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Essential Oils 101: Everything You Need To Know

Updated on April 2, 2017
Essential Oils
Essential Oils | Source

What Are Essentials Oils?

Essential oils are the liquids that have been extracted from any part of plants. The oil can be extracted from the leaves, flowers, fruit, stems, roots, bark and seeds.

According to John Labows, a fragrant technology consultant in Philadelphia, the oils are called "essential" because they are the concentrated essence of a plant.

The oils have the same benefits as the plants but in a more potent way. For instance, a single drop can be equal to several spoonfuls coming from the plant.

One kind of essential oil can be used, or a combination of two or more will be even more powerful. It depends on the reason you are using the oil.

Essential oils are ultimately just plant extracts.

Essential Oils: World's First Medicine

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years. They have been considered to be the world's first medicine. Priests and physicians have used essential oils since the beginning fo time. They are included in Chinese manuscripts and in Egyptian drawings.

There are also over 500 references to essential oils in the Bible. Two of them are found in the story surrounding the birth of Jesus when he was given gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts. Also, the women prepared his body with essential oils for his burial.

Uses For Essential Oils

There are so many different uses for essential oils. It would be safe to say that if you have a problem of any kind, there is more than likely an essential oil for it.

Essential oils have a lot of benefits that include using them for cosmetic, dietary, and even spiritual and religious purposes. They are often used for relaxation, beauty care, home cleaning and most often used as natural medicine.

When you think of many of the essential oils, think of them as having "anti" properties. For instance, they are antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic.

The beauty of essential oils is that they can be considered multitaskers in that one oil can help with more than one problem. Also, more than one oil can be used for the same problem.

Add essential oils to your medicine cabinet, your cosmetic bag, and on your spice rack.

Ways to Use Essential Oils

There are three major ways to use essential oils.

  1. Aromatically – Smell essential oils. They are absorbed into the bloodstream when they are inhaled. The large blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and then circulate them throughout the body. Inhaling essential oils is a convenient way to get immediate results for a problem you might have.
  2. Topically – Apply essential oils directly on the skin. They will enter and penetrate the skin and pass into the bloodstream and into different parts of the body for internal benefits. Essential oils can be added to creams and lotions or massaged directly on the skin.
  3. Ingestion – Eat or drink essential oils. They are safe for internal use. Just remember that a little bit goes a long way. Usually, 1-3 drops can be enough when mixed with water or food.

No matter which way you use essential oils, remember a little goes a long way.

Lavender: A Popular Essential Oil

Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils. It is the one to start with when you just begin your collection.

Lavender reduces both insomnia and depression, according to a Korean study done with female college students.

Another study published in Phytomedicine in 2010 showed that when lavender oil was administered orally, it was as effective as the drug Lorazepam that is used to get rid of anxiety and depression.

Essential oils are the answers to many things that ail you.

Categories of Essential Oils

When you begin to use essential oils more often, you will discover which ones can go together in at least four categories.

  1. Skin and Beauty Essential Oils
  2. Mind and Body Essential Oils
  3. Focus and Awaken Essential Oils
  4. Kitchen Essential Oils

Tips For Buying Essential Oils

People who are new to purchasing essential oils might need help in doing so. Essential oils can range from inexpensive to very expensive. However, the effectiveness of essential oils might not depend on their prices.

If you are just starting out, you will probably have to use trial and error to find a brand that you like. Therefore, it is best to buy single bottles at first rather than purchasing an entire set. If the single bottle satisfies your needs, then you can purchase a set of that brand.

Experts suggest that one clue to buying genuine essential oils is to make sure you never buy inexpensive brands in clear bottles. Make sure you buy essential oils that are in dark bottles with a label that shows all the ingredients.

Popular Essential Oils and Their Uses

Essential Oil
Stress, anxiety, depression, burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia
Sage, Peppermint and Cinnamon
Memory, attention, heartburn and nausea, insect repellant
Black Pepper
Low energy
Mint, Ginger
Nausea and vomiting
Tea Tree
Sinus congestion, stings, bites, scrapes, minor burns and skin irritations
Colds, allergies, bronchitis, sinuses and lungs
antiviral, antiseptic, antibiotic and diuretic, colds, flu
food poisoning, athlete's foot, toothache
Bad breath
There are so many essential oils and so many different uses for them. This above list is just a sample of what is available.

Do you use essential oils?

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    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 9 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Unfortunately, many people don't know the benefits of essentials oils. They walk around with a problem that just a drop of one of the essential oils could cure. My discovery of what essential oils can do is helping me greatly. Give them a try!

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 9 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, MsDora, for responding to my article. Like you, lavender is my favorite. I just bought a complete set, and I have used the lavender more than the others. Lavender gives me a calming feeling whenever I smell it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      The aromatic use of essential oils (lavender especially) is the most appealing to me. My mood improves definitely. Thanks for the facts and explanations about their uses.