If you’ve never taken your essential oils past the threshold of home, you’ve been missing out! Essential oils are nature’s fix-it kit, and perfectly suited to the great outdoors.
They smell delicious, have multiple uses for their tiny size and, unlike some cleaning and personal care products packed with synthetic fragrances, foaming agents and dyes, any residue they leave behind is biodegradable and won’t harm the environment.
So which oils should you take with you, and what can you use them for? Here’s our top five.
1. Lavender oil
Who hasn’t had a clumsy encounter with a campfire, or a touch too much sun after a big day outside? Bosisto’s Lavender Oil is great for burns, and can be dabbed on neat or added to some aloe vera gel as a burn salve (see below for our soothing sunburn salve recipe). It’s a great all round antibacterial actually, and can be used on any cuts, minor scrapes, fish hook injuries and bug bites too.
Lavender is also fantastic for easing headaches – just dab some onto your temples or add to a handkerchief and inhale.
Insomnia is another common problem which doesn’t necessarily go away with a change of scenery – lavender has been shown to assist relaxation and aid a better night’s sleep.
Soothing Sunburn Salve
* 20 drops Bosisto’s Lavender Oil
* 2 teaspoons carrier oil (such as avocado, olive or coconut oil)
* 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
Directions: Blend the lavender oil with the carrier oil, then add to the aloe vera. Apply generously to affected areas, and repeat as necessary. The mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. Peppermint oil
Got a family member who suffers from travel sickness? Peppermint oil is a must-have. A renowned antispasmodic, peppermint is useful to help ease nausea (dab on temples or inhale on a hanky), for an upset tummy and headaches. Peppermint is also known as a ‘cooling’ oil so is useful for a foot bath after hiking or added to a cool compress on the forehead if someone is feeling the heat. (NOTE: If you can’t find peppermint, eucalyptus oil with its crisp, minty scent can be used in a similar way.)
3. Tea Tree oil
You should also have some Bosisto’s Tea Tree Oil or Spray in your kit.
Why? Tea Tree oil is a natural antifungal, and this can be very useful indeed. Camp showers and toilets are a breeding ground for tinea pedis, or athletes’ foot, a fungus that has caused itchy grief to many a camper’s toes. Simply dab Bosisto’s Tea Tree Oil neat onto toes for instant relief of symptoms, or spray with quick-drying Bosisto’s Tea Tree Spray.
This essential oil is great for treating small cuts and blisters on the feet (a common occurance during long days out sightseeing or bushwalking). You can also use the Spray inside shoes, hiking boots or any other footwear to help keep them fresh and kill bacteriawhich cause nasty odours (your fellow tent or caravan occupants will thank you).
Mozzies, flies and midges. They’re the bane of any camper’s experience and have ruined many a peaceful meal by the campfire.
Many of the oils mentioned above have natural insect-repellent properties but none are as effective as citronella. However, some people prefer the scent of oils such as lavender or tea tree so they’re useful to have in the mix. Here’s a great DIY insect repellent recipe to try.
* 50 drops of essential oils (try a mix of citronella, tea tree and lavender)
* 4 tablespoons carrier oil (such as avocado, coconut, Vitamin E or olive oil)
Directions: Blend the essential oils, then add to the carrier oil in a dark glass bottle or jar. Dab the mixture on your wrists, behind your ears, inside your elbows, behind your knees and around your ankles. Re-apply after an hour or after swimming, exercise etc. (Note: you can try adding some aloe vera gel to change the consistency of the oil and make it more spreadable)
5. Eucalyptus oil
This oil is the very definition of a multi-use wonder, particularly for natural cleaning. Take a bottle of with you and you can probably leave behind five or six other products you’d normally pack.
Eucalyptus is a natural solvent and surface germ-killer which makes it great for wiping down sticky benches, camp chairs, eskies and fold-up tables. Soak greasy barbecue tools in warm water and a splash of eucalyptus oil to remove grime before rinsing clean. Add it to your laundry wash to help remove stubborn odours, cooking grease, dirt and grime from hiking or fishing.
Eucalyptus Spray is another great travel-helper, particularly when it comes to freshening camp toilets, rubbish bin areas or inside musty tents. It's great for deodorising sleeping bags, fishing or golf gear that's been packed away in storage.
Sprayed in the base of a shower (not near your feet) and allowed to vaporise in the warm water, it’s also an invigorating way to wake up in the morning.
Finally, if anyone in the group falls sick with a cold or flu, you’ll be very glad to have some eucalyptus in your first aid arsenal – it’s wonderful for relieving congestion and easing sniffly noses.
HANDY TO KNOW... Can't get that 'post-road trip' dead mozzie residue off the windscreen or number plate of your car? A spray or dab of Bosisto's Eucalyptus will do the trick in an instant.
This article is for information purposes only and does not consitute medical advice. If symptoms persist, please see your doctor. Always read the label and use only as directed.