Sunday, September 21, 2014

Essential Oil 101

I truly believe everyone should use or at least try oils. I guess that's the crunchy mama in me! Essential oils have so many benefits that it would take me a year of blog posts to cover them all. 

My journey with essential oils started last October. I can tell you with all certainty that they have really enriched our lives! We use them to clean, to treat illness, to boost our mood, to scent our home naturally, to cook, to treat our animals, to replace cosmetics, and so much more!

When I decided to start this chapter of our life, I was muddled down in information. I decided to write this post as an introductory to essential oils.

Why Young Living Oils

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I want to let you know why I use the oils that I use. Over the course of the past year, I have used 5 different brands of essential oils. There were 2 we used more than others. One was Young Living Oils and the other was a cheaper non-MLM option. What I noticed with the cheaper oil was that it smelled different than my Young Living Oils (YL). For example...the cheap brand of peppermint smelled like peppermint candy. YL Peppermint Essential Oil smelled like mint from the garden. This made me wonder if the cheaper brand had some synthetic that made it have that candy odor. I noticed this with several of their other oils compared to my YL Oils.

The other thing that I noticed was the big thing that made us go back to Young Living. When I used their oils for sickness or to help the boys sleep, it didn't work well or at all. Young Living Peace & Calming will knock the kiddos out within 10 minutes. They have also cured any sickness we have used them for.

Through all this trial and error, I feel that Young Living Oils are the most pure and potent brand of essential oils. They are the only ones I feel safe using with my family and animals. I also think because of how well they work I am able to get more for my money which is good for a mom on a budget!

Seed to Seal is another reason I love Young Living. This little graphic can give you more details.  You can also read about it on the Young Living website.

What are Essential Oils

Essential oils are made from the volatile liquids of a plant. They are obtained from properly distilling any part of the part including the seeds, roots, bark, stems, leaves, fruit, flowers or branches. Essential oils have been used throughout the ages in many, many cultures.  These cultures have used them not only for their fragrance, but also for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Current scientific studies and natural approaches to health and wellness are bringing these amazing oils to the main stream.

What are Pure, Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

In short layman's terms, therapeutic grade oils are oils that contain no synthetics. Therapeutic oils are unadulterated and are distilled using gentle steaming methods or cold pressing. These are the types of oils that you can use on your family without worrying. When looking for a brand of pure oils, you need to do your research.

Can Essential Oils be Harmful?  

Essential Oils are very, very potent. They are highly concentrated versions of their wild counterparts. A lot of oils are 100-300 times more potent than extracts. Because oils are concentrated,you need to dilute them before using. I usually use about 1 drop to 1 tsp of carrier oil. 

Essential Oils can be harmful if not used properly, if they are not pure, or if they are ingested when they aren't supposed to be. Some oils should never be ingested and could make you very sick. Oils that can be ingested will have it on their label. 

Young Living Essential Oils are not only therapeutic-grade in quality but many of them are so safe they are certified by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS or FA.
  • If it is GRAS then it has a proven track record of safety for consumption and is certified by the Food and Drug Administration as generally recognized as safe.
  • If it is FA then it means it has no track record but has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a safe food additive.

*Keep in mind that this info is only for Young Living Oils. They are the only ones that I will ingest. Ingesting impure oils is incredibly dangerous. The FDA list for GRAS oils is linked here.

* When using essential oils with children, always use caution.  I personally don't use oils on the boys without a carrier oil.

How to Use Essential Oils 

Essential oils can be used  aromatically, topically, and internally. Instead of getting into each of these. I am going to link you to some of the sites that I think to a good job  of explaining each one.

Young Living

Taking Charge of Health and Well Being

Finding Info to Help You Get Started

Getting started with essential oils is a daunting and confusing journey! There is so much conflicting information on which brand of oils are the purest, which type of oil is best for certain ailments, and pretty much everything else under the sun. I personally think the best way to start with reading books written by essential oil experts. That may just be the nerdy English teacher in me though! Besides books, I found speaking to seasoned oilers was one of the best ways that I learned.

Here are my book recommendations for getting started.
  •   Dr. Moms EOs First Aid by Judy Jehn, RMT & Brenda Sheldon, RMT
  • When Modern Medicine Fails A Definitive Guide to EOs That Could Save Your Life During a Crisis by Dr. Scott A. Johnson, 
  •  Chemistry of Essential Oils by David Steward-Tropical Traditions
  •  Young Living Pocket Reference
  • Gentle Babies by Debra Reybern

So I feel like I've hit you with a lot of information. Check back tomorrow to see my favorite oils and their uses. If you would like more information on Young Living Oils, you can reach me though the contact form at the side of the page or through facebook.

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