Essential oils are the super-concentrated result of a distillation process of plants and botanicals, which may then be used in aromatherapy or topically with a carrier oil. Except for a few food flavorings, like lemon, the FDA considers most essential oils cosmetics, which means they are not intended for ingestion.
All essential oils are distilled in close proximity to where the plants are harvested, which means there are limited sources for all essential oils and that knowing the origin source can be one way you use to determine the quality of a product.
Because essential oils are so concentrated, you can also compare how the oils smell to help you decide if an oil is worth its price tag. The concentration of the oils also means that applying them directly to the skin can damage or sting the skin. This is why using a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut, olive oil, etc., is important if you plan to use an essential oil topically. Dilution is the key to safe use of essential oils.
Did you know that some scents are actually dangerous for pregnant women to smell? Also, if you have an allergy to the plant source of an essential oil, you obviously want to avoid it. Other essential oils may be dangerous to use if you have low blood pressure or have to be in direct sunlight. Knowing the safety of essential oils is just as important as knowing the safety of use for your supplements.
All that being said, essential oils have a very long tradition of use for a variety of physical, as well as mental, concerns. The relatively modern science of psychoneuroimmunology studies the interaction between our psychological, neurological and immunological systems, in other words, how our state of mind can affect the rest of our body, especially our immune system.
Aromas can illicit both positive and negative responses. Aromatherapy seeks to illicit positive responses that will support an improved mood and, hopefully, increased immune response.
Rather than just taking a whiff of your essential oil bottle, however, most people find that using a diffuser can be helpful in creating a continual environment of positivity. Betsy’s Health Foods is proud to carry a wide variety of essential oils and also diffusers to use for essential oil aromatherapy. We recently added three new diffusers to our products, including one that has a dual diffusion process.
Our NOW® Solutions diffusers utilize ultrasonic technology to create an ultra-fine aromatherapy mist. The diffusers are BPA-free and, instead of heat, use high-frequency, ultrasonic electrical vibrations to diffuse essential oils. With a set amount of water and just a few drops of your chosen essential oil, you can have up to 8 hours of continual scent. And, with the ultrasonic technology, you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn off the diffuser. When the water runs out, the diffuser turns itself off!
What would information on essential oils be without a recipe or two? Here are some fun ways to use essential oils, just in time for your holiday shopping planning:
With NOW® Solutions pure and organic essential oils and a little baking soda, you can turn any shower into a rejuvenating spa treatment with these homemade shower vapor disks. All you’ll need is 1 cup of baking soda, 1/3 cup of water, your favorite NOW® Solutions essential oils, a mini-muffin pan and foil muffin liners.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. While the oven is heating, line a mini-muffin pan with foil liners. Mix baking soda and water to form a thick paste. Spoon paste into the mini-muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and let fully cool. Add essential oils after disks have cooked, or store disks and add oil just before use. Place disk on shower floor and enjoy soothing aromatherapy while showering.
Here are some ideas for your shower scentsations!
- Chamomile Oil – 1 drop
- Lavender Oil – 2 drops
- Sandalwood Blend Oil – 2 drops
- Peppermint Oil – 1 drop
- Rosemary Oil – 1 drop
- Cinnamon Oil – 2 drops
- Lavender Oil – 3 drops
- Peppermint Oil – 3 drops
- Chamomile Oil – 3 drops
SKIN RENEWAL MASK
Mix ingredients together in a bowl to a creamy paste, apply to face and neck area, allow 10-15 minutes to dry, then rinse off with warm water and apply moisturizer. Make sure you test the mixture first to ensure your skin is not too sensitive for the formula.
Avoid sensitive areas, and use 1-2 times weekly as needed. NOT intended for internal use.
- 3 Tbs of Moroccan Red Clay or European Clay
- 4-5 Tbs of water
- 3 drops of Rosemary Oil
- 2 drops of Rose Hip Seed Oil
BASIC CHEST RUB
Directions: Mix ingredients together in a glass bowl and apply to chest and neck area after first ensuring that your skin can tolerate the ingredients. Avoid sensitive areas. May also apply to forehead, but avoid sensitive areas. NOT intended for internal use.
- 1 Drop of NOW Lemon Oil
- 2 Drops of NOW Eucalyptus Oil
- 1 Drop of NOW Rosemary or Hyssop Oil
- 1 Tbs Jojoba or Almond Oil
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you take prescription medications or have a medical condition.
Pierson, P.J. and Shipley, Mary. Aromatherapy for Everyone: Discover the Scents of Health and Happiness with Essential Oils. Vital Health Publishing. 2004.