Everyone loves essential oils, but how exactly are you supposed to use them? They do not all work in the same way.
Essential oils have been enjoying a surge in popularity and are both widely available, themselves, and included in a wide variety of products, from cleaning products, to air fresheners to skin care and hygiene products. Not without reason; essential oils are known to be medicinal in many ways and are thought to possess numerous health benefits.
While science has shown that essential oils on the whole possess a wide range of benefits, this leaves a number of questions. Notably, we should ask, how exactly should we use essential oils?
Ultimately, it is important to remember that not all essential oils should be used the same, and some can be dangerous when used improperly. These are potent extracts from plants, and can pose some dangers when misused. That said, there are three primary ways that we can use essential oils to glean the associate benefits.
One of the simplest and most obvious ways to use certain essential oils is through inhalation of their pleasant aromas. Using essential oils in this manner is collectively known as aromatherapy. Many essential oils have a pleasing smell, but their benefit in this regard goes beyond simply making a room smell nice. Some are thought to promote relaxation, healthy sleep and a sense of well-being. Others are thought to be beneficial for colds and coughs when inhaled. Examples of essential oils used in this way are eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, frankincense and citrus oils.
The easiest way to go about getting the benefits of these oils is via a diffuser placed in a well ventilated-room. Generally, unless you have been told otherwise from a doctor, diffusing essential oils is generally considered safe, but be cognizant of any allergies you or your family may have.
Some essential oils have have beneficial properties for topical use. Noteworthy is tea tree oil, which is potently anti-fungal. Tea tree oil should be used in moderation and diluted with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil) and never ingested. Others that might be beneficial for skin usage include lavender, rosemary, clary sage, patchouli, neroli, frankincense and sandalwood. These should only be used diluted with a carrier oil (a few drops per tablespoon), and you should consult your dermatologist before using topical oils. Avoid citrus oil for topical use. Always test a patch of skin to see how your skin reacts before applying essential oils all over your skin.
Finally, some essential oils are beneficial internally. Using essential oils internally can be beneficial––especially for those looking for anti-fungal benefits––but you should always consult your doctor before using any new supplement as they can interfere with medicines, and you should always use oils in the recommended doses, which are likely much lower than one would assume.
Essential oils recognized as foods are often safe to use internally, but, again, it is important to understand what dosages you are using. A little goes a long way. Too much, especially when cooking, can ruin a dish. Some, such as oil of oregano, are sold as dietary supplements and even recommended for those on an anti-fungal program. Others like D-Limonene can have some profound health benefits as well.
Ultimately, essential oils can be beneficial tools for health, but it is important to research before wantonly using them. It is best to talk to your doctor before including them in your regimen. It is also important to know if you are allergic to anything before using essential oils. It is also important to find good sources of essential oils, as their production is not well regulated (unfortunately, like most supplements). Finding producers you can trust is key.