Essential Oils 101

Échantillons Ylang Ylang Nosy be
Alternative medicine and homeopathy has always been an interest of mine but I’ve never taken it beyond being interested. Last spring I started looking into essential oils. Over the summer I purchased my first oils and now fully understand their value.

I did a lot of research before using essential oils. There is so much out there on the internet that it can be overwhelming. Opinions about oils vary from extremes saying you should always use them to never using them under any circumstance. Both are equally valid and passionate.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share my opinions about essential oils, including whether brand matters, a testimony about why I believe they work, uses around the household, and some things to be cautious about.

Before I go into all of that, I wanted to share some basic facts about essential oils. My primary source of information is from the Essential Oils: Desk Reference Fourth Edition (2007) by Essential Science Publishers although I have some other internet sources that I will link as needed.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential Oils come from a plant. The oils are gathered through a distillation process of pressing, steaming hot or cold, or creating a solvent. It depends on the plant and the company that is manufacturing the oil on how it is processed.

Despite their name, essential oils should not be oily and are highly concentrated. One drop of essential oil can be the same as drinking between 28 and 75 cups of herbal tea! It is vital that you are careful with their usages and it is not a substance to take lightly.

They are a chemical

Essential oils are a chemical and should be treated as such. Just as you wouldn’t walk into your high school chemistry lab and start randomly mixing substances, you shouldn’t do the same with essential oils.

Before mixing oils, do research and come to an understanding on how the oils work. I get most of my recipes from the Essential Oils: Desk Reference. It is a trusted source that I have come to love. If you do not have a source like that, there are lots of recipes on the internet and lots of places to get good advice.

I do not have one webpage that I trust above all others. When I’m looking for a new blend that is not in my book, I google it and look at several different pages. I see if the recipes are the same. If not, I look at how they differ and make an educated judgement on which is the best mixture to use.

Essential Oils are Medicine

Too often people are under the impression if they are using herbal supplements or essential oils that it doesn’t count as a medicine when they go to the doctor. That is the farthest thing from the truth.

Essential Oils are an unregulated drug. They can heal, create relief and help you feel better in every way from physical to emotional. They can also cause harm, rashes, internal damage, side effects, and affect how your other medications work.

If you are taking any prescription, please make your doctor aware if you are also using essential oils. Not all doctors who practice modern medicine are against homeopathy and essential oils. If you find yourself in the hospital and have been using essential oils or herbal substances recently, please tell the doctors. Those harmless herbs can affect the treatments the doctors use.

Find the balance

I think essential oils are valuable and I hope to share my reasons in an easy to understand way over the next few weeks.

I also think modern medicine has its place. I wouldn’t treat a heart attack or appendicitis with essential oils. I want a doctor to see me and do surgery if necessary.

At the same time, I have personally seen how much more effective essential oils can be than traditional treatments in some cases. I will share that story in a couple weeks. For now, I will say they saved my family thousands of dollars, kept my husband from needing surgery, and most likely also saved his job.

The key is finding the balance.

When are essential oils useful, and when should you go to the doctor?

That isn’t an easy answer, or the same for each person. It depends on you, your family, your situation, and what you feel most comfortable with.

For me and my family, essential oils are the front line. They are becoming our topical treatments for pain relief. They have helped with depression. By the end of October, I will hopefully have the right oils to get us through the cold and flu season. I would rather use essential oils than Tylenol Cold and Sinus.

However, if I find essential oils are not working, I will turn to modern medicine. I am not giving up on Tylenol or Motrin when the headache is so bad I cannot function and essential oils are not working. I will turn to modern medicine whenever I have anything severe enough that I cannot handle it on my own. I will happily drive to the doctor if I think one of my family members has a broken or sprained bone or needs surgery.

Essential Oils are not a cure-all, fix-all kind of thing.

They are one more tool in my medicine cabinet to be used as needed.

Hopefully this helps some of you who are debating whether to try essential oils or not. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to share my journey into essential oils.

Have you ever used essential oils? Leave me a comment and let me know what you tried. Did it work?



Shared on:

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So Much at Home

Whatever Wednesday

Wake up Wednesday

Home Matters Linky Party

Friendship Friday


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ellenlandreth
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 09:13:27

    Glad you are doing this. I have had no idea what these were all about so I will be following what you have to say. Makes sense thus far. Thank you.



  2. Heather
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 14:38:46

    Thank you Crystal! This answered so many of my questions! I’m not sure I could get my husband to buy into using them. I’m not sure I’m convinced either, but I understand them much better after reading your post!



    • Crystal
      Sep 18, 2014 @ 07:33:47

      Glad I could answer some. I’m not here to convince you to try them. For me, the key is to remember they are medicine. Used properly, traditional medicine works, vitamins work, herbs work, and so can essential oils. After I began my journey, I have noticed essential oils in some of my everyday things I already used. I have an icy-hot type cream that I put on my husband before work so he doesn’t smell like peppermint and flowers while walking out the door but still gets some pain relief in the mornings. It is store bought but contains a mixture of oils. For us, they are simply one more tool.



  3. Denise
    Sep 17, 2014 @ 12:20:41

    Peppermint oil is one of the few things that has helped my Nausuea. The aroma. I keep a cotton ball with a drop in a filigree heart locket to sniff as needed.
    I have used peppermint oil on the soles of my son’s feet and nap of neck to help bring down a very high fever, when medicines ans showers weren’t.
    Lavender oil is one I do not care for the smell of. I have, with others, sojgrens which causes the corners of my mouth to crack, bleed and eating difficult. No lip balm I had tried helped. I exemplified up yet another, this one more on novelty. When I opened it I could smell the lavender. Sure enough it’s an ingredient. It is the only lip balm that has helped.



  4. Kristen from The Road to Domestication
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 09:05:33

    Fantastic information here, thank you! And thanks for linking up at the #homematters linky party! We hope to see you again this coming Wednesday!



  5. Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 10:53:07

    I keep wanting to get into essential oils….thanks for giving me some more to read and learn from!!

    Thanks for sharing on #WhateverWednesday



  6. Trackback: Essential Oils: Why I'm a Believer (testimony) « Living in Green Grass Living in Green Grass

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