Making your own dilutions of essential oil preparations at home can be a little confusing when you're consulting text books and company literature or using second-hand knowledge. With the erupting debate on the ingestion of essential oils I think it's time to revisit the most common use of these precious and concentrated forms of plant therapy with a simple and easy to follow chart that can help you to blend up your own skincare, bodycare and well-being preparations safely.
Robert Tisserand developed a dilutions chart based on his considerable clinical aromatherapy knowledge and it's been embraced and also discussed by aromatherapists and everyday people world wide. MEM's chart is developed in a similar style to Tisserand's, but with my guidelines from my experience making preparations for the last 15 years and more recently as a product developer for the last 5 years.
With high level companies investing in the use of Aromatherapy for everyday ailments and well-being maintenance, there is a plethora of information being given to people who have no prior experience using essential oils. While this is empowering to an extent, it also leaves those who have extensive experience with severe anxiety over the dramatic potential for 'things to go wrong' in this scenario.
While small batch makers are more likely to be specific and practice label transparency, some larger companies fail to label their product specifically leaving consumers unaware of exactly what kind of essential oil they are using.
For example, one company I've recently researched (upon request) does not list what kind of Frankincense is in the bottle.
Why is this important?
There are several kinds with marginally different to drastically differing components, and a big difference is price. Some kinds of Frankincense are highly sought after because of a lower oil yield per material and difficult to obtain because of their remote growing conditions, like high altitude Somalian, Ethiopian and Omani frankincense. Boswellia frereana is most suited for therapeutic work as it is hydrodistilled but it is more expensive because of the lower oil yield factor (you need more material/resin to produce even a small amount of oil). Some kinds of Frankincense are sold for far less than say the Boswellia carteri which is perfect for perfumery especially if it is extracted via CO2. Boswellia serrata has a high oil yield and therefore sells at remarkably lower prices than carteri or frereana....
Even so, there are botanical classifications that don't take into account the difference in chemotypes, which occur due to growing conditions and processing, that may change with particular harvests. It can all get quite involved and confusing...
So next time you're offered 'a great deal' consider first..
what are you paying for, exactly?
and is this the optimum choice of oil for your situation?
And if you don't know then do some research first and/or ask an Aromatherapist :)
Constant, regular use of essential oils on the back of unbiased training and education, plus continued, broad-ranging study (beyond qualifications), develops the best understanding of essential oils and their uses. Why? Because you are accessing real-world experience and real interactions knowledge, that's first-hand and verified by use and assessment.
Extended learning from a variety of sources gives excellent education...personally I find that I can't stop reading when it comes to herbalism and aromatherapy, and will confess to being a text-book nerd. Some people like trash mags or scrolling social media, I'm gleefully happy opening up a reference book and having an 'absorption session'. The topic is like a never-ending resource of interest, and I also find that it becomes very stale when I read from one author or 'authority' on any given subject.
If you are interested in comparing what you have been taught already, or if you are just beginning your exploration of essential oils, I recommend the free e-course from AromaticStudies.com (now called The New York Institute of Aromatic Studies) because it is balanced, easy to follow and provides access to further, unaffiliated, online information. (no, I'm not getting anything for recommending them, I just love their ethos).
Variety is the spice of life, and
curiosity the very essence of true science in any form.
So enjoy your learning and I hope this little guide helps you to make the safe choice when using essential oils at home.
Simply click on the image and save it to your files, so you can refer to it or print it out to keep in your notebook, recipe book or study manual.
Further reading if you're interested :)
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils - Julia Lawless
Advanced Aromatherapy - Kurt Schnaubelt
Nerys Purchon's handbook of Natural Healing
The Art of Aromatherapy - Robert B Tisserand
Gatefosse's Aromatherapy - Rene-Maurice Gattefosse