When I first started learning about essential oils, I was skeptical. It sounded too earthy-crunchy for my taste, and the research and lack of FDA approval had me questioning whether they worked. But there is no better proof than trying them for yourself and seeing them work their magic right before your eyes. That's what turned me from a skeptic into a believer almost overnight. So when you are packing up and getting your college student ready to move in–don't forget to pack away those little amber-colored bottles. They are small, require minimal storage space, and can be a lifesaver when living in the dorms.
How Essential Oils Work
If you're new to the world of essential oils, here is what you need to know: Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from a flower, shrub, leaf, root, or seed. You can use them topically, internally, or aromatically. There are unlimited purposes for them, and once you start, you will find uses for them daily. You may even begin to wonder how you ever lived without them.
In my home, we use essential oils for everything! Headaches, stomachaches, skin bumps, burns or cuts, congestion, sickness, trouble sleeping, or to boost the immune system during the sick season. Whenever there is a problem or ailment, there's an oil for it in our cabinet. The same issues at home will likely arise in the dorms too.
Where to Get Essential Oils
You can purchase essential oils almost anywhere nowadays. Grocery stores, pharmacies, Amazon, and even your local dollar store carry them. But, as I've told my children in the past: "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." In the world of essential oils, just because you can buy a $1 bottle does not mean you should. Most store-bought essential oil companies will chemically manufacture their oils, making them ineffective and harmful to ingest. These are not therapeutic grade, as a true essential oil should be. Many chemically manufactured oils are meant purely to enjoy aromatically. A true essential oil goes far beyond that and has healing benefits. I won't bore you with the details about the behind-the-scenes of essential oil companies and knowing what differentiates the good from the bad. Still, do plenty of research before making a big purchase, and always beware of the brands you see stocked on the shelves.
Invest in a Good Diffuser
While there are many ways to reap the benefits of essential oils, diffusing them is my favorite. I love that you can set it and forget it for the rest of the day while still enjoying its benefits. The sound and look of a diffuser running in the background of a dorm room will set the mood for peace and tranquility. So, where can you get one of these diffusers? Thankfully, just about anywhere you buy oils, you will likely find a way to diffuse them. A great diffuser does not need to be expensive. In fact, you can find many great options for under $20. When shopping for a diffuser, consider the size of the dorm room and find a diffuser that fits the space in which you will use it.
So now that you're a bit more educated about essential oils and their purpose let's discuss which ones are must-haves for every dorm room! While there are hundreds of oils out there on the market, here are the six that your college student will grab most often:
Tea Tree Oil (or Melaleuca Oil)
This oil is used topically and comes from the Australian tea tree leaves. Many people use tea tree oil for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. This oil can replace many items in a first-aid kit and is known to be an excellent treatment for wounds, cuts, or scrapes. Any skin issues that may arise like acne or eczema often clear up after a few tea tree oil treatments. Having it available in your dorm can help in a pinch when you might normally grab an antiseptic ointment or athlete's foot cream (think--communal showers!). It's also great for hair and teeth. Add it to your shampoo and even your toothpaste for oral health support.
Lavender is one of the most popular and versatile of all oils. It's a lovely-smelling oil with many healing benefits. We use this oil often whenever skin issues like eczema or a rash arise. I usually add it to an unscented lotion and apply it to the area affected. At night, lavender is the first thing that goes into our bedside diffusers, promoting restfulness and sleep. Between late-night studying and hanging with friends until the wee hours, lavender is a great oil to help wind down after a stressful day of college. Lavender is also helpful in easing menstrual cramps and has been known to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Getting a cold in the dorms is inevitable! College students sharing small living spaces with friends and other students and in the winter months, when we typically keep the windows shut, sharing germs is just a way of life. Eucalyptus oil is fantastic for colds, coughs, allergies, sinus, and congestion issues. Diffusing or rubbing directly onto your chest (diluted) is the best method. Its also been suggested rub diluted eucalyptus oil to the bottom of your feet before bed for an extra restful night of sleep.
Peppermint is a must-have for anyone prone to headaches or gastrointestinal issues. Rub a bit into your temples when a headache arises, and your headache will pass in no time at all. Inhale the strong peppermint scent in a diffuser, and the soothing aroma will help with nausea, heartburn, or an upset stomach. Be cautious when applying topically because sometimes, the cooling peppermint can give a burning sensation to the skin. It can be best to add a carrier oil like coconut, or almond, to dilute the peppermint. As an added bonus, if your college student has been known to leave food crumbs around that attract bugs, things likely aren't going to change in college. But a little peppermint oil and a carrier mixed together in a spray bottle will keep the pests away. The food crumbs--not so much.
Frankincense oil is one of the most potent healing oils and has been nicknamed the "king of oils." Every college student should have this one handy! Frankincense is usually my go-to whenever I am unsure which oil to use for something, I grab it, and it will do the trick. It's most helpful for easing stress and anxiety and also improves concentration and focus–perfect for exam week (or any week in college!). In addition, it has healing properties similar to Eucalyptus in that it helps with congestion, coughs, and colds. A combination of the two, diffused or applied topically, is the perfect mix for a bad cold. Use it consistently, and your symptoms will disappear much faster.
There are many citrus oils: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and more. Citrus oils are light and smell fantastic when diffused in any room. They tend to all have similar benefits, so the one you choose is often just a matter of preference. Citrus oils will uplift a mood, ease anxiety and reduce stress. We all know the stressors that college students face with heavy class loads, work, exams, and a transition to adulthood. Citrus oils promote strong mental health, which is crucial to a person's overall well-being.
Additionally, citrus oils have a positive impact on clearing skin. They are known to have astringent properties and can brighten skin. Many people add citrus oils to their skincare regime to help detoxify and clear up acne-prone skin.
I could go on and on about my favorite oils, but we would be here all night! There are so many options when it comes to essential oils, and every one of them has a different purpose. If the world of essential oils is new for you and you are unsure where or how to begin, these six are a perfect place to start. Add them to your college student's care package, stuff them in their Christmas stocking for the holidays, or pack them away during college move-in. Your college student will absolutely thank you.