5 Essential Oils This Functional Medicine Expert Always Has On Hand
If I could, I would bring my oil cabinet—with all my essential oils sitting in a row, shining in their amber bottles—with me everywhere I go. But let's be honest, if you're a busy woman like I am, that's just not in the cards. So, I settle for the next best thing and bring an essential oil keychain with me at all times. It clips right to my purse, briefcase, or carry-on, affording me the flexibility to do whatever I need to do and go wherever my whirlwind of travel takes me.
I’m in charge of my own health care, and I know that my primary line of defense is these essential oils that I carry with me everywhere. Here are the five that I always keep on hand:
1. Clary sage.
Ladies, if you aren’t best friends with clary sage, it’s about time you were introduced! Known in essential oil circles as "the best oil for your worst time of the month," clary sage not only reduces the painful symptoms of dysmenorrhea, but it aids the body in finding a calm center during a time of hormonal fluctuation.
Studies have demonstrated the powerful antidepressant effect of clary sage and its potential application as a natural alternative to prescribed chemical options. Its calming and soothing effect on the mind and body helps you to let go of anxiety and allow your body to re-center. Especially for women dealing with stress from perimenopausal or menopausal hormonal changes, simply inhaling the aroma of clary sage lowers cortisol levels and helps you to naturally release symptoms from stress.
Dab it on your pulse points during times of stress and especially before symptoms from menstrual issues flare up. A clary sage rollerball bottle also allows for easy application. You will be dabbing it on all of your girlfriends and offering it to strangers in no time!
If I were ever stranded on a deserted island, I'd want to have this oil on hand. Frankincense is the closest to a panacea that I have found, and still the musky scent and powerful properties of this biblical masterpiece never cease to amaze me. Simply inhaling frankincense always induces an overall sense of peace and vitality to my system, bringing me calm in the center of chaos.
Prized for centuries for its health benefits, frankincense immediately affects the body upon application, as its warming and soothing effects penetrate from the outside in. Its rejuvenating effects on the skin make it a must-have for skin symptoms of hormonal imbalance, especially where inflammation runs high. In fact, its anti-inflammatory effects1 have led many research studies to examine its effectiveness in a variety of ailments, including recent cancer research where frankincense has proved effective in reducing tumor growth and destroying cancerous cells. In addition, its antimicrobial effects2 against a variety of hair, nail, and skin issues make it a must-have in your medicine arsenal.
I recommend applying it to the bottoms of your feet for immune support or directly to areas of inflammation or pain. Using it daily could help to keep your body sustained and healthy throughout the roughest of seasons.
Oh, how I love lavender! I could wax poetic for hours on the amazing versatility of lavender essential oil. Personally, I reach for it when I need a mood boost, at night for sleep support, and in the morning as a part of my skin care routine. It is a staple in my tool kit against hormonal imbalance.
Just the aroma of lavender eases tension and soothes piqued emotions, while its intense impact on the nervous system makes it an oil to try for most every need. It has also proven to be3 a powerful tool against depression, anxiety, and insomnia in even the most agitated of patients. But for women suffering from symptoms caused by hormonal imbalance or issues with menstruation, lavender’s analgesic and calming properties become paramount in relieving discomfort.
In times of anxiety or mood shifts, both inhaling lavender’s light floral scent while simultaneously applying it to pulse points always immediately soothes my body. For sleep support, diffusing lavender throughout the night in addition to applying it to the bottoms of feet and ankles before bed will help to ease you into a restful and sustaining slumber. Women can also utilize it as spot treatments for skin irritation or add it to skin care products to soothe and rejuvenate the complexion. And don’t forget a massage with a carrier oil to alleviate4 symptoms of menstrual discomfort!
Who doesn’t love the minty-burst of peppermint, especially for those moments when you need to be kissably fresh? Peppermint never lets me down when I have a tension headache, muscle cramp, a digestive issue, or need a burst of alertness to increase my focus. Its menthol content enables it to pervade your respiratory system, opening airways and allowing stress-reducing deep-breathing exercises to be more beneficial. I love pairing it with a citrus like wild orange for an uplifting boost during the morning or in the midafternoon slump. Plus, added bonus: Nothing works like peppermint to keep pesky bugs, spiders, and even rodents away!
That peppermint candy that your grandmother popped in your mouth when digestive discomfort caused you pain was no placebo; studies have found5 increased uses for peppermint in alleviating symptoms from simple digestive issues to more serious issues like irritable bowel syndrome. As for alertness, everyone can benefit from the aroma of peppermint, as it awakens senses and focuses the brain on the task at hand, even when tiredness threatens. Tension headaches often lead to migraine issues, which cause a multitude of unbearable symptoms; peppermint essential oil has been shown to reduce the onset of these symptoms. The immediate cooling effect of peppermint is also beneficial when massaged into muscle cramps or to give a focal point during hot flashes.
5. Wild orange.
My first whiff of wild orange introduced me to the aromatherapeutic power of essential oils, and the rest is history. The instant uplift of emotions that I felt was unlike anything that I had ever experienced before, and this oil became and still is my favorite! From immune support to a powerful cleansing agent, from mood lifter to focuser and mental clarifier, wild orange works by itself but also synergistically with other complementary oils, like peppermint or spearmint and frankincense. And a quick hint: Try adding it to your toothpaste for an amazing stain remover!
Citrus oils contain monoterpenes capable of stimulating the mind and body. They can also help to reduce stress and anxiety while improving your mood for a more positive outlook. Wild orange is also a favorite among children6 for its bright smell and ability to relax and soothe piqued emotions, especially during times of stress. Its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties make it a favorite for cleaning properties, though I love to diffuse it to not only cleanse the air in my home and office but also for immune and metabolism7 support while balancing7 my blood sugar. It also adds an incredible zing to your baked goods, especially when combined with dark chocolate!
Bonus: Immunity Power Blend
Everyone who knows me laughs because I always love to give a bit more: I love a good bonus! I couldn’t end this article without sharing with you one of my go-to blends that keeps me healthy all year long. Since I have started using essential oils, I haven't fallen ill. I give a lot of credit to this immunity blend that I carry with me year-round.
- 10 drops wild orange essential oil
- 10 drops melaleuca essential oil
- 8 drops frankincense essential oil
- 6 drops clove essential oil
- 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- Carrier oil of your choice (fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil)
- 10 mL glass rollerball bottle
Add essential oils to rollerball bottle and top off with carrier oil of your choice. Apply to bottoms of feet to prevent environmental threats. This blend also works well in a diffuser to purify the air while supporting immune systems. Also try making a spray with the essential oils and witch hazel instead of a carrier oil as an all-purpose cleaner, especially for doorknobs, light switches, and other frequently touched hard surfaces.
No matter what essential oils go into your keychain, you can be assured that you are taking charge of your own health care by choosing safe and natural solutions for you and your family!
Mariza Snyder, D.C., is a functional wellness practitioner and public speaker currently living in Northern California. She received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College West and her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Health Psychology from Mills College. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, Women's Health and O, The Oprah Magazine and is the author of five best-selling nutrition books. Snyder specializes in holistic medicine and nutrition, aiming to help people live a healthy and abundant life.