Essential Oils 101

 In Education

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular, but with the vast selection of brands, types and scents, it can be overwhelming. You see them being used on the temples during savasana at your local yoga studio, being diffused at your co-worker’s desk, or even find them aligning the shelves in your local health food store. Why are they used? With so many different choices, where do you even start?

Understanding the Different Grades

Not all essential oils are the same. With varying ingredients and qualities, it’s important to read the labels in entirety before use. Essential oils are broken down into different grades and are usually written clearly.

Grade A are the highest quality and are considered therapeutic grade, Grade B is considered food grade or ingestible (but please check the label to make sure since not all ingredients should be consumed), and Grade C, the lowest quality, is considered perfume grade, or used purely for its scent qualities.

It’s often easy to distinguish the differences between the quality of one grade over another, just by the scent alone. Also, the lower the grade, the less natural the oil will be and the higher chance it can contain dangerous synthetic ingredients. If you are thinking about buying essential oils, for you and your family, go with a reputable brand you can trust.


Essential oils can be used therapeutically in several ways. The most aromatic way to use essential oils is to diffuse them in an oil diffuser. Simply add a few drops of your favorite oil in distilled water and turn on your machine to evenly fill your home or office with the invigorating and nurturing scents from nature.

Another common use for essential oils is direct topical use. For this, we recommend using a carrier oil such as almond, olive or fractionated coconut oil when applying essential oils directly to the skin. Simply rub on hands, soles of the feet, pressure points or back of the neck for the direct healing benefits of the oils.

Maybe you have had a terrible headache all day and nothing seems to help. Smelling the scent of peppermint tends to cool you down and can ease tension. Others use food grade essential oils, like oregano oil, to bake and cook with and receive benefits from ingestion. Every essential oil has its own unique properties and uses.

Starting Your Own Essential Oil Cabinet

So, what essential oils are good to start with? Here is a list of some of the most popularly used oils to have in your home:

Lavender – Benefits: relieves stress & anxiety, induces sleep, improves blood circulation, boosts immunity and used in hair care, helps burns, helps treat scars

Eucalyptus – Benefits: removes mental exhaustion, relieves muscle pain, treats pneumonia, acts as a room freshener, helps respiratory system

Thieves – Benefits: boosts digestion, strengthens immune system, home cleaner (antibacterial properties), fights flu

Tea Tree – Benefits: antiviral, acne control, fungicide (ringworm), antiseptic, hair care, nail fungus, treats lice

Peppermint – Benefits: relieves headache, reduces stress, treats respiratory problems, improves blood circulation, aids in digestion, helps relieve colicky pain

Frankincense – Benefits: Relieves stress, reduces scars, boosts immune system, delays aging, helps with skin issues, can cross the blood-brain barrier, been shown to help with cancer treatment, helps with head trauma such as concussion

We carry several therapeutic grade essential oils in our apothecary here at The Franz Center. We hope you will give them a try and begin to experience the positive benefits of using essential oils in your everyday life.

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