7 Essential Things to Know About Essential Oils
Has anyone ever told you to stop and smell the roses? It's actually more beneficial than you might realize. In fact, the different scents you breathe in can help with acne, insomnia, and even cramps!
Once people start recognizing the many benefits essential oils have to offer, sales started booming. The market is expected to hit $15 billion by 2026 as demand around the world continues to grow.
Despite their growing popularity, there's a lot of info people don't know about essential oils.
Curious? Keep reading for your essential oils 101! With this guide, you can learn everything you need to know before buying essential oils for yourself.
1. How They're Made Matters
First, what exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are harvested from plants by using a steaming or pressing process. The plant's flowers, leaves, bark, or fruit are pressed or steamed to produce oils. Then, we're able to gather the plant's essence to experience certain health benefits.
It can sometimes require several pounds of a single plant to produce a bottle of oil.
With that in mind, the process of creating essential oils is important. If it's created through a chemical process, it's not really an essential oil.
Instead, it's important to look for essential oils that are combined with carrier oils. Carrier oils help dilute the original plant oil. Without dilution, the essential oil's potency could cause skin irritation.
There are a few different carrier oils you might notice among different products. These can include coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and even olive oil. Sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil are sometimes used, too.
When learning how to choose essential oils for your own use, try to learn about their manufacturing process. It's also important to make sure you're not allergic to the carrier oil before use.
2. There Are Over 90 Types to Choose From
There are almost 100 different essential oils you can choose from. If you find an essential oil buying guide, make sure to research their potential health benefits.
To give you an idea of how the different scents can influence your mind and body, here's a quick sample:
- Sandalwood improves focus and can help calm the nerves
- Tea tree can boost your immunity and fight infections
- Jasmine is ideal for childbirth, libido, and depression
- Rose can ease anxiety and boost your mood
- Ylang-ylang treats nausea, headaches, and certain skin conditions
- Lavender can relieve stress and help you relax
- Peppermint is ideal for energy and digestion
- Chamomile promotes relaxation and might help you sleep
- Bergamot improves skin conditions and reduces stress
- Lemon can relieve headache, boost your mood, and aid digestion
Life Science Publishing offers a guide that lists 150 uses for essential oils if you want to explore more benefits.
3. People Utilize Essential Oils in Aromatherapy
As you read through this essential oils 101, you'll want to consider how you'll use your essential oils. One of the most common practices is aromatherapy.
Your body can absorb the plant chemicals (or "essence") from contact with the essential oil. Some people utilize heat to improve absorption. Others prefer inhaling their favorite oils and scents instead.
Aromatherapy usually involves breathing in essential oils. You can also use them in a soothing massage. If you're not interested in massages or aromatherapy, consider soaking in your favorite oil during a relaxing bath.
When you inhale the oil, it will stimulate parts of your limbic system. Your limbic system is the part of your brain that's responsible for regulating emotions and behaviors. It's also associated with long-term memory and your sense of smell.
That's why we associate many memories with certain scents! Breathing in a certain scent can trigger an old memory.
Your limbic system is also responsible for physiological functions like:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
With this in mind, many people argue that essential oils can have a physical effect. In fact, over 60% of adults are already using complementary medical treatments like aromatherapy to elevate anxiety.
However, there's not quite enough evidence to support this claim.
4. Don't Ingest Your Oils
It's important not to ingest essential oils. Instead, make sure to consult a health practitioner who is certified in medical aromatherapy. They'll let you know if it's safe to take an essential oil internally.
5. Know Which to Choose
Before you buy your first pack of essential oils, do your research. Here are a few tips you can use when buying essential oils.
First, take a look at the price. In many cases, the price will reflect the quality. A cheaper product is usually more diluted.
You also want to make sure the product wasn't cut with cheap ingredients. You can test your product by placing a drop on a piece of white paper. If there's a stain after 24 hours, it was cut using a carrier oil.
If it's pure, the stain will evaporate.
Make sure to buy organic essential oils. You should see the third-party certification on the label.
Look for products that are organic, unsprayed, chemical-free, pesticide-free, and wildcrafted.
6. Everyone Responds Differently
Before using essential oils, it's important to remain realistic. Not everyone experiences the same list of benefits after using essential oils. For example, your body might not feel relaxed when you breathe in lavender.
Don't believe everything you read online, either. Instead, remain realistic when you start using oils for the first time.
7. Take Care of Your Oils
Once you start using essential oils, it's important to know how to take care of them.
First, make sure your oils haven't gone bad. You can check by taking a quick sniff. Do they smell the way you expect them to?
If not, throw them out. Oils that go bad quickly include sweet orange, lime, lemon, and bergamot.
Next, try to keep your oils away from sunlight. Instead, keep them in a shaded, cool area.
It's also important not to wear oils while you're out in the sun. Some oils can increase the risk of sunburn.
Essential Oils 101: Essential Facts You Need to Know
Now that you're equipped with this essential oils 101 guide, what do you think? Are you ready to start using essential oils for yourself? Keep these tips in mind before you start shopping!
Explore the Health and Wellbeing section for more tips!