Essential Oils FAQ

With the use of essential oils on the rise it’s no wonder people are looking at how these oils can improve their health and wellbeing. So I decided to put together this list of the most common questions (along with answers) that are asked about using essential oils and also aromatherapy as the two usually work together.

So if you have a pressing question(s) about the use of essential oils or aromatherapy, chances are they have been asked and answered here.

I’ve curated a list of supplies that you’ll definitely want to have on hand if you are getting into using essential oils. You can check it out here…

Disclaimer: This publication is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.

Essential Oils FAQ

  • What are essential oils and what do they do?

    Essential oils get their name because they come from the “essence” of plants. Liquid is extracted from leaves, flowers, roots, bark, seeds and other plant parts, often through a steam-based distillation process. They may alternately be expressed through a cold-pressed process, or mechanically. Technically, this solution is not an oil, but a collection of liquids from a plant which makes a solution that is extremely potent.

  • What are the specific benefits of essential oils?

    essential oils aromatherapyEssential oils can be used for repelling insects, cleaning around the home, many offer substantial physical benefits, and you can use them to make your mind sharper or help you relax and unwind at the end of the day.

    Specific oils deliver specific benefits, and a helpful guide like The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded will list different oils and their uses.

  • What can I use essential oils for?

    Essential oils are quite versatile. Once you become familiar with how to mix up essential oil blends, you'll find that they're well suited to a variety of purposes.

    For example:

    • Wipe down and disinfect the surfaces of your home with essential oils
    • Mix up a non-toxic essential oils blend to wash the floor
    • Create your own perfume and cologne blends using essential oils
    • Disinfect your kitchen trash can by spraying with an essential oil based cleaning solution
    • Apply a mix of peppermint oil, citronella oil, and clove oil to your dog or cat's neck and back to repel fleas and ticks
    • Kill fleas on contact using an essential oil spray
    • Add your favorite essential oils blend to a diffuser, and freshen/disinfect the air in your home or office
    • Create your own essential oils blend to use as an all-over body oil
    • Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your bath water
    • Purchase an electric essential oils warmer and plug into aromatherapy
    • Rub essential oils mixed with a carrier oil to your pulse points for a mood inducer
    • Ward off cold and flu germs by massaging essential oils into your feet, neck, chest and ears
    • Get rid of an ear infection by placing a cotton ball soaked in lavender and lemon oil at the opening of your ear.
    • Rub clove oil onto your gums to ease the pain of a toothache (then call your dentist)
  • How many essential oils are there?

    There are hundreds of essential oils, and a limitless number of blends or recipes which use two or more oils. Because of the sheer volume and number of essential oils and their benefits, in truly every area of your life you can benefit from the use of these oils.

  • For how long have essential oils been used? Is this a new thing?

    Using essential oils for their medicinal benefits is a practice that is more than 5,000 years old. Many ancient cultures used oil derived from plants as natural medicines, in religious and cultural ceremonies, and to ward off evil spirits.

  • How should I store my oils?

    Only store essential oils in glass bottles which are dark in color, to keep artificial light and sunlight from weakening your oil. In addition to light, heat can damage your oils and cause them to deteriorate. Some aromatherapy gurus recommend storing essential oils in the refrigerator, as this allows them to last twice as long as oils kept at room temperature.

    If you do refrigerate your oil, allow it to come to room temperature before using. Carrier oils can be kept in the refrigerator as well, don't forget to remove the droppers from your oil bottles after each use, and make sure bottles are tightly sealed.

  • What does aromatherapy mean?

    The website gives the following definition for aromatherapy:

    "Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being."

    The aromatic nature of certain essential oils triggers physical and mental responses in the human body that lead to a number of health benefits. This is the science behind aromatherapy. Just by smelling a certain aroma produced by nature, you can positively impact your health and well-being.

  • Is "aromatherapy oil" the same thing as "essential oil"?

    Aromatherapy oils are not the same as essential oils. Essential oils are undiluted and extremely potent. Aromatherapy oils are made up of approximately 2% essential oil and 98% carrier oil such as almond oil or grapeseed oil. Aromatherapy oils can be used topically, applied to the skin, while essential oils are too potent to safely contact human skin without diluting them first.

  • What is a diffuser?

    A diffuser is an object used to fill the air with the aroma produced by essential oils.

