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Essential Oils FAQ
Please bear in mind that any advice offered here is only intended as a general guide and the advice of a qualified aromatherapist, health care professional or general practitioner should be considered if unsure about the safe use of pure essential oils.
A skin patch test should maybe be considered if using a new essential oil for the first time.
A useful guide is the book Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand, a well known expert on the subject.
Q. What are essential oils?
A. Essential oils are named "essential" oils as they were believed to be essential to life and they were the "essence" of the plant.
The use of essential oils as preservatives and scents goes back to ancient history.
Pure essential oils are extracted from plants and plant material such as leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots or grasses and are highly concentrated and potent oils.
They are usually volatile and most of them are easily vaporized.
The health benefits associated with pure essential oils are numerous.
The main methods of extraction of pure essential oils are steam distillation, cold pressing and solvent extraction
At Bonvale Creations we sell only 100% Pure Essential Oils.
We do not use oils that have been extracted by solvents as they can be left with solvent residues that can give serious side effects and detract from the pure essential oil thus obtained.
Please note that fragrant oils, pot pourri oils or perfume oils are not the same as 100% pure essential oils.
Q. What is aromatherapy?
A. Aromatherapy is the art, craft or practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for physical and psychological well-being.
A good aromatherapist will guide you as to the most beneficial way of using pure essential oils whether that is by inhalation, vaporization or massage etc.
Even the "aroma" of a pure essential oil is thought to have a beneficial effect upon the mind.
Q. How can I use pure essential oils?
A. There are numerous ways in which pure essential oils may be used, listed below are but a few of the most common uses.
1 In an oil burner.
A few drops of your favourite or a mix of up to 3 pure essential oils added to water in a dish with a candle to gently warm and vaporize the pure essential oil...please note that an essential oil mixed in a carrier oil is only useful for massage, as the carrier oil will not vaporize and hence you will be left with an oily mess.
Bonvale Creations supply only pure essential oils and they can all be safely added to an oil burner dish.
2 In an electric oil vaporizer in which pure essential oils or blends of pure essential oils may be added to the vaporizer directly without the need for messy candles and hot water.
The electric oil vaporizer will gently warm the pure essential oils directly hence vaporizing the oils in a safe gentle manner without harming the vital ingredients.
3 In a wax melt or tart which can then be melted in a wax melt warmer or burner, either in a classic type oil burner with tea light or our new electric wax melt warmers...no candles and no water needed with these.
4 In a warm bath.
Due to the volatility of most pure essential oils it's recommended that a few drops of essential oil or blend of up to 3 oils is mixed with a spoonful of massage/carrier oil such as sweet almond.
Milk or shampoo can also be used to dilute the pure essential oil prior to adding to a warm bath shortly after turning off the taps to ensure that the benefits of the essential oils is enjoyed before evaporation.
Approx. 3-5 drops of pure essential oil in a bowl of warm water and inhaling with a towel over the head can be of benefit in some cases.
Eucalyptus can help ease symptoms of cold, flu or catarrh.
We also offer a "Breathe Easy Blend" for the same purpose, which includes Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemon Myrtle etc.
6 Foot spa. Nothing quite relieves the soreness of tired feet like a soak in warm water with the addition of maybe about 6 drops peppermint, spearmint pure essential oils or what about Bonvale Creations Uplifting Blend....pure luxury!
Pure essential oils may be added to a carrier or massage oil such as jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed, etc. for an invigorating or relaxing massage.
It is usually recommended that you use approx 5 drops to 10ml carrier oil for adults.
Q. What is an essential oil blend?
A. Buyers should be cautious when confronted with oils that state "essential oil blend".
Essential oils that can be very expensive on their own, may be diluted with a carrier oil, often jojoba, to keep down costs.
Often oils such as jasmine, rose or neroli are blended or diluted in this fashion and are usually mixed at 3% essential oil to 97% carrier/vegetable oil.
Essential oil blends may also be blended from pure essential oils, usually up to 3 to 5, creating a "true pure essential oil blend".
A synergistic pure essential oil blend of the correct oils and in the correct proportions is considered to be of more benefit that a single pure essential oil working independently.
Bonvale Creations do not sell essential oils diluted in a carrier which are only useful for massage purposes!
Bonvale Creations do however have pure essential oil blends (a mix of 2 or more pure essential oils).
The bottom line is read the labels carefully.
Q. What is "synergy"?
A. Synergy in aromatherapy is the often overlooked way in which pure essential oils may be combined to increase their effectiveness.
By combining usually up to 5 pure essential oils correctly the overall benefits may be enhanced to offer more than that offered by the individual pure essential oil.
By working carefully and harmoniously with the blending process and combining pure essential oils from different "note" qualities in the correct amounts some wonderful pure blended oils can be created.
Bonvale Creations offers Relaxing, Uplifting, Breathe Easy, Baby Sleep, Christmas, De-Stress, Meditation, Cold & Flu, Sensual Blends and more.
Q. Are essential oils safe to use during pregnancy?
A. Essential oils used in an oil burner or vaporizer are perfectly safe to use right though pregnancy!
As a general guide for topical applications it is best to minimise (cut strength by half) or avoid altogether the use of essential oils during pregnancy, especially topically because of their effects upon hormone levels and the ability for the oil compounds to find their way into breast milk.
