How To Use Essential Oils For Health and Longevity

ways to use oils

As we continue our essential oil education journey, I’m going to take you from a closet oil sniffer when nobody’s looking in the health food store to a full-fledged oilista! We’ve been over what essential oil is, why you would want to use it, and why it’s vitally important to get therapeutic-grade oil. Now we’re going to visit the how.

There are essentially (get it, snort snort) 3 ways to get the health benefits of your oils:

DISCLAIMER: Anything I discuss from this point forward is only relating to Young Living Oils. Please don’t run up to the health food store and try this with cheap oil. You can seriously harm your body.

Now let’s talk oil!

1) TOPICALLY:

When you apply oils to your skin, they are absorbed into the bloodstream through the pores and follicles. Which means, guess what? So is ANYTHING ELSE YOU APPLY TO YOUR SKIN! Once in the bloodstream, the oils are carried to the organs and every cell in the body within 20 minutes.

For the quickest and most efficient absorption, apply where the skin is the thinnest and the blood vessels are closest to the surface. Examples would be the wrists, temples, inside the elbow, behind the knee, and the back of the neck. Surprisingly, the bottoms of the feet are excellent for absorption, and many of the oils can be used here at bedtime.

Some oils are a little warmer for sensitive skin and can be diluted in a carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil. The dilution guidelines will always be on the back of the Young Living label.

TRY THIS AT HOME…

stress away rollon

Your Young Living Premium Starter Kit will come with a roller ball attachment that fits on to any of the bottles. One of my favorite uses is to attach the roller ball to the Stress Away (which comes in the kit) and carry it in my purse. When the kids are really pressing my last nerve, or it seems that the whole state of Florida has gone out for a Sunday drive in front of me, I roll it on my wrists and my temples. It smells Heavenly, with a clean burst of lime and vanilla, and it eases tension like nobody’s business!

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Suffer from Seasonal Pollen Challenges? Another great use is to combine a few drops of lemon, lavender and peppermint and and apply either straight or diluted with a carrier to the forehead, temples, and throat. Ahhhh, breathing is good!

2) INTERNALLY:

Even with the highest quality, not all oils can be ingested. With Young Living, oils that are safe for internal use will have white Supplement labels and precise instructions on how they are to be taken. Always read your labels!

TRY THIS AT HOME…

a) Put a few drops of essential oil in an empty vegetable or glycerine capsule (available online or in some health food stores) and take with water like a vitamin. I do this daily with Frankincense to maintain my cellular health, and I’ll be going over that oil very soon.

peppermint brownies

b) I love to put a couple drops of the citrus oils in water each morning, such as lemon or citrus fresh. They are very refreshing and detoxifying to the body and contain substances which are crucial for healthy immune function. You can also put a drop of peppermint in tea or even in brownies.

Many of the oils available can be safely used in cooking. Choose from Basil, Cilantro, Lime, Taste of Italy, and others. Since they are so potent, just a toothpick dipped in the oil imparts the flavor to the whole dish.

3) AROMATICALLY:

This is where that awesome Diffuser comes in that you get free with your kit. It breaks up the oil into nanoparticles that can be dispersed evenly throughout the air. But these oils don’t just mask odors. They actually change the structure of odor-causing molecules and neutralize them. In addition, they increase oxygen availability, produce negative ions, and release natural ozone. Anyone heard of “ozone therapy” ? Look it up.

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Here are just a few of the health benefits that come from diffusing essential oils: reduce bacteria and mold, relax the body, relieve tension, clear the mind, help with weight management, improve concentration, alertness and mental clarity, stimulate neurotransmitters, improve digestion, improve hormonal balance, and more…

TRY THIS AT HOME…

Since chemo and radiation, I struggle with mood, focus, and memory. My favorite daytime mixture is JOY and PEPPERMINT. I swear to you, it makes a huge difference in how I feel and in my ability to focus. I love it! And it smells divine.

Also, I have some issues occasionally sleeping through the night. My favorite nighttime mixture is THIEVES (for immunity), LAVENDER, and STRESS AWAY. I also put lavender on the bottoms of my feet. Sleep…accomplished!

Now that you know how to apply and use these oils, we’re going to get started with the most versatile oils and go over their individual benefits and a few DIY recipes to get you started.

Stay Tuned!!

Check out this tab when you’ve made up your mind to go for it.

Pardon Me, Can I Have Your Immune System?

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What if I told you that you could harness the incredible power of a healthy immune system that didn’t even belong to you? Kind of like a rent-a-cop for your white blood cells? Um, yes please!

Well, the good news is that you can, without harvesting organs or taking anyone hostage. Because your new healthy immune system would go to waste in prison, or at worst be traded for cigarettes.

