Essential Oils 101

…and a recipe for Rosemary and Lavender Calming Spray! 

I want to begin this post by saying I am NO EXPERT on Essential Oils. Far from it actually. My Mom, and my sisters and nieces could all give you much more information than me on this subject. I am just getting acquainted with all the wonderful and amazing applications for these oils that have been being used to centuries.

But, since it seems like a large number of the things I post mention the use of “essential oils” in them, I thought I would at least try to give a BASIC outline of what they are and how they work for those who are unfamiliar with them (like I was up until a few months ago!) For those of you who ARE experts out there…I hope you will humor me in my attempt and feel free to add your comments! The comments section is such a great way to share our combined knowledge.

“One Good Thing” that inspired this post today is an experience we had at our house last week. The hubster arrived home from work on Thursday night looking like “something the cat dragged in”. Poor guy…he’d been hit with the flu bug….HARD! Fever, aches, chills, the whole nine yards. Two of my sisters happened to be visiting and both know quite a bit about the use of essential oils. They quickly came up with what oils might help alleviate his symptoms. Since we don’t own a diffuser (yet!) the other option was to take the oils and rub them directly onto your feet…which he did. He went to bed early and the next morning felt completely better! No nausea, no fever, no aches, no chills. Just a little bit of a cough. He actually headed off to work!  I couldn’t believe it!

This is just ONE of a dozens of “stories” I could tell you that have occurred in my family and extended family. We are definitely becoming firm believers in the benefits of essential oils.


What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are scented oils derived from the leaves, bark, seeds or fruit of plants. Plants have these scents for luring pollinators and warding off predators. Some plants, like the tea tree, produce their aroma as an antifungal for disease prevention.

Using essential oils to treat illnesses and conditions, can be traced back thousands of years. The recent trend towards more holistic approaches to wellness have led to the “rediscovery” of essential oil health applications.

Uses of Essential Oils

Essential oils are used in a wide range of emotional and physical applications.
They are usually administered by diffusing in the air, applying to the skin, or taking internally as dietary supplements.

Aromatic Uses

Certain essential oils, when diffused in the air, can be very stimulating while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also purify air of unwanted odors and some airborne pathogens. Essential oils can also be used as cleansing and purifying additives to laundry and surface cleaners throughout the home.

Topical Uses

Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and can be safely applied topically. Applying oils can have immediate benefit to the area of application. They have restorative and calming properties. They are also natural disinfectants.

Internal Uses

Many essential oils can also be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions, but some oils should not be taken internally. Do not use any essential oil product internally that does not have the appropriate dietary supplement facts on its label.

(In addition, essential oils should not be used in the eyes, inside the ear canal, or in open wounds. Consult your physician before using essential oils if you are pregnant or under a doctor’s care.)



essential oils


Where Can You Get Essential Oils?

Because of the growing popularity of these oils, they can be found in many stores and all over the internet. But you want to make sure you are getting quality oils... the two most important qualities are purity and potency. It needs to be absolutely pure and it needs to be potent.

Our family has recently discovered Spark Naturals, a relatively new company who is quickly building a reputation as having some of the best quality essential oils out there. All of their oils are Certified Pure PharmaGrade which means they guarantee all of their essential oil extracts are 100% pure and meet high standards for both purity and material composition.

essential oils


And finally….in honor of essential oils…I want to share a recipe I found from Frugally Sustainable that I think is BRILLIANT!

Rosemary and Lavender Calming Spray! 


Great for dealing with rambunctious children or just spraying whenever tensions rise. According to Andrea, “The results are literally amazing! The children, and I, immediately receive a sense of calm.”

I am going to mix up a batch as soon as I find a mister bottle to put it in! (Or maybe I’ll just douse my kids and myself with it!)   :-)

-20 drops rosemary essential oil
-20 drops lavenderessential oil

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a 2 ounce mister/spray bottle. Spray whenever necessary for calming effect. Shelf stable, no need to refrigerate, and will last indefinitely.

I hope that some of this has been helpful to someone. I know I was completely CLUELESS about essential oils up until about 6 months ago (and to be honest, fairly skeptical). But it doesn’t take too many times being helped out by them and you start becoming a believer.



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  1. Joy says

    I am a consultant for Essential Oils with another company, Young Living, and my family no longer uses convential medicine (drugs, chemicals, etc.) in our home. We even use the cleaning products from Young Living for our home. I could go on and on with all the beneifits we have seen from using YL Essential Oils; my daughter's Asperger's. My husband's skin spots, my pain from surgery, headaches, RLS, allergies, sore throat, and on and on. I even use them for losing weight and maintaining my weight. Any time you can do something natural, something that has been used for centuries, to aid in your body's health, is always better than putting chemicals/drugs into your body. And who wouldn't want to stay healthy without putting chemicals in their body? I love YL Essential Oils. They have literally changed my and my family's lives.

  2. Rosemary says

    Dori – quick question on the ADHD. I do not have this but I was diagnosed with Cataplexy 3 yrs ago. Since then I've basically fallen apart between the disease and the harsh meds. I've had a hysterectomy, dialysis, extensive oral surgery, and am on several supplements since I live off 1 to 2 hrs sleep and the meds absorbed all the calcium and iron in my body. They tried everything from stimulants, anti depressants, xyrem (GHB)…. The only thing that seems to help are the meds for ADHD specifically Adderal. I'd like to be med free! Any info on what helps for your kids would be extremely helpful and definitely worth a try!! Thanks!

  3. Jess says

    I started reading your post with hesitation. I've been using essential oils for years but it wasn't until a year ago and a half ago that I started using them medicinally. I was happy to see you recommend doTERRA essential oils. There's no comparison as to the quality and purity. I use them for my allergies and I'm so glad that I can use something that isn't going to harm my body any more. Kudos for talking about doTERRA. <3

  4. Anonymous says

    @ Jess~ I would love to hear more about how you use them for your allergies. I have a teenage son that gets seasonal (spring) allergies and they are getting to him bad this Spring. I prefer to do things naturally but the honey does not seem to be making a differance this year. Thanks for your help. Beth

    • says

      What has helped my allergies is using the antihistamine protocol of 2 drops of peppermint, lemon, and lavender essential oils in a small glass of water, swish around in mouth, gargle, and swallow. Repeat as needed. 5 drops of each can be added to a vegie capsule. Can also rub a drop of each on the bottom of feet.

  5. Tasha says

    This is what I have heard for ADHD. I personally haven’t used it (yet) but am sick of paying exhorbitant rates for medication, not to mention the fact that I do not want to have to rely on medication. (And I am a huge fan of doTERRA as well!)

    Peaceful Child Blend roller bottle. Use same size as past tense. Get at aroma tools.
    85 drops (1/3)bottle Vetiver
    30 ylang ylang
    20 frankincense
    15-17 clary sage
    10 marjoram
    35 fractionated coconut
    Use for ADHD and other stress disorders for kids & adults

    • Jillee says

      This is great stuff Tasha! I bet a lot of people could benefit from it. Would you mind if I shared it in a future post? Essential oils are so ESSENTIAL in our home now. :-)

    • Jillee says

      Barb….I used doTerra Essential Oils and they have a few of their own “blends”…but this is basically what we did:

      Rub a 2-4 drops of Breathe Oil Blend, Peppermint Oil or Eucalyptus Oil on chest.
      Put a few drops of On Guard Oil Blend on the bottom of feet a few times a day
      Put a drop or 2 of Lemon Oil on the tongue or drink in water throughout the day
      A few drops of Peppermint Oil on stomach or bottom of feet

  6. Kristen says

    Just wanted to comment, based on what I have learned as a massage therapist for over 10 years. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied directly to the skin. Many essential oils can actually be a skin irritant. For safety reasons, you should always find as much information as possible on a particular oil before applying to skin. has a lot of great profiles of oils and even gives dilution rates. Many many vegetable oils (coconut, sweet almond, etc.) are great carrier oils. Just wanted to make a note of that…they can be very beneficial, but they are potent and need to be used properly. :)

  7. Anna says

    Why does it seem like you have to use twice as much oil as what is recommended by other companies? It seems like that would get expensive if you have to use them for therapeutic purposes…..

