When it comes to treating minor ailments, nothing seems to beat the effectiveness of essential oils. I say this not as a healthcare professional for surely I am not, but as someone who recently dumped two drawers filled with over-the-counter remedies in favor of essential oils. To say I am pleased would be in understatement and while a bit of experimentation has been involved, each day my confidence in these miracle-worker oils grows.
In the past, I have written about the amazing uses for Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Clove oils. If you have followed closely, you will have seen patterns where the solution to some ailment may be positively treated by more than one essential oil, either singly or in combination.
The reason for this is that many essential oils have common properties, such as Antiseptic, Anesthetic, Antibiotic, Anti-Bacterial, Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Depressant. Most essential oils will have at least two or three of these properties and sometimes more.
The goal today is not to confuse you with the various oils or combinations of oils that are out there to help with first aid and other minor health concerns. Instead, I want to boil it down and give you a nice chart that you can keep with your medical supplies so you can easily jump to the right solution to what ails you.
But first, how do essential oils work?
How Do Essential Oils Work
The actual science behind the effectiveness of essential oils is best described by Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD as follows:
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances extracted from a variety of different parts of a plant, including the flower, bark, roots, leaves, wood, resin, seeds, or the rind (in the case of citrus fruits). The oils contain healing vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics and represent the “life force” of the plant.
Scientists agree that essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant’s immune system. In other cases they may simply be end products of metabolism. Essential oils are said to be healing because they contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins, and other natural elements that work on many levels. For example, essential oils can be sedative or stimulating. Some are antispasmodic, and most are antibacterial. Essential oils are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs.
When you think about it in terms of gardening, this makes sense. You plant a seed, it germinates, a plant grows, and more seeds are created. Each plant has its own circle of life. So, from a non-scientific and non-technical perspective, to transfer the essence of a plant to the cells of a human body means we are taking advantage of this essence for a mostly if not completely positive outcome.
Okay, enough science. Here is the chart I have put together for you. This is my go-to chart when I don’t have time to look something up in my essential oil bible (The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy) or online. And don’t worry, I have created a download link for you so you can easily print out a copy for reference purposes.
8 Essential Oils for Your Health and Wellness Kit
Here they are, the 8 essential oils you need to cover a wide range of maladies, Except for Frankincense, all are very inexpensive ($5 to $8 max) and will serve you well for a variety of conditions.
Stress and Anxiety
Joint Pains and Arthritis
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
Respiratory Ailments and Bronchitis
Fungal, Bacterial or Viral Infections
Cold and Flu
Corns and Warts
Minor Cuts and Scrapes
Colds and Flu
Warts and Skin Tags
Minor Cuts and Wounds
Hard Water Stains
General Cleaning Solutions
Remove Sticky Labels
Gum Soreness and Infections
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Gas and Bloating
General Cleaning Solutions
Cold and Flu
Sore Gums and Throat
A Note About Quality
There are many companies that make and sell essential oils. It is beyond the scope of this article to evaluate the effectiveness of one brand over another however I do have my favorites. First let me say this: there is no official system that grades essential oils as A, B, C or therapeutic grade. That is bogus and if any website claims their essential oil is “FDA” or otherwise approved, run for the hills since it is marketing hype and not fact.
On the other hand, a company may legitimately indicate that their oils are of a “therapeutic grade” (without reference to certification) which will likely mean it is manufactured according to strict standards of purity. That may also mean that under certain conditions, the essential oils may be taken internally (not something I have tried).
So here is the scoop. For wellness purposes I use essential oils from Spark Naturals. There are a lot reasons the most important being their commitment to both quality and value. I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical-grade purity.
For cleaning solutions and DIY household products, I tend to use essential oils from NOW Foods (available at Amazon). They are inexpensive to the point of being downright cheap and they work. I use and recommend both brands.
Note: If you do decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, you will receive a 10% discount by using the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. I do earn a small commission on your purchases.
Please keep in mind that I am not a healthcare or medical professional and when in doubt, consult with your own physician regarding the use of essential oils for a particular ailment.
The Final Word
Once you start using essential oils, it is easy to get downright evangelistic about them even to the point of becoming preachy. That said, they really do work and can play a vital role in a potential survival situation where over the counter remedies are in short supply or non-existent. The beauty of essential oils is that they take up little room, store well, and perhaps best of all, a little bit goes a long way.
A printable chart showing the 8 essential oils for health and wellness can be downloaded here.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.