Essential oils and other botanicals have been around for at least 5,000 years. In fact, essential oils were used way before pharmaceutical medicines were invented!
Essential oils have so many therapeutic benefits and they can cause great support for many people. But, there is some do's and don'ts you should follow when using essential oils so that you can use them properly and not get hurt!
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants that retain the natural smell from the plant they are extracted from.
How are essential oils extracted?
In the plant, there are essential oils held in specialized storage sacs, glands or vesicles. To get the oils out they need to be pulled out of these structures. They are extracted by distillation, pressing, solvent extraction and CO2 extraction.
Steam Distillation- Heat and water are used to extract the oil from the plant.
Cold Pressing- This is usually done to extract citrus oils. The peel of the fruit is taken off and mashed around in order to open up the essential oil sacs.
Solvent Extraction- Plant material is mashed up and mixed with a chemical substance. Together, these chemicals extract the essential oil out of the plant and then the oil and the chemical are separated.
CO2 Extraction- CO2 is used to extract the oil instead of heated water or steam.
How do you use essential oils?
Topically- One of the most effective ways to get the therapeutic benefits of essential oils are through the skin. You can apply essential oils mixed with some carrier oil onto your skin. When applying oils topically, the oil will be found in your bloodstream in less than 2 minutes.
Aromatically- Another effective way to use essential oils are aromatically. You can use oils aromatically through a diffuser or even right from the bottle! When inhaling essential oils, the molecules will reach your brain within 22 seconds.
Internally- Now, ingesting essential oils is a very sensitive subject for many people. However, it is actually a very effective way to use essential oils. Young living has a FDA approved Vitality Essential Oil line that are specifically labeled for internal use! As a Certified Aromatherapist, my advice is: if you have any health conditions and/or you are taking medicine, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, see your doctor to determine if there are any essential oils that you should stay away from taking internally. Some essential oils are otherwise safe to ingest besides the fact that some oils may counteract certain medications. But, before you decide that ingesting essential oils are right for you, please consult a medical professional and if at any time you feel like ingesting essential oils is doing any harm, please refrain from continuing to ingest oils and speak to your doctor.
Essential Oil Safety Tips
Always make sure you are using 100% pure essential oils. Essential oils are not regulated so in order for companies to put "100% pure" on the label there only needs to be 5% pure oil in the bottle. That means the other 95% is filled with other additives including toxic fragrance and harmful fillers. Of course Young Living is not the ONLY pure oils on the market, but I will only trust and use essential oils that I know how they are farmed and extracted. You can read more about why I chose Young Living here! If you want to join my team and become a member of Young Living, you can learn more here!
Do not use in your ears, eyes or other sensitive parts. Essential oils are not meant to be used in your eyes, ear canal or in or near any sensitive regions. If you happen to get essential oil in your eyes do not use water to flush your eyes out. Only flush it out with a carrier oil such as vegetable oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Adding water to your eyes that have essential oil in them will only activate the essential oil.
Dilute, dilute, dilute. Essential oils are highly concentrated compounds. You should always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying on your skin. Especially with children! Some concerns that may happen when your skin comes in contact with an undiluted essential oil are irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity/photosentivity.
Irritation- Signs of irritation of the skin are red, irritated skin, itchy skin, darkened skin, dryness, and blistering.
Sensitization- Signs of sensitization in the skin are inflammation, raised, bumpy, itchy skin, and headaches.
Phototoxic/Photosensitive- Some essential oils react to the sunlight. Signs of phototoxicity are sunburn and blisters, reddening of the skin, swelling, and pigmentation of the skin changes.
If you feel like you have any of these affects (or another affect not mentioned) due to essential oils please consult your doctor.
Who should be cautious around essential oils?
Women who are pregnant
Women who are nursing
People who are taking medication
People with certain medical issues
People with allergies to certain herbal plants
Children (especially children under 2 years old)
If you or your someone in your family fits into one of these categories, please talk to a medical professional before you use essential oils as some oils may be harmful.
If you have any other questions about essential oil 101 or essential oil safety please don't hesitate to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org