Intro to Essential Oils – Top 5 Essential Oils for Beginners

essential oils

When I was first introduced to essential oils it was through an aromatherapy session, an optional add on during a massage I was having a few years ago. At that time, I didn’t really think that it would do much for me other than smell nice and add to my relaxing experience. Since then I have been introduced to essential oils in so many different ways, through chocolates, cooking, energy healing – reiki sessions and used to clear chakras and blockages and now everyday use, prevention and healing.

In fact, as I was slowly introduced to and learning about essential oils and what they could do for us, I was absolutely amazed that there was so much they could do and didn’t understand why I was not using these in my life. There were natural substances, extremely effective and had been around for centuries.

History of Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used by many cultures around the world for centuries. Their uses varied between cultures from religious purposes to healing the sick. Though it is hard to pinpoint exactly when essential oils gained notoriety as effective healing agents there is early evidence of their use in Lascaux, France dating as far back as 18,000 BCE. Medicinal plants were used in everyday life and had many uses and benefits.

Somewhere along the way, we lost the knowledge of essential oils and they did not see as much use as they had in the earlier centuries. Now we are rediscovering their uses and benefits to aid and support our health and well being – as well as fantastic healing properties.

The Next Step in My Journey

essential oilsLast year when I started learning more about essential oils and their uses I took a look at what I wanted to adjust in my life and which oils would best support that. For me sleep was a huge issue, being able to go to sleep quickly but not being able to stay in a deep restorative sleep through the night. I woke up each morning exhausted.

So my colleague recommended that I rub lavender oil on the bottom of my feet each night before I went to bed (you rub it on the bottom of your feet because it has quick absorption and delivery to the body). I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical but decided to give it a go. I was amazed at the results – they weren’t immediate that night – but within a week I was already sleeping better, deeper and feeling more rested in the mornings. This was enough to propel me forward in my learning and exploration of essential oils and their uses (other than diffusing it and it smelling nice – though diffusing is highly beneficial as it puts the properties of the oil into the air and you benefit through inhalation).

Top 5 Essential Oils to Get You Started

Now there are so many oils out there and there is so much to learn. So when you are just starting out it can certainly be overwhelming! As a result I have put together my top 5 list of essential oils to start with, play with and learn about, which will provide you with a good foundation of knowledge and how to work with the oils.

Lavender

 doterra lavender One of the most popular essential oils in the world, lavender I thought that other than helping with relaxation/ sleep and that it smelled good was as far as it goes. But then I discovered that lavender has many other benefits such as

  • Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
  • Heals burns and wounds
  • Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
  • Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
  • Improves eczema and psoriasis
  • Alleviates headaches

The one I found most fascinating was that it heals burns. A coleaugue of mine told us a story about how she had badly burned her hand one year making Thanksgiving dinner and instead of running cool water over it, as many of us have been taught, she went straight to her lavender oil and rubbed that all over her hand. By the next day it was as if the hand had not been burned at all. Since then if I burn myself I go straight for the lavender as well and have experienced phenomenal results.

Lemon

essential oilsOne of the most versatile oils, lemon is commonly recognized for it’s fresh scent and non toxic cleaning. It is also known to have many cleansing and digestive benefits for the body (you know that glass of lemon water they recommend you drink in the morning?) The downside of the real lemon in your water is that too much lemon can cause deterioration of the gums, while using the essential oil instead you reap the cleansing benefits and are not in danger of bleeding gums (this is because the oil is extracted from the outer peel and not the inner fruit). Lemon is also

  • Very uplifting and energizing
  • Improves mood
  • Can be added to food to enhance flavors of desserts and other dishes
  • A Thirst quencher
  • Provides cough relief
  • Nourishes the skin
  • Provides Immune support

Melaleuca or Tea Tree

essential oilsMy first exposure to tea tree oil was when my kids got head lice and I wanted a more natural alternative to the toxic shampoo they recommended. I learned that tea tree was not only effective in getting rid of lice but was also a great preventative measure to avoid getting lice. I also knew that this oil was effective in managing acne but that was about it. As with all my other explorations I learned that Melaleuca could do so much more

