If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard the term ‘essential oils’ thrown around about a hundred times before you actually acquired any background knowledge on what essential oils truly are and what all the hype is about. Essential oils are naturally occurring. They are aromatic compounds derived from plants and can be found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of the plant. Ever wonder how a rose gets its distinctive smell? We can thank the essential oils within the rose for the beautiful scent. (1) Keep reading—I have 5 things that are special about essential oils and 5 things to be careful about when it comes to essential oils.
Why Essential Oils are Special
Essential oils can be used both topically and internally. Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin*. (*Read 1st thing to be careful of) Because of their low molecular weight and lipid soluble characteristics, we can easily absorb them through our skin. You can also incorporate essential oils into your self-care routine by adding a few drops to a warm bath or to your favorite lotion.
Essential oils’ lipid solubility also contributes to their effectiveness when used internally. Essential oils can be added to recipes and drinks, taken in capsules, and more. Because they are lipid soluble, essential oils can easily be transported to the entire body via the blood stream. Fun fact: Our bodies will even transport essential oils to our brain! (2)
Essential oils ban be mixed. Each essential oil has specific uses. The benefits of essential oils can be enhanced by mixing multiple oils together. This is referred to as “synergy” in the essential oil world. Try experimenting to find your own favorite blend! (3)
Essential oils have lots of influence over our limbic system which can better be thought of as our emotional system. With their potent aromatic qualities, essential oils are quickly absorbed by our smell receptors. Our smell receptors communicate with our limbic system directly via the olfactory nerve. This is how essential oils can be used to lift your spirits! (2)
Essential oils can be used in place of household cleaning supplies! Some essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and even anti-viral properties. The most popular of which are cinnamon, thyme, oregano, and melaleuca (tea tree). However, there are more! There are many recipes for making your own cleaning supplies with essential oils, just as lemon, lavender, and peppermint. It is a safe alternative to harmful chemicals that are in many household cleaning products. (4)
Essential oils have an extremely long shelf life if purchased from a reliable company such as doTERRA. Packaging and storage aside, the chemical makeup of essential oils is very stable. However, like anything, packaging and storage does play a role in the longevity of your essential oils. Look for oils preserved in dark glass bottles to prevent degradation by UV radiation and bottles that are made from high quality plastics number 1 (PETE) or number 2 to minimize issues of corrosion. Make sure to store your essential oils in moderate temperature conditions and out of direct sunlight and minimize oxygen exposure by replacing the lid as soon as possible. (5)
Thing to be Careful of When Using Essential Oils
Always dilute essential oils before using them. Essential oils are extremely potent. This is what makes them so effective, but it is imperative to dilute them with a carrier oil. Using undiluted essential oils can cause irritation, reactions, and more unwanted side effects. Some companies sell pre-diluted essential oil products. Some bloggers and companies encourage increased number of drops than are actually needed because they make their money selling product – a little goes a long way! Just make sure to check what your products are so that you know exactly what you are using. (6)
Take caution when using essential oils during pregnancy, breastfeeding. At present, little research has confirmed the possible effects of using essential oils during breastfeeding and pregnancy. Some worry that essential oils may alter hormone levels and cause harm to the fetus. (6)
Be careful of using essential oils on babies and animals. As aforementioned, essential oils are very potent, and as such, must be diluted for safe use. However, babies are extra sensitive. It is important to do background research on each essential oil and adverse effects that it may have on babies. For example, using peppermint oil for babies is advised against due to the menthol in it; menthol has been linked with interruptions in breathing in children and jaundice. (7)
Test essential oils topically before taking them internally. Think of this as a “test spot” for trying a new lotion. Not everyone can tolerate all essential oils or essential oil blends. I’m sure you would much rather have a negative reaction on top of your skin than underneath your skin!
Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA! This means that many poor essential oil products make it to the market without necessary approval. It is also well known that online orders (even through Amazon) can be knock offs of quality oils. While essential oils are naturally occurring, it is quite common for companies to mix or dilute essential oils with other chemicals or compounds that are far from naturally occurring. The bottom line is that we cannot assume any essential oil product is safe or inherently safer than products exclusively developed in a laboratory. This is just one more reason why is it imperative to buy essential oil products made by a trusted company such as doTERRA or Young Living!
As always, you’re welcome to ask any essential oil questions to us at MPS or Central Core! We would be happy to discuss the benefits of essential oils, household uses and hacks, and what to be cautious of. We would also love to send you home with some doTERRA essential oils as we sell them at both studios!
MPS and Central Core