Are you new to essential oils? Here’s how to use them – wisely. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around out there and I’d like to help you get started with good information. It’s not hard to use these gifts of nature, but there is a right – and wise – way to use them.
Is this blog post the end-all-be-all of aromatherapy? Nope. Not even close. But the information you get from me is safe, ethical and sustainable. That’s important!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the gifts of nature. They are derived from plants, trees, shrubs, flowers and fruits. The “essence” of the plant is most commonly distilled using steam, or in the case of citrus fruit, the rind is cold pressed to extract the oil. There’s several other ways of extracting oils, but these are the two most common ways.
Andrea Butje, the Owner of Aromahead Institute says this:
Essential oils come from aromatic plants. Not all plants are aromatic. If a plant has a scent, it is generally an “aromatic plant.” You smell essential oils in a plant when you breathe in the aroma of a rose flower, peel an orange, or crush basil leaves. Depending on the plant, the essential oil is found in different parts: the flower of a rose, the fruit of citrus, the leaves of many herbs, the resin of frankincense and myrrh, the roots of vetiver, the twigs of the bitter orange tree (for Petitgrain), the seeds of coriander.
So, How Do I Use Them Wisely?
Here’s the easiest and wisest ways to use essential oils:
- Inhaling from the bottle or a personal inhaler
- Applying essential oils to your skin
- Diffusing them by using a cold mist diffuser
Through my classes at Aromahead Institute, I learned an ethical and sustainable method of aromatherapy. That’s important because prior to modern life, people used only what they needed from the earth – nothing was wasted. Since these aromatic plants come from the earth itself, they are a limited resource. Using only what you need for a blend and no more is wise and ethical.
Personally, I rarely use Sandalwood (Santalum album) because in order to harvest the bark of the tree to get the oil, you have to kill it – cut it down. There are sustainability programs in place, but I see it this way: if you have a hundred or more oils (and I do), you have more than enough to create your blend without harming the environment!
I’ll quickly talk about each method below. Please note that if you’re pregnant, on certain medications or under 10 years old, talk with your certified aromatherapist or medical professional first. Not all essential oils are safe for everyone!
Inhaling Essential Oils
Inhaling is the quickest and easiest way to get the oils themselves into your system. A few oils that are safe to inhale are Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Sweet Orange, Cedarwood and Patchouli.
Simply open the bottle, hold it under your nose (don’t touch the bottle to your nose) and inhale deeply while keeping your lips closed. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds. You can also add a few drops to a personal nasal inhaler or on a tissue with the same effect.
If you’re experiencing a sinus infection, add two drops of Tea Tree essential oil to a bowl of steaming water, put a towel over your head and breathe in as deeply as you can.
Topically Applying Essential Oils To Your Skin
When you want to apply essential oils to your skin, it’s wise to dilute it first with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba wax or avocado oil. You can pour a small amount of carrier oil into the palm of your hand and add one or two drops of essential oil. Then simply apply to your skin always avoiding your eyes and ears.
CAUTION: NEVER PUT ESSENTIAL OILS IN YOUR EYES OR EARS! ‘Nuff said on that one.
For instance, to relieve an upset stomach, add two drops each of Sweet Orange and Peppermint essential oils to a dab of carrier oil – just enough to rub on your belly.
Congested? Add two drops each of Eucalyptus and Tea Tree essential oils to a small dab of coconut oil and rub on your chest.
All of the body butters, lotions and roller balls that I create are perfect for applying to your skin. With the roller balls, especially for anxiety and depression, rolling the blend over your heart area is ideal. For headaches, you simply apply the roller ball blend to your temples, forehead and the back of your neck nearest your hairline.
Diffusing Essential Oils Into the Air
Diffusing essential oils into the air is one of my favorite ways to use them everyday. I keep a diffuser going in my studio and in my home. Most folks who visit my studio always stop at the door and simply inhale. You never know what will be in the diffuser!
Make sure the read the instructions that come with your cold mist diffuser for proper use. For the most part, diffusers use a small amount of water. Simply add 5 or 6 drops and enjoy the scent! There are even some models that will fit into the cigarette lighter or USB port in your car!
What Method Did I Leave Out?
I purposely left out the subject of taking essential oils internally. Why? It’s a controversial subject and there’s a lot of folks who swear by it. So here’s food for thought. Would you drink 20 cups of peppermint tea all at once? Would you eat 10 lemons all at once? But that’s exactly what you’re doing when you internally take a drop of essential oil.
It takes 256 pounds of peppermint leaves for every quart of peppermint essential oil. For that precious bottle of Lavender, it takes 3,000 pounds of the flower for one quart of essential oil. Are you getting the picture of just how potent essential oils are?
Listen, I know there’s oil companies out there that advocate ingestion but I disagree with this practice because it can be downright dangerous. As in toxic. A clinical aromatherapist or naturopathic physician can safely guide you if that’s the method you need for a particular concern.
As a certified aromatherapist, my advice is unless you know exactly what you’re doing, don’t take essential oils internally. Ever.
Can I Use Essential Oils On My Pet?
If you have cats, the short answer is NO! Cats can’t metabolize essential oils in their liver and it could be very toxic to them.
If you have a dog, the short answer is it depends. My advice is avoid it. If you have a dog over 50 pounds, use them sparingly. If you insist on using essential oils on your dog, then treat Fido as you would a small child. You wouldn’t overload your toddler, so please don’t overload Fido!
Be Wise, Be Ethical, Be Sustainable With Essential Oils
You now have a thimbleful of information about essential oils – a drop in the bucket if you will. Do you see why a certified aromatherapist is important?
Since plants and trees are a limited resource, using just what you need from your essential oils is sustainable – and ethical. Using 50 drops when you really only need 5 drops is really kind of greedy and wasteful.
If you look at history, you learn that essential oils (along with herbs and botannicals) were used as medicine. In the case of essential oils, more is not better. You wouldn’t take 10 aspirins when all you need are two – so why overdose on essential oils? Treat them with care – treat them as you would medicine – with respect.
I want you to be safe and healthy in body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is ideal for your physical and emotional wellbeing. I would be very grateful for you to share this information.
As always, blessings,
P.S. Want a custom blend or more information? Fill out this contact form and let’s get started!