Here is some information about choosing, buying and using essential oils.
The best way to choose Your essential oil is, to smell it.
The characteristics of an essential oil are summoned in its scent.
The scent should be pleasant to You.
Scents have a direct stimulus on our brain.
If You dislike a scent, it can have a negative stimulus to Your brain and might have a negative effect on You or one that You don`t wish to have. An unpleasant scent can be a constant unpleasant stimulus to Your brain and therefor turn out to be negative stress.
Scents are the oldest memory we have and You can smell something that can remind You of something or somebody a long time ago.
There might be some organic store or herbal store close to where You live, where You can smell the oil before You buy it. Some shops have test bottles.
If You don`t have the possibility to smell the essential oil before you buy it, You can choose Your essential oil by
- its EFFECT
- its familiar smell because You know the original plant
- Scent descriptions from different resources
- Preferences: WHAT DO YOU LIKE/ DISLIKE? e.g. fresh scent, bloomy/flowery scent, wooden/green/conifer scent, earthy scent, heavy, light, sweet, lemonlike, ….
- Buy only SMALL AMOUNTS if You are unsure that You will like it.
You can choose an essential oil by its effect.
You can find informations about essential oils on my blog, on several other websites and in books.
You might be familiar with the scent of the plant, the essential oil is coming from.
For example from a Lemon, an Orange, from kitchen herbs like Rosemary, Lemongras, Thyme, or from garden plants like Lavender and Roses, or from trees;
but remember that an essential oil is highly concentrated.
You might like the scent of a herb or a fruit , but maybe dislike its scent as an essential oil, when it is so concentrated.
Scents are subjective and can only be described like that.
For one person something smells good and for the other not. One person may describe the scent as fresh and clear, the other will say it is awful and reminds her/him of medicine.
Also taste differs and is depending on our mood. One day we like a scent, the other day we don`t.
Only pure essential oils have a therapeutic effect.
According to different laws in different countries or no laws at all, synthetic scents can also be called essential oils, but they are not used in Aromatherapy and can also cause health problems.
You can find natural essential oils in organic stores, herbal stores, natural cosmetic stores or some drugstores and online.
Here are some criterias, that can help You to find a pure , natural essential oil.
Some things You can (should?) find on the product or its description:
- The botanical name of the plant, e.g. Rosmarinus officinalis for Rosemary
The botanical name also helps to distinguish different plants or species of a plant or which part of the plant was taken, e.g. Cedrus atlantica for Atlas Cedar, Cedrus deodora for Cedar from Himalaya; Juniperus communis for Juniper, essential oil from leaves=folia or berries=fructus
- The origin of the essential oil, e.g. Bergamot from Reggio in Sicily, Italy, Lavender from France. Plants can come from different places and so do the essential oils. E.g. Lavender can be from France, England, Bulgaria, Italy ,….
- The date of the bottling
- The production method, e.g. was the oil produced through steam destillation or is it an alcoholic extract or absolue, is it dilluted in oil or alcohol, …
- Anything that says 100% pure, natural essential oil.
- The price, e.g. some essential oils are very expensive, like Rose, Real Sandelwood, German Chamomille, Neroli, Lemonbalm ( Melissa);
if the product is very cheap, like 5 Dollars for a 10 ml bottle of Rose, You can be sure it is not a pure, natural essential oil. The price for pure essential Rose oil is around 20 to 50 Dollars for 1 ml!
- There is no natural essential oil from plants like “green apple, strawberry, tropical mist, coconut, elderly flower, lilac, strawberry, rasberry, chocolat fudge, green tea, passionfruit…” and so on. If You find scents like this, they sure are synthetic oils.
I also found a company calling their essential oils to be a “therapeutic grade A”.
I was wondering if there is some category or sign of quality like this in the U.S., but the only thing I have found, is that the company itself gave their products this name/category.
Though the products seem to be of good quality, I found it strange to give your own product a declaration that actually doesn’t exist on the market. Nice advertisment though, I thought. Please correct me, if I`m wrong.
Another criteria could be to buy Your essential oils from a trusted shop or company.
Maybe there are some good natural, organic shops, or good herbal shops close to Your home?
Not all essential oils can be made from plants that come from organic – Eco- agriculture. Some are collected from wild growing plants.
There are also very good essential oils that don`t have an organic “label”. Many planters don’t use any synthetic pesticides but can’t afford the procedure and costs to get an ECO/ Organic label.
Another thing I find important to mention, is do not buy essential oils from endangered plants.
Rosewood for example has been almost eradicated for its wood and for the essential oil for the cosmetic industry.
A nice alternative essential Oil for Rosewood is Ho-Leaves or Linaloe wood.
Use essential oils with respect for the plants.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS
My following advice is for all of You, who like to use Aromatherapy safely even without knowing very much about essential oils.
If You are not an expert on Aromatherapy or work together with someone who is specialised in Aromatherapy:
I only recommend the external use of essential oils.
Always keep in mind:
Essential Oils are highly concentrated.
Depending on the plant and the essential oil, 1 drop of essential oil can be similar to 1 handful of herbs!
Just think of taking 1 handful of herbs and make one espresso cup of tea with it and drink it. It would be very very strong. And you would more likely poison yourself than do you any good.
This is why I find it important to choose the oil from its scent, cuz that is the first thing You will sense, when You use the oils externally. The scent can give You an idea of an essential oil that works for You, even if You don`t know much about essential oils and Aromatherapy.
The dosage always depends on the essential oil and the person.
