Welcome to Week One of A Mom’s Guide To Getting Started with Essential Oils. As I mentioned last week in the introduction to this series, my goal is to give you an easy-to-follow guide to getting started with essential oils in your own family, so that hopefully you will find essential oils a safe and effective way to improve the health and wellness of your family. Today, we will discuss where to begin with essential oils.
For those of you very new to the idea of essential oils, let’s begin by defining the term:
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated, liquid plant extracts used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. They are called “essential” because they contain the essence of a plant, including its aroma and health properties. Since essential oils can be taken from virtually all plants, many essential oils come from various sources, including flowers, grasses, fruits, roots, trees, and leaves.
There are three common ways we use essential oils: diffusion, topical application, and household. One important note before we move on; unless otherwise noted, this series is primarily for using essential oils on adults, though I will give you some tips for using them with children.
Now that we have that part out of the way, let’s move forward by discussing the must-haves for using essential oils and some of the ways we use them in our own home. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, you may use any brand of essential oils you love. I primarily purchase my own oils from Rocky Mountian Oils and Plant Therapy. Throughout the series, where possible, I will give you equivalent comparisons to blends from Young Living and doTERRA for those of you who prefer those companies.
Which Essential Oils Should I Use First?
This is one of the most common questions I am asked. If you’re unsure of where to begin with essential oils, you may not be clear about what essential oils to try first. And if you begin shopping for essential oils before you understand how best to use them, it can get very overwhelming and very expensive. Many people purchase far more than they truly need.
While there are hundreds of oils to try, I’ll give you the single oils and blends I recommend starting out with. These are the most versatile and the most used in my own home, and while I’ve only listed a sampling of the applications of these essential oils, this will get you started. You’ll have fun discovering many other ways you can use these (and a few others) as the series progresses, and by downloading the free printable mentioned toward the bottom of this post.
Let’s get started.
Essential Oil Singles
Lemon, Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Lavender are some of the most versatile (and therefore most cost-effective) essential oils you can purchase, and are some of the first oils I tried and the ones I continue to use most today. With just these 4 essential oils, you will be able to meet your family’s needs for general first aid, household cleaning, better sleep, boosting the immune system, deodorizing your home, uplifting your mood, and more.
Here are a few benefits to using just these four essential oils:
Lemon – This is a common oil in many cleaning products and as a companion to oils for the diffuser. It is great for deodorizing and disinfecting, and I often include lemon when I’m trying to fight off illness in our home.
Peppermint – Another versatile oil, peppermint is the first oil I reach for when I’m struggling with a headache or if I need a quick pick-me-up. It is so helpful in the diffuser for sinus issues. We also make a spray with it to ward off ants!
Tea Tree – Tea tree is great to have on hand for many reasons. My favorite is that it’s great in the diffuser for kids when they have congestion problems, where other oils may not be a safe for them (we’ll cover safe use with children soon!). Tea tree makes an effective anti-lice spray, and is the first essential oil I used on my son (to help with the itching and healing of chicken pox).
Lavender – Lavender is the most used and most versatile essential oil on the market. Have you ever seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember the dad who sprays Windex on everything from a swollen toe to acne? That’s lavender. Except lavender actually works. Lavender is amazing for many skin conditions, so it’s a wonderful choice to add to lotions and soaps. You can also use it to freshen and scent linens, and it is a must-have for the first aid kit. It is most commonly used in my house to help with sleep and for joint pain. It is one of the essential oils in nearly every blend I create because it really is good for almost everything that ails you. When you hear someone (read: me) say, “there’s an oil for that!” I’m likely thinking about Lavender.
Essential Oil Blends
Essential oil blends are sometimes the most effective way to use essential oils. The synergy of different oils can make them even more powerful, and there are times you may want help with more than one issue.
Quite frequently I create my own blends from my personal favorite essential oils, but I also keep some of my favorite blends from my favorite companies on hand as well.
Immune Strength (RMO)is the essential oil blend I reach for most when someone is sick or we know we’ve been exposed to someone who is sick. It has shortened the duration of illnesses in our family and prevented others from getting those same illnesses.
I also use it often in the diffuser throughout the cold and flu season (just to be safe from all the possible germs) and whenever we are going to be in a crowded public place or on an airplane. Colds and the flu have all but been eliminated from our family since we began using this blend.
Plant Therapy Germ Fighter
Young Living Thieves
doTERRA On Guard
If you prefer to blend your own essential oils, this recipe on my other blog is the DIY version of this immune-strengthening blend.
Purify (RMO) is a blend created to eliminate airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus, as well as to deodorize. It can also be used in first aid uses such as spider bites. This is the blend I generally diffuse in the bathroom. <ahem> It has a wonderful lemon-y scent and smells very fresh and clean. On a recent vacation to Florida, I used to as an insect repellent and it worked very well.
Plant Therapy Deodorizing
Young Living Purification
Rapid Relief (Plant Therapy) is a great blend for those days when discomfort is interfering with life. It’s a very warm blend that penetrates aching muscles and joints to provide relief.
Rocky Mountain Oils Relieve Me
Young Living Panaway
doTERRA Deep Blue
Stocking Up on Basic Supplies
In addition to your essential oils, you will need to make sure you have a few more items on hand. This includes some good carrier oils so that you can properly dilute your essential oils. Because essential oils are extremely potent, rarely should they be used on the skin “neat” (without being diluted), especially when applying oils to children.
I have a couple of favorite carrier oils. For most uses, I generally choose Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO). FCO has no scent, doesn’t become solid like the coconut oil you may cook with, doesn’t stain fabrics, and you don’t need to worry about it spoiling. My other favorite carrier is Jojoba Oil. I usually choose Jojoba if I’m applying the oils to a wound, burn, rash, or my face because, unlike FCO, Jojoba Oil has healing properties of its own. It also has a very long shelf life. I have also used regular coconut oil topically when I don’t have FCO on hand (or when making a skin product). Olive Oil. Grapeseed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil are also good choices. You can usually find these options available at your local health food store. You can also buy them online from Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils, or Amazon.
You’ll also want to get your hands on some 15 ml empty essential oil bottles with orifice reducer, 10 ml roller bottles, a diffuser, and a carrying case or wooden oils box as you get set up for using essential oils. I’ll be sharing more about some of my other favorite accessories toward the end of the course, but these are a great start. You can find them all on Amazon, Plant Therapy, or Rocky Mountain Oils.
Ok, that was a lot of information. But it should also be very useful for you as you get started.
Now that you have an idea of where to begin with essential oils, go ahead and buy one or more of the oils or kits above (or dig them out of the cabinet) and get ready to start trying out the tips and recipes coming up in the rest of the series.
The next article will cover general safety tips (including safe use of essential oils with children) so you can actually start using your oils!
Next Up: How to Use Essential Oils Safely
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Never use essential oils undiluted or in the eyes or mucous membranes. Do not ingest essential oils unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep essential oils away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier oil).
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.