Here is an overview of essential oils with everything you need to know. The history of essential oils dates back thousands of years, though modern medicine overshadowed it and other natural remedies for many decades. However, the pendulum is swinging back as countless people seek alternatives to the high cost, side effects and other risks associated with many medical treatments. While modern medicine certainly has a place in the world, a holistic approach to wellness that includes essential oils provides both physical and emotional benefits. To ensure safety and maximize effectiveness, it is vital that the oils are used correctly. The concentrated oils can damage sensitive tissues if not diluted sufficiently. On the other hand, some usage mistakes can render the treatment virtually ineffective. Fortunately, with a little help, it is not difficult to get the hang of using essential oils for treating a wide range of conditions, from abscesses to wrinkles, and everything in between!
The term “essential oil” refers to a refined liquid extracted from various plants and plant parts. The name is somewhat misleading because many are not thick like an oil at all, but instead pour easily like water. In addition to the flowers and leaves, essential oils can be extracted from the bark, resin roots and peels of many plants.
Ancient philosophers like Aristotle believed that matter was comprised of five elements, including air, fire, earth and water. The fifth, was the soul or spirit of the life form. This quintessence is what is extracted from plants and bottled as essential oils. While modern science has a different take on the elements that comprise the world, the origin of the name is still a fun fact to know. (Bonus: Alcoholic “spirits” is rooted in the same philosophy.)
The liquid doesn’t blend with water without separating, which is why they are called “oils”. They are actually volatile plant compounds with a strong aroma and concentrated strength. Volatile simply means that the powerful liquids will evaporate when exposed to air at room temperature.
The oils are extracted through several different means, most typically by way of steam distillation. Citrus oils are cold pressed from their peels, while some roots and precious flowers undergo a CO2 extraction process in order to pull out the maximum content of essential oils and other constituents while leaving heavy waxes behind.
The liquids extracted during these treatments contain the chemical components the plant uses to survive, effectively protecting the life essence or spirit of the vegetation. From attracting pollinating insects to repelling others, the complex roles essential oils play in the health of plants is only beginning to be researched and understood. These secondary metabolites happily also have tremendously beneficial effects on people as well.
Fortunately, the benefits associated with human use of these oils has been proven over thousands of years.
What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils?
While the specific benefits can vary widely from one essential oil to the next, all of the oils have multiple uses. Single oils can be used effectively for many ailments, while the synergistic effects of combined oils can create even more dynamic treatments.
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Here are a few of the ways that essential oils can be used to improve health and wellness:
* Improve sleep
* Reduce skin inflammation and toxicity
* Treating aches and pains, including post-op and headaches
* Better digestive health
* Improved immune function
* Bolster energy
* Enhance cognitive functions
* Balance hormones
Several essential oils can also be effective at staving off potential health problems. For instance, the use of cedarwood essential oil can be effective at repelling biting insects, which can prevent the need for insect bite treatments. On the other hand, patchouli and manuka oils are good choices for those who already have a parasite infestation.
While the benefits listed above are far-reaching, essential oils can be used to treat other types of conditions as well. Examples include:
* Overindulgence, including hangovers
* Yeast, fungal, viral and bacterial infections
Although occasionally vilified as dangerous, reports of essential oil health problems are virtually always due to user error. Essential oil bottles tend to be small because the liquid inside is so concentrated. If not properly diluted, it can damage skin and other tissues. Therefore, it is important for anyone interested in them to learn the correct methods of use.
Diffusers made specifically for distributing essential oils throughout a room are useful for treating anxiety, among other things. You can create a similar effect with a small pot of lightly simmering water and a few drops of the desired essential oils. Or you could use a personal aromatherapy diffuser.
Essential oil inhalation can also be accomplished with the use of potpourri or scented pillowcases. The essential oil will freshen the room while providing important wellness benefits for everyone in the vicinity. Because some oils can leave a residue or discolor areas where they are applied, you should use an old pillowcase or a different discrete location.
When away from home, many folks use attractive aromatherapy pendants rather than sniffing directly from the bottle. They feature a special material, like lava stone, to absorb and hold the essential oil while you wear it, prolonging the treatment period while taking less time to prepare it initially. Simply place one or two drops onto the stone and you’re done.
