Updated: Oct 9, 2018
After using essential oils for over 5 years, we are continually amazed at how extensively they can be used to therapeutically treat certain health conditions, clean, spice up cooking, or create simple home-made skin and beauty products. We use essential oils every single day, at home and at our studio. We love that they are natural, powerful, and don't contain no nasty chemicals.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils (EO’s) are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. You will have experienced these plant compounds already through the taste and aroma of food, or the smell fresh herbs, or simply walking through a eucalyptus forest, past a lavender bush, or maybe they are already in your cleaning or personal care products. Essential oils can lift the mood, calm the senses, and elicit powerful emotional responses. Many people think that essential oils are purely a lovely scent, but the use of essential oils goes well beyond their fragrant appeal.
EO’s have been used throughout history in many cultures for their health-promoting properties. They have been used for aromatherapy, personal care, health care, religious ceremonies, beauty treatments, and food preparation. EO’s are nothing new, but are rapidly increasing in popularity as science helps prove the profound health benefits of essential oils.
EO’s contain hundreds of different compounds, which provide complex and versatile abilities to combat threats without building up resistance. Their unique chemical structure allows them to deliver targeted benefits as they work with the body to address issues and root cause, on a cellular level. There are many studies on the efficacy of essential oils, and more people are turning towards them to support physical, mental and spiritual health. One of the nicest aspects of essential oil use is the ritual like intention and mindfulness it creates. Selecting, and applying an essential oil makes you present and focused, and empowers you to nurture your health.
Why You Should Consider Adding Essential Oils To Your Life
Cheap, non-invasive, and rewarding to use.
Lead a less toxic life
Natural cleaning products
Natural beauty, hair & skin care
Naturally support mood
Help balance hormones
Improve immune function
Natural flavour enhancers
Potent. 28 cups of peppermint tea = 1 drop EO
Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
You get what you pay for. There is a distinct difference in fragrance, and a therapeutic grade EO. When you buy a cheaper oil, you are often buying synthetic fragrance rather than the beneficial biologically active compounds from the plant. For example, can buy a cheap lavender essential oil for a few dollars in a discount shop or supermarket, but organic, therapeutic grade oils are completely different and cost around $30+.
If you are using essential oils, it’s important to use certified, pure, therapeutic grade (CPTG) oils that contain the plant derivatives they say they do. The certification process results in the product more expensive than those cheap essential oils you might find in a chemist or beauty salon. CPTG oils are safe to use internally for health benefits, or to apply directly into food or onto skin. Don’t go using a cheap chemist peppermint oil for your home-made peppermint chocolate as it’s probably laced with filler ingredients, or non-active herbal compounds.
The good stuff is harder to find in local shops, and we recommend using either the Doterra, or Young Living Brands which you can purchase worldwide. We use mostly Doterra oils, one of the leading brands on the market with an extensive range of oils, skincare, cleaning and health care products. Doterra sources predominantly organic plants and where possible plants grown in their habitat and global location, and is rigorously tested and certified for quality.
If you are looking to benefit from essential oils, here are some key factors to think about when purchasing them:
Ethics: Is the oil being ethically and sustainable sourced and harvested from the land and it’s native people.
Where are the plants grown and what season was it harvested in? Is the plant native to the region? or is it a eucalyptus tree grown in Africa? Watch out for ‘unknown origin.’ Plants need to harvested at the perfect moment when their biologically active compounds are most concentrated.
Is it the correct species of plant and the beneficial compound you are after? Often the expensive biologically active compounds are removed and purchased by high end companies, and the cheaper waste products are sold to the fragrance industry.
How is the essential oil extracted? Look for essential oils that are either cold-pressed or steam distilled rather than extracted with harsh solvents. Low-heat steam distillation circulates stream under pressure through plant material and the steam carries the aromatic compounds to a collection tube. Where the steam cools, the oil can be easily separated from the water. It’s a delicate balance between too little heat and pressure which will not release the valuable oil; too much can fracture an extract’s delicate chemical composition and alter potency. Expression or mechanical cold pressing is used to produce citrus essential oils, by squeezing the essential oil from the rind.
Has it been diluted or mixed with anything else? For purity, look for a 100% essential oil to ensure it hasn’t been diluted or adulterated.
You’ll get a higher standard of product when you go with an organic essential oil that is quality tested and CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.
3 Main Uses: Aromatic, Topical & Internal
CPTG Essential oils can be used in three main ways to get the health benefits. Cheaper oils may provide some aromatic benefits, but will not provide the therapeutic benefits from topical or internal use.
