Did you know that in the last year alone, the US spent $374 billion dollars on healthcare? That number has been increasing rapidly for a very long time. And most people know that.
What most people don’t know is that the most powerful forms of healing are found right in front of our eyes, right here on the earth. That’s right. The most powerful forms of healing are found in nature — plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, seeds, and roots. The oil from these plants (called essential oils) have been extracted and used for many purposes dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, and it’s about time the modern world has caught up!
This guide will teach you exactly how you can personally use and harness the natural healing power of essential oils, which come from all over the world.
There are 3 main ways that essential oils are used for health:
- Aromatically (i.e. inhalation)
- Topically (i.e. on your skin or body)
- Internally (eating or drinking them)
In addition to using essential oils for health and wellbeing, there are many household and cleaning uses for essential oils. For example, cleaning and disinfecting, insect repelling, deodorizers, alternatives to chemical air fresheners, and more. We’ll cover those in detail a little later in this guide.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at these different usage methods a little more in depth.
Aromatic Usage and Inhalation
Many essential oils have wonderful aromas that you can benefit from through inhaling, or diffusing into the air. This results in heightened senses, increased health, and a boosted immune system – not to mention the wonderful aroma itself. Many people use essential oils in this way simply because they smell good and it’s a great way to fill a room with pleasant aromas such as lavender, or almost any scent you can imagine. This is probably the most popular way to use essential oils.
This basically means releasing the oil vapors into the air and breathing them in. Other than enjoying the scent and aroma of the oils, there are also many ways that your health will benefit from breathing in, smelling, and inhaling the vapor from essential oils. First we’ll look at how exactly you can benefit from inhaling essential oils, and then we’ll cover the methods and techniques. Here are just a few ways you’ll experience increased health:
- Inhaling the oil vapors nurtures your respiratory system, including the sinuses.
- It will have a supportive effect on your mood, hormonal balances, and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Increased indoor air quality, which reduces environmental threats and negates the effect of dust and mold.
- Your immune system will benefit since inhaling the vapors allows them to enter your body and blood stream.
Now let’s look at the different methods for inhalation and aromatic release.
- Diffusing: Diffusers work well in cool or room temperature air environments and use ultrasonic vibrations to release the oil into the air (this is called diffusion). This helps the oil molecules remain in the air for several hours and does not affect the structure or integrity of the oil. My personal favorite oil to diffuse is Lavender.
- Direct Inhalation: This can be done simply by holding a bottle of essential oil a few inches from your nose and breathing in the aroma. Diffusing is, in most cases, a better use for your bottle of oil, but both methods work perfectly well. You end up using less oil through direct inhalation since you’re only limited by the evaporation and oxidation rate of your oil. Remember that certain oils should still be diluted before direct inhalation (always refer to the label on your essential oil).
- Indirect Inhalation: This is another great method. Just add a drop of oil to a handkerchief, cotton ball, small piece of fabric, shirt collar, hair, pillowcase, or something similar. For example, doing this with Vetiver on your pillowcase can result in a deeper and more refreshing sleep.
- Hot water/Steam Tent: This is a very easy and natural way to experience essential oil aromas. Simply heat up a pot of water (do not boil it though), and add 1 – 3 drops of essential oil. Drape a towel over the top of your head so you have an enclosed tent shape over your head and the pot of water, allowing you to breath in the steam. Doing this with Eucalyptus oil is great for respiratory health.
- Humidifier: Similar to using a diffuser, cool air humidifiers will work best. Make sure to use a humidifier designed to work with essential oils, since oils can break down plastic over time (plastic will be found in most “normal” humidifiers).
- Vent/Fan Dispersion: Add 1 – 3 drops of essential oils to a cloth or cotton ball, and place it in front of a vent or fan. This works especially well inside a car. You can use Peppermint or Ginger to help with motion sickness as well as in place of an air freshener.
- Perfume/Cologne: This is a great alternative to standard store-bought perfumes. Using essential oils will smell better, plus be safer and healthier for your body (compared to chemical-based fragrances). Add 1 drop of diluted essential oil to your wrists or behind the ears. You can also add several drops of oil to distilled water, and use it in a spray bottle to mist over your body or clothing.
- Natural Room Deodorizer: In place of chemical-based deodorizers, here is a natural alternative using essential oils. Mix a half cup of distilled water with a half cup of alcohol (for example vodka) into a decorative jar. Next, add approximately 30 drops of essential oil to the mix. Place 10 bamboo skewers to the jar so that they stick out the top of the jar. This will fill an entire bathroom with a pleasant scent.
