Health & Wellness

Essential Oil Basics

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Essential oils are the liquid compound extracted from plants through various processes (mainly steam distillation, cold press extraction, CO2 extraction, and solvent extraction). The resulting liquid typically has the scent and essence of the whole plant but is much more powerful. Essential oils are very commonly used in aromatherapy and have become more popular as an alternative to western medicine.
 
Honestly, I  was unaware of the amazing powers of essential oils until I had kids. My experience with them was limited to your basic Lavender and Tea Tree Oils—lavender because it is probably the most widely known essential oil and tea tree because of its healing properties on blemished/oily skin.
 
During pregnancy and then once I had kids I became so much more proactive in understanding what I was not only using on my skin and hair but what I was putting into my body. Suddenly having these little humans to take care of and protect made me very conscious of what I was using in my everyday life. There are so many products out there that can be harmful not just to us, but our children. In my first pregnancy, I had twins, and they have been such an amazing gift to my life. However, I realized even though I had read more books, blog posts and articles on parenting than you can imagine I still felt so ill-prepared for life with a newborn (let alone two at once). So when they got their first colds I was desperate for help!
 
I hope this post is helpful to those of you who have kids, but if you don’t have kids this advice can absolutely be helpful for adults too! Babies and kids get colds and they get them often! But doctors do not recommend giving them much in terms of medication other than some Tylenol or Motrin to help with fever or pain, but when you have a sick child (or adult) who is miserable you want to find anything to help ease their pain. For me, this is what drove me to do research on essential oils. They are an amazing way to help naturally recover from a cold. Through lots of reading, I discovered that a good humidifier would help increase the moisture in the room and an essential oil diffuser could do wonders to help speed up recovery from a cold.
HOW DO I USE ESSENTIAL OILS
The two main ways that I use essential oils for me and my family are:
 
Applying them topically—You should always dilute your essential oils before you apply them to your skin (AKA topically). This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil. For my family, we usually use coconut oil to dilute because it has amazing benefits on its own and we always have it available in our house, but carrier oils like Olive, Almond, Grapeseed, Jojoba, etc…are also great. Dilution varies depending upon the essential oil so research each oil before applying it to your skin.
 
Using an essential oil diffuser—I have this one in all the boys’ rooms and love them. The oil diffuser has a large capacity and a long run time.  It has also eliminated the need for a humidifier in the room when they are sick. The oil diffuser not only serves as an essential oil diffuser but also a humidifier and night light for us! Don’t sleep on the night light, especially when you have little ones who get spoked when they hear a bump in the night. This is one of my best home purchases; 3 products in one for less than $30—you can’t beat that!
 
WHERE DO I GET MY ESSENTIAL OILS
There are so many essential oil brands on the market and I encourage you to do your research before buying and using them on yourself or on your family. Below are three brands that I use in my home and I find to be great quality. Each of these brands does extensive testing on their oils and have high-quality standards.
 
YOUNG LIVING
doTERRA
PLANT THERAPY
 
Young Living and doTERRA are both premium brands and their oils are sold at a premium cost if you know what I mean. I find Plant Therapy to have much more reasonable pricing, they offer their oils in multiple sizes and have many organic oils to select from.
 
The number one essential oil I recommend that you start your collection with is Lavender and if you don’t already have it in your collection you should. Lavender, when safely diluted, is completely safe for babies and children and is incredibly calming for anyone, especially sick babies. I will often diffuse Lavender without any other oils in my boys’ rooms even when they are not sick due to its calming effect.
Currently, I personally prefer to purchase pre-blended essential oils from either Plant Therapy or Young Living for use on my kids. It saves me a ton of money by not having to buy all the oils individually and both companies have a section of blended oils that are safe for use on children, eliminating a lot of the guesswork and research I would need to do on the oils.
 
Of course, essential oils can be used in many other ways than just the two I covered in this post! I would love to hear about the ways you use essential oils and check out my other posts on essential oils as you continue on your journey towards natural healing. 

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