Introduction to Essential Oils

What Is An Essential Oil?

  • Aromatic, volatile liquid distilled from plant parts such as seeds, bushes, flowers, bark, roots, fruit, shrubs, etc.  –Often visual when a plat is bruised, the resin oozes out and seals the bruise.
  • Protective, nutritive vital fluids of the plant, which have a very similar chemical composition as human fluids.
  • 35 to 100 times stronger than herbs.
  • Called an oil because most of them float on top of water in the distiller.
  • Not actually fatty, essential oils contain smaller molecules that easily pass through cell membranes, including the blood/brain barrier.

Benefits of Essential Oil Usage

  • Contain oxygen molecules that help transport cell nutrients and are antioxidants that prevent cell mutations.  Essential oils are also free radical scavengers.
  • Cleans the hormone receptor sites of cells that are left by petrochemicals.
  • Promotes emotional, physical, and spiritual balance.
  • Essential oils are made up of amino acids, which are the building block of every cell.
  • Increases the ozone and negative ions in the air.
  • Destroys odors from mold, smoke, pollutants, etc.
  • Penetrates hardened cell walls (due to oxygen deficiency).  Topical application reaches every cell in the body in 20 minutes.  Metabolizes like a nutrient, does not accumulate in the body.
  • Raises the body’s natural energetic frequency.


  • Measurable rate of electrical energy that is constant between any 2 points.
  • Measured in megahertz, essential oils range from 52 to over 400 MHz.  Can be measured by Tanio Technologies in Washington  with a bio-frequency monitor.
  • Lower frequencies are associated the physical body; middle range frequencies relate to emotional concerns, and higher frequencies are associated with spiritual consciousness.
  • Human cells begin to mutate at 58 MHz.  Negative thoughts can lower the body’s frequency by 12 MHz while positive thoughts can raise the body’s frequency by 10 MHz.  Prayer and meditation powerfully increase frequency by 15 MHz.

Sense of Smell

  • The nose is the external component of the brain.
  • Scent goes directly to the receptor sites in the olfactory membrane, which transmits it to the limbic brain including the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.
  • The nose has 800,000 nerve receptors, ten to 100 times more than sight or hearing.
  • Scent can activate the hypothalamus.


  • Earliest  known distillation, 425 BC by Heradotus.
  • Pharaohs were embalmed in essential oils, and 350 liters of precious Spikenard were found in King Tut’s tomb.
  • Romans were known to purify their temples by diffusing oils.
  • The Holy Bible contains 188 direct references to the use of essential oils, and nearly 1,000 references by inference. (Oils of the Bible by Dr. David Stewart)
  • Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold (thought to be Spikenard or Balsam) were gifted to the newborn baby Jesus.

 Essential Oil Quality

  • Use only therapeutic, grade A essential oils if they are to be applied topically or taken internally.
  • Most oils available commercially are perfume or cosmetic grade and cannot be used medicinally.
  • Many commercially available oils are cut with linalyl acetate, propylene glycol, Dep or alcohols to speed the distillation process, stretch the product, and make them less expensive for the retail consumer.
  • Companies use gas chromatography (does not indicate cutting), and/or mass spec analysis for quality analysis.  Current grading system:

Grade A = Supposed Therapeutic Quality
Grade B = Perfume & Cosmetic Quality
Grade C = Industrial Quality for scent only

Essential Oil Care

  • Use glass bottles, preferably dark in color to maintain the quality
  • Keep tightly capped so no oxidation takes place and oils will maintain the potency
  • Store in a cool location and do not heat oils (as in a warm mist humidifier); heat destroys the enzymes  and plant constituents in essential oils.


  • NEVER use water to dilute should skin become irritated or if oils get into eyes.  To dilute an essential oil, use a fat soluble substance such as carrier (vegetable) oil, milk, creams, etc.  Use milk or vegetable oil for eyes.  Water will magnify the intensity of the essential oil; vegetable oil will reduce intensity.
  • Citrus oils are photosensitive and can burn skin in direct sunlight leaving a dark area on the skin for weeks.  Do not use citrus oils on exposed skin for up to 2 days before direct sun exposure.  Literally, apply citrus oils to areas where the sun does not shine (like the soles of feet).
  • Dilute essential oils for children:  1 to 3 drops per tablespoon of fatty oil or milk for infants, 1 to 3 drops per teaspoon of oil for 2-5 year old’s, and the same for pets, as a rule of thumb.
  • DO NOT put oils on a cat’s front paws, and do not use oils high in phenols such as Oregano on cats or birds.  Their livers have difficulty assimilating the phenols.
  • If PREGNANT, avoid essential oils of wintergreen/birch, lavindin, cumin, basil, tarragon, sage, rosemary, hyssop, savory, and cinnamon bark.  If pregnant, use the following oils with caution:  peppermint, rose, vetiver, yarrow, spearmint, nutmeg, fennel and clary sage.
  • If you have HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AVOID peppermint, sage, thyme and hyssop.
  • EPILEPTICS AVOID rosemary, tarragon, hyssop, wintergreen/birch, sage, nutmeg, lavindin, fennel and basil.
  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER to flush out toxins being removed from the cells from the application of the oils.

 Methods of Application

French Method: Internal Use of some oils, such as citrus oils, are most beneficial when taken internally.  Dilute essential oil in a small amount of honey, vegetable or nut oil,  milk, or food preparations for ingestion.

English Method:  Topical Application to skin.  Safest point of application is the soles of the feet.  Always dilute cosmetic or perfume grade essential oils; most pure-therapeutic grade essential oils (Young Living) may be applied neat (undiluted).  When in doubt dilute.

German Method:  Direct Inhalation or Diffused in addition to a combination of both French and English Methods.

 Reactions, Allergies

If skin has been exposed to chemicals such as propylene glycol, sodium laurel sulfate, DEA, etc. you may have a skin reaction to therapeutic grade oils as the essential oils work to release the acidity and toxins that are stored within the skin cells.  Reduce the amount of essential oil used (dilute) and cleanse (detoxify) the body of stored toxins before resuming full strength (neat) applications.

Sample Applications

  • Cold diffusion; do not use heat or you’ll kill the active enzymes and therapeutic value.
  • In massage, use hot packs to increase oil intensity if there are no neurological concerns.  Use cold packs if there are any neurological concerns.
  • Enhance effectiveness of acupuncture and acupressure.
  • Mix several drops (6-10) with Epsom salts or milk and add to running bath water.
  • Laundry.  Eucalyptus kills dust mites, Lemon disinfects.
  • Cooking.  Dip a toothpick into oregano (or other culinary herb)oil and drag through the meal just prior to serving.  Do not add to food while cooking.
  • Insect repellents.  Citronella, Cypress, Cedarwood, Lavender, Purification, Idaho Tansy.

Chemical Constituents found in Essential Oils

Phenols, Monoterpenes,  Sesquiterpenes,  Esters,  Baldheads,  Ketones,  Alcohols, Oxides, Ethers,


Essential Chemistry for Safe Aromatherapy, Sue Clarke
Essential Oil Safety, Robert Tissaurand
Embraced by the Essence, Dr. Marcy Foley
Medical Aromatherapy, Kurt Schnaubelt