Herbs and Oils and Learning How to Use Them

Being the long-time fan of herbs and their uses, I love finding resources that help me get a better understanding of how herbs and herbal products can be beneficial for my use. There is a TON of stuff online about herbs and essential oils and home remedies.  When it comes to herbs and their uses, the FDA is not a regulating body.  In fact, there is no regulating body for herbs or their use – which can leave a LOT of room for misinformation, false advertisements, and ridiculous claims.  (Hello, snake oil salesman.) One reason the FDA has come down so hard on essential oil companies lately, is the claims that are made about “cures” related to medically diagnosed conditions which they can neither verify nor deny.  That does NOT mean that an herbal product cannot cure anything – just means that the FDA cannot say whether it has or has not been proven to be a cure, therefore I cannot make that claim to you in an effort to make a profit by selling you such product.  (Does that make sense?)

Ultimately, Your own health is in your hands.  You decide when and where to go to your medical provider, and probably decided the same thing for your family.  You choose whether or not to follow your physician’s directions and take recommended or prescribed medications.  Hopefully you do your own research about diagnoses received, conditions identified, and medications that are recommended to you.  You should take the time to learn so that you can make an educated decision about your health and that of your family.

If you – like me – want to take charge of your health (and your family’s) so you begin learning about natural remedies. You probably even knew it wouldn’t be easy. But you didn’t expect you’d be so overwhelmed and confused by all there is to learn, let alone all the conflicting opinions.

I’ve had the same frustrations. When I first became interested in natural health, I spent so much time researching. I often had to experiment and guess, and I made mistakes along the way. Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t really want to waste my time OR money. I did my best with what I had, but it was hard work. And that’s why I want to make it easier for you.

Lucky for you, someone had already put together a complete package to get you up to speed on using herbs and essential oils safely and effectively! Maybe you just want help as you dig deeper into the research and learn more advanced techniques once you’ve got the basics down?

And… that package was already carefully vetted for you (saving you time) – at a price that’s way too low to miss (saving you money)?

Introducing the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle!

For six days only, everything you need (and then some) is in one fabulous package, for the most affordable price ever. (Seriously, just wait until I tell you the price.)

This year’s edition of the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle includes 28 ebooks and printables, 4 full eCourses, and 2 membership sites!

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to give you the skills and confidence to use natural remedies in your home.

You’ll get a complete library to help you:

    • Rebuild your medicine cabinet with natural remedies
    • Create beauty and skincare products without harmful ingredients
    • Treat your digestive complaints, pain, colds, and flus with everything in your medicine cabinet
    • Know which herbs are safe for pregnancy, babies and children
  • Confidently prepare herbal extracts, salves, and balms
  • Liven up your meals and get major health benefits by using the right herbs
  • and so much more!

Plus, it comes with over $60 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love (like essential oil diffuser earrings, natural skincare, and herbal tinctures!).

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 34 digital products and it’s worth over $560 (but you’ll get it for 95% off)!

Besides being so incredibly helpful, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, the team at Ultimate Bundles is able to give you access to ALL of this… for just $29.97.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to the online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start using natural remedies!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available at this price for just six days! After Monday night, June 4th, the price goes up.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click here to learn more or buy the bundle !

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

You want to protect your health. You shouldn’t have to feel overwhelmed because it costs too much or it’s too hard to trustworthy resources that make using natural remedies easy.  Click the link above for more information!)

(Psst… the bundle price will go up at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, June 4th, so don’t wait!)

FYI: My favorite item in this bundle is the 1-Year Membership to the Herbarium by the Herbal Academy.  This item alone is worth more than the cost of the whole bundle and I am beside myself excited that it is part of the package deal! 

Disclaimer: I have provided my affiliate link for this highly recommended product. It means I will earn a commission if you purchase it, but it will not cost you a penny more!  I can absolutely recommend this with no hesitation and hope that if you want to learn more about using herbs & oils, you will consider purchasing this bundle!
Also, the information presented on this site is provided for informational purposes only, it is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professional. Do not use this information to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider.  To read my full disclaimer, click here.

