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Essential Oils and Their Uses - Everything You Need To Know

by Yuli Azarch |

With essential oils and Aromatherapy increasing in popularity each and every single day it’s fair to ask yourself as someone that’s being initiated in this practice, what are the exact uses of this type of products and how can we explore their full potential without experiencing any health risks. Traditionally speaking, every essential oil comes with 3 methods of usage that allow you to benefit from its properties but bellow you’re going to find out that there are cases you can extend to a few other ways even if they’re not as conventional as the first 3 methods.

Let’s talk about essential oils and their uses to find out how we can administrate this type of products without any negative effects on our state of mind or any potential health risks.

First use: Aromatic

This comes as no surprise because the sense of smell is a powerful tool we can easily use to create a positive impact on our mental and on our emotional state. While being used, aromatherapy products are quickly absorbed by our smell receptors which have a direct link to the limbic system, a part of our brain that supports emotion, behavior and memory.

Just to keep things short, aromatherapy oils and their uses have a direct impact on your well being and can influence the way we behave on a daily basis or reenact a certain memory from the past. Inhaling essential oils the right way will come with great benefits if you’re aware of the right method for appliance. Let’s find out how we can do that in the most efficient ways possible.

1. By using a diffuser

If you decided to purchase a diffuser for therapeutic grade essential oils you can rest assure because this is probably the safest method to use for this type of product. All you need to do is place the essential oil in your device and depending on what type of diffuser you’re using, add hot water or use heat so that the oil evaporates.

This is the part you need to pay attention for the label instructions because some products have a timer and some are actually based on additional operations but regardless of the device you’re using you need to make sure the essential oil doesn’t get burned. In this case the chemical structure will change dramatically and the effect vanishes completely.

2. Dry evaporation

This is probably the easiest method applied on essential oils for health purposes because all you need to do is put several drips of you oil on a cotton ball and simply let them evaporate in the air around you while repeating the process a few times a day to experience the desired effect on your body.

If it’s Sunday and you plan on reading a good book in your living room, keep the essential oil in your immediate vicinity without worrying too much about dosage or distance because the smell will be able to travel all across your home. It just needs a little time to get there.

3. Steam

To apply this method you need a bowl of steaming water and the essential oil of your choice to start with. So how should you use essential oils in this combination? Add your oil in the bowl of streaming water and place a clean towel over your head and over the bowl to inhale the steams. Mix the water with the oil and remember that the water will quickly evaporate so this method is actually very potent. However, one or two drops are perfectly safe without having any damaging effects. Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes closed while breathing in the steams. Eucalyptus oil is the perfect product for this method because it comes with benefic properties for your upper respiratory system and it will help you get rid of sinus infections.

Note: this method is not recommended for children younger than 7 and for everyone with the age between 7 and 14 it’s recommended to use a pair of swimming goggles for extra protection. Other than requiring some type of eye protection this method is perfectly fine to be applied.

4. Spray

Another method you can use is spraying your essential oils and to safely apply it you need a water based solution and the essential oil of your choice. Mix the oil with your solution, shake it and spray it into the air all over your home to set the mood. It’s important to shake the bottle before spraying it just so you don’t get to spray water rather than the mix you’re aiming for.

Strong smells such as peppermint oils can easily be used with this method and good results are guaranteed. 

Second use: Topical

Our essential oils uses list continues with topical uses and this is the method that actually allows you to apply oils directly on the surface of your skin by using a variety of well-known techniques. Direct skin usage comes with responsibility and safety measures and when referring to this method specifically you also need to be aware that most essential oils cannot be applied directly on your skin and need t be used in combination with a substance that dilutes them – vegetable oil, nut oil or even water.

Per se, if you have a teaspoon (5 cc) of your substance that means 3 drops of oil and this will make a 3% concentrated solution that can be used on a certain portion of your body. For a larger portion or massages a 1% concentration (1 drop essential oil) is safe for usage and for infants a 0.25% solution is most recommended. A 0.5% concentration is recommended for toddlers.

If you plan on using water as a carrier be sure to shake your mix before applying it however there are a few questions you should know the answers to before using essential oils on topical purposes:

What type of carrier should I use?

