Rules for Using Essential Oils

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No joke, I probably have more than 18 little bottles of essential oils in my house. They are in every room, on top of the coffee table, on end tables, in the kitchen drawer, on my night-table, and in my purse.  One day I will make you a video and walk through my house and show you, lol! But for now, let’s go over the rules of using essential oils. There are basically 3 ways to use them. And it’s easy as ABC!

for Apply to skin.

B  for Breathe it in!
for Consume internally. 

A for Apply to skin.
You can dab it on your skin like I did when I applied tea tree oil to my rash. 
You can also squeeze a few drops of essential oil on a wet compress, either cold (or warm) and then apply the compress to your skin.  Another creative way to apply it is in lotion. You just put a few drops of essential oil into your lotion or cream and rub it on.  If you have  ylang ylang handy (often used on the skin) you can put it into a little oil or some lotion and apply to bald spots, some people claim it helps with hair growth.  (You can let me know).  
These are the best ways to apply essential oils to your skin.

B for Breathe it in!
The fastest way is to put a drop or two into your hands and rub them together, then cup your hands over your nose and inhale.  You can do that for instant calm if you have lavender around, or instant energy if you have wild orange or bergamot handy.  

Personally, I think the best way to infuse the air with essential oils is to put them into a diffuser, sometimes called an aromatizer. These will pass a continuous stream of scent through your room. I own these 3 aromatizers:
1. Now Foods Ultrasonic Diffuser
2. ZAQ Allay Litemist Aromatherapy Diffuser
3. Riverrock Essential Oil Diffuser by Deneve

Another way to breathe essential oils in is to put a few drops of a particular essential oil (for example eucalyptus) into a pot of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapors, but just be careful not to burn yourself. You might want to keep your eyes closed too.

C for  Consume internally.
You need to be 100% sure you can ingest an essential oil, don’t just do it. One of the best ways to enjoy an essential oil is to cook with it. For example, when I make pumpkin bread, I add 2 drops of essential oil of cinnamon to my recipe, and it tastes better.  During the dry summers of Colorado (which by the way is a dessert), I put 1 or 2 drops of essential oil of lemon in my ice water each day for a quick, refreshing pick-me-up.  Before we get to the cautions below, here’s an infographic I made for you which will help you decide what oils to use for your own personal needs.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.55.39 PM

Go Slow!
Essential oils are medicine. They have mood-altering benefits. For example, they can affect your hormones and your glands, they can affect your limbic system (all in a good way) but too much a good thing is bad too isn’t it?  So treat essential oils with respect, they have been around for centuries. If your diffuser says to add 3 drops of essential oil, they mean 3 drops, not 30!  Excellent results can be achieved by mixing oils, so if your aromatized says you can add 20 drops (total) then you can mix different ones until you get to 20 drops, it is NOT 20 drops of each. You know you are getting too much of an oil if it is too strong, or it burns your nose or eyes, or you get a headache. Speaking of burning your nose or eyes, I should warn you to be careful with peppermint. Let me talk more about peppermint since it’s among the most popular essential oils in the world.

Peppermint gives us menthol, which is in all sorts of products including popular muscle rubs.  Peppermint is a flagrant for candy and mints. As an essential oil, it is beneficial for headaches, and often applied to your temple region but if you get too close to your eyes, it may sting. Now, the big deal is how peppermint oil may influence the breakdown or metabolism of certain medications, including felodipine (Plendil) and simvastatin (Zocor). Atorvastatin may decrease the effectiveness of menthol (but clinically this is inconsequential).

Because compounds in peppermint oil inhibit your liver enzyme called “cytochrome P450” or CYP-450 it may increase the pharmacologic action of these drugs and lead to more adverse reactions. Another important fact about peppermint -specifically menthol- is that it might delay the absorption of caffeine so if you need a quick buzz and some energy, don’t dab the peppermint right before the coffee. If you’re ordering a Peppermint Latte, I wouldn’t be concerned, the peppermint they use is just a sugar-based syrup, it doesn’t actually have real peppermint oil in it so it’s not going to delay that beloved rush of brain fuel you are looking for 😉  While rare, there are some of you with transplants, and for good measure I’ll tell you that peppermint tea might reduce your cyclosporine levels, to what extent know one is sure.  Putting a drop of peppermint oil in your Christmas cookies will enhance the flavor, so put one (even 2 drops) in your batter before baking for a little extra zing.

Getting Started: What kind of oils?  

There are some good gift sets you can buy on Amazon nowadays, including 100% pure Basic Sampler which includes therapeutic grade oils from lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange and lemongrass. Or this Essential Oil beginners gift set which comes with essential oils of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Sweet Orange & Tea Tree. One of my favorites (a little pricey but absolutely incredible) is the Aromatic Alchemy Set by Naturopathica which comes with 4 different blends called: Chill, Inspire, Meditation and Re-boot.  If you do not wish to purchase the entire set of 4 oil blends, these are sold on Amazon as single bottles:

Chill: My personal fave, it contains sweet apple-like notes of Chamomile are blended with sparkling citrus notes of Lemon Verbena and Neroli Blossoms and then delicately layered with the hypnotic powers of Bee Balm to calm anxious thoughts, soothe frayed nerves or promote rest and relaxation.

Inspire: Balsam Fir needles, juicy Pink Grapefruit, Red Mandarin and mood-balancing St. John’s Wort.

Meditation: Sandalwood, Frankincense blended with grounding essences of Ginger, Clove, Cardamom & Sweet Orange.

Re-boot: Lemongrass and Peppermint energize the senses while Holy Basil, a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, is used to help increase the body’s resistance to stress.

I use all of these in my home, there are bottles everywhere. You can also nice buy oils at most local health food stores and of course online retailers. Let me know where you get the best prices (and best aromas) because my ‘bad habit’ of frankincense and bergamot is taking a toll 🙂
What is YOUR favorite essential oil and how do you USE it? Leave me a comment below in the thread.