Crunchy Cabinet Must-Haves

Here are my crunchy cabinets must-haves! The majority of money saving things I make at home are usually using one or more of these ingredients. The best part about them all is that they are under $20 dollars and last a good while depending on how much you use them. Check em’ out!

1. Baking Soda Average Cost: $3-$10

Not only can you use this in a pinch to brush your teeth if you run out of toothpaste, but you can also make deodorant, scent stones, dissolving shower disks, face scrub and use it for cleaning! The possibilities are endless, just do a quick google search of “baking soda uses” and you’ll see. Plus, it’s dirt cheap at the grocery store. I usually buy a ginormous bag at Costco.

2. Bentonite Clay $9

You can use this clay to make great mask, it leaves your skin feeling so smooth. If it makes a great mask that also means it’s great for sucking out impurities, so think about that next time you get an itchy bug bite!

3. Beeswax $10

Beeswax can be used to make lip balms, salves, chest rubs, candles and SO. MUCH. MORE. It hardens any liquid carrier oil you add it to. For my crafty friends you can use it to make those old school letter stamps. I regularly make stuff and give gifts using beeswax and a 16 ounce bag has lasted me at least a year. A little bit goes a long way!

4. Almond oil or Jojoba oil $12- $18

These are both mild liquid carrier oils. They are the closest to the oils that your skin naturally makes called sebum, which means it won’t leave you feeling super oily. Almond oil (because it’s cheaper) is my go to oil to use for rollers. When making things for sensitive skin like a baby oil, beard oil or face cleanser, I use jojoba.

5. Coconut oil $10 (16oz)$17 (for a freaking Gallon)

Oh how do I love thee, let me count the ways! I use this to make most of my hardened concoctions like lip balm, chest rub & booty balm. It removes makeup, hydrates skin, keeps your teeth and gums healthy and at least fifty other things I can think of on the top of my head. Google it. I put that ish on everything.

6. Vinegar $2-$8 (depending on the size you buy)

I usually buy the gallon at Costco for super cheap. Other than my Thieves cleaner, I like to use vinegar for crazy grime, soaking up and deodorizing pee stains and unclogging drains. Adding a little to your wash cycle helps take away static cling too!

7. Vitamin E oil $6

Vitamin e oil is so nourishing to the skin! It may help your skin maintain a youthful appearance and it hydrates like no other. But be careful it’s a heavy oil and if you’re prone to breakouts use it sparingly.

8. Raw Honey $10

It can naturally help with temporary coughs and help soothe a sore throat. I also like to use it for my thieves elderberry syrup!

9. Witch Hazel $7

You can make toners out of it and use it for room sprays as an emulsifier. It’s great for soothing skin and dry out oily prone skin.

10. Castile Soap $11

Skip the name brand and you’ll save some dinero. I buy unscented and use my essential oils to scent it! I use castile to make coconut body wash and foaming hand soap. One large bottle lasts me a year if I’m just using it for hand soap. Some folks like to use it for face wash also, but it’s not my personal preference.

11. Epsom Salt $5

It helps sore muscles, soothes skin and volumizes hair! I’m just starting down the rabbit trail that is the wonders of Epsom salt. I use it for my kiddos night time bath with essential oils, they help evenly disperse the oils in the bath water.

12. Aloe Vera Gel $16

Aloe Vera is so beneficial for the skin! You can throw it in the fridge and apply it after a long day out in the sun. I like to use it to make an on the go hand cleanser that is free of all the chemicals. You can even make facemasks by combining it with bentonite clay.

And there you have it! Buy one or two a paycheck if you’re on a tight budget and you’ll be stocked up in no time.

 

Making Teas with Essential Oils

One of my favorite ways to use essential oils and reap some delicious benefits, is by making teas with it. The main complaint I hear against this method is that when the tea is prepared there is a thin layer of oils chillin at the top of your cup. There is a reason! There is an order you want to go in that helps emulsify the oils into your cup of hot water. Emulsify means to finely disperse. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 Teaspoon (or however sweet you like it) of one of the following: Simple Syrup, Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave or your favorite liquid sweetener of your choice.
  2. Enough Hot water to put in a mug.
  3. 1-3 drops of your favorite high quality hot beverage essential oil. (I’ve placed some suggestions below)
  4. A glass or non- porous material mug (NO PLASTIC… your oils will be absorbed by the cup)

Here’s how you do it:

  1. In your mug, place the sweetener of your choice and essential oil.
  2. Stir it until the essential oils are thoroughly incorporated into your honey.
  3. Fill your mug the rest of the way with the hot water and mix until the sweetener dissolves!

