Essential Oils: Meet Tea Tree

I first began using essential oils more than a decade ago, when my oldest was a wee little boy. Becoming a parent changes you.

I started thinking about my little one crawling across floors and licking coffee tables covered in toxic household cleaners. I knew there had to be a different way. . . a better way. That’s where essential oils came in, and tea tree was one of the first oils I purchased.

Melaleuca essential oil is widely known as tea tree oil. There can be some confusion because there is a company named Melaleuca that sells supplements and cleaning products, but today I want to share with you the wonderful uses of melaleuca alternifolia.

Legend has it that Australian soldiers were issued tea tree essential oil in their medical packs during World War II. There is, of course, no hard evidence to support this, but it speaks to the importance and power of this essential oil. Tea tree essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant. It is versatile and generally considered very gentle.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use tea tree essential oil!

Aromatically

Some people really dislike the smell of tea tree essential oil. To me, it means “clean” so I don’t mind it. The smell can be described as medicinal, woody, or herbaceous.

Immune Support

Tea tree essential oil is great for immune support. This blend is fantastic for promoting clear breathing. I like to put a towel as a “tent” over my head and breathe in very carefully. When finished, pour the water into the diffuser!

Topically

Topically, tea tree essential oil is great for skin health. It is cleansing and reuvenating, and is great to soothe and protect occasional skin irritations.

Over the years, one of my favorite uses for tea tree (aside from a drop in the toilet before I hit it with a scrub brush) is this hand cleanser. We use it when a sink is unavailable, or in public places such as the children’s museum. This hand cleanser can also be used across the sinuses to protect against seasonal threats.

To further support skin health, add a drop of tea tree to your lotion to apply after shaving. You can also use it after showering on fingernails and toenails to purify  them and keep nails looking healthy.

Lastly, tea tree can be used topically around the ear (never inside the ear) to reduce occasional ear pressure.

Cleaning

Tea tree has a very “clean” smell to me. A drop in the toilet bowl is great for getting rid of bathroom smells. You can also make this all purpose cleaner with tea tree essential oil.

Internally

Tea tree essential oil doesn’t have a great flavor, but it can be supportive to your immune system. One drop each of tea tree, lemon, oregano, and a protective blend in a veggie capsule, topped off with a carrier oil like olive oil, can be great for immune support. Please make sure to add a carrier oil to your homemade capsules to reduce the risk of mucous membrane irritation in your digestive system. I would also recommend eating a food with some healthy fat in it to further dilute the oils.

Tea tree essential oil also can be used as a mouth rinse. Pair it with peppermint for minty-fresh breath! Add a splash of vodka to an empty mouthwash bottle, then add 5 drops each tea tree and peppermint essential oils. Swirl to dissolve the oils in the alcohol. Add 1 tbsp Real Salt, 1/4 c xylitol, and fill with water. Use it as you would your regular mouth wash!

All in all, melaleuca essential oil is a very versatile oil, and is considered very gentle. It can be used with children as young as 6 months, with dilution of course (1 drop in 1 Tbsp for children under 2). As far as I know, melaleuca has few contraindications, and is a great asset to any budding aromatherpist’s stash!

What is your favorite use for tea tree essential oil?

Which oils do I recommend?

Essential oil safety and purity is vital when you are using essential oils to support your family’s lifestyle. I only use doTERRA’s essential oils because I believe in the safety, consistency, and purity of their oils.

You can purchase them here, or contact me to learn more or to receive a free sample.

The Ins and Outs of Carrier Oils {5 Common Carrier Oils and Their Uses}

We love using essential oils in our home. We use them to help manage emotional issues, clean our home, and for supporting our bodies in a variety of other ways.

The safest ways to use essential oils are topically and aromatically. When we talk about topical use of essential oils, you often will see people refer to a carrier oil. A carrier oil is used to dilute an essential oil.

Why Use a Carrier Oil?

Essential oils are powerful, up to 70x more powerful than when used as an herb, so they need to be used with care and appropriate dilution.

You will find some people arguing to use essential oils “neat”, or without dilution. Not only can this cause skin sensitization, but much of the oil is lost to evaporation and never even makes it onto your body or into the tissue. I recommend diluting essential oils to below 20% for adults, and below 10% for children. 1% – 2% for infants and toddlers, making sure the oils aren’t contraindicated for that age group.

Every drop of essential oil added to 1 tsp or 5mL of carrier oil will increase the dilution 1%. So if I’m using a 10mL roller ball, every 2 drops in that container will raise the dilution percentage 1%.

What is a Carrier Oil?

