A beginner’s guide to essential oils

My journey with essential oils began in 2011, and I now have two scent diffusers and a collection of high quality oils. During this time I was experiencing a lot of fatigue, depression and recurrent infections. I was all around depleted and unwell. Eventually I went to see a wonderful naturopath who, (sometimes inspite of me!) helped me immensely by introducing me to the supplements and tinctures I needed to replenish my immune system. I discovered essential oils soon after and have been hooked ever since.

The first oil I tried when I bought my diffuser from Saje was Lavender. The smell was so calming, It filled the room, and helped me to calm down enough to meditate for a few minutes. I’ve always found meditating for more than five minutes tricky, as my monkey mind just wants to start turning. The scent of lavender still really helps me relax, especially before bed. I have a diffuser that runs for 24 hours, so sometimes I’ll put some lavender on and let it run all night. I always seem to wake up feeling more refreshed. 

Since then I’ve discovered that essential oils can have other uses besides just being calming. For example, Allergy Release is a great set of products from Saje that purify the air, help decongest sinuses and ease cold and allergy symptoms. While it’s convenient to buy pre-made essential oil blends, I also experiment with creating my own blends. I like picking up essential oils from local vendors as well whenever possible. If you are ever in New Westminster, BC, stop by Jolene’s Handmade Soaps at River Market; this little shop has a wide variety of essential oils and natural products at reasonable prices, and the staff can give you friendly advice on choosing the right essential oil for you, blending, or even creating your own natural soaps and body products. If you don’t live in the area, you might want to check out farmer’s markets or independent shops to find essential oils from local distributors. 

An essential oil is basically just the essence of whatever plant it’s derived from. Essential oils can be calming, energizing,or adaptogenic (meaning that they help you adapt to stress- they can be either calming or relaxing depending on what you need).

Calming essential oils:    

  • Lavender
  • Camomile
  • Fennel
  • Rose

Energizing:

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Orange
  • Bergamont
  • Thyme
  • Cinnamon

 

Adaptogens:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary

 

Since essential oils have these different properties, it’s good to be mindful of your intended use before using an essential oil. For example, I find peppermint to be pretty stimulating, so I try avoid it right before bed or else it tends to keep me up. Peppermint’s great for opening up your sinuses, but if I’m all stuffed up with a cold at night, I’ll diffuse eucalyptus and lavender instead to help decongest. Similarly, I find that body products with camomile and lavender together tend to make me sleepy and are better to use in the evening rather than morning.

Other uses

Essential oils can be mixed in with body products or used to make natural cleaning products. For example, you can mix 2-4 drops each of pine, spearmint, peppermint and eucalyptus with about a cup of softened shea butter for a homemade, petroleum-free version of “Vick’s”. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to some liquid coconut oil for a stimulating and conditioning hair treatment.

Cinnamon and tea tree oil are both great to use in cleaning products as they are naturally antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiseptic. These oils are very strong, so a little bit goes a long way! Add a few drops of either of these oils with equal parts water and vinegar for an all purpose, non- toxic cleaner.

Once you start using essential oils, the possibilities are endless. Even if you don’t use them therapeutically, they are a great replacement for artificial fragrances, which can mess with your hormones, are bad for the environment and can contribute to asthma and allergy symptoms. A good friend recently gave me the locket pictured below which holds little pads that you can drop your oils onto. I use this in place of a perfume, and I love being able to smell it all throughout the day. 

Aromatherapy locket with Green Sisters Organic Sage essential oil

If you are new to essential oils, I hope this article has sparked your interest and hopefully shed a little light on their many uses. Of course, be careful when trying anything new to do a spot treatment in case of allergies. Other than that, don’t be afraid to play with with essential oils! If you have any unique blends or things that you use for essential oils for, feel free to share in the comment section below ❀ 

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3 comments

  1. Hi Stephanie.I am a distributor of young living essential oils. They are supposed to be one of the best around.I swear by an oil called “thieves”.

    Like

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