Essential Oils 101

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Essential Oils 101

There are so many misconceptions out there when it comes to using essential oils. Hopefully this article can set the record straight on some of the basics. If you’re new to essential oils, this is a very basic overview. If you’re a veteran user, it never hurts to refresh on the basics!


What are Essential Oils?

An essential oil is a hydrophobic liquid that contains volatile aromatic compounds from plants. Each plant part has a distinct smell, or aroma and can be useful for various therapeutic uses.


How can I use essential oils?

There are several different ways you can make use of your essential oils! The most common are:

  • Topically: Essential oils can be used topically, or on the skin. Topical application is perfect for things such as injury, aches & pains or a skin problem. Bumps, bruises, cut and scrapes can all benefit from the use of essential oils in carrier oil. This article better explains the differences between topical vs. ingestion.
  • Inhaled: They can also be inhaled, using a personal inhaler or a diffuser for your home, and this really is the preferred method for most emotional issues. For calming, try lavender. To promote restful sleep look into using vetiver. There are so many great oils out there, the more research you do the safer you can use them! Here’s more on inhalation: Inhale! The Power of Smell.


Why should I dilute with carrier oil?

Dilution is always recommended for topical use!

When you use essential oils diluted with carrier oil you decrease your risk of sensitization.

A carrier oil is a pure, natural oil specifically for blending your essential oils, to help you avoid sensitization. Some popular carrier oil examples are:

Sensitization can take many forms and usually does not occur at first use. Long-term use of undiluted or neat oils can make a person prone to breakouts, rashes and other skin issues. Eventually this leads to not being able to use certain oils due to the consequences. Click here for more on Sensitization.

To avoid all that, use a good dilution chart in order to properly apply oils to your skin. In case you need more information on carrier oils, you can find that here: A Deep Dive Into Carrier Oils.


Which essential oils should I avoid?

Certain oils should be avoided if you have medical conditions or take medications, or based on age:

  • Children under the age of 10 can be sensitive to essential oils, so make sure your oils are KidSafe. Plant Therapy takes the guesswork out of essential oils that are safe for kids with our KidSafe line.
  • People who are sensitive to salicylic acid should avoid wintergreen and birch, since these oils have high concentrations of methyl salicylate.
  • People with a blood clotting disorder should avoid clove, cinnamon bark & leaf, fennel, oregano, and others.

It pays to know which oils can affect the condition or medication you are dealing with. This is why it’s important to do your own research and not rely on what you can find with a quick search from a search engine. Seek out a professional certified aromatherapist and ask lots of questions.


How can I choose a reputable company?

There are many, many wonderful essential oil companies out there to choose from. You may even end up buying from more than one! Here are a few guidelines that I use when choosing my essential oils:

  1. Proper labeling: You should see see several things on your essential oil’s label. First, there should be the full name in both common and Latin. Second, a country of origin should be listed, recommended method of distillation, and chemotypes (if applicable). This ensures you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for. If those items are not available on the label – the company you purchase from will have it on their website!
  2. Descriptions: There should be a description of a few ways you can use the oil. This gives you flexibility in how you can use each oil. Who doesn’t love multi-use items?
  3. GC/MS report: Having access to a GC/MS report is so important. Basically this is a chemical analysis done for each batch of oil. This tells you percentages of certain constituents so when I am selecting an oil, you can be sure you’re getting the constituents you would like to address specific issues.
  4. Access to customer service and/or a professional: In the field of aromatherapy, if the company is willing to communicate with their customers, it shows that they are not just concerned about their bottom line. Choose a company that has your best interest in heart as well as their own. You want to know that if  any questions or concerns come up, you can call or email and get an answer!


There are many, many wonderful posts to be found in our blog! Take a few minutes and read through the links provided, as well as any other topics that may interest you.

We want you to learn and we want to help empower you in using your essential oils. Please contact one of our aromatherapists if you have any questions or concerns. You can do so by emailing us at [email protected] or join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes.


