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Essential Oils
by TeenHelp April 3rd 2018, 03:11 PM

Essential Oils
Brittany (.Brittany.) and Cassie (cynefin)

What are they?
Some people might think that essential oils are just another money grab, when in fact they are very useful in many ways. Essential oils are highly concentrated natural ingredients that can be found in different types of plants. These oils can give a lot of different health benefits than modern drugs can and they have no side-effects. Each essential oil fragrance has over 100 different compounds in it, which contains a specific therapeutic property and this is how it can be used for a large range of conditions.

How are the oils extracted?
The essential oils are mostly obtained from steam distillation, however, there is another method which is expression. Distillation has been used the most, as it dates back to ancient times when they were cooking mostly. Distillation is still the most common way to extract the oils as the temperature doesn’t have to be too high and can be easily separated. Expression extraction (also called cold pressing), is mostly used for citrus scents (lime, lemon, orange, etc). The zest of the different citrus fruits would be boiled and then pressed with a sponge which helps absorb the oils.

Essential oils come in many different scents. Each scent has a different health benefit. For example: lavender helps you sleep, orange boosts your mood, peppermint helps with headaches. There are currently more than 90 different scents, and most of the scents have 4-5 health benefits. Health professionals are currently looking into whether they have a positive influence for respiratory infections, strokes, and even cancer.

How to use them
There are different ways you can use essential oils. They include: aroma, topical, and internal. For aroma you can use a diffuser, vent clips for your car, add it to your laundry, or use a bracelet or necklace. For topical, you can use a roller ball to apply it to your skin (mostly face, neck and arms), in a bath, or mix it with lotion. Some essential oils you can use internally, this includes adding some to water, smoothies, and they also come in capsules. Make sure you read the directions on which ones you can and cannot ingest. Also avoid all contact with your eyes.

Organic vs non-organic

Organic essential oils are oils that have been created by products that have been grown 100% naturally. A farmer growing plants for an organic essential oil would grow the plants without pesticides and other additives. Non-organic oils are oils that have been possibly created with pesticides or other unnatural products. Many farmers do grow organically but do not pursue an organic certification.

Many people feel differently about organic vs non organic oils. People in favor of organic oils like them because they are safe and are grown in a way that helps the environment. People against organic essential oils may feel that way because molds can reproduce without the use of pesticides and potentially spread to humans. Additionally, many essential oil companies are not organic and supporting organic oils can economically harm developing countries that do not grow organically.

Despite the concerns on either side it is important to note that choosing essential oils is a personal decision; a person should do what is best for them.


Most essential oils can be harmful to cats and dogs. A cat's liver cannot metabolize the components of essential oils. Prolonged exposure to essential oils through direct application or through a diffuser are fatal to cats. Scents such as peppermint or cinnamon (to name a few) are dangerous to cats. It is best not to use essential oils around cats, but people can choose to use oils in a way that is unlikely to come into direct contact or be inhaled by a cat.

Dogs are not as susceptible to illness or death from essential oils as cats are, but some scents are still dangerous. For instance, clove, garlic, thyme, and yarrow (among others) are hazardous. Some oils can be used to help dogs, however. When in doubt about essential oil use around your pets, consult your veterinarian.

It is a common myth that essential oils stain clothing. In fact, essential oils can help remove stains from clothing. Eucalyptus, tea tree, and lemon oils are useful for stain removal. Apply the oil to the stain, let it sit, and then wash the clothing as usual.

Essential oils can be used in the workplace, but can have a negative impact. Though essential oils are known to help with headaches, some people are prone to migraines due to their scent. If you would like to use essential oils while you're working, try a roll-on, personal inhalant, or a personal diffuser.

Allergic reactions are a possibility for some people. According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, essential oils have small molecules known as haptens that can combine with proteins present in the body. The binding between the haptens and the proteins can cause an allergic reaction. People looking to try a new oil may benefit from testing it on a small patch of skin before using it regularly.

Additional thoughts

Essential oils have many advantages and a few disadvantages. People may benefit from viewing these and then making a decision about what (if any) would suit their lifestyle. Though there is debate about the advantages and disadvantages, essential oils have the potential to help a lot of people and that alone could be a reason to give them a try.


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Re: Essential Oils - April 3rd 2018, 05:06 PM

I'm allergic to the lavender ones but I love the cedar wood
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Re: Essential Oils - April 4th 2018, 05:10 AM

I don't use a ton of essential oils but I have lotion that has eucalyptus and something else in it. It's the bath and body works ones. It's called focus and will sometimes help with my anxiety.

I don't keep them around because of my animals just to be safe.

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Re: Essential Oils - December 24th 2020, 10:32 AM

Special thanks to Brittany (.Brittany.) and Cassie (cynefin) for their informative and very useful blog on Essential Oils.

I regularly use essential oils for Aromatherapy using a diffuser that contains filtered tap water. It is used for calming my sister and I, and our Maman, and these delightful aromas can have a significant affect on our moods, without us needing to use a doctor-prescribed calming medication. The oils I buy are from the UK called Absolute Aromas. I find them better and a lot more economical than other makers such as Tisserand, but this is only a personal point of view. I tried many, but decided that the maker I chose produced much better results.

Important Note: There are some specific safety warnings when using essential oils. These are:
  • Causes serious eye irritation
  • Causes skin irritation
  • Contains citronellol. May produce an allergic reaction.
  • Contains sensitizing substances. May produce an allergic reaction. Always read the label and product information before use.
  • Flammable liquid and vapour
  • May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways
  • May cause an allergic skin reaction
  • Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
The essential oils I use are specific though self-explanatory:

Goodnight: Lavender, Marjoram, Geranium, Chamomile.

Relaxation: Lavender, Chamomile, Clary Sage.

Breatheasy: Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Niaouli, Ravintsara.

Noel (Christmas): Orange, Cinnamon, Clove, Pine, Frankincense, Myrrh.

Essential oils when used carefully have an instant effect on our mood, so I keep a collection of various, stored in a locked box out of reach of children. These oils are light-sensitive, hence the lid. Also I use reed diffusers for the cloakroom.

For skin application, I use essential oils that have to be diluted before use.

The 'Goodnight' essential oil mixture, which also smells incredibly good, requires a carrier oil to dilute so it can be safely applied to pulse points. I mixed 8 drops in 20 ml of Argan Oil and then applied to my pulsating skin around 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime. This Goodnight oil mixture is very productive, as you need it as a massage oil for 100ml base oil about 30-40 drops. I keep mine separately in a brown glass bottle, so-labelled for one's specific use. It is important to label all bottles that use a carrier oil for specific use: purely for safety, and not rely on your nose!

You can also drip a few drops on your handkerchief and put right next to the pillow. However, I haven't tried that yet. There is a misting version I also have yet to try. By amalgamating carrier oils with essential oils, this, I find, is the most effective yet cheapest of all.

The smell is really pleasant and the typical scent of lavender oil does not dominate here.

This aroma is warm and soothing, just the right thing for a long restful sleep.

A few drops in an aroma diffuser can be instantaneously effective when used in the sitting room. My aroma diffuser has a capacity of 500ml filtered water. Used as an effective humidifier, it can produce up to 30ml of moisture per hour. Can be used as an Aromatherapy Diffuser / Humidifiers / Air Purifier / Night Light.

Using the Relaxation essential oil, it's astonishing how our moods can change once essential oils are dropped into a diffuser, and this mix of Lavender, Chamomile and Clary Sage feels so good that I'm ready for sleep. I use a diffuser in our bedroom. It's light colours can be set to one colour, bathing our bedroom in a soft relaxing glow.

The Breatheasy is lovely in a diffuser or in a vapourizer. Julie's asthma, often caused by her Long Covid can make her breathless. This essential oil mix has greatly relieved her breathlessness and all that is needed are only 6 drops that can last up to 6 hours in my diffuser, and that ensures Julie a restful uninterrupted sleep.

The Noel aromatherapy oil is lovely. It's a fantastic oil, a real scent of Christmas that sweetly lingers for a long time. Again, it is used in my water diffuser. We love it.
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