A carrier oil can be anything you use to dilute and disperse an essential oil. You can use anything with a lipid or fat base. Liquid oils such as jojoba, olive, and fractionated coconut oil will work well, and so will more solid choices like shea butter, lotion, or regular coconut oil.

Simply choose the carrier oil that is going to compliment the purpose of the essential oil application, or one that is convenient.

Here are 5 commonly used carrier oils and their benefits.

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Fractionated coconut oil, or FCO, probably one of the most common carrier oils. It is used frequently by massage therapists because it provides a non-greasy barrier that does not clog pores.

FCO is different than the coconut oil you might use for cooking. It is, as the name implies, a fraction of coconut oil. The medium chain fatty acid, lauric acid, is removed, leaving the other medium-chain fatty acids caprylic and capric acids. This process makes FCO stay liquid at room temperature.

Fractionated coconut oil is my “go-to” when filling roller ball containers and when diluting essential oil samples for friends and customers. Choose fractionated coconut oil especially for it’s anti-fungal properties and when you need a smooth gliding application.

Coconut Oil

Good old coconut oil is a great carrier oil. Coconut oil is antifungal, making it a great carrier oil to use to protect the skin. It also moisturizes deeply, which makes it a good choice for carrying essential oils down into the tissues.

Coconut oil solid below 76*F. It can be whipped into a more lotion-like state if desired, but it melts easily with the warmth of your body, so I often just leave it alone.

Some kinds of coconut oil are scentless (like Wildly Organic’s expeller pressed coconut oil), while others smell coconutty (like their raw cold pressed oil). Be aware of the scent profile when choosing coconut oil, but it is a great anti-fungal.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil has many benefits for our skin and body. It is, however, more expensive than most oils. Jojoba oil penetrates the skin easily, and is especially a good choice for more mature skin.

Jojoba is actually a liquid wax, and not a true oil. It’s structure closely resembles that of our skin’s natural sebum, and therefore works very well in harmony with the skin’s natural chemistry. It is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

Choose jojoba oil if you have aging skin, or have severely damaged skin.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is full of antioxidants, including vitamin E and polyphenols, and therefore helps to prevent premature aging of the skin. Vitamin E helps to protect against UV radiation as well.

Olive oil penetrates deeply into the skin to moisturize and cleanse the skin without clogging pores. Olive oil is a great choice for facial products and can even be used as an aftershave.

There have been a lot of adulterated olive oils on the market lately, so make sure you are getting pure olive oil to get the maximum benefit.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is a common oil to use in skincare products. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and E. Sweet almond oil is absorbed quickly by the skin, and doesn’t clog pores. Choose sweet almond oil when you need to soothe and hydrate your skin.

Five carrier oils. All incredible in their own right. So the next time you have an essential oil you need diluted, choose the carrier oil that’s right for you!

Which carrier oils have you tried? Which is your favorite?

Essential Oils: Meet Lemon

Have you ever peeled a lemon or squeezed a lemon wedge into your water? If so, you have probably experienced lemon essential oil. The essential oil is extracted from the rind, and that left over oily substance on your hands is exactly that. Cool huh?

Lemon essential oil is antidepressant, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, and invigorating. I just love the aroma of lemon essential oil. It is so fresh, like summer in a bottle! Lemon essential oil is extremely versatile, which is one reason why it’s a staple in our home.

Here are a few ways we use this fresh and brightening oil in our home!

Lemon is a great oil to have in your home, and can be used for boosting your immune system, lifting your mood, and cleaning your home. Now that’s versatility!

When using lemon or any other citrus oil to clean, but sure to spot test. Citrus oils will dissolve petrochemicals and plastics, so make sure to test it or check the materials in your home before you make a hole in your couch.

Aromatically

Lemon essential oil is fabulous when used aromatically. Lemon is clean and uplifting, and a scent that most people can agree on. As such, it’s a great choice!

Emotional Support

Lemon is such an uplifting aroma, I love using it in my home. Besides being energizing, lemon essential oil can help us to think and learn, increase our memory, and help us to reconnect with ourselves. Lemon is definitely an oil to keep in your arsenal!

Lemon essential oil is beneficial for our mood and emotional health. | Virginia George

Adding lemon and lavender to the diffuser is a great after school blend. Lavender can help to calm agitation and overwhelming emotions, while lemon will boost the mood in the room. A great combination, calm and happy!

Respiratory Support

Lemon, when used with lavender and peppermint is great for support the respiratory system during seasonal challenges. Simply add a drop or 2 of all three oils to a diffuser to help reduce respiratory inflammation and irritation.

Topically

Lemon essential oil is extracted from the rind, and can be phototoxic. This means it can increase sun irritation wen exposed to UV light. For this reason, you should avoid using lemon essential oil on your skin for at least 12 hours before going into the sun, if you have particularly burn-sensitive skin you may want to wait longer.

