By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC
Essential oils are widely available, which means that everyone can easily benefit from their wonderful powers. Essential oils are the pure oils that are extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants and herbs, the peel of fruit or even the bark and resin of trees. Even though natural, these pure oils are highly volatile, complex chemicals, so there are many things that you need to be aware of before embarking on mixing, blending essential oils. So lets take a look at the essential tips you need to know before use, along with some wonderful ways to use the oils and other beneficial advice!
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To me this is the place to start. Once you are aware of which essential oils come with a cautionary label, you can blend, apply and use with confidence. It is important to know the precautions before you start! Most essential oils are safe to use, but some carry precautions that you must be aware of, as they could cause detrimental effects!
If you are pregnant, ideally seek advice from your doctor before using essential oils. Some essential oils can bring on menstruation or stimulate the uterus to contract, which could evoke a miscarriage or bring on premature labour.
The topical application of the following oils should absolutely be avoided during pregnancy.
- Carrot seed
- Clary sage
2. Sensitive skin
Some oils can have an irritating effect on the skin. If you know you have sensitive skin, or you have allergies, then either avoid these oils, or do a very small patch test on an area of skin, before using a large amount. Simply add one drop of oil to a small amount of a carrier substance and apply to the skin. Note the reactions during 12-24 hours. Patch test or avoid the following oils if you have sensitive skin.
- Black Pepper
- Tea Tree
3. Homeopathic treatments
Black pepper, Eucalyptus and Peppermint are all incompatible with homeopathic treatments, so should not be used together.
It would be my suggestion that you consult with a doctor before using essential oils if you have epilepsy. Some essential oils contain certain ketones, which can be neurotoxic, which means they can affect the central nervous system, and potentially trigger a seizure. However the following oils should absolutely be avoided if you suffer with epilepsy;
5. Kidney disease
In conditions such as nephritis, the following oils should be avoided;
- Black Pepper
6. High Blood pressure
These essential oils can stimulate circulation and increase blood pressure so should be avoided by those already suffering with high blood pressure.
Using essential oils
7. Essential oils can be used on the skin, but must be blended with a carrier substance before application.
8. Essential oils are either absorbed by the skin or inhaled through the membranes in the nose. Either way the molecules in the oils reach the bloodstream and travel around the body to their target.
9. Essential oils MUST NOT BE INGESTED! Even though they can treat internal issues, they must not be drunk or eaten!
10. A diffuser or burner can be used to warm the oils and release the aromas into the atmosphere.
Essential oil blending
11. For topical application use 100% pure essential oils. Good companies should give you information about how and where their oils are sourced – look for this on their website. Gya labs and Absolute Aromas are my favourite 100% therapeutic grade essential oils.
12. Essential oils must be mixed with a carrier substance – usually an oil – before applying topically to the skin.
13. Tea tree and lavender are the only essential oils that can be applied neat to the skin – in very small amounts. Use a cotton bud to dip in the oil – this is a sufficient amount for neat application.
14. Essential oils added to water do not disperse. This means they will sit as globules in the water and still be neat when in contact with the skin. Create an bath oil to benefit from the oils more effectively.
15. For the best blends, or more particularly, the longest lasting fragrance, a combination of top, middle and bottom notes should be used. Each essential oil is given a ‘note’, which gives its level of scent and the staying power of the aroma.
16. 100% pure essential oils are potent and volatile. Blending can vary, depending on how you intend to use the oils, and where you intend to apply them. However use the following as a basic guide.
4 drops of essential oil per 10ml of carrier oil
10 drops essential oil per 20ml carrier oil
25 drops essential oil per 50ml carrier oil
17. Other substances that essential oils can be blended into are; face or body cream, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, body wash. The blending guide given above should still be used, regardless of the carrier substance.
The Essential Oils
There is so much to say here, as there are so many oils and so many uses! Here’s a quick overview on some of the most popular oils and their uses.