Suggested Oils To Use:

  1. Lemon: Lemon and tea = Life
  2. Peppermint: Wonderful for digestive comfort.
  3. Ginger: May assist in curbing temporary bouts of nausea
  4. Thieves: This is a Young Living blend and it’s basically tea magic for throats. I feel like a new woman after a cup!

There you have it! Now go and enjoy your oil film free drink!

 

Essential Oils 101 – Popular Essential Oils & Their Potential Uses

So now that you have schooled yourself up on oils, it’s time to talk about some oils you can use. I am a big fan of single oils but MAN! The blends that Young Living puts together are legit…. too legit…… to quit-OKAY I’LL STOP. With that being said any blends you see are Young Living ones, so if you use another brand you’re not gonna find them. Anyhow, I’m gonna throw some topics out there and say what oils might be your BFF in that department.

Skin

Making your own moisturizer using frankincense and lavender (or adding it to one you already have) can promote a youthful appearance. To even out your skin tone, you can also try a homemade toner in the evening with lemon or geranium essential oil. For spot treatment, try tea tree or purification essential oil. I’ve also heard great things about ylang ylang moisturizing skin.

Hair

There are a few I love. For the beards out there, try cedarwood and tea tree oil. For a long luxurious mane, try adding one (or all) of these to your shampoo: lavender; tea tree; cedarwood; thyme and rosemary. Seriously, add tea tree to at least one of your hair care products. It’s great for scalp health.

Nails

Make a nail oil with a carrier of your choosing and add equals parts lemon, frankincense, myrrh and tea tree. It’s great for maintaining nail health.

Sleep

All of these oils are great to promote a restful night’s sleep. My favorite singles are lavender, cedarwood, chamomile (German or Roman) and frankincense. My favorite blends are Peace & Calming (kinda obsessed with it) Tranquil, Stress Away & Gentle Baby. There are SO many more (google it) but I just wanted to list my favorite.

Tummy

Because even in California, you can have sketchy Mexican food. My favorite stomach oil by far is a blend called digize, I call it the tummy whisperer. IT DOES EVRYTHING. Other popular oils for the stomach are copaiba, peppermint and ginger.

Girl Look at That Body (I work out!)

I have some knee problems (PFPS) due to physical activity in the Marine Corps and the pain cream Young Living has is UHmazing for it. My Pre-workout favorite is R.C, it’s packed with all kinds of respiratory oils to keep my lungs in great shape while I get my fitness on. And the deep relief roll-on is great for post workout, its menthol-y goodness gives me and my muscles a nice cool sensation as I take my victory walk back to the van with my kagillion kids. Other oils great for this department are wintergreen, peppermint, copaiba, and the blend panaway.

Respiratory System

Breathing is important. You kinda need it. Basically any eucalyptus oil is great for maintaining a healthy respiratory system, myrtle is great too. Young Living also has blend called RC for the grown folks and a kid blend called snifflease that is RAD.

Getting my Mind Right

I have very young children, and they drive me crazy. My “woosah” roller consists of frankincense and lavender, I put it on and take three deep breaths. Lemon and grapefruit are my happy oils and I diffuse them often. Other single oils you may like are ylang ylang, geranium, peppermint and lemongrass. Favorite blends are joy, stress away (great with lemongrass) and white angelica. Again, there are so many more ideas for this topic on Pinterest and Google.

Immune System

Boosting your immune system is especially important when you have pole licking children. Tea tree and the blends purification and thieves will be your best friend. Plus, Young Living has a great Thieves product line to include hand purifier, cleaning solution, laundry soap, hand soap, surface wipes and a to-go spray I like to use in public places. I put that ish on everything.

Fin.

This series just skims the surface of the world of essential oils. The oil rabbit hole is indeed a deep one. I do hope though, that this helped you get started! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding essential oil usage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Oils 101 – Pregnancy & Oils

Today we’re covering one of my favorite topics! Oils and pregnancy. Why is it my favorite? Because oils are awesome for this 9 month stretch full of crying, heartburn, cleaning, barfing….. and probably more crying.

I feel like as all of these rad medical advances go on throughout time, the list of crap you can’t do while you’re knocked up gets longer. Which sucks. Essential oils aren’t one of them luckily.  But like oils and children, this topic has a tendency to get you a whole lot of “make sure you don’t use” kind of comments. We’re going to cover oils you can’t use, whether essential oils can cause harm to your baby and some cool ways you can use oils while.

Before I give you the list of oils to be careful with during your pregnancy, I want to say if these oils are in a favorite blend you use, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It is most likely in such a low dose, it wouldn’t pose any harm to you or your sweet babe. Especially if you dilute.

The meh list.

Here is the list of oils that are risky to use during pregnancy. I compiled this list from NAHA and my aromatherapy books (regular name in bold, Latin name in parenthesis):

Aniseed(Pimpinella anisum); Balsamite (Tanacetum balsamite); Basil ct. estragole (Ocimum basilicum); Birch (Betula lenta); Buchu (Agathosma betulina); Camphor aka ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora); Indian Dill Seed (Anethum Graveolens); Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis); Ho Leaf (C. camphora) Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris); Oakmoss (Evernia pruastri); Parsley seed or leaf (Petroselinum sativum); Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium); Perilla (Perilla frutescens); Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus xpfitzeriana); Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) Sage (Salvia officinalis); Spanish Lavender (Lavandula Stoechas); Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare); Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus); Thuja (Thuja occidentalis); Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens); Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

You’ll notice that most of these are not common, some of them aren’t even commercially available.

The only miscarriage that I know of due to essential oil usage is when a pregnant woman tried to use essential oils to abort her baby and ended up accidentally killing herself also.  That unfortunate situation should show you it takes A LOT to be any harm to your baby, so much so that it would most likely pose harm to yourself also. There have also not been any known birth defects caused by essential oils to my knowledge.Happy New Year!

Lastly, there are two that I didn’t see on any list but feel inclined to mention. There’s hearsay among midwives that peppermint can turn your baby. There’s no medical evidence I know of that’s supports this, but enough people have brought it up that it’s worth mentioning. Clary sage is also an emmenagogue which means it can gets some contractions going, so be careful with that one. If it’s in a blend that’s fine but I would avoid using it straight. I used it in last week of my third trimester on my ankles and it got a few going but nothing after that. Again, that just my own personal experience. So do with that information what you will.

 

Stick to the facts.

Don’t follow just anyone’s opinions. If someone isn’t dropping bombs of fact supported knowledge on you, then just smile and nod boo… SMILE AND NOD. Don’t discount their advice, just ingest it and compare it to the other evidence you’ve received and make an educated decision. Like you do when choosing breast or bottle, regular or cloth diapers, the list goes on. If you want an excellent resource to look up medical research and oils check out PubMed. You type in some words (i.e. pregnancy and essentials oils) and they give you a ginormous list of medical studies that were done using essential oils and the outcome.

Awesome ways to use oils when you’re fertile mertile.

Digestive System: Because that’s about the least reliable thing in your body when you’re pregnant. Apply Digize in a clockwise motion around your belly button to help with occasional heartburn or constipation associated with pregnancy. Also diffuse peppermint for occasional bouts of nausea.

Sleep: Lavender, Cedarwood and Peace and Calming are my jam for a restful night’s sleep. Apply them o your feet and diffuse them and night.

Labor: Try diffusing floral and citrus oils. Take a crockpot and fill it with 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of almond oil and 10 drops each of Lavender and Gentle Baby. Put some clean dishcloths in and set that sucker on keep warm and you’ve got yourself a continuous supply of comforting hot towels.

It’s that simple.

A drop of lemon in your water will be fine, I personally try to not go HAM when I ingest oils while pregnant. I usually stick to it in foods or a drop here and there in my drinks. Apply them topically however you normally do, just reduce the dose by a few drops and check out my topical post for preggo dilution ratios if you want to. Diffuse as you normally do. The fact that you’re reading this and looking up essential oil safety in the first place shows that you will be just fine friend!

