How do I use essential oils?
Ways to use essential oils
Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils can be used in three principal ways, which are summarised below.
Safety Please note carefully that only pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils should be used for internal consumption - subject to safety guidelines dependent on the specific oil, and the intended recipient. Other essential oils on the market may be diluted or processed with harmful chemicals. (1)
Aromatic application of essential oils involves either inhaling a fine mist of the oil, or a vapour of volatile aromatic components that have been evaporated from the oil.
Inhalation of the oil can be a powerful way to affect memory, hormones, and emotions through the olfactory system. Inhalation of oils can also be a quick and effective way to affect the sinuses, larynx, bronchial tubes, and lungs.
The easiest and simplest way of putting a fine mist of the whole oil into the air for inhalation is to use a nebulising essential oil diffuser. (1)
Internal use is the process of infusing or otherwise internalising an essential oil into the body. Only pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils should be used for internal consumption, as other essential oils on the market may be diluted or processed using harmful chemicals.
The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved some essential oils generically for internal use, and gives them the following designations: GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe for human consumption, or FL (Flavouring Agent).
These designations are listed for each oil that is safe for human consumption in the Single Essential Oils section of the Modern Essentials book under Oral Use As Dietary Supplement. Oils without this designation should never be used internally without first consulting a certified health care professional.(1)
In other countries around the world, the relevant government regulatory agency have their own similar regulations regarding the internal use of essential oils. (1)
Topical application is the process of placing an essential oil on the skin, hair, mouth, teeth, nails or mucous membranes of the body, Applying essential oils directly on the body without any kind of dilution is commonly referred to as applying the oil "neat".
Since essential oils are so potent, and because some essential oils may irritate the skin, or other areas of the body, they are often diluted with a pure vegetable oil (usually called a "carrier oil") such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc. Several topical application methods are possible.
Direct application is applying the oils directly on the area of concern. Because essential ols are so potent, more is not necessarily better. To achieve the desired result, 1-3 drops of oil are normally adequate.(1)