Essential oils are one of the many tools I have in my arsenal for health and wellness. You may have heard of essential oils, even wondered about how to incorporate them into your lifestyle, but don’t know exactly what essential oils are. So let me shine a little light on the subject for you.
Essential oils are not really oils. They don’t contain the fatty acids that constitute what we would consider an actual oil.
Essential oils are an excellent addition to your homemade cleaning preparations. Oils best for cleaning include lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and rosemary.
Essential oils are minuscule in size (which means they are absorbed well by the skin), making them perfect ingredients in personal care items intended to heal, soften, and nourish. However, they don’t accumulate in the body over time—they simply offer up their healing properties and then pass on through.
Fragrance oils and essential oils are NOT the same thing. As a rule of thumb, if you see the word “fragrance” or “fragrance oil” or even “perfume” on anything, you can assume it’s synthetic and NOT natural. (Even if it says natural fragrance.)
Essential oils are wholly natural and cannot be patented, which means that you’ll never see an essential oil in a pharmaceutical drug. As such, you can expect that the vast majority of mainstream healthcare practitioners will never recommend essential oils as therapeutic alternatives to drugs. More importantly, because essential oils cannot be patented, drug companies won’t waste money studying them. This limits our scientific knowledge of essential oils GREATLY, and the majority of what we know about them are things that have been passed down through thousands of years of personal use and experimentation.
Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil. In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce one pound of essential oil. Other plants, like lavender, only take 100 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of essential oil. Still, can you imagine how concentrated essential oils must be in light of how many plants are used to produce them?
Always read application and dilution information located on the bottle.
If you’re pregnant, please ask your Enroller which oils you should avoid.
To test if you’re sensitive to an essential oil (which is probably best to do before using it in a skincare preparation): Combine one drop of essential oil with 1/2 tsp carrier oil (like olive, grapeseed, V-6, or coconut oil). Rub this on the inside upper portion of your arm and wait a few hours. If no redness or itching develops, you’re most likely not sensitive to that essential oil.
Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children and avoid contact with your eyes. This is just standard safety precautions, but must be mentioned. If oils get into your eyes, do NOT use water. Water will intensify the oil properties. Put a drop of carrier oil into your eye to slow down the absorption of the oil. If you find that your skin is sensitive to essential oils, mix with a carrier oil.