valuable medicinal properties.

2. They are both a mind and body modality.

Having been used for thousands of years by ancient cultures in promoting wellness, these elixirs of health are uniquely capable of treating not only our physical attributes, but also our mental states, including our brain chemistry, emotional well-being and spiritual wellness offering an integrated approach to mind and body synchronicity. Winning!

3. Their beneficial properties are easy to tap into.

The two main ways to incorporate essential oils into a daily wellness practice is via aromatherapy or contact with the skin.

Aromatherapy involves the inhalation of essential oils via a diffuser, vaporizer, or even directly from the bottle, while the application of oils onto the skin requires the essential oils to be combined with a base carrier oil (such as a jojoba or almond oil), and massaged onto the body. Alternatively the blend can be simply dotted on pulse/chakra points (great for a mental boost if you have an important meeting or nerve-wracking deadline). Some essential oils do not have to be blended, but can be applied directly. It is always wise to follow the guidance on the label which will advise of this.

Another way to use essential oils (which is one of my favorites) is to add them to a bath. It’s the perfect way to wind-down after a long day. I always sleep so well afterwards.

4. There is an essential oil for almost every health requirement.

There are more than 90 essential oils, each with its own range of health benefits for getting and staying well. Most essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties. Now that’s pretty cool!

In fact, these small but mighty extracts of natural goodness are increasingly being explored by the scientific community for the treatment of various diseases including cancer, HIV, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, depression, anxiety and many more.

Three essential oils I personally couldn’t live without include lavender (so calming we diffuse it into Hugo’s room at bedtime or add a drop to his pillow), peppermint (great for settling tummy aches) and lemon (mentally reviving, and so good for the skin).

5. They have the power.

Essential oils carry the essence of plants in such a potent form that a single drop can equate to multiple teaspoons of the equivalent dried herb. They are therefore far more powerful than the botanicals from which they were extracted. For example, it would take 25 cups of peppermint tea to match one drop of peppermint oil! Yep, we’re talking supercharged bottles of vitality!

So there you have it. Now you can see why essential oils are part of my go-to happy kit of wellness.

They are affordable, natural, medicinal, emotionally strengthening, mentally recharging and easy to administer. What’s not to love?

*Extra nugget of advice: When choosing essential oils, it is always best to look for purity. Since quality regulations are virtually non-existent, knowing where your oils come from and how they are created is vital to ensure quality. Look for organic therapeutic-grade essential oils that are concentrated naturally through steam distillation

James Colquhoun

James Colquhoun, filmmaker of Food Matters and Hungry For Change and founder of FMTV. Along with Laurentine ten Bosch, James founded Food Matters, giving people the tools (films, books, website, TV) to take charge of their own health. Food Matters is an internationally acclaimed widely popular documentary about the medical and healthcare industries. His latest documentary, Hungry For Change, reveals how the diet and processed food industries are the enemies of permanent weight loss, vibrant health, and natural living. From here, FMTV was born! A place where we can access vital information by watching all of your favorite inspiring documentaries, expert interviews & recipe videos in one place.
James Colquhoun

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