Have you been wanting to live a healthier life? In the past year I have been on a mission to do so, and have discovered the use of essential oils. Yeah, I know, only quacks use them right? Essential oils have become very popular in recent years, and not just as a fad. I can tell you that our home is healthier, I feel better, and have discovered so many uses for essential oils beyond what I would have ever thought.
If you haven’t used essential oils yet, you are certainly missing out! They are a wonderful, natural way to help eliminate the use of unnecessary chemicals, additives, synthetic fragrances, and other nasty and harmful ingredients that are in so many of the household and beauty products that are on the market today. I have been on a mission the past several months to reduce as much of these harmful ingredients from my home as possible. It’s a process replacing so many products and acquiring the ingredients and various essential oils. But it has been well worth it, and I know that when I use essential oils I can feel good about them.
So what exactly are essential oils? Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain volatile aroma compounds from plants, they carry a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils can be used for medical, pharmacological, household, and culinary purposes, just to name a few.
If you are new to the essential oil world, there are definitely some things you need to know.
Not All Essential Oils Are Created Equal
Just like any other product on the market, essential oils produced by different companies vary in their grade and properties. I personally recommend, use, and distribute, Young Living essential oils. I cannot vouch for the quality or effectiveness of other, non-therapeutic grade oils. You can access my website here for more information on the company, products, and their uses. Their Seed to Seal process ensures the highest quality product. Whatever brand of essential oils that you decide to use, there are several key things that you need to consider.
Key Things To Know About Essential Oils
- Always use a 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oil. Essential oils that are not may contain carrier oils, additives, and go through multiple distillation processes, all of which change the properties of the oils, making them no longer in their natural state and potentially unsafe for use.
- Buy from a reputable company that you can trust the guarantees they make for their products.
- Always use essential oils with caution. Research the properties and cautions of individual oils before you use them. Some essential oils are not safe to use on the skin, some are not safe to ingest, some may cause photosensitivity when being directly in the sun after use, some are not safe during pregnancy. The list of cautions goes on. Don’t let that scare you, just educate yourself before you use them. There is a lot of information available on the internet, and through many of the companies that you purchase oils through. Young Living provides information on the oil with each order, and has information on their website as well. The FDA has information on their website which can be located here, regarding what oils they deem as being Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), meaning they consider them safe to ingest.
- Learn the properties of the oils you purchase. Many of them have so many properties and can be used for so many different things, they truly are multipurpose. And when you blend oils with similar properties together, you can get some really great results.
- Essential oils are strong. It takes a very small amount of essential oils to benefit from their properties. In general it is recommended that essential oils be diluted in a 2-5% dilution ratio. A 2% ratio would be 12 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. of a carrier oil. Although essential oils can seem expensive due to the size of the bottle you purchase, they go a very long way. This is a case where less is more. Using a large amount of essential oil will not increase their properties, and can render the properties ineffective, or cause irritation. Some companies recommend that you can use certain essential oils NEAT (by themselves without dilution). I personally rarely use an essential oil NEAT. My personal research has shown me that it is not necessary to use them NEAT, that they go further if you dilute them and you still get the same benefits, and that sometimes using them NEAT can cause you to develop a sensitivity to the oil over time causing adverse reactions to it.
- Always use a natural carrier oil when diluting essential oils. There are numerous carrier oils available that also have some wonderfully beneficial properties for the skin. Some recommended carrier oils are coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, sesame oil. Depending on what you are using the oil for, you will want to select a carrier oil that is cost effective and will work for the purpose you are intending. Most of the oils have added benefits for your skin. Generally when I am just applying an essential oil to my skin I use olive oil as a carrier. It is low cost and is a great moisturizer for the skin. For blends or oils that you use often, you can mix them diluted with a carrier oil in a bottle for ease of application.
- Essential oils are recommended to be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. They are very light sensitive, which is why pure essential oils are sold in dark colored glass bottles. In addition, essential oils can cause certain plastic materials to break down over time, and the plastic can adversely react to the essential oils, tainting them. This being said, at this point I have not invested in a lot of glass bottles for the DIY products that I make and use at home, however, I store diluted oils, straight oils, and oil blends all in dark colored bottles. I have been paying attention to natural products that contain essential oils at my local health food store. A lot of them are sold in dark colored plastic containers, which leads me to believe that at the percentage that most products are diluted, they must be safe in plastic.
Essential oils can be used in various ways. They can be applied topically to the skin with a carrier oil, blended in health and beauty products, mixed with other natural ingredients to create cleaning products, used in cooking, used as home remedies, diffused in the air, and ingested. The list of uses is endless.
If you are interested in ridding your home of unwanted nasty ingredients, check out my Young Living web page to learn more about essential oils. And stay tuned for upcoming posts on ways that you can use essential oils easily in your home too! I have become slightly obsessed with finding new ways to use them. My husband teases me, but he is slowly coming to accept their place in our lives.