What is essential oil?

Essential oil comes from plants. It is also called volatile oil or essential oil. Nowadays there is synthetic essential oil for sale, but it has no effectiveness; it just smells nice. If you want to use essential oil for its medicinal properties, evocative aromatic benefits or to search for the right balance within yourself, always use essential oil on a natural basis. Not all plants contain essential oil. Some say that only 1% of species in the plant kingdom have essential oils while others think that 30% of plants have essential oils. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.


  • Difference between essential oil and essential oil
  • Mix with base oil or carrier oil
  • Aromatherapy
  • Different types of essential oil
  • Essential oil production
  • What are essential oils used for?
  • Aromatherapy: bathing
  • Aromatherapy: Inhalation
  • Aromatherapy: Evaporation
  • Aromatherapy: Massage
  • Safety of using essential oils

Difference between essential oil and essential oil

Essential oil is sometimes called essential oil. That certainly happens in English-speaking countries. The word essential oil comes from essence, which means extract. If you speak of essential oil in Dutch when you mean essential oil, you are making an Anglicism. In Dutch, essential oil means something completely different; that is a component of oil that is suitable for consumption such as hemp oil or olive oil. Essential oil is omega 3 or omega 6 fats. If you even want to do research on essential oils, pay attention to this difference in meaning in English articles. It is important to understand that there are virtually no essential oils that you can take by mouth, while essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are widely used in meals.

Mix with base oil or carrier oil

Essential oils are used by mixing them with a base oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil. This is because a pure essential oil is too strong for the skin. By mixing essential oil with a base oil, also called a carrier oil, and putting it in a bottle, you make an oil that you can use regularly. This way you can make an oil that suits your situation. Another way to use essential oil is to put it in a bath. You can also prepare a steam bath with it.


Essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oil to balance and care for body and mind. Bathing, steam baths and rubbing the skin are three ways to use essential oils. In some cases you can even apply aromatherapy by smelling a bottle of essential oil. You can easily learn to use an essential oil yourself.

Different types of essential oil

There are different types of essential oils. The oil is always extracted from plants, but from different parts of plants. It can be extracted from the roots, wood, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruits. There are several reasons why plants produce essential oil. Plants live in symbiosis with the insect kingdom. Some plants produce an odorant that a certain insect also uses; this makes them attract insects. In this way they fool the insect and the plant is fertilized by the insect touching the stamens and pistils in the flower. Another fact is that essential oils can actually deter insects so that they do not eat the plant. A plant also defends itself against fungi and bacteria by producing special essential oils. Furthermore, you might think that humans live in a symbiosis with plants because plants produce medicinal essential oils that are important to people. Various medicinal plants have essential oils.

Essential oil production

It takes 500 kilos of lavender to produce one liter of lavender oil. It takes 50 to 100 roses to make one drop of rose essential oil. That’s a lot. You immediately understand why essential oil can be quite expensive. Fortunately, you only need a little and it comes in small bottles so the price is reasonable. It is very labor intensive to make essential oil. It often comes from countries where labor is cheap. Lavender is widely grown in France and Great Britain, which are Western countries where production forces are relatively expensive. So that kite doesn’t always fly.

What are essential oils used for?

Broadly speaking, there are six categories of products for which essential oils are used:

  • Perfumery,
  • Flavorings,
  • Fragrances,
  • Cosmetic products,
  • Pharmaceutical products,
  • Aromatherapy.

Of these six ways to use essential oils, aromatherapy is the least commonly used, contrary to popular belief. Only 5 to 10 percent of essential oils produced worldwide are used for aromatherapy. Essential oil is most commonly used for preparing perfumes. In addition, many essential oils are flavoring agents. Earlier in this article it says that you should never swallow essential oil and that is correct. But a very small amount is used in the preparation of food. For example, chocolate is often mixed with peppermint oil or citrus oil. There are also essential oils in drinks, pickles and sauces. Essential oil can be used as a fragrance in a washing powder, cleaning product, massage oil or air freshener. Camphor, eucalyptus and peppermint are the most commonly used essential oils in cosmetics. Toothpaste, rubbing agents and creams may contain essential oils.

