What should I learn about essential oils if I am just starting out?
“What should I learn about essential oils if I am just starting out?” This is a question I get asked a LOT. It is also a very important question because of what information is out there. In this article, I will break down some basic ideas to help you get started.
The most important thing to keep in mind when learning:
You will not learn everything overnight, so don’t expect to. I consider myself a life learner when it comes to essential oils and for a good reason.
I have taken three different programs from three different qualified teachers and in each one I have learned so much more than I thought was possible. I have taken a multitude of workshops and continue learning outside of the classroom because there is so much information.
Where should I start?
Don’t let what I just told you overwhelm you, though. There is a LOT of information to learn but there is a great way to break it all down. You can start by creating your own monograph for each essential oil.
If you are not familiar with a monograph, it is a “a highly detailed and thoroughly documented study or paper written about1” a single specialized subject or an aspect of it. For our purposes, the single specialized subject will be a single essential oil.
There are a couple amazing schools that I know work on creating these with their students because they are such great and amazing tools to use. One is the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy taught by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger and the other is the Institute of Holistic PhytoAromatherapy taught by Anna Doxie.
What information should I add on my monograph?
Your monograph should aim to be the most in depth you can make it. The more time you spend learning about a single essential oil, the more you will learn. Creating your own monograph will also serve as an amazing reference for you once you have created it! Below are few things I like to have on mine.
- A picture of the plant the essential oil is obtained from
- The common name of the essential oil
- The latin name of the essential oil oil (genus and species)
- Any synonyms for the essential oil
- Any applicable chemotype
- The country or countries it can be found growing in
- The method of extraction
- Is it steam distilled?
- Is it hydro distilled?
- Is it solvent extracted, if so what kind of solvent?
- How you would describe the aroma
- If possible how someone else might describe it
- The color of the oil
- A few major chemical constituents found within the oil
- You can add research studies about those constituents to give you an idea for use of the constituents
- Potential uses
- Remember these will vary from person to person
- Recommended dilution rates
- Each essential oil may have a different requirement than what is often found on a dilution chart. Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition will have this information if you can’t find it online.
- Any potential safety concerns and contraindications
- Any interesting notes about potential anomalies
- Where you have obtained samples from and your notes about each sample
- Other Notes
- This is just a section for you to add any other information you think is important to you from how you use it, to recipes you have used and work for you.
In the monograph section, you may have noted that I have a section there about samples. Getting samples of the same exact essential oil from multiple sources allows us to see the differences between the countries they are distilled in, the aroma, and often help us determine which one we enjoy the most or not at all. I encourage you to look at purchasing samples before buying large amounts.
Free Essential Oil Monograph Template
By looking at all of the information that we can add to a monograph, it is easy to see how we can spend quite a bit of time learning about a single essential oil. This type of learning has helped me and countless others. To make it easier for you, I have created a FREE Essential Oil Monograph Template that you can download here.
I hope the monograph helps you in your journey to learning more about the precious materials as well as deciding whether you will really use a particular oil or if you can even substitute it with one you already have. Enjoy your studies!
Monograph. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2018, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/monograph
Thank you to Lauren & Lisa for help with edits!