The Guards Have Left the Building 

As many of you reading this blog know all too well, a body assaulted by chemotherapy and radiation doesn’t fight infection very well. You become incredibly familiar with your dwindling “White Blood Cell Count” as you trudge to your next appointment and cross your fingers.

What you may not know is that your immune system had a glitch long before you were ever diagnosed, while you still looked and felt “healthy”. A properly functioning immune system has white cells that function as “guards at the gate”, kind of like the ones you see at a military base entrance.

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Surprise! Everybody Has Cancer 

I hate to break this news, but we all have rogue, or “cancer” cells floating around our bodies all the time. When our physiology is functioning normally, our immune cells, those “guards”, recognize the cancer cells as enemies and promptly mount an attack to get rid of them. When something breaks down in that process, the cancer cells are able to gain a foothold and multiply out of control.

So when the doctor tells you, “Congratulations! We got all of the cancer.” or, “You’re cancer-free”, that is a fairy tale. There’s no way to guarantee that one of those “bad cells” didn’t survive the treatment. As a matter of fact, it’s almost a certainty that it did.

Excuse Me, Mr. Plant, I Need To Borrow Your Immune System

What can you do to prevent cancer or keep it from coming back? There’s no one, simple answer to that question. Just as there were multiple factors that allowed cancer to invade your body, there are multiple things you must do to keep it in check and co-exist.

One of the most powerful weapons I have in my anti-cancer arsenal is my Young Living essential oils collection. Why?

Inside every plant, shrub, tree, or flower is a source of energy, life and healing compounds. The essential oil is like the blood and immune system of the plant. In the plant, it seals cuts and heals wounds, provides nutrients and oxygen for cellular regeneration, and guards against unwanted harmful invaders.

The essential oil is 200-10,000 times more powerful than an herb from the same plant. Therefore, it has incredible medicinal power and a little goes a long way.

In 20 seconds, the oil can penetrate the tissues of the skin and get into the bloodstream, and it is one of the few substances with particles small enough to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. This is how certain oils affect brain inflammation, emotions, focus, and concentration.

Essential oils are among the most powerful anti-oxidants on earth. Some are antibacterial, some are antiviral. In addition to supporting the immune system, they benefit the body in many ways: relaxing muscle, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels, soothing aches and pains, aiding digestion, promoting sleep, slowing aging, etc.

I Don’t Have Time To Squeeze Oil Out of Plants!

man in lab

That’s quite a picture! You in your secret basement lab wringing out some poor peppermint leaves into a jar. Let’s not go there.

How do they get the essential oils out of the plants?

Essential Oils are extracted in many ways, but the primary method is steam distillation. But there are a number of ways that the oils can be grown and extracted that are very cost efficient and produce large amounts of cheap oil, such as:

  • Using Chemical Solvents. These mix with the oil in the final product and leave behind chemical residue which doesn’t have to be listed in the ingredients.
  • Diluting the pure essential oil with another oil or a synthetic substance (think perfumy) to make it go farther. Again, this won’t be on the label!
  • Steam distilling the same batch of plants over and over again. This would be like using the same coffee grinds to brew six pots of coffee. That sixth batch would be pretty weak and useless.
  • Spraying the crops with chemical pesticides to increase crop yields.

Young Living doesn’t use any of these methods. They sell only the first distillation, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are ever used. As a matter of fact, they use their own oils as pesticides, and most weeds are still picked by hand. Pretty rare for a large corporation!

Young Living Lavender Fields, Utah

Young Living Lavender Fields, Utah

Interested in the science? I’ll link to a few abstracts below for you to peruse:

1) Anti-Cancer activity of essential oils: a review

2) Immunomodulatory activity of geranial, geranial acetate, gingerol, and eugenol essential oils: evidence for humoral and cell-mediated responses.

3) Anticancer activity of essential oils and their chemical components – a review

If any of this strikes a chord in you, and you want to get started with your own oil journey, check out the Essential Oils tab on my home page to sign up.

It Puts The Oil On Its Skin And….It’s Hair Grows Thicker?!?

3 Years Ago

3 Years Ago. Notice That Sexy Bald Spot Up Front

Mother Nature Wants You Dead!

Perhaps some of you out there can relate. As a woman ages becomes wiser, Mother Nature starts to play these cruel little jokes on her just for fun. You see, after 40, you’re washed up! So sad, too bad. Once you’ve birthed them babies, you have no purpose left in the strictly biological sense. You’ve seductively flipped your long, luxurious locks for the last time, sister!