When using lemon essential oil topically, use it at a low dilution (less than 2%), or stay out of the sun for up to 48 hours.

Cleaning

Lemon essential oil is ah-maz-ing for cleaning. Not only will it leave your home smelling fresh and clean, it will polish your wood and leather, and help to remove sticky residues.

Use this recipe to clean your windows with lemon essential oil instead of products with harsh chemicals. | Virginia George

Replace your household window cleaners and furniture polish with a spray bottle and lemon essential oil!

We also like to use a hand cleanser made with lemon essential oil. We love and use these roller ball containers.

My favorite hand cleanser recipe using essential oils - fits in your pocket and is great for travel. Not only cleanses hands but supports the immune system as well! | Virginia George

This hand cleanser fits great in my pocket so when we go to the children’s museum or zoo, I can keep it in my pocket and use it on myself and with my kids. Bonus, the kids love the smell!

Internally

Lemon essential oil is nutritionally different than lemon juice, so they are not interchangeable. Essential oils should be used internally with care and caution.

Immune Support

Lemon essential oil is antiviral and antiseptic. Antiseptic means that it can be applied to live tissue to protect it and protect against infection.

Add a drop of lemon to a spoonful of honey to help soothe a scratchy throat.

Add the honey with lemon to your tea for a wonderful throat-soothing, immune boosting drink!

Detoxify

Lemon essential oil is a great detoxifier and antioxidant. Add a drop of lemon essential oil to a pinch of salt in a drinking glass, then fill with water and drink down right away in the morning.

Lemon essential oil is extremely versatile, and beneficial to our health in so many ways!

How do you use lemon essential oil in your life?

If you love learning about natural solutions for your family, and want to know more about how essential oils can support that, I invite you to join my Facebook Group! If you’re an essential oil expert we’d love to have you too! Come learn with us! | Virginia George

Which oils do I recommend?

Essential oil safety and purity is vital when you are using essential oils to support your family’s lifestyle. I only use doTERRA’s essential oils because I believe in the safety, consistency, and purity of their oils.

You can purchase them here, or contact me to learn more or to receive a free sample.

Essential Oils: Meet Peppermint

Peppermint is one of my favorite essential oils. If you stick around long, you will find that I have a lot of favorites! But truly, peppermint is one of them.

One of my favorite things about essential oils is their versatility. Essential oils aren’t like pharmaceuticals with one symptom, one treatment. Peppermint essential oil, and others, are useful on a variety of levels. Here are some common uses for peppermint, and some recipes we use in our home!

It should be noted that peppermint essential oil shouldn’t be used with infants. Studies have shown that peppermint, when inhaled by infants, may decrease their breathing to a dangerously low rate. Save the peppermint usage for kids older than 6.

Topically

Peppermint is great used topically in many ways. You should use peppermint diluted, because it can cause skin irritation for some. Also take caution to keep it away from your eyes or other sensitive areas. If it starts irritating your skin or eyes, be sure to rub a carrier oil on the area to dilute the oil.

Tension

Peppermint is great at relieving tension in sore muscles. Put a drop in some carrier oil and let the peppermint melt the discomfort away.

Peppermint is also useful for tension in one’s head. We like to blend peppermint with lavender in a roller ball container. Just apply it wherever you feel the discomfort. I apply it to my temples, because that’s where I feel it, while my husband and 9yo son feel their tension across their foreheads.

Digestion

Peppermint is great for aiding in digestion. Simply put a drop in some carrier oil and rub it on your stomach in a clockwise manner. Our food moves through our intestines in that way, so massaging the oil clockwise will further support digestion and movement through the intestines.

Aromatically

Peppermint oil smells amazing, and because of the high menthol content, it’s great at relieving congestion. Peppermint is also really great at helping create mental focus. I love using peppermint aromatically right away in the morning to get us moving, or any time I need to get some work done. It’s invigorating and just wonderful!

Git ‘Er Done Blend

This is one of my favorite blends of all time. I use this Git ‘Er Done blend whenever I’m feeling sluggish and I have to get some work done. The Wild Orange helps elevate mood, while the Peppermint wakes me up and gets me motivated.

We also like to diffuse a Respiratory Blend containing peppermint when people are congested. It contains laurel, peppermint, eucalyptus, melaleuca, lemon, ravensara, and cardamom essential oils.

Rodent Repellent

Mice don’t like the smell of peppermint, so both the herb and the essential oil are effective at repelling them. Simply place a couple drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls or scraps of fabric and place them where mice tend to get in. You’ll have to replace them every once in awhile, but it’s effective! You can use the herb as well.

