Heating Essential Oils

Is heating essential oils okay?

Heating essential oils is an extremely controversial subject in the essential oil world. There hasn’t been much research on the stability of essential oils and how heat affects them. Some people believe that electric wax warmers are perfectly fine to use and are an easy way to practice aromatherapy. However, there is some evidence that suggests that heat breaks down essential oils, making them less effective for aromatherapy and possibly even toxic! We spoke to Dr. Samantha Radford with Evidence Based Mommy about heating oils and this is what she had to say. "I do not suggest heating essential oils. You risk damaging the helpful compounds in the oils by heating them. If you choose to heat essential oils, only gently warm them."

We already know that UV light breaks down essential oils, which is why they are stored in colored blue or brown bottles instead of a clear bottle, so keeping essential oils away from light and heat is an easy way to make sure your essential oils retain their healing properties. Why risk it when there are so many other ways to enjoy essential oils without heat?

What can I use instead of heating essential oils?

We suggest using an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser instead of heating essential oils. Ultrasonic diffusers use a small plate that vibrates to disperse the oils into vapor. It’s safe, easy, and there are no worries about breaking down the healing properties of the essential oils. To use an ultrasonic diffuser, you simply add a few drops of essential oils to 100-200ml of water in the diffuser’s well, close, and start. DeeAnna Nagel with Havana Wellness Studio swears by the use of a diffuser to get the most therapeutic results from essential oils. "Essential oils should never be heated but rather diffused in a cool mist diffuser. Heating the oils may retain the aroma but the therapeutic value of the essential oil is greatly diminished."

Nebulizing diffusers blow air to pull the essential oils out into a fine mist without using any water. Since they don’t dilute essential oils with water, they are the purest way to diffuse essential oils. This is great because you get the full aromatherapy benefits of the oils. Be warned that you will go through essential oils faster with a nebulizing diffuser than with the water-diluted ultrasonic diffuser.

What can I diffuse in an ultrasonic diffuser?

You can diffuse any essential oil in an ultrasonic diffuser! Some of the most popular essential oils include:

  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
    • Best for sleep
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
    • Best for invigoration
  • Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
    • Best for fighting migranes
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
    • Best for concentration
  • Orange (Citrus Sinesis)
    • Best for energizing & refreshing
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalpytus Globulus)
    • Best for fighting colds
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Flexuosus)
    • Best for balancing the mind and body
  • Frankincense (Boswellia Serrata)
    • Best for anxiety relief

Alternative essential oil uses

There are many alternatives to heating essential oils that don't rely on diffusers either:

  • Fabric, leather, or wood air fresheners
  • Aromatherapy bracelets
  • Aromatherapy massage
  • Shower melts
  • Bath bombs
  • Room mists
  • Body lotions
  • Yoga mat sprays

With all these alternatives, it’s safe to say that there is no need to heat essential oils. There are no known benefits of heating the essential oils, so it’s safer to worry less about potential chemical breakdown with modern ultrasonic and nebulizing diffusers.