Essential Oils 101:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils capture the healing and restorative properties of the natural world to provide a wealth of wellness benefits.
The foundation of aromatherapy is essential oils- unique, aromatic substances obtained from plants that hold therapeutic value.
Essential oils are the vibrant essences of plant parts that can have a powerful effect on health and well-being.
The most common methods for obtaining essential oils from plants are steam distillation and cold pressing. In both techniques, water is used to separate the plant and oil. For example, Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the light purple flowers and buds of lavender plants. A single bottle of Lavender contains the oil of up to four plants.
Beyond florals, essential oils are derived from resins, woods, seeds and roots. Grapefruit essential oil comes from fruit’s bright peels, while Cedarwood, like its name suggests, is steam distilled from the wood of towering cedar trees. Our aromatherapy essential oils are sourced from around the globe for their unique purity and high quality.
Why Do Plants Have Essences?
At Edens Garden, we believe that everything has a purpose. With that in mind, you may wonder the purpose of plant essences. Plants actually use their essences to attract pollinators such as bees, to prevent other plants from growing around them (also known as allelopathy), to defend against predators and to protect from bacteria and disease.
Interestingly, plants also use their aromatic compounds to repair and heal themselves. For example, the resin of an evergreen tree has natural anti-fungal properties that can ward off dangerous fungi.
Think of the essence of the plant as its natural immune system. It keeps the plant healthy and protected while also releasing a restorative aroma. In essential oil form, plant essences can have a similar beneficial effect on our bodies and minds.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils have countless uses and applications that can enhance your everyday. Each essential oil is made up of natural chemical constituents and compounds that offer different types of therapeutic benefits. Some essential oils have thousands of constituents, each having a possible therapeutic benefit on emotional, physical or mental health. Understanding how essential oils are used can help you learn how to apply them in your daily life.
To learn more about how essential oils work, check out these blogs by our own in-house Certified Aromatherapist.
How To Use Essential Oils
Enjoying and using essential oils doesn’t have to be complicated. At first, simply explore the many vibrant aromas and see what you naturally gravitate towards. Are you more drawn to rich florals like Ylang Ylang or more woody oils like Sandalwood and Cedarwood? Take your time and then start introducing essential oils into your daily routine.
For thousands of years, essential oils have been used in the practice of aromatherapy. When inhaled, essential oils’ compounds are absorbed through olfactory receptors in the nose. The olfactory system sends signals to the brain. These messages stimulate and interact with areas of the nervous system including the amygdala and the limbic system, which regulate emotions and memory. The pure aroma of essential oils activate this part of the brain and can have a direct effect on mood and emotions.
One of the easiest ways to gain the benefits of essential oils is through diffusion. An essential oil diffuser disperses oil for an aromatherapeutic effect. Before diffusing, it’s important to think about what kind of ambiance you want in your space. Do you want a relaxing or energizing atmosphere? To understand the different types of diffusers, we’ve defined each below.
Ultrasonic Diffusers: Using an ultrasonic diffuser is incredibly simple. Pour water into the fill tank and then add 10-15 drops of essential oil. The diffuser’s ultrasonic vibrations will gently heat the mixture without changing the chemical composition or scent. We recommend the Terrazzo Stone Diffuser.
Passive Diffusers: For a more subtle scent, passive diffusers naturally emit essential oils without the need for a stimulus (ultrasonic vibrations, electricity, etc.). Passive diffusers such as the Reed Diffuser work best for small spaces in your home (i.e. bathroom or small bedroom).
When properly diluted with a carrier oil, the therapeutic compounds of essential oils can also be absorbed directly through the skin. They enter the bloodstream, where they can have various effects (depending on the oil). Before applying to the skin, be sure to always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut oil. We recommend the following dilution ratios generally, but these could vary depending on the oil’s natural composition:
3-5% for body application – Add 18-30 drops of essential oil total, per one ounce of carrier oil to avoid skin irritation. However, you may choose to use a higher concentration to target specific issues (bug bites, soreness, etc.).
1% for facial application – To protect sensitive facial skin, use just 6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil.
View our dilution chart for more information on specific oils.
In Your Surroundings
The natural properties of essential oils make specific oils useful as bug repellents, natural household cleaners, air purifiers and more.
What About Ingesting Essential Oils?
Can you ingest essential oils? The oregano herb is a favorite among those who love its strong aroma and flavor but using Oregano essential oil in aromatherapy is very different from using it in culinary delights.
Essential oils should not be ingested or used internally without the guidance of a medical doctor who is also trained in aromatherapy. These highly concentrated compounds can be toxic, especially when introduced to the sensitive internal tissue of the digestive system.