Internally

Remember that one drop of peppermint essential oil contains what you would get out of 26 cups of peppermint tea! Essential oils are potent, and should be used internally with care.

Digestion

One of the biggest reasons, in my opinion, to use essential oils internally is for internal issues, like digestion. For some, massaging a drop of oil over the abdomen does amazing things for digestion. Some people, however, prefer to use their peppermint internally. Make sure to take it with a bit of fat to dilute it in your stomach.

Cooking

I’m not going to lie, peppermint tastes amazing. I don’t use oils very often in my cooking, but peppermint makes a killer addition to ice cream.

My new favorite is to add one drop to my cream or half and half before adding coffee to my cup. Just make sure you add the oil to the cream first, then add your coffee. The peppermint will mix in with the fat of the cream and be dispersed throughout your coffee rather than sitting on top. Delicious!

There you have it! A bunch of practical ways to use this very versatile oil.

What’s your favorite use for peppermint oil?

If you love learning about natural solutions for your family, and want to know more about how essential oils can support that, I invite you to join my Facebook Group! If you’re an essential oil expert we’d love to have you too! Come learn with us!

Which oils do I recommend?

Essential oil safety and purity is vital when you are using essential oils to support your family’s lifestyle. I only use doTERRA’s essential oils because I believe in the safety, consistency, and purity of their oils.

You can purchase them here, or contact me to learn more or to receive a free sample.

Topical Use of Essential Oils: Why and How To

How to use essential oils topically | Virginia George

Did you know…

  • Essential oils are estimated to be 50-70x more powerful than herbs
  • Some essential oils can pass through the blood-brain barrier
  • Essential oils work with our bodies to support wellness

We love using essential oils in our home for a wide variety of things from cleaning to emotional issues, and more. I love the versatility, and that I can use the same oil for supporting our immune systems when we’re sick and for cleaning my house. Or calming irritated skin and a tantruming toddler. Essential oils come to our rescue on a daily basis, for one reason or another.

There are 3 basic ways we use essential oils in our home: aromatically, topically, and internally. In this post we will look at how we can use oils topically.

To Dilute or Not to Dilute

Essential oils are extremely potent, as mentioned before they can be more than 50x more potent than the plant from which they are derived. For this reason, we need to use them cautiously.

Some people recommend using oils “neat”, or without dilution while others say essential oils should only be used diluted. Watch this quick video about the use of essential oils neat vs diluted.

Using Oils Neat

Oils like lavender, tea tree, or frankincense are often recommended to be used neat,or by applying them directly to the skin. Neat application is often recommended for quick use or on skin conditions.

There are a few concerns with using essential oils neat. The most basic is skin irritation. Before you use any oil, you can do a patch test to determine if it will cause skin irritation. Oils like oregano and clove should never be used neat, and citrus oils are known to cause phototoxicity (sensitivity to the sun for a few hours after use).

The second, and more concerning possibility, is sensitization.Sensitization occurs particularly with overuse of a particular oil, and is often irreversible. It can present as an irritating rash or burning sensation when applied. Sensitization is similar to an allergic reaction, and in the best case, the oil can be used again in a few years. Worst case, never again.

Dilute

As far as I’m concerned, diluting essential oils is really never a bad idea. You reduce your risk for sensitization, and per the video, adding your essential oil to a carrier is going to reduce evaporation so more of the oil might be used by your body. The added oil will also help to transport the oil further into your tissue, again maximizing the therapeutic use of the oil. And… let’s be honest, your oil will last longer.

Some tips on dilution:

Some oils are what we consider “hot”. Oregano, cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove are all hot oils. These oils can cause a burning sensation when put directly on the skin, and in some cases can cause irritation and even burn the skin. Hot oils should be diluted with another neutral oil, like olive oil, coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. {See a list of carrier oils here.}

I like to keep my dilutions under 10% for adults, 5% for children, and 1% or less for babies. Always read about safety of the particular oil before using with children and infants.

You should also never put an essential oil in your eyes or in your ears. In the instance that an essential oil begins to burn your skin or you get some in your eyes, never dilute with water. Consider the old saying, that oil and water don’t mix. Putting water in your eye to flush out an essential oil is only going to push the oil further into your tissue, rather than wash it out. Instead, flush the area with a carrier oil to dilute it. I can say with firsthand experience, that this works very quickly.

One of my favorite ways to have oils ready to use, is prediluted in a roller ball container. I ordered mine on Amazon. These also make it really simple for the kids to apply their own oils, and I can be sure they are diluted properly.

Where to Apply

Our skin is our largest organ, and is in place to protect our bodies from threats. It is our first line of defense, but it is also permeable. We have glands in our skin that can absorb what we put on it, so choosing our personal care products carefully is critical.

