Essential oils are often used aromatically, inhaled. Whether simply inhaled from the bottle or diffused, inhalation is the most simplistic way to receive the therapeutic benefits from the oils.
The body responds with physical and psychological responses to the inhalation of essential oils. When essential oils are inhaled, olfactory receptors activate areas of the brain’s limbic system associated with memory and emotion. The pituitary gland releases chemicals to various organs to create physical responses.
Direct application to the skin. Molecular structure of essential oils allows oil to be quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Most oils must be diluted, commonly at a 2% ratio, with carrier oils such as coconut, jojoba, or avocado oil. With "hot or warming" oils or "cooling" oils, heavy dilution is recommended; although the oils can be used topically they are skin irritants, depending of your skin's sensitivity will determine if 2% or less dilution is needed.
2% dilution is approximately equal to 1 drop essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil.
Commonly used with massage therapy thus applied over the entire body, essential oils can be applied to the feet for absorption. Essential oils can be used on the feet for not just a relaxing foot rub, but also application to the feet is an excellent absorption method due to the porousness of the feet. For highly sensitive individuals and for children application to the feet can be the preferred method for absorption.
When using essential oils on face or around ears, apply with caution as to not get oils in eyes or ears. If you get oils in your eyes, use carrier oils to flush out the oils; water to only increase the uncomfortable sensations, water and oil do not mix causing the situation to exacerbate the situation.
Most essential oils are not safe for internal use and are labeled "For External Use Only" or "Not Safe for Internal Use." Best practice is to review the label or other published materials from the manufacturer for distillation methods, internal or external use, and any other cautions for pregnancy, children or medical conditions. If still in doubt, contact the company.
Example: Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) Essential Oil is safe for internal use; however depending on the distillation methods, cultivation methods, and several other factors you will find bottle labeled "Not for Internal Use." A good cue is if the label says "100% Pure Essential Oil" this does not mean Therapeutic Grade nor does it mean that it is safe for internal use.
There are only a few that are safe for internal use and few manufactures produce them. Even if the label is Therapeutic Grade, the oil itself may be toxic if consumed. Example: Wintergreen, Eucalyptus and Chamomile are all harmful if swallowed.
GRAS: “Generally Recognized As Safe for human consumption” - The FDA's list of essential oils that have been approved of as safe for human consumption. Although an oils may appear on the list check with the manufacturer, bottle, published information specific for that oil from its manufacturer to see if it is safe for internal use.
In addition to your own research, check with a qualified aromatherapist for guidance, as to whether or not dietary essential oil use is the best method for your needs and concerns.
Once you have found the essential oil(s) you would like to use, internally, there are a few options for consumption methods.
Disclosure: None of these health benefits have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not be used in place of personal judgment or medical treatment when needed, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. (Only your doctor can diagnose and treat disease.)
Important Note: Oil profiles is for educational purposes only. This data is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. General Safety Information: Do not take any oils internally without consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and give children only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using an oil that you've never used before.