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Essentials of Blending

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How To Blend Essential Oils

You’ve read about the different blending methods and you may be wondering “now what?”. Having an idea of what you want to accomplish and knowing who the blend is for will help answer a lot of the questions you may have when making a blend. 

In creative writing classes, students are often instructed to use the Five Ws to gather information and solve problems. In addition to asking who, what, when, where, and why, it is also important to ask how when it comes to aromatherapy.

Who is the blend for?

Family happy at the beachWhen you’re starting on a blend, it’s important to consider who you are making your blend for. There may be special needs or restrictions you’ll have to take into account before you blend.

  • Children 
  • Pregnant or Nursing Mother 
  • An elderly individual
  • A healthy adult 
  • An individual with health concerns and/or on medication*
  • Oils that are not contraindicated with the condition or medication.*

*Because essential oils can interfere with some medications and conditions, we would recommend consulting with a clinical aromatherapist and working closely with your doctor if you have health concerns are taking medication.  You can find a clinical aromatherapist in your area by searching the directory found on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) website: https://naha.org/find-an-aromatherapist

 

What oils should you use?

Essentials of Blending: How to Blend Essential OilsYou’ll be able to make some decisions based on your answer to the first question. Then you’ll be able select oils that are safe for the individual. 

  • Children will need Kidsafe essential oils. 
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers should only use oils that are pregnancy and nursing safe.  
  • An elderly individual in good health with no medical conditions/medication and skin that is not thin may use dilution levels as a healthy adult. 
  • Healthy adults may use most essential oils as directed. 

When will the blend be used?

Young girl laying down to sleepStart by considering the time of day the recipient of your blend will most likely be using your creation.

  • In the morning
  • Before bed
  • Throughout the day

Generally speaking, you may want to use uplifting and energizing oils in the morning and relaxing essential oils before bed.

Where will the blend be used?

Kids paying attention in a classroomConsider where this blend will be used, as it may affect how you use it. For example, we don’t suggest diffusing in the classroom, so a blend used in spaces like this would need to be used in a personal inhaler.

  • At home
  • Work or school

If using oils at work or school, it would be best to use a personal inhaler. Essential oils are not safe for all people and it would be best not to expose another person to an oil that could affect them negatively. 

Why do you want to use essential oils?

Essential oil bottles next to floral accentsThink about the purpose of the blend. Why did you choose to use essential oils to address those concerns?

How will the blend be used?

  • Inhalation (diffuser, passive diffusion, or personal aromatherapy inhaler)
  • Topical application (long term or short term?)

This helps determine the dilution percentage that you will choose for your blend. A 1% dilution should be used for long term, daily use or full body application. A 5% dilution can be used for short term use. It is always best to start low and increase the dilution only if necessary.

Making your blend.

Essential oil bottles next to orange slices and flowersNow that we know the purpose of our blend, who it is being used for and all safety considerations are taken into account, we can start blending! 

Generally speaking, we recommend sticking to 3-5 essential oils in your blend. If you’re new to blending, using just 2 oils is a great start. You’ll also want to have cotton balls or scent strips on hand so you can test how the essential oils smell together before you commit to a blend. 

With a pen and paper in hand, add essential oils to your cotton round or scent strip drop-by-drop until the blend is pleasing to you. Keep in mind, that when an oil has a low recommended max dermal dilution rate, you will not want to exceed those when applying topically.

How many drops you use of each individual oil comes down to intent as well as personal scent preferences. It is a good idea to have a primary oil that addresses your concerns while the other oils support the overall intention.

To learn more about using the drop-by-drop method to blending, please check out this blog post.

Making it work for you!

how to blend essential oilsDon’t be afraid to try new things! One of the things I often hear is, “I tried what was recommended and it didn’t work for me”.  While there are generalizations that can be made, learning how you respond individually to an essential oil is very important. 

Just as an example, most people should avoid stimulating oils before bedtime in favor of calming or relaxing oils. However, I personally find that stimulating oils before bed often help when I feel too tired to sleep. This is a perfect example of why it is important to learn what works for you. 

Another example, may people use and enjoy Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint for seasonal allergies. However, there is no evidence that these oils possess antihistamine properties and their chemical make-up doesn’t support this. However, many people have used and said that the oils worked for them on a personal level.  This is another instance where each individual needs to know how they respond to the oils.

We’re all different and getting to know our essential oils on a personal level will help you make blends that yield the best results for you!

Blending Methods

Creating your own essential oil blend is an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it can be a little daunting when you’re just starting out. So before we go any further, let’s start with the basics. Blended oils are called synergies. The word synergy means “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” [1] This means you’re combining two or more essential oils together to multiply the desired effect.

