An essential oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived, so it’s not essential in the literal term of the word!
Essential oils are becoming increasingly popular as they have many uses and health benefits. Have questions? Let’s look at some essential oils benefits questions and answers…
Q: Can I use essential oils to ward off cold and flu germs?
A: Yes, essential oils have powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. While some oils might have more of a rep for germ killing than others, nearly all essential oils contain powerful anti-oxidants that heal while warding off nasty things like mold, bacteria, and viruses.
The most well-known oils for killing germs include lemon oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and eucalyptus oil. However, thyme oil and oregano oil are also cited as being able to destroy viruses and bacteria on contact. They just may not be as popular due to their rather pungent aroma.
You can make up your own essential oil blends, for both personal use and for cleaning up around the house.
Q: What is the Thieves oil blend and where can I get it?
A: The name “thieves oil” comes from a story that was passed down from the time of the plague. As the legend goes, the thieves who broke into the homes of the people who were dying of the plague did not contract the deadly illness because they had mixed up a secret potion that protected them. This magic potion is known today as the famous “thieves blend” of essential oils.
The Thieves oil recipe consists of lemon oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and eucalyptus oil. If you mix up a batch and spray it around your home, or add to an essential oils diffuser, you can cleanse the air of possible pathogens while leaving behind a wonderful, fresh and clean scent.
Young Living and DoTerra are two of the most popular brands of organic essential oils on the market. Young Living sells its own Thieves oil mix. You can also blend up a homemade version of the thieves blend, tweaking a bit by adding other ingredients to get the perfect signature aroma.
Q: I can’t afford organic essential oils. Are “regular” (non-organic essential oils) harmful?
A: In all cases, chemical-free is best. However, you don’t have to buy organic oils to get the powerful effects of using essential oils on your person and around your home. Now brand oils are available on Amazon and work just as well as a cleaner, freshener, and for keeping the body healthy.
Please note that unless your essential oil specifically lists on the label that it’s okay to ingest, do not add essential oils to your food or drink or consume in any other way.
Q: I want to make my own essential oils at home using garden herbs. How do I do that?
A: Yes, you can make essential oils to bottle at home. All you need is either fresh or dried herbs, olive oil, water, and a little pot. Here’s a recipe for homemade thyme oil:
- 1/2 cup fresh thyme
- 1 cup olive oil
Combine the thyme and oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about five minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Let cool. Pour into small, dark-colored glass bottles
Q: What are some good shortcuts for mixing my own essential oil blends on the cheap?
A: There are a number of money-saving tricks to creating essential oil mixes at home:
Buy your carrier oil in bulk. If you know that you plan to make a lot of essential oil blends at home, then stock up on carrier oil such as coconut, olive or jojoba oil. A few drops of essential oil goes a long way, but a carrier oil, because it acts as a product base, depletes much faster.
Save dark glass bottles. Save the bottles that your purchased essential oils arrive in. The little plastic stoppers are easily removable, so you can clean out and refill the dark-colored glass bottles.
Save plastic spray pump bottles. If you buy essential oil-based colognes, then each time you finish a spray bottle’s worth, you have a handy reusable cologne dispenser to fill up with your own, homemade cologne blend.
Save aluminum oil bottles. You can also save the aluminum bottles that hold body and massage oils, to be used again and again when you mix up your own essential oil blends.
Stash extra supplies. Keep labels and a permanent marker on hand. Each time you mix up a new blend, you can label the bottle so that later on you’ll know what’s in it. For example, try blending a combo of citronella oil, clove oil, and peppermint oil to help ward off bugs in the summertime.
Q: Can I put essential oils directly on my body?
A. Yes – essential oils offer a natural immune boost, as well as heal and balance the body. You can apply them to the skin in a variety of ways. For example, a mixture of geranium, lavender and a carrier oil such as olive, coconut or jojoba oil will make a nice all-over-body oil to use after bathing or shower. Geranium balances, lavender imparts calm. You can even add a bit of a more fragrant oil such as rose, to promote deep, regular breathing. This same type of oil mix doubles as a massage oil.
Q: I’ve heard that some people drink water infused with lemon oil, for its health benefits. Is this true?
A: Yes, some people do ingest lemon and other essential oils, but you should be very careful about which oils you take into your body as some may be toxic when ingested. Do not consume essential oils unless the oil that you buy has been specifically advertised as safe for internal use. When in doubt, do not ingest essential oils.
