Your Crash Course on How to Use Natural Essential Oils
Asia/ Ohana/ Health & Wellness

A Beginner’s Guide: What to Know About Natural Essential Oils and Its Uses

Your Crash Course on How to Use Natural Essential Oils header

Being bottled up, dabbed, and dispersed in droplets for centuries, essential oils are naturally derived liquid solutions that have been used in everything from cooking, to cleaning, to religious rituals, even in medicinal healing, and more. Derived from greens and flowers, these oils are essentially concentrations pulled from functional parts of plants for their benefits.

How It’s Made

Natural Essential Oils

There are three main forms of extraction for natural ingredients, namely steam distillation, absolute extraction, and expression.

The most common type, steam distillation, is used on herbs, seeds, barks, and roots. Traces of this method date as far back as the 10th century, with water as a key agent in the process. An ingredient is put inside a vat that’s going to fill up with steam or hot water. This temperature rising process then breaks it down on a molecular level, and thick vapours are released. This infused steam is then collected into an oil separator container, which then allows it to be skimmed off as a concentrate.

For ingredients that can’t stand as high a heat level, such as flowers, people tend to use absolute extraction. This method requires a solvent like ethanol or hexane, which is used to soak the aromatic ingredient of choice until its fragrance is dissolved into the plant. The resulting mixture is what is called the “absolute,” hence the name of the process.

Lastly there is expression extraction, which requires the plant to be pressed until it releases its essential oils to be collected.

How It’s Used

Whilst different oils contain different properties and each vary in toxic quantities, both by themselves and when used in tandem with other chemicals, sticking to labels from regulatory bodies is the safest way to go. Undiluted oils or excessive amounts of liquids can lead to burns, allergic reactions, or even poisoning if used incorrectly.

So always keep an eye on recommended dosages, be aware of your existing health conditions, and consult a physician before trying out any of the below. Use cases tend to suggest only a few droplets, at most.

As Aromatherapy

Natural Essential Oils

Despite its “woo woo” stigma in recent years, aromatherapy is a form of therapeutic practice that can help induce mild calming benefits and relaxing effects. Influencing our bodies and minds by way of our sense of smell and skin absorption, aromatherapy has taken shape in diffusers, spritzers, bath salts, body creams and oils, steamers, compresses, and more. One thing to make clear, however, is that claims of natural essential oils as the sole source of remedy for chronic illnesses or serious diseases are yet to be proven through research.

One of the easiest ways to indulge in aromatherapy with the oils at a minimally adulterated form is by diffusing them. In any case, it is a great mood booster thanks to the essential oils’ fragrances! You can simply pop open the bottle cap and take in some deep breaths from a sensible distance, or dribble a few droplets to evaporate on a cotton ball to disperse the smell. For higher intensity, steam inhalation is a choice that involves dropping a little bit of the essential oil in a bowl of hot water, and letting the infused steam fill your atmosphere.

As Pesticide

Natural Essential Oils

A natural alternative to pesticides and anti-bug infestation sprays that harm the air with harsh synthetic chemicals and the environment with all the nasties of aerosol sprays, some essential oils have been shown to repel unwanted micro-visitors while leaving their human users unscathed. Peppermint oil has been hailed as a fairly surefire mosquito repellent, while also being said to have an effect on fleas, spiders, flies, and ants.

As a Cleaning Agent

Natural Essential Oils

Essential oils have long been dribbled into the mix of cleaning products, and another great advantage to them is the extra added pleasure of fresh smells. Citrus-lovers can look to orange oil and lemon oil as options that can be diffused into the air to freshen up the living space around you, or used as a natural spray around the house, thanks to their shared feat of being a scientifically proven bacteria killer.

As Skincare

Natural Essential Oils

For some good ole’ remedial, topical application, tea tree oil has been singled out as a great pick of natural essential oils that can offer antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal benefits. Combination skin and oily-skinned folk can consider dabbling with tea tree oil as acne treatment, which can help speed up the process of dissolving the pesky bumps by simply dotting them onto the skin. Those with dry or sensitive skin should ask their physician before trying the above, and may need to dilute the oil with a little bit of water.

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