Essential Oils 101
Natural Wellness Care Through Plant Power
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As an herbalist, I have long understood the benefits and uses of essential oils for wellness in the home and for the family. In fact, essential oil use has been widely known through the generations, across all continents, and by millions of people all over the globe.
Many essential oils have powerful cleansing properties (such as lemon with its astringent properties). Others can be used as dietary aids to promote health and well-being (such as fennel with its supporting digestive properties).
I have successfully used essential oils with my family for years and now want to share my knowledge about them with you as well – my dearly beloved clients and online community!
Essential Oils and Your Health
Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical volatile aromatic compounds distilled in liquid form from the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. When essential oils are used from a plant, tree, flower, etc., the concentrate of all the plant’s nutrients are being extracted at an extremely high potency rate. Much higher in fact than just using dried plant material alone. Essential oils in their concentrated form are about 70 times more potent than the original plant material!
Essential Oil Absorption
Essential Oils can be absorbed through the skin with varying effectiveness due to variance of carrier oil, dilution ratio, and how they are applied.
When inhaled, the olfactory system takes in millions of particles of essential oil compound. Chemical messengers in the nasal cavity have a direct link to the brain. The lungs, throat and sinuses are also impacted. Many essential oils are used to affect these specific areas, such as eucalyptus which can support opening a blocked nasal passageway.
Essential oils can enter the body through the skin when they are rubbed in gently.
When essential oils enter the sinuses, they also enter nerve pathways and blood circulation routes that travel to the brain, which affect emotional, neurological and immunological systems.
Essential oils provide myriad uses for our personal well-being. This includes, but is not limited to:
self-care (such as lavender for calming)
family wellness (such as eucalyptus for clear airways support)
household cleaning (such as melaleuca for disinfecting)
air freshener (such as lavender for air freshening)
skin care (such as rose for facial skin support)
body care (such as grapefruit for appetite control)
Ways to Use Essential Oils
This is perhaps the most common way to experience essential oils.
Some ways to breathe in the scent of essential oils:
Inhalation from the Bottle
simply open the top and breathe in
Place one or two drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand. Rub with the other palm. Make a cupping motion over your nose and mouth. Inhale. Repeat three or four times.
Through the steam, tiny particles travel through the air filling the space around you with scent. I like this one: PureSpa Natural Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser – Ultrasonic Mister with 200ml Water Tank, Wood-Grain Accents and Soft Color-Changing Lights (affiliate link disclosure)
Mix essential oils with an emulsifier (such as a bit of salt, milk or oil). An emulsifier helps the essential oils dilute in water. If they were dropped right into the water without an emulsifier, they would rest on the surface of the water and come into direct contact with the skin.
Place one to five drops of essential oil into a pot of hot water. While draping a towel over your head and pot, lean over the steam and breathe in repeatedly for several minutes.
Direct Application to Skin
Use a carrier oil to dilute the potency of the oil so it doesn’t irritate the skin.
Dilute with a carrier oil to prevent burning of the skin.
Place eight to ten drops of essential oil into approximately four ounces of water. Soak a cloth in the combined water and essential oil solution. Wring it out so it doesn’t drip but is still saturated. Place the cloth over the physical area in need of support.
*See Bath, above
Using ONLY therapeutic grade oils from doTERRA, and with proper research and precautions, some essential oils can be ingested. You must know what you are doing first. NEVER ingest the oils without properly vetting them.
The French Model, which promotes taking essential oils internally, was originally advocated by three prominent aromatherapists: Jean Valnet, Paul Belaiche, and Henri Viaud. Internal use involves consuming essential oils in a vegetable capsule or softgel. They are absorbed into systemic circulation via the digestive tract. (1,2) Generally considered the most potent method of application, internal use of essential oils offers powerful effects to the body. (3-6) (SOURCE)
Additionally, doTERRA has a great visual key to show you how each oil is best used:
A for aromatic
T for topical
I for internal
N for neat (can be applied to skin without dilution)
S for sensitive
D for dilute
Essential Oil Safety and Precautions
Because essential oils are so potent, there are several safety tips to keep in mind as you begin to use them in your cleaning routines around the home and office and health and wellness routines with the physical body:
- Keep your essential oils stored in a cool, dark place. Heat and sunlight can degrade the quality of the oils. Over time, they can loose potency and or turn rancid.
- Properly ventilate the space in which you will be using your essential oils. Over-exposure can cause headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and even vomiting.
- Keep your essential oils stored safely out of reach of children and pets. Curious hands (or paws) might want to explore them – creating a safety concern for overexposure.
- Keep your essential oils away from mucus membranes and eyes.
- When using essential oils with children, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems or serious health ailments, always learn as much as you can about the oils and how they react with these sensitive populations.
What’s your favorite way to use essential oils? Leave a comment!