Basic Essential Oil Information & Guidelines

What is an Essential Oil?


As defined by Wikipedia: An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. It has been suggested by Aromatherapists that “essential oil” is a contraction of “quintessential oil,” from the Aristotelian theory of matter.

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.  


Organic vs Non-Organic:


  • Organic - pure, undiluted, essential oils suitable for all applications; medicinal, aromatherapy, topical, cosmetics, skin care, candles, soap, incense, potpourri, magic, etc. Grown, harvested, and processed by organic and sustainable means... this means good for you and Mother Earth! We always suggest using organic oils over others whenever possible.

  • Non-Organic – pure, undiluted essential oils suitable for all applications, but we cannot guarantee that they were grown, harvested, or processed organically. Our Organic and Non-Organic oils are both considered "pure & therapeutic".

Commonly Used Aromatherapy Terms:


  • Adulterant — a substance, artificial or natural, added to an essential oil, which was not originally present in the oil at the time of distillation.

  • Base Oil (Carrier Oil) — vegetable or nut oils, e.g., sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba.

  • Diffuser — a device that disperses essential oils into an area. The three basic types are clay, candle and electric.

  • Dilute — adding a small amount of essential oil to a larger amount of base oil to make it safe for use on the skin.

  • Distillation — method used to extract essential oil from the plant. Steam distillation is the most common form of distillation.

  • GCMS (Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometry) — a device used by analytic chemists to determine the precise make-up of a given substance. Used in aromatherapy to determine the precise chemical constituents of an essential oil, and whether it is pure or adulterated with synthetic chemicals or other products.

  • Essential Oil — highly aromatic substance found in specialized cells of certain plants. Technically, when this substance is in the plant, it is called an "essence." After distillation of a single type of plant, the aromatic substance is referred to as an essential oil. Essential oils may be used by plants for protection from predators, to attract pollinators, or for other unknown uses.

  • Herbally Infused Oil —  these are oils that carry the medicinal properties of certain herbs. A carrier oil is infused with the medicinal herb, the plant is strained off, and the remaining oil can be used directly on the skin.

  • Neat —  use of an undiluted essential oil on the skin.

  • Notes —  as in top, middle, and base notes. A type of classification system based on aroma, to identify certain oils. Generally, essential oils from citrus peels are top notes, essential oils from flowers, leaves and stems are middle notes, and essential oils from roots are base notes.

  • Orifice Reducer —  a device used to reduce the size of the opening of a bottle, making dispensing easier and more accurate.

  • Oxidation —  when oxygen, light or heat interacts with essential oils, the essential oil begins to deteriorate over time. This can cause the essential oil to become skin irritating. It happens over the period of 1-3 years with oils high in Monoterpenes, Phenols and Oxides, and more slowly with the other chemical families.

  • Phototoxic —  the use of the oil makes one’s skin more prone to damage from the sun’s UV rays. Primarily the citrus oils, especially Lemon and Bergamot, as well as Angelica oil, are phototoxic oils.

  • Volatile —  describes how quickly a substance disperses itself into the air. In aromatherapy, top note essential oils may be referred to as "highly volatile," meaning that they disperse quickly out of the bottle and into the air.

How to Use and Mix Essential Oils Properly:

There are approximately 500–600 drops per oz of carrier oil. The dilution guidelines are based on this number.

1% of 500 = 5, 1% of 600 = 6.


  1. Use the following dilutions for problems that are emotional in nature, for accessing the subtle energetic effects of the oils, for pregnant women and children, for anyone with a compromised immune system, and for using directly on the face: 1% dilution = 5–6 drops total of essential oil in 1 oz of carrier. If you are using three different oils, this might translate into 2 drops of each oil in the blend.

  2. For massage oils and daily use: 2% dilution = 10–12 total drops of essential oil in 1 oz carrier.

  3. For specific injury of muscle, tendon, bone: 3–10% depending on the individual, age, situation and oils being used. 3% dilution = 15–18 total drops of essential oil in 1 oz carrier.

  4. For local issues such as chest congestion: 3–10% depending on the individual, age, situation and oils being used. (If 1% dilution is 5–6 drops, then a 10% dilution is 50–60 drops)

  5. If the problem is acute and severe, you can go up to 25% dilution for short term use, but I rarely find the need to use this much oil. (These problems include severe muscle cramps, intense spasms in the moment, significant bruising, or pain.)

  6. “Neat” (this means undiluted essential oil and no carrier oil) oils can be used for the following: Small areas, local use, acute situations, short-term use. These must be the highest quality, non-oxidized oils, and can be used in steams. (Acute situations include headache, cut/wound, bee sting, bug bite, burn.)

1 oz of carrier

  • 1% Dilution: 5–6 drops total

  • 2% Dilution: 10–12 drops total

  • 3% Dilution: 15–18 drops total


2 oz of carrier

  • 1% Dilution: 10–12 drops total

  • 2% Dilution: 20–24 drops total

  • 3% Dilution: 30–36 drops total


Source: Aromahead Institute Aromatherapist Certification class notes.

Recommended Dilution Rates:


Massage & Body Oils:


For infants and young children:
.5-1% dilution = 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier


For adults:
2.5% dilution = 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
3% dilution = 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
5% dilution = 30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
10% dilution = 60 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier


In general, aromatherapy oil based blends are useful for:

  • Stress/anxiety

  • Headaches/migraines

  • Insomnia

  • Chronic or acute pain relief

  • Arthritis & rheumatism (sub-acute phase)

  • Chronic muscular/joint aches and pain

  • Pregnancy and childbirth massage

  • Reducing inflammation

  • Enhancing immunity

  • Relieving muscle spasms

  • Relax and soothe the nervous system

  • Aid in the treatment of sprains, strains, and repetitive movement injuries

  • And much, much more…


Facial Creams, Lotions And Blend Oils:


You can purchase unscented facial creams or body lotions to add essential oils to or create a facial oil by using a variety of vegetable/herbal oils and then adding essential oils into the mix.


For adults:

Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce

Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce


In general, aromatherapy facial oils and creams are utilized to:

  • Enhance wound healing Influence and slow aging of skin

  • Scar reduction and improve appearance

  • Support and enhance immune cells of the skin

  • Balance sebum production

  • Aid the process of detoxification in the skin

  • Increase local circulation

  • Improve tone of skin

  • Encourage hydration of the skin, when used in conjunction with hydrosol/water or cream

  • Soften and soothe the skin

  • Address emotional issues




Add 2 - 12 drops (depending on essential oil) into a teaspoon of honey, whole milk, vegetable oil or other dispersing agent then add to bath once you are in the bath.


In general, aromatherapy full-body baths are useful to:

  • Reduce stress/anxiety

  • Alleviate muscular aches, pains, and tension

  • Soothe mental or physical fatigue

  • Stimulate circulation

  • Enhance lymph circulation

  • Reduce pain and stiffness

  • Increase local circulation

  • Improve tone and health of skin

  • Aid detoxification


Steam inhalation:


Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into boiling water. Some essential oils to consider include: Eucalyptus sp. (either E. globulus or E. radiata), Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris), Lemon (Citrus limon), and Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Cover head with towel and breathe through the nose. Keep eyes closed!


Steam inhalations are indicated for:

  • Congestion in upper respiratory tract (cold or flu)

  • Sinus infection or sinusitis

  • Enhancing respiratory function


Aromatic Spritzers:


An aromatic spritzer is a combination of essential oils and water. Often a dispersant such as solubol is used to diffuse the essential oils within the water. Aromatic spritzers can be used as room fresheners, to cleanse the air, to uplift and energize, to scent space, or used during a massage or esthetic practice: e.g. sprayed on face cradles to keep respiratory passages clear.

To make: Add 10-15 drops of essential oil (1-3 different essential oils) per ounce of water. Shake before using or add dispersing agent (e.g. solubol).