Now that you’ve learned about some ways to use essential oils aromatically, we’ll take a look at how to apply essential oils to your body and skin, and the different types of benefits you can expect.
Topical Methods of Application
Applying essential oils topically is a slightly more advanced method of usage compared to inhalation and aromatics. This means applying essential oils to your body such as on your skin. When done correctly, topical application will boost your immune health, reduce stress, and provide direct and immediate improvements to your skin, hair, nails, and general wellbeing.
Most essential oils can be used topically, but each individual type of essential oil has different ways they are commonly used. We always recommend diluting essential oils when used topically to avoid skin reactions because undiluted essential oils can be very potent (quality oils like are naturally potent since the oils are 100% pure).
At this point you’re probably wondering how to dilute your essential oils. A good rule of thumb we recommend is what’s called a 2% dilution rate. To achieve a 2% dilution, all you need to do is add 12 drops of an essential oil to one ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil. A great carrier oil to use would be coconut oil, and you can easily mix these together in a small glass dish or bowl.
Once you have your diluted mixture ready, here’s how you can start applying them:
- Massage: this is one of the most enjoyable ways to use essential oils. Simply massage your essential oil mixture into your joints, muscles, and tissue. Popular areas are hands, feet, calves, thighs, butt, back, neck, and scalp. This works particularly well with oils such as lavender and ylang ylang. Focus on areas you’ve experienced soreness, or focus on reflex points (hands, feet, and behind the ears). Massaging reflex points is particularly relaxing.
- Hot/Cold Compress: soak a cloth or small towel in warm or cool water, and apply 1 – 3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Drape the moist towel over your back, head, neck, or feet. You can use one of these across your forehead while enjoying a warm bath, for example.
- Bathing and Foot Baths: next time you take a bath, add several drops of your favorite essential oil along with a dispersant. This is a really great way to experience the maximum healing affects because you’ll not only be soaking in the essential oils, but you’ll also be inhaling the vapor at the same time. A dispersant is used since essential oils are not water-soluble. Mixing one part baking soda, two parts Epsom salts, and three parts sea salt can make a relaxing bath base. Add six drops of lavender to two tablespoons of this mixture and add it to your bath water just before entering. Tea tree oil works particularly well in a footbath, and naturally prevents and kills bacteria and fungus commonly found on feet and toenails.
- Lotion addition: this is a very effective and very easy way to experience the health benefits from essential oils as well as carry a pleasant aroma with you. All you need to do is add 1 – 3 drop of essential oil to your normal skin lotion or moisturizer. I really like doing this with lavender (Hint – you’re probably starting to realize what my favorite essential oil is by now!).
Extra Notes on Topical Applications
Here are a few extra things to keep in mind when applying essential oils topically.
Sun sensitivity – if you apply diluted citrus oils topically, this may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. For this reason, we recommend applying citrus oils like orange or lemon in the evening or any time where you don’t plan to be going out into the sun within the next 12 hours.
Skin sensitivity – once again, always dilute your essential oils. Even diluted, you should perform a patch test to make sure your skin does not react negatively to any particular oil. This is an extremely simple process, just apply a small dab of diluted essential oil mixture to the inside of your arm and wait 1 – 2 minutes before continuing with a massage, bath, etc.
That should give you a pretty good overview of the different ways to use essential oils topically. The third main way that is commonly referenced as how to benefit from essential oils is internal consumption.
Internal Consumption of Essential Oils
We aren’t actually going to cover this topic in depth, but still wanted to include a reference to this method of usage. Here at Avenir Oils, we don’t recommend eating or drinking essential oils. While we do have customers who do use essential oils internally, we don’t recommend it. It must be done by somebody properly trained in the eating and drinking of essential oils, and definitely not done on a daily basis. Remember, these are 100% pure plant oil extractions we are talking about — they are very, very, potent oils.
It’s also probably a good idea to talk about how to choose quality essential oils, while we are on the subject. Since your main reason to use essential oils in the first place is increased health, it’s not going to do your body any good to use low quality oils that might have chemical additions or simply be too diluted or weak to have the desired healing effects.
How To Choose Quality Oils
Not all essential oils are created “equally.” There are many different brands and places to purchase oils from, but if you want to truly experience the healing effects of essential oils, you MUST be sure to purchase from a reputable, quality source. There are certain unscrupulous companies claiming to sell natural, organic, or pure essential oils when in fact they might not be pure or natural at all! Here are some common examples of what you’ll find in low quality oils:
- Synthetic chemicals have been added to make them “seem” high quality by smelling stronger. Really you just smell synthetic chemicals though.
