Essential oils are powerful aromatic substancesthat should be used in all cases with caution. Each method of use comes with different usage recommendations. Follow our advice to make the most of essential oils, without risking your health!
How to properly use essential oils?
A reminder about essential oils.
Essential oils arevolatile essences extracted from aromatic plants. Among all the species found in the plant kingdom, only 4,000 contain aromatic essences. However, only a few hundred of them contain enough to allow for the extraction of essential oils with a significant yield.
In most cases, essential oils are derived from a distillation process using steam of the volatile aromatic compounds found in plants, with the exception of citrus essences which are obtained simply by cold pressing the fruit's peel.
Essential oils are complex mixtures combining different compounds (terpenes, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes) that provide numerous benefits, whether through ingestion (internal route), inhalation or topical application (external route).
How to use essential oils topically?
Applying pure essential oil directly to the skin is not recommended. It is always better to dilute it in a carrier oil.
Dosage recommendations vary depending on the essential oils, but generally, it is appropriate to mix 30 drops of essential oil into 50 ml of vegetable oil. The blend can be applied to all parts of the body, avoiding mucous membranes and the eye contour. In topical application, this mixture can alleviate various skin problems (acne, redness, dryness...) as well as insect bites, bumps, bruises...
Caution! Some essential oils are photosensitizingand it is advised not to expose oneself to the sun for at least 4 hours after application. Others can cause allergic reactions. Always perform a preliminary test in the crook of your elbow.
Here is a list of essential oils that contain allergenic molecules in significant quantities: aneth, angelica, bergamot, bergaptene-free bergamot, cajeput, cinnamon (bark), lemon, clove, coriander seed, rose geranium, fragrant inula, bay laurel, lemongrass, green mandarin, lemon balm, lemon myrtle, sweet orange, compact oregano, Spanish oregano, palmarosa, grapefruit, turpentine, exotic verbena, fragrant verbena.
How to use essential oils internally?
When ingested, the use of an essential oil always requires prior medical advice. Furthermore, it must always be diluted and should never be consumed in its pure form.
An essential oil can be diluted in a neutral lozenge to suck on, a piece of sugar, a spoonful of honey or vegetable oil. It can also be used in dilutionin water, taking care to mix it beforehandwith a dispersant such assolubol.
The oral route is reserved for adults and children over 7 years old. Essential oils should only be taken for short periods, primarily to treat digestive and liver problems.
Note: The renal pathway also exists but the suppositories are prescribed by a doctor and prepared by a pharmacist.
How to use essential oils through inhalation?
Inhaling an essential oil is often associated with calming the psyche and the mind.
How? The nasal mucosa is made up of millions of nerve cells that allow aromatic molecules to diffuse to the brain. There are several modes of diffusion:
This method requires the use of a diffuser or a mister. This primarily helps to sanitize and purify the atmosphere of a room and thus create an ambiance (relaxation, conviviality, sensuality...).
This involves creating a mixture of boiling water with approximately 5 drops of essential oil and inhaling the vapors, with a towel placed over your head. You should breathe in this manner for about ten minutes. The inhalation should feel pleasant. If it does not, you should stop immediately.
The principle is to drop a few drops of essential oils onto a handkerchief or a pebble and inhale it from time to time.
Inhalation combined with topical application:
This involves applying a few drops of essential oils to the wrists and inhaling deeply 2 to 3 times consecutively. Combining respiratory and topical routes, this method is beneficial for reducing stress.
Caution! Essential oils rich in phenols should not be diffused or inhaled, and those rich in ketones should not be diffused. The use through respiratory route is prohibited for people with asthma.
FAUCON M. Traité d'aromathérapie scientifique et médicale - Les huiles essentielles - Fondements et aides à la prescription (2017).
Charie, T. Se soigner par les huiles essentielles. Pourquoi et comment ça marche ? Editions du Rocher. (2019).