The other week I took part in a fantastic webinar run by some friends of mine who work for doTERRA, producers of high quality essential oils. I’ve always used essential oils for scent (normally burning them which I now know is a big no-no, more on that below) so it was really interesting to find out more about their benefits, how they work and why.
It has inspired me to do more research into this area and completely changed the way I use my oils. My takeaways from the webinar are below. If you’re interested in finding out more then have a look at their website or message me in the comments below and I will put you in touch with Emily and Janine, who ran my session.
Takeaway 1: Not all essential oils are made equal
It comes down to what you hear all us clean beauty enthusiasts go on about: the beauty and holistic health industries lack regulation when it comes to product ingredients. As I’ve said before, you only need to include a small amount of an organic ingredient to label your product organic. And ‘natural’ carries the same vague promises. Which is why I always check the label and research my ingredients.
With essential oils it’s harder. According to Emily, a lot of the cheaper brands may say the oil is pure but they are often bulked up with carrier oils (affecting potency) or inferior ingredients, sometimes including synthetic fragrance. This is unlikely to be clear from the label. If you just want to use your oils for fragrance then this isn’t so bad. But if you’re trying to tap into the benefits of these powerful little fellas it’s bad news. So, takeaway one: don’t buy cheap essential oils on Amazon (or similar!).
Takeaway 2: How to use essential oils
I was surprised to learn that by heating my oils in a burner I was destroying many of their benefits. Instead you should use a diffuser which releases the essential oils into the air without the need for heat. I already have the Soto by Made by Zen, which I purchased from Neal’s Yard. doTERRA do their own, which you can get free with certain packs of oils.
You can also take a drop or two of essential oil, either singly or a combination, in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then cup them around your face and inhale deeply. I’ve been doing this lots since the webinar and have been amazed at how effective it is.
Alternatively, a drop or two on the soles of the feet are a good way to apply essential oils. Mummies everywhere will have heard the urban myth of applying Snufflebaby* to their child’s feet to stop them coughing and it obviously stems from this.
You can also use your oils topically; Janine recommended rubbing a drop of peppermint oil directly onto the tummy in case of digestion or stomach issues. I’ve done this once since the webinar after too much rich food and within 15 minutes I felt better.
Please research each oil before you use it to make sure it is suitable for you and whether it can be used neat on the skin or needs to be diluted in a base oil first. Likewise if ingesting.
Takeaway 3: What’s your blend?
It’s not just smoothies we should be blending. Combining different oils can enhance their properties and potency. You can get creative and do your own or buy some ready blended versions. From the webinar I was particularly interested in Deep Blue for relief from aches and pains and also useful for migraines, which I suffer from. Janine kindly gave me a sample and I’m so impressed I’m going to be buying more.
I’ve also been convinced of the benefits of using an immune boosting blend, especially as we reach the end of summer. doTERRA’s offering, which I’m keen to try, is called On Guard. Neal’s Yard also has a couple: Organic Defense and Cleanse.
On the subject of blends I do need to give a shout out here to the amazing Womens Balance aromatherapy blend from Neal’s Yard. I’ve used this to help with PMT for years and it’s the business.
Takeaway 4: Play around
Emily and the team recommended a book called Modern Essentials which I’m about to order. What really struck me was how Emily incorporates these oils into her everyday life, whether cooking (creating raw chocolates with a drop of peppermint oil or adding a drop of oregano oil to a pasta sauce), supporting her three boys through childhood illness or just lifting her mood. She and Janine are really passionate and knowledgeable about the science behind essential oils and it was a real pleasure to share in their enthusiasm for an evening.
Takeaway 5: Frankincense is King
This essential oil merits its own heading. My final takeaway is to get me some frankincense! Known as the king of all oils, it can be added to any other oil to boost its properties. On its own it is deeply relaxing and it can help with a range of complaints: anxiety, digestive issues, poor immune system. It’s even meant to be useful for skin rejuvenation. I’m going to try adding a couple of drops to my shea butter before I apply it (see previous post: Shea (butter) bliss).
Expect more posts as I delve further into this topic and I’d love to hear if anyone has any favourite blends, especially in treating depression.
*Snufflebaby is an ointment with a blend of essential oils to relieve congestion in children. I no longer use it as it’s in a petroleum base and so I have blended my own natural version for some time. Please research carefully as some essential oils are not suitable for young children.