I’m always on the lookout for ways to treat everyday problems and illnesses with natural remedies. I love blogging and being connected to a community of people who are interested in the same things that I am. One natural remedy that has cropped up from time to time for me has been essential oils. I never knew much about them other than using them to scent a bath or in a home fragrance warmer. I didn’t think that they had medicinal properties.
I’ve started to read more about them on blogs and other places, as well. But, the turning point for me to dig a little deeper was when a friend (who was not into natural remedies at all) recently invested in a large stash of essential oils to treat some of her medical problems. She’s always been very committed to more traditional modalities so when I heard she was using these, I decided this was worth me delving into them to learn a bit more.
I recently learned that another friend of mine from the US started selling doTerra essential oils. She offers classes and I thought she would be a good resource to share her knowledge with me and others who might be interested in trying some of these remedies on their own health issues.
Jessica Snyder is a busy mom to 4 kids and lives in the beautiful state of Maine. She is an entrepreneur and has been involved in numerous successful businesses. In addition to her work with doTerra, she creates custom-designed hair accessories (I’ve used her high quality bows for years!) for boutiques and online shops. Her love of natural living came from her family. She grew up going to a pediatric naturopath, eating fresh fruits and vegetables from their family garden and spending time outdoors. She has always had a reverence for nature which is evident in her passion about essential oils and how they can be used to help people.
I am not advocating a particular brand. I simply want to share information. Here’s what I learned from Jessica:
1. How did you first get introduced to essential oils?
Not long ago, I had no idea how amazing and powerful essential oils are. My experience was limited to using them for scenting my candles during a candle making phase in my teenage years. I had seen those tiny little bottles at the health food stores but I didn’t pay much attention to them. I was introduced to doTERRA (which means gift from, or, of the Earth) essential oils 8 months ago and it has changed my life. My friend was teaching a class and she pleaded with me to attend which I did just to be supportive. The entire drive there I said to myself, “I’m not buying anything!” In spite of my reticence, I decided to buy a kit of 10 oils and went home with a sample of a blend called Serenity to use on my 4 yr old daughter who hadn’t slept through the night since she was about 18 months old. I put 2 drops on the bottoms of each of her feet (I will explain feet later on) just before bedtime and not only did she stay in her bed all night she also slept through! Of course, I am a bit of a skeptic so I immediately thought it was a coincidence. I kept trying it out for the next 3 nights with the same results…I was so happy she was getting a full nights sleep. On the 5th night, I ran out of the little sample vial and guess what…she was woke up and was in my bed again! Guess what I ordered asap…Serenity!
2. What exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are the aromatic compounds found in a plant or tree. They are often referred to as the “lifeblood” of the plant/tree. Think about when you garden and touch the plants. Later, you can still smell the plant on your hands. You have squashed some of the microscopic oil sacs and it’s the oil of the plant that is on you.
3. How are the oils extracted?
The way the oils are extracted is through cold pressing or steam distilling. They use a low temperature due to the sensitive complex structure of this precious oil. Very high temps will change the structure and result in a less effective oil. Some plants yield a lot of oil and some it takes a large amount of matter to render a very small measure of oil. Other plants take longer to grow. This is the reason for the varying costs of the oils (lemongrass=inexpensive versus Melissa=expensive) . We get oil from bark, leaves, seeds, needles, flower petals and resins depending on the therapeutic value of each part. For instance there is coriander oil (from the seed)and then there is cilantro oil (from the leaves & stems) both from the same plant but different parts and each provide their own benefits. Cilantro is an amazing oil which, among many things, can be used as a great odor neutralizer and can also be used to pull out heavy metals from the body.
4. Why do you use doTerra oils?
The reason I choose doTERRA essential oil is because of their standard of purity. Their oils are certified pure therapeutic grade (CPTG). This means that each batch of oil produced is tested by laboratories outside of the company. They use 2 different tests: mass spectrometry and gas chromotograph. These tests ensure that the oil is free from synthetics, pesticides and chemicals and are in fact exactly the oil that is on the label. Because of the purity of this brand of essential oil, it is safe to take internally (there are supplement facts sheets on the bottles stating that they are safe for internal use). It’s important to note that if you plan to try essential oils, please read the label, some brands of essential oils are for aromatic use only and have a warning on their bottles to avoid contact with skin many others are safe for skin but warn against internal use. These types have synthetics and chemicals that we do not want in our bodies.
doTERRA also sources their plants from the regions of the world that they are indigenous to. For example, lavender is from France, rose from Bulgaria, oregano from Turkey. This is because the soil and environment provides the best growing conditions and highest levels of what that plants needs to produce the most potent oil. They also try to use family farmers and growers that have generations of experience. This oil is very potent and powerful, just one drop of peppermint oil provides benefits equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea.
