Maybe I should have put this just in "using essential oils in your life" because that's what I mean. Scenting a room? Your bedroom? Your bath? Your living space? Your office? To stimulate thinking and creative ideas? To help create a relaxing atmosphere? How about using a few drops of rosemary in your car? Add a drop to your hair or skin product, or just put a couple of drops in your hands, rub them together, and give your clothes a quick scent-over, or your hair. Feet tired at the end of a long day? You could add a couple of drops of peppermint, or lavender, or patchouli, to a little dish of oil and rub those feet and calves as you plop down to say hello to your family, or your partner, or your dog, or just doom-scroll twitter. How about that neck or back? Tension, stress, staring at a tiny screen, or a computer screen, or any kind of screen, anxiety, all these are day to day states of being now. Adding a few drops of essential oil to bath soap, massage oil, lotion, the room vaporizer.......all these are perfect ways to use essential oils.

It's not a great idea to drop them undiluted in the bath as they will float on top and maybe irritate your skin, but you can add a few drops to the washcloth at the end of your shower, and that's pretty fabulous. Just give yourself a once-over as or after you rinse off. Feeling gross? Add one drop only, maybe of lavender, to a little dish of very hot water, pull a towel over your head and steam your face for 5 minutes. Time it.

Add a couple of drops to your soap for handwashables. Put a drop of sandalwood oil on your third eye. Or rub your hands together and pat your body down with it before your morning stretches. Rub those hands together and inhale deeply at shivassana. The two-drops-in-hand-and-rub thing goes a long way and covers a lot of ground.

They say if you study and keep a bottle of rosemary open next to you, and then you should take some rosemary on cotton into the examination room. The smell itself will help you remember and double that for rosemary, as Shakespeare said "rosemary for remembrance."

You can actually make a nice experience for someone with memory loss, like dementia or Alzheimer's, by bringing some oils from the place where they spent time in early life. For example, years ago we had an elderly man come in to buy oils before he visited his friend, who was in advanced memory loss, and in a home. He had grown up in Vermont, and we chose conifer oils from Quebec. I'm sure that a subtle smell of black spruce gave a real sense of calm and connection and I like to think it cut through his confusion and fear. Essential oils go straight to the brain's limbic system, bypassing much of our consciousness. It's one reason they're so awesome.

It's often helpful to use a couple of drops on a cotton ball or a passive diffuser, next to your bed for better and a more relaxed sleep.

There's a ton of ways to use essential oils, and so many reasons to use them. We have an excellent book on Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia and you can see it here.

Chemotherapy--so many people talk about this. In my opinion, leave it. For me personally, when I did chemo, not only did I not want the oils around, but they smelled weird and violent. These essential oils are my old friends, so it seemed I would want them with me, but no. I bought a bottle of my father's cologne from when I was very young. That was way better, smell=association. The oils were waiting for me on the other side. Plus, again with the power of memory, chemo is often rough. Best not to associate anything with it that you will want to enjoy afterwards. Think of the fable about the fox with fleas. He took a stick an waded slowly into the river. The fleas fled higher and higher up his body until they were all gathered at his head. He submerged, with the stick still above the water. The fleas ran to the stick, which he then dropped into the river.

COVID asnomia or parosmia--This is a big thing now and there are lots of people full of advice about it. We don't really know how long it lasts and when you can expect to get your sense of smell back, but it could be very soon. Or it could take some time. Also, it's not that uncommon for people to get their sense of smell back, but it's weird, and this is parosmia, another fun COVID-inspired condition. It's where things smell weird, and often nauseating. Things that you know you love, smell hideous. This is a situation we see now with COVID recovery. If this happens to you, don't despair. Try not to freak out. Most likely it will rectify itself, and there is research going on to correct it. The best path seems to be smell-training and you can find out more at AbScent--it's a smell loss charity and more information can be found on its website,


Don't do these things

Don't take them by capsule. We can't recommend taking them internally at all, (except in food prep) but I can see how people might be willing to do this. If you insist, don't do more than a drop, preferably in honey. Don't put any essential oil, including frankincense, in a capsule and take it. Honestly, there is no reason to do this. Some people tell me its for the Boswellic Acids. They are not present in the essential oil, except possibly in a trace amount. Really, we know this. We have a frankincense distillery and accounts at several labs. We test all kinds of frankincense--resin, oil, hydrosol, detrius, etc. Boswellic acids are not a thing in the essential oil. Remember any essential oils you ingest by mouth will go directly to your liver, which is already overworked by trying to protect you from the toxic world we created, even if you eat all organic, vegan, clean, etc. It's still having a hard time. Try to cut it some slack.

Don't use them on your cat at all. They are too strong for cats. Your dog might be curious but don't push it. You can always show if asked by your pet. Seriously, don't put ANY essential oil on your animals fur for them to lick. It's cruel. Cats especially find this torturous. Dogs are sometimes attracted to an essential oil for a specific thing in which case they will let you know in unmistakable terms that they like that oil. And it's most likely a temporary thing. Then maybe they can lick your hand. Don't feed them capsules, or put oils on any animal. No exceptions. Remember your pet depends on you. Don't hurt them, no matter what anyone, or any book or online chat group says. Don't do it.

Obviously, keep essential oils out of your eyes, and off your mucus membranes. If you get burned, like for example by oils floating on the top of your bath that you are sitting in, (this happens a lot,) then don't panic, wash with soap, apply any fixed oil. It will burn like heck but will be over after some time. Don't feel dumb--we've all done it.

Keep them away from babies and little kids. Remember essential oils are crazy strong, and super concentrated. We, as adults, can usually deal, since we are out in the world, especially if we are already using essential oils. Kids don't have that yet. Take it easy with them. NEVER give them to kids to take orally.