Essential Oil Profiles and Two Herbal Ecourses

Because I am an affiliate for the Ultimate Bundles geniuses, I was able to purchase my Herbs and Essential Oils Bundle early.  And I have been playing with it for almost a month.  I have been in HEAVEN!  I have breezed through a couple of the ebooks and will be rounding back around to them over the summer.  This bundle just has so many valuable resources, but I wanted to highlight three specific products.  Maybe you just want to find a couple of home remedies to deal with simple issues that you or your family are concerned with, and you just need some help getting started.

The first product I want to highlight is the Top 60 Essential Oil Profiles by Lea Harris.  This is an app of sorts that is built into Evernote.  (Which by the way – if you don’t have Evernote – you should use it for storing valuable documents, files, and more.  More on that later…)  Lea – my go to safety guru for essential oils – has provided a digital notebook of her Top 60 Essential Oil profiles.  This provides specific information on specific oils – and how to use them safely.

Wait?  You have a phone app that does this for you already?  I have not found ANY phone app that gives me the information these profiles give me.  They are not brand specific, they include dilution rates, and provide safety information for pregnant or nursing women, infants, and pets.  She has done the hard work of studying essential oils and provides information about the characteristics of each oil and suggestions for use.

This product alone retails for $24.98, just $5 less than the purchase price of the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle.  If there is ANY other product in this bundle that interests you, then this bundle will likely save you some money!!!

I also enrolled in the DIY Herbal Apothecary Ecourse almost immediately upon downloading my bundle.  It is included in the family section of this bundle.  It retails for $197 – so if this product alone is enough for you, purchasing the bundle will save you big bucks!  This course allows you to study 25+ herbs in depth and learn how you can use them to help in your home and family.  As much as I love essential oils, I understand that they are only one product derived from herbs – and I am very interested in how herbs in general can be used at home.

This course is BEAUTIFULLY done.  I cannot say how much I enjoy seeing the quality of photos included.  The directions are provided in a simple manner, providing the opportunity to create something that can contains multiple benefits to my health and that of my family’s.  And then there are the recipes.  Oh my goodness! Salves, lotions, vinegars, candies, tinctures, decoctions (think “tea”) and more.  Using herbs you can find in your back yard, or garden pot, or purchase online.

The 3rd product I will highlight is the Herbal Academy Herbal Materia Medica Ecourse (valued at $79).  While similar to the DIY Herbal Apothecary Ecourse, this course focuses more on profiling a single herb in detail.  It teaches you how to research and herb in greater detail and how to build a reference book for yourself.  The printable PDF files provided in this course (which help explain “constituents” and “actions” in easy to understand terms) are a cinch to use and beautifully done.

If you have ANY desire to learn how to use herbs for your health at home, this bundle is an amazing collection of tools and resources to help!  If you are tired of buying OTC meds that don’t always work or cause some not-so-great side effects and you want to rely on more naturally-derived products – whose ingredients you know down to the last ounce – you cannot pass up on the Herbs and Essential Oils Bundle.  This sale ends on MONDAY!  Don’t let it pass you by – You can purchase your bundle by clicking below:

Heads Up! Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle Sale

Hi Everybody!  Hope you are having gloriously sunny Spring days like we are in my neck of the woods!  Yesterday was nearly perfect!

Our changing weather has brought on some severe allergy issues for me – I’ve been wrestling with some serious allergens, and am feeling better today than I have in almost a week!  My allergy issues tend to go into sinus infections and I have to keep tabs on it.  I can’t take benadryl because it will knock me out (like literally.  for almost 12 hours.  with half the adult dose).  So I have to rely on allergy medication and some alternative remedies to try to keep me going.

Which is why I am so excited to share the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle with you!  Instead of making a whole post about it – I wanted to create a page for you so you can see all the items contained in the bundle.  Now listen, if you are AT ALL interested in relying on natural and alternative remedies for the health little issues that come along for you or your family – THIS BUNDLE IS FOR YOU!

