Raise your hand if you know someone who swears by essential oils?
I bet you even know a few dozen people who sell them. I know I do!
Before I get into everything I've learned about essential oils, let me give you some back ground info so you know I'm not entirely crazy:
I started my essential oil adventure by going to a party hosted by a friend. My bestie and I had been researching oils and had started thinking about getting into them. Almost two weeks later, we got our kit, divvied up our oils, and started playing. We began slathering ourselves and our families with all of the oils. Literally, all of them. We had fallen in love with EOs!
As a Christian, I am always looking for ways to strike up conversations with people so that I can build relationships and hopefully, eventually share the Gospel. About a year after I started using EOs, I saw my neighbor outside of her home so I jumped at the chance to have a conversation! We started chit-chatting about our hobbies and such, when I felt compelled to let her know that I was slowly becoming a very crunchy person (meaning, eating organics/non-GMO foods, making my own cleaning stuff, and using EOs). As soon as she heard that I was using EOs, she started asking ME questions. It wasn't long before she'd invited me into her home to check out her oil collection and various resources. That, my friends, is when my informal oil education began!
One more thing before my list - please keep in mind that EOs are concentrated and powerful! A teeny tiny bit goes a LONG way.
So, without further ado; here are a few things I have learned along the way:
1. START SLOW
Before you pull the trigger on buying a kit, I suggest starting MUCH more slowly. You'll save yourself money and really get to learn everything you need to know about oils before jumping with both feet. When you get your oil, dive in to learning all about it! Keep a file on your computer or a notebook so that you can organize your notes and recipes. I suggest starting out with a common oil that has lots of uses: lavender, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, etc.
2. LEARN LATIN
Not really. Haha! You do need to pay attention to the botanical name of the oil you're studying, though. Many oils come from multiple species of a certain plant. Did you know there are SIX different kinds of frankincense? SIX - and they all have different benefits and uses. There may be more out there that I don't know about! This is especially important if you have any medical conditions, take any medication, or are smell sensitive (like me, a migraine sufferer!). A few other oils that have multiple species: cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender.
3. WATCH OUT FOR BAD INFO
As we all know, if it's on the internet, it must be true. Do you guys remember this State Farm commercial? We quote it at home all the time.
DO NOT believe everything you read on the internet. Pinterest, as much as I love it, has some of the WORST information for oil usage. Think about it: 90% of the people putting info out there, have no formal aromatherapy training (I know because I was one of them), just what they've picked up from other people along the way. That said, I know that there is some GREAT info on Pinterest - we MUST do our homework and make sure we know what we're doing before we slather ourselves and our loved-ones with oils.
The internet isn't the only place bad information hangs out. Believe it or not, some of the worst oil information I got was produced and provided by the oil company I signed up to rep (READ: not ALL of the info was bad, but the bad info was REALLY bad). Do some googling and search for companies and resources that have been around for a long time, then do some cross-referencing. Compare what your books say to books that have good reputations and have been trusted for many years. (Two of my favorite third-party resources are: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy; The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook).
4. SPREAD YOUR WINGS
In conclusion: Essential oils are AMAZING and can do so much good BUT, they are powerful and can do so much harm. We must be diligent to learn how to use them correctly and not just take people's word for it.
This may sound harsh but it must be said: You wouldn't trust a doctor who didn't study medicine, we shouldn't trust a sales person who hasn't studied aromatherapy.
I love you, my dear readers, and would hate for you to get hurt because no one ever told you the truth about essential oils and the big name companies that are pushing them so hard right now.
MY FAVORITE RESOURCES:
-- START HERE--
Essential Oils 101 (FANTASTIC blog post by Plant Therapy)
-- Essential Oil Education --
-- Brands I Love --
-- Facebook Groups --
Real Aromatherapy Reviews and More
Safe Essential Oil Recipes
Blue Tansy Analysis (this group has over 10,000 members!)
The Oily Mama
THINGS TO RESEARCH
GC/MS reports (third party testing results for EOs)
Safety Information (ingestion, "neat" oils, children/pregnancy...)