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An Essential Introduction to Essential Oils

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Take a long, deep breath.

More than likely you have fond memories of an old hippy relative that always had a weird selection of essential oils on their bedside table. Nowadays, however, the benefits of essential oils are recognised more widely. Essential oils are marketed as potential remedies for all manner of ailments including insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue and more.

For the majority of us, the world of essential oils remains somewhat of a minefield. How do we choose which oils to use for different problems? Should we be mixing oils together? How do we know what the right combinations are? Should we ingest them, inhale them, apply them topically, or something else?

Fortunately, the Botany Essentials team has the answers to all of these questions.

Why should we start using essential oils?

Owing to their composition, essential oils have a wide range of uses. They contain various aromatic compounds, which interact with different systems in the body. The large selection of different compounds means the oils have wide-reaching benefits.

As meditation coach Jo Amor explained “the use of essential oils in meditation is highly beneficial, for example the oil frankincense can help to promote deep breathing, allowing for a calmer, deeper meditative state”.

What in the world are top notes, middle notes and base notes?

Essential oils are categorised into "note" groups (similar to perfumes). In simple terms, oils with the strongest aromas are classified as top notes, and oils with the weakest aromas are classified as base notes. So, it all comes down to the potency of an oil's aroma.

What are the most important note groups?

The main essential oil note groups are Minty, Woody, Herbaceous, Citrus, Spicy and Floral.

Do you have any tips for newbies to the world of essential oils?

Five things immediately spring to mind:

  • When blending oils, limit yourself to two or three choices. Stick with Floral, Woody and Citrus notes for a foolproof combination.
  • Keep a note of the oils you use. Imagine if you create a batch of the best blend ever and then forget what you put into it?
  • Citrus oils are great for beginners. They complement just about any other oil and they have a clean aroma.
  • Stick to glass containers. Plastic items, especially, should be avoided for mixing and storing essential oils.
  • Have fun experimenting - it's basically impossible to make a mistake. If you prefer to leave the blending to us, we have created a number of beautiful blends ready for use.

Which five oils would you recommend for an at-home oil kit?

  • Lavender: It's perfect for relaxation and promotes sleep. It may also help with skin issues.
  • Lemon: It has mood-boosting properties and a fresh scent.
  • Peppermint: It is great for managing digestive issues, headaches and fevers. It can also be used to give you an energy boost on a stressful day.
  • Frankincense: It's an excellent all-rounder and great for cleaning brain fog, lowering inflammation, improving memory recall, soothing skin condition and promoting youthful vitality.
  • Tea Tree: It has great antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Lightning Round: Which oils are best for...

Energy – Peppermint

Insomnia – Lavender

Cold and Flu – Eucalyptus

Digestion – Peppermint

Anxiety – Frankincense or Lavender

Concentration – Peppermint

How should we use different essential oils?

There are a few different methods of using essential oils. The most popular method is aromatic use, which involves adding some drops to a vaporiser, diffuser or a bath.

The use of oils is often associated with a sense of calm or happiness, as an expert in smells Paul Mcarthy of A Plus Carpet Cleaning explains “smells affect your mood dramatically, just as a bad smell in your carpet or lounge might arouse a grumpy or annoyed feeling, walking into your clean and fresh smelling home will instantly put you into a calm and positive mood”. At Botany Essentials we have created four natural diffuser blends for you to keep your home smelling beautiful.

Oils can also be applied topically to pulse points. Importantly, when using essential oils for topically it's advisable to dilute them with an unscented carrier oil such as almond or argan oil as some oils are very potent.

For more information please contact the team or to learn more about the products visit the Botany Essentials shop.

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Written by guest blogger, Sonia Skinner

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