A Basic Guide to Essential Oils

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Last semester I had to take speech communications. I was super nervous about it because me + speaking in front of a class = no. But it actually ended up being one of my favorite classes! I chose to speak about essential oils for my informative speech. I loved being able to tell everyone about oils and the best part is that they had to sit there and listen to me!!

I often get asked about essential oils and it's mostly from people who are just starting out on their oil journey! I wanted to make a post including just the basics and some general knowledge about essential oils along with answering some frequently asked questions. This way you can have all the general information in one place that you can reference!

Essential oils are dangerous if used incorrectly. Learning essential oil safety is critical. If you're pregnant or nursing it's best to talk with your doctor about if they can be used safely and essential oils should be kept away from pets and young children under certain ages depending on the oil being used. Dedicating time to thoroughly research is necessary. I am not a doctor and none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA.

WHAT DO ESSENTIAL OILS DO?

Essential oils have an impact on brainwaves and can change behavior and mood. They balance our hormones and bodies as a whole. They are nature's best body cleansers, carrying oxygen molecules in and waste products out. They increase our ability to absorb vitamins and other nutrients and most of all they are therapeutic and heal illnesses that we typically use prescription drugs for. 

WHY ESSENTIAL OILS?

Unlike synthetic drugs, essential oils detoxify our bodies and strengthen our immune system. They also deal directly with the cause of the illness whereas dugs only treat symptoms. When we take prescription drugs, there's always going to be that long list of side effects but using essential oils will never disrupt other bodily functions. Essential oils will never take away anything good from our bodies. For example, when antibiotics are used, they wipe out the bad bacteria that's making you sick, but also get rid of the good bacteria that you need. If you use essential oils with antibacterial properties, they will only be getting rid of the bad bacteria. Essential oils are natural healers. 

HOW DO WE GET OILS INTO OUR SYSTEM?

There are three ways to enter essential oils into your system. Through your lungs, through your skin, or through your digestive tract. There are certain oils that can be used topically and internally. But it's important to pay attention to those that should NOT be. Always find a reference if you are unsure. When you purchase the oils, it should tell from the website you purchase them through how they can be used, as well as what the oils are good for! I'm not familiar with internal use of essential oils, which is a very controversial topic. There will be people who swear by it, and those who caution it. I very seldom take essential oils internally aside from peppermint in my homemade toothpaste and cannot personally speak about it, so I am going to cover the two safest ways to use essential oils-aromatically and topically. 

Aromatically
To get essential oils into your system through your lungs, you can use direct inhalation or diffusing. Diffusing is good because it's the route of longest exposure. Diffusers typically run for more than a few hours and allow you to continually inhale oils throughout that time. Direct inhalation is where you put the bottle directly up to your nose and inhale deeply, which is also beneficial! But diffusing creates a way to get the oils into your system through a long period of time. I like to run my diffuser while I'm sleeping so I know I'm in that room for the whole time and I'm getting the full exposure. The diffusers I have are this one and this one which I bought from Amazon! 

Topically
Topically using essential oils means putting them on your skin. Like I said above, it's important to make sure which oils can be used on your skin. Most are okay for topical use, but for example, bergamot makes your skin very sensitive to the sun and isn't recommended to be used topically. I've read a few books and recipes lately calling for bergamot in skin products which goes to show that there is always going to be misleading, contradicting, and false information about essential oils out there. That is why having multiple references and taking time to thoroughly research is so important.

When using oils topically, a carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, vitamin e oil, etc, is recommended. Essential oils are often too strong to apply to your skin undiluted. A carrier oil also helps spread the oils as well as get them into your skin better. I use melaleuca oil, frankincense, and juniper berry on my face for my acne and I also use essential oils as perfume and in my deodorant. When using oils in my body products or in my beauty routines, I always make sure I am using oils that are safe to use topically.

YOUR ESSENTIAL OIL STARTER KIT

Because there are many oils and many many uses for each of them, it would take me forever to tell you each one. So I've created a "starter kit" for you that includes the best oils to start with. These are the most versatile and definitely most used in my home! These 4 oils are amazing for common illnesses such as colds or flus, as well as skin issues or wounds. I've included a few uses for each of them but there are many many more than just those listed. 

Lavender
-Lavender has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties and more.
-Great for improving sleep, calming and reducing anxiety, headaches, acne and other skin issues, healing burns and cuts, and much more.

Peppermint
-Peppermint has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, insecticidal properties and more.
-Great for getting rid of headaches, nausea, digestive problems, and fevers. Helps with respiratory function, weight loss, energy, focus, and much more.

Melaleuca
-Melaleuca has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal properties, antibacterial, antiseptic properties.
-Great for healing wounds, fungi, warts, acne and other skin issues, is a natural deodorizer and cleanser, helps respiratory function, and much more.

Frankincense
Frankincense has anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic and expectorant properties.
-Great for cold and flu prevention, boosts immune system, balances hormones, cancer, heals wounds and skin issues, relieves stress and indigestion, and much much more. Basically if you can name it, Frankincense helps it. It's my absolute favorite oil!

The question I get asked most is where I purchase my oils from. I buy from doTerra and Mountain Rose Herbs. I like doTerra for their blends such as On Guard and Breathe, but I am moving towards purchasing only from Mountain Rose Herbs because their oils are organic, whereas doTerra's are not. doTerra's oils are very expensive solely because they are a multi-level marketing company and in order to purchase you have to buy through a member/advocate. Mountain Rose Herbs is 100% pure, reasonably priced, organic, and you can purchase by simply placing an order on their website. I have a blog post in the archives about how to purchase essential oils and the importance of buying the right ones. You can find that post here.

This definitely won't be my last post about essential oils but hopefully this can be something that you reference when you need some ideas of what to do with oils and how they are beneficial. Most importantly, do your own research. There's much more to learn that just what is on this page. Each oil needs to be well researched before you use it. Incorrect use of essential oils IS harmful and dangerous. I just wanted to provide you with the basics. If you have any other questions or want to know more about them, you know I'm always down to talk oils!!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, heal, cure, or prevent any disease.

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