What are Essential oils ?
An essential oil “EO” is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants : Each drop contains up to 500 different compounds
An EO is extracted from a single plant species
An EO is the part of a plant that smells strongly. The aroma comes from the chemical content of volatile oils, which means that they are made from terpenes, or hundreds of carbon and hydrogen-based compounds intermixed. Unlike “true” oils (like olive oil), EO are far lighter and tend to vaporize when exposed to air
The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, also called its “essence”
Not all plants produce essential oils !!!
EO only come from specific parts of plants. Some, like cardamon, can be found in seed pods, while others, like ginger, come from the root. Tree resin (myrrh), fruit peels (citrus oils), petals (rose), tree bark (cinnamon), and leaves (eucalyptus) also contains essential oils for some species
Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence
EO are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing
Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use
The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils
Why do plants produce essential oils ?
The essential oil “EO” in a plant has two types of function:
► Protection :
➥ EO Protects the host plant from pathogenic micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi, and/or it deters herbivorous mammals from consuming the plant
➥ Deterring insects : Certain essential oil constituents are neurotoxic to specific insects, or act as insect repellents ; natural crop protection sprays are being commercially developed
➥ In some environments plants are exposed to harsh climatic conditions, it is thought the EO which collect on the leaves of some plants protect against water loss
► Communication :
➥ The “fragrant cloud” surrounding the plant may attract a particular species of bee, for example, that will help the plant reproduce by cross-pollination when it visits similar plants in flower
➥ EO may mimic insect pheromones, fooling a male insect into believing it is homing in on a female of the same species : Many of the same chemical constituents that are found in EO are also biosynthesized by insects as pheromones, communicating messages such as scent trail marking, gender identification or attack alerts
➥ Plants communicate with other plants of the same species through release of EO, warning of predators so that plants receiving the message will increase production of anti-feedant chemicals
► ► ► For many of the above reasons, EO constituents need to be volatile – they need to be released as and when needed, and they need to carry their “message” across space
► ► ► EO similarly protect humans against certain disease-causing microbes – in many cases, the same ones that can damage plants.
► ► ► Many EO are found to be either CNS stimulants or sedatives in humans
► ► ► Our bodies are biologically programmed to react to EO constituents, which interact with a variety of receptor sites, neurochemicals and enzymes, giving them a potential for therapeutic activity.
Are "essential oils" living substances ?
Essential oils are a collection of volatile organic molecules, not living entities. Furthermore, since they themselves are not alive, the oils do not give life to the plant ; but this is not to say they don’t help the plant survive
Plants don’t start producing Essential oils until a certain point in their development. The oil does not give life to the plant, the plant, at some point, starts producing the oil
Essential oils are an end product of the plants metabolism and emitted by the plant not circulating within the plant like blood in the body
Rosemary Oil Glands (rosmarinus) Photograph by Power And Syred
What is the difference between "aromatherapy" and "essential oils"?
An ‘aromatherapy oil’ is usually a 2% dilution of an essential oil in 98% almond or grape seed oil.
On the other hand, Essential oils are undiluted products that have been extracted from flowers, herbs, leaves, grasses, roots, woods, barks, spices, fruits or gum.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils are most commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy. They are either inhaled, or diluted then rubbed on the skin.
Essential oils are not meant to be swallowed.
The chemicals in essential oils can interact with your body in a number of ways.
When essential oils are applied to the skin, their healing components are absorbed into the bloodstream by the pores and hair follicles. Once inside the bloodstream, they disperse to the specific organs and systems on which they work.
Pulse points are the areas of the body where blood vessels are closest to the skin’s surface.
Applying essential oils to these areas allows for quicker absorption and help them get to work faster.
We suggest applying to the wrists, back of the neck ….
Think about it like watering a plant: you hydrate the soil because that’s where the roots are to absorb the nutrients. You wouldn’t get the same effect if you just watered the leaves or flowers.
When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, tiny nerves send an immediate signal to the brain and go straight to work on the Limbic system : that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell and long-term memory.
Interestingly, the limbic system is heavily involved in forming memories. This can partly explain why familiar smells can trigger memories or emotions.
The limbic system also plays a role in controlling some unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
How to Apply Essential Oils?
