This makes smell unique among our senses. Information we take in from our other senses travels first to another region of the brain, the thalamus, which acts as a relay station, passing along sensory data to the other parts of the brain that produce our sensory perceptions. Only smell moves directly to the brain’s emotion and memory center. That’s why those memories you associate with the scent of garden roses, or banana bread baking in the oven, come on so quickly and so strongly.

The great thing about these recipes, is that you can experiment and change them based on what you like! So if you start with the recipe, but find you need more, you can add in more! My diffusers are all mid-size and hold between 100-150 ml of water. These recipes are based on that size (most home diffusers are similar in size). You can still use these recipes with yours! If you find you need to add more oil since you’re adding more water, add in a few extra drops of each and see how that does for you. Sometimes in a large open space I find that I need to add in a little more myself. 😉 Hope that helps… have you tried any yet?? I’d love to hear which ones you like!
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I know I’ve said it quite a few times already, but when it comes to blending essential oils there is no “one right way” to do it. The same is true when it comes to essential oil blending ratios. Like most essential oil blending concepts, it comes down to what you like. With that said, I’m going to share a few of the simplest blending ratios I’ve personally used to help give you a place to start.

LAVENDER. This is the most popular essential oil for sleep and relaxation among my patients, and my first, general go-to recommendation for people looking to try aromatherapy for sleep. Lavender is a soothing scent that’s long been associated with relaxation and sleep, and used as a natural remedy for anxiety. Lavender is probably the most rigorously studied essential oil. A robust body of research shows lavender has anxiety reducing—or anxiolytic—effects, as well as beneficial effects on depression. Lavender can also help with pain relief, several studies show. One recent study showed aromatherapy using lavender oil reduced the need for pain medications in a group of 6 to 12-year-old children recovering from having their tonsils removed. Lavender also has sedative effects, meaning it can work directly to help you fall asleep. A number of studies point to lavender’s effectiveness for sleep: improving sleep quality, increasing sleep amounts, and elevating daytime alertness, including in people with insomnia.
A quick thank you while my 15 month old son is sleeping. So glad I found you on my motherhood journey.  After 17 years of being childless (but envisioning a future life with a calm and peaceful soul), I gave birth at 43 to a larger-than-life, highly spirited, vocal baby whom I couldn’t relate to. Everyday has been a challenge to meet his ever increasing needs.  Your guidance has helped organize me and prepare me mentally more than any other blog or support group, thank you.
Word of Caution: The use of essential oils for sleep problems is very popular, but it is important to consider the side effects that some of these oils may have. They are packed with active compounds and chemicals that could negatively interact with medications, exacerbate health conditions, irritate the skin, disturb the stomach, cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low, or leave you feeling fatigued or sluggish. Each oil has individual components and risks, so additional research is necessary before you add one to your daily health regimen. Furthermore, you should always discuss your personal risks before using one of these potent essential oils for sleep.
*sigh* this EO thing is so overwhelming. I can’t find anything that says what to do once you’ve mixed an oil blend. Do you apply it to a specific part of the body? I am looking for blends that will focus and calm myself and 8 yr old son…Both for home and school/work. I am seeing several blends to try…but don’t know what to do with them when they’re created. Any help?
I’ve never used it before, Joan, but I would imagine a little would go a long way and that it would be a great addition to muscle blends! I’d also guess it would fall into the “spicy” category of essential oils, and I would also decrease its total amount in any blend I made it in as it’s probably a very strong oil. I do use cayenne along with some other essential oils in the muscle rub blend that I make for my medicine cabinet. You can find that recipe in my How To Make Herbal Ointments, Salves, and Balms: The Ultimate How-To Guide if you’re interested.
Anyway… thank you for this post! I have been interested in making custom blends but I know enough about oils to understand mixing them changes the compounds and effects of the constituents, and the order in which they are mixed will influence the properties, too. But I don’t know anything beyond that such as what to combine and how to go about blending. This is a great and easy to understand introduction. Thank you! And if you have a link to the article you mention having read on the topic of quality and labels, Meagan, I’d love to read it, too!

