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So, you want to start using essential oils more in your daily life. That is good news and you are not alone. Essential oils are making a comeback into 21st century daily living much in the same way as they were centuries ago.
Why Should I Use Essential Oils?
The use of essential oils may not be for everyone, but this modern age is seeing a return to the original teachings of the ancients to help mitigate the side effects that more modern remedies can often have. People are also wanting to live more organically and in environments that are free from synthetic chemicals. They are finding that they feel better when not exposed to harsh cleaning materials or artificial scents. This “return to the earth” mind-set has been growing for decades now. If this mindset appeals to you, why investigate a little more and finds out how essential oils can help enhance your health?
How Do Essential Oils Affect My Body?
A phytochemical’s size and structure allow it to be volatile as well as to penetrate the skin and mucous lining of the mouth and intestine. Once dissolved in the mucous membrane, the chemicals directly influence the limbic system which affects major body functions and emotions.
A plant’s essence helps the plant supporting life and protecting it from disease and infestation. The effects within the human body are known to be similar. These effects have been studied, documented, and passed down from generation to generation and culture to culture for centuries.
The most noticeable of characteristics include, antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, pain-relieving, and mood-enhancing. Many other benefits such as enhanced effects for addictive substance cessation (i.e. Black Pepper), wound healing (Tea Tree), and expectorant (Eucalyptus), just to name a few, have been observed.
How Do I Use Essential Oils?
There are three basic ways to utilize an essence:
Since they are very volatile, the first and easiest way is by inhalation. Remove the lid and slowly sniff the cap or bottle directly. Your sense of smell has a direct line to the limbic system so inhaling plant essences is a great way to use them safely and effectively. Plant essences are very potent, so proceed with caution.
Apply topically by diluting in a carrier oil or cream. You can combine your essential oils in a blend or in synergy. A blend is one or more essential oils combined in a carrier oil like Jojoba, Coconut, or Apricot. Make sure your carrier oil is certified organic and has been stored in a dark cool place. Research the carrier carefully. Each plant oil has different characteristics and health benefits. Choose the one which is best suited to your needs. Blends are used topically or as an inhalant. See below for a guideline to making your dilutions.
A synergy is two or more essential oils combined without a carrier. Synergies are used topically or as an inhalant. What determines which oils to combine depends largely on the desired goal. For example, try combining Vetiver (earthy and grounding), Lavender (calming), and Grapefruit (energizing)for a calming yet energizing effect. As an inhalant, put two drops in your palm, rub your hands together (being careful not to get any in your eyes), and take in several deep breaths. Topically, put a drop on your finger and wipe along the bottom of your foot or make a blend with your favorite oil or cream.
*Based on the chart from Foundational Aromatherapy by Leiann King, Brenda Wright and Amanda Reynolds5
Here are the most common ways essential oils are used.
- Neat – Some oils can be used as-is on the skin. Lavender is safe for all ages and is great in healing wounds and calming nerves. A few drops on a damp cloth can help eliminate underarm odor. A dab of clove bud oil on a sore tooth helps to ease the pain.
*Some oils are not suitable for children ** AIA Rule on using neat or undiluted essential oils(https://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/aromatherapy-safety)
- Rub On – Most oils require a dilution. They can be put by drop into oil, cream, or another dilution agent.
- Spray-On –Oils such as eucalyptus can be put in a spray bottle with water. Then vigorously shaken and sprayed on areas of pain. Similarly, Lavender can be applied to pillows and sheets before bed to help facilitate relaxation.
- Diffuse – Put a few drops of Lemon in a micro diffuser (tabletop or car USB) to help boost the immune system and refresh the air.
- Inhale – Just a few drops in the palm of your hand and a gentle sniff can help lessen nasal congestion.
- Bath time – Add a few drops of Lavender, Chamomile, and Frankincense to a small glass jar of Epsom salt or powdered milk. Shake vigorously for a minute or two. Fill your tub with warm water and swirl in the mixture.
- Tea time – Dip a toothpick in your favorite pharmaceutical grade, 100% certified organic essential oil (such as Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Cinnamon…etc) and stir it into a teaspoon of honey thoroughly. Then mix the essential oil-infused honey into a cup of warm water. Enjoy!
Ingestion- The French favor this method and have been known to dip a toothpick in an appropriate essence, swirl it in honey and dissolve the fusion in warm water as a kind of tea. In this modern age, they are the first to prescribe essential oils as alternative treatments for disease and illness (i.e., A doctor prescribing a sedative may offer his/her patient a more natural alternative via essential oil/s). Ingest only under the direction of a physician and only use pharmaceutical-grade essential oils. Never ingest an essential oil that has been diluted with an oil or another diluting agent.
* Use only pharmaceutical-grade oils and note that some oils are not suitable for consumption.
AIA Internal Use Statement
AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal, or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines, and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal, or rectal). Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use.
There are so many ways we can incorporate plant essences into our lives. Do your research and only buy unadulterated, 100% certified organic oils. Learn More
***Please be sure to read about the essence you are interested in including all the safety notes before using. Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use.