What You Need to Know Before Slathering on Essential Oils

Essential oils… you see them everywhere nowadays – from a friend who keeps on posting how beneficial these oils are for their children.

Hospitals diffuse essential oils in the emergency room. There is always that wonderful aroma when you pass by some stalls in the malls – it’s no wonder sales for essential oils have skyrocketed in the past years. 

Essential Oils Philippines - How To Use

According to Reuters, the essential oil global business is anticipated to reach $14.6Bn by 2026 from $7.03B last year.

In the Philippines alone, the market is growing so fast that big direct-selling brands have already launched their local offices. This clearly shows the receptiveness of our market to try complementary modalities. 

As a certified aromatherapist, this is good news.

More and more people are acknowledging the potency of essential oils. Year after year, new research has come out to validate the therapeutic action of essential oils.

For example, eucalyptus oil with its high chemical component of 1,8 cineole has high antimicrobial properties as well as offers respiratory support.

Lavender has great potential in addressing anxiety and tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, especially in topical application.

With this scientific research, the use of essential oils has transcended from quackery to a viable option for holistic wellness.

I can relate to many mothers out there who have become oilbularyos. We have been barraged with so many diseases and trying out more natural approaches to dealing with these minor ailments is very appealing.

Yes, essential oils are amazing products of nature that can support many of our minor issues.

However,  we need to understand that like everything else under the sun, it needs to be used with the proper knowledge as an inaccurate use of these products may harm someone else, most especially young kids. Not because it is all-natural, it is safe to use on all occasions and in any way we like. 

Here are some guidelines you may want to look into when using essential oils: 

  1. EOs are complementary therapies. It should not be used to cure serious conditions. The FDA does not regulate essential oils as they do for pharmaceuticals and most essential oils have not been clinically studied to produce defined therapeutic actions. If your child has a fever or cough that goes on for days, please bring them to the doctor so that they can be properly diagnosed. If you are severely burned, please do not self-medicate by just applying lavender essential oil and refusing to go to the doctor. Essential oils help the body nudge towards homeostasis (or the perfect balance of your body) and may not help with adverse medical emergencies.  
  2. Know the proper dilution of EOs, especially with young children. Essential oils are potent substances that can cause allergic and contact dermatitis when not used properly. Essential oils should always be used with fatty oils such as almond oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil with the proper dilution. Start with the lowest possible dilution and see how it works from there. A good guideline for children above two years old with no skin sensitivity or immune problems is 1% or two drops of essential oils (whether this is a single oil or a total of an essential oil blend) per 10mL of carrier oil. For healthy adults (not pregnant, breastfeeding, or elderly), roller topical blends can start at 3% dilution or six drops in every 10mL. 
  3. Use the oils sparingly and only when needed, especially when used topically. The rule of moderation would also apply to EOs. As I mentioned earlier, not because it is natural, we can already use it any time. Remember that everything is processed by our internal organs, especially our liver and kidneys. If we use essential oils too much and in high dilutions, especially when unnecessary, we risk overloading our internal organs. 
  4. Avoid neat application as much as possible. Neat or undiluted application on the skin should be avoided. EOs are highly volatile substances that consist of chemical components such as limonene (as found in citrus oils), citral (lemongrass), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), and linalyl acetate (lavender), among others. Some of these chemical constituents are highly irritating to the skin and need to be applied at very low dilutions.  

Essential oils are wonderful products of nature.

I genuinely believe that they can help support our bodies in achieving vital health. If you want to know more about the safe use of essential oils regardless of the brands you use, please join me at the Holistic Aromatherapy Facebook Group.

Essential Oil Myths

Essential Oil Myths

Essential oils can be found in the health arsenals of many moms nowadays. And why would it not be? The therapeutic benefits that these essential oils claim are very promising. As parents, we want to provide our children with the safest, and hopefully, more natural alternatives for their health. 

With its proliferation, there have been many exaggerated claims for these oils, which you can find in Facebook groups and even in books. But how do you weed out the myths from the truth? 

Today, let us dive into the most common myths you may encounter:

  1. All essential oils are safe to use regardless of how you use them because they are all-natural. Essential oils are beautiful products of nature, but they should be used with caution and care like anything in this world. While essential oils are amazing products of nature, they have already been ‘artificially’ concentrated through the extraction process. According to the Essential Oil Safety Masterclass, I attended with Robert Tisserand, author of Essential Oil Safety and the founder of Tisserand Institute, the concentration of the essential oil that you have in a bottle is something that you cannot find anywhere in nature. Because it is so concentrated, the power of these essential oils is highly potent, so we need to use them in minimal amounts and safe dilutions, mainly when applied topically on children and to those with hypersensitive skin.
  2. Essential oils will never go bad. This is simply not true. A lot of essential oils, especially citrus oils, would go rancid in a year. This is attributed to the process called oxidation, where oxygen can bond with your oil’s carbon atoms, altering its composition. Because it is already in its altered molecular state, your essential oil may not bring the benefits that you are expecting. One way to test this is to compare your newly-opened orange essential oil to your one-year-old orange oil. You will notice that your ‘aged’ oil does not smell vibrant anymore or may even have an odor that seems quite “off.” Oxidized oils can cause skin irritation.
  3. Essential oils will not cause skin irritation. Many claim that oils cannot cause allergies or skin irritation and attribute to detoxification when rashes appear. This has little to no truth in it. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), dermal or skin reactions that may occur with essential oils include irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity/photosensitization. In addition, several oils are highly irritating to the skin, such as lemongrass, oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove to name a few. 
  4. Essential oils are just like their source – they offer vitamins and minerals. Many people substitute their lemon with lemon oil in water, thinking they provide the same vitamins and minerals as the fruit. However, essential oils do not contain any of these nutrients. Essential oils are composed only of chemical components, and in the case of lemon essential oil, d-limonene with very different therapeutic benefits from that of Vitamin C. 
  5. There is only one company that sells therapeutic-grade essential oils. Sad to say, there is no international regulating body for the quality of essential oils in the market. It is, thus, necessary to know your source and the practices they engage in. My own benchmark is the reputation of the brand that I am using. I joined several aromatherapy groups to check out different brands aromatherapists use. I also check if they follow the guidelines set by organizations such as NAHA or AIA; both promote the safe use of essential oils. I also am inclined towards companies that issue a GC/MS report. GC/MS or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is a report that shows the different chemical constituents of an essential oil and their ranges. The bottom line is to find the company that resonates with you. Test their oil (do not hoard yet) and see if they work for you!
  6. You have to have ALL essential oils. Well, if you are a hoarder and you can afford it, why not? But a lot of essential oils can be a substitute for one another. For example, citrus oils that contain d-limonene have similar therapeutic actions; linalool that can be found in Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can be found in Ho Wood and Rosewood, and so on. Study your essential oils so that you can maximize using them. 

