Frequently asked questions


What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy, or Essential Oil Therapy, is the intentional use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes.  

What is an essential oil?

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid, having been extracted from an aromatic plant, that contains volatile aromatic compounds. The term “oil” is a bit of a misnomer because these aromatic compounds are not oily in texture. Essential oils can be found in roots, flowers, leaves, skin, bark, and seeds depending on the plant. When you crush a plant containing essential oils you will often smell its unique scent.  

Essential oils are typically obtained through two methods of extraction, steam distillation and expression. You may hear of other methods of extraction such as enfleurage (solvent extraction) and CO2 extraction (super critical fluid extraction), which produce “absolutes.”

What are some examples of essential oils?

There are so many wonderful oils, with so many different properties. Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, Lavender, Clary Sage, Geranium, Palmarosa and Mandarin are just a few favorites you’ll find at the THE OIL JAR.

How do you use essential oils?

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways depending on the desired effect. The four primary delivery methods include inhalation (direct and indirect), topical application, internal administration and oral administration.

What is inhalation?

Inhalation is a wonderful method to use when you are looking for a simple, fast-acting way to affect both your physical and psychological well-being. Direct inhalation means intentionally breathing in the oil. Indirect inhalation is the term used when spritzers, diffusers, or humidifiers dispense essential oils into the environment.  

Are there any risks associated with inhalation?

Some essential oil compounds may cause irritation in sensitive individuals. Aromatherapy experts report that inhaled fragrance molecules can trigger attacks in those with asthma and multiple chemical sensitivity. In general, those at increased risk are the young and elderly. 

What does topical application mean? 

Topical application is the term used when essential oils are applied directly to the skin. Essential oils can be applied topically by adding them to massage oil or body lotion, by dispersing in an aromatic bath or by adding to a warm or cold compress. 

Are there any risks associated with putting essential oils on your skin?

When applied to the skin, some essential oils can cause phototoxicity, skin or mucous membrane irritation, and/or skin sensitization. Some of the most common oils that might cause these reactions in varying degrees include Bergamot, Lime, Orange, and Lemon (phototoxicity). Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Oregano, and Thyme (irritation). Citronella, Lemongrass, Melissa, and Pine for sensitization.  

What is internal and oral administration? Is it safe?

Internal administration is when essential oils are used on the mucous membranes through mouthwashes, douches, or suppositories. Oral administration is when essential oils are taken internally, either by capsules or by diluting the oil in honey, alcohol, or vegetable oil. There is considerable debate about the use of essential oil internally. While many conditions can be greatly affected by the oral use of essential oils (IBS &  for example), due to safety concerns, we do not recommend this method of application unless under the care of a licensed healthcare professional. Specific essential oils when taken internally are toxic to the liver and kidneys and interfere with medication.

Are essential oils safe in general?

The majority of essential oils are safe and do not have adverse effects when used responsibly. However, essential oils are powerful and should be treated as such. It is always recommended that essential oils are stored in a cool, dark place out of reach of children. In regards to safety, the most important factors when using essential oils are dosage, application method, and quality of the oils.

How do you know how much to use?

Always follow recommended dosages as some oils have a low therapeutic margin (the line that divides a helpful dose of essential oil from a harmful dose). A link to a wonderful reference book that addresses dosage and safety can be found here.

How can you be sure of the quality of an essential oil?

Unfortunately, there are no quality standards in the United States for essential oils sold on the market. When using essential oils for therapeutic purposes, it is important that the oil is genuine—this means that nothing has been added to the oil—and that it comes from the plant and part of the plant that the oil should come from.

To know, check the label. It should include the common name and the Latin name of the plant, which allows you to identify the genus and species, as well as the part of the plant used to make the oil. You will also want to know the country of origin, how it was grown, and how it was extracted (you can typically find this information on the company's website or if you request it directly)

Example: Common name is OrangeLatin name is Citrus sinensis, part used is the peel, country of origin for this batch is USA, organically grown and extraction method was cold pressing.

Where do you get your essential oils?

Quality means everything to me. I source my essential oils from four highly reputable companies that have been in the business for years. Three are located in the United States and one is located in France.  I have used one company for the past twelve years and three for the past four years. The United States companies are led by educators and/or Aromatherapy practitioners, and all make GC/MS data sheets available to the public, which allows for more transparency. All essential oils used in THE OIL JAR products are certified organic, ethically harvested or wildcrafted.

Why does the price vary?

The price of an essential oil is dependent upon the amount of plant material required to produce a specific amount of essential oil. For example 50 lbs of Rosemary is required to distill 16 oz of essential oil, 150 lbs of Lavender is needed to distill 16 oz and approximately 3,000 lbs of Rose is required to produce the same 16 oz. 

What kind of personal consultations are available?

Please click here to read more about our one-on-one holistic clinical aromatherapy consultations.

Can I order custom products?

If a rollerball isn't enough, other custom products can be made (inhaler, massage oil, body butter). If you have a specific scent combination that you want to try, but you don't want to buy all the oils and supplies yourself visit our shop page and click custom request. 

How long does it take for a custom product order to be filled?

Orders will be made and shipped within 3 days unless otherwise posted on the website. Accommodations can be made for rush orders.