Plants are in tune with nature and with us.
Vice versa as well! That’s why using natural offerings such as Essential Oils, daily, makes sense in a sometimes cold, mechanical, and often artificial/synthetic world. We can help regain our connection to nature with daily use. Oils just resonate with who we are based on touch, sense, smell, and day to day experiences.
Essential oils are a terrific way to introduce people to natural health concepts. It is fun, easy to share, attracts like minded people, a business opportunity, hands-on, and an educational experience.
The art of essential oil understanding is also referred to as Aromatherapy. This is using essential oils that have been extracted from aromatic plants to help restore our health and beauty. This is the definition by the American Aromatherapy Association.
So, what are these essential oils used in Aromatherapy?
Highly concentrated aromatic extracts derived from plants (herbs/spices etc.). Aromatic plant examples are grasses, leaves, flowers, needles, twigs, peels of fruits, woods, and even roots. Done mostly through steam distillation. Some oils may use other processes such as cold pressing, CO2 extraction, or use of solvents.
Essential Oils (got to love that word ‘essential’) have differing components. These components (molecules) give each essential oil the scent of that essence. Some are more odorous than others. Your nose will tell you! By the way you should always hold an essence under your chin and let it waft up to the nose versus directly under the nose. Like a fine wine, you will with practice, be able to pick up the soft undertones.
Due to steam distillation processes, the odor of the resultant essential oil may not always have the odor of the living plant itself. It should however, smell very “earthy” and not “perfumed/artificial”. Because of distillation, some ingredients in that oil may not be present in the living plant itself. Distillation unlocks the wonder of each living plant. Producing new molecules that are not present in the living plant itself. Just as herbals differ in their actions from a tea, extract, homeopathic, or elixir.
Essential oils require an approval process by the supplier. Each year, weather conditions around the globe differ in humidity, drought, soil conditions, etc. So, every year and oil can be a bit different, just like grapes for wine making change from year to year.
A company providing your essential oils will look to find if an oil has the right aroma, color, and viscosity. Additional tests like Gas Chromatographic Spectrometry ensures beneficial compounds are at the right levels in each batch for a true effect.
Essential oils can also be Certified Organic. But this is not always easy to certify if the oil is wildcrafted. Organics are grown in accordance with NOP standards and guidelines. Wildcrafted means they are not commercially farmed.
For any company supplying the oils, working with reputable distilleries is critical for quality. Selecting those distilleries is key to having consistent high-quality oils that are sustainable, pesticide free, non-GMO, never denatured, reconstituted, or mixed with other compounds. If you consider this, an essential oil’s price can reflect what standards the company selling it adheres to. Or said another way, you get what you pay for!
Some background on uses of essential oils. Never use essential oils of the citrus variety before sunbathing, most are what is considered photosensitive. Such as the essential oils of Bergamot or Lemon. Also, if pregnant, before using any essential oil check with your doctor first. If your doctor ok’s this, always dilute any oil with a carrier base oil such as coconut, almond, olive, etc.
It is suggested all essential oils should be diluted (exception of Tea Tree and Lavender) in most cases, but if in doubt, use a carrier oil base. Applying oils directly to the skin, without a carrier, is known as “neat”. “Neat” application should never be applied directly on children or pets.
Many people chose to use an in-home diffuser for aromatherapy. Enthusiasts will also use what is called a nebulizer.
A Diffuser: Bets is an advanced ultrasonic technology. Which produces vibrations at a frequency of 2.4 million times per second, dispersing essential oil molecules into the air on a stream of cool water vapor. Because no heat is involved, essential oils retain their natural, authentic aromas and health benefits.
A Nebulizer: Produces a micro-fine vapor of essential oil molecules without the aid of heat or water. Essential oil bottles attach directly to the diffuser, making use a breeze! State-of-the-art cold diffusion technology preserves the natural essence of essential oils by transforming them into a micro-fine vapor without the use of heat or water. These micro particles permeate the air, filling it with luxurious fragrance.
If making your own recipes, here are some Suggested Dilutions:
Massage/Body Oil: Adults 2-3% dilution. i.e. 10 drops (of essential oil) to one ounce of carrier oil.
Bath: 5-10 drops per Tub.
Compress: 5 drops per cup of water.
Inhalant: 3-5 drops in a Bowl of Hot water.
Foot or Hand Bath: 5-10 drops per quart of warm water.
Sitz Bath: 5-10 drops per Sitz bath.
Fragrant Body Water: 5-10 drops per 5 ounces of water. Shake up from time to time.
Room Spray: (shake well) 20 drops per 5 ounces of water.
Gargle: Peppermint 1 drop in ¼ cup water.
Liniment: 3% solution.
Dilutions: 1% = 5-6 drops Essential Oil Per Ounce of Carrier.
2% = 10 drops
3% = 15 drops
Last, but not least, keep all essential oils away from small children and pets.
Never take essential oils internally.
Avoid use if using Homeopathic preparations.
If you have any blood pressure concerns, avoid oils such as Rosemary, Peppermint, Clove, or Thyme. ALWAYS use a carrier oil as well. Use small applications topically only. If using a diffuser solely, less of a concern.
Keep in mind to use only a company who promotes a ‘authentic pure source guarantee’. This means a company can trace the oils that were distilled all the way back to where the plant or substance was harvested.
Checks and balances along the way ensure that no one distiller, supplier, or broker, has altered by artificial means, the precious essence of those oils being offered. Many companies may say they do this, but unless you call them out on it and prove it, you are at the mercy of that manufacturer. So, call the company and have them submit proof to you that he oils you are investing in are not diluted, altered, or synthetically modified, in anyway.
One such process is TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography). Which can give a fingerprint of the essence in the wild at harvesting stage. Then compare that “fingerprint” to the oil being bottled after distillation and delivery to the company selling it. If any markers (fingerprint bio-actives) are out of line or missing, the company knows it has been altered and hopefully rejects the distiller’s offerings.
Using essential oils, in tiny amounts and with carrier oil, is an easy and fun way to keep your health and emotions uplifted.