  • Effective against infections (fungal, bacterial)
  • Anti-microbial laundry freshener
  • Insect repellant
  • Natural deodorant
  • Acne face wash
  • Removes foot order
  • Removes mold
  • Household cleaner

Frankincense

essential oilsEvery time I hear about Frankincense I think about the 3 Wise Men who brought the gifts to the baby Jesus – and up until recently that was about all I knew about it. It turns out that Frankincense is one of my favorite oils, not just because of what it does, but I love the scent. There’s just something about that woody, spicy scent that I love. Bonus is Frankincense has many healing properties

  • Supports healthy cellular function
  • Promotes feelings of relaxation
  • Reduces the appearance of skin imperfections
  • Anti-aging and wrinkle reducing
  • Helps relieve inflammation or pain
  • Supports wound healing
  • Is grounding
  • Eases digestion
  • Natural cold or flu remedy
  • Works well with other oils

Oregano

essential oilsMy first introduction to oil of oregano was when I had a horrible sore throat and was told that oil of oregano would knock it out of the park quickly. All I can remember was how horrible this stuff was, but I took it anyway because it seemed to work. What I have now discovered (not all oils are created equal) is that there are much better ways to use this oil and in a more comfortable manner (the oil of Oregano you purchase from the health food store is also not the same as the pure essential oil). Oregano essential oil is often used in cooking but is also

  • Powerful cleansing agent
  • Antioxidant
  • Immune Boosting
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Prevents and treats infections
  • Natural insect repellant
  • Relieves muscle and joint pain

For many people often times the smell can determine which oil they will use – as many of the oils have common properties and not one oil fits all. And sometimes a blend of different oils together will provide even more benefits to you and dampen the smell that you may not like as a single oil. So if you can’t stand the smell of lavender but need support for sleep do not despair, there is another oil to try or a blend that will do the trick.

Another thing that is important to note is not all essential oils are created equal. Make sure you purchase high quality oils as many drugstore and mall brands contain synthetic derivatives and additives which do not have the same properties. They may be less expensive but you are not getting the same quality and may need to use more. With pure essential oil you only need a drop or two to make a difference.

What is/ are your favorite essential oils to use? Share in the comments below

Ginger Tea

IMG_4420Years ago when I was seeing an acupuncturist, she gave me a recipe for ginger tea. At the time I was experiencing some nausea and she said that ginger tea was a great remedy. Little did I know just how beneficial ginger tea was! Not only does it combat nausea and vomiting, it has a meerad of other health benefits that are fantastic!

Ginger itself is high in vitamin C, magnesium and many other minerals. Which makes it great for battling colds and flu. I was surprised that ginger would have such a high vitamin C content myself, maybe because it is brown, who knows, but it’s definitely beneficial!

Other benefits include reduced inflammation, menstrual discomfort, and stress. Increases blood circulation, fertility, improves digestion and strengthens immunity. It also is a really yummy tea that is great to enjoy on a cold winter day. The flavors and smells are delightful, and for me, I like a drink that has an extra little kick, as it can get quite spicy the longer it sits. During the fall and winter months, I often have a cup of ginger tea on the go.

The tea itself is easy to make. Simply boil 4 cups of water in a medium size pot. Peel and slice a 2-3 inch piece of ginger. Once the water is boiling put the ginger pieces in the pot, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it! It’ll keep in the fridge for a good week and once you run out it is easy to make some more!

honeyMy kids find it a bit spicy, as it does have a bit of a kick, and the longer it sits the more spicy it gets. But I enjoy it with a teaspoon of honey (also with many health benefits) to sweeten it up. It also is a great tea to use when making a hot tottie, (honey, cinnamon, rum and tea), tastes really good.

Quick, simple, easy and probably something you have in your house on a fairly regular basis.

