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Essential OilsLavender

Essential oils are another to help the body heal and function better.  Most oils are steam distilled from different parts of the plant and are very concentrated; therefore the majority of them should only be used diluted and applied topically.  The typical dilution for a high quality essential oil is 3-5 drops per ounce of carrier.  Carriers can be oils like sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, hemp oil, macadamia nut oil, or massage oils.  One carrier I particularly like is Nature’s Sunshine’s Massage oil, (NSP stock #3928-7) a light, non-greasy massage and body oil featuring a blend of unscented apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, borage oil and vitamin E. Stock.  The only oil that is considered completely safe for neat (straight out of the bottle) application is Lavender.  Always keep in mind that essential oils are 50 times more potent than their herbal component. 

Good quality oils are ones that have not been ‘cut’ by a chemical for extraction.  Many companies use chemicals to break down the raw material so the oils can be extracted easier.  While they can still be labeled essential oils, they retain some of the chemicals in the final product, reducing the healing aspects of the oil, and putting unwanted chemicals into the body. 

When I go into a store selling oils, one of the first things I do is look at the prices.  I have been told by sales staff that they carry the finest quality essential oils and then when I look at the prices every bottle has the same price.  This is the first hint that the products are probably fragrances, not essential oils.  There are several oils including rose, jasmine neroli, and helichrysium, which are very expensive to produce.  These oils if they are steam distilled will have a price tag of $30 to $100 wholesale for a very small bottle.  If you see ‘Rose essential oil’ being sold for $7.95 you can be assured it is not a true essential oil. 

All essential oils are anti-microbial.  This means they are effective against microbes or bacteria.  With the abuse of antibiotics in the United States, many bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotic drugs.  Using essential oils is one way of controlling bacteria, although it is important to remember that our bodies need bacteria to function and it is never a good idea to try to kill off all bacteria in the body. Many oils have other functions and can be anti-viral or anti-fungal as well as anti-microbial. 

When using an essential oil, you should first smell the oil.  The nose is a passage way to the olfactory epithelium, a mucous membrane located at the roof of the nasal cavity.  Here odors penetrate and dissolve into the mucus and on to the olfactory nerves, which relay information deep into the brain, or the limbic system.  Our sense of smell is the one place in the body where the nervous system is in direct contact with the external environment.  

Essential oils enter the bloodstream immediately after inhaling or application.  When the oil is inhaled, it not only affects the brain, but the aromatic molecules travel into the lungs and then finds their way into the bloodstream.  Inhaled oils have an almost immediate psychological effect because of the close connection to the limbic system.  When the essential oils are rubbed onto the skin, the skin’s own sebum quickly absorbs the oils into the body.  The essential oils are then taken up by the lymph and interstitial fluid or diffused into the bloodstream.  The rate of absorption varies with different essential oils.

Ways to use essential oils:

1.       A diffuser to ‘diffuse’ oils into the air has several benefits.  The oils are put directly into the air where they can be easily inhaled; enhancing both physical and emotional wellbeing, while combating airborne bacteria and chemicals.  There are several types of diffusers on the market.  The most inexpensive is an aroma ball (NSP stock #3895-7) like one from Nature’s Sunshine which plugs into the wall and allows heat to diffuse the oil.  Nebulizers  (NSP stock #3932-2) put an undiluted mist of oil into the air and is great for therapeutic use of the essential oils.  Water diffusers use a blend of water and oil, putting an ultrafine mist into the air and are my favorite way of diffusing essential oils. 

2.       Spritzer or spray bottles are another inexpensive way to diffuse oils into the air.  Just fill a spray bottle with good clean water (not tap water) add 3-5 drops per ounce of water, shake and spray into the air.

3.       Diluting oils with good quality carrier oils and rubbing or massaging them into the body.  If there is any question about where to apply the essential oils, you can never go wrong with the bottom of the feet. 

4.       Bath salts are easy to make.  Add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to a handful of sea salt or Epsom salts and add to your bath water.

A diffuser to ‘diffuse’ oils into the air has several benefits. The oils are put directly into the air where they can be easily inhaled; enhancing both physical and emotional wellbeing, while combating airborne bacteria and chemicals. There are several types of diffusers on the market. The most inexpensive is an aroma ball (NSP stock #3895-7) like one from Nature’s Sunshine which plugs into the wall and allows heat to diffuse the oil. Nebulizers (NSP stock #3932-2) put an undiluted mist of oil into the air and is great for therapeutic use of the essential oils. Water diffusers use a blend of water and oil, putting an ultrafine mist into the air and are my favorite way of diffusing essential oils.

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