How To Start Using Essential Oils
Written by: Joanne Beccarelli
Essential oils are plant botanicals and were the first ancient medicines used thousands of years ago. They can be used topically (applied to the skin, oftentimes with a carrier oil used as a diluter), aromatically (diffused into the air to be inhaled), internally (ingested for medicinal purposes) and even used in food preparation.
Please note that essential oils should only be taken internally for medicinal purposes under the direction of a certified aromatherapist due to the concentrated nature of the chemical compounds.
Still, most uses of oils and their benefits are realized through application and inhalation and it is easy to get started!
It is important when using essential oils to only use therapeutic grade, which is the highest level of purity and means that the oils are extracted from the plants without any chemicals using techniques such as steam extraction, cold pressing or resin extraction.
Since oils are generally used to help the world move towards a cleaner, more holistic way of life, this issue of purity is an important one and is why people tend to become loyal to one brand or another. It’s important that your oils do not contain: chemicals, synthetic dilution or expiration dates – this means that these oils offer the best levels of purity.
What are essential oils used for?
Essential oils can be used in many ways to support a healthier lifestyle. Since most oils are antibacterial, antifungal or are even antioxidants – and each oil has it’s own natural chemical compounds – there is a wide variety of ways they are used.
Here are a few of the most common issues that oils can successfully be used for:
How do I start using essential oils?
Starting to use essential oils is easy and it’s best to begin with the most common oils, which provide a wide range of benefits. These are Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon. In all cases, it is recommended to apply essential oils via a carrier oil using 1 teaspoon with 1-2 drops of oil, or via a diffuser.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) has a distinctive floral aroma that is considered soothing, refreshing and balancing. It is extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant by steam distillation. Because lavender is the most versatile of all oils, it is often recommended to be the ONE oil everyone should own and is considered safe to use with children as well.
Lavender oil can benefit the body in the following ways:
- Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
- Improves sleep
- Alleviates headaches
- Helps cuts and burns
- Restores skin complexion, reduces acne and slows aging
- Improves eczema and psoriasis
- Helps to restore hormonal balance
- Eases nausea or motion sickness
- Repels bugs and soothes insect bites
Peppermint (mentha piperita) is an herb that was used for thousands of years in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. It is minty in fragrance and flavor. It is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant and is a very concentrated and intense oil that should be used diluted. Peppermint oil is the second most commonly used essential oil and is highly regarded for a variety of benefits. (Cautionary note: According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, peppermint oil should never be used on children under 30 months of age or undiluted on children under 12. Check additional warnings and potential drug interactions here).
Peppermint oil can benefit your body in the following ways:
- Supports intestinal and gastrointestinal comfort
- Aids digestion
- Eases nausea and vomiting
- IBS, colonic spasm and gas
- Appetite suppressant
- Aids concentration, alertness
- Relieves anxiety
- Improves memory
- Aids respiratory health relating to colds, coughs and asthma
- Soothes muscle aches and pain
- Helps repel mosquitos and other bugs
Lemon (citrus limon) essential oil contains 68% of the constituent d-limonene, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is cold-pressed from lemon rinds and has an uplifting, purifying citrus scent. Lemon oil is one of the photosensitive oils, meaning that exposure to sunlight should be limited after use. (Cautionary note: Essential oils, especially citrus and pine based oils, can be toxic to cats. See the Animal Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Safety for more information).
Lemon oil can benefit your body in the following ways:
- Cleanses, purifies, detoxifies, sanitizes
- Stimulates the lymph system
- Aids respiratory health relating to colds, coughs
- Stimulates the immune system
- Improves nutrient and vitamin absorption
- Aids digestion
- Relieves nausea
- Nourishes the skin
- Appetite suppressant
- Helps repel bugs
When starting out, it is best to first try using an oil individually, then over time you will become eager to learn more about blending oils for more effectiveness and benefits.
This common allergy relief remedy combines these three essential oils for a great way to handle many allergic reactions and to bring down inflammation.
Lavender-Peppermint-Lemon Allergy Remedy
1-2 drops of each oil (equal parts)
- In a carrier oil (almond or coconut oil) or body lotion (preferably scentless)
- Apply to the bottoms of feet, OR
- Through diffuser
If you would like to learn more about essential oils, feel free to contact me.
See further safety information from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy here.
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
Latest posts by Joanne Beccarelli (see all)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS