I have been trying for a week to get this post finished up so I could share it with you all and I have FINALLY gotten the chance!
I want to start a little “series” of writing to introduce everyone to essential oils. I know a lot of those who have contacted me since I started with Spark have been newbies and unsure of where to start. My hope is to give them and everyone else a place to learn about some of the more common oils and what they can be used (or shouldn’t be used) for. I want to start with some of the basics of essential oils and then move on to some of (what I consider) “staple oils” ones that are very versatile and can be used for lots of different situations and ailments (ie: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense and more!). I plan to only talk about those that I have personal experience with, I don’t feel comfortable telling you about an oil I haven’t used myself yet. To be honest though I have used most of them at least once already! Okay so here we go!
Essential Oils 101
I want to start with a basic definition taken directly from the Spark Naturals website:
Essential Oils are the naturally occurring volatile oils obtained by steam distillation or cold pressing (expression), having the beneficial traits and aroma of the plant part from which they are derived. These 100% pure oils are not processed, diluted or manipulated in any way with solvents or other additives. Although a particular species of plant, harvested, and distilled for its essential oil during a particular growing season in a specific region, may produce a fragrance differing from the same species grown in a different region, many of the main necessary chemical markers and physical specifications will be very similar.” – https://sparknaturals.com/index.php/about-us.
The use of essential oils is not a new concept by many means. Healers, Herbalists and others have known about their amazing abilities to heal and the benefits of aromatherapy for many, many years!
Ways To Use Essential Oils
1.) Aroma and Inhalation
The sense of smell is such a strong sense and often just the inhalation of an EO is enough to do the trick. Personally just sniffing Peppermint and/or Lavender is enough to kick a headache for me (migraines take a bit more!). The smell of the L.L.P. Blend can stop a sneezing allergy attack in its tracks. And the smell of Frankincense has always brought a sense of calm to me even on my worst days. You can smell straight out of the bottle, put a drop or two on a tissue to carry with you or even use a diffuser. We will talk lots more about diffusers and the different kinds later, I love mine!
Topical application is another way to get oils into your system. Some oils can be used neat and don’t need any type of dilution before applying to your skin. Some examples are Lavender, Frankincense, Rose and more. HOWEVER you know your body better than anyone if you tend to be sensitive you should do a spot check on your inner arm or wrist with any oil before you use it to avoid a negative reaction. You should also dilute with a carrier oil for use on young children and the elderly. Some great carrier oils to use are coconut oil (regular or fractionated), sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil.
Other oils are considered “hot” or “spicy” oils. These should never be used without a carrier oil. Some examples of these are Cinnamon, Birch and Oregano. There are also some oils that are considered to be light-sensitive which means that they can cause a sunburn if you apply them and go outside within 12 hours of application. Wild Orange, Lemon and Bergamot are some examples.
The internal usage of essential oils tends to be a pretty hot topic in the EO world. Some say never ever and some say only certain ones should be ingested. I personally have not taken any internally yet and since I have no experience I don’t feel comfortable in saying one way or the other. I feel that it is a very personal choice and if you would like more information on taking oils internally I encourage you to do your own research and choose what works best for you and your family.
General Warnings and Guidelines
- Avoid direct contact with eyes and also with the ear canal. If you should get some in your eyes flush with milk do not use water, as water tends to intensify an oils effect.
- Keep out of reach of children!!!
- There is so much to learn and I know I’m just beginning, so do your own research and educate yourself. I’m sure you won’t regret it!
- If you have any type of medical condition or are on prescription medications it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before using any essential oils
- Oils should always be stored out of direct sunlight. Citrus oils do best when stored in the fridge.
- If you are pregnant or nursing please use caution. Personally I did lots of reading and research and there were some oils I felt comfortable with using and there are some that should absolutely not be used. I feel this another one of those personal choices, do your research and draw your own conclusions as to what you feel is best. As for nursing, through trial and error I found that I am one of those women who cannot be around peppermint without my milk supply dropping. Some have this problem and some do not. Again, do your research. (I plan to do a post on this at a later time).
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or health professional by any means, nor do I claim to be. The opinions presented here are my own and should not be taken as any sort of medical advice. Essential oils are extremely potent and highly concentrated substances you should always practice caution when using them. And as I have stated in the post, do your own research and make choices based on what is best for you and your family!