Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Essential Oils Part 2 guest post with Kara Bagley

For all those waiting on the edge of your seats for this week's EO post~ I had miscommunicated with Mrs. Bagley and told her to be ready with this post next Monday. Ooops! She obliged and got it done for me early.
Thanks again Kara for a fabulous, informative post!

Before I get to the Q& A from my last post on essential oils (EO's), I wanted to touch on my experience with blends. EO blends differ from company to company, but many of them are comparable to one another. There are three reasons I love to use blends.

First, it allows me to obtain and oil that would otherwise be too expensive. Whether blended with a less expensive EO (like citronella) or a carrier oil (like coconut), a blend can keep you from breaking the bank. I use Native American Nutritionals (NAN's) Serenity for calming anxiety, it contains chamomile which is around $100 a bottle! So I can get the benefits of chamomile for far less because it is blended with inexpensive EO's like patchouli and orange.
Secondly, with these oils being so potent, you will want to dilute most of them for skin contact. Some oils are blended for ease of use. I love NAN's Tummy Rub blend for traveling with carsickness and indigestion from eating poor foods. This blend can be used straight form the bottle and rubbed right on my tummy.
Third, a common practice when using EO's is if one doesn't work; try a different oil. Not all body's or ailments will react the same to every oil every time, and there are usually a handful that have been known to be effective. A blend made up of a variety of EO's that work together will give you a better chance of finding relief from your problem. My favorite bottle in my possession is NAN's Spice Traders blend. I mix it in a spray bottle 10 drops to an ounce of water and give my mouth a few sprays a day to boost my immune system, especially if I have been around somebody who is sick. When I feel like I am coming down with something, like a little soreness in my throat, a headache or low energy, I take 3 drops in a vegetable capsule filled with cod liver oil at least 3 times a day, every day until I feel better.
Once you grow experienced with essential oils you can mix up your own blends, but for a beginner this is a fool proof way to use EO's.
Now, on the the Q&A:
Q. Would you talk more about what therapeutic grade essential oils are?
A. Therapeutic grade EO's are extracted from plants in the most delicate way to preserve the fragile compounds that are essential for medicinal healing. Beware only 2 percent of EO companies in the U.S. sell true therapeutic grade and sadly trusted companies have been known to start stretching their oils to make ends meet.
Q. How many drops come in a bottle of essential oils? Shelf life?
A. 15 ml is about 300 drops depending on viscosity. If the oil is neat (unadulterated or undiluted and not extended) it will last indefinitely in the right conditions except for lemon peel which can be stored for up to 3 years. Oils that are blended have a shorter life span due to rancidity of the carrier oil.
Q. What does adulterated essential oils mean?
A. An adulterated EO is altered in some way, usually to stretch the smell or taste of an oil. Companies do this by adding alcohol, adding terpenes from another oil, adding a cheaper oil to an expensive oil, adding a colorless and odorless synthetic product, or by substituting an oil for another cheaper oil. Some of these methods can actually be toxic and health deteriorating!
Q. How can you ensure that your oils are not adulterated?
A. This is the toughest about using EO's. I have taken some classes from very knowledgeable woman who have use the oils from various EO companies. There is a test that can be done to measure the quality of the EO, but requires specialized equipment. A trained nose can detect an adulterated oil. The reason I buy from Native American Nutritionals (NAN) is because there are a number of people I know personally that vouch for the company and their oils. NAN has the lowest price at this time. Two other companies I have had enough experience with to trust are Forever Young, Forever Green and Mountain Rose Herbs.
Q. What is the difference between organic versus non-organic?
A. Like fruits and vegetables, organic is a certification the herb farm can get for growing chemical free. That being said, just because they are not labeled doesn't mean they are grown with chemicals. The certification is quite a process that small farms do not tend to have the energy to deal with.
Q. What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?
A. Fragrance oils may be marketed as essential oils, but are commonly adulterated oils that are intended for perfumes and soaps with little to no healing properties.
Q. How do you properly store and care for your essential oils?
A. Essential oils should be stored in blue glass bottles away from heat and direct sunlight. When traveling, it is best to carry small amounts and leave your large bottles at home. You can purchase bitty 5/8 dram (30 drop) bottles with your carrying case from Addicted to Oils. EO's are volatile, meaning they evaporate. Always keep the lid on when not in use.
Q. Can I use the same oils for therapy as I would for making scented soap?
A Yes, soap is a great way to incorporate EO's in your daily skin care regimen. In fact, I wanted to share some of my easy, effective and frugal recipes I have been using.
Moisturizer: Coconut oil is a super light moisturizer for all your skin, especially your face. I keep it in a ½ ounce cold cream container. You can add a few drops of geranium oil for balancing oil glands and cellular regeneration with lavender to stimulate circulation and diminish scars and wrinkles. NAN makes two nice blends; Skin Care and Baby Soft that are perfect for daily healing and moisturizing treatments.
Toner: Face washes are basic, to bring the skin back to balance a light acidic solution is perfect. I use a mixture of 1 ounce water and 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar. Here, EO's are great for covering up the smell of the vinegar. Fennel seed is a great one that also tightens the skin and brightens complexion.
Deodorant: Combine equal portions of baking soda and arrowroot powder (¼ cup each). Combine 5 tablespoons coconut oil and 10 drops lemongrass, then work the two mixtures together with a spoon until it obtains the substance you desire. Place in a small container with lid or an old store bought deodorant stick.

Thank you Kara! With this education, I think we are well on our way to using EO's on a daily basis~


Robbie said...

Gosh, thank you so much for the posts on eo's! They are so informative, and just the info I was looking for, and didn't even know I was looking!

Emily Ruth said...

Robbie, I agree with you completely! Kara is pretty much an encyclopedia on this stuff. She is just an email away from answering every question we didn't know we needed to know, right?