One day, you look in the mirror, and you start to notice just a tiny bit less hair up front than you used to have. It’s subtle at first. You can do a comb-over and keep things in your denial box, for a while. A couple years pass, and there ain’t a comb big enough to cover up that mess! You’re…offcially…old.

Well, that was happening to me at a fairly rapid pace. I would take a shower and have to hold hairs aside so they wouldn’t go down the drain and clog it when they came out. I’m not talking about a handful; just enough to be depressing.

 I Only Thought I Had Bad Hair Until Chemo

Wanna complain to the Universe about your misfortune? Whammo! It can most definitely get worse. After the top picture, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I underwent a year of treatment including double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, followed by reconstruction. All in all, it could have been a far more devastating experience. I took care of myself with food, supplements and exercise to get through it relatively unscathed. One of the worst parts? Losing my hair.

I know, I know, that sounds really shallow. But, not only is a woman’s hair one of her most powerful outward signs of femininity, it’s loss also reminds her daily that she is sick. As long as you have hair on your head, you can be undergoing the most rigourous treatments and still feel normal. When you lose it, you suddenly become a “patient”, someone to be pitied.

Once chemo was over, my hair started to grow back, very curly I might add. At first, it looked like I would end up with better hair than before. No loose locks in the shower, no thin spot up front. I was secretly tickled.

Then, over the past several months, as my hair has gotten longer (and been colored enhanced), I started noticing that my part was getting wider again. And I was getting some hair on my hands when I washed it. “Oh no! Not Again.”

Oil To The Rescue

ningxia red

I figured it was just my destiny as a menopausal crone to be follicularly challenged. Well, over the last few weeks, I have noticed those little baby hairs coming in fast and furious at my hairline. And…my part is filling in. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but now it’s unmistakable. The only thing I have done differently is diffuse and apply my Young Living Oils daily and drink the super-antioxidant, essential-oil infused Ningxia Red drink by the same company.

You can hear life-changing testimonials from other people, but until you start to experience your own health shifts, they’re just that…stories. I’ve only been using these oils for about a month and a half, and I feel better on the inside, but I’ve been waiting for a sign, an “Aha!” moment. Well today, the outward signs of health are mirroring the changes going on inside. “Aha!”

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I’m putting the cart before the horse a little bit (again, I know!) with this post. We had really just begun our oily education. But I felt compelled to share this with you today.

Coming up..The what, why and how of essential oils. Then we’ll move on to individual oils and their unique uses and health/beauty benefits, including cancer prevention and possibly…adjunct treatment!

If at any point you feel like you’re excited and want to give these a try, e-mail me and I’ll tell you the best and most economical way get started with the company I use for my family and my patients.

It Puts The Oil On Its Skin…The Cheap, Adulterated Oil…Mwahahaha

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Take One Down And Pass It Around!

 At this point, some of you are thinking “Whoa there, crazy oil lady!  I just came to this blog because it popped up on my Google search for ‘boobs’. Why do I care about this? I don’t even know what an essential oil really is, let alone how it could possibly work on my health issues. Why should I worry about which company to use or how expensive they are? Aren’t you jumping the gun here?”

In the alternate scenario (in my head), you’re exclaiming “Wow! I’m digging all this information about the oily goodness. I never imagined that this tiny bottle could offer so much healing potential. But how do I know which one to use for what? And how can I be sure that I’m getting a quality product? Please educate me, Oh Oily One.”

Obviously, this is a subject that is very important to me. And I promise, by the end of my series, you will be at least somewhat intrigued about what these oils can offer you and your loved ones And you’ll be armed with the knowledge to use them wisely. I’m doing this post first, which seems to be “premature oilation”, to prevent you from being the star in the following scenario:

A Disaster Unfolds

You’ve always been on the cutting edge, you overachiever you, and you rush right over to the health food store and snag yourself a bottle of lavender, excited about cracking the seal and getting a better night’s sleep. And, you get it at a great price (far less than what your friend at work paid). You bring your bottle to work proudly. Your friend, who claims to be some sort of oil guru, takes one look at it and gives you a disapproving eye roll.

I know none of your friends would do this; it’s a  hypothetical story.

She starts her spiel about the differences in the quality of essential oils, and you politely listen while you think about the doughnut waiting for you in the break room. You just can’t get past one question: “Why would I spend $28 for a bottle of lavender when I just got the same thing for $9.95? I’m obviously the smarter one here!” There can’t be that much difference between oils. Can there?

ess oils quality pyramid

A Rose By Any Other Name…

Shakespearean sonnets aside, a rose is most definitely not a rose.  It takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil. And to completely extract the oil without compromising its purity and fragrance requires a meticulous two-part distillation process. Quality rose oil is one of the most expensive oils you can buy. If you are buying a 15 ml bottle of this oil for $50, you can be sure you have wasted your hard-earned money.

