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No Nonsense Guide To Essential Oils
For more than a thousand years, essential oils have been used for a variety of spiritual, beauty, and medicinal purposes among cultures around the world. When you are searching for a natural solution, they are incredibly useful and safe to use in our everyday lives.This list includes 121 of the oils and their most common uses if you're searching for a solution to a specific problem.
They are obtained through cold pressed extraction or steam distillation of plants and botanicals. In their extracted form, they are more powerful than the plants from whence they came. They can be extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, bark, and roots.
Since essential oils require a large volume of plant matter, they are in their purest and most potent form. A single drop contains as much as several teaspoons—sometimes even more—of dried herbs. As such, essential oils are highly concentrated and some require dilution before using them.
There are a multitude of uses for them. In fact, there are so many that this table of contents will allow you to jump ahead to any of the sections listed below.
Around the House
Add 24 drops of Cinnamon to 4 ounces of water to a spray bottle. Shake it up and spray on your skin and clothes to effectively repel mosquitoes.
Use Cinnamon to reduce the number of mosquitos around the house. It is extremely successful in killing mosquito larvae when used in higher concentration levels. Mix at least 120 drops (1 1/4 teaspoon) in 4 ounces of water.
Another mosquito repellant option, for when you venture outside of the house, is to mix Vanilla with Olive oil and rub all over your exposed skin.
Add Cinnamon to your potpourris for a warm and spicy aroma throughout your home.
For all-purpose cleaning use equal parts water and vinegar mixed with 20 to 40 drops of Sweet Orange, Oregano, or Lemongrass. You can even play around with the combinations. Spray onto the surface and wipe clean.
Apply several drops of Sweet Orange to a damp washcloth and add to a load of clothes to freshen them.
Use one to two drops of Lemon oil to remove glue, grease spots, gum, and crayons from many surfaces.
Place several drops of Lemon on a cotton ball. Put it in the trashcans around your home or in the refrigerator to freshen them by eliminating odors.
Add a couple of drops of Lemon to the water when washing your produce.
A few drops of Lemon essential oil works great with olive oil to polish wood furniture. Mix it up and rub it in with a soft cloth for a beautiful shine.
Remove the early signs of tarnish on metals like silver with a soft cloth and several drops of Lemon.
Use the following formula to remove mold in the shower:
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- 4 drops Grapefruit
- 3 drops Bergamot
- 2 teaspoons Tea Tree
Shake it up in a plastic spray bottle. Spray straight on the surface. Allow it to dry and spray again. Allow it to dry again and do not rinse.
Prevent soap scum by combining the following in a spray bottle:
- 1 ½ cups Water
- 1 ½ cups White Vinegar
- 8 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
- 5 drops Orange
Shake up the bottle and spray every portion of your shower or bathtub, including the curtain.
If you suffer from digestion problems, mix a drop or two of Ginger with sweet almond oil, and rub over your stomach.
Add lavender essential oil to a diffuser to soothe your infant and calm your nerves.
Rub a drop or two of Lemon essential oil on your palms and inhale for a lift in spirits.
If you’re looking for a way to battle PMS mood swings, keep a vial of Bergamot on you for inhalation throughout to the day to lift your spirits.
Geranium is used to treat a variety of PMS symptoms. Use one or two drops with your carrier of choice, rub onto your stomach for cramps or apply it to sore breasts for the same result. It also provides energy to combat fatigue, another common symptom of PMS.
Mix Clary Sage with a carrier and use as a massage oil to help relieve tension. Keep in a vial or place a few drops into a diffuser to help reduce roller-coaster emotions during that time of the month.
Lavender essential oil is effective in treating respiratory and skin-related allergies. When you feel hay fever beginning, rub a couple of drops in your hands, place them near your nose, and inhale deeply. Natural antihistamines block a reaction to allergens, stopping the attack.
Treat an allergic reaction, like a rash, with a few drops of lavender. You can mix it with a carrier or use it solo.
Dilute Peppermint in a carrier and apply to your forehead, cheeks, and chest to help loosen the thick mucus due to respiratory allergies and bronchitis. It also acts to reduce headaches.
To stop itching due to an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis, mix two to three drops of Chamomile with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and apply directly to the skin.
