A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

By:  Joanna Rentz

Essential oils are everywhere. From spa treatments and body scrubs to aromatherapy and household cleaning products, essential oils have a wide range of uses and advantages. But sometimes navigating the world of essential oils can be overwhelming, especially if you have never ventured into it. That's why we created a simple, easy-to-follow beginner's guide to help walk you through it.

What are essential oils?

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing chemical compounds from plants. Basically, it's the oil derived from specific plants like rose, clove, citronella, and jasmine, for example. They are called "essential" because they are the essence, or character , of a particular plant's aroma. These aromatic gifts from heaven have been around for centuries, dating back to the 1100s when they were used as folk medicine. Research regarding the scientific and fact-based medicinal benefits of essential oils is ongoing, but as I mentioned earlier, they have a wide range of uses. The most common use of essential oils are for aromatherapy, a practice that claims to have physical and psychological benefits.

How do I use essential oils?

Here are a few different ways to incorporate essential oils into your daily routine:

  • Add a few drops to a diffuser for a spectacularly fragrant environment.
  • Keep a bottle of essential oil in your shower. Add a few drops before hopping in the shower or bath. The steam mixed with the oil will have your bathroom smelling like a spa vacation.
  • Add the oil of your choice to body scrubs, shampoo, body wash, and lotion.
  • Dab a few drops on your neck or wrists for a light perfume.
  • Use as a decongestant by inhaling specific scents like eucalyptus and peppermint.
  • Repel insects using lemon and eucalyptus oils. Furthermore, tea tree oil helps reduce the itch of bug bites.
  • Keep a bottle of lavender essential oil on your desk at work. Take a few inhales to reduce stress. Chamomile, frankincense, and rose are other good options.
  • Make your own room spray.
  • Lightly spatter essential oils onto your pillows and cushions.

Raw Lavender in Hand

How do I know which oil to get?

Since you will be using essential oils on your body and in your home, make sure it is of the highest quality. Check the labels and do not purchase anything that is not 100% natural and pure essential oil. Also, make sure the oil is in a dark-colored bottle, not clear. Essential oils degrade more quickly when it is has been exposed to light.

Since you will be using essential oils on your body and in your home, make sure it is of the highest quality. Check the labels and do not purchase anything that is not 100% natural and pure essential oil. Also, make sure the oil is in a dark-colored bottle, not clear. Essential oils degrade more quickly when it is has been exposed to light.

As far as scents go, it is all personal preference. Check out the list below comprised of eight popular essential oils to get you started:

  • Lavender : One of the most common, versatile, and popular essential oils is lavender. It offers relaxation, calm, and is most often used in spa treatments and massages. It gives a feeling of serenity and is the ultimate anti-stress essential oil.
  • Lemongrass : This oil comes from the long sharp blades of the lemongrass bush. It has been widely used as an insect deterrent, wards off infection, and soothes an overactive mind.
  • Eucalyptus : Very popular, eucalyptus essential oil is versatile and purifying. This particular oil promotes focus, clarity, and easy breathing. It is also a great oil to use in household products as its chemical compounds have behaviors that help cleanse and purify.
  • Frankincense : Extracted from the sap of mature Frankincense trees, this earthy and complex smell contributes to peace of mind and tranquility.
  • Peppermint : For centuries, peppermint has been used to relieve aches, pains, congestion, upset stomach, and a stressed mind. It has a strong, uplifting scent and leaves you feeling energized and awake. Great for your morning shower!
  • Sweet Orange : Sweet orange is one of the happiest-smelling oils and extends a feeling of joy, contentment, and elation. It's sure to lift any mood. Additionally, its molecular makeup purifies and cleanses odors and germs.
  • Rosemary : Derived from the common culinary herb, rosemary essential oil improves sharp thinking and memory.
  • Tea Tree : Like rosemary, tea tree oil has been found to support clear thinking. But possibly more important, this oil has an affinity to clean and clear the skin and is commonly found in shampoos and body washes.

Plenty more oils are available than what I mentioned, and they all offer a variety of benefits and uses. Check with your doctor before using essential oils, and always read the label to learn how to properly dilute them.

How do you like to use essential oils?

A beginner's guide to essential oils

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