Common Essential Oil Terms


Essential Oil Application: Aromatic



Aromatic: Referring to plants or substances that have an aroma. Also refers to using essential oils by inhaling the aroma or a diffused mist of the oil through the mouth or nose—often referred to as aromatherapy.

“Aromatic application involves inhaling either a fine mist of the oil or a vapor of volatile aromatic components that have evaporated from the oil. Inhalation of the oil, or the aroma from the oil, can be a powerful way to affect memory, hormones, and emotions through the olfactory system. Inhalation of oils can also be a quick and effective way to affect the sinuses, larynx, bronchial tubes, and lungs” (Modern Essentials™, 7th Edition, p. 60).

  • Diffusing. The easiest way to spread essential oils throughout a room is with the aid of a diffuser. When diffuse, essential oils have been found to reduce the amount of airborne chemicals and to help create greater physical and emotional harmony.
  • Direct Inhalation. This is the simplest way to inhale the aroma of an essential oil in order to affect moods and emotions. Simply hold an opened essential oil vial to the face, and inhale. You can also apply 1-2 drops of oil on your hand, cup your hands over your mouth and nose, and inhale.
  • A nasal inhaler can also be a useful tool to carry around with you to use whenever you need to inhale a little oil.

Essential Oil Application: Internal



Internal: Internalizing an essential oil, typically through the mouth. Often taken in foods and beverages, but also may be internalized as a supplement in a capsule.

  • Sublingual. One of the most effective ways to take essential oils internally is sublingual. This refers to placing a drop or two of an essential oil under the tongue.
  • Capsules. Essential oils can also be taken internally with the aid of capsules. By using a capsule, you can bypass the unpleasant taste of some of the oils and allow the oils to descend to the right area of the body before dissolving to allow for greater absorption. It is common to place 1–10 drops of essential oil inside an empty capsule.
  • Beverage. Another way to take essential oils internally is to add them to a beverage. This is done simply by placing 1 drop of essential oil in 1–4 cups of your desired beverage (such as rice milk, almond milk, or water) before drinking.
  • Cooking. Essential oils can easily be incorporated into your cooking, as long as you remember that they are very concentrated. Usually only 1 drop is necessary, and sometimes even less.

Essential Oil Application: Topical



Topical: Applying an essential oil directly on the skin or other body surface.

  • Direct Application. Apply the oils directly on the area of concern. Sometimes it isn’t possible to apply the oils to the area of concern, so the next best areas to topically apply essential oils are on the feet, behind the ears, and on the wrists. These are the fastest absorbing areas of the body because they contain larger pores.
  • Massage. Massage is the stimulation of muscle, skin, and connective tissues using various techniques to help promote healing, balance, and connection. Essential oils can enhance the invigorating, relaxing, stimulating, or soothing feelings of massage.
  • Reflexology/Reflex Therapy

“Reflex therapy is a simple method of applying oils to contact points (or nerve endings) in the feet or hands. A series of hand rotation movements at those control points create a vibrational healing energy that carries the oils along the neuroelectrical pathways. The oils either help remove any blockage along the pathways or travel the length of the pathway to benefit the particular organ” (Modern Essentials™, p. 48). Refer to our reflex hand and foot charts for more information.

Essential Oil Application: Other

May be used for cleaning
Simple Solutions

Carrier Oil:
A vegetable oil or liquid wax or fat that an essential oil is mixed with to dilute or spread out its properties.“A carrier oil refers to a vegetable oil, wax, fat, or other oil that an essential oil is mixed with. The carrier oil ‘carries’ the essential oil and dilutes it so its effects can be spread over a larger area” (Modern Essentials™, inside front cover). As mentioned above, carrier oils are pressed from the fatty portions of a plant. Carrier oils do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils.

Neat: Applying an essential oil without a carrier oil.