Getting to Know Essential Oils

by Jade Shutes

Guest Blog written by: Elaine Mueller RN, HN-BC (Holistic Nurse, Board Certified)

When I walk into a room full of people, my first response is to observe everyone before interacting.  Then, as I notice one person I feel drawn to, I walk over to her/him and begin to strike up a conversation.  I prefer this one-on-one interaction to that of a group and so it is not a surprise that I like to meet Essential Oils in a similar manner.

Lavender (1)

Lavandula angustifolia

To me, Essential Oils are the essence of the plants from which they are derived.  Their Spirit, so to speak.  In order to “get to know” them, therefore, I want to be with them in their natural environment, tho a picture of the plant will do if that’s all that’s available.

I study it, looking for what it’s relationship is with the earth and with the sky.  What kind of roots does it have?  Is it tall or does it stay close to the ground?  Does it like sun or shade?  Does it like moisture or dryness?  What temperature does it like?  Does it bear flowers and/or fruit?  What color(s) are they?  What animals are attracted to it?  What plants or trees grow around it?  All kinds of questions race through my mind.  I do my best to keep track of my first impression of the plant and notice how this deepens or changes, the more I am around it.  I may sit with my eyes closed and ask it to show me it’s “medicine” (its unique properties), its Spirit.  I make note of how I feel in response to this.  One of my favorite ways of getting to know an Essential Oil is to sleep with a drop of the Essential Oil on my pillowcase and notice my dreams.

Going back to the analogy of meeting people,  I also prefer to have my own experience of meeting someone. Tho I love my friends dearly, I do not always agree with their conclusions nor share their perspectives.  This seems to be true for many things for me….including Essential Oils.  Thus, I prefer to have some personal experience before I begin reading about an oil.  At the very least, as I read someone’s article or hear their perspective, I acknowledge that my own experience may have something unique to add.


Matricaria chamomilla

I’ve learned that even tho I may initially dislike a plant or an Essential Oil, it is in my favor to hang out with it a little bit anyway. In one of my college art classes, the professor gave us a task of going to the bookstore and picking out the picture we most enjoyed and the one we most disliked.  We were instructed to purchase the one we most disliked and hang it on our wall for the semester.  I was surprised at how much I learned from, and appreciated about, this painting by the end of that time.  With this experience, I have learned to be curious about those Essential Oils that I initially want to put aside, as well as those that I immediately feel are long lost friends.

My relationship with Essential Oils continues to grow and the oils continue to teach me. The more I come to know them, the more I learn about myself.  For this I feel gratitude and delight and offer my most humble thanks.

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Thank you Elaine. Beautifully written!  Om.  (Jade)