Beginning to use essential oils is the start of an incredible aromatic journey. I created AromaWeb over 20 years ago because essential oils played a highly beneficial role in my life and I was (and still am!) eager to share insight into the safe and effective use of essential oils. Below are several important aromatherapy tips for beginners and those that are new to using essential oils.
A 2014 systematic review conducted at the University of Minnesota evaluated 15 quantitative studies, including 11 randomized controlled trials that examined the effects of essential oils on sleep. Researchers found that a majority of the study findings suggest a positive effect of oils on sleep deprivation and disturbances. Lavender oil was the most frequently studied oil and of all evaluated studies, no adverse events were reported. (20)
A pilot study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that the use of aromatherapy as a complementary therapy helped to reduce anxiety and depression scales in postpartum women. Women between zero and 18 months postpartum were divided into either a treatment group that inhaled a blend of rose and lavender oils or a control group that didn’t receive any type of aromatherapy. After four weeks, the women using aromatherapy had significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms compared to those in the control group. (12)
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that help to boost your immune system and fight infections. The chemical substances found in the oils, such as terpenes, esters, phenolics, ethers and ketones, have the potential to fight foreign pathogens that can threaten your health. Some of the best essential oils for your immunity include oregano, myrrh, ginger, lemon, eucalyptus, frankincense, peppermint (or Mentha piperita) and cinnamon.
Some oils, such as clary sage, geranium and thyme, help to balance out estrogen and progesterone levels in your body, which can improve conditions like infertility and PCOS, as well as PMS and menopause symptoms. A 2017 published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters indicates that geranium and rose have the ability to influence the salivary concentration of estrogen in women. This may be helpful for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms that are caused by declining levels of estrogen secretion. (2)
DO: Read as much as you can about aromatherapy. It is very easy to get started with aromatherapy, but there are safety issues that you need to be aware of. AromaWeb offers safety tips and information to help you on your way, but you are wise to read even further on the important subject of essential oil safety. Visit the Book Shelf for categorized essential oil book reviews.
Whilst this can seem confusing, the best advice for oil selection is to test which scents you like the smell of, because the ones your body needs tend to show themselves as the ones you like! This can change daily depending on your healing needs at the time. On our website, you can read a description of the scent and learn more about the properties of the oils and their therapeutic effects. Check out the ‘Safety Notes’ before you use them and check with your GP if you are pregnant or have more serious conditions such as epilepsy or blood pressure problems.
Before we talk about where I buy my essential oils, I think it’s important to discuss two terms often used in the buying controversy: “therapeutic grade” and “certified pure therapeutic grade”. It’s important to note that there is no agency that regulates these terms, rather they are made up by the essential oil industry. Don’t let these terms fool you or effect your buying.
Hey Karen, There’s so much information on essential oils and much of it comes from MLM companies looking to sell lots of oils (much like Avon). These companies work on a commission basis and encourage reps to push information that’s not always safe or studied. I think much of the information on ingesting oils comes from these companies and sellers. I wouldn’t advise ingesting oils unless under the care of a natural doctor that knows what they are doing. One of the best sources for all-things essential oil safety is this independent site run by a certified aromatherapist: http://www.learningabouteos.com/. Plant Therapy also provides great information on their blog. Hope that helps :).
Some Essential Oils work best when they’re massaged directly onto the skin. For example, you can ease headache pain by rubbing one drop of neat Lavender Essential Oil onto your temples. Always use a base oil (like olive oil, safflower oil, or any other vegetable oil), and add a couple drops to that before applying to your skin. The only exceptions are Lavender and Tea Tree oil, which can be applied undiluted, if desired.
With neuroprotective effects and cognitive performance boosting abilities, essential oil benefits have helped many people who are suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In a scientific review published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers found that because essential oils possess powerful antioxidants that work to inhibit free radical scavenging, they help to naturally improve brain function and reduce inflammation.
Also, you would want the oils to be pressed out at lower temperatures since that saves the good properties of the plants. These sort of essential oils are more expensive too. You should really just dig deeper and see what works for you money wise. Obviously, doTERRA and Young Living essential oils are known for the high quality but they’re expensive. Although, some essential oils are cheaper than the others, so definitely look into that!
^ Baggoley C (2015). "Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance" (PDF). Australian Government – Department of Health. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2015. Lay summary – Gavura, S. Australian review finds no benefit to 17 natural therapies. Science-Based Medicine (19 November 2015).
Aromatically – this may be the most well know way to use essential oils. Through a diffuser you’re able to fill the air with the essence of that essential oil allowing it to get into your lungs and therefore you’re blood stream. Be sure to look at your diffuser to get the correct water to oil ratio. Even if you don’t have a diffuser you could simply take a few drops from the bottle into the palm of your hands. Cup your hands around your mouth and nose and take deep breaths in of the oil.
Peppermint is a very recognizable scent, after all they make gum that smells like peppermint. But Peppermint is so much more than just a nostalgic, fresh aroma. This oil can be diffused to create a stimulating, focused atmosphere for daily tasks. You can also apply it topically to create a cool, tingling sensation on the skin, which can be very soothing after hard physical activity. Peppermint can help relieve headaches, curb appetite, settle an upset tummy and is great for an afternoon pick me up.
Because a little bit of oil goes a very long way, a starter set of oils lasts months (if not longer) in our house. It’s a good thing the shelf life of oils is around 1-2 years. One of my favorite sets that includes seven basic oils and seven synergy blends is the “14 Essential Oil Set” from Plant Therapy. This set contains the majority of oils needed to make most of my homemade products, along with therapeutic synergies (blends of individual oils).
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs. Oils were used for aesthetic pleasure and in the beauty industry. It was a luxury item and a means of payment. It was believed the essential oils increased the shelf life of wine and improved the taste of food.