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What are Essential Oils and How Can I Use Them?

Essential Oils 101

I love essential oils and use them daily – but not everyone does… yet!  It is exciting to see the use of essential oils growing; Mamas are using them to keep their family healthy, wellness practitioners are recommending them to their clients for common ailments and hospitals are also using them to support their cancer patients.

When I tell people I work with essential oils, I often hear a common response, “I don’t really like strong smells – they give me head aches.”  Yes, I agree – I don’t care for perfumes and air fresheners either.  Essential Oils are different – let me explain.

Essential Oils are basically concentrated plant extracts from the juice or blood of the plant.  You know when you break a leaf or stem from a house plant and you see clear or white fluid come out – well that is a “cut” and the plant is bleeding – just like we do.  It is this fluid that we are extracting during the distillation process that becomes an essential oil. Chamomile field pic

Usually when we hear “oil” we picture olive oil or almond oil – something slick and heavy that stays on our skin – which we often use as a moisturizer.    Most essential oils are not thick like that because of the size of their tiny molecules.

During distillation, only very small molecules make it through the process – these molecules are under 500 amu (atomic mass unit).  When a molecule is so tiny like that it means that it is transdermal – it is absorbed into our skins very quickly.  So you may put a drop of essential oil in your palm and rub your hands together and within a few minutes – the oil is gone – is has been absorbed.  The magic of our essential oils come from this ability to be absorbed so quickly!

So, what can an essential oil do for us?  Well, now since essential oils are basically the blood of the plant – let’s think about what our blood does for us.  Our blood brings oxygen to cells, it helps to remove the “garbage”, it transports nutrients and protects us from germs.  The plant’s blood does the same thing for the plant too and what the plant’s blood does for the plant – it also does for us.  Yes… so that means that we can use essential oils to bring oxygen to our cells (support healing and increase 02 to the brain), remove “garbage” (cleanse our tissues), transport nutrients to our cells and fight bacteria and germs to keep us healthy.

That is pretty exciting – isn’t it!

What is beautiful about essential oils is that they are so versatile!  At my home and in my office I use them to freshen the air, clean with, support relaxation and sleep, reduce cold germs and use to alleviate common ailments.

And what makes this even more exciting is these essential oils are made out of molecules that are nature made – just like us.  Our bodies can work with these molecules much easier than man-made molecules that you’ll find in air fresheners, cleaning products, decongestants etc.,  They are non-toxic and do not cause side effects.  So for anyone who wants to go more “green” or natural – essential oils is a perfect tool for you.

Using essential oils is simple.  Here are a few examples of how I use them with my family:

  • Young Living Catalog Shoot 3/2009I apply them to the area that hurts and needs attention, like if I have tight muscles – I put a drop of essential oil on that area and rub it in.  Remember the small size of the molecules allows them to be quickly absorbed into the body.
  • I also use this transdermal quality and simply apply a drop or two of the essential oil on the soles of my feet.  I often do this when I want to enhance relaxation or sleep.
  • I simply smell the essential oil directly from the bottle.  This is a wonderful way to support focus and concentration, like if I need to drive late at night.
  • I diffuse or disperse the essential oil in the air so that the whole family inhales it and the tiny molecules land on everything in the room.  I diffuse my essential oils during the wintertime to reduce the number of cold germs in our house.
  • I take my essential oils internally by adding a drop to a glass of water or a teaspoon of honey.  I will take my essential oils internally when I am fighting a cold and want the full “wham-bang” antimicrobial effect.  Please make sure that if you choose to take your essential oils internally that you follow the directions on the label as most will say not to take internally.  If internal use is not recommended – don’t take it internally!

If your interest in essential oils has been piqued and you’d like to learn more about how you can use essential oils in your home then I highly recommend that you pick up Gentle Babies – a book that is specific to Pregnancy, Babies and New Mamas.  Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique carries this book and a few favorite baby essential oils too.

In my next blog I’ll talk about basic essential oils safety you need to learn before using essential oils.  I’ll also share about the different schools of thought when it comes to essential oil use.  If you can’t wait until the next blog – then you’ll find all your questions answered in Gentle Babies!