What are Essential Oils?

Let’s learn a bit about essential oils!

Essential oils are defined as volatile aromatic compounds. That basically means that they are substances contained in plant material that are easily evaporated in the air and absorbed by  the bloodstream. They are most commonly distilled using a high-pressured steam method, where the oils are cooled, collected, and filtered.

Essential oils are incredibly effective for our bodies because they can help us on a cellular level. The protective benefits that they provide to their plants can be passed on to our bodies, and we can truly benefit from their daily use!

Did you know there are a lot of myths floating around about essential oils?

I’ve chosen 5 of the most common myths floating around. Let’s look a little closer at them and learn what’s really up.

MYTH # 1: ALL ESSENTIAL OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL

This is a basic one and most of you will probably already know that this isn’t true. But let’s talk about why.

It takes a whole lot of variables being met to create a really pure essential oil. While there’s a ton of debate on what constitutes a really pure oil, let’s just suffice it to say a pure oil means that it is not diluted, there’s nothing added, it’s not synthetic, and that it has been thoroughly tested to insure it’s quality. This may seem basic, and definitely what you want from your oils, but you may be surprised at what really goes on.

Did you know that many essential oil companies DO NOT follow this standard at all? More and more I read about essential oil companies being “found out” for their fillers, dilutions, and other money-making scams. It’s a little disconcerting when we are trying to use oils for health and wellness to find out that companies are trying to cheat in what they give us.

Why is this happening? Basically, the FDA does not really regulate what goes on with essential oil companies. This means that oil companies can say just about whatever they want on the bottle, and only have to have a fraction of pure oil in the bottle to label it 100% pure. Scary, right? I’ve also seen examples of how new, good quality oil bottles can be reused. For instance, anyone can get an old essential oil bottle with a good-name label on it, fill it with whatever they want, put a new “sealed” cap on it, and sell it. And that’s just really scary!

MAKE SURE YOU’RE GETTING THE REAL DEAL!

What can you do about this? Well, for one, stop buying essential oils from grocery stores, from Amazon, from places where there is no form of testing, standard of purity, and where you have no idea where they are coming from (for more information you can read my post Which Essential Oils Should You Buy?).

The next step is to investigate and do your research and find a great essential oil company that really does meet the standards.

(If the research is overwhelming, you can definitely trust me when I say that doTERRA’s oils are the best on the planet. And when I say the best, I really do mean THE VERY BEST. I’ve done that research and my family uses these oils daily. I am happy to give you more education and to get you started with your own oils!)

MYTH # 2: ESSENTIAL OILS ARE A FAD

Essential oils are kind of “the thing” right now. Recently I was with a bunch of women and we were all talking about what we do. I mentioned that I sell essential oils. All the ears perked up and everyone wanted to know more! Which, I mean, was great, and I enjoyed teaching them a bit, but it proved to me more than ever that essential oils are kind of “cool” and everyone wants to know what the big deal is!

ESSENTIAL OILS MAY BE THE “NEW BLACK,” BUT THEY’RE ALSO TIME-HONORED TREASURES.

Essential oils have really been around for thousands of years! They supposedly go back to the times of pharaohs and ancient dynasties. They’ve at least been around the last few hundred years or so in the distilled form. Whatever the case, people have been using them and benefiting from them for a very long time! There’s so much research and history to suggest that using essential oils does really make a difference.

I honestly think they’ve become popular in recent years because people are tired of a failing healthcare system. We’re tired of being over-medicated, over-prescribed, and overdosed on things that are really not good for our bodies! I know I got tired of doctors who told me that they weren’t sure what I had, but here was an antibiotic to take care of it. I mean absolutely no disrespect to doctors (and I truly believe they do so much good!), but in this case the system was failing. And so was my body. Turning to natural remedies like essential oils has been an absolute life-changer for me, and I am realizing that is the case for many others as well.

So, are essential oils a fad? Well, yes and no. They are popular, and they are kind of the “it” thing in a lot of circles, but they are backed by a history and authenticity that says they’ll probably be around for a very long time.

MYTH # 3: ESSENTIAL OILS ARE JUST “NICE SMELLS”

I’ll raise my hand first and say that there were a few years that I believed this. I really thought essential oils were mostly for aromatic use (and I didn’t even truly understand what that meant). This was a major reason why I looked for cheaper oils, because I didn’t want to pay a whole lot for a good smell!

What I’ve learned since then couldn’t be further from the truth!

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT MORE TO AN ESSENTIAL OIL THAN ITS INCREDIBLE SMELL.

Essential oils are volatile oils, which means that they are rapidly evaporated into the air, and readily absorbed by the body and bloodstream, even down to a cellular level. This means that we can benefit from them three different ways: aromatically, topically, and internally.

Aromatic use is still by far the most popular way to use essential oils, and with good reason! Essential oils are easily inhaled and utilized by the brain and lungs to affect the entire body. They can boost your mood, protect against germs, ease headaches and nausea, enhance mental function, relieve stress, and so much more, just with a few sniffs! That’s pretty powerful!

Topical is another very popular use, and one that I absolutely love doing daily. Applying essential oils to the body is incredibly effective because they absorb so quickly and enter the bloodstream within 20 seconds. This means that applying an oil directly to where you are hurting or need assistance is the perfect thing to do because the oils will get to the cellular level quickly… a lot quicker than modern meds, AND without the nasty side effects. I often use essential oils topically to boost my mood, to relieve stress and tension, to ease tummy troubles, and to boost our immune systems.

Internal use is a lot more debated, but an area that’s seeing a lot of positivity in recent years in the scientific field. Read myth #4 to learn more about taking oils internally!

