Essential Oils 101: All the Basics You Need to Know!

30th November 2018

The power of essential oils (EO’s) is real – have YOU made them part of your everyday life yet?

 

We’re going to lay out all of the basics so you can get on this one bandwagon that’s here for the long haul. When you learn about the history of EO’s, you’ll know that they’re not even new. In fact, EO’s have been around for centuries!

 

Some essential oils come from seeds while many others are extracted from the leaves of the plant. Because EO’s are so highly concentrated, it takes a tremendous amount of plant to produce just one ounce of oil.

 

Due to this level of concentration, essential oils are incredibly powerful, so a little bit goes a long way!

 

Some “essential” terms you should know:

 

Aromatic

Essential oils are basically the natural aromatic compounds extracted from seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Diffusion is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the aromatic benefits of essential oils.

 

Carrier Oil

This refers to a lipid- or fat-based liquid used to dilute EO’s. Olive, coconut, almond, jojoba and argan oils are the most common ones.

 

Distillation

The process of extracting essential oil from plant material.

 

Steam distillation is the most common distillation method that uses low-heat pressurised steam to circulate through plant parts and extract oils.

 

Cold press distillation uses a mechanical press to squeeze essential oils from plant parts, and is the most commonly used method for obtaining citrus oils – a classic ingredient in DIY household cleaning products. This is to preserve their aromatic bounty!

 

Historic Essential Oils

Despite being suddenly catapulted into popularity, essential oils are not a new thing.

 

The ancient Egyptians were among the first to use aromatic essential oils for daily life, and pure EO’s were prized and saved for priests and royals. Other ancient societies, such as those in China, Greece and Rome used EO’s for aromatherapy, illness, and personal hygiene.

 

Essential oil starter kit:

Are you a newbie to EO’s?

 

Here are 4 of the most popular ones to try first, and a few suggested uses. They make great staples in your medicine cabinet too!

 

TEA TREE OIL (Melaleuca): Soothing, cleansing & healing

 

LAVENDER: Soothing & calming

 

LEMON: Cleansing, revitalising & uplifting

 

PEPPERMINT: Cooling & energising

 

Other popular ones for beginners are essentials oils of frankincense, clove, eucalyptus, clary sage, sweet orange, grapefruit, and rosemary.

 

Applications, skin sensitivity & ingestion

 

Essential oils can be used topically, which means you can apply them directly on the skin, mix them with carrier oils or mix with other personal care products.

 

DILUTE — A category of essential oils that should be mixed with a carrier oil. The carrier oil will help transport the EO’s onto the skin.

 

NEAT — A category of essential oils that can be applied topically without dilution because of a chemistry that is considered mild.

 

INGESTION— While there may be indication for internal ingestion of EO’s for therapeutic purposes, many of the ailments that we experience do not need such a heavy dose internally and may be more effectively addressed through inhalation (diffusers, personal inhalers, etc.) or topical application (salves, massage oils, baths, etc.).

 

Be sure to consult a professional aromatherapist before ingesting essential oils. Always make informed choices and do your own research when choosing to use EO’s.

 

Essential oils are incredibly powerful and serve many purposes for the home, and in daily health routines. With some basic knowledge, and having a few high-quality oils on hand, you can DIY dozens of homemade products, and enjoy many therapeutic benefits.

 

RECIPE

 

Natural All-Purpose Household Cleaner

 

Ingredients:

 

Preparation:

 

In a clean spray bottle (glass is best), mix the vinegar, essential oils and a splash of water before adding baking soda *important*.

 

Then fill to top of bottle with water, and gently shake to mix ingredients. Then spray area, wipe with a clean cloth, and allow it to dry. Dirty areas are now clean and disinfected!



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