Essential Oils 101 For Beginners: Intro & Basic Guide To Get Started!

Welcome To Essential Oils 101–Your Guide To Essential Oils

These are exciting times for essential oil enthusiasts! Essential oils are enjoying worldwide popularity and recognition. The appeal of essential oils stems from their versatility and ability to harmonize with people’s wellness needs and desires. essential oils, as they are often called, promise to unleash your creativity as you learn of their many benefits and uses.

You may find some essential oils made nearby, while others will come from all corners of the globe. Welcome to your essential oils journey!

What Are Essential Oils?

They are called “essential” because they contain the essence of a plant, including its aromatic and wellness properties.

What exactly are essential oils? They’re the liquid extracts of plants, like the juice from a petal or leaf. The liquids are processed, becoming concentrated oil for aromatic and wellness uses. essential oils are called “essential” because the oil contains each plant’s essence. Parts used to make each oil varies, including flowers, grasses, fruits, roots, trees, or leaves.

But there is much more … So much more!

What are essential oils good for?

Essential oils are good for so much–they cleanse, offer pain relief, tone, fight infections, lighten a gloomy mood, and even help around the house!

Essential oils offer many benefits. They help you with anything from your mood and headaches, to stiff joints and congestion. They aid digestion, skin care, and monthly matters. essential oils help get you through the cold season and keep your place insect free and smelling fresh!

How are essential oils made?

Essential oils are made using different extraction methods–each one is selected based on what works best for quality extraction of a plant’s oils.

  • Steam distillation passes boiling water through the plant matter, dissolving the oils. They float on the water and are then collected.
  • Hydrodistillation uses the same process as steam except the water is forced down through the plant matter, yielding more oil.
  • Fractional distillation interrupts the process to remove unfavorable products.
  • Expression involves pricking and squeezing a plant part then spinning the liquid to separate waste from oil.
  • Solvent extraction now involves the use of carbon dioxide under pressure to release plant oils.
  • Cohobation captures important oil components lost through first distillation.

What are absolute oils?

Absolute oils are more potent than essential oils though the two may be sold side by side; be aware of use and safety distinctions.

The plant world includes delicate blossoms that fade away during regular extraction. Gathering their oils calls for special methods, such as solvent use. The complicated process results in a potent oil often used in perfumes. It’s wise to read up on absolute oil labeling, uses, and safety cautions as these vary from essential oils.

How do I use essential oils?

Let me count the ways–to begin with, there’s diffusion, inhalation, topical applications for the skin, and household aids to clean and pamper!

There are so many marvelous ways to use essential oils! Here’s a summary of some to try as you explore essential oils.

  • Diffusion is a simple way for diluted oils to evaporate into the air.
  • Inhalation methods let you inhale a diluted oil’s vapors.
  • Topical care methods are the varied ways to apply diluted oils to the skin.
  • Use essential oils at home to disinfect, clean and repel insects, among others!

How do I diffuse essential oils?

You can go simple or upscale for diffusing diluted oils into the air from a bowl or decorative device.

Diffusing oils is a lovely method for releasing essential oil goodness into your surroundings. A few drops of oil are added to water and allowed to evaporate from a bowl, vaporizer or diffuser. Electronic devices create fine vaporization of oils. The released oils will bestow their goodness for hours.

How do I topically use essential oils?

Oh, there are so many ways for essential oils to gift your skin, from a soothing massage oil, to a calming salve, or a luscious dip in your bath.

You’ll be delighted to learn of special ways that essential oils can touch your skin!

  • Use in a bath by simply swishing a few drops of oil into the water.
  • An oil is a handy way to apply a diluted oil to your skin where it is absorbed for specific benefits.
  • A few oils can be applied directly to the skin. This method is known as “neat” and is not used for most essential oils.
  • Other topical applications include compresses, creams, shampoos, and sprays.

How do I use carrier oils?

Simply put, essential oil drops are mixed with a carrier oil, delivering the mixture as you desire!

A carrier oil is used to dilute an essential oil, preparing it for use. Carrier oils can be heavy or light and have their own properties. You select a carrier oil based on its intended purpose and if it’s a good match with your essential oils. Begin with a small amount and go from there!

How will I know the correct dilution rates for essential oils?

Dilution rates depend on the intended purpose and the method you have chosen.

When it comes to essential oil dilution, less is more! The oils are strong so using a small amount is a good way to begin. A mixture for inhalation is a lower dilution than a massage oil. One tip is to begin with 1 drop of essential oil in 25 drops carrier oil, equaling just over 1 ml of mixture.

Simply put, 1 drop of essential oil in 5 ml (100 drops) of carrier oil = a 1% dilution. This dilution is good to use with  elders and children.

When you increase the dilution to 2 drops of essential oil in 5 ml (100 drops) of carrier oil the result = a 2% dilution. This or a 3% dilution is used for a body application such as massage oil.

How do I use essential oils for my household?

Essential oils are a lovely household staple, offering you ways to clean, deodorize, and eliminate pesky ants, moths, and the like!

Oh, the ways that essential oils can save the day when germs and bugs abound! Mixed in a room spray or a bit of baking soda, they save the day as they eliminate odor. Other uses are as a carpet cleaner, floor wash, and laundry aid. All this, and fewer chemicals too!

How do I do a skin patch test?

It’s wise to try out a new essential oil with a simple 24-hour patch test–all you need is some oil, a band aid, and your arm!

This test shows if you are allergic/sensitive to an oil!