Valued at about $800, containing 25+ ebooks and online courses, this bundle can help YOU use at-home remedies to help care for your health and the health of your family.  If you ever use any over-the-counter medications, you will probably find great value in this bundle!  You don’t have to become an herbalist to find this bundle beneficial – but I will tell you that one of the courses I’ve been taking {included in this bundle} has lit a fire in me again to learn what I can – not just about essential oils – but about herbs and natural products I can use (and even make myself) for my home and family!

Click RIGHT HERE to go straight to the Herbs and Essential Oils Sales Page!

Or, if you want to see all of the products that are included in the bundle, click RIGHT HERE to hop on over to my Ultimate Bundle Sales Page!

P.S. – I didn’t realize until late Sunday that a blog post I intended to go out on Saturday about this sale, actually got delivered on Sunday!  Blech!  I want to apologize for that.  I did not intend to send anything on Sunday and hope that if you are a mom, you did enjoy a beautiful Mother’s Day!

May Day! May Day!

Well, May just raced in like a dragster, didn’t it?  I can’t believe we are almost HALF WAY through May already.  And my calendar has filled up so quickly because of end of the school year events and programs and paperwork!  How about yours?

It has been a little bit surreal, quite honestly.  The amount of paperwork that explodes out of my kids’ backpacks this time of year is something like a ticker tape parade!  Only I feel more like the cleanup crew instead of the Grand Marshall.  It does help to get a jump on paperwork for next school year, but on top of all kinds of field trips and events – it’s a lot to keep track of effectively.

Last night I sat at the table with my iPhone, my bullet journal, and the piles of paperwork to fill out to get out of my house return to school in a timely manner. ahem.  But thankfully, my iPhone calendar and bullet journal lend themselves to easy recording and reminder setups.  I am thankful for that!  I rely on my phone calendar pop up reminders when I’m on the go – and writing it down in my bullet journal just helps me keep it in my head a little better.

As the school year comes to an end, and kids are antsy to just get summer started already, I am trying to look ahead to make plans for a fun and educational summer.  Y’all – I am NOT good with the heat and since we don’t have central air conditioning, there are days that we retreat to the master bedroom (with the window unit) to watch movies or read or play games.  I find that I can actually do a LOT of homework when the kids are watching Angry Birds for the 47th time.  (and i love the banter in that movie, so it’s entertaining for me, too!)  I am gathering some printables and resources to put together Summer Binders for the kids again, and will share more about that before school ends.

One of the other things I’ve been putting together in recent weeks, that I hope to spend time on throughout the summer, is an Herbal Journal.  Officially, some would call it a Materia Medica, but since I am incorporating a few different things, I’m just calling it my Herb Book.

My interest in herbs began when I was in high school and read a book that talked about using herbs as remedy for something or other.  I got hooked.  The thought that a “weed” in the yard could pose relief for some condition’s symptoms was incredibly intriguing to me.  I found myself checking out more books about herbs.  Yep, even the herbal encyclopedias.  My grandparents resorted to natural alternatives, so they would talk about remedies they grew up with – and of course, my mom & dad shared some things too.

  • Like horehound candy for sore throats.  My dad told me that’s what his mom would use.  I find that completely amazing.
  • Like raspberry leaf tea during the 2nd or 3rd trimester to help tone the uterus and prepare for childbirth.
  • Like lemon for sore throats and colds.

If you, like me, enjoy using naturally-derived products in your home or for your family, then you might be interested in The 2017 Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle.  I was able to get my hands on my own bundle already (because I am an affiliate) and it has been one of the most interesting, most educational bundles I’ve ever seen from The Ultimate Bundles crew!

The Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle contains 16 e-books & printables, 10 e-courses (which are blowing me away), 3 physical bonuses and 1 digital bonus.  I can’t tell you the specific titles I am so excited about (or about price) just yet, but if you think you *might* be interested, just click this link and you can provider your email to be NOTIFIED when this bundle actually goes on sale.  (Entering your email does not commit you to purchasing anything, it just lets you be notified the moment that the bundle is available for purchase).

