Monday, July 21, 2014

Essential Oils 101: Day 1

Today is the day! Ok – it is kinda sad how excited I am to share all this with you guys. But really, this is such a passion of mine. Whenever I see anyone hurt or sick, I really just want to sit them down and beg them to let me try some of my oils on them – and a few times people have actually let me, and the joy I feel when they feel better is tremendous!

HUGE AND SUPER IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:
I am NOT a medical doctor nor do I have any medical training or certifications. Anything that I have learned about the oils has been through my own extensive research, my own experience and from the testimonies of others. I cannot encourage you enough to dig in and do your own research. My heart would be, that what I have to share will truly empower you to get to know your own body and take control of your own health with the purpose of knowing as best we can how to care for ourselves and our families. I also am NOT anti-western medicine. I feel very strongly that western medicine is a huge gift from God and absolutely needed. But I also feel these oils are a gift from God and we would be foolish not to use every tool in our belt to be the best we possibly can be. NEVER stop using medication unless you have talked with your doctor first. This is important people!

I ask now for your humble forgiveness for all my future grammar and/or spelling mistakes. It is a terrible plague of mine, and it breaks my heart you have to suffer through it. If something truly bothers you please let me know and I will fix it! We could even make a game of it? Whoever can catch the typo first gets a free oil! Ok, maybe not...?


What is an essential oil? Look at this image of a magnified peppermint leaf. 



That little white sac contains the oil. This is the plant's immune system. Just like our immune system, it helps the plant fight off bacteria or disease and it helps the plant reach optimum health. A healthier plant is going to have a more robust immune system, which is why doTerra proudly sources their plants from around the globe, where the plants indigenously thrive. (More on that later...)

Oftentimes, we turn to teas or herbs when we are looking for a natural medicine, and we do get relief. The plant has been cut up and dried, and if we are making tea, we then heat it, altering the plants chemical constituency. Still, even with all that, a cup of peppermint tea is known to calm an upset stomach (My husband sometimes asks for some after a large dinner). However, 1 drop of doTerra Peppermint Oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea. Crazy huh? Oils are 50-70x more powerful than herbs and a little goes a long way.



Speaking of Peppermint! It is known to relieve nausea, which we already touched on when we compared it to peppermint tea. I have had it take away severe nausea in about 20 seconds. On long car rides my kids sometimes will get a little carsick, I actually carry an “emergency clean up the car/kid” kit in the back because this has happened so many times. Since I started using the oils, I keep some peppermint handy every time we go on long trips. The moment I hear “mama, my tummy hurts!” I pull it right out. The car smells great and no more stopping to clean vomit off of children and carseats!

Peppermint is also wonderful for headaches. Headaches are one of those things that I almost hate to talk about. I have found that headaches, sleep, adhd and eczema can all be very tricky. I think it is because everyone has such different causes of these things. Do you have a headache because you are tense? Maybe you are dehydrated? Do you have allergies? Why aren't you sleeping? Is it anxiety? It could be your hormones (I get terrible hormone headaches) You get the picture.

So, while peppermint oil is awesome for headaches, sometimes you have to experiment a bit to find out what works best for you. Past Tense is doTerra's "Tension Blend" and it was created for migraines. Some people prefer to use Deep Blue, which is doTerra's "Pain Blend." (I like to take a bath with a few drops of Deep Blue. It does wonders for muscle aches and menstrual cramps!) Still others swear by a drop of Frankincense on the roof of the mouth. Peppermint is in both Past Tense and Deep Blue, so I think it is a great place to start.

Where should you apply the peppermint? Often times our bodies let us know where we intuitively want to apply an oil. Many people will rub it on their neck or shoulders if tension is to blame. Other people like it across the forehead and others prefer to rub it on their temples. If you apply it on the temples, make sure you keep it back into the hairline. You really do not want to get the oils in your eyes. Trust me on this one!

This picture can help identify what oils will best help what type of headache. I have also found that when a headache is due to stress – a blend of Balance and Serenity (both emotional health blends), can help me immensely.



Peppermint is a vasodilator, so it increases oxygen absorption. It also lowers your body temp. Runners love peppermint for these two reasons. It increases their endurance and keeps them cool. If you are a runner, you can put peppermint oil in a spray bottle with some water, shake it up, and spritz your legs before or during a run. I also use it in my After Sun Spray (very useful since we are usually at the beach 2-3 times a week) here is the recipe if anyone is interested!



Last, but definitely not least on peppermint, in our house peppermint is our fever reducer. We have only had one fever in our house since starting the oils. I applied peppermint to my daughters feet every 20 minutes. After the second application the fever broke. After the third application, the fever didn't come back. That is likely due to some other oils I was using to boost her immunity! By the next day she was completely back to normal and had zero signs of ever being sick. We beat it!

I have a lot to say about how I dilute the oils for my kids and what I use to make that process more convenient. It is hard not to blast you all with information! I will save it for when we talk about topical application tomorrow.

I'm going to take a break to let all of this peppermint information sink in. If you are wanting to know more, check out this great blog post

Lets talk about Lavender! Lavender is one of the first things people think of when offered “essential oils.” I used to hate the smell of lavender, until I smelled the real stuff! It is known as the "Swiss Army Knife of Oils." It is good for all things calming: it is great for stress, for sleep, for burns, for bruises and it is a powerful anti-histamine so it works great to sooth bug bites. We go through lavender very quickly in this house!

See the two pictures of a bump Kaylee got a few months back? She fell down some stairs and hit the edge of an open door. Poor baby, it was the biggest bump I had ever seen! The first picture is right after she got it (after calming down on moms lap.). Moments after she received it, I put lavender and frankincense on the bump. You can see from the second picture that in a couple of hours it had almost completely disappeared. I was shocked! Needless to say, I keep lavender with me at all times!


before

after

My poor Taylor (8 years old) suffers pretty bad from allergies, especially when we lived in the CA valley. For 3 years she was on a nightly dose of Singular to help her not to cough all night long, and the girl can sneeze! I once counted 15 sneezes in a row. No joke. One of the reasons I wanted to start using oils is to help her allergies. I took the Allergy Three (lemon, lavender and peppermint) and did about 15 drops of each in a roller bottle, and diluted it with coconut oil. I had her rub that mixture on her feet every morning before school and every evening before bed. A few weeks in, I realized that her singular had been empty for a while, she hadn't mentioned it and she wasn't coughing! I gave it a few more days, paying very close attention and noticed ZERO signs of allergies. And this was springtime in the valley! Now she just uses the oil as needed and still shows no signs of coughing at night. I couldn't believe it. She had been using this medication for years and in the past, I could always tell within a few days if she had been forgetting to take it. I have shared this combination with several of my friends and have seen significant results every single time. I know several people that have gone off their everyday allergy meds that they have taken for decades. Luckily, this is such a popular remedy, that doTerra now sells this blend already made up in capsule form. It is called Tri-Ease and I have heard amazing things about it.
If we are going to talk about Lavender Oil, then we need to talk about sleep. Ah sleep, such a beautiful thing! For many people, Lavender is a powerful sleep oil. A couple drops on each foot, and they sleep like a baby. Sleep is one of those issues that is different for everyone, so it can take a little trial and error to find the mix that works best for each individual. Some of my favorite sleep blends are wild orange and cederwood (this is what I use while massaging my husband's feet every night). Roman Chamamile (My 8 year old's favorite) and Serenity. The feet are probably one of the best places to get the oil systemically, but sometimes the smell can be very soothing, so I'll put it either on my kids chest or their wrists. Other popular sleep oils are Vetiver, Balance, Clary Sage, and Ylang Ylang. One more note, for some people a topical application is all they need. For others, they really need to have to oils diffused. We will cover both methods of application tomorrow.

Here is a similar post on Lavender Oil so you all can read up! 

Now that we have seen how many things just a couple of oils can do, lets talk about why this is and how it stacks up to pharmaceutical drugs. Of course, many people needs pharmaceutical medication. Never go off of a medication without talking to your doctor. However, essential oils do have some advantages over these drugs.

When you look at a pharmaceutical drug or an OTC medication, you will often see only one active ingredient. For example, turn over a bottle of Tylenol. The active ingredient is acetaminophen. That is a synthetic chemical compound that they have found does all the things that Tylenol does: pain reliever, fever reducer, etc... With these drugs, the chemical compounds are created in a lab. Sometimes, they were discovered in a lab. Often times, however, these compounds might have first been found in nature and then synthetically replicated in a lab. When we talk about melaleuca, we will have a great example of the differences in how our body responds to natural, plant based compounds as opposed to synthetic ones.

When we look at the oils, one drop can contain hundreds of different chemical compounds that our body readily utilizes. This is amazing. That is why peppermint can be your fever reducer and your anti-nausea remedy. It is why lavender can soothe a burn, help your allergies, and relieve your stress.


What does this mean for you? First, you do not need to start with every oil in the catalog. Just a few bottles can help with such a wide variety of concerns. Second, one concern or ailment can be addressed by a wide variety of oils. Even if you don't have an oil that you think you need, simply use what you have. You might be amazed at the results.


Frankincense: the KING OF OILS. Trying to write a post about the wonderment that is Frankincense is actually more than a little intimidating. Let me start by saying that if I could afford to bathe myself in this stuff every day, I totally would. Frankincense is good for just about everything. "When in doubt, use Frankincense." In my house, this often translates into, "When someone is screaming and you don't know what hurts...or why it hurts...or if you're in a panic...or if you just want to feel good about life...use Frankincense.” It is no accident that Frankincense was given to baby Jesus first thing!

 Frankincense has sesquiterpenes in it. These molecules are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier. (The blood-brain barrier protects your brain by not allowing diseased blood to pass into the brain, but it also keeps out many other things.) The sesquiterpenes in Frankincense makes it very helpful for autoimmune diseases and other sorts of disorders of the brain: memory loss, Alzheimers disease, dementia, Parkinson's diseases, M.S. and seizures.

Frankincense is also considered to be very anti-cancer. It is being studied all across the country in research hospitals and universities for its anti-cancer properties. Here are a couple of popular sources:

Source 1: Implications for Treatment of Breast and Prostate Cancer
Source 2: Composition and potential anticancer activities of essential oils obtained from myrrh and frankincense

Frankincense is a very effective anti-inflammatory. Because inflammation is a leading cause for disease, it is really important that our bodies are able to manage inflammation. Frankincense is effective for both chronic inflammation as well as inflammation due to an injury. Many people therefore take a drop or two under the tongue daily. I believe very strongly that using frankincense consistently, aided in my recovery from my Hashimoto's symptoms. Right now, I know I get Frankincense internally every day with doTerra's Lifelong Vitality supplements. We will talk more about these later this week.
If you have 40 something minutes to spare, here is a VERY informative video on the benefits of Frankincense:


Almost done, I promise!

What does it mean that doTerra oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade? It actually means a LOT. About 90% of the oils available in the US are synthetics. Glade with Lavender Oil? What they have done is synthetically replicate some of the aromatic compounds. These products do not have any therapeutic value. 



Next, we have our food grade oils, such as peppermint and vanilla extract. With an extract, alcohol has been used to distill the oil. This changes the chemical constituency and greatly affects any therapeutic values. I have actually replaced several extracts and herbs I've previously used in my kitchen with oils, for a cleaner and fresher taste. And it takes VERY little.  I put one, and ONLY one drop of oregano oil into my big crock pot of chili, and even that was almost too much! doTerra does include vanilla extract, or vanilla absolute, in 3 of their blends. Whisper, Serenity, and Citrus Bliss are designed with their aromatic qualities in mind, and that hint of vanilla makes those smells more pleasant. doTerra is very open about this and does not recommend ingesting these oils. We will cover later which oils are recommended for ingestion and which oils are not.

There are some essential oils you can buy in your health food store or on-line. They are even now in some grocery stores. These are considered Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, but they are significantly different than a doTerra CPTG oil. A label can read, "100% Pure Organic Lavender Oil," but that bottle only has to contain 10% actual lavender! The rest can be a synthetic oil or the oil can be diluted with a carrier. This is why you might find an ingredient list on the back of the oil and why you will be warned against ingestion! Now, if you have some of these oils in your home, don't throw them out. Even diluted, they will still have a therapeutic effect. Simply do NOT ingest the oils and do not expect the same results that you will get with a doTerra oil.

doTerra oils are simply the pure and honest oil in the bottle. This does raise the cost of the oil, but remember just a drop or 2 can go a very long way. doTerra oils are extensively tested for purity and potency. The attached video explains this better than I can.



When it comes to purity, we are very proud that we use a 3rd party lab to test our oils. The lab has no incentive to alter results, so the consumer knows that their oils have successfully passed all promised testing procedures. Each liter is tested to insure no contaminants or foreign materials are residing in the oils.

Potency is another big issue when looking at an essential oil. We talked earlier about sourcing oils in their indigenous climates vs. growing your own plants in a green house. Remember that the oil is the plants immune system, and a healthier plant is going to have a more robust immune system. These oils are going to have a more complex chemical profile, and our testing also checks to be sure that when you purchase a doTerra oil, you are getting the most potent oil available on the market.

Oh goodness I am tired!  I think that is enough for one day, what do you guys think?  Is your head spinning yet? 

No? 

Goodness I need to up my game! 

Tomorrow I will talk about application, as well is spotlighting a few more oils.  I bid you all goodnight for now.  May you be well until the morrow! 



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