Can Essential Oils Bring Us Together?!

Starting a new blog is hard you guys! I’m still trying to find my niche, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop! I think I’m ultimately looking to build a community. I want to create a place where women/men/parents can come and hang out, read about this or that or who or where, all pertaining to real life. There’s always so many different views in the parenting world, instead of just featuring my own opinions, let hear about everyone’s! I’ve been looking for my own online “tribe” for 8 months now and decided to just create my own! I think this is a perfect start: 

Essential Oils are getting pretty popular these days. You can find so many great recipes on sites like Pinterest and Instagram  that can help with sleep, cranky kiddos, toxic free cleaning etc, but what is an essential oil and why is everyone using them?

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I’ve teamed up with my good friend Kirsten from MameMamas.com to start a little conversation on oils. I dabble a little, meaning I use lavender and frankincense on everything but that’s the extent of my knowledge. Good thing Kirsten is here to help answer some well asked questions, and you know she’s got some great recipes too.

Kirsten can also be found on Instagram sharing all about her knowledge of the wonderful world of essential oils. She is a Young Living business owner and mama of two sweet kiddos. Thanks for all your help today Kirsten!

I’m Kirsten, the proud owner of Mame Mamas. I have degrees as a CNA,
lactation consultant, birthing mentor, and am working on my aromatherapy certificate.
Being passionate about alternative medicine working hand in hand with ‘western
medicine’, I love to keep adding to my arsenal of information and techniques. I am a
mama to two kiddos ages 10 and 7. I have been on a 10 year journey to find the best
types of products for wellness support and overall health for my kiddos as well as
myself. Both of my kiddos have high sensory needs and unique health challenges that I wanted to address as naturally as possible. I utilize a variety of products but the one overall theme they all have in common is toxic-free and as low environmental impact as possible.
I fell in love with essential oils when I was a child as the basics (such as
lavender, lemon, and peppermint) were available in my home since my mother used
them for aromatherapy and even making soaps and lotions. I had never really searched beyond that until I became a mother myself. I knew I wanted to support my children’s wellness as naturally as possible in a day and age when, “At least 30 percent or 1:3 of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary, according to new data published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with Pew Charitable Trusts and other public health and medical experts.” (1)
Being raised with both a medical as well as alternative approach to medicine
gives me the unique perspective and desire to always look at the scientific background as well as the testimonial background for the choices I choose to implement for my children and myself.media_image10

So here are some of my questions:

What is an essential oil?

In simple terms, essential oils are plant extracts. They come from the roots, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, and more through processes like distillation and expression. Aromatherapy is a popular complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modality that has been gaining traction in recent years. But essential oils have been around since Biblical days. On the surface, they are liquids that smell good. However, if you started peeling back the layers and delving into the history and chemical composition of these oils, a whole new world will open up before you.

Interesting facts:

  • Essential oils are also used by plants themselves. Naturally occurring essential oils in plants help with infection control, humidity control, hormonal effects, wound healing, and attracting or repelling insects, birds, and animals. (2)
  • Essential oils do not feel oily; they are called “oils” because they contain the oil-soluble chemicals in the plant (usually 100 to 200 chemicals per essential oil). This complex chemistry gives essential oils their therapeutic properties and explains why different essential oils may have overlapping effects. (2)
  • You would begin encountering terms like aldehydes, ketones, oxides, and sesquiterpenes. You would find out that gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS) tell us about these phytochemicals. You would find more than frankincense and myrrh from the Bible, encountering gems like cedarwood, spikenard, cinnamon, and pine.
  • You would see that Pliny, Dioscorides and many herbalists through the medieval era used plants and their oils as astringents, antibiotics, sedatives, expectorant, and so much more, long before those treatments and words existed as we know them.
  • It is well-known that many people survived the plague through a combination of oils that literally became known as ‘thieves oil.

 

Why use Essential Oils?

Research studies on essential oils show positive effects for a variety of health concerns including infections, pain, anxiety, depression, weight loss, tumors, premenstrual syndrome, nausea, and many others. Inhalation through diffusion is one of the most popular ways to use oils. The reasons to diffuse oils are as many as the types of oils themselves. People love how quickly the oil molecules are released into the air, how fast their moods can change and how long the aromas last. The way the oils work on the respiratory system is fairly straightforward. You breathe in the molecules, they enter your lungs, and then your bloodstream. Researchers at University of Warwick in England have been researching smells and their effects on humans since 1971. They believe there are many factors that affect how we react to smells, including instinctual hard-wired responses, and soft-wired ones that grow as we do.

 Research has come a long way from just anecdotal evidence and speculation. Today, we know that antibiotics fight against microorganisms that can have detrimental effects on the human body, and that can even kill us. We have terms for everything that can go wrong, and know about the millions of bacteria and viruses and illnesses that we can contract. We know that emotional issues like stress can cause a host of physical problems.

Through studying essential oils, researcher have found that they possess numerous beneficial phytochemicals that possess therapeutic benefits. If you consider that pharmaceuticals are nothing but laboratory-created chemical treatments for disease, you can begin to see how using a natural alternative can be so appealing. And when you actually look into the chemistry of essential oils, you can begin to understand how they could work in staving off infections, reducing pain, or helping us sleep better.

Here is a short list:

 

Phytochemicals

Benefits

Aldehydes

antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, calming, immunostimulant, sedative, uplifting

Coumarins

antispasmodic, calming, hypotensive, sedative

Esters

analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, balancing, tonic

Ethers

analgesic, balancing, antispasmodic, sedative

Ketones

antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, decongestant, expectorant, mucolytic

Lactones

anti-febrile, anti-parasitic, calming, expectorant, immunostimulant

Monoterpenes

analgesic, antibacterial, antiseptic, decongestant, expectorant, immunostimulant, tonic

Oxides

anti-fungal, antispasmodic, decongestant, expectorant

Phenols

antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antiviral, immunostimulant, stimulant, tonic

Sesquiterpenes

anti-allergenic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, blood/lymph decongestant, stimulant

 

What is your best seller? 