- The oil has been diluted with filler oils, and you no longer have the original pure, potent essential oil that you thought you were purchasing.
- They lack strict quality control, and allow external contaminants to get mixed in with their essential oil batches.
So, how can you identify which oils are pure then? Here are just a few things you should check for:
- Is the oil stored in a glass bottle, colored dark amber or cobalt blue? This protects the oil from UV degradation.
- Is the botanical name of the oil clearly printed on the label? This is a must.
- Is the country of origin clear printed on the label? For example, eucalyptus oil can come from one of several different countries.
- Are the oils tested with a gas chromatographic spectrometer before being sold? This ensures the correct plant compounds are present in the oil.
At Avenir Oils, we hold ourselves to a very high standard when it comes to quality and purity and put the customer first. We can proudly answer YES to all of the above.
Every essential oil we sell is first inspected to ensure its purity.
- First, the oil must be the correct aroma, color, and viscosity.
- Every oil is tested with a Gas Chromatographic Spectrometer to ensure that the correct compounds are present in the correct levels to result in a pure, therapeutic grade essential oil.
- All of our essential oils are grown in organic environments, free from harmful pesticides.
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, there are many ways to benefit from essential oils by using them around the house (in addition to using essential oils for your health). Now we’ll take a look at those use cases.
Using Essential Oils Around the House
You’re going to be amazed how many different ways there are to use essential oils other than topically and aromatically as you’ve already learned.
- Bathroom Deodorizer. Replace your synthetic air fresheners in the bathroom with the natural aroma of Pine, Fir, Lemon or Grapefruit essential oils. These oils blend well together, so you can even mix them together if you’d like. Just place a few drops onto cotton balls and position them discreetly around the bathroom for maximum effect. Or if you have dried flower arrangements or something similar you could place a few drops of oil there instead.
- Neutralize Cooking Odors. This is a simple and natural way to negate the effects of cooking odors in your house. Place a second pot of water on the stove until it simmers, and then add a few drops of Cinnamon, Cardamom, or Clove essential oils.
- Underwear and Clothing Scent. Place a few drops of oil onto a cotton ball and place it inside your underwear drawer! Not only will this keep your drawer smelling nice, but it’ll prevent your clothes from accumulating a musty odor and instead make them smell however you’d like. Rose, Jasmine, or Sandalwood all work extremely well.
- Air Freshening Spray. Now you can replace stale air anywhere in your house with a more pleasant aroma. Add water to a spray bottle and then add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Use this as a spray mist, just as you would with a normal aerosol spray. Using Pine or Fir Needle creates an atmosphere of beautiful green forests with clean and fresh mountain air.
- Carpet Freshener. To replace stale carpet odors or pet odors, add 10 drops of essential oil to 200 grams of baking soda or cornstarch. Mix these together well and keep them in an airtight container for 2 days. Open the jar and mix it one last time and sprinkle onto your carpet. Let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum up the powder. You’ll be left with the pleasant odor of your favorite essential oil.
- Washing the Dishes. While you’re washing the dishes and have your sink filled up – simply add 1 drop of lemon or tea tree. This works great as an extra antimicrobial cleaning step and also creates a great aroma while you’re washing the dishes.
- Ant and Bug Repellent. Peppermint and Arborvitae will repel ants and all sorts of crawling insects and keep them from invading your home. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and hide them near the entrances of your house, or anywhere you suspect little critters are entering.
- Mouse Repellent. Did you know that mice hate the smell of peppermint? This can be used to your advantage. Mix 2 teaspoons of peppermint oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and spritz this mixture anywhere you see mice droppings or anywhere you think a mouse may have been. The peppermint will keep them away and you won’t have to use toxic chemical repellents.
- Sleep Aid. Even if you aren’t suffering from insomnia, if you’d like a little extra refreshing sleep then here’s a tip. Mix 10 drops of lavender or vetiver with 1 cup of water and add this to a spray bottle. Lightly spritz this onto your pillowcase and/or sheets 30 minutes before going to bed. This will allow time for the mixture to evaporate so you aren’t left with moist sheets, but it also leaves the wonderful aroma for when you go to sleep.
- Mold Killer. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti mold and fungus solution. It can be used to kill mold inside the little cracks and crevices around your bathroom, toilet, and bathtub. Mix 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas. Let it dry/evaporate and do not wipe it off.