Some of the topics in this bundle include:

  • How to create your own Herbal Journal and Herbal “Medicine Cabinet”
  • Creating your own naturally-based skin care
  • Parents guide to dealing with cold and flu season naturally
  • Using herbs in cooking,
  • and so much more…

 

If you have ANY desire to incorporate herbs and essential oils into caring for your family, I can tell you that the value of this bundle stretches way beyond the purchase price.  The sale starts Wednesday, May 17, and as soon as I can share more details and product titles, I will do it!

A Morning Pick Me Up – 2 Essential Oils


We have been having some rough mornings in our house lately.  Greg has started a new job and is in some intensive training, so he has had a lot of time away from us.  The kids have done okay – but we have had some pretty rocky moments.  Sometimes, it meant just letting one of them yell out his/her frustration, sometimes it has meant giving a big hug, and sometimes it has just meant that mommy has held her breath until the bus arrived to take them to school.

Seriously.

I was talking to my mom yesterday, and we’d had a particularly rough morning.  She asked me if I had used any oils – and I said I hadn’t, but I would be diffusing some in the house as the kids came home and did not have anything rigorous planned for our evening.  It didn’t help that I had been awake since before 4:00 a.m. and was feeling sluggish and tired. She reminded me of a trick that is a GREAT pick me up – especially if you feel like your morning has run over you like a train.  As we continued to talk, I grabbed my oils and did exactly as she suggested and within a few minutes, I was feeling much less raggedy and a lot more ready to tackle my day.

All you need are 2 essential oils:  Peppermint and Orange.  I happened to have a couple of different bottles of peppermint, but I grabbed my Rocky Mountain Peppermint oil and my doTerra Wild Orange.  I let 1 Peppermint oil drop into my palm, followed by 2 Wild Orange drops – rubbed my hands together and inhaled for about 5 seconds.

I grabbed my coconut oil and put several drops in my  hands and continued to rub the oils onto my wrists and up my forearms.  I stopped to inhale the oils again and I could feel the fog beginning to lift!  My mood softened and my focus sharpened – exactly what I needed!

Remember – my opinions and statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA.  Products and information shared here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition or disease.  Always consult with your physician if you have a medical condition or disease.  I am not a medical professional, but I do like to share what I have found to work for myself and my family.

This is an idea combination for a nasal inhaler.  A nasal inhaler can be put together, labeled and kept in a pocket or purse to use whenever needed.  I have used these nasal inhalers before and have always been pleased with the results! {Amazon affiliate link – if your purchase through my links, I get to earn a small commission so I can keep buying my essential oils!)

Peppermint can be a very strong essential oil.  It is important to use caution with this oil because if you get it anywhere near your eye, it will definitely burn.  Yeah, I do know firsthand.  It can also be too strong for babies and young children, so if you want to use it, keep it away from their little faces.  ALWAYS do your research and know your family’s needs and the appropriate precautions to take.  (You can consult Using EOs Safely if you aren’t sure, because Lea Harris is a certified aromatherapist and has great wisdom where this is concerned.)  Taking precautions when using essential oils is strongly encouraged – a little goes a LONG way!

I have used both Sweet orange and Wild orange from different companies, and have loved them all.  You can purchase different varieties based on the type of orange and source – and there will be small nuances in scent and usage.  It really depends on you and what you like.  You should note that some varieties of orange are Phototoxic – meaning if used and then exposed to sunlight, you can have an adverse reaction – so knowing what you purchase is important.

(Here is a lengthy but informative article about Safety from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy where essential oils are concerned!)

If you try this little trick with Peppermint and Orange – let me know what you think!  (I have tried it with peppermint and  lemon before but it just didn’t have the same “kick” for me that the Peppermint and orange had.)

Oh Sweet Serenity

I tend to purchase single-oil essential oils so I can mix my own blends and rollerballs.  There are some exceptions to this rule.  In fact, there are a couple of blends that I won’t do without.  One of these is an essential oil I was given as a gift, after my sweet 19-year old niece was killed in a car accident, and we were visiting family and attending her funeral services.  I was still fairly new to oils, but I found this oil to be soothing and calming, and in my opinion, it lived up to it’s name:  doTerra Serenity.

