Making Scents #2


In today’s note-making session, I was going to explore the two main ways of applying essential oils, but I realized that I would be getting ahead of myself.  It occurred to me that I had better define what an essential oil is before I go any further.

Simply, an essential oil is a highly concentrated aromatic essence of the plant from which it is derived.   When the molecules of an essential oil are released to the air,  they engage one’s olfactory receptors and are transmitted to the limbic system.  The limbic system is that structure of the brain that houses the autonomic regulators, emotions, memories and behaviors such as sleep, hunger, thirst and the sex drive.   Molecules of the essential oils can also enter the body through the skin.

This being said, I now understand why it is so important to use only 100% pure, undiluted oils devoid of any synthetic additives.   The problem though is that without a chemical analysis the consumer has no way of knowing for certain if an oil is “pure”.  The consumer must go on the word of the distributor.    So, in brief,  caveat emptor — let the buyer beware.

Based on this,  here’s what I’ve been pondering for the last couple of days: from whom shall I obtain my oils?   I’ve been roaming the internet trying to figure this out.    I’ve observed that an up-an-coming distributor of essential oils says the big, bad corporation that sells essential oils in my local natural food store is selling an inferior product.    That big corporation, in turn, says that the consumer needs to be wary of the exaggerated claims of small, up-and-coming distributors.  (I must admit that the big corporation does a much better job at being transparent about where their oils come from and how they are tested for authenticity and purity).   Furthermore, the new-age store down the street from me refused to tell me who supplies their oils which, in my mind, is a big red flag and makes me ask myself: what are they hiding?

You may be wondering what I decided.  From whom shall I buy my oils?   I’m not going to say.  You won’t find me promoting any particular distributor here.   Essential oils, like any expensive product you buy, needs to be carefully researched and evaluated, and everyone needs to make her or his own decision.

Okay, on to more interesting things.   One of the main reasons I got into working with essential oils was for stress relief.   Lavender oil is at the top of list for reducing stress and inducing calmness and balance.     I found this video where the aromatherapist blends a stress-reducing massage oil.

It is important to remember that essential oils are powerful and some are toxic so rarely should one apply an essential oil directly to the skin.    Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil.   Also, I have learned that one should not overuse the oils.  More is not better.   If a recipe calls for 1 drop of a type of oil, you need to use 1 drop.

Here is the recipe outlined in the video:  5 teaspoons of carrier oil, 2 drops of pure lavender, 2 drops of petitgrain, and 1 drop of ylang-ylang.   I’m going to try this recipe.  I’ll be using neroli oil since I don’t have petitgrain and I have sweet almond oil to use as a carrier.    I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks for letting me share my study notes with you.

The Wayward Pelican (c) 2010


3 responses »

  1. I apologize if you had any difficulty accessing the video. I didn’t realize that “Expert Village” videos won’t show on WordPress pages. You are forced to go to YouTube and endure the advertisement.

    • Yes, lavender oil is the all-purpose oil. I just freshened a bag of lavender flower potpourri with a hit of lavender oil. Oils are a good way to extend the life of potpourri. I use lemon oil in a solution of distilled water and white vinegar in a spray bottle as a cleaning agent for my kitchen counters.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I am enjoying the discussion.

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