Taking a Journey Towards Wellness with Essential Oils
By: Adriane Baan
Standing in line at the local post office, my little troupe is greeted with warm smiles from many a red-nosed face and we huddle together pretending our invisible bubble will protect us when the chorus begins. “Hack, sniffle, (wipe), throat clearing, snort, blow, sneeze, (wipe)..” I’m trying to retain a pleasant look on my face and not furrow my brow in concern over the crackling concert of cough drop wrappers being opened. “This is the last time we stand in this line,” I promise myself while mentally chastising my lack of foresight in just using online postage options.
It’s winter in Texas and perhaps the most unusual weather mix we’ve experienced since moving to the Hill Country more than 5 years ago. We’re blessed this particular afternoon to be on a 35 degree upswing, so we take on a few more errands than usual and even go for a walk down our quiet cul-de-sac. Greeting the scores of neighbors who begin emerging from their sleepy houses, the kids and I are thrilled to recharge in the balmy breeze and replenish our spirits from the last icy onslaught.
Who knows when the weather will change next so my plans for the rest of the evening are to bolster our stores of essential oil-based immune supports while I’m feeling energetic! Our family’s healthful journey began in 2008 with changing our diet and eliminating toxins from our home after our oldest child was born with developmental challenges. As we detoxed our surroundings and ourselves, we saw many improvements in our health, focus, energy, and restfulness. Essential oils became the capstone of our journey toward wellness, purpose, and abundance.
Did you know that Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years in many cultures to support the body and mind? The Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Europeans, and Chinese used herbs and essential oils for centuries in health, beauty, fragrance, and spiritual practices. Historic texts underscore the value and importance of essential oils for these civilizations through hundreds of documented references.
Essential Oils are volatile liquids sourced from plant material which evaporate quickly into the air. These liquids, sometimes called the “lifesource” of the plant, are found in shrubs, trees, flowers, roots, branches, leaves, resins, and seeds. The properties inherent in the plant are also found in the essential oil once obtained, thus the essence of the plant is present in each drop. These constituents, or beneficial compounds in the plant, are highly concentrated and can support the body in a variety of ways. Essential oils are 100 to 10,000 times more potent than the raw plant material or herbs themselves.
Due to the fact that essential oils are fat-soluble, they absorb quickly into the skin and have been found to traverse throughout the body within minutes, some crossing the blood-brain barrier. It is imperative when selecting an essential oil for use to research the origin of the plant product, method with which it was cultivated and practices employed for producing the oil. Plant product that has been exposed to any pesticides, grown on land previously used for commercial crops, or oils that have been diluted with fillers or bottled with the use of chemicals (such as hexane for sealing) would obviously not be a wise choice for personal use. Knowing your source is of utmost importance.
Essential Oils can be used in three ways;
Aromatic Use: diffuse oils into the air using a diffuser, put a drop of oil on a cotton ball and place it in an air vent at home or in the car, rub 1-2 drops between your hands and cover your nose with your hands while breathing deeply, or inhale the aroma directly from the bottle.
Topical Use: oils may be used on the skin where needed. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and note that some oils are “spicy” and require dilution using a carrier oil, such as good quality olive, coconut, almond, grapeseed, or jojoba oils. Dilution required for small children is up to 30 drops of carrier oil per 1 drop essential oil, so start slow and go low (use less until your body is used to the oils). It is a good practice for anyone to dilute oils when used on the skin for the first time. Also citrus oils are photosensitive, intensifying the effects of the sun, so use those oils where the sun doesn’t shine.
Internal Use*: After determining which essential oils are safe for use as a dietary supplement, try one of these ways to enhance your immune response: put a couple drops of essential oil in a vegetable or gelatin capsule and swallow with water, make a tea with warm water and a soothing essential oil plus honey, add 1-2 drops to water, juice, milk, plant-based milk, applesauce, or yogurt. Our family also enjoys using dietary oils in cooking daily. By utilizing essential oils in the kitchen, we cut down on food waste and save tons of prep time while maximizing flavor and benefits.
(*Please do not ingest an essential oil for cosmetic use that is found at the grocery store. Only therapeutic-grade oils labeled for internal use should be considered for consumption.Wisdom and caution should also be employed while following the labeled instructions on the bottle.)
When discussing immune boosting its important to realize that laying a solid foundation for your health is key. The following are lifestyle musts to incorporate into your daily routine:
Healthy Diet: Proper nutrition with balanced nutrients, minerals, omegas, probiotics, and fermented foods will set you up for success from the beginning. Couple this with adequate hydration, limiting refined sugars and caffeine, and replacing fake fats with the real goodness of raw milk, cheese, lard, coconut oil, nut butters, and avocados, etc., and you’re laying a firm foundation for health.
Eliminating Toxins: The environment also plays a critical role for your body. Do you douse the house with industrial chemicals and other unknown caustic compounds in everyday cleaners at the first sign of a sniffle? Many substances found in common cleaners can greatly inhibit your immune function and be counterproductive. Triclosan, for example, is an antibacterial chemical found in most common hand sanitizers, that remains on the shelf (most notably in a common toothpaste) despite being banned by the FDA in 2016. It has been found in studies to disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism. Chemical combat inside your home in the form of air fresheners, cleaning products, detergents, and toiletries certainly wears down your immune system rather than building it up. Reach for the essential oils instead and mix up a refreshing, natural blend in minutes that you can use all over the house to wipe every surface. Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass essential oils can be of great value when cleaning your home and ditching harmful chemicals. Some essential oil blends are backed by over 500 clinical studies proving their effectiveness!
Active Lifestyle: Be sure that physical activity is part of your health regimen! The American Heart Association recommends 20-30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times per week! A 2014 study by BioMed Research International cited exercise as a catalyst for improving immune function, antidepressive response, and sleep quality. Keeping your blood pumping and filtering away toxins, replenishing proper nutrients to your cells, and aiding the lymphatic system in discarding waste will greatly aid you on your wellness journey. Some favorite essential oils for exercise are Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Copaiba oils. For thousands of peer-reviewed research articles involving essential oils and their constituents, visit pubmed.gov.
R&R: Another preventative for getting run down this winter is rest and relaxation! Take time for activities you enjoy this season and be sure to get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep (adults, more for kids!) Not really relaxed this time of year? Utilize essential oils such as Tangerine, Grapefruit, Peppermint, Lime, Cedarwood , and Ylang Ylang to boost your outlook and Lavender, Chamomile, Blue Tansy, Valerian, and more to create calm in your day. Chronic stress exposes your body to a steady stream of stress hormones which can suppress the immune system. One of these hormones, cortisol, also increases due to lack of sleep and may impact inflammation in the body.
Ready for a potent, safe, and effective arsenal for supporting all of your body systems? Incorporate essential oils into your family’s repertoire and stay ahead of the curve. Balancing the body without side effects aids all of your natural defense systems in working most efficiently for you! Some favorites for this time of year include: Frankincense, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melissa, Mountain Savory, Oregano, Thyme, Euclayptus, Peppermint, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Clove, Ravintsara, and Myrrh essential oils.
For a powerful boost try this Elderberry Immune-Boosting Syrup or make a “Roll-on” by adding several essential oils (combined with a carrier oil) to a glass bottle with roller ball attachment and apply to your spine daily.
Boosted Elderberry Syrup for Immune Support
1 c dried elderberries (get from local health food store or online)
1 ½ c raw honey
Essential Oils approved for dietary use: 5 drops Thieves oil, 2 drops each Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger, Cinnamon Bark, and Frankincense essential oils
4 c purified water
- Add one cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water
- Allow mixture to simmer on the stove for 45 minutes or until the liquid has been reduced by about half.
- Remove the water from the stove and cool until it is just warm enough to melt the honey. The less heat the better to preserve the properties of the honey and the oils.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer then stir in the honey.
- Add your essential oils. **Take care to do your research and be certain they are safe for dietary use. (For sources visit: www.thefilledlife.com)
Store in a refrigerator. Use 1 tsp per day for adults and ½ tsp per day for children to boost immune systems. If you begin to feel run down take frequent doses during the day until your energy improves. This can be a tasty topping for pancakes and waffles or to add to tea as well.
Source credit: www.thedroppery.com
Winter Wellness Roll-On for Adults
5 drops Copaiba EO (essential oil)
5 drops Frankincense EO
5 drops Myrrh EO
5 drops Lemon EO
Put oil drops in a glass bottle fitted with a roll-on attachment (available at health food stores or www.discoverlsp.com). Fill the remainder of the bottle with good quality carrier oil such as jojoba, grapeseed, fractionated coconut, or almond oil. Attach roll-on lid snugly. Apply along spine daily or as needed.
Winter Wellness Roll-On for Kids & Babies
(Double recipe for adults)
Follow procedure above using these oils:
5 drops Frankincense EO
10 drops Lemon EO
10 drops Thieves EO
Mix in roller bottle with carrier oil to fill. Apply to spine daily or as needed. *Always try on a tough place on the skin first like the wrist. If redness occurs it’s a result of the oils absorbing so quickly not an allergic reaction. Simply add more carrier oil. The fat molecules in the carrier oil are larger than the essential oil molecules and will slow down the rate of absorption.
**This article is written for educational purposes only. The content of this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult with a physician or medical professional. Use essential oils with caution. It is also highly encouraged that individuals become educated consumers and research all products used in, on, or around your body.**
Adriane Baan is a local Bulverde/Spring Branch representative for Young Living Essential Oils. She loves sharing her family’s story through educational seminars about a variety of topics including how essential oils can impact your physical, spiritual, and emotional fitness. Connect with A at www.thefilledlife.com or to attend an educational event, email Adriane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also find her on Instagram @adrianebaan and on Facebook: Adriane Rae.