Monday, April 13, 2015

Essential Oil Beginner's Guide

When you start any new lifestyle there can definitely be a bit of a learning curve. Often there are specialized terms and language used amongst "oilers" that might be confusing for a beginner. I know I was confused. I highly recommend the Essential Oils Pocket Reference to become an expert and especially if you plan on sharing the oils. But I decided to compile a quick list of definitions and explanations for oiling beginners that should help you get started.

1. Dilution: Essential oils are very concentrated and potent. So, most of them should be diluted in order to be used safely, especially on the skin, internally, or for children and those with sensitive skin. To dilute an essential oil is to add a vegetable oil to it. This vegetable oil should be one that nourishes the skin and quickly absorbs, which is why it's called a carrier oil.

2. Carrier Oil: A vegetable oil used to dilute essential oils for gentler application. Ironically, actual vegetable or canola oil is NOT a suitable carrier oil because it doesn't absorb into the skin very well at all. My two favorite carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil and Young Living's V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex, which is a combination of fractionated coconut oil, sesame seed oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower seed oil, and olive oil. Jojoba and avocado oil can also be excellent carrier oils. If ever you experience irritation while performing a skin patch test - testing an oil or blend on a small area of the forearm for possible sensitivity - the only way to dilute and neutralize it is with a carrier oil, NOT water. Simply apply the carrier oil as needed.

3. "Hot" Oil: This is a type of essential oil that will almost certainly cause skin or intestinal irritation if used or ingested undiluted. Always be sure to check the bottle labels for recommended dilution before performing a skin patch test or ingesting essential oils. A few examples of "hot" oils are cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, oregano, thyme, eucalyptus, Exodus II, Thieves, and PanAway. These oils should be avoided for young children or only used on the bottoms of their feet and always diluted.

4. Neat: to apply an essential oil undiluted. There are some gentler oils that do not require dilution and can be applied "neat" except for children under the age of 2 or those with very sensitive skin. Even young children and those with sensitive skin can often use these oils safely if diluted. A few examples of such oils are Myrrh, Blue Cypress, Blue Tansy, Cedarwood, Cistus, Copaiba, Elemi, Frankincense, Geranium, German Chamomile, Helichrysum, Idaho Tansy, Ishpingo, Jasmine, Lavender, Ledum, Manuka, Melissa, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Ravintsara, Roman Chamomile, Rose, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Spikenard, Valerian, Vanilla, Vetiver, and Yarrow.

5. Seed to Seal: This promise, while it may be a trademark, is what sets Young Living apart from any other essential oils company. Young Living is the only reputable essential oil company to own their own farms so that they can directly control the quality of ingredients that make up their essential oils. All weed control is done by hand and only their own essential oils are used as pesticides. They test both the raw ingredients and batches of oils with state of the art in house testing called Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry and 3rd party testing.

6. Distillation: how essential oils are most often extracted from their plant constituents. It is a delicate process. "Fragile aromatic components are easily destroyed by high temperature and pressure, as well as by contact with reactive metals such as copper or aluminum. This is why therapeutic grade essential oils should be distilled in stainless steel cooking chambers at low pressure and low temperature" (Essential Oils Pocket Reference, 21).

7. Roll-on Blend: the combination and dilution of essential oils with a carrier oil in a convenient, purse and pocket size glass roller bottle. This is one of the safest and most effective ways to use essential oils because then it's pre-diluted and ready to go any time, anywhere. Plus, you can mix different oils to magnify them for a specific purpose. It's also especially convenient and useful for safe application to wiggly children.

8. GRAS: Generally Regarded as Safe for human consumption. Some of these are Basil, Bergamot, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Copaiba, Coriander, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium, Chamomile, Ginger, Grapefruit, Helichrysum, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Thyme, Valerian, Vetiver, Abundance, Citrus Fresh, DiGize, EndoFlex, Joy, JuvaCleanse, JuvaFlex, Longevity, Thieves, M-Grain, Purification, Relieve It, Sacred Mountain, and White Angelica. For the full list consult the Essential Oils Pocket Reference. My two favorite ways to ingest oils are diluted with carrier oil in a veggie capsule or a couple drops of citrus oil in my water.

9. Photosensitizing: Essential oils that should generally not be used on skin exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays because they can make the skin more sensitive and prone to sunburn. These are Angelica, Bergamot, Citrus Hystrix, German Chamomile, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, and Tangerine.

10. Therapeutic Grade: Essential oils that are pure and high quality enough to be used to support the body, directly on the skin, and even internally. Many essential oil companies will claim that their oils are pure and therapeutic grade but there is no standard or restrictions required for making that claim. It can be thrown around as easily as "natural" and "green." "Pure essential oils contain hundreds of different bioconstituents, which lend important therapeutic properties to the oil when combined." I believe only Young Living can guarantee that their oils are truly additive free, 100% pure and therapeutic grade.

 Email me at to learn more. I would love to hear from you.

 *Disclaimer: This post is NOT intended as medical advice of any kind because I am not a doctor. These product(s) have not been tested or evaluated by the FDA and so they are not intended to cure, treat, or prevent disease. They only help your body to do what it was meant to do, like nutritional supplements. Caution should be exercised with first time oil use - skin patch tests prior to use and dilution with carrier oil - especially in children. Children, especially under the age of 6, should never ingest essential oils without advice of a healthcare professional since they are concentrated and potent. If you are under the care of a physician, nursing, taking prescription medication, or pregnant please consult your doctor prior to use. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.

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