Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

Essential Oils Beginners Guide

One of the most commonly asked questions that I receive is “Where do I find essential oils?” And you know what? It’s actually ridiculously easy to find essential oils. They’re not as mystical and unknown as we tend to make them out to be.

I know, because I was there! I had no idea what they were, how to use them, or where I could find them even if I did want to use them! So I’ve decided to create a brief beginner’s guide to all things essential oils…

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are botanical extracts made from flowers, herbs, trees, and various other plant materials. These oils, present in all plant matter are extracted either by cold pressing or steam distillation. Have you ever felt that oily residue on your hand after squeezing an orange? That residue is actually full of essential oils from the orange skin!

How Can Essential Oils Be Used?

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years (as early as the ancient Egyptians) for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. In modern times, their uses have expanded to include everything from air fresheners and massage oils, to skin care and cold remedies. Aromatherapy is also an area of alternative medicine where essential oils play a large role. Personally, I use them in all of my homemade products, like bath and body care, and household cleaners and disinfectants.

Essential oils can either be added directly to home and bath products, or they’re diluted in a carrier oil (ie: olive, almond, grape seed oil, etc.), and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption. They can also be carefully inhaled for their therapeutic benefits! Follow this link to learn about even more uses for essential oils.

Are All Essential Oils Created Equal?

Not all essential oils are created equal. To receive the full benefits of essential oils, you must be sure you’re using 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils, and not just a fragrance oil, which is artificially created and doesn’t contain the same therapeutic benefits. Some trusted brands are: NOW, Aura Cacia, and Eden’s Garden. The highest quality oils available on the market are from doTERRA and Young Living. There are, of course, other brands available, but whatever you choose, make sure they say 100% pure and therapeutic on the label. Healthy Planet carries a wide selection of essential oils on their website.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

Absolutely! However, a great deal of precaution must be taken to ensure the proper use of essential oils. Essential oils should never be used “neat” (or undiluted), but instead should be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to the skin. Some oils are not safe to use during pregnancy, some may cause skin irritations, and some should not be used internally. Special care should be taken when using essential oils on children, and those with chronic health conditions. Essential oils should be kept out of reach of children and pets, and should never be used on or near babies or pets. As always, please consult your health care provider before using essential oils as part of your regimen.

Where Can I Buy Essential Oils?

This can seem like the hardest part, but it’s actually pretty simple. First, you’ll want to know which essential oils you need for your specific applications – check out this link for a great list of essential oil therapeutic properties. From there, you can start your collection with just a few of the more common oils, like lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and orange. For a great list of the most useful oils and their benefits, visit Top Ten Essential Oils. Essential oils can be found at any local health food store, like Health Planet in Canada, or Whole Foods in the US. They can also be purchased online at Healthy Planet Online, Amazon, or Mountain Rose Herbs.

Have you ever used essential oils before? What are your favorites and how have you used them?


About the Author:


Sarah is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mother. She is the author of Nature’s Nurture – a blog about everything simple, natural, and homemade – in which she documents the changes she’s making to slowly convert her home into a more natural, sustainable, toxic-free environment for her family. Nature’s Nurture also serves as a resource for others looking for simple ways to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can follow along at her blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. Pingback: Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide : Nature's Nurture

  2. I am prone to cellulitis, a very serious staph or strep infection that strikes the subcutaneous tissue of the skin. When I get it, it starts as a fever, then a rash on my leg, and then two weeks or more of utter exhaustion. I’ve had some very strong anti-biotics with this illness, and some people are hospitalized with it for IV anti-bi’s.
    I got it last summer, and didn’t have insurance, but I did have a supply of Oil of Oregano. I researched online, and found that Oregano oil is anti-bac, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and it doesn’t have the same damaging effect on the good gut flora.
    So, I started taking Oregano Oil in water, six drops, three times a day. This was Mtn Rose (which i see you have pictured here) The first day, I drew a line around the rash on my leg, just to make sure. If it started advancing, I would get to the dr for the “real” medicine.
    The second day, the rash had not advanced. The third day, it was much paler. By the fifth day, the rash was gone, though I did have the deep exhaustion which lasted the usual couple of weeks.
    Since that first time using Oregano, I’ve had cellulitis twice more, and each time I’ve kicked its butt with Oregano. I will never choose regular anti-bi’s for this illness EVER again. Maybe I won’t ever get it again.

    • Wow, that’s an amazing story, Heidi! It’s interesting, because a while ago, I picked up a bottle of oregano oil from the health food store because I’d heard of all the benefits, but never got around to trying it… After hearing your story, I’m going to look more into it and see how I can finally start using it! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Don't forget | Pearltrees

  4. I’m so glad I found this! It was tweeted by soothing showers. I’ve always wanted to try Essential Oils. I have a few silly question though, can you mix any essential oil with any carrier oil? or can you only have specific combinations? My uses will be in the bath and for a massage oil.

  5. Just remember, more expensive does not mean better quality. When purchasing a bottle of essential oil from Edens Garden, you are paying for the oil and a very modest profit. You’re not paying for a cruise, car or company jet. We are a direct company. In other words, we have zero middle men. We only sell directly to the consumer. We have chosen to not sell on a wholesale level. This makes it so that we can pass on the savings directly. Our desire is to offer oils of the highest quality and make them available and affordable for everyone.

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