The Essentials of Essential Oils

Nature has a hoard of benefits to offer us, many forgotten over the years, some rediscovered in recent times. One of nature’s finest gems, realized and adopted by many, is essential oils.

What is an essential oil and what’s its use?
An essential oil (EO) is basically the main essence of a plant. Technically, it’s a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing aroma from plants. Essential oils have a large array of uses from cosmetics, to support health, household cleaners, for food and drink, diffusing and massaging. Aromatherapy is a therapy based on holistic principles, using the application of these oils to improve overall health and well-being.

Which ones should I buy?
It can be quite daunting to figure out where to start your EO journey. Begin with starting a basic collection of a few single oils: tea tree, peppermint or wintergreen, frankincense, lavender, clove, geranium, lemon or orange, and lemongrass. Lavender is identified as the most versatile of all, known especially for being an excellent remedy for skin wounds as well as inducing sleep and relaxation, and is recommended by many.

Lavender is identified as the most versatile of all, known especially for being an excellent remedy for skin wounds as well as inducing sleep and relaxation, and is recommended by many.

How do I know it’s a good one?
Here are some ways you can figure out the purity of an essential oil:

  • Freezer test: Place an unopened bottle of essential oil in the freezer. A pure essential oil will not freeze.
  • Paper test: Put a drop of oil on a cotton paper. A good essential oil will leave a wet mark. If there is no mark, it means the EO has fillers.
  • Smell test: A good quality essential oil will maintain its scent.
  • Feel test: By touching the oil, you can figure out whether it’s of good quality if the oil is smooth and flows well. If it is oily and slick, it’s probably of poor quality.
  • Therapeutic action: A pure essential oil will have fairly quick therapeutic effects.

How to use it?
Essential oils can be diffused for inhalation using a diffuser (whether a nebulizing diffuser, ultrasonic diffuser, or evaporative diffuser) and can be used directly with other oils according to specific needs. Heating certain EOs can change their chemical compounds, so some people stick to cold-air diffusers to ensure their full effects.

EO blend for diffuser – bug repellent
Combine the following (along with water for a cold-air diffuser/follow your diffuser guidelines):
– 1 drop lemongrass essential oil
– 1 drop thyme essential oil
– 1 drop eucalyptus essential oil
– 1 drop basil essential oil

  • For massage or topical use, EOs can also be used after combining them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil (drying for certain skin types), grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, olive oil (stronger smelling) vitamin E, and pure aloe vera, among others. Most of these oils can be found in stores, some on imported product aisles or online, on Taobao for example. A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution (appropriate for most adults to use on a daily basis) is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each 30 ml of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion or other natural lipid/moisturizer.

EO massage blend – relaxes body & mind/sleep aid
Combine the following ingredients:
– 12 drops lavender essential oil
– 3 drops sandalwood essential oil
– 2 drops Chinese rose essential oil
– 1 drop orange essential oil
– 6 drops valerian essential oil
– Grapeseed oil as a carrier

  • Use essential oils safely and cautiously. Always check the packaging and guidelines and read up on your oils before you combine them or use them, and be extra vigilant around pregnant women, babies, children, the elderly and pets, as some oils and mixtures are not safe for use or should be diluted much more than to the 2% ratio. Don’t forget about allergies either.

Where can I learn more or refer to about EO?
Apps: EO Bar and LSP Pocket are both some good apps to use for essential oils.

For more information, please contact us at editor@heredg.com and we can point you in the right direction.