ESSENTIAL OILS 101

Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils

How many times in your life have you heard “there’s an oil for that”? If we’re talking about me…I’ve lost track. I mean, just from the array of oils in the above photo, it’s enough to make you crazy with intrigue, no? ;) What do I use them for? Why do I use them? How many times a day, do I diffuse them or apply them topically or both?! All the questions! Get your cute lil noggins ready because this blog post is all about my favourite essential oils, how I use them and the what’s, why’s…and then some!

From the relaxing aroma of Lavender to the sweet fragrance of Orange, essential oils are not only meant to take you on a sensory journey, but they can help relax you, give you mental clarity (who needs more of this in their life?! *hand raised high*), soothe bites and cuts and even provide better overall wellness. Now, I’m no doctor, so please don’t take what I’m saying as a prescription or treatment. I am only going by what I’ve learned and experimented with over time and what I know has worked for others over centuries, ya know? Just puttin’ that out there for you, mmmkay?

 

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS

Some may think that essential oils are literally to scent a room or their bath, (seriously I think I thought just those things at one point) but nope! Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from the aromatic parts of herbs, flowers, trees and grasses. If you want to get technical (or scientific):

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (defined as “the tendency of a substance to vaporize”) aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oilsethereal oilsaetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.[1] The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.[2] In contrast to fatty oils, essential oils evaporate completely without leaving a stain (residue) when dabbed onto filter paper.*

*Source: Wikipedia

 

WHY ESSENTIAL OILS

So there you go. That, my friends, is what an Essential Oil is. But what the heck is the deal with them? Why is your friend adding them into a diffuser, to bath water (I mean, it is a thing) or even into beauty products?  Why are they so stinkin’ popular?! Well, for one, more and more families (and people in general) are becoming very aware and have so much more information available on the safety of their household and personal products. So, they’re working harder (or trying) to reduce their exposure to toxins – fragrance is a huge issue and highly toxic! Check this out:

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average fragrant contains about 14 secret chemicals that aren’t listed on the label, many of which are linked to hormone disruption and allergic reactions, as well as about 80 percent of them not being tested for human safety in personal care products.*

*Source: Nontoxic Revolution Blog

YUCK. I don’t know about you but I don’t want that anywhere near me. Essential oils essentially (see what I did there LOL…sorry) allow us to keep the scents that we love and move toward a safer environment for us all to thrive in!

 

WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS

I have a very large selection of (my personal faves) Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils. They offer the largest selection of 100% pure, certified organic, and high-quality essential oils from farm to bottle. ORGANIC! This is so important for me. Organic Essential Oils means organic fruits, plants and herbs – free of pesticides! (Especially for citrus fruits which aren’t naturally pest-resistant.)  Not to mention, I trust MRH so much, I use their adaptogens and trust their sourcing and transparency 100%!

 

HOW I USE MY ESSENTIAL OILS

Time for the fun part! PICTURES! Jk, but really…we’re here for the good pics, aren’t we? Ok, ok, in all seriousness…I LOVE my essential oils. Whether I make my own blends or use them alone, they’re just the best. Below I’ll be sharing my favourite ones for cleaning, mood lifting, sleeping, digestion, hormone-balancing and more!

 

Black Spruce Oil (CLICK PHOTO FOR MORE)

BLACK SPRUCE

PARTS USED: Needles and Twigs
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Fresh, pine-like with balsamic top notes, and a slightly sweet undertone. Black Spruce oil has a sweeter aroma when compared to other needle oils.

HOW I USE IT

Black spruce essential oil has a fresh aroma – it reminds me of being in the mountains. It’s super anti-microbial and anti-infectious, which is awesome because this means it’s capable of acting against infection, by inhibiting the spread of an infectious agent or by killing the infectious agent outright! I love adding it to homemade cleaning products both as a fragrance and active ingredient!

You can also use it in aromatherapy (diffuse it or put some onto the palm of your hands and inhale) as a way to open your respiratory system, soothe and bring emotional balance.

 

FRESH GINGER
PARTS USED: Fresh Root
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Fresh, warm, woody, sweet bright top note.

 

 

ALLSPICE
PARTS USED: Berries

EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distillation
AROMA: Fresh, warm, spicy, sweet

 

CARDAMOM

PARTS USED: Fruit
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distillation
AROMA: Warm, green, spicy, balsamic

 

HOW I USE THEM

These three are powerhouses! Not only are they delicious in their whole food/spice state, (love them in Golden Milks!) they’re incredible for digestion! I like to massage these over my stomach or diffuse them. Ginger + Cardamom can be taken orally but need to be diluted and instructions for consumption carefully followed. This trio has uplifting, refreshing and invigorating scents – they’ve been said to clear confusion and nervousness. Cardamom has even been used in Ayurvedic medicine. So cool!

 

MANUKA

PARTS USED: Leaves and twigs
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distillation
AROMA: Rich, sweet, herbaceous

 

TEA TREE

PARTS USED: Leaves and twigs
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distillation
AROMA: Warm, Fresh, spicy-camphoraceous

 

HOW I USE THEM

Manuka? Like Manuka Honey? Kinda, but not really…manuka honey comes from the blossoms of the Manuka Tree! You learn something new every day. Anyways, if you’re in the green space than you’re quite familiar with both Manuka and Tea Tree. They are amazing for the skin! Manuka has been used to treat all sorts of skin conditions such as eczema, fungal infections, scalp itch, acne and more! You can find manuka in many green skincare products! I love diffusing it because it helps combat stress and irritability…hah – guilty! Tea Tree, in the beauty space, is most commonly used to combat spots and acne, but it’s also extremely antibacterial, antifungal and it even can help prevent cavities! (That’s why some kinds of toothpaste have tea tree! Fun stuff.) I love to use Tea Tree to clean my dry brush and other brushes. I put a few drops in shallow water and get the surface of my dry brush wet – I don’t soak it and that cleans it well! As for my makeup brushes, a bit of Dr Bronner’s mild baby soap with a couple of drops of tea tree does the trick. It’s also, of course, amazing on pesky pimples and other spots.

 

YLANG YLANG

PARTS USED: Flower
EXTRACTION METHOD: Complete
AROMA: Rich, sweet and floral

HOW I USE IT

I freakin’ love Ylang Ylang! I wear it as a scent some days, in combination with Bergamot! (Amazing at balancing hormones!) It can be found in a lot of botanical scents too! It’s so dreamy – try it! Ylang Ylang is great at helping with anxiety, depression (it’s uplifting and has a positive effect on immune health, blood flow and emotions), minimizing fatigue and even helps with insomnia! Diffuse it, wear it…shoot, I am ALL for it. In fact, I’m about to go slather some on me right now!

 

ROMAN CHAMOMILE
PARTS USED: Flowers
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Fresh, rich, sweet, fruity, apple-like aroma

 

EUCALYPTUS

PARTS USED: Leaves and twigs
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Fresh, penetrating, woody, camphoraceous

HOW I USE THEM

Roman Chamomile is used in aromatherapy for its skin benefiting properties, and it adds a calming aspect to a blend. It’s anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, calming and relaxing. (There’s a reason why we drink chamomile tea!) Roman Chamomile is also amazing for airborne allergies and can be even used on children. Apparently, for centuries, mothers have used it to calm crying children, ease earaches, fight fevers, soothe stomachaches, colic, toothaches and teething pain! WHAT! Amazing, right? I love diffusing it, as well as applying it on my pulse points and apparently if you apply it over your throat, it can help a person express his or her true feelings…*runs to apply it on husband* JK, we have no issues with this. LOLOL.

Eucalyptus! The scent of breathing easy. ;) Analgesic (relieves pain), antibacterial, anticatarrhal*, anti-infections, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, diuretic, expectorant, insect repellant and more!  Can we say multi-tasker, much?! The first thing I grab when I’m coming down with a cold or have some congestion is eucalyptus. I diffuse it, dilute it with a carrier oil (I love jojoba) and slather it all over my chest and under my nose to breathe easier and you can use it to relieve migraines, muscle aches and pains, fever, coughs…so many things!

*Herbs which help dissolve and eliminate, as well prevent the formation of mucus and inflammation of the mucous membrane. It is a symptom usually associated with the common cold and chesty coughs, but can also be found in patients with infections of the adenoids, middle ear, sinus or tonsils. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

BERGAMOT
PARTS USED: Fruit peel
EXTRACTION METHOD: Cold pressed
AROMA: Fresh, spicy, floral, citrus

 

SWEET ORANGE

PARTS USED: Fruit peel
EXTRACTION METHOD: Cold pressed
AROMA: Sweet, sugar, citrus

 

Despite the fact that the bergamot fruit is inedible (had no idea up until now!), the oil has many culinary and household uses. I commonly know it as the characteristic flavour of Earl Grey tea – yum – and in some botanical perfumes! I love Bergamot on its own as a scent, or mixed with Ylang Ylang (as mentioned above)! It’s uplifting and happy, refreshing and can help with anxiety, tension and stress. Also known as an uplifting oil, orange oil is often found in household cleaners, mainly because sweet orange oil contains about 90% limonene. Due to this, sweet orange oil is used as an earth-friendly alternative to many common household cleaners – plus it smells so citrusy and sweet. It’s also another one that helps with anxiety, is calming, and even ails indigestion.

 

LAVENDER

PARTS USED: Flowering tops
EXTRACTION METHOD: Water-steam distilled
AROMA: Sweet, floral, herbaceous

 

ATLAS CEDARWOOD

PARTS USED: Wood and sawdust
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Woody, balsamic, rich dry overtones

 

As you’re probably well aware, Lavender oil has a long history of use in the aromatherapy world. Anytime I ever walked into a spa or even my chiropractic office, lavender was being diffused. I even used to keep dried lavender in little linen satchels to freshen up my drawers! Lavender can also found in cosmetic blends, DIY cleaning formulas, and laundry detergents. But, along with all of its aromatherapy, Lavender has a ton of other benefits! It’s analgesic, anticoagulant (awesome on cuts), antidepressant, antifungal, antihistamine (great for allergies!) and a sedative…amongst others! I’ve used it on burns, dry/chapped skin, rashes, sunburns and more. It’s really amazing at setting my nerves at ease and lulling me into a deep sleep – that in combination with Cedarwood is 100% guaranteed to give me a deep and restful sleep.

Cedarwood has a long history as an incense and perfume, but is also antifungal, anti-infectious, acts as a sedative and even as an insect repellant! (NEED!) It’s great for calming anxiety, nervous tension and helps with the respiratory system (coughs, congestion). Like I said, I LOVE it mixed with Lavender because they have similar properties that soothe the heck out of me. ;)

 

CLARY SAGE

PARTS USED: Leaf and flower
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Dry, musky, bittersweet floral

 

TARRAGON

PARTS USED: Leaf
EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distilled
AROMA: Sweet-anisic, spicy-green

Clary Sage is such an incredible oil to me! I recently fell in love with it (and Tarragon) to ease my monthly cycle cramps. It’s anticonvulsive, which means it is a stabilizer for seizures. It’s also known to help with hemorrhoids, balance hormones, PMS and premenopause. Its aromatic influence may even help calm and enhance the dream state, bringing about a feeling of euphoria… (YES, PLEASE.) I love diffusing this or applying this on my pulse points, or any areas of concern along with our next essential oil…Tarragon. This essential oil is antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and so much more. It’s amazing for helping with PMS, hiccups (lol yup), colitis, inducing appetite and more. I like to dilute Tarragon a bit (it’s strong to my senses) and then I apply it directly on the area of concern – so in my case, with Clary Sage on my abdominal/lower pelvic region.

 

So, as you can clearly tell essential oils are all that and then some…they’re definitely just more than their scent and they have so many benefits and uses! What are some of your favourite uses for essential oils, and have any of them worked for you in similar ways to how they worked for me? Let me know in the comments! :)

 

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xo,

 

This post is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. The products seen in photos above were sent to me to review. As always, all thoughts expressed are honest and unique to my personal experience. FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.

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