THE ABSORPTION & EFFECTS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils probably exert their most powerful and direct pharmacological effects systemically via the blood supply to the brain. They also have an indirect effect via the olfactory nerve pathways into the brain. Essential oil fragrances are absorbed through blood circulation and nerve pathways from the sinuses into the central glands of the brain, which control emotional, neurological, and immunological functions.
Essential oils are absorbed in minute quantities through the skin, depending on the oil, dilution, and application (carrier oil, compress, etc). Many of the indications for specific oils include various skin conditions.
Essential oils are inhaled during treatment, which have a direct effect on the sinuses, throat, and lungs. Many essential oils are specific medicines for respiratory conditions.
Many essential oils have beneficial effects on circulatory problems, both through dermal and respiratory absorption. These oils enhance the circulation stimulating effects of massage.
This is the use of essential oils on hot compress, in diffusers, or in hot water for inhalation. Standard dose is 10 drops. Best for respiratory and sinus, headaches. Caution: prolonged inhalation of concentrated essential oils can cause headaches, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and lethargy.
The best way to use essential oils in the bath is to mix them first with salts or an emulsifier such as milk or sesame oil. Aromatic bath salts disperse the oils safely into the water, and milk and sesame oil emulsify the essential oil so that it disperses. Without salts or an emulsifier, drops of essential oils will float on the water and then get directly on the skin. Combined with the heat of the water, this can cause dermotoxicity, especially if the oils are of a heating nature. Oils that should be avoided in the bath include spicy oils such as cinnamon oil, oregano oil, thyme oil, and tulsi; phototoxic oils such as citruses, especially bergamot oil; and those with specific irritant potential such as lemongrass oil. The oils that are generally considered mild and safe for bath are lavender oil, clary sage oil, rose oil, geranium oil, frankincense oil, sandalwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and conifers such as cedar oil, fir oil, pine oil, pinon pine essential oil, spruce oil, and juniper oil to name a few. A generally safe dose is 5 - 10 drops, mixed with 1/2 to 1 cup of salt or emulsifier. Aromatic baths are excellent for skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular and menstrual pains. Caution: overuse of essential oils in the bath can cause irritation. Use only mild, non-irritating oils for bath, such as lavender oil and clary sage oil.
10 drops oil in 4 oz hot water, soak cloth, wrap.
Good for bruises, wounds, muscular aches and pains, dysmenorrhea, skin problems.
1 - 5 drops on hot water in a pot, cover head with a towel, steam face. Excellent for opening sinuses, headaches, skin treatment.
Pure essential oils are about 70 times more concentrated than the whole plant. Dilutions are typically 2% - 10%. For adults, a 2.5% dilution is recommended for most purposes. For children under 12, 1% is generally safe. A 2.5% blend for a 1 ounce bottle of carrier oil is 15 drops of essential oil.
1% blend = 6 drops per oz
2% blend = 12 drops per oz
3% blend = 18 drops per oz
5% blend = 30 drops per oz
10% blend = 60 drops per oz
DIRECT PALM INHALATION
Caution: This method of use should only be done with oils that can be safely applied to the skin. Apply 1-2 drops of oil to the palms, rub together gently and inhale deeply. This is an excellent method of use for a quick and easy exposure to the anti-microbial and other therapeutic uses of essential oils.
There are various types of diffusers on the market, with different advantages.
Usually a heat resistant vessel for water and essential oils, and a heat resistant platform that holds the vessel over a small candle.
Electric heat diffusers
Small absorbent pads are placed inside of a heating chamber with ventilation that allows the aromatic compounds to evaporate into the surrounding air.
Cool Air Nebulizing Diffusers
A system that uses air pressure generated by a compressing unit to vaporize the essential oils. A glass nebulizing bulb serves as a condenser, allowing only the finest particles of the essential oil to escape into the air.