The condition of the skin largely affects absorption. “There are variations between individuals in the rate at which drugs are absorbed via the skin due to factors such as thickness of the stratum corneum, skin hydration, underlying skin diseases or injuries, ethnic differences, and body temperature.” (Source)

The dermis is the thickest layer of the skin at 3-5mm, and is the systemic “gateway” into our bodies. Since we have talked about a few places NOT to put our essential oils, let’s talk about a few places we CAN put our essential oils!

Affected Area

When it comes to some kind of acute condition or discomfort, oils can be put right on the place of discomfort. For example, when I twisted me knee, I rubbed a diluted anti-inflammatory and soothing blend right onto the sore knee to help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Sometimes there are more systemic or emotional reasons to be using an oil, in those cases, one of the following application sites.

Bottoms of the Feet

The bottoms of the feet are a really common place to use essential oils for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the soles of the feet and palms of the hand are less sensitive than other areas of the body. The skin is thicker there and less susceptible to irritation.

Secondly, there are a lot of nerve endings and pressure points. By applying an oil to the appropriate reflex point, the oil can make a bee-line to the affected area. Or that’s the theory. There is little empirical evidence out there regarding reflexology and aromatherapy combined, but that is to be expected with any natural remedy.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons by Stacy Simone
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Foot-massage-chart.jpg

Thirdly, it is commonly said the the pores on the bottom of the feet are larger than the pores in other parts of our bodies. There is a lot of confusing information out there, and it’s unclear if this is true. There are two different kinds of glands: sebaceous glands and sweat glands. The feet do not have sebaceous glands, only sweat glands. Some people say “oil and water don’t mix” so sweat glands would repel the oil. Others say that sebaceous glands would be more likely to block an essential oil, and as long as the body isn’t actively sweating, oils can be absorbed in this manner.

All I know is that anecdotally, people have benefited from using essential oils on their feet, and the skin is less sensitive, and therefore less likely to become irritated.

Back of the Neck

The back of the neck is another common choice for using essential oils. It’s close enough to the face that you can get some aromatic benefit, and it is also close to the brain stem. I often use essential oils and blends to affect mood in this manner.

Pulse Points

Behind the ears and on the wrists are common pulse points, and great places to apply your essential oils. Pulse points provide proximity to the bloodstream for quick effect. These points are also common sites to apply perfumes, and essential oils are a great alternative to conventional perfumes!

Belly Button

The belly button is an area I had never heard of using as an application site until a friend of mine told me about it. I have found little information to corroborate it, but there are a lot of nerve endings around the belly button, just as there are on the bottoms of the feet. For that reason, it makes sense.

Getting the Most Out of Your Oils

Using essential oils topically is a great way to address many issues, but the condition of your skin can greatly affect how much of that oil actually gets into your system. It is estimated that less than 50% (more likely much lower) of the oils you apply make it into your bloodstream. Here are a few tips for increasing the absorption rate.

  • Dilute. By using some kind of carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.) the essential oil is carried deeper into your skin, and less is lost to evaporation.
  • Cover. By covering the area where the essential oil was applied, less of the oil is lost to evaporation.
  • Heat. Using heat, such as a hot washcloth or a rice bag can help the essential oil travel into your body.

So now that you know how to use essential oils on your skin, which will you use first?

Do you have a favorite topical use of essential oils? Please leave any additional questions in the comments!

Internal Use of Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils Internally | Can you? Should you? Find balanced answers here. | Virginia George

There are 3 ways you can use essential oils: aromatically, topically, and internally. In this post we will look at how we can use oils internally.

The internal use of essential oils is a topic that explodes the interwebs with vehement debate. Whether you agree with the internal use of essential oils or not, it is one way to use them. In this post I am going to do my best to present both sides to the anti-internal usage of essential oils and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Anti-Internal Use

While internal use of essential oils is controversial, the fact that essential oils are very powerful is not. Essential oils are said to be 50 – 70x stronger than herbs. For example, one drop of peppermint oil gives you the therapeutic benefit of 26(ish) cups of peppermint tea.

