From Your Head to Your Toes: Essential knowledge to get the most out of using your essential oils

This month, I began teaching an 8 week essential oil education course, designed to help essential oil users increase their knowledge of how to get the most out of using essential oils.

Our first class was last week, and it was so rewarding to see how enthusiastic the class was to learn about essential oils.  It was also super gratifying to see their eyes go wide when they realized, that just by knowing the parts of the plant that the essential oil is harvested from can give a lot of insight into which parts of the body the essential oil will be able to support.


Essential oils are volatile, aromatic compounds that are distilled, or cold-pressed from parts of the plant. Essential oils come from many different parts of the plants, such as the leaves, stems, bark, twigs, fruit, berries, roots, rhizomes, seeds, resin and flowers. Most essential oils are steam distilled, meaning that water in the form of steam in passed through the plant material. This vapor caused the volatile aromatic essential oils to become gas and travel with the water vapor to a column called a condenser.  In this condenser the water+oil vapor is cooled and returned to the liquid state. The oil layer is separated from the water layer and the pure essential oil is collected. Citrus fruit oils are produced through cold-pressing the rind of the citrus fruit to squeeze the essential oils out.

Essential oils have many different function in the life cycle of the plant. They help with hormone regulation, metabolism, immune system, and defense mechanism from outside threats, like pests and pathogenic microorganisms.


In general you can expect that essential oils that come from a particular part of the plant will have similar effects. For example:

Floral oils- are generally calming, soothing, and relaxing to the body

Citrus oils- are uplifting and can be energizing, they are also cleansers.

Leaf oils- are generally antibacterial, antifungal, and antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory

Bark, wood- are generally grounding, calming and help with focus

Twigs, stems- generally help with circulatory and respiratory systems

Roots, Rhizomes- supportive of the digestive system, and the circulatory

Resins-supportive of the healthy cellular function, and nourishing to the body

Seeds- supportive of the reproductive, hormonal systems, and the digestive systems.

There is so much more to say about each of these categories of oils. Each part of the plant warrants its own discussion and class. In the upcoming weeks of the class, we will break down specific systems of the body and how essential oils can be used to support them. We will also take a deep dive into the chemistry of essential oils. How knowing the key chemical constituents in an oil can give you insight into how best to use the essential oil. Don’t worry, you won’t need to have a PhD in phytochemistry to be able to understand this class.


I know you may not be local to the Pasadena, CA area. I have been receiving many requests to have this class go online. If you would like to join us for our next online series please contact me, and I will let you know how to join us.


  1. Take Your Education Beyond the Basics- Continuing Education 4th Edition

  2. Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils (9th Edition, 2017)

  3. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy-Valerie Ann Worwood


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