Essential oils for everyone
I write monthly blog articles for The Herbal Academy, which means I don't always get around to writing blog articles for myself. I currently have many articles on their website (and the list keeps growing) that you will find extremely helpful in your quest to use essential oils with your family. Be sure to check out these blog posts:
A good place to start is with a foundational series of articles that I and another aromatherapist, Erika Galentin, wrote. To access this series, start with Basic Essential Oils for Daily Living.
Which essential oils do I need?
First and foremost, always be sure you know that your supplier provides unadulterated, pure, authentic essential oils. That is the key.
It's best to start small. Get to know a few essential oils, then build your collection as you go and find other uses. There is really no reason to have 100 essential oil bottles on your dresser if you really only use five or six of them.
The top five (5) essential oils that you should get first would be:
Lemon (Citrus limon) - learn about phototoxicity when using this oil.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Roman chamomile (Chamamaelum nobile)
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
All of these oils are great to use with the whole family. These oils support the body when it has to deal with scrapes, cuts, colds, flu, sleeplessness, worry, feeling blue, and many other challenges.
Next I would recommend:
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole) - keep away from children's faces.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) - keep away from children's faces and do not use with children under age 3.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Eucalyptus radiata - keep away from children's faces
With these oils you can address just about any issue. That's one of the beautiful things about essential oils - their chemical nature is such that they affect multiple areas of the body, bringing the body back into balance.
How do I use essential oils?
Essential oils are very safe when used correctly. Inhalation methods are the fastest and safest. Topical use requires appropriate dilution in other liquids, usually a vegetable oil. Be sure to read up on essential oil safety before using them on your skin. The basic idea as a starting point, though, is as easy as 1-2-3.
Use a 1% dilution (that is 1 drop of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of the carrier oil or other liquid) for facial applications, children ages 2-12, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with sensitivities of any kind.
Note: Many practitioners will only use hydrosols with children under age 2. If you choose to use essential oils, be sure to learn as much as you can about it. Dilutions will be around 0.25%-0.5% for that group.
Use a 2% dilution for everyday adult applications.
Use a 3% dilution for acute needs, such as bruises, sore muscles or joints, cramping muscles, and other more urgent needs.
With essential oils, less is truly more. You really do not need much to have a powerful effect. In one study students experienced relief from menstrual cramps with a 2% dilution of lavender essential oil!
There are exceptions to every rule, but these guidelines are an excellent starting point. As you learn more, you will be able to be more flexible in your topical use, but I think you'll be pleased with the results you can get with these low dilutions for most applications.
And remember that inhalation is really a very powerful method which can be used in many ways and in many situations, especially emotions and respiratory concerns. It is AROMAtherapy, after all.