Essential Oils Guide: The Basics of Essential Oils

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Have you been hesitant to dive in to learning about essential oil? Or did you get some and then have no idea what to do with them? Don't worry, you have come to the right place. I have created a basic guide to help you understand essential oils, so that you feel more comfortable using them. 

Understanding essential oils can be overwhelming. I know, I have experienced doubt and overwhelm when starting my research on essential oils. But, with help from the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle tensions have been eased.

I bought this bundle, which has multiple resources (34 to be exact) to help me learn about essential oils and herbs. I trust the providers of the bundle, Ultimate Bundles and knew that they would only allow high quality resources into the bundle. 

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There is a lot of fear out there surrounding essential oils, which makes it hard to know who to trust. But, I found amazing resources in the bundle by people I trust. I discovered women like Jodi Cohen from Vibrant Blue Oils and Lea Jacobson from Using EOS Safely. If you are looking for more resources these are great resources along with the bundle.

Know that I am no expert, but I have gone to experts and researched this information for you. A lot of it has come from information in the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle and resources on the internet.

Know that there are resources and people available to speak with you about your use of essential oils, I mentioned above some great resources and people to use. 

This guide is long, but hopefully will help you better understand essential oils. I will cover information ranging from vocabulary used in the field, extraction methods of the oil, the benefits of essential oils, how to buy and start using essential oils. 

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Language Used With Essential Oils 

Batch Specific GC/MS - GC/MS Stands for Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectometry.  Gas chromatography is a way of separating the volatile compounds (which are the good parts of the plants that you want to get from the essential oils) in the essential oils and the mass spectrometry identifies the components and their percentage. These break downs allow people to know if something is going to irritating to the skin, or if the shelf life is longer in a particular batch of oils. 

Blends - This is a combination of single oils (defined below.) Blends are used to increase the potency and effectiveness of attributes of certain oils. You can make blends at home or buy them. 

Carrier Oils - The oil that is mixed with essential oils to dilute it. Not any oil will do. Some of the best oils to mix with your essential oils are coconut oil, or fractionated coconut oil so that it remains liquid. There is olive oil, jojoba oil, argon oil and sweet almond oil that are also good carrier oils. 

Dilute - Essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil to make them safe for topical use.  You will always dilute essential oils when using them. This lessons the potency of the oil, which makes it healthier when consuming (inhaling or topical use.) 

Diffuser - An essential oil diffuser breaks down the oil to be in the air, using water to transport it or atomizing it. This is a form of receiving essential oils through inhalation. Diffusers can be purchased on Amazon very easily. 

Hydrosals - When essential oils are made there is the water based ingredient that is also made. These are called hydrosals. They also have benefits of essentials oils and sometimes are the better choice, rather than essential oils. 

Natural - This is a word that is used on most essential oil labels, if not all. It doesn't mean that a brand has a high quality essential oil. ALL essential oils should be natural. They all come from the earth. Do not let this generate more trust between you and a brand. 

Neat - This is using an essential oil that has not been diluted. Always understand an essential before using it neat, it could cause irritation, or a more severe reaction.

Olfactory System - This term is often used when describing the use of inhalation to receive essential oils. This is your sense of smell and the system used for smelling. 

Reflexology - This is a form of alternative medicine to use certain points on your feet to help parts of the body. Some aromatherapist may suggest putting essential oils on certain parts of the foot increase the effects of the essential oil. 

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Sensitization - This is when an individual becomes allergic or sensitized to a specific essential oil. Once you develop sensitization it will remain. The easiest way to avoid sensitization is to continually change the essential oils you use with the seasons. If you use only one essential oil, all the time, you are going increase the likelihood of your body becoming sensitized. 

Singles - Singles refers to an individual essential oil. Singles would be lavender oil, peppermint oil, or lemon oil. The use of 2 or more singles creates a blend.

Therapeutic - This is another term used with essential oils. There is no regulated FDA standard for essential oils. So, therapeutic has little weight or meaning for the quality of the essential oils when purchasing them. 

Topical Reaction - If you do not dilute appropriately you can have a topical reaction from using essential oils. This is an allergic reaction or something more severe. Often topical reactions are rashes or hives, but it is possible to get burns.  

Toxin Binders - These help transport the toxins that essential oils help get rid of in the body. If you don't take a correct binder then they will often be reabsorb in the gut. When you are using essential oils to help clean out a organ or system, research whether a binder will be useful. 

Methods Of Extraction for Essential Oils 

The plant or herb being used dictates the extraction process. There are 4 types of extractions: steam distilled, hydro distilled, cold pressed, and absolute. Cold pressed is usually used with citrus oils since the oil is in the skin of the fruit. 

