An Introduction to Essential Oils

Hey there! Welcome to my Introduction to Essential Oils. This post will introduce you to everything you need to know to begin experiencing the power of essential oils for yourself. I’ve been experimenting with essential oils for 6 years, and have been using Young Living exclusively for 5. There’s a huge difference in quality between different brands, but I’ll explain more about that later. First, let me tell you a little of my story and why this is so important to me.

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In 2010, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune vasculitis called Behcet’s Disease. This disease can be incredibly debilitating and destructive, as it causes inflammation in the blood vessels. That means lesions can form anywhere in the body, especially soft tissue like the mouth, eyes, and genitals. Some people have involvement in their organs and brain, causing seizures and strokes. Thankfully, that has not been the case for me. I’ve had several manifestations of the disease, but the most problematic for me have been the oral lesions. I almost always have sores in my mouth. These vary from small ulcers like a cold sore, to huge deep lesions that cover most of my tongue or lips and have made it impossible to eat for weeks at a time.

In 2013, I was hospitalized for a week with a bad flare that had moved into my throat and began to restrict my breathing. During that hospital stay, they saved my life by pumping me full of steroids, antibiotics, antivirals, and many other medications in an attempt to find something that would stop the inflammation. Eventually, something worked, though no one was really sure what it was that did the trick. Or even if the flare just subsided on its own.  Leaving the hospital, I was instructed to slowly wean myself off of the steroids. I followed their directions, but each time I tried to taper off the medication, my body retaliated by throwing me into another severe flare. After 2 months of unsuccessful taper attempts, my rheumatologist told me I needed to use a chemotherapy drug to assist my body in getting off the steroid. I said, “Ok, how long will I need to take this chemo drug once I get off the steroid?” He said, “Tamara, the disease you have is a chronic illness. It isn’t going away. You’ll need to be on this drug the rest of your life. You’ll need yearly liver biopsies, but otherwise should be able to live a relatively normal life.” Liver biopsies? Take a chemo drug for the rest of my life? I was 33 at the time with a small child, this felt like giving up. Giving in to a lifetime of clearly toxic medication that could destroy my liver among other things and no hope of ever being truly healed, just managing symptoms with band-aid solutions enough to live a so-called “relatively normal life”. I would do that if it was my last resort, but I didn’t feel I was at that point yet. There had to be another option. But when I asked, my rheumatologist told me this was it. Lifetime chemo was my only option.

I left his office and called the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine from my car in the parking lot. The next 8 months involved lots of dietary experimentation, tons of supplements, and some pretty major lifestyle changes to eliminate toxins from my home and environment. The Behcet’s Fighter blog emerged as a way to track my efforts at recovery, provide a measure of accountability, and, should I experience success and find significant healing, it would serve as a record of how that happened.  With the guidance of my integrative doctor (trained in both allopathic and naturopathic medicine) we did a lot of work on healing my gut and calming my immune system. It took 8 months, but I was able to get off the steroids without replacing it with the chemo drug. Since then, I have been able to avoid all long term use of prescription medications.  I am beyond grateful that God led me down a different path from the one my rheumatologist had laid out for me.  There may come a time when I have to take a toxic, but life saving medication long term.  But that day was not 5 years ago, and that day is not today.

One piece of the puzzle in my healing process involved eliminating toxins from my environment. This is where essential oils come in. There are so many toxic chemicals that we slather on our bodies, spray in the air, and shovel into our mouths on a daily basis. Many of these chemicals are hormone disrupters or carcinogens, and can trigger allergies and inflammatory stress in the body. When I found that these powerful, therapeutic grade essential oils could address many of my everyday issues without toxic chemicals, I was intrigued. As I began to learn and experience the “side effects” of essential oils- like if I use peppermint to support my digestive system, it can simultaneously be supporting my respiratory system as well, or if I’m using lavender to support seasonal discomfort, it’s also working to calm my emotions and prepare my body for better rest in the evening, I began to realize that these little bottles of awesomeness were actually supporting my body’s natural healing processes. So I began to make the switch and slowly trade toxic chemical laden products in my home for simpler, cleaner products and essential oils.

