Essential Oils 101 – Methods of Application: Ingestion

QUE THE HORROR MUSIC!! The EVIL Marvelous Mess will be covering drum roll please…… INGESTION MUAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!!!! So before I start this I want to emphasize I am a certified Aromatherpist and I am also an essential oil distributor. Yes, you can be both. It’s possible. Ingestion is super controversial and I want to ease your mind about it. I feel like there is a happy medium to this topic, so let’s get to it! As usual, we’ll cover the scary stuff first.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Let’s just rip off the Essential Oil bandage here; it’s possible to drink an essential oil and die, it happens VERY RARELY, but it does happen and you should know that. Want to know how much it takes? A LOT. I’m talking something around a teaspoon (or more) for children or a 5ML bottle for adults of straight oil. With that being said, commonly used oils you should avoid ingesting are any species of Eucalyptus and Wintergreen. For the rest, if you are getting an essential oil from a company who promotes ingestion, the labels will either say dietary use or to not ingest.

Most of the time these oils are bad quality, so it’s really important to get pure  essential oils. Common adverse reactions with ingesting oils are: stomach irritation if you take too much undiluted and mouth sores if you ingest a hot oil undiluted. How can you avoid that you ask?

DILUTION, DILUTION, DILUTION!!!

I can’t stress this enough, you CAN safely take essential oils internally, but you’ve gotta dilute it. It helps dispersion by having those super small molecules attach to larger ones. There are several ways you can do this:

Diluting in Water

We all know oil and water don’t mix but this little trick helps! You put essential oil in a spoonful of honey and add it to your water. Another way you can do it is by cutting up some fruit in a bowl and adding oil to the fruit, that way you don’t have sweet water and it will give it a nice subtle flavor with therapeutic properties.

Sugar Cube, Honey, Cup of Milk, Charcoal Tablets

Any one of the items above you can add a few drops of oil to and consume them.

Veggie Capsules

You can get these cool little vegetable capsules and all you do is fill them up with a carrier oil like olive or coconut and add the desired amount of oils to it.

DOSAGE

Ingestion isn’t always the best way to apply an essential oil, sometimes the other methods will work more effectively when used with different body systems. You usually ingest essential oils when you would like to work on the digestive system or promote wellness with internal organs like your kidneys and liver. For dosage I would stick to one to three drops. You can take that dosage three times a day. A quick tidbit on oregano, if you use that for ingestion I suggest you take a probiotic along with it. Although its very effective at taking out germs it will wipe out all of the bacteria both good and bad and a probiotic will replace that.

In reality, most essential oils present little to no risk when used properly and ingestion is always a personal decision, if you feel comfortable doing it, great! If not, then don’t. Simple as that. If you want to take the super cautious route before you ingest an oil, consult a Certified Aromatherapist (like me) who is well versed in contraindications and therapeutic margin. Seriously, feel free to message me on Facebook or visit my Contact Me page and I’d be happy to help!

Essential Oils 101- Methods of Application: Topical

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. The skin regulates your body temperature, keeps bacteria out and excretes toxins out of your body through sweating. Most importantly, it circulates 33% of your blood. There are two layers to the skin, the epidermis which is about as thick as a piece of paper and the dermis which has got your blood vessels, nerve endings and hair follicles. When you apply an essential oil, the molecules are so crazy small that your porous skin rapidly absorbs it. Once the oil seeps into your hair follicles and sweat glands, it reaches the blood and is then dispersed throughout your entire body. Here are some things to look out for when applying essential oils topically:

PHOTOSENSITIVITY

There are some oils you want to avoid applying while the sun is out because they are more prone to absorb the sun’s rays and increase your chances of burning. There are two ways you can easily avoid these problems. 1. Apply them at night before bed 2. Apply them on skin that is covered by clothing. Most citrus oils are photosensitive as well as patchouli, some cedar wood varieties and clary sage. Again I just want to emphasize common sense on this one. If you apply clary sage on your ankles and are wearing shorts, you’re probably not gonna get burned.

IRRITATION

Irritation happens when you apply an oil that your skin considers abrasive and has a reaction. It would be red and irritated within about 5 minutes. If this happens, you can put a fatty carrier oil like coconut or almond oil on it to absorb it. Milk will also help.

SENSITIZATION

This reaction is a little different. As opposed to affecting your skin, your immune system would react. The essential oil attaches itself to a protein in your body and your body releases histamines. The result would be similar to an allergic reaction. In this case you can take an antihistamine (homeopathic or regular, your choice) and find another oil with the same chemical properties you’re looking for just from a different plant. The cool thing about oils is that they’re not like nut or shellfish allergies. You don’t have to swear off the whole category when you have a reaction to something in the family it belongs to.

Now that we’ve got the scary stuff outta the way! We can get into the fun stuff!

SKIN PATCH TESTING

Skin patch testing is one of those optional preventative things you can do to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction to essential oils. I personally don’t have sensitive skin and don’t do them anymore unless I know it’s a “hot” oil like peppermint, cinnamon or thyme. There are two ways you can do a skin patch test.

The first is to dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil cover it in a piece of gauze and wait 24 hours if there no reaction, you’re good to go! If there is, try diluting it a bit more and do it again. If there’s still a reaction then don’t use that oil topically, try diffusing it instead. If you have any type of sensitivity reaction though, do not diffuse it either.

The second way is to apply an essential oil “neat” meaning undiluted to the crook of your arm. Close your arm and wait five minutes, again see how your skin react and the same rules apply as above. I’m personally impatient and always do this option.

