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< Back to Essential Oils
Essential Oils for Beginners

Essential Oils for Beginners

When in nature, you will experience the subtle glory of essential oils evaporating from the plants that surround you. Just think about the smell of grass after a fresh cutting! Aromatic plant chemicals can be extracted and concentrated into pure essential oils. The essential oils come from all plant parts, including bark, leaves, flowers and roots. The word “essential” depicts the “essence” or soul of the plant. We can smell plants because their essential oils are volatile – they effortlessly evaporate into the atmosphere, providing us with nature’s aromatherapy.

How essential oils impact us. The array of potential therapeutic effects of essential oils reflects the multiple points of entry and impact. When we inhale them, they make their way directly to a primitive part of our brain responsible for emotions and memories. The essential oils also enter our lung tissues and from there rapidly diffuse into our bloodstreams. We can also absorb essential oils through our skin and mucous membranes and even ingest them when safely added to food products such as a peppermint-flavoured chocolate bar. For centuries essential oils have been used for all kinds of things, including first-aid, insomnia, stress, pain, infections, headaches and more.

Safety of essential oils. Take a minute to learn some basic safety tips. Essential oils are concentrated in a manner that would never occur in nature. It takes 75 lemon rinds to make just one small bottle of essential oil! For this reason, always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (such as jojoba or sweet almond oil) before applying them to the skin. Dilution needs vary according to each essential oil, so make sure your recipes come from a reliable source, such as a trained aromatherapist. Test a spot on the forearm for 24 hours before using. If diffusing essential oils, make sure to do it away from small children and pets. While some (but by no means all) essential oils are safe to consume in very high dilutions (you will find them in toothpaste, mouthwashes or peppermint candies), this does not mean you can swallow those same essential oils from a bottle.

Essential oil quality. Companies like NOW® guarantee quality and purity of their oils using internationally recognized methods and tests which are transparently published on their website. If you come across the term “therapeutic grade” with regards to essential oils, understand that this is a misleading marketing term with no official meaning. What about the term PURE on a label? Typically, this suggests that the essential oil has not been diluted with a carrier oil. Some expensive essential oils, such as rose and jasmine, are almost always diluted. The term PURE should not be construed as lacking in impurities. Recognized quality tests are the only guarantee.

Beginner tips. The plethora of uses for essential oils is mind-boggling. You can diffuse them (a great way to wake up, focus, or wind down), soak in them (by diluting them in an carrier oil and then adding them to a bath), apply them topically (to enhance a massage), add them to homemade body care and cleaning products, make a potty spritz, bath bombs, body scrubs, and more! If you don’t know where to start, begin by purchasing a couple of popular and versatile essential oils. Lavender is one of the safest and most gentle essential oils, perfect for any beginner. It is most often used for relaxation. Lavender is naturally soothing to the skin and, therefore, can be helpful after a minor sunburn (diluted in aloe vera gel). Peppermint is refreshing and perfect for the winter holiday season. Many find it beneficial to soothe a headache (when added to the temples) or as a spider or rodent repellant (when added to any floor detergent when cleaning).

Carrier oils for safe dilution. Don’t forget to dilute all essential oils in a carrier oil before adding to the skin. Jojoba oil is a popular choice, beloved for its excellent shelf-life, compatibility with most skin types, and the fact that it is a wax, often described as being similar to sebum, our skin’s natural moisturizer. Also consider sweet almond oil; this exceptional emollient acts as a skin conditioner, ideal for dry, chapped and scaly skin.

Below are two seasonal diffusion recipes to get you started with essential oils this holiday season. 

Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice Seasonal Diffusion Recipe


Add the following oils to a diffuser and enjoy:
5 drops NOW® Orange Oil
24 drops NOW® Cinnamon Bark Oil
4 drops NOW® Nutmeg Oil
10 drops NOW® Ginger Oil

Holiday Eggnog Seasonal Diffusion Recipe


Add the following oils to a diffuser and enjoy:
10 drops NOW® Vanilla Oil Blend
1 drop NOW® Cinnamon Bark Oil
2 drops NOW® Nutmeg Oil

NOW quality testing:
Dilution Infographic & calculator:
Essential Oil Attributes chart:
NOW Essential Oils

About the Author: Thalia Charney


Thalia Charney’s lifelong passion for all things nutrition and healthy living make her the ideal Nutrition and Health Educator for NOW Health Group Canada. With over 30 years in the health industry, her formal training in Naturopathy, personal and professional experience, form a strong basis for her speaking and education. Her experience includes an eclectic background in herbal medicine, nutrition, essential oils, green living, meditation, vegetarian cooking, and working as a wellness coach, fitness instructor and personal trainer.