I introduced essential oils (EO’s) into my life when I was starting to reduce the chemical products in my environment to improve my health. But when I bought my first bottles, I actually didn’t know what to do with them, and it took me a while to integrate them into my routines.
Now that I’ve been using them for the last couple of years, I have learned that the power of essential oils is real. They are more than just nice scents. They can help balance mood, improve sleep, boost immunity and more!
Today I’ll give you the basics you need to know, which ones to get started with and how I use them.
Some EO’s come from seeds while others are extracted from the leaves of the plant. These extractions can be done through a process called distillation (either steam or cold-press).
Because they are so highly concentrated, it takes a tremendous amount of plant to produce just one ounce of oil. A little bit goes a long way! A normal “dose” to use is only a couple of drops.
If you see instructions on your oil bottle that calls for much more than that, it may be because it is diluted with a carrier oil (fat-based liquid such as fractionated coconut oil).
How to Use EO’s
Essential oils can be used 3 ways. Aromatically (e.g. in your diffuser), topically (e.g. applied to the skin either neat or mixed with a carrier) or internally (consult with an aromatherapist for this use)
- Aromatic Use – This is the best place to start for most people. Getting a diffuser and experimenting with different oils is a fun way to get to know what you like.
- Topical Use — Some oils are mild enough to apply directly to the skin (i.e. neat), but many will need to be combined with a fat-soluble carrier for application. Either a carrier oil in a roller bottle or added to a lotion are ways that I use oils topically. Topical use can provide good therapeutic benefits when a particular location is targeted.
- Internal Use— While there may be an indication for internal ingestion of EO’s for therapeutic purposes, many of the ailments that we experience do not need such a heavy dose internally. I will take EO’s internally when they have been properly combined into a supplement or I will use a drop of oil I would normally include in cooking such as oregano, cilantro, lemon, etc. For anything more than that, please consult an aromatherapist.
Which Ones Do I Start With?
Here are some popular ones to try first. They make great staples in your medicine cabinet too!
Tea Tree (aka Melaleuca): Cleanse, soothe and heal
- Combine a drop with your facial cleanser (or moisturizer) for added cleansing properties
- Mix a drop with pure aloe vera gel and apply after shaving to soothe skin
- Add a drop to shampoo or conditioner and massage into the scalp to invigorate scalp
Lavender: Calm the nervous system
- Roll on the bottoms of your feet for a restful night’s sleep – or use in a bedside diffuser
- Apply topically to help heal pimples, skin inflammation and irritation – test a drop on your skin to test for sensitivity; dilution may be required
- Calm your stress! Combine a few drops with soap and add to your bath
Lemon: Cleanse and elevate mood
- Use to remove gum, glue, or any other sticky residues from surfaces
- Use in a diffuser to purify the air, creating an uplifting & refreshing aroma
- Add to a spray bottle with vinegar and water to clean tables, countertops, and other surfaces (check out a recipe I use here)
Peppermint: Cool and energize
- Place a few drops in your palm, rub together and inhale to open up airways (if you have an athlete in the family, this is great right before their sporting event!)
- Reduce tension or cool off by rubbing on the back of the neck
- Use as a natural bug repellent
I also love…
- frankincense (for reducing inflammation) – one of my favourite blends is frankincense, peppermint and lavender combined to reduce headaches
- clary sage (for hormone balance)
- grapefruit (as an appetite suppressant)
Essential oils are incredibly powerful and serve many purposes for the home and body. They are convenient in small packages and with some basic knowledge and a few high-quality oils on hand, you can enjoy many therapeutic benefits.
Do you want to learn more? I record a monthly video on how I use my oils that I would love to share with you. Sign up to receive it by emailing Bonnie here.