It’s easy to dilute essential oils in an alcohol, butter or carrier oil base as a general course of treatment for skin conditions. In some cases, the oils can be used without dilution, such as lavender essential oil for burns.
Most healing recipes call for adding minute amounts of essential oil to significantly larger quantities of oils, butters, alcohols, and other mixing agents. One thing to always remember is that a little goes a long way when it comes to essential oils. All-natural shampoos, lotions, and similar products can be used or made at home for an even distribution of the healing powers inside each drop. Lotions and salves are perfect for applying to sore muscles or skin conditions like eczema.
Essential oils can be used to cleanse, tone and moisturize the face and neck. In fact, many natural masks also include essential oils! Scalp scrubs can be useful for eradicating dandruff and opening up clogged hair follicles. Add the oils to bath or shower water for a full-body experience.
Gargle with diluted essential oils for mouth infections, sores and to promote further healing or scar treatment after surgical sites have healed and closed. Do not apply to open wounds. They can also be used to counteract gingivitis, bad breath, and other oral health concerns. People who are on their feet all day can really appreciate a good foot soak when the sun goes down. Foot baths are an effective way to treat pain and reduce swelling from other ailments and conditions. Crank up the effectiveness of warm water and Epsom salts by adding several drops of essential oil to the water.
While all of these and other delivery methods can be useful for alleviating symptoms by treating the root cause, it is important that a person knows which oils to use and when, as well as the correct way to implement the treatment. For instance, undiluted lavender is an effective burn treatment whereas the same oil mixed in a carrier oil can actually exacerbate the pain if applied to a fresh, and still hot, burn. This is because the oil will insulate the burn and trap heat causing further damage. Once the skin has cooled, applying lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil is an acceptable remedy.
Uses for Essential Oils – Common Conditions
External applications are useful for treating skin conditions as well as the organs beneath it. Some experts believe in internal treatments, while others don’t. It seems that the quality of the oils is one of the big concerns regarding ingestion of the oils. However, it is best to err on the side of caution and stick with inhalation and external treatments.
Fortunately, topical and inhalation applications are very effective ways to treat countless health and wellness concerns. More and more people are turning to natural remedies and essential oils to help them cope with anxiety, low self-esteem and mood swings. When we look and smell our best our confidence rises. One example is regular use of rosemary for thinning hair. Regaining your thick, healthy hair can make you feel more comfortable around others in social settings instead of hiding at home because you are embarrassed about your appearance.
Likewise, frankincense and grapefruit seed oil can reduce the appearance of stretch marks which many find embarrassing. Pregnancy, puberty and rapid weight gain/loss are the most common causes of stretch marks. This means that a significant percentage of people are likely self-conscious about their appearance, and could improve their mental and emotional wellbeing by using a product containing these essential oils and other healing ingredients.
Skin conditions such as acne are also treatable with essential oils. The right combination can balance oil production, promote healthy skin cell reproduction, and eliminate acne-causing bacteria. They are effective for treating pimples, blackheads and whiteheads on the face, neck, back and anywhere else a person might have troubling spots.
Eczema and psoriasis can be eased, or even eliminated, with the use of a healing routine that includes essential oils. Likewise, dandruff, wrinkles and sunburns all respond well to essential oil treatments.
Arthritis, asthma and muscle pain can all be addressed with essential oil use, as can fevers and colds. Another popular application is for minimizing food cravings and enhancing weight loss efforts. Additionally, several oils are effective for alleviating mood swings, anxiety and chronic stress.
Several recipes are provided that are effective for these and other health concerns. It is important for people to explore the various options to find which essential oils work best for them. Scents are a very personal experience and can vary widely in preference among users. It’s not uncommon for negative associates – or positive – to be applied to a particular fragrance. For instance, someone who has positive childhood associations with flowers are more likely to enjoy the calming benefits of lavender and chamomile than someone who had the opposite experience. And, of course it may be used in a personal aromatherapy diffuser such as Sleepy MONQ.
Due to the concentrated nature of essential oils, it is necessary to dilute them before applying to the skin. Because essential oils are fat soluble, oils, butters and other creamy compounds are ideal for dilution. Additionally, they don’t evaporate, which means they retain the oils longer.
The intended end use of the products being created will determine which type or types of oil should be used. Many carrier oils have healing properties before anything is ever added to them. The natural characteristics of the oil are equally beneficial for treatment, provided the best ones are chosen. Here are a few of the most common carrier oils:
* Jojoba oil – One of the most popular carrier oils for the face, neck and décolletage, jojoba oil is very similar in composition to the oil sebum our skin naturally produces. It has a high absorption rate and can aid in fighting fungal infections. Hard butters are easier to apply if mixed with this carrier oil.
* Argan oil – Perfect for staving off signs of aging and damage, argan oil should be in everyone’s carrier oil collection. The high levels of vitamins A and E, along with a wealth of antioxidants can reduce inflammation, boost skin cell reproduction and heal UV skin damage. Additionally, this carrier oil is great for cuticle, nail and hair health.
* Castor oil – Cold-pressed castor oil can enhance immune functions, improve circulation and combat bacteria and fungal infections. It is also effective for cleansing hair follicles and stimulating new growth.
* Coconut oil – Modern health and wellness circles recognize the countless benefits associated with this carrier oil. Fractionated coconut oil is a virtually odorless and always remains in liquid form whereas most coconut oils are solid at room temperature. The low melting points makes it easy to blend with other oils.
* Olive oil – Known for being a “heart smart” alternative to other cooking oils, olive oil is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores. Unrefined extra virgin olive oil is preferred, because lesser quality oils will not have the same rich benefits as oils produced without chemicals and heat.
* Avocado oil – This rich oil is useful for fighting inflammation and signs of aging. High in vitamins and antioxidants, it doesn’t absorb quickly into the skin. Avocado oil is an ideal choice for massages and similar circumstances where longer-term friction reduction is required. Mixing with a lighter oil such as jojoba or olive will improve results.
* Moringa oil – Though lesser known than the other oils on this list, moringa oil provides amazing benefits. It fights inflammation, boost collagen production, heals wounds and cells damaged from rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.
* Hemp seed oil – Hemp seeds and their oils are incredibly beneficial for human health. The oil has been used for centuries both medicinally and nutritionally. Great for stimulating cell turnover rates and reducing inflammation, this non-greasy oil has the same omega 3 & 6 balance as our skin.
Other useful carrier oils include neem, tamanu, sweet almond, grapeseed, flaxseed, evening primrose, and babassu. In addition to oils, some recipes call for butters. Here are some ingredients common to DIY lotions, creams and butters:
* Cocoa butter
* Coconut oil (solid form)
* Avocado butter
* Shea butter
* Mango butter
* Aloe butter
* Aloe gel
* Witch hazel
* Sea salt
While not a comprehensive list (which includes broccoli oil!), these are the most commonly found in healing recipes. Aloe provides excellent healing properties, while the bee pollen aids in blending oils and butters to the desired consistency. As for the butters, they differ in consistency and applications.
How To Choose Essential Oils and Related Products
The health benefits of homemade concoctions with essential oils are only as good as the ingredients that went into them. Here is how to find the best essential oils, carrier oils and butters:
The first step is to identify what ingredients are needed. For those new to essential oils, following recipes from trusted publishers is the best way to go. (This includes reputable blogs and other digital formats.) People with more experience can create their own combinations.
Several companies manufacturer and distribute essential oils, with new ones popping up regularly. Many serious bloggers provide comprehensive comparisons between the most popular brands to help newbies decide which ones to purchase. A few companies are well-reviewed by several of these folks, which means any one of them is generally a good choice.
The websites for each essential oil manufacturer should provide information regarding the history of their essential oils. From when the seeds are planted through to the bottles being packed, a good company will let customers know. Additionally, professional affiliations and extensive testing further establish the reputability of the business.
The process for choosing carrier oils and butters is similar. Food-grade oils are considered the best for topical applications, so be sure to look for that when comparing different manufacturers. The more naturally a product is refined, the better the final health results.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous businesses exist only to sell knock-off products on the internet. Therefore, buyers must investigate the seller as well. Purchasing direct from the manufacturing company is one way to do this. Some businesses have seller accounts on Amazon and other websites, but not all of them do. Other authorized sellers might be listed on the manufacturers websites.
This research pays off immediately and down the line, making it an imperative aspect of success with essential oils. Those who fail to find high-quality essential oils often walk away from them because they don’t achieve the desired results. Investing a few hours of your time to get it right from the start will pay off in the long run.
Going through extensive research to find the best essential oils is a great beginning. However, improper care can render them virtually useless in a short period of time. Fortunately, it is not difficult to keep ingredients for DIY health and beauty products in great condition.
While many people keep medicines, lotions and similar products in the bathroom, that is actually the worst location because it’s prone to high temperatures and lots of humidity. Instead, an area in the living room, bedroom or office is a much better choice.
Apothecary cabinets and chests are ideal, and available in several sizes. Those new to creating their own natural products can find miniatures suitable for a desktop, while serious practitioners will need a free-standing unit.
Alternatively, any similarly constructed piece of furniture can be used. The sections should be large enough for small essential bottles and larger carrier bottles to stand upright. Avoid laying bottles on sides, where the product can seep into the grooves between the bottle and lid. This can cause the lid to stick, product to be lost, or both. In addition to the ingredients, the tools and equipment used to make DIY blends must be chosen with care. Rather than relying on the same tools you use for cooking, dedicate a set of spoons, whisk, beakers and measuring tools for use with your a natural ingredients for making topicals and other aromatic preparations.
Essential oil lids should only be taken off for as long as it takes to measure out the desired amount. Otherwise, precious oil will evaporate from the bottle. Keeping the lids closed on your collection of ingredients for making health and beauty products is always a good practice for preventing contaminants getting into them.
To complement your choice of apothecary storage, a specific location should be assigned for everything related to the tools and equipment. A lidded box is ideal for preventing dust and other micro-contaminants from collecting into the recesses of these important items. Here are a few things that should be in the chest:
* Small pot for melting butters on stove top
* Measuring spoons and cups
* Stirring spoons
* Glass bowls
* Mason jars w/ lids
* Storage containers
* Kitchen scale
* Double boiler
* Mortar and pestle
Bonus tools and equipment:
* Spice grinder
* Immersion blender
* Hand mixer
Generally, metal and wood are poor choices for concoctions with essential oils. The former can create unpleasant chemical reactions, while the latter can absorb some of the oils, reducing the effectiveness of the finished product. Also, some plastics can breakdown when exposed to essential oils. However, plastic spoons can be used before essential oils are added. Use glass as your main material whenever possible.
Everything, including handles, should be cleaned thoroughly before and after each use to prevent contamination. Likewise, storage containers should be sterilized prior to use.
The amount and type of essential oils used in recipes can generally be adjusted slightly. However, it is important to stay within suggested guidelines to prevent over-exposure. Add up to ten drops of essential oils for each teaspoon of carrier oils and butters. This totals sixty drops for a full fluid ounce of oil.
Fortunately, most essential oil bottles are designed with tiny measurements in mind. The built-in dropper system makes it easy to disperse single drops at a time. If your bottle does not include these restrictor tops use a small pipette to drip out what is needed.
The synergistic quality of many essential oil combinations can expedite the desired outcome. In addition to mixing the oils into the same product, they can be used in succession for similar results. For example, someone with thinning hair might follow a rosemary scalp mask with a refreshing mint shampoo.
While following recipes is a great way to enter the world of DIY health and beauty aids, it is important that practitioners take the time to understand each ingredient, and what it contributes to the mixture. Otherwise, it will be impossible to create new recipes or to make appropriate substitutions when one or more ingredients aren’t available.
All of this information should be readily available, and eventually set to memory. Though it isn’t necessary to recall every type of fatty acid chain in it, the information regarding benefits, restrictions and safety data should eventually be committed to memory. Until then, bookmarks and test documents will suffice.
Any and all blends should be properly labeled and recorded. Not only does this allow for easy replication, it will simplify troubleshooting should the need arise. For instance, a product might become rancid because one of the carrier oils has turned. While the mixture will need to be tossed, the recipe can be repeated with fresh ingredients. Note, of course, that this is easily accomplished when purchasing professionally pre-blended essential oils such as are available at MONQ.
Keeping track of the recipes in a dedicated book or binder is generally a good idea. Then, the container can be labeled with general information and the recipe number. For instance, “Lavender Shampoo, Recipe 32.”Then, the recipe tracker should have the specific quantities of each ingredient in recipe 32, along with directions for mixing them together.