DISCLAIMER:  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  I am  NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.  I cannot give you medical advice or tell you that anything will cure or heal any condition or disease.  What I am is a woman who loves to use naturally-derived products in my home and for my family, and this post is full of my opinion.  Please consult with your physician before using anything for any medical condition or disease.

I was given a couple of sample vials of the oil by my friend, Shelly, who said it could be inhaled or applied to pulse points as needed. According to the doTerra website, Serenity is a blend of Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolut, and Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood.  Some of these oils, like Lavender and Roman Chamomile, have been used for centuries to soothe and calm and bring relaxation and rest.

Because it has such a pleasant scent (in my opinion of course), I found myself wearing it as a sort of perfume – as we were greeting family members and trying to support and comfort my brother and his family.  I would dab it on my neck and wrists and onto my hands – and I found myself feeling very relaxed and peaceful.  When I smell it now, I find it to be comforting and soothing.

As I have researched more and more, I learned that diluting the oil retains the overall scent, and provides a safer use than using it undiluted.  Because we don’t know the exact proportions of each oil within the blend itself, I treat it as a sort of Master Blend, and dilute it according to the recommendation of Lea Harris, my favorite certified aromatherapist (after you click the link, you can scroll down to see her comments about this NEW Serenity Blend).

This is my own personal experience – but I use it as a perfume especially in the car when kids are getting cranky and it really does seem to have a beneficial effect.  I will put it on and hug my kids when they are having a rough time before I even diffuse it.  (I wonder if it’s because pheromones with moms & kids are strong, and somehow there is a little bit of that going on with oils I apply to myself…)

There are ALWAYS exceptions to using essential oils.  Someone might be allergic to one of the oils used in the blend; Someone else might not like the scent at all; and some may find that the blend does nothing for them but smell nice.  But what I have found to be consistently true for this particular blend is that I tend to feel much better when I use it and it seems to have a beneficial effect on my children as well.  It is something my oldest daughter requests to use when she is feeling “stressed out” and she loves the scent as well.  If you would like to try to get a sample of this oil, please feel free to email me and request one.  Email me at FindingGraceandGlory at gmail dot com.

Diluting Essential Oils for Safety

With all the talk of essential oils – and my recent flurry of posts about using them – it is REALLY important to understand just how strong essential oils are when they remain undiluted.  Essential Oils are oftentimes part of the plant’s natural defense system.  In production of essential oils for consumers, the oils are extracted from the plants in a variety of ways, and become concentrated in the process.  These concentrated substances contain chemical compounds with a huge range of benefits, including antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and other healing actions.  BECAUSE THEY ARE SO CONCENTRATED, it is necessary to dilute them according to their chemical makeup in order to obtain the best benefit without causing harm.

Would you use bleach – undiluted – ever?  

When I began using oils, I NEVER diluted them because I didn’t know ANYTHING about dilution.  IN my case, I am very thankful that I began with Lavender as it is not one of the “hot” oils which can cause burning and tingling, and even lead to permanent damage if used incorrectly.  Few oils can be applied “neat” – or undiluted – and for even the most gentle of oils dilution is recommended.  Also of note, it IS quite possible to be allergic to an essential oil because of a related allergy to the source plant.  “Natural” does not rule out allergies.

When it comes to blending and diluting essential oils, there are certain aspects of it that I really need to refer to more experts to get my information.  I can read and study books and website, but I don’t have a certification in aromatherapy or a degree in biology or natural sciences, so I continue to look for direction from those who have taken their education to another level.  Lea Harris, one of my primary resources, is clinically certified in aromatherapy.  She has learned about the scientific makeup of essential oils, the constituents contained within the oils, and how and why they can be used for specific complaints.

One of her quotes is

We dilute essential oils before applying to the skin to minimize adverse reactions

and systemic toxicity

I like that she is completely passionate about the benefits of essential oils, and realistic about allergies and adverse reactions, and always takes a cautionary stance when discussing dilution rates.  I find her to be both encouraging to essential oil users and very keen on providing excellent, accurate information about the use of essential oils, hydrosols, tinctures, and other herb-related products.

