Essential oils are having a moment. And they should be! They are the super-concentrated superheroes of botanical extracts.
And like all superheroes they’ve made a big impact. Essential oils have played their part in anointing kings and queens, get mentioned in the bible, gave birth to the world of perfume, and created the foundation of traditional plant-based medicines around the world.
But like with so many things we (eager bunnies) can get a little carried away with our enthusiasm for a good thing. So here are my top three myths about using essential oils.
Myth #1 More is Better.
When it comes to essential oils, I really want you to remind yourself that less is often better. Imagine this; you just received one dozen roses. Nice, right! You can picture how big that bouquet would look, how heavy it would feel, and how amazing it would smell! Now multiply that image in your mind by five. Now you have the number of roses in ONE single drop of rose essential oil!
You can see what I mean about essential oils being super-concentrated plant chemistry and energy!
Ok, now imagine those five dozen roses are filling your kitchen. That might feel a bit overwhelming, right? Well, it’s the exact same thing when you’re using large quantities of essential oils in your body, or in your environment. It can just be too much plant chemistry for your body to process.
So please remember, a little goes a long, long, long, way!
The only exception I’ve seen that seems to defy this principle is lavender (you can breathe a big sigh of relief now!). It seems that our bodies can do pretty well with larger quantities of lavender. So go ahead, be liberal with the lavender!
* My only note of caution with lavender is to stick to external application, and be sure that you aren’t using a cultivar species of lavender called lavadin (you can tell if it’s a cultivar because it will have an ‘x’ between the genus and species name in the latin binomial e.g. lavendula x intermedia). These cultivar, or hybrid species can be super irritating to your lovely skin. (See myth #2)
Myth #2: If it's organic then it's good for me
You’re on the right path with this one. Yes, organic plants, make organic essential oils (usually) and that’s a good thing, but that doesn’t always mean it’s good for you. Here’s a couple of examples:
Hybrid lavenders: These guys can be grown in pristine organic conditions, and make a beautiful USDA certified organic oil, but they can still cause you to be itchy as all get-out if you put it on your skin because its plant chemistry contains more camphor than other non-hybridized species. I’ve had clients that swear they are allergic to lavender, but it turns out they are just sensitive to lavadins.
Citrus (including bergamot): nearly all the citrus oils cause your skin super-sensitive to the sun. I know, they smell amazing, and it’s very tempting to put them directly on your skin, but please remember these oils are concentrated plant power (yes, I’m saying it again cause it’s important and I want you to remember it). So, please be kind to your miraculous body and be very sparing if you use these on your skin.
Also, check your natural skin care and bath products for citrus oils. They’re popular additives to many products because of their beautiful scent, anti-oxidant capacity and vitamin c content, but be aware that you’re not using them immediately before heading out into the sun.
Myth #3 Essential oils are only for the air
Spritzing, diffusing or misting essential oils into the air is certainly one way to use them. But did you know that is only one of over 25 different ways you can use plant extracts? And get this: diffusion is the ideal method for less than 5% of the 1600+ plant species that we researched at Elixirs for Life!
We use nearly all 25 methods in the plant preparations for our products—depending on what’s ideal for the plant and its communication with your body.
Now, I'm reminding you that our research covered the spiritual and energetic aspects of these plants. If you want to know the best usage of a particular plant for its medicinal purposes, you would probably chose an entirely different method. Probably a tincture, a tea, or a capsule.
Another rose example to make the point: I think it’s a crime to put rose oil in a diffuser. One, because it’s crazy-expensive. And two, you’ll have a way more profound experience with that rose oil if you actually put it on your skin. Try it for yourself. Take just one drop place it in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then rub the back of your neck, your heart and solar plexus. Notice how you feel.
Now, try just one drop of oil in your diffuser. Not the same, right?!
Do you have any burning questions about essential oils? Or do you ever get confused or stumped about how to use up those little bottles of essential oil that you have lying around the house? Send me a message and I’ll let you know what we learned about the ideal method for using a particular essential oil!