I have been working with a health and nutrition coach for the last six months. She is extraordinary, and has been helping me in so many areas: nutrition, self-care, wellness and goal-setting, to name just a few. I began working with her in the hopes of expanding my nutritional/ cooking knowledge to incorporate more whole foods cooking. We are healthy eaters, but there is always room to grow. She helped me during difficult nutritional times- breastfeeding, and pregnancy, to be specific. My body has been through a lot these past few years, and it needs to be treated right! She has also helped me lessen the pressure I tend to inflict on myself, and she was instrumental in helping me realize that with this new baby, I need to give myself a real maternity leave from work!
Besides all of that, one of the best new tools in my healthy living toolbox is a growing knowledge of essential oils. I thought I would share with you a bit about this subject- how I use my essential oils, and what purpose they serve in our lives. I’m sure there is a ton of information on this subject available in books and on the web- keep in mind this is just what works for our family!
According to Young Living (the company I use for my oils) “essential oils, known as nature’s living energy, are the natural, aromatic volatile liquids found in shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. The distinctive components in essential oils defend plants against insects, environmental conditions, and disease. They are also vital for a plant to grow, live, evolve, and adapt to its surroundings. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plant sources via steam distillation, and are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs.”
I find it amazing that essential oils have been around since the ancient times, with numerous references in the Bible (frankincense and myrrh, anyone!?), and yet, they are thought of today as outside the realm of traditional medicine. In fact, up until the 1930’s, essential oils were used as medicine. Now, they are used for aromatherapy, message, personal care, health and wellness, nutritional supplements, and much more.
There are hundreds of essential oils, each with distinct properties. Here are my go-to essential oils, and their uses:
*Lavender: relaxation, calming, sleep-aid
*Eucalyptus: promotes respiratory wellness
*Peppermint: promotes digestive health, stimulates the mind, cools fevers
*Lemon: anti-bacterial properties, anti-septic, boosts immunity
*Thieves (a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus): boosts immunity, used during the plague by tomb raiders to avoid getting the plague, even the government at the time wanted to know the ‘thieves’ secret!
You can use your essential oils in a variety of ways- simply inhaling the scent is often very effective, as is applying it directly to the skin (for stronger oils, use a carrier oil, such as unscented coconut oil or sesame oil). For example, when I had a cough this past week, I applied eucalyptus oil directly to my chest, and inhaled the scent to help clear my passages. For an even more relaxing, effective experience, apply a hot water bottle to the area where you put the oil- the effect is heavenly!
You can also:
-Put the essential oil in a spray bottle with water, and use as an air freshener- ten drops of oil to a full bottle of water. I do this with Thieves to rid the house of bacteria, especially after one of us has an illness.
-Use for cleaning- a few drops of essential oil in baking soda can work wonders on your bathtub and tile…as an added bonus, you get the benefit of the wonderful, healing smell. Lemon, and Thieves both have anti-bacterial properties, great for cleaning.
-Use a diffuser to circulate the oil in the air. Lavender is a great one to use in your baby’s room to promote restful sleep.
-Add a few drops to your water. Lemon and peppermint are great for this.
Finally, keep in mind that essential oils have been used for decades to treat various infant issues- colic, teething, diaper rash, cradle cap, etc. If you are interested in using essential oils with your baby or children, check out Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood. Another great book is Aromatherapy A-Z by Connie and Alan Higley. Look up what is ailing you, and this book will tell you what essential oil to use, and how.
We are just starting on this journey, and there is so much more to learn, but we now use essential oils every day, in a variety of ways. Maybe you’ll want to give it a try, too!