Essential oils are extracted from different parts of plants by various methods. A good essential oil is pure, therapeutic, and powerful in very small amount. Here are some simple ways to use essential oils safely.
Before you start using Essential Oils
Before you start trying essential oils, make sure you are aware of some guidelines.
Do not apply directly on the skin to prevent any burns and allergies. Essential oils are highly concentrated and need to be diluted first. Dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil such as olive, grape seed, sesame or coconut oil. Usually you just need a few drops in a small bottle of carrier oils. The ratio depends on how strong you need the oil to be, and what essential oil you select.
Not all essential oils are the same. Make sure to look for a reputable brand for best quality and effectiveness. Health food stores usually carry more choices than local drug store or supermarket. Read the label to find what is exactly in the bottle.
Even though some essential oils are ok to be taken internally in tiny quantities, use caution and consult doctors if you must do it. Essential oils are like herbal medicine and can be powerful or with side effect. If you are not sure if the source is pure, or not sure about the right way to use it, then don't take it orally until you research more.
Pregnancy and special situation
If you are pregnant, nursing, or having special conditions, be extra careful and consult your doctor first.
If you are going to use it topically, do a patch test in your forearm overnight first before applying everywhere.
If you follow the above guidelines, essential oils are rather safe to use around the house. Here are 10 ways you can apply essential oils in your daily life.
10 Ways to use essential oils
1. Teeth cleaning or flossing
You can add one or two drops of essential oils such as mint, clove, cinnamon, or tea tree to your tooth brush or dental floss. It keeps the teeth and gum refreshing, and inhibit the growth of bacteria naturally.
If one drop is too strong, dilute with carrier oils such as coconut oil or olive oil. "Oil pulling" is a great way to keep oral health naturally too. It's an ancient technique to swish around a few spoonful of oils (sesame or coconut typically) in the mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. It is supposed to pull out toxin in the body and protect the teeth with the oil coating.
2. As an air refresher
Lemon, mint, lavender, lemongrass and many essential oils can be used as air refreshers. Put a few drops in a cotton ball and leave it in a refrigerator, bottom of a garbage can, or near toilet. It smells much better than the store bought air refresher that is full of chemicals.
3. Add in a diffuser or humidifier to cleanse the air
There are a lot of diffusers available for essential oils in the market today. Or we can just add a few drops to a humidifier. Use eucalyptus, lemon or tea tree to let the fragrant herbal oils fill the room. In the winter time when everyone seems to catch a cold, it helps to keep the air purified and everyone can breath better.
4. For skin care (after proper dilution)
Many essential oils have certain functions that will benefit our skin. They can be blended together for combined effectiveness. Just remember to dilute first in carrier oils. And do a patch test in the forearm to avoid any allergy. They can also be added to your cream and lotions before you use it. Avoid mixing large amount in advance so it is always fresh and clean.
Good essential oils to try: Rose, Carrot seed, Myrrh, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Tea tree. Some are anti-aging, moisturizing, acne-fighting or UV-blocking.... There is a lot of research available if you like to mix your own blend. For example, drops of rose oil in apricot oil or coconut oil is a simple start.
"Oil cleansing" is gaining popularity these days. Instead of using harsh facial cleansers, use oil to wash face. It is said that our skin is naturally oily, so oil can actually dissolve dirt and make up much better. You have to try it to believe it. And use hot towel to help taking out any extra oils left on skin.
5. As perfume or cologne
Pick out your favorite scent of essential oil, and put a few drops in the base oil of your choice. You can mix several essential oils to create your own smell. Instant custom perfume! Just dab a little bit on the pulse around wrist and behind ears, and you can enjoy a unique and long lasting fragrance.
6. As a natural cleanser
There are a lot of DIY natural cleanser recipes on the internet. It can be just basic soap and water, or vinegar and baking soda. Essential oils, such as lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus, or lavender can be added in your cleaning routine. Either added to the cleaning supply itself, or add in the water as a last wipe.
Since many essential oils are naturally disinfecting and antibacterial, it works well with homemade cleaning products. Less chemical and more environmental friendly. Smells fresh and no harm to our bodies.
7. Inhale for calming or energizing effect
Some herbs are more calming, such as Lavender, Chamomile and Frankincense, while some herbs are more energizing or exciting, such as peppermint, lemon, lemongrass, orange and cinnamon. Depending on how you feel at the moment, you can inhale the scent of the essential oils to uplift your spirit or calm down for a good rest.
If you meditate, there are herbs to help you feel centered, such as Frankincense and Myrrh. Surround yourself with the scent of your choice to transport your mind to a new place.
8. Repel bugs and sooth bugs bites
Many bugs and mosquitoes don't like the smell of certain herbs such as Lemongrass, Basil, Chamomile, Citronella, Coriander, and Chives. Dilute 1-2 drops in a small bottle of essential oils and apply topically. Or make into a spray with water and drops of essential oils.
Lavender, Tea tree, Chamomile, and basil are also good for stop itching from bugs bite. Again, just 1-2 drops in a carrier oil or lotion/cream.
9. As a linen spray or room spray
Because many essential oil smells wonderful and the smell stays long, they are a great choice for linen spray or room spray. Just add a few drops in a spray bottle with water. Like perfume, you can mix your own blend. I like Woody, grassy or citrus scents. Floral smells great too for a girly touch.
Try to avoid spray directly on light colored fabric to avoid any stain. Just spray into the air is enough for the smell to linger.
10. As a disinfecting spray
To take advantage of essential oil's disinfecting quality, we can add oils to water and spray or just wipe on bathtub, shower curtain, kitchen stove, microwave, or pet areas.
There are a lot of choices such as tea tree, lemongrass, mint, orange and so on.
Store bought products are full of toxic chemicals that will damage our health in the long run. If we store some basic essential oils at home, we can always have a natural alternative way to clean, refresh, and energizing our space, body and mind.