Wellness Blog

Essential Oil Basics

Posted on January 15, 2017 at 4:05 PM

Essential Oil Basics… What are essential oils?

An essential oil is an aromatic, volatile substance found within a plant. It is the most concentrated form of plant constituents. The oil is extracted from a particular part of the plant, like the flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, branch, seed or fruit. Within these oils, hundreds of organic constituents promote beneficial responses when applied or inhaled.

Essential oils come from all around the world. Plants are native to regions and require specific soil, climate, and season to produce the plant constituents in correct proportions. Some essential oil companies prefer “seed to finished product.” This requires growing and harvesting in numerous locations globally. Other companies form partnerships with growers in various regions and enlist step-by-step testing to ensure the final product is pure and meets specifications for the oil. Finally, companies may also enlist a combination of the two methods by owning some growing sites and partnering to others.

How do you use essential oils?

#1 Inhalation. Simply open the bottle or dispense a few drops and inhale. With each inhalation of an aroma, thousands of olfactory nerves in the nostrils send messages to the brain.

#2 Diffusion. Diffusion doesn’t deliver as concentrated an aroma as inhalation, but it does extend the aroma for longer periods of time. Diffusion includes the use of vaporizers, diffusers, candle lamps, air fresheners, room sprays and mists, and more. Many of these applications combine essential oils with water and may include one or more essential oils.

#3 Topical. Essential oils are readily absorbed through the skin, where they mingle with the skin’s natural emollients. There are many topical applications for essential oils, including massage oils, face creams, body moisturizers and lotions, foot scrubs, body mists, and more. Some essential oils may be applied “neat” or directly to skin. However, others are so concentrated they must be diluted with carrier oils, water, or other carriers before being applied directly to the skin.

#4 Internal. Use caution when considering taking essential oils internally. The quality of oil, type of oil, your potential interaction risks will all have bearing on the outcome. Some oils are safe for inhalation and/or topical use but toxic when taken internally. Internal use is best when guided by an experienced practitioner.

Here are a few oil uses to battle  allergies.

Peppermint, lemon and lavender are cleansing oils. Diffusing these oils in your home on a regular basis will help to reduce pollens and allergens.

Eucalyptus globulus is known for supporting the respiratory system by easing scratchy throats, relieving respiratory symptoms from seasonal allergies (and cold/flu), relieves asthma and clears the head. It is effective applied topically, and needs to be diluted prior to applying to skin. Mix eucalyptus with a carrier oil and apply to the neck, chest or bottoms of feet. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus to a hot shower will allow the aromatic properties of the blend to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Caution: for young children and elderly use Eucalyptus radiata instead.

Place a few drops of peppermint on your temples to release an allergy or sinus headache. For skin rashes, use a few drops of Roman Chamomile or lavender to stop the skin reaction.

Dianna Richardson, ND

Categories: Essential Oils