A basic understanding of an essential oil label is helpful to understand what is inside the bottle. Responsible essential oil labeling will tell you how the plant was cultivated, how the oil was extracted and where the oil was grown.
Name: This is the common name for an essential oil. It describes a group or family of similar plants, for example thyme or oregano. A common name can be an umbrella for several different species each with it’s own healing properties.
Scientific Name: Describes the specific plant species. This is very important as the chemical and healing qualities of different species can vary greatly.
Napasha Way essential oil labels read as follows:
Cultivation Method / Extraction Method / Location
Cultivation Method: Source plants for essential oils can be ‘Wildcrafted’ (also called ‘Wild Harvested'), ‘Certified Organic’ or none of the above. If the cultivation method is not on the label you can reasonably assume the source plants have been grown using commercial fertilizers and/or pesticides.
Extraction Method: Essential oils can be extracted utilizing many methods. Steam Distilled, CO2, CO2 Select and Cold Pressed are among the most common extraction methods.
Location: Soil quality needs vary greatly from plant to plant. Soil also varies greatly from one geographic location to another. While plant quality varies from year-to-year due to rainfall, sunlight and other factors beyond our control, knowing where the best conditions are for a given species provides the highest quality essential oils available.
As an example an essential oil label might look like…
Certified Organic / Steam Distilled / Australia
Purchase essential oils that are made from plants that are wildcrafted or organic because these are the highest quality plants available. Be skeptical of words like “all natural” or “pure.” The Food & Drug Administration does not have a standard for the use of these terms, so the meaning of natural and pure varies from one product or company to the next.
Using Wildcrafted or Organic ensures the purity of the oil. This is important to allow all the healing properties of the plant to be present and unadulterated in the oil. Also, we are very mindful in holding healing attitudes and thoughts and offer these oils in service to our customers.
The second aspect of importance is how the essential oils are extracted from the plants. Different plants require different methods of distillation in order to retain their best qualities. These methods are:
Steam distillation: Plant qualities degrade when exposed to high heat. Steam distillation is an effective extraction method when plants readily gift their qualities.
CO2: Plants thrive on carbon dioxide (CO2). When pressure is applied to CO2 it becomes a liquid and plant materials bind to it, without being degraded by high temperatures. More of the plant is saved when using CO2. These oils are thicker and can set up over time. If the oil does not pour easily, place the bottle of oil in a glass of warm water for a few minutes. As it warms, the oil will pour easily. Keep the water below the lid so it does not contaminate the bottle.
CO2 Select: Some essentials oils are obtained at higher CO2 pressures and contain all CO2 soluble components, including waxes, resins, and plant dyes. These oils most closely resemble the plant itself. CO2 oils are also thick and benefit from using the warming method described under CO2 to simplify pouring.
Cold Pressed: Lemon, orange and lime essential oils are largely contained in the peel. The Cold pressed method uses stainless steel plates to press the oils out of the peel without using heat on these more delicate oils.
Extraction: Is used on flowers where high heat is undesirable, yet there is a desire to keep more of the heavier notes of the scent. The flower is put in a solvent, gently heated electrically and then filtered, making a paste. The wax is removed and then transferred to alcohol, which is burned off again at very low heat. Rose, Tuberose and Jasmine are examples of this type of extraction.
Carrier oils are used to distribute the essential oils onto the body and have many helpful properties that combine with the essential oils to increase their abilities. Cold Pressed and Extra Virgin oils are best. Avoid hydrogenated oils as they do not have the health benefits, and they may increase cholesterol and block arteries.
Carrier oils become rancid over time as they are affected by oxygen. Some oils have more stability as they contain tocopherol antioxidants, which slow the process. Carrier oils should be kept in a cool, dry place. To decide which oil is best and what volume to buy, it is helpful to know their uses and general “shelf life.” Below are general descriptions for the most widely used carrier oils.
Cold Pressed Avocado Oil is a thick oil, rich in Vitamins A, D, E, lecithin and potassium. It is high in sterolins, which are known to reduce age spots and help heal sun damage and scars. It is great for mature skin and relieves the dryness and itching associated with eczema or psoriasis. To lighten the overall thickness, you can blend it with another carrier oil ( I generally choose 75% Apricot Kernel, Almond, Jojoba or other oil, and up to 25% Avocodo). Avocado Oil has a shelf life of up to 1 year.
