Whether you’re just getting started with essential oils or have been using them for years, it’s a good idea to review the basics once in awhile. So that’s what we’re doing in today’s post! Consider this your simple back-to-basics guide to the many ways using essential oils can improve your everyday life! :-)
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are extracted from plants or parts of plants through a distillation process. Distillation produces a highly concentrated oil that contains both the scent compounds and beneficial properties of that particular plant. (In other words, the distilled oil contains the “essence” of the plant, hence the name “essential oils!” )
The use of essential oils to treat health conditions and promote wellness is not a new development. In fact, people have been using some form of essential oils for thousands of years!
How Do I Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils can be used in a variety of different ways, including treating physical ailments and promoting emotional wellbeing. Each individual oil has unique qualities and effects, and we’d be here all day if I tried to list them all! :-)
Instead, we’ll focus on two of the most popular methods of using essential oils: aromatic use and topical application. Both methods are useful in their own ways, and between the two, I end up using essential oils almost every day!
Using Essential Oils Aromatically
Using a diffuser is a great way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. When you add essential oils to water in a diffuser, it produces a fine mist that carries the oil into the air. All you have to do is breathe normally, and you’ll inhale the oils and experience their benefits!
Here are a few things you can use a diffuser for:
Boost Your Mood – Diffusing mood-boosting oils can help you feel calm and relaxed, or rejuvenated and energized. It all depends on which oil you use! Add a few drops of peppermint to a car diffuser can make you feel more alert while you drive!
Clean The Air – Diffusing certain oils can clean and purify the air in your home. I frequently diffuse Defend during cold and flu season, because it features several oils with antimicrobial properties: lemon, rosemary, and tea tree!
Get Better Sleep – If you struggle with falling asleep like I do, diffusing essential oils can help! Set up your diffuser on your nightstand, and add a few drops of a relaxing oil (such as Slumber or lavender) to the water. You’ll be drifting off to sleep in no time!
Keep in mind that there’s no “wrong” reason to diffuse essential oils. Many people diffuse essential oils because they love the way it smells, and there’s nothing wrong with that! :-)
Using Essential Oils Topically
Another way you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils is by applying them topically to your skin. While some oils are safe to apply “neat,” or undiluted, it’s generally safer to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying. (Your oils will also last a bit longer this way!)
As a general rule, aim to use 3-5 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.
Here are a few ways to use oils topically:
Soothe A Headache – Add a few drops of Complete Relief to a teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil (or grab your handy pre-diluted Complete Relief Roll-On!) Apply the diluted oil to the back of your neck for headache relief.
For Aches & Pains – When you feel achy or sore in a specific part of your body, applying oils locally can help relieve discomfort at the source. Dilute a few drops of Restore with your favorite carrier oil, or use the pre-diluted Restore Roll-On, and apply to the affected area.
More Ways To Use Essential Oils
Aside from aromatic and topical application, there are plenty of other useful ways to use essential oils!
Here’s a quick list of some of my personal favorite uses:
Cleaning – Many essential oils have antibacterial properties, which makes them an excellent addition to homemade cleaners! I like using lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and Simple Clean for cleaning purposes.
Laundry – Add natural freshness to your laundry with lavender oil! Put several drops of lavender oil on a dryer ball or a clean cloth, then toss it into the dryer with your just-washed clothes.
In The Bath – Essential oils can make your bath even more relaxing and rejuvenating. Add a few drops of relaxing oils like lavender or Slumber oil to a handful of Epsom salt and toss it in your bathwater.
Pest Control – Deter spiders, mice, and other pests with the help of peppermint oil. Fill a small spray bottle with water and add 10-15 drops of peppermint oil. Give it a shake, and spray it around cracks, gaps, or anywhere you’ve spotted pests around the house.
Eliminate Odors – A few drops of tea tree oil can eliminate unpleasant odors from shoes, closets, and more. Just add a few drops to a cotton ball, and place the cotton ball wherever unpleasant odors are lingering.
Using Essential Oils Safely
While essential oils can have a lot of benefits, they can cause harm if used incorrectly. Here are a few guidelines that will help you use oils safely and effectively:
- Don’t diffuse essential oils around reptiles, birds, rodents, and other small pets. When diffusing in a home with dogs or cats, make sure they are free to leave the area if they find the smell unpleasant or overwhelming.
- Don’t use citrus oils on your skin before going out in the sun. These oils are photosensitive and can cause burns and other painful skin conditions.
- Pregnant women should exercise caution with essential oils. (Read more about essential oils and pregnancy here.)
- Always store oils in a cool, dark place to ensure they last as long as possible.