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2nd newEssential oils have long been used to invigorate the mind and body, with evidence of their usage dating to the ancient Egyptian civilisation. Distilled from the leaves, berries, roots and flowers of plants and herbs, essential oils can be ingested orally, used in steam inhalation or applied topically.

Thanks to their therapeutic qualities, essential oils are increasingly adopted as a substitute to prescription drugs to treat many physiological disorders.Tail

Some of the most effective essential oils include:

Eucalyptus. Perhaps the best known of all essential oils, this is a must-have during the cold and dry winter months. Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil eases respiratory problems such as asthma while topical application alleviates joint pains. An effective alternate for people trying to reduce their caffeine intake, tea brewed from eucalyptus leaves delivers a caffeine-free burst of energy.

Geranium. If applied directly on acne-prone skin, geranium oil helps reduce skin inflammations. Ingesting a few drops reduces bloating, improves blood flow and eases acute symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Lemongrass. Stimulating and invigorating, lemongrass oil eases jet lag and fatigue when applied on sore muscles. A few drops in hot water can be ingested to treat fungal infections and fever.

Peppermint. Considered a first-aid kit ‘essential’, peppermint oil helps cure migraines, clears congestion and soothes sore throats when inhaled. When used as a massage oil, it reduces muscle soreness.

Pine tree needle. Pine tree needles have antiseptic, antibacterial and analgesic benefits, making them a ‘favourite’ among alternate health practitioners. Dermatologists often prescribe pine tree needle oil to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema; moderate intake of the oil speeds up the metabolism, acts as an antidote to food poisoning and alleviates joint pains.

– Ayesha Shaikh