Using Essential Oils Safely and Effectively | FAQ

Are essential oils safe for everyone? Can I “overdose” on them if I’m not careful? What about babies and little children? Which ones are okay during pregnancy? And how do I know what to use – when and how? …

Maybe you’ve asked these questions before. Maybe you’ve been asked by others. Essential oils are rapidly growing in popularity. Hasn’t everyone heard of them by now? Chances are your neighbor has a bottle of lavender on one of her shelves … simply because it’s the latest, greatest topic of discussion – practically everywhere._MG_8400

But what about application, storage, safety, precautions… etc.?

It’s funny how I got into essential oils. My sister had a bottle of … yes, Lavender 😉 that a friend recommended she apply to the bottoms of her feet before bed. And then there was a bottle of Eucalyptus on our kitchen windowsill that sometimes went into a steam bowl treatment by the drop or two … for someone suffering from a bad cough or stuffy nose.

When I first started making Country Muffin products, I thought I’d be dealing mainly with herbs. Little did I know 😉 ! Today I’m studying essential oils more than anything else. I work with essential oils pretty much on a daily basis. I keep essential oils with me everywhere I go. And when someone asks me what to do for ______ and ________… you can be pretty sure that there’s a good chance I’ll be recommending an essential oil or two.

Have I mentioned that essential oils are amazing? They’re 50-70 times more powerful than herbs. WHY NOT LOVE THEM?

I get questions all the time. In fact, so many questions that I’m constantly researching, talking to other “experts”, testing, experimenting, reading… and you get the idea. There are great sources of info out there – and plenty of them! But guess what?! We live in a big world, with a lot of people who see things differently. And from one source to the next – website, blog, book, email, phone call – there’s quite a bit of confusion as to what is actually truth. And what is opinion.

So here are my thoughts… questions that I get asked rather frequently.  🙂

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What Is The Difference Between A Carrier Oil & An Essential Oil?

Carrier Oils

A carrier oil is an gentle, mild oil that is used as a base to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin. Literally, it “carries” the essential oil into the skin. Common carrier oils include Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, and others…

Essential Oils

“Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. If you have ever enjoyed the gift of a rose, a walk by a field of lavender, or the smell of fresh cut mint, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils provide plants with protection against predators and disease and play a role in plant pollination.

Essential oils are non water-based phytochemicals made up of volatile aromatic compounds. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils. Essential oils are very clean, almost crisp, to the touch and are immediately absorbed by the skin. Pure, unadulterated essential oils are translucent and range in color from crystal clear to deep blue” – DoTERRA Blog

Are Essential Oils Safe For Babies?

Mother massaging baby

Yes. In general, good, pure, high quality essential oils are safe for babies and small children. But as is the case with most things in life, HOW you apply them, and how MUCH you apply, matters.

  • Apply in very small amounts {you only need a drop or two}.
  • Consider mixing a little with some lotion or carrier oil to lessen the strength, if the child seems uncomfortable {some essential oils may cause a slight stinging feel if applied undiluted}.
  • Take care to dilute the essential oil if it is a “hot” oil such as cinnamon, clove, or oregano.
  • When in doubt {as to where you should apply an oil}, rub a few drops on the bottoms of both feet for a full effect.
  • Apply to areas such as the back, spine, and upper chest rather than near the eyes {behind the ears, forehead, etc. may cause a mild stinging effect to the eyes}.

Are Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes. In general, most pure, high quality essential oils are safe {and beneficial} for use during pregnancy. As with some specific herbs, there are a few essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy – for example, clary sage is excellent for use during childbirth, but may cause premature labor if used during pregnancy.

Check out this post on using essential oils during pregnancy and childbirth.

How Do I Apply Essential Oils?

The Feet

When in doubt, you can always apply a few drops of essential oil to the bottoms of both feet for a full affect.

Aromatherapy

Diffusers are an excellent way to get essential oils into the air – circulating all throughout your home! Aromatherapy is one of the best ways to use essential oils, because it has been discovered that essential oils can cross the blood brain barrier in the brain – thus working to destroy incorrect codes, re-write proper coding, and cleanse the cell receptors. In simple terms, the act of breathing in essential oils can help your body heal from a variety of health issues – from the inside out. 🙂

The Skin

People ask me how to apply my essential oil blends… I usually tell them not to think too hard. It’s often as simple as it seems – go directly to the source or location.

