What follows is an A–Z list of general guidelines for using essential oils with a variety of methods.
METHOD OF USE
AMOUNT TO USE
Diluted: 3–8 drops Undiluted: 1–4 drops
Run the bath as usual. Keep the door closed to keep the aroma in the room. Essential oils can be used neat — in their concentrated form — or diluted in carrier oil, milk, milk powder, vegetable glycerin, seaweed powder, herbal powders, baking soda, salt, or Epsom salts. To avoid skin sensitivity, dilute the essential oil first in a little carrier oil. Essential oil can also be dropped directly onto the water in the bathtub and dispersed by agitating the water with the hand before getting into the bath.
2 or 3 drops per sitz bath
A sitz bath is a bath in which you immerse the lower part of your torso in water, from the waist to upper thigh, to treat specific conditions. Run a bath to hip level or use a bowl that is large enough to lower your behind into. Add the essential oil to the water, and then disperse it well with your hand to avoid large globules that may come in contact with delicate mucous membranes.
5–8 drops in a bowl of water, diluted or undiluted
Fill a large bowl with warm water and add the essential oil, dispersing it well with your hand. For a really relaxing foot bath, place some round, smooth pebbles in the bottom of the bowl and rub the feet gently back and forth over them. Rock or sea salt or Epsom salts can also be added. Soak the feet for a maximum of 20 minutes, adding warm water as needed. If globules of diluted essential oil are floating on the surface of the water, you can gather them in your hands and massage the oil into the feet.
2–4 drops in a bowl of water
Fill a small bowl with warm water and add the essential oil, diluted in a nourishing carrier oil, and disperse it well with your hand. Leave the hands in the water for a maximum of 10 minutes. If globules of diluted essential oil are floating on the surface of the water, you can massage them into your hands.
1 drop diluted in ½ teaspoon carrier oil
Use warm water. Then add the diluted essential oil and disperse it as well as possible to avoid irritation of mucous membranes.
1 or 2 drops
Many essential oils can mark clothing, depending upon the material, so use this method only when necessary and on clothes you’re prepared to see stained. This method is useful for repelling insects, especially midges and mosquitoes. Put the essential oil neat (undiluted) on socks, on the bottom of shorts or trouser legs, or on the collar, sleeves, or cuffs of shirts. To keep insects away from your head, apply the oil to a hat, hair band, or head scarf.
Compresses can be applied hot or cold. Broadly speaking, hot compresses are used on muscular aches and pains, while cold is used for any inflamed or swollen areas, including sprains and strains. Hot increases circulation to the area, while cold can decrease circulation. Always use 100% natural material, unbleached if possible. There are two methods of applying compresses: 1. Place the essential oil in half a cup of water, and then dampen the material in the cup, collecting the essential oil onto the material. Squeeze out the excess water, and then place over the problematic area. 2. Wet the compress, apply the essential oil directly onto the wet material, rub the material together to disperse the essential oil, and place over the problematic area.
COTTON PADS OR BALLS
1 or 2 drops
Put undiluted essential oil on the cotton pad or ball, leave to dry, and place in clothes drawers or closets. Infused cotton pads or balls can be placed around the home to deter insects.
1 or 2 drops
Put the undiluted essential oil onto the cotton swab and apply directly to the affected area.
A wide range of diffusers are available. Some rely on a heat source — a candle or electricity — to heat the essential oil molecules and disperse them into the atmosphere. Other types work in entirely different ways — using a fan, for example, to disperse the molecules. Diffusers are designed for both room and vehicle use. Pottery diffusers should be nonporous to allow cleaning. With diffusers using water, ensure that the water level is maintained so the essential oils don’t burn. Nebulizers or oil vaporizers, which issue a fine spray of essential oil into the atmosphere, were designed for clinical use and are often difficult to clean between uses of different blends of essential oil.
5 drops of essential to 5 drops of carrier oil
This method is used in cases of acute infection, when a higher concentration of essential oil is required but where neat essential oil would not be appropriate. Simply apply to the affected area. Recommendations of essential oils for particular conditions are found throughout the book.