Make your own shampoo with a few simple ingredients. Add equal amounts of castile soap and distilled water to a container with a flip top (you can always recycle your old shampoo bottle, however, glass is recommended). Then use approximately 10 to 20 drops of any essential oil of your choice. You can use Tea Tree, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender, or something else that fits your personal hair needs. Rosemary and Peppermint alleviate oily scalps while improving alertness and mental clarity.
Need a moisturizing conditioner? Create your own by mixing the following ingredients in a bowl on high for approximately 8 minutes:
- 1 cup Coconut
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E
- 1 teaspoon Jojoba
- 5 drops Lavender or lemon
Store in a wide-mouthed glass jar. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.
If you want a simple, yet effective conditioner, consider using a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, a cup of water, and six to eight drops of an essential oil of your choice (depending on your hair type). Mix it up in a squirt bottle and coat your hair. Massage into your scalp and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. Rinse until clean. If you have longer hair, simply double the measurements in order to cover your entire head.
Treating simple bug bites with a dab of lavender, chamomile, or tea tree effectively provides relief from itching.
Combine the following in a dark glass bottle for a nightly anti-oxidant serum:
- ½ cup Apricot Kernel
- 10 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil
- 10 drops Rosehip Seed
Rub a small amount into your face and neck after cleansing.
Try this firming and anti-aging serum that can be used in the morning and at night:
- 2 tablespoons Rosehip
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Almond
- 10 drops Cypress
- 10 drops Geranium
- 7 drops Frankincense
Mix it up in a 2-ounce dark glass bottle. Use a small amount to cover your face and neck. Remember, a tiny amount goes a long way.
For acne, mix four drops of Tea Tree essential oil with a ½ cup of water. Soak up the mixture with a cotton ball and apply to dry, clean skin. Allow it to dry. Apply to acne at least twice daily. Never apply undiluted Tea Tree to your face.
You can also use a teaspoon of Jojoba mixed with five drops of Tea Tree for acne. Dab the mixture on your acne three to four times a day.
If your skin is extremely sensitive, then mix one to two teaspoons of Aloe Vera gel with four to five drops of Tea Tree oil. Apply to your entire face and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat two to three times on a weekly basis.
Everyone needs his or her beauty sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, mix two drops of Vetiver Essential oil diluted with a teaspoon of a carrier. Rub behind the ears, over the throat, back of the neck, and to the soles of your feet.
Apply one drop of Frankincense to one drop of Jojoba oil to any scars to promote healing and fading of the scar. This promotes regeneration of the skin.
Homemade Spa Treatments
Add Lavender essential oil to your bath to relieve muscle pain. Mix it with a carrier, like sweet almond, and massage onto your skin to relieve muscle or joint pain. Not only is Lavender good for soothing aches, it also detoxes the system.
Rejuvenate with Ginger. Use a few drops of Ginger with a carrier oil and rub it into your sore muscles. You can also place a few drops into a diffuser or vaporizer for energy or to act as a decongestant.
Scrub away dead skin cells by making your own sugar scrub using a combination of Lemon and Lavender essential oils. You can also use peppermint or ginger depending on your preferences. All you need is white or cane sugar (doesn’t have to be organic), coconut oil, and a jar for storage.
Depending on the size of your jar, the measurements will vary. For example, to make about one pint-size portion, you will use two cups of sugar, a quarter cup of the carrier oil, and several drops of the essential oils. If you wish to have a thicker consistency, use less of the carrier, and vice versa.
Follow this recipe for a cucumber mask that will leave your eyes feeling completely rejuvenated. Blend the following:
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 tablespoons Unrefined Coconut
- ¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel
- 8 drops of Carrot Seed Essential
Apply around your eyes and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off and freeze the remaining portion to use at a later time.
Use Clary Sage, Peppermint, or Bergamot in a diffuser for added relaxation when soaking in the tub.
Use Allspice berry as an antiseptic by diluting it with a carrier oil, and applying it to minor cuts or scrapes. It also acts as a numbing or anesthetic agent to reduce localized pain.
