Essential Oils 101… What are they and how do I use them?

My story..

When I first heard about essential oils from a family member awhile back who was using them in her family for health and to treat her children’s illnesses, I admit I was a little skeptical. I had heard of them (and that is to say I knew only a little), but when she spoke to me about the type of results she was seeing, the skepticism started to grow into more of a curiosity.. and that is how I came to make my first purchase of dōTERRA oils.

Shortly after purchasing them, I had a rash of the flu go through my family and realized hey, I have these oils, maybe I should use them! I didn’t know much, but after doing a very minimal amount of reading that came with the oils I had on hand, I was able to treat fever, sore throats, and tummy aches! After that it seemed to just steamroll, all of the uses I found for them. My husband hurt his knee in a game of touch football so I started treating his ACL injury with oils.. My youngest had a tonsillectomy so I treated his pain with oils.. My middle aged son had allergies and I started using them on him.. It all just kept building and I realized how many things I could treat my family with naturally instead of synthetically. Some time thereafter I started Acupuncture school and I started my pre-requisite courses for Traditional Chinese Medicine and for Essential Oil uses and my passion for EO’s through my study and research just deepened.

My ‘ah-ha’ moment after coming across an article in my studies that talked about treating ADHD with essential oils. My oldest son suffers from ADHD (and I can promise you there are days I get so frustrated with his behavior, but deep down I know that it is my job to help him grow). We had used four different medicines over a period of five years to treat his ADHD, and all of them had side effects of one sort or another. So I began using the oils in lieu of his regular medicine and lo and behold.. I saw results! It was then that I really became a believer in the power of natural essential oils as actual medicine! So what are essential oils and how do you get started??

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant and have been used throughout history and in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits.  dōTERRA (CPTG) Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils represent the safest, purest, and most beneficial essential oils available today.


Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness and medicinal applications. The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic essential oils extensively in medical practice, beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony.  Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable currency and were sometimes exchanged for gold.

In modern times, the powerful healing properties of essential oils were rediscovered in 1937 by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who healed a badly burnt hand with pure lavender oil. A French contemporary, Dr. Jean Valnet, used therapeutic-grade essential oils to successfully treat injured soldiers during World War II. Dr. Valnet went on to become a world leader in the development of aromatherapy practices.


There are a growing number of products claiming to be or to contain essential oils. Unfortunately, there are no industry standards that test for the actual quality and purity of essential oils. The only standard is that there has to be 10% of the actual oil in a bottle to be labeled 100%  pure. That is very misleading as an off brand essential oil can contain synthetic oils, residues, pesticides and toxins and only 10% of the actual medicinal oil.

dōTERRA is the only essential oil on the market that is third party tested to insure quality and are guaranteed to be 100% pure,  natural and free of synthetic compounds or contaminates. Being third party tested means they are subjected to rigorous mass spectrometry and gas chromatography testing to ensure extract composition and activity. But what does that really mean? It means that dōTERRA is the only brand who can say they are therapeutic grade, and can be used internally for medicine.. (i.e. this stuff is actually pure!) This matters on a multitude of levels when considering treating your health with essential oils. Quality and purity matters so that you receive the maximum effect and benefit that the oil has to offer, otherwise, what you think you are using as medicine may be only a small amount of the actual medicine and a whole lot of filler that is useless to your health.

How do I use essential oils?

There are a number of ways to use oils including using them in your cooking and cleaning, but the most common ways to use essential oils are aromatically, topically, and internally.


This is the one most people have heard of because we have all heard of aromatherapy before, although we may not have looked at it as a serious method of curing and preventing illness, nor changing one’s mood.. Our sense of smell, however, can be incredibly useful however in healing the body and mind. Certain essential oils, when diffused in the air, can be very stimulating while others can be calming and soothing. Beyond emotional benefits,  diffusing essential oils can purify air of unwanted odors and some airborne pathogens, which is helpful if you are dealing with sickness in the home. Low or no-heat essential oil diffusers are recommended because they do not change the chemical structure of the oil from heat. Essential oils can also also be used as cleansing and purifying additives to laundry and surface cleaners throughout the home.


This method involves applying the oils directly to the skin on places like the feet, neck, chest, forehead, or directly onto an affected area (when treating a rash, for instance, or inflamed joints or sore muscles) In this method the body absorbs the oils directly into the bloodstream which has immediate benefits because the body absorbs the oils quickly and effectively. Applying oils topically can be challenging and needs to be met with a bit of caution however, especially when using oils to treat children. It is recommended to mix stronger oils half and half with fractionated coconut oil so that it doesn’t affect sensitive skin (e.g. that of a baby or small child.)


This method was the newest method for me to learn about, because before I started using essential oils in my family and learning about dōTERRA products, I didn’t know that essential oils could be taken internally for medicinal benefit. They can be powerful antioxidants and used for to fight illness, pain, allergies and much more, including using them as a dietary supplement as well. To take oils internally, you can use veggie caps, or mix the oils into water (or maybe honey) and ingesting them. It is important to note that this method is only recommended if you use dōTERRA essential oils, as other oils are cut with fillers and are not therapeutic grade, and therefore not as healthy to digest internally. Not all oils can be ingested as well (like wintergreen for instance), so make sure to do your homework on which kinds of EO’s can be taken internally. The dōTERRA bottles are all clearly marked with how they are recommended to be administered.

Common Uses:

Headache: Peppermint,  Rosemary, Deep Blue Blend, Past Tense Blend T: Apply on temples, back of neck,  forehead. A: Diffuse or inhale directly.

Allergies:  Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint T: Apply on sinuses and bottom of feet I: Take 2 drops lavender, lemon and peppermint in empty gel capsule or glass of water, swish in mouth for 20 second and then swallow.

Sore throat: Lavender,  Lemon T: Apply Lavender to neck to soothe I: Add 2-3 drops of lemon to a spoonful or local honey and ingest to soothe sore throats.

Congestion: Eucalyptus,  Peppermint, Breathe Blend T: Apply to chest, neck, back and feet. Apply Breathe to nostrils. A: Diffuse. Inhale directly or from water vapor.

Colds: On Guard Blend,  Thyme, Lemon, Melaleuca, Frankincense, Oregano T: 2 to 4 drops applied topically to the feet, chest, or throat A: Diffuse. Inhale directly or from water vapor.

Cough: Breathe Blend,  Melaleuca, Eucalyptus, On Guard Blend T: Apply on throat and chest A:  Diffuse

Diarrhea: DigestZen Blend,  Peppermint, Ginger, Geranium I: 1-2 drops of DigestZen, Peppermint and Ginger in empty capsule. T: Apply to abdomen. Use a warm compress.

PMS: Clary Sage, Solace Blend T: Apply on abdomen, lower back, shoulders, or feet. Massage. Warm compress.

Scrapes, Cuts, Rashes:  Lavender, Melaluca, Frankincense T: Apply 1-2 drops to affected area directly

T: Topically A: Aromatically I:  Internally

This is just a very short list, there are so many ways to use essential oils for your health! You can use them in your home and cleaning regimens, to aid in beauty treatments (anti-aging, reducing scars,  acne), for weight loss, dietary health and even to fight fatigue and help combat stress and anxiety!

Find out more about essential oils, their uses, ordering and more at