But It Smells Good To Me!

Here’s the issue. Aromatherapy is a huge buzzword right now. Due to its popularity, an ever-growing number of marketers have jumped on the essential oils bandwagon in search of an easy profit. Some companies market essential oils that have been cut with synthetic chemicals or blended with cheaper hybrids.  This is very common with lavender. The FDA only requires that a bottle of essential oil contain 5% of the actual oil to be labeled 100% pure, meaning that the 5% is indeed pure. This makes it very difficult to tell what you’re getting.

Let’s take that bottle of lavender, for example. Most of the lavender oil sold today is actually a hybrid called lavandin, not lavender. It’s grown and distilled in China, Russia, and Tasmania, and brought into France, where it is heated to evaporate the camphor, cut with synthetic linolyl acetate to improve the fragrance, added to propylene glycol or SD40, DEP, and DOT (solvents that increase the volume), and then sold to you as lavender oil. You don’t know the difference, and you’re thrilled that you’ve paid less than $10.

Frankincense is another example, and one I’ll be referring to again because it is oil numero uno in my cancer prevention toolkit. The frankincense resin that’s sold in Somalia costs between $30,000 and $35,000 per ton. A great deal of time- 12 hours or more- is required to properly steam distill the essential oil from the resin, which makes it very expensive. Frankincense oil that sells for less than $25 per ounce is heavily adulterated with chemical solvents to make its production cheaper. It is then further diluted with more chemicals, such as diethylphthalate or dipropylene glycol. That just sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

Aromatherapy Is Far More Than Just The Smell

There are at least 200 companies marketing essential oils in North America. However, most of these oils are of the lowest grade and quality.  While some of these products may have a pleasing fragrance, the truth is that they have little to no therapeutic benefit. In the worst case scenario, they can actually be harmful, causing anything from allergic reactions to endocrine disruption.

label comparison oils

The picture on the right is a Young Living bottle.

What’s the consumer to do? Since I can hear you getting restless out there, I’m going to finish up this post tomorrow. Then we’ll move on to specifics, get down to the nitty gritty, get our hands oily. Ok, I’m done. Sorry about that.

Unexpected Natural Remedies That Are Blowing My Mind, Part 2

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The Artist Formerly Known as “Chuck”

He’s Joined The “Dark Side”

When we last left our saga, my skeptical Jeep-driving, gun-toting, Wrangler jean-wearing, red-blooded American husband had donned colorful silk clothing, joined my essential oil cult and taken the name “River”. What happened?

When I brought my starter kit of Young Living Essential oils home, I told my husband he would henceforth be my guinea pig. He has enough ailments for me to get plenty of practice and really give these a college try.

panaway

We decided to start with the knee, which has been through 4 arthroscopic surgeries, several bucking horses in the rodeo, and a life of general rough and tumble “real man” stuff. I applied the PanAway oil, which was suggested for joint pain, arthritis and muscle aches.

Most days my husband’s poor knees sound like machine gun fire when he stands up, and he describes his pain like a “headache in your knees”. It’s a constant, dull ache. He’s my weather forecaster; his joints know when the pressure is changing outside.

So we put about 2 drops on each knee, rubbed it in, and went back to watching “The Bachelor”. Ok, I went back to watching it, and he sat next to me and hated it the whole time. After 10 minutes, he stood up to try and escape  get a drink, and he turned and just stared at me.

“What”, I teased “are you afraid you’ll miss the Fantasy Suite? Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in.”

“No”, he bounced up and down. “My knees….don’t hurt. Really, I can still feel the grinding and popping, but the ache is gone.”

“You’re kidding, right?” I thought maybe he was just trying to make me feel better to get into his own “fantasy suite”.

“Seriously! I don’t know what the heck is in this stuff, but it feels better than the last cortisone shot I got”.

I was beyond pleased. That was quite a testimony for 10 minutes of being oiled up. The proof in the pudding would be what happened next. Maybe it was just like the “Ben-Gay effect” and the pain would come back in a few minutes.

That didn’t happen. We went to bed, and in the morning I asked cautiously about the knees, one eye closed.

“It still doesn’t hurt. That’s the easiest time I’ve had getting out of bed in months.”

My poor husband will sometimes wake up in excruciating pain from having slept with his knees in the wrong position. And inevitably, he looks like the tin man trying to straighten up in the morning. We were both now seriously impressed.

He went to work, and I could hardly wait for him to come back for the evening oil report. By about 6 that night, after being on his feet all day, the pain had started creeping back in a little bit.

