Now that you’ve learned more about the Power of Aromatherapy and have gotten some information about Getting Started with Aromatherapy, it’s time to learn more about choosing your oils and their specific handling and care.
Choosing Your Oils
When choosing oils, think first about what you want the aromatics to do for you. For example, perhaps you lead a stressful lifestyle and crave serenity. A calming oil, like lavender, would be a good choice to begin with. However, that one oil may not be enough, as anyone who leads a stressful lifestyle probably also needs a lot of energy as well. Orange, or any other citrus oil, would be a good one to add to your kit for several reasons. Not only will the citrus oils work to recharge your energy, but they also blend well with lavender.
Secondly, be sure to get aromatics that you enjoy, otherwise you may not experience their full power. For instance, rose oil is a powerful aromatic, and is great for skin care and emotional balance. However, if you don’t like the scent of roses, then your body won’t respond as favorably as it would to another oil with a scent you find pleasing. This is true because scent is very subjective, and one reason aromatherapy works is because it builds on what already appeals to and pleases you.
Finally, be sure to read the safety information provided for each oil. While most essential oils are perfectly safe for home use, some require special caution, especially if you have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. Additionally, because essential oils are highly concentrated, it’s always a good idea to mix essential oils with a carrier oil before applying on skin and while some aromatherapists advocate ingesting small amounts of these oils, we don’t really recommend it. Consumption is not necessary in order to receive the full benefits of these oils.
Many times, you’ll find that one oil is all you need to meet a specific need or combat an ailment. However, there will also be times that blending several oils together will offer you a more complete range of benefits to fully address a wide spectrum of needs. You can blend oils on your own, or purchase ready-made blends. Blending is easy and fun. Use your intuition when picking out the oils. Experiment freely, using different oils in different amounts for different effects. Try blending with three oils first, and see how that goes. In most cases, three is all you need for a synergistic blend.
Bergamot, geranium, lavender, and the citrus oils blend well with most of the other oils. However, don’t feel confined to having one of these oils in a blend. Some blends that may give you the most benefit won’t contain any of these oils at all.
When combining essential oils, there are no hard and fast rules. A few drops of this, a few drops of that, and a splash of something else and you’re set. However, here are some blends that address some common concerns:
Clarity of mind/concentration at work or school: Rosemary, geranium, and basil.
Stress relief: Lavender, lemon, chamomile, myrrh, sandalwood, frankincense, ylang ylang, and cedarwood.
Blues chaser/mood lifter: Orange, eucalyptus, lavender, and neroli.
Pain relief (muscle/joint): Frankincense, ginger, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. Colds, cough, and flu: Eucalyptus, ginger, and rosemary.
Wake-up/energy: bergamot, neroli, geranium, and lemon.
The above are just a few examples of useful combinations. Mix together your favorites and make your own personal blends.
After you’ve made your own blend, store it in an amber bottle, with an airtight seal. If the blend has been mixed with lotions, creams, or ready- made massage oils, the mixture will last only as long as the carrier oil (usually around six months). To make the blend last longer, add wheat germ oil. It will act as a preservative and extend the shelf life.
Caring for Your Oils
- To prolong shelf life and to get the most out of your essential oils, it’s important to take a few storage precautions. First and foremost, essential oils are extremely sensitive to light, temperature extremes, and oxygen. To protect the oils from light, make sure they are housed in brown- or amber-colored bottles. Always make sure the lid is on tight, and store in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration is also an option, however be warned that some oils stored this way will become cloudy in nature, but the cloudiness will not affect their therapeutic nature.
- Should you choose to store your oils in the refrigerator, take them out an hour before using. When cold, the essential oils don’t flow as freely, so letting them warm up a bit naturally will make them easier to use.
- The normal shelf life for most essential oils is two years. However, it’s possible that with proper care, some may last as long as six years.
- One last thing to keep in mind in the care of your oils is this: when blended with lotions, creams, or ready-made massage oils, the essential oil blend will last only about two months. For best results, mix in small amounts, and use up quickly or you can also add wheat germ oil, which acts as a preservative and extends the shelf life of your blends.
- Some people prefer to use certified organic essential oils. Organic essential oils are produced from herbs that are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, irradiation, genetic engineering, growth hormones or antibiotics. They’re as close to natural as you can get. Some aromatherapists prefer to use organic essential oils because of their high quality and the fact that they’re unadulterated – none of the undesirable substances listed above. While non-organic essential oils labeled 100% pure are usually more than adequate for the casual aromatherapist, some prefer the most natural essential oils possible. Whether you choose 100% pure essential oils or organic essential oils, you can’t go wrong. It’s really just a matter of preference.
On Your Way
Armed with some basic information, you’re definitely on your way. To end, I thought I’d share with you some essential oil tips given by some of our customers.
Jean W: Use Now Foods Peppermint Oil to keep mice out of the house. Add a few drops to cotton balls and scatter them around entry points. The mouse’s nose reads peppermint oil as a predator and stays far away
Lauren T: Keep little bottles of of Now Foods Ylang Ylang oil in your on-the-go bags to inhale when you need a little calm.
Kelly B: Add a few drops of Now Foods, Certified Organic Eucalyptus Oil in your diffuser to help open up your breathing passages during cold and flu season.
Carla S: Mix Now Foods Clary Sage Oil with a little almond oil and apply to your temples to help with a wonderful meditative experience.
April M: Now Foods Tea Tree Oil is a great natural antiseptic so you can rub a few drops on minor scrapes and cuts.
iHerb sells hundreds of Essential Oils. Click here to see our selection of products. If you’re new to iHerb, use Coupon Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum order of $40.