 

 

Essential Oils 101 – Kids & Oils

My family is my most precious earthly possession. When I started using essential oils and would talk to other women, I noticed that there was almost a sense of hesitation when talking about putting oils on your kids. From then on I went through this phase of extreme caution when using oils on my kids, as if I was deciding to clip the red or the blue wire on a bomb. Then I went to school and chilled the hell out. It was a relief. So when people freak out when it comes to oils and kids I get why, so did I.  Here’s what I want you to do, go diffuse some lavender, pull up a chair, grab a drink and let’s ease your mind, knowledge is power right? You can’t get burned by fire from the stove if you know it’s hot!

SCARY STUFF FIRST

Let’s go ahead and rip the band aid off, KIDS CAN AND HAVE DIED/BEEN INJURED USING ESSENTIAL OILS. If you’re anything like me, I look at the absolute worst case scenarios and work my way to the more positive information. I don’t like surprises and I’m a bad news first kinda gal. So let me list some of the most extreme cases of injury/death I’ve come across (courtesy of: Haddad and Winchester’s Clinical management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th ed., Chapter 101, “Essential Oils”)

  1. An 8 month old had a seizure and died after 30 ML (a little over 2 tablespoons) of eucalyptus oil was administered orally.
  2. A 2 month old baby was unconscious after drops of peppermint were administered nasally.
  3. A young child ingested clove oil and suffered liver damage, seizures and went into a coma.

These are horrible instances where safety was not a top priority to the people administering those oils. However, we can use these unthinkable tragedies as a teaching moment. I do want to emphasize that these cases are very rare and you can easily die or get injured from overdosing on any medication, not just essential oils.

Leave the ingestion to the big kids and adults.

Your baby can barely take water let alone essential oils. Don’t even let the thought about making them drink oils cross your mind friend. Their sweet little baby organs can’t handle it yet. What is okay though, is making a gallon of lavender lemonade for your kiddos, and adding a few drops of a high quality lavender essential oil to some simple syrup. Need more safe tips on ingestion? Check out this link.

Don’t shove oils where the sun don’t shine.

When it comes to kids, if there is a cavity where the sun don’t shine, leave it to the professionals. You can use oils topically when you are changing a diaper but that’s where we should draw the line with our little ones. No nasal sprays and no enemas. Here’s my two cents on nasal sprays; a tooth infection is very dangerous, do you know why? Because it’s right next to your brain. Looking at the instances above, it only took a few drops to the nose to cause unconsciousness, yet it took two whole 15 ML bottles of oil to cause death through ingestion and I personally think there were two reasons. One, because of the age difference and two, one is closer to the brain than the other. Enemas should be left to the pros because that is a straight shot to your digestive system. When you ingest an oil it is filtered through your organs and then reaches your stomach, the other way doesn’t have those filters and little stomachs require more caution.

Always keep your oils out of your children’s reach.

If there’s a group of people who can eat a large amount of disgusting stuff in one sitting, it’s kids for sure. They have the highest chance of ingesting a lot of oils without you even noticing. If this ever happens call poison control immediately: (800) 222-1222

Eucalyptus and Peppermint…. Basically any oils that are controversial .

These are oils that people are usually cautious about. There’s a fear that they may actually cause respiratory distress, seizures and skin irritation in children. Most oil injury cases involve these controversial essential oils. Here’s an easy way to deal with that. Watch your baby and take down the dose. Easy peasy. If you diffuse 8 drops of eucalyptus for yourself, use 4 for the kids. Same deal with the rest of those oils, drop the dose and make sure to dilute. Check up on them every five minutes for twenty minutes. If they show adverse effects, it will usually show up after in the first fifteen so that’s why I say twenty just to make sure. After that just keep an eye on them. They’ll be aight’. If anything does happen, call poison control. For more on what an adverse reaction may look like, check this out.

NOW LETS TALK ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO!

Dosage.

We’ve already covered the three methods of application: Aromatic, Topical and Ingestion. But how much do you give your kids? Every good oil company should have a recommended dosage on the back of their bottles. With that information in hand, all you have to do is use my handy dandy essential oil dosage chart! So let me show you how it works:

Let’s say you have a 5 year old and the adult dosage is 3 drops. 5-8 year olds only need 1/3 of that dose. So instead of giving them 3 drops, you’d give them 1.

With babies since the dosage is much smaller. I’m a big fan of making small batches of rollers and balms, that way it’s fixing the dosage for you. You just dilute it so that way they’re getting smaller amounts of oils at one time, if you don’t know how much to dilute visit this post.

dosage-conversion

KID APPROVED EFFECTIVE WAYS TO APPLY OILS

Baths

Take a teaspoon or tablespoon of Epsom salt (the smaller the bath, the less salt) and add 1-3 drops of essential oil to the salt. Pour the salt into the bath and allow it to dissolve. Voila! I suggest a lavender or cedarwood bath at night. It’s fan-freaking-tastic!

Diffuse

Add 4-6 drops of your favorite essential oils to a diffuser, the bigger the room and the further away the kiddos are, the more drops you put it your diffuser. To support the respiratory system my favorite blend is by far Young Living’s RC. If you’re a fan of single oils, try 3 drops each of lavender and eucalyptus. For more info on diffusing go here.

Topical

I seriously don’t know what I would do without my oil roll-ons. They last forever and I use them ALL.THE.TIME. I also make balms for teething and for diaper changes. Topical application is my jam when it comes to kids. It is so effective! A favorite roller recipe of mine is 3 drops each of lavender and cedarwood in a 10 ML roller ball. Fill the rest up with carrier oil and you’re good to go. Its great to apply on the bottoms of your kiddos feet and wrists at night before bed.

Well there you have it! So long as you treat your oils the same way you do medications in your house, you’re going to be totally fine. As always, I’d love to be an essential oil resource for you, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Essential Oils 101 – Essential Oil Safety

In this day and age there are so many different schools of thought on essential oils and vague information about what to do or not to do, it’s hard to find a reliable source on this topic. So here is my humble two cents on safety. When I come up to my own conclusions on important information, I like to grab as much information as I can from both ends of the spectrum and find my happy medium. This info is my happy medium.

We already talked about safety when it comes to topical and oral methods of application so if you’d like to go over those feel free to hop on over to those posts! Here are a few additional tips:

LESS IS MORE

If you’d like to support your respiratory system and apply some eucalyptus to your chest and lungs, you don’t need 45 drops of oil to do it. In the case of essential oils, the rule is always less is more. When you use a high amount of essential oils in one sitting that’s when the adverse reactions can happen.

GETTING OILS IN YOUR EYES/ “MY SKIN BURNS”

Did you get peppermint in your eye? I have on accident and it feels like a small bit of my soul is getting ripped out through my eyeball. DO NOT FEAR! Take a cotton ball, soak it in milk (not fat free) and wipe your eye.

Did you apply an oil to your skin and it burns? Same deal. Apply milk or a carrier oil to your skin and it will stop the burning.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT USE WATER. It will spread the oil more and it will suck.

TOXICITY

Toxicity doesn’t just happen when you ingest too many essential oils, it can happen from constantly applying the same oil to your skin and diffusing it also. Let’s say I was at work and diffused 20 drops of lavender from 8 am to 4 pm nonstop and I was sitting 3 feet away from it, there’s a decent chance that over time, that oil is going to cause you to have some toxic reactions. Here’s what a toxic reaction may look like:

-Upset stomach       -Fatigue

-Nausea                      -Persistent Coughing

-Vomiting                  -Liver Pain

-Headaches               -Urinary Disturbances

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call poison control.

Here’s their number: 1-800-222-1222

Here’s the symptoms you need to call 911 for:

-Convulsions

-Respiratory Failure/ Stimulation

-If you don’t seem to have your senses about you like usual. It’s an indication that something is messing with your nervous system.

DOSAGE

Dosage is the key to a successful essential oil experience. If you buy your essential oils from an awesome company like mine, chances are they’ll know a thing or two about how to use oils. Read the back of the bottle and it will tell you how the average adult is supposed to use it. For children, pregnant ladies and the elderly I’m always cautious and do a little less and dilute if applying topically.

AGE AND HEALTH ARE IMPORTANT

Every individual is unique. If you have an old person running triathlons who wants to use oils, they’ll probably do just fine using the regular recommended dose. On the other hand, if you have a frail 10 year old, you should use the same dosage you would on a 5 year old. Refer to the dilution chart in this post for help with topical application.

TRUST YOUR BODY

If you apply an oil and you don’t feel great about it, then stop. If you use the recommended daily dose and don’t feel anything then up the dosage by a drop or two. It won’t kill you. Your body will be your biggest ally in using oils.

RELAX

Essential oils are not this huge thing to be intimidated by, you know your body, and you know when something is not right. Trust your gut when using oils and you’ll be just fine. You are the expert on you and your family.

Pregnancy and Kids are a whole other bag of worms we’re diving into next, stay tuned!

Essential Oils 101 – Methods of Application: Ingestion

QUE THE HORROR MUSIC!! The EVIL Marvelous Mess will be covering drum roll please…… INGESTION MUAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!!!! So before I start this I want to emphasize I am a certified Aromatherpist and I am also an essential oil distributor. Yes, you can be both. It’s possible. Ingestion is super controversial and I want to ease your mind about it. I feel like there is a happy medium to this topic, so let’s get to it! As usual, we’ll cover the scary stuff first.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Let’s just rip off the Essential Oil bandage here; it’s possible to drink an essential oil and die, it happens VERY RARELY, but it does happen and you should know that. Want to know how much it takes? A LOT. I’m talking something around a teaspoon (or more) for children or a 5ML bottle for adults of straight oil. With that being said, commonly used oils you should avoid ingesting are any species of Eucalyptus and Wintergreen. For the rest, if you are getting an essential oil from a company who promotes ingestion, the labels will either say dietary use or to not ingest.

Most of the time these oils are bad quality, so it’s really important to get pure  essential oils. Common adverse reactions with ingesting oils are: stomach irritation if you take too much undiluted and mouth sores if you ingest a hot oil undiluted. How can you avoid that you ask?

DILUTION, DILUTION, DILUTION!!!

I can’t stress this enough, you CAN safely take essential oils internally, but you’ve gotta dilute it. It helps dispersion by having those super small molecules attach to larger ones. There are several ways you can do this:

Diluting in Water

We all know oil and water don’t mix but this little trick helps! You put essential oil in a spoonful of honey and add it to your water. Another way you can do it is by cutting up some fruit in a bowl and adding oil to the fruit, that way you don’t have sweet water and it will give it a nice subtle flavor with therapeutic properties.

Sugar Cube, Honey, Cup of Milk, Charcoal Tablets

Any one of the items above you can add a few drops of oil to and consume them.

Veggie Capsules

You can get these cool little vegetable capsules and all you do is fill them up with a carrier oil like olive or coconut and add the desired amount of oils to it.

DOSAGE

Ingestion isn’t always the best way to apply an essential oil, sometimes the other methods will work more effectively when used with different body systems. You usually ingest essential oils when you would like to work on the digestive system or promote wellness with internal organs like your kidneys and liver. For dosage I would stick to one to three drops. You can take that dosage three times a day. A quick tidbit on oregano, if you use that for ingestion I suggest you take a probiotic along with it. Although its very effective at taking out germs it will wipe out all of the bacteria both good and bad and a probiotic will replace that.

In reality, most essential oils present little to no risk when used properly and ingestion is always a personal decision, if you feel comfortable doing it, great! If not, then don’t. Simple as that. If you want to take the super cautious route before you ingest an oil, consult a Certified Aromatherapist (like me) who is well versed in contraindications and therapeutic margin. Seriously, feel free to message me on Facebook or visit my Contact Me page and I’d be happy to help!

Essential Oils 101- Methods of Application: Topical

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. The skin regulates your body temperature, keeps bacteria out and excretes toxins out of your body through sweating. Most importantly, it circulates 33% of your blood. There are two layers to the skin, the epidermis which is about as thick as a piece of paper and the dermis which has got your blood vessels, nerve endings and hair follicles. When you apply an essential oil, the molecules are so crazy small that your porous skin rapidly absorbs it. Once the oil seeps into your hair follicles and sweat glands, it reaches the blood and is then dispersed throughout your entire body. Here are some things to look out for when applying essential oils topically:

PHOTOSENSITIVITY

There are some oils you want to avoid applying while the sun is out because they are more prone to absorb the sun’s rays and increase your chances of burning. There are two ways you can easily avoid these problems. 1. Apply them at night before bed 2. Apply them on skin that is covered by clothing. Most citrus oils are photosensitive as well as patchouli, some cedar wood varieties and clary sage. Again I just want to emphasize common sense on this one. If you apply clary sage on your ankles and are wearing shorts, you’re probably not gonna get burned.

IRRITATION

Irritation happens when you apply an oil that your skin considers abrasive and has a reaction. It would be red and irritated within about 5 minutes. If this happens, you can put a fatty carrier oil like coconut or almond oil on it to absorb it. Milk will also help.

SENSITIZATION

This reaction is a little different. As opposed to affecting your skin, your immune system would react. The essential oil attaches itself to a protein in your body and your body releases histamines. The result would be similar to an allergic reaction. In this case you can take an antihistamine (homeopathic or regular, your choice) and find another oil with the same chemical properties you’re looking for just from a different plant. The cool thing about oils is that they’re not like nut or shellfish allergies. You don’t have to swear off the whole category when you have a reaction to something in the family it belongs to.

Now that we’ve got the scary stuff outta the way! We can get into the fun stuff!

SKIN PATCH TESTING

Skin patch testing is one of those optional preventative things you can do to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction to essential oils. I personally don’t have sensitive skin and don’t do them anymore unless I know it’s a “hot” oil like peppermint, cinnamon or thyme. There are two ways you can do a skin patch test.

The first is to dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil cover it in a piece of gauze and wait 24 hours if there no reaction, you’re good to go! If there is, try diluting it a bit more and do it again. If there’s still a reaction then don’t use that oil topically, try diffusing it instead. If you have any type of sensitivity reaction though, do not diffuse it either.

The second way is to apply an essential oil “neat” meaning undiluted to the crook of your arm. Close your arm and wait five minutes, again see how your skin react and the same rules apply as above. I’m personally impatient and always do this option.

BASE OILS & DILUTION

Just like essential oils, base oils have different properties. Base oils are fatty and their molecules are bigger, which slows the absorption rate and also creates a barrier between your skin and the essential oil. If you do not have sensitive skin, you don’t need to dilute if you don’t want to. There are a lot of folks out there including myself who prefer to use them neat. Again, it’s totally your choice. If you like to err on the side of caution then by all means, dilute away! If you’d like to start using essential oils neat but want to start off with really mild ones try Lavender, Tea Tree and Chamomile. A few popular base oils are coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil.

Lastly, here is a handy dilution ratio chart they gave me in school to use as a reference:

Dilution Ratio Chart

**For Children and Preggos, stay in the 1-6% ratios**

HERE’S A FREE CHART TO DOWNLOAD AND HANG UP!

Dilution Ratio Chart

Essential Oils 101- Methods of Application: Aromatic

The most common way to apply essential oils is aromatically. There are several methods you can do that with, but first lets talking a little bit about our sense of smell. A lot of people don’t realize it but your sense of smell is one of the most important senses you have. Think about it, if you’re in your home and left a candle on, fell asleep and that candle just so happened to light a drape on fire what do you think would wake you up? The smell of your burning house! How do you usually check to make sure a Tupperware of leftovers or ground meat in your fridge is still good? You smell it! Your sense of smell’s first function is to protect you. Another function your sense of smell has is to help you digest food. Think of when dinner is about to be served, what happens? You smell that amazing meal that’s cooking and you start to salivate. Your saliva aids in the digestion of food by assisting you to swallow, moistening (I hate that word) your food so it’s easier to chew and lastly helps break down the starches in your food before it even gets to your stomach.

EMOTIONS AND SMELL

Without getting super nerdy, there are four parts of your brain that your sense of smell directly effects. The olfactory cortex, the limbic system, the hypothalamus and the reticular formation. When you inhale a smell there are receptors that grab those molecules and disburse them through the brain. The olfactory cortex receives the smell first; this is where you consciously perceive a smell. Next it goes to your limbic system which is responsible for two functions, your sense of fear and long term memory storage. Next step is when it reaches the hypothalamus which is responsible for the action, remember when we were talking about salivation and waking up in the middle of the night? This is where that happens. Think of it as the command center for basic emotions and drives. Lastly the reticular formation, it acts as glue between emotion, memory and smell. Think of a smell that reminds you of a loved one who has passed on, or a smell that makes you feel energetic and aware. That feature right there, is the key to using oils for emotional support. When you throw all of these things together you’ve got a great tool at your hands. For instance, Lemon is amazing for helping maintain a sense of focus and aids in retaining information, imagine how beneficial that would be for a late nigh study session?

THE BEST TIME TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS AROMATICALLY

Sometimes one method of use is better than others. Aromatic use is most beneficial for your sinuses, respiratory system and for emotional support. Aromatic use is the fastest indirect method of delivery and takes sixty seconds to five minutes to absorb. Now let’s get into how you can aromatically use them:

A COTTON BALL IN FRONT OF A FAN

I have a really cool story about this method. My mom had surgery and was super nauseous from the stuff they use to knock her out with. When I loaded her up in my car, I put a drop of peppermint on a cotton ball and put it in my a/c vent. She didn’t hurl or even so much as dry heave in my car once. Peppermint for the win! Any who, you can put few drops of oil on a cotton ball and stick it in a vent or fan and its disperses the aroma that way.

A CLOTH OR TISSUE

This would be a good method to use if you’re on the go and need to sniff an oil in a pinch. You can put a drop of oil on a cloth or tissue and smell it as you walk. A great way to relax would be to put a drop of lavender on a cloth and put it on your face to help unwind before bed.

A POT WITH SOME HOT WATER

Boil a pot of water and turn off the heat, add a few drops of oil to the hot water and inhale the vapor. To make it more potent you can drape a towel over your head, making the vapor go straight to your nose. This would also be a great way to use oils if you were doing a facial at home.

A DIFFUSER

This is by far the easiest way to disperse oils. You remove the cap put some water in the designated reservoir, drop five to ten drops of oil, push a button and voila! You’re done. The cool thing about diffusers is that they disperse the oils in a fine mist so that you’re inhaling the particles. That way you can have oils go through your house for hours without much effort at all.

I hope this was helpful!

 

 

Essential Oils 101: What Are Essential Oils and How Do They Work

In the words of the great Ron Burgundy, essential oils are a pretty big deal. Let’s dive in, shall we?

HISTORY

Essential oils are really freakin’ old. Plants are known as our first form of medicine. Romans would use plants to build up courage before battle. Egyptians used oils to embalm their dead. In the Bible oils are mentioned over 100 times. As modern medicine began to change, the use of plants for their therapeutic properties began to dwindle. Because of those advances, the main use of essential oils at the time was to make perfumes. Then a chemist and perfumer in France by the name of René -Maurice Gattefossé changed the game; by accident of course.

René was working when he accidentally burned the daylights out of his hand. Instinctually, he shoves his hand in the nearest pot of liquid he could find. Can we all guess what that liquid was? DING-DING-DING! Lavender essential oil. He went about his business and realized something in the days that followed, his hand healed insanely fast. So much so that he spent the duration of his life researching oils and their therapeutic properties, he called it “Aromatherapy”.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils are the volatile liquid that lives in a plant, they’re distilled or extracted depending on the type of plant. The reason they’re called “essential” is because the oil is the essence of the plant. The life blood you could say. The oil inside of a plant is what is responsible for doing things like repelling bugs that may pose a danger to them, or attract beneficial ones.

Picture a Russian nesting doll, this is an essential oil. Each oil has hundreds of individual chemical characteristics responsible for different actions. In each of these chemical components lies trillions of molecules and no, I’m not exaggerating! Now picture administering this to your porous skin. Your body then rapidly absorbs these molecules, distributing them throughout your body, inheriting the same benefits that the plant had originally used them for. Mind. Blowing.

HOW DO THEY WORK

Back to the word volatile, it sounds scary but it isn’t. It’s actually one of the most important features about essential oils. Volatile comes from the Latin word volare meaning “to fly”. The molecular structure is so light it evaporates into the atmosphere when you diffuse it. Now in the context of the human body, this makes it super beneficial. Peppermint for instance, is great for supporting healthy sinus function. When diffused and inhaled, your mucous membranes absorb it, administering its refreshing properties throughout your sinuses.

That’s the way oils work. When applied to the skin or diffused into the air, your skin and mucous membranes absorb them quickly and distribute those flying molecules throughout your blood stream. That’s the beauty of essential oils, all you have to do is apply them and they do the rest of the work.

That’s it. Easy peasy lemon squeasy right?  Next week we’ll be talking about methods of application.