Essential oils are here to stay, and if you intend to use them regularly to promote your family’s vital energy, it is crucial to know how you can use them effectively yet safely. Learn more about essential oils on my Youtube channel or through different resources on this blog.

Top Essential Oils for Headache

Essential Oils For Headache

Are you looking for top essential oils for headaches?

A headache is something that we have all experienced. In my case, I had severe migraine since I was eight years old. It reached a point where I was hitting my head on the wall because the pain was just too much to bear. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “headaches are the most common disorder of the nervous system, and yet, it is highly underestimated, under-recognized, and under-treated.”

In my case, I didn’t feel the need to tell my parents or go to the doctor, but I have been living on paracetamol since. I never really thought that my headaches would go away. 

Only now have I realized what caused my headaches – my lifestyle was the culprit. When I was younger, it was caused by reading a book in a dim room or in a moving vehicle. When I was working, it was because I lacked sleep on weekdays and overslept on weekends. I also lived on coffee and missed meals, and rarely felt the need to hydrate myself with water. 

As I grew older and became a parent, I sought a healthier lifestyle for our family, like many parents probably do. When I started to overhaul my bad habits, my headaches began to lessen. I hydrated myself often, allowed my body to rest, minimized my caffeine consumption, and ate on time. However, there would be times when my hormones just go haywire, especially during that time of the month, and the headaches would come.

These are my top essential oils for headache:

  1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Lavender has many known monikers. Some of the most popular ones would be the Swiss Knife of essential oils and the other one, the mother of essential oils. I am personally in love with lavender because it is a versatile oil with many therapeutic benefits. It is also known as an excellent analgesic and can thus be helpful with pain. For example, 92 out of 129 headache attacks were totally or partially alleviated in a placebo-controlled clinical trial when the participants inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes. 
  2. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – Peppermint is also another widely used essential oil. From being a flavoring agent in gums and foods to being an active ingredient in muscle relaxants, peppermint is an aroma that many are familiar with. In addition, the menthol component of peppermint makes it effective in addressing headaches. In one clinical study, topical application of 10% Peppermint oil alleviated the pain severity of participants who had tension-type headaches. The oil was applied to the forehead and temples after 15 and 30 minutes. The results showed that peppermint oil in this dilution is as effective as taking acetaminophen. Peppermint is one of the prominent essential oils for headaches. Its main component, menthol, is also used in many pain blends. 
  3. German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) – There are many versions of chamomile; the two most popular ones are German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). This is where knowing the Latin name of the essential oil can be helpful, so you know which chamomile oil to grab. For example, for headaches, the component chamazulene in German Chamomile, when applied topically, has been effective as a pain reliever in migraine without aura
  4. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – While there is no clinical research on the use of Frankincense for headaches, there are studies that show how Frankincense essential oil has helped manage stress. In my case (because I always had stress-related headaches), I have often used Frankincense oil diluted in a dollop of aloe gel or carrier oil and massaged it on my neck and temples. 
  5. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – For headaches caused by sinus congestion, it is best to use 1,8 cineole-rich essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Ravintsara, and the like. Inhaling these oils via a diffuser or personal inhaler can help clear up airways and increase cerebral blood flow. 

Try using some of these oils when you feel like you are coming down with a headache. You can apply two methods of application: inhalation or topical application. Topical application can be combined with inhalation to address tension, stress-related, and cluster headaches. Inhalation via diffusion, steam inhalation, and personal inhalers can be used for headaches caused by stress or sinus congestion.

For adults, you can blend starting at 3% dilution (6 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil such as VCO or grapeseed oil) up to a maximum of 15% (30 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil). I also advise you to start low then increase the concentration if the dose does not work. Note that this guideline is for healthy adults without skin hypersensitivity. For children more than two years old, it is best to start at 1% dilution (2 drops of essential oil in 10mL carrier oil). Do not use peppermint and eucalyptus for children below six years old. 

It is best to use these essential oils for headache at the onset of the episode. However, there will be times when these products just won’t cut it. In this case, please do not beat yourself up if you need to take a paracetamol or two. As I always say, essential oils are complementary products to what Western medicine is offering us, and it would not really kill us if we try and marry the two.