Essential Oils are one of my favorite things to use on my family. They are so powerful and last a long time. Most times, you only need 1-2 drops to treat whatever it is that is ailing you. There are several different ways to use essential oils - in general, the oils will either be inhaled, directly applied, or taken internally.
1. Bath: Add 2-3 drops of essential oil to a cup full of Epsom or sea salt. Place in warm water and bathe. When my children seem to be coming down with a cold, I place Eucalyptus and an immune boosting blend like On Guard into Epsom salt and add it to their bath.
2. Cleaning/Disinfecting: Add a few drops of essential oil to the washing machine to disinfect. Or, add to a spray bottle filled with half water and half distilled vinegar to use as counter spray. Wonderful oils for use around the home are Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Thyme, and Oregano.
3. Compress: Apply a few drops of essential oil onto desired location. Cover the area with a hot, damp towel. Place a hot, dry towel on top of the damp towel to trap in the heat. If the heat of the oil becomes strong, apply olive oil to dilute the intensity.
4. Internal: As a general rule, use 3-5 drops of essential oil in a gel capsule (available at health food stores or online), then fill the rest with olive oil. Capsules can be filled in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can add essential oils to your food (after it has been cooked) or in a beverage like water (make sure it is not a hot oil, like Oregano). Always be sure to buy high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils that are guaranteed to be pure, especially if they will be ingested.
5. Diffusing: Using a diffuser cleanses the air and allows your body to absorb the oils through inhalation.
6. Topical application: Apply essential oils "neat" which means directly to the skin on location. If necessary (for a hot oil like Oregano or for a child), dilute the oil with olive oil. Essential oils penetrate the skin and are rapidly absorbed to provide benefits to the body within minutes. See an example of this in my story at the bottom of this post. Oils can be applied anywhere on the body but are especially readily absorbed when placed on the soles of the feet, insides of the wrists, behind the ears, etc (places where there are a lot of pores).
7. Direct inhalation: Put a few drops of essential oil into your hands and cup over your nose as you breathe deeply.
8. Humidifier: Place a few drops of essential oils into a cold-air humidifier. The oils can wear down the plastic so this is not recommended, but can be done if you do not have a diffuser (this is what I currently do). My favorite oils to diffuse with children are Lavender and Eucalyptus.
9. Massage: Mix 10-12 drops of essential oil (4-5 drops for children) with one ounce of olive oil. Massage into skin.
10. Personal care: Add essential oils to your personal care products. I use several essential oils in my deodorant (stay tuned for a post on easy homemade deodorant).
Essential oils are a key "ingredient" in my medicine cabinet as a mother. I find myself turning to them at least a few times a week, either to relieve stress, calm a child, boost our immune system or fight off a cold. There are tremendous benefits to their use and as you can tell, I am just in love with them. They are a wonderful addition to any home.