Recently I have really gotten in to essential oils and how they can really aid my quest for a homesteading lifestyle. Like I do with most things, I went a little nuts with getting a bunch of oils and books and, of course I had no idea what I was doing, but I just knew this was for me. After reading An Introductory Guide Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, I knew I had found a new passion. From my reading, I learned all kinds of things you can use essential oils for; from cooking to cleaning, to changing your mood to aiding with acupuncture. The more I read the more excited I became so I decided to take a class with an expert to see if all I had learned was correct or if I needed to find different books to read. The class I choose was at a local essential oil shop called Apothecary Tinctura. The class was a lot of repeat information for me which was what I was hoping after reading a few books, it gave me the reassurance I needed to continue. After the class I picked up a few oils I was missing from my ever-growing oil collection and the next week I began making tintures, and I am excited to share what I have learned with you all.
****I am not an expert, I am just sharing what I have learned. Use essential oils at your own risk.****
To get started your going to get amber colored glass bottles, amber colored glass spray bottles, carrier oil (I will get into that more the next section), essential oils, and any books that you want to use as references (I highly recommend The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood). Having these basic supplies will help you get started and you can grow your collection as you go. A great place to get amber bottles is “Specialty Bottles,” they have great starter kits, and a pretty good size range in bottles. Another great resource for beginner supplies is “Mountain Rose Herb“, they have most of the supplies you will need, but they are a bit on the pricier side. Amazon is also a great resource if you know what you want and what sizes you want. Keep reading, later on I talk about where to get essential oil and what to look for.
What is a carrier oil? Carrier oils are made from nut, seed, or plants that are not harmful in large doses meaning you can digest them. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils are safe on skin and even have good properties for your skin just as they are. Carrier Oils are used to dilute essential oils. You can buy per-diluted essential oils if you do not have time to dilute your own. Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they can be dangerous if not use properly. Diluting the oils with a carrier oil will make them safe to use on your body and in some cases around your house. There are many carrier oils to choose from:
There is no right or wrong carrier oil, I picked Grapeseed Oil to get me started and, after working with it for some time now, I am going to switch to Almond Oil because I like the properties of Almond Oil better. Jojoba is another really health beneficial carrier oil but it is expensive. All the carrier oils have great properties it’s really about finding one that works for you.
When diluting an essential oils with a carrier oil you want to use this ratio as a guide, 50 parts carrier oil to 1 part essential oil. You can always use less than this and in some cases you can use more (follow all guidelines for the essential oils you use and always test the tincture on a small area on you body before using a large amount so see if you have an allergic reaction).
Massage Oil Tinctures
Once you have picked your carrier oil you can began to make tinctures to massage into the skin. This method is very effective for quick relief or for longer term use. When using the tinctures for massage the key is to massage the oil into the area (stomach, back, shoulders, and so on) along with the bottoms of your feet and palms of your hands. It is important to massage the tincture into the palms and bottoms of the feet because this is where the oil is absorbed the most. It take 20 minutes for the oil to be absorbed into the body and will last 90 minutes. If you’re using a tincture for tummy issue or stress (or similar things) you will need to apply the oil multiple times over the course of the day.
Solutions For the Home
When making solutions for your home the key is using a carrier that aids in the cleaning process. I like to use white vinegar or vodka. Both vinegar and Vodka have disinfecting properties that aid the oil in the cleaning process. You can always dilute the mixture with distilled water if the carrier is too strong. When filling a spray bottle with your solution fill 1/4 of the bottle with vinegar or vodka, the rest with distilled water and then add in the propper amount of essential oils.
Purchasing Essential Oils
When purchasing essential oils you want to find brands that list these key items on their labels:
- Extraction Method
- Where the raw herbs are from
- The binomial nomenclature (scientific name)
- What part of the plant was used
- How it was distilled
The pure organic line of Aura Cacia oils is a great line to get you set up with the basic oils (lavender, lemons, basil, tea tree to name a few). Mountain Rose Herb is another great internet source to order essential oils from. You can also check your community for local places to buy essential oils from. Now that we know the basics of what all goes into essential oils, let talk about essential oils dangers, some basic oils and their properties, and how they work.
Essential oils are a wonderful addition to the medicine cabinet and many have amazing healing abilities, but all of this is only possible if they are used correctly. Ingesting essential oils straight form the bottle is not recommended. Yes, there are many oils you can cook with BUT you are to use them in combination with food. The high concentration of essential oils can make you very sick and cause internal issues. Your liver is the one that has to process these oils and drinking them straight can cause internal issues. Using essential oils in plastic containers is not recommended. The high concentration of the oils cause them to eat through plastic over time. This is also true with the rubber part on the dropper bottle. The diffuser’s plastic is made of a different type of plastic that is of higher quality and can withstand the oils. Amber glass is best for oils just like it is for most beer. You do not want to oils to be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight can degrade the quality of the oils. You need to be cautions when applying them to skin that will be exposed to the sun, both the carrier oil and the essential oil will draw the sun to your skin even more and can even cause you to get a sun burn.
Essential oils should be stored in the refrigerator if at all possible and if that is not an option for you, you can store them in a try dark place such as a closet. Keeping your essential oils in the refrigerator will increase the life of the oil, especially citrus essential oils.
Essential Oils and Kids
Not all essential oils are safe for children to use even in their diluted form. Lavender for example is not safe to use on male infants. Lavender can affect the hormone levels in boys and should not be used on them. Always read up on the essential oils you want to use before using them in general and especially on children.
Essential Oils and Pregnancy
There are some oils that can aid in labor and delivery as well as recovery BUT you should ALWAYS consult your doctor before using them. Everyone is different so it is best to understand your body and its needs. You may have a different reaction to an oil than someone. Safety first!
Now that you know the basics here are a few recipes that I have made that I have found to work great!
Hardwood floor Cleaner
Spray bottle fill will a carrier oil of your choice, and the proper amount of Lemon Essential oil. Spray the oil over the cloth you plan to clean the floor with ONLY after you have wet the cloth. Then use over the floor. Not only does this smell lovely it works great!
For a headache fill your tincture bottle with vodka and the proper amount of Peppermint Essential oil. I used a 2oz dropper bottle and filled it with vodka and 12 drops of peppermint essential oil. Then you rub in over your forehead, temples, back of the neck, palms, and bottoms of your feet. You will be feeling better in no time.