Essential Oils Basic FAQs

What are essential oils?essential-oils2

Essential oils are the aromatic compounds found in the seeds, stem, flowers, and sometimes rinds, of plants. Often referred to as the “life blood” of the plant, they help protect it from predators, illness, and also aid in its general health and reproductive processes.

How are essential oils extracted?

Simply put, essential oils are generally either steam distilled or cold-pressed. dōTERRA oils are always extracted in a way that maintains the quality and purity of active beneficial compounds in the oil. Most commercial essential oils are extracted using synthetic or chemical methods that can make them poisonous to consume, which is one of the reasons dōTERRA oils can be taken internally and are of such high grade.

How do I apply/ use essential oils?

There are three ways that essential oils are commonly be used: aromatically, topically, and internally.

NOTE: There are important things to understand before applying any essential oil topically or ingesting it. You can click here to learn more about application methods.

How do I learn to use essential oils?

Essential Life bookThere are two main categories of information when it comes to learning about essential oils. The first is general information – what are they? How are they produced? Why are the useful? What are the general safety precautions and application methods? The second is specific information about individual oils and their unique properties, which is usually learned one by one as you find uses for them in your life and gain personal experience. It’s important to remember that every person has unique body chemistry. This means that the best sleep oils for me, may not be the best ones for you. It’s important to learn what works best for your body through trial and error, as well as practical experience.

Essential oil information can be looked up as needed and over time, you’ll be surprised at how much you just know without needing to look it up anymore!

There are also 11 major bodily systems (Nervous, Skeletal, Integumentary, Muscular, Endocrine, Circulatory, Respiratory, Urinary, Immune, Digestive, Reproductive) and each oil targets/supports specific ones, so it is easy to pair oils to ailments/health goals based on which systems are being affected.

doTERRA’s Empowered Life Series is a great way to watch topic-based essential oil presentations.

Resources for learning to use the oils are:

What does it mean to apply an oil “neat”?

An oil is applied “neat” when it applied directly to the skin and is not diluted with a carrier oil.

Learn more about the topical and neat application of essential oils here.

How do I dilute an essential oil?

Essential oils can be diluted by being mixed with a carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil or any light, easy to absorb oil. The difference between fractionated coconut oil (FCO) and standard coconut oil is that FCO is liquid at room temperature, so it’s more convenient to use. You can order FCO in your back-office.

Learn more about topical and diluted application of essential oils here.

How often can I apply essential oils?

Baby essential oilsEssential oils are extremely potent (50-70 times stronger than herbs), so a little goes a long way. The general recommendation is to start with one or two drops and see what the results are.

  • If you have something acute (i.e., low energy after eating a big meal), you can use essential oils up to every 10-20 minutes until the body comes back into balance.
  • For something more persistent such as too much sun exposure on vacation, using oils every 4-6 hours is recommended.
  • If you are experiencing something persistent (sore/tight calves whenever you run, for instance), you would want to use the oils 2-3 times per day consistently until you see a shift and then find a good maintenance usage.

What are the safety guidelines for using essential oils?

  • Never put the oils in your ear canals, eyes, or up your nose. Be careful when applying to sensitive areas, such as the eyes or genitals, or on the young or elderly.
  • If you apply the oils to your skin and experience sensitivity or burning (or if you get the oils somewhere that they should not be) apply a standard kitchen oil to the area to dilute the concentration of the essential oil. DO NOT try to wash it off with water; water will actually drive the oils further into the skin. Do not put hot oils such as Cinnamon or Oregano directly on the skin without diluting them unless you are targeting something specific, such as the center of a wart.
  • Children under the age of 6 are not to take essential oils internally without being under a doctor’s care.
  • Pregnant women need to educate themselves on what oils are safe and beneficial for use during pregnancy. There are many resources available and when in doubt, check with your doctor.
  • DO NOT consume other brands of essential oils that you might find at a drug store. These are not certified pure therapeutic grade oils and the labels often indicate to call poison control if consumed. Many times essential oils will have harmful pesticides or a chemical solvent will be used to lower the cost of the distillation process. These are toxic and should not be consumed. As covered in previous lessons, internal consumption should only be considered safe with bottles that have the FDA Food Supplement Facts label.

Can I fly with my essential oils or carry them on?

  • Yes! You will want to make sure they are well packed with the lids securely tightened, so there is no leakage. TSA allows liquids under 4 ounces (oil bottles are either 15mL, 10mL, or 5mL, all under that limit). Place your oils in a clear ziploc bag and have them out in the bin for your items to be scanned through the x-ray machine. Since many essential oils eat through plastic you may want to keep them in a cloth sack that you put into a baggie.

To learn more about the basics of essential oils, watch this short introductory video. Please note, this video is NOT compliant to post on social media, but does serve as a great learning tool for you since you are already a Wellness Advocate. 

Lesson Attachments: Dr. David Hill – Essential Oil Chemistry eBook, Dr. Axe – Free Essential Oil Basics Guide

Resources for this lesson

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