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Essential Oils FYI

by in Home Health May 19, 2014

Dr. Green Mom Essential Oils

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts used for aromatic and medicinal qualities.  Sometimes referred to as volatile oils (herbalists and Naturopathic Doctors sometimes speak in these words when referring to the plant constituents), essential oils have been used medicinally for thousands of years.  Records show that aromatic oils were part of daily life in Egypt as early as 4500 BCE. Cinnamon, myrrh, sandalwood, and frankincense were treasured favorites; they were of such great value that they were sometimes purchased with pure gold. (1)  Essential oils also contain the highly concentrated aroma and vital energy of the plants they come from.

Here is a super great article from a fellow awesome mommy blogger regarding essential oils:

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How do Essential Oils work?

There are many ways to use essential oils: ingest them, inhale them, use them in household cleaning products, or rub them directly onto your skin. The mechanism of action of inhaled aromatherapy starts with the absorption of volatile molecules through the nasal mucosa. Odor molecules are then transformed into chemical signals, which move towards the olfactory bulb, and possibly other parts of the limbic system, interacting with the neuropsychological framework to produce characteristic physiological and psychological effects. (2)

Here’s a little side note: while I was in medical school I used to bring rosemary to class on exam days and practically shove the stuff up my nose, smelling it all through my exam. Rosemary is a powerful all natural nootropic, “smart drug” as they say!

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Where Can I Purchase My Essential Oils?

For the past 10 years I have used Mountain Rose Herbs to purchase my diffusers, essential oils, herbs, etc.  My herbal journey began by purchasing their loose leaf herbs to make teas!  Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are pure, distilled, and use outstanding cultivation practices. I use them because I get results with my patients.

I hear a lot about Young Living Essential Oils and dōTERRA Essential Oils.  I have not used either company’s products for myself, but I hear great feedback from my patients who have used them.

  • Esoteric Oils is a South African based company, 100% pure, distilled and high quality.

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List of Common Essential Oils

(click on each essential oil to learn more!)

(* most commonly used oils)

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Carrier Oils

Bottle of avocado essential oilButterfly Miracles with Essential Oils, LaRee Westover writes, “Imagine putting an alcohol-based primer on hot asphalt prior to painting it. That would be almost impossible since the alcohol would evaporate almost before it touched the road. Essential oils behave in a similar manner. They are made of several different constituents, some of which evaporate at lower temperatures and faster rates than others. Place these essential oils on the skin (90 – 95 degrees) and the higher, more volatile notes are gone before they can be absorbed. A carrier oil stabilizes the essential oil, holding onto all the constituents until they can be absorbed. The chemical composition of the oil remains intact.”

Why use a carrier oil?

  • Pure essential oils are often too concentrated to be applied undiluted to skin.
  • Allows the oil to be spread over a larger application area and to be absorbed more evenly.
  • Many essential oils are quite expensive, and because they are so highly concentrated, one or two drops may be all that you need.
  • The use of a smaller quantity is often more beneficial than a larger quantity and is certainly less likely to cause any type of reaction.

Most common carrier oils:  almond, grapeseed, sunflower, olive, jojoba, safflower, apricot, avocado, borage, carrot, coconut (both fractionated and whole), corn, evening primrose, wheat germ, and arnica.

Note: olive oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil do not absorb as easily on the skin, so these are not used as often as almond, coconut, grapeseed, and safflower oil.

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Carrier or Base Oil Recommendations 

(you can click on each carrier oil)

  • SWEET ALMOND OIL good for all skin types; helps relieve itching, soreness, dryness, and inflammation can be used as a base oil 100 percent
  • APRICOT KERNEL OIL good for all skins types, especially prematurely aging, sensitive, inflamed, and dry skin can be used as a base oil 100 percent
  • AVOCADO OIL good for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated; eczema use as an additive to a base, no more than 10 percent
  • BORAGE OIL good for all skin types; multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease, psoriasis and eczema, prematurely aged skin; good for regenerating and stimulating the skin use as an additive to a base, no more than 10 percent
  • COCONUT OIL (refined, unrefined) good for all skin types but really nice for dry or damaged skin; low rancidity factor; less oily residue than other carriers; very little odor excellent used 100 percent; not suitable as an addition to a carrier oil blend
  • CARROT OIL good for premature aging, itching, dryness, psoriasis and eczema; rejuvenating, reduces scarring do not use undiluted; use as an additive to a base-no more than 10 percent
  • CORN OIL good for soothing on all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • EVENING PRIMROSE OIL good for multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease; excellent in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema; helps to prevent premature aging for the skin use as an additive to a base no more than 10 percent
  • GRAPESEED OIL good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • HAZELNUT OIL has a slight astringent action; good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • JOJOBA OIL good for inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hair care, all skin types; highly penetrative use as an additive to a base no more than 10 percent
  • OLIVE OIL good for rheumatic conditions, hair care, cosmetics; soothing a heavy oil use as an additive to a base no more than 10 percent
  • PEANUT OIL good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • SAFFLOWER OIL good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • SESAME OIL good for psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, arthritis; all skin types use as an additive to a base no more than 10 percent
  • SOYBEAN OIL good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • SUNFLOWER OIL good for all skin types can be used 100 percent
  • WHEATGERM OIL good for eczema, psoriasis, prematurely aged skin; all skin types use as an additive to a base no more than 10 percent

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Common Health Concerns and Essential Oils

(please note, I am only listing the most effective oils for each condition.  This does not mean there aren’t other effective treatment options/oils used)

