To say that there is a lot of confusion out there about essential oils is sort of like saying that Niagara Falls is kinda big. In other words, it’s a gross understatement. No matter your query or how it’s worded, any internet search about essential oils is bound to bring up conflicting information, making it extremely difficult for a novice to sort through it all and find the kernels of truth hidden in all the hyperbole.
One of the most difficult questions to settle is the most basic: how do I know if the essential oils I’m using are quality oils? One fact that is uncontested in the aromatherapy world is that essential oils are notorious for being adulterated, and even experts admit it can be difficult for them to determine for certain if oils have indeed been adulterated. If even the experts have trouble, where does that leave the rest of us?!
I have been researching this question (and many others regarding aromatherapy) for the past couple years; and although I haven’t come up with any “foolproof” way to determine the quality of an essential oil, my research has taught me what I should look for in an essential oil company, and what kinds of questions I should ask when considering a purchase. My growing knowledge of essential oils and essential oil quality has only confirmed for me that I made the right choice in my source of essential oils, and I hope to help others achieve the same confidence! So many people are curious about the oils and interested in using them, but overwhelmed by the options and the questions that abound.
Companies throw around terms like “therapeutic grade”, “natural”, and “organic” to the extent that those terms have become almost meaningless, so it’s difficult to sort through the marketing hype and find out what’s really going into the bottles they sell. Any company trying to sell you some of their oils is going to insist that theirs is the real deal, and unadulterated, but clearly they’re not all telling the truth. If you’re searching for a reliable source of pure essential oils, I have a list of 5 questions you need to ask any company that you are researching to determine if they really are selling the real deal or not.
1. Do the oils come from indigenous plants?
Plants are living things, and the essential oils that come from them prove that by their widely varying makeup. A lavender plant grown in France will produce a very different oil from a plant grown in, say, Canada. The reason is because the compounds in the essential oil are developed specifically for the protection, nourishment, and propagation of the plant they come from; and the needs of the plant will vary depending on a lot of factors including soil, climate, and pests. Aromatherapy has developed around the concept that certain plants have certain therapeutic properties… but those properties aren’t guaranteed to exist in a plant that has been grown outside its natural habitat. One oft-recommended essential oil company sources many of its oils from India, which is fine if you’re in the market for jasmine oil (actually an absolute), but not so fine if you’re looking for eucalyptus, which is native to Australia.
2. Do you own any of the farms or distilleries?
The majority of essential companies out there are merely distributors and not producers. This is an important distinction, because the further removed the distributor is from the process, the more opportunity there is for the oil to be adulterated. And the less a company has control over the essential oil production, the less they even know about the possibility of the oil being adulterated. Their sources may swear to the integrity of their oils, but how can a distributor know that for sure unless they are involved in the daily production process? I am much more comfortable purchasing from a company that has their hands in the process from beginning to end; and I’m extremely confident in a company that controls the process from beginning to end.
3. What kind of tests do you run on the oils?
Most companies will boast that they run a GC/MS (Gas Chromotography Mass Spectrometry) test on the oils, and that’s a good start. Much has been made of the GC/MS test in online circles in recent years, but honestly, that particular test doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about the oil. It can tell you if there are any chemical solvents added to the essential oil, and it can tell you if the oil has the generally expected number of various chemical compounds that it should… but it can’t tell you if each of those compounds are natural or manufactured, and it can’t tell you if they all came from the same plant or were pulled from a variety of different plants.
An essential oil can pass the GC/MS test and be declared 100% natural when that might not, in fact, be the case. It’s entirely possible (and actually happens all the time according to chemists and aromatherapists in the know) for an essential oil to be labeled as “lavender”, for example, when it’s really compounded from several different other (cheaper) plants. The problem is that when the oil is pieced together like this, it doesn’t work as it should for therapeutic purposes, because – as I mentioned at the beginning – plants are living things. Genuine plant oils cannot simply be manufactured from this and that; an effective essential oil is the oil in its entirety.
4. What quality control measures do you have in place?
This question ties in directly to the last 2 questions. Because most companies are merely distributing an end product, and not actually producing said product, the only quality control measure they can take is on the back end. Their control over the seeds, cultivation, harvest, and distillation is minimal at best because they have no actual say over the production process. Their only option is to accept or refuse the final product based on their own observations and/or tests. And typically, the only test they run is the GC/MS test, which as I have shown is limited in its scope.