❝ Remember that essential oils are not oily like vegetable or fixed oils. They are called “oils” because they are lipophilic or fat-loving and dissolve readily in fatty liquids, but they are not made of lipids. This means that when using essential oils for hair care, they cannot moisturize your hair, nor will they make your hair oily. As a matter of fact, if your essential oils are pure, they may actually be quite drying and will evaporate more quickly than when applied by themselves. This is one of the big reasons why we dilute essential oils in fatty oils and butters before applying them to our skin ❞
* Place several drops
of Essential Oil into an empty
capsule and swallow with water or
* add 1-2 drops
to water or rice milk
While only a few specific essential oils are suitable for oral administration, this doesn’t apply to all essential oils, nor do all situations call for oral application.
It’s important to ask yourself if oral administration is actually necessary. Each client is a unique individual with a specific situation, which must be analyzed and critically assessed.
Once you’ve come to a decision, you must then consider…
Toxicity or poisoning is often the result of using a dose much higher than the therapeutic dose or recommended daily dose (RDD).
The Martindale Extra Pharmacopoeia provides excellent guidelines for using essential oils orally and notes acceptable daily intakes per kilo of body weight
Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel) and eucalyptus Eucalyptus spp. are two common culprits for poisoning. This typically occurs when someone has ingested too much or a child drinks the oil in error. Always keep your oils out of reach of children. We even suggest purchasing childproofed essential oil lids and a child lock for your essential oil cabinet.
>>> Oral administration is best left to those who are trained and have experience in clinical aromatherapy
Certain oils may cause irritation if used in too high a concentration. If you happen to be a highly sensitive person (HSP), try a skin patch test to determine any potential irritation before you use essential oils, and always dilute appropriately : See instructions for skin patch testing here
Irritation from an essential oil is a direct result of contact with the oil. It’s localized and does not involve the immune system. Once the offending essential oil is removed using a base oil or full-fat milk (or at least 2%), the skin can begin to recover. You can even use tepid water in a pinch, but it’s not as effective as oil or milk.
For people with sensitive skin, essential oils can sometimes cause more damage, while other folks can withstand the same concentration of essential oil without a problem.
Several essential oils like the ones bulleted below can cause skin or mucous membrane irritation:
- Steam distilled cinnamon bark and leaf Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Blume)
- Steam distilled clove bud, leaf, and stem Syzygium aromaticum (L.) (because of the eugenol content, which is an irritant and potential sensitizer)
- Steam distilled lemongrass leaf Cymbopogon citratus (Stapf)
Inhalation is arguably the safest means of administering essential oils, and it’s the fastest way to get essential oils into your bloodstream.
However, it’s still critical to use oils with caution… even when diffusing.
When diffusing essential oils, always:
- Diffuse in a well-ventilated area
- Diffuse for 30-minute intervals and take regular breaks
- Make sure pets (especially cats) have the option to leave the room if they don’t like the aromas
When trying essential oils for the first time be sure to dilute with a carrier oil ; almond oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, or olive oil.
✘ Never use water to dilute or try to wash off an oil as it will only press it deeper into the skin.
✘ Never put any essential oils into your ear canal.
✘ Never use plastic as it contains petrochemicals which are toxins that the essential oils will break down. In turn you would be consuming them.
✓ Always dilute oils on infants and children.
✓ When applying oils around your eyes be sure to follow along your eye bones.
✓ Be sure to ALWAYS USE either stainless steel or glass!
✓ Be sure if pregnant to check with your doctor before using oils.
Diluting Oils for Infants & Children:
✓ For children ages 1-5 use 1-3 drops of Essential Oil to 1 Teaspoon of carrier oil.
✓ For Infants up to 1 use 1-3 drops of Essential Oil to 1 Teaspoon of carrier oil.
What are the most popular Essential oils ?
When There are more than 90 types of essential oils, each with its own unique smell and potential health benefits.
Here’s a list of 10 popular essential oils and the health claims associated with them:
- Peppermint: Used to boost energy and help with digestion.
- Lavender: Used for stress relief.
- Sandalwood: Used to calm nerves and help with focus.
- Bergamot: Used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema.
- Rose: Used to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
- Chamomile: Used for improving mood and relaxation.
- Ylang-Ylang: Used to treat headaches, nausea and skin conditions.
- Tea Tree: Used to fight infections and boost immunity.
- Jasmine: Used to help with depression, childbirth and libido.
- Lemon: Used to aid digestion, mood, headaches and more.
How fast do Essential oils work?
