Essential Oils

This post has been in the works for quite a while, but with the little guy learning to walk and dropping one of his naps, I’m working double time just to keep the house standing! ;-)

So on to the oils...

I just want to share our experience with them. I had bought and used less expensive oils from Whole Foods before and was pretty underwhelmed. The scents were short-lived and turned really funky after a short while. I honestly didn’t really get all the hype over essential oils until I did more research and learned that there are actually different grades or qualities of oils. The really inexpensive ones (like the first ones I tried) are inexpensive because they cost less to produce. These oils are extracted from the plant using heat or chemicals which destroy the quality of the oil, can alter the smell, and are not as effective for medicinal use. Some inexpensive oils are also diluted with an inexpensive carrier oil to save on costs as well. High quality oils are more expensive because they cost more to produce… they take more time and effort. The reason I decided to try out Young Living oils is because they produce some of the highest quality essential oils you can purchase (100% pure, undiluted, therapeutic grade) I LOVE their blends, and found their prices to be pretty competitive. Though they are certainly not the only reputable brand with high quality oils, they seemed to be the best fit for our family and needs. 

Here are some things we no longer use (store-bought) since we started using essential oils:

Household Cleaners
Dryer Sheets or Fabric Softeners
Diaper Cream
Bug Repellant
Tick and Flee meds for Mocha 
Medications (Tylenol, Neosporin and allergy medications were our most used in our house pre-oils)

Here are some of the oils we use instead and some of my favorite uses for essential oils:

>>  I love wearing the blends Joy, Peace & Calming, and Stress Away as perfume… they smell SO incredible and are totally non-toxic and actually beneficial to the body and mind (unlike conventional perfumes which are cocktails of known carcinogenic chemicals. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to these chemicals actually alter the DNA in our cells. Sorry Chanel. I loved you, but it’s finally over). 

>>  Candles. Oh, you guys… I used to burn candles all the live long day; and never dreamed there was anything unhealthy about them. In fact, I didn’t even buy essential oils as a substitute for candles or with any intention of giving them up. I just fell in love with my YL diffuser and used it constantly and loved how great I felt breathing the essential oils that I phased out my candles without even trying. It was only after that I learned how bad candles are for our health. Here is a really informative article about why they are harmful (and if you just can’t part with candles, how to make sure you buy ones that are not toxic).

>>  I make my own deoderant now with equal parts unrefined coconut oil, arrow root powder, few tablespoons of baking soda, and blend of essential oils. My favorite at the moment is Stress Away because when it’s mixed with the coconut it smells totally exotic and tropical!

>>  For shampoo I just use baking soda and water pre-mixed into a paste and add rosemary and peppermint essential oils. They smell soooo good in combination and are great for restoring the health of your scalp and promoting hair growth. Since I stopped using regular shampoo my hair is so much shinier and smoother that I don’t even use heat on my hair any longer. It hasn’t been this long or thick since I was pregnant. 

>>  For conditioner I use 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water and few drops of peppermint and rosemary. It restores the natural PH of the hair and makes it super shiny. 

>>  For lotion I use I mixture of unrefined coconut oil (whipped!) and my favorite essential oil scent.. usually Peace & Calming or Lavender at night.

>>  We make our own whitening mouthwash now using 1 part food-grade (yes, it’s important that it’s food-grade) hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water with 5 drops of clove oil and 10 drops of peppermint oil. Your mouth will feel so freakin’ fresh (but not dry like can alcohol-based mouthwashes can). You won’t even believe it until it happens. 

>>  I also make my own toothpaste (you can make it into a paste, but we prefer it as a powder) based on this recipe… Again, the peppermint and clove combo is so amazing and make your mouth feel fresh-from-the-dentist clean. It’s not foamy like regular toothpaste (which may be a love/hate thing). I personally love it, because regular toothpaste makes me gag really easily (especially when I was pregnant), so in my opinion it’s a huge bonus!

>>  To clean floors, counters, toilets, sink… literally EVERYTHING (except for windows on which I use diluted vinegar) I use a blend of Purification and Thieves mixed with water and a drop of dish soap to keep the oils suspended. Purification is anti-bacterial and a natural bug repellant (bonus!) and Thieves has been proven more effective that chemical cleaners in killing bacteria both airborne (when diffused) and on surfaces including staph, e coli and salmonella. I feel so much better spraying this stuff knowing that my family isn’t breathing (and licking) residues of toxic, chemical cleaners that have been linked to asthma and all other sorts of upper respiratory problems. Here is more info on the effectiveness of Thieves.

>>  Instead of dryer sheets I use a few drops of whatever essential oil I’m feeling that day (usually lavender or lemon) on my wool dryer balls and clothes come out smelling so fresh!