First off you can get your carrier from any natural foods store or any store that specializes in natural bath or organic products. It’s recommended you use organic or cold-pressed oils, especially products that don’t have a strong smell of their own. This type of oil should be kept in a refrigerator and taken out only when being used for skin care.

For superficial wounds apply the mix slowly a few times a day and treat the wound until results are shown.

What techniques should I use?

Generally speaking there are 4 techniques you can use to apply essential oil mixes on your skin.

1. Compression

Dilute the essential oil in your carrier (water or oil) and apply it directly on the affected area of your skin. For example you can take a your oil, mix it with hot water, take a cloth and apply the oil on your skin. Additional heat can be applied if you think the situation requires.

Use this treatment 2 or 3 times a day

2. Gargle

Add the oil in hot water to create a mix that you can gargle and then spit it out. This is perfect to be used in throat discomfort but you need to remember NOT to swallow the mix you created.

3. Bath

Nothing is more relaxing than a hot bath! Apply your oil before stepping in your tub and the product will be absorbed through skin as well as inhaled. If you think the oil is too strong add a 2 or 3 tablespoons of cream milk to disperse it.

You also need to remember that essential oils are not soluble in hot water thus they will float on top of the water so using something to disperse the effect will help your skin when absorbing the right dosage. Bath salts can be used for this process as well.

A good idea would be to mix baking soda with Epsom salt and sea salt, with one spoon for the first ingredient, 2 for the second and 3 for the 3rd. Six drops of oil can be used in this combination but don’t forget to mix the water before starting your bath.

4. Massage

This is by far the most relaxing method you can expose your skin and muscles to. Add the essential oil to your natural carrier, apply the mix to your skin and start massaging it. If you have someone that can do this for you that’s even better!

As we previously mentioned you should not exceed the 1% concentration for large portions of your body if you’re an adult. For children the right concentration is 0.25% for infants and 0.5% for toddlers (age from 6 months to 2 years). The choice of essential oils used for massages depends on your desired effect.

3rd usage: Internal

Some oils have a well-known usage in cooking and that means you can have a benefic internal usage as well. As a matter of fact you could be using essential oils this way and not even knowing it! For example, when you’re drinking tea or adding spices in your food you’re actually consuming essential oils compounds.

These types of oils have multiple health benefits besides offering extra flavor to your food and when being used as essential oils can be used for their strong medicinal purposes. Despite of what you may think, internal use is fine to administrate and has a good effect on our body if you know the right dosage. Effects will show almost immediately because essential oils enter directly in your blood stream from your gastrointestinal tract and are transported through our body after this process takes place. Being a lipid soluble they take really quick effect and this also includes the brain and from all things we put inside our bodies, oils are being processed by our liver and all the other organs before being eliminated.

These types of products have a complex composition with every constituent possessing a particular set of properties that are able to different effects to our bodies. Although science is still trying to understand how oils are able to produce their effects, it’s already a known fact that we can have great benefits by using Aromatherapy methods in our daily life.

To avoid toxicity you need to carefully read all label recommendations for each product you chose to use and all professional guidelines need to be followed for proper results.

Here are some effective methods for internal applications:

  • Use essential oils to replace different herbs that you use when cooking but start with small doses because this type of products are more potent
  • If you’re looking for a bigger dose add the oil you plan on using directly on your food but use small instrument such as toothpicks rather than pouring or dripping the product
  • Add these substances to tea or milk
  • Add small amounts when you’re eating yogurt

Fourth usage: common usage

Even if it might be hard to believe essential oils can have common purposes as well. For example you can use lemongrass oil as an all-purpose cleaner. Put 3 drops of oil in warm water and it will function as an efficient disinfectant. Combine lemongrass oil with eucalyptus oil and you can use the final combination against annoying mosquitoes.

If you plan on going to the beach anytime soon you can make your own sunscreen with coconut oil, zinc oxide, shea butter and an essential oil of your choice and if you want to add a unique smell to your clothes also include essential oil inside your washing machine before the wash.

These are only a few common uses for essential oils but we can point out cleaning your house, scrubbing your bathroom, keeping insects away and many other purposes as well.

Our list ends here but hopefully we managed to deliver enough information to explain what are essential oils used for. Feel free to write us in the comment section about the most common method you’re using to improve your well being and also feel free to tell us what else you want to know about essential oils and their uses.   

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