MYTH #4: YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY

Guys, I’m not going to lie, I thought this for years. I really just thought it was a given that essential oils weren’t for consumption. And before I go on, I want to make sure you really read myth #1 carefully because that’s what comes into play here. I believe that there is an enormous amount of research to confirm that essential oils can be used safely and effectively internally, but again, I have to qualify that by making sure we’re talking about only the purest essential oils for this. (I also have to reiterate that I am not a doctor, and none of what I say here is FDA approved or anything. This is all knowledge based off of my own research and experience)

When we take into consideration that essential oils are just a concentrated form of plant material, things that we may already be consuming daily, it really doesn’t seem so strange to think that we might be able to get some real benefit from ingesting them. I think of it sort of as taking supplements. I’m taking a concentrated form of something to boost immunity, to support hormones, and whatever else I’m in need of.

THERE ARE DEFINITELY SOME BASIC SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO TAKING OILS INTERNALLY.

  1. Only the purest essential oils should be used, oils that have a supplemental facts listed on the bottle and are from a reputable company. This company should perform many levels of testing on their oils to ensure potency and purity. Obviously you don’t want to be taking weird, synthetic stuff when you think it’s the real thing, right? So it’s definitely worth doing your research on which oils are the best.
  2. Proper dosage recommendations should always be followed. A little oil goes a long way! It’s very important to note how much you should take at a time and not exceed that unless under direction of a professional. A general guideline is “It is best to start with the lowest possible dose (1–2 drops) and then increase the dose as needed. The recommended internal dose of essential oils is 1–5 drops, depending on the oil or blend. After a certain point, taking a higher dose no longer adds benefit. If you take too much, it can even become harmful. It is better to take a smaller dose, which can be repeated every 4–6 hours as needed. In total, typically no more than 20 drops, divided into doses, should be consumed in a 24-hour period (source)
  3. Children, pregnant/breastfeeding women, and elderly people (or anyone who is more sensitive) should always follow a more modest dosage (and there are certain oils that they should definitely not take at all, depending on certain factors!).

I could go on, but let’s just suffice it to say I really believe essential oils are a wonderful way to get the benefits of the oil on a deeper level. I personally take oils every single day and have achieved incredible results from them. If you’d like to read more about this topic, here’s a great article.

MYTH #5: GOOD QUALITY ESSENTIAL OILS ARE JUST TOO EXPENSIVE

Yet another myth I believed wholeheartedly. I really thought some of the bigger name companies were fads and scams, just looking to make money. In fact I can remember a distinct conversation I had with a few friends about essential oils and what a ripoff these big name companies must be to charge so much for a little bottle of oil!

This may be true for a lot of the bigger companies. But when I got started with doTERRA I quickly realized how wrong I had been to think that! I’ve learned since then how much plant material goes into those little bottles of oil, how much time and labor it takes to create each one, how they must be grown in the perfect environment and be harvested at the exact perfect time, how they need to be distilled properly, and then tested 6 different ways to ensure their potency and purity. I’ve learned how much care doTERRA puts into every single bottle of oil and I’ve realized how truly precious these oils are. And I’ve realized how well they actually do work!

I didn’t ever view them that way before.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • it takes approximately 3 pounds of lavender flowers to create one 15 mL bottle of Lavender oil
  • it takes 105 pounds of rose petals to make a 5 mL bottle of Rose oil
  • it takes 63 pounds of melissa plant to make a 5 mL bottle of Melissa oil
  • and it takes approximately 50 lemons to make a 15 mL bottle of Lemon oil!

I now look at the price as an investment rather than just a purchase. We’ve been able to replace so many things in our home like toxic household cleaners, beauty care and first aid products, medicines and pain relievers. We very rarely go to the doctor and we seldom take modern medicines at all if we can help it. We’ve reformed the way we live with these tiny little bottles of precious oil, and to me that means a whole lot more than a dollar sign.

When you really break it down and realize how much you are getting for your money’s worth, it does make a huge difference. For instance, each 15 mL bottle of oil contains about 250 drops of oil. Considering that you often need only 1-2 drops of oil, those bottles can go a long way. Oils like lemon and lavender come in costing around 4-10 cents per drop, while more precious ones like frankincense and rose will be closer to 40-50 cents. When compared to the benefits you can receive from those precious drops of oil, to me those cents here and there are worth so much! We’ve truly gained our investment back in so many ways and it just continues to bless my family.

Something I often tell people who I know are dealing with tight finances is that they don’t have to do it all at once. I honestly believe you can change your family’s health with just 1 or 2 oils at a time. Even if you can only do one oil a month for a while, I truly believe it’s worth it to get that oil, learn how to use it well, and get your money’s worth from it! It may take some budgeting at times, but when you consider the things you are able to replace and the benefits you can receive, it puts the cost into perspective.

 

I’M SURE THERE ARE MANY MORE MYTHS, BUT I HOPE YOU’VE LEARNED A BIT FROM THESE 5!

 

live simply, love deeply, & oil abundantly!

Love,

Laura

{I originally published most of this post on my oil group website, www.lovewildtribe.com. I’ve edited it slightly to fit the context of this website.}

 

Laura Beall is a lifestyle blogger and writes about simple living, faith, family, and motherhood. She is an essential oil educator and shares simple DIYs, recipes and tutorials for using essential oils and natural remedies. She also shares her love for food and nourishing recipes. She lives with her husband and 3 children in Kansas City Missouri where she works from home, homeschools, and enjoys being outdoors and gardening.

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