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Recently, the topic of essential oils came up on Facebook, when we were discussing how families are preparing for the upcoming sick season.  People use essential oils in a lot of different ways, and they do have some pretty amazing uses.  I’m no expert, but today I’m going to share with you how I use essential oils!

What Are Essential Oils?

I like it when things smell pretty.  Before I got into all this natural stuff, I used to buy Bath and Body Works stuff all the time.  I still have a whole box in the garage, actually, since I no longer use it.  (You know that most commercial bath products are full of chemicals that can be harmful, right?)

Essential oils are a good solution for making things smell pretty without all those chemicals — although that’s hardly their only use!  

EO (essential oils) are oils extracted from plants, typically through non-chemical and non-heat methods, preserving all their awesome natural compounds, which can be healing in addition to smelling nice.  There are also fragrance oils out there, which are chemical compounds and not natural, so don’t get confused.

These oils are often used medicinally in a number of different ways – through diffusing (mixing with steam and allowing to circulate in the air), for massage, inhaled through steam, even for cleaning!  The oils each contain the concentrated properties of the plants they came from, so they can be antibacterial, antiviral, promote relaxation, clear the sinuses, and lots more.  Each essential oil has a dozen or more uses, so it’s impossible to list everything here!

Buying Essential Oils

There’s a huge argument over how to buy essential oils, as I’ve learned.  There are several different brands out there, and a couple of them — namely Young Living and Do Terra — claim to be “the absolute best.”  

However, there is no standardization in the field.  Many of the terms companies use to describe their oils as “top quality” are made up by the company and do not really stand for anything.  Some companies claim only their oils are safe for ingestion.  Some claim that all the other companies really dilute their oils with chemicals and other junk (I’m sure it happens sometimes).

What I’ve gathered through all of the arguing that I’ve read, and a few words of wisdom from people who’ve researched it and practiced aromatherapy for a long time is this: there is no “best” company.  Find essential oils that are guaranteed to be essential oils, not fragrance oils; which are pure; which are “therapeutic grade.”  Beyond that, don’t worry about additional guarantees and labels; it’s marketing.

This is important because some companies might charge upwards of $40 an ounce for some oils because they are “such high quality.”  And there are some rare oils that are actually worth quite a bit more than this, no matter what company you buy from — like roman chamomile, neroli, or rose (you might find these up to $200 an ounce).  Other oils, which are more common (like lavender) can be as cheap as $2 – $3 an ounce, if you buy in quantity.  Expect to pay 2 – 3 times as much if you buy only an ounce or less, versus buying a 4 – 32 oz. bottle.  Buying a large bottle and splitting it with friends is a great way to go, if you can manage, to keep costs down.

I personally have bought my oils through an online “coop” group, where the leader does just that — buys large bottles cheaply and splits the oils into smaller bottles for the group members.  I’ve kept my costs way down, paying $2 – $7 an ounce, depending on the oil I’m getting.  I’ve never been disappointed in the quality, either.

What Oils I Have and What I Do with Them

I have many essential oils now!  I haven’t actually figured out what to do with all of them yet.  But for the ones that I have (many), I’ll share what I use them for, too.

  • Clove — Relaxing/pain relief during birth, headaches, anti-bacterial (I’m going to try it out in a diffuser this year)
  • Eucalyptus — Cold/flu care (I add it to warm baths, humidifiers, and mix it with coconut oil and spread on feet).
  • Rosemary — Cold/flu care.
  • Lavender — Relaxation (I add to baths when kids need to relax, or to my coconut oil for the feet when kids are sick and need to sleep).  Also good for burns.
  • Lemon — Cleaning solutions (add to water, vinegar/water)
  • Grapefruit — I add it to my baking soda/water solution for my “no poo” hair method.  It’s crucial; no ‘poo doesn’t work for me without it.
  • Oregano — Anti-bacterial (have taken a drop internally once or twice; mix into coconut oil for feet)
  • Peppermint – Headaches, nausea.
  • Orange — Anti-bacterial (will mix with clove in the diffuser)
  • Geranium — Anti-bacterial; anti-fungal
  • Tea tree oil — Anti-fungal (I make anti-fungal cream with this)
  • Lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Patchouli
  • Bergamot

I might have more — but I don’t remember, lol!  I do have a lot.  I enjoy having a lot of different scents for enjoying as well as all their medicinal properties.  Plus, since I have so many, if I need something to help, I probably an essential oil that can do what I need.  That’s been really handy at times.

I should note that not all of these are safe for use in pregnancy, so please do research or talk to an herbalist or aromatherapist if you are pregnant.  Some encourage menstruation or cause contractions and you don’t want that!  I know for sure that clove, for example, isn’t safe during pregnancy because it encourages contractions — but can be very helpful in labor for the same reason!

