The Essentials of Essential Oils

As previously discussed, herbs, flowers, spices, and shrubs and their essential oils have been used for centuries to treat various ailments. Used in the proper form, administered by a knowledgeable herbalist, maladies of all types have been relieved or even cured by essential oils. In deed, these oils are used to treat just about everything that modern day drugs do.

Of course, as with any drug, they can also be dangerous, therefore ingestion should only be attempted under the care of a knowledgeable professional. Before you begin using essential oils for any treatment you should make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable dealer, that their oils are of the highest quality, and that you are fully informed of any potential adverse interactions. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should only be used either diluted, or by the drop. Prior to use you should always perform a patch test. That is, use a very small amount of the oil on a small patch of skin and check fro irritation. If irritation occurs, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water . You can then try again with a more diluted version or simply not use at all. Some oils, mainly the citrus family and cassia (which is cinnamon bark) are to be used with the utmost of caution. While cinnamon bark is beneficial as a skin conditioner and an anti-inflammatory, it can also be very irritating to the skin. Therefore the amount used in any skin care recipe becomes very critical. An inexperienced bath and body creator may be inclined, which would be a huge mistake, of adding essential oils to scent, when they should be added for their benefit first and foremost! Whether adding for benefit or scent the creator must be cognizant of the essential oil to dilutant ratio. The safest recipes and most effective aromatherapy formulas are blended at a 2 1/2% concentration rate. This means that there will be 15 drops or less of essential oil per quart or liter of carrier oil. If you have seen the cost of some essential oils, this fact is actually a small plus!

While here, this may be a good time to mention that essential oils can be very pricey. You do not want to skimp and get the cheap one just because it is cheap. To illustrate my point take lavender for exampkle. Lavender comes in a mix called 40/42. It is a mixture of lavenders (Lavendula spp.), largely from Spain, that is steam distilled. One of the plusses for it is that is the least expensive lavender essential oil (eo) that you can buy. It is also the most floral smelling lavender, and the most consistantly lavender smelling one. Most people think of this scent when they think of lavender, because of this, it is often the lavender of choice for soaps, candles, perfumes and cosmetics. The issue, however, is that it is also the least therapeutic of lavender essential oils. So if you are looking for the therapeutic value found in lavender EO, you need to look for lavendula latifolia aka spike lavender, which is actually used in some pharmacutical applications, or lavendula angustifolia, aka Bulgarian lavender which is the prized lavender for perfumery. So, if you are making something that you just want to smell like lavender, buy all means use the 40/42. But, if you are counting on the therapeutic benefits to work, or marketing your products as theapeutic grade or aromatherapy quality, you will need to purchase the more expensive types. In this instance you will get what you pay for. By the same token, your favorite organic bath and body product maker may be using the 40/42 to save themselves money. In this instance you will be the one cheated out of the therapeutic benefits of lavender. If the bath and body maker is not knowledgeable, and sadly many are not, they will think they are saving money and making a sound business decision, when in fact, they are negating the main reason for their product. When you are in doubt, read their product descriptions and their company biography. Ask questions. Know what you are making and know what you are buying! At Unique Garden Essences, , I only use the highest queality, therapeutic grade, mostly food safe, essential oils. I believe in the healing powers of natural plants and once you experience them you will too!

While I certainly do not consider myself to be qualified to offer instruction on ingestion of oils, after many years of study, I can help you to navigate the what oil is for what path. There are many oils and some are more recognizable than others, but all can easily be found on line and from many health food stores. Additionally, many craft supply shops are now offering essential oils also. You should always start with a small bottle if you cannot sniff before you buy, so you won't be saddled with something that is not what you had in mind. You do need to understand though, that EO's are highly concentrated and that means they are stronger that you are use to. Also, if you are making a blend to treat a specific ailment, the scent is not what you should be focused on anyway. These next few posts will detail many of the EO's and what their uses and properties are. Remember that some properties can only be accessed by inhalation, some by dermal application, and some by ingestion. Of course some can also be accessed by multiple methods, this is just an overview for general knowledge.

*The majority of this post has been deleted due to my impending book


-Ajowan EO is from India and is a lot like thyme, with a herbacious, spicy scent.

-Allspice ... It is a powerful, spicy, sweet and warm fragrance. I.... Its use should be avoided during pregnancy.

-Amyris .... has a musty, warm, woodsy scent. 

-Angelica Root or Seed ..... It has a sharp, almost biting scent of green stems with peppery overtones. ....This is NOT to be used during pregnancy or by diabetics. Some materials I have read say that the seed oil users should avoid sun exposure, but not all sources noted this. Since I am not sure of the accuracy of this statement, I would error on the side of caution.

-Anniseed ... has a warm, sweet, spicy and licorice like scent. ..... acts as a narcotic and slows down circulation in large quantities, which can lead to cerebral disorers. It should NOT be used during pregnancy.


BlossomingTree said...

Great post. Looking forward to more.:)

Unique Garden said...

Hang in there, there are a lot to get through!