An Introduction to Essential Oils

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By now you have probably heard of essential oils if you are not already using them. I first started using essential oils about 20 years ago. Back then I mainly used them as an air freshener, as an alternative to popular chemical “plug-ins”. However, nowadays my use of essential oils goes well beyond freshening the air in my home.

The History of Essential Oils

Essential oils and their benefits were first discovered centuries ago. Many historians believe that Egyptians used essential oils in cosmetics and aromatics dating as far back as 4500 B.C.

Multi-Level Marketing and Essential Oils

More recently multi-level marketing (MLM) companies started producing essential oils. These MLM companies have helped make oils more mainstream.

However, with essential oils being as common as they are today, there is now a greater need for more information.

Where Essential Oils Come From 

Essential oils come from plants. Parts of the plants used for essential oils include leaves, fruits, stems, flowers, bark, and roots.

There are approximately 10,000 plants on Earth that contain aromatics. Commercial essential oils are produced from approximately 500 of those plants.

Methods of Extracting Essential Oils

There are three main methods used to obtain essential oils from these plants. These methods are distillation, cold-pressed, and C02 extraction. In some cases, oils are derived from solvent distillation. However, when using solvents to extract essential oils, some solvent remains in the final product.

Therefore, these oils are not pure and should not be labeled as 100% pure essential oils.

Quality Essential Oils

When looking for high-quality essential oils you should be looking at a few factors. First, does the company test their oils? If they do, what types of tests do they conduct? Second, what methods does the company use for extracting their oils? Third, does the company have any aromatherapists on staff? Fourth, do not look for the term “therapeutic grade” on the oil. There is no certifying body that determines whether oils are therapeutic grade. It is simply a term that the company chose to place on the bottle.

Testing of Essential Oils

Gas chromotograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) is a testing method that identifies what substances are in a sample. GS/MS testing separates the volatile compounds into single components. A graph with the results is produced. A trained individual reads the graph. The company can then confirm that the oil is 100% pure essential oil.

Organoleptic testing is used to determine if an oil has been contaminated. Those trained in organoleptic testing can confirm through scent that the oil is pure.

How Are Essential Oils Extracted?

There are multiple ways to extract essential oils from the plant. However, three main methods are primarily used. These three methods are:


Steam Distillation

Most oils are extracted using steam distillation. Steam distillation uses a steam process to separate the oil from the plant.


Hydrodistillation uses water to extract the oils from the plants. It is often used for delicate flowers and plants that cannot withstand the heat of the steam.


Citrus oils are most commonly extracted using the cold press method. Citrus rind (or peel) contains tiny pockets of oil. The rinds are pressed to separate the oil. These oils are very volatile and will evaporate when exposed to air.

C02 Extraction

Pressurized carbon dioxide is used in C02 extraction. The pressurized carbon dioxide is used to pull the oil from the plant. Once the oil is extracted the carbon dioxide is brought back to a normal temperature.

Carbon dioxide at a normal temperature is a gas; therefore, leaving only the pure essential oil.

What Are Aromatherapists?

Aromatherapists use essential oils to treat a variety of physical and psychological disorders. They are individuals with specialized training in various essential oils, their properties, and uses.

Though aromatherapists are not a regulated body, there are three bodies from which an aromatherapist may choose to register with. Certification for aromatherapists does exist as well.

An Introduction to Essential Oils for beginners. Including how to use essential oils safely. Plus the 5 ways you should be using them and the one way you should not. #diffuser #aromatherapy |

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

Five Ways You Should Be Using Essential Oils

Diffusing Essential Oils

One of the most popular ways to enjoy essential oils is through diffusing them. Diffusers produce cool steam that is dispersed throughout a room. It is common to use oil diffusers as room fresheners. However, diffusing also provides a way to effectively distribute the oil’s molecules in a room. With the molecules spread through the room, a person can enjoy the beneficial properties of the oil. We keep diffusers in all of our bedrooms, our family room, and by the children’s playroom.