Having said that, there are a few companies that either own the farms and distilleries producing the oils, or they have an ownership investment of some kind (almost like share-cropping) in the farms and/or distilleries. Those companies are the ones that can actually control the production process to one extent or another, and those companies should have some quality control measures in place. Such quality control measures should include things like the choice of seeds used for planting (Heirloom? GMO?), quality of soil, pest prevention measures, harvesting procedures, distillation standards, etc. The more a company can tell you about the measures they take, the more confident you can be in their final product.
5. Are the plants grown organically?
This is a no-brainer, really. You don’t want chemical pesticides ending up in your bottle of therapeutic essential oil! Organic labeling gets complicated, though, with the vast majority of oils being sourced internationally with different countries regulating “organic” in very different ways. So it’s better to ask some pointed questions about how exactly the plants are protected from insects and disease. The best oil companies use organic and natural planting methods that do not leave any kind of chemical residue on the plants that could make its way into the essential oil.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the more I learn, the more confident I am in my own personal choice of essential oil brand. I’m sure there are other reputable and reliable brands out there, but to date I have not found any that answer these questions more satisfactorily.
Edited to Add: A fellow “oiler” actually did her homework and called a bunch of different popular essential oil companies, and asked them these and other questions. Here is a chart she made showing their answers:
If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, how they are made, how they are adulterated, and how you can use them medicinally, I highly recommend the book “The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils” by Kurt Schnaubelt. (That’s an affiliate link there; you’ve been warned!)
DIY Furniture Polish – 3 Ingredients!
First off, let me start by being completely authentic with you. The absolute and total truth of the matter is that my natural tendency in life is NOT to polish the furniture. Meh. Polish shmolish. If it were up to me, dusting would be the extent of my furniture care (that and attempting to avoid liquid spillage on its surface).
But then I had two little boys (wonderful, darling boys), and I discovered that two little boys – no matter how small they are – can do quite a number on dining room furniture. Ya know, the wooden kind. Those little hands somehow always get sticky at every meal – or snack – and those sticky little hands somehow find their way all over the chairs. And all over the table. And the table legs. And the chair legs.
You get my drift.
And suddenly, my polish-hating-self (please note that is “polish” with a lower case “p”) was forced to realize the unwelcome truth that nothing would remove the sticky, gummy residue but… furniture polish. *Sigh*. Believe me, I tried other, simpler methods, but nothing quite did the trick until I actually broke down and polished the dad-blasted thing.
Thankfully, this polishing chore is only necessary once every couple months or so – we get by in the meantime by wiping down every single chair and every inch of the table top with a wet washrag on a daily basis. And thankfully, I’ve come across a super-simple, inexpensive DIY, all-natural (and any other adjectives that apply) furniture polish that literally takes seconds to mix up. And what’s more, it actually works. Woot!
This particular recipe makes a little batch that is just the right amount for our dining room furniture (a table, chairs, and a buffet, which, sadly, is no stranger to sticky fingers either). I don’t make anymore than this at a time because I don’t want to bother with storing it… and I certainly don’t need any reminders hanging around that there is polishing to be done!
DIY Furniture Polish
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 T. vinegar
- 5-10 drops Young Living’s Citrus Fresh essential oil*
- Pour the ingredients into a small jar. Seal the lid and shake well until combined.
- Dip a rag into the mixture, dab it on the furniture, and polish it into the surface.
*You can also use lemon or any other citrus essential oil.
The vinegar is optional, but it does help cut through any sticky stubborn particles of food left behind on the furniture. It also helps the mixture go further and absorb more easily.
Well, as happy as it can be.
I’m happy to recommend Young Living essential oils as the highest quality oil readily available today. So much goes into Young Living’s quality control that sets it head and shoulders above almost any other oil on the market. Anyone is eligible to open a wholesale membership with Young Living, simply by purchasing a starter kit (these range in price from $40-$150). After that, the only requirement is to purchase $50 within the first year; otherwise there is no commitment to maintain your wholesale membership status. Check out my Young Living page for more information.
Uh, and in case it’s not obvious, I’m an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils.
5 Reasons Why I Use Essential Oils
When I first signed up as a distributor with Young Living Essential Oils, I wrote a lengthy post about that decision. (You can read that post here, and you can sign up as a distributor yourself here, because once you’re done reading this post, you’ll probably want to. *wink*) I detailed then the mental and physical journey that led me to essential oils, but I didn’t specifically address the reasons why I chose essential oils as the primary healing modality, if you will, in my home.
Now that I have over a year invested in learning about and using the oils, I figured it was past time to put into words the reasons why I chose to go with essential oils. Naturally, I believe these reasons are good reasons for you also to choose essential oils, but please keep in mind this is only a post about my experience and it is not to be construed as medical advice because I am not a doctor. If you have any concerns or questions, please do speak with your medical practitioner before experimenting with the oils.
1. Essential Oils are Safe
Did you realize you have probably been ingesting essential oils and rubbing them onto your body already without even knowing it? That’s because many of them (here’s an itemized list) are categorized as “GRAS” (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA and approved as such to be used as food additives. Companies add GRAS essential oils to food and toiletry items for flavor and fragrance purposes all the time.
And if you don’t trust the FDA (Ahem. I don’t blame you.), here’s an interesting analysis by Dr. Robert Tisserand, an expert on essential oils, about the safety and various concerns regarding the use of oils. I encourage you to read through for yourself, but my conclusion after reading it myself was that he was hard pressed to find any hard evidence of any sort of serious negative side effects or reactions from the usage of oils. A quote from this article: “As used in aromatherapy today, essential oils have not caused a single death.” The same cannot be said for modern chemical medicine!
Certainly, we need to respect the power of essential oils and use them wisely and with a heavy dose of common sense. First of all, we need to make sure the oils we use are of the highest quality to avoid the adulteration and chemical exposure referred to in the above referenced article by Tisserand. Secondly, it is a good idea to dilute essential oils for both topical and internal use. And it goes without saying that caution should be exercised when using oils on children (although I have read that studies done on children reveal no negative effects when they are used properly). With all that in mind, I think one can say that aromatherapy is just as safe as any other readily available therapy, if not safer.
2. Essential Oils are Effective
I have experienced the effectiveness of essential oils personally and in my own family, and I have heard the testimonies of many others’ positive experiences. Browse through Oil Testimonials and see how many people have benefited from the life-blood of a plant that is called its “essential oil”.
3. Essential Oils Very Rarely Have Side Effects
The most common side effect of an oil is that it can cause a minor reaction in sensitive skin, like a tingling, stinging sensation or even a slight rash. The best way to avoid this reaction is to dilute the oil with a carrier oil.
Some people respond strongly to some oils think they are having an allergic reaction. However, it is more likely that any reaction to an oil is actually part of the detox process, which can be a good thing. (Even so, it’s a good idea to stop using any oil when you experience detox symptoms and allow your body time to recover before using it again.) There’s some debate about whether or not oils can be allergenic at all, but here’s a good rule of thumb: if reactions strengthen with each use of the oil, it’s probably an allergic reaction. If the reactions reduce in intensity, it’s probably detox.
One thing worth mentioning here, although it’s not the purpose of this post, is that some medical conditions do not tolerate certain oils. Epilepsy comes to mind, since I recently had a friend with this concern. If you have a chronic medical illness or condition, do your research and make sure the oils you want to use will not aggravate your condition.
4. Essential Oils Have a Long History
The aforementioned Dr. Robert Tisserand gives a brief history of essential oil usage here, but suffice it to say that ancient cultures (Rome, Egyptian) regularly used essential oils medicinally. And, of course, the Bible is filled with mentions of oils (distilled and infused) used for many purposes, including physical and emotional health.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more trust in something that has stood the test of time! Modern medicine miracles exist and are not to be discounted, but give me a time-tested remedy any day over!
5. Essential Oils are Easy to Use
You know how I like things to be simple! I find aromatherapy to be the most accessible of all modern alternative remedies: Chiropractic care is expensive and time-consuming (although very beneficial!); acupuncture is also expensive and exclusive in that it’s not really something you can do at home; homeopathy is just downright confusing; and I confess that I find herbal medicine to be much the same.
Essential oils are easy to use at home – simply diffusing them into the air is an effective way to use them, as is rubbing the diluted oil into the skin. Although there is much to learn about the science of aromatherapy, at its very basic level, it can be used at home by even the most inexperienced person. (Provided, of course, that inexperienced person is willing to learn the basics of safety and usage!)
They are also neither expensive nor exclusive like the other therapies I mentioned. The average wholesale price of a bottle of essential oil from Young Living is around $20 and contains several hundred drops. (Ask me how you can get the wholesale price for yourself!) When you consider that you use only one or two drops at a time, that price is actually minimal in comparison to most other alternative meds out there. (Hey, it’s even cheaper than most run of the mill OTC meds!)
Why I Use Young Living Essential Oils
If you are interested in using essential oils as an alternative to chemical-based medications, then you’ve probably come across at least a few different brands, all of them claiming to be the best for one reason or another. The information out there is often conflicting, always biased, and extremely difficult to sort through.
I can’t tell you definitively which brand of essential oils (EO’s) is the best, but I can tell you why I chose to use Young Living oils almost exclusively. I’m not writing this post to bash any other essential oil companies out there – I have no reason to do that – but simply to explain what benefits led me to choose YL over other brands in the event that my decision-making process is helpful to someone else out there researching the available options.
Why I Use Young Living Essential Oils
- History – Young Living has over 20 years built into the industry, giving them plenty of time to learn about and invest into the oils they sell, as well as plenty of time to develop a reputation. Many of the brands out there have popped up seemingly overnight (certainly that is not true of all of them, and surely there are companies even older than YL, but I am not speaking of those on this point), and are relative unknowns as far as I am concerned. It is awfully easy for those start-ups to be here today and gone tomorrow. Young Living is not a start-up or an unknown entity, and that’s enough to edge it out over others that were recommended to me.
- Reputation – Twenty years has given Young Living plenty of time to develop a reputation, and aside from those who are skeptical of any alternative medicine, that reputation is a very good one. The vast majority of people who have used Young Living oils have been very pleased with them and found them to be of high quality. I can count on one hand the number of negative reviews I’ve read in terms of the performance of Young Living’s oils.
- Quality – The quality of the oils is what is behind their strong reputation. Much has been made online of Gas Chromatography /Mass Spectrometry testing, but in reality that test only tells the beginning of the story when it comes to essential oils. Young Living performs a total of 7 tests on every batch of oil that passes through their facilities and onto their customers, and if the oils don’t pass the tests, they don’t sell them. Even so, that’s not enough to establish the quality of the oils, because once again, each of those tests tells only part of the story. The chemical makeup of an essential oils depends on so many factors, all of which are highly variable, so YL makes sure that optimum conditions exists in all those factors. Starting with the seed of the plant, and continuing with its cultivation and harvest, YL monitors every step of the way to ensure that the highest quality oil is the end result. If you don’t believe me, read this summary from a chemist that explains in detail all the efforts YL takes to ensure a quality product.
- Training and Support – If I ordered a random oil from a random company online, chances are I’m left to sink or swim when it comes to using that oil. Sure, a quick google search will tell me the basics about any particular oil. Or I could read tomes and tomes of textbooks about oils, their chemistry, their usage, etc, and I probably will (I’ve already read a few!). But what has helped me more than anything has been the support of my sponsor and the rest of the folks on her team. Any time I have a question, I know where to go, and someone on the team always has an answer for me! Young Living’s company structure was intended to create that network of support so that no one is left in the dark on how to use their oils. As my own team grows, my desire is to create that same environment of training and support that has been so beneficial to me.
- Thieves’ Oil! – This proprietary blend is produced only by Young Living, and although others have similar products, this is the one I kept hearing about over and over and over again. I haven’t been disappointed with this powerful oil, and I always make sure to have some on hand. I clean and disinfect with it, and I use it whenever someone in my family gets sick! I have seen it first hand cut colds and the like short when they’ve already started, and I’ve also seen it prevent various sicknesses from passing through the family from one person to the next. Good stuff, I tell you.
Reasons Why YOU Might Like Young Living Oils
Some more for you to consider as you make your decision:
- Young Living has grown 75% in the past year! That’s some pretty incredibly amazing word-of-mouth sales going on there!
- Young Living’s wholesale price (available to distributors) is comparable to a lot of the companies I’ve seen online, plus you have the option to enroll in their Essential Rewards autoship program, which allows you to earn bonus points you can use towards free oils! I’ve received 4 or 5 free bottles of oil in the past 6-8 months. When other companies imply that they are cheaper than YL, that’s probably because they’re comparing against the full retail price.
- Young Living makes it easy for you to get the wholesale price – all you have to do is purchase a starter kit (from $40-150) and then make another $50 purchase within the year. No other commitment, but all the benefits of having a wholesale account.
- Of the major brands, Young Living is the only one I know of that owns and operates their own farms and produces their own oils. Not all of their oils are produced in this way, but quite a few of them are. Some of those farms are based in the US, and some of those farms are based in other countries where the plants are indigenous to that area.
If you think you’d like to give Young Living oils a try, I’d be happy to have you join my team! Visit my Young Living website for more information.
Please note that I am not a doctor and I am not dispensing medical advice. I’m simply sharing what I use for my own family.
5 Ways to Remove Labels
This post contains affiliate links and other assorted money-making madness.
You know how I love to keep my pantry (which I actually don’t really have right now…) organized with glass jars, right? I waxed eloquent about it in this post: How I Organized My Pantry for Free with Empty Glass Jars. If you open up my fridge or any of my cupboards, you’ll see dozens of glass jars hard at work containing all our food.
But those pesky labels can really drive me crazy! Some come off quite easily… others not so much. I’ve had more than my fair share of label scrubbing, and I’ve learned a few tried-and-true methods for removing them with minimal fuss.
1. Soak in Warm Water
This should be the first step in any case. Sometimes (Ok, most of the time), I skip the “soak” part and just hold the jar under running water. Sometimes (Ok, quite frequently), I run the jar – with the label- through the dishwasher. In any case, the whole point is that I get the label on the jar thoroughly wet with warm or hot water, and that is the first step in the label-removal process. If you’re lucky, this will be all you have to do! Some labels just slip right off after a good washing. Usually, you won’t be that lucky, though, so on to the next step.
2. Scrape the Label
Sometimes the label just needs a little help coming off the jar, in which case you’ll want to employ some kind of scraping tool. I’ve used all sorts of things: plastic knives, fake credit cards (the kind they send you in the mail hoping to lure you to sign up), and who knows what else. But my favorite tool is a sturdy pan scraper like these I found on Amazon. They are the ultimate label scrubber-offer, so everybody should have one. (Cuz I said so.)
At the very least, the scraper will help you get rid of the paper label itself, so that all you will have left is sticky gunk. Sticky gunk is no good, so hang on to that scraper (cuz you’re gonna need it) and try one (or more!) of the following options:
3. Use Coconut Oil & Baking Soda
Combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda (say, 1 TBSP of each) in a small container until you have a paste. Smear the paste all over the sticky residue and let it sit for 15-20 minutes or so. Scrub it off, and hopefully the label and sticky residue will come off, too. If not, repeat the process until it does. And don’t forget to use the scraper!
4. Use Peanut Butter
Smear it all over the sticky stuff and let it sit for a while. Scrub it off and repeat if necessary. You can use the scraper again to help get off some of the more stubborn sticky yuckiness.
You can also use any other heavy fat (like shortening, or other nut butters) with similar success.
5. Use Lemon Essential Oil
Nowadays I usually skip options #3 and #4 and go straight for the big guns. Lemon Essential Oil* is the bomb-diggety when it comes to removing that sticky gunk left behind by all those labels. All you have to do is drip one little drop right onto the jar. Rub the drop into all the sticky gunk, then scrub it off under hot running water. Magic! You might have to repeat this process once or twice with really stubborn stickiness, but it is far more effective than either of the other 2 options. Oh, and don’t forget the scraper! It can come in handy here, too.
*Lemon Essential oil comes in a 15ml bottle for less than $15 (just over $11 if you are a distributor), and that bottle can have as many as 400 drops in it. You can use Lemon Essential Oil all over the house in all kinds of cleaning applications, so you definitely get your money’s worth out of it.
De-Odorize Stinky Carpets Easily and Naturally
I had never experienced stinky carpets in my life until recently… and whew! Not an experience I cared to repeat! And then… repeat it again I did. For some reason, our carpets (I don’t know if it’s because we’re in a basement apartment or what) seem to be particularly prone to collecting odors. What seems to happen is that moisture seeps into the carpet and never properly dries, thus creating a mildew-y nasty smell that can be tricky to eliminate.
Thank goodness for Google! I knew vaguely that baking powder was supposed to help with this problem, but wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it. Of course, every article I read had a slightly different approach to it, and some were more detailed than others, so in the end I kind of pulled my own method together based on what I read.
The first stinky carpet episode required several treatments (yes, it was that bad! The problem was that a drink had spilled underneath the couch, so we couldn’t find from whence the smell was emanating until it was really bad.). The second stinky carpet episode was significantly improved after just one treatment, and although it could probably use one more, I haven’t had the time to actually do that yet (on my lengthy to-do list…). So instead of actually doing it, I’m writing a blog post about how to do it. (Ha!)
The magic ingredient is baking soda. Yep, that’s it! I buy it in a big bag at Costco because I use it for all kinds of cleaning purposes. You’re gonna need a big bag for this particular project, too, because it uses up a LOT of baking soda.
I also added some Purification essential oil, which really helped a lot as well. You can add Purification or any essential oil, or you can just use the baking soda straight up.
How to DeOdorize Stinky Carpet?
Here’s the process for de-stinkifying (that’s a word right?) your carpet:
- If moisture is involved (in my case, the first time it was), soak up as much of it as you can with rags.
- If you want to use essential oils (I recommend Purification), add a few drops to your baking soda (depending on the amount of carpet you want to cover, you’ll probably be using several cups of baking soda).
- Liberally (I mean liberally!)
sprinklepour baking soda over the affected area. Spread the baking soda around with your hands or a spoon (or a spatula, whatever gets the job done!) until all the stinky carpet is covered. Don’t be afraid to push the baking soda down into the carpet a bit; that will help it be more effective.
- Let it sit overnight.
- When you’re ready to clean it up, first use a broom and a dustpan to brush up as much of the baking soda as possible. Don’t try to vacuum it all up or you’ll run the risk of ruining your vacuum cleaner.
- When you have only a thin layer of baking soda left, vacuum it up.
- Once all the baking soda is removed, do a “sniff test”. Get your nose right up to the smelly spot on the carpet and take a whiff. Is it still stinky? Then repeat the process.
- Repeat as necessary until all odor is gone.
And there you have it folks: Better than Febreze or any other chemical-laden toxic carpet cleaner. Plus also, cheaper! Yeah, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.
Thieves Oil: The Super-Oil
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Thieves Oil was the deciding factor in helping me determine which essential oil company I wanted to use and recommend. There are a lot of good companies out there, and I’m not really interested in debating the merits of one over the other, but for me personally, Thieves Oil was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.
What is Thieves Oil?
Young Living’s Thieves Oil is a blend of several different essential oils:
- cinnamon bark
- lemon, and
One thing I love about Thieves Oil is its curious history: it was developed based on the story of four thieves who formulated this blend of herbs to protect them in their grave-robbing pursuits during the time of the Black Plague. The details are a little shady, but the story – and variations of the formula – has survived for several centuries. Cookbooks in the 1800s included recipes for “thieves vinegar“, and offered instructions for its use in sick or damp conditions.
When I was first learning and reading about essential oils, by far the most frequently mentioned – and praised – oil was Thieves Oil. Although I’m sure every oil company has their own variation of this formula, over and over again I saw testimonials specifically recommending Young Living’s version, and in the end that was what persuaded me to try Young Living essential oils for myself.
You can read more about Thieves Oil here.
What’s so Good About Thieves Oil?
The primary benefit of Thieves Oil lies in its capability to assist and strengthen your immune system.
Of course, there is nothing in this world that will guarantee you will never get sick! But of course, you still do what you can to prevent illness from occurring: washing hands with soap and water and dressing appropriately for the weather, for example. Thieves Oil will add an extra layer of protection, especially during occasions when you know you have encountered germs of one kind or another.
When Should You Use Thieves Oil?
There are some people who don’t walk outside their door without Thieves Oil religiously applied. I’m not that religious about anything except my religion! However, I do always make sure I have plenty of Thieves Oil on hand because I never know when I will need it:
- When someone in my house gets sick, I apply Thieves Oil to them and everybody else. It seems to help them heal faster, and it helps the rest of us either avoid illness or experience a lighter version.
- I keep a spray bottle with diluted Thieves Oil in it, and spray down all the often-handled surfaces in our home (light switches, door knobs, etc.) whenever sickness is going around or after we have a lot of guests over.
- I like to apply Thieves Oil when we go somewhere like public transportation, for example, or to the doctors’ office.
How Can You Use Thieves Oil?
There are so many different ways to enjoy the benefits of Thieves Oil:
- diffused in the air either through a diffuser or simply simmered on the stove top in some water
- diluted in water and sprayed on surfaces
- diluted in oil and applied to the skin (usually on the feet, as that helps it get to the bloodstream rather quickly)
- internally via a capsule
I should point out that Thieves Oil is a very “hot” oil, meaning it must be diluted! This is not something to use lightly, but with a certain amount of respect. Adults should dilute at a ratio of at least 1 drop of Thieves Oil to 4 drops of oil, and for children, I would double the amount of oil.
What I Love About Thieves Oil
My favorite part about Thieves Oil? The fragrance! It’s heady and spicy and delicious. I don’t really like light, flowery smells so much, but neither do I like the really deep smells like sandalwood or patchouli. Thieves Oil is somewhere in between, and the fragrance evokes feelings of home and comfort to me, with a hit of energizing spice to finish it off!
You can try Young Living’s Thieves Oil for yourself! Distributors get 25% off Young Living oils, plus you can earn free products (woot! Gotta love free!), so that’s a significantly better deal than simply registering as a customer. (Plus, you only commit to a $50 purchase every year to maintain distributor status. No selling involved!)
I should mention that I’m not a doctor or a nurse or certified to be a medical expert in any way. Plus also, the FDA hasn’t approved Thieves Oil or any essential oil for medicinal use… as if we needed their approval. Just know that you need to be responsible and do your own research and don’t use any oil just cuz I said you should. Seriously. Because it’s not my fault if you don’t use it right and/or it doesn’t work for you. K?
5 Summer Uses for Lavender Oil
ummer is a wonderful time of year… but personally, I kind of dread it because it comes with some unfortunate baggage. You know, stuff like bugs (Ticks! Mosquites! Spiders! Yuck!), poison ivy, heat, heatstroke, heat headaches, sunburns… yeah, all that stuff I don’t really like.
This year, though, I’m armed and ready to actually enjoy all our summer adventures (we’ve had some really fun ones thus far)! Bugs begone! Sun, you will not burn me, nor will you give me a headache. And if you do, I know what to do!
The difference between this summer and all the summers before? Lavender essential oil. I made sure to have a full bottle on hand before summer began, and I’ve already put it to use on multiple occasions. Good thing each bottle has more than 100 drops of oil in it!
You can purchase a bottle of Young Living Lavender Oil here for just over $30 (it lasts a long time and is good for just about any malady). If you’re a YL distributor, the price drops to $23.50; click here to learn more about being a distributor. And if you just want more information about Young Living’s lavender oil, then this is the link you want. And clearly, with the exception of the last link, those are affiliate links. I’m sure you figured that out already but I have to tell ya just in case.
5 Summer Uses for Lavender Oil
1. Bug Spray
Lavender is apparently one of those fragrances that bugs just don’t like, so you can use it in bug sprays or diffuse it during outdoor gatherings. The picture above is actually a bug spray that I made using different essential oils besides lavender… but if you don’t have the Purification and Thieves oil (or you don’t like their scent) required for that recipe, you can try this Lavender/Citrus Bug Spray from Surviving the Stores or this even simpler bug spray made with only lavender oil and water (it can be used to freshen sheets OR keep the bugs away – I love a multi-tasker!).
Don’t want to bother with mixing up sprays and potions? No problemo! Just dab some lavender oil (neat or diluted) right on your wrists, neck, ankles and any other place you want to keep the bugs away. That’s all there is to it!
2. Insect Bites
And if the bugs break through your lavender-scented barrier? Guess what? It works to relieve the itching and heal the bite, too. Cool, huh? Lavender is the oil of choice for the majority of bug bites, including those form mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, ants, and even spiders! For tick bites, you’ll want something stronger, but lavender will do the trick for most any other bug bite.
Since lavender is gentle on the skin, you don’t even need to dilute it (but you can if you want it to stretch further). Just put a dab on the bite as needed.
I haven’t made my own sunscreen yet, but once I’ve finished up with the bottle of natural sunscreen I recently purchased, I’m definitely going to be trying my friend Mary’s super-simple recipe for homemade sunscreen. If you click on that link, you’ll find she has several different options, but the most basic one is just a mixture of lavender essential oil and coconut oil. (Yes, coconut oil. Don’t confuse plain old coconut oil with the coconut-scented tanning lotions of the past.)
4. Sunburn Relief
My DH never used to be burned by the sun, but I think I’ve rubbed off on him. Or maybe he’s just getting older. Or maybe he doesn’t have the chance to develop a base tan like he used to. Whatever the case, earlier this summer after an afternoon at the pool with The Boys, he had a terrible (and I mean terrible) sunburn. I felt so bad for him! Thankfully, though, I had my full bottle of lavender oil ready to be put to use.
Once or twice a day, I would massage some lavender oil into his shoulders where the worst of the burn was. Then I’d follow it up with some coconut oil. I’m not sure how quickly it would have healed without using those oils, but the heat from the burn cooled down within a day or so, and then the redness was gone in a few more days, after which it started peeling.
Clarinda shares how lavender helped heal her sunburn as well.
The sun always gives me a headache. Probably it’s because I’m chronically dehydrated or something of the sort, but in any case, I don’t stay out in it too long if I can help it. But when I do get a headache, I turn to lavender oil. (Peppermint is apparently good for this, too.) All I do is put a drop or two on a cotton ball and take a deep breath of it every few minutes until the headache is gone. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes for the headache to disappear completely and then I’m good to go.
**Lavender Essential Oil photos courtesy of Young Living Essential Oils.
**I’m not a doctor, and I’m not trained to give medical advice. Follow these suggestions at your own risk, or ask your doctor for his/her opinion.
All Natural Homemade Bug Spray
This post contains affiliate links.
I don’t like bugs. I don’t like them in my house, and I most certainly do not like them on my person.
However, bugs like me. They like me very much. They seem to consider me a veritable feast free for the taking, and I find that rather presumptuous of them.
Henceforth and therefore, I do what I can to keep them as far away from me as possible. In the past, this has meant, spraying myself all over with foul-smelling chemical-laced sprays that accomplished absolutely nothing. I was still a bug feast. Then I tried natural-ish (or at least DEET-free) bug sprays that still smelled pretty foul, and the same result. The bugs still bit me!
I figure, since the chemical sprays accomplished absolutely nothing, what harm could an all natural, homemade bug spray made out of essential oils do? The worst thing that could happen is that bugs would feast on me yet again, right?
And you know what? NO BUGS! I made myself a bottle of this bug spray recipe from Surviving the Stores, and have used it 3 times this summer. NO BUGS! Not even one!
And three times isn’t a lengthy track record by any means, but for me, it’s huge. (Remember; bugs love me!) Also, consider the 3 occasions I have used it thus far:
- At a lavender farm, where we picnicked and walked around lavender gardens and generally spent a great deal of time right up in a bug’s natural habitat.
- On an evening walk around the neighborhood, which is where I would typically have the biggest problem.
- On a walk through a local botanical garden, which is all outdoors and provides a beautiful habitat for all sorts of creatures… including bugs that bite!
I don’t think a bug even landed on me, and I haven’t been bitten even once this summer (which is quite the feat for me, I promise you!). I’m totally sold on this essential-oil-based bug spray and am excited to share it with you.
Note: To preserve the maximum effectiveness of the oils you’ll be using in this spray, I recommend you get a bottle such as this one intended for use with essential oils.
Homemade Bug Spray with Essential Oils
- Place the baking soda in the bottom of your spray bottle.
- Add the drops of essential oil, and shake to combine the two ingredients.
- Pour in the water. Place the cap on the bottle and shake well each time before using.