Getting Started with Essential Oils

What are essential oils?

Essential oils (EO’s) are opening up an entirely new world of scent and self-care for everyday people looking to enhance their overall daily experience. Essential oils are the volatile chemical constituents of plants, extracted for our use and consumption. Parts of the plant used in production may include the flower, blossom, seeds, bark, roots, fruit, stems, and leaves (Menkit, 2000). The essential oil of the plant is often extracted using a method of steam distillation. Citrus fruit extraction uses a method of cold pressing. Still, other extractions may include solvents.

How do I use them?

There are many creative and useful ways to integrate essential oils into your daily life. The most popular applications include topical application, oral ingestion, and inhalation. Choosing a few essential oils to incorporate into your everyday life is a manageable way to begin the journey. There are so many options when it comes to selecting essential oils, and it’s important to note that not all essential oils are created equal.

Where do I source them?

The sourcing of high-quality essential oils is possibly the most critical factor when deciding which oils to integrate into your life. While it’s tempting to purchase oils based on low prices, it’s important to source high-quality oils. Purchasing oils from reputable sources like an apothecary shop will offer a higher quality than purchasing oils from a mainstream grocery store. EO’s should always come stored in a cobalt blue or amber bottle, as exposure to light will affect the potency and overall quality of the oil.

How do I get started?

For the sake of clarity and ease, this article will explore three powerful and accessible essential oils. Lavender, peppermint, and lemon essential oils are three amazing essential oils for novice exploration. When purchasing essential oils, look for the Latin name of the oil printed next to the common name. Oils that do not provide a Latin name may be selling you a shoddy product. The Latin name will remove any confusion about the exact plant used for extraction.

Lavender, lavendula angustifolia,

Lavender is often considered the gateway essential oil. As a fragrance, lavender is a scent in almost every product imaginable. Lavender is known for it’s calming, relaxing, and sedative effects. However, not all lavender will produce these qualities. Inexpensive lavender that does not include a Latin name or lavender that goes by the Latin name lavendula intermedia is not pure. Hybrid derivatives are less expensive to grow and produce. They may smell sweeter, more floral, and produce energizing effects (Petersen, 2016). Pure lavender is known for it’s antibacterial, pain-relieving, and wound-healing effects. Try using pure lavender in replacement of triple antibiotic ointment the next time you experience a cut or burn. Lavender can be applied topically using a carrier oil like sweet almond, coconut, or grapeseed. Diffusing pure lavender in an oil diffuser is a beautiful pre-bedtime ritual. Be careful when applying lavender essential oil directly to the skin as it may produce mild skin irritation.

Peppermint, mentha x piperata,

Peppermint is a powerful oil to have on hand at all times of the year. Peppermint can be used to treat nausea and headaches by merely inhaling or diffusing it. Mixing peppermint with a carrier oil and rubbing on the temples, back of the neck, and belly can help alleviate symptoms. During the winter, peppermint can help relieve congestion. Inhale peppermint by adding a few drops to a hot bath, or an essential oil diffuser. To break up chest congestion, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a large ceramic bowl, add hot water and drape a towel over the back of the head to inhale the steam. Add a drop of peppermint to warm water for sipping to alleviate a sore throat. When using peppermint essential oil, be careful of irritation of the eyes, skin, and other mucous membranes.

Lemon, citrus limon,

Lemon can be used in a wide variety of ways. Use lemon essential oil can in cooking by adding a couple of drops to a chicken marinade. Use in cleaning products by adding lemon to vinegar for an all-natural surface cleaning spray. Add a drop or two to drinking water for a refreshing and uplifting beverage. Lemon blended with lavender creates a bright and calming diffused aroma. Blend with peppermint for an even more medicinal experience. Lemon essential oil is known as being phototoxic. Be cautious when applying topically and then exposing oneself to sunlight.
All essential oils should be used cautiously with children and pregnant women. Consider vulnerable populations when it comes to ingestion, topical application, and diffusion of essential oils. Ask your local apothecary professional before applying essential oils directly to the skin.

How can I get involved?

If you’re looking for an essential oil experience, join Kari on the 3rd Wednesday of every month for AROMAflow. This 75-minute class includes a mellow yoga flow in a tempered room. Ambient lighting and music set the mood for this relaxing, and enchanting experience.

yogaRIOT sells a variety of aromatherapy goods in the boutique. We carry aromatherapy bracelets, necklaces, and an essential oil starter pack that includes 5 mL each of lavender, peppermint, and lemon essential oils. We also make an in-house Cedar-Orange Pit Paste for $9 for 4 ounces that is made from simple, healthy ingredients.

References:

Menkit, Prince. (2000). Cooking with Essential Oils. Healthy and Natural Journal. Retrieved from: https://achs.instructure.com/courses/1811/pages/module-7-resources?module_item_id=205482

Petersen, D. (2016). Aromatherapy Materia Medica: Essential Oil Monographs. American College of Healthcare Sciences e-textbook.

Natural medicines. (2019). Lemon [monograph]. Retrieved from: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=545

Natural medicines. (2019). Lavender [monography]. Retrieved from: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=838

Natural medicines. (2019). Peppermint [monograph]. Retrieved from: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=705