These should be plenty of ideas to get you started (and of course there are hundreds of other ways essential oils can be used around your house)!
What Are The Most Popular Essential Oils?
With over 100 different single essential oils to choose from, it can be an overwhelming experience to try and decide how to get started. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!
Next we’re going to go over:
- What are the most popular essential oils?
- What are they, where do they come from?
- How are they commonly used, and for what purpose?
Let’s take a look:
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense comes from a tree that produces a gum/resin that can be steam distilled into an essential oil that comes with some huge health benefits. The botanical names of the most popular forms of frankincense are Boswellia carterii and Boswellia serrata, and they commonly come from the middle east in Oman or Somalia. The aroma is quite unique; it is warm, deep, rich, and reminiscent of incense.
The primary health benefits are:
- Building and maintaining a healthy immune system
- Promotes cellular health
- Reduces the appearance of scars and stretch marks
- Calms and soothes skin
Popular ways to use frankincense:
- Rub diluted frankincense on your hands after a long day to promote joint health
- Add a few drops to a facial lotion which helps create youthful, radiant-looking skin
- Apply to the bottom of your feet to help calm and balance mood swings
- Add a drop of frankincense to weak fingernails or toenails for extra strength
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The botanical names of the two most common forms of eucalyptus are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. It is native to Australia and has a camphorous, sweet, and slightly fruity aroma.
The primary health benefits are:
- Assists with clear breathing
- Support overall respiratory health
- Great soother for sore, tired muscles
- Cleansing and purifying
Popular ways to use eucalyptus:
- Combine with lemon and peppermint in a spray bottle for an effective cleaning spray
- Mix with carrier oil, and rub onto your chest for clearer breathing
- While showering, place a few drops in your hand for inhalation or mix in a bottle and spray once your shower is full of steam
- Use a personal steam inhalation device for curing a cold
Peppermint Essential Oil
The botanical name for peppermint is Mentha piperita, and the oil comes from steam distillation of the leaves, stems, and flower buds. It has been used for centuries to aid with digestive problems, sinuses, and respiratory health. Peppermint is commonly grown and extracted in the United States and has an aroma that is sweet, and obviously minty.
The primary health benefits are:
- Promotes healthy respiratory function and clear breathing
- Helps with digestion and upset stomach
- Use in toothpaste for dental health
Popular ways to use peppermint:
- Use a drop of peppermint and lemon in water for a refreshing mouth wash
- Rub on your stomach when experience digestive discomfort
- Apply diluted peppermint to your palms and inhale deeply for an energizing boost
- Use it to get rid of ticks. Place a single drop on the tick and it will back out or fall off quickly.
- Use a drop or two (diluted) and rub on your temples to increase mental clarity
Lavender Essential Oil
Pure lavender oil is a wonderful essential oil to use for your own health and wellness. The botanical name for lavender is Lavandula angustifolia and is commonly grown in France and Bulgaria. It is one of the gentlest essential oils and extracted via steam distillation, resulting in a sweet, floral aroma.
The primary health benefits are:
- Extremely calming and relaxing
- Great at soothing mild skin irritations
- Helps skin recovery quickly from cuts or abrasions
- Eases muscle tension
Popular ways to use lavender:
- Add a few drops of lavender to your pillows or sheets before going to bed
- Rub diluted lavender on the bottoms of your feet for a calming and relaxing sensation
- Add lavender oil to a warm bath to enhance the soothing and relaxing effect
- Diffusing lavender or inhaling it from a bottle can help you feel more grounded and focused
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil, also called melaleuca oil, comes from steam distillation of Melaleuca alternifolia. It has been used for centuries for many different purposes and is very diverse. The aroma is quite distinct, somewhat medicinal and herbaceous. Commonly it comes from Australia.
The primary health benefits are:
- Extremely cleansing and rejuvenating for the skin
- Promotes healthy immune function
- Great at killing mold, bacteria, and fungus
Popular ways to use tea tree:
- For skin irrations, scratches, or cuts add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree
- Add a few drops to your facial cleanser or moisturizer for glowing skin
- Helps manage oily skin when applied directly or with water
- Add a few drops of tea tree to a spray bottle, mix with water, and spray in your shower to kill mold
- Place a drop on fingernails and toenails to kill and prevent fungus
This covers our 5 most popular essential oils, and gives you some ideas as to how you can use them.
Hopefully this post gave you a good idea of how you can use essential oils!