Cold Pressed Sweet Almond Oil contains Omega 6 fatty acids, is high in Vitamins B, Vitamin E and trace minerals. It is a light oil that does not clog pores, goes on smoothly, and is a good choice for lessening wrinkles, acne and aids digestion. Almond oil is odorless. I favor it in instances where I do not want the added scent of carrier oil. It has a shelf life up to 1 year.
Cold Pressed Apricot Kernel Oil contains Vitamins A, C & E, as well as lineolic and aolic acids, a good source of unsaturated fats. It is helpful for acne, eczema and skin disorders. This is light oil that moisturizes and balances skin tone, which makes it one of the most popular oils for facial products. It does not clog pores. It has a shelf life up to 1 year.
Cold Pressed Evening primrose Oil is high in essential fats that aid inflammation, which make it helpful for arthritis, acne, eczema and allergies. It has a shorter shelf life of 6-9 months. Add drops of Vitamin E to blends and mix with another carrier oil to extend the shelf life of a blend.
Cold Pressed Grapeseed Oil is high in bioflavonoids, antioxidants and lineolic acids. Grapeseed oil is readily absorbed. I often make a carrier mix of 1/3 Grapeseed and 2/3 of another carrier oil to boost the nutrition of the blend and increase the shelf life of the Grapeseed oil. Grapeseed is a more volatile oil, reacting to oxygen more readily and has a shelf life of only 3-6 months.
Cold Pressed Hazelnut Oil is a good source of B complex Vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and calcium -- all of which improve skin tone and circulation. It is a good choice for face and skin care. It is dry oil, so it does not leave an oily residue on the skin. It has a shelf life of up to 1 year.
Cold Pressed Jojoba Oil most closely resembles the sebum of the skin. It is readily absorbed and works well in mixtures for skin care, aging skin, and perfumes. It has a high Vitamin E content, which makes it helpful in reducing scars and injuries, and is nourishing to abused skin and hair. It is helpful to those with rosacea. It will not harm the eyes. It does not react readily to oxygen, so it is stable with a long shelf life of 2 or more years. It is a great massage oil for mature skin.
Cold-Pressed Olive Oil is a very healthy, readily absorbed mono-saturated fat high in Vitamins A & E. It’s soothing to rub on the skin during illness. I also use it as a healthy alternative to mineral oil (a petroleum based product) on babies and young children. Olive oil is economical and a great general carrier oil. Women have used it for thousands of years to mend split ends and give nourishment and shine to hair. It is stable and doesn’t go rancid for up to 2 years when stored properly.
Rose Hip Seed Oil (Rosa rubiginosa) essential oil is high in both Linoleic fatty acid and Linolenic fatty acids (Vitamin F). The body does not produce these but they are required for good cell health. These benefit the body by reducing scars, wrinkles and nurturing healthy skin cells. It can reduce the size of pores. It is high in Vitamin A, so it is great for acne, pimples and boils. It is also helpful for burns and varicose veins. Rosehip seed oil has a shelf life of 6-9 months.
Cold Pressed Wheat Germ Oil is loaded with Vitamin B, Vitamin E, lineolic and linoleic acids, which are helpful to the heart, healthy cholesterol and tissues. It has octacosanol, helpful to muscle health and strength. I use wheat germ in any blend where I am aiding muscle injury, burns or wounds. It is a thick and somewhat sticky oil, but very stable with a shelf life up to 2 years. I use 10% Wheat Germ and 90% of another carrier oil to minimize that sticky feeling.
Nature’s PreservativeVitamin E Oil contains tocopherols, which are naturally occurring antioxidants and less reactive to oxygen. Vitamin E is commonly added to carrier oils and essential oil blends to extend their shelf life. If I am making any blend that has carrier oil and I anticipate that I will be using it for more than a few weeks, I add 5-10 drops (or 5% of the mixture) of Vitamin E to extend the shelf life of the blend. It is great nutrition for the skin, too.
These essential oils are potent. Imagine tons of plants distilled into gallons of essential oils. Treat them respectfully!
Bath: Relaxation, relief from colds, aches or pains can be served from bathing in essential oils. Place 10-15 drops of a blend or single oil in an adult bath and enjoy. Some users prefer to mix the oils into a cup of milk and add it to the bath for better dispersing. Add milk when you first turn the water on before it gets too hot. The milk will warm with the water and prevent curdling.
Blends: Rashes, burns, skin diseases, varicose veins, upset tummies, torn ligaments, tired, inflamed or injured muscles, injured bones, skin and organ support and illnesses can all be aided using an essential oil or blend in a carrier oil.
Compress: Oils can be applied externally and then compressed with wet or dry heat for 10-20 minutes to help the oils sink deep into tissue, muscle and bone.
