Essential Oils in a Nutshell: A Beginner’s Guide

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds that are used in aromatherapeutic practices. These pure oils are derived from the flowers, seeds, bark, or other parts of the plants through a distillation or extraction process.

Must Have Essential Oils

Essential oil usage goes back farther than historians can track, and only recently became a common staple of the modern alternative medicine field. As interest in natural medicine has skyrocketed within the past decade, you would be hard-pressed to find a holistic practitioner who doesn’t have a few bottles of these healing elixirs on hand.

What are the Benefits?

The benefits of essential oils are seemingly endless. Aside from their aromatic properties, essential oils can be applied topically, used to clean and disinfect, and can even be ingested [*Note: be sure to use a trusted source that’s tested for purity, use good judgement, and work alongside your doctor]. From reducing stress to skin issues, essential oils support our bodies’ natural desire for healing and rejuvenation, and compliment many western-based treatments.

Common Usages and Applications

  • Health: Skin conditions, digestive issues, stress alleviation, and occasional pain management are great candidates for essential oil usage. Depending on the area of concern, essential oils can be applied topically, ingested, or inhaled.
  • Beauty: Essential oils promote healthy-looking skin, and can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and other symptoms of aging. Lavender, rose, and other flower-based oils can be combined with lotions or a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) for direct skin application and DIY rejuvenating face masks. For some DIY recipe ideas, please click here and select “DoitYourself”.
  • Cleaning: Household cleaners often give off a toxic chemical aroma. Not only do essential oils offer a pleasant, safe alternative to harsh chemicals, they also eradicate bacteria in a way that doesn’t promote “superbugs”. Simply adding a few drops of oil to a diffuser can freshen up your home, as well.

Essential Oils to increase your positive energy

Essential oils are commonly applied directly to the skin, and using a “carrier” oil to dilute (such as coconut or olive) is advised. Essential oils are very potent, so it’s smart for beginners to test a drop or two of diluted oil on a healthy area of the body before applying the oil neat (undiluted).

4 Must-Have Essential Oils

Although there are literally hundreds of oils available for use, these “staple” oils are handy to have around:

  • Lavender: This is probably the most popular oil on the market. Lavender is very soothing, and is most often used to promote a good night’s sleep. This is also a great oil to have on hand to apply to skin wounds, lesions,bug bites or burns.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint candy just doesn’t cut it! True peppermint is very potent, and can aid in digestion, headache alleviation, and occasional aches and pains
  • Lemon: Lemon is a great lymphatic cleanser, and is a popular component of natural cleaning products.
  • Frankincense: when in doubt as to which oil to use, reach for this oil! Supports just about everything in the body and great for the mind and relaxation too.

essential oils for a happy mood

Quality is Key

Not all essential oils are created equally; it’s not uncommon to find diluted, synthetic oils on the market. Be sure to secure high-quality oils that are from a reliable, authentic source. For more information or questions send your email to:

About the author: Dr Doraida Abramowitz

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