Before beginning, perhaps now is the time for a few basic definitions of some words or phrases you may come across several times in the course of this article.
Essential Oil: An essential oil is extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, bark, resins, roots, and trees. Do not be fooled by "perfume" or "fragrance" oils, as these are usually man-made and contain little to no actual oils of whatever it is supposed to smell like.
Aromatherapy: A method by which the use of certain essential oils are either combined or used alone to promote healing & well being by applying the oils directly to our body or by inhalation.
Synergy: Combining two or more oils to bring about a more powerful effect than using just one oil. Mixing them together creates a chemical compound that is different from the lone oil itself. An increased potency can be attained with a synergistic blend without increasing the dosage.
Carrier / Base Oil: An oil that has basically no aroma and can be used to dilute the highly concentrated essential oils, so as to use them for massage. For example: You may only need one drop of a particular essential oil for a particular treatment. Obviously, one drop won't go very far, so it is mixed with a carrier (base) oil to cover a larger area. Base oils are vegetable, nut or seed, many of which have therapeutic properties of their own.
The following is a list of some oils that can be used as a carrier oil, and some of their uses, depending on which particular problem you are trying to address:
- Sweet Almond: good for all skin types. Helps relieve itching, soreness dryness and inflammation.
- Apricot kernel: all skins types, especially prematurely aged, sensitive, inflamed and dry
- Carrot: premature aging, itching, dryness, psoriasis, eczema. Reduces scarring.
- Corn: soothing on all skins
- Evening Primrose: multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease. Excellent for treating psoriasis and eczema. Helps prevent premature aging.
- Grapeseed: all skins types
- Hazelnut: slight astringent action; good for all skin types
- Jojoba: inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hair care, all skin types; highly penetrative
- Olive: rheumatic conditions, hair care, cosmetics; soothing
- Peanut: all skin types
- Safflower: all skin types
- Sesame: psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, arthritis; all skin types
- Sunflower: all skin types
- Wheat germ: eczema, psoriasis, prematurely aging skin; all skin types
I realize that several of the oils I have listed above are useful for a lot of the same things, but not all oils are available in all places, so I wanted to make sure you had a lot to choose from. However, most of these shouldn't be too hard to find, with some of them being available in most grocery stores.
When shopping for essential oils, look for shops that cater to natural and health concerns like a health food store or a shop that deals strictly in essential oils. Stay away from stores that are only concerned with perfuming the air and body. Essential oils are PURE plant oils; perfume oils are primarily man-made and contain little to no natural oils at all.
Always make sure when you are buying oils, that you are getting the actual oil and not just a cheap imitation. Price is usually a good indicator; real oils aren't cheap. However, don't let yourself be ripped off by some unscrupulous dealer who is only interested in one thing, which is parting you from large sums of your cash.
Familiarize yourself with your local vendors. Ask lots of questions! Anyone who truly knows their oils will gladly answer them. Buy several different brands and experiment to see which ones give you the best results.
There are different "grades" of oils. The finest quality being more expensive than a much lesser quality. The rarest oils will undoubtedly fetch a handsome price. Keep in mind that no reputable dealer will sell all essential oils for the same price. Unfortunately, I can't really give you a reliable price guide since prices fluctuate with the availability of the oils, but be sure to check our plentiful selection of oils here at The Celtic Connection for the most current prices. We carry one of the best grades of essential oils that you can find.