Choosing and using Essential Oils

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Choosing and using Essential Oils

Depending on the purpose of an essential oil depends on which one you choose, if you want to improve your mood or help alleviate a health condition.

While there is no definitive list for which essential oil is used for any given condition there are many people that will attest to specific effects of certain oils on those given conditions and because everyone is different one may work well when another doesn’t.

While Lavender, Frankincense, Chamomile and Basil are often found to have a calming effect helping with anxiety, other oils like Lime, Grapefruit and Peppermint have more of a stimulating effect helping with depression this is of course very individual especially in the case of Vanilla that can spark memories of past times.

A starting point is to gather some information about essential oils and their possible applications, there are many good books on Therapeutic Aromatherapy and you can also discuss your individual situation and needs with a Qualified Aromatherapist, these are trained professionals in the evidence based, therapeutic use of essential oils to treat, influence or modify the mind, body and spirit.

Find a Qualified Aromatherapist near you:

Choosing and using Essential Oils:Choosing and using Essential Oils

How do I use essential oils?
Essential oils enter the body in three ways, applied and absorbed into the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Within each of these, there are many different kinds of application methods. For example, you can apply essential oils topically using compresses, sprays, baths, or massaging them into the skin.

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be powerfully therapeutic when used correctly. Conversely, they can be very harmful if not used carefully and within the safety guidelines established by qualified essential oil researchers and professional aromatherapists.

Including Aromatherapy in your lifestyle can be a wonderful way to promote positive health for yourself and your family.

• Essential oils should not be applied undiluted to skin or mucous membranes. This is because essential oils are highly concentrated. Serious concerns including skin irritation, adverse reactions and sensitivities can result. True Lavender and tea tree are exceptions to the rule, and can be used neat on a small area such as an insect bite or pimple.

• Diluting an essential oil means mixing the essential oil with a quality vegetable oil. (e.g. almond, macadamia, jojoba, coconut) or a hand cream base. For use in a bath they can also be mixed into liquid soap before being added to the bath water. Essential oils do not dissolve in water.

• Always use essential oils in the correct dosage. If in doubt, check with a qualified Aromatherapist.

• Some oils can cause skin sensitisation or allergic reactions in some people. Some may also cause photo sensitivity, which means you are more susceptible to sun damage when you use them on your skin. This includes many of the citrus oils.

• Some health conditions may require extra caution when using some essential oils. For example, essential oils applied on the skin can increase the uptake of skin patch delivered medications such as HRT or nicotine patches. Some essential oils affect blood clotting and should be avoided by those on blood thinning medication or when having surgery. People with asthma may be more sensitive to some essential oils. Some essential oils affect how the liver processes certain classes of medications.

• Less is Best. When using essential oils, use the smallest amount of essential oils that will get the desired result. A small amount of essential oil goes a long way.

• Some essential oils are considered hazardous. These include horseradish, wormwood, sassafras, camphor, wintergreen, pennyroyal, rue, onion, and bitter almond. Again, consult with a qualified Aromatherapist for more information.

• Store essential oils in a dry, dark and cool place away from heat and light. Be aware of use by dates on the bottle. Essential oils can evaporate and/or change their chemical structure over time if stored incorrectly, making them more irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.

• Some people require lower dilutions. For example, no more than 1% dilution for children aged 2-6 years, and even less for younger children, due to their skin being more permeable than adults.

• Essential oils should not be applied directly to the face of children under 2 years old. Similarly, elderly people may have more permeable skin and be at greater risk of sensitization to essential oils.

• Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, and generally, dilutions of 1-4% are considered safe to use during pregnancy.

• It should be noted that the amount of oil in each drop from essential oil bottles varies enormously between brands. Drops should not be relied upon as an accurate measure when diluting essential oils.

• Essential oils should not be taken internally unless receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified Aromatic medicine practitioner.

Credit: International Aromatherapy &
Aromatic Medicine Association.

Choosing and using Essential Oils