Essential oils (EO) are on an uptick in popularity right now. Multi level marketing companies like DoTerra and Young Living have been making a strong push for their "therapeutic" grade essential oils and at quite the premium. Essential oils ARE awesome, but they aren't a panacea (and neither is apple cider vinegar while I'm on the subject). Essential oils do have some really awesome and safe uses. But it's important to know what you are doing, because they can actually be dangerous.
DoTerra and the like claim they are "therapeutic" grade. This actually means nothing. Sure they have a lot of marketing to tell you their processing is pure, their fields are pure, but when it comes down to it ,an oil is an oil (source does matter). The products are good products but in my opinion overpriced. You can buy organic oils at health food stores. Look for the Latin name of the oil on the bottle, see that it's not mixed into a carrier oil, and be on your way. I will say that I like several blends from Young Living. Many trained, key word being trained, essential oil therapists have told me that they feel there are too many oils mixed in DoTerra and Young Living blends. Essential oils (EO) have a strong effect on emotions, the physical and spiritual body. I say, use your judgement and find what works for you.
I don't recommend ingestion of most essential oils. Essential oils can be quite caustic and are metabolized by the liver much like pharmaceuticals. An EO is hundreds of pounds of a plant that has been distilled into a small vial of oil. To give you perspective, when I prescribe Chinese herbs most are combined into a formula at around 9 to 15 grams per ingredient. Only take essential oils internally when monitored by an appropriately trained and licensed medical professional. I highlight how to use oils safely below. Check out this article on the dangers of EO's.
Essential Oils for Different Conditions
Rose (often mixed with Jojoba to keep cost down; it still works), Lavender (ok on skin) , Bergamot, Clary Sage, Lemon, Roman Chamomile, Orange, Rose Scented Geranium ,
Clove bud (applied directly to the area of pain if no open wounds)
Tea tree (can be used directly on the bite)
Using your oils
1.Don't let your oils evaporate. Whenever you use your oil be sure to put the lid back on.
2. Most oils cannot be used directly on the skin. You will need to dilute them in a carrier oil. Great carrier oils can include Grape seed and coconut oil. Grape seed oil has no scent of its own and is great for massage. It's what I use. Check out this handy guide from the trusted company Mountain Rose Herbs.
3. Lavender and peppermint essential oils are safe to be used directly on the skin. Peppermint is also safe to ingest in one or two drop doses in water. Peppermint will make your skin tingle; be careful to keep it away from mucous membranes.
4. Smell your oils by either sniffing the bottle, placing some on a cotton ball next to you or buying a diffuser. There are a lot of diffusers out there and I haven't done the research to know what's best. What I do know is that heating oils to diffuse them is bad (so avoid those types with the flame underneath). If you do have one of those types of diffusers be sure to put the EO in with another oil and not water. Oil and water: they don't mix.
5. Most citrus oils are photosensitive. Do not wear them out into the sun. Most of them will also burn if placed directly on the skin.
Resources: I use Touch of Earth and Snow Lotus oils. I like that Snow Lotus uses sustainable and fair trade sources for their oils. Touch of Earth is a local company headed by Nancy Brillault. She makes amazing blends and she really knows her stuff. I carry both of these companies' products at my office and can order any that you request with my next shipments.