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I know more and more moms who are using essential oils; they are making their way into more and more people’s lives. Used to be you could only find them in health food stores or online, but now they are popping up in drug stores, department stores and even theme park boutiques. Just because you can buy them in a store doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful. Your neighbor’s sister’s cousin may be selling essential oils to her playgroup, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used without some wisdom and instruction.
Turn a bottle of aspirin, Tylenol or Advil around to the back and you can read an extensive list of instructions, warnings and side effects. Just because you can buy them just about anywhere from drugstores and grocery stores to airports, gas stations and hotel lobbies doesn’t mean they are ok to give to just anyone of any age in any amount. These common over-the-counter drugs are powerful and must be used as directed. That seems obvious – that’s why they have “child proof” caps right? The same is true for essential oils. They, too, come with cautions on the label and child-proof caps on top. This is because essential oils can be powerful tools to help us just like these OTC meds.
Stephanie Tallent, one of the owners of the wellness website BeeYoutiful, explained to me that some people are more sensitive to both the benefits and the side effects of essential oils. In particular pregnant women, babies and young children have specific dosing guidelines that should be followed when using the oils, especially if using them internally. Some oils are so strong they really shouldn’t be used with anyone younger than 13 years old. This is why Stephanie urges everyone who uses essential oils to make the effort to get educated about their use. Her company not only sells essential oils, but also offers quite a few free health resources.
Each essential oil contains on average about 100 different active components. These different compounds work in synergy with each other and with the compounds in other oils. This is why it is important to buy high quality pure essential oils. The cheap knock-offs aren’t going to have the right balance and quantity of active ingredients. Many essential oils are also adaptogens, meaning they instigate a reