My Favorite Essential Oils & Their Uses
In the first part of this series, Anita shares how she has used essential oils as a complementary therapy while living with bladder cancer. Part 2 mentions her favorite oil: lavender. In this third part, she discusses other oils and their benefits.
These oils have helped me over the years
I would like to share some of my favorite oils. These oils have helped me through the past couple of years and no doubt will continue to help me.
Lemongrass is a citrus oil. Most of the citrus oils are uplifting, bright, and energetic oils – sunshine oils, as well as being top note oils. This wonderfully strong smelling oil can help to fight depression and fatigue. It can help with pain and reduce fevers, as well as strengthening our nerves and soothing inflammation.
Geranium is a balancing oil; it can help to soothe your “over-busy” mind and balance hormones. It is a middle note oil. It is a great oil to use if you are going through menopause. It is a good oil if you suffer from emotional stress, which let’s face it, I think we all do at some point in our bladder cancer journeys. It works well with lavender and lemongrass. This is a good oil to use when recovering from an operation and helps with anxiety, and again, is good for helping with “getting to sleep”. I usually use this on a PET scan day. I add it to my bath water along with lavender. I use about 6-8 drops of essential oil.
Ginger essential oil is a great warming oil. It is a base to middle note oil. It helps with general aches and sprains as well as working deeper on muscular and rheumatoid pains. It also helps with nausea; I would put some ginger directly onto a tissue, and each time I felt sick, I would take a couple of deep breaths in, and this would help. Ginger also helps with the digestion and diarrhea.
Peppermint or spearmint
Peppermint/spearmint: both of these oils work on the digestive system and can help when needing to expel wind (gas). It is a top note oil. After my RC, I would suck on peppermints and drink peppermint tea in order to calm my bowels. It also helps the respiratory system, which helps with colds and coughs. Inhalation works well for this oil. It also reminds me of candy canes and Christmas.
I normally use 10ml of a carrier oil with the peppermint oil. Jojoba or sweet almond oil are good carrier oils to use, as they help relieve itchiness and reduce inflammation and soreness. They both contain moisturizing properties. Once I mix the peppermint essential oil with the carrier oil, I start to massage where my large intestine is. Using 3 fingers, in a circular motion, starting at the lower right-hand side, I work upwards, moving across the tummy, and then I move downwards. Using a moderate strength and going slowly, I would repeat this 3 times.
Peppermint also has the ability to boost your energy and has pain-killing properties. They also say that peppermint has a good effect on cancer cells.
Rosemary is another warming oil, having a good effect on muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis with its pain-killing abilities. It is a middle note, warming with soft aromas, although I tend to find it can quickly overpower citrus oils. It can help with anxiety, and it boosts the immune system. This oil works well with peppermint in aiding digestion and helping with gas. It is also a very good oil for clarity and memory, helping with “chemo brain”. I would team this oil with lavender, clary sage and thyme. Both clary sage and thyme need to be used sparingly, as both can be toxic.
I used rosemary oil to help with my poor feet while getting over chemotherapy. I would use 6 drops of rosemary, 5 drops of clary sage and 4 drops of thyme, mixed in sweet almond oil, and then massage my feet, as my circulation wasn’t as good as it should have been. It helped with the pain I felt in them.
If like me, you suffered with chemo brain (don’t think mine has gone yet), using these oils could help you focus and bring clarity, promoting physical and mental stimulation.
Frankincense, sandalwood, bergamot, lemon, orange, peppermint, and rosemary: you have the “base” notes of the frankincense and sandalwood; these are masculine smells, deep smells. You then have the lighter oils, the happy, uplifting, and stimulating “top note” citrus oils. At the end, you have the warming oils, the middle notes.
Frankincense oil is the king of oils and has so many properties to it. It has also been shown, via various studies, to have an effect on cancer cells (although I don’t wish to get into that at all). Frankincense has been proven to help boost the immune system and protects us on a cellular level. It helps with the nervous system, and it can help depression and anxiety, amongst other things.
You do need total care with this oil as it is toxic, so use sparingly. One of the other properties frankincense has is it’s good for is anti-aging. You will find it in many anti-aging creams, as it has been shown to help with wrinkles and laughter lines (I need a huge bottle!). It is also another good oil for helping to balance hormones and supporting you when going through menopause.
Frankincense is a base or bottom note, having a deep, strong, long lasting aroma to it. This oil can also help with constipation. I would use frankincense in the bath and only use 4-5 drops in the water.
Clary sage is a great oil for anxiety and depression. It helps to calm our nerves, so this would be good on a scan day or a result day. I tend to have it diffusing on its own, and I really rely on this oil when I am having an off day. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, helping to boost our immune system. It is a top to middle note.
Sandalwood has a deep rich aroma to it, almost a musky, woody smell. It is a base note. This oil is found in a lot of men’s aftershaves due to its masculine smell. This oil is great for our mental health and stressful situations. It promotes a relaxing and calming feeling without feeling sleepy, unlike lavender. It is a great oil for when we are feeling overwhelmed with life, which is often on this rubbish journey.
I hope that you have found this series useful! I love using my oils to help boost my moods and calm my nerves, and perhaps they can help you, too!