Essential oils are considered by many as the life force of the plant. We know that many plants contain therapeutic properties including, but not limited to anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and the list goes on. Essential oils are pure, concentrated sources of beneficial plant properties and can be incredibly useful and provide tremendous benefits in a variety of situations.
Essential oils are produced via steam distillation where specialized plant material is added to a big coffer and steam is applied to release "plant juice". Unfortunately, not all essential oil producers use the same integrity in their products. Some companies distill the same "plant juice" multiple times to dilute it so it's cheaper to sell but not as potent.
For essential oils to be effective, it's key to know how to use them. They can be applied three ways:
1) Over the skin (topically with or without carrier oil)
2) Aromatically (via a diffuser or waffling)
3) Internally (under special circumstances with only food-grade pure oils)
Carrier oils can be used to help dilute or enhance stronger oils, such as oregano, peppermint, and clove. A carrier oil is a natural oil, preferably organic, and safe for the skin that can be mixed with stronger essential oils to make it safer for the skin. Carrier oils can also enhance the effectiveness of some oils. Examples of carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.
Using carrier oils with children is important since their skin is much more sensitive. For children ages, 6 mos to 2 yrs, the generally recommended dilution is 4 drops of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil. For children ages 2 yrs to 5 yrs, the general dilution is 3 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of essential oil, and for kids 6 yrs to 12 yrs, the general dilution is 2 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of essential oil. This is especially important for hot and spicy oils that have the potential to burn the skin. Oils should never be used in or around the eyes and ears. These are important safety guidelines and should be taken seriously, especially when applying to our tiniest of family members (including pets).
Essential oils are classified as fragrances and are not regulated by the FDA. On one hand, this is good because then we don't have to go to the doctor for an essential oil prescription, but it's also a challenge because then we, as consumers, have to do our research in choosing the purest, safe and effective products for our families.
Let us know what you think about essential oils and if you have found them useful in your own homes. If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and how to use them safely with your family, please reach out to us! Kimberly Engle offers essential oils 101 classes and is certified in the Aroma Freedom technique that uses oils to help process emotions and moves toward a stronger state of balance in body, mind, and spirit. Check out her About Me page for more info!
May you be abundantly well!
Christy and the Healthy Mom University Team