Last updated on August 19th, 2022 at 10:42 pm
By now, you probably have heard people talking about essential oils. You may be wondering what they are and how to use essential oils.
When my family first started using essential oils, my expectations were fairly minimal. I figured our house would smell great from diffusing something natural instead of synthetic fragrances.
Honestly, I had no idea they would become my next major “natural” obsession. My first “natural” obsession was removing as much plastic as possible from our lives.
But, by digging in and doing some research, I discovered how versatile, high-quality oils are. I have slowly replaced items in our medicine, beauty, and cleaning cabinets.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are what protect and keep a plant healthy and vital. One is left with a highly concentrated liquid by extracting the plant’s essence through distillation or cold pressing. This liquid, essential oils, has been used for centuries to promote emotional and physical well-being.
For example, one drop of 100% pure peppermint oil is equivalent to approximately 24 cups of peppermint tea.
How To Use Essential Oils
The real beauty of using essential oils is that one oil can have a multitude of uses.
For example, Lavender can be applied:
- to bug bites and minor burns to help relieve pain and itching
- as a natural relaxation tool to help children ease into a calming state for a good night’s sleep.
- it can be defused and make your home smell incredible without the use of perfumes or artificial fragrances.
Three Ways To Administer Essential Oils
While one type of oil may not be recommended for internal use, the same oil may be very effective when used as a topical or aromatic.
- Aromatic: you can add several drops to an essential oil diffuser or simply apply a few drops of oil to your palms and inhale.
- Topical: many oils can be applied “neat” (undiluted), by placing a few drops of oil directly on the skin. Similar to how reflexology uses the feet to access different parts of the body, the bottoms of the feet are often a good place to apply essential oils. With all oils, avoid using on or around the eyes, ears, and genital area. If the oil should not be applied “neat,” it will need to be diluted with a carrier oil, which helps dilute the oil’s strength. Carrier oils include coconut and jojoba oil.
- Internal: The third method is to ingest the oil, which can be accomplished by adding a drop or two to a glass of water. Some oils can also be placed into vegetable capsules and swallowed. Check the labels and only use a safe, pure brand when ingesting.
It is important to check the guidelines for the individual oil and only use a high-quality, unadulterated oil brand.
Choosing A Safe Essential Oil
Since essential oils are naturally derived from a plant, they do not require FDA approval. When choosing safe and effective oils, realize that not all oils are created equal. A little research into what brand to choose can make a big difference. Even if the essential oil only lists one plant ingredient (usually listed as the botanical name) and no fillers it may have been processed using GMO crops or dosed with pesticides. Furthermore, many of the brands you can find at health food stores are not 3rd party tested and can contain fillers and additives, exactly the type of chemicals most of us are trying to avoid.
To recap, look for an essential oil that:
- Does not use GMO
- Preferably organic
- Does not use fillers or additives
- Is 3rd party tested for purity
Resources: Do Your Research
Here are some links for DYOR (do your research) on oils:
- Pub Med: A site that catalogs publications from scientific journals, including research on essential oils
- Skin Deep: The Environmental Working Group’s searchable database of toxic ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products. Skin Deep currently does not test different brands, but it is a valuable resource for determining the toxic levels in certain products that use essential oils.
Essential Oil Reference Books
A reference book can be a great resource with hundreds of different oils to learn about. There are many excellent books to choose from, with most listing how to use oils by oil type or the condition they can help alleviate. Some books focus on specific topics such as using oils safely during pregnancy or with babies and kids, and even pets.
DIY Essential Oil Recipe
With cold and flu season approaching, we decided to include an easy make-your-own hand sanitizer recipe.
EO Hand Sanitizer, mix and add the ingredients below into a small squeeze bottle.
- Small squeeze bottle
- 6 tbsp. Organic Aloe Vera Gel
- 5 tbsp. Distilled or Regular Water
- 10 drops of essential oils like Young living Thieves, OR 3 drops of each of the following Clove, Lemon and Eucalyptus