Essential Oils for Beginners
You can’t turn around these days without hearing about essential oils. We all know they have been used for centuries if not millennia, for everything from perfumes to natural household cleaners to health remedies. But is that just because the ancients lacked better alternatives, or does EO really work? And if it does have real benefits, how should you use it? Who should try essential oils Anyone who is looking for non-toxic alternatives to things we use in everyday living – from cosmetics, bath products and perfumes, to cleaning products, to remedies for common ailments like colds and headaches, should at least look into substituting essential oils for some or all of these uses. No matter how much you already know about using essential oils, there’s always more to learn!
Which brings us to the question...do they actually work? Many people swear by them, but only you can decide, through your own basic trial and error, how effective they are for you. Essential oils are at least natural and, when used safely, are unlikely to contribute to your problems. For example, I have never heard someone say that the smell of natural lavender actually made their insomnia worse!
EO can be an expensive habit though, so it’s good to start small, either with a few classic oils, or selected essential oils that solve specific problems for you. Then you can build your collection as your essential oils knowledge increases. The information below can help you start to build your own natural herbal essential oil collection.
Getting started with using essential oils Of course you can directly inhale or diffuse essential oils and just revel in the fragrance. But did you know you can also put them on your skin…and even ingest them?! It all depends on the effect you’re looking for. A good place to start is to look at the areas you feel need support, and search out oils that work with that body system or area. Start small and experiment, using the oils as directed.
If you have a medical problem you want to treat, such as chronic headaches for example, it’s really important to get reliable information on what effect the plant oils are likely to have, which would work best for your specific case, and which delivery method would produce the most favourable results. This is because there are many essential oils that are said to have an effect on headaches, and you want to find the safest and best combinations before you invest in EO.
Essential oils, when used as natural medicine, have not been Health Canada approved, so it can be difficult to find scientific research validating particular claims; you will likely be dealing with a great deal of anecdotal data, so if you can find a professional (such as a homeopathic doctor or a certified aromatherapist) to assist you, it is highly recommended.
Things to keep in mind when using essential oils One of the most common EO questions is, ‘How much of this oil is safe?’ There is no definitive answer to that question, because there is a broad spectrum in philosophies and training when it comes to essential oils. There are very conservative users and serious believers, each with their own ideas of what constitutes safety and effectiveness. However, there are guidelines to help you as you learn to use essential oils for medicine, fragrance, household use and overall health & wellness benefits.
When it comes to how to use essential oils properly, it’s important to know that you can often trust your nose – and the guidelines on the essential oil bottle – to help guide you. Humans evolved with a reliance on the plant world, and some of that old intuitive knowledge still resides within you. Start with:
-Safely diluting potent oils as recommended -External uses like aromatherapy -Patch testing before using an oil on a large area of the body
Don’t overdo it! Start small and begin with dilution. For example, you could try a product containing a single EO, such as bath salts scented with lemongrass essential oil, then move on to another wash-off product containing multiple essential oils, such as our all natural olive oil soap for sensitive skin, before moving on to leave on products like massage oils, creams and lotions containing essential oils.
In upcoming posts we'll discuss more on how to use essential oils safely in a diffuser, for topical treatments and even ingestion! We love EO around here! Even our products that contain phthalate-free fragrance oil also contain essential oils for their incomparable fragrance and health benefits.
Do you have a favourite essential oil and if so, how do you use it? Let us know!
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