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Essential Oils

When I started making soaps and lotions, I became a bit of an essential oil “expert”.  We used herbs and essential oils for many things.  Then life happened and I started to move away from using them.  I still believe in the healing power of natural medicine but I didn’t have the time to keep up on the research and my own knowledge.

Fast forward to this past winter.  We’ve been wanting to get back into using more herbs than just what we use for our salves and supplements but the inspiration was absent.  So I drug my husband to a “class” on using essential oils for allergies.  It turned out to be a nice sales pitch for Doterra Essential Oils.

I have to be clear here – I have nothing against Doterra.  I think they do some good work and I believe in essential oils.  I have some concerns about those selling the oils giving medical advice and I hate the prices.  They are very expensive but they also have some of the best selection I have ever seen.  I don’t know if they are better (therefore worth the extra cost) but I also know that I trust my source.  I buy what I can from San Francisco Herb.  They are inexpensive.  They don’t always have the best quality for all their products but they haven’t let me down in the many years I have been ordering from them.

Anyway, that class inspired me and since then I have taken several webinars.  This has prompted me to get back into the research.  I thought I’d share how to get started for those who look at the catalogs and websites and are completely stumped.

My “standard” essential oils are – mints (peppermint, spearmint), citrus (lemon, grapefruit, orange, lime, *bergamot), eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and clove.

Mints are antimicrobial (peppermint more so than spearmint).  They are good for digestion.  They are completely edible.  We’ve been known to add mint to water, alcohol, and other foods to help with flavor and digestion.  We add spearmint to salves to add some antimicrobial help.  Peppermint with Eucalyptus makes our favorite blend to add to baking soda to help with stinky shoes.  Note that I did not mention Wintergreen or Camphor.  They are in the mint family and you can purchase them through Doterra.  They can be toxic and should never be ingested.  We have used Wintergreen for muscle rubs in the past but it’s not one I keep stocked.

Citrus is uplifting and energizing.  I add lemon to my water to give me a boost as well as to decrease snack cravings.  I use Grapefruit like a perfume when I have to speak in public.  Citrus is also antimicrobial so it’s good for making home and, even, facial cleansers.  It just smells good.
*I have not used bergamot but it is a citrus oil that is growing in popularity.

Eucalyptus is an antimicrobial on steroids.  I use it all the time to keep down illness in my home.  I don’t use Tea Tree because we had some allergy concerns but if you don’t you can use it as well.  I diffuse eucalyptus to kill germs in the air.  I add it to rubbing alcohol to make an antimicrobial spray.  And as I mentioned above, we add it with peppermint for smelly shoes.

Rosemary is the one use the most.  My husband says it wouldn’t surprise him to learn it cures cancer.  From what I understand, it may actually prevent cancer (so there).  We use it in a salve that does the most amazing things for our skin.  For most of my family, it clears up blemishes (never for me though).  As a salve it helps with scar tissue breakdown.  It’s antimicrobial.  I use it in vinegar as a hair rinse.  The rumor is that it helps regrow hair.  I can’t say it does but it does help with my dermatitis and makes my hair soft.  It’s a boosting oil as well – improves mood.
I have recently learned that it is good for the liver and gallbladder.  We’ll be doing some experiments in the near future.

Lavender is a calming oil.  I don’t have many of those but lavender is all we need.  We use it to help my son sleep.  We add it to cold witch hazel to calm angry burns.  And it helps, sometimes, calm headaches.

Clove is antimicrobial and helps with pain.  We use it on achy teeth and gums just straight out of the bottle.  It tastes and smells great so we add it to soaps, salves and “lip gloss”.  This is one I don’t use nearly as much as I should because I just don’t know enough about it.  I do know that it works amazing on toothaches and that was all I needed to sell me on keeping a bottle in the kitchen.

Aside from the Eucalyptus, all these can be used internally if you have a food grade oil.  If you use it directly on skin, test first to make sure you do not have a reaction.  If you are worried, add a few drops to some oil and rub that on the skin.

Investing in these essential oils as a beginner is what I always recommend.  They are safe to use, have few allergy issues and inexpensive.  Purchasing one of each from SF Herb will range from $30 – $40 (plus shipping) for a 1 oz bottle size (given that you buy 1 mint and 1 citrus).  That’s not a terrible investment to start with essential oils.  And I don’t get anything from you ordering from them, it’s just a company I believe in.

I do have a goal to expand my essential oil use.  My current plan is to add 9 more to my “every day” use.  That brings my total in my essential oil kit to 18 (both mints and several citrus).  I will definitely be sharing some of our new uses in my end of the month reports but if I can get enough information together, there will be additional posts coming.

Wildcrafting

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