THE BASIC RULE FOR THE DOSAGE IS:
The younger, the weakener, the very much older, the more sensible a person is —> the lower the dosage has to be.
The stronger, the healthier the person is —> the higher the dosage can be.
You can apply the essential oil on Your skin.
Except of Lavender, that You can use pure, I recommend to dillute essential oils in a carrier oil for external application.
For skin application:
A general rule can be to use 0,5- 2 % essential oil in a carrier oil. 1 ml is about 20- 25 drops essential oil.
For example, if You mix a Fennel Oil with 1 % you would use a bottle with 100 ml almond oil and add 20 – 25 drops of the essential oil. In a 50 ml bottle you would use 12 drops, for a 1 % mixture.
Or a 0,5% mixture in a 100 ml carrier oil would be 10 drops.
Accordingly ml to oz :
1 ml = 0,03 oz
100 ml = 3,38 oz
50 ml = 1,69
For quick help:
Give 1-2 drops of essential oil on a tissue and smell it.
Take a bath:
For a full bath mix about 10 drops of essential oil in a half cup of unsweetened soy or other milk cream, or with 1 big spoon of honey or maple sirup or 1-2 spoons of oil ( caution! slippery!).
For use in aroma lamp/ oil warmers:
Only use 2 – 5 drops of essential oil in a bit of water.
Scented Spray mist:
Put 10 – 20 drops of essential oils in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle up with ( distilled ) water and if You like a bit of non strong-smelling high-proof drinking alcohol like Wodka, schnapps, …
Shake bottle and spray into the room. Close your eyes and “walk into” the spray mist.
Do not spray on body or into eyes.
Strong smelling, thick -mostly dark- oils are fixatives and you only need about 1- 2 drops in 50 ml oil. E.g. Vetiver, Patchouli, Spikenard, Benzoe,…
Other strong smelling oils that you only need a very small amount are Ylang-Ylang, Neroli, Rose Geranium, Rose, …
All essential Oils from citrus plants ( Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Mandarine, …) can cause skin irritation in combination with light. They can lead to depigmented white spots on the skin. Only use very small amounts ( 2-3 drops) and don’t expose applicated area to sun for 4 hours.
Some oils aren’t suitable in pregnancy or for people with epilepsy or with high blood pressure or with Asthma or for kids. Do not use or only very small amounts. E.g. Rosemary, Cypress ( pregnancy), Anisseeds, Camphor, … Please get more information in that case.
Peppermint oil is very cold and should be used only in small amounts. Don’t use Peppermint oil for a bath.
Essential oils for children
Essential oils can be used for children older then 3 years. But make sure to use only oils that are suitable and safe to use for children.
Use a lower dosage according to the age of your kid. For example a 12 year old can use a carrier oil with 0,5 – 1 % essential oils in it. A younger child should only have some drops essential oils dilluted in a carrier oil.
Make sure your kid likes the smell , otherwise it can have an opposite and negative effect on your kid.
Good oils for kids and scents they like are: Lavender, Mandarine, Neroli, Petit Grain, Orange, Roman Chamomille, Vanilla, Cocoa, Honey, Sweet Fennel, …
Where to apply?
You can apply the oil on your neck, back, on the bottom of your feet, on your wrists, on the belly, on the chakras, ….
You can mix a nice massage oil…or a perfume oil…
What is a Carrier Oil?
Carrier Oils are made from plants and are either used for food and/or as massage/ cosmetic oils. As you will put the oil on Your skin, make sure it is of good quality, cold pressed and organic.
A good and easy carrier oil is Olive Oil extra virgin as You might have it in the kitchen already for cooking. But it has a strong scent.
Every good oil for food use is also suitable.
Great skin oils that are mostly neutral in terms of scent are:
- Almond Oil- very nice oil used a lot as massage oil, good for every skin type and also great for children
- Apricot Oil – great for kids
- Rape Seed Oil
- Avocado Oil- great for dry skin
- Sunflower Oil
- Sesame oil, cold pressed and non roasted- this oil is being used in ayurvedic massage
- JOJOBA-Oil, which is a butter and VERY good for long term use as it doensn’t turn rancid.
Oils can get rancid, most oils can be used for half a year to a year. It is better to mix small amounts and refresh them.
How often and how long should I use an essential oil?
Essential Oils work through their scent and their chemistry/ ingredients. The scent is a direct stimulus for our brain.
The ingredients go into our blood, also when we apply the oil external.
And this is what we use essential oils for:
For a stimulus, a kick, a wake-up call, a little help for our brain and body.
Saying this, I wouldn’t use an essential oil for a long-term and always use.
You can use the oil once or twice a day for about 2 or 3 weeks.
Then take a break for another 2-3 weeks and allow your system to deal without the constant scent and stimulus.
If you use the essential oil daily, have 1 day in a week free of essential oils.
Another thing is that we can get used to the scent and the stimulus and therefor it is good to change the essential oil or oil mixture and choose another plant to use.
For example: You could use Cypress for Focus for a while, then take a break and use another plant for Focus, for example a Lemon scent or Frankincense.
Using essential oils constantly and often, is like giving a stimulus to our brain constantly. Like a 24/7 TV playing or noise or a constant nudge!
Essential oils used too frequently can cause headaches or nauseau!
Essential oils are suitable for self-help, but if You have chronic health issues or want to use essential oils for a longer time and for a younger child it is good to consult an aromatherapist, naturopath or herbalist, somebody who is specialised in Aromatherapy.
I wish You a lot of fun and sucess exploring the world of natural scents.
What essential oils are you using? What mixture did You create?
I am excited to read about your experiences. Please share.