10 Things You Should Know About Essential Oils
Essential oils are not really oils. They do not contain the fatty acids that constitute what we would consider an actual oil. Valerie Gennari Cooksley, author of “Aromatherapy: Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal” defines essential oils as “highly concentrated plant constituents possessing potent medicinal and cosmetic qualities.” However, I think Stephanie Tourles nailed it in Organic Body Care recipes when she said, “I consider essential oils the life force or the soul of the plant.
Essential oils are miniscule in molecular size, which means they are absorbed well by the skin – making them perfect ingredients in personal care items intended to heal, soften, and nourish. However, they do not accumulate in the body over time – they simply offer up their healing properties and then pass on through.
Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil. In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of essential oil. Other plants like lavender only take 100 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of essential oil. Still, can you imagine how concentrated essential oils must be, in light of how many plants are used to produce them?
Never use an undiluted essential oil on a baby or child. Children have much thinner, more delicate skin than adults have, and tend to be very sensitive to the potency of essential oils. In fact, even if you do use essential oil in a recipe for children, only use half of the essential oil recommended in the recipe. That’s all they’ll need, anyway.
Most essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Highly concentrated essential oils may cause skin irritations. Instead, they should be combined with carrier oils (such as grape seed oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil or safflower oil), waxes, butters, alcohols, or other diluting measures.
Avoid the following essential oils while pregnant or nursing, and skip essential oils completely in your first trimester: Aniseed, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, ginger, jasmine, lemon, nutmeg, rosemary, and sage
Do not take essential oils internally, especially oils like wintergreen and eucalyptus. While some essential oils may be used well-diluted in something like toothpaste with safety, it’s generally recognized that there’s no need to take essential oils internally. In fact, there are several toxic essential oils that should be avoided even through skin contact. Luckily, these are NOT common essential oils, and most of them you’ll never find in the store.
Essential oils will last for at least 5 years (if not 10), so one bottle could literally last you a decade. Hopefully that thought will help mitigate the cost involved in purchasing some essential oils. Because they are SO concentrated and only a tiny amount is needed in anything you do, they’ll last you a very, very long time.
Store your essential oils in dark glass bottles (which they were probably packaged in) and out of direct sunlight. This is simply to help preserve their potency.
Traditional oils, fragrance oils, and essential oils are not the same thing. Native Naturals traditional oils are not cut with any carrier oils and are a proprietary blend of oils. Our chokecherry oil, for example, contains not only chokecherry, but raspberry ketone and juniper to give it a completely unique scent. Many fragrance oils do contain some synthetic components.
All of our oils have been blessed, so you can feel confident using them for your own ritual or ceremonial purposes.