I have dabbled with a few essential oils over the past couple of years. I have used mostly herbs, and herbal remedies. I make this Elderberry-Echinacea syrup and we take it daily during cold season (only 2-3 times per week otherwise). I even carry it on the road in deputation!
I have made some other herbal remedies including my own salves, lip balm, boo-boo cream, anti-itch cream, and diaper rash cream. I also have quite a few herbs for tea. The essential oils I have were mostly for homemade cleaning products.
However, with traveling so much this year, and not being able to go to the doctor because we are out-of-network, I wanted to have something else to help boost our health. But the amount of information online about EO's is vast, and conflicting, and confusing. Each company claims to be the best, or to have a superior method of extraction. Each have different methods of application. I didn't know which was best!
Somehow I stumbled onto a site called Learning About Essential Oils (Website and Facebook). There is a corresponding Facebook group called Using Essential Oils Safely. It is a closed group, so you have to request to be added. These sites and groups are run by Lea Harris, a certified aromatherapist. She is not loyal to any one brand of oils. In fact, you can't mention brand or blend names specifically in the groups! However, she knows about the properties of different oils and how they can and should not be used.
I have a diffuser that I use regularly. It has helped with headaches during pregnancy when Tylenol is about the only medication I can take. I have diffused at night when my kids were sick, with a "Sniffle Stopper" blend, and also a "Nighty Night" blend to help them settle down. I'm just getting ready to make a bug bite soother and spray, and a "scar eraser" for some scars (and stretch marks). I haven't bought into the idea that essential oils cure everything, but I think they may have their place. I'm still learning what really works and what doesn't!
Here are some things I have learned that I did not know before:
- EO's should NEVER be applied topically unless they are diluted in a carrier oil.
- EO's should RARELY be taken internally. Because of the intense concentration of an essential oil, and the process it goes through to be extracted, it acts differently from its herbal counterparts. It puts too much on the liver to process EO's if taken internally, especially on a regular basis.
- Some EO's are not safe for children. If you have done any reading into EO's, you probably came up with Peppermint and Eucalyptus for a cold or respiratory issues. However, these both contain a certain plant constituent which slows down the breathing. In a sick child, it is dangerous to slow their breathing down any more than it already is, so these are not good choices for a child with a cold. (They are also not safe for pregnant women).
- Some EO's are phototoxic, so if you have them on your skin when you go outside, it can be very dangerous.