Essential Oils Blog

Essential Oils 101

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There are so many misconceptions out there when it comes to using essential oils. Hopefully this article can set the record straight on some of the basics. If you’re new to essential oils, this is a very basic overview. If you’re a veteran user, it never hurts to refresh on the basics!!

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What are Essential Oils?

An essential oil is a hydrophobic liquid that contains volatile aromatic compounds from plants. Each plant part has a distinct smell, or aroma and can be useful for various therapeutic uses.

How can I use them?

Essential oils can be used topically, or on the skin. Topical application is perfect for things such as injury, aches & pains or a skin problem. Bumps, bruises, cut and scrapes can all benefit from the use of essential oils in carrier oil. This article better explains the differences between topical vs. ingestion.

They can also be inhaled and this really is the preferred method for most emotional issues. For calming, try lavender. To promote restful sleep look into using vetiver. There are so many great oils out there, the more research you do the safer you can use them! Here’s more on inhalation: Inhale! The Power of Smell.

Finally, under the care of a certified aromatherapist, essential oils can be ingested to fight internal issues such as infections. Internal use is not something to be taken lightly, as without proper training you can do yourself more harm than good. If you choose internal usage, please do your research and consult with a professional. We have another article here: Ingestion 

Why should I dilute with carrier oil?

Dilution is always recommended for topical use. When you use essential oils diluted with carrier oil you decrease your risk of sensitization. Sensitization can take many forms and usually does not occur at first use. Long-term use of undiluted or neat oils can make a person prone to breakouts, rashes and other skin issues. Eventually this leads to not being able to use certain oils due to the consequences. Click here for more on Sensitization.

To avoid all that, use a good dilution chart in order to properly apply oils to your skin. In case you need more information on carrier oils, you can find that here: Which Carrier is Best for Me?

Here is the dilution chart we use at Plant Therapy:

DILUTION CHART

Which oils should I avoid?

Certain oils should be avoided if you have medical conditions or take medications. For example people who are sensitive to salicylic acid should avoid oils such as wintergreen and birch since these oils have high concentrations of methyl salicylate. If you have a clotting disorder, so your blood does not clot properly, you should avoid clove, cinnamon bark & leaf, fennel, oregano, and others. It pays to know which oils can affect the condition or medication you are dealing with. This is why it’s important to do your own research and not rely on what you can find with a quick search from a search engine. Seek out a professional certified aromatherapist and ask lots of questions.

How can I choose a reputable company?

There are many, many wonderful companies out there to choose from. You may even end up buying from more than one! Here are a few guidelines that I use when choosing my essential oils:

  1. Proper labeling. I want to see several things on my labels when I buy essential oil. First I would like to see a full name both common and Latin. I would also like to see a country of origin, method of distillation, and chemotypes (if applicable). This ensures I am getting exactly what I think I should be getting. If those items are not available on the label – the company you purchase from will have it on their website!
  2. I would like to see a description of a few ways I can use the oil. This gives me flexibility in how I can use each oil. I like multi-use items!
  3. Having access to a GC/MS report. Basically this is a chemical analysis done for each batch of oil. This tells me percentages of certain constituents so when I am selecting an oil I can be sure I am getting the constituents I would like to address specific issues.
  4. Access to customer service and/or a professional in the field of aromatherapy. If the company is willing to communicate with their customers, it shows that they are not just concerned about their bottom line. Choose a company that has your best interest in heart as well as their own. I want to know that if I have any questions or concerns I can call or email and get an answer!

 

There are many, many wonderful posts to be found in our blog! Take a few minutes and read through the links provided, as well as any other topics that may interest you. We want you to learn and we want to help empower you in using your essential oils. Please contact one of our aromatherapists if you have any questions or concerns. You can do so by emailing us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes.

10 thoughts on “Essential Oils 101”

  1. It’s great to find a site that not only provides excellent essential oils but also provides information. Thank you very much.

  2. I’ve heard some oils are not safe to diffuse around cats. Can you let me know which ones these are? Also is eucalyptus safe to diffuse in a room with a four year old kid?

    1. Hi Ashley! Although this is a subject we are passionate about, and hope to be able to provide this information in the future, we currently do not have anyone on our staff that is educated in using essential oils on pets. For cats and other small animals, essential oils can be toxic and unfortunately, Certified Aromatherapists are not trained in the use of essential oils with animals. This is considered a specialty and requires additional education.

      Eucalyptus can be diffused around a 4 year old, however we recommend limiting diffusion to 30 minutes, 1-2 times a day.

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