Back in the early 2000’s, I became friends with a great lady who was the owner of a little online business called Mystick Scents. Her name is Becky Long. I started by purchasing products from her for my own use and for my little online business called Scents Essential. We became fast friends and in 2006 she sold her business to me! I merged the two businesses together and kept the Mystick Scents name.
I had learned a great deal about aromatherapy and how to make lotions and creams, body sprays, bath salts, etc., from this woman, my mentor, and friend. Eventually, I started to venture out into creating my own recipes. It was a great experience! But, my physical health was slowly on the decline and I had to close Mystick Scents in 2010.
Becky and I are still friends; besties if you will. She now owns a business called Herbs 4 Health. She writes a blog and has a Facebook page. She has been forever trying to educate the public about essential oils and aromatherapy. I thought an interview would be a fabulous idea! (Links are located at the end of the interview for your convenience.) Enjoy!
Becky, can you start by telling my readers about yourself, your specializations, and where you can be found for more information?
I am certified in both herbal medicine and in aromatherapy. I am also known as Herbmama. The business I own is Herbs 4 Health and I also have a blog called Herbmama’s Words. I can be found on Facebook along with the business and blog.
What is an aromatherapist?
An aromatherapist is one that is educated in and uses essential oils to help improve one’s health whether it be physical, emotional or psychological.
What exactly is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses plant materials & aromatic plant oils, AKA essential oils and other aroma compounds for improving health, psychological or emotional well-being.
What or who inspired you to go into this field and when did you get started?
The quest for knowledge in this field happened when I had a bath/body biz called Mystick Scents. Then I became a sponge and just had to know more & more which led to my certification.
How are essential oils used?
Essential oils can be used via inhalation, topically and internally — the later only by a trained aromatherapist as it can be dangerous.
How are essential oils extracted from plants?
There are basically 2 methods for extraction: the distillation process where the plant material is heated and then the water/oils are separated. Any by-product from such is sold off. Then there is cold pressed which is exactly what you think it is….peelings from the citrus are pressed to get the oils.
How do people know the best method for using essential oils?
A lot of people don’t know, which is why they can get into trouble. The best way to find out is to ask, not just assume you already know. You might have an essential oil that can cause more issues than what you started with.
How do they work?
Essential oils can actually change brain chemistry. They can work on what the body needs at a particular time. They are a type of fat or oil so they can easily get into the body’s cells to do the work. Although we aren’t allowed to say…they can heal. They are anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal so they can work on those types of maladies.
Can they be used straight on your skin?
It’s not advisable to use essential oils straight out of the bottle. Only lavender is gentle enough for some. Always dilute and do a patch test if you are new to essential oils or a particular oil.
What is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil is an oil one mixes with essential oils to apply topically to the skin. Some examples are sweet almond, jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil.
How do you know you’re buying quality essential oils?
One has to find a reputable essential oil supplier with learned knowledge so you know what you are looking for and who you can trust. So many are adulterated now which means other chemical components have been added to dilute the healthful benefits of the essential oils and the body can’t synthesize chemicals. Once you find a good company, there is a way to test to see if your essential oil has been adulterated. Place 1 drop on a piece of paper and let it evaporate. If there is no residue and no oily stain then they are pure.
What’s the difference between therapeutic grade and manufacturer’s grade essential oils?
There really isn’t a thing as manufacturer’s grade as you say. There is food grade which is different than therapeutic grade. Therapeutic grade can be a relative term as ALL non-adulterated essential oils are therapeutic in their own right. A lot of companies say therapeutic as a marketing ploy. Food grade essential oils are diluted with additives to sell to the food or perfume industry.
How should we store our essential oils?
Essential oils should be stored in air-tight dark colored glass bottles away from heat and direct light. The more you open them, the faster they can go bad and evaporate.
Some people/companies suggest taking essential oils internally. Is that really safe?
NO! It’s not safe in my opinion. There are essential oils that can be ingested but only with advice and guidance from a qualified aromatherapist. No way should they be taken full strength as the molecules are too strong for the sensitive tissues internally. There have been (reports of) damage done to esophageal tissues, organs and stomach tissues from essential oils.
Are essential oils safe for kids and pets?
There are some essential oils safe for pets but that should be done through research and usually on a case by case basis. One e.o. for a dog or cat may not be ok for another breed for example. Kids…generally, yes but further dilution should be done before and of course the child’s weight/age have to be factored in. There are aromatherapists out there that only treat animals though.
Are essential oils really better/more effective than conventional treatments?
Essential oils are better than conventional, in my opinion. They are powerful and natural. But that question is really hard to answer so I don’t get myself into hot water with certain government agencies if you know what I mean.
Can you boost your immunity with essential oils?
Oh yes, the body’s immune system can be greatly enhanced and boosted with essential oils!
What’s the biggest mistake you see people making concerning essential oils?
Ingesting them and applying them without proper dilution. Thinking they know it all with like 5 minutes of experience.
Which 5 essential oils are the best to get started with, to always have on hand?
One’s basic ‘medicine cabinet’ should include lavender, peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, and lemon.
What is an essential oil ‘blend’?
A blend is more than one essential oil together with a carrier oil that helps a specific problem whether it be physical or emotional.
Is there a blend or blends that we should always have on hand?
Oh I think so, yes. Blends for colds, flu, pain issues, things like that.
What’s the most common way people are using essential oils?
Topically, diffusers and in the bath.
What do you enjoy the most about working with essential oils?
Mostly I enjoy developing the blends I guess!! Sniffing them as I put them together, figuring out which oil would be best to use, knowing it can possibly help the next person who uses that blend.
How do you use essential oils in your own life?
I use them for health prevention, to help boost my immune system, as a perfume, in bathing, at times in cleaning too.
What are your favorite essential oils/blends?
My favorites are the Krud Kicker, my Taurus ‘perfume’ blend, the memory oil. I like them all pretty much. If the blends don’t smell ‘attractive’ people won’t use them.
What do you think scares people the most about essential oils?
That they know little to nothing about them and that is THE greatest obstacle…educating the public!
What advice would you give someone considering a career in aromatherapy?
Don’t try to learn or memorize ALL the essential oils, there are far too many. pick a few you want to start with and learn all you can about those. When you are ready, add slowly to your repertoire.
And my last question…. Is there ONE tip you would like to give my readers?
Don’t judge essential oils without learning just a little about them. Try them. They come from plants, trees, barks, roots, flowers, so how bad can they be for our health??!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my interview with Becky (Herbmama) and that you feel you’ve learned a little about essential oils. For more information, please check out the following links on Facebook:
Herbs 4 Health
Or go to her blog directly at: