You’ve heard about essential oils. In fact, you can’t search for a natural remedy without stumbling upon them. The truth is that they are a very good alternative to most commercial lotions and creams. They work wonders for your skin and hair. But they can also improve and prevent many other health issues. This article is meant to be your guide to using essential oils safely and freely.
It’s important to know your facts right before starting to use them. It might seem like a lot to take in at first, but you’ll get there. Even after you finish reading this article you will feel a lot more confident in what you know.
Essential oils can benefit the spirit and the body at the same time. Things like how they work or how effective they are will be answered in the first part. After that, you will read about the ways in which you can use these strong essences.
Learn how to properly dilute them and then start using them right away. For this last part, I’ll give you a few recipes to help you understand what you’ve read. I’m hoping that these recipes will serve you as a starting point in your exciting new adventure.
Make yourself comfortable and open up to the wonderful world of aromatic essences. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or more experienced. That’s because you’ll probably still find some interesting things in this simple guide to using essential oils. It always happens to me, no matter how much I know.
Intro on Essential Oils and Their Power
Herbs and their essences have been used for many thousands of years. At first, they were slightly different than the way we find them today. Nonetheless, people back then used them for almost everything, just like we do too. The difference was that, in those times, they relied a lot on the healing powers of their plants.
Later on came Avicenna with his ideas. He discovered a way to extract the essence of plants through steam distillation. And from that point on, plant essences (essential oils) were widely used in all the industries.
Today, essential oils are somewhere between herbal teas and medicines. They are quite powerful but they don’t have the side effects like medicines do. However, this doesn’t mean you should rely on essential oils to treat very serious health issues. They will never be as powerful as drugs are.
Luckily, you can use them in Aromatherapy. This type of therapy uses plant essences to improve the mood and the health condition of people. It can be used as complementary therapy, along with any prescribed treatment.
I will start this guide to using essential oils by telling you a bit about plant essences.
Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated substances, extracted from various plant parts. They can be twigs, bark, leaves, whole flowers or petals. Example: Peppermint, Clove, Rose, Cinnamon, etc.
But they can also be roots, sometimes seeds and resins. Example: Ginger, Fenugreek, Fennel, Frankincense, Elemi, etc.
All these parts go into the steam distillation process for extraction. This is where, through steam, their molecules are extracted. Essential oil molecules are heavier than water, so they float. But they aren’t actual oils because they don’t contain fatty acids like vegetable oils do. They will not leave a greasy feeling on the surface where they’re applied.
All plant oils have a botanical name (Latin name). It is important because that’s how you make the difference between many types of oils. For instance, Eucalyptus can be “radiata”, “globulus”, and “smithii”. They each have different properties. Lavender can be “angustifolia” or “spicata”, and so on.
Each recipe should state the botanical name of a certain type of oil. Generally speaking, when you don’t see it stated, it either means there’s only one type or you go with the more popular oil.
EOs are also fast absorbed into the bloodstream. Through inhalation they can reach the brain and influence the nervous center of emotions. That’s why essential oils are recommended for sleep or relaxation.
Some plants and flowers are too sensitive to be submitted to steam distillation. When that applies, they’re extracted through the CO2 (carbon dioxide) extraction method.
They become absolutes instead of essential oils. Absolutes are thicker, sometimes very close to being solid. As examples, we have Vanilla, Rose, Jasmine, etc. CO2 extracts are the next best thing after steam-distilled oils.
Essential oils can be used to:
- Scent the house.
- Scent the clothes.
- Sleep better.
- Protect the body against germs and bacteria.
- Purify the air.
- Beautify the skin and hair.
- Help healing wounds and cuts.
- Improve the mood.
- Make perfumes.
They all have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in some concentration. Some are more powerful than others. Also, essential oils have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killer) properties. They can kill germs and bacteria in the air, on the skin and inside the body.
Essential Oil Precautions
- They must never be applied undiluted on or near the eyes, mouth, nose and ears.
- Pregnant women shouldn’t use them during the first 3 months.
- They must be tested for allergies all the time.
- They should be kept out of children’s reach. Never use them on kids without medical consent.
- Always follow the recommended dose.
- People who suffer from seizures or other nervous affections should be careful. They should consult a doctor before using essential oils.
Now that we’ve settled the basics, it’s time we moved on to the actual guide to using essential oils.
Guide to Using Essential Oils, Dilution and Blends
Wellness and beauty are two major aspects in which most of the people are interested. We all look for a better and healthier skin and we all want to feel good about ourselves. All these things are interconnected. When we look good, we also feel good. Of course, when we feel good, we also look good.
So, no matter with what you begin, it will lead to the same result. You can use Aromatherapy to relax more and sleep better. Or you can use it to improve the aspect of your skin and maintain it firm.
You can also use it to restore the healthy flora of your stomach, or help your liver regenerate faster. These things will lead to a better health and mood.
The first thing I’m going to tell you in this guide to using essential oils is the proper dilution. I remember I had a very hard time figuring out how much to use in my blends. It was frustrating at first, but I’d like you to avoid going through the same thing.
So, for a face blend, the recommended dose is usually 12 drops of essential oils in 1 Oz. (30 ml) carrier oil. That’s a 2% dilution. Of course, carrier oils must be chosen according to your skin type and needs.
A 1% dilution means 6 EO drops/Oz carrier oil. 1 or 2% is the max amount of essential oils you can add to a face blend.
For body lotions (massages, cellulite and stretch marks treatments, etc.) the recommended dose is 30 drops of EO per Oz. carrier oil.
a) The best way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils for well-being is by diffusion.
Through inhalation, around 70% of those EO molecules can go into your bloodstream and brain. Not to mention they’ll get there in a few seconds, which means you can see the results quite fast. This is the best method to use essential oils, next to that of taking them internally.
Internal consumption of essential oils can only be done if you’ve talked to a doctor first. Otherwise, EOs are very concentrated and can be toxic.
Make sure your room is well-ventilated when you diffuse oils. Also, don’t diffuse them for more than 15 – 20 minutes/hour. Too much diffusion can cause nausea or headaches.
You can also make yourself a spritz with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. You can use 25 – 30 drops in 3 Oz water. Shake well and spray your linens for a peaceful and deep sleep, or clothes for scent and disinfection.
b) The next best way to use them from this guide to using essential oils is through skin applications.
Their molecules are so tiny that they can easily penetrate deep into the skin tissue. EOs can help with tissue regeneration and improving underneath circulation. They can also nourish the skin and keep it hydrated. But they can do all this much better when they’re mixed with carrier oils.
Follow the recommended dose from above and make your own simple blends. Use those oils that you like and suit your needs best.
Against acne or oily/combination skin, you could use the following essential oils:
- Tea Tree
For mature skin:
Against stomach and respiratory problems:
You can also add your favorite oils into your night creams and lotions. Add the same amount as per the recommended dose from above.
c) Another great way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is in the bath water or steam baths.
I’ve put up this guide to using essential oils for you to learn about the many ways in which you can use them. This one is a very pleasant method. Not only do you get to inhale the beneficial molecules, but your skin will also be happy.
Dilute 10 – 15 essential oil drops in a cup or two of fat milk and pour it in your bath water. You can also use bath salts, or milk to properly disperse the essential oil molecules.
While you inhale and relax, don’t forget to massage the mixture of milk into your skin too. You can also boil some water and add a drop of EO in it to inhale. Cover your head over the steaming pot and inhale deeply for about 10 minutes. This will open up your pores and nasal passage for a deeper breathing.
d) You can also use EOs in homemade perfumes.
My guide to using essential oils wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the making of perfumes too. Most essential oils smell divine and it’s a pleasure to start experimenting with their scents.
Mix and match those that you like more and leave them to sit for a while. During this time don’t forget to write down every change you make, including how many drops of what you add. These notes will help you figure out how to find that perfect blend and aroma.
Learn more about perfume notes and how to blend them for a successful homemade perfume.
Aromatherapy Blends for Beginners
Recipe #1: Scent your wardrobe and keep bugs and moths at bay
- True lavender ( angustifolia) essential oil: 1 drop
- Atlas Cedar essential oil: 1 drop
- Lemongrass essential oil: 1 drop
- Cotton pad
Pour the oils on the cotton pad and place inside the dresser. They will repel bugs and dust-mites, and scent your clothes too. Refresh the scent every now and then.
Recipe #2: Relaxing, peaceful atmosphere
- Vanilla oil: 6 drops
- Ylang-Ylang essential oil: 8 drops
- Mandarin essential oil: 16 drops
Mix all these oils in a dark glass bottle. Pour 4 – 5 drops of this blend in your diffuser (or candle burner) and leave it on for 20 minutes. You can repeat hourly if you want to. Kick back and relax, while doing something you like.
Recipe #3: Massage blend for better sleep
- Bergamot essential oil: 10 drops
- Marjoram essential oil: 6 drops
- Petitgrain essential oil: 8 drops
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 3 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 4 drops
- Macadamia oil: 2 Oz (60 ml)
Blend all the oils together and always shake well before use. Apply with gentle movements on the neck, back, shoulders and hands. You can also rub your feet with it before going to bed. Keep it stored in a dark, cool place.
With these recipes I hope you’ll be inspired to start using your oils right away. I know I love to use them in any way possible, depending on mood and need. One thing is for sure though.
It’s great to have so many options when it comes to knowing how to use essential oils. But it’s even better to have hundreds of oils to choose from. And I mean essential and vegetable oils.
Maybe you still have questions that I haven’t covered in my guide to using essential oils. If so, please don’t hesitate to use the comments section and ask me. It’ll be my pleasure to help you understand essential oils better.