Essential Oils 101

Quick Guide:

Essential oils are the highly concentrated volatile compounds or the life blood, extracted from plants all over the world. The oils come from different parts of the plant such as roots, leaves, bark, seeds, peels, flowers, berries and resin. There are different methods of extracting the oils such as steam distillation, cold press and resin tapping just to name a few.

Essential oils have been safely used medicinally for thousands of years and, today are often a preferred choice over pharmaceutical drugs and or toxic household cleaners. Essential oils can be used singularly however, when combined with other oils a synergy is created that enhances the many overall benefits.

Essential oils are easy to use, and, once you get the hang of it, you will find they can be used for just about everything!

Apply topically: Essential oils are heavily concentrated and should be diluted; 1–3 drops of essential oil to one teaspoon of a base oil such as jojoba, almond, grape seed or coconut. You can also use unscented lotion as your base.

Inhalation: Inhale from the bottle, add several drops to your cupped hands and inhale, add 1-2 drops of your favorite oil or blend to your diffuser. If suffering from congestion, add 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil to 4 cups of steaming water, cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors.

Bath: Slip into deep relaxation by adding 8-10 drops to your bath water along with 1 cup of milk and disperse. The milk helps to distribute the oils through the bath water.

There are many other ways to use essential oils, visit our website for more ideas or feel free to contact us, we are happy and excited to help!

In More Depth

Essential oils are used in the production of high quality perfumes; as additives in many common products; and for aromatherapy. The practice of aromatherapy began in the 1920s, and is attributed to a French chemist, Réné-Maurice Gattefosse, who used lavender oil to help heal a severe burn on his body. Gattefosse believed essential oils could be absorbed into the bloodstream when applied to the skin, and that they had medicinal effects inside the body. Another Frenchman, Dr. Jean Valnet, used essential oils during World War II to treat soldiers. He wrote a book on the topic in 1964, titled Aromatherapie. European biochemist, Marguerite Maury, performed studies on the influence of essential oils on the body and emotions, and was influential in popularizing essential oil massages as a form of therapy.

Essential oils are produced using several techniques, which include water/steam distillation, and/or expression to press the oil out of plant parts. Other techniques use alcohol or solvents to extract essential oils from plant materials. Essential oils are highly concentrated. For example, some essential oils produced from rose plants actually require 4,000 pounds of rose petals to make just one pound of essential oil, and therefore are very expensive. Lavender is one of the easiest essential oils to produce as it only requires one hundred pounds of plant material in order to produce one pound of essential oil. Essential oils are generally very complex chemically, containing many different substances and compounds. Some of the more familiar and commonly used essential oils are lavender, chamomile, peppermint, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, geranium, jasmine, rose, lemon, orange, rosemary, frankincense, and sandalwood.

What are essential oils used for?

Essential oils are used in several healing modalities, including aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, and massage therapy. They are often used for mitigating the symptoms of skin and scalp conditions including acne, athlete’s foot, burns, cuts, dandruff, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, insect bites, parasites, sunburn, warts, and wrinkles just to name a few. Oils are widely used for muscle and joint pain, to improve circulation, reduce systemic inflammation, arthritis, rheumatism as well as general aches, pains, and even varicose veins. Various essential oils such as Tea Tree and Eucalyptus are revered for relieving the symptoms of allergies, asthma, earache ear infections, sinus infections, congestion, as well as the symptoms of colds and flu. Essential oils such as Angelica Root and Evening Primrose are often used for improving digestion, promoting hormonal balance, and assisting the nervous system in certain conditions such as anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and exhaustion. Other oils such as Lavender, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang are excellent and effective mood enhancers, increasing energy and alertness and or reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Essential oils are often used as perfumes and lotions, and can be used as incense to improve the atmosphere in the home or workplace.

Preparations and how to use your oils

One of the most satisfactory aspects of using essential oils medicinally and cosmetically is that they enter and exit the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind. The most effective way to use essential oils is not orally, as one might think, but by external application or inhalation. Essential oils work best via two routes, through the nose or through the skin. The sense of smell is connected to the limbic system of the brain, which helps control emotions, memory, and several functions of the body. Research has shown that aromas and the sense of smell can influence memory recall, moods, and bodily responses such as heart rate, respiration, hormone levels, and stress reactions. Essential oils with their potent aromas can be used to enhance moods, promote relaxation, and increase energy levels. When absorbed through inhalation or via the skin, essential oils can act medicinally. Some essential oils, such as Tea Tree oil, Lavender, and Thyme, have natural antiseptic properties and can be applied to cuts, burns, and sores to disinfect and promote healing.

Essential oils are heavily concentrated and should be diluted with a base or carrier oil before rubbing them directly onto the skin. Many people do apply oils directly to the skin, however, one should use oils with care and always do a test on small patch of skin before using them on larger areas of skin. Base  or carrier oils are gentle and inexpensive oils; common ones include almond, jojoba, grape seed, and coconut. Essential oils should be diluted to make up 1–3% of a base oil solution, which is one to three drops of essential oil per teaspoon of base oil. For larger quantities, use 20 to 60 drops of essential oil per 100 milliliters of base oil.