| Randall Agee

What are Essential Oils? A Beginners Guide For Understanding Essential Oils (2018)

What are essential oils and how long have they been used by people? We will answer the “what” question throughout this article, but the answer to “how long have they been used by people” is an astonishing 5000 years! Ancient people used the power of essential oils to help heal the sick and to aid with several ailments such as anxiety and acne. After all these years, essential oils are still a vital medicinal supplement for many by being a part of their daily routines due to their natural powers.

In this article, I will cover several frequently asked questions regarding essential oils. Our hope is that we can help you get started on the au natural journey of wellness that so many of us have used. What exactly can you get from these little bottles? How are these oils made? I will guide you on all of it.

Beginning with the first and basic question. What are essential oils?

Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers or seeds. That extraction process depends on what type of element chosen. A few different ways to extract oils from plants is through a distillation process (via steam and/or water) or there mechanical methods, such as cold pressing that captures the plant's scent and flavor. These oils are found in various parts of the plant such as the leaves, dried seeds, flowers, and bark. The use of oils has been marked throughout the history for cosmetics, perfumes and therapeutic purposes in various cultures. Anyone seeking to improve their physical, mental or emotional health can greatly benefit from the use of essential oils.

Moving on simultaneously to the second and third question. How essential oils work and how do you use essential oils?

Essential oils have garnered the reputation of a cure-all for health issues like anxiety, depression, acne, insomnia and the list goes on. These oils also provide us with uplifting, protective, optimistic, calming and regenerative qualities that will rejuvenate and restore your health like nothing else. The wellness and healing purposes can be accomplished through topical applications, such as direct contact with skin, aromatherapy (through diffusers), compression and inhalation. Inhaling essential oils from a diffuser can stimulate areas of your limbic system, a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell and long-term memory. The results can be achieved through ingestion as well although they are usually not recommended without guidance or instruction from the makers.

Fourth, Which essential oils do I buy?

This entirely depends on your goal. It is very important to get essential oils that are natural and pure and do not contain added ingredients (takes the purpose away!) Therapeutic Grade Oils gives you the result you want and need. They help incredibly for healing and spiritual purposes as it is in your best interest to use therapeutic grade essential oil for any kind of real work. Synthetic oils are usually cheaper and adulterated.

Here are a few essential oils and what types of benefits you can expect:

Lavender Essential Oil - Benefits:
1. Nervous System: The inhalation of lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system, making it a great alternative for alleviating stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
2. Headaches: Inhaling lavender scent or massaging the oil into the temples, forehead, and neck (specifically behind your ears) can treat headaches.
3. Sleep: Adding a few drops of lavender oil to a diffuser next to your bed at night can help relax the mind and the body and improve your overall sleep.
4. Menstrual Cramps: Applying lavender oil to the abdomen during your menstrual cycle can help alleviate cramping.
5. Hair Growth: Lavender also stimulates blood circulation, so it can greatly improve hair growth when applied to the scalp in an olive oil mixture.

Tea Tree Essential Oil - Benefits:
1. Soothe Sores: Using a cotton swab, dab a single drop of tea tree oil, which is an antiseptic, directly on the sore. Avoid areas near your eyes and mouth.
2. Treat the Chicken Pox: Blend a few drops of tea tree essential oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and use a cotton swab to apply the oil to sores two or three times a day.
3. Eliminate Foot Odor: Mix up one-quarter cup cornstarch, one-quarter cup baking soda and 10 drops each tea tree oil and lavender oil. Powder your feet and the insides of your shoes and you’ll keep that foot odor at bay.
4. Household Cleaner: Make an all-purpose cleaner. In a 1-quart glass spray bottle, add 10 drops of tea tree oil to two cups hot water and a half-cup vinegar. Use it to clean counters, mirrors, fixtures, throughout your bathroom and more.
5. Laundry: Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your laundry can help keep it smelling fresh and also help prevent mold from taking hold of towels and other fabrics prone to mold.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil - Benefits:
1. Cold and Congestion: Add 10-15 drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of boiling water, place a towel over your head and breathe in the potent vapors for 5-10 minutes. The hot steam helps to thin and thereby drain mucus in the nasal passages and the decongestant properties of eucalyptus help to relieve cold symptoms.
2. Hair Nourishment: 4 tablespoons carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil 100 drops or 1 level tsp eucalyptus oil (20:80 essential oil to carrier oil ratio) Mix eucalyptus oil and olive or coconut oil and gently massage the blend into the scalp. Comb your hair to further stimulate blood flow. Apply on the hair about an hour before taking a shower. Wash off with shampoo/conditioner.
3. Fever-reducing body compress: Blend 10 drops of eucalyptus oil with 2 cups of tepid water. Soak washcloths and wrap the wet cloths around arms and legs and cover the areas with a dry towel.

Peppermint Essential Oil - Benefits:
1. Nausea: When feeling nauseous or have motion sickness, inhale peppermint oil deeply, directly from the bottle. You can also apply 1 drop to each wrist.
2. A Sore Throat: Mix 1-2 drops of peppermint oil in a glass of warm water. Gargle with the blend to reduce throat inflammation, kill bacteria and numb the pain. You can also add 1/2 a tsp of natural salt for added benefit.
3. Sore Muscle Pain: Combine 5-10 drops of peppermint oil to 1-2 teaspoons of a carrier oil, such as olive oil (known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties) and massage into sore muscles.
4. A toothache: Add 1 drop of peppermint oil to a cotton swab and apply directly on the aching tooth. This not only helps to disinfect and reduce inflammation, due to the oil's antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action but the anesthetic properties of menthol numb pain, providing much-needed relief.

Jasmine Essential Oil - Benefits: 
1. Lowering Anxiety: Add a few drops of jasmine essential oil to a diffuser and inhale.
2. Reduce Scars and StretchmarksMassage jasmine oil into scars and stretchmarks. You will be amazed at how quickly they fade. You can use it straight or mix it into a carrier oil like argan, jojoba, sweet almond or coconut. 
3. Anxiety
Run your diffuser for 30 to 60 minutes when you feel your anxiety level rising. For fast relief, just take a few deep inhales of jasmine essential oil directly from the bottle.
4. Focus and Concentration: Use jasmine essential oil to improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Put it in a diffuser, wear it as perfume or inhale the vapors directly from the bottle 15 to 30 minutes before an important meeting or test.

Most importantly, Are essential oils poisonous?

No, they are not. However, it is extremely important to know the uses and application of various essential oils when you considering purchasing. For instance, Eucalyptus Essential Oil is used for soothing effects when inhaled via a diffuser, but if swallowed they can cause some serious seizures.

These oils are safe for application to your skin and inhalation. However, those who have severe asthma or have a history of allergies should only use essential oils under the guidance of a professional and with their doctor's knowledge.

Lastly, How to store them?

Essential oils usually come in glass bottle packaging, and this will keep them safe. However, essential oils do have a shelf life and that shelf life depends on the type of oil. Usually, oils will last anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. If your oils do not come in a glass bottle, you can store them in a stainless steel bottle with a tightly sealed lid. Make sure they are kept out of direct sunlight. They can evaporate and deteriorate quickly when they're exposed to light, air, and heat. You should also keep them away from children and pets since they can irritate the skin and eyes if not diluted properly.

I hope I have answered some of your questions regarding essential oils. Be sure to subscribe to our email list to be updated with more informative articles that can help you lead a more natural and organic lifestyle!

By: Farah Shah