HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS
There are lots of ways to use essential oils, depending on your needs and desired effect!
We encourage you to read and learn about the many ways essential oils can be of benefit to you. Below are some basic guidelines, but in no way is this list complete.
Has mainly a psychological effect through the limbic system and neuroendocrine functions. This helps balance moods, feelings and mental functions, as well as energy levels in general. Inhalation can contribute to hormonal balance, especially in women, by modulating the functions of the many brain centers. Once the action of an oil has cleared the limbic system, it tends to selectively modulate other areas, such as the temporal lobes (which tend to dysregulation), the basal ganglia (which tend to either hyper- or hypo-functioning), the cingulate system and the prefrontal cortex. Different oils will affect different brain centers and tend to balance different peptides (i.e. neurotransmitters and hormones) such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and so on, which ultimately affects core metabolic glands such as the adrenals, gonads, thyroid and their hormones.
· Put a few drops of the oil or blend on a tissue and inhale deeply.
· Drop 1-3 drops onto a cotton ball, put it in a ziplock bag and inhale the scent whenever needed; e.g. when driving, traveling, and so on.
· Drop 1-2 drops onto a wet washcloth in the shower or bath, cup over your nose and inhale.
· Drop 2-3 drops into a basin or bowl of hot water, place a thick towel over your head to form a tent and inhale — for sinus, ear and chest conditions.
· Drop 3-8 drops into the water for any diffuser with a heat source or with the ultrasonic diffuser.
Have a physiological effect on the skin and muscles, and a psychological effect as the evaporating oils are inhaled. The skin and lymph selectively absorb essential oil components, which primarily exert a beneficial influence on those local functions and tissues. In addition, certain oil constituents are also absorbed into the bloodstream, but the amount and actual content seems to vary greatly. This would depend on the absorbability of the oil and carrier medium used, as well as the type, thickness and condition of the skin and muscle tissue it is applied to.
Topical spot application of an oil in addition can exert an energetic effect if applied over an active acupoint, reflex zone or other particular body zone. This energetic action varies on the point and the oil selected and forms the basis for the use of essential oils on an acupuncture-based model, for instance. The mechanism of action again involves the body's basic communication system, peptide activity, which is also greatly (although not exclusively) involved in acupuncture stimulation with needles.
· Put 1 drop of the essential oil or essential oil blend in a dab of lotion and apply to skin.
· First dilute 4-8 drops in some milk or a vegetable oil and then swish into a warm bath. This is especially important to avoid skin irritation or sensitization.
· Put 4-8 drops directly into the hot water and soak the feet for 10 minutes.
· Blend a total of 5-10 drops per 10 ml of carrier oil (this is a 2.5-5% dilution). A lotion can also be used as a base.
· Put 2-4 drops in a bowl of hot water and stir; soak a washcloth in the water briefly, wring out to remove excess water and apply to the face for a minute or two. This will relax the facial muscles and open the pores. Facial towels are very useful before cleansing or at the beginning of facial work in general.
Use 10-20 drops per 10 ml of vegetable carrier oil (a 5-10% dilution) and massage into the problem area (e.g. the feet, shoulders, nape, forehead, abdomen, low-back, an so on). Coconut, apricot kernel and sweet almond oil are the best carrier oils for liniments and massage as the skin readily absorbs them.
Precautions: To prevent skin irritation or sensitization, never use essential oils or blends undiluted on the skin, and always avoid contact with the eyes and mucous membranes. Discontinue use immediately if any irritation occurs. Never take single or blended essential oils internally. Always keep the bottles out of reach of infants and children. Check with your health care practitioner about using single or blended essential oils during pregnancy, postpartum, and when medical conditions (e.g., epilepsy, hypertension, etc.) are present.
Can You Ingest Essential Oils?
Taking essential oils orally can cause health problems. Learn the safety requirements of ingesting these concentrated plant extracts.
By Amy Kreydin
Essential oils are so concentrated; it can take up to 2,000 pounds of plant material to yield a single pound of essential oil.
I see it frequently in social media images: Just add X drops of Y essential oil to a tall glass of water and drink. I see it on advice columns with lines such as “boost your health” or “prevent cancer.” Unfortunately, taking this kind of advice could potentially make you quite ill.
Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile compounds extracted from whole or parts of plants—tree resins, flowering shrubs, peels of citrus fruits, seeds, grasses and so forth. A distiller may use hundreds of pounds of plant material and get only a pound of essential oil in return. For example, in the case of rose essential oil, it takes approximately 50 roses to make a single drop of essential oil. It can take 2,000 pounds of plant material from the cypress tree to get a single pound of the essential oil.
At these levels of concentration, a single drop in a glass of water could be the equivalent of drinking boxes of tea made from the same herb. Would you casually drink 50 bags of an herbal tea in a day? Of course you wouldn’t. So, why would you drink a drop of the essential oil without express direction from a medical professional?
Water and Essential Oils Don’t Mix
Another problem with the advice to drink a drop of essential oil diluted in a glass of water is that this is a bad way to deliver essential oils to the body. It can be harmful to the tissues of the mouth and throat. Essential oils don’t mix in water; they need a dispersant. When I’m using them in the bath, I mix them in a dispersant such as milk, sea salt or a carrier oil first so they aren’t floating on the top of the water and irritating that oh-so-sensitive skin when I sit down. I might use a shot glass of milk, or a few tablespoons of sea salts, but I don’t climb into the bath without dispersing the oils first.
When you add a drop to a glass of water, that droplet doesn’t mingle with the water like a drop of an herbal tincture would. It sits there, and you sling that glass back and take a big gulp. The first signs of distress from this method are irritations to the mouth and throat. They can be damaged by this concentrated plant oil, and repeated exposure exacerbates the situation. After a while other foods that don’t normally bother you may start to sting or burn in the mouth or throat. If you keep it up long enough, you risk becoming sensitized to the chemical components in the essential oil—then when you come into contact with ingredients that share one of those components you might break out in hives or trigger a migraine.
Is there any safe way to take essential oils by mouth?
You may be wondering if it is ever safe to ingest essential oils. And the answer is that yes, it can be advisable, but only under the care of a trained medical professional. The trick is to have a digestible transport to get it from the mouth and into the digestive system so it can be taken up into the bloodstream. Some clinical aroma therapists as well as a few nurses and doctors have received this advanced training. Factors that come into play include metabolism, contraindications, known allergens, medications and the nature of the illness in question. Essential oils aren’t to be consumed as a kind of daily multivitamin. Instead, these powerful plant oils are used internally to rid the body of parasites or worms, or in cases of bacterial and viral infections. They’re also called upon when antibiotic-resistant infections can’t be controlled.
Resist Marketing Schemes
Knowing that essential oils should only be ingested for specific maladies on the advice of a trained medical professional, you might be wondering how people can so easily become confused about whether to drink essential oils diluted in a glass of water. Some laypeople who sell essential oils advise taking essential oils internally, and their suggestions can get a lot of traction on social media sites such as Pinterest and Facebook.
Let’s say you have an unopened 1⁄2-ounce bottle of lavender essential oil in your home right now. That bottle contains about 300 drops of essential oil. If you store it in a cool, dark space you can anticipate that this bottle will have a shelf life of around five years: 60 drops per year. With those 60 drops you could have a monthly aromatic bath all year long, or make four 1-ounce massage oil blends.
But if you’re putting one drop in a glass of water every day, my thinking is that you’re a cash cow client. You might be told to ramp up your routine and do two drops, or three. You could go through two bottles of lavender essential oil before a year is up at that rate. That spells big money.