Saturday, February 20, 2010

Essential Oil Basics

Once a person starts soaping or making lotions it doesn’t take long to become familiar with essential oils. Obtain from buds, leaves, roots, seeds, bark, or petals of plants, these compounds have been used for their flavorings, odor, and medicinal purposes for centuries.

It may be of interest to know that the plant itself has a use for its own essential oil compounds. They help bring nutrition and carry away waste from the plant cells; and they help repair damage and help maintain the overall health of the plant. We are familiar with plants that can repel insects from themselves such as Citronella and Marigolds all because of the type of essential oil they produce. So it really isn’t any wonder that a lot of these compounds can produce the same effects with humans.

Essential oils can enter the body through the skin, and by inhalation. Applied on the skin, they are carried into the body by the follicles and sweat glands where they are then absorbed by the body’s fluid. Aromatherapy or the inhalation of essential oils, enter the body through the lungs and then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Even though we may acquire many benefits from certain essential oils such as-

  Promoting the healing process

  Stimulate & strengthen the immune system

  Stimulate blood circulation

  Stimulate digestion

  Eliminate toxins

There is also a flip side and care must be taken along with some individual research to avoid adverse reactions such as photo-toxicity, some may cause uterine muscle contraction and hormone like effects that pregnant women should avoid completely. Frequent usage and high doses of some may cause illness or organ damage.

When applied to the skin, it is always best to dilute the essential oil in a bit of oil before applying it to the skin. Dilutions are typically 2% - 10%. For adults, a 2.5% dilution is recommended for most purposes. For children under 12, 1% is generally safe.

Here is a handy conversion to help with oil blending--

1% = 6 drops per oz
2% = 12 drops per oz
3% = 18 drops per oz
5% = 30 drops per oz
10% = 60 drops per oz

No comments: