Saturday, November 12, 2011

Essential Oils

This week I invited our cousin Liz Marshall Ford to write a guest post on essential oils. I want to learn more about them! I have had one or two very good healing experiences with essential oils in the past, but have not taken the time yet to investigate them extensively. Here is a wonderful introduction for all like me --- From Liz.

In her search of natural healing, my mother started using essential oils a few years back. She has since introduced me, and it has been a wonderful experience. I have been taking classes and studying about them and am impressed.

First off, what are essential oils? They are the natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Pure essential oils are extracted from the plant through steam distillation, or for citrus oils, by pressing them from the peel. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils.

Essential oils have been used for centuries. In Egyptian and Chinese culture, they were their first medicine. In 1937, they were "rediscovered" by a French chemist who healed his burnt hand with lavender oil. Another French man used essential oils for healing wounded soldiers during World War II. He went on to become a world leader in the development of aromatherapy practices. The Bible itself includes 188 references to essential oils.

Essential oils can be used in 3 ways:

Aromatic -- Using some essential oils in aromatherapy can be very stimulating (peppermint, wild orange) while others can be calming and soothing (lavender). They also clear the air of unwanted odors and airborne pathogens. They can also be used to clean and purify laundry and as surface cleaners. Use a diffuser to spread the essential oil particles into the air, or rub two drops on palms and inhale.

Topical -- Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin. They have stimulating and relaxing properties, as well as natural disinfectants. Their chemical structure allows them to be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream for internal benefit throughout the body. With babies, within seconds of placing certain oils on their feet, you can smell it on their breath. Be sensitive to combine essential oils with fractionated oil, or lotion, when using on babies. They don't need as much oil as adults.

 Internal -- Essential oils can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. Place 1 to 2 drops under the tongue, or mix in a glass of water. You can also purchase empty capsules, drop the oil, and swallow like any other pill. This benefits the mouth and throat, supports the digestive system, and supports immunity. Not all should be taken internally, so be sure to read the label!

I am partial to doTERRA essential oils. They are CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) and are made from the the best parts of the plant. For example, some peppermint oils are bitter because they are created from the entire plant. But with peppermint, only the leaves carry the essential oils that are needed. DoTERRA is sensitive to this and uses plants harvested at the correct time and place. Their medical and research team (Harvard doctors, if you're in to that sort of thing) are constantly working to develop the best products.

Some of my favorites:

LEMON: I put a drop in my water bottle, laundry, and clean my kitchen counters with them.

GINGER: When pregnant, I rub them on my feet to help nausea. This is one of two oils my 4 year old will use. He gets carsick and allows me to put it on his belly before long trips. Haven't had an accident since using it.

FRANKINCENSE: I put this on my kid's bonks and scrapes. The sores heal twice as fast, leaving no scars.

PEPPERMINT: Put behind my ears and neck to wake me up. I use this when I feel under the weather or a cold coming on. I also love this in a diffuser.

LAVENDER: I put this on my feet before bedtime. I have a friend who put it on her baby's feet, and combined it with water in a spray bottle and sprayed it on his sheets before bed. This got rid of his night terrors. A great relaxing oil.

ON GUARD (a doTERRA blend containing wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary): I use this daily, especially during this time of year. It helps prevent infection and limits sick time.  
DoTERRA has throat drops and toothpaste containing this oil. I use these daily as well.

TERRA SHIELD (another blend containing 15 essential oils): a natural bug repellant. No bug bites at the cabin!

Essential oils are fun, folks! If you are interested, start small. There are so many, it can be overwhelming. If you are in Utah or are coming for a visit, stop on by to experiment!


  1. I have some Aura Cacia essential oils, which is perhaps not the quality I understand brands like doTERRA or TRUessence to be, but they've enabled me to start dabbling at a price I could face (they do claim to be 100% pure...).

    I've used lemon in my vacuum bag and on countertops. I had some lavender spray and rose spray on hand for my most recent labor/birth. I used a combo of clove bud, cinnamon leaf, and bergamot in an aftershave I made for Keenan. I used to put a drop of sweet orange in my AC vinegar rinse in the shower. I also want to use the orange in combo with spearmint in a homemade toothpaste recipe I've had my eye on. I've also used tea tree oil on scrapes, cuts, burns, and even a yeast infection!

    I have read that lavender and tea tree oils are possible endocrine disruptors (mimicking estrogen and inhibiting androgen), which makes me hesitant to use them on little boys. Anyone know anything else about that? Would be too bad because they both seem to have incredibly healing properties.

    This is a great overview, Liz. Thanks for the tips! Maybe I'll pay you a visit next time we're in Utah. :)

  2. Thank you Liz. I've had fun talking with Tamara about her studies, and she has been generous with her knowledge and resources. I have not become a user of essential oils, but I've been interested. Maybe this will lead me to begin.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to post this, Liz! What great, helpful information. Let us know when you find out more good info so we can share it around!

  4. Liz, my computer was down for about a week, so I was just now able to read your post. Thank you so much for these basics! I confess, though I have heard about essential oils, I didn't really know what they are. I really think this will be a jump start for me for getting into these.

    Nonie, I had heard some things about lavender and tea tree oil, so I've been studying up on the issue. I think I'll make my post about that this week.