Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

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Essential oil bottles with lavender

What is an essential oil?

Love the smell of roses, lavender or even a freshly peeled orange? Then you’ve experienced one of the great qualities of essential oils, their aromatic compounds. These olfactory wonders come from various parts of the plant, including the seed, flower, fruit, leaves, bark, branch, resin stalk and even the roots. The use of essential oils goes back thousands of years including for skin care and perfume.

Not Just Another Pretty Scent

Very concentrated, essential oils are generally created through a process of distillation. When inhaled, they stimulate the olfactory senses and also interact with the respiratory system and brain, especially that part of the brain called the limbic system. Made up of several parts, the limbic system is in charge of emotions and memory. This is why smelling certain essential oils, or aromatherapy, may help improve your mood and heighten your sense of wellbeing. They can be used as simply as putting a drop or two of the oil on a cotton ball and setting it on your desk!

Smooth on to Sooth

Your skin is somewhat permeable, allowing essential oils to be absorbed into your system. When applied topically in a carrier oil or lotion, the benefits of essential oils can cover a wider area and the effects will be localized. Always mix the essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut or sweet-almond oil. It is best to exercise caution by starting with one drop of essential oil to two teaspoons of a carrier oil and test it on a small area like your forearm.

Not Just for You

Essential oils can be used to create cleaning and beauty products, as well as homemade bug spray. You can also use them in a diffuser for a natural air cleanser. Check out these diffuser blends and our DIY cleaning products for a fresh and easy place to begin using essential oils in your world.

Did you know?

The term aromatherapy was coined by French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1928.