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August 12, 2016 3 min read

Did you know there is a way to enjoy your essential oils via inhalation without diffusing? There is! However, not everyone is familiar with all of the nuances because of the trendiness and perhaps the marketing approach used by larger companies to use diffusers.

More often than not, individuals are diffusing not only in their home when they entertain guests, but in their cars, offices, and even without approval in schools. Many individuals engaging in this practice are truly trying to help others in this manner but do not know the risks and that could be lurking in diffusing their favorite essential oils or blends for their friends, coworkers, family members, and even young children.

The Potential Risks

The potential risks that can arise from diffusing vary from triggering allergies, asthmatic reactions, to even interfering with life saving medication. If you are someone who is diffusing to reduce the potential of your own allergies, to assist you in relieving cold symptoms, or any other reason, there are other ways to support your health!

What other ways can you use essential oils for inhalation?

Other ways include steam inhalation, utilizing aromatherapy jewelry like Terra Cotta pendants or Silver pendants with cotton/felt pads, cotton balls, and even essential oil inhalers. There are even more methods as well like boiling a pot of water and adding a drop or two of citrus oils, himalayan salt inhalers, and tea light diffusers. The methods for which we can use essential oils via inhalation is only limited by our creativity and purpose/need for them. I have even used a washcloth before!

Essential Oil Inhalers

For now we will focus on essential oil inhalers. They are not to be confused with inhalers used by individuals with asthma and should not be used as a substitute. They are wonderful tools that many aromatherapists and enthusiast use because they are easy to use, have a very reasonable shelf life, and do not affect others so they are much safer than diffusing.

There are four parts to a diffuser: 

  1. Cap/outer shell
  2. Inner shell
  3. Cotton wick
  4. Bottom enclosure

When using an essential oil inhaler is important to remember that this method of inhalation is a much larger dose than diffusing so you may want to use less essential oils to start when making yours to avoid headaches and mucous membrane irritations. It is also important to keep in mind the age of the individual it is for. For example, for a child under 10 I would typically use cotton balls in a ziplock instead of an inhaler. For a child between 10 and 16 anywhere from 5-9 drops of the stock blend you choose is sufficient. For an adult that is not sensitive to smells, pregnant, or is otherwise considered an "average healthy" individual, the total number of drops used will vary between 9-15.

So how do you make an essential oil inhaler safely?

Before adding essential oils to the cotton wick, create a stock blend using the essential oils you are interested in. Essential oil bottles come in many sizes now and this will also allow to you use the exact blend over and over again. This also ensures that you are not getting too many drops on the cotton wick from blending directly onto it. Another added bonus of creating a stock blend is that it allows the chemical constituents of each oil to create a more synergistic blend if they are given time marry before use.

  • Once you have your stock blend created, use a small  glass container with a flat bottom to add the desired number of essential oil drops in.
  • Then add your cotton wick to the inside and stir it around by swirling the containers contents or use a glass stir rod.
  • Once the cotton wick has absorbed all of the essential oils, add it into the inner shell using tweezers. If choosing to pick it up without tweezers, make sure nitrile gloves are worn to prevent over exposure of essential oils topically.
  • Add the bottom enclosure and lastly the outer shell and create a label with the date created.

If you enjoyed this article, below are a few recipes that I have created. Please note that these do not take into account any medical conditions like pregnancy, hemophiliac concerns, or medications.

Cold & Flu Support (for average adult)

Cold & Flu Support (for average child over 5)

Nausea Relief (for average adult)