What You Should Know About Essential Oils

Essential Oils have become quite trendy. You can purchase various grades of essential oils now in health food stores, grocery stores, bed and bath establishments and drug stores – not to mention online and through mail order. How can you know what to purchase or how to use the tiny vials? Here are some suggestions on how to use essential oils and what you should know before incorporating them into your personal care routine.

Essential oils are distilled from various plants. All parts of plants can be used including leaves, seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and fruit. The plant parts are cooked down and the essential oils are the distilled result. Essential oils can be 50-100 times more potent than the plant they are derived from.

Unlike “base oils” such as olive oil, almond oil, peanut oil, etc. which feel filmy and greasy and stay on the surface of the skin, essential oils can be absorbed quickly into the skin and the essential oil can evaporate at room temperature. Within twenty minutes of applying essential oil to a person’s skin, evidence of the chemicals within that oil can be found in every cell within the body. That is just one of the ways essential oils can be so powerful in fighting illness and improving the immune system.

Essential oils are used as herbal and medicinal supplements, as aromatherapy, and cosmetically and domestically for various uses. It is important to use pure “therapeutic grade” essential oils, not oils that are watered down. It can be tempting to buy the least expensive versions, but often these are not “therapeutic grade,” so use a reliable source and supplier and investigate for quality. Check with a specialist at a health focused merchant or an informed medical specialist.

There are so many different essential oils, and at least as many uses. It is a good idea to do some research prior to making purchases. Good references are: Essential Oils Desk Reference, compiled by Essential Science Publishing and Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless. You can also do some investigating online or at your library for more reference materials regarding essential oils.

How can you use essential oils? Since they are so concentrated, remember to use them sparingly. Here are some beginner’s ideas for using them around the house:

Cleaning: use a few drops in your washing machine and clothes dryer for fresh smelling laundry; add a drop or two to your vacuum bag or sprinkle on carpets and vacuum to freshen the air and the floors; lemon and citrus oils can work well as a disinfectant added to warm water and used as a cleaner.

Aromatherapy: Inhale or diffuse essential oil in a spritz/spray bottle and spray into the air; a drop or two on a hand or a hanky can be inhaled; use a cold-air diffuser or a pot of steaming water to spread the aroma into the air.

Topical Use: Add a few drops to a bath; mix 12-15 drops into �¼ cup of Epsom salts for a soothing, therapeutic bath; Add to a massage oil; wear as a perfume or cologne or rub directly onto the skin.

These are just a few uses for essential oil. Essential oils can also be ingested and taken internally, but see a specialist or medical professional to obtain recommendations and information about how to safely ingest essential oils.

There are so many wonderful uses and different types of essential oils, one could spend a lifetime just investigating the variety. Just remember to find a reputable supplier and use only therapeutic grade essential oils – do some homework and try to talk with someone at your health food, health supplement or other specialty store and you’ll be well on your way to discovering the world of essential oils.

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