Essential Oils Blog

15 Things You Should Know About Essential Oils

By: Retha Nesmith, Certified Aromatherapist

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  1. Essential oils are not OILY.  Plants can form two types of oils: vegetable oils which are principally made up of triglycerides and fatty acids, and essential oils which are made up of (non-greasy) volatile compounds.
  2.  Essential oils contain many chemical constituents. The majority of essential oils have one, two or three major constituents that each make up about 20-90% of the oil. There are a few minor constituents at about 1-19% each, and many more constituents that make up less than 1% each. Check out all the constituents found in this Sweet Orange essential oil HERE.
  3. Not all essential oils are created equally. There are many different factors that can weigh in when it comes to what an essential oil is made up of. The percentage of a single constituent often changes from harvest to harvest. This is one of the reasons testing is so important. There can be contaminants, dilutions, adulterants, etc… depending on how the essential oil is grown, harvested, extracted and processed. This is another reason why testing is so important. Check out each batch specific test on every essential oil product page HERE.
  4. Essential oils can be extracted in several ways. These include: steam distillation, hydrodistillation and expression (cold pressing, used for citrus oils). Other types of natural aromatic extract include absolutes and CO2 extracts. Learn more about extraction methods on our FAQ page HERE.
  5. Enormous amounts of the plant is needed to produce essential oils. For example, some say it takes about 60,000 roses to get just 1 ounce of Rose essential oil.
  6. Some essential oils are prone to oxidation. This may adversely affect the composition of the oil, and is caused by light, heat, air and moisture. To avoid this, always store essential oils in a dark glass bottle that is tightly stoppered. Keeping your essential oils refrigerated also helps, and probably doubles the effective lifespan of your oils. Which for some oils can be 7-10 years. Learn more about shelf life of essential oils HERE.
  7. Most essential oils should never be used undiluted. You can read more about diluting essential oils here ‘What is a Carrier Oil and Why Do I Need it?‘ and you can also check out Plant Therapy’s dilution guide chart.
  8. Essential oils should not be ingested on a daily basis. Plant Therapy’s official stance on ingesting essential oils: “We do not recommend the general internal use of essential oils. Essential oils are highly concentrated and have the capacity to cause damage if used internally without the necessary expertise required in administering them. We do have customers who choose to use our oils internally. However, we recommend it only be done with great respect for the power of essential oils, under the direction of someone who is qualified in the internal use of essential oils and someone who truly understands the chemical makeup of each individual oil, and NOT on a daily basis.” Learn more about ingesting essential oils HERE.
  9. Young children and pregnant women should be very cautious when using essential oils. There are essential oils that should NEVER be used while pregnant. You can read more about essential oils and pregnancy here ‘Pregnancy and Essential Oils‘. For more information on this you can also email our Certified Aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. For young children and pregnant women we recommend that you start at a dilution of 0.5%. You can go up to 5% if needed depending on the oil and the age of the child. Check out our KidSafe line of essential oils for your children!
  10. Generally the best way to use essential oils is through inhalation. You can do this by diffusion, by adding a few drops to your bath or shower and also using the oils topically near your chest or back of your neck. Another great option is to use a personal aromatherapy inhaler which can be found HERE. However, topical use is best for skin issues and wounds.
  11. Essential oils are widely known to help with: Immune boosting,  seasonal threats, discomfort caused by overexertion or the normal wear and tear that comes from aging, skin issues, worry, and other concerns.
  12. Essential oils GRAS. There are some essential oils that are Generally Regarded as Safe by the FDA. However, there is no government agency that certifies or grades essential oils. Therapeutic grade, Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade and pharmaceutical grade are made up terms in the essential oil industry. Do not buy essential oils ONLY because of their grade or certification. Buy essential oils because you have seen and understand the tests or because you trust the company you are purchasing from and they are willing to give you any answers that you ask questions about.
  13. Important information to know about an essential oil: Botanical name, chemotype (if applicable), origin of plant (this can drastically change the chemical constituents percentages) and extraction method. It is also important to note if the essential oil has been diluted with anything (EVEN if it is a natural dilution).
  14. Essential oils can become more powerful therapeutically when blended correctly. These blends are known as synergies. A synergy is a mix or blend of essential oils all similar in therapeutic properties and chemical families. “The expression of the whole has greater effects then the sum of all its individual parts.”– Aromahead Institute 
  15. Testing essential oils: I have mentioned above why testing is very important for essential oils. Some of the tests that need to be done to show the purity and the constituents of an essential oil are GC/MS testing. Along with these tests you can also do the smell test (many well trained and experienced essential oil experts can often tell if an essential oil is pure or has been adulterated simply by smelling the essential oil). One of the best ways to do this is with a test strip. By smelling the oil with a test strip, you are able to smell the different notes more distinctly. Once the oil has sat on the strip long enough, the top note has evaporated and you can smell the middle and base notes better. This continues the longer the oil is on the test strip. (Could be a fun experiment for those wanting to learn more about essential oils. Especially if you are interested in making your own synergies). To learn more about the testing that Plant Therapy does, check out our Quality Page.

