Learning

Essential Oils: Explained

Essential oils are clever little bottles of plant extracts that can be used for all kinds of natural aromatherapy rituals. There are so many benefits to introducing essential oils into your wellbeing routine, but it can be tricky to know where to start.

 

If you’re looking to get into essential oils, we’ve put together a handy guide with the lowdown on everything you need to know – from what they are, how they’re made, and what to look out for when buying them.

What are essential oils?

To put it simply, essential oils are plant extracts. They’re made by steaming or pressing the parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves, roots or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take a large quantity of the plant to produce just a single bottle of essential oil.

 

Because they’re an all-natural product, you might assume essential oils are mild and gentle on the skin. In actual fact, they’re highly concentrated and very potent stuff, that’s why they should always be used diluted. Our wellbeing team are on hand with expert advice if you’re unsure about using essential oils. We also have a detailed introductory leaflet called ‘Introduction to essential oils’ which can be downloaded here.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

 

The best thing about essential oils is that they’re so versatile. They can be used in aromatherapy to support your wellbeing and they’re also great for scenting your home using a diffuser. You can use them in the bath and in homemade products.

 

While the science behind essential oils isn’t conclusive, there are lots of promising findings that suggest adding them into your wellbeing routine can be helpful. Everyone is different, and each essential oil works in its own way, but you may find they help to:

  • Relax and calm
  • Energise and uplift
  • Balance and harmonise
  • Cleanse and clear the senses

Which essential oils are right for me?

 

Your own personal issues or reasons for using essential oils will impact the type of oil you may want to try.

 

Each essential oil or essential oil blend comes with its own uses and benefits, so if you’re hoping to aid a specific issue, then you may want to do a bit more research using our Essential Oils Book.

 

Here are a few examples of our best-selling essential oils, and what they’re most helpful for.

 

Lavender

Use it: as a general aider

 

Steam distilled from the flowers and leaves of French lavender, our lavender essential oil is cleansing and refreshing. Naturally soothing, lavender oil is traditionally used for it’s calming properties and is a great all-rounder for beginners.

 

 

Frankincense

Use it: during meditation

 

Frankincense resin oil has a deeply relaxing aroma. Fresh and uplifting, it’s ideal to use during meditation and mindfulness practices to enhance your wellbeing.

 

Rose

Use it: to feel balanced

 

Nurturing rose has a sweet, floral fragrance. It’s soothing and sensual, so it’s great for nourishing your skin as well as balancing your emotions during tense times.

 

Ylang-Ylang

Use it: to feel a sense of peace

 

Sweet ylang-ylang essential oil has soothing properties and helps to restore harmony. It’s best used if you’re looking for a natural way to chill out.

 

Roman Chamomile

Use it: for quiet time

 

This light and fruity oil is steam distilled from chamomile flowers and leaves. Naturally calming, it balances your emotions and helps to ease tension. Milder than Chamomile Blue, it’s more suitable for children.

 

Clary Sage

Use it: for a night time wind down

 

With naturally calming properties, warming clary sage essential oil helps to prepare your body and mind for a more restful night’s sleep.

How can I use essential oils safely?

 

To use essential oils effectively in the home there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re using them safely.

 

With a basic understanding of the safety precautions and application methods, you’ll be ready to start using your oils in no time.

 

There are two main ways to use essential oils.

 

  1. Aromatic use – through smell. This includes any application method that helps you experience the aroma of the oil. You can use essential oils aromatically by adding to a diffuser or simply opening the bottle and having a sniff.
  2. Topical application – on your skin. Applying the oils to your skin is an effective way to absorb it, but it’s important that you dilute the product first with a carrier oil to avoid harsh reactions. Effective carrier oils include coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.

Whichever method you decide to try; remember you almost always need to dilute the essential oil in some way before using.

 

Please note, we do not recommend taking essential oils internally. For more comprehensive safety advice and information on diluting and blending essential oils, please download our Introduction to Essential Oils leaflet.

 

How can I find quality essential oils?

 

The key to ensuring you get the most out of your product is to make sure you’re purchasing good quality essential oils.

 

When researching where to buy essential oils, make sure that the oils you’re purchasing are from a reputable seller, packaged in a dark-colored glass container, and always remember to read the label. You should be able to find the Latin name of the plant and the country of origin.

We hope we’ve managed to answer some of your questions about essential oils. If you’d like to know a little more why not treat yourself to our Essential Oils Book?



Tipper Lewis

Tipper Lewis

Writer and expert

I’m a qualified Naturopathic Herbalist and have worked at Neal’s Yard Remedies for 20 years – in our stores, as Head of Training, and most recently as a Brand Ambassador. Outside of work, I love nothing more than being out in the garden and growing my own veggies, herbs and flowers to support wildlife.