The essential oil industry is BOOMING right now! So many people are using these lovely naturals plant-based scents in place of chemically-laden products and for good reason. Cancer rates are skyrocketing and people are demanding more natural alternatives. Essential oils are versatile in so many ways that it makes perfect sense that people are choosing a natural alternative over commercially promoted potentially cancer-causing cleaners, body care and natural alternatives to wellbeing and medicine.
There are responsible and irresponsible ways of using essential oils. We will go over a few things to be mindful of below.
Essential Oils & Your Body. Plants, for the most part, are easy to assimilate into our bodies and are easily excreted back out of our bodies without causing toxicity (when used correctly) and provided a person is in good health (not having organ problems, etc). There are also some very harmful practices being spread around. Let's look at them so we can be better informed.
While some multilevel companies promote the consumption of essential oils, that is actually not the best nor is it the safest way to use them. Here's why. Essential oils can stick to the inside of the mucous membrane and eventually eat through your esophagus and stomach lining, burn the inside of your mouth and so on. It may take some time and a person may not even be aware of the damage that is taking place inside their body.
Essential oils need a carrier oil in order to mix with and not harm the lining of our digestive tracks. I do not recommend ingesting essential oils. If you think adding them to water makes any difference in the safety- think again. Water and oil do not mix. So if a person adds a few drops of essential oil to a glass of water and drinks it- it may go down, but it's going to burn the insides of your membranes- whether you feel it or not.
Over time, ingesting essential oils with water can cause serious problems with perforations in the lining of your esophagus, digestive tract, and stomach. It has happened. Hardly worth it if you ask me (or anyone educated in the science of essential oils). Most people that prescribe essential oils internally (under the care of a medical practitioner) do so through the use of suppositories that go in the "other end" and not in your mouth, digestion, or stomach. I cringe when people tell me they ingest essential oils. My advice is don't.
Instead of drinking essential oils, eat the plants! You're better off eating the plant in its natural form. Instead of drinking orange essential oil, why not squeeze the orange in a glass of water and drink it? You get the orange (or plants) complete profile and the harmful constituents are attenuated and already balanced for the human body. Wholefoods and whole plants are the way to go if you are trying to boost your immunity. Too often we think of popping a pill or a quick fix, but the real answer is in letting your food be your medicine and medicine your food.
Essential oils and proper skin application. Apply essential oils to your skin in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or even just plain olive oil or any oil you have access to. While it is true that putting essential oils directly on your skin is possible for a very select few oils, such as lavender and tea tree, it can still cause a reaction.
If you have ever tried to take a bath and dropped essential oil of lavender or anything else in the bathwater without first mixing the essential oil in a carrier oil- then you probably also remember that lovely stinging feeling and burning sensation right on your most sensitive parts! Not super fun! Oil and water do not mix! That essential oil will seek out fat and that fat may be your bottom or worse! You need to add the essential oil to a carrier oil first and then you can apply the mixture to the bath or skin. Here is an essential oil-to -carrier-oil dilution guide for you to use with the safest and more well known essential oils.
Tip: Think 1-4 drops (of common essential oil) per tablespoon of carrier oil excluding cinnamon, clove, nutmeg or any uncommon oil). When in doubt research and ask a trusted expert.
Creams, lotions, oils, and soaps are a great way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. By adding a few drops of essential oils to a base, you are still getting the absorption and you are preventing sensitization. Diluting essential oils is a safe way to use them on a regular basis. Once your body reacts negatively to essential oil placed directly on the skin without a carrier oil (known as NEAT), it may never be able to take that specific essential oil ever again without a reaction. Imagine if you couldn't use your favorite essential oil anymore and what a bummer that would be. Stay safe and dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.
If you want to read a woman's story about the overuse of essential oils both internally & externally (without dilution) click here. Also, when you add your volatile (easily evaporated) expensive essential oil to a carrier oil (base) and apply it to your skin- it lasts longer and you end up saving money. Skincare care formulators are a great source for getting the most potent body care blends without having to worry about diluting them yourself.
Inhalation & Diffusion. This is something I learned about later in my herbal and plant studies. I have always been an avid proponent of herbs in loose-leaf form. Tea's have always worked incredibly well for me during illnesses and colds. I have a pretty clean body and I do not do well with over the counter medicines let alone prescription medication. They are full of junk.