When Our Therapeutic grade Essential Oils do the the following:
- Reach every cell on your body with 20 minutes when applied topically to the body.
- Eliminate toxins in your body.
- Regenerate DNA.
- Have the capability of passing the “blood-brain” barrier, works on emotions via the limbic system of your brain when inhaled.
- Release emotional trauma, relax and clear the mind.
- Transport nutrients to starving human cells.
- Act as powerful antioxidants.
- Increase atmospheric oxygen.
- Remove toxins from the air.
- Increase ozone and negative ions in the area which inhibit bacterial growth.
Phototoxicity & Essential Oils
Photosensitization and phototoxicity can occur when certain essential oil constituents (natural chemicals found in particular essential oils), particularly furocoumarins (FCs), react when exposed to ultraviolet light. Inflammation, blistering and reddening/burning of the skin are common.
Not all cold pressed citrus essential oils are phototoxic, and steam distilled citrus essential oils are apparently not phototoxic.
Commonly Available Essential Oils That are Phototoxic
- Angelica Root Essential Oil
- Bergamot (Cold Pressed)
- Bitter Orange (Cold Pressed)
- Fig Leaf Absolute
- Grapefruit (Cold Pressed)
- Lemon (Cold Pressed)
- Lime (Cold Pressed)
- Mandarin Leaf
- Clementine (Cold Pressed)
- Combava Fruit
- Angelica Root Absolute
- Angelica Root CO2
- Celery Leaf
- Celery Seed Absolute
- Cumin Seed Absolute
- Cumin Seed CO2
- Lovage Leaf
- Bergamot FCF (FCF Has the Bergaptene/Furanocoumarins Removed)
- Bergamot (Steam Distilled)
- Blood Orange (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Lemon (Steam Distilled)
- Lime (Steam Distilled)
- Mandarin (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Sweet Orange (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Satsuma (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Tangelo (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Tangerine (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
- Yuzu Oil (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled)
4 reasons why essential oils don't work?
REASON # 1 : YOU ARE NOT USING THEM OFTEN ENOUGH
When you are using Essential Oils, make them a regular part of your routine, that means you must reapply often.
Reapply as needed … Essential Oils are not a “one time use and that is it” remedy.
One drop of essential oil (= .02 to .03 grams or 20-30 milligrams or 20000 micrograms (µg)) has enough molecules to cover every cell in the body approximately 40,000 times. You certainly don’t need to use a lot! However, those wonderful little molecules have been completely metabolized within 2.5 hours. Therefore, applying your oils isn’t a “once and done” thing. Being consistent with your application makes all the difference.
REASON # 2 : YOU ARE NOT USING THEM CORRECTLY
In order to get the best results with your Essential oils, you can use them one of 3 ways
Topically : Using compresses, sprays, baths, or massaging them into the skin ; Wound care most often involves topical applications.
Internally : It is best used only when you have specific area of concern that can only be met by ingesting the essential oil. Keep in mind that you only need a drop or two at a time to reap the benefits of the oil.
Aromatically : Mood effects might be addressed by either inhalation or topical application. For fast action, inhalation might be preferred.
REASON # 3 : YOU ARE NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Oils are just ONE part of wellness
you’ll also want to make sure you are following a good diet, getting rest and taking care of yourself. All of those areas work together for your OWN personal wellness.
If you are using Oils on your children and not seeing good results, take a look at the other areas – are they eating well? Hydrating sufficiently? Resting properly?
REASON # 4 : YOU ARE NOT USING QUALITY ESSENTIAL OILS
When it comes to Essential Oils, there are a LOT of places you can buy them. They are not all made the same.
Remember… that many Essential Oils you find in store are merely fragrance oils – and should never be applied to your body OR ingested.
These oils are created as synthetic substances – the smell is a mere imitation, but the therapeutic properties are not present.
You’ll want to make sure you are using real quality, therapeutic grade essential oils
We recommend Queen Lynn Essential oils Brands sourced from the southern region of Morocco where the plants & trees grow naturally without human interference.
Directly hand-picked by the network of organic certified and Fair-Trade Argan oil cooperatives.
