A diffuser and essential oils work in harmony like a gentle breeze dispersing the perfumed fragrance of honeysuckle flowers from the vine into the air. If you’ve ever rubbed rosemary or lavender leaves between your thumb and forefinger, the aroma that lingers on your fingertips is from the volatile oils (essential oils) released from a gland in the plant.
Essential oils are the natural, aromatic extracts from botanicals. Plants contain varying compounds; extracted essential oils may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal or antiseptic properties.
Diffusing pure, therapeutic essential oils to promote harmony and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit through the senses is referred to as Aromatherapy. As the scent reaches the smell receptors in the nose, it continues to travel along the nerves in the olfactory system to affect the limbic system in the brain, thus affecting the whole person. Diffusing essential oils can evoke a wide range of emotions, as varied as the fragrances emitted. They can have a calming or stimulating effect, improve mental clarity or help clear congested nasal passages. Diffusing essential oils also removes odors in the air, instead of masking them, and can destroy airborne germs and bacteria.
Choosing a Diffuser and Essential Oil
Essential oils and diffusers can be purchased from local health food stores, essential oil distributors and online shops. Synthetic fragrances are not a good substitute for pure, therapeutic essential oils. Dispersing artificial fragrances into your home can lead to allergies and asthmatic reactions. Always use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.
Diffusers are available in a variety of shapes. Select a cool water diffuser for maximum health benefits. Heat can destroy the beneficial properties in essential oils. Ultrasonic, cool water diffusers use high frequency ultrasonic technology, instead of heat, to vibrate the water inside the unit, and release a fine, fragrant beneficial mist into the air.
Diffusers are easy to use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which often include essential oil blend recipes. Add water to the reservoir and several drops of one essential oil or a combination, and then plug the unit into a standard electrical outlet. Diffusers generally run about four hours.
DIY reed diffusers can be used with essential oils, although they emit very little fragrance. If buying a reed diffuser ensure that it contains no synthetic oils or artificial fragrances. Reed diffusers do not produce a therapeutic mist, like a cool water diffuser, but can be used in the home to add a touch of fragrance naturally.
Where to Use Essential Oil Diffusers
Depending on the essential oils selected, diffusers can be used indoors in every room occupied in the home for many purposes: to refresh and invigorate, to soothe and calm, to eliminate unpleasant odors and kill germs, to purify the air, ease a headache, and enhance concentration when studying or working at a computer.
Diffusing Essential Oil Blend Recipes
Consult the manufacturer’s suggested care and instructions to determine how much water and oils to use in your diffuser. Many essential oil companies include free recipes with their products. The following are provided by NOW Solutions:
Mental Focus Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 3 drops of eucalyptus oil, 2 drops each of peppermint oil and tangerine oil.
Energizing Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 1 drop each of peppermint oil, and rosemary oil and 2 drops of cinnamon oil.
Purifying Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 1 drop each of tea tree oil and grapefruit oil and 10 drops of lemon oil.
Relaxing Blend – Add the following oils to a diffuser with water and enjoy: 10 drops of lavender oil, and 6 drops of chamomile oil.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.