    There are 4 main types of diffusers:

    1.   Nebulizer

    2.   Ultrasonic diffuser

    3.   Heat diffuser

    4.   Evaporative diffuser

    Ultrasonic and nebulizer diffusers deliver a much better experience than evaporative and heat diffusers, but they are more expensive as well.

  • Are all essential oils the same? How do I know which ones to buy?

    Different essential oils deliver different benefits and have different uses. As far as quality is concerned, all essential oils are definitely not the same. Unfortunately, there is no agreed-upon or official grading system for essential oils.

    Organic essential oils and rectified or re-distilled essential oils are more expensive than standard oils, and the most common types of essential oils will be made through distilling or cold pressing. As with any purchase you make, you should get to know the reputation and integrity of a company that sells the essential oils you are thinking about buying.

  • What are some good oils to start out with for a beginner to aromatherapy?

    An argument can be made that lavender is the most versatile and useful essential oil. The same could be said for peppermint, lemon and tea tree oil. Many popular aromatherapy starter kits will include lemongrass, orange, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oils.

  • How much do essential oils and a good diffuser cost?

    Because essential oils are so potent, just a drop or two often gets the job done, whether used topically or with a diffuser. Because of this, you will often see oils sold in small, 10 mm bottles. There are just about as many sellers of essential oils as there are oils themselves, so price varies dramatically.

    The Plant Therapy Top 6 Organic Essential Oils Set, which comes in a wooden box usually retails for around $30 and and gets you 6 of the most versatile and popular oils.

    As far as a diffuser goes, the top-rated Urpower 300 ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is available for about $20. Essential oil prices will vary a great deal, so always shop around, and once you find a reliable distributor with a good reputation, stick with that company.

    Here is a list of reputable Essential Oil Brands that sell high-quality organic and non-organic essential oils. Yu can choose from single oils or premade blends.

    1. Neal's Yard Remedies
    2. Annmarie Gianni
    3. Rocky Mountain Oils™
    4. Plant Therapy®
    5. Edens Garden™
    6. Aura Cacia®

  • Can you mix or blend essential oils?

    Yes, combining different essential oils is often done to provide a desired health benefit. For instance, a combination of lavender, orange and frankincense is often diffused for anxiety and stress-relief.

  • How much oil should I use?

    Different essential oil recipes require different amounts of oil. In standard diffuser applications, anywhere from 5 to 10 drops of oil will be used. In topical applications where you are applying a mix of essential oils and a carrier oil to your skin, you may only use 2 to 5 drops of essential oil. With most diffusers, the owner’s manual will tell you to start with around 5 drops and experiment until you get the desired result.

  • What does the term "carrier oil" refer to?

    A carrier oil is used to dilute essential oils so they won't cause irritation, redness, burning and other health problems when applied to the skin. Carrier oils get their name because they carry essential oil onto your skin. They are usually derived from the fatty components in plants, and coconut oil, avocado oil and almond oil are examples of carrier oils used in aromatherapy.

  • Can essential oils be taken internally?

    In most cases it is not recommended to consume essential oils. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, essential oils should only be used with a diffuser or in a topical application.

  • Can you safely put essential oils on your skin?

    Essential oils are sometimes applied directly to your skin, but should never be used this way at full strength. When applied topically, an essential oil must be cut or diluted with a carrier oil or massage oil.

  • How long can I use essential oils in a diffuser?

    Essential oils are extremely powerful, so in a short period of time diffusing, you can reap multiple benefits. As a general rule, you should only diffuse for short periods of time. Multiple studies show diffusing for 30 to 45 minutes delivers the maximum benefits, and after that, the human body and mind stop responding to the aromas you are diffusing.

  • What are the most versatile, beneficial essential oils?

    It was mentioned earlier that lavender oil is arguably the most versatile, and therefore the most beneficial, of all the essential oils. Lavender can be used in combination with a carrier oil as an antiseptic for treating burns and cuts.

    It is also used to prevent infection and increase the rate at which your body heals itself. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and decongestant, works as an antidepressant and stress-reliever, and promotes restful sleep.

    Clove, peppermint, thyme, chamomile, tea tree, lemon and geranium essential oils are some other popular oils, because of the health benefits they provide. You should choose an oil depending on what type of mental or physical health reward you are looking for.

    The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded can tell you what oil you should use to deliver the benefits you are trying to receive.