    • Anna says

      Also, specifically, I would like to know where doTerra gets their oils…where are they derived from (besides from plants)? How are they “manufactured”. I am asking because I have become very anti-toxin oriented! Thank you for any and all information you can provide me on this company and their oils.

  8. Ellen says

    Hi, I started using aromatherapy in Australia in the 90′s. I work as a psychotherapist here in the states now and use Bergamot, lavender and geranium oils for calm and for anxiety and depression. I use 2 drops of each in an oil burner with 1 to 5 ration with water, or as a rub for my wrists.
    Also for the person wanting weight loss, one herb that takes the appetite and soothes the stomach is peppermint. You can chew the leaves, make a peppermint tea or use the oil as a wrist rub or a drop in water with lemon. :) Ellen

    • says

      Can you tell me the ration for is EO blend to use in a diffuser? I’m new to EO’s and still learning their uses. Also, there seem to be big price discrepancies for instance between Bulkapothecary and Sparksnatural. When should I be paying the higher price for an EO????
      My daughter has a lot of anxiety accompanied by some OCD issues and I would like to put a diffuser in her room or in the house with the blend you recommended.

  9. Barbara says

    I have been browsing your site recently and just love all of the homemade ideas and recipes you have given us. I have done some research into essential oils recently, as I have been venturing out to make my own bath and body products. I am scared to buy oils because of the many out there that are not quality products, but are marketed as such. Essential oils can be dangerous if not used correctly or if they are not of the quality that they are marketed at. I have not checked out the doTERRA oils, but I wanted to let you know that I was turned off by the fact that they claim to be “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” as you mentioned. There is no certification for essential oils and there are actually no standards to judge “grades.” Therefore, any company that claims their oils are certified or of a certain grade makes me wary about using them. I do not know if I can trust that kind of product. They may be quality oils, but if they are claiming to be certified, which does not exist, then what else are they lying about? I do appreciate all of the advice that I have found on your website and will definitely try making your products, but I think I’ll leave the oils out until I can find a company I know I can trust. Thank you.

    • Lori says

      I suggest going to the library or other places and read books that are not biased, I’ve just read the intelligence, behind essential oils, reads like a science book very good info, no info on individual oils, and no recipes just straight scientifical info. None of the books I’ve read push on oil over another, I’ve used cheaper, so called inferior oils topically and orally slowly at first, because of all I’ve read online, but I’ve had no issues, unlike many others, because of my financial situation, I’ve learned most of the time irregardless of what others may say, the cheaper brands or just as good and sometimes better, go with your gut, go slowly, but if you never take risks in life you never get anywhere, Just sayin.

  10. JMK says

    There is also another great place to get essential oils that are pure and organic- Mt. Shasta Naturals. Linda is the owner of the company and goes out to the fields that the oils are harvested from. She is a Reiki Master as well. Mt. Shasta Naturals is based out of Sacramento California. Hope this helps! Have a wonderful week!

  11. Lynda Coles says

    I trained as a clinical aromatherapist back in England about 20 years ago, and just wanted to let you know that although I recommend the best quality organic essential oils for medical uses (internal, inhalation, baths, compresses and in massage or lotion blends), It is quite OK to use the cheaper oils that you find at Health food stores (‘NOW’ or ‘Auracacia’ brands) for general household use, pot-pourri making etc. I have issues with some of the more popular essential oil companies and the prices they charge…for instance if you use ‘NOW’ essential oils to make your own Theives blend, it will cost you about 1/15th the price of buying it ready made from YL. The oils that make up this blend are some of the cheapest out there, and I have never understood why they charge such an extortionate price for their ready-made blend. (Google ‘Thieves Oil’ for the recipe). I make 2 qualities of Theives Oil for use in my home – one I make in bulk from the ‘NOW’ oils for house-cleaning uses, and then I make another higher quality blend from organic oils for medicinal/on-the-body use. Also, although organically produced products are better for the environment…please bear in mind that unless you are also using spring water to fill your clothes washer, or mop your floors, or clean your counters, or wash your organic fruit and veg, or using in the shower or to fill your bathtub…then really you are still polluting all those organic products with tap water anyway. Be realistic and recognize that although buying organic IS great, for all sorts of reasons….once mixed with tap water, your organic shampoo is just…shampoo ;)

    • Lori says

      I use the more inexpensive brands and have some extensive research the claims by the more expensive brands are marketing tools there are no real standards in the US, I have used these internally, and topically and diffusing with no problems, I would suggest doing your own research, most major books on essential oils do not subscribe to promoting one oil above another, (I wonder why?, maybe not alot of difference except to market more expensive oils, I believe it comes down to greed), One good book to read is the intelligence of essential oils reads like a science book, no list of oils or blends but the science behind it, you will hear different answers from different people, one will say use this, use that, that’s inferior, talk to people who have no vested interest in any particular brand, do your own research see what works for you, NOW and AcurCara, Probably spelled wrong and I don’t want to find a bottle to fix it right now, now have organic brands if your worried about that, some oils should never be used internally so make sure you have a list, either Youngs Living, or DoTerra put out a good chart, on how many of the oil can be used. I’d imagine that so many cheaper oils chose to say not to use internally because in our sue happy society they want CTA, in case someone uses them carelessly and then wants to sue the company, like the lady who sued McDonalds cause they didn’t specify how HOT their COFFEE, was. Better safe than sorry any more unless you want to jack up prices for frivolous expensive insurance because someone is stupid and/or careless. If you truly want to know and don’t want to get ripped off do your own research, if you have the big bucks and want to go for the BIG BRAND NAME stuff go for it if it makes you feel better, but personally I couldn’t, and with most products your paying for the NAME, I did not want to put myself in danger especially when I was told at the store not to use them internally, I used my brain, researched, and started using like lemon a little at a time, wanted to make sure it was ok, now I use several orally, and will keep trying a little by little kind of like starting a baby on solids, trust your gut and yourself, cause if you keep reading what everyone says, you’ll never know what to do, Whole Foods even have their own brand now of the 4 most common used oils, if you use common sense I’m sure you’ll be ok, but I’m no Doc but I know whats worked for me and the only thing I have a vested interest in is being able to use homeopathic things over pharmaceutical, and being able to do it on a very limited income cause theirs no one willing to help you do it the natural way, there’s no insurance for that only conventional medicine. sorry I went on for so long but I feel very strongly about this after all the stuff I’ve read on the web about how this is better or superior than that.

      • Nicolle says

        I feel compelled to mention that the woman who sued McDonalds after being burned by their coffee had third degree burns to 20% of her body which required skin grafts and an extended hospital stay in the ICU. Doctors did not think she was going to survive the trauma. That case is one of the most misunderstood legal cases in the history of America. It is quite sad. I think anyone in her situation would have done the same and that case should not be used as a reference for frivolous lawsuits without having done the proper research on the facts of the case.

  12. Lynna Balthazar says

    Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Steam distillation is often used. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.”^

    Take a look at the most recent posting on our personal internet site

  13. linda says

    hi. as i have recently started to make my own natural skin & body care products i’ve been doing a lot of research on essential oils and there seems to be quite a bit of suspect marketing about them. you said: “All of their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®”. the thing is there is no US gov’t body or industry standard grading system that certifies essential oils. that term is just a marketing gimmick. additionally, “therapeutic grade” is another misleading term which i was surprised to find out because so many companies use that term. again, there is no gov’t or industry standard for “therapeutic grade”. personally, when companies make dubious claims i am less inclined to buy their products. you can read more about this on aromaweb therapeutic grade essential oils is a misleading claim

  14. says

    Jill’s…love your sight. I’m new to EO’s but am getting excited about their uses and trying to build my inventory.
    Your recipe for calming spray (Rosemary and Lavender ) …how would I use that in a diffuser ? The kind you plug in, not a reed one. I haven’t purchased one of those either . Do you have one that you prefer? I saw the 2 types that Sparksnaturals sells. Are they all sort of the same? I would like to make a good investment . Would love your feedback.

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