61 thoughts on “Essential Oils 101”

  • it feels like I am starting from zero on these essential oils information when I have been using them for a while now. thank you for these useful blogs. i will definitely be reading more.

  • This article is just one of the many reasons why I am so happy that my sister-in-law told me about Plant Therapy when I jumped into essential oils with a MLM company in December of 2018. I have learned SO MUCH on this website and on Facebook (Safe Recipes group). I LOVE that PT is so open with information and concerned with safety and education. And for many other reasons! As an “insider” in the MLM company I was not given any of this information.

  • This was great I am going to save this information for people who ask me about oils. I especially liked the part about how to pick a company! I am so glad I found Plant Therapy!!

  • Request SDS data sheets and take them to either your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to let you know which ones to avoid. My pharmacist looked at every SDS to confirm that I would have no troubles with the oils that I diffuse. ( Safety Data Sheets)

  • It is good to know that Wintergreen have high constitution of salicylic acid. Can it help with skin cell regeneration?

  • I’m relatively new to the world of essential oils so I loved reading this informative post. I had no idea that certain oils could affect medications. While I’m not on any meds anyway, it says something about how powerful these natural oils are, which I find interesting and amazing… nature truly is incredible.

  • Such good information here, can’t go past plant therapy for safety data and labelling, not to mention value

  • I am so grateful that my kids safety comes first & you show us the correct way of blending & mixing things for our children. We love all.your kid safe oils & aroma pets.

  • This is some great information. I come from a mlm and we didn’t any of this kind of info, very happy for such great safety standards and cautions with your information.

    1. We are so happy to spread education about essential oils! Safety and proper usage are incredibly important and we are always thrilled when our customers can learn something new from us! Thank you for your kind comment, Kathy 🙂

  • Gc/ms reports are useful for ensuring you’re getting an unadulterated oil. It can also give you safety information (if you know what you’re looking for ) Thanks for the wonderful Info!!

    1. That’s so true, Jessica! These reports are very important for all of us oil users 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

  • I love the kid safe label. It saves me so much time researching what is safe for my kids. Great post for those new to oils.

  • Thank you for this post! Friends always ask me what the basics of EOs are and they always get overwhelmed with all the info I throw at them. This is the perfect link to send them that covers the basics with out feeling overwhelmed and it’s very informative. I really like how there’s other links that go deeper into subjects that are covered in this post.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Josephine! We are so glad you find this information helpful for your friends!

  • Thank you for this refresher! It’s easy to forget the basics and the importance of using essential oils the right way!

  • Thanks for this overview! It’s so awesome to use a company that cares about educating customers about the use of their products!

  • I love this article and it reminds me why I found PT and continue to buy PT products! A great company selling wonderful oils at reasonable prices, with the best education and customer service ❤️ Thank you PT !

  • I just discovered you and already am impressed. I appreciate the straight forward language and helpful facts. Important details and the referral to an aromatherapist is especially appreciated. Some things should not be left to guess work, and I feel you are straight up about that. Thank you!

  • I have a friend who has cirrhosis. What oils should she avoid since she has almost any oil you can think of.

  • I’ve heard some oils are not safe to diffuse around cats. Can you let me know which ones these are? Also is eucalyptus safe to diffuse in a room with a four year old kid?

    1. Hi Ashley! Although this is a subject we are passionate about, and hope to be able to provide this information in the future, we currently do not have anyone on our staff that is educated in using essential oils on pets. For cats and other small animals, essential oils can be toxic and unfortunately, Certified Aromatherapists are not trained in the use of essential oils with animals. This is considered a specialty and requires additional education.

      Eucalyptus can be diffused around a 4 year old, however we recommend limiting diffusion to 30 minutes, 1-2 times a day.

  • It’s great to find a site that not only provides excellent essential oils but also provides information. Thank you very much.

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