My top sellers are actually the starter kit of 11 oils. I routinely sell lavender, frankincense, lemon, stress away, panaway, and peppermint as refills from the kit the fastest. Everyone loves to start with more than one oil, a diffuser, and support to understand when and where to use their new oils.  media_image6

What is YOUR favorite oil? 

It is SO hard to choose just one oil that is my absolute favorite overall, but when pressed I would have to state that lavender would be my desert island oil. It is often called the ‘grandmother oil’ because it is safe for everyone from a newborn to elderly, it is calming, gentle, and soothing just like we imagine grandmothers to be. media_image4

Any advice for newbies just getting started? 

I would start with the start kit. As it comes with 11 of the top-selling oils, ideas on how to use them, an amazing diffuser, and even some fun samples to try for other toxic free products. It is important to remember that no one person is an expert in every oil and asking questions of the community is a big part of the fun of oils. I often ask for ideas on what oils to use when I am searching for solutions to an issue. Every oil has so many uses and places in your life, I have a file on my phone (so it is always available) where I keep my favorite diffuser blends, roller blends, and ideas for when to ingest oils. media_image5

A long-term goal of mine is to get rid of toxic cleaners in the home, where do I start?

This is an amazing question with so many answers. I personally started with the oils and worked my way into other amazing products as I ran out of what we were already using. Another way is to start with a Thieves household kit and to replace all your household cleaners with one product and slowing start replacing the rest each month with a wellness box that is delivered right to your door. This tends to be the least overwhelming approach. As you progress in your wellness journey you will slowly start to find ways to replace or upgrade products along the way. media_image11

What oils are best for kiddos?

This is again so hard to choose just one oil but I would say Gentle Baby or Sleepylze from the KidsScents line. In reality the entire KidsScents line is fantastic for new oilers with kids because the oils come prediluted to be safe for kids right on arrival. There is no guesswork involved as you learn to make your own rollers and diffuser blends. media_image8

I feel like my babe is forever teething, is there an oil for that?

Did you know that the US Food & Drug Administration recommends NOT using teething gel on babies? The agency “remains particularly concerned about the use of OTC benzocaine products in children for relief of pain from teething.” (4)

That is so scary to me that we sell these products to parents and yet even the FDA does not recommend them. So, when my kids were teething I loved to use copaiba, lavender, and/or german chamomile. I diluted it with coconut oil and either placed it on the gums with my finger (over the age of 3 months) and/or rolled it on the jaw lines.  

I always diffused lavender or other calming blends such as lavender with copaiba when the kids were fussy and having trouble settling. media_image2

Sleep potions please! I’ve become such a light sleeper, even when the tot sleeps through the night I wake up a ton checking on her.

For everyone in the house my top two oils for sleep are lavender and cedarwood. I again adore the Gentle Baby blend for my kids as it is safe to both roll on them as well as diffuse in their rooms at bedtime without any work from me. I make sure to have all three oils in stock at home at all times. I often send a new mom a sample of Gentle Baby to help with sleep. media_image1

I’m a multivitamin daily kinda gal. Are there any oils that rival that?

As amazing as oils are, there is not one oil to replace a multivitamin. I do not take a multivitamin anymore due to, ‘The researchers concluded that a one-size fits all high level multivitamin does not reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline (such as memory loss and slowed-down thinking) or an early death. They also noted that in prior studies, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear to be harmful, especially at high doses.’ (5) It is recommended to eat a balanced diet but we all know that is very hard with our busy lives, so when we know we are missing nutrients, research has shown that ‘whole food’ sources such as Ningxia Red or even multi-greens work best in our systems as they derive their vitamins and mineral from a natural food source and not synthetic chemicals. Iron for instance is one that the average individual does not process or even absorb from the iron tablets sold at the supermarket. They cause constipation and upset stomachs often as well. Natural sources of iron can be found concentrated in greens and are much easier on our systems without the nasty side effects.

The term “essential oil” is a contraction of the original “quintessential oil.” This stems from the Aristotelian idea that matter is composed of four elements, namely, fire, air, earth, and water. The fifth element, or quintessence, was then considered to be spirit or life force. Distillation and evaporation were thought to be processes of removing the spirit from the plant and this is also reflected in our language since the term “spirits” is used to describe distilled alcoholic beverages such as brandy, whiskey, and eau de vie. The last of these again shows reference to the concept of removing the life force from the plant. Nowadays, of course, we know that, far from being spirit, essential oils are physical in nature and composed of complex mixtures of chemicals. (4)

 

Cited References:

 

(1) (2016, May 3). CDC Newsroom. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0503-unnecessary-prescriptions.html

 

(2) University of Minnesota. (2018, March). What Are Essential Oils? Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-are-essential-oils

 

(3) Aromatherapy Institute. (2018). What are essential oils. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-essential-oils

 

(4) Missone. (2018, August 13). FDA: Teething Gels with Benzocaine Not Safe for Infants. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2018/08/13/fda-teething-gels-with-benzocaine-not-safe-for-infants/

 

(5) John Hopkins Medicine. (2018). Healthy Body. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/is-there-really-any-benefit-to-multivitamins

Essential oils are powerful and can serve a wonderful purpose in anyone’s home. Always make informed choices and do your own research with essential oils.

Are you an essential oil user? Have anymore questions to ask Kirsten? Drop us a comment. Would love to hear from you!

 

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