Essential oils derived from herbs such as clary sage, thyme, basil and rosemary should especially be avoided.
It is best to avoid using pure essential oils altogether especially during the first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy.)
Pregnant women and people with certain conditions, including epilepsy and high blood pressure, should consult a qualified aromatherapist before using any aromatic plant oils.
Some oils can even be dangerous during pregnancy and for people with certain conditions.
Q. Are essential oils safe to use with babies and children?
A. Again the safest way to use essential oils is to avoid topical use with children.
A qualified aromatherapist should be consulted prior to using pure essential oils topically with children.
Children have very delicate skin and eyes and are much more receptive to aromas than adults.
Newborns are especially delicate and the while very young it is probably best to stick to pure cold pressed vegetable unscented oils for massage.
It is interesting to note that the latest information regarding baby massage is that mineral oil (derived from petroleum extraction, similar to Vaseline), which is the main ingredient of baby oil, is quite good for protecting baby's bottom from urine as it forms a silky barrier.
However, mineral oil does not allow the skin to "breath" and can actually dry out the skin tissue.
It would be fine to use essential oils such as lavender by dropping a few drops onto a tissue near baby as he/she feeds or near his cot while he/she sleeps as a nice soothing aroma. In a warm bath approx 1-3 drops of oils such as lavender again may be added to milk, carrier oil or shampoo before mixing into the bedtime bath.
A baby massage for slightly older babies may be prepared using a massage or carrier oil with 10mls of sweet almond oil with 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil, chamomile essential oil or a combination of 1 drop of each in 10mls of carrier oil.
It must be remembered that compounds of pure essential oils used directly onto the skin can find their way into the whole body.
Children's internal organs are not fully matured until after the age of 12 and the liver in particular may have a problem processing certain compounds.
While a dose of up to 5 drops of essential oil in 10mls of massage or carrier oil will be safe for adults use only up to half that amount for children 2-12 years old and only 1-2 drops for infants to 2 years old.
Please be very careful and never leave a child unsupervised with a tea light, candle or oil burner.
An electric oil vaporizer or ultrasonic diffuser kept out of reach is by far the safest method of oil vaporization around children.
Q. How many drops in 1ml of pure essential oil?
A. It isn't entirely accurate and depends on the viscosity of the oil in question but as a rule of thumb 1 drop is approx one twentieth of 1ml. Therefore 20 drops = 1ml 240 drops in a 12ml bottle of Bonvale Creations 100% Pure Essential Oil
Q. What is meant by "notes" when referring to aromatherapy essential oils?
A. Essential oils are classified into 3 "notes", top, middle and base notes.
This refers to the volatility or evaporation rate of each oil and can be a little bit subjective as to the boundaries.
Lavender for instance is sometimes classified as a top note and sometimes a middle note.
Top notes have the fastest rate of evaporation and can be described as the lighter oils such as the citrus oils, peppermint and eucalyptus etc.
Middle note oils take slightly longer to evaporate....oils such as frankincense, clary sage and palmarosa.
Base notes are the heaviest and take a long time to evaporate.
They are often more of a "masculine" oil such as cedarwood, sandalwood or patchouli.
Base notes are useful as a "fixative" to bind an essential oil blend and, as with Bonvale Creations blends, it is usually best to combine oils from the different "note" classes.
Just as an orchestra uses the full spectrum of musical instruments to create a wonderful sound, so too should essential oils from different note groups be synergistically blended to create a wonderful aroma.
Q. What is a carrier oil?
A. Carrier oils are sometimes referred to as base carrier oils.
They are used to dilute and "carry" the essential oils to the skin surface for massage purposes.
Massage oils can be a blend of carrier oils only or can have added essential oils.
The best carrier oils are usually cold pressed vegetable oils which retain their mineral and vitamin content and can be readily absorbed by the skin.
Carrier oils act as a lubricant to allow a wonderful massage whilst still allowing the skin to "breathe".
Various carrier oils have slightly differing properties and vitamin and mineral contents.
Choose the one with the properties that is best for your particular needs.
Cold pressed carrier oils are excellent used for massage during pregnancy without the addition of essential oils.
Cold pressed oils are preferred to hot extraction as the vitamin and minerals are retained although the production oil yield is less and hence the oils may be a little more expensive.
Sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil and jojoba oil are examples of carrier oils although strictly speaking jojoba oil is in fact a liquid wax and is therefore very stable.
Carrier oils can go rancid if kept under the wrong conditions and like essential oils should be kept out of sunlight and not allowed to get too warm.
Oxygen can also break down the oils over a period of time so it's best to keep carrier oils in bottles that matches the amount of oil you have left to minimize the surface area exposed to the air to avoid oxidation.
Q. Can baby oil be used as a carrier or massage oil?
A. baby oil has usually got mineral oil as its main ingredient and should NOT be used to mix essential oils with for massage.
Mineral oil (baby oil) is of no use in aromatherapy and does not readily absorb into the skin, creating a silky barrier which might be useful to prevent nappy rash on a baby's bottom.
Mineral oil is derived from the petrochemical industry the same as Vaseline and the larger molecules of mineral oil do not allow absorption into the skin and can actually clog pores and cause the skin to dry out.