Whether I’m just running a few errands, spending the day at the office, or out and about with my kids, I always have some essential oils on hand. When it comes to treating stomachaches, headaches, skin irritations, or just plain old fatigue, there’s no better treatment than all-natural, safe, and effective essential oils. These highly concentrated, fragrant oils contain enormous emotional, physical, and psychological healing powers, and my medicine cabinet at home is full of them. But when I’m on the go and want just a few to have on hand for emergencies, these are the three I throw in my purse:
Peppermint OilA hybrid of the spearmint and water mint plants, peppermint has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach ailments and headaches and for hundreds of years as a flavoring for foods and as an active ingredient in skin-care and cosmetic products. The oil is collected by steam distillation directly from the leaves of the flowering plant. Its most plentiful active component is menthol, which is what provides the cooling sensation of the oil.
Having a bottle in your purse or a bag when you’re out and about can come in handy in a number of ways. For a headache, simply apply a drop or two to your fingers and then massage it into your temples, across your forehead, and on the back of your neck. A German study found that peppermint oil applied to the temples and forehead is just as effective as taking 1,000 mg of acetaminophen. This is great news for parents of young kids, who don’t always cooperate when it comes to taking oral medicines.
Lavender OilLike peppermint, lavender has been used for centuries. It too is steam distilled from the flowers of the plant. It gets its name from the Latin word lavare, which means to wash, because the ancient Greeks and Romans regularly used the plant to scent their bathing water. In Biblical times, lavender was often one of the oils used in healings and anointing. The number-one reason I always have this oil on hand is its ability to reduce stress.
- For indigestion, heartburn, gas, motion sickness, or other stomach distresses, add two to three drops peppermint oil to a small cup of water and drink. (Note that only certain brands of essential oils should be taken internally. Check to make sure the oil you are using is pure and safe for internal use.) The compounds in the oil have antispasmodic properties that soothe the intestinal tract, colon, and stomach muscles, reducing the spasms and cramping that cause stomach pain. Sometimes, even inhaling the oil can help combat nausea. A drop or two mixed with water and taken before a meal can also help reduce bloating and gas after eating.
- For sinus relief, open a bottle of peppermint oil and inhale. Breathe deeply several times. It you are at the office or someplace where you can store a diffuser, you can also diffuse the oil throughout the day to help clear your sinuses and relieve congestion.
- For fatigue, apply a few drops to your wrists, rub the wrists together and then inhale. For freshening your breath, place a drop under your tongue and then drink some water. For bug bites, apply drop directly to the bite to reduce itching. This works particularly well when combined with lavender, which is another oil I always carry with me.
Lavender oil is well known for its calming properties. Inhaling the oil or placing a couple drops on your wrists or behind your ears can help calm you down in a crowd or relax you during a stressful moment at work or on your daily commute. A 2013 study found that lavender when taken orally dramatically alleviated anxiety in patients diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). And while most of us haven’t been diagnosed with GAD, we all experience stress and anxiety throughout our days and weeks and can use lavender topically to help calm us.
Among the other uses for lavender oil when you’re out and about:
FrankincenseThe third oil I never leave home without is frankincense. Sourced from the resin of trees in the Boswellia family, frankincense is a power-house oil. It clears the mind, reduces stress and inflammation, and naturally treats pain from headaches and overworked joints, among other things. When purchasing frankincense essential oil, make sure you choose a brand that is pure and safe for ingesting. Don’t buy fragrance or perfumed oils masquerading as frankincense.
- For a bee sting or insect bite, apply a drop of the oil directly to the bite.
- For a minor burn, including sunburns, rub 2 to 3 drops gently over the burn to reduce pain and swelling.
- For cuts, apply a drop or two of the oil to clean the wound and kill bacteria. It can also help stop bleeding.
- For chapped lips, apply a drop to your lips and rub in.
- For a headache, open a bottle of lavender oil and inhale it while breathing deeply for a period of 15 minutes. A study published in the journal European Neurology found that doing so is a safe and effective treatment for migraine sufferers. Combining 2 drops lavender with 2 drops peppermint oil and rubbing the mixture on your temples and the back of your neck can also significantly reduce headaches.
- For a natural remedy for PMS, massage a few drops lavender oil onto your lower abdomen to reduce pain from cramping.
Here’s how I use frankincense oil on the go:
I hope you find these 3 oils just as beneficial as I do,
- To relieve cold symptoms when I can’t stay at home and rest, I carry a few cotton balls in my purse and apply several drops of Frankincense to the cotton balls and then inhale regularly for a period of 45 to 60 minutes. At home, I diffuse the oil to help break up congestion and mucus, but the cotton ball trick is perfect for travel.
- To relieve headaches, apply several drops to your hands and then rub into your temples and the back of your neck. You can also place a drop of frankincense oil under your tongue to help reduce headache pain.
- To disinfect germy hands, apply a few drops to your palms and rub together.
- For dry, chapped hands in the winter, add a drop or two of frankincense to your lotion whenever you apply it. The oil will help reduce redness and inflammation and soothe your skin. I also always keep a small bottle of unscented lotion in my purse just for this purpose.
- For dry cuticles when traveling to more arid climates, apply a drop directly to the cuticle and rub it in.
- For achy feet after a long day of walking, rub a few drops of frankincense into your feet and massage.
- For stress relief and to improve focus, apply a drop under your tongue.
- For fatigue, open a bottle of frankincense and inhale while breathing deeply. A drop applied behind the ears can also help rejuvenate your mood and increase your energy.
- For stomach distress, add a drop or two to 8 ounces water and drink up. Frankincense can help with a number of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, stomach aches, and gas.
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