The Four Essential Oils You Need In Your Life—And How to Use Them

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Here's an unpleasant flashback: On my fifth sinus infection of the year, I was curled into the fetal position in a bed of balled-up tissues, watching a Law & Order SVU marathon (again), and I thought, "This is definitely not how I want to live my life."

I’d been to multiple allergists and ENT’s, but other than prescribing steroid nasal sprays and antibiotics, there wasn’t much they could do, and I kept getting sick. So, I took a totally different approach. I began working with a nutritionist to try and heal inside-out. She introduced me to a new way of looking at food, and (as a bonus) these magical little potions called essential oils. And while they didn't cure me or make me skip Western medicine completely, they’ve definitely helped me prevent and recover from random ailments (not just sinus infections) more efficiently and more quickly. Here’s the four that I absolutely cannot live without:

When I’m getting a cold: Thieves
If I’m on an airplane or feeling generally run-down (the two situations when I’m most likely to come down with something), I put a few drops of this blend of antimicrobial eucalyptus, clove, and rosemary oils into my palms and inhale deeply, multiple times a day. It smells amazing and has revived me from the edge of sickness many times.

When I have heartburn: Peppermint
The nutritionist seriously helped my acid reflux, but I still get heartburn every now and then (it’s instigated by stress more than food for me). Instead of popping an OTC pill, I put a drop of this into water and it extinguishes the fire in no time. I also use it sometimes when I'm perfectly healthy, just because it makes water taste really, really good.

When I have a stomachache: Digize
This mixture has soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients (ginger, anise, and fennel are just a few) that, when massaged onto your stomach in a clockwise direction, help alleviate discomfort.

When I’m flipping out: Lavender
I’m not sure what’s worse: a stressful day at work or a stressful subway ride home. Regardless, sometimes I want to scream in a pillow when I walk in the door at night. That’s when I put a few drops of lavender into my handy diffuser (a device I love more than my Apple TV). It fills the air with a beautiful, spa-like scent that calms me down and helps me unwind in less time than a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And, unlike my many candles (which I hide from my super in case he thinks I'm trying to burn the building down), it doesn’t leave dark soot on my walls.

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