Essential oils: a starter guide to crunchy life
Scenario: •You’ve been hearing holistic your friend rave about essential oils and all the things she has helped with them. After several months, you finally make an order and get a few of your own. You’re just starting your crunchy journey, so you don’t really know a lot yet. You dive right in with your toddler’s bath the day they come in the mail. Lavender, orange, eucalyptus and cinnamon all get dripped a few times into the bath because they smell fabulous! You drip a few drops straight into the bath...that should be plenty of dilution, right? You get the bath run and set up, and run to grab your 2 year old before that play date at the park...•
Stop. If you don’t know what four things were wrong with the previous scenario, read on to find out the basics of getting started with essential oils. (This is a 3 part series. I teamed up with Sara and Leah to do this informative series. Sara is writing about her top 5 oils at https://cleanlivingwithkids.com/top-5-essential-oils-every-household-should-have/ And Leah is discussing blends at http://freedomandcoffee.com/make-your-own-insect-repellent-perfume-cleaning-products-deodorant-and-more-for-pennies/ Make sure you check them all out!)
The world of oils is vast, and can provide great healing with useful tools to natural-minded people. But there are a few rules to follow as you get started. All oils fall into certain categories, and not all need to be used the same way, or on all people. Some are photoxic, some are only for certain ages, and some should not be applied directly to the skin. And dilution absolutely matters.
Essential oils are very potent. I was once told that one drop of orange essential oil is similar to the power of 50 oranges. I’m not sure if that exact comparison is true, but it gives you an idea in your mind how powerful they are. They combine the power of multiple pieces in to one mighty drop to give you magnificent healing power from nature. It’s truly remarkable once you learn to use them properly.
The very first thing to learn with oils is proper dilution. Water is not a viable carrier as it doesn’t mix with oils, thus allowing an essential oil to reach the skin in its full potency. They absolutely can be used in a bath, but they MUST be diluted with a carrier oil before adding them. A few examples of typical carrier oils are avocado oil, olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil. Most essential oil bottles will tell you how much to dilute, but a good way of thinking is every ounce of carrier oil should get no more than 3-4 drops of essential oil.
Second, some oils should never be applied to the skin unless HEAVILY diluted by a trained aromatherapist. I add that qualifier because while I have used some products with peppermint oil and cinnamon oil on my skin, I would hesitate to make my own, and definitely would not add it straight to a bath.
I mean, I have before. The above scenario was actually one I tried- not with all the same oils listed. But I did put cinnamon oil into a bath with my then one and two year olds. The result was little red spots all over their body that caused them some mild discomfort and completely unnecessary tears. The results aren’t lasting, but it’s an issue that is easily avoided. A few of the oils that can cause skin discomfort are:
-Basil -Benzoin -Birch -Black Pepper -Cassia -Cinnamon -Clove -Ginger -Lemon -Lemongrass -Oregano -Peppermint -Pimento Berry -Pine -Wintergreen
These are better oils to use in a diffuser. If you don’t have one, get one here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N7IZ4BZ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01N7IZ4BZ&linkCode=as2&tag=deepsouthcrun-20&linkId=31da304a1b90cf6bcdef15af516e5aa5
Furthermore, some oils are phototoxic. That means, you should take caution before going into the sun after using them. Blistering of the skin is a definite risk, and should be taken very seriously. While it is mostly citrus oils that cause this issue, there are others that can as well. Here are just some of them:
-Orange -Lemon -Lime -Grapefruit -Mandarin -Tangerine -Bergamot -Cumin -Angelica -Dill
Lastly, If you have littles, take heed that not all essential oils are kid safe. Some cannot be used on children under two, some cannot be used on children under 6, and others cannot be used on children under 10. Oils like eucalyptus are not to be used on children under 10 as it has risk of causing respiration issues. Some are regarded as safe for children in most places while select few say it is not. I knew a girl once who had been exposed too much to cinnamon oil as a child when her mother was new to oils and was told to diffuse a certain health blend every day, and now the mere smell of it causes her problems. Before hearing of her, I had never heard that cinnamon may not be kid safe. However after further research, I found that while cinnamon leaf is safe, cinnamon bark is not. While her reaction is not a common occurrence, it needs to be noted that it CAN happen. Definitely do your research before using any around your children. A few kid safe oils I love are:
If you are looking for a good brand that you can trust for purity, my personal preference is GoDesana Organics. Check them out for yourself and tell me what you think.
But whatever you do, definitely don’t trust these. Even though they sound manly, I’m not so sure they qualify as essential oils.
What are your favorite oils?
*none of the lists included in this blog are extensive lists. Please research before you try new oils.
**I make commission on any qualifying purchases from the links in these posts.
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