If you have any questions, please email our Certified Aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or our amazing customer service representatives at cs@planttherapy.com. The purpose of this post is to help educate essential oil users. This post was written by Retha Nesmith and looked over by Plant Therapy’s expert, Robert Tisserand.

 

25 thoughts on “15 Things You Should Know About Essential Oils”

  1. You are wrong when you imply that essential oils can not be ingested. It depends on the purity of the oil. If it has been adulterated by chemical extraction, then no, it can not be ingested. But I have several doterra oils which I have taken internally for a variety of ailments and they have worked quickly and safely.

    1. I did not mean to imply that you should never take essential oils internally. I do believe however that it should not be done on a regular basis. I understand that many people have great success doing this, but I also know that there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. If you read my post ‘Can Essential Oils Be Ingested’ that I am writing right now, you will understand more of what I am talking about. I personally take essential oils internally when needed.

      There are a few companies, including DoTERRA and Young Living, that encourage the ingestion of essential oils. I have worked with some of the most well known experts in the essential oil industry and not one of them agrees with the recommendations that these companies make. They believe it is an overuse of essential oils internally with some of their recommendations. I would recommend you do your own research and do whatever you feel is best for you and your family. Please let me know if you have any other questions. You can always email me directly at retha@planttherapy.com.

      1. Thank you for your post, Retha. I have been turned off of Doterra because of their salespeople telling people to ingest. Their salespeople just don’t get training in anything besides sales. Thank you.

  2. Thank you. I agree, these oils are serious business and need to be respected. The information you are providing is most helpful.

  3. Thank you and I really look forward to hearing the “rest of the story”. I have noticed that people who use a LOT of essential oils really don’t look healthy.

  4. I have been ingesting Young Living RC. for a year .1drop in water 5 days a week. It has helped with my sinus infections and with my esophagus problem. As in being able to eat anything without getting food stuck and having to throw it up. I told my Dr. and he told me just keep doing what I’m doing, I used to have to get my esophagus stretched and haven’t had to for years now. I credit that to the RC> But don’t want to be doing something that will hurt me in the future. Thanks for a reply. Sandy

    1. Sandy, please email one of our certified aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We believe that ingesting essential oils can be done safely but we feel this needs to be done under the guidance of an aromatherapist practitioner who knows your medical history. There are concerns with drug interactions, irritating mucous membranes, etc… We want to educate our customers to not tell them they can’t ingest essential oils but so that they are aware of some possible concerns so they can make the best decision for themselves.

    1. You would have to ask this question from the company that offers this blend 🙂 Thanks and have a wonderful day

  5. Great article! Thank you for helping to re-educate the masses. I live that direct sales has opened up new interest in essential oils, yet so much dangerous information has been spread around at these home parties/workshops! Keep up the good work. Love your oils!

  6. I enjoyed this article and forwarded the link to some friends. The quality of writing is why I continued to read to the end. That doesn’t happen enough. Thank you for the quality in your oil AND your communications!

  7. Getting my EO education. Bought from a MLM. I was told it was safe to ingest oils. Add it to my water. Even though it didn’t make sense to me (oil & water DO NOT mix) I did it anyway. I ended up with a recurring bladder infection. Process of elimination & we know it was the oil. Also scared my that they put a drop of oil on a balloon & it bursts then proceed to tell you not to use plastic but it’s safe to ingest. So glad I’ve found a couple of places that promote safe use of EOs, tell you what to look for when you’re looking at an EO company to buy oils & do not promote a particular company.

    1. I am sorry to hear that you found out the hard way, but glad that you’ve learned more and are enjoying essential oils now!!

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