Aromatic use means smelling the oil to get therapeutic benefits. This may involves smelling an oil from the bottle, spritzing the air, or diffusing the oil in an ultrasonic diffuser. Please note that ‘burning’ an oil is not good essential oil practice as it damages the botanical compounds. We diffuse wild orange or peppermint in our studio to sanitize the air and increase clients mood and performance.
Topical use means applying the essential oil directly to skin. Some oils like oregano or thyme need to be diluted for topical use to avoid burning the skin. Applying peppermint to the stomach helps with digestion, lavender onto the skin to de-stress, or applying eucalyptus to a chest to ease congestion are good examples of topical use.
Internal use of oils can be done via a drop of oil in water, or on a teaspoon of coconut oil or honey, eating or drinking the oil, or by putting a few drops of oil inside an empty capsule to swallow. Internal use of essential oils is great for targeting parasites, enhancing digestion, or assisting detoxification.
Here are some of our favourite ways to use essential oils.
Whenever we feel illness coming on, we use essential oils like oregano, eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon, thyme, lemon or melaleuca, or blends of the above. Oregano has been deemed ‘natures anti biotic’, and these oils have high anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties. We either diffuse the oils, or take them inside an empty vegetable capsule, apply them to feet, or breathe them in via a tissue. In our experience our colds have cleared more rapidly, and we have noticed substantial differences in decreasing congestion and pain.
Peppermint, wintergreen and helichrysum oils are great for pain relief. Hot oils like cypress, cinnamon, or cassia can also be great to increase circulation and creating a warming sensation on the skin. We use the anti-inflammatory Doterra Ice Blue blend with clients in our studio.
Frankincense, helichrysum, sandalwood, myrrh and lavender oils are well regarded for optimising skin health. Frankincense helps with scarring, acne and skin tags or moles. Lavender is one of the best oils to use for sunburns, and diluting it with coconut oil quickly dissipates pain and reduces swelling and redness. You can take your pick of any essential oil you like that is safe to apply to your skin and it add it as natural fragrance to coconut oil for moisturising, or to a home-made sugar scrub or soaps.
Clove, cinnamon, lemon, melaleuca and of course peppermint are great oils for oral hygiene. You can buy ready-made toothpastes or make your own with coconut oil, bicarb soda and oils. Oil pulling with essential oils is particularly helpful for freshening breath and helping remove toxins, we use chocolate molds filled with coconut oil, bentonite clay and a drop of our chosen oil, for easy access oil pulling cubes.The Doterra peppermint bead breath fresheners are by far the most popular in our studio!
Adding citrus based oils like lemon, grapefruit, orange to salads adds a fresh twist, with a delightful bonus of additional therapeutic oil benefits. Peppermint or orange is great to add in home made chocolate. And any flavour can be added to water for a pick me up. When cooking with oils sometimes you will not even need a whole drop of oil, and a toothpick dipped in oil might be enough to blow your socks off with flavour.
We use a blend called thieves which is a combination of 1 part clove, 1 part lemon, 2.5 parts cinnamon, 2 parts eucalyptus and 2 parts rosemary. We diffuse it, add to water for spray cleaning, or as an anti-bacterial to clean our fitness studio with. You can also buy popular Doterra cleaning blend Onguard in handwash, toothpaste and cleaning concentrate. Lemon on it's own is great for cleaning bench tops, sticky labels, or oil off your hands.
Essential oils are a nicer alternative to perfumes and deodorants. One you barely need even a drop, two, it’s all natural and three you get great healing benefits!
Stress Reduction and Sleep
Essential oils are immensely uplifting and help trick our mind into believing we are out in nature. There was a study done that looked at the effect of Cypress oil on a group of men is a crowded hotel room. The essential oil was found to reduce cortisol hormone levels, and up-regulate the immune system! Wild Orange is a good oil to use to help with anxiety and of course the most famous essential oil Lavender is renowned for calming the mind. A little bit of Lavender on a pillow, or applied neat on the skin behind the ears, wrist or neck works wonders.
Essential oils are growing in popularity, and there is abundant research on the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of using them. Using the oils is quite intuitive, and will be guided by your own preferences and needs. If you want to remove toxic products from your home, upgrade your health, and enjoy some delicious smells it might be time to introduce essential oils into your lifestyle. We will warn you though, it’s addictive! Any question, let us know!