While this can be a good thing for therapeutic use, it also means that they need to be used with care. The major arguments against the internal use of essential oils include:

  • Damage to the mucosal lining. Some essential oils can cause skin sensitivity, and therefore need to be used with a carrier oil or highly diluted. Consider these potent substances in direct contact with the mucous membranes in the digestive system, and there is a possibility of irritation. There has also been minimal research on what the long term effect of concentrated essential oils might be on gut permeability (leaky gut), or whether essential oils might disrupt the bacterial balance in the GI system.
  • Higher absorbtion rate, causing toxicity. I have read various reports that discuss exactly how much of an oil gets absorbed by the skin and enters the blood stream. One article suggests very little gets absorbed, another suggests as low as 4% and as much as 50%, depending on the oil. When used internally, however, it can be assumed that almost all of the oil is absorbed into the blood stream, making it a far more potent delivery method, possibly leading to toxicity. Also consider that essential oils are not regulated by the FDA and many “drug store brands” of oil may not be pure and haven’t been tested for internal use. Essential oils are often diluted or cut with other substances to decrease the cost of production.
  • Toxic oils. There are some oils that are toxic for internal use, regardless of your stance on general internal use. Oils like wintergreen, pine, parsley seed, and camphor are generally regarded as unsafe for internal consumption. There are a few others as well. Most cases of severe toxicity have come from high doses of certain eucalyptus species, wintergreen, or camphor essential oils.

Pro-Internal Use

I recently watched a video where she talked about essential oil quality. She said that we are looking at an industry where contamination and adulteration is not just possible, it is expected and assumed to be so, and that is largely the reasoning for avoiding internal use. She argues that when oils are pure and unadulterated they can be used internally.

Just as there are common arguments against internal use, there are common arguments for it.

  • Internal support. It makes sense that if one has an issue in their digestive system, that internal use would be effective in soothing it. For example, I have a periodic digestive trouble that can cause a great deal of discomfort. In the midst of such an episode I attempted to rub an oil externally on the area. It continued to trouble me, so I put one drop under my tongue, swished it around and swallowed. Within a minute or so the episode was over and I was able to continue with the day’s activities.
  • Weight management. Some essential oils can help to cleanse the body of toxins and free radicals that can slow the body’s systems down. They can support the normal self-detoxification functions of the cleansing organs (i.e. liver, kidneys), and help promote a healthy metabolism. These are all great reasons to use essential oils as part of a weight management program.

While essential oil toxicity is a real concern, oil ingestion proponents suggest the risks are hyped. AGORA is an international aromatherapy organization dedicated to non-commercial essential oil education. Their article “Toxicity Myths” does agreat job of breaking down the actual risk of toxicity.

There are numerous cases reported in toxicological literature regarding both serious (non-fatal) and fatal outcomes of essential oil ingestion in both children and adults. These cases are generally due to accidental ingestion by young children, attempts at creating abortions in past years and the use of essential oils for suicide attempts. There are more rare cases of toxic effects due to overly large doses of specific essential oils being “self-prescribed”, “prescribed” to children by parents or prescribed to clients by ill-informed therapists.

The article also states that when you look at the toxicity of an oil such as wintergreen, and really look at how much methyl salicylate is necessary to cause toxicity, it is unlikely that a conscientious essential oil user would ingest the required amount.

Make no mistake. Essential oil toxicity is a real concern. Cell membranes can become unstable, disrupting nerve function, and causing heart and respiratory distress. But with access to quality essential oils, the risk may not be as high as we previously believed.

My Thoughts

Of course, I can’t get out of this post without sharing at least a bit about what I think. For me, I have chosen to be selective and ingest some oils, sometimes.

These are the ways that I use essential oils internally.

  • Dilute in fat. Just as we dilute an oil on our skin with a carrier oil, I ingest my oil with another fat to dilute and distribute the oil in my digestive system to reduce the risk of irritation.
  • Distribute with salt. Alternatively, I will add the essential oil to a pinch of salt before adding the liquid. The oil sticks to the salt, and when it’s dissolved in a liquid it will carry the oil with it.
  • Put in a capsule. You can make your own “gelcaps” or capsules by purchasing some empty capsules, adding the essential oil along with a cooking oil, and swallow.

I also am cautious with using essential oils internally with my kids. Most of the time we use topical application, diluted, and also aromatic use (since it’s difficult to use oils topically without using them aromatically as well).

In the end, my recommendation is that you research the heck out of this topic, and make an informed decision. Don’t decide to ingest essential oils because someone said so. Isn’t the whole point of using essential oils to take back our power with our healthcare? So take back your power! Make a decision you can live with, and always be teachable.

What are your thoughts on essential oil ingestion? Do you think it’s safe?

How to Use Essential Oils Aromatically

Have you ever been somewhere and observed a familiar smell, and all of a sudden you were reminded of something from long ago?

When I was about 10, we were at our church’s “Harvest Party”, their alternative to Halloween. There was a game we played, it was a relay race. The first person had to run up to the table, and eat a cracker. The second, a banana, and so on. I don’t remember all the foods, but I remember the second to last person had to take a bite out of an onion slice, and the last person had to chug an entire can of Coca-Cola. When it was my turn, I had to eat a jar of peas baby food. It was years before the smell of peas didn’t make me want to gag.

