10 Answers About Essential Oils That Everyone Needs To Know

Along with health coaching, I am a wellness advocate for essential oils. I love to help people learn how to use them!  Here are questions I get in my class that I wanted to share with you!

1. What are essential oils?

Essential oils are the concentrated “essence” of a plant that comes from the seeds, roots, peels and bark. Essential oils are steam distilled from the plants from which they are derived. This means that steam carries the essential oils out of the plant and into another container where the steam and oil is condensed by cool water.  The essential oil and water is then separated to produce pure essential oils.

Pure essential oils come directly from steam distillation without any other processing. Essential oils have been around for thousands of years and have been used for medicinal and aromatic uses for centuries.  Essential oils were very costly and considered very precious in the households over thousands of years ago. Now essential oils are more affordable and accessible for consumers all over the world.

 Essential oils can vary in their concentration depending on the company you purchase them from.  Some oils are considered food grade, but most oils purchased in a store are not food grade and should only be used for topical and aromatic use.

Essential Oils are comprised of only three elements: Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and are volatile organic liquids.  They do not contain vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids or hormones.

2. How do you use Essential Oils?

Aromatically, Topically or Internally

Essential oils are applied both alone or diluted with a “carrier” oil that helps them interact with the body at best.  It is important to talk to someone trained in essential oils to understand which oils need to be diluted and which do not.  They can be applied to the bottom of the feet without dilution and reach the cells circulating in the bloodstream within 30 minutes.  The base of the neck along the spine is another place to apply them (make sure certain oils are diluted)  as well as directly on the surface of the skin.  Food grade oils may be taken internally, but do consult a professional regarding oils before taking them internally.   Taking essential oils is very controversial, so be wise and talk to someone trained and experienced in oils. Essential Oils can also be diffused in the air through a diffuser or in hot water.  They can also be aromatically used for the ear and sinus cavity if they are applied to a cotton ball and then the cotton balls are placed in the ears. Never place essential oils directly into the ear.  Again, seek a professional regarding use of essential oils.

3. How do Essential Oils work?

Essential oils work at the cellular level.  They are able to permeate the cell membrane and kill viruses that live on the inside of a cell.  They are also able to kill bacteria that live on the outside of the cell as well as fungal infections.  They are able to support the cellular function to support the bodies major systems.  They do not interact negatively with pharmaceutical meds, although it is always wise to let your doctor know that you are using them.  Unlike antibiotics, Essential oils only kill bad bacteria disrupting the cells rather than kill both the bad and good bacteria in the body.  The body actually recognizes the oils and is able to put them to use with every application.  They are potent but safe for even a newborn when used properly.

4. What are some common examples of essential oils?

The most commonly used essential oil is Lavender.  Other common essential oils include Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree and Lemon.
These oils can be used topically to help when viruses, fungal and bacterial infections invade the body. Food grade oils can be used internally to work with our body physiologically and support the respiratory, digestive and immune systems in the body during times of illness.

 5. Where can I purchase Essential Oils?

Many natural foods stores supply Essential oils.  Some popular ones include, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Natural Grocer.  Essential oils can also be purchased online from reputable companies like Young LivingDoterra, Mountain Rose Herbs and Native American . The online sources of essential oils are more likely to be food grade, but you would have to consult with the company to know for sure.  Many of the online sources like Doterra require you to purchase through a representative who is trained in essential oils and will be able to train you and help you with your purchase. I personally love Plant Therapy Essential oils and the kid-safe resources they have, plus they are free shipping everyday!

6. How do organic essential oils differ from their non-organic counterparts?

Organic essential oils are steam distilled from plants that have been grown under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standard of organic farming.  This means that no toxic and persistent pesticides were used during the plant’s lifespan.  The entire process from the ground to the distillation occurs without the use of toxic pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, or GMOs.

7. What are the key health benefits that come from choosing organic essential oils?

The benefits of using organic essential oils are similar to those of choosing organic foods.  Essential oils are typically used in personal care or for medicinal purposes in which the essential oils are applied topically to the body or taken internally.  Choosing to apply an organic essential oil frees the user of worry about the possibility of toxic pesticides in that application. Additionally, when users burn an organic essential oil, they do not have to worry about inhaling harmful chemicals or pesticides.

8. What are your top 5 tips for deciding which organic essential oils to incorporate into your life?

1. If you want your organic dollar to make a larger impact, buy organic citrus oils.  Most conventional essential oils don’t need to be grown with non-organic herbicide and pesticide inputs. Conventional (non-organic) citrus oils, however, have a higher probability of containing pesticides due to the manner in which they’re cultivated.
2. When formulating with other organic ingredients such as carrier oils (sesame or jojoba), it’s ideal to add organic essential oils so that your entire end-product is organic.
3. Choose organic Lavender oil when used as a topical application for a burn or a scrape.
4. Choose all organic essential oils when using with babies, children, or aging persons.
5. Choose organic oils for internal use, making sure they are also food-grade.

9. Are there any cautions when it comes to using Essential Oils?

Yes. However, it doesn’t mean that they are dangerous. The reason you need to understand the cautions is so that the essential oils can be used properly and will in return have the proper outcome that is intended.

Essential oils that are 100% pure and therapeutic grade are very potent. One drop goes a long way! Some oils are considered “hot” oils and can cause a “tingling or burning” sensation. It is not actually hurting the skin, but will feel like it is. These oils are to be diluted with a “carrier” oil.

Some oils can overpower homeopathic means and so they need to be used in separate times from the homeopathic dose. Using high doses of herbs through the means of essential oils for medicinal purposes can have a huge effect on the microbial terrain of the body just the same as antibiotics. Be sure to speak with a health professional and essential oils expert before taking essential oils internally for medicinal purposes.

There are some precautions to take with women who are pregnant or nursing. For example, peppermint oil will cause a woman’s milk supply to decrease. They are not dangerous for the woman or baby but can work physiologically with the body to produce outcomes that may not be desired for the mother.

I would recommend first time users or pregnant women and children to dilute all essential oils until you are experienced or trained by a professional. Do not directly apply oils to the eyes or in the ears! There are ways to apply the oils to ears and eyes aromatically using a cotton ball.

The quality of essential oils DO matter. Not all essential oils are pure or even worthy to be used medicinally.  Currently, there is not a set standard for essential oils, so reputable companies, like Young Living, Plant Therapy and Doterra take seriously their sourcing, supplier, authenticity, quality and processing setting a very high standard called “Therapeutic Grade”.  Most companies have no ability to verify the quality of the oils they are receiving, so this type of standard is necessary in the world of essential oils to hold suppliers accountable.

Lastly, I would caution you to talk to an experienced and trained essential oil expert rather than get your information directly from a blog. Anyone can write a blog and everyone has their opinions. Get your information from the actual source and make sure it is credible, not a mommy blogger who has a rant to share.

10. What are a few oils to start with if I want to begin incorporating them into a weekly rhythm?

Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint Oils can cover over 100 needs.  They both have properties that are antiviral, antibacterial, fungal and anti-parasitic.  They can help with common occurrences such as bug bites, cold sores and fevers.   Most importantly, I would suggest seeing an essential oil professional to see what is a common concern in your rhythm that you could use essential oils for.  This would determine the best oils for you to start with.

For more information or if you are seeking professional advice about essential oils, CLICK HERE and I am happy to help you!




Kimberly Stewart
Kimberly Stewart

I am a wife, mom of 4, friend and neighbor and understand how hard it can be to implement health in our busy lives! I am an Integrative Holistic Health Coach and passionate about empowering others towards wellness in their everyday lives!