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Essential oils are a liquid that contain compounds from plants and are usually extracted by steam distillation and cold-pressing. They are very concentrated and should be handled with care. The oils may be used topically for physical conditions (diluted in a carrier oil), diffused in the air for their aroma and may even be used for cleaning.
To help understand the basics of essential oil uses, Leslie Mendoza-Temple, MD, Medical Director of the NorthShore Integrative Medicine Program, shares which common oils can be used for what:
Dr. Mendoza-Temple’s personal favorite essential oil is eucalyptus for a cold – it helps refresh and open nasal passages. To use, you can splash some drops on the walls of the shower or add them to a very warm and wet washcloth. Breathe the eucalyptus aroma in from the steam several times a day when feeling congested.
Always make sure to read directions before you use essential oils, and check to see how often they can be used. Do not ingest essential oils unless under medical supervision from a knowledgeable professional.
What are your favorite essential oils? How do you use them?