Hopefully you have scent memories more pleasant than my peas baby food story, but most of us have smells that we love, because they evoke some kind of memory, emotion, or story. There is an entire field dedicated to studying scent, aromas, and how they affect our bodies. It is called aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a kind of medicine that uses plant materials, like essential oils, for the purpose of altering the mood, or one’s cognitive, psychological or physical wellbeing.

And it’s not a new practice. Aromatherapy dates back thousands of years. The Egyptians burned incense to honor their gods, and infused oils for use in religious ceremonies and mummification. Moses burned incense in the tabernacle as a symbol of the people’s prayers being sent to the heavens.

Aromatherapy was used long before the technology to distill essential oils was invented. In the present day, aromatherapists continue to prepare infusions and hydrosols with plants to treat various conditions, because scent and odor have a profound impact on both a person’s physiology and psychology. It’s truly fascinating.

Along with infusions and hydrosols, we can use essential oils in aromatherapy. The earliest recorded mention of the methods used to produce essential oils is believed to be that of Ibn al-Baitar (1188–1248), an Andalusian physician, pharmacist and chemist. Since then, the process has been refined and we are currently experiencing the highest quality essential oils the world has ever seen.

How to Use Essential Oils Aromatically | Virginia George

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

There are three ways we can use essential oils: aromatically, topically, and internally. Aromatherapy deals with using essential oils both aromatically and topically. Today we are going to learn more about using them aromatically.

Aromatic use of essential oils is generally regarded as the gentlest way to use them. It is also one of the simplest, and carries many benefits. It is the quickest way to change the mood in a room, and when using a diffuser it is also a great way to clean and purify the air.

Aroma Effects our Mood

You already know that certain smells remind you of things. The “hospital smell”. Freshly cut grass. Burning food. It’s likely that even thinking of those things brings some kind of feeling to your mind. This is because the olfactory nerves are linked directly to the central nervous system. Aroma is powerful.

Companies have invested in studies to find out whether fragrance can be used as a stress relief agent, and the Department of Nursing at Keukdong College in Korea studied the effect of lavender on sleep and depression.

Aroma Affects our Emotion

You might be asking, aren’t mood and emotions the same thing? Not necessarily. Your mood is your state or quality of feeling at a given time. Your emotion is a state of mind that often is derived from your mood. Emotions are subjective and more specific than moods.Essential oils can help to support one’s emotional wellbeing. The description of the book, “Emotions and Essential Oils” says the book “introduces essential oils as powerful emotional healers. This groundbreaking manual bridges the gap between the physical and emotional aspects of essential oils and creates a user-friendly guide for taking charge of emotional health.”

Something as simple as the ambient scent in a room can change the atmosphere. One study looked at the effect of lavender and orange essential oils in a dental office.

Aroma Affects our Memory

Our olfactory system is linked right into our central nervous system. It isn’t surprising then, that certain essential oils can be invigorating to our system, while others slow it down.

Aromas can have a powerful effect on both our mind and our bodies. | Virginia George

For years lavender has been marketed in sleepy time lotions and bath washes for infants. Lavender is a gentle oil and generally considered safe for use with children, and it also is calming. Another study looks at the cognitive performance of volunteers, comparing ylang ylang and peppermint.

Peppermint essential oil is energizing, and can affect alertness. I know when I’m alert, I remember things more clearly than when I’m sleepy. 

How to Use Oils Aromatically

Now you know why you might want to use essential oils aromatically, now let’s talk about practical ways to do that.

The key to successful use of essential oils is to make it easy and convenient. These are the main ways we use them in our home: with a diffuser, direct inhalation, and preparing spray bottles.

Diffuser

There are a lot of diffuser options on the market. The most important thing when choosing a diffuser, is to make sure it’s an ultrasonic diffuser. Ultrasonic diffusers are a great choice because they don’t use a lot of essential oil, and the oils are not denatured in the process.

Some diffusers use heat, which can destroy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. Ultrasonic diffusers use a small metal plate that vibrates quickly and breaks the oils down into tiny particles that say suspended in the air. Ultrasonic diffusers depend on the air current in the room to disperse the scent throughout the room.

Diffusers are a great way to not only change the mood, but to clean and purify the air. This is particularly handy in times of illness, or in the middle of a long winter or summer where you can’t open the windows for fresh air.

Here are a few of my favorite diffuser blends:

  • For Sleep: Vetiver and Serenity for calming and sound sleep, add Juniper Berry for disturbing dreams
  • For Working: Peppermint and Wild Orange for invigoration and positivity
  • For After School: Lemon and Lavender for calm positive moods

Direct Inhalation

Another way of using essential oils aromatically is to directly inhale the oil. You can simply open a bottle of oil and breathe it in right from the bottle. One of my favorite ways to directly inhale is to put a drop in the palm of my hands, rub them together, then cup my hands over my mouth and nose and breathe deeply. I like to inhale 5 times to get a quick change of mood.