This concept can be applied to diffuser combinations, cleansers and virtually anything else made with essential oils. It is important that recipes clearly indicate the intended usage. Otherwise you might have someone recreate a diffuser recipe for topical applications. The results could be disastrous.
In most cases recipes need to be completed the same day, preferably at the same sitting. However, there are some things that can be done in advance. For instance, popular carrier oil blends. Someone who uses a combination of jojoba and coconut oil for several recipes might choose to create a large batch in the desired proportions. Then, only one ingredient is necessary instead of two.
All concoctions should be sealed in an airtight container to minimize oxidation and loss of oils. Glass is ideal because some plasticizers will break down when exposed to essential oils. However, you should always look into the quality of a containers materials to find out for yourself. Here are a few fantastic beginner essential oil recipes:
Headache and sore muscles bath – Tight, achy muscles and painful joints respond well to a long soak in a warm tub. Bolster the effectiveness by adding one to three cups Epsom salt and several drops of essential oils. Once the water has been turned off, twenty to fifty drops of oil can be dropped into the water. Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and chamomile can all reduce tension, though the specific results vary between the four.
Athlete’s foot – Add ten drops tea tree oil and five of lavender oil to one-half ounce carrier oil. Mix well and massage thoroughly into feet, including between toes and around nail beds. Cover tightly and repeat application two to four times per day until symptoms are gone for at least ten days to ensure it doesn’t return.
Healthy teeth and gums – To stave off bacterial growth, freshen breath and keep teeth bright, a combination of clay, salt and essential oils will do the trick. Mix three tablespoons of bentonite clay with one tablespoon sea salt. Add four to ten drops of peppermint, clove or tea tree oil and mix thoroughly. The resulting powder can be picked up by a wet toothbrush, while the remainder can be stored for later use.
Anxiety – A quick combination that can be made in advance, this neck rub is ideal for relieving anxiety and panic attacks. Begin with a teaspoon of coconut, almond or other carrier oil. Add two to five drops of lavender, rose or vetiver essential oil. Ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile and frankincense are also helpful for promoting internal harmony and peace.
Toothache relief – Though cloves are well-known for their delightful spicy flavor and aroma, they are actually quite great at treating oral pain. High in antioxidants, the oil can be applied in minute amounts to get rid of pain associated with cavities, recently pulled teeth and other oral pains. Wet a cotton-tipped applicator with water and dip lightly into a single drop of clove oil. The tip can be placed in the general area, or directly on the affected spot. Repeat as needed.
Withdrawal/Addiction – Addictions plague people in all segments of society. Whether it is cigarettes, work or street drugs, the stressful effects are the same. On top of that, some addictions cause serious symptoms during cessation efforts. Lavender inhalation is one of the ways to help alleviate cravings and discomfort. Rosemary is effective for alcohol withdrawals, while black pepper and clove oils can help those attempting to give up nicotine.
Alzheimer’s and dementia – Boost mental clarity and stave off cognitive decline with essential oils. In a small container, mix two ounces of carrier oil or lotion with ten to fifteen drops essential oils. Massage back of neck with it two to four times each day. Good essential oils for this include frankincense, cardamom, rosemary, basil and rose.
Other Uses for Essential Oil
So far, the wellness benefits of essential oils has been the focus of this e-book. However, these natural medicinal oils are also great for household cleaning and organic gardening. They make a great alternative to the chemical-laden products found on supermarket and grocery store shelves. Here’s an introductory glance at how essential oils can be used in the home:While many people associate the smell of bleach and other harsh chemicals with a clean home, that doesn’t mean it is the best way to maintain a household. These products aren’t good for people, pets or the environment.
However, natural cleansers made with quality ingredients like essential oils can leave a home clean, with a healthy fragrance. As a bonus, homemade cleansers are significantly cheaper than their store-bought counterparts.
An all-purpose disinfectant can be made by adding one drop each of lemon and tea tree essential oils per ounce of cleaning water.
For odor control in the bathroom, several drops of lemon and/or peppermint essential oil can be dropped onto a cotton ball. Placed in a discrete location, it can help to purify the air and kill microscopic organisms.
Kitchen odor control is fast and easy with a small pan of simmering water and several drops of essential oils. Cinnamon and clove are great stimulating choices, while citrus oils can be equally effective at odor control and help purify and cleanse the air.