We applied “the oil”, as we affectionately called it. Same result. Nearly instant pain relief. The more we’ve done this, the longer the effect has lasted. He can now go 2 days between oilings, and that seems to be where we’ll stay.

He actually said to me the other day: “Did you order ‘the oil’? I don’t ever want to be without it.” Um, ok River, I think the drum circle is missing your karma.

Essential Oils And the “C” Word?

After that first amazing week, I’ve gotten much more familiar with all of the 11 oils in my kit. I’ve done my research on their benefit, with particular interest in how they can be used in a cancer survivor’s prevention toolkit. The research is astonishing, both in volume and content. (I’m looking at you, my favorite Australian scientist) :)

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Check Out How Many Results There Are!

I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned with you in the coming posts. I’ll go over how essential oils work and how you can use them for common health concerns, including the “C” word.

So do I think the hubby can completely avoid the knee replacement staring him in the face? These are oils, not magic beans. But if we can keep him comfortable enough to enjoy life for a few more years, I say that’s worth the investment.

Here’s to you, River. I think I’ll call you by your Sioux name, Dances With Oils.

Unexpected Natural Remedies That Are Revolutionizing My Family’s Health

lavender plant

We Love Chemicals Around Here

Um, no thanks, we don’t really like to use natural products in our home when there’s a chemical alternative. The flu, yes please, we’ll take it! Builds character. The baby prefers parabens and blue #46 in his diaper cream, you freak! These are a few phrases often said by…no…one…ever.

These words are laughable, but so many of us live this way on autopilot without ever stopping to think what we are putting into our bodies or our environments.

As a holistic physician and a breast cancer survivor, I really should know better, but I ‘m just as guilty as the next guy. I do try to eat healthy and exercise, but I’ve got my fair share of Ibuprofen and Lysol in my house, and….Egads! I use tap water!

In my endless search to shore up my immune system and make myself healthier in general to prevent a recurrence, I have started taking a long, hard look at the medicines and household products we use. Don’t be lulled into thinking that only the things you physically put into your body can harm you. Everything from make-up to hand lotion, to cleaning solutions, to shampoo contain ingredients that are toxic and can lead to debilitating health issues.

Think I’m exaggerating? Grab one of your skin or beauty products, go here, and type in some of the ingredients. Be ready to drop jaw. Now some of you might be thinking, “Ok, so there are a few things I use that aren’t so healthy. They won’t kill me, and I’ll look really cute”. No, one or two might not hurt you because your amazing liver is plugging away to detox for you. But take all the products you use, day in and day out, and that toxicity builds up and can overwhelm your precious liver. And, let me tell you, a bum liver makes for a bad day.

What I’m About To Tell You I Discovered By Accident

My kids make fun of me and call me a hippie because of my arsenal of vitamins, juices, and health foods. But then I see them, when they think I’m not looking, and they’re eating some kale. Score!

I’ve always been interested in essential oils. I wasn’t sure why; they just appealed to my nature on some level. I would go to Whole Foods or Earth Fare and smell all the little bottles, but I never bought any. I guess I didn’t really know what to do with them.

About a month ago, I attended an Essential Oils 101 class given by a good friend of mine who is also a holistic physician. Something about the class and my level of trust in her persuaded me to buy my “starter kit” of oils and really figure out if they could help me and my family in any way.

Here’s a picture of what I got:

starter kit pi

My kit had 11 of the most popular essential oils, a special cool diffuser that atomizes the oil particles, some sample oil packets, a roller attachment for the bottles, and 2 packets of a super-antioxidant, low sugar drink. Anti-oxidants…can we say good for keeping your cells healthy and multiplying properly?

I’m a Huge Scientific Nerdy Skeptic

Well, I don’t just take anything at face value. I research it ad nauseum (usually way too long) before I make up my mind. I took my little kit home and started diffusing away, half expecting it to just make my house smell good but little else. Hey, even that’s a bonus with 3 kids, a dog, and 2 cats. That combo doesn’t always make for the most pleasing aroma, if you know what I mean.

What Happened Next Shocked the Heck Out of Me

My husband is not exactly what you’d call “metro” or “New Age”. He’s more like a Fred Flintstone kind of guy when it comes to doing anything out of the mainstream. So he looked at me like he always does when I came home with my oils. “Tolerant Disbelief” describes it best, I suppose. He knows me by now. No words are necessary.

Let me tell you…my husband was the first Berlin Wall of oil to tumble down. Now he’s with me, running through a field of tulips….ok, not quite.

fred flintstoneyanni

Stay tuned tomorrow, and I’ll tell you what turned Fred Flintstone into Yanni.