Essential Oils Primer
by Joanna K. Chodorwska
Essential oils are oils that are extracted from plants. They can be either from the flower, the bark of a tree, leaf or the seed. These oils protect the plants from environmental threats and help them to adapt in new surroundings. Each drop of oil can be used for both physical and emotional benefits. The oils are typically extracted through a process of steam distillation to separate the oil from the water-based components.
The essential oils are rather powerful – 1 drop of peppermint oil is more potent than 18 cups of peppermint tea (made from the leaf). It takes 150 pounds of lavender flowers to make 1 pound of oil. This also means with this potency, they have a strong aroma, which is why essential oils are used in aromatherapy! (“Scent therapy” just doesn’t sound as nice!) They have been known for centuries to provide healing benefits, both physically and emotionally.
So when using essential oils, you definitely want to use less, not more! They can be used aromatically (meaning you can sniff them or put them into a diffuser – kind of like a mini-humidifier). They can be used topically on the skin and diluted as needed based on sensitivity with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil. Some oils, if they are therapeutic grade, can also be ingested. I would caution against this unless you are certain of the application. Some oils that can be digested should also be diluted first – those would include peppermint, orange and any of the other fruit-extracted oils, and ginger. Others like oregano oils, sweet basil, marjoram, and the spices can be used in cooking but might not be well tolerated taken internally. Always consult with an expert before ingesting essential oils or applying them topically. Only use therapeutic-grade oils as those are guaranteed to have the purity you are looking for. When the quality is there, you can smell and feel the difference!
I have been using essential oils loosely for over 15 years. I used to buy an oil blend from Aveda and just spread it all over. It had geranium, ylang ylang, and lavender. In the past year, I have also learned more not only on the physical benefits of essential oils but the emotional ones, too.
One of my friends said “The beauty of essential oils is they help you understand and heal the emotional issue without you having to thinking about it!” That is the easiest way to explain it.
Here are some of the physical and emotional properties of the oils above:
Geranium – Helps to calm nerves and lessen the feeling of anxiousness. I could sniff this all day! On an emotional level, it can facilitate trust in relationships by encouraging emotional honestly, love, and forgiveness.
Lavender – Most often used for relaxation and to aid in sleeping. I use this on the bottoms of my feet every night and sleep so much better and peacefully. On an emotional level, it can help with communication and allow the fears of being heard or misunderstood go away.
Peppermint – Used most often for stomach aches or helping with digestion. You can apply it on the belly near the stomach area or ingest it with some water. It is also very invigorating applied on the back of the neck. It commonly is used for relief of headaches. On an emotional level, it can bring joy and levity to the heart and soul so you feel like you are gliding through life.
Ylang Ylang – It is very calming and soothing; great for someone who is on overdrive and needs to take it down a notch. Emotionally it can help you reconnect with your inner child who is playful and able to see the beauty in all situations.
I often choose oils intuitively for clients or based on my experience in using them. I started making custom roller bottle blends for clients to choose the oils they may find helpful for whatever emotional issue they are or are not aware of. Just name it, and I will create it. Then I provide a short description of what emotional meaning can be behind the oils chosen. It is really fun when clients say “I LOVE my blend – I wear it all the time!” Oftentimes, I don’t keep track of what we put in as your energy will change as you use the oils, so your custom blend will change even if the name stays the same. My most recent blend is called My Sparkle and Flow… and I love it, too, and totally feel uplifted using it and more productive, too.
For more information about essential oils, check out the monthly classes I offer or come in to schedule time to create your custom oil blend.
[References: www.draxe.com – Free eBook, The King’s Medicine Cabinet Emotions and Essential Oils, reference guide – www.enlightenhealing.com – 3rd edition, 2014.]
Joanna K. Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH, METS – HMP is a personal nutrition coach, energy worker, and healer. She helps you identify what is causing your symptoms of ill health and use real food nutrition, The Path to Heal and essential oils to fix the issue for good. For more information, please visit www.nutritioninmotion.net.