>>  Tea Tree, Lavender, and German Chamomile are amazing at protecting the skin and curing all kinds of rashes, including eczema and yeast. I use one drop of Tea Tree in spray bottle of water to use on cloth wipes, and use a blend of all three in diaper balm I make (with unrefined coconut oil, Shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, and vitamin E). I use the diaper balm on any dry areas as well because its super gentle and healing. Eli has been 100% rash free since we started this combo. 

>>  Bugs don’t like purification… and I mean ALL types of bugs, and it’s waaaay safer to for humans and four-legged friends than chemical bug sprays! We use it on our skin to keep away mosquitos, ticks and chiggers; and we put several drops on Mocha’s collar each week to keep ticks and flees away which it has thus far (and we go hiking in the woods multiple times a week so I feel pretty confident in recommending this one). 

Our medicine cabinet “before” on the left and in the trash,
and “after” on the right. This is all we need.
>>  Medications. This is whole other side of Essential Oils that I knew nothing about before trying Young Living and I’ve still only touched the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more I’m learning every day, but have been blown away with all I’ve experienced thus far. Since Eli has been been born (a year this month!!) no one in our family has had to make a single sick visit to the doctor. And we live pretty social lives… we go on play dates or play groups multiple times a week, we have people over, we go to the park, Eli licks surfaces in public places (in spite of my best efforts to prevent it). Pretty much, we have plenty of exposure to germs (of course some families may have more or less, but we certainly haven’t had to live like germaphobes to stay well). I think there are a lot of factors playing a role in that (eating a lot of vegan raw foods, spending lots of time outside/exercise, homeopathy) and I’d be happy to talk more about those if anyone is interested, but for now I just want to share some ways that we use essential oils to support the systems of the body rather than just masking symptoms like many otc medications can. 

***Due to the FDA giving YL a lot of attention lately in the form of new restrictions regarding testimonials, I cannot claim that essential oils can be used to heal, treat or prevent any health related issue or decease. I have some thoughts on that, many of which this lovely blogger put perfectly into words right here. I can however tell you when and how I use essential oils. I can also tell you that now, almost a year after writing this post, we still have yet to make a sick visit to the doctor or have any need for even a single dose of any OTC or prescription medication. 

Headaches: Lavender and peppermint on the temples, forehead, and base of the neck. Works better than Tylenol and won’t do serious damage to your liver. 

Stratches, Cuts, Scrapes, Papercuts, Burns: Lavender. This stuff is AMAZING. I’ve seen it stop bleeding and pain almost instantly, and helps the tissue repair and fades scarring (in my experience) faster than Neosporin. 

Ulcers, Teething, any pain in the mouth, lips or gums: Clove oil, diluted with a carrier oil. Clove oil is both antiseptic AND anesthetic (numbing). I rub it into all of E’s wooden teething toys and diluted with coconut oil directly on a tooth bud using a q-tip if I know where a tooth is coming in.

Congestion, Sneezing, Runny Nose: Peppermint, Lemon, and Lavender. I prefer to diffuse them rather than dilute and apply topically, but either way works extremely well and does not have any side effects like drowsiness… or sleeplessness, Hallelujah Amen!

Eczema: Lavender, Tea Tree, German Chamomile, and Melrose diluted in coconut oil are what I use. I had horrible eczema as a child and even still have recurrences of it when the weather changes. The only thing that ever worked for me a specific prescription medication. That is until I tried these oils. The itching and pain was gone almost immediately and in 24 hours there was no sign that it was ever even there. 


Ginger said...

Thanks for taking the time out to write all of this down for all of us readers!

Lots of great information here. I have replaced or eliminated a lot of my chemical-based cleaners and such in our home, but much of what I've eliminated, I have yet to find a satisfactory replacement for, so I'm excited to try your suggestions!

At the risk of asking a too-personal question, you mentioned y'all have eliminated deodorant. I took the plunge this fall, but I've yet to live through a southern summer without it. Have y'all made it that far yet? I'm not a huge perspirer, but I'm married to a man-sized man. :) I'd love to hear your tips sometime if you have any thoughts on that.

Lauren said...

Whitney... I really enjoyed reading this, and I'm proud of you for taking the time to research some ways to keep your family healthy. I'm going to print this blog out, and try a few of the things you mentioned that I feel pretty solid about (like the cleaning items, the lotion, and perfume). Thanks for sharing. Love you :)

Whitney Mc said...

I’m so glad it was helpful! Deodorant was the most difficult for me to find a replacement for as well! I tried literally every single “natural” and aluminum free ones I could find but they all spelled really strange to me and felt slimy.. delightful, right?! I make my own now and in my opinion is worlds better in smell and feel. Jason and I both use my homemade one and it’s very effective! I mix equal parts arrow root powder (amazon) and unrefined coconut oil, then add 10ish drops of essential oils. Joy is great but smells slightly feminine/floral. Jason really likes stress away… it’s more of fresh/slightly citrus smell. I just put the coconut oil in the microwave until it’s liquified then pour it into an empty deodorant tube. It works wonderfully!

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