We hear a lot about essential oils. What are they? And how do we use essential oils?
How Are Essential Oils Created?
Essential oils are usually distilled or, as with citrus, cold pressed from a specific plant. Very fragrant and fragile flower essential oils are often transferred to wax in a process called enfleurage. It takes about six bales of rose flowers just to create 5 ml of rose essential oil. It takes 100s of bales of green leafy plants, such as basil or fir needles to create enough essential oil for the market. That is one reason essential oils are very costly.
Dilute to Use
It is also the reason that essential oils are very intense and should not be used without diluting them in oil, lotion, soap, bath water, or some other carrier. Essential oils used neat (undiluted) can cause skin sensitivity or even allergic reactions. Essential oils sold over the counter in stores should not be eaten or swallowed. Pregnant women should not use most essential oils and very young children and pets are also very sensitive to the potent oils.
Always read the label on a bottle of essential oil to determine whether it has already been diluted or not.
Just 2-4 drops in 15 ml (15 ml=1Tablespoon) of oil is the usual amount of essential oil for dilution. That is the good news, because just a few drops will go a long way. Essential oils may be diluted in Sweet Almond Oil or Argan Oil, but if you do not have those in the house, Olive oil or another cooking oil will work.
Try a Diffuser
Diluted Essential Oils may be added to a diffuser, so that the scent is spread throughout the room. Diffusers come in a variety of forms. Nonelectric diffusers are usually a liquid with absorbent “straws” that draw the essential oil out of the jar up and into the air, where they evaporate. Electric diffusers heat the essential oils gently and hasten evaporation of the essential oils into the air.
How to Use Essential Oils
Diluted Essential Oils may be rubbed onto the skin as a way to create healthier skin or as a perfume, or as a way to heal muscle aches. Essential oils applied to the skin in oil or lotion will be absorbed into the body, and will reach the blood in less than an hour. This is a reason to be cautious with essential oils, and also an assurance that some of the important benefits of essential oils can be achieved without eating them.
A drop or two of essential oil may be added to a bath. Along with a little oil, this creates healthier skin and the hot water hastens evaporation into the air to help open air passages for breathing and affect your mood.
The Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
One of the essential oils that is the most complicated and beneficial is lavender.
Lavender is known for its soothing, relaxing benefits when it is breathed in. So lavender essential oils mixtures can be sprayed onto a pillow or diffused into the bedroom at bedtime. It may be added to warm bath water for a relaxing soak. Lavender is also an insect deterrent. Perhaps it would be a good one on a camping trip. And lavender helps to heal burns. I always keep Singing Flower Studio Lavender Lotion in the kitchen next to the stove for those times that I brush against the oven rack or pick up a hot frying pan. Lavender is used in hospital burn units to facilitate healing.
Find Out More About Essential Oils
There is a lot of information about essential oils. One of my favorite books with recipes and information is Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele’s The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness.
At Singing Flower Studio we use essential oils for fragrance. We like the gentle fragrances that don’t overpower us or drive our friends away. And we enjoy the way that essential oils may perk us up or calm us down while smelling wonderful. Good luck with your personal experiments as you enrich your life with essential oils.