Ok people, brace yourselves. This is a semi-love letter from a diehard city girl with the aptly cynical mindset that comes from being a hustler as a network news TV producer in NYC for 20 years. You may be wondering what this semi-love letter will be written to…well I can assure you that probably any guess you make is wrong. Because…would you have guessed…essential oils? From me? Ummm, no? Yeah, didn’t think so. So here goes.
I had no idea, nor did I care even the slightest bit, what essential oils (or EO’s as they’re called by those “in the know”) were, how they worked or what they could do for most of my life. And hey, guess what? I still lived! With all of my toxins and chemicals and environmental threats and pollution and sugar and alcohol and Taco Bell. Yep, here I am to tell the tale. So if you’re anything like me, and aren’t necessarily inclined to lean towards natural remedies, or think that “alternative” is a bad word when it comes to healthcare, listen up. Cause that was me. Up until about three or four years ago.
I was living my crazed life in New York City, never having time to do anything healthy (nor really caring, as my basic philosophy has always been “I’m thin enough”) while my sister was living such a completely opposite lifestyle that we could have been living on different planets. Our father is a radiologist and I’m pretty comfortable with all forms of Western medicine, while she had developed a taste for finding more natural remedies. My take? Yeah, whatever, just give me the quick fix. And in my world, that was generally a prescription. Or fast food.
So when she got really sick – like in-the-hospital-organs-shutting-down sick – it wasn’t completely surprising that she was propelled to find more natural, more holistic and some may say healthier courses of action to get back on the path to wellness. But what was completely surprising was how quickly her natural remedies actually helped! And so, one by one, my family began listening to what her hippie-dippy snake oils could do.
First my mom gave them a go to help sleep better, with a very positive effect. I was still unsure, so without even telling my sister, I went behind her back and bought a diffuser from somewhere else, and had my mom send me some of this sleep oil. It was called Serenity. I loved it. Maybe because of the name. Maybe because I could hear George Costanza screaming “Serenity now!” and it made me laugh. But whatever it was, I slept better.
My mom tried another one to help with frequent tension and pain in her head. When she said it worked I told her in disbelief to send me some. It was a rollerball called PastTense. I rolled it on my forehead and temples like I was supposed to. It has cilantro in it. I didn’t know that. I loathe cilantro. I now had cilantro all over my face and neck. I couldn’t decide which was worse, the smell of the cilantro or the ache I had. Before I even knew it, the pain disappeared.
Ok, how much more should it take? Not much, I decided, so I called my sister and admitted I had tried her weird oils and liked them. Now what exactly were they and what was I supposed to do with them?
If you don’t know, essential oils are basically a plant’s immune system. Lots of people consider them nature’s medicine cabinet. They are aromatic compounds that come from all different parts of plants, trees and flowers – the bark, stems, seeds, leaves and roots. They are what give plants and flowers their fragrant smells, and they also help protect them. And unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that plants and herbs have been used in Eastern medicine for hundreds of years. This is really just another way to utilize the benefits of nature.
Essential oils can be used topically (as with the PastTense on my head), aromatically (as with the diffuser and my Serenity) or internally (as in, you can actually swallow them or use them in cooking). I, of course, do all three, though I am very careful to use only Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils, which I know are safe to ingest. I diffuse oils to help me with my mood, emotions or even to freshen or clean the air in a room - think after someone cooks fish, or if you’re dragging a bit and need a little pick-me-up. I use them topically to help ease aches and pains, or to help support a healthy system, including liver function and even cellular function. And I take them internally via all of my vitamins and supplements, which give me the benefits of dozens of oils each day. Plus, it’s always nice to add a drop of lemon to a glass of water, or a few drops of peppermint to a batch of brownies. Just ask my kids.
As with anything you can find in the health/wellness category, specific oils have specific properties, which in turn can help aid and support specific issues. You’ve no doubt heard of lavender to help with calming and sleeping, right? Well, there are dozens more that can be used alone or in combinations or “blends” to help with literally anything and everything you can possibly think of. The joke among us essential oil junkies is no matter what it is, there’s an oil for it.
So if you would like to try a diffuser with a beautiful-smelling oil instead of lighting a candle or incense, or if you’d like to try something that smells wonderful and can help you relax, ease tension, and promote more restful sleep, or if you’d like to try and shed a few pounds with the help of a natural option, or if you or your kids could use a little help when it comes to focus and concentration, or if you just want to stop running to the local store for things to help with your ailments…then what are you waiting for?? Yes, you want to be very careful that you’re using good quality oils that aren’t diluted or mixed with other ingredients – I personally only use doTERRA oils, which I know are pure and potent, and many of which can also be ingested for internal use. But get past your doubts and inhibitions and try them! I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. If you have any questions about essential oils, just ask!