1–6 drops applied directly onto a dressing
This method is used to prevent the spread of infection and promote wound healing. Add the essential oil directly onto the dressing that will cover the affected area — such as bandages, lint, cotton, or the fabric part of adhesive bandages. If the area is already dressed, apply the essential oil on the exposed skin around the dressing.
1 or 2 drops per 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of face mask, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Essential oils can be added to any natural face mask. Base your choice of essential oil upon your skin type and the action on the skin you want it to achieve — whether as a treatment for acne, as a general stimulant, as a cleanser, as a purifier, rejuvenator, etc.
8–15 drops in 1 fl. oz. (30 mL) of carrier oil, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Use the same method as for making a massage oil (see page 19). However, use a more skin-nourishing carrier oil, with additional restorative nut or seed oils, depending on your skin type. Use only a small amount for each application.
8–15 drops in 3½ fl. oz. (100 mL) of water or hydrolat, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Use spring or distilled water or hydrolat. Combine the oil and water before filtering through an unbleached paper coffee filter. Hydrolats make excellent face tonics and can be used as purchased, or diluted with 20% water.
20–30 drops to 1 fl. oz. (30 mL) of alcohol, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Friction is a term that is often used to describe the action of quickly rubbing a part of the body, a treatment often utilized by sports therapists. For friction, essential oil can be added to ethyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) — which has traditionally been used in sports remedial care. Shake the mixture well before use. An alternative to the alcohol would be a light, easily absorbed carrier oil. This method should not be used on the face or delicate mucous membrane areas.
1 or 2 drops in a gallon (4 liters) of water
Certain essential oils can be very effective as plant misters for microbial infection or to deter insects.Add the essential oil to the water, shake vigorously, and leave to blend for 24 hours, before filtering through a paper coffee filter. Essential oils should never be combined with chemical gardening products, but they can be used with other natural organic methods. See chapter 18, “Gardens for the Future.”
Up to 8 drops
Add the essential oil to the water and disperse it well with your hand. Essential oils are not water soluble and may leave a residue in or around pipes.
Up to 8 drops per pint (475 mL) of water
Add the essential oil to the water in the humidifier. For humidifiers that hang over radiators, just add the essential oil to the water. More complex machines, however, may be damaged by sticky residue, so assess each humidifier to make sure it can be used in conjunction with essential oils.
INHALATION (as a vapor from a bowl)
3–5 drops per bowl of water, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Put steaming hot water in a bowl and add the essential oil. Cover the head with a towel, which should be large enough to reach over the sides of the bowl. Keep the face 12 inches (30 cm) away from the water and shut both eyes. Inhale the steam through the nose, with each inhalation lasting around 2–3 seconds. Repeat as needed but for no more than 5–10 minutes per session.
INHALATION (from a tissue or handkerchief)
1 or 2 drops
Simply put the essential oil onto a tissue or handkerchief and inhale through the nose when required.
Up to 8 drops
Add the essential oil to the Jacuzzi water, then disperse it with the hand. Essential oils are not water soluble and may leave a residue in or on the pipes.
LOTIONS AND CREAMS (for body)
5–20 drops to each 1 fl. oz. (30 mL) of natural, unfragranced lotion or cream, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Use an unscented lotion or cream, made of organic natural ingredients. Add the required number of essential oil drops and mix in well. Use as you would a normal body cream.
MASSAGE OIL (for body)
10–30 drops to each 1 fl. oz. (30 mL) of carrier oil, or use as directed in other sections of the book
Use a dark-colored glass bottle. Measure the carrier oil. If using a single essential oil or a pre-prepared blend, add it to the carrier oil. If making your own blend of essential oils, first combine them, then add the required number of drops to the carrier oil. Use no more than the amount required to cover the area being massaged.
NEAT APPLICATION (undiluted)
1 or 2 drops, or use as directed in other sections of the book
In some conditions certain essential oils can be used undiluted on the skin due to the nature of that condition. But some essential oils are not suitable for this method due to potential skin irritation. Use this method only with the essential oils suggested for this purpose throughout the book.
