Essential Oils 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

beginner's guide to essential oilsFor the past few years, essential oils have played a crucial role in my journey to an overall healthy, natural lifestyle.  I love sharing the amazing benefits of essential oils and could talk about them for hours!  I realize not everyone understands everything there is to know about essential oils, so I wanted to write this beginner’s guide to essential oils post to try to at least introduce you to what essential oils are, their amazing benefits, and to teach you how how to use them and where to buy them.

If you’re already familiar with what essential oils are and how to use them, but have some other questions, feel free to send me an email and I’d love to discuss them in further detail with you!


Essential oils are aromatic, volatile liquids extracted from plants through the process of steam distillation or cold pressing.  Essential oils are typically extracted from leaves, roots, flowers, and stems.  They are considered the “life-force” of the plant, aka the immune system and have been used for thousands of years, dating back to the biblical days.  They are quickly absorbed by our bodies and help bring us balance.

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances, making them far more potent than herbs or the plants they’re extracted from.  For example, 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26 cups of peppermint tea and it takes 75 lemons to make one 15ml bottle of lemon oil.

One of the main reasons why people use essential oils is to provide a natural alternative to support healthy immune functions and emotional well being.  Essential oils contain many therapeutic and healing properties that allow you to take control of your own health.  Essential oils get to the root cause of a symptom rather than mask it.  Many have found success in using essential oils for a variety of reasons.

Most commonly, essential oils are used to help relax muscles, relax an upset stomach, help with muscle pain after exercise, reduce occasional stress and minor anxiety, promote restful sleep, support the nervous system, maintain normal blood sugar levels, support healthy joint and cartilage function, support healthy lung function, maintain cholesterol levels in the normal range, support healthy bone structure, reduce absentmindedness, maintain healthy intestinal flora, slow the aging of skin, suppress muscle spasms, and encourage proper nasal function.  Essential oils are also commonly used around the house for cooking or as a gentle replacement of household cleaners and harsh chemicals.

Not all essential oils are created equal.  Many available essential oils have added synthetics, are purchased from large distilleries, and have been grown, harvested and distilled improperly. When essential oils are not harvested and distilled properly, the chemical constituents, known as the healing properties of the oils, are compromised. The point in using essential oils is to have a natural alternative, so using a product with chemicals that are man-made or has sacrificed healing properties defeats the entire purpose.

To take advantage of the healing properties of essential oils, you will need the purest form of the oil.  When it comes to quality of essential oils, based on my research, I believe Young Living sets the standard.  Their oils are the the purest therapeutic form, with no additives.  They own their own farms around the world, source from non GMO seeds, properly harvest and distill, have been in company for 20 years, and have complete control of their essential oil production from the time the oil is sourced to the time is is sealed in the bottle, which is backed by their Seed to Seal guarantee.

When using the purest, high quality essential oils, they can be used in three different ways:  topically, aromatically, and internally.beginner's guide to essential oilsTopical:  Essential oils can be applied topically onto the desired area using recommended drop and dilution amounts found on each bottle.  Common areas of application are the neck, wrists, behind ears, and vita flex points on the bottom of feet.  Using vita flex points gets the oil carried to the specific targeted organs of the body.  When using oils topically, you should dilute with a carrier oil such as organic coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or olive oil.How to use essential oils aromaticallyAromatic: Essential oils can be used aromatically through direct inhalation or diffusing.

Direct Inhalation: to directly inhale, place a drop of oil on your hands, rub hands together, cup your hands over your nose, and breath in the oils slowly for one minute.  You can also simply inhale the oil directly from the bottle, place a drop of oil on a piece of cotton and place by an air vent, or my personal favorite, wear them in an essential oil diffuser necklace!

Diffusing: to diffuse essential oils, use an ultrasonic diffuser, such as the home diffuser that comes in the Premium Starter Kit, fill the diffuser with distilled water, and add the appropriate amount of drops according to bottle (usually around 5-10). When you directly inhale essential oils, they stimulate the limbic lobe of the brain, which is the emotional control center that regulates emotional well being!  Diffusing essential oils can remove dust, mold, and germs, and can prevent and remove nasty smells from the air!How to use essential oils internally?Internally: Certain pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, such as Young Living can be taken internally with proper precaution.  Young Living oils with a dietary supplement label are regarded as safe for ingestion.  Not all oils are intended for ingestion and some can be dangerous if ingested, so please read your labels and always use proper precaution!