Q: What’s a great, essential-oil based recipe for a cleaning spray?
A: Here’s a recipe for an invigorating cleaning spray that you can use to wipe down surfaces, as well as spritz into the air to get rid of cooking, pet, and other unpleasant odors.
- 20 drops lemon oil
- 20 drops peppermint oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 3 cups water (or enough to fill an 18-oz spray bottle 3/4 of the way)
Q: Which essential oils help with insomnia?
A: The most well-known essential oil for imparting a sense of calm is lavender. However, its effects are best utilized when blended with other oils, such as geranium for balancing the body systems, and clary sage for fixing hormone fluctuations.
Q: Should I add peppermint oil to my bath water for a sunburn?
A: Peppermint oil is extremely cooling. If you want a real sense of this, add just a few drops to your bathwater and you’ll feel cooled like you’ve never been before. In fact, you may actually find peppermint quite uncomfortable in the bath, no matter, how hot the day has been or how sunburned you are. While peppermint seems perfect for invigorating the mouth in the form of a toothpaste ingredient, mouth rinse, or as a chewing gum flavor, it does not lend itself well to an all-over body soak in the tub.
Q: Can essential oils harm or burn my skin?
A: Skin sensitivity varies from person to person, and from body part to body part as well. You may end up with a literal burn of the skin if, for example, you apply lemon oil to a sensitive area. If you’re not sure, test a small spot on the inside of your wrist, to see if you react to a certain type of oil.
Q: What is a carrier oil?
A: A carrier oil acts as a base for your essential oil mixes. Without it, many essential oils will evaporate rather quickly. Carrier oils also dilute the potency of the oils so that you can safely apply them to your skin. To test this in action, dab a bit of an essential oil mix on your pulse points and see how long it lasts. Next, first mix your essential oil blend with a carrier oil and test the oil for its “cling” again. Carrier oils can work as a base for massage oils, body oils, and bath oils.
Q: Should I put essential oil on the bottoms of my feet, and if so, why?
The skin on the feet is said to readily absorb substances which it comes into contact. Many people who use essential oil mixes to ward off colds, flu and other germs swear by the “rub on the feet before going to bed” routine. You can also apply essential oils, mixed with a carrier oil, to the neck, chest, belly, inner arms, hands, and face. Some oils such as cinnamon and lemon, may cause a burning sensation or leave an actual burn if they make contact with a sensitive area. Avoid using these oils on places like the face, underarms, and other sensitive spots.
Q: What can I use essential oils for?
A: Essential oils are quite versatile. Once you become familiar with how to mix up essential oil blends, you’ll find that they’re well suited to a variety of purposes. For example:
• Wipe down and disinfect the surfaces of your home with essential oils
• Mix up a non-toxic essential oils blend to wash the floor
• Create your own perfume and cologne blends using essential oils
• Disinfect your kitchen trash can by spraying with an essential oil-based cleaning solution
• Apply a mix of peppermint oil, citronella oil, and clove oil to your dog or cat’s neck and back to repel fleas and ticks
• Kill fleas on contact using an essential oil spray
• Add your favorite essential oils blend to a diffuser, and freshen/disinfect the air in your home or office
• Create your own essential oils blend to use as an all-over body oil
• Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your bath water
• Purchase an electric essential oils warmer and plug into aromatherapy
• Rub essential oils mixed with a carrier oil to your pulse points for a mood inducer
• Ward off cold and flu germs by massaging essential oils into your feet, neck, chest, and ears
• Get rid of an ear infection by placing a cotton ball soaked in lavender and lemon oil at the opening of your ear.
• Rub clove oil onto your gums to ease the pain of a toothache (then call your dentist)
Q: Which essential oils invigorate and stimulate?
A: Peppermint oil, thyme oil, rosemary oil, pine oil, lemon oil, grapefruit oil, lime oil, orange oil, clary sage oil
Q: Which essential oils promote relaxation and restful sleep?
A: Lavender oil, rose oil, geranium oil, chamomile oil, vetiver oil, ylang-ylang oil, sandalwood oil, roman chamomile oil.
So, essential oils can be purchased or you can make your own. Whatever you choose I’m sure you can find a use for one or more essential oils!