Soft scrubs are easy to make and take very little effort. Equal parts of baking soda and water can be combined to make a creamy scrub with gentle abrasive powers. Five to ten drops of essential oil per half-cup can be used to boost the effectiveness. While tea tree oil and citrus oils help to combat germs, other oils of your choice can be used to refresh the smell in the room. Take care with plastic parts to ensure oils don’t damage them.
Airborne pathogens are no match for diffused thyme oil. Add lemon, lime or tangerine for a citrus boost.
Smelly shoes can be freshened with a few drops of essential oil. Tea tree oil is good for killing off the germs causing the odors while peppermint can be added to further the effects and boost odor control.
Nobody likes the smell of smoke permeating a house. Fortunately, a combination of rosemary, eucalyptus and tea tree oils can help to eliminate the odors. Ten to fifteen drops of each in a four ounce spray bottle filled with distilled water should be sufficient to kill the odors in one to two rooms.
Stop cockroaches from invading by mixing twenty drops each cypress and peppermint oils into one cup of water. Spray wherever roaches are likely to enter. Peppermint oil also repels mice and bedbugs, making it a powerful essential oil to keep on hand.
Outside, mosquitoes can be controlled with the use of several types of oil, including citronella, basil, lemongrass, and geranium. Aphids can be kept at bay with cedarwood and hyssop while caterpillars dislike spearmint and orange as well.
In fact, orange and cedarwood essential oils are considered by many natural gardening aficionados to be indispensable.
For most effective lawn and garden applications, it is important to understand local factors affecting the insect population. The plants that are present, time of year, and neighboring properties can all impact the best choices. As an example, someone who lives near a standing body of water in the south will need mosquito control efforts that someone living in the dry desert never will.
Special Circumstances: When To Avoid Essential Oils
Though the health and beauty benefits of essential oils are well-established, there are sometimes when they aren’t appropriate. As already mentioned, internal application should only be done under the care of a highly skilled and accredited professional. Other special circumstances include:
During the third trimester a few highly diluted oils can be used carefully, though the oversight of a medical professional is always a good idea. For instance, lavender or chamomile might be acceptable for relaxation and stress.
* Babies and children – Little ones should be kept away from most essential oils, though a few are considered safe. Tangerine, lavender and chamomile, along with certain others, can be used in very high dilutions. It is always best to check with a practitioner well-versed in essential oils and children’s health prior to use.
* Outdoors time – While fresh air and sunshine are great for the body, the bright UV lights don’t combine well with certain essential oils. Exposure to sunlight should be avoided for at least 12 hours after using citrus oils, including bergamot.
* Sensitive skin – People with sensitive skin should be very careful to avoid known skin irritants. This list includes black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and peppermint. These and other restricted oils might still be used via aromatherapy inhalation or under the guidance of a certified aromatherapist.
* Driving and operating heavy machinery – While some stimulating oils can improve focus and driving abilities, that is not the case for all of them. Relaxing oils like chamomile, clary sage and valerian should be avoided for at least an hour prior to getting behind the wheel.
* Certain medical conditions – People suffering from hypertension and diseased organs should always consult with a qualified professional before using any essential oils. Those with liver disease should avoid them altogether.
* Fire – Essential oils are extremely flammable and shouldn’t be used near open flames nor kept around heat sources.
Essential oils have a long history that reaches virtually every nook and cranny of the globe. While they fell out of favor as modern medicine took root, a growing number of people are returning to these time-proven methods for self-care.
In addition, these oils can be used to improve the home through natural cleaning and pest control. DIY solutions are generally less expensive and equally effective. In many instances they are even better than their store-bought offerings, without any of the dangerous side effects associated with bleach and harsh chemical cleansers.
However, proper usage is essential to experience the great benefits of these plant based oils. That includes finding the best ways to source the essential oils and other ingredients found in homemade health and beauty recipes.
Good tools, equipment and storage habits will help to ensure that each mixture comes out as desired, and that ingredients aren’t contaminated for future batches.
With proper selection and high-quality recipes, anyone with the medical clearance to do so can enjoy the incredible world of essential oils. Many people who dip their toes in the water find that essential oils and other natural methods of treatment are the way to go. The information presented here should help anyone who is interested to make smart choices regarding essential oils.