Aromatherapy is incredibly popular right now, which is a wonderful thing. Essential oils have been used therapeutically for over 6,000 years. Our sense of smell if very powerful, and is can even be used to influence the parts of the brain that control emotion and memory.
With essential oils it is very important to be careful with their use. Even though they are a natural product, they are very concentrated plant oils. They should never be ingested, since there are a number of essential oils which are toxic if taken internally; in fact, the International Federation of Aromatherapists states that “No Aromatherapist shall use essential oils for internal ingestion or internal application, nor shall any Aromatherapist advocate or promote such use of essential oils”.
There are many people who are selling essential oils lately, who are not certified Aromatherapists, that recommend drinking various essential oils. Even if an essential oil says it’s “food grade” or “therapeutic grade” on the bottle, it should not be taken internally. There is actually no such official grading system for essential oils, and those terms actually mean nothing beyond being used as an marketing technique. Either an oil is 100% essential oil or it isn’t, and just because something says its 100% essential oil does not mean its safe to consume.
I do love essential oils however, as a room scent. to inhale, use as massage oils, or to add to lotions or other topical products and preparations. Most, if not all, essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil (jojoba, grapeseed or almond oil are a few examples) before applying to the skin, since many essential oils are too strong to be put on directly and can cause burning or irritation if put on undiluted. Essential oils are also wonderful to use as room scents in a diffuser. We just started carrying ultrasonic essential oil diffusers and I love them. They use just water and a few drops of essential oils to scent a room for several hours (plus they turn off automatically).
At Pass Health Foods, we carry essential oils from the companies Aura Cacia and NOW Foods, both of which are high quality products.
I’ll list a few of my favorite oils below and some of their uses:
Lavender is wonderfully relaxing and makes a great oil to use for sleep. Using in a diffuser at bedtime is a great idea, or even sprinkling a few drops on a pillowcase or tissue next to your bed. We also have lavender essential oil sprays at the store as well, which can be spritzed on the skin or used as a room spray. I also use vinegar mixed with lavender for cleaning (I’m not a huge fan of the smell of vinegar, but the lavender makes it smell better and is great for deodorizing the dishwasher or sinks).
Peppermint is another oil that everyone should have. It has been researched with positive results for helping with memory (on students studying for a test for example), as well as concentration and for reducing fatigue. Inhaling peppermint oil can also help with nausea. Mice are also said to detest peppermint oil, and we have a number of customers who have had luck with putting drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls and placing it around the house or garage to repel rodents naturally.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. It’s great for making your own cleaning products or natural disinfectants (the highlighted links have recipes). Tea tree is also great for nail fungus and can be put (diluted) on the skin to help with acne (we also have a number of prepared beauty products available with tea tree oil). NOW Foods also has an oil blend of tea tree and lavender oil at the store.
Orange Oil is wonderfully cheering. Sprinkling a few drops in the shower is a great way to start the day in a good mood.
There are tons more essential oils, but I’ve only listed a few of my favorites. Stop by the store since we have testers available of all our essential oils, so you can see what each smells like.
We also have started carrying small, empty roller bottles to make your own essential oil blends.