4 Must-Have Essential Oils For Your First-Aid Kit
During your travels have you ever experienced any of the following: jet lag, nausea, itchy mosquito bites, muscle aches and pain, headache, respiratory infections/common cold, or the bubble guts (aka, the preclude to diarrhea)? If you haven't, please tell me your secrets! However, I'm confident that most of us have experienced these health issues while traveling. While we can grab over-the-counter medicine, Mother Nature provides us with natural remedies that give immediate relief to the above health issues and many more.
An example of these natural remedies is essential oil (EO), a natural oil extracted from a plant that has significant healing potential. EOs can be used aromatically, topically, and orally.
I've used essential oils and carrier oils (used to dilute EOs) for years to maintain my natural hair ::sprinkles coconut oil on life::. However, it wasn't until the last year that I've used EOs for health purposes.
In Part II of the How to Stay Healthy While Traveling the World series, I select 4 oils that I personally use and highly recommend be in your travel first aid kit.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is one of my favorite EOs! I'm prone to getting motion sickness when I'm in cars, buses, or boats. Besides my go-to ginger chews, peppermint has been helpful in alleviating motion sickness symptoms. Peppermint has antimicrobial (fights disease-causing bacteria) properties which is why it's used for medicinal purposes.
Benefits: Helps alleviate stomach upset, ease muscle and joint tension, relieves headache, clears respiratory tract, and boosts energy
How to use:
For nasal congestion: When you arrive at your accommodation and take a shower, place a few drops of peppermint oil on a wash cloth. The steam and the aroma will help clear your nasal passages and relieve symptoms of travel wear.
For achy muscles: Carrying your luggage/ backpack around for an extended period of time is bound to lead to body aches. Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil with 2 drops of lavender oil and apply to the problem areas.
For jet lag: Take a few whiffs to get a boost of energy.
For headaches: Apply it to your forehead and temples for relief.
- For bloating, indigestion and nausea: Drink peppermint tea or pour 1 drop of peppermint oil in your water. Rubbing 1-2 drops behind your ears can also help reduce nausea.
- For diarrhea: Mix 10 drops of peppermint oil with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and apply to your abdomen.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is the most commonly used EO in the world and is most known for its calming and relaxing abilities. Beyond that, lavender has great healing potential because it is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
Benefits: Improves sleep, heals burns and wounds, and alleviates headaches
How to use:
- For trouble sleeping: Rub a few drops behind your ears or directly on your neck, chest and/or temples.
- For headaches: Combine 2 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of peppermint oil in the palm of your hand and massage the oils onto the back of your neck and temples on the lateral side of the forehead. Inhale deeply.
- For sunburn, dry skin, minor cuts and scraps: Mix 10 drops per 1 ounce of aloe vera.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a powerful decongestant with anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits: Sinus decongestant, cough control, joint and muscle pain reliever, treatment of cut and minor wounds
How to use:
- For colds (sinus congestion/cough control): Pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl, add 10 drops of eucalyptus EO, place a towel over your head and take deep breaths for 5–10 minutes. The fumes are powerful so make sure to close your eyes while your face is over the water. You can also add a few drops into a diffuser and inhale the eucalyptus while you're sleeping. If you don't have a diffuser, just add a single drop of eucalyptus oil under your pillow.
- For sore muscles, cuts and minor wounds: Mix 1 drop of eucalyptus oil for every 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil and apply to affected areas.
4. Thieves Oil
This is an essential oil blend specifically created to help support our bodies' natural defenses. It consists of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils, which are powerful immune boosters and respiratory aids with antibacterial properties.
Benefits: Immune system support, aches and pain, respiratory system
How to use:
For aches/pains and wounds: Massage a few drops of the oil on the problem area. Applying thieves on wounds helps speed up the healing process as well as help to reduce scaring.
For cold/flu: Apply 2-4 drops on the soles of your feet.
- Respiratory system: Massage the blend on the chest and back to clear up the lungs. Apply a warm compress on your chest to strengthen the effect.
Special Notes About Essential Oils
This was a really difficult article to write because there's so much I wanted to say, but didn't want to overwhelm you. However, it is really important to be informed about the EOs you are purchasing. I found the Dr. Axe website to be extremely informative and a comprehensive guide for EO's benefits, uses, potential side effects, and cited research. If you have a medical condition or if you are pregnant/ trying to get pregnant talk to your doctor before you use EOs.
There are so many different brands of EOs and unfortunately a lot are no good. Make sure to read the ingredient label before you purchase your EO. Be aware of products that have added "fragrance oils." Also, make sure the label states the oil's botanical name. Lastly, look for oils that are organic and stored in dark colored glass, like amber bottles.
Before full topical application of EO, make sure to test on a small area to ensure it doesn't irritate your skin.
Storage & Traveling
Store your essential oils in a cool, dark cabinet away from heat and light. When traveling, TSA allows a quart size bag of liquid in your carry-on. That means you are allowed to carry as many 5ml or 15ml bottles that will fit in a 1 quart plastic bag.
Here are some products I highly recommend you get to prepare your EO First Aid Kit:
1. Now Essential Oils, Relaxing Essential Oil kit-
A lot of my fellow natural living enthusiast friends and myself love the Now Essential Oil Brand! This kit has 3 out of the 4 EOs mentioned in this article. Purchase here.
2. Now Essential Oil, Nature's Shield-
This is Now's version of the Thieve's blend. Purchase here.
3. Amber Glass Rolling Bottle
Blend your oils ahead of your trip. Purchase here.
4. Amber Glass Spray
Another useful item to have when blending your oils. Purchase here.
5. Essential Oil Diffuser
Diffusers aid in improving your health, increasing your energy, and helping you sleep better. Lately I've been diffusing eucalyptus oil to alleviate my seasonal allergies. Purchase here.
Do you used essential oils for health purposes? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below:
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