Between 15% and 30% of the total perfume
Absolutes and essential oils are the original perfume materials. To create a natural perfume they can be blended together and incorporated into a carrier oil, liquid wax base, or alcohol. (See the section “Making Your Own Perfumes and Eau de Cologne” in chapter 15.)
Essential oils can be applied on pillows to assist breathing in cases of respiratory infection or sleeping problems. Simply place 1–3 drops of essential oil on the corner or underside of a pillow, away from the eyes. Alternatively, put the essential oil on a cotton ball or tissue and tuck it under the corner of the pillow or inside the pillowcase — behind the pillow. Ensure that the essential oil is located in an area away from the face, especially the eyes.
Add the essential oils to the potpourri in the same way as you would add a commercial synthetic potpourri-refresher product. Single essential oils or blends can be used. Essential oils may cause color changes to potpourri material that has been colored.
As room purifier: 10– 20 drops per pint (475 mL) of water As general fragrance: 8–10 drops per pint (475 mL) of water
The quick and easy method is to use a new plant mister. Add the essential oil to about a pint of warm water in the mister, avoiding the thicker viscous types of essential oil as these may accumulate around the nozzle. Shake vigorously each time it’s used, as essential oils are not water soluble. Avoid spraying over fine furniture, wood, fabrics, and anything that could be damaged by water.
2–5 drops per 2 pints (950 mL) of water
Only use this method if the sauna uses water to induce heat. Add the essential oil to the water, mixing as best as you can, and filter the mixture through a paper coffee filter before placing on the hot coals or rocks. Use essential oils of juniper, cypress, pine, or eucalyptus. Essential oils are flammable and should never be placed on a heat source unless diluted in water and filtered.
5–10 drops in ½ fl. oz. (15 mL) of carrier, or use as directed in other sections of the book
A variety of base carriers can be used for scalp treatments. These can include natural (botanical), ready-made scalp treatments, to which the essential oil can be added. Or the essential oil can be added to aloe vera gel, water, or jojoba oil, and massaged into the scalp. Use 2–3 drops of your prepared mix for each application. Alternatively, simply add the essential oil to a bowl of final rinse water after washing the hair.
5–10 drops in 3½ fl. oz. (100 mL), or use as directed in other sections of the book
Essential oils can be added to any unscented shampoo that is composed of organic natural ingredients. Ensure the essential oils are well distributed. Choose essential oils that can be used on sensitive skin.
Wash as usual. Then drop the essential oil onto a washcloth or sponge and rub it briskly over the body as you continue to stand under the running water. Breathe in the aromatic steam through your nose. Avoid the face and delicate membrane areas.
SILK (FAUX) FLOWERS
Open the flower completely and place the essential oil right at the center. Close the flower again if desired. Remember that essential oils may cause discoloration, so try this on one flower before proceeding with the others. Essential oils can also be placed on paper that is put in the bottom of the vase.
SPRAYS AND MISTS FOR FACE AND BODY
For body: 10–20 drops to each pint (475 mL) of water For face: 2–5 drops to each half pint (240 mL) of water Or use as directed in other sections of the book.
Add the essential oils to warm water or a hydrolat, shake thoroughly, pour through an unbleached paper coffee filter, and place in a spray container. Cool before using. Shake before each use. This method is useful for body or face. Keep the eyes closed when spraying the face.
15–32 drops in ½ pint (240 mL) of warm water. Or use as directed in other sections of the book.
A wash is a prepared mixture for washing infected areas, such as wounds, grazes, and cuts. Mix the essential oils and water together in a bottle and shake well. Keep stored in the fridge for no longer than 14 days, and shake before each use.
2–10 drops per pint (475 mL)
Boil a pint (475 mL) of water and put the steaming water in a heatproof bowl, then add the essential oil. Place on the floor or on a heatproof surface, ensuring that it’s not within reach of children or pets. Close doors and windows to keep the aroma molecules inside.
Use the recommended amount of essential oil and methods described