Choosing Essential Oils
If you are just starting out with essential oils it can be a bit confusing. I get questioned all the time about the best way of choosing essential oils. Generally, the best way to choose an essential oil is to first decide what effect you are looking for. Do you need to relieve stress and relax? Are you looking for an essential oil to help you sleep? Maybe you want one that will help keep you and your family healthy? Or, maybe you need something to rub on aching muscles or joints after you exercise.
Your first step is to identify what effect you are wanting to achieve. I can almost assure you without a doubt there is an essential oil that is used for that purpose. From physical and mental healing effects to natural skin cleansers or household cleaning, there’s an essential oil that can be used for it.
You should keep in mind that the biochemistry of every living creature is just a little bit unique. This means that one essential oil that relieves stress for me may not work as well for you. But don’t worry, because there are usually a number of oils that have such effects, and you may just need to try another until you find the one that works for you.
When you begin on your journey with using essential oils it is always a good idea to read articles or blogs like this one that gives you some information on the effects of each oil. You can consult an aromatherapist or naturopath to recommend some oils for your problem or the use you are wanting to find an oil for. You don’t want to waste your money on something that may not work for you.
Speaking of money, you also need to consider price in your search for a supplier of essential oils. Suppliers that offer oils at all the same price are to be suspect. Essential oils are made from plant parts, and it takes many pounds of a particular plant to make a few ounces of essential oil. Also, some plants are rarer than others, so there is no way to sell all the essential oils at the same price. Also, avoid any product that uses the term “Fragrance”. These substances are used in making perfumes or candles and are NOT essential oils. They do not contain the compounds present in essential oils which work with your body. Or, if they do, they are in very small quantities that will not be effective for aromatherapy or massage purposes.
Another consideration is that although a 15ml bottle of essential oil may look expensive at first glance, you need to realize that using an essential oil in aromatherapy or massage uses only drops of an oil at a time. For instance, for aromatherapy purposes, you will use only 4 or 5 drops of oil. 1ml of essential oil contains about 75 drops. That means that a 15ml bottle contains 1175 drops. If you are only using 5 drops per day, that is a lot of days before you would have to buy more. Even if you are mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil you are using only 20-30 drops to 4oz carrier oil. So you can see, concentrated essential oils are actually a great value for the price.
You also need to make sure the oils are 100% Therapeutic Grade oils. The packaging should also list the genus for the species of plant the oil came from. These are just a few of the things you should look for when choosing a quality essential oil. All the essential oils we carry in our store are 100% Therapeutic Grade and sourced from small artisan sellers from around the world. Our suppliers source the essential oils from only the best sources who use care to extract the oils using proven methods to produce a 100% natural product.
Make sure the bottles your essential oils come in are a dark amber or blue. Clear bottles allow in light that can degrade and spoil your precious oils. Keep the oils in a cool, dark area away from sunlight. Direct sunlight and heat will also spoil your essential oils. Never use an oil that smells rancid, as the oil could cause you issues. But stored correctly, your essential oils should be good for 1-2 years at a minimum. There are a few oils that may have a shorter shelf life, but most will keep for a minimum of 2 years.
Before using an essential oil on your skin you should always do what is called a patch test. Place a drop or two of the oil on a cotton swab and rub it on the skin in an area like the inside of the elbow. You should also do this with any premixed massage oils you purchase. If you haven’t noticed any kind of skin reaction in 24 hours, the oil is probably safe for topical use. Some oils caution about skin sensitization. This is where repeated use can cause you to develop an allergic reaction. Other oils caution of photosensitivity. These are usually the citrus oils. You should use caution if you use these oils on your skin and avoid exposure to the sun for 24 hours after topical use.
This is not to say that essential oils are dangerous, but there are certain oils that you should use with caution until you know how you will react. I have also seen some big companies suggest you use essential oils internally. I caution my clients to never use essential oils internally unless directed by a physician or other licensed healthcare provider. Essential oils are concentrated and some can be toxic when taken internally. Just be safe and follow the advice of your physician if you are considering using any essential oil internally.
Once you have chosen an essential oil you also have to think about how you will use it. There are many ways to use essential oils, and once again it comes down to the effect you want to achieve. Here are a few popular ways to enjoy essential oils and their effects.
- Diffuser– A diffuser is one of the most popular ways to use essential oils. An ultrasonic diffuser creates a fine mist of water and essential oils that will float in the air. You simply breathe and you inhale the tiny particles of essential oil into your lungs, where they enter your body quickly and go to work. Most come with a safety shutoff so you can use them while sleeping without worrying.
- Steam- Steam diffusion is great for essential oils like eucalyptus when you have a head cold. You just need to place steaming hot water into a bowl, place a few drops of essential oil in the water, get a towel to place over your head and inhale the steam.
- Dry Evaporation- You can simply place a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball or your pillow, and let the oil evaporate into the room. This method is effective when you place the cotton ball beside you, such as using Lavender oil when you get ready to go to sleep.
Now that you know some tips for choosing essential oils you are ready to enter an amazing world of natural substances that can help you with many issues in your day to day life. If you have any questions about essential oils and their use, please feel free to contact me by email or our contact form and I will be happy to assist you.