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The Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

A fresh fragrance is one fundamental element that can take our homes from feeling hum drum and drab to warm and inviting for guests who traipse inside. Especially during colder months, incorporating the help of a natural scent in our homes becomes more crucial than ever.

Let’s be truthful—by December, we’ve all settled in for winter’s long haul. Daylight has become scarce, we spend more time indoors with our favorite streaming service, and there’s no sign of opening our windows for a few months yet. The fresh smell of lilacs, cut grass, or a lovely spring rain is still far away. In recent years, I’ve turned to essential oils to keep my home smelling clean, chemical-free, and, of course, cozy, not only in the winter months, but year-round.

Especially during colder months, incorporating the help of a natural scent in our homes becomes more crucial than ever. Let’s be truthful—by December, we’ve all settled in for winter’s long haul. Daylight has become scarce, we spend more time indoors with our favorite streaming service, and there’s no sign of opening our windows for a few months yet. The fresh smell of lilacs, cut grass, or a lovely spring rain is still far away. In recent years, I’ve turned to essential oils to keep my home smelling clean, chemical-free, and, of course, cozy, not only in the winter months, but year-round.

What is an Essential Oil?

You’ve probably heard something about essential oils by now. They’ve grown wide in popularity over recent history. However, many people still don’t know exactly what an essential oil is, how they work, or even how to use them. I’m here to break down the basics for you.

Anytime you smell a rose, cook with herbs, or zest a lemon, you are smelling the essential oil from that plant. Essential oils are, in fact, what gives each plant its fragrance. Harvesting the oil from a single plant involves a process of cultivation, distillation, and testing the oil for its purity. When you use an essential oil, in a sense, you are inhaling nature’s pure essence.

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used in three different ways:

  1. Aromatically– Essential oils can be dispensed through the air we breathe using a diffuser. Companies that specialize in essential oils sell diffusers that can add to a home’s overall aesthetic. You can also purchase diffusers at some major retailers. Another method is to simply apply an oil to your hands, rub them together, and inhale deeply for a few minutes.
  2. Topically– Many people wear essential oils as perfume or cologne like I do. You can apply them to pulse points or thin skin areas, like your wrists, temples, chest or along the spine. When wearing, the essential oil can reach every cell in your body within 20 minutes!
  3. Internally- Yes, you can even cook with essential oils! Rosemary, thyme, lemon, and black pepper are a few good examples. Just make sure the essential oil is labeled as safe to ingest before you add it to your recipe. Some oils are also safe to ingest by way of adding to a vegetable capsule.

Why Use Essential Oils?

For me, essential oils provide a natural solution to maintaining a clean home and body. Today many popular beauty and cleaning products are capable of doing our bodies harm. I would even venture to call many products toxic because they contain carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer). Here are some examples of products in our homes that can contain nasty chemicals:

  • Candles
  • Plug-in air fresheners
  • Cologne & perfume
  • Dish soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Makeup
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Deodorant

Do Oils Have Health Benefits?

Essential oils are no substitute for a medical doctor. It’s true, however, that before modern medicine, essential oils were used to support the body’s systems and functions. In plants, essential oils have been found to help the plant heal itself, repair damaged tissue, and rid itself of toxic substances and free radicals. As a result, many essential oil enthusiasts do use oils for bodily support like head-tension, emotional wellness, digestion, along with the advice their doctors prescribe. Using essential oils to support one’s overall health is a personal decision for each individual.

Where to Start

Whether you want to change every product in your bathroom arsenal, or simply add some new scents to your home, I recommend researching which essential oil brand is right for you. Some companies have higher standards for the purity of their oils than others. I use Young Living essential oils because I can trust that their oils are therapeutic grade, third-party tested for a seed-to-seal promise of purity, and come from trusted farms across the globe. There are also usage instructions right on every bottle.

For those who want to test their home for toxic products, I recommend downloading the “Think Dirty” app. It’s free, and it will rate your products on a scale from 1 to 10 on toxicity. All you have to do is scan the barcode. You can decide from there which items you’d like to ditch and switch.

With over 200 different kinds of essential oils out there, choosing which ones to start with can feel overwhelming. Some of my favorites oils are Lavender, Thieves, Peppermint, Purification, Frankinscence, and Orange. Companies like Young Living also offer a starter kit for you to test out eleven different oils. From there, you can decide which ones are your favorite. If you’re ready to join my essential oils team, click here! If you’d like more info, be sure to visit this page. 🙂

Since switching to essential oils, I enjoy a better-smelling house. I love coming home to the scent of lemon diffusing in my kitchen, and in the evenings I love adding lavender to a hot bath. I even use essential oils in the dryer to keep my clothes smelling like they just came in off the line. With essential oils, I enjoy soundness in knowing I use non-toxic products. During this time of year, it’s all the more important.

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