Summertime is made for flowing. The sunshine propels an inner need to move—to roll the windows down and turn the volume up, to dig out the tent and sleep under the stars, to ditch the shoes and get the glow of summer sun on your skin.
While summer typically invites a “less is more” mentality, there are some key tools that can make the season’s unforgettable adventures even more potent. Essential oils could be the fairy dust to take your summer journeys from tried and true to transcendental. So if you’re heading to Wanderlust or other great events this summer, be sure to bring a few natural remedies with you so that you’re armed with the right tools to see you through.
Without providing an overly elaborate essential oils 101 course, it’s important to understand the premise of how and why one would implement these plant-based potions into your arsenal of wellness tools. Essential oils are the highly concentrated aromatic essences of plants. They are the most potent form of the plant you can obtain. To put this into perspective, essential oils are 50–70 times more powerful than herbs, and one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26–28 cups of peppermint tea. That’s a lot of tea to pack into one drop.
Why use essential oils?
Consider that these essences, when in their natural form, operate to protect and communicate for the plant. By using essential oils, we are tapping into the natural intelligence that plants have evolved in order to survive in their natural habitats. Essential oils are derived from leaves, stems, roots, flowers, resins, and more. We are allowing the same constituents that protect plans from disease-causing microbes, bacteria, viruses, invaders, fungus, and more to act as assistance on our own cellular environment, by using them topically (on the skin), aromatically (via inhalation), or internally (by ingesting some essential oils in small doses).
Those of you looking for a pre-made, all-inclusive Gypsy Kit can visit here to get all the essential oil-based goods you’ll need in one fell swoop. But if you want to learn the method behind the magic, read on.
Boost your health.
Let’s start with the one thing we can’t take for granted: our health. Bolstering our immune system is the best thing we can do for ourselves when we are out enjoying long, bright nights and too little sleep. You can guard against environmental threats by creating an immunity-enhancing blend (combining some known powerhouse essential oils), or you can choose to keep a couple of these single-oil selections to place in your carry-on:
- Wild Orange oil not only smells divine, but is also high in monoterpenes and antioxidants, making it an ideal immunity-assister with antibacterial, antiseptic, and mood-boosting properties.
- Cinnamon Bark and Cassia oils have strong cleansing and immunity properties. Small amounts can be extremely powerful, so both should definitely be added—judiciously—to your immunity blends.
- Cloves are quickly becoming known as the “best antioxidant” in nature. Their antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties also make them a key inclusion for your blend.
- Oregano has long been considered a “herbal superstar” for health support because it contains carvacrol and thymol (both in the phenols group), which possess cleansing and antioxidant properties. It also promotes the proper function of the digestive and respiratory systems.
- Melaleuca, or tea tree oil, has been used by the Aboriginal people of Australia for centuries to promote feelings of clear breathing and for its cooling sensations on the skin. It can be taken internally for cellular health, applied topically to help skin, and used on surfaces in your living space to protect against environmental threats.
- Frankincense, a resin, is renowned as one of the most prized and precious essential oils. People of any age or era can benefit from its soothing, beautifying, and purifying properties. Benefits of this magical oil include (but are not limited to) easier menstrual cycles, improved oral health, better immune systems, and more regulated digestion.
Create “mood magic.”
Have you ever inhaled a very specific aroma that instantly triggered ancient memories that you hadn’t recalled in years? This is a testament to the powerful way in which essential oils can work. They interact directly with the limbic part of the brain, which is home to the amygdala—where emotions and memories are processed and stored.
Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. Olfactory responses to odors induce the brain to stimulate the release of hormones and neurochemicals that in turn can alter the body’s physiology and behavior. Try experimenting with the following:
- Bergamot is the most delicate of citrus plants and is unique among citrus oils in that its aroma works to uplift even while it calms. It has also been reputed to relieve sad and anxious feelings, eliminate irritability, and stimulate hormonal secretions that may help balance metabolism and lower blood pressure.
- Lavender has been used and cherished for centuries, and for good reason: It is famous for promoting sleep, easing feelings of tension or anxiety, and is often used to calm skin irritations.
- Rose is a heady and indulgent aroma that we are so familiar with, one might think it to be quite common and abundant. But when it comes to rose in its purest essential oil form, this scent is considered one of the most labor-intensive and therefore precious. It takes approximately 1.16 million (yes—million) fresh-picked rose petals to produce just one ounce (30mL) of rose essential oil. Furthermore, since the petals are so delicate, the steam distillation process must happen the same day the flower is harvested. With all the love that goes into creating a pure rose essential oil, it’s no wonder this oil is incredibly emotionally uplifting.
- Sandalwood is a fragrant, mood-enhancing wood that is often used with meditation because of its rounding effects. The sweet, woody aroma has been used for centuries as incense, and it is frequently used in association with facial treatments because of its beneficial skin properties.
- Grapefruit is known for its energizing and invigorating aroma. This essential oil helps uplift mood and provides a clarifying effect to the mind. It is also used to promote clear skin and support a healthy metabolism.
Cleanse your aura and your space
Before you zip up your backpack to go find your true north, be sure to bring some aromas that will allow you to create a sense of “home” wherever you go. From smudging unwanted energy in the air to purifying the surfaces you encounter along the way, it’s crucial to be prepared with some purifying power in your fanny pack. Put a few drops on your palms, rub together, and then inhale for aromatherapy on the go.
- Rosemary usage has been traced as early as Roman times (when it was frequently used in religious ceremonies) and ancient Egypt (as incense). For your modern mindfulness purposes, you will find that a dab or spritz of this antioxidant powerhouse in your breathing space will enhance your respiratory functioning, increase mental clarity and memory, and perhaps also cull any nefarious bad vibes infiltrating your consciousness.
- Eucalyptus essential oil’s main chemical components are eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol, making it an ideal oil to promote feelings of clear breathing and open airways. Eucalyptus has purifying properties that can be beneficial not only for the skin, but also for cleansing the air and household surfaces.
- Lemon is the ultimate cleanser—an antiseptic powerhouse that can be used as a non-toxic cleaner on almost any surface in your midst (including wood, leather, and tarnished silver). Lemon’s cleansing powers also act on your insides, providing digestive and respiratory benefits, all while spurring uplifted moods.
- Basil contains linalool, which assists in easing tension and promoting mental focus. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it helpful as a cooling agent for the skin.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Karina Mackenzie has pursued many passions at Wanderlust HQ, including producing the Speakeasy Lecture Series and running all-things-digital back in the day. Currently, she is proud to be launching Chop Wood Carry Baby, a website offering some honest and raw reflections on the balance of parenthood and the “path,” as well as sharing some nature-based, essential oil-focused tools for mindful mamas as they chop and carry their way through the day. Follow Chop Wood Carry Baby on Facebook and Instagram.