10 Things Everyone Should Know About Essential Oils

Interested in learning more about essential oils? This list is a good introduction to what they are and how they can be used.

1. Not Every Oil Is an Essential Oil

Essential oils are valuable resources with specific origins. An essential oil must be extracted via steam, steam and water, expression or maceration/distillation—all scientific methods closely monitored by professionals.
When the extraction is done properly, the resulting oil is heavily concentrated and must be handled with care. Tiny amounts act in powerful ways. As such, it’s important to know how not to use these oils, as it is it to using them correctly.

2. Properly Store Essential Oils

Your essential oil collection should be stored at temperatures not exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a hot climate, or are experiencing an unusually warm day, it’s best to store your oils to a cooler area of your house. While one hot day won’t ruin them, it could shorten their lifespan. Essential oils should be kept in a dark cupboard or cabinet with minimal light exposure, one reason they’re sold in tinted bottles.

3. Never Ingest Essential Oils

Due to the highly-concentrated nature of essential oils, they must never be ingested or digested alone or with any foods. They’re not to be added to medication or put on the tip of the tongue. These oils can be toxic due to their intense concentration. Essential oil is not to be confused with food oils such as olive or garlic oil. The only way to safely use essential oils is to inhale them or apply them to the skin per recommendations.

4. Diffusers Come Highly Recommended

An easy and effective way to use essential oils is with a diffuser. Using just a few drops, diffusers spread the oil’s aroma in expansive ways that fill the whole room. When you use a diffuser, no oil is wasted. If a family member is sick in bed, using a diffuser in the room can hasten their recovery. Diffusers come in various styles and sizes. For best results, leave the diffuser on until the room is thoroughly infused with the oil’s aroma. You can turn the diffuser on or off at will, but it’s best to choose a diffuser with an automatic shut off when water level is low.

5. How to Use Topically

Essential oil is so concentrated that just one drop applied to the skin can be uncomfortable or even harmful. Yet, skin application is one of the most efficient ways to deliver the powerful healing effects. Used topically, the oils must first be diluted in a carrier oil. The carrier oil “carries” the oil through the pores and into the body. Appropriate carrier oils include olive, coconut and jojoba oils. Of these, jojoba oil is best because it closely resembles the skin’s own natural oils. To dilute essential oil in carrier oil, pour the amount of carrier oil you need into a separate container. Trickle in the recommended number of essential oil drops, and stir until blended. Apply topically as an emollient or on a poultice.

6. All Essential Oils Are Not Equal

Not all essential oils are equal in quality. To ensure you’re using a high-quality essential oil that will be as effective as possible, look for oils that are:

  • Undiluted
  • Pure
  • Natural
  • Cold-Pressed

7. Fragrance Oils are Not the Same

As you wander the aisles of your local craft store, you may see a bevy of inexpensive fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are not to be confused with essential oils. Fragrance oils are chemically created and are synthetic. They’re an interpretation of nature’s scents – not nature’s scents themselves. If you seek the natural healing properties of essential oils, buy only the high-quality ones. Fragrance oils are used in home crafts or non-healing applications.

8. Essential Oil Scents Can Lift Your Mood

A powerful quality of essential oils is their capacity to improve your mood. Occasionally suffer from “blue” moods, days when you’re fatigued or irritable? It’s likely you can find relief with these oils. The very aroma can improve your mood and help you through the day. Recommended mood enhancer oils are Clary Sage, Peppermint, Ylang-Ylang, Lavender and Lemon.

9. Do the Magic Marker Test

Certain people may have a negative reaction to some essential oils, just as they might have to certain foods. Before using an essential oil for the first time, place a small amount of carrier oil—coconut or jojoba oil—into a small glass bowl. Add one drop of essential oil and blend well. Place a dot of the combined oil on your skin and use a magic marker to circle the spot. Wait 24 hours. If no rash occurs, you can be assured you’re not allergic to that essential oil.

10. They’re Not a Substitute for Medical Care

Those interested in using essential oils for their therapeutic value should remember they’re not a substitute for professional medical care. Essential oils can be supplemental to facilitate health, but never be used instead of professional medical care.

The world of essential oils is fascinating and informative, with thousands of ways to successfully incorporate them into your life. These ten facts will help you get started as you explore all that essential oils can achieve.