With that out of the way, we can look at the different blending methods and choose the one that feels right to you. Blending is truly an art and also a journey of self-discovery. There is no right or wrong way to blend. You can choose to blend with one method or a combination of multiple methods!

Essential oils next to their plants

Different Blending Methods

There are different ways in which you can create your essential oil synergy. Some may choose to blend by the chemical constituent, while others may blend by the perfumery note, plant part, or even therapeutic action.

Plant Therapy Essential OIls

Blending by Constituent

Blending by chemical constituent is primarily practiced in clinical aromatherapy. It can be difficult to find books that explore this method. The idea is that you can boost the percentages of individual desired constituents in a blend. For example, Ho Wood and Lavender are both very high in a constituent called Linalool. Linalool is a calming constituent that is uplifting and also has anti-inflammatory properties. [2] Blending with both Ho Wood and Lavender would raise the Linalool percentage and should boost the desired effect.

Recommended reading for essential oil chemistry:

  • The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils 3rd Edition by Joy E. Bowles.

How to blend essential oils based on notes

Blending by Note

Blending by note is generally practiced with perfumery in mind. The purpose of blending by notes is to create a harmonizing chord that is pleasing aromatically, much like a musical chord is pleasing to the ears.

The top notes are the oils that grab your attention quickly but they also evaporate the fastest. Middle notes last longer than top notes and are considered by many to be the heart of the blend. Base notes have your deepest aroma and are considered a fixative for your perfume. They evaporate slower and you will smell these oils the longest.

To learn more about blending by notes and see our list of the top, middle, and base note oils, please check out this blog post.

Essential oil bottles next to floral accents

Blending by Therapeutic Action

Blending by therapeutic action is the most common method for home enthusiasts. This method relies on the known therapeutic usage of an essential oil. Most books use this method and instruct how to combine essential oils for their known historical therapeutic values.

Recommended reading for therapeutic action:

  • The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje
  • Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
  • The Fragrant Mind by Valerie Ann Worwood
  • The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon, Lora Cantele

Bags of rose petals in a trailer

Blending by Plant Part

Although this method is talked about less frequently, there are some generalizations that can be made about blending by plant part. For example, this method can emotionally connect you to the plant and help you appreciate it more.

To use this blending method, you must first determine the part of the plant that your essential oil is extracted from. Then you can begin blending with other oils from that same plant part.

Benefits of Plant Parts

Roots (rhizomes) are grounding and provide stability for the plant. Therapeutically, there is a correlation between physically grounding the plant and being an emotionally grounding essential oil. Vetiver, for example, is an essential oil that comes from the root of the plant and is known to be very emotionally grounding. [3]

Buds and flowers emerge during spring, a time of new growth. Flowers attract insects that pollinate them. This inviting and comforting action is why many essential oils extracted from flowers or buds soothe and calm the heart and spirit.

Seeds play an integral part of plant reproduction. In essence, they are regenerating and full of new life and growth. Oils that are derived from seeds encourage personal growth and can help us realize our potential.

Resins are produced by trees when something injures their trunk. The resin pours from the center of the tree, bringing forth inner strength and healing. Resinous essential oils help with self-reflection and the healing of emotional and physical wounds.[4]

The wood or bark of plants is responsible for directing nutrients from the roots to the stems and flowers. The trunk is supportive and protective of the plant and oils made from the bark can help support functions of the body. They can also be helpful in reducing skeletal pain in the body and centering us emotionally.

Fruits generally grow above the core of the tree. Because of this, many essential oils that come from the fruit are naturally uplifting and cleansing. Fruits are a product of reproduction of the tree and also protect the seed for the regeneration of new life. They can also invigorate and motivate and help relieve feelings of anxiousness.

Recommended reading for blending by plant part:

  • Aromatree by Salvatore Battaglia

Essential oils with floral and skincare accents

Get Creative

Now that you know the purpose of each method, you can make a decision on the method that is best suited for you.

It’s important to keep an open mind and not automatically dismiss a method solely because of a perceived notion of, “what is best.” There are many occasions where a blend may seem perfect from a chemistry standpoint and the blend simply doesn’t work for the intended target. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use your oils and get to know how they work for you personally.

Sources

1- Synergy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/synergy
2- Phytomedicine 9: 721-726, 2002 @ Urban & Fischer Verlag
http://www.urbanfischer.de/jo umal s/phytomed
3- Roots: A Year with Morphology~ Using Plant-based Origins to Inspire Aromatic Blending. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://naha.org/naha-blog/roots-a-year-with-morphology-using-plant-based-origins-to-inspire-aromatic
4- Butje, A. (n.d.). Make Aromatherapy Blends Based on Plant Part. Retrieved from https://blog.aromahead.com/2015/07/13/make-aromatherapy-blends-based-plant-part

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