BASE OILS & DILUTION

Just like essential oils, base oils have different properties. Base oils are fatty and their molecules are bigger, which slows the absorption rate and also creates a barrier between your skin and the essential oil. If you do not have sensitive skin, you don’t need to dilute if you don’t want to. There are a lot of folks out there including myself who prefer to use them neat. Again, it’s totally your choice. If you like to err on the side of caution then by all means, dilute away! If you’d like to start using essential oils neat but want to start off with really mild ones try Lavender, Tea Tree and Chamomile. A few popular base oils are coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil.

Lastly, here is a handy dilution ratio chart they gave me in school to use as a reference:

Dilution Ratio Chart

**For Children and Preggos, stay in the 1-6% ratios**

HERE’S A FREE CHART TO DOWNLOAD AND HANG UP!

Dilution Ratio Chart

Carbonating Kombucha

So last week, we talked about how to make your very own kombucha for a fraction of the price. This post will cover how to kick your kombucha up a notch with flavoring and carbonation! Now that you have an active batch of tea, whenever you add more sugar the yeast in the tea will eat up the extra sugar creating CO2, naturally carbonating your batch of kombucha. Here’s the fun part- the sugar you use will be juice or a juice combination of your choosing. Another option you can use is fresh or dried fruit. This time I made pomegranate kombucha. Behold! DIRECTIONS:

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  1. 2 Cups of your favorite juice or fruit.
  2. Flip cap bottles (I got these), mason jars or any glass container that has a sealing lid. Make sure to get enough bottles to hold 1 gallon of liquid.

Optional Step 2 Equipment: A mesh strainer

STEP 1:

With clean hands remove your SCOBY and separate any babies that have grown, if you plan on giving them to friends (there’s a picture below of OG SCOBY which is darker looking compared to the brand new baby). Place them in clean jars along with ½ of a cup of your freshly fermented kombucha.

 

OPTIONAL STEP 2:

Strain your gallon of kombucha. Sometimes there are floating strands of yeast which are totally okay to drink, but I prefer to not have them in there.

STEP 3:

Pour your juice or fruit into your glass containers. The ratio for juice should be 10-25% juice to 75-90% kombucha. The ratio should be 30-10% fruit to 70-90% kombucha. In each of my 16oz bottles I poured ¼ cup of juice. I eyed it the first time I made it which worked just fine too!!

STEP 4:

Add your kombucha to your glass containers leaving 1 inch of head space or less (the less oxygen the better). I prefer to use a funnel and my beverage dispenser because I am a serious klutz.

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STEP 5:

Place your glass containers in a warm dark spot in your kitchen and wait 3 days to a week at the most. Too much time or heat can make kombucha shoot up to your ceiling (true story). CAREFULLY crack them open to release the pressure and then place them in the fridge, it slows down all the activity. You’re done son! Try not to drink them all in one sitting.

 

KOMBUCHA : Barney Style

You’ll find a recurring theme here on This Marvelous Mess. I like things that are cheap and as natural as possible, I also love preventative health. Kombucha fills all of those lovely little check boxes and since I made a batch this week, I figure I’d share how I make it and how awesome it is.

A friend asked me if I wanted a SCOBY to make kombucha. I of course had no idea what the heck she was talking about. It sounded like she was giving me a secret password to play a new hipster board game that came out or something, so I briefly googled it. Turns out kombucha is a fermented tea that’s supposed to be really good for you. I got the SCOBY from her and I was thinking it was going to be some special teapot that ferments tea for you… I WAS DEAD WRONG. She gave me a jar, in this jar was a byproduct of something apparently made from the slime in the Ghostbusters II movie. I wanted to make sure making a batch of this stuff was worth my time before I put my hands on that disgusting thing. Turns out SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, this little disc is filled with vitamins, probiotics and good-for-you acids. When you place the SCOBY into a batch of tea and wait a week or two BAM! You have kombucha. The SCOBY has now created a beverage that is great for your digestive and immune systems. Seriously, this thing saved me so much stomach pain postpartum. It costs $2-$5 a bottle at the store and I make a gallon of it for dirt cheap, and you can too. Winna winna chicken dinna. Here is a super easy step by step guide on how to make it, and stay tuned next Monday for a post on how to carbonate and flavor your kombucha!

What you’ll need:

  1. A SCOBY at room temperature in at least 1/2 of a cup of some starter tea. If there is no starter tea, purchase a bottle of unflavored kombucha from the store.
  2. 1/3 of a cup of green or black tea. If you are using tea bags just stick enough tea bags in a measuring cup to make the 1/3 mark and SKIP STEP 2.
  3. 1 Gallon of purified water
  4. 1 Gallon glass jar (I got mine HERE)
  5. Coffee filters
  6. A rubber band

STEP 1:

Boil the gallon of water and then shut it off once it’s done.

STEP 2:

Make a ginormous tea bag by putting your 1/3 cup of tea in a coffee filter and staple it shut, like this:
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STEP 3:

Steep your tea in the freshly boiled water, for five to ten minutes.

STEP 4:

Pour your tea in the glass jar and allow it to cool to the same temperature as your SCOBY and starter liquid,usually 12-24 hours.

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STEP 5:

Once your brewed tea is room temperature, using clean hands put your SCOBY in the batch of tea.

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STEP 6:

Add ½ of a cup of starter tea.

STEP 7:

Cover the top of the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band to allow the tea to breath and keep fruit flies out. Put the jar in a warm corner in your kitchen.

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YOU’RE DONE SON! Now pat yourself on the back and wait 1-2 weeks. The longer you wait the more sour it will be. You’ll be able to smell it becoming more similar to vinegar after a few days. After a week try a bit by using a straw to see if you like it or if you’d like to ferment it more. If you’d like to kick your “booch” up a notch try to carbonate and flavor it!