13. Lavender is a great all-rounder oil. Use it in facial oils or cream to help combat dryness, or skin inflammations. Inhale to relieve headaches or migraines. Diffuse lavender for uplifting depression, or relieving coughs, colds or flu. It is also good for healing scars, bites, stings, dermatitis or psoriasis.
14. Bergamot is an underrated citrus oil, and makes an excellent addition to any blend. It is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and cooling, so great for inflamed skin conditions, while also being antiviral, so great for relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. The aroma is very uplifting, so good to diffuse to promote positivity and happiness!
15. Chamomile is a very gentle oil suitable for sensitive and dry skin, rashes and inflammations. It is very relaxing, soothing and calming, so good for relieving stress and anxiety.
16. Frankincense is a non irritating oil, so good for most people and skin types. It rejuvenates skin, so it makes a good addition to a dry and mature skin facial oil. Diffuse frankincense to calm nervousness and allows focus of the mind.
17. Peppermint oil is refreshing and uplifting. One of its main uses, is to aid digestion and ease nausea. Simply inhale peppermint oil to ease nausea, or a mix with a carrier oil to massage into the abdomen, to aid digestive issues.
18. Tea tree is antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, so is ideal to use on oily skin conditions or acne. Blend with a carrier to make a facial oil or an effective tea tree facial wash.
Essential oil storage
19. Essential oils should always be stored in dark amber or blue tinted bottles, away from sunlight, heat and they should be labelled – whether the pure oil or blended with a carrier. The chemical complex could be altered if exposed to light or heat, thus changing its therapeutic actions and making it potentially dangerous.
20. A dropper top bottle is ideal for storing a blended facial oil.
21. A roller applicator is great for blends on the go. Create essential oil blends to carry with you and apply to your pulse points or temples as needed. Essential oil blends for stress or anxiety, memory and focus or positivity and happiness are ideal for a roller blend.
22. A pump bottle is good for larger blends of massage or body oils.
Diffuser and burners
23. A diffuser or a burner is a great way to dispense the oils into the atmosphere to inhale. This is useful for treating respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds and flu, or uplifting your mood from the symptoms of depression.
24. Ensure you read the instructions carefully on the diffuser, as each can be slightly different, but with a diffuser the oils are usually mixed with water and dispersed into the air.
25. Clean your diffuser regular – white vinegar and plenty of fresh water is ideal for this – otherwise your blends end up smelling the same!
26. A burner allows you to add a few drops of essential to a small amount of the water and a candle warms the oils to fill the room
Essential oils on the go
27. A roller applicator blend is an ideal way to take oils with you. Create blends for stress, brain fog or positivity.
28. Diffuser jewellery. Wearing a piece of jewellery – a bracelet or necklace – where you can add in some drops of oil, is a wonderful way of carrying your aromas with you! Choose either a lava stone piece which absorbs the oil, and then releases the aromas as your skin warms the stones, or a piece with refillable absorbent pads, that you soak in the oils and insert into the piece of jewellery.
29. Car diffuser. This is a great alternative to the often synthetic smelling car air fresheners that we can buy. Soak the refillable diffuser pad in your chosen oils and insert into the diffuser. These come with a clip to attach anywhere in your car – and can be used anywhere around the home too!
30. First aid kit for travel. Create your very own First Aid Kit with essential oils. Essential oils are pain-killing, anti-bacterial, cooling and soothing, healing, relieve inflammations and treat bites, stings and rashes, so are ideal to create your own mini first aid products to carry with you.
What can I use essential oils for?
This is almost a never ending question! Essential oils have so many therapeutic actions that they have so many uses. Here are some examples, but do check out all my other articles on specific uses here.
31. Skin conditions such as acne. A simple blend of Bergamot & Chamomile blended with Rosehip oil, will help to calm and soothe angry, sore, acne skin. Get many more blends and recipe for acne here.
