Getting Started With Essential Oils

Essential oils can be confusing. Chances are you’ve heard someone mention buying oils from a mid-level marketing company (MLM), or you’ve seen them on the shelf at the grocery store or pharmacy. But what are they used for? Why do you need them in your life? Maybe you think they sound “hippie-dippy” or hokey and you’re not sure if they’re effective (or safe). That’s what SAM’s is here for: to get you acquainted with the somewhat intimidating world of essential oils, and their many uses.

First off, what is an essential oil? Wikipedia will tell you that they are, “a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.” But what does that mean, really? Check out the video below to learn more about how oils are extracted from their plants.


Next, do essential oils really work? I’ll be honest; I used to think oils were just a marketing ploy. Something else to get people to spend money on in hopes of a more natural “cure” for whatever ailed them. I had numerous friends who were affiliated with various MLM’s hocking their oils as “the best” and “most pure” but I didn’t care. To me, those words were just advertising and further proof that I didn’t need their product in my life. Once in a while I’d humor a friend and buy an oil that smelled nice. I’d take their samples and tuck them away in my beauty sample drawer (yes, that is a thing). But I really wasn’t sold on essential oils, no matter how my friends tried to persuade me.

The turning point for me was when I started having trouble sleeping. For the last seven and a half years I’ve worked as a 911 dispatcher, stressful calls, long shifts, working nights, sleeping days, and trying to balance a personal life took their toll and I was tossing and turning every night (or day) until my alarm went off, only to do it all over again with the next shift. I tried over the counter sleeping aids, melatonin, blackout curtains, earplugs, everything I could think of. FINALLY, I gave in and ordered Lavender oil and a diffuser. It was a life changer. The smell of lavender wafting through the house at bedtime is practically narcotic for me. I’ve also picked up a mini-diffuser for the office to help tame my unruly co-workers.

So, which oils should I buy? With so many options out there, what makes “the best” oil? Don’t be fooled by marketing terms like, “therapeutic grade.” That makes it sound safe and effective, right? But why would you tell people that your product was anything less? So, after wading through a sea of MLM’s and the marketing terms that come along with them, how do we figure out what we really want to buy, and where?

Qualities you want in an essential oil:

  • Oil!!! (One with no additives, fillers, or anything that reduces the quality)
  • Preferably locally sourced

Where do we find such a thing?

  • Look for a company recommended and used by certified aromatherapists. These people have gone through a lot of training and education and aren’t likely to waste their time (and risk their clients) by using a subpar product.
  • Search for someone who either distills his or her own, or knows where their oils are coming by having a personal relationship with their suppliers.
  • While large corporations and MLM’s are the most visible suppliers, spend some time searching for smaller producers who are more likely to know where their plants are coming from, and can guarantee the quality of their product.

As always, contact SAM’s if you need assistance procuring an oil, or have any questions.

~Monica, SAM’s Social Media Manager

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