Essential Oils Explained – A Guide for Beginners and Where To Start the Wonderful Oils Journey

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Essential oils are so widely available and so popular, that you can even get them in your local supermarket. 

It’s so beautiful that we get to benefit form these oils, especially when it comes to healing. As they are extracted from plants and herbs, naturally, they are the purest form of mother nature’s treasures in tiny bottles. 

Plus they smell absolutely gorgeous! Most of them anyway…

They’re very rich in minerals. Each oil varies in its properties and because of their wonderful differences, each oil is used for a different condition or symptom. We have access to so many different types of oils, that each one is guaranteed to be used as a remedy for almost any condition. 

What Are Essential Oils Used For? 

They have many uses, because they smell great and they have healing properties. Predominantly, they are used for/in: 

  • Fragrances including home diffusers, oil burners and additions to own cleaning products

  • Natural healing remedies e.g burns, skin conditions, cold/flu

  • Steam inhalation

  • Massages

  • Skin oils/lotions

  • Hot and cold compresses

  • Haircare

  • Flower waters

  • Baths

  • Vaporisation 

They’re amazing in diy projects, as they allow you to create a personalised combination of smells whether that’s a candle, home spray or a diffuser. 

If you’re a keen diy-kinda person, essential oils should be right up your street, you can make a project your own with the fragrances that really speak to you. 

What Essential Oils Are Good To Mix Together? 

Mixing of essential oils depends on the effect you want to achieve. If it’s for the smell effect, some lush-smelling combinations are: 

  • Lemon and lavender 

  • Geranium and orange/neroli 

  • Lavender and bergamot

  • Lemon and clove 

  • Lemon, peppermint and lavender

  • Eucalyptus and lavender

  • Tea tree, lemon and orange 

  • Rosemary, clove and orange 

  • Cinnamon and tea tree

  • Rosemary and lemon 

If your desired effect for mixing oils, is to achieve enhanced healing properties, there are several oils that mix well and also help with healing while amplifying their powers. When 2 oils come together and enhance the healing powers – this is called a synergy. 

What Is A Synergy Of Oils? 

A synergy is when 2 or more essential oils work in harmony together, creating an even stronger and enhanced healing power. In general, the oils from the same “family”, for example botanical oils, work and combine well together. This goes for citrus oils, woods, balsams and spices too.

History of Essential Oils 

Essential oils go back to ancient civilisations and ancient times, when the only real ingredients and resources, were those grown and found in nature. Ancient civilisation extracted essential oils that were then used in various rituals. Essential oils were an element in the art therapy, as well as used as perfume, just like they are today. 

The earliest book on essential oils and their magical uses in medicine, go back as far as 2000 BC, The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine. 

Are Essential Oils Vegan? 

Yes, essential oils are vegan because they come from plants and herbs, which are natural and not related to animals or animal byproducts. The extraction and distillation of these oils doesn’t involve any animal products or animal labour either, so essential oils themselves are vegan. 

However, depending on the BRAND where you get your essential oils from, the brand itself might not be vegan or cruelty free. The brand itself might also sell skincare or body products, that test on animals or use animal by-products for example. 

If you are a strict vegan and don’t want to be supporting brands that test on animals by giving them your money, then you should opt in for the cruelty free brands. 

To avoid this, ensure that the essential oil brand you use, is certified as cruelty or vegan. A selection of cruelty free and vegan brands that sell essential oils are: 

Can Essential Oils Cause Headaches? 

Yes, essential oils can cause headaches especially if they are strong smells and if they are used often. Our bodies are all different and react differently to all smells and ingredients, so while the floral scents might give one person headaches, for another, it might be the citrusy-type scents. 

If you get headaches while diffusing or inhaling oils, you should definitely stop or at least have a break. 

The reason why some of us might get headaches when using essential oils, is because of VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds. 

A study found that some essential oils and fragrances release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) into the air, particularly when they are diffused.  VOCs can very often cause headaches and nausea in people, so before you buy any essential oils, make sure they are pure, organic and natural. Sometimes oils are diluted and have artificial fragrances added to them. 

To avoid this, a few natural essential oil brands are: 

*Disclaimer – essential oils should be used in moderation and it does not guarantee that the above oils won’t give you headaches, because everyone reacts differently to different smells. If you get regular headaches from essential oils you should stop using them or consult with your doctor. If you’d like to know more, please read our Disclaimer Policy here *

Can Essential Oils Be Ingested? 

