Our goals with essential oils are twofold – heal what’s currently happening and prevent future issues. Your sense of smell is going to tell you exactly what is wants, and that will change from time to time based on what your needs are.
Essential oils can be used along with doctor prescribed medications with rare contradictions. This is because essential oils can pass through the blood-brain barrier and cell walls and don’t take a receptor site like a synthetic medication does. I’ve had doctors say everything from, “What’s an essential oil?” to “Oh, that sounds interesting. Let’s try it and see what happens.” I’ve never had one say to not use an essential oil because it’s dangerous to combine with a medication I’m taking. Please consult your own doctors and then decide what’s right for you.
There are some things to be aware of, however, like if you’re on medication to lower your high blood pressure, using a lot of marjoram or cypress, which also lower high blood pressure, could do it too well, if you see what I’m saying.
Some oils have a cleansing effect and if used at too high a dose and/or too many days in a row can spark a body cleanse that could be too harsh. And some oils are “hot,” meaning they will burn your skin and you should dilute them.
Essential oils are live, volatile compounds that can heal and that also makes them something to be careful with, so educate yourself. They work well with our built in healing system – The Placebo Effect, which gives them lots of advantages with little to no drawbacks if you’re educated about their uses.
Essential oils are high in healing constituents. This is exciting because of what those molecules can do.
Phenylpropanoids can cleanse your cell receptor sites. Sesquiterpenes can deprogram mis-written codes in the cell’s DNA and Monoterpenes can reprogram that DNA correctly. So imagine if you get good at the science-y part of this and start to layer your oils in a way to take advantage of this!
You’d start with, say, Basil, because it’s so high in Phenylpropanoids. And then you’d do some Vetiver, because it’s so high in Sesquiterpenes and then you’d finish with Juniper Berry because of its high Monoterpenes and BAM. You’ve just cleansed receptors, deprogrammed the DNA and prepared it to be written correctly, and then reprogramed your cells. Talk about powerful!
This protocol could be fantastic for someone challenged with sleeping, because Basil is great for relaxing muscles and works as an ant-inflammatory, Vetiver helps with insomnia, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, mental fatigue, depression and a bunch of other stuff, and Juniper Berry helps with bad dreams and night terrors.
Learning to work with the oils like this has changed my life in so many ways. It’s a powerful way to heal. You can put the oils on your skin (Topical) or inhale them from the palms of your hands, straight from the bottle or in a diffuser (Aromatic). Some oils are labeled for internal use (Internal) but I would use caution when putting them into your body. Safer to put the oil on the bottoms of your feet or directly on an area of concern along with a carrier oil and allow your body to draw in the amount it feels is correct for the issue. Muscle testing will help you figure out how many drops to start with.
For Topical use, you can put drops on the bottoms of your feet, where the largest pores on your body are, and let your body’s circulatory system decide organically by energetic frequency where it would like the oil to go, or you can put it where you hurt, or you can wear it like perfume, or you can swipe it under your nose or on your temples. And for mood oils and blends, the small indentations on the back of your neck make an ideal place because you have a blood-intake there to your brain. It’s right below your hairline on either side of your spine.
What’s the difference between herbs, whole foods and essential oils? A whole lot.
Let’s take a lemon. We know that raw lemon juice has healing properties. Fresh lemon juice has antioxidants and anticancer fighting properties. It’s rich in Vitamin C and boosts your immune system, aids your digestion and helps prevent heart failure. Raw lemon juice helps your kidneys function, your blood sugar balance and even helps your brain function, among many other things.
If we take that same lemon and squeeze the oil from the peel to capture the essential oil, we get other wonderful benefits including encouraging lymphatic system flow, soothing a sore throat, corn and callus relief, repairing canker sores, pain relief for varicose veins and a bunch of non-human-body things like deodorizing a room and cleaning products.
Herbs are also wonderful. They’ve been dried for weeks and months and then packaged to get to you. They hold only a portion of the essential oil they once had, but the part they do still hold is great. The essential oil part is what heals us, so if we can get it concentrated, all the better. But, don’t stop using your good herbs in your teas and cooking. Every little bit counts and sometimes your body prefers to have a small amount in hot water instead of a concentrated amount on your feet.
As far as ratios go, a drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to about 28 cups of peppermint tea. It takes a lot of leaves to make those essential oil drops.
When it comes to essential oils, not all are made the same. It matters how the oils were pulled from the plants. It matters if they are sitting in some kind of rancid carrier oil or if they are pure. Your oils should never feel greasy. They should almost immediately absorb into your skin. This is very important.
And if you care about the planet and the people of the world who live on it, you’ll look for companies that engage in fair trade practices whenever possible.
If you’ve already started smelling things before putting them into your body, this will be a good chance to test your nose. Buy a few different oils and test them against each other. Maybe try a few different lavenders from different brands. Take a deep whiff of each and see what your nose tells you. Place a few drops on your fingertips, one oil on your left hand and one on your right, and let them warm to your skin. Smell and compare again. What do you smell? How do they feel?