One more way to use essential oils is kind of a hybrid between direct inhalation and diffusing. Simply warm a cup of water to boiling, and add a couple drops of essential oil. Put your face over the cup and breathe. If you are under the weather, a good recipe to use is sometimes called the “Breathy Cup of Stuff”.

Breathy Cup of Stuff

  • Oregano, Melaleuca, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils
  • Cup of boiling water in glass or ceramic mug

Add one drop each of Oregano, Melaleuca, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils to the water, and breathe in carefully. Especially that first breath, as oregano and peppermint oils are both very strong.

Sprays

Making your own sprays is a great way to use your oils. A couple drops of lavender in a bottle of water makes a great linen spray. Spraying your sheets before bed is a great way to smell the oils all night long.

Essential oils can also be used to make air fresheners instead of using commercial sprays. I keep a bottle in the bathroom for… fragrant events. Here is a great spray recipe.

Rosemary and Lavender Air Freshener

  • 10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2-4 oz distilled water

Place essential oils in a glass spray bottle and fill with distilled water. Shake before using. Spray any time you would use air freshener.

There are many ways to use essential oils aromatically, and endless oil combinations. Which will you try first?

Which aromatic use is your favorite? Which one is new to you?

Essential Oils: Meet Lavender

The other night my house smelled heavenly. Mmm… lavender. Lavender is one of my staple essential oils. I’m never out of it, or if I am it’s not for long. Lavender is such a versatile oil, you can use it on every member of your family for a wide range of applications

Lavender is a gentle oil, so some people contend that it can be used neat, or without dilution. I sometimes use it neat on skin conditions or if I don’t have a carrier oil handy, but most of the time I still use a carrier oil. I like that it makes my lavender go a little further, and it spreads easily.

Here is how we use lavender in our house.

Lavender for Bathtime

Lavender is soothing to the skin and to the mind. I love to add lavender to the bath. Between the magnesium in the epsom salt and lavender’s physical and emotional relaxing properties, a good 20 minute soak is divine!

Directions

Lavender essential oil is, in fact, an oil. Oil and water don’t mix, so in order to get your lavender oil to disperse throughout your bath rather than pool on top, mix a few drops of your essential oil into epsom salts. I like 1/4 c epsom salt, 1/4 c sea salt, 1 tsp baking soda, and a few drops of lavender. Dissolve, and enjoy!

Bonus tip: If you don’t soap off after your bath, your body will continue to absorb magnesium from the epsom salts!

Lavender for Skin

Lavender can help to balance your skin and soothe irritation. We like to put lavender on dry or chapped skin to help restore skin health. Perhaps my favorite application of lavender is to soothe irritation caused by minor burns. A drop of lavender 3 times is usually all I need to ease discomfort. Sometimes I add a little frankincense.

Lavender for Stress

Lavender and peppermint together are really amazing at easing stress. In our home, we apply it to the temples or forehead to relax tension (make sure to keep the peppermint away from the eyes!).We also use lavender to calm emotional stress in our home. When someone is having a difficult time managing their emotions, often times lavender will help to relax the mind and calm the emotions. Diffusing lavender and lemon together is one of my after school favorites!

Lavender for Bedtime

My kids love getting lavender oil on their chest before bed. I’m not sure if it’s actually the lavender they’re looking for, or the special attention of getting “bedtime lotion” smeared on by mom. Either way is fine with me.

I drop some lavender onto their hands and they rub it on the back of their neck over their brain stem, or onto their chest. The oil is then on their hands so if they sleep with their hands by their face, they will get the aromatic benefits of lavender while they sleep.

Another great way to use lavender to aid in sleep is to take a small glass spray bottle and fill it with water and a couple drops of lavender. Use this as a linen spray and spray your sheets and pillow case before bed to promote restful sleep, all night long!

Perhaps what I love best about using lavender with my family is connecting with my kids. I love that they are becoming empowered with natural solutions for their own health, both mental and physical.

If you’d like to get started on your journey to empowered wellness or learn about which oils I use, fill out the contact form below. I also invite you to join my Facebook group where we ask questions and learn about essential oils together!

I’m curious, what is your favorite use for lavender?

Which oils do you recommend?

Essential oil safety and purity is vital when you are using essential oils to support your family’s lifestyle. I only use doTERRA’s essential oils because I believe in the safety, consistency, and purity of their oils.

You can purchase them here, or contact me to learn more or to receive a free sample.