Do you use essential oils?  Which are your favorite and how do you use them?

 


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (6.5), Daniel (5), Jacob (3), and Nathan (1.5). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a popular book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. She also recently released Healing With God's Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies, which teaches people to use natural remedies to keep their families healthy. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children.

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13 Comments

  1. Lavender is hands down my favorite. I use it for headaches also – most of mine are tension headaches, so it helps soothe my frazzled nerves and release tension.

    I sprinkle lavender on my pillowcases at night when I've had a stressful day and I have many things on my mind.

    I also use it in my homemade all-purpose cleaner, along with water, vinegar and rosemary essential oil. The house smells so lovely and restful!

    Reply

  2. Oregano oil is GREAT for skin cancers!!! Just rub the oil in once a day and within several weeks, it is gone.

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  3. Thank you for this post. I was very interested to see what you use for your homemade shampoo! What is it about the essential oil that makes this recipe work? Is it the oil? Or is it something about the grapefruit? Just curious because I've seen somany people saying that they can't get their recipes to work and actually get the grease out of their hair. I am excited that this might work!

    Reply

  4. I used to use more essential oils a few years ago when we had more disposable income. I fell off the bandwagon when we made the leap to self-employed world, though, and mostly have just been using vinegar and water. It sure doesn't smell as purty! ;-) Just recently (last week) I received my first order of Thieve's Oil. I'm trying to beef up our natural immunities before my daughter has hip surgery. So far, I'm really impressed! She had a cough and a runny nose. Both are just about gone. Who knows if it's because of the Thieve's Oil, but so many of my friends have so highly recommended it, that I'm going with it! :-)

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  5. Rosemary is known for it's benefits for the hair and scalp. I always add a few drops of Rosemary EO to my BS mix – it does wonders for my hair body and a clear scalp. :)

    Clove is supposed to be good for renewing the skin, particularly healing from facial scars, as well as being antibacterial. I add a few drops to the honey stash I use in my face wash (honey and kefir 50/50).

    Mediterranean Oregano oil is an *excellent* all purpose anti-microbial: anti-fungal, antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic. I take it for any signs of any illness. But just to share – I rubbed a drop or two of Oreganol ES (standardized) all over and under my large toenails just once and it cleared up permanently a low-grade fungal infection I'd not been able to get rid of, even with coconut oil.

    Reply

  6. My favorite is probably eucalyptus b/c it has been so great in helping my youngest (especially) with breathing difficulties. Before I started on the progressive path I’m on now he was on breathing treatments. Since using the oils for about a year or year and a half he’s only had one breathing treatment and that was after a back to back virus ending in croup. Still so much to learn and I’m passionate about learning more!

    Reply

  7. Are all essential oils safe for young children?

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  8. I recently discovered Rocky Mountain oils..they have a list of blends and compare to Young Living blends for MUCH less cost. I do love YL but not the high cost that has to cover payouts to upline members. (I wonder how many people make money on my purchases!)
    My fave right now if Valor from YL or Aligning from RMO…I use it on the back of my neck am and pm. No more stiff neck and sore shoulders. YL touts it as ‘chiropractor in a bottle’. I also swear by Thieves and lemon. Using Grapefruit right now for weight loss, taking several drops in a capsule 2-4 times per day.
    I would be really sure though, that if you are using oils they are not cut with cheaper or nonorganic ingredients, that could be SO dangerous especially if you are ingesting them.

    Reply

  9. I have moved across the US. In the west I had allergies but now we are in mid-west area and we have been here for over one year and I have developed allergies again. Do anyone have recommendations on was to go about this allergy problem more naturally. I have been slowly moving to that camp over the past few months. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    Reply

  10. I would just like to say that I tried grapefruit and tangerine oil in my no poo and it still left mine greasy, I switched to rosemary and sage, and it works! Plus those are both great at covering grays for brunettes!

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  11. I absolutely love the ‘idea’ of using essential oils for health, however my husband encouraged me to research the science behind it before getting my family started, to make sure it wasn’t just a bunch of ‘hocus pocus’ (since the line between some of the alternative medicine mentality and witchcraft, etc. can be a bit blurred.) I spent a day doing research on the internet, and was surprised to see several articles posted that completely debunked the science… not to mention the main companies that sell them using their MLM businesses. Then there was the other side of the argument, but mainly from people trying to sell you their product. I desperately want to learn the truth. What is tested, proven, and known about using these oils for health from a more scientific standpoint? If you can help point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

    Reply

  12. Sara,
    Check out PubMed. There are quite a few articles on EO effectiveness.

    Reply

  13. Hello!! What brand EO diffuser do you recommend?

    Reply

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