Teas have been my savior many times over. They contain the whole plant and are safe. Everything is in its naturally balanced form in a tea. Drinking a nice warm cup of tea is a healing ritual that calms the entire being. When I read about inhaling essential oils, I admit that in the beginning, I thought it was up there with unicorns and rainbows. Not that there's anything wrong with those. I simply like my herbal studies to be grounded in science (which is why I chose to study under Robert Tisserand the Grandfather of Aromatherapy).
Any reputable aromatherapist will refer back to Tisserand and his joint medical research regarding essential oil safety. He has combined his studies with bonafide medical researchers to the likes which I have never seen anywhere else. He's honest about the hype, and he's clear about the chemical makeup of the oils and explains the issues and benefits while ensuring true education around essential oils uses and abuses. Here's what I learned about breathing in essential oils.
Diffusing essential oils into the atmosphere also known as nebulizing can be very beneficial for colds, viruses, well being, and more. It's relatively easy and safe when done correctly and quite an effective way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. You don't need a lot of oil either,- less is more. I love the natural scents one can create with a little know-how.
Essential oils have natural antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-viral, antifungal properties. These volatile compounds easily evaporate into the atmosphere or air around you. You may think that means that they disappear, but what it actually means is that they are present in very small particles especially if you are diffusing inside your home or space. I especially love having my oils and diffuser around the flu season.
Essential oils breathed in through the nose or mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin, can still cross the blood-brain barrier. That's great news for most, but it also requires some precautions if you are taking medications, or have pets and small children around. For instance, if a person is taking medication for epilepsy and breathes in mint essential oil, it possibly can and has accelerated the seizure medication forcing the medication to metabolize through the body faster than normal and that person can actually have a seizure. It's not the oils themselves that can cause a seizure. It is the faster metabolization and the medication leaving the person without their normal dose. That is why it's important to understand a bit about essential oil safety. Just because "God made it" or it's "natural" doesn't mean you don't need wisdom. They are powerful little oils! Used the right way, they can greatly benefit mankind. Used the wrong way- they can harm people and get a bad name.
If you are not on medication and don't have any serious health problems, you may choose to diffuse essential oils for fifteen minutes on and an hour off and then take breaks being sure to get fresh air. This way you can enjoy safely using essential oils in a responsible and sustainable way. I have an intermittent timer on my diffuser and I also open up the doors and get a cross-ventilation in my space daily. Circulating fresh air and diffusing a space is a great way to disinfectant and create a pleasant atmosphere.
In America we think more is always better- not so with essential oils. They are highly concentrated. They can be 50-100 times stronger than the actual plant. You only need a drop or two at a time. That's also their beauty. They can last a very long time if you keep the bottles tightly closed and away from heat and light.
Here's some perspective regarding the potency of essential oils. In order to make one small 5mL (about a tablespoon) of rose essential oil, it takes 22 lbs of rose petals. It's very small and very expensive (hundreds of dollars for that little tiny 5mL bottle). Now you know why essential oils and essential oil products are a little more expensive than products made using cheap ingredients, not from essential oils!
What to be aware of when buying essential oils. Adulteration. Yes, it happens, but it's not common with reputable sources. When companies say they only use therapeutic grade, there is no such thing. It is a marketing tactic. Your oils are either real or fake. I have purchased essential oils from less expensive places and more expensive places. I would say, for the most part, you actually do get what you pay for when it comes to real high-quality essential oils with many of the desirable constituents. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is adulterated. I would stay clear of buying cheap so-called essentials from large places that sell a lot of other things such as Amazon etc. You never know what is fake and real unless you have some real experience with the company and your own knowledge. It's best to buy essential oils from a reputable source. That takes getting to know the people you purchase from. When you first start getting into essential oils, you'd be surprised what pure essential oils smell like! It may not be what you are accustomed to at first! Some oils smell great in the bottle while others need a lot of time to breathe. It takes a bit of experience to know what is high quality and what is not.
At ME AND A TREE, we source from reputable companies that test every batch of their essential oils with a Gas Spectrometer. Gas Spectrometer testing can detect adulteration (which is very important to us) and provides a chemical analysis of the constituents inside every oil. That way we can decide if the oil has enough constituents in it for what we are needing it for- skincare benefits, etc. The more I learn the more I share with you. I hope you learned a little something new today about the safe use and benefits of essential oils!
If you are looking for top quality products made with top tier ingredients that are natural and beneficial for your skin, please visit our website and have a look around! We specialize in helping people who do not want the junk in their body care and love helping people with sensitive skin.