No, essential oils should never be ingested. Although natural, they are concentrated and very harmful to the body when taken internally. Some of the symptoms of ingesting essential oils, include: agitation, hallucinations, seizures, chemical burns, breathing problems, liver failure and brain swelling. 

If you haven’t watched Netflix’s (Un)Well, they have an episode on essential oils which we reviewed here. You don’t need to watch the whole series if you’re only interested in essential oils. 

Some of the essential oil users on the documentary tell their stories and show shocking effects of internally ingesting oils that eventually developed into allergies to the natural ingredients derived from those oils. 

What Essential Oils Smell Bad? 

It depends on your definition of what smells good or bad to you. Some of the bad smelling essential oils that aren’t great in the fragrance due to their strong/overpowering smell, are: 

  • Tea tree

  • Patchouli 

  • Oregano

These are purely because they are very overpowering, and I guess because the floral or citrusy smells are more pleasant and often used as fragrances for the home or perfume. 

Although the above oils have lots of healing properties and benefits, they just aren’t as nice smelling as lavender or rose for example. All 3 are still popular and used by many, due to their healing properties. 

Unless you disagree? Let us know in comments if there are any essential oils that you think smell bad!

When To Use Essential Oils 

Use of essential oils is recommended if you want to try natural medicine and aromatherapy. Essential oils have many healing properties, from calming the nerves and stomach, to treating burns and skin conditions.

If you’re tired of taking medicine that perhaps gives you bad side effects or perhaps you want to try something different, you should look into essential oils. 

The below book is ideal for beginners if you’re keen to learn more, as it goes into which oils work for each condition, problem or symptoms. It’s an encyclopaedia of essential oils which makes it a great starting point if you’re thinking of using essential oils:

Where Essential Oils Are Sold? 

Pretty much everywhere! I’m sure I’ve seen them even in my local supermarket. Be careful where you get them from and what brand you buy. 

You should make sure they are natural, cruelty-free and undiluted. Some brands add artificial fragrances or dilute the oils, reducing their potency (and healing value). As a general guide, you can get essential oils from: 

Will Essential Oils Hurt / Kill Plants? 

It depends how you are using your essential oils. On the whole, no – essential oils will not hurt or kill your plants. If you have indoor plants and you’d like them to grow quicker or give them a shiny boost, there are some combinations or essential oils that you can use, to spray onto your plants. 

If you’d like to use essential oils as repellents for pests or to repel insects from your outdoor plants, vegetation and soil, there are a few oils and combinations that can help. Some great oils you can use as repellents in your garden are: 

  • Garlic oil 

  • Tea tree oil

  • Lemongrass oil

  • Citronella oil

  • Eucalyptus oil

  • Peppermint oil

  • Pine oil

  • Rosemary oil

  • Lavender oil

It’s important you only spray the lawn/garden to repel fleas, and not directly onto your lovely pets as they can be dangerous for our four-legged friends.

Do Any Essential Oils Kill / Repel Fleas? 

If your pets are suffering from fleas, you can use peppermint and pine essential oils to repel fleas from your lawn/garden. They are safe to spray (diluted with water) across your garden, providing a safety net for your pets and keeping those fleas at bay. 

There is not enough evidence or tests to confirm that essential oils can be directly applied to cat or dogs, as flea repellents. On the whole, cats and dogs are very sensitive to smells, especially strong smells. Any undiluted oil should be kept well away from your lovely pets to prevent any harm. It’s best NOT to use any essential oils directly on your pets. 

If you’re planning on using essential oils indoors (whether that’s for cleaning or diffusing), make sure it’s an oil that doesn’t harm your pet, for example lavender oil is safe to use around cats but tea tree oil (which is strong in smell) should be avoided around cats!

Basically, it is best to stick with approved animal products to treat your pets’ fleas.

In Our Humble Conclusion 

If you’re a diy type of person or you would like to incorporate natural solutions into healing or your life in general, essential oils are definitely for you! 

They’re not that expensive to buy either. They vary from $3 – 15 per bottle – naturally the $3 ones will be a lower quality oil and possibly diluted so it’s always best to check with the seller or the label, before you buy them. 

Unless of course you just want to try them for the smell or before you buy the more expensive oils, by all means try the cheaper ones and see how you get on with those. 

Let us know in comments what your favourite essential oils are and why ?

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