Nature is a natural remedy so it would make sense that essential oils which are extracted from plants through steam distillation, can be used as natural remedies not just in everyday life, but also out on the trail. Essential oils are non-toxic natural remedies that can be used for hundreds of different causes, depending on the specific oil. Some oils such lavender can be used for multiple natural remedies such as a sleep aid and sunburn relief while peppermint can be used for nausea, sore muscles, headaches, bug repellent, and overheating. In addition to using essential oils on the trail, I also use these miracle workers on a daily basis in my home as household cleaners and also on my skin for anti-aging. Whether I am battling a cold, hiking in the woods, trying to eliminate unwanted acne or just wanting a floral pick-me-up throughout the day, essential oils are one of my favorite things. One important thing to note: your skin may have a sensitive reaction to some essential oils when directly applied to your skin. This is not an allergy but rather a reaction, instead of applying the essential oils “neat”, mix them with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or jojoba oil in order to avoid irritation and boost the hydrating properties of your recipe. The following are common ways to use essential oils in the wild:
Bug repellent: Rub 3-5 drops of citronella, peppermint, or eucalyptus on wrist and neck
Sleep: Rub 3 drops of lavender oil on the bottoms of your feet.
Sore muscles: Massage 5-7 drops of Panaway (wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, and peppermint) oil on the sore area
Sunburn relief: Rub 5-7 drops of lavender or peppermint oil onto the sunburned area
Wound care and to stop bleeding: Rub 3 drops of helichrysum on the affected area
Skin irritations/cuts: Rub 2-3 drops of helaleuca, or tea tree oil, on the affected area.
Nausea and Indigestion: Drip 3 drops peppermint oil onto a washcloth. Hold it under your nose, and breathe slowly and deeply for 1-3 minutes. The menthol in peppermint oil improves circulation and stops nausea quickly.
Overheating: Apply peppermint oil to the back of neck or soles of feet for fast, cooling relief. This is also great to do before hiking or long treks to keep the feet cool and comfortable.
Minor Burns: Apply 2-3 drops lavender oil directly on the site and gently spread over the affected area. This also works great for bee stings.
Headache: Apply peppermint oil to the temples, brow line, and back of neck for quick relief.
Not all essential oils are created equally. Only a couple of brands make essential oils in their purest forms without adding synthetics, contaminants, or cheap fillers, or by using unethical production practices. Make sure you do your research before investing in a line of essential oils. A good essential oil brand will cost you a pretty penny but each vial will go a long ways and when compared to the price of household cleaners, expensive skincare lines, quality scented candles, or over the counter medications, the price for oils is comparable without the compromise of the toxins and fillers that regularly come in synthetic everyday products.
What is your favorite essential oil to carry on the trail?
See you on the trails xx,