In general, aromatic spritzers are useful for:

  • Room and air freshener

  • Body sprays over which an aromatic blend will be applied

  • Reducing undesirable odors in the air

  • Enhancing breathing

  • Soothing a variety of emotional states




Depending on diffuser type, use as directed. Aerial dispersion via electric diffusor can be used for:

  • Environmental ambiance

  • Stress/anxiety reduction

  • Insomnia or sleep disorders

  • Mood or motivation enhancement

  • Increase alertness

  • Purify and improve air quality

  • Reduce airborne pathogens


Different Types of Inhalation:


  • Direct Inhalation - Direct inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil directly from a bottle, a handkerchief or a cotton-ball. Direct inhalations are most commonly employed for the relief of emotional distress and as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments. Direct inhalations are also used for their effect on the nervous system.

  • Direct palm inhalation - Direct palm inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil/s or synergy directly from the palms of your hands. Direct palm inhalations are most commonly utilized for the relief of emotional distress, to uplift and transform ones consciousness, or simply to relax and breathe. It can be used as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments.

  • Direct from bottle - Create a synergy (undiluted essential oils) utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a small bottle. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.

  • Smelling salts - Create a synergy with a total of 20-30 drops utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a 10ml (1/3 ounce) bottle. Once the synergy is in the bottle, fill the remainder of the bottle with either fine or coarse sea salts. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.

  • Handkerchief/Cotton-ball - Place 2-4 drops of essential oil or synergy on the tissue or cloth. Hold cloth in the palms of your hand and take 2-3 deep inhalations through the nose. If using a cotton ball, gently waft the cotton ball under the clients’ nose. This technique can be used 2-3x a day or as needed.

  • Inhaler tubes - Inhaler tubes are designed using 100% essential oil/s saturated on a cotton pad. **NOTE: Please be sure to use organic cotton pads. You can purchase these at a local health food store and cut the desired size to fit tube. Cotton is considered a ‘dirty’ crop, meaning it is heavily sprayed with pesticides. It is recommended to replace the cotton pad that comes in the tube with a certified organic cotton pad.


Directions: Choose 2-3 essential oils to work with based upon a specific purpose. Decide how many drops of each essential oil so it adds up to 15 to 25 drops.  Place drops of each essential oil in a small glass bowl/cup then place pad from inhaler into the bowl to absorb the essential oils. Use tweezers to move pad around a bit and then remove pad with tweezers and place in inhaler tube. Close inhaler tub and it is ready for use.


In general, Inhaler tubes or smelling salts are useful for:

  • Relieve stress

  • Uplift mood

  • Relieve nausea

  • Support hormonal balance

  • Support healthy breathing

  • Reduce nasal congestion

  • Emotional support


Source: NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy)


©2017 by Cassandra Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist.

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DISCLAIMER: Customers should purchase products from Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist with the clear understanding that all products must be used at the customers own discretion. Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist shall not be held responsible for any damages to property or for any adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm) caused by insufficient knowledge or the improper use of a product. The information on Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist website is obtained from current and reliable sources but makes no representation as to its comprehensiveness or accuracy. Nothing contained herein should be considered as a recommendation by Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist as to the fitness for any use. As the ordinary uses of these products are outside the control of Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist, no representation or warranty, expressed or implied is made as to the effects of such uses (including damage or injury), or the results obtained. The liability of Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist is limited to the value of the goods and does not include any consequential loss. Ché Evanson, Certified Aromatherapist shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). The essential oils listed are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, and should not be used as a substitute for medical care. Individuals using essential oils should be educated about their use, properties, safety precautions, and dosage or be under the care of a qualified health professional.


*** The International Federation of Aromatherapists does not recommend that Essential Oils be taken internally unless under the supervision of a Medical Doctor who is also qualified in clinical Aromatherapy. In addition, Essential Oils must be properly diluted before use in order to avoid any damages to property or adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm).

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