Differences in Quality
The quality of essential oils on the market varies greatly. Essential oils can be quite expensive, but a high quality essential oil takes a large amount of plant material to produce and is highly concentrated. Many inexpensive essential oils are available commercially, but are altered with other oils or do not pass third party testing because of their inferior quality.
High quality oils should be produced without chemicals and come from organic plants that grow in their natural environment and growing region.
Safe Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils are very powerful plant compounds and should be used carefully and in the correct way. I’ve seen a lot of information promoting the regular internal use of essential oils and while there can absolutely be a place for this, I think it is important to be careful and check with a qualified professional when consuming them internally since they are so strong.
My two favorite ways to use essential oils are diffusing and topical use. The body can still utilize the beneficial parts of the oil and this is a much gentler (yet still effective) approach.
Essential oils contain tiny molecules that are much more easily absorbed into the body than other types of oils, so when an oil is used on the skin, the body rapidly obtains the benefit of the oil. This is why it is also important to follow safe usage guidelines, even for topical use.
I highly recommend diluting any oils that are used on skin with a safe carrier oil and consulting with a qualified aromatherapist or functional medicine doctor before using topically, especially on children.
Essential oils can also be diffused into the air. This process is known as aromatherapy and provides the benefits of the oils as they are inhaled. There is evidence that the oils are absorbed into the blood stream when inhaled.
Some research has shown that aromatic use is actually more effective that internal use, and it is certainly much safer.
Some Essential Oils
These are excellent ones to use for daily activities:
- Peppermint– We use it on feet for nausea or fever, in homemade cleaners and soaps, and in the diffuser. For congestion, I add a few drops of Peppermint and other oils to a pot of steaming water and breathe in the steam to help open the sinuses.
- Lavender– I use it in skin care recipes and as a calming oil when needed. It is naturally antibacterial and I often add it to homemade cleaners. I also add Lavender to bath water to help me relax at night.
- Lemon, Lime and Orange– These citrus essential oils are astringent and antiseptic and are thought to stimulate the immune system. They are uplifting and considered cleansing. We avoid these in the sun since they do make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. In some studies they are shown to have antimicrobial properties.
- Rosemary– I add a drop to my shampoo to increase hair growth and improve scalp health.
- Tea Tree/Melaleuca – I add this to natural cleaning products as it is naturally antibacterial and smells great when mixed with a citrus oil or lavender.
Saving Money Using Essential Oils?
One benefit of essential oil usage is that you can save money in other areas of the budget, such as using them in DIY beauty products and homemade cleaning products that no longer have to be purchased at retail from the store.
- We make our own natural cleaning products with essential oils and inexpensive ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar to save money on cleaning products
- We use essential oils in place of candles and air fresheners
- We use essential oils to make homemade laundry detergent instead of store bought laundry products
- We use essential oils and other natural ingredients to make our own toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, and deodorant which frees up the budget for those items
A Note of Caution
Wherever you buy essential oils, you should always ensure they are:
- Sourced from the native region for each plant
- Not altered or adulterated in any way
- List any precautions and contraindications (pregnancy, medications, etc) for each of their oils