College student’s guide to essential oils

Sarah Ehrlich

Winters in Colorado are notoriously harsh.

The dry air and icy temperatures do a number on your skin as well as your emotional well-being.


essential oils made into soap
Salus Bath and Body makes their soap in-house, infusing each bar with a mix of essential oils and unique ingredients. They even have soap featuring New Belgium and Odell beer flavors. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

A solution to those winter blues is essential oils, an alternative remedy more people are picking up on. 

Kassie Nelson, a health and exercise science major at CSU, is a long-time user of essential oils and has found them useful for many maladies such as nausea, insomnia, pain, colds, asthma and depression. She uses peppermint, lavender, vetiver, orange, eucalyptus and many other oils, she said.

“I can use peppermint oil instead of my rescue inhaler for asthma because it is just as effective, but I’m not inhaling steroids, so it’s so much better for me,” Nelson said.

Essential oils are used topically, aromatically and can be mixed to create custom remedies. Keep reading for a list of oils you can use when winter and school have you down.

essential oils and apothecary book
Golden Poppy Apothecary offers literature on bodily health and how to properly use essential oils. Knowledgable staff can help customize what you need. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)
  1. For general health

Thieves” is a popular blend consisting of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. This blend was made by grave robbers during the 14th Century plague who needed something to protect their bodies from the scents of death. Since it is 2017 and there is no plague in sight, you can use this oil to combat respiratory and digestion problems, inflammation and stress.

  1.  For stress and studying

Reading the same line in your textbook over and over with no retention means it is time for rosemary. This oil helps with concentration and memory, and is backed up by many scientific studies. Have writer’s block or need to cram for a test? Citrus scents can help with creativity, staying calm and helping you stay awake for late nights and dreaded 8 a.m. classes.

“This oil is very mentally stimulating,” said aromatherapist Leesa Balik of Golden Poppy Apothecary. “If you’re run down or need to feel good about yourself, citrus oil is both calming and uplifting and can help in stressful situations.”

  1. For sleep
essential oils
Essential oils have been used for centuries and are commonly used to combat the cold and flu, common illnesses around Christmas time. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

Sleep is a college student’s best friend, but sometimes stresses of life can make it hard to slow the brain down and fall asleep. Forest-type scents tend to help bring you back down to Earth so you can properly recharge and reconnect.

Frankincense calms the mind and improves your body’s natural healing process, which equals a healthier sleep. Cedar is cost friendly and supports healthy function of the pineal gland, which releases melatonin. This scent tends to be harsh, so mixing with lavender, another sleepy-time oil, is a popular remedy for insomnia.

  1. For skin problems

Living in the West brings cold and dry months that can take an effect on skin health. Salus Bath and Body employee Miriam Taour recommends hemp lotion to help. Hemp has an essential fatty acid that is similar to human skin lipids and is great for moisturizing.


essential oils made in tea form
Essential oils can be used topically and aromatically. Because they are so potent, it is not recommended to ingest directly, but rather ingest them in tea form. Golden Poppy Apothecary offers many shelves of special tea blends, shown here. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

“Hemp lotion is a great base to add any type of essential oil you want to it,” Taour said. “This gives you a bit of aromatherapy without taking a lot of time out of your day.”

Pesky breakouts are a sign of stress, sleep deprivation or hormonal imbalance—things college students tend to deal with the most. Tea tree acts as an anti-inflammatory while clary sage can help balance hormones. It is important to remember these oils are concentrated and should be diluted with a favorite face wash or oil.

Because essential oils are natural, most people do not realize the power of them in that they are sometimes just as effective if not more so than pharmaceuticals. Research is important here, and Fort Collins is a great point of reference for natural medicine.

The Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary, located on 223 N. College Ave, carries only pure essential oils, all of which are organic when possible and ethically sourced.

Collegian reporter Sarah Ehrlich can be reached at and on Twitter @sarahehrlich96.