5. How do you use the oils?
In my family, we use our oils everyday! There are 3 ways to use the oils. We can use them aromatically, topically and internally (only with doTERRA CPTG).
If you want to use the oils aromatically, it can be done by breathing the oil vapors in, spraying in a room or with a diffuser. You can spend anywhere from $8-over $100 on a good diffuser. This method can impact mood, open air ways and cleanse the environment of airborne bacteria. I have been known to smear serenity on the vents in my car and turn it on full blast so it gets to the back where all the kids are 😉 I have also put wild orange on little wads of tissue and stick them in my air conditioners as a mood lifter. I have bricks on top of my wood stove that I put a drop of lime or orange on every once in awhile. If anyone gets sick I will use the onguard blend.
Topically, most oils can be put directly onto the skin where you need it for immediate comfort or relief, whether its a sore muscle or a skin issue. To deliver the oil into the bloodstream and throughout the body a great place to put it is on the bottoms of the feet. The reason for the bottoms of our feet is that they have the largest pores, it takes about 7 seconds to penetrate the skin, about 30 seconds to get into the bloodstream and about 30 minutes to get into every cell in our body! Amazing! Also, we can use reflexology to target areas in our body using points on the hands, feet and ears by massaging the oils into the desired point.
Internally- many of the oils (in reference to doterra EO’s) can be dropped under or onto the back of the tongue, pressed onto the roof of the mouth, put in an empty veggie capsule and swallowed or add a couple drops to a glass of water or a spoon of honey. Use this method for targeted wellness of digestive tract, mouth, throat, and liver. I love putting the citrus oils in my water, its a great cleanser of the organs and also of the water that is being used.
6. We’re in the middle of the cold and flu season. Can these oils be used to treat colds and the flu?
Yes! Ever been sick, gone to the doctor and they say that it’s a virus? What do they do for you? Nothing because it’s a virus. Antibiotics can kill bacterial infections (along with our good bacteria, boo!) because bacteria lives on the outside of cells, a virus lives on the inside of cells. Conversely, essential oils, because the molecules are so tiny, can penetrate a cell and KILL the virus! I’m not a doctor so I can’t say that essential oils are the cure-all, but I can say that I have used doTerra essential oils on myself for the beginnings of all of these ailments and for me they have all been stopped very quickly.
Essential oils are compatible with our bodies because we are carbon based and so are plants, they recognize what needs to be done and get to work right away, remember the good bacteria that we want to keep? Essential oils do not seem to bother the good bacteria but goes to where they are needed and kill the bad!
7. What are some other things you have used essential oils for?
Some of the things I use my oils for is my thyroid, I put a drop of clove bud and a drop of lemongrass on the front of my neck where my thyroid is every morning. I also put some calming oils behind my ears 30 minutes before a presentation, lesson or class to calm nerves…which totally works for me and I love it! If I feel the slightest sore throat coming on I zap it with a drop of a cold blend which I also use for canker sores and cold sores.
This is a powerful example from my family. My husband is extremely prone to staph infections and can get them with just a scratch, bug bite or even an ingrown hair. He has had to go on antibiotics multiple times even in a row, many doctor’s office visits, E.R. visits, and a surgery with a 4 month open wound healing. They progress very quickly and he had to keep antibiotics on hand in case it happens again. I am so pleased to report that the last 3 he got we effectively KILLED with only essential oils! As soon as he saw it we put melaleuca a couple times a day and gone! Another one progressed more rapidly and we didn’t catch it till it was the size of a nickel…we used onguard and oregano internally and onguard on the site, it took 2 days and GONE!!
8. What other resources have you used to educate yourself about essential oils?
There is an amazing book called Modern Essentials (the bible for EOs), in it there is a section on the science of oils, a brief section on reflexology and massage, a section on single oils and another on oil blends which gives an overview of the chemical constituents of each and then gives the common uses for each and the historical uses. The best part of the book is the usage guide section which lists ailments, from minor issues such as jet lag to major issues like Crohn’s disease. There is a summary of each ailment and then has recommendations for oils to use. The book also has references to medical studies to corroborate the recommendations.
9. Are the oils safe?
These oils are safe! My children (2yr old included) put the oils on themselves. My brother used Frankincense oil on his brand new baby just minutes after birth to help with calming from the trauma of birth and also to help with the bonding between father and baby. However, they do need to be respected, they should not be dropped directly into eyes, ears or nasal passageways. There are a couple that can not be used internally (these have a child safety cap), some need to be diluted for skin (oregano…HOT, whoa!) and those with sensitive skin should dilute with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil.
Essential oils are gaining wider use and are even used in hospitals. For those who think that traditional medicine and natural medicine can’t coexist, please look at this video of Vanderbilt Hospital trying something new to help patients and staff alike. Thank you, Jessica, for your insights! There are some oils that I think I will begin using ASAP!
Live well and be happy!