I love essential oils. They are incredibly fun to use!
While the health claims of essential oils are often exaggerated, they do have many benefits and can be used for minor health problems (See this article).
Essential oils are generally considered safe to inhale or place on skin when combined with base oil.
Quality of essential oils vary tremendously. The best and purest are often expensive.
As a general guide, lace 5 few drops of essential oil into the water bath of your diffuser.
Be sure to always dilute essential oils first in carrier oil (such as avocado or fractionated coconut oil), as applying undiluted essential oils directly to skin can burn or irritate skin.
Always ask about dilution when buying. As a general guide, two drops of essential oils should be diluted in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
Use as directed
Use oils as directed, but remember everything in moderation
Store essential oils in cool, dark place
Do not keep too long
The longer it is kept, the less effective it is. Additionally, spoilage can happen when exposed to oxygen making to more likely to cause allergies and irritation
These are the 9 of the top essential oils and their health benefits (which may be exaggerated, but still fun to use).
For myself, I usually choose 2 to use per day: one for 1 hour in the morning, one for 1 hour at night. I do not recommend using it more often than that because there are no well-designed studies that have been done to show their safety.
How to choose the right essential oils?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils so quality and composition can vary greatly (1).
Be careful of companies that claim oils as “pure” or “medical grade.” These terms not universally defined so hold little meaning. Do research before you buy.
- Research: do research before you buy, such as learning the oil’s botanical name. Not all lavender helps with stress relief. For example, lavandula angustifolia has sedative effects, but lavandula latifolia causes mucus expectoration.
- Purity: Choose only pure oil that has that aromatic plant compounds. Avoid ones with additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils normally lists the botanical name of the plant (e.g. Mentha piperita instead of “essential oil of peppermint”).
- Quality: Choose chemical-free oils that is extracted by distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
- Brand: Look for a brand with a good reputation for making high-quality products. A good place to shop is at natural food stores.
- Country of Origin: Make efforts to learn the country of origin (European products tend to be of better quality)
For aromatherapy, remember to get a diffuser! Which diffuser you may ask? Get one that has an automatically shut-off after 1 hour and one that fits your decor.
I got a shiny Aladdin’s Lamp one after watching the movie Aladdin. There are a few different designs. I chose the technicolor one.
The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Before starting any new diet, supplement, fitness, or health programs, please consult your medical doctor. Only your medical doctor can personalize a plan based on your unique health and lifestyle.
I am not endorsing any of these particular products. They only serve as a guide to help you get started!
- Tuttolomondo T et al. Study of quantitative and qualitative variations in essential oils of Sicilian Rosmarinus officinalis L. Nat Prod Res. 2015;29(20):1928-34. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2015.1010084. Epub 2015 Feb 12. PubMed PMID: 25674824.
- Janmejai K. Srivastava et al, “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular Medicine Reports, November 1, 2010, doi: 10.3892/mmr.2010.377
- Annalucia Serrafino et al, “Stimulatory effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on innate cell-mediated immune response.” BMC Immunology, April 18, 2008, doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-9-17
- Gupta , V. Gupta , A. Parihar A, et al. “Effects of Boswellia serratagum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study.” European Journal of Medical Research, November 17, 1998.
- Gupta, A. Parihar, P. Malhotra et al, ”Effects of Boswellia serratagum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis.”European Journal of Medical Research, January 1997.
- J.E. Chrubasik, B.D. Roufogalis, S. Chrubasik, “Evidence of effectiveness of herbal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of painful osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain.” Phytotherapy Research,July 2007.
- Sánchez-Vidaña DI, et al. (2017). The effectiveness of aromatherapy for depressive symptoms: A systematic review. DOI: 1155/2017/5869315
- “Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.” Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, February 2005.
- P.Sasannejiad et al, “Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial.” European Neurology, April 17, 2012, doi: 10.1159/000335249
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Peppermint Oil,” nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil#refs, December 1, 2016
- Arun Kumar, A. N., Joshi, G., & Mohan Ram, H. Y. (2012). Sandalwood: History, uses, present status and the future. Current Science, 103(12), 1408–1416 currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/103/12/1408.pdf
- K.A. Hammer et al, “In Vitro Susceptibilities of Lactobacilli and Organisms Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis to Melaleuca alternifolia(Tea Tree) Oil.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, January 1999.