Guidelines for the Storage of Essential Oils
Always keep EO in a cool dry and dark place because they degrade when exposed to light and heat
Purchase EO that come in amber or cobalt colored bottles and keep them away from direct sunlight
If making any essential oil blends at home, invest in amber or cobalt blue colored containers such as dropper bottle and glass jars to prevent light degradation
You may store essential oil blends (that are diluted with carrier oils or other ingredients) in plastic containers : But for the pure undiluted oils, keep them in glass and amber/cobalt blue containers because EO eat up plastic
Allergic Reactions & Patch Test
Before using any EO, first perform a patch test to check whether you might be allergic to the EO
►►► To do a patch test :
➥ Mix 1 drop of EO in 1 tsp of carrier oil such as olive oil and rub it on your inner elbow
➥ Wait for 30 – 60 minutes
By this time, the allergic reaction, if any, usually shows up. If any skin irritation is noticed, immediately wash the area with warm water and a mild soap and do not use the EO on your body.
Guidelines on How to Dilute Essential Oils
Properly diluting essential oils with carrier oil ensures the active compounds are better absorbed into the skin and more easily spread over your body making them safer while reducing your risk of toxicity.
You might experience a stronger therapeutic effect due to the skin absorption. Dilution will also save you money by cutting the cost of essential oil therapy.
The rate of dilution of EO is measured in percentage form.
This basically measures how many drops of EO to add in 100 drops of carrier oil.
► For example, 1% dilution means 1 drop of essential oil in 100 drops of carrier oil.
Here are the agreed-upon guidelines on how to dilute essential oils :
➥ 0.25% Dilution
0.25% dilution rate means adding 0.25 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. Since you cannot measure 0.25 drops, you can achieve this rate of dilution by adding 1 drop of essential oil to 400 drops or approximately 4 teaspoons of carrier oil.
For children between 3 months to 2 years. Prefer to use hydrosols and herbs
➥ 0.50% Dilution
0.5% dilution rate means adding 0.5 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. Since you cannot measure 0.5 drops, you can achieve this rate of dilution by adding 1 drop of essential oil to 200 drops or approximately 2 teaspoons of carrier oil.
For children between 2 to 6 years; only use if absolutely necessary; use when child is sick; prefer to use hydrosols and herbs
➥ 1% Dilution
1% dilution rate means adding 1 drop of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. This means 1 tsp of carrier oil or 6 drops per ounce of carrier oil
For children 6 to 15 years, pregnant or lactating women; and those with compromised immune systems : This dilution is also appropriate for facial skin
➥ 2% Dilution
2% dilution rate means adding 2 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. This means 12 drops per ounce
For adults and for whole body applications such as body oils, creams and lotion
➥ 3% Dilution
3% dilution rate means adding 3 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. This means 18 drops per ounce
Only for adults; used during a temporary health issue; can be increased up to 10% depending on the ailment in question, age and oil of the adult
➥ 25% Dilution
25% dilution rate means adding 25 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of carrier oil. This means 150 drops (or 1.5 teaspoons) per ounce
Only for adults; only for a short duration; for health issues such as a severe muscle cramp, severe pain and others
➥ 100% Dilution
100% dilution means using the essential oil ‘neat’ or ‘as is’ without any dilution whatsoever. Not all essential oils can be applied neat – here are the ones that can be : Essential Oils You Can Use Neat
There are many dangers of applying an essential oil neat and it is not recommended, except in rare cases.
Here are some situation where an essential oil may be used neat…
►►► Essential oils are used at 100% concentration in inhalers and diffusers
Top 12 Essential Oils You Can Use Neat
Here are the top 12 essential oils you can use neat :
When Can You Apply Essential Oils Neat?
Application of essential oils neat is often not a good idea, but can be done under the following conditions :
- For one-off applications, once in a while
- When using it on a bug bite or bee sting
- For immediate relief on burns
- When done under the care of a licensed practitioner
- For sores or warts
- On acne/pimples
Guidelines for Essential Oils You Can Use Neat
If you are planning to use essential oils neat, make sure you are following certain guidelines :
- Always use pure, unadulterated oils to avoid adverse reactions
- Do not use more than 1 drop when using essential oils neat
- Do not apply the same essential oil ‘neat’ for more than 3 days at a time
- Prolonged use of any essential oil, whether diluted or not, is not recommended
Top 5 Carrier Oils for Diluting Essential Oils
Here are some examples of carrier oils you can use to dilute essential oils:
1. Coconut oil
2. Olive oil
3. Grape seed oil
4. Jojoba oil
5. Sweet almond oil
EO can also be diluted using emulsifiers, such as milk, honey and yogurt (for ingestion) and aloe vera gel for topical application.