  • Acne: atlas cedarwood,  bergamot, geranium, lavender, lemon, palmarosa, rosemary, tea tree
  • Anxiety: bergamot, clary sage, frankincense, petitgrain, ylang ylang
  • Arthritis:  chamomile (German and Roman), eucalyptus, marjoram, rosemary
  • Athlete’s Foot and Ringworm: lavender, tea tree
  • Bites/Stings: chamomile (German and Roman), lavender, tea tree
  • Bruises: lavender
  • Burns (mild): lavender, tea tree
  • Colds and Flu: eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree
  • Coughs: eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender
  • Cuts/Scrapes (minor): lavender, tea tree
  • Depression (temporary/mild): bergamot
  • Dry Skin: chamomile (Roman), geranium, sandalwood
  • Fatigue/Nervous Exhaustion: frankincense, lavender
  • Headache: peppermint
  • Indigestion: chamomile (Roman), peppermint
  • Insect Bites: chamomile (German), lavender, tea tree
  • Jet Lag: bergamot, lavender
  • Laryngitis: sandalwood
  • Mature Skin: frankincense, myrrh, rosewood, sandalwood
  • Menstrual Cramps: chamomile (Roman), lavender, marjoram
  • Muscle Pain and Spasm: chamomile (German and Roman), eucalyptus, lavender, marjoram, rosemary
  • Nervousness/Stress: bergamot, chamomile (Roman), clary sage, frankincense, lavender
  • Oily Skin: cypress, geranium, lavender, tea tree
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): chamomile (Roman), geranium, lavender
  • Rheumatism: chamomile (German and Roman), cypress, juniper, lavender, rosemary
  • Sleeplessness: chamomile (Roman), lavender
  • Sprains: chamomile (German and Roman), lavender
  • Sunburn (mild): chamomile (Roman), lavender
  • Wrinkles: frankincense, patchouli

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Therapeutic Index for Health Concerns

(Thank you Esoteric Oils)

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Essential Oils That Are Safe To Use in Children

The following are general guidelines if you are new to using essential oils.  All children are different, and they will all react differently.

Newborn Babies

  • Essential Oils: chamomile (German and Roman), lavender, yarrow, dill
  • Base/Carrier Oil: hazelnut, sweet almond
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): jojoba, borage
  • Dosage: 1-3 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Age 2-6 Months

  • Essential Oils: mandarin, eucalyptus, coriander, neroli (including the above)
  • Base/Carrier Oil: hazelnut, sweet almond
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): jojoba, borage
  • Dosage: 3-5 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Age 6-12 Months

  • Essential Oils: palma rosa, calendula, grapefruit, aniseed, tea tree (including the above)
  • Base/Carrier Oil: hazelnut, sweet almond
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): jojoba, borage
  • Dosage: 3-5 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Age 1-5 Years

  • Essential Oils: ginger – only use 1/3 dose of oils above (1-4 drops) (including the oils already listed above)
  • Base/Carrier Oil: hazelnut, sweet almond
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): carrot (including the oils already listed above)
  • Dosage: 5-10 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Age 5-7 Years

  • Essential Oils: The following to be used at 1/3 dosage of oils above (1-4 drops instead of 5-12)- ginger, peppermint, rosemary, nutmeg, benzoin, thyme, hyssop, clary-sage, geranium (including the above oils already listed above)
  • Base/Carrier Oil: apricot, soy bean, grape seed (note: thicker oils have slower absorption rates)
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): (including the above)
  • Dosage: 5-12 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Age 7-12 Years

  • Essential Oils:  The following to be used at 1/3 dosage of other oils (2-5 drops instead of 5-15)- fennel, frankincense, cypress, basil
  • Base/Carrier Oil: (including the above)
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): (including the above)
  • Dosage: 5-15 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

Puberty

  • Essential Oils:  All of the above at full dose, plus MALE: marjoram, bergamot FEMALE: rose, geranium, marjoram
  • Base/Carrier Oil: (including the above)
  • *Base Oil Additive (not more than 10% of base): (including the above)
  • Dosage: 10-20 drops diluted in 2 tbsp. base oil

(*Base Oils Additives are Optional)

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Massage with Essential Oils

Using an essential oil, along with a carrier oil, is an excellent option for massaging areas of the body.  Depending on the essential oil used, there can be great healing associated with massage on not only a physical level, but also a mental/emotional level.  Listed below are different areas of the body that when in pain, may coincide with an emotional pain.  Use this guide to choose the most appropriate oil!

  • Back of the neck: Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Throat:  Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Upper chest:  Sadness and/or regret
  • Outer shoulder:  Afraid of letting go
  • Back of shoulder:  Fear and/or sadness
  • Upper arm (biceps):  Fear
  • Forearm:  Anxiety and/or insecurity
  • Hip (outer thigh):  Too much responsibility
  • Upper thigh (front of the body):  Feeling overburdened
  • Outer thigh:  Persistent sadness
  • Lower chest – center (solar plexus chakra):  Fear of love – abuse issues
  • Head/neck/solar plexus/tailbone:  Stress and tension
  • Inner ankles:  Depression
  • Calf muscles:  Feeling overwhelmed

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Essential Oils Resources:

  1. Althea Press (2013-10-03). Essential Oils for Beginners: The Guide to Get Started with Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Althea Press. Kindle Edition.
  2. Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014; 2014: 726341Published online Feb 24, 2014. doi:  10.1155/2014/726341.
  3. Butterfly Expressions with Essential Oils (pdf format)
  4. Worwood, Valerie Ann (2012-08-23). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-toxic & Fragrant Recipes to Create Health • Beauty • A Safe Home Environment.  New World Library. Kindle Edition.
  5. Esoteric Oils
  6. Mountain Rose Herbs

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Reviewed/Updated: 09/14
Content Created: 05/14

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