  • Can I use essential oils to ward off cold and flu germs?

    Yes, essential oils have powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. While some oils might have more of a rep for germ killing than others, nearly all essential oils contain powerful anti-oxidants that heal while warding off nasty things like mold, bacteria and viruses.

    The most well-known oils for killing germs include lemon oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and eucalyptus oil. However, thyme oil and oregano oil are also cited as being able to destroy viruses and bacteria on contact. They just may not be as popular due to their rather pungent aroma.

    You can make up your own essential oil blends, for both personal use and for cleaning up around the house.

  • What is the Thieves oil blend and where can I get it?

    The name "thieves oil" comes from a story that was passed down from the time of the plague. As the legend goes, the thieves who broke into the homes of the people who were dying of the plague did not contract the deadly illness because they had mixed up a secret potion that protected them. This magic potion is known today as the famous "thieves blend" of essential oils.

    The Thieves oil recipe consists of lemon oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and eucalyptus oil. If you mix up a batch and spray it around your home, or add to an essential oils diffuser, you can cleanse the air of possible pathogens while leaving behind a wonderful, fresh and clean scent.

  • I can't afford organic essential oils. Are "regular" (non organic essential oils) harmful?

    In all cases, chemical free is best. However, you don't have to buy organic oils to get the powerful effects of using essential oils on your person and around your home.

    Please note that unless your essential oil specifically lists on the label that it's okay to ingest, do not add essential oils to your food or drink or consume in any other way.

  • I want to make my own essential oils at home using garden herbs. How do I do that?

    Yes, You can make essential oils to bottle at home. All you need is either fresh or dried herbs, olive oil, water and a little pot. Here's a recipe for homemade thyme oil:

    1/2 cup fresh thyme

    1 cup olive oil

    Combine the thyme and oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about five minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Let cool. Pour into small, dark colored glass bottles

  • What are some good shortcuts for mixing my own essential oil blends on the cheap?

    There are a number of money-saving tricks to creating essential oil mixes at home:

    Buy your carrier oil in bulk. If you know that you plan to make a lot of essential oil blends at home, then stock up on carrier oil such as coconut, olive or jojoba oil. A few drops of essential oil goes a long way, but a carrier oil, because it acts as a product base, depletes much faster.

    Save dark glass bottles. Save the bottles that your purchased essential oils arrive in. The little plastic stoppers are easily removable, so you can clean out and refill the dark colored glass bottles.

    Save plastic spray pump bottles. If you buy essential oil based colognes, then each time you finish a spray bottle's worth, you have a handy reusable cologne dispenser to fill up with your own, homemade cologne blend.

    Save aluminum oil bottles. You can also save the aluminum bottles that hold body and massage oils, to be used again and again when you mix up your own essential oil blends.

    Stash extra supplies. Keep labels and a permanent marker on hand. Each time you mix up a new blend, you can label the bottle so that later on you'll know what's in it.

    For example, try blending a combo of citronella oil, clove oil, and peppermint oil to help ward off bugs in the summer time.

  • Can I put essential oils directly on my body?

    Yes - essential oils offer a natural immune boost, as well as heal and balance the body. You can apply them to the skin in a variety of ways. For example, a mixture of geranium, lavender and a carrier oil such as olive, coconut or jojoba oil will make a nice all-over-body oil to use after bathing or shower. Geranium balances, lavender imparts calm. You can even add a bit of a more fragrant oil such as rose, to promote deep, regular breathing. This same type of oil mix doubles as a massage oil.

    Massage or Body Oil - Relaxation Blend Recipe

    30 drops geranium oil
    20 drops lavender oil
    10 drops thyme oil
    10 drops rose oil
    Jojoba or olive carrier oil

    Dispense essential oils into a 4 oz. aluminum squirt bottle and then fill 3/4 of the way with the carrier oil. Shake or roll until blended, then apply all over, massing thoroughly into skin.

  • I've heard that some people drink water infused with lemon oil, for its health benefits. Is this true?

    Yes, some people do ingest lemon and other essential oils, but you should be very careful about which oils you take into your body as some may be toxic when ingested. Do not consume essential oils unless the oil that you buy has been specifically advertised as safe for internal use. When in doubt, do not ingest essential oils.

  • What’s a great, essential-oil based recipe for a cleaning spray?