Uses of Essential Oils
In this blog post I will describe what an essential oil is, cover the many uses of essential oils, and give examples of recipes for some of the uses.
To begin, we need to first know what an essential oil is. Essential oils receive their names based on the plant or flower they represent. For example, Rose Essential Oil is named so because it smells of a rose. Miriam-Webster defines essential oils as: “any of a large class of volatile odoriferous oils of vegetable origin that give plants their characteristic odors and often other properties, that are obtained from various parts of the plants (as flowers, leaves, or bark) by steam distillation, expression, or extraction, that are usually mixtures of compounds (as aldehydes or esters)…”
It is important when purchasing essential oils to make sure you are purchasing 100% pure essential oil and not fragrances or essences. While fragrances and essences tend to smell like pure essential oils, they have been chemically altered to be used for other purposes commercially versus those that are more natural and not as commercialized.
Commercially, essential oils serve three main purposes. One purpose is to create “aromas” that are pleasant (fragrances and essences). These aromas are used in perfumes, deodorants, other personal hygiene products, room sprays, etc. Another commercial use is to create flavors for bakery items, meats, candies, and several other items. The third purpose is for use pharmaceutically in dental products and other medicinal purposes.
When using essential oils, it is important to note that they are a very concentrated form of the plant, tree, or flower that they are created from. Many oils can be irritating if direct contact with the skin is made. Additionally, there are essential oils that are not safe in general for personal use. When selecting your oils, be sure to do the research as you do not want to purchase an oil that you will not be able to use. Several common and considered safe “any purpose” essential oils include: lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood, and a few others. There are others that are considered safe, although their uses are specific in order to be used safely.
Essentials can readily be found in many stores, both online and locally. There are several brands available boasting that they are the best, but the only importance is that the oil you purchase is 100% pure and not blended or as mentioned before a fragrance or essence of the essential oil you choose. There is no need to pay attention to a TM or other registered trademark when it comes to essential oils. Most often, those are utilized in marketing efforts to promote the essential oil trade name.
One of the several uses of essential oils is for aromatic or therapeutic benefits. Therapeutically, essential oils are used for aromatherapy and administered via diffusers, bath products like scrubs, sitz baths, vapor discs, humidifiers, and several other means.
Another common way to use essential oils is to aid in cleaning and disinfecting. Many essential oils are widely known for the disinfecting, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties among others. A few that are considered antiviral and antibacterial are Tea Tree, Lemon, and Lavender.
There are several that are antibacterial which is why you can find an abundance of DIY recipes for home cleaners using essential oils. Some of those include Thyme, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, and many others depending on the purpose of use.
Essential oils also are used in medicinal purposes. They can be used to alleviate soreness in muscles, sprains, headaches, sunburns, etc. in compresses, soothe stomach and intestinal issues, treat thrush, and several other common ailments. With the warmer weather approaching, I will share a recipe for sunburn compresses that I know many can and may use at least once. To make a compress for sunburns, add 5-6 drops of Chamomile and Lavender essential oils to 1-2 ounces of Kaolin clay. Then add a small amount of cold water to create a paste. Add the mixture to your skin and cover with a clean cloth and hold it in place for 1-2 hours.
There are many different ways and recipes available to use your essential oils in that will aid you in your home, beauty, kids, health, spiritual, etc. As you can see the uses are almost endless and the recipes are readily available if you are open to experimenting. I hope this post has sparked your interest in essential oils more and given you some useful information as well.