You’ve received your essential oils… and they’re sitting unopened in the cupboard. I hear this all the time and I get it! Essential oils can be overwhelming if you’ve never used them before but I’m a big fan of experiential learning and encourage you to crack open the bottles. Experiment a little (or a lot) and learn as you go. That said, therapeutic-grade essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with reasonable care so here are the basics to get you started.
Essential oils can be used in three ways:
This is perhaps the easiest and most common way to use essential oils. Below are some suggestions for you to try:
- Inhale directly from the bottle.
- Place a drop in your palm, cup your hands over your nose and mouth then inhale deeply.
- Place a drop on a tissue, cotton ball, towel or pillow case.
- Add a couple of drops to the water chamber of a diffuser*, vaporiser or humidifier.
- Add a cup of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and a couple of drops of essential oil to warm bath water.
- Use with jewellery containing porous stones (eg. lava stone).
*What is the difference between an oil diffuser and an oil burner?
Oil burners use heat from a light bulb or small candle to disperse the oil but the intense heat may alter the chemical structure of the oil, limiting its efficacy. In contrast, oil diffusers use vibration to convert oil mixed with water into a fine mist. The mist is dispersed into the air quickly to freshen and improve the quality of the air. You’ve invested in high-quality oils and a diffuser will ensure you receive the greatest benefit.
To ensure safe and effective topical use, it is important to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. My favourite carrier oils include Fractionated Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sweet Almond Oil.
If you’re not sure where to apply the oil, you can’t really go wrong with the soles of your feet. The comparatively large pores mean that essential oil applied to this area enters the blood stream within 30 seconds. Other quick-absorbing areas are behind the ears and the inner wrist.
When it comes to essential oils, less is more. It is recommended that you follow these dilution guidelines:
- Babies and toddlers: Add 1 drop essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier oil.
- Children: Add 1 drop essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil
- Teens and adults: Add 1-2 drops essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil.
Use with caution on sensitive skin (especially young children and older adults), applying a small amount to test for sensitivity. Keep out of eyes, ears and nose and discontinue use if you experience severe skin, stomach, or respiratory irritation or discomfort.
When you buy something that is ‘flavoured’ (eg. ‘mint flavoured’) it is possible that you are consuming an essential oil. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that you are consuming something called ‘essential oil’ that also contains chemicals, pesticides and synthetic fillers or, worse, artificial flavouring.
dōTERRA’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) standard far exceeds the global standard for an essential oil to be labelled food grade and are so pure that you can use many oils as delicious, natural flavouring for sweet and savoury foods.** In addition to providing toxin-free flavour, you also experience the oils’ therapeutic benefits. For example, Peppermint is known for its ability to support digestion, and citrus oils are known to support detoxification.
The most popular oils for cooking are derived from herbs, spices and citrus fruits. For example:
- Herbs: Basil, Coriander, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme
- Spices: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger
- Citrus: Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Wild Orange
** Internal use
If an oil is safe for internal use, the bottle will provide specific instructions for ‘dietary use’ or ‘flavouring use’. If you are pregnant, taking prescription medication or have other questions regarding the safety of using essential oils internally, please consult your physician before use.