Essential oils have been getting a lot of press lately–people are interested in learning about aromatherapy and how they can influence their lives with essential oils. Simply speaking, aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for health. Although we put a lot of emphasis on the word “aroma,” the true action of an essential oil goes beyond our sense of smell.
We can focus on aroma by scenting our homes, work spaces or bodies (choosing an aroma that helps us relax, for example). We can also create our own products with essential oils that have practical applications beyond their aromas–skin care remedies, natural home cleaning products, massage formulas, etc. At the heart of both kinds of uses is creativity–the fun of blending and making our own essential oil products.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant extracts. We obtain essential oils through a different extraction methods and use different parts of the plants to get the essential oils. Rose oil, for example, comes from the petals of the flower, while citrus oils come from the rind of the fruit.
Because they are natural extracts, essential oils aren’t just like perfumes–they are much more. On average, they are 75 to 100 times more powerful than dried herbs, concentrating the key constituents of the plants. General recommendations for using essential oils stress the importance of dilution–adding the essential oil to a carrier (like a skin care oil) to reduce its concentration. The key is finding a good, reliable resource for reference and allowing yourself time to practice and learn.
What are your essential oil needs? The ways essential oils can be used are quite varied. What you need in making your own skin care products is completely different than what you need for cleaning your home. Of course, some oils (i.e. lavender and tea tree) can be used effectively for both. If you are looking for emotional balance as part of your product, you’ll want to look at some other oils as well. Always let your nose be your guide. If you like an aroma, chances are good that it’s one that will work well for you.
Here is a good recipe for beginners:
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup French white clay powder or 1/4 cup bentonite clay
1 tsp. baobab oil
12 drops lavender essential oil
12 drops eucalyptus essential oil
24 drops sweet orange essential oil
Whisk together soda, salts, and clay powder in a bowl. Sprinkle with essential oils and whisk again until thoroughly blended. Store in a jar with lid. Dissolve 2 to 3 tablespoons in bath to create a soothing and refreshing soak.