Treat cold sores or blisters with a drop of Tea Tree diluted with Grapeseed to avoid irritation. Apply with a cotton-tip applicator. Once the blister has broken open, mix the Tea Tree with Sweet Almond or Sunflower to moisturize and reduce cracking.
You can treat first and second degree burns at home. To soothe and heal burns, mix several drops of Lavender oil (gauge depending on the size of the burn area) with the aloe from an aloe plant. If you do not have an aloe plant, try to use 100 percent, unscented aloe gel. Apply the mixture to the burn three times a day.
Inhale the aroma of several drops of Lemon or Peppermint oil in a diffuser or place several into a handkerchief to alleviate nausea from morning or motion sickness.
If you would like to prevent stretch marks during your pregnancy, combine the following in a four-ounce glass, spray bottle:
- 2 TBSP Jojoba
- 2 TBSP Rosehip
- 2 TBSP Vitamin E
- 10 drops of Neroli
- 7 drops of Lavender
- 5 drops of Lemon
Shake it up and spray twice daily.
Mix a few drops of Peppermint with a carrier oil and rub on your abdomen to relieve stomachache.
If you are suffering from a sinus headache and congestion, Eucalyptus oil aids in clearing your airways. Place a few drops into a diffuser or vaporizer. For a more effective method, place a few drops into a bowl of water hot enough to produce steam. Place a towel over your head and the bowl to trap the steam. Inhale to aid in clearing your nasal passages.
Before using on dogs, be cautious when using on puppies under 10 weeks of age, small dogs, elderly dogs, and pregnant dogs. Doses that produce no adverse effects in humans have been known to cause strong reactions in dogs. Certain oils should be avoided, such as tea tree, in dogs because they are toxic.
Ensure that you purchase only the finest quality essential oils. The amount of diluted oils to use depends on the size of the dog. Speak with your vet if you are uncertain. Avoid using them on epileptic dogs as it may trigger a seizure. Never place the them near or in the eyes, nose, or the anal and genital areas. Finally, always consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils.
Place a drop or two of Ginger in your hand to allow your dog to smell it or mix with a carrier and pet them from head to toe. This is good for motion sickness and aids digestion.
Mix a few drops of Lavender with a carrier and rub from head to toes to produce calming effects. It is also useful for motion sickness.
Reduce/prevent fleas by mixing approximately 10 drops—more or less depending on the size of the dog—of Lavender essential oil with distilled water in a small glass spray bottle. Shake the bottle for mixing. Then, taking care to avoid the face, spray your dog before leaving the house for a walk. Lavender is an effective way to repel fleas.
Dilute 10 to 20 drops of Geranium with vegetable oil and rub into your dog’s fur from the neck down to prevent ticks.
For skin irritation in dogs, mix up to 10 drops of Lavender essential oil with a carrier and work it into the coat of your dog.
Mix a few drops of Lavender with a carrier. Gently apply to your dog’s dry or tender footpads to soothe and promote healing.
Use a humidifier or vaporizer with Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil to soothe kennel cough.
To promote healing when your dog is recovering from an infection, you can dilute a few drops of Frankincense in your hand with a carrier oil and rub into their fur from the neck down. You can also use it in a diffuser to promote healing aromatically.
Make Your Own
There are three methods of distillation for essential oils.
The first involves the steam method. The plant material is put into a container and steam is forced through it. The steam is collected as the oils separate from the water. The second one is the water method. The plant material is placed into boiling water. As the steam is collected, the oils are separated from the water. Finally, there is a combination of water and steam that is used to separate them from the water.
It is completely possible to make your own essential at home, however, the quality will deteriorate if the process is not monitored and executed with perfection. Additionally, it can be extremely expensive. Simply purchasing the essential oils from a reputable company will save you time and money.
For example, in order to make a single 15 ML bottle of Lavender, you need 30 pounds of flowers. If you want to fill a single 15 ML bottle of Lemon, you will need 45 lemons. This doesn’t even include the cost of startup for a proper distillation setup.
If you truly wish to make your own, you must consider a few things:
- Organic plant matter must be free of pesticides and other chemicals.
- The product you produce will probably not be as potent as what you can purchase.
- You must store them in dark, glass containers and must be kept in a cool, dark area.
- Fresh or dried plant material is acceptable.
- Herbs, spices, flower petals, and citrus fruit rinds can be used.
In order to properly set up a distillation process you will need the following:
- 1 one-liter, Two-neck, Round-bottom Distillation Flask
- 1 300-mm Allihn or Liebig Condenser
- 1 Clevenger Trap
- 1 Heating Mantle
- 1 Variable Voltage Transformer
- 1 Ring Stand
- 3 Clamps
- 2 5-foot, 3/8-inch tubing
- An adapter to connect tubing to water supply at home
- 1 Large Rubber or Glass Stopper for larger neck of flask
Cut the plant into pieces and put them into the large neck of the flask. You will need approximately 200 grams of a plant like lavender flowers. The flask should be filled halfway with water. Push the plants down until they are submerged. Place the flask in the heating mantle, using a clamp to support it on the ring stand. Use the stopper to plug the larger neck of the flask.
Connect the heating mantle to the variable voltage transformer. Affix the lower end of the Clevenger trap into the small neck of the flask. Support the upper end of the Clevenger trap with a clamp. Fit the condenser into the top of the Clevenger trap, using a clamp so it is perpendicular to the surface. Cold water enters the lower arm of the condenser, and the other piece of tubing allows water to return to the sink.
Turn on the water to the condenser; otherwise the oil will come out of the top of the still. If there is a constant trickle of water flowing back into the sink, then the flow is ample enough to keep the condenser cool. Once you have heated the water in the flask to boiling, reduce the heat to achieve a flow rate of no more than two drops per second into the trap.
Monitor the oil in the trap. If it appears that no more oil is accumulating, turn the heat off, and allow it to cool. Cautiously drain the water from the stopcock on the condenser. Collect it in a dark glass vial. It will be an extremely small amount, no more than a ML of oil. Store in a dark, cool area for optimal shelf life.
Where to Buy
Before you purchase, you need to consider these things. Therapeutic grade essential oils are considered to be the best on the market. Therapeutic grade are supposed to come from organic plant materials sans any pesticides and chemicals. Then, the materials go through a strict distillation process to be considered high quality. However, this is not always a dependable measure for determining whether it is of the purest form possible.
Make sure to research the company and its owner. The expertise and reputation of the company are significant factors. Is the owner an aromatherapy or essential oils specialist? Is the company on the small side or a large corporation? Do they have a strong reputation as a supplier?
Choose a company that packages in dark glass to keep the contents preserved. These companies will also either grow or purchase organic plant matter to distill for the highest quality oil.
Good companies will print a list of items on the bottle such as the name of the plant, supplement facts, instructions, and company information. Additionally, they should perform laboratory tests to ensure the oils are meeting proper standards and can provide test results upon request.
If you plan on using them frequently, then you may want to consider finding out if the company sells them at wholesale for frequent shoppers. Essential oils can become expensive when purchased in smaller quantities instead of at wholesale.
With all of that said, it is possible find local, reliable companies if you dig around. Most likely these companies will be smaller in size, with a better reputation than many of the larger corporations. If you choose to shop on a place like Amazon, ensure the company has control over their product from start to finish. There are deals on Amazon, but be cautious and thorough in your research.
Store your essential oils in a dark glass container if you make your own. Keep them in a dark, cool place for storage. Keep them out of reach from children and animals. Store away from flammable materials, extreme heat, and flames. Some essential oils are highly flammable!
Another crucial point to consider and research is how to properly use your oil of choice. It is important to understand the differences between. Some can be ingested, while others cannot. Some can be used in their undiluted form, others cannot.
Never use undiluted essential oils on your skin without researching first. Sensitization may occur if you apply undiluted to your skin. Therefore, you must always perform a skin patch test to determine if your skin is likely to be irritated.
Do not forget to verify if the oil is photosensitive. If it is you should avoid exposing your skin to sunlight for at least 48 hours. It can cause dark pigmentation or irritation. There are several pregnant women should avoid. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult with your doctor.
Essential oils are used to promote better overall physical and emotional health. Even using a small amount can achieve powerful positive results. The effect on our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is obtained through the purest form of therapeutic grade. Conduct thorough research and consult with your doctor or veterinarian if you any questions.