Essential Oils: and the Why, How and When to use them
Facts about Essential Oils
Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date
Essential Oils can trigger memories and emotions
Essential Oils can purify your home
Can enhance spiritual awareness
Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. Essential oil uses range from aromatherapy, household cleaning products, personal beauty care and natural medicine treatments.
The particles in essential oils come from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin, and peels. In ancient times, Jews and Egyptians made essential oils by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag.
Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
These healing oils are rapidly growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without any side effects. Ready to harness the power of the world’s most proven therapeutic compounds?
What You Need to Know About Essential Oils
Aristotle believed that all matter is composed of fire, air, earth, and water. In addition to these four elements, there was a fifth, which was quintessence, or life force. The processes of evaporation and distillation of plants were believed at that time, to remove the spirit or life force from the plant. The idea of essential oils is derived from the concept of quintessence.
Essential is a contraction of that word.A growing number of people now seek alternatives to traditional medicines so they can avoid the side effects of conventional drugs or the risks of addiction associated with narcotic pain relievers. One of the most popular natural remedies is essential oil.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are powerful health and vitality boosters best known for their healing and fragrance properties. They can be used for a sizable range of physical and emotional wellness applications. The oils can be used in complex blends or as single oils, depending on the desired benefits and individual user experience.
Flint Hills Aromatherapy notes that certain oils mix well with others to create unique blends that have beneficial properties.
For instance, Clary Sage, Geranium, Vetiver, Bergamot, and Lime mix well with Basil essential oil. Cedarwood, Vetiver, Lavender, and Cypress mix well with Chamomile, and Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Cedarwood all blend well with Cinnamon.According to DoTerra's Essential Oil Usage Guide A-Z, essential oil is comprised of compounds that are found in the various part of plants, such as the seeds, flowers, bark and stems.
It takes 30 pounds of lavender flowers to make a single 15 ml. bottle of Lavender essential oil. The oils are what give each plant its distinctive aroma. They are highly concentrated, and have been used medicinally for centuries. Many are used today as ingredients in various foods, cleaning products, homemade soap, perfumes, different types of beauty treatments and in countless other products.Lawrence (2002) states that in order for an essential oil to exist, it has to be isolated from the plant by physical means.
The physical methods used to isolate the oil are distillation with water, steam or both, or expression, otherwise known as cold pressing. This is a unique method used for oils made from citrus peels. A maceration or distillation process can also be used. This process macerates plant material in warm water to release the essential oil that is bound to the plant's enzymes.
Where can I use Essential Oils?
All Purpose cleaner: Add three drops each of Lemon oil and Tea Tree oil to a few ounces of warm water, then spray countertops to naturally disinfect.
Natural mosquito repellent: Combine one drop of Lemongrass oil, Citronella Oil and Eucalyptus oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil to make a natural bug spray and rub on exposed skin.
Clean Air: Diffuse Cinnamon oil in the air and enjoy its anti-microbial properties
Washing machine: Add 10-20 drops of your favorite scent pr load
Bathtub scrub: Mix one-half cup of baking soda, one half cup of vinegar and five drops of Bergamot or Lime oil. Use as a scrub for a sink or bathtub
Wash produce: To clean fruit and vegetables, add two drops of Lemon oil to a large bowl of warm water.
Bathroom freshener: Put a cotton ball soaked in Lime oil in the bathroom as a freshener.
Improve sleep: Lavender oil can alleviate insomnia. Sprinkle a few drops on your pillow to help you fall asleep.
Foot bath: Add a few drops of Lemon or Eucalyptus oil to a large bowl of warm water to help soothe the feet
Homemade soap: Add essential oils of your choice to your warm or cold processed homemade soaps
How Do I Use Essential Oil?
There are four primary ways in which to use essential oil,namely aromatically, topically, internally, and in products such as body lotion.TopicallyTopical use of essential oil involves placing the oil directly on the skin and rubbing it in.
Those with sensitive skin can dilute the oil by mixing it with fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or other pure; cold-pressed carrier oils.InternallyInternal use of essential oil is controversial and should not transpire without consulting a medical professional who is knowledgeable about oils.
To ingest internally, place from one to two drops of oil under the tongue or drink in a glass of water.
The oil can also be placed inside an empty capsule and swallowed with liquid.AromaticallyAromatic use of essential oil is affected by placing a couple of drops into the palms of the hands and sniffing them, or by putting the oil in a diffuser to release particles of oil into the air for cleansing and inhalation.
