Before I introduce you to my inner hippie, let me preface this with a disclaimer that will hopefully break a few stereotypes out there:
I shave my armpits.
I drive an SUV.
I do not have 17 children, 3 sister wives, or live on a commune. Though, some days, that sounds pretty rad.
Why do I tell you this? Because any time I mention “essential oils,” people ’round these parts look at me like I just told them I know where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is.
For the record, I might.
My journey with oils started two years ago, after a horrific bout of perpetual sickness that was traded back and forth between the kids and my husband for four straight months. (Moms never get sick, haven’t you heard?) I’m talking vomit, diarrhea, fevers, and a side of hand, foot, and mouth disease for good measure. The winters always seem long in western Pennsylvania, but that one? ENDLESS. So when the following cold and flu season was upon us, I was all eff this noise, and sought out alternative ways to keep germs at bay.
Enter: Essential Oils.
When I told my family I wanted to give EO a whirl, I instantly became the source of their entertainment. I was henceforth referred to as a witchy woman who peddles snake oils and casts spells.
You want to make your own hand sanitizer?! Are you too good for Bath and Body Works?!
Yes and yes. Because my shiz worked. And since I started using Essential Oils on my kids and myself, the results have astounded even cynical me. Ever the addict to information, I wanted to learn more. One day, I asked my good friend and neighbor if she had ever heard of these Essential Oils and she confessed she had been using them for months! She had been afraid to tell anyone because she didn’t want to endure the judgement. Me? I didn’t care. I started telling everyone and their mother, and bugged my pal to teach me more. Before long, I had an extensive collection of little bottles that, when the labels aren’t facing out, look like viles of Tony Montana’s cocaine. I also had mad knowledge and–what do we have here?!–family and friends who all of a sudden had an interest in oils!
Look, I get it. Why give up Advil for peppermint? Use lavender when there’s Ambien? Why isn’t everyone using these oils if they’re so much better? And doubt abounds.
Please know I’m not writing this to sell you a dang thing; in fact, my life isn’t affected if you buy the oils or the Advil. But because so many people have asked me about EO, I wanted to share all the info in one place for the sake of convenience. That said, I believe these oils work, and I know they have benefited my family on countless occasions. There’s so much I want to share (uses, blends, recipes, and more!), but this post is just about the basics: what are oils and how do you use them? So call me a hippie or a tree hugger if you must, but don’t knock it until you try it. The oils and the tree hugging.
What are Essential Oils?
They come from leaves, seeds, bark and other parts of fruits and plants. They are all natural, create powerful aromas (most smell heavenly; some smell like ass), and provide protection for the plant. And they do the same thing for us. They come in dark, glass bottles and are 100% pure, not mixed with dyes or anything else. When buying EO, make sure they are pure-therapeutic grade so you’re not getting watered-down versions. If you’re like me, you may be asking why traditional meds even exist if we have these all-natural solutions at our finger tips. Well, the FDA can’t put their stamp on nature. Also, money.
Why Use Essential Oils?
Those who are interested in a more holistic approach to health and wellness tend to lean toward oils, and they’re not alone. Essential oils have been in use for centuries. Here, read this about their history. Modern medicines normally kill off the good bacteria in our bodies when they’re destroying the bad, which is why some of us experience side effects from certain meds. EO only get rid of the bad. Also, antibiotics can’t penetrate cell membranes, making them useless when combating viruses. LIKE THE FLU. But essential oils bust through to fight bacteria and viruses.
Because they’re all natural, when EO are used properly and not like a moron, there are few dangerous side-effects, no age limits, no over-dosing. I’ve never liked taking over the counter meds for anything; I guess you could say I’m “one of those people.” That’s why I was initially interested in EO. I used them while I was pregnant, and I’ve since used them on my newborn. They’re safe, effective, and non-habit forming. My older kids (ages 3 and 5) have come to love the smell and will even request oils when their tummies hurt or if they’re having trouble sleeping.
Click HERE for more reasons to use essential oils; I’m saving my words for the personal stories I want to share in future posts. Like the time I thought I was going blind in sixth grade, but ended up with my first-ever migraine, then barfed all over the blacktop outside which doubled as our playground. The other kids really appreciated that. Anyway, the point is: Frankincense, and if you don’t want to miss it, might I suggest subscribing to this here blog via email? Link on sidebar and
How Do You Use Essentials?
There are three ways to use use EO: on the skin (topically), in the air (aromatically), and in the belly (internally). Most oils can be applied directly to the skin, BUT if you’re using them on small kid or you have sensitive skin, mix EO with a carrier oil like coconut or almond. The carrier oil makes it easier to apply and covers a bigger surface of the skin which means you’re using less of the good stuff and, thereby, saving money. I like saving money. If you don’t have a diffuser, buy one. Or don’t. You can put a drop of EO on a light bulb; the heat from the bulb will diffuse the EO into the air, but only for so long. I love diffusing lemon because it makes my house smell clean and my house is rarely clean. Score. Lastly, if using an oil that can be swallowed, think about purchasing veggies capsules. Otherwise, you’re doing a shooter of Oregano oil and your burps taste like week-old pizza. Every oil comes with explicit instructions for proper usage, so, you know, read.
My Buona Salute Pinterest board is dedicated to all things health and wellness, and there is a ton of EO stuff on it. Grab some ideas from there or feel free to contact me (WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion (at) gmail (dot) com) if you have questions. If you’re itchin’ to get started, I recommend the Beginner’s Trio plus one: lemon, lavender, and peppermint oils, and one of my must-haves: On Guard is the “protective blend” I use for everything: cleaning, flu and cold blend, diffusing, homemade hand sanitizer, OH MY! And it smells like cinnamon. Love. (You’ll notice I link to and mostly refer to doTERRA’s oils; I’m not prejudice against other companies, I just know doTERRA best).
I’ll be back to share my experience with the oils. Until then, here’s an easy recipe to make your own hand sanitizer, courtesy of doTerra:
5 tablespoons aloe vera gel
4 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
8-10 drops On Guard Protective Blend
Small Squeeze Container (note: EO can only be stored in plastic containers when highly diluted, as they are in this recipe. When using plastic, use only high quality plastic or you’ll have a big ol’ mess on your hands…literally).
1. In a bowl, combine aloe and vitamin E
2. Add On Guard to mixture
3. Add water and mix well. Add more or less water to achieve desired consistency (I prefer mine a bit runnier so it doesn’t clog the squeezer, or whatever)
4. Pour into squeeze container and store at room temperature. Enjoy having clean hands that don’t reek of alcohol (unless you’re into that sort of thing) and that don’t burn when sanitizer is applied. Paper cuts be damned!