Flower Power 101:Enjoying Nature’s Gift of Essential Oils

 Anyone who knows me, is likely aware of my love for essential oils. I’ve been using them for over twenty years. I use my oils for eczema, tension headaches, fine lines, mild muscle cramps, scrapes and cuts, sunburn, breathing, mood,  and fever reduction.
  My husband used to think essential oils  were “flaky” until I used lavender on his sunburn, and he was amazed at the results. Over the years, I’ve turned quite a few people on to essential oils, and all have stuck with them. While I’ve yet to replace the entire medicine cabinet with oils, I love that nature has provided us with  options, and prefer to use natural treatments when possible.
    In this piece I will highlight what essential oils are, my preferred brands, most valuable oils,  and the “how and why” of my essential oil usage.
   You may be wondering, “What are essential oils?” Essential oils are volatile aromatic plant compounds that are obtained through steam distillation or, in the case of many citrus oils, cold pressing. Many use these oils for various purposes, some of which we’ll explore today.
   When using oils the first thing you want to be sure of is the quality of your oils. My recommendation is that you learn from the oil expert, Dr.Robert Pappas of Essential Oil University. Dr. Pappas is a scientist who doesn’t push one brand. He’s the ultimate whistle blower regarding adulterated and fruadulent oils, and has discovered a great majority of oils sold at places like Wal-Mart and Amazon are not essential oils at all, but synthetic replicas! I follow his work and recommend you do the same.
Next, you’ll want to choose a reputable brand.  I’m partial to a few brands. Read on to learn about them.

1. Rocky Mountain Oils (RMO) :Pros: RMO is a  company  offering top quality oils without the MLM model which means they’re reasonably priced, many oils are safe for internal and external use, great customer service, and  the company provides customers with scientific information regarding the components in every batch of every oil (gas chromatography)! RMO offers  rewards points on every order, monthly specials, and free shipping!

Cons: They don’t carry the type of cedarwood I use, nor do they currently hold community events.

2. Young Living (YL) :

Pros:  This company was my “first love”. YL offers top quality oils, safe for internal and external use, no membership fee if you buy a kit, and free membership for life thereafter. Members are eligible for rewards based on purchase amount, whether or not they have a monthly order. Finally, I love their lavender; it’s grown right up in Utah. I hope to visit the lavender farm one day.

Cons: MLM structure means higher pricing, costly shipping.

3. DoTerra (DT) :

Pros: DoTerra offers top quality oils many of which are safe for internal and external use. They’re a nice oil community with local events.   DoTerra is fusing essential oils with the medical world opening all over the US, which is awesome! I love their  peppermint and cedarwood  oils!

Cons: MLM structure means higher pricing, no free shipping, rewards are only available for auto ship. Even after kit purchase, you’re required a $25 yearly fee to maintain membership (you receive a bottle of peppermint oil which is $20, but peppermint is so strong that bottles usually last us several years).

  Now that you’re acclimated with a few reputable brands. Let’s talk about the ways in which these oils are used.
The most common applications of essential oils are as follows: ingestion, inhalation, and topical application. When choosing a method, it’s imperative to consider the absorption rate as well as what you seek to treat.


Let’s begin with ingestion. Ingestion of essential oils usually entails placing a few drops into an empty capsule and ingesting. It’s through this method the greatest amount of oils reaches the bloodstream, 95%. Oils may also be diluted in a bit of honey and taken that way. For example, for a sore throat, I mix thoroughly  a drop or two of clove oil with honey and swallow it.

Inhalation is the second most effective way to  introduce essential oils into the bloodstream, 50% with a personal inhaler and 30%-70% with a diffuser.  This is best achieved through diffusion. Inhalation offers the longest lasting aromatherapeutic effects. Examples of this method and it’s uses are diffusing peppermint for a headache, or frankincense for meditation.

Topical application is the third most effective method of introducing essential oils into the bloodstream, 5% to 10%. Topical application is best for skin troubles such as eczema, scrapes, or sunburn. For the most part the essential oils must be diluted appropriately. I’ve found a lot of misinformation regarding  topical use, for example someone encouraged me to use lemon essential oil on an acne spot. It’s actually the citric acid found in lemon juice that exfoliates dead skin; lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rind and does not contain citric acid. That said, examples of topical usage include applying diluted lavender oil to a sunburn, and using a bit of myrrh on cracked skin. For the most part you won’t be applying essential oils undiluted to your skin, which brings us to our next topic, dilution.

   When I first began using essential oils I applied them neat, which turned out to be a major mistake for my delicate skin (as well as my sense of smell, essential oils are strong!). Thankfully, I learned thay diluting essential oils helps with their efficacy in three ways: dilution lessens chances of adverse reactions and sensitization of the skin,   increases the surface area affected by the essential oils, and prevents the oils from evaporating too quickly.


Another way in which dilution greatly benefits the user is the obvious economical advantage of using less essential oil. The preparation used to dilute the essential oil is called a carrier. Lets review some dilution basics.

For best topical absorption, essential oils work well when diluted with a fragrance free lotion. Most commonly they’re diluted with various butters or oils which also work well.

When using essential oils in the bath, they should first be diluted in a bit of castille soap, a shower gel base, or a bit of oil before hitting the water.

When making a room spray, essential oils should first be diluted by filling your spray bottle halfway with rubbing alcohol, then add an equal amount of distilled  (never tap) water. Shake it up and enjoy.

Dilution rates can be tricky, especially for those of us with sensitivities. The simplest equation I’ve found is to measure drops of essential oil against a teaspoon of carrier oil, lotion, or soap. With the exception of treating a cut, scrape, or toothache (I apply oils neat for these), I’ve experienced the best results with 2% dilutions.

Robert Tisserand, a longtime  aromatherapy expert, recommends the following dilutions. They have served me well.

Facial application: 1% dilution-one drop per teaspoon of carrier.

Daily topical use on the body: 2% dilution-two drops per teaspoon of carrier.

Treating temporary symptoms: 3% to 10% dilution- three to ten drops per teaspoon of carrier.

   We all have that friend who has thousands of dollars in essential oils. I actually have a few friends whose oil collections blow my mind! Being a bit of a minimalist means my collection is conservative in contrast, but I still have a nice grouping of oils. Aside from the occasional blend, I tend to use the same oils year after year. The companies I use sell their most popular basic oils in kits as well as individually.  Read below to learn about the essential oils that have provided us with the most benefit.


Lavender is the crown jewel of my oil collection. If you want to begin with one oil, I strongly recommend lavender. Lavender is the go to oil for cuts, sunburn, and other skin irritations.  Lavender reduces healing time and lessens discomfort. I recently learned of a study where lavender was helpful for many with migraines. I also love diffusing 3-5 drops at bedtime for relaxation.Peppermint:

Peppermint oil is something we use frequently. When I have a headache, I immediately place a few drops of peppermint in the diffuser, and rub  one drop into my scalp. Peppermint hasn’t worked on  migraines but takes the edge off while waiting for your medicine to kick in.  Since discovering peppermint, I have never  taken medicine for a high fever, instead I topically apply peppermint.Eucalyptus:  Eucalyptus is an old classic for breathing that can be diffused for a cold, or allergy season.


Frankincense is used for fine lines, relaxation, meditation, and inflammation. I use it topically and in the diffuser.

Citrus Oils (lemon, lime, orange):

I love citrus oils. They are emotionally uplifiting, and make great air fresheners. They’re also pretty inexpensive. Citrus oils have a way of enhancing and lightening the scents of stronger oils. I love adding citrus oils when diffusing frankincense and cedarwood. Citrus oils also blend wonderfully with mint essential oils. Be wary of using some on your skin as they may increase photosensitivity.



Oregano oil and it’s component carvacrol have been shown to kill bacteria and viruses in test tubes and in mice. Oregano oil kills microbes that many hand sanitizers cannot. While I don’t take this oil internally I use it for everyday cleaning,  inhalation during a cold, and as an addition it to my hand sanitizer. Oregano is a “hot” oil, meaning it’s  quite strong and will burn if applied to the skin without sufficient dilution. Oregano has quite the strong scent; for this reason I add some citrus oil when using it.
 Clove oil is our go to for toothaches or sore throats. It’s high in eugenol which serves as an oral numbing agent. It’s also quite strong so be sure to dilute it before use.
   Thieves (YL) and OnGuard (DT) :
 these are wellness blends. Both have bases of cinnamon and clove.  Many diffuse these when they are unwell. These blends have been proven to kill germs when diffused, but in a small area. Many clean with these oils, but I prefer to diffuse them or take  few drops diluted in honey if I have a cold. As an added bonus, both of these blends  smell like autumn heaven! They are simalar, but both wonderful.
   I hope this information will serve you well in your exploration of essential oils. I encourage you to do your research and gather your information from reputable sources.

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