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Introduction to Using Essential Oils

by Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic

Essential Oils are a source of great pleasure and give a sense of well being both to body and soul. An essential oil is a concentrated, aromatic, volatile liquid composed of small oil-like molecules. They consist of a complicated combination of naturally occurring chemicals which the plant itself produces through photosynthesis. They are called essential 'oils' but in fact contain no fatty substances in the same way that, e.g. Almond Oil does. Because they are volatile they do not create oil stains.

Essential Oil is created in small cavities in the cellular structure of plants, either in the roots, petals, seeds or peel (as in the case of citrus oils). The oil is extracted either by distillation or cold pressing. Essential Oils occur at different levels in different plants, with some plants producing more than others. For instance, 100 kg of petals are required to produce 20ml of Rose Oil, while 100 Kg of leaves will yield 1 - 1.5 litres of Peppermint Oil. This means that the cost of oils will vary but that doesn't make Peppermint Oil less effective than Rose Oil. This article is a brief introduction to the most commonly used ones.

Uses of Essential Oils:

  • To make perfumes.
  • To add fragrance to skin care products.
  • As drops to add to a vaporizer or for use in a spraying flask to create a certain atmosphere, to prevent a cold or simply to freshen the air.
  • In baths, footbaths, or hand baths, e.g. to warm or relax cold limbs or, when slightly colder water is used, to create a stimulating effect.
  • In compresses e.g. to cool sunburn.
  • In massage and other skin care oils e.g. to increase blood circulation.
  • To inhale directly from the bottle or from a vaporizer e.g. to aid relaxation or to clear congested air passages.

Safety Guidelines

When using Essential Oils it is very important to adhere to the recommended dosage to achieve the desired effect. The wrong dosage (which is often the temptation to use too much) can result in skin damage, headache, nausea or similar. Some Essential Oils are not suitable for use during pregnancy or in conjunction with high blood pressure, while some should be used sparingly on the skin. (See directions for individual oils).

Smaller Droppers

Most Essential Oils are thin and require a smaller dropper where percentage dosing is as follows:

0.1%         = 2 drops / 100ml
0.2% = 4 drops / 100ml
0.25% = 6 drops / 100ml
0.5% = 12 drops / 100ml
0.75% = 18 drops / 100ml
1% = 25 drops / 100ml
1.5% = 32 drops / 100ml
2% = 50 drops / 100ml
2.5% = 62 drops / 100ml
3% = 75 drops / 100ml
4% = 100 drops / 100ml

Larger Droppers

Vetivert, Sandalwood and Benzoin are thicker Oils and require a larger dropper, which releases larger drops. Percentage dosing for these Oils will be:

1%         = 20 drops / 100ml
2% = 40 drops / 100ml
2.5% = 50 drops / 100ml
3% = 60 drops / 100ml
4% = 80 drops / 100ml

Using Essential Oils to freshen up rooms is an excellent and pleasant way of enhancing everyday life as well as creating atmosphere for festive or special occasions. Fragrances and blends of fragrances can be used to create a special effect - Romantic, for that sacred time with your partner, or Festive, to make that party of yours unforgettable. Or use the Essential Oil you feel intuitively drawn to use at that particular time - e.g. Lavender for serenity and Bergamot for self-confidence. To freshen up your home or room, you can use an Essential Oil Fragrance Burner, a Spraying Flask or an Aroma Stone.

Essential Oil Fragrance Burner

Used for larger spaces where the effect needs to last for a while. The bigger the space, the more Oil will be required. Because Essential Oils evaporate spreading their aroma around the room, you may want to add more Oil after a time to maintain the effect. Top Note Oils such as Citrus and Peppermint evaporate more quickly than the Middle and Base Note Oils.

Spraying Flask

Used to create a short-term, immediate effect in a room or other space. Can be used in the car to invigorate you or to tone down the smell inside the car. When there are colds around you can spray with e.g. lemon or after vacuuming you can use your favorite oil or blend of Oils. Another tip is to spray covers, mattresses and pillows during airing with e.g. Lemon and Lavender to give them a clean, fresh smell.

Aroma Stones (Sand Stones)

Used to emit fragrance over a longer period of time in smaller spaces such as cupboards, toilets, halls or chests of drawers. In the car, use Peppermint to help you concentrate and at the same time counteract car-sickness. In the home or at work, an Aroma Stone can be displayed as part of the decor.

Drops Used Directly

In your rubbish bin or compost bucket to counteract bad odors, or put a few drops on your vacuum cleaner filter so the air being blown out is filled with the cleansing, antiseptic smell of Lemon, or apply something uplifting and stabilizing like Geranium . If you don't want to blend the oils yourself you can purchase our ready made blends.

Fragrance Notes

Essential Oils can also be classified according to how they smell, e.g. Rosy or Minty. This method of classification has nothing to do with which part of the plant the Oil comes from but rather with how the Oil smells. Sometimes the difference between Woody and Herbaceous or Spicy and Herbaceous smells can be hard to define. You may also have your own ideas which differ from what we are suggesting here. It is naturally up to you and what you think, as the creator of your own perfume, is what is most important.

Woody Notes: Cedar wood, Cypress, Sandalwood, Tea Tree
Root Notes: Benzoin, Patchouli, Vetivert
Citrus Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Orange
Spicy Notes: Bay Leaf, Cloves
Rosy Notes: Geranium, Rose de Mai (Absolute), Rosewood
Orange Notes: Neroli, Petitgrain
Herbaceous Notes:     Lavender, Rosemary
Floral Notes: Jasmine (Absolute), Ylang Ylang
Minty Notes: Peppermint

About the Author:

Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic specializes in empowering people of all levels in making their own highly effective natural skin care products. Through his web site customers are able to access many free resources as well as being able to order all the raw materials, equipment and know-how required to make aromatherapy products, creams, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.

Visit Kolbjørn's Natural Skin Care web site at: http://www.aromantic.co.uk

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