How Essential Oils Can Benefit You
What are essential oils good for? Well, have you ever felt instantly calmed by the smell of hot tea or inhaled the restorative air in a forest? That's the power of aromatherapy. For centuries, plant extracts and aromatherapy have been used in traditional and naturopathic medicine to support health and promote healing. There are numerous studies about the effectiveness of essential oils on the body and mind. Interestingly, modern science is just beginning to identify and demonstrate the specific chemical pathways that enable some essential oils to achieve their effects.
Getting a good night’s rest is imperative to our health. Adults need 7 hours or more of sleep a night according to the CDC but many people are missing the mark. As a pathway to sweet dreams, essential oils can have a calming effect on the body and mind to help you fall and stay asleep. For this reason, we offer a number of single oils and essential oil blends for sleep. Our Good Night essential oil blend is one of our most popular sleep blends. Its fresh aroma helps soothe restlessness and quiet the mind.
Memory & Focus
Finding mental clarity helps us maintain our confidence. Rich with dynamic properties, Rosemary essential oil has been shown to improve memory and cognition in older adults and improve children’s test scores in certain studies. Early results indicate that Rosemary oil and other plants in the Lamiaceae (mint) family may help sharpen mental focus.
A 2003 study on Sage tested young volunteers’ ability to recall words after experiencing essential oil aromatherapy. Researchers found that Sage improved short-term memory.
Overflowing with nourishing and healing properties, there are numerous essential oils to help promote healthy, luminous skin. From soothing blemishes to uneven skin tone, repairing damage from bacteria, environmental pollutants, bug bites and UV rays, essential oils can do it all. To create our Skin Love essential oil blend, we combined essential oils rich in antimicrobials and antioxidants for incredibly effective skincare.
Maintaining luscious locks and a healthy scalp is made easy with just a few drops of essential oil. Two of our favorites, Rosemary and Tea Tree, are commonly added to high-quality shampoos and conditioners. Rosemary is known for helping to increase hair growth, decrease the appearance of dandruff and more. Tea Tree works against fungus-causing dandruff at 5%. This is equal to 30 drops of Tea Tree in 1 oz of carrier oil or shampoo.
Cleaning And Deodorizing
Refreshing your surfaces and spaces with essential oils has the dual benefit of adding vibrant aromas while naturally purifying. Many OTC cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can have long-term effects on your health. Creating your own DIY cleaners with essential oils is a natural and easy way to add a little sparkle to your home.
Natural Cleaning essential oil blend is one of our top cleaning must-haves for its antibacterial and antiviral activity. To help clear away odors, Eucalyptus and Lemon are also incredibly effective.
Congestion or coughs can block the airways and prevent you from taking deep, restorative breaths. Along with natural methods like inhaling steam, essential oils can help open and strengthen the respiratory system.
A common constituent for respiratory woes is 1,8- cineole which is the primary component of Eucalyptus oil. Its anti-inflammatory, mucolytic and action against bacterial respiratory pathogens make other cineole-rich oils like Saro and Ravintsara helpful when colds and congestion strike.
Aches and Pains
Discomfort and pain can rob you of your joy and keep you from completing daily activities. The good news is that a range of essential oils have analgesic properties, which can help to alleviate soreness and minor aches. Topical muscle balms often include Peppermint and Eucalyptus oil for their soothing and cooling effects. These essential oils are rich in natural components which numerous studies have shown have pain-relieving effects. A massage with our Massage Therapy essential oil blend diluted in a carrier oil can help you find relief from stiffness, soreness and pangs of pain.
In addition to a rejuvenating massage, essential oils have been found to be helpful in relieving headaches. Peppermint oil, which contains a high amount of menthol, is known to help the body relax and ease tension headaches. Minty and earthy, our Head Ease blend is a therapeutic combination of Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Frankincense, Basil, Chamomile, Ginger, Spearmint and Helichrysum to help you feel better.
Anxiety And Mood
In today’s busy world, many people turn to essential oils to boost their mood and counterbalance stress. A 2012 academic review showed that when Lavender is used in aromatherapy, it can help decrease anxiety levels and have a physiological effect on the limbic system. Further studies have shown Lavender can be incredibly helpful in promoting a brighter outlook. Clary Sage, Jasmine, Chamomile and Bergamot are just a few additional essential oils with sedative properties that can help promote relaxation and offer stress relief.
Two of the most popular essential oils used to give emotions a natural lift are Lemon and Peppermint. They are both powerfully uplifting and invigorating. According to a 2008 study, researchers found clear evidence that inhaling Lemon enhances positivity. Peppermint can also add some pep in your step. A 2013 study found that Peppermint could help boost exercise performance and reduce fatigue.
Countless More Uses
The beauty of essential oils is in their versatility and bountiful applications. Dropping them into your daily routine can have powerful benefits to help manage digestive issues, boost your immune system, defend against the outdoors and so much more.