Diffusers come in several different types:
- Evaporative diffusers
- Heat diffusers
- Nebulizer diffusers
- Ultrasonic/Humidifying diffusers
Evaporative diffusers contain filters upon which essential oil is dropped. The circulating air causes rapid evaporation of the oil which is blown into space by the fan.
A heat diffuser works the same way, only the filter or pad is exposed to a low-level heat source.
Ultrasonic or humidifying diffusers use water as a catalyst for the oil, which is disbursed into the air in mist form.
Nebulizer diffusers do not use water or filters but work via an atomizer that creates a gentle mist of essential oil, which is disbursed into the air.
Products that Use Essential Oil
According to New Leaf Wellness, here are some of the many products that can contain essential oil:
- All-Purpose Cleaner
- Natural Mosquito Repellent
- Bathtub Scrub
- Body Butter
- Lip Balm
- Natural Perfume
- Acne Face Wash
- Breath Freshener
- Natural Skin Toners
- Hair Conditioners
- Homemade Shampoo
- Homemade Deodorant
- Sugar Scrub
- Homemade Toothpaste
- Body Spray
- Hair Thickener
- Wrinkle Cream
- Teeth Whitener
- Dandruff Treatments
- Facial Scrubs
Infused Oils: How They Are Made and Their Uses
Infused or macerated oils can be used to add scent, flavor and health benefits to different types of carrier oils, such as olive, coconut or sweet almond oils. To make infused oils, herbs, flowers, peppers, nuts or other plant-based ingredients are typically transferred to specific types of oil and cooked over extremely low heat for long periods of time. This method is called digestion. Other methods of infusing oils will be discussed later in this article. Infused oils differ from essential oils in that they are less concentrated, and different processes are used to make them.
Top Oils Used in Soap
According to Modern Soap Making, the top ten oils included in soaps are:
- Lavender, such as Lavandin Grosso or Lavandin Abrialis.
- Rosemary, such as Spanish Rosemary or Moroccan Rosemary.
- Folded Lemon, in a steam distilled form.
- Cedarwood, including Atlas, Himalayan and Virginian varieties.
- Dark Patchouli, preferably aged varieties.
- Clary Sage, preferably the Bulgarian variety.
- Folded Sweet Orange, as opposed to bitter orange, due to photosensitivity.
- Peppermint, that blends well with citrus, bergamot, cedarwood, lemon, lavender, rosemary, tea tree and evergreen or woodsy oils, such as fir or pine.
- Bergamot, preferably the bergaptene-free variety.
- Tea Tree, preferably the Australian or lemon tea tree varieties
Can essential oil cause allergic reactions?
According to doTerra, essential oil does not contain allergens. In other words, the best essential oil does not have contaminants or synthetic ingredients that cause allergic reactions. However, the concentrated nature of natural essential oil makes certain sensitive individuals vulnerable to sensitivity symptoms under specific conditions.
Therefore, even though this is unlikely to occur, common sense precautions should be exercised when using any essential oil. If an undesired reaction occurs, the offending oil should be withdrawn from use until a physician who is knowledgeable about oils can be consulted. Since essential oil is, by nature, a highly concentrated formula, the likelihood of developing a sensitivity reaction can be reduced by diluting the oil with fractionated coconut oil.
Essential Oil Sensitivity Symptoms:
- Skin swelling, pain or tenderness
- Itchy skin
- Boils, hives or rashes
- Upset stomach
- Breathing difficulties
Although sensitivity reactions are not likely to occur, it is wise to conduct a simple skin test before embarking upon the topical use of a given
essential oil. Merely 1-2 drops of essential oil with 3–6 drops of carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut or sweet almond oil, and apply the mixture to an inconspicuous area of skin. Let the oil fully absorb into the skin, followed by repeated examinations of the area over several hours.
Should pain, redness, swelling, itchiness, or other undesired symptoms occur, a sensitivity to that particular oil might exist, indicating the need to discontinue use of that oil.
Can essential oil be used during pregnancy?
According to Dr. Lindsey Elmore of Young Living, the choice to use essential oil during pregnancy is a decision that should be made through consultation with one's doctor or other medical professionals who are knowledgeable about their usage. While no firm rules apply, some doctors advise their patients to avoid or use only small amounts of the following oils:
- Clary Sage
- Idaho Tansy
Pregnant women should also be judicious about using supplements or blends that contain the particular oils mentioned above.
In his publication, 101 Ways to Use Essential Oil, the benefits of oil usage comes from their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The oils are quickly growing in popularity because they can treat various illnesses and other conditions without side effects.
It is important to use only the highest quality therapeutic grade oils available.