  • Blend 2 drops of essential oil with 5 ml of carrier oil, such as olive oil.
  • Apply a few drops of this dilution to the inside of your washed forearm; cover with a bandaid.
  • Wait 24 hours. If there’s redness or irritation at the site, discontinue use.

Can I ingest essential oils? What about using essential oils in cooking?

The answers to these questions are complicated, even for essential oil professionals, so it’s safest to steer clear.

EOs are concentrated. They also may be prepared and distributed in ways that make them unsuitable for ingestion or cooking. Some have compounds that are safe in low dilutions on the skin, yet can be harmful internally. It’s wise to say “no” as you learn of all the other ways to enjoy essential oils!

How should I store essential oils?

The tried and true essential oil storage tips are: use glass; store in a cool dark place; and keep far out of children’s reach.

Have you seen those nifty amber and cobalt blue bottles–they’re your go-to’s for storing essential oils. Find a cool, dark storage place that is child-proof. Perhaps you can find an ornamental chest to provide the dark–maybe even one with a lock! These touches enhance a sense of essential oil wonder.

Shelf life? Do essential oils expire?

The shelf life of essential oils varies from months to years with some oxidizing quickly after being opened.

The shelf life of essential oils varies from months to years, depending on the oil. Some oxidize as lighter components evaporate after a bottle is opened. This shortens the oil’s life, making it potentially harmful to use. After the lighter portions of an oil have evaporated, heavier constituents that can be irritating are left behind.

What does volatility mean in relation to essential oils?

Essential oils are called volatile because of the effects evaporation has on their makeup.

The aroma compounds in an essential oil emit a plant’s fragrance as the oil’s liquids evaporate. This is why essential oils are referred to as “volatile oils.” essential oils are handled, stored, and blended in specific ways because of volatility and its potential effects on an oil’s actions.

What is important to know when buying essential oils?

Look at the price after determining essential oil quality, purity, and lack of synthetics or alterations.

It’s important to pay attention to quality and purity when purchasing essential oils. The best are undiluted, synthetic free, and unadulterated. Quality is determined by a plant’s climate, and how the materials are handled before and after extraction. A pure oil provides benefits without the potential side effects of lower quality products.

Should I get only therapeutic grade?

Grades of essential oils can be like those in school–they are a limited part of the picture, and don’t always reflect quality!

Word is out that essential oil grading is just a term used to promote a product. It boils down to this–there is no grading system for essential oils! What does exist are methods to measure and analyze an essential oil’s compounds, any impurities, and its overall quality. This information is compiled in GC/MS reports. Read more about that here.

What are GC/MS reports and what do they tell us about an oil?

A GC/MS reports on a sample of essential oil, listing its components and levels of purity and quality.

GC/MS testing reports on the compounds, components, and their percentages for a sample of an essential oil. This process basically sorts the wheat from the chaff! The report describes an oil’s measure of purity and quality. It also reveals alterations that can limit an oil’s benefits and/or affect its safety.

Are essential oils safe for pets?

Some essential oils and methods for their use can harm pets–best to get advice from your pet’s vet!

Even though pets are mammals too, they respond differently to essential oils than we humans do. Some essential oils are toxic for cats and/or dogs. That applies to breathing in vapors as well as a topical application. Bottom line is to get advice from your pet’s vet. And, please keep oils out of reach.

What are synergy blends?

Basically, synergy blends are made up of essential oils that enhance each other’s gifts–sort of like good dance partners!

To begin, a pure essential oil is a synergy of a plant’s compounds. Each compound is distinct yet works with its companions for the good of plant, making it shine! Synergy blends are essential oils that are combined in a mixture, complementing  each other while providing distinctively beautiful benefits.

What general safety concerns do I need to consider?

Staying safe with essential oils means knowing your body and that oils are used according to tried-and-true advice.

Safety first, as the oils we inhale or use on our skin, are absorbed by our body’s tissues. Be sure that an oil is compatible with your body, age, and does not interfere with any diseases/allergies. Each oil needs to be diluted and used according to guidelines for that specific oil.

What do the country and origin of an essential oil mean?  

Essential oil quality varies from place to place, and from one name to another, so learning a tad about these is essential!

Essential oil quality can vary from one nation to another. Notation of the country and origin of an essential oil shows that the company selling the oil is knowledgeable about its source.

  • The Latin name of an essential oil is the botanical name of the plant from which the oil is extracted.
  • An advantage of essential oils having Latin names is that these are understood around the world!
  • The plant may also be referred to by its common name, sharing it with other species in the same genus. An example is that lavender is from the genus Lavandula that has 70 species!

Essential Oil Fun Facts!

As you begin to explore essential oils and the benefits they share, here are some fun facts to share with friends and family:

  • It takes 60,000 roses to make 1 ounce (30cc) of rose essential oil!
  • Earl Gray tea owes its fragrance to bergamot.
  • There’s a story that during the bubonic plague, aristocratic women dipped their leather gloves in lavender to stave off the deadly disease.
  • 250 pounds of peppermint leaves = 1 pound of peppermint essential oil.
  • 12th century Hildegard von Bingen used oils and herbs for healing tinctures.
  • One lemon = 5 drops of lemon essential oil.
  • What fun facts can you find?

What are the best multi-purpose oils to start with?

You’ve made the decision! You are ready to invest in some essential oils and use them for your well being. Good for you! Here’s a handful that will serve you well as you dip into learning more about essential oils. Examples of two benefits and a use are listed with each.

Here’s to your health and happiness!

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