If there were a theme to my Christmas, it would be How do you use essential oils? It seems like myself, the sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, and aunt all started using oils for various reasons. For months, the men folk had been suffering the various smells as we used oils to treat colds, intestinal issues, and mollescum contagiosum, among other things. Once we gathered, we discussed who used which oils for what.
The next day, my mom said she was interested in getting some essential oils, did I know anything about them. I drew a blank. My oil knowledge is from personal problem solving. What I know is very specific; it’s for the various issues of my household.
Therefore, I do not know a lot about how to use essential oils. I’ve asked my sister-in-law Summer for some ways she uses oils, and I interviewed my chiropractor, Dr. Crystal Green, who integrates oils in her practice. With input from them, here is a beginner’s guide to use essential oils.
Why Should You Use Essential Oils?
Dr. Crystal Green says, “Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. Use dates back to biblical times with Frankincense and Myrrh. Because of their natural yet potent properties, essential oils have therapeutic medicinal properties when used properly. They are plant derived, so they are sustainable. Also, they work with the body to do exactly what is needed at the time. So even for the novice, they can still be therapeutic with a little direction.”
Oils for Beginners
Dr. Green advises,
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first journey into the oil world. So start with 2-4 oils, learn everything you can about those, then expand your knowledge from there. I recommend lemon, lavender, and peppermint. There are hundreds of things you can do with these three simple oils alone.
Lemon is a citrus blend, which is lifts your mood. It is also antiviral and antibacterial, so it can be used as a cleaner around the house to polish furniture, disinfect toys (with vinegar added), or simply freshen up a room. When you add it into your water, it can be a powerful cleanser from our daily toxins. It helps the liver and kidneys process what we encounter through the air by ingestion and respiration. Be aware that citrus oils in general can be photosensitive. So, if you are going to be out in the sun, you want to limit your use of citrus oils.
Lavender oil is generally calming. However, for some individuals, it can be uplifting. So, you would want to test this on yourself before you start to use it for bedtime routines. In general though, most people feel a calming effect emotionally and physically with lavender. This is also fabulous for scrapes, scratches, sunburns, etc. In general, all skin issues can be healed with lavender. I love to mix lavender, peppermint, and aloe gel for a good after-sun gel.
Peppermint is a cooling oil. So, for the hot summer days coming up, it can be utilized to cool down. It is also fabulous for the respiratory system, as it opens up nasal and sinus passages and has a dilating effect on the bronchial system. This is one I add into bug spray since it also has natural repelling properties.
Peppermint is also fabulous with digestion. It aids in proper digestion and can calm an upset belly. This is one that you want to use caution when using on children, especially those who have respiratory compromise.
Because every individual is different, there are multiple oils that can be used for the same things. So if you aren’t getting the results or changes you want with oils, look into others.”
How Can I Use Essential Oils?
Dr. Green says that the simplest way to use oils is aromatically, by smelling the oil out of the bottle or with a diffuser. This is also the fastest way to get therapeutic benefits.
You could also apply the oils topically. If you are going to do this, you need to be cautious. If the bottle says for EXTERNAL USE ONLY, you cannot use the oil topically. That oil is simply for aromatic use.
“Many people don’t realize the skin is the biggest organ of the body, so anything placed on it gets absorbed directly into the body and the blood stream. Topical use is a very effective way if you want to work on an internal issue. The skin absorbs the oils 2- 5 minutes after application,” says Dr. Green.
Another way to use oils is to ingest them. Unless you are very familiar with the essential oil and its properties, you should avoid this.
Carrier oils are important to the success of your treatment. With carrier oils, essential oils last longer and your skin absorbs them better. Dr. Green says, “Good carriers can range from coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil (unless you are prone to yeast).”
Choosing Your Brand of Oils
Dr. Green says,
“There are tons and tons of oils on the markets these days, and they all say they are pure. The thing is, you can list that you have a ‘pure oil’ and still dilute it down with a carrier oil. Technically, it is still pure. A lot of companies that sell oils for $5-10 are only giving you a percentage of the essential oil compared to the carrier oil.
When you purchase oils, you are making an investment. You will use less oil in the long run with a therapeutic grade oil versus a cheap oil at the store. The quality is substantially different also. If you are ever curious about different brands of oils check out Essential Oil University on Facebook. Dr. Pappas has done GCMS analysis of the oils of almost all companies and compared to what they say was in the oil.”
Other Ideas for Oil Use
My sister-in-law Summer and I are not trained in oils, but we have some experience with treating different health issues. Summer recommends using:
- tea tree oil for bug bites, weird skin crud, and to discourage lice.
- Thieves in vinegar cleaner, hand soap and diffused when it’s cold and flu season.
- lavender for relaxation, allergies, and bee stings.
- lemon/lavender diffused for mood pick-me-up.
- peppermint for headaches and upset stomach.
- peppermint and/or eucalyptus for sinus and/or chest issues and sore muscles.
- lemon oil to remove sticker gunk and freshen the bottom of the trash can.
- lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender as bug spray. This summer, Summer is going to try adding grapefruit for tick repellent.