Aromatherapy: bathing

You can take an extra relaxing bath by using an essential oil. It is recommended to use a maximum of four drops of one type of essential oil or three drops of two types of oil. A good relaxing combination is three drops of lavender and three drops of sandalwood. You simply let the drops fall on the surface of the water and then run your hand through the bath to ‘loosen’ the oil. You can also first mix the oil with 20ml milk; This is especially recommended for people with sensitive skin. Instead of a regular bath, you can also take a foot bath. Clove essential oil is only suitable for a foot bath.

Aromatherapy: Inhalation

Inhalation of essential oils is mainly done to open the airways. It helps with nasal and sinus congestion, flu and colds. You fill a bowl with boiling water and add two drops of eucalyptus oil and two drops of tea tree oil. Then take a towel and spread it over your heads and inhale the aromas of the rising vapor for 15 to 20 minutes. If you have glasses or wear contact lenses, you must remove them first, otherwise the glasses will fog up or irritate the lenses.

Aromatherapy: Evaporation

There are two ways to evaporate essential oil. First, there is the ceramic evaporator. This works because a tea light heats a bowl on which the essential oil drops are placed. Another way is an electric vaporizer. When using this, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A vaporizer gives the whole house a pleasant aroma. You can choose to dispel unpleasant odors. You can do this, for example, with a lemon oil aroma. You can also create a mood that suits you by using a different essential oil. Use either four drops of one oil or two oils with three drops of each.

Aromatherapy: Massage

You can give a massage an extra touch by using an essential oil that suits the person being massaged. It is important to dilute the essential oil. You can dilute ten drops of essential oil with 20ml of jojoba, almond or grapeseed oil. Children and the elderly need half as much essential oil because their skin is thinner. If you don’t have enough oil to massage the entire body, simply add 20 drops to 40ml of oil, so double the amount.

Safety of using essential oils

There are a number of things you should pay attention to while using essential oils. Read these safety warnings before using anything; perhaps one of the situations below applies to you. Never use essential oils internally because they are concentrated substances that can cause internal damage if in excess.

  • Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding is wise to extra dilute the essential oil that is rubbed on the skin. You should always avoid using essential oil internally, but pregnant women should avoid this completely.
  • Never apply essential oil undiluted to the skin, always mix it with grapeseed oil, almond oil or jojoba oil. If you do not have sensitive skin, you can make an exception for lavender oil and tea tree oil; You can put two drops of this on a cotton pad and then apply it to the skin.
  • Essential oils from citrus fruits such as bergamot, grapefruit, orange, lemon and mandarin can cause allergic reactions on the skin when it comes into contact with the sun. Make sure that you do not come into contact with the sun’s rays for 12 hours after applying these oils.
  • You should not use rosemary essential oil if you suffer from high blood pressure; it is a stimulant.
  • In that case it is better to use ylang oil or lavender oil.
  • Rosemary oil may increase the frequency of epilepsy. So don’t take it if you suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy patients prefer to take calming oils such as neroli, sandalwood, orange,. You should not use essential oil during an epilepsy attack. If you are not having an attack, you can use an essential oil for a bath, steam bath or massage.
  • Babies and children have thinner skin. By the way, that is the reason why children are more likely to develop eczema. It is therefore important not to bathe babies endlessly and smear them with pharmaceutical products; this course of action can trigger eczema. Essential oils must also be handled much more moderately. For babies up to two years old, use one drop of Roman chamomile, rose or lavender oil in 20 ml of almond oil. Children aged two to 10 years should take half the adult doses. The bottle of essential oil that you buy in the store states exactly the dose and what it is for.
  • Children over 10 can receive the same dosage as adults.
  • People who are older sometimes have translucent skin. For them, all essential oil dosages should be halved.