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5 Basic Things You Should Know About Essential Oils

Date: December 22, 2016

As we explore this topic briefly, there are a few things you should know about essential oils.  Essential oils are highly concentrated oils, which are extracted from plants; flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees.  The most common method of extraction for pure essential oils is steam distillation.  In addition, citrus peels are typically extracted by cold press and absolutes by solvent extraction.  There are more that 300 essential oils being used today in some of the following areas:

  1. Prescription drugs – active ingredients used for its medicinal values
  2. Foods and drinks for its aroma and flavor
  3. Cosmetics for beautifying and cell rejuvenation
  4. Perfumery mainly for its fragrance
  5. Aromatherapy for mood enhancing and physical well-being
  6. Soaps and other beauty products for its fragrance and some aromatherapy benefits

1.  History – About Essential Oils

As we talk about essential oils, let’s take a brief look at its history. The use of essential oils have been around from ancient days.  The first reference I come across is in Exodus 30, where Moses was instructed to gather spices and make into oils and perfume (myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, frankincense, stacte, onycha, and galbanum) “after the art of the apothecary.”  Since the methodology of “apothecary” was applied, it leads me to believe that there was already a process for making oils for the purpose of healing.  In addition, we now know that the benefits essential oils include antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory,  antispasmodic, anti-venomous, anti-toxic, anti-depressant, sedative, nervine, analgesic, digestive, deodorizing, diuretic, and the list goes on.  We will talk more about specific essential oils and their benefits in other articles.

2.  Why Essential Oils?

One of the main reasons I use essential oils for health and beauty is because it is said to leave no toxins behind when it enters to body.  Essential oils are thought to leave the body in its entirety within 3 – 14 hours through perspiration, feces, urine, and breathing; the length depends on each individual’s ability weight and ability to eliminate.  A person who exercises and perspires or drinks a lot of water will eliminate faster than someone who has a sedentary lifestyle, drinks very little water.  Quite a contrast when compared to traditional medicine. This is the very reason I avoid the use of traditional medicine as it works on one problem while creating another.

3.  Essential Oil Uses

Although ingested by some, external applications or inhalation is thought to be the most effective way to use essential oils.  As with any substance that interacts or is introduced into the body, the key is knowing the appropriate amount to use as it is highly concentrated and, like anything else, is harmful in excess. A rule of thumb is as follows:

  1. Massage blends – 5 drops of each essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
  2. Inhaling as a vapor – 2-3 drops
  3. Diffusers 1-6 drops
  4. Humidifiers – 1-9 drops
  5. Light Bulb – 1-2 drops
  6. Room Spray – At least 4 drops per cup of water
  7. Jacuzzi – 3 drops per person
  8. Sauna – About 2 drop per 2 cups of water
  9. Baths – No more than 8 drops.  air and many more other ways

4.  Which Essential Oils to Use

Only use 100% pure essential oils,  derived through its appropriate extraction method. It is wise to test the purity of oils to ensure you are reaping the intended benefits and avoid health concerns. Below is the test for gauging pure essential oils:

5.  The Purity Test

  1. Get a piece of blotting paper
  2. Choose the essential oil you wish to test
  3. Place a drop or two on the blotting paper
  4. It should saturate the paper
  5. It should then evaporate and leave no oily patch on the blotting paper.

If it leaves an oily patch then it is thought to be not 100% pure, and perhaps has been diluted with a carrier oil of some sort.

Quick Tips

Here are some quick tips about essential oils:

  1. A drop or 2 of your favorite essential oil can added to your bath for relaxation, while providing antiseptic, antibacterial protection.
  2. Besides body oils and baths, essential oils are used in soaps, lotions, cosmetics, room sprays, among other things.
  3. Only use 100% pure essential oils,  derived through its appropriate extraction method.
  4. Essential oils should be stored airtight in brown or dark glass bottles away from light, heat or dampness.  Blends should be mixed in glass containers.
  5. There are various schools of thought about the therapeutic life of essential oils.  I use 2 to 3 years as my limit, although I have used oils beyond the three years limit, simply because I had them on hand.  So far, I have not experienced any diminishing therapeutic value.
  6. Many essential oil practitioners suggest that, in small amounts, therapeutic grade essential oils are generally safe for human consumption. Although, I have not had any adverse effects from this practice, I strongly suggest be done only under the direction of a practitioner.
  7. Essential oils can cause allergic reactions or skin irritation.
  8. Never use pure essential oils (in its undiluted form) directly to your skin, unless you have tested it on a small area to ensure you have not adverse reaction.
  9. Pregnant women are advised to avoid the use of essential oils and out of reach of children.

Disclaimer

Any health advice issued by this site is not a substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis by a doctor. Recipes that suggest the ingestion of essential oils should be approached with caution. While essential oils are very beneficial when used topically or for their aromas, ingestion is typically not recommended. Rochelle Simone does not sell or promote the use of essential oils for consumption.

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