What Are Essential Oils?
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the highly concentrated, aromatic essences of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, resins and flowers. Essential oils are greaseless and not like the other ‘oils’ you have in your home like olive oil or coconut oil for example. Essential oils are the plant’s natural defense and protective mechanisms. They work the same in our bodies as they do in nature.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are three ways to use essential oils. Keep reading to learn how to do it safely.
Scents are powerful and the best and fastest way to reach the mood center is through our nose! In less than a second, essential oils hit the limbic system and have the power to affect our mood.
- Inhale the oil directly from the bottle: simply smell it! You can rub a drop or two on your hands and cup your nose or just inhale directly from the bottle.
- Diffuse the oils with a diffuser which disperses the oils in a micro-fine vapor throughout the air. A diffuser does not heat the oils which can damage their therapeutic properties.
- Breathe in steamy vapors deeply by carefully pouring hot water into a glass bowl, adding in a couple drops of essential oils, and covering the bowl in a tent like fashion with a cloth or towel. This technique is called tenting.
Essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin, which is not surprising considering the skin is the largest organ of the body. In fact, one of the best places to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet – which have over 2,000 pores and some of the largest pores on your body.
You can also bathe in the oils. It is best to mix 15-20 drops with Epsom salt in a separate bowl, then pour the bowl in the bathtub.
When using essential oils topically on the skin, consider using them with carrier oils – which are fatty or nutty oils such as almond, coconut, olive, jojoba, sesame, and avocado oils. Look for organic and cold-pressed oils. Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils and spread them over a large surface area on the skin, such as the back.
For instance, the essential oil blend PanAway from Young Living is great for soothing tired muscles but only 2-3 drops is needed – yet that can’t cover the lower back. So pair those 2-3 drops with 1 tsp of coconut oil and spread on the back and feeling relaxed and soothed.
Look on the essential oil bottle for suggested dilution ratios.
Remember to always dilute when using essential oils for kids. One of the best books for guidelines on using essential oils for pregnancy, babies and kids is Gentle Babies by Debra Rayburn.
Essential oils can be taken as a dietary supplement, but this is where it really depends on the quality of the essential oil. I only use Young Living’s line of Vitality essential oils as a dietary supplement or food flavoring. These oils have been approved by the FDA as safe to ingest. Remember look at your product labels. Each of the Young Living Vitality oils have suggested dosage information on the product labels.
You can get benefits from ingesting these Young Living essential oils by putting them in an empty vegetable capsule and taking them as a pill.
Other ways to ingest oils are to add a drop to your water (Lemon Vitality is a great choice), or even your cup of tea.
You can cook with the oils and add them in your food – chocolate and Peppermint Vitality is fantastic.