I’m very excited to introduce you to my guest blogger today, Shelby Nowak. Shelby is a friend, a fellow mom and an expert on the hot topic of essential oils. I learned so much by reading her article and I hope you find it useful as well. Plus, enter to win some Essential Oils by entering the giveaway at the end of this post! Without further ado, here’s Shelby:
Hi! I’m Shelby. Wife and mom to 2 beautiful little ones. Life is hectic and crazy, but fun. Our family is not the ultra-crunchy granola type. But while I was pregnant and having problems with reflux, I found essential oils to offer amazing relief without having to resort to medications. This led to our family using oils for all sorts of other problems. Oils are a part of our everyday life now, and I love it! I use frankincense for my skin, which helps with skin tone, aging and breakouts. I use lavender for my kids when they have minor injuries. I love the Thieve’s cleaner for our house, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals while still killing 99.6% of household germs. Essential oils are great for families with children looking for clean alternatives to many products for children, and to help mamas with stress, sleep, and other concerns. Interested but overwhelmed? Here’s an introduction for you:
Essential Oil Basics
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic compounds from plants. A wide variety of different essential oils are available, and may be produced from seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, roots or peels of some fruits. Essential oils are more than just pleasant smells though, and can provide many therapeutic benefits.
What kinds of things can you use essential oils for?
Anything really! Oils can be beneficial to anyone, for a variety of physical and mental health complaints as well as for general wellness. Some of the most common uses for oils include helping with sleep, skin conditions such as acne and eczema, pain complaints, cold/flu symptoms, anxiety or depressed mood, promoting relaxing and relieving stress.
How do I use them?
Oils can be used topically, diffused into the air, and some oils can be ingested. Oils can also be used for making personal care and cleaning products. In general when used topically oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil or jojoba. Use the same quality of oils that you can cook with and consume, as the oils are absorbed through your skin. If diffused it is best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that does not use any heat as this can destroy many of the therapeutic properties of the oil. Take particular care with ingestion of essential oils. If you are not well versed in aromatherapy I suggest consulting with someone who is prior to ingestion of oils. In particular be very careful about the brand you choose to ingest as oils are not regulated and many are contaminated with chemicals, pesticides or synthetics.
Safety precautions for oils?
In general oils should be diluted. There are some exceptions to this rule. Oils should generally not be used for babies less than 6 months of age, with the exception of a diffuser in the general area of an infant which is considered acceptable. There are some exceptions to this as well, for example lavender and chamomile. Certain oils should be avoided with seizure disorder and during pregnancy. Please consult with someone comfortable with aromatherapy, or your medical provider or a naturopath for more details.
Great! Where can I get oils?
Please be careful, do your research, and find a company that you can trust. Oils are not created equally! There is a wide range of prices for essential oils, and this is because quality and purity vary greatly. Unfortunately “100% pure” on a label does not necessarily mean the oil is really pure. Consider how the oils are distilled – steam distillation or cold-pressed are preferred. Many of the cheaper brands obtain oils by solvent extraction, using chemicals to obtain the compounds. These types of oils should never be ingested and I wouldn’t recommend using them topically either. My personal favorite and what I choose to use for my family is Young Living Essential Oils.
After extensive research I chose Young Living oils for the following reasons:
1. Young Living has a Seed To Seal Guarantee. They are the only company in the world that owns their own farms and distills many of their own oils. They’ve been around for 20 years. The farms are open to the public and you can see how they operate and even participate in harvest or distillation if you choose! I love this transparency. Every other company buys their product from third party growers usually in foreign countries where they give 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th distillations whereas Young Living only gives 1st distillations so their oils are much more potent and provide many more therapeutic benefits.
2. Oils from the health food store are aroma-grade oils and may smell good, but they do not offer the same therapeutic benefits because most of them contain less than 5% pure essential oil. YL oils are 100% pure with nothing ever added, or taken away.
3. Many essential oils have expiration dates, YL oils do not. Properly stored 100% pure essential oils (excluding citrus) won’t ever go bad and will last indefinitely. If an essential oil has an expiration date, it isn’t pure or has been cut with a carrier oil which will eventually go rancid.
4. Over 50 hospitals in the USA are now using YL oils, including the Cleveland Clinic.
5. YL carries 87 single oils and 70 blends (with more coming!) But, if an oil doesn’t pass YL’s strict quality standards they won’t offer it for sale so sometimes not all of these oils are available until they can get more.
6. Only 2% of essential oils sold in North America are suitable for medicinal/therapeutic purposes, and Young Living makes 98% of them!
7. Young Living oils meet all industry AFNOR and ISO standards and are subjected to isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) analysis which determines whether a particular essential oil is naturally sourced or synthetic (created in a lab).
8. I saved the BEST FOR LAST: Apothecary Society. This is a fabulous secret Facebook group for people who use, or are curious about using YL oils. Without the people in this group, I would be so completely lost with what to do with all of my little bottles of oils! Great information – tips and tricks, recipes/etc. Come join us!|
If you are interested in learning more, I teach free classes at Ollie and Me in Carlsbad, CA:
Enter to Win:
Enter to win a lemon or pepermint essential oil! Two winners will be randomly selected next Tuesday, October 7, 2014.
a Rafflecopter giveaway