Essential oil uses...
Essential oil uses breakdown into three main categories; aromatic, topical, and internal. Each method has it's own purpose and we will go over each use in this post. It's important to understand the differences in applications so you can use the right oil and method for you.
I’ve heard horror stories that have scared people away from using oils because they misused them in the first place.
One such story was about a mother who heard that oregano oil was used for colds and the flu. Not knowing any better she tried using it for her toddlers earache by putting undiluted oregano oil into her toddlers ear. Not only should you never put essential oils in your ear but oregano is considered a ‘hot’ oil and can cause skin irritation when applied to the skin undiluted. Both mother and toddler were traumatized by the experience and the family vowed to never use oils again.
Instances like these are unnecessary and are easily avoided by learning a bit about how to use oils properly. Knowing Essential oil uses and the oils themselves saves a lot of trouble. Even a quick google search would have saved them from the trauma.
There are several ways to use oils aromatically. The most popular and widely known is with a cold-water diffuser.
Diffusers vary in size, shape and capacity, but all of them use water paired with a few drops of essential oil. The amount of essential oil needed varies depending on the size of the diffuser, and the dilution ratio the user wishes to create.
Diffusers release a fine ultrasonic mist into the air that disperses the essential oil. Some of these diffusers can last 6-8 hours, and some even as long as 12 hours. Cold-water diffusers are great for diffusing in large areas as well as for longer amounts of time.
Another aromatic delivery method is with diffuser jewelry. Add a drop or two of oil to a diffuser necklace or bracelet and off you go.
Good porous materials for diffuser jewelry are untreated wood, cork, felt, leather, and lava rock. They can hold the essential oils for 4-8 hours before needing re-application.
Another great way to use oils aromatically is with a spritzer or bottle of room spray. You can purchase a fine mist spray bottle and fill with water or witch hazel and a few drops of your selected oil, then simply spray where needed.
Essential oils can also be added to cotton balls and wooden clothes pins, sticking them in bathrooms, cars or closets as needed.
Even smelling directly from the bottle or applying it to your hand and inhaling counts as aromatic application.
I currently own 4 diffusers. One was a grocery store buy (my first!), one was a deal on Groupon, and the other two are from Young Living. The grocery store buy has a horrible design. It’s hard to use and is top heavy so it falls over easily and makes a mess. The little one from Groupon is my loaner diffuser. It has a better design but a small tank so it only runs an hour or so. The two from Young Living are my favorite (surprise surprise) they have large tanks, are easy to use and clean and I love their light displays.
When diffusing essential oils in a diffuser make sure your pets have access to fresh air and are able to escape the room with the diffuser if needed. Never trap and animal (or a human) in a room with oils running. Use these links to read up more about essential oil uses with cats and dogs .
You can apply an oil directly to your skin (this is known as applying neat) or by diluting it with a carrier oil or lotion before applying to your skin.
This is where most people talk about making recipes with essential oils. You can make a hair serum, a face mask, massage oil and roller bottles for all sorts of things.
Using roller bottles is an easy way to apply essential oils with dilution. I have roller bottles all over the place, in my purse and on my night stand, ready for application when I need it.
When trying a new oil topically its best to get in the habit of diluting it with some carrier oil and preforming a patch test on your inner arm to insure you are not sensitive to, or have an allergy to the new oil. Also read up and know if an oil is considered 'hot' or if it causes photo sensitivity (usually a citrus) or if it can affect any medications or health issues you have. You should know at least the basic properties before using an oil.
Taking oils internally is one of the most debated topics in the essential oil community. Like political parties people tend to pick a side and defend it passionately. To ingest or not to ingest?
The biggest fear with taking oils internally is that the oil will have a contaminate (like lead) that will be detrimental to the user. The oils you use should be from a trusted company that does extensive testing to ensure they are 100% pure oil. You should also be comfortable with the oil and it's properties before taking it internally.
There are several companies out there that do extensive testing and have high quality, therapeutic grade 100% oils. My company of choice is Young Living. They have a seed to seal standard on all of their products that insures their purity. They also have a line of oils dedicated to ingestion (the Vitality line) which meets the FDAs standards for labeling.
Ultimately it is up to you if you are comfortable ingesting oils. It's not something you have to rush into, take your time, do your research and do what makes you comfortable.
There are several ways to take oils internally. Some people put the oils in a gel capsule with a carrier oil and take it as a daily wellness supplement.
Others add a drop or two to their water bottles and teas (make sure to use a stainless water bottle). Some add it to a spoonful of honey and eat it. Some even cook with essential oils!
Research is limited on the effects of cooking the essential oils but from what I have been able to gather, cooking at high temps can degrade the therapeutic quality of the oil, but still give off flavor and smell.
Keep this in mind if you plan on cooking with essential oils.
When using oils internally, know the properties of the oil and how it might affect you, and always start slowly.
1 drop or less diluted in a carrier oil is always a good place to start.
If you want more...
There you have it. The 3 essential oil uses. If you'd like to learn more check out my Essential oils page or sign up for my free essential oil e-course below.