Essential Oil Facts in Two Dozen


Here are 24 easy facts about essential oils which are good to know in order for you to fully enjoy their uses safely and effectively.

This is by no means an exhaustive guide, and you will need to study more references to learn about the wonderful world of aromatherapy with quality essential oils.

At the end are listed a number of oils I would recommended any home to have, so give their fragrant benefits a try.

Listed a number of oils

  1. Essential oils are not oils in the sense that they are composed of the types of fatty acids which make up what would be considered as actual oils. It is more useful to think of essential oils as concentrates of natural substances extracted from plants which have organic qualities fit for medicinal and therapeutic uses. Most essential oils have potent antimicrobial properties, and this makes them an effective addition to homegrown cleaning solutions. Eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, grapefruit, rosemary, lemon, and tea tree are among the oils recommended as ingredients diluted in cleaning solutions for home use.
  2. Essential oils have rather tiny molecules, so they are easily absorbed by skin. This property is desirable in wellbeing and cosmetic items which are formulated to nourish and soften skin or heal irritations. The good thing about the oils is that they don’t accumulate in body tissues, and they simply pass through our tissues with their beneficial molecular effects and any residue is mostly eliminated afterwards.
  3. It has been demonstrated that rosemary helps enhance memory. One study that was scientifically conducted shows that inhaling the vapors of the essential oil rosemary can improve brain functions relating to memory performance on standardized tests. In the same study, those in the group who smelled the vapors of lavender or rosemary also reportedly felt more relaxed afterwards than those in the control group who were not exposed to specific odors.
  4. Oily fragrances and essential oils are not necessarily the same. Products with labels like fragrance or fragrant oil are generally not essential oils. These are usually synthesized with more chemical processing than is used in the extraction of regular oils.
  5. Essential oils are wholly natural substances derived from organisms which means these are organic which cannot be easily patented and used exclusively in pharmaceutical products made by the large drug companies. Because there is no exclusivity, most healthcare suppliers in the mainstream healthcare industry do not focus on marketing or selling essential oils as alternatives to patented drugs. The bigger problem is that because there is little profit in marketing organic products which cannot be patented, the big firms will not dedicate much resources to studying their properties or benefits. As a result, there are hardly any new discoveries added to existing references. Much of what is already known about essential oils was gained through the personal experience of many people experimenting over thousands of years.
  6. Huge quantities plant material are in the extraction of essential oils. As a high example, it can take several thousand pounds of roses to produce just a single pound of the oil. At the lower end, the production of oils like lavender may need only a hundred or so pounds of material for a pound of oil. This only goes to show how high the concentrations must be for these oils to deliver therapeutic benefits.
  7. Store essential oils away from young children. Some oils have very potent effects which can cause undue reactions in unsuspecting kids who play with the bottles.
  8. Avoid touching your nose and eyes when handling oils. Mucous membranes will be likely be irritated by even brief contact, so always bear these precautions in mind whenever storing or using essential oils.
  9. Essential oils should not be ingested in most uses. Some oils like wintergreen or eucalyptus in particular must be avoided. There are a few which may be safely taken when correctly diluted in a base compound like toothpaste. But oils in general are not recommended for internal use due to toxicity. A few exotic oils are too toxic for even topical application, but these are neither commonly available nor well-known.
  10. Essential oils vary in quality, but the more expensive brands are not always worth their higher prices. The less expensive brands are good for non-therapeutic, since they are cheaper to use in the quantities required for household work. That said, when there is large variation in prices between brands for a particular oil, it is likely the cheaper one is of lower quality. On the other hand, small differences in high-end brand prices for an oil may not mean much in terms of quality. There are only so many distilleries and packagers, so most oils come from mostly same producers anyway.
  11. You may just pick among the higher-end brands according to availability and price as there’s usually no difference in terms of quality among higher-end brands. And if you just plan to use an oils for non-personal uses like cleaning, the less expensive brands are more than likely good enough. If you are going for quality anyway, it may make ethical sense to buy from suppliers who stock essential oils derived from produce grown without pesticides or industrial fertilizers.
  12. Disperse the scents of essential oils into the air with a fan diffuser to improve your moods. Lavender, chamomile, peppermint, grapefruit, ylang-ylang, orange, and lemon all have scents which can bring a sense joy indoors.
  13. In general, essential oils should not be applied “neat”, or undiluted on skin. Most need to be blended with carrier oils composed of real fatty acids, or else mixed with butters, alcohols, or other waxy dilutions. Due to this potency of concentration, if an oil isn’t diluted with any of these methods and is applied topically to your skin, it may result in an unpleasant allergic reaction. The mucous membranes of your eyes and nose will likely get irritated if you happen to touch them while handling oils messily.
  14. A few essential oils are known to be safe for topical use in undiluted or “neat” form. There will some exceptions to this rule as people respond differently to various oils. German chamomile, rose germanium, sandalwood, lavender, and tea tree are among the few oils which are widely recognized as safe to use undiluted but only in small amounts.
  15. Essential oils in pure or “neat” form should never be used on babies or other young children. Because kids have more delicate skin than most adults, they are prone to being sensitive to the effects of the oils. In any blend or recipe meant for use with children, use only one-half of the amount recommended for its formulation, as no more is needed to have a good effect.
  16. Pregnant women in their first trimester should forego essential oils completely. Since little is known about the long-term effects of usage of these oils on the fetus, it is best to err on the safe side when it comes to natal health, even if you only plan to enjoy their scents by diffusing the oils into the air.
  17. There are some essential oils which women should skip when they are pregnant or nursing. Aniseed, cedar wood, cinnamon, chamomile, clary sage, Aniseed, jasmine, rosemary, nutmeg, ginger, lemon, clove, sage. There are more oils which should be avoided, but these are among the more common with possible issues.
  18. Always check for sensitivity to an essential oil on first use, particularly when first using a preparation for topical application. Mix a drop of the oil with half a teaspoon of a base or carrier oil like coconut, almond, jojoba, or olive. Dab a bit of this solution on the inner side of your upper arm and observe it for several hours. If your skin does not develop any itchy redness or swelling, then you likely can enjoy continued use of the essential oil.
  19. When checking the purity of an essential oil, here is a simple method. Pour a drop on a small sheet of construction or other plain paper. Purer oils evaporate more rapidly and don’t leave any circular residue. If a ring of residues remains, then you likely have a product which was diluted with other oils. Note: this method does not apply when testing for purity in “absolute” oils like patchouli or myrrh.
  20. Properly stored, essential oils have long shelf lives of up to ten years or longer, so just one bottle could wind up serving you for decades! Buying and stocking up on quality essential oils isn’t that inexpensive a hobby. But due to their long lasting properties as well as their potent concentration and application in tiny amounts for most therapeutic purpose, your stock will likely last for far longer than you might expect. Citrus oils are an exception though, as once opened a bottle with decrease in potency over a year or so.
  21. Essential oils are best stored in bottles of dark glass. Most come packaged in such small containers anyway, and for good reason. Essential oils are organic compounds with highly photo-sensitive chemicals. Over time these will degrade in potency if continually exposed to sunlight or even indoor lighting. Keeping them stored without these conditions will preserve their beneficial qualities.
  22. Keep in mind that oils you’re allergic to in the form of food ingredients, are oils you’ll likely be allergic to in the form of essential oils. Thus if you avoid rosemary-flavored chicken because of the unpleasant reactions you get when eating the dish, you might want to avoid rosemary in an essential oil blend or any skin preparation. Unless it was the chicken which you were allergic to, of course...
  23. Spread the fragrances essential oils into the air with a fan diffuser to uplift your spirits at home or work. Lavender, peppermints, chamomile, grapefruit, ylang-ylang, clary sage, and lemon have scents which can improve your mood and are great at bringing an airy cheer to most any room. The scents of some oils like Clary sage are known to help women cope with their monthly cycles. Others like rosemary have been demonstrated to enhance mental focus and memory recall to some degree in some scientific trials.
  24. The recommended uses for many essential oils are still debated by experts. Although most oils sold in stores are quite safe to use according to their common applications, experts in the community of aromatherapy don’t all agree over the best uses or even applicable amounts for many essential oils. To be sure, always study the available references, and test oils diluted topically on yourself and with caution. If you are still in doubt about some controversial oil, you can always avoid it. Chances are there will be good substitutes for your application anyway.

