A Beginners Guide to Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of the natural oils found in plants. They can be used as plant medicine by inhaling, diffusing or simply rubbing them onto your skin. Some can even help alleviate stiff, sore muscles and joints, or they can soothe burns, cuts, and even wasp stings.
a beginners guide to essential oils


Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with over 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness.

A qualified Wellness Coach and Nutritional Therapist, Natalie is passionate about helping women to live a healthier, happier, non-toxic life as naturally as possible.

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What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of the natural oils found in plants. These oils are extracted from the plants by the process of distillation, which is done by water or steam from the bark, flowers, stems, leaves, and roots of the plant.

They can be used as plant medicine by inhaling, diffusing or simply rubbing them onto your skin. Some can even help alleviate stiff, sore muscles and joints, or they can soothe burns, cuts, and even wasp stings.

Essential oils also help with sleep, lifting or calming your mood and also help with memory. What I have loved about essential oils is once you start using them, you can find uses for them everywhere! I even use them now to make my own cleaning products, and as a flea treatment for my dog!

Here are the oils I have been using and what I’ve found so far;

DoTerra Peppermint Oil helps with digestion, asthma and bacterial infections

Peppermint Essential Oil

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Helps With:

  • Asthma
  • Digestion
  • Bacterial infections
  • Colds and Headaches
  • Diarrhoea

How to Use:

Place a drop on a cotton wool ball and inhale to relieve headaches or sinus infection. It can be applied topically, properly diluted in a carrier oil, to the area of concern or to reflex points. Not to be used topically on children under 10, and not to diffused for, or inhaled by, children under 6.

It can be taken internally for adults. Place 1 drop to a litre of water, remember 1 to 2 drops is the equivalent of 26 cups of peppermint tea, so do be cautious on the dose. Generally speaking, no more than one or two drops of essential oil should not be ingested daily.

Ingestion of essential oils for holistic (medical) purposes should be done only under the advice of someone with experience and education in essential oils, such as a naturopath or homeopath.

DoTerra lavender Oil helps with sleep, anxiety and depression

Lavender Essential Oil

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Helps with:

  • Helps ease feelings of tension
  • Soothes agitation, bruising, insect bites, stings, and burns
  • mosquito repellant
  • Relieves insomnia and depression
  • Relieves PMS symptom
  • Helps stop bleeding wounds
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How to Use:

Add a few drops to pillows for a restful nights sleep

Add five drops of lavender essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil. Mix with 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. Add Epsom salts to bathwater. Soak for 20 minutes to relieve stress.

Apply with carrier oil to the temples or back of the neck

Diffuse from a diffuser or inhale from a cotton ball.

I have been using 2 drops of lavender oil in some coconut oil, then rubbing it into the soles of my feet before bed. I have found this really helps me have a calm, restful night’s sleep.

Find Your Inner Peace with essential oils

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Essential Oil

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Helps with:

  • Builds confidence and strength
  • Uplifts the spirit
  • Combats feelings of victimisation
  • Sanitiser/germ killer

How to Use:

8 – 10 drops to 1oz carrier oil for minor cuts and wounds.

Apply to area topically.

Use after shaving with carrier oil

DIY cleaning spray using essential oil.

Essential Oil DIY Bathroom Cleaner

  • 3 oz water
  • 2 Teaspoons Castile Soap
  • 1 Teaspoon Vinegar or  hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 1 drop Melaleuca oil

Put all the ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well before use.

Use essential oils for sleep

Frankincense Essential Oil

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Helps with:

  • Supports reflection and introspection
  • Encourages emotional healing on all levels
  • Quiets the mind
  • Supports focused attention and tranquility
  • Reduces pain/swelling
  • Skin nourishing
  • Tension headache

How to Use:

Healthy adult; use 10 -12 drops Frankincense oil to 1 oz carrier oil (coconut oil is good) apply topically to area.

Children age 6 -12; use 5 to 6 drops Frankincense oil to 1 oz carrier oil, apply topically to area.

Diffuse for peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness.

Nourishing Frankincense Clay Mask

  • Add water to get a soft texture
  • 1 drop Frankincense oil
  • Spread evenly over your face and leave 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing off.
  • Skin should feel nourished and soft.
Essential Oil as natural medicine

Wild Orange Essential Oil

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Helps with:

  • Soothe perfectionism
  • Energises body and mind
  • Calms tension
  • Relieves overwhelmed mind
  • Emotionally uplifting
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How to use:

Put three drops of Wild Orange in your bathroom sink or bathtub drains to help dispel any unpleasant odors or grime.

Add 3 drops of Wild Orange essential oil and 3 drops of Frankincense essential oil to 1 ounce coconut oil for body lotion. (Do not use this on your face.)

Diffuse to uplift mood.

DoTerra Essential Oils help with anxiety

Safety around using Essential Oils

Generally speaking, if you are using a diffuser, you can diffuse most oils around pets and children, providing they are not sleeping directly under it, and the room is well ventilated, and the child or pet has the ability to leave if the aroma becomes too much.

It’s best to diffuse for 15 minutes on, an hour off when first starting to use oils and never diffuse overnight. If you notice your pet or child become irritated at all, stop diffusing immediately and remove them from the room. Should the condition persist or worsen, seek medical attention.

If burning, redness, itchiness, etc, occur when an essential oil or a product with essential oil has been applied, Do not wash with water first. Oil will retreat from water and go deeper into the skin causing further damage. Therefore, apply a carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba wax, or vegetable oil) to the affected area.

When the irritation subsides (this should occur within seconds), wash the area gently with soap and water, pat dry and then apply another application of carrier oil. Should the irritation persist or worsen, seek medical attention.

The main problem with certain oils is when they become ingested. For example, lemon is great for a natural worktop or floor cleaner, but if your pet walks on these surfaces, then licks their paw, they ingest the oil.

Or if you use Tea tree on a cut, wash your hands before petting your animal, as this is toxic to pets. Cats are missing a liver enzyme which helps them break down certain essential oils, I have listed below the toxic oils, so always think about the safety element first before using oils around pets and children.

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essential oils toxic to cats

essential oils toxic to dogs

How to Use Essential Oils Safely around Children

It’s important to always use essential oils with caution and education;

Essential oils should be neither diffused nor used topically on the skin of children under 6 months. Infant’s systems are still developing and adjusting to the “outside world”.

Essential oils are concentrated plant material and are too strong for their little bodies. Gentle hydrosols (such as Lavender and/or Roman Chamomile) can be diluted with water (1/4 hydrosol, 3/4 water to start) when needed, but not every day. If the baby cries or pulls back when the hydrosol is put by his/her nose, dilute further.

Essential oils still should not be used on a daily basis on children from 6 months to 6 years old. Their immune system is not fully developed until the age of 6 or 7 years, so it is wiser to use hydrosols on children under six or using a couple of drops of essential oil diluted in an ounce of carrier oil (such as olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba wax, or vegetable oil) for emergency situations such as bug bites or bee stings.

Essential oils may be used on children from 6 to 12 years old, at a 1% dilution (5 to 6 drops per ounce of carrier oil).

Peppermint essential oil should not be used on children under 10 years old. The high menthol component in peppermint essential oil can slow breathing and cause respiratory problems.

Essential oils with high 1,8-cineole content, such as certain chemotypes of Rosemary and Eucalyptus should not be used on children under 12 years old as it can slow breathing.

Beginners to guide to essential oils
Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!

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