What to dilute with?

There are several carrier oils which I have tried and some work best in different applications.  The mildest (in  my opinion) has been Sweet Almond oil and I love to use it on my kids.  It has little to no scent and is quickly absorbed.  Fractionated Coconut oil is probably my most commonly used oil, but I even like to dilute this half and half with sweet almond whenever I can.  I have also tried this Hemp Seed Oil.  This was a surprising oil, but I bought it for specific application – joint pain – as it has its own intrinsic properties that help relieve joint discomfort (it is green-tinged and quite greasy, but lovely to use in my joint/inflammation blends).  I am currently using Argan oil from Grove Collaborative for a night-time facial application and am LOVING IT!!!

When Curly had pneumonia in December last year, we tried a few oils, but I kept skirting around eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is a very strong oil, and I have held off on using it regularly, despite its renowned respiratory effects.  When Curly was so sick, I decided to venture into using some Eucalyptus with Lavender and Sweet Orange, dropped into some epsom salts and used in a steam shower to help with her breathing.  After the first use, Curly said she felt so much better and she finally slept – HARD – for the first time in days.  I have to say that she had been using an antibiotic, nebulizer breathing treatments and some OTC decongestants for several days already which did give her some relief.  But it wasn’t until I used the oil blend WITH eucalyptus that SHE said she felt so much better, and we used it as a chest rub in coconut oil as well and she was really happy about it!

FYI – some essential oils should NOT be used for children.  Ever. We know there are medications children should never take.  And we should be very cautious in just slathering oils on our kids just because we read about it somewhere on Facebook.  {Remember when aspirin was okay to give to kids?  I remember taking that orange flavored tab as a kid – but NOW it is taboo because studies have shown a link between using aspirin and developing other health issues.}

If you want safe guidelines for diluting essential oils for yourself and your family, I HIGHLY recommend visiting Lea Harris’ site Using Essential Oils Safely (www.usingeossafely.com).  The  nice thing is – she has done the math and calculated proper dosing information, and provides a lot of information about blending oils as well.  One thing she touches on regularly is creating “Master Blends” of oils that can then be diluted for application in rollerballs.  I haven’t done this yet, but for a few of my go-to oils, I might need to do so!!!

Do you have a favorite carrier oil that you use to dilute your oils with?  Do you have any questions about essential oils or diluting them for application?

Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress

There are essential oils that can make a really bad day much better.  Essential oils for anxiety and stress have a huge place in my collection of oils.  Between Anxiety, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder in our family, we have a lot of different symptoms that find some relief with use of essential oils.  Sometimes significant relief!

I have a friend who finds that many of the oils that work well for our family – do NOT work for her family with the same diagnoses or symptoms.  This is why a DISCLAIMER is necessary (see the end of my post) because different people react to different oils in very different ways!

Some of these oils are listed in my Essential Oils for Sleep post, but depending on what issues you want to assist, there may be other oils listed which you might find helpful for your use.

Vetiver – attention, focus, racing thoughts

Cedarwood – insomnia, grounding and calming

Lavender – soothing, relaxing, and great in blends

Frankincense – this is one of my GO TO oils for so many things, I had to include it here.  It calms my agitated daughter when nothing else will.  It balances me when I’m feeling moody.  It has been used for centuries in meditation and spiritual practice.  And frankly, it smells delightful… (pun intended)

Ylang ylang – mmmm such a floral wonder.  I usually only add 1 or 2 drops to a whole rollerball because it has such a powerful scent.  Reminds me of the beautiful flower leis my parents brought me back from Hawaii…

Bergamot – a lovely oil with a hint of lemony goodness.  It is the from the same fruit used to add flavor to Earl Grey tea, and it has a softer smell than lemon itself.  This is a photosensitive oil, so you should not go outside within 30 minutes of topical application.

doTerra Balance – this is a preblended mix of oils by doTerra.  Because we don’t know the specific amounts of each oil used in the blend, diluting safely can be tricky.  I tend to go the “less is more” route where my kids are concerned, especially, but I have a rollerball of this in my little bag of oils at ALL times.  It has a very lovely scent – one of my favorites!

doTerra Serenity – this is an oil blend that my friend Shelly gave me to use during my niece’s funeral and the family time surrounding that week.  It has a softly sweet smell and I have used it as perfume, and well diluted as a face serum.  It absolutely helps me settle and RELAX so much better than say, lavender alone.  I will open a bottle of this in the car when the kids are super cranky and put it on myself and the airflow in the ar distributes it to everyone!