Diffuser: Diffusers use pressure to put essential oils in the air without heat. They are absorbed through breathing. Diffusers are helpful to clear the air during outbreaks. They are very helpful aids for colds, sinus infection, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis, lung and respiratory issues. They disinfect the environment for mold, fungus, and airborne illnesses. Essential oils may also be diffused to create calm, peaceful environment, improve concentration and enhance meditation. For example, Lemon and Rosemary increase concentration. Peppermint or Orange increase alertness and aid a sense of well -being. Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage or Bitter Orange help clear and balance the emotions.
When dealing with lung issues, inhale lightly and step away to ensure there is no sensitivity or reaction to the oil before using.
DO NOT PUT CARRIER OILS IN A DIFFUSER. They will clog the diffuser.
Don’t have a diffuser? Place a drop of essential oil on a cotton ball or plain Kleenex and breathe in.
Footbath: Athlete’s foot, fungus, dry skin, relaxation and general foot health can be served by a footbath. Place 3 or 4 drops of a single oil or blend in very warm water and soak until the water is cool.
Internal Use: Some practitioners advise against taking any oil internally. Others suggest that essential oils should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. I list some here that I am comfortable using internally. Use your own intuition or consult with a practitioner. It is important to use only the highest quality oils for this purpose.
Massage Therapy: Massaging muscles can relax, release stress, emotions and improve muscle tone; aid in healing muscle, tendon or ligament injuries; and increase circulation of both blood and lymph. Essential oils are a natural complement to massage.
“Neat:” There are some circumstances where I have found it helpful and very effective to place oil straight on the skin without a carrier oil. This should be done cautiously to avoid skin reactions, especially on children. Never put oil “neat” on the sensitive skin of the face, except the temples where noted.
Steam method: Place a drop or two of essential oils into a bowl of boiling water and place a towel over the head. Lower the face towards the bowl, close eyes and breathe deeply under the towel tent for several minutes. Break and repeat multiple times until the water is cool. The steam method is helpful for lung issues, sinus infections, runny noses or cold symptoms. Repeat several times a day until clear. The Steam method is also helpful for acne or as a rejuvenating facial.
Toxicity: Remember, essential oils are concentrated so any essential oil can become toxic. The “more is better” philosophy is not true. Wintergreen, pennyroyal, savin, calamus, rue, wormseed, mugwort and others contain qualities that can be harmful if used improperly. These should be avoided without the help of a skilled practitioner.
(Dilute In A Carrier Oil)
When using more than one essential oil to create a blend, mix the essential oils first so they can synergize or blend together. Then add the carrier oil to the essential oils. Mixing the essential oils first also assures they will be evenly distributed in the carrier oil.
Test Patch: It is best to mix and test a new essential oil in carrier oil on a small area of an arm or leg first to make sure there is not sensitivity before using the oil.
How long should I use the oils? In cases of itchy skin, rash, allergies, or a headache, use them as needed or until the rash or itch is completely gone. When I have a cold, infection, etc. I use the essential oils until I feel well and all my symptoms are relieved.
For long-term storage, keep essential oils and blends in a cool, dark place. Once opened, they have been exposed to oxygen and as the bottle empties, oxygen exposure increases in the empty space inside the bottle. For this reason, we only sell 5 ml bottles (they will retain the most potency).
Most essential oils are good for at least a year once opened. I store oils at about 60 degrees in a dark cabinet. I have oils that I have had for more than two years that have been opened, and their potency is still strong. The exception is citrus oils, which are delicate and begin to lose their potency in 90-120 days after being opened. There are exceptions: Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, and essential oils that have been extracted through the CO, CO2 or traditionally distilled are more stable and the oils can improve with age. These aromatics become mellower, richer or deeper – when stored properly.
Why Use Miron Bottles ?
UV-A rays and visible light along with exposure to oxygen and excessive heat cause essential oils to decay and lose their potency. Preventing exposure to UV-A rays and light is a major factor in preserving the life and vitality of these precious oils. Miron glass has been proven in preventing UV-A rays from penetrating glass bottles. Miron bottles may cost a little more, however, we have found the extended shelf life to be more than worth the extra cost and so have our customers.
Maximize the Benefits of Your Oils
Do you have an old essential oil you don’t know what to do with? I use the most potent oils on skin, in breathing treatments and internally. When they’ve lost some of their potency, I move them to the bathroom and use them regularly in my baths. If I have old oils that are antibacterial or antiviral, I add them to my dishwasher or washing machine.