Ginger Tea

4 c. water

2-3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Peel and slice ginger, when water comes to a boil place ginger pieces in pot and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 cups

Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu

 

natural remedies

One of the things that I have decided to do in our house is reduce the amount of over the counter and unnatural remedies for colds and flu. The more I read about some of these remedies and what’s in them, the more I feel that there are better more natural ways to combat the flu season and naturally boost our immune systems.

I have become more conscious of what we put in our bodies and what it does to us. Some of these over the counter remedies, though they may provide relief actually suppress our immune systems and it then takes us longer to return to health. In my journey to find more natural ways to heal our bodies and even prevent us from getting sick I have discovered a number of natural remedies and preventions that work.

Oscillococcinum – I believe in prevention first and foremost so one of the things I do before about 6-8 weeks prior to flu season is give the kids and I a homeopathic protocol using oscillococcinum or ‘flu buster’. This was suggested by our homeopathic doctor; we take half a tube (1/4 tube for the little ones under 6) once a week for six weeks. This helps the body’s immune system to ‘boost up’ and prepares it for the cold/ flu season that is coming.  As a result we usually don’t get colds/ flu at all and if we do it is a very mild and short case. And if we do get it, then we take a whole tube to kick it out!

Ginger tea – drinking ginger tea on a regular basis is also a great form of prevention but works well if you do get a cold/ flu. It is easy to make using fresh ginger root and water. As soon as I start to feel a cold coming on I make a batch of tea right away. Ginger tea is also great for nausea.

Honey and cinnamon – are great combinations for a number of diseases and ailments. Different proportions target different ailments. For colds it is 1 tbsp. honey to 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon

Homeopathic remedies – the great thing about homeopathic remedies is that they work with your body to help boost your immune system as well as heal the ailment. It not only relieves your symptoms but helps your body to move through it faster. There are a number of homeopathic remedies to aid colds and flu. Oscillococcinum, as mentionned above, is great for prevention as well as when you have it. Aconite is great when you first start feeling the cold coming on, take it right away, as well as other homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies work best when you can match your symptoms to the remedy so it is best to either consult with your homeopathic doctor or have a book on remedies for self diagnosis. The great thing about homeopathy is if you choose the wrong remedy it will not cause you any harm, it simply won’t help you get better and you’ll have to try a different homeopathic remedy.

Rum, honey, cinnamon, lemon in hot tea – this is an amazing remedy. Recently I had a cold that just would not go away and continued to get worse and worse each day instead of better. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head, but my aunt who was visiting at the time suggested and made this remedy for me. It cleared my head like that! and though I still had a bit of a cough, I felt like I could function and enjoy life again 🙂 You can use any kind of hot tea that you like and then add the rest into the drink.

Vitamin C, D, & B12 – boost these vitamins during cold and flu season. They all help boost your body’s immune system and vitamin B12 helps you to cope with stress.

Sleep – sleep is one of the best healers and immune boosters. Get adequate sleep on a regular basis for prevention but when you feel your cold coming on make sure you get to bed early and get lots of rest.

No Sugar – sugar weakens the immune system very quickly, so if you have sugar in your diet, avoiding and eliminating it when you are sick will help strengthen your immune system and recover faster.

Garlic Lemon and Honey Syrup – this remedy comes from a book called A Kids Book of Herbs, is very easy to make and kicks your cold super fast!

Eat more of these foods – ginger, garlic, onions, licorice root, honey – these all strengthen the immune system and support healing.

A lot of these remedies you can use apply on a regular basis in your diet/ day to help prevent the colds and flu from even coming on, but they all work great if you or your family do get sick. I believe too that one remedy will work better for one person than another so to find the one that works best for you. I also believe that anything we do to help our body naturally boost our immune systems is not only going to be better for us in the long run but will also help prevent us from getting as sick or sick at all in the future. Many of these remedies too are ones that kids will easily take without fuss, and is easy to incorporate into their diets and routines.

Do you have a favorite natural remedy that works? Comment and share below.