Remember that different people can react to different oils in different ways.  While lavender alone can help one of my kids settle almost immediately, a blend of cedarwood-lavender-and-frankincense works better for another one of my kids, and doTerra’s Balance is an oil that helps my third whenever she is too tightly wound.

Diluted topical application is NOT the only use for essential oils.  Diffusing essential oils provides an aromatherapeutic benefit that may be different from topical application.  We have found that diffusing dT Balance for 30 minutes in our family room helps everybody feel more grounded and, well, balanced!

Do you use essential oils for stress relief?  What’s your favorite?  Which oil do you think you would try first?

Essential Oils For When You Can’t Sleep

One of my biggest problems since having kids is regulating my sleep.  Between my all-night sleeper, my never-at-night-sleeper, and the-child-who-won’t-leave-our-bed sleeper – I have not had very many good nights of rest for many years.

As our kids have grown, their sleep patterns have almost flipped.  One of our kids is on medication to help her sleep.  Otherwise, she will be up all night, waking me up because she is bored. Or scared. Or hungry.

We have sleep walkers and sleep talkers.  We have bed wetters and middle of the night eaters.  And there are the occasional night terrors.

Yep – it has been exhausting.

When I discovered that lavender essential oil has a calming and sedative effect, I was happy.  I did notice that it helped calm me down when I used it for my nasty bout of poison ivy.  I also noticed it had a calming effect on my kids.

Lavender sachets – filled with dried lavender buds and leaves – have been used for centuries.  So the idea that the essential oil might be used for the same benefits was not completely out of the realm of the imagination..

Indeed, lavender is often recommended to help calm and settle people, especially at bedtime.  But I have read many comments by people who have said it has the OPPOSITE effect on them.  So, yeah – that is also not out of the realm of possibility.

I noticed after using lavender over a period of months that it did not seem to have the same effect of helping my kids or I fall asleep faster, so I started looking for some other options and found a few oils that were new to me.  (I was also looking for oils to help with ADHD symptoms in my kids, and funnily enough, these were the same oils to help settle for bedtime)

So here are a few oils I have found to be beneficial for helping settle me (or my little rascals) to sleep:

  • Cedarwood – because of it’s woody scent, this is a great oil to mix with other scents to make it more kid-friendly.  It blends especially well with sweet orange and lavender diluted in a rollerball!
  • Vetiver – research suggests this oil particularly works for ADHD, and is especially good for “racing thoughts” so if anxiety is playing a part in keeping you awake, this might be an oil for you.  I add this to every one of my sleep blends.
  • Ylang ylang – this smells just like I imagine a tropical flower to smell!  It can easily overpower the scents of other oils, so be sure to sniff gently and remember that less is more!

You can read more about essential oils for sleep at the following links:

8 Essential Oils for Sleep – by The Prairie Homestead

Essential Oils for Sleep – by Lea at Using EOs Safely

Sleep Tips – by Mommypotamus (not just about EOs)

One of the important things to remember about essential oils is that The Nose Knows!  There are some scents that may be so offensive to your nose that you cannot use them, regardless of their reported benefits.  If you apply an oil to help you sleep and then cannot sleep because it is an odor you can’t stand – you might need to make some adjustments to using it.  Vetiver was an oil I really had to get used to, and I found that blending it with other oils really made it more tolerable, and then I could reap the benefits without gagging over the smell…

Above all – if you don’t have a rollerball and aren’t sure about applying any essential oils to your body, get yourself a cotton ball – a good one, not one of those fakey synthetic cosmetic balls – and apply 1-2 drops of your chosen oils to the cotton ball.  Allow it to dry for a little bit and then seal it inside a plastic baggie. You can use it as a mini-inhaler for several days and refresh it every couple of weeks.

