An introduction to using essential oils

CONTENT FROM THE FIFTH ELEMENT LIFE

Have you ever wondered what an essential oil is? Are you looking for some more inspiration on how to use them in your home and daily routine? Or guidance on how to dilute them?

We got you.

What is an essential oil?

A natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic odour for the plan or source from which it is extracted.

These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in th seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant.

Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants, and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.

Why do we use essential oils?

We can use essential oils for their therapeutic, aromatic and healing properties. They’re great for:

  • THE MIND: mood management and mindfulness practices.
  • THE BODY: cleansing, healing and general wellbeing.
  • THE SPIRIT: personal practice, transformation and support.

How do we use essential oils?


AROMATICALLY. 
The sense of smell is a tool that can elicit powerful physiological, mental, and emotional responses. Essential oils are quickly absorbed by the smell receptors, which have a direct link to the limbic system by way of the olfactory nerve. The limbic system is part of the brain that supports a variety of functions including smell, emotions, behaviour, and memory. For this reason, essential oils have an especially powerful effect via aromatic application. Simply add five drops to water in a diffuser.

TOPICALLY. Oils are lipid soluble, therefore, eaily penetrate the skin to be dispersed throughout the body. To increase absorption, oils are best diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, etc) and massaged into the neck, forehead/temple, chest, abdomen, arms, legs or bottom of feet, or added to a bath, compress or lotion. NB: avoid eyes, inner ear, broken/damaged/injured skin.

ENVIRONMENTALLY. Oils are a fantastic natural, waste-less tool for any home. They can be used environmentally as natural air fresheners and key, potent ingredients in homemade natural cleaning products. Let’s take lemon oil for instance:

  • Add lemon oil to water in a spray bottle and use as a multi-purpose natural cleaning product to clean household surfaces.
  • Add lemon oil to olive oil to clean, protect and shine wooden surfaces as a beautiful natural furniture polish.
  • Apply drops of lemon oil to a cloth and wipe leather furniture, surfaces and garments to protect and nourish them, and apply to metals to remove the early stages of tarnish.
  • It’s also great for removing sticky labels and their residue from surfaces!

How to dilute essential oils

Here are the recommended dilution ratios to keep in mind when diluting essential oils with a carrier oil:

  • 0 – 12 months: 0.3 – 0.5% dilution
  • 1 – 5 years: 1.5 – 3% dilution
  • 6 – 11 years: 1.5 – 5% dilution
  • 12 – 17 years: 1.5 – 2% dilution
  • 18+ years: 1.5% dilution – neat (no dilution)
  • Elderly/sensitive skin: 1 – 3% dilution
  • Daily use: 2 – 5% dilution
  • Short-term use: 10 – 25% dilution
  • Local skin or systemic issues: 50% dilution – neat
Roll-on bottle size 5ml 10ml  30ml Dilution %
Essential oil drops 1 2 6 1%
2 4 12 2%
3 6 18 3%
5 10 30 5%
10 20 60 10%
20 40 120 20%
30 50 150 25%
50 100 300 50%

These are general guidelines, not absolute rules, based on traditional aromatherapy practice (Kurt Schnaubelt PhD, Valerie Worwood, Robert Tisserand).

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