Essential oils have become a daily part of my life and certainly have enhanced my emotional and physical wellbeing with their amazing therapeutic properties. I love using them in a variety of ways and the more I experience their health benefits, the more I’m inspired to learn more.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and can have powerfuI effects on your body so if you’re just starting to use essential oils, you’ll find this post beneficial in regard to the do’s and don’ts of using essential oils and getting the most benefit from them.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the aromatic compounds distilled from the plants (seeds, flowers, roots, leaves, stems, or fruit) to create a concentrated oil that can be used for therapeutic health benefit. You can smell these compounds when you brush pass lavender, smell the perfume of a flower or chop herbs.
Each essential oil has its own health benefits so different oils are used for different parts of your body and conditions. Oils can be used individually or blended with other oils.
How do essential oils work?
Essential oil compounds contain phytochemicals that enter your olfactory, circulatory, nervous, lymphatic and immune systems by diffusing through your skin, tissues, blood and cell membranes.
As the compounds are absorbed, your body metabolises these phytochemicals quickly to deliver the unique therapeutic properties in minutes. As the therapeutic phytochemicals are absorbed, your physical, mental and emotional well-being is enhanced.
Unlike chemicals, high quality, pure essential oils do not accumulate in your body over time: they release their beneficial health and wellness properties as they travel through your systems then pass from your body. The speed at which they travel through your body is dependent on which method you use.
For example if you inhale or oil, you can benefit from the aroma in seconds. If you apply them to your skin, they will penetrate into your blood stream within minutes and are completely metabolised within hours.
How can essential oils be used?
There are 3 ways that essential oils can be used:
- Aromatically: this is the process of breathing the oil into your respiratory system and there are a number of ways that you can do this:
- Diffuser – drops of oil added to water in a diffuser are dispersed throughout the air.
- Directly – place a drop of oil on your hands, rub them together to warm the oil, then cup your hands over your nose and breathe the oil in. Another way is to place drops of oil on a cloth or cotton ball and breathe the oil directly from that. A couple of drops of essential oil on cotton balls then placed in your car air vents are a great way of enjoying your favourite oil as you drive.
- Topically: oils are placed on the skin where it is quickly absorbed by your circulatory system, ultimately boosting your body’s internal systems as your body metabolises it.
- Dilute a few drops of oil in a plant carrier oil and massage directly onto your skin.
- Add a few drops to your bath water and lay back and enjoy both inhaling and absorbing the oil.
- Use in body care products such as soap, body lotion, shampoo & conditioner, and toothpaste
- Internally: some oils are safe to ingest whilst others are not so use caution when taking oils internally by always checking that it is safe to do so with a reliable information source.
- Add 1-2 drop of culinary essential oil (e.g. herbs and spices) to food when cooking to enhance the flavours
- Add oils to a drink – 1 drop is more than enough. As oil and water don’t mix, I recommended whisking the water after you have added the oil to disperse it into smaller drops. You can also dilute the oil with some honey and coconut oil first before adding to the liquid so it is less likely to be an irritant internally. Add oil to room temperature or warm liquids only as hot liquids will change the oils??
- For medical applications that require the oil to reach your stomach or intestines, veggie capsules can be used by adding 1 drop of the oil with several drops of coconut or olive oil to the capsule and swallowing.
Carrier oils and why use them?
Some essential oils can be used directly on the skin undiluted, however as some can cause skin sensitivity, the safest way to use them is to dilute them by adding them to a carrier oil.
If you have not ever used essential oils before, a patch test is recommended before using. To do this, dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 3 teaspoons of a vegetable oil and rub a small patch on your wrist then leave for a few hours. If there is no reaction such as swelling or reddening of your skin, you can proceed to use that essential oil.
Carrier oils are plant oils such a coconut, jojoba, almond, olive and avocado that are used in conjunction with essential oils. The carrier oils in themselves have their own health and wellness properties and when combined with an essential oil, help to draw the essential quickly and deeply into your skin where it will then enter your circulatory system.
Dilution of the essential oil in a carrier oil does not reduce the benefit of the essential oil when used this way. Carrier oils actually help to enhance the essential oil properties so only 1-2 drops of essential oil are required to add to your chosen carrier oil: less is definitely more. For children or those with sensitive skin, 0.5% dilution is recommended.
As a guide to dilution, add the following number of drops to your selected carrier oil:
- 0.5% dilutions = 1.5 drops essential in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil – recommended for children
- 1% dilution = 3 drops essential oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil – recommended for strong oils
- 2% dilution = 6 drops essential oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil – common dilution range
- 3% dilution = 9 drops essential oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil – common dilution range
Only use quality, certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils
There are many essential oils on the market however not all essential oils are pure essential oil. Some companies will dilute essential oils in a low cost plant oil or fillers to increase the quantity of the product they have available to sell. Use essential oils from reputable companies that can verify the quality/grade of the oil, the farming practices and extraction methods. Pure, quality oils are sold in dark glass bottles that protect the oils from being oxidised or degraded by light. Store your oils out of the sunlight and with the caps tightly closed.
I personally use and recommend doTerra therapeutic grade essential oils. Full details of the oils can be found here.
Safety and contradictions
Essential oils are very strong and some can be an irritant so ALWAYS check a reliable essential information source (my favourite is the M Essentials phone app) before using an essential oil to know how that oil can be safely used.
If you are taking any prescription medicines, check with your doctor before using essential oils to ensure that there will be no reaction.
If you have epilepsy, do not use sweet fennel, sage, hyssop, or rosemary essential oils.
If you have high blood pressure, avoid using hyssop, rosemary, sage, and thyme essential oils.
If you’re pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breast feeding, speak with your doctor before using essential oils. Some practitioners advise caution when using essential oils whilst pregnant, recommending that they only be diffused into the air, whilst others recommend not using essential oils at all. If you are pregnant and want to use oils, avoid using clary sage, hyssop, clove, juniper berry, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sage, wintergreen, and majoram essential oils.
Citrus oils and angelica will make your skin sensitive to ultraviolet light so do not use on your skin if you are going out into the sun.
To learn more
If you would like to learn more about doTerra essential oils and how you can use them in your life, email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can share more of my essential oil experiences with you, answer your questions, show you how you can purchase doTerra essential oils at the same wholesale prices that I do, and walk you through the process.
Until next time wishing you a day of love, laughter AND the life-enhancing benefits of essential oils.
Joanna J xo
- Keep a look out for my post with some wonderful essential oil blends to create for yourself.