Recommended oils for beginners

The kinds of essential oil you should try at first will depend on which purposes you hope to put them to. The following is a list of eight popular oils and their good uses which you can start out with. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but these will be enjoyable for you to try.

  • Peppermint. Lip balms, acne-prone skin, household cleaning.
  • Rosemary. Hair preparations, acne-prone skin, household cleaning.
  • Orange. General skincare, calming diffusion in air, soothing children
  • Rose geranium. General skin care, perfumes, homegrown moisturizer.
  • Tea tree. Medicinal scent, dandruff control, acne-prone skin, household cleaning.
  • Lavender. General skin care, relaxing diffusion in air, hair preparations, and household cleaning.
  • Chamomile. General skin care, relaxing diffusion in air.
  • Lemon. Oily skincare, uplifting diffusion in air.

Most users starting in this field eventually end up using these popular essential oils. These are regularly found in therapeutic products or cleaners, and are fortunately among the most available and least expensive essential ones you can find.

Summing Up

Do not be intimidated by essential oils and their use. You can just enjoy them for their mood benefits when diffused fragrantly into the air as much as anything. Or you could go deeper into their medicinal uses, with a little caution as to which is good or not for topical application.

Just give some study to the issues, apply the oils properly and react sensibly to the effects, and all will be well.

About the author


Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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