Essential oils have been used for their specific purposes for thousands of years but this mama had only ever thought of them as a hippy thing until recently. Living in Colorado Springs we are surrounded by our fair share of bonafied hippies but there are also quite a few homeopathic mamas running around that are a hippy/hipster blend that have suggested I try essential oils for one reason or another over the last few months. Then my midwife gave me a sample pack of doTERRA oils at the start of flu season as well as a handout with a few other natural/safe ways to help my body recover from any bugs we'd pick up before this baby was born. My curiosity grew as I started seeing friends on Instagram sharing their essential oil stories and suggestions and suddenly I decided I needed to learn more.
The first oils we tried were the lavender and peppermint because they seemed the least intimidating. We started putting lavender on our wrists and the bottoms of our feet before bed to help us relax. I couldn't really tell if it was working because I was still getting up at least once a night to pee and put a child back to bed but it smelled nice! Then I started getting really annoying restless leg syndrome cramps around 8pm every night and started rubbing a few drops of lavender oil on my calves to help them relax and they would stop within ten minutes. I've also started taking a Calcium/Magnesium supplement since then and don't get the cramps anymore.
Another time I had a dull headache that wouldn't go away no matter how much water I drank. Someone suggested trying peppermint tea and I realized I had that oil sample in my stash. I rubbed a small amount on my temples and within ten minutes my headache was gone. My sinuses were also pretty clear!
I started using lemon oil over Christmas break after it was included in the Family Physician Kit I got as a gift. I'd been told to drink a lot more water after having a few days of consistent contractions and adding two drops of lemon oil to each glass of water made it taste nice. Lemon oil can also help reduce blood pressure, counteract constipation, boosts the immune system, elevate mood, etc.
I've been sick with the flu and a bad cold in the last 40 days. Both caught me off guard and I was unable to get started on the suggested regimen of oils right away because I either didn't have them all (first round) or we were on the highway in a car and I was more focused on contractions and referreeing between kids. Both times I was unable to stop from feeling much worse (which is possible if you start at the first sign of feeling unwell) but was able to relieve my symptoms with essential oils.
DigestZen helped settle my stomach with my first round of flu. Breathe (and melaleuca) were applied to my feet and chest with my cold and helped clear things up so I could sleep a little better at night. Brett took On Guard (every three hours) as soon as we both realized I was sick and avoided getting sick himself both times. I also used lavender each night to help me relax and peppermint to help reduce my fever.
The kids both got sick the second time as well. We didn't give them On Guard because we don't have the capsules and carrier oils yet but we did rub Breathe, oregano, and lavender on their backs and peppermint on their feet after they'd fallen asleep. Ruby has sensitive skin so we are going to try coconut oil on her next time before adding the rest. Deep Blue is another oil not pictured but I applied it to my back and the kids' backs whenever we had body aches from a fever. My body aches would disappear within ten minutes each time.
We got a diffuser halfway through this last sickness and have diffused Breathe each night since then and they've slept better than they ever do. Not only do they not cough all night but they don't wake up at all unless it's to go to the bathroom. This means we've all been sleeping really well despite being sick and now that we're all almost fully recovered, we'll still be diffusing lavender before bed to help everyone relax.
As mentioned above we used oregano and melaleuca to help relieve symptoms and fight germs once we were already sick but oregano can be paired with a few others at the first sign of sickness to prevent it from getting worse. The frankincense was a bonus oil in the Family Physician Kit that I'm eager to try as it's supposed to have a wealth of benefits.
If someone were to ask me which oils they should start with I would certainly suggest lavender and peppermint for regular use and then would suggest On Guard and Breathe for cold and flu season. Those are just my bare minimum suggestions because we've also benefitted from oregano and maleleuca to help with the last round of sickness we just made it through to help with killing germs and alleviating congestion. It's my goal to learn which oils we use the most and purchase those in larger quantities while still adding a new oil every now and then to see how beneficial they are.
Two major companies I've seen represent essential oils on Instagram are doTERRA and Young Living. While I'm not a representative for either I do suggest finding a rep from one of those two companies if you're interested as you'll be sure you're getting the highest grade oils that have undergone the most rigorous testing.
Here are some facts about using essential oils during pregnancy and another link for learning what might be helpful during labor, post-partum, or while you're working through a loss. One thing I've read again and again is that it's safer to wait until after your first trimester to use essential oils unless otherwise directed as it's such a tender time in a baby's development.
The more I learn about and get experience with essential oils the more thankful I am that I have the ability to help my family stay healthy in a natural way. If anything, I'm thankful I've discovered something that is helping this family stay asleep all night. At least until this new baby gets here.
I'd love to hear your personal experiences with essential oil or your favorite uses for specific ones. Do share in the comment section below!
DISCLAIMER: While I am on board with the ways essential oils can be used to help prevent and soothe sickness and discomfort, always check with your doctor or midwife before trying something new. I'm only sharing what our experience has been and suggest you become as informed as you can before purchasing oils as they all have a variety of uses and come at a wide range of price points.