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Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

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Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are all the rage lately, and there are many great reasons for that! When you use over the counter meds like Advil or Tums all you’re doing is masking the symptoms you’re suffering from, and potentially adding additional side effects too. BUT when you use essential oils, you’re ‘attacking’ your symptoms in a different way, one that tackles why you have the symptoms to begin with.

One of the best things about essential oils is their ability to solve common everyday ailments naturally vs. taking an over-the-counter medicine. Most of the common items in your medicine cabinet (pain relief, sleep aids, digestive aids, cuts and wounds ointments), can be replaced with a few drops of essential oil. [source]

Backing up a little, essential oils are made from plants. Not laboratory manufacturing plants, actual plants you see in nature. Their seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts are processed to extract the purest compounds of the plants in liquid “essential oil” form. In this concentrated liquid also comes the plant’s healing properties.

For example, before the plant’s essential oils are extracted, these oils protect the plant from insects, shield the plant from a harsh environment and help them adapt to their surroundings. When the oils are extracted, the protective and healing powers of a plant are too. That’s why all oils have various health benefits. [source] Ginger reduces inflammation, supports joints, improves digestion and relieves nausea. Lavender helps with relaxation, improves mood and heals burns and cuts. Oregano has powerful anti-microbial properties, can kill fungus and help you kick a cold fast.

Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are a natural remedy with incredible power. But with great power comes great responsibility!

I’ll explain.

I love essential oils and I use them daily. Most often, I use them to replace commercial brands of products I used for cleaning, beauty remedies, an energy boost, headaches, cramping, sore muscles, sleeping better at night, etc. They work great, they’re cheap, and they come with no known side effects or dangers (more than I can say for other cleaning/beauty products!) [source]

Because of the strength of essential oils, I am cautious of how I use the oils to make sure I use them safely and get the maximum benefits from them.

The main ways to use essential oils are aromatically, internally, and topically. I’ll touch on each of these ways and things to be aware of before using to stay safe and experience the benefits the oils have to offer.

Internal Cautions

Did you know that it takes:

  • 256 pounds of peppermint leaves to make 1 pound of peppermint essential oil
  • 150+ pounds of lavender flowers to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil
  • 1000’s of pounds of roses to make 1 pound of rose essential oil

Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

As you can see, essential oils contain very concentrated properties of the herb or plant they are derived from. A very small amount of oils often has the qualities of many cups of herbal tea from the same plant. For instance, 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea! [source] I’m telling you this so you’ll see that they should be used carefully, with proper education and in safe amounts. If you wouldn’t ingest dozens of cups of an herbal tea, you should probably think twice before consuming the equivalent amount of essential oils.

If you are looking to use them internally, adding a drop to 8oz of water water or adding drops to a capsule is the best way to do so. It’s also important to note when using them internally that some oils are unsafe for internal consumption, and quality really does matter (see below for more info on that). Always look on the oil label to see if you can ingest it.

Aromatic Cautions

Aromatically, it’s been shown that essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled. The large amount of blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and then circulate them throughout the body. Most people use a diffuser to experience the benefits of the oils this way (especially lavender to reduce stress and wild orange to improve mood). If the oil you’re using isn’t a pure oil though, you might be doing more damage than good. 

Lesser quality essential oils have been shown to contain phthalates (commonly found in other products as well that contain synthetic fragrance as an ingredient) which have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts, and cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Also, studies by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center, link fetal exposure with autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders. 

Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

Topical Cautions

When using oils topically, dilute them. Concentrated substances are rarely intended for use “as is” – and essential oils are no different. Some oils like cinnamon, oregano, and clove are known as “hot” oils. If you use them on your skin without the use of a carrier oil to dilute them, you might experience a rash or burning sensation. Carrier oils like fractionated coconut oil or grapeseed oil (3-5 drops essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil) provide a good medium for the oil to absorb into the skin, and helps spread the oil over a larger surface of your skin for more effect. If you have questions about diluting, seek guidance of a trained medical or aromatherapy practitioner. And don’t worry, when you use a carrier oil, you are not diluting the effectiveness of the oil. [source]

I like to use roller bottles to create pre-diluted mixtures or ready to use applications. This saves time and makes your oils last even longer. For example, I made one that I use on my face at night to fight/get rid of acne, one that I roll on the back of my neck when I’m stressed or tense, one that I roll on my stomach when I feel bloated or overate, one that I roll on my muscles when they’re sore and inflamed, one that I roll on my neck and wrists before I go to bed, and one that I use when I want a boost of energy! Possibilities are endless.

Beware of using citrus oils (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot) on your skin when you are outside in the sun. These oils have certain constituents that can make the skin more sensitive to UV light and can lead to blistering, discoloration of the skin or burning more easily from minor sun exposure. [source] The same thing can happen when you get citrus juice from the fruit itself on your skin too! 

Be sure to never store your essential oils in plastic containers, like putting some drops in you water in a plastic water bottle. I love adding drops of oils to my water when I’m on the go, but I always use a glass bottle. That’s because many essential oils can eat through plastics! [source] Even when diluted, they can degrade plastics over time. 

Important Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils

Oil Composition

Not all essential oils are created equally. Remember back when we talked about how super concentrated essential oils are? That also means that any chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides that were present in the original plant have also been concentrated into the oil. For example, if a plant was sprayed with pesticides and then essential oil was extracted from that plant, it can result in concentrated chemicals from the pesticides being present in the essential oil! [source]

Advertising and Regulations

Watch out for buzz words like “pure” and “natural.” Many people assume that “pure” means that the essential oil contains the highest quality ingredients and it is a completely natural oil, but a “pure” essential oil may actually have synthetic, man-made compounds within the product, or might even have extenders or other cheap ingredients to dilute the oil.

The essential oil industry is not regulated by the FDA, which means that it can be very confusing to choose a good quality oil– simply because there are no rules about the labeling terms and what they mean. [source] There are many different brands to choose from, and you will see that there is a huge range in both price and quality. How the oil is processed also plays into how effective the oil is and how many of its original healing properties are still in tact. For example, high heat levels, distillation time, where and when the plant is grown and harvested, and materials on the production equipment can all negatively affect the final makeup of the final product.

Important Things to Know Before Using Essential OilsTesting for Quality

Try comparing essential oil brands side-by-side, and you will be able to notice a difference in quality. The scent should not be overbearing because if the smell is too strong it may indicate that it contains chemical synthetic substitutes. When you are smelling a pure essential oil, you will notice that it smells crystal clean and natural. You can also try testing the feel of different brands of essential oils, if the oil is pure it should easily absorb into your skin without feeling slick or oily. 

You’ll want to look for a company that tests every batch of their oils for potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch, and is reviewed by a third-party. This is not only especially important if you plan on ingesting the oils, but even if you plan to use them aromatically or on your skin (your skin is your body’s largest organ and absorbs anything that’s put on it in just 26 seconds!)

If you want to order the brand I trust and personally use, email me at to order or learn where to buy them.

whipped cellulite eraser cream
Here are some of my favorite recipes using essential oils: 

Let me know what yours are below!


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