A Well-Essential-Oiled Machine!
That’s sort of what I’m feeling like right now. I’ll admit that I’m not one to jump on a bandwagon easily. In fact, I can be quite cynical if something seems, well, too good! Occasionally something that sounds this incredible does pop up though, and when it does I research it to death, looking for reasons why it might not be all that it claims to be. This is what happened with essential oils.
In my holistic wellness practice I frequently recommend essential oils for one reason or another, although my main focus up to this point has been on their aromatherapeutic use as a sleep aid or for stress relief (lavender oil is my favorite for this purpose!) I always considered the oils a wonderful healing tool, but, admittedly, I really had no clue as to the extent of their healing capacity. Then, while on a lunch date with my mom and a good friend who happens to practice massage therapy and healing touch, the subject of essential oils came up as part of our discussion on different modes of healing. My friend uses essential oils as a regular part of her practice and is passionate about their positive effect on the human body. Both my mother and I spent most of the time listening and learning as she spoke about her own personal experiences with the oils and their incredible effects on her clients. It was then that I realized how powerful the oils can be and how important it is to use only completely pure essential oils.
So, I came from our lunch date realizing that I had absolutely no clue how pure (or not!) the essential oils were that I had been diffusing in my own home day after day! This was sort of ironic because, prior to recommending specific supplements or natural food items to clients, I always make it a point to thoroughly research each and every one. I check ingredients, investigate how it is manufactured, look into the overall reputation of the manufacturer, etc. For some reason, it never even occurred to me to do the same due diligence with the essential oils, despite the fact that my family and my clients had been breathing these in! To remedy this, I began my quest to find essential oils that I could trust to be pure. I researched the oils used by my friend along with the store-bought brands that I had frequently diffused over the past few years.
My research pointed me in one direction only – Young Living Essential Oils
Just as I’m not a “bandwagon” kind of person, I’m also not big into “endorsing”, so to speak, a specific brand or product line. For instance, I have yet to find one specific supplement brand that suits my needs and the needs of my clients across the board. Instead, I tend to have my favorite Vitamin D3, which is a different brand than my favorite Vitamin C, and so on. However, when it came to essential oils, my research pointed me in one direction only – Young Living Essential Oils. You see, I found that, most of the time, even with what I considered to be reputable store-bought brands, the oils are outsourced and therefore the companies don’t have complete control over purity. That didn’t shock me but it didn’t make me feel all warm and cozy either. Also, I found out that no labeling laws exist that prevent a company from claiming that its oils are pure or therapeutic grade, even if that is not 100% true. There are specific things you must look for to be certain that an oil meets the standards to truly be therapeutic grade. Young Living oils do meet those standards and they have a lot of other impressive characteristics that set them apart from other oils.
More about what I find so impressive about Young Living …
First and foremost, I love the fact that Young Living has what they term: Seed to Seal. This means that they are in control of the whole process – from selecting and planting the seed to cultivation to distilling to testing to sealing the product. This link explains the process in more detail: Seed to Seal This control assures that the end product is pure, uncontaminated and therapeutic grade. Most of the plants are grown on Young Living farms so you can be assured that there is no contamination by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.
Because Young Living has its own farms, they also can control the soil – mineral content and the use of enzymes and organic mulch – to assure proper plant development. Also, harvesting at the correct time is crucial for the end-product essential oil to adhere to the necessary standards. Then, in order to avoid contamination in transit, distillers are close to the fields and, for those oils sourced abroad, distillers are brought to the fields.
Despite being time-consuming and labor-intensive, it is a priority for Young Living to preserve all of the beneficial compounds in the oils, so they are steam distilled at low temperatures and pressures, using chemical-free spring water and food grade stainless steel distillers. Distillers are never cleaned with synthetic chemicals, and plants and oil in the distiller are discarded if ever a distillation gets too hot.
Like I mentioned earlier, I was in search of “therapeutic grade” essential oil, meaning oil that passes independent testing prior to being sold to ensure that it is free of contamination and meets the standards set by AFNOR (Association Francais Normalization Organization Regulation). Although there are many oils that claim to be “therapeutic grade”, if AFNOR, ISO-AFNOR or EC-AFNOR is not on the label, there is no guarantee that they meet this standard. Interestingly, because of strict regulations, Young Living routinely rejects 30-40% of all plant materials offered by outside suppliers.
The next step after all of my research:
To learn more about the chemistry of essential oils, how they work and which oil is best used in different situations, I purchased the People’s Desk Reference for Essential Oils by Essential Science Publishing. I read a little bit every day – there is so much to learn about these gifts from nature. I highly recommend this book if you are at all interested in essential oils.
Next, I purchased the “Start Living with Everyday Oils” enrollment kit from Young Living. I love this kit because it comes with informational materials along with a grouping of the essential oils that literally anyone can use in their daily lives in one way or another. This includes the single oils Frankincense, Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint, as well as the blends Purification, Panaway, Peace & Calming, Thieves and Valor. For more info, visit http://healthybynaturehwc.com/young-living-essential-oils/
Using Essential Oils for Health
As soon as my oils arrived, I put them to the test! Here is how my family benefits from each oil in the Everyday Oils Kit:
*THE FOLLOWING INTERNAL AND TOPICAL, UNDILUTED USES APPLY ONLY TO YOUNG LIVING THERAPEUTIC GRADE ESSENTIAL OILS. USE OF OTHER, LOWER GRADE, ESSENTIAL OILS IN THIS MANNER MAY HAVE HARMFUL EFFECTS.
1. Lavender: I’m using this topically for dry skin. I mix a couple drops in sweet almond oil (the almond oil is a “carrier” oil that allows for a very smooth and easily-spread application of the essential oil) and massage my legs, specifically, because they always tend to be so dry. I also diffuse this throughout the house for a relaxing effect. I LOVE this oil.
2. Peppermint: Okay, this is perhaps my most used oil right now. My number one use for this oil has to be for headaches. We have eliminated the use of over-the-counter pain meds by rubbing a drop of peppermint oil onto each temple. This has NEVER failed. Also, we spend a lot of time outdoors, both hiking in wooded areas and gardening. I’ve experimented with all of the oils for use as an insect repellent and found, so far, that peppermint keeps everything away. I dab a drop or two behind my ears, on my ankles, or wherever I feel like I’m being bitten. We’ve also been 100% successful removing ticks with a drop of peppermint oil. They seem to immediately loosen their disgusting grip when peppermint is applied. If the insects are particularly bad, I mix peppermint with the carrier oil to spread evenly all over exposed skin. It is definitely working. Lastly, for abdominal discomfort, massage a drop of the oil onto the abdomen. Everyone needs a bottle of peppermint oil in their medicine cabinet.
3. Frankincense: Poison Ivy! OMG. We’ve literally tried everything to dry up poison ivy outbreaks and, having nothing to lose, I finally decided to give Frankincense a try. Dab a drop or two directly onto the poison ivy rash and massage lightly. Do that a couple times a day and the stuff dries right up! I’ve succeeded in making a believer out of my husband because of this! I also use it on my face, straight out the bottle, for the wrinkles and fine lines from years of too much sun. The jury is still out on how well that will work, but there is research that says it should!
4. Lemon: I’m a believer in juicing half a lemon into pure, filtered water upon waking each morning as a simple way to jumpstart the liver. I ran out of lemons the other day, so I started using 2 drops of lemon essential oil in 8 oz of water for this same purpose! This will do wonders to promote an alkaline pH – a prerequisite to optimal health.
5. Purification (blend of citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, lavandin, Melaleuca alternifolia, myrtle): We’ve used this on insect bites, pimples, and diffusing throughout the house to clean the air. I give it an A+ so far.
6. Peace & Calming (blend of tangerine, ylang ylang, blue tansy, orange & patchouli): Oddly, I haven’t tried this one yet but I will as soon as I’m done with this post. The name speaks for itself – it is supposed to be a sort of sedative and I’ve heard it works to calm hyper kids (or adults!)
7. Panaway (blend of wintergreen, clove, peppermint, & helichrysum): The favorite of my 13-year-old son who seems to be going through a growth spurt, hence lots of muscle aches and growing pains! He massages his thighs and calves with this each night and the pain disappears (and trust me, he would tell me if it didn’t actually work!) If you strain a muscle or are cramping after a workout, try applying a few drops directly to the affected area and rub it in. It works.
8. Valor (blend of spruce, blue tansy & frankincense) : I have yet to try this blend – I should really use it before doing any writing because it is known for promoting confidence and courage!! It also relieves tension.
9. Thieves (blend of clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon and Eucalyptus radiata): This is an incredible blend that is part of many Young Living cleaning and personal care products. I diffuse it to clean the air and I put a drop on my tongue for fresh breath. I love the smell!
Need more details? Click HERE to learn more here about how essential oils can work for you.
There is so much more to be said about the benefits of essential oils. I’ve already written way too much and still have not done them justice! I encourage you to check out the company as well as all of the products that I have tried so far, including the oils listed above. If you decide that you want to give any of them a try, you can place an order directly through that site or please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions first – firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s so important to monitor what we allow into our body through our lungs and through our largest organ – the skin. That’s why I am thrilled when I find products that help me on my quest to replace all synthetic household products and personal care products with those that come directly from nature!
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