We’ve used essential oils in baths, to relieve stress and promote sleep, but how can we use it in our meals?
Pure essential oils might be one of nature’s most potent remedies. These plant extracts even surpass lab made drugs in long-term effectiveness. This is because every single plant has slightly different chemical and molecular structures that limits the ability for bacteria to adapt and become resistant, whereas synthetic drugs always have the exact same chemical composition allowing our bodies to eventually become resistant.
In addition to reported therapeutic properties, they’re incredibly versatile; one essential oil can be used for a variety of purposes and health conditions. For instance, pure lemon oil works simultaneously as an antidepressant and a sedater, while also working on the physical level as an antibacterial, pain reliever, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, immune supporter, while improving skin, luster and aiding indigestion and detoxification. Practically speaking, we can easily add a drop of pure lemon oil into drinking water for flavour, or experiment with other extracts like wild orange or lime! However, do not use plastic containers with essential oils, instead stick to glass or stainless steel.
Along with adding essential oils to drinking water, we can use them in food to create exotic and delicious flavours. This is especially helpful when we want t cut down on heavy, greasy, processed, salty and sugary foods. As concentrated compounds, pure essential oils are far more potent than dried or fresh herbs, meaning we only need to use a drop for taste and to receive therapeutic benefits that accelerate homeostasis as we reduce our consumption of less healthy foods.
An even faster way to get medicinal effects into the bloodstream is through our skin. Anything and everything on the skin absorbs in only 20 minutes! Therefore, swapping pure essential oils with conventional skin care and perfumes can help reduce our toxic load by a long haul. Extracts like basil, orange and tea tree have been reported to clear acne, while oregano can be applied to warts systematically to disintegrate them. For moisturizers we can add rose oil with a little frankincense for a deep feminine blend, with carrier oils such as coconut (unfractionated coconut oil won’t clog pores), argan and jojoba oils, or shea butter. For perfumes you can go to SaSa and buy a glass rollerball, and find recipe inspiration here!
Preventative health is the most effective healthcare and even a small selection of essential oils acts a medicine cabinet. For instance, seasonal allergies can be remedied with lemon peel, lavender, peppermint and/or eucalyptus. We can ingest them orally, massage them into the chest and upper back, and/or breath them into our lungs using a diffuser machine, adding them to a hot bath or pop several drops in a pint of hot water for steam inhalation. Try using the same methods for stress management with lavender, basil, clary sage, frankincense, any citrus, neroli, patchouli, or ylang ylang. To clear the mind and relieve intellectual fatigue while giving clarity in mental strength, try using basil.
If I had to select a couple of must-try oils to experiment with I’d recommend:
– Lavender, which is always a must because it’s so calming yet energising while acting as an antiseptic for acne or wounds.
– A citrus: lemon, wild orange or lime because they are fantastic for adding zesty complexity to salad dressings, salsas, and other dishes. Citrus is also refreshing to use in cleaning products and effective as an antibacterial. Experiment with wild orange in a mango chutney with chopped tomatoes and mangos, diced red onion, one drop of wild orange oil and salt to taste.
– Cooling and refreshing extracts like peppermint or eucalyptus both are super energising and help to open respiratory passageways. Peppermint is an effective digestive aid and adds a nice touch to chocolatey desserts. Experiment with peppermint oil in a chocolate chip peppermint smoothie with some plant-based milk, ice cubes, vanilla extract, maple syrup and/or stevia, cacao powder, a drop of peppermint oil, and cacao nibs last minute for texture.
– Heating spices like cinnamon, which is uplifting and helps to regulate metabolism, balances blood sugar, aids circulation, acts as an antiviral and antiseptic, removes warts, and can be used in desserts, Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes, and teas.
– Flowers extracts like rose or neroli because they’re incredibly feminine and lovely scents to add to moisturisers, or to use as perfume or in the bath.
– Herb extracts like basil, oregano or thyme. Add a drop to pasta sauces, dips, salad dressings, soups, marinades, and other dishes.
While essential oils have been safely used for centuries in medical applications, be meticulous in purchasing from companies that insist on purity and quality of their source product, and are rigorous about extracting oils so not to damage them. Many essential oils are of a very low grade because they are often mixed with cheaper man-made chemicals and other materials to reduce costs. Short term they may produce benefits but long term they can result in allergies, headaches, chemical sensitivities and result in toxicity. I’ve found companies like New Directions, Young Living and Doterra sell pure, authentic products.
Experiment and enjoy, you can’t go wrong!
 Johnson, Scott A., Evidence-based Essential Oil Therapy. Scott A. Johnson Professional Writing Services, LLC. 2015. P 28-29