Why Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils are a wonderful gift from the Lord to help us maintain our health. They are distilled from plants, and their complex qualities cannot be duplicated in a laboratory.
So, what is an essential oil? Essential oils are liquid, volatile (easily evaporate at room temperature), organic compounds that come from flowers, shrubs, trees, roots, and bushes that God gave us at Creation. They are aromatic oils which have been carefully extracted either through steam distillation or cold expression. They are highly concentrated, which makes even one drop greatly potent. Because they are volatile, they are highly aromatic. A fatty oil, like an olive or coconut oil, are not volatile. You would not smell those oils as easily in the air as you would lavender, for example. The fatty oils make good carrier oils, which enables you to apply the “hot” oils topically. (Not all oils are “hot,” so not all will need a carrier oil.)
How can you use essential oils? There are several different schools of thought on the use of essential oils. The model Young Living uses, and our family personally chooses to use, is the French model of essential oil use. This includes three different ways of using your essential oils: 1. Inhalation, 2. Topical, 3. Internal.
1. Inhalation: Inhale straight from the bottle, rub a drop between your hands and breathe in deeply, mix with water and spray into the air, or better yet, use a cold air diffuser like the one that comes with the starter kit.
2. Topical: Apply the essential oil directly to your skin. Certain spicy oils should be diluted first with a fatty carrier oil, such as almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. You would also want to dilute essential oils for use on children.
3. Internal: Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils that are labeled as “supplements” are considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and can be used internally. Some are dropped directly on the tongue, others added to water or honey, and still others can be put into a gel capsule. Many of the oils are wonderful for cooking to add a nice flavor to your foods.
Are they safe? The quick answer is yes. However, they are also very powerful and must be handled with care. They are a concentrated and potent part of the plant’s beneficial properties. Please treat them as you would any other powerful product in your home: out of reach of children and pets. Each bottle has a recommended usage guideline on the label.
Where should I store my oils? It is recommended that you store your oils out of direct sunlight, as the UV rays can damage the chemistry of the oils. Young Living oils are packaged in amber bottles to protect them, but be careful where you store them. Storing them near a window, in your car, or on top of the microwave is not recommended as they may lose some of their potency if they are exposed to extreme temperatures.
Do essential oils expire? Young Living oils do not have expiration dates. They will evaporate over time if the lid is not securely closed, but they will not spoil. However, if you mix your oils with a fatty oil to apply it, the fatty oil will go rancid over time. It is recommended that you mix only the amount you will be using at the time of application. Citrus oils would be an exception to this rule.
Why spend more for Young Living oils when I could buy them cheaper somewhere else? Do you know that you can put 10 drops of Lavender Essential oil in a bottle of almond oil, and most people wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t a “pure” bottle of Lavender essential oil? This is what often happens. People often think they are getting a great deal on their inexpensive bottle of Lavender essential oil, but in reality they are buying 10 drops of inferior essential oil.
In addition, it is likely that those ten drops have no beneficial value, and may be adulterated with synthetic fillers. In any case, you are likely being ripped off.
Do some research. Most essential oil companies are just brokers. They are buying their oils from around the world in barrels, and then bottling it themselves. Most oils are perfume grade and are cut with chemicals. It is scary to think that some people may be using their oils on their children like I do with Young Living oils! It is important that you understand the safety issue here.
Most essential oils are not “therapeutic grade,” and most are not 100% pure, regardless of how they are labeled. The problem is that these terms are not regulated by anyone. So, all I can do is tell you what we mean when we use the term, “therapeutic grade.” I then invite you to compare these standards with other companies.
As far as I know, Young Living (YL) is the only company that owns their own farms and distilleries, so this disqualifies most other companies, in my mind.
Here are a few red flags to look for on a bottle of essential oils when considering essential oils. If you see these terms, beware. Please do your research:
1. DO NOT INGEST. If a bottle of food based oils (peppermint, oregano, cinnamon) has this warning on the label, it is a huge warning to me. YL oils labeled as supplements are GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for internal consumption by the FDA.
2. DO NOT APPLY TO SKIN UNDILUTED. Certain “spicy” oils should be diluted, but many YL oils can be applied neat (undiluted). If a mild oil like lavender or frankincense has this warning I would beware.
3. $$$ Quality essential oils cost a lot of money to grow and distill. If a bottle of lavender essential oil costs $5, you can bet it is either cut with a carrier oil (which means you are getting ripped off), or it is a poor quality oil.
4. Expiration Date. Properly stored essential oils (excluding citrus) do not go bad. If an essential oil has an expiration date, it could mean it is cut with a carrier oil which will go rancid in time.
Please check out Young Living’s 5 step Seed to Seal process: Seed – Cultivate – Distill – Test – Seal.