DOWNLOAD THE E-BOOK
Download our free 150 Ways To Use Essential Oils e-book to discover easy recipes and quick remedies for daily use.
How To Determine The Quality Of Essential Oils
Before you can fully benefit from the therapeutic properties and rich aromas of essential oils, you must first determine quality and purity. There are numerous brands that label their products as essential oils but they may be diluted or mixed with synthetics. At Edens Garden, transparency is utterly imperative to everything we do. We go to great lengths to ensure our oils are of the highest quality and purity available so you can rest easy knowing that you're only getting the very best.
To help you identify high-quality essential oils, look for the following:
Beware of “fragrance oils,” which contain a mix of natural and artificial ingredients. Artificially derived, they do not carry the same health benefits as essential oils and may even have harmful effects. Always look at the oil’s ingredients on the label. If you see anything other than the plant ingredients from which the oil is derived, that’s a warning sign. At Edens Garden, our essential oils are 100% pure, with no fillers, toxic chemicals, or artificial fragrances.
Dark glass container
Because of their potency and pure concentration, essential oils can erode plastic containers. Additionally, clear glass containers can allow light to leak through which can change the natural chemical composition of the oils. At Edens Garden we package our oils in dark, non-reactive glass containers to keep our oils in their purest form.
Derived from indigenous plants
Plants thrive in their native environments. To produce quality oil, the plant must have the right soil, sunshine and atmospheric conditions to develop. Essentials oils derived from indigenous plants are more likely to carry the full array of potential benefits and maintain vibrant aromas. We list each oil’s origin on each oil’s individual product page.
GC/MS Third-party tested
An advanced test, GC/MS tests verify authenticity and purity. At Edens Garden, we GC/MS test our essential oils because it accurately reveals if an oil contains synthetics, carriers, pesticides and more. We offer these reports on our single oil’s individual product pages under “Reports,” because our oils have nothing to hide but pure goodness.
Essential Oils Vs. Carrier Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated pure oils derived from flowers, bark, wood, peel and other parts of plants. They easily evaporate and react with the environment around them (oxygen, sunlight, etc.).
Carrier oils, also known as base oils, get their name because they dilute the essential oil and "carry" them into the skin. Diluting a pure essential oil in a carrier oil, like Argan or Meadowfoam, makes it easier and safer to apply topically. Because of the high potency of essential oils, they can be irritating when applied undiluted to the skin and may cause sensitization over time. Carrier oils are mild and blend with essential oils to create a gentle yet effective mixture.
Essential Oils And Safety
We sincerely hope you take advantage of the many benefits that essential oils can add to your life. And just as we’ve discussed, safety is paramount. The first step to ensuring safe usage of essential oils is to confirm quality and purity. Each batch of our oils are GC/MS tested and approved by third-party chemists and aromatherapists.
If you’re concerned about sensitization on the skin, perform a patch test. Read our blog How And Why To Do An Essential Oil Patch Test to learn more. Again, we care about your well-being and encourage you to discuss any concerns about possible medication interactions or sensitivities with your primary doctor.
If you’re looking for more information about how to use essential oils safely, explore our blog for expert insight. We label oils that are safe for children two and older with our OK For Kids label. Check out our guides on using EOs For Asthma and How To Use EOs During Pregnancy.
Popular Essential Oils
Now that you’ve explored what essential oils are and how to use them, you may wonder which oils to start with. We’ve gathered a few of the most popular oils for beginners. Don’t worry, you’ll be an expert in no time.
Soothing and relaxing, Lavender essential oil is the perfect aroma to diffuse before bed. It’s also a wonderful addition to DIYs. Sink into blissful relaxation with our Chamomile Lavender synergy blend.
Comforting Peppermint essential oil is a favorite for energy and focus. You can also diffuse it to soothe nausea or dilute and apply it topically to reduce soreness.
Bright, uplifting Lemon essential oil can promote energy. It’s also powerful in a homemade cleaner. If you’re looking for help cleaning the air, diffuse Purify synergy blend.
From treating bug bites to improving immunity, Tea Tree essential oil is a do-it-all oil that pairs well with other bright and herbaceous aromas. That’s why we created our Immunity synergy blend and paired Tea Tree with Sweet Orange, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Frankincense.
Edens Garden: The Essentials of Essential Oils
Creating essential oil blends is a specialty at Edens Garden. Formulated to address specific purposes, from boosting immunity to improving skin, our goal is to help improve your well-being. With free shipping within the United States, it’s never been easier to experience essential oils’ myriad benefits for yourself.
To learn more about essential oils’ benefits, uses and more, visit The Drop. With new articles every week, check our blog often for the best essential oil information on the web!