The absolute method is when a chemical is used to extract the oil from the plant. Meaning that the chemical will always remain with the oil. An oil that this has to be done with is Jasmine. 

Knowing the different plants will have different extraction types is important. Understanding the extraction process for each plant will help you understand the oil better and any information on the bottle. 

How to Use Essential Oils for Therapeutic Benefits 

Inhalation 

This is the process of smelling the essential oils. This can be done just by opening the bottle and smelling the essential oil for a few breathes or by diffusing the oil into the air. This is the most effective method at receiving the benefits of certain oils. 

When you inhale the oil, it hits the lungs and is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Most often when using a diffuser you will use it for short periods of times during the day. An example is 20 minutes two times a day. Do NOT diffuse all day. 

Essential oil are not to be used constantly. Talk to an aromatherapist or research diffusing habits for each issue or symptom you are treating. 

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Topical 

Topical is putting the essential oils with a carrier oil on to the skin. This is also an effective way to reach different parts of the body. People will use reflexology points to get the desired effect in the area of the body they are wanting to reach. 

Essential oils can also be used on the skin for skin issues, like a rash or bee sting, along with deeper pains and aches in the muscles. 

Ingestion

Essential oils are never recommended to be ingested, unless extraneous circumstances, for a desired therapuetic effect. People do use essential oils for culinary purposes. This is fine, and there are recipes for that in the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle.

Please do not put essential oils in your water, for a lemony fresh taste. The potency of essential oils can cause damage to liver. These are concentrated chemicals and should always be diluted with an appropriate carrier oil.

The benefits of essential oils 

Physical 

Many of us know essential oils for helping us or someone we know when they were sick. Essential oils have amazing healing properties.

They can help support your respiratory system, damaged nerves, and upset stomachs. Cinnamon can help poor circulation, poor indigestion, and athlete's foot. Roman Chamomile helps with inflammation and fungal infections. These are just 2 examples of what oils can help support, and that was not an exhaustive list what cinnamon or roman chamomile can do.  

From skin ailments, to muscle and organ issues, essential oils may be able to help support your systems improvement or help you deal with the symptoms of an ailment. 

Mental

Essential oils can also help with things like foggy brain and focus. One thing that I am always willing to test and investigate more is essential oils ability to improve sleep. There are multiple blends to be made to help you sleep or stay energized and focused. Lavendar, which I use before bed sometimes, is a great way to relax.

Mood 

If you have a lot of anxiety and stress, there are essential oils to help you relax and calm yourself. There are essential oils and blends to help with mood disorders, depression, even ADD/ ADHD for kids.

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Something really special about essential oils is their ability to help support the release of trauma, shame, shock, and helplessness. There are blends to help you work through your grief or worry. 

Essential oils have great emotional impacts. The list above is not complete in what benefits can have on your emotional state. Know that if you are seeking help with emotions there may be an essential oil to support you in your release of those emotions. 

Cleaning 

A big plus about essential oils are that many are anti-microbial. They are powerful cleaning tools for the home, and are all natural. A staple for many is lemon essential oil, which kills airborne germs, surface germs, and is a bug repellant. 
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Common Sense When Starting With Essential Oils

Essential oils are a concentrated chemicals. Be smart when using them. Remember that it is powerful, and effective in tiny doses. Keep your common sense when using essential oils. If you have questions or need help, research and ask questions.

I like Vibrant Blue Oils because they are always willing to respond to emails, have classes, and a blog to further your education on essential oils. When I email them, they respond the same day. They also have amazing blends.
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Being Safe

It is not hard to be safe with essential oils. There is a lot of fear spread about essential oils, but don't believe everything you read. Be smart and you will be fine.
The Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle has guides likes the Essential Oil Profiles, which disects each essential oil. It includes extraction method, what part of the plant, shelf-life, safety recommendations and also lists the benefits and therapuetic properties of each oil.

There is also the The Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide, which has master dilution charts along with a guide for blending. This makes it easy to mix for your diffuser or your own roller ball blends. These are just 2 of the 34 resources in the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle. 

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Dilution 

It is always better to over dilute something rather than under dilute it. Really a drop or two of oil can have the impact you are looking for. Even in a bathtub a few drops can be sufficient. If you are unsure about how much to dilute your blends, or singles there is information online and guides in the Herbs and Essential Oil Super Bundle to help you. 

Also, you usually buy essential oils in small quantities like 5ml bottles. This is because it is small and powerful. You don't need a gallon to get the job done. A small bottle can last you a while when using is appropriately. 