For example, I have a headache. I will apply the Headache Oil to my forehead and the back of my neck. Allergies? Usually the throat and neck area, and behind the ears. Respiratory issues? Breathe Oil on the chest, upper back and spine, and behind the ears. Sprain or break? Rub Deep Healing Oil directly onto the skin above where the bone or muscle is that you’re treating… and it’s often really just that simple!

Internally

This is a very controversial one. So I’ll just go ahead and say that the right essential oils can be taken {with care} internally.

First, it’s important  to have good, pure, high quality essential oils. I cannot stress this enough. I do not recommend cutting corners for cost. I especially discourage the use of essential oils internally if you are purchasing a rather inexpensive one from your health food store that has no indication as to whether or not it’s safe to take internally. Do your research. Ask around. Find a good source that you can trust. Very few companies will tell you that their oils are safe for internal use. There is a reason for that… find the ones that support it!

Now, put a few drops of essential oil into an empty capsule {you can get empty capsules from your local health food store}. I usually take 1 drop each of lemon, peppermint, and lavender for allergies, or the same with an added drop of clove bud – to prevent sickness or fight off a cold.

Is It Possible To “Overdose” On Essential Oils?

lemon-essential-oil

When you consider that 1 drop of lemon essential oil is equivalent to 1 pound of lemons… and 1 drop of peppermint essential oils is about 28 cups of peppermint leaves… I’d say it is possible {as with anything} to over-do it.

Don’t let this scare you out of trying them in the first place, or using them at all! In fact, learn to use them often for a variety of health issues. After all… aren’t we a society that fills our cupboards with toxic prescription drugs and chemical-laden symptom relievers? Those synthetic-man-made-chemical-products are ever available for our every need and want. I’d say we could go to pretty good lengths with essential oils before we duplicated the destruction that already surrounds.

My advice? Don’t swallow 15 drops of essential oil 10 times daily. But feel free to rub a little allergy oil or breathe oil on several times a day. And there’s no reason not to diffuse oils in your kitchen all day long.

What If I Applied Essential Oils To My Skin And Now It Burns?

Babies… little ones… those with more sensitive skin… each of us will feel and react to essential oils differently. What feels great to me may in fact “burn” my little 6 year old brother.

“Hot” oils sting when not properly diluted. Any essential oil can cause a “burning” if applied in a more sensitive area, or applied in too large a quantity. Some of us just have more sensitive skin and need less strength.

In any case, that slight “burning” sensation you feel is not dangerous… but it may cause discomfort, slight reddening of the skin, or a stinging/burning.carrier-oils

Never use water to wash off essential oils. Water and oil do not mix. The water will only enhance the stinging/burning sensation, and may cause further or prolonged irritation to the skin. Instead, rub some olive oil, coconut oil, or other carrier oil on the area. This will soothe the stinging effect and help dilute the strength of the oil. {I have personally done this several times, including a recent occasion when I got some stronger essential oils in my eye.}

{Note: I am not referring to an allergic reaction here, caused by allergies to a specific plant or plant based oil. Allergies indicate that the body is not ready or able to properly receive a specific ingredient or ingredients, due to a bigger underlying problem.}

How Do I Choose A Good Quality Essential Oil?

Essential-Oils-Showdown-New-Wmk-e1371235635623

Is It 100%?

First, you need to determine if this is truly 100% pure essential oil. Many essential oils have been diluted with a carrier oil, which means they are not full strength and therefore less effective.

Organic & Wildcrafted

Someone once told me that Organic is huge when it comes to essential oils. Think about how powerful essential oils are… how readily they absorb into your bloodstream {a matter of seconds}… and how very key they are in the world of natural medicine. When given the choice, why would you want chemicals to be a part of that equation?

The label doesn’t have to say organic for something to be organic by standard. Good, pure, wholesome, doesn’t necessarily always come with the organic label. Many farms have organic standards and just have not bothered to get the certification. You can usually trust wildcrafted {grown and harvested from the wild, not a farm} as well. Here is where you get to do your research, ask questions, and find out what’s what.

Now What?

As with most things, trial and error is usually a pretty good way. Get several {maybe through a few recommendations or personal research} – compare the way different ones smell; read the labels carefully for hidden factors that matter – or essential information that’s missing; notice how the particular oils affect {or don’t affect} YOU. Which ones work the best?

Purchase Country Muffin Essential Oil Singles and Essential Oil Blends.

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