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
Caution: Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a health professional prior to use. If contact with skin occurs, avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours.
Storage: Keep in a cool, dark place.
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 idea 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-microbal 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 a 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 kind of 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 prior to embarking upon topical use of a given
essential oil. Simply 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 professional who is 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.
How do I know Which Essential Oil to Use?
Here are some of the most popular oils and some of the things that they treat:
Basil can be used effectively for abdominal cramps, amenrrhea, bee stings, bursitis, chronic fatigue, earache, fatigue, insect bites, migraine, muscle spasms, restless leg syndrome, tendinitis, torn ligaments or muscles and vertigo.
Eucalyptus is used to treat allergies, bronchitis and asthma. It is shown to be an effective cough remedy, and is used for congestion, hay fever, hypoglycemia, pneumonia and to treat poison ivy rashes.
Frankincense can assist people who have problems with absentmindedness, amnesia,aneurysms, arthritis, autism, concussions, sadness, inflammation, liver disorders, mental fatigue, metal toxicity, ovarian cysts, Parkinson's Disease, polio, schizophrenia, seizures and wrinkles.
Lavender is one of the most widely used oils. It is used for the treatment of insect bites ,anxiety, arrhythmia, bruises, calming, cuts, scrapes, skin allergies, ear infections, itching, eczema, heat stroke,, insomnia, measles, burns, poison ivy, atherosclerosis, rashes, stress and sunburn.
Lemon essential oil is used to treat coughs, dysentery, gallbladder stones, greasy hair, gout, kidney stones, gout and sore throats.
Lemongrass is used to treat bladder infections, connective tissue trauma, carpal tunnel syndrome, gastritis, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, metal toxicity, muscle spasms, tissue regeneration, torn tendons, urinary tract infections and varicose veins.
Rosemary is used for gallbladder issues, gout, kidney stones, hangovers and sort throats.
Vetiver is a balancing oil that works on absentmindedness, hyperactivity, memory loss and autism.
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.
Common problems and how to treat them:
Here are some common problems that can be treated with oils, and the recommended oils to use with each one
Lavender, Melaleuca or Lemongrass work well for the treatment of acne. To use, apply up to three drops topically to the affected area up to twice a day. Adjust the number of drops used according to the severity of the problem and the size of the area that is effected.
Peppermint oil can be diffused into the air or rubbed into the palms of the hands and inhaled as needed for a quick pick-me-up.
Discomfort from Arthritis
Frankincense or Peppermint oil may be used by applying a a drop or two topically to the affected area as needed. Small amounts applied frequently work best.
A good oil remedy for athlete's foot is Oregano or Melaleuca. To use, apply up to three drops topically to the area between the toes and around the toenails twice daily until symptoms subside.
Peppermint or Clary Sage work well for bloating. Apply a few drops topically to the stomach area, or rub a few drops on the soles of the feet before bedtime. Please consult a physician before using Clary Sage if pregnant.
Eucalyptus or Thyme can be topically applied to the chest and neck area as an effective treatment for bronchitis. Alternatively, one can gargle a few drops of either of these oils in warm water, or diffuse one into the air and inhale.
Helichrysm or Geranium oil may be effectively used to treat bruises. Apply a few drops topically to the affected area several times a day.
Cellulite can be treated with Grapefruit or Lemon essential oil. Topically massage three drops vigorously on the direct location of the cellulite daily, especially prior to exercising. Additionally, two drops may be added to eight ounces of water to be sipped throughout the day.
Lavender or Roman Chamomile oil can all be used to treat insomnia. To use, add up to 5 drops to a warm bath, or rub topically on the soles of the feet before going to bed at night.
Indigestion can be effectively treated by using ginger or peppermint oils
Peppermint, Bergamot and Rosemary are the best oils to use to rejuvenate oneself after a long flight.
For sore joints, wintergreen or peppermint oils are quite effective.
Leg cramps can be effectively treated with Clary sage or Cypress oils.
Lemongrass or peppermint work well to make the mind more alert and to eliminate mental fatigue.
Migraine headaches respond well to peppermint oil.
Ginger, Peppermint or Lavender oils are effective remedies for motion sickness.
Lemongrass is often used effectively to treat muscle stiffness.
Wintergreen is often used to treat neck soreness.
Lavender, Geranium or Helichrysum are three oils that work well to help eliminate nose bleeds.
Lemongrass, Clove or Melaleuca are used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
The best essential oil to use for PMS is Vlary Sage, Bergamot or Geranium.
Poison Ivy can be effectively treated with Melaleuca, Rose oil or Lavender.
Helichrysum, Melaleuca or Roman Chamomile are the best oil choices for the treatment of psoriasis.
Rashes usually respond positively to Melaleuca, Lavender or Roman Chamomile oils.
Restless Leg Syndrome
The best oils to use for restless leg syndrome are Marjoram or Cypress.
Oregano or Melaleuca are excellent oil choices for the treatment of ringworm.
Frankincense stands at the forefront of oils used to treat sadness or depression.
Scars may be effectively treated with Frankincense, Lavender or Helichrysum
Melaleuca, Melissa or Sandalwood have been shown to be effective in the treatment of shingles.
Lemon or Melaleuca are effective oils to use for sore throats.
Grapefruit or Bergamot work well to reduce stress levels.
Reach for the basil or wintergreen oils to treat sprains.
Either Peppermint or Ginger work well for an upset stomach.
Lavender, Peppermint or Melaleuca have the power to soothe a painful sunburn.
Lavender is the oil to use for those who grind their teeth.
Try peppermint to help sooth the pain of tennis elbow.
Lavender is a great tension soother.
Tinnitus responds well to treatment with Peppermint, Geranium or Helichrysm.
Ease the pain and swelling associated with tonsillitis by using Oregano or Melaleuca.
The best oils to use for a toothache are Melaleuca or Clove.
Lavender can effectively sooth a wasp sting.
The regular application of Oregano or Melaleuca oils can help shrink warts.
Apply Frankincense or Helichrysum directly to wrinkles to see them gradually lessen or fade away.