Over Use

I mentioned over use and sensitization earlier in the vocabulary section. When using essentials they should be used to treat an ailment. They shouldn't be used as preventative medicine. Over use of the oils can lead to sensitization. They aren't something you need to use every day, unless you are on a regiment for a specific ailment. 

Also, rotating which oils you are using through the seasons will help your body not become sensitized to the oils. It is a similar concept of trying to eat with the seasons.

Buying Essential Oils  

Buying essential oils and figuring out a brand to purchase from can be the biggest overwhelming process. In the past I attempted to start buying essential oil three times, but gave up because of overwhelm. So, I understand it can be challenging when you feel that you don't know anything. Below are some tips to help you with that. 

How to Buy Quality 

There are two ways to check on the quality of essential oils. These are not the only two ways, but they are helpful and enough to get going. There is checking whether the oils are organic and whether they have the batch specific GC/MS test available to view. 

Organic Essential Oils 

You want organic essential oils because you are using a part of the plants themselves. If that plant has had chemicals, pesticides, and other things on it, then you will also be getting those chemicals in your essential oils. So, you want clean, untreated plants to be what your essential oils are coming from. 

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Bath Specific GC/MS 

Now, I have to be honest, because I don't know much about these tests. But, I do know that if you buy from a company that has these test available to you there is a level of transparency that is good for you. Once you are able to read these tests you can be a better judge of the quality of the essential oils that you are buying. 

How Much Does Price Matter 

Price is such a sticky issue. We don't want to spend a ton of money, but we do want poor quality essential oils. Cheap essential oils doesn't necessarily mean poor quality. So, if you find some at your drug store that are in your price range it doesn't mean they are bad. 

My first essential oils were given to me by my mother, and were from a Walgreens. They smelled amazing and did their job. The fact that they were cheaper didn't mean they didn't do their job. 

All essential oils are not created equally though. So, yes there is a price range for essential oils because of how they are made and collected. Some oils are abundant and don't require much of the fruit, bark, leaf to get a batch of oils. Others require large quantities of flowers, and still only produce small amounts of the oil.

A more expensive essential oil is helichrysum. While on the other end of the spectrum is lemon, orange, and tea tree oil all easily harvested and extracted oils. Remember that there should be a range in prices because of this. 

Remember just because an oil cost more doesn't mean its healing properties are stronger, more expansive or work faster. All oils have many positive effects and all are concentrated and potent. 

Use Your Common Sense 

Follow your nose when trying oils. If it smells good to you, use it. If it smells off, chemically, or just repulsive then don't use it. Our bodies are great detectors of what we need and what we don't need. 

Blends Versus Singles 

Blends can be home made or bought. They are the combination of certain oils for a more specific healing property. In the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle you will get multiple ebooks, journals and guides with recipes. There is

There is the 15 Roller Bottle Recipes and Labels for Stress, Rest, and Mood ebook, where I am currently using a stress relief blend from. There are recipes in ebooks ranging from cleaning, to skin care, to mood relief. Check out the list of products included in the bundle, you will see a lot of possibilities. 

When buying blends or singles be smart. Find out if the blend or single oil will help you with your specific ailments. Understand what the specific oils in the blend are capable of remedying. 

A Few More Tips  

Less is more when buying your essential oils. Start with buying one to three oils. Learn about them, use them, and see how they work. There is no need to buy the massive sets with 10+ essential oils. 

Keep learning about them. Sign up for a newsletter and receive some weekly knowledge about them. This takes the pressure off of researching. 

Essential Oils Are Not the Magic Bullet 

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Essential oil are not a magic bullet. They are not the missing thing from your diet or daily life. They are a natural remedy. Make sure that you go to the doctor to find out whats wrong in order to properly treat yourself with essential oils. 

More questions about essential oils 

Are essential oils safe around my pets?

This is a general rule of thumb, but always take the time to research if you are not sure. Cats cannot process essential oils and so they should not be around them. Dogs can process the oils and it is okay for them to be around them. 

Do remember that animals can have a stronger sense of smell. If you are diffusing in a small space, make sure that your pet can leave the area and go to where there is fresh air. 

For all other pets, consult an aromatherapist.  

Should I use essential oils while I am pregnant? 

If you are just starting out on essential oils, I would wait till you are no longer pregnant to start using. If you are very interested in using them for your morning sickness, or other pregnancy symptoms I would consult an aromatherapist. 

Whew! That was a lot of information but I hope you feel that you know a little more about essential oils. If there are other questions or areas you want to know more about, please write it in the comments below. 

 

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