How Do I Use Essential Oils Safely?
Essential oils have many different uses. Some are used aromatically, some are used topically, and some are used internally. The recommended use for each essential oil is listed on its label. Essential oils can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends.
Essential oils have pleasant aromas that freshen the air, invoke memories, and create a welcoming environment. Essential oils labeled for aromatic use are very popular for these reasons.
Some scents may be described as uplifting or invigorating while others are considered calming. Diffusing is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. Diffusers that use cold air or water are ideal. However, using essential oils aromatically does not require any special diffusing devices.
You can achieve the same benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand that is then cupped around the nose as you breathe deeply.
Additional aromatic uses for Essential Oils include:
- Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
- Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
- Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
- Use in household surface cleaners
Essential oils labeled for topical use can also be applied different ways. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they are easily absorbed by the skin.
Using a light massage will increase absorption and improve distribution across the target area. Use of a carrier oil can also increase absorption, especially in skin that is dry or flaky as it helps moisturize the skin and slow evaporation of the oil.
To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin, it is advisable to use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) to dilute more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommended dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil.
Beneficial Areas You Can Apply Essential Oils
- Forehead and temples
- Chest and abdomen
- Arms, legs, bottom of feet
Other Effective Methods of Topical Application
- Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
- Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
- Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to skin
Sensitive Areas to be Avoided:
- Some facial areas, such as the skin around the eyes
- Eyes and inner ears
- Broken, damaged, or otherwise injured skin
Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used to flavour food and drinks. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh basil leaves to your spaghetti, you are actually consuming some volatile aromatic essential oil compounds.
Essential oils labeled for use in food can be taken internally in many ways. For example, you can add a drop to water as well as to favorite recipes.
Effective Methods of Internal Use
- Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
- Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
- For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
- Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
For all application methods, be sure to read and follow the labels for specific instructions and safety information.