NOTE: some essential oils can melt plastic, so allow the oil to dry somewhat on the cotton ball before sealing it in a plastic bag…

Would you consider using essential oils to help you sleep?  Have you ever tried any essential oils for sleep?  Which oils worked for you?

 

Essential Oil Brands I Use

When I first started using essential oils, it was in response to a desperate need to find relief from a terrible case of poison ivy.  I had NEVER had poison ivy before, so by the time I realized that the spreading rash with blisters and weird patterns was poison ivy – it had been an entire week!

At this point, I was losing sleep because of the itching and burning.  I could NOT get relief.  So to Google I turned.  We did find some poison ivy soap and a lotion, but it was a very temporary help, so I knew I needed something more.  As I researched more, I ran across some articles about using essential oils, and because I was excited to find something naturally-derived, I went off to my local health food/natural food store.  I was limited to what was on hand, and frankly, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I found a bottle of Lavender oil and bought it.  I had decided that if the essential oil didn’t work, I was going to the doctor.

I cannot even express to you what a miracle it was to find such immediate and long-lasting relief.  I almost cried because it was an almost instant sense of relief.  And it lasted for more than 20 minutes.  And the bonus effect was that I felt calmer – another benefit of using lavender.

I did NOT know about diluting essential oils or just how powerful an EO can be.  As I have learned more about EO’s I was relieved to learn that lavender tends to be one of the more gentle oils and using it directly without dilution on myself (as an adult) was not as risky as using some others undiluted.

Since then, because I dug into more info about EO’s, I expanded my collection and learned more and more about the benefits of using EOs.  I had a friend who introduced me to some new EOs because we had a terrible bout of flu one December – and she stocked me up with a diffuser and some oils for the illness that kept jumping from one family member to another.  THAT sealed the deal for my use of EO’s on a regular basis.

I cannot tell you which oils are best for you to use.  Frankly, I have discovered that the same oil in different brands can smell and behave very differently.  I learned that the latin (or scientific) name can tell you more about the specific oil in the bottle than just the name on the label…  But that will be for another post.

Here are the oils in my current collection

doTerra

NOW

Eden’s Garden

Plant Therapy

Rocky Mountain Oils

I have not linked to doTerra but can connect you with someone who can share more information about doTerra if you are interested!  I use several doTerra blends that I use on an almost daily basis so I do highly recommend you consider them.

I have a couple of NOW brand oils – and it was the lavender oil I purchased first.  It is not my first choice, but I will not eliminate it from my list or collection.

Eden’s Garden is probably my favorite brand, and they have really increased the variety of oils available and work with a certified aromatherapist whom I follow on Facebook.  I have been pleased with EVERY oil I puchased from Eden’s Garden and typically check their website first when I need to purchase an oil.  I love their descriptions and suggested uses, as well as the fact that they offer discounts by ordering a “set” of 2, 6, 12, or more.  It’s a GREAT way to order a number of oils at a discount from what I have found to be a reputable source.  I noticed that the last time I was on their website, they are going to be offering Hydrosols (which is something I will write about later, too!)

Plant Therapy is a pretty popular brand according to the EO groups I am a member of on Facebook.  I have a few of their oils and am satisfied with my purchases and use in my personal recipes.

Rocky Mountain Oils was a pleasant surprise!  I won a kit from another blog, and was THRILLED because it contained Helichrysum –  a rather pricey oil because it is hard to come by.  Helichrysum is related to melaleuca, and has some incredible healing properties.  It smells better (in my opinion) than melaleuca and my kids seem to tolerate that better.

There are MANY other oil brands and companies out there – I have not tried them all and do not intend to at this point.  But if you are new to oils, one of the first questions you might have is where to buy oils – and I have found these brands to be fairly well priced, providing reputable products across the board.