Wednesday, March 05, 2014

But How Do I USE It, & Other Oily Problems

I'm taking a break from the Essential Oils Head to Toe series today to address some big issues and questions I've seen and heard from you, dear readers! I feel like some of these are big enough concerns that it won't matter what I say until they are addressed! 

Regarding essential oils: 
"Are they safe?" 
"Are they effective?"
"I'm overwhelmed with the uses. I just want someone to tell me what each one does."
and my favorite, "Why are they so expensive?"

Photo Credit: Marco Bellucci via Compfight cc

Let me start out by saying once again that I am not a doctor. I am not an aromatherapist. I am not licensed or certified in any way. This is my blog and my opinion and I hope you are helped but that you are spurred on to do more research and learn more about essential oils yourself. I honestly don't care what brand you land on, as long as they are safe and effective and support the health of your family! Again, I write about dōTERRA because it is what I know so far. But are they the only brand to offer quality? I'm sure not. Do your research. 

Most essential oils are safe and free from nasty side effects if used properly. Many people will say never to ingest them, while some say it is very effective and totally fine. As with other medicine, you need to pay attention to dosage, purity, and correct application. I found this article from the University of Minnesota to be clear, concise, and very helpful. 

As far as purity is concerned, unfortunately we don't all have a mass spectrometer in our living room to test these things ourselves. And honestly, even if one did appear I'd have no idea how to use it. ;)

So it comes down to finding a brand you trust. 
BUT, I found this from a blog called

"To test your essential oil to see how “pure” it is, put a single drop of it on a piece of construction paper. If it evaporates quickly and leaves no noticeable ring, it is pure. If you have a ring left, then it is likely diluted by the manufacturer with an oil of some sort (this test will not work for myrrh, patchouli, and absolutes)."

So there's that. 

If you Google the phrase "essential oils didn't work for me", you'll have trouble finding articles, I've found. Essential oils are nature's medicine cabinet, what mankind has been using for time immemorial (in one form or another, maybe not in little glass vials!) to heal our bodies and minds. 

In my estimation, what some people find frustrating (including myself, as you'll read in subsequent posts) is finding the thing that works for you. The trouble is, we're all different and more importantly, the root of every health problem we have is not the same! So this is indeed a challenge that you will face if you decide to ditch common pharmaceutical solutions to everyday problems. However, I have found certain things to be greatly effective, so that has given me hope and kept me going!

I think the frustration here I felt at first too. It's like, "What do you mean lemon can be used to combat oiliness on my face but also can be used to clean my countertops?! Just tell me which thing to do and I'll do it!!"

And lists like "101 Uses for Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint" can seem wonderful at first, but quickly grow overwhelming!

What I want you to hear loud and clear in this section is that each oil has multiple properties, which is why it can have multiple uses. Let's take Lavender as an example. When I think of the scent of lavender, the first two words I think of are "clean" and "calming". And indeed, you will find that Lavender essential oil is a mood-lifter and as well as cleaner and disinfectant! 

This is because Lavender has Anti-Depressive, Anti-Spasmodic, Antiseptic and Analgesic properties. So YES, it is as good for calming a burn on your skin as it is for calming your kid before bed. 

Photo Credit: J.G. Damlow via Compfight cc I feel calmer already...
Maybe the better place to start is an ailment or problem you're trying to solve and then finding out what oils work for that instead of trying to discern each and every use of the hundreds of essential oils available on the market. For instance, I have a headache, or I am depressed, or I want to clean my house with natural substances, etc... Just a suggestion to tone down the info dump!!

This is a favorite of mine. It took me an entire year to get over how expensive these oils seemed to me. It took me a bout with cancer (my husband's) and the hospital bills that brought (even with insurance) to realize the value of health. 

If you know me, I'm like one of the cheapest people you will ever meet. But all the sudden I'm dropping what, in my mind, is serious cash on little bottles of oil! 

1. You have to pay for quality. This is your body we're talking about and your health. If you're using them therapeutically, you need the good stuff. If you're using it for cleaning or for perfume, then sure...go for the less expensive stuff and you don't really worry too much. 

2. It is super-concentrated. It takes a lot to make a little vial. Like 100 POUNDs of lavender to make a pound of oil. I haven't seen 100 pounds of lavender, but I imagine it's a lot! Some are harder to find, harder to grow, harder to process, etc, etc. However, the good news is that a little goes a long way! Again, one DROP of peppermint is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea!

3. The price-per-drop is actually not bad. When you think that a "dose" of oils usually involves no more than a drop or two, the perspective changes. And since some of these oils seem to work for nearly everything (I'm looking at you, Frankincense!), you really only need a few oils to start with. And for me, I think about how many OTC drugs I'm no longer buying (and hopefully will never have to!), and it starts to seem like a pretty good deal. 

If you're still with me, here's a prize to be won. 

Enter the raffle to win! I'll announce the winner at the end of the Head to Toe series! And as always, if you are interested in purchasing some for yourself, you can visit my site


Christie1001 said...

Ok totally liking the idea!

mommy melissa said...

I'd love to get better aquatinted with essential oils... Thanks for the info and I love the article links!

Anonymous said...

I am interested in helping earaches and diaper rash. C has both right now! ...and he's teething. Needless to say, the uses for babies & kids definitely interests me! :)

Holly Brown said...

Girl, you know my frustration. I'm tired of hearing "Lemon is good for cleaning and disinfecting, or drinking in your water, or doing this and that and the other." BUT NOT HEARING "Here's what you do to clean with it: put 2-3 drops in water solution and spray around, leave for 2 minutes and wipe off." (or whatever the instructions actually are. My issue is the detailed directions for use. I put peppermint directly on ym skin because someone said it was good to wake me up, and it burned like crazy!!!!!!! Hi, you need to dilute it, but not with water as you would naturally think, you need fractionated cocount oil so drive an hour to Omaha and go to a health food store so you can pick that right up.... On the shameful note: SO SORRY about my small rant on your comment page but I know you're secretly laughing at me and I'm fine with that. I'm loving your series and am following closely, I'm just a wee bit frustrated with having to figure it all out on my own - SUPER HARD SKEPTIC HERE!

Cassie T. said...

I understand your frustration completely. It is annoying that I have to do so much research just to know how to clean my kitchen!! Ha ha.
That's why the first thing I bought before any oils was a reference book. I'm working on a post for the home and possibly some more specific uses. Hopefully I can be VERY SPECIFIC for you, my friend. ;)
Also hoping to do a mother/baby post, so stay tuned!

Elizabeth Rhodes said...

I agree with Holly, I am a little skeptical too. I just want someone to tell me exactly what oils I should use and how to use them. I also don't want to feel like I am not doing whats best for my family if I don't spend a ton of money on essential oils.