So how is this possible? Do these things really work? Well, let me begin by explaining what essential oils actually are.

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In Genesis 1:29, God says, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”  He created the plants with us in mind before He created us.  He knew what our bodies would need to flourish and He made the plants to meet those needs.  Ezekiel 47:12 says “Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”  Essential oils are the lifeblood of these precious plants, and each plant’s special properties are highly concentrated in every bottle.

Because of this extreme concentration, it’s vital that the oil is pure, organic, and unadulterated with chemical fertilizers, solvents, or fillers that can make it less effective at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

I used other brands of essential oils for a year before switching exclusively to Young Living.  I thought I could do this natural thing cheaper and get the same results.  It just didn’t happen.  I began to think essential oils didn’t work for me.  Every now and then they seemed to make a little bit of a difference, and they smelled nice, but they didn’t work well enough for me to forego the toxic products I was using instead.  And then I had what I call my “conversion experience” with Purification, one of Young Living’s most popular blends, and I began to experiment more with these true therapeutic grade oils from YL.  That’s when things started happening.

So what’s the difference?  Why do YL oils work when other’s don’t?  It’s a matter of quality.  And YL ensures this incredibly high quality by adhering to the strict standards of their Seed to Seal promise and utilizing the expertise of those on the Scientific Advisory Council.  Check out this website for more details about what Seed to Seal is all about.

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This system of checks and balances throughout the process of growing, harvesting, and distilling the oils provides assurance that what is delivered to your door is, indeed, therapeutic quality, and it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do.  Essential oils have various chemical constituents that affect it’s efficacy.  True, therapeutic grade lavender has over 187 properties (chemical constituents) while commercial grade (non-therapeutic grade) has only 4 properties.  No wonder my oils from the health food store weren’t working!

Now, once you’ve got some good, truly therapeutic grade oils in your hands, what do you do with them?

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Being able to safely ingest essential oils is one of the reasons why I experimented with YL oils in the first place.  I had some issues I wanted to address internally, but all the bottles I got from the health food store said “not for internal use.”  NAHA, one of the top aromatherapy schools in the US, doesn’t advocate essential oils for internal use because most oil companies don’t carry oils that have been cleared by the FDA as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).  Young Living has a line of Vitality oils identified as GRAS by the FDA and labeled specifically for the purpose of being used as a dietary supplement.  This opens up a whole new realm of uses for these little bottles of amazingness!

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So, what are the best oils to get started? Young Living has put together a collection of 11 of the most versatile and commonly used oils for their Premium Starter Kit.  Here’s a rundown of each of those oils and why I love them.

Peppermint is great for digestive and respiratory support.  It’s also a good substitute for coffee.  A few sniffs straight from the bottle perk me up when I need to focus.  Here in Florida, flip flops are yearlong attire, but I love to use peppermint oil on my feet when I’m forced against my will to wear some other type of shoe.  It keeps ’em cool and minimizes the sweat factor.

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Lavender is one of the gentlest essential oils.  It’s great for the skin and has a lovely fragrance.  I like to add a drop of lavender to my clothing steamer to infuse my clothes and get a little aromatherapy while I get chores done.  Mixed with distilled water in a glass spray bottle, it makes a luxurious linen spray.

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Citrus oils support the body’s natural detoxification processes, and lemon is no exception.  It’s also a very affordable oil, so I diffuse this in my home almost constantly.  It’s so fresh!

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Frankincense is a powerhouse support for many body systems.  I use it to keep me emotionally grounded and to create a focused environment during prayer and bible study.  Everyone knows the wise men gave baby Jesus frankincense, so I figure this must be what heaven smells like.

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Like frankincense, copaiba is distilled from the resin of a tree.  I love the amplifying effects of this oil.  When I need to stretch or intensify the effects of another oil, I layer copaiba on top of it.

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DiGize is my go-to for digestive support.  Over the past couple of years, I haven’t been as strict with my diet as I was in my early days of blogging.  DiGize helps minimize some of the repercussions of a very imperfect diet.

