Essential oils are distilled from plant leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, barks and resins, or are expressed from the rinds of citrus fruits. It generally takes at least 50 pounds of plant material to make one pound of essential oil (for example, a pound of rosemary oil requires sixty-six pounds of herb), but the ratio is sometimes astonishing - it takes 2,300 pounds of rose flowers to make a single pound of oil!

Because they contain no fatty acids, essential oils are not susceptible to rancidity like vegetable oils - but protect them from the degenerative effects of heat, light and air, store them in tightly sealed, dark glass bottles away from any heat source. Properly stored oils can maintain their quality for years. (citrus oils are less stable and should not be stored longer than six months after opening.

Safety Tips
Essential oils are very concentrated, so it's important to handle them with care. Please read these cautions carefully

  1. Always read and follow all label warnings and cautions.
  2. Keep oils tightly closed and out of the reach of children.
  3. Never consume undiluted oils. Cook only with those oils approved for food use.
  4. Don't use undiluted oils on your skin. (Dilute with a carrier oil).
  5. Skin test oils before using. Dilute a small amount and apply to the skin on your inner arm. Do not use if redness or irritation occurs.
  6. Keep oils away from eyes and mucous membranes.
  7. If redness, burning, itching, or irritation occur, stop using oil immediately.
  8. Avoid use of these oils during pregnancy: bitter almond; basil; clary sage; clove bud; hyssop; sweet fennel; juniper berry; marjoram; myrrh; peppermint; rose; rosemary; sage; thyme; and wintergreen.
  9. These oils can be especially irritating to the skin: allspice; bitter almond; basil; cinnamon leaf; cinnamon bark; clove bud; sweet fennel; fir needle; lemon; lemongrass; melissa; peppermint; tea tree; wintergreen. In addition, angelica and all citrus oils make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light. Do not go out into the sun with these oils on your skin.
  10. Sweet Fennel, hyssop, sage and rosemary should not be used by anyone with epilepsy. People with high blood pressure should avoid hyssop, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Using Essential Oils

Body Care

You can have fun and save money by creating your own body care products.
Treat your skin to the benefits of lavender, chamomile, rosemary, geranium and sandalwood by adding a few drops of the desired fragrance to a bottle of your favorite skin cleanse, moisturizer, mask or toner.

Give your self a hair treatment by putting a teaspoon of rosemary (for dark hair) or chamomile (for light hair) in a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo or conditioner. For a montly treatment blend a half teaspoon of rosemary (or chamomile) and lavender oils into 4 ounces of jojoba oil. Apply sparingly at night to your scalp and hair. (Store leftover blend in the refrigerator). Wash your hair thoroughly the next morning and enjoy the extra body and highlights the essential oils give.

Blending your own massage oils is easy. Just combing your favorite scents (1-3%) with vegetable base oils such as sweet almond, grapeseed, or apricot kernal.

Scent Crafting

Try your hand at perfuming! Experiment by combining your favorite essential oils - one drop at a time - with high proof vodka (or Everclear if you can find it). Use blotting paper to test each blend. As you approach your fragrance goal, begin testing on your own skin to create a personalized scent.

Use essential oils to blend your own potpourri fragrances, and to scent air fresheners, candles and sachets. Or try two or three drops in the rinse water when hand washing clothes. With an understanding of basic techniques and precautions, the possibilities are as unlimited as your imagination.


Because of their consistent flavoring and easy storage, essential oils are often used in food manufacturing. Home cooks can enjoy these same advantages. An essential oil provides the characteristic flavor and aroma of a cooking spice, but will maintain its quality longer. Essential oils also disperse more easily in liquid ingredients.

Use them sparingly - one drop replaces a teaspoon of dried herb or spice. To improve mixing add essential oils to liquid ingredients rather than dry. Note that not all essential oils are for internal consumption. Always check to make sure the oil you're using is suitable for cooking before adding it.

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Joelle's Sacred Grove

2001 Joelle Miller