Essential Oils 101: Getting Started
I remember when I first heard about essential oils. I was so perplexed and intimidated by them. What are they even used for? Can you ingest them, or just diffuse them? So many questions.
Cut to the present day, where I use them for virtually everything in my life. It took me a while to get here, no doubt—months and months of reading about oils, asking friends about them—but I can now proudly say I know their deal. And now, I can share that knowledge with you!
Below, I give you answers to some of the most commonly asked questions essential oil newbies have.
What are essential oils?
In a nutshell, they are oils that are extracted from certain plants, flowers, and fruits. These volatile organic compounds have immense beneficial properties that protect these species from environmental threats. The amazing thing is—and what essential oil users have known for centuries—is that they can do the same for humans.
What can essential oils do?
From wild orange to frankincense, essential oils carry with them a host of benefits. They can cleanse and purify the body, help boost immunity, increase energy and mood levels, support healthy cellular function, improve the skin's appearance, aid digestion, and so much more. In a , I also detailed how important they are for women's health, from hygiene to hormones.
They can also be used as natural alternatives to many things around the home, from pest deterrents to cleaning products. (As an example, I add eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils to baking soda for a natural toilet cleaner. Not only does it work well, but it smells amazing. So much better than chlorine-laden options.)
Where do I even start?
There's so much information available on essential oils, and because they're not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) there's not a sole source of information. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make sure you're buying pure oils in their most natural, useful form:
- Choose a reputable provider—like my fave, —which sources oils from plants in the regions where they grow naturally, works with local growers to ensure efficacy and boost local economies, and avoids the countless additives you'll find in store-bought oils (think Walmart).
- Start small by buying a few oils based on your needs (like fennel for digestive health, lemon for detoxification, or tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties). You can do research on your own or visit a site like doTERRA's to get more information on which oils work for which issues. Once you're comfortable using a few different oils, you can expand your repertoire.
- Diffuse or ingest them, but only ingest essential oils that have nutritional labels on them, as some oils are not meant to be taken internally. Also, before applying to skin, blend a few drops with fractionated coconut oil.
The investment you make in essential oils is one that will reward you in more ways than you may think. It's truly amazing what they can do—and now is a better time than ever to get started!