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Thieves is one of Young Living’s most popular blends and is AMAZING for supporting the immune system.  YL carries an entire line of Thieves home and body care products that are tremendously effective and non-toxic.  Now when I clean mold from my bathroom tile, I’m simultaneously supporting my immune system!  It’s awesome!

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R.C. is fantastic for respiratory support.  During the fall and winter months, I diffuse R.C. regularly overnight.  With 3 different types of eucalyptus, it helps me breathe easy throughout the night.  PanAway is an amazing blend of powerhouse oils. Clove has tremendous antioxidant properties. Helichrysum supports healthy blood flow. Wintergreen supports the circulatory system. And peppermint has an amplifying effect similar to copaiba, so it drives them all in and creates a synergistic blend that’s even more powerful than the individual oils are on their own.

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Purification was created to neutralize odors, and it does a fantastic job of that.  I use it in a diffuser necklace hanging from the rearview mirror in my car.  It’s also the perfect addition to any homemade cleaning solutions, and supports the immune system.  Stress Away smells like Tahiti in a bottle.  Palm trees, margaritas, and relaxation in fragrance form.  I use this one as my perfume most days.

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NingXia Red is a delicious supplement that supports all the body systems.  I drink an ounce a day when I’m feeling well, and bump the dosage up a notch if I need an extra immune or energy boost.  My 7 year old munchkin also drinks an ounce each morning to keep her above the wellness line.

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Over time, you may become more experienced and confident using essential oils, but in the beginning, go slow.  Less is more.  Always dilute with a carrier oil (coconut, olive, grapeseed, etc.) until you know your sensitivity level with each new oil.  Follow the guidelines below if you experience any discomfort.

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This amazing Premium Starter Kit is $392.62 worth of product for $160 (with the Dewdrop Diffuser).  The Kits with the Rainstone ($205) and Aria ($260) diffusers are priced a bit higher, but are fantastic deals as well.  You get all eleven oils I described above, plus the diffuser, NingXia Red packets, samples, a roller ball fitment, and sample bottles you can fill to use on the go or to share with those you love who need oils in their lives!

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The NingXia Kit is great for those who need this highly antioxidant supplement to support all their body systems, and the Thieves Kit is perfect for switching out toxic home and body care products for these much safer options.

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Essential Rewards is the best way to make the switch to an oily, toxin free lifestyle in a way that’s affordable and sustainable.  I waited a full year to sign up for this autoship program because I didn’t really understand how it worked, it seemed complicated, and I didn’t want to commit to spending $50 a month when I didn’t even know what I would need to buy.  Biggest.  Mistake.  Ever.  I missed out on HUNDREDS of dollars worth of free stuff. Don’t be like me.  If you’re using your oils, you’re going to need to replenish them.  And if you’re serious about ditching the toxic stuff, this is the best place to get all your home and body care products.  Getting a customizable monthly box of products YOU choose just makes good sense.  Scents.  Cents.  Ba-dum-chhhhhh…

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Here’s a rundown of some of Young Living’s most popular products beyond the Starter Kit.  In addition, I highly recommend the blend Peace & Calming for, well, peace.  And calming.  Oregano essential oil is also a staple in my home.  I make sure we never run out of that one.

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Another thing I love about this oily lifestyle is that I never get bored with the fragrance of my body care products.  I just change up the essential oil I use when I make it.  I use Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid castile soap as my body wash, and add whatever essential oils I feel like using.  For an all-over moisturizer I use grapeseed oil in a glass pump bottle and, again, scent it with whatever oils I’m feeling at the moment.  For my facial moisturizer, I use argan oil infused with frankincense and lavender oils to support the sensitive areas on my face and neck.  The possibilities are, quite literally, endless.

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Not to be alarmist, but your and your family’s health and wellness are at stake here.  Don’t wait another second to make the switch to a lifestyle that supports your body’s natural healing processes.  I have an amazing team that’s ready to lock arms with you and support you on this journey.  Follow this link to get started, and find me on FaceBook so we can get you plugged in to our tight-knit community of oilers.

*If another distributor shared this page with you to help you learn more about these little bottles of awesomeness, it means they love you and want the best for you.  Connect with them to get their information and sign up with them.

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