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Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Things You Should Know About Essential Oils

Essential oils are not really oils. They do not contain the fatty acids that constitute what we would consider as actual oil. We can define them as “highly concentrated plant constituents possessing medicinal, cosmetic qualities and other qualities.” Well known are they also for specific scent, highly related to species they come from.

Most essential oils are high in antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties: This makes them an excellent addition to different preparations. For instance: oils that are best for cleaning are: Lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and rosemary.

Essential oils are miniscule in molecular size, which means they are absorbed well by the skin – making them perfect ingredients in personal care items intended to heal, soften, and nourish.

Scientific studies have shown that rosemary essential oil helps your brain perform. Specifically, smelling rosemary essential oil helps memory recall and performance on tests.

Essential oils are wholly natural and cannot be patented. This limits our scientific knowledge of essential oils GREATLY, and the majority of what we know about them comes of trough thousands of years of personal use and experimentation.

Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil. In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4000 kg of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 kg of essential oil. Other plants like lavender only take 100 kg of plant material to produce a kg of essential oil.  

Most essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Instead, they should be combined with “real” oils (called carrier oils), waxes, butters, alcohols, or other diluting measures. If you don’t dilute, you may end up with an unfortunate reaction (and unhappy skin).

To test if you’re sensitive to an essential oil (which is probably best to do before using it in a skincare preparation): Combine one drop of essential oil with 1/2 tsp carrier oil (like olive, jojoba, or sweet almond). Rub this on the inside, upper portion of your arm and wait a few hours. If no redness or itching develops, you’re most likely not sensitive to that essential oil.

Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children – and avoid contact with your eyes.This is just standard safety precautions, but must be mentioned.

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To test your essential oil to see how “pure” it is, put a single drop of it on a piece of construction paper. If it evaporates quickly and leaves no noticeable ring, it is pure. If you have a ring left, then it is likely diluted by the manufacturer with an oil of some sort (this test will not work for myrrh, patchouli, and absolutes).

Essential oils will last for at least 5 years (if not 10), so one bottle could literally last you a decade. Hopefully that thought will help mitigate the cost involved in purchasing some essential oils. Because they are SO concentrated and only a tiny amount is needed in anything you do, they’ll last you a very, very long time. The only exception to this rule is citrus oils, which will see a reduction in potency after a year or two.

Store your essential oils in dark glass bottles (which they were probably packaged in) and out of direct sunlight. This is simply to help preserve their potency.

USE ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP YOUR MOOD. Lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, chamomile, lemon, ylang-ylang all help produce happy, joyous moods. Clary sage helps with PMS (although there have been reports that overuse of clary sage can lead to intoxication). Rosemary increases focus and concentration.

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The recommended usage of many essential oils is hotly contested throughout the aromatherapy profession. The majority of oils you find in the supermarket are absolutely safe (though you should research them before using them); however, once you start digging into the world of essential oils, you’ll find that professionals – even within the same organization – debate extensively over the use of certain oils. If you’re ever unsure about oil or its use, do the research you can, and if you still cannot make up your mind as to its safety – avoid it. But, by all means, do NOT be afraid of essential oils. Just use them with care and respect, and all will be fine.

 

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