Essential Oils…how can they help You?

Glass vial containing Neroli Essential Oil

Image via Wikipedia

 

I have delayed talking much about essential oils for a few reasons.  I believe it is very important to be clear and accurate on any information I give out.  Since I first became aware of them I can sometimes, hardly contain myself.  What worries me about talking about them is that in my excitement I may leave out some important bit of information.  The other thing about being so excited is I want to say everything at once and that sure does garble the message.  Here is my attempt to present the information in some kind of order.

The best oils are in dark glass bottles and labeled with the name in Latin as well as English, list country of origin and whether or not it is blended with a carrier oil.  For instance, lavender essential oil is usually  pure, whereas rose absolute will be in a carrier oil, like jojoba.  There are various ways to make an essential oil (draw it from its source), some ways are better than others, depending on the level of purity sought. Cold press is reputed to be best and there is a chemical process that aroma therapists suggest Not to use on skin.  I haven’t attempted this on my own, yet, so I can only report things I’ve read.  Once you have the oil it is best stored away from light and heat.

If you are going to use an essential oil on your skin, most need to be blended in a carrier oil.  The lighter carrier oils, like grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, sweet or bitter almond oil are all good choices for massage or bath oils.  If you choose to create your own skin care products you’ll want things like olive oil or jojoba oil.  These two are dense oils and should be used proportionally with the lighter oils.  For instance a TBSP of almond oil+1/2 tsp of jojoba and about three to five drops of essential oil.

Next, especially if you are going to apply them to your body remember that if one drop is good, use ONLY one drop.  More is NOT better!!!!Some of the oils have opposite effects if you use more.  Like lavender.  One drop is relaxing, two keeps you awake and alert.  I am speaking of applying it “neat”, straight from the bottle, no carrier oil.  You can’t do this comfortably with all essential oils.  Citrus oils, if used neat ,tend to produce a burning sensation. Another thing about citrus oils, they produce photosensitivity for some people.  If you already sunburn easily keep looking until you find an oil that will produce the outcome you seek without this side effect.  There are probably several.

I just recently learned that there is such a thing as essential oil poisoning.  If you live with curious, fast moving little children, keep essential stored out of reach.  If you are following a recipe, measure carefully.  If you are using a blend topically stop after about 5-7 days.  Oddly enough the oils seem to continue to work for a couple of days after the last application.

Some authors say don’t take any essential oils orally.  Some suggest adding a drop or two to cold water, or, hot water as a beverage.  I’ve done this with peppermint oil and lemon oil and enjoyed a treat.  I hate plain water.  Had no physical discomfort or alarms as a result of having done so.  What I would say is, try a drop in an 8oz glass of water…if you re curious.  Then you decide.

If you are using oils for pain relief, topical application works best.  I’ve made blends for myself and blends for others.  The blends got used up and each person reported that it worked for what it was designed for.  As a proponent of alternative medicine I find it difficult, yet necessary to refrain from saying too much.  The FDA doesn’t back anything I would say.  And sometimes it’s hard to find suggestions on web pages and magazine ads; what with all the disclaimers required.

Whole Foods has a small section of their stores devoted to essential oils.  Sniff a couple of the testers.  Always keeping in mind any allergies you might have, the scents are intense.  If you really enjoy a specific oil and it is within a price range comfortable to you, try it.  If you don’t like the scent, no matter who told you it’s the best in the world, save your money.  It’s possible you may like it at a later date, then again, you might not.  Meanwhile, there are probably any number of others that you will like.  Those are the ones to try because they are the ones that will give YOU the best result.

Always do a patch test with an oil you haven’t used before or when you blend oils.  I use the inside of the elbow bend. Apply a small amount of the oil or blend and wait 24 hours.  If no itching or redness or other type of reaction my experience has been that it is safe to use.  I believe this is especially important if you are taking prescription drugs.  As a matter of fact, if you are taking prescriptions, find a medical source who has knowledge of both oils and pharmaceuticals.  Better safe than sorry.

There are plenty of books about essential oils.  Read, study,experiment, learn.  Actually, that’s another reason I backed away from the topic.  I’m only a very curious and persistent novice.  My goal here is to offer highlights. I’ve only been actively pursuing the subject for a couple of years.  People have spent entire professional lives in this field.  I feel graced to have found it at all.

There are so many reasons  to use essential oils: health, grooming, gardening, housecleaning, candle making, perfume making, cooking and baking.  They are great to have when travelling.

I find simplicity of use a big plus.  Open the bottle, take a whiff.  If I’d rather not carry the bottle around I put a drop or two on a tissue or cotton ball.  Easier to carry around than a diffuser and always as close as my pocket!  That’s just one example.  So many more come to mind, without effort.  I love essential oils and I’m always finding new ways to use them.

My introduction to these gifts of nature was, most likely, one of the strongest oils for physical wellness.  Oil of Oregano.  I read about it first in a book titled The Cure is in the Cupboard.  It first struck me as a book long advertisement, until I used the product.  Words do not express my delight at the results I got.  I have kept a bottle handy ever since.   The book is available in stores that feature organic products.  I hesitate to say health  food stores, cause I don’t go in them.  In Annapolis, MD there is a store called Earth and Sun; in Severna Park there is a store called Sage.  I’ve seen the book and the product described in both stores.

I just recently started using Zemanta and so there are plenty of places for you to look around, if you are interested.  If you’re not, thank you for your kind attention.

P.S.  the oil shown on the side is Neroli, a citrus oil.  Smells great.  Clear bottle shows color of oil, not good for storage.

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28 Comments (+add yours?)

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