Essential Oils Roller Bottles

Topical application is when oils are applied directly to the skin. Some oils have properties which make them excellent for skin care. Other oils are applied to the skin to allow the skin to absorb them for their therapeutic properties. However, whenever oil is applied directly to the skin, often on either pressure points or the feet, the oil must be diluted in an appropriate carrier oil first. It is best to use an applicator with a roller ball for topical application of oils.

Cleaning With Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used in do-it-yourself cleaning products, such as this laundry detergent. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties which provide a natural way to clean house. There are also essential oils that help fight grease, mold, and mildew. In this post, I discuss the 5 best essential oils for cleaning, plus two more do-it-yourself recipes.

Essential Oils in Skin Care Products

In self-care or cosmetic products, oils can have multiple benefits. One reason to add oils to self-care products would be to invoke relaxation. Whereas another reason would be for the benefits to the skin itself. There are oils that help with acne, redness, and scarring to name a few. Oils should never be applied directly from the bottle to the skin. However, they can be very effective when combined with other ingredients.

Inhaling Essential Oils

The final way I would recommend using essential oils would be for inhalation. You may be familiar with those pocket inhalers that are sold in stores to help clear nasal passages. Well, oils can be used for physical wellness, such as clearing sinuses or helping headaches. Additionally, there are oils that can help with mental clarity and wellness. I personally used lavender while experiencing natural labor.

Is it safe to ingest Essential Oils?

The one way I would recommend against using essential oils is through ingestion. I don’t mean avoid eating foods that essential oils are derived from, or consuming candy and sweets that utilize a teeny tiny amount of essential oil. I mean using essential oils in a medicinal type way. Extracted essential oils are extremely potent and not designed to be ingested unless under the watchful eye of a trained healthcare professional.

Which Company Do I Recommend

I have purchased essential oils from many different companies. However, all of my oils now come from one single company, Plant Therapy. I chose this company for multiple reasons.

Why Do I Recommend Plant Therapy

For starters, they produce very high-quality oils. It is a family-owned company, started by the children of aromatherapists. Plant Therapy is transparent about their product. They are clear about where the plants and oils come from.

The second reason would be safety. Plant Therapy’s oils go through multiple stages of testing to ensure the oil is of the quality they demand. It is the first company with a line devoted to producing synergies from oils that are safe for children. They also mark single essential oils with the “KidSafe” logo, when they are safe for children. Furthermore, the company has aromatherapists on staff. These aromatherapists ensure the Plant Therapy oils, and their recommendations on use, are safe.

Third, their price point is great when compared to the more popular MLM companies. I can purchase 100mL of Clary Sage (a wonderful oil for women) from Plant Therapy for less than a single 15mL bottle from two other popular companies. Lastly, aside from an excellent price point, they offer free shipping and free returns, along with a rewards program for returning customers!

For full disclosure, I am an affiliate for Plant Therapy. I chose to work with them over other oil companies for all of the above reasons. I do appreciate you going through my affiliate link whenever you make a purchase. Please feel free to contact me if you are having trouble deciding which products to get 🙂

Using Essential Oils

I hope you found this post helpful in understanding essential oils. In future posts, I will further explore the 5 ways you should be using oils. I will discuss the beneficial properties of different oils, including which oils can be used for different treatments. I will also provide recipes for cleaning and self-care products that you can make yourself.

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Comment below and let me know if you’re new to oils or if you already have a favorite!

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Brooke has been helping families as a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, since 2007. Prior to that, she spent 4+ years working as a Registered Nurse in both pediatric and postpartum nursing. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. Additionally, she is dual-licensed in her state as both an APRN and RN.


    • B

      Essential oils in toothpaste can be safe. However, you want the oil to be listed as one of the last ingredients. Also, you’ll want to be sure only children & adults capable of spitting the toothpaste out are using it. If children are using the toothpaste it needs to be a kid safe oil. Lastly, essential oils are extremely potent and some can kill the good bacteria as well, leading to gum & teeth problems. So, yes, you can use essential oils in toothpaste but you want to be sure the above points are considered.

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