Essential oils – methods of use

What follows is an A–Z list of general guidelines for using essential oils with a variety of methods.

BATHS, GENERALDiluted: 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.
BATHS, SITZ2 or 3 drops per sitz bathA 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.
BATHS, FOOT5–8 drops in a bowl of water, diluted or undilutedFill 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.
BATHS, HAND2–4 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
BIDETS1 drop diluted in ½ teaspoon carrier oilUse warm water. Then add
the diluted essential oil and
disperse it as well as possible
to avoid irritation of mucous
CLOTHING1 or 2 dropsMany 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.
COMPRESSES3–10 dropsCompresses 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
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.
1 or 2 dropsPut 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.
COTTON SWABS1 or 2 dropsPut the undiluted essential oil
onto the cotton swab and
apply directly to the affected
DIFFUSERSAs desiredA 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 oilThis 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.
DRESSINGS1–6 drops applied
directly onto a
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.
FACE MASKS1 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.
FACE OILS8–15 drops in 1 fl. oz. (30 mL) of carrier oil, or use as directed in other sections of the bookUse 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.
FACE TONICS8–15 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.
FRICTION20–30 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.
GARDENING1 or 2 drops in a
gallon (4 liters) of
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.”
HOT TUBSUp to 8 dropsAdd 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.
HUMIDIFIERSUp to 8 drops per
pint (475 mL) of
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.
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.
(from a tissue or
1 or 2 dropsSimply put the essential oil
onto a tissue or handkerchief
and inhale through the nose
when required.
JACUZZISUp to 8 dropsAdd 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.
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
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.
(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.

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.
PERFUMESBetween 15% and
30% of the total
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.)
PILLOWS1–3 dropsEssential 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.
POTPOURRISAs desiredAdd the essential oils to the
potpourri in the same way as
you would add a commercial
synthetic potpourri-refresher
Single essential oils or
blends can be used. Essential
oils may cause color changes
to potpourri material that has
been colored.
ROOM SPRAYSAs 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.
SAUNAS2–5 drops per 2 pints
(950 mL) of water
Only use this method if the
sauna uses water to induce
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
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
Alternatively, simply add
the essential oil to a bowl of
final rinse water after
washing the hair.
SHAMPOOS5–10 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.
SHOWERS1–5 dropsWash 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.
As desiredOpen 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.
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
Shake before each use.
This method is useful for
body or face. Keep the eyes
closed when spraying the
WASHES15–32 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

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