Veggie Capsule: The most common method of ingesting essential oils is to place the recommended number of drops into a size 00 vegetable capsule, fill the remainder with a carrier oil, and take with water.

In Water: You can also add a drop of essential oils to your water, as many of them provide digestive related benefits.  When adding essential oils to your water, be sure to always use a glass bottle or cup.  Never use plastic.

When using essential oils, never place oils in your ears or eyes!  If you accidentally get oil in your eye, do not flush with water.  Flushing with water will only spread the oil more.  Instead, use an organic carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil.  Be sure to always dilute oils on children, elderly, and new users.

When using a new oil, it is recommended you do a skin patch test to make sure your skin does not have any sensitivity to the oil.  When adding essential oils to your water, be sure to always use a glass bottle or cup.  Never use plastic.

Essential oils are commonly sold in 15 ml bottles and 5 ml bottles.  A 15 ml bottle of essential oil contains approximately 250-300 drops of oil.  A 5 ml bottle contains approximately 85-100 drops. This range varies depending on the viscosity of each individual oil.

When dealing with essential oils, you should take the less is more approach.  A typical application is 1 drop of oil, so when you consider how many drops are in the bottle, you’re getting a lot more than you think!How many drops of essential oil are in a 5ml and 15ml bottleWHERE TO BUY ESSENTIAL OILS
There are a two ways you can get started using Young Living essential oils: you can sign up as a retail member or a wholesale member.  If you’re interested in purchasing a premium starter kit, you should sign up as a wholesale member.  This will give you access to wholesale prices (24% off of retail) and you’re not required to do anything but enjoy your oils at a great price (no selling, no minimum orders, etc)!

For more information on getting started with the ordering process and for more details on the premium starter kit, read my post on getting started with essential oils: how to use + save money buying them.Young Living Premium Starter KitMISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BEING A DISTRIBUTOR
Don’t let the word wholesale member or distributor scare you.  Yes, when you sign up as a wholesale member, you are technically considered a distributor, but you are not required to sell anything, build a business, meet a monthly quota, or pay any type of membership fee.  The only thing you need to do in order to become a wholesale member and get access to wholesale pricing on all oils at 24% off retail prices is purchase a starter kit.  It’s an amazing deal.

The Premium Starter Kit is what most people begin with.  It’s the best value and way to get everything you want and need, such as 12 everyday essential oils, the home diffuser, sample packs of oils and Ningxia Red, reference guides, and more.  If you’re already planning on buying the Premium Starter Kit, don’t make the mistake in buying it as a retail customer. You’re only hurting yourself in the long run by missing out on all the other great benefits of being a wholesale member (like discounted prices and free product) because I promise once you get started with oils you’re going to be hooked!

If you’re ready to get started using essential oils after reading this beginner’s guide to essential oils,  I’d love to have you join my team and private community of over 20,000 oil loving members where you can  share and learn valuable information from others.  The process is much easier with a great support system!  If you have any questions, I’m here to help!

For more information and to see how I use essential oils in my everyday life, be sure to follow me on Instagram at my essential oil account, @thesouthernessential, and personal account, @thesouthernthing!  I often have specials with a reference guide, USB diffuser, and diffuser necklace up for grabs to those that sign up wholesale with a Premium Starter Kit each month.

Already an oil user? Make sure you stock up on these top must have essential oil supplies and accessories!

To see how I use essential oils and for fun DIY essential oil recipes, check out these posts!

If this beginner’s guide to essential oils post was helpful for you, I’d love for you to pin this post and help spread the word to others!

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The information, advice, statements, and testimonials made about the essential oils, blends, and products mentioned on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Any suggestions made on this site are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Information presented is for learning purposes only.  The information on this site and the products listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease, nor are they intended to replace proper medical help. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any regimen with essential oils or making any changes to a medical routine.  If you are currently on medication, please do not stop. Testimonials are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results. What works for one may not work for another.


16 thoughts on “Essential Oils 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

  1. Kate at Green Fashionista

    This was great, super informative! I've been hearing more and more about essential oils, but had a bunch of questions that you just answered for me 🙂

    I love natural alternatives, and will always turn to those first!

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