Pure oils are more expensive and you should consider putting only the purest oils, labeled for internal use, in your body because whatever you put on your skin is going to go inside your body. The process needed to grow the plants in the correct environment and collect the oils is time consuming and costly. Each drop of pure oil represents many plants and hundreds of leaves and flowers. And it also represents healing to your body.
A few last thoughts. Sometimes something listed as a benefit for an essential oil will do nothing for me. This is normal. We are all different and individual. If you try an oil for uplifting your mood and nothing happens, try something else. You aren’t broken. The oil isn’t wrong. It’s just not for you, right now. The vibrations aren’t matching. Be your own advocate and search for something else.
Sometimes, especially with the pre-mixed oil blends available for purchase, my nose will tell me that it’s just not quite right. I’ll research what’s in there and smell each individual oil in the blend and make my own based on what my nose tells me is right for me.
Herbs & Spices – Reducing inflammation through herbs is a matter of choosing ones that soothe instead of ones that fire up your system and you might be surprised which spices those are, like turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and ginger.
Adding powdered versions of them in capsule form is what many people do. That might work for you, too. It takes a few weeks/months to see if it works. I find that when I’m in a flare, curcumin (from turmeric) works the best for me. If my pain gets really intense, I’ll add in a little ibuprofen because the two seem to compliment each other. (Reminder – I’m not a doctor. Please discuss your treatment with yours.)
I try to use a variety of herbs when I cook that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties: rosemary, basil, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, dill, fennel, oregano, pepper, sage, and thyme. If you can tolerate garlic, it has all kinds of wonderful healing properties.
My body goes through phases, wanting more of one thing at one time than another. I smell the herbs and decide what I’ll put on my proteins that night. Right now, it’s rosemary and freshly cracked black pepper on everything.
In the recipe section, you’ll see I’ve kept it pretty simple as far as what goes on in one single meal. If you’re having great success at putting more herb combinations together in one meal with no ill effects, by all means, go for it. If you have distress, pull back and start over with the super simple. Digestion in a flared belly sometimes works best if you eat one food at a time with an hour or so in between. That gives the limited amount of acids in your stomach a fighting chance at digesting your food.
Flavored waters are another wonderful way to get herbs in your system and hydrate at the same time. Put filtered water and herbs or veg like cucumbers and strawberries in a pitcher in the fridge to chill and meld for an hour or two.
Supplements – I’ve historically been unable to digest supplements and felt that they’ve been a waste of money even though I saw the potential for what they offered my body. Basically, it felt like I was making really expensive urine.
But I didn’t stop looking because I knew my body would heal faster if I could support it with the minerals and vitamins it was lacking. I have MTHFR mutations which inhibit my body from doing a great job at energy conversion, which also means my digestion is slow as is my liver function. Figuring out how to help my body work more efficiently was important.
So, why bother with supplements at all? If you eat good foods, shouldn’t that be enough? For some people, yes, that’s the idea. But if you’re ill? Sorry, no.
First of all, if you are experiencing a chronic illness, your body is not getting the nutrients and minerals and vitamins it needs from your foods. Period.
Let’s get a little science-y. If we could go back in time to over 100 years ago, we’d find a very different soil than we have now. The soil our current crops are grown in is sorely lacking in the nutrition the plants need, which means it doesn’t really exist in the plant ever, so even when we eat awesome foods, those foods are lacking before they even get in our system.
Part of this is because we’ve done a terrible job at crop rotation, meaning we keep growing the same crops in the same areas over and over and over and never putting back into the soil the elements it needs. Fertilizers contain a few elements – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but there’s over a dozen more that just keep getting stripped out and never replaced. So, if your foods are malnourished, so are you.
But more than that, there are so many cell processes that your chronically ill body isn’t doing well right now, like helping you sleep, which means you might need more magnesium sulfate. Or maybe you’re overweight which means you’ve got a high toxic load (toxins store in fat) and increasing your glutathione production with a supplement like alpha lipoic acid might be beneficial. And for sure you aren’t able to digest very well, so getting a digestive enzyme on board to start the process of healing your gut could be awesome.
Being low in vitamins and minerals is kind of a given at this moment for you. Getting your body to absorb them will help you heal faster. But if you’re taking a generic multi-vitamin that provides 5000% of your daily value of vitamin C, (I could be estimating there…) how much of that do you really think your body is absorbing? Depending on a few factors, probably not that much and best case scenario, you’re most likely just urinating a ton of expensive vitamins.
If you’re going to take supplements, please find a company that is doing due diligence by getting quality testing done by a third party. It was estimated that less than 30% of supplements available on the store shelf were actually what was listed on the label. That is dismal! Use muscle testing and hope that if you buy something that’s not actually authentic, the worst that will happen is you’ll excrete it via urine and the best that will happen is your built-in placebo effect will kick in and help your body heal.
Additionally, if you’re an MTHFR mutant like me, you’ll need to avoid folic acid, which is really hard to do in a multi-vitamin. Taking a supplement of folate might be in order if you’re low, so get your blood checked and find out.
Last thought: if you’ve been on antibiotics, you need to put some probiotics into your system. Antibiotics will go in and indiscriminately kill all the flora in your intestines, right where you need things to be working correctly to absorb your minerals and vitamins. Fermented foods are your friend for rebuilding.