I expect that essential oils may some day prove a vital weapon in the fight against strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. –Andrew Weil
| By Amelia Stolarz |
I’ve been having fun with my es”scent”ial oils lately.
Yes they are trending — but they’ve been around for a long time.
Biblically, they appear in the Old and New testaments. In Exodus 30:34-38, the Lord gave Moses a recipe for incense using essential oils. In the New Testament, the Wisemen brought Baby Jesus gifts of them. In my tradition, the Catholic Church uses oils in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.
And just the smell of patchouli, musk or sandalwood oils (the signature scents of the 1960s) brings me back to my teens.
Essential oil, how do I love thee, let me count the ways:
1. I was introduced to recipes for cleaners using essential oils in a 2015 Real Simple Magazine article. I love using the Essential Oil Cleaner on my granite counters — 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 5 to 10 drops of essential oil (I like peppermint or lemon best for the kitchen) and a squirt of natural dish soap combined in a spray bottle. Check out their website for more cleaning recipes.
2. I enjoy sprinkling a few drops around the floor of the shower (near the wall so that it doesn’t wash down the drain too quickly). While showering, the steam creates a calming or energizing fragrance. Sometimes, I shake a few drops around the bathroom sink and enjoy the aroma while brushing my teeth.
3. For a DIY yoga mat spray recipe, watch Yoga with Adriene Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Tutorial on YouTube. You are going to love her.
4. For when my feet are sore or tired, I fill a small basin with warm water, a handful of Epsom salts and 5 drops of whichever essential oil I’m feeling that day. It’s like 10 minutes at the spa.
I sometimes practice with a yoga teacher who tells us to hug a tree each day explaining that it is an exchange of vital energies. Today, I read an article about ways to reduce anxiety and improve well-being. It introduced me to a concept called “forest bathing.” Scientists report that being around trees reduces anxiety, crediting the essential oil that trees naturally emit (phytoncide).
The Science Explorer tells us that phytoncides are oils that fight off harmful microorganisms. Who would know — essential oils just flowing out of trees into the air, and we thought we had to diffuse them.
So what exactly are essential oils? In simplest terms, they are the essence of the plant. But be warned, some plants are toxic. Caution should be used when starting out with oils. Dilution is suggested. An oil is considered diluted when combined with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oils, which are both great for the skin as well. A few oils considered the phenols should not be placed directly onto your skin without being heavily diluted because they are considered the “hot” oils. This category includes plants such as cinnamon and clove.
I take a spin class that uses black lights, and one day the lights revealed that I had odd white spots on my fingers. I later realized that I had gotten some lemon essential oil on them and the safety note on citrus oils is that, although great for your skin and metabolism, they do cause your skin to be photosensitive. When using them topically, it is recommended to be applied eight to 12 hours prior to sun exposure.
I think of Robert Tisserand as the Father of Essential Oil. He has written a book on oil safety — Essential Oils Safety. He has corralled a large body of information on essential oils on his website. I recommend you look at it. Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics, wrote a guide to essential oils, Just the Essentials, which I also recommend.
Also, there are local ways to get connected and learn more about essential oils!
Upcoming oil workshops in Clermont include Good Morning Essentials (9:30 a.m. Sept 12) at the Energy Lab Cafe; Wine and Wellness (6:30 p.m. Sept 18) at the 801 City Grille, and It’s Fall Y’all (11 a.m. Sept 29) at Highlights Market.
Connect, get great tips and more up coming events on the Essential Oils of Clermont Facebook page. This group is filled with multiple oil enthusiasts, distributors and essential oil coaches.
Also, let us know how you use essential oils. We’d love to hear from you.
Have an aromatic day and go hug a tree.
a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.
Amelia Stolarz is a lifelong organizing guru, an avid gluten-free baker and a Certified Public Accountant.