32. Inflammations such as eczema and psoriasis. Lavender & Neroli, both encourage cell renewal, are anti-inflammatory and are healing oils so ideal to reduce redness and help heal inflamed conditions.
33. Anti-ageing properties. Essential oils such as Jasmine, Neroli and Rose encourages cell regeneration which helps prevent the signs of ageing skin.
34. Heals scars – as soon as a wound is closed, use blended essential oils to help reduce the appearance of the scar.
35. Hair growth. Essential oils can help a whole host of hair concerns. Some essential oils help stimulate the hair follicles and blood supply to encourage growth. Other oils, will help to remove the irritation or dry skin of dandruff, while others can help to relieve excess oil on the scalp thus helping greasy scalp and roots.
36. Bites, stings, rashes. Essential oils are a great natural remedy to soothe the itching or irritation of bites and stings, as they can cool, soothe and heal the skin. Check out great remedies for mosquitos bites here.
37. Soothe muscle tension and muscle spasms with essential oils. Antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory essential oils will help to calm muscle spasms, and calm and relieve tension in muscles.
38. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress can be all alleviated by the use of essential oils. Use in a diffuser or burner to keep a constant aroma to inhale. Orange and Jasmine are both good at uplifting and promoting positivity and euphoria. Petitgrain and Sandalwood, help to sedate the nervous system which will relieve the symptoms of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat or shallow breathing.
39. Headaches & migraines. A quick sniff of lavender can help to relieve the intensity of a headache. While regular use of Clary sage or Rosemary can help to keep headaches and migraines at bay.
40. Insomnia & restless sleep. Make your own pillow spray with water, witch hazel, lavender, vetiver and rose, to help ease you off to sleep. Check out more blends and recipes for sleep here.
41. Memory & concentration. Inhale the ‘herby; oils of peppermint, rosemary or basil to help relieve brain fog, and clear your mind. Alternatively take a sniff of the fresh herb, if you have them at home – this is essentially where the oils have come from!
42. Coughs, colds & flu. Burn the anti-viral and anti-bacterial oils of Tea tree, Lavender and Lemon in a burner or diffuser, to help keep these illnesses at bay.
43. Fungal skin infections – such as athletes foot. Avoid the strong, over the counter preparations and create your own recipes for treating fungal skin infections.
44. Use Jasmine oils among others to help boost self-confidence & self-esteem. Jasmine promotes positive feelings and optimism, uplifts and gives a feeling of euphoria.
45. Boosting the immune system. Eucalyptus, Clary sage and Thyme are all known to help boost the immune system thus easing and preventing illness
Where to use essential oils?
The short answer to this is – anywhere!
46. Use essential oils in the bathroom to clean, freshen and keep bacteria at bay. Create you own shower spray to freshen and release aromas as you shower. Blend a soothing bath oil to soak to unwind. Add a few drops in the toilet bowl to freshen and clean, or add oils to your shampoo, conditioner or hand soap to tailor make your blends.
47. In your study or office, boost your clarity of mind and concentration. Diffuse Basil, Lime and Tangerine to uplift and clear your mind, or Frankincense, Thyme and Bergamot, to calm a busy mind, and help you think straight or multi-task.
48. Use oils in the kitchen to help keep the space smelling fresh and clean and get rid of cooking smells. Lemon is an ideal oil to use to do this, as the citrus scent is deodorising and anti-bacterial.
49. Create a slumber haven in your bedroom. Diffuse relaxing oils, such as rose, lavender and chamomile, to help induce sleep. Create your own pillow spray to help sleep and freshen your bed linen. Ylang Ylang essential oil can also have an aphrodisiac effect, so you can also create a more intimate atmosphere by burning this oil in the bedroom.
50. Essential oils are really effective, fun and a natural alternative remedy to many different issues and concerns, however if ever in any doubt of the use of essential oils, due to any medical conditions you may have or concerns you have, please consult your doctor, your local qualified, aromatherapist, or contact me for a consultation. Safety should always come first!