Back in the early days of Growing Up Herbal, I made herbal skincare products for children and sold them on Etsy. Those days were full of hurdles… learning about setting up shop, getting comfortable marketing my business, and refining my product line. Business was slow, and I felt like I’d never get ahead and have a successful shop. Sales trickled in sporadically. Customers would make small purchases, but they rarely came back to buy again. My products were never featured anywhere, and traffic to my shop was pitiful.


From my understanding and research (and I’m not an aromatherapist), all essential oils have particular qualities of smell as far as which are smelled first and which last a short while vs. a long while. This is why you blend them together based on those qualities (which are categorized as “notes”) so you can smell each oil among the others and have your blend last longer. Do you have to follow that rule? Of course not. If you’re making blends that are going to smell great and last a good while, should you follow that rule? Probably… I don’t know for sure as I’m not an aromatherapist and I don’t make perfume blends often.
Hey Shelley! Good for you for starting to add EOs to your soaps. I love scented, homemade soaps! As for what oils to mix with the ones you already have, let me direct you back to the post on blending. It will help you find other EOs to add to the ones you have and to come up with blends that work for your soaps. Figure out what categories and notes the oils you have are and then work on finding other oils that complement them. It’s hands on. You have to get oils and try out different blends and decide on what YOU like. Lastly, “apple” is not an essential oil… it’s a fragrance oil and it isn’t considered natural. If you’re going for “all natural” soaps and scents you may want to rethink that one. You could replace it with chamomile as many people think chamomile has an apple-like scent. You’ll need to decide if Roman chamomile or German Chamomile is better. Thanks for your comment, and I hope this has helped you some.
They make jewelry now that can hold oils…like lava stones, which you can put a few drops right on…and, several different types, depending on how many stones…..or a necklace that holds stones, or a little piece of felt, or a little cloth ball. The jewelry has a spot that opens and closes, so you can add whichever method, and scent you choose. My son wears a lava stone bracelet for his anxiety, and then some veviter to help his ADD. I have several pieces that I use for myself. Google them, or look on Ebay or Amazon.
Hi, Dorothy. Great question, and this may be something you’ll want to run by an aromatherapist as they have more training in how EOs are made. But, from my understanding, whether the essential oil is extracted via steam (water), alcohol, or CO2… none of that comes through in the final product. As in, you don’t actually have water or alcohol or CO2 in the final essential oil. So, when you’re blending, you’re actually blending oil with oil regardless of the extraction process and emulsifiers aren’t needed. Now, I could be totally wrong there. Again, you’ll need to ask someone more knowledgeable in that area. Hope this helps.
Asking these questions can help you to know whether you’re finding accurate information that you can trust or not. There are plenty of websites out there dedicated to teaching others about essential oils and aromatherapy whether it’s a school for essential oil studies, a company that sells essential oils, or a blogger who loves to share what she’s learning about them (and references her sources!).
It’s best to start slowly. Start with 8-10 drops of essential oils in the diffuser. Over time, you could add more as needed, up to about 15 drops or as directed on your diffuser product manual. You can diffuse for as little as 15 minutes or a few hours. Set up the diffuser in your bedroom and let it run all night for a restful night’s sleep. You can run a diffuser in a child’s room too but be sure to use oils that are suitable for kids and leave the door open so the room can air out.

You’re totally right… I’m not a certified aromatherapist therefore I don’t treat or consult with people on EO use. However, I do share good info I’ve learned and a few recipes here and there. But, like you said, there’s good info out there to be learned, and I think it’s important for people to take the info (mine included) and go check it out with research of their own. There are people who are smart and self-taught in certain areas, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect… we all need to double check things, you know.
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That’s okay, there’s a better way… use a diffuser with therapeutic-grade essential oils instead. I know it’s a little overwhelming when you first get a diffuser and essential oils, so I put together this list of my favorite essential oil diffuser recipes. First thing to remember is to follow the manufacturers directions on your diffuser for how to clean, type of water to use, number of drops of essential oil, etc.
This reason alone makes it important to choose the right diffuser and my advice to reap all of the benefits of essential oils is to stick with a cold-air, nebulizing or ultrasonic diffuser. I DO keep a little plugin diffuser in my car, although that one does heat up, so I know I’m getting the calming benefits of the scents, but I may be losing out on some of the other aromatherapy effects. 
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