What are Essential Oils?
Plants’ aromas and chemical compounds are either extracted through cold-press or steam extraction and bottled up. When nothing else is added, you have pure essential oil. These oils are volatile, and will evaporate quickly and cleanly, leaving no residue on a tissue or piece of paper. This is one way you can gain confidence in a specific essential oil you have purchased.
Essential oils are commonly used for aromatherapy, topical application, and many oils can be ingested as directed if your source is trusted to distribute 100% pure essential oil. If you are ever unsure of your source, never ingest any oil from them.
A wide variety of ailments are known to be prevented, treated or soothed with these oils. They are potent. A little always goes a long way. Each oil has its own properties. My suggestion is to try between one and three oils at a time that interest you and your personal situation, and get to know them thoroughly before moving on to another oil. Start with Lavender and Peppermint. Their benefits and uses range far and wide. You need to get to know everything about every single oil you buy for safety’s sake. Lavender and Peppermint are considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) oils, which is a great place to start. Some oils are harmful to some people with certain health issues. Some should never be ingested. Some should never be used by children or pregnant women. Some may interact with medications you might be taking. Some should be avoided by people prone to seizures. Some will interact with blood thinners, making them less or more effective. If you are going to use essential oils, it is always prudent to ask your doctor and/or a certified aromatherapist first if you are taking medications or have any health concerns. Pets, especially birds are extremely sensitive to these oils and some can be deadly to them, even if used as aromatherapy in the same room. Take extra precautions for birds. Cats and dogs appreciate aromatherapy as well as some topical applications, but again make sure that the oils you use are safe or used only as directed for your size cat or dog.
How to Buy Essential Oils
Buying therapeutic essential oils can be tricky. You have to be very careful. There are dealers that will sell oils claiming that they are 100% pure, but there isn’t any regulation on how they are collected, bottled or stored. Some distributors might sell their oils from a low-quality plant stock or blend their oils with other oils or synthetic materials. These oils can spoil if left in a warehouse for years before distributed or if they have been improperly stored. If using these oils therapeutically, you can experience harmful side-effects and/or no therapeutic effect at all.
When considering a source, make sure they don’t label their oils as “fragrance oils”, or “aromatherapy oils”, as these have possibly been altered. Make sure the latin name of the plant is listed on the bottle, that the bottle is amber-colored glass and not plastic, and that the vendor you buy them from has different prices for different oils. Some are more expensive than others because they either take more of the plant to process or the plants aren’t as abundant as lavender, for example. The quality of the oil isn’t always reflected in the price. Keep in mind though, I have seen expensive oils like Helichrysum sold for $18.99 and advertised as 100% pure. Common sense dictates that it can’t be 100% pure essential oil. It’s literally impossible unless it’s really old, mishandled, contaminated, diluted or altered. No matter what they say. It takes too many plants to get a little bit of oil.
I have bought from Eden’s Garden, Aura Cacia, Native American Naturals (Now Rocky Mountain Oils), Now Foods and doTERRA. I make my own lotions, deodorizers, hair detangler, air purifiers, surface cleaners, headache remedies, muscle and joint pain relievers, cold treatments and more with the oils I have collected. I sponsor doTERRA because I do like to have trust in a company that stands behind the quality oils and treat the customer right. Companies must back their product fully or you should be skeptical. Along with doTERRA, I do know that Native American Naturals and Young Living are two other companies that also require high standards for their oils and have great customer service. I haven’t dealt with Rocky Mountain Oils, so I don’t know if their customer service and quality matches Native American Naturals. There are quite a few reputable companies that will be able to tell you specifics about their oils. Stick with them when you find them.