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Essential Oil Safety and Uses
You decide to open a fresh bottle of your favorite essential oil. The seal on the bottle cracks slightly then gives way, you can feel the stress-relieving affects as the scent lifts to your nostril and because it is fresh and new you experience euphoria. You take a deep breathe as your shoulders relax down and the therapeutic properties goes all the way through you to your toes and then with out waiting another second you pour it all over yourself… STOP!!! Do NOT go any further than opening that sweet smelling amber bottle until you have read through this article on Essential Oils so you can be more prepared.
Once you get to the point of opening that fresh amber bottle it is wise to know what you are using and what it will do for you. Oils are more than great scents. Some actually have terrible scents (although none that I sell) but they have a medicinal purpose. Its important to know what those properties are and how to use them so you can have the full impact of the oils without the negative reactions. Before you learn how to use them, however, it’s important to know why you use them and how they are made.
Essential Oils undergo a distillation process in which the therapeutic part of a plants or the peel of citrus fruits is evaporated from the plant and captured. The water in the distillation process that evaporates becomes a hydra-sol and the oil that rises to the top is bottled. It is the best way to get the whole of the therapeutic properties of a plant. Some more fragile oils like vanilla or jasmine need extraction via a solvent which is later extracted from the oil and are labeled as an absolute. There are also oils that use CO2 extraction which evaporates from the oil after the process. Tinctures and powders can also be made from plants: the first is like an extract that sits in an alcohol and the second is a fine powder made from the grinding down of the plant. These are not as concentrated as essential oils but are very useful. Often a less concentrated therapy is safer for internal use for some individuals especially those with certain health concerns. The amount of roses in one 10 ml bottle of essential oils for instance is about 484,000 rose petals (1). The amount of rose petals in a tincture would probably be about a handful. You can see that the essential oils you are condensing at a much more potent level. That is why 1 drop goes a long way.
Here are a few rules to begin with.
- DO NOT POUR UNDILUTED OILS ONTO YOURSELF. This is rule number one.
- DO NOT CONSUME without proper research and awareness (if you decide its right for you please dilute beforehand or use a capsule as some oils could burn your mouth if you aren’t careful.)
- Be sure you know the dos and don’t that could affect yourself and your family/pets.
- Understand the history and biblical applications to enhance your knowledge and use of the oils (link to post)
- And always patch test for sensitivities.
- Avoid eyes, genitals, and inner ear (hint: placing peppermint near your eyes will be very uncomfortable as the vapors will rise into your eyes.)
- Some oils can increase or decrease blood sugars or pressure. Be sure to research or ask your doctor if any oils will mess with your body or medications.
Here is an approximate dilution guide below to follow which will differ depending on the oil. Some oils like Cinnamon Bark or other Burning oils should be used very diluted.
1 drop – 1 tablespoon for young children
1 drops – 1 tsp for older children
3-6 drops – teaspoon for adults
(chart taken from Essential Oils Ancient Medicine – a book I high recommend for anyone wanting to learn more in depth aromatherapy)
Not all oils affect people the same and some oils require less or more dilution.
Test a small diluted amount on your skin first before applying all over. Inhaling is the safest, especially for those with sensitivities to oils, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The therapeutic properties are still highly effective! You can do this by making a room or cleaning spray or purchasing a diffuser. When I was pregnant and sick I would put some oils in warm (not too hot because the oils can burn you) and breathe deeply over the bowl. I found this pretty effective for fighting infections of the nose, throat, and lungs.
If you can dilute onto the skin, its a great way to get the benefits of oils. The skin is the largest organ and applying topically helps them bypass the liver (of which could cause issues when taken internally for those with liver problems) and can more readily reach the blood brain barrier for encouraging healing. The bottoms of your feet and the palms of your hands do not have pores so they are less likely to be sensitive. They also are directly connected to the nerves which communicate with your body and its parts.
Many oil properties are anti microbial, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti spasmodic, nervine, anti-inflammatory and/or sedative just to name a few and they can be fantastic beauty treatments. Many cultures have used Essential oils for their beauty treatments through out history. Its interesting to note that Queen Esther in the Bible would have used myrrh in her beauty treatments for six months and Balsam for another six months before her presentation to the Persian king (Esther 2:8).
Oils can be so fun and so useful! Who doesn’t love a good pampering!! As long as you are using them safely, there is so much to be discovered.
Be sure to contact me with any questions you may have and please use safely!
Credits: Axe, Josh Dr. Bollinger, Ty… Essential Oils Ancient Medicine.