The therapeutic properties of essential oils are extensive. They can be used to improve immunity & speed recovery, deal with infections, balance hormones, aid with stress & depression, as disinfectants, repel bugs and assist in skin care.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the aromatic life source of herbs, flowers, fruits and other plants. They are extracted from the roots, leaves, seeds, peels, bark or blossoms through the process of hydro-distillation, steam-distillation, solvent extraction, extraction under pressure or other mechanical form. The concentrated liquid extracts contain naturally occurring chemical compounds, including terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols and oxides which are volatile, meaning they’ll evaporate quickly when exposed to air. The different chemical compositions affect the aroma of each essential oil and how it is absorbed and used by the body.
When extracted, they are highly concentrated and should be used in their diluted form in very small quantities. Essential oils contain tiny molecules that are more easily absorbed into the body than most other types of oils. They can enter the bloodstream rapidly and uninhibited through the skin or through inhalation. Therefore, their impact on the body can be potent and powerful.
How can they be used
- Bath- prepare a solution of 10 drops of essential oil per 20ml of a suitable carrier vegetable oil (such as almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil) and add sparingly to the bath
- Body lotion- add 5 drops to 10ml of a neutral, unscented body lotion or coconut oil
- Massage oil- blend 12 drops to 30ml of a massage oil
- Oil burner- add 3 to 4 drops to the water
Disinfectant or bug repellent:
Spray bottle- add 2 drops per 150ml warm water and spray on any surface needing treatment. Some oils can be damaging to plastic so caution should be taken when choosing which surfaces to spray
I stress caution under this topic: only food grade peppermint and lemon oil may be consumed when diluted in water (one drop per 250ml water). Take note that one drop of essential oil is equivalent of 10-50 cups of herbal tea (depending on the herb)
As a warning
- Essential oils should not be used if pregnant
- Essential oils should not be taken internally; they are only for external use. The exceptions are peppermint and lemon oil, but they need to be stated as food-grade and should be diluted in water
- Many essential oils are photosensitisers which means that they increase the skin’s reaction to the sun, making it more likely to burn. For this reason, you should not apply essential oils before going into the sun
- Certain essential oils may also irritate sensitive skins and should always be diluted in a carrier oil (except lavender which is generally safe to use neat) and primarily tested on a small skin surface area
- Is is not advisable to use essential oils for a prolonged period of time, because they can build up in the body
- Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and wintergreen should not be used around young children or babies. These herbs contain menthol and 1,8-cineole, compounds that can slow breathing (or even stop it completely) in very young children or those with respiratory problems. This applies not only for internal use or skin application, but for aromatic use too
How to choose the right quality oils
Oils are used for inhalation or direct application on the skin, therefore they bypass many of the body’s natural protective mechanisms and detoxification channels, as well as being able to pass through the
blood-brain barrier. This means that they can have a nearly immediate effect on the body and neurological health. When used properly, essential oils are one of the purest medicines we have access to.
- Pricing is an indicator of a good quality oil. It takes a lot of plant matter to make a single drop of oil (60 roses to make one drop of rose oil)
- The oils should be organic. A large quantity of plant material is used to produce small amounts of oil, therefore if pesticides are present, their concentration will be elevated and toxic to the body
- The plants used to make the oils should be sourced from a native region for that plant
- The oil should not be altered or adulterated in any way, should contain no synthetic additives and should be stated as 100% essential oil or certified by an appropriate organization. Anything that is labeled ‘perfume oil’ or ‘aromatherapy oil’ should be avoided as it indicates that it has been blended with unnatural ingredients
- Choose brands that list the Latin name of the essential oil as well as the common name
- There should be a list of contraindications and precautions for each oil (pregnancy, medications etc.). Read the label to make sure the ingredients are simple, without any extra additives or chemicals
- Buy essential oils that come in dark glass bottles. Oils can be deteriorated by sunlight and some oils can eat through plastic
- ‘Nature Identical” is simply another word for “synthetic”
- If one would like to be certain, the supplier can be contacted for information about the GC/MC testing and the MSDS (material safety data sheets). Gas Chromatography (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) are procedures used for separating an identifying the individual components of the oil
Popular essential oils and their uses
Below is a list of some of the most popular essential oils and their uses.
For a more through list of other oils, take a look at the following website
- Eucalyptus oil– nasal decongestant, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant and can
kill fungus, bacteria, insects, mites, and weeds and is great to use as an air freshener in the home
- Clove oil– soothes toothache and is known to fight bacteria
- Peppermint oil- treats digestive disorders and heartburn and is a stimulant,
antispasmodic, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant. It is also an effective treatment for headaches
- Lavender oil– treats anxiety, insomnia and restlessness and is a potent antiseptic and works well on cuts and bruises
- Lemon oil– contains a high concentration of D-limonene, a compound that assists in diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, promoting circulation, and toning of the skin. It also has anti-depressant qualities when inhaled
- Cinnamon oil– clears up chest colds when inhaled. It is antibacterial, antimicrobial, an anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever (soothing muscle aches and pains)
- Lemon grass oil– treats dandruff and is an ideal household cleaner for controlling mold and fungus
- Clary sage oil– anti-bacterial, antiseptic and able to improve circulation (good for treating the skin). It has been seen that its scent can have anti-depressant properties as well as being able to regulate hormones and treat menstrual pain
- Rosemary oil– is a stimulant and is known to increase brain-wave activity when inhaled
- Tea tree oil- anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Adding a few drops to a spray bottle of water is an excellent household cleaner and disinfectant. Tea tree oil is ideal for the treatment of dandruff and a perfect skin ointment when mixed with Aloe Vera (for the treatment of acne and other skin conditions)
- Chamomile essential oil- aids with ridding the skin of blemishes and acne. It is an anti-inflammatory as well as a stress reliever
- Frankincense- aids in stress and depression relief and is an antiseptic that helps minor cuts and insect bites heal faster
Essential oils are basically a concentrated form of all the goodness nature has to offer in its purest form. Sensible use of these powerful, protective weapons in one’s home can improve the quality of life. Their simple application can produce an array of different beneficial functions as well as leaving behind a pleasant and soothing aroma.
If you are interested in learning more about Essential Oils, you can access the Free Training HERE