Essential oils have their place secured in a natural beauty routine: They’re natural, chemical-free alternatives to everything from traditional cosmetics to potentially toxic fragrances. But many can do a lot more than just smell good: While we can’t say with authority the 10 oils highlighted here are miracle cures, throughout history they’ve been credited with treating problems including digestion issues and acne; increasing concentration; killing germs and much more.
The bright scent of peppermint does more than freshen your breath: It is also used to soothe nausea and other stomach issues, help stop itching, and cool overworked muscles (thanks to the menthol).Add drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam to fight congestion, or rub diluted oil into sore muscles. And that’s not all: Peppermint is a key ingredient in oil mixtures that fight PMS, act as an all-natural alternative to VapoRub, cool sore throats, and quiet headaches — and it’s often credited with increasing concentration, so ideal for a mid-afternoon alternative to coffee pick-me-up.
For Anita Boen, who runs an organic farm that provides herbs and oils to upscale spas, lavender is a go-to oil for almost any situation: Not only is it one of the few oils that is gentle enough to use undiluted, it’s a “virtual first aid kit in a bottle.”The antibacterial properties allow it to fight germs (which is why it’s also such an important ingredient in many all-natural cleaning products for home and body), and, like peppermint, it’s often credited with aiding digestion and helping fight headaches.
Lavender oil’s soft scent is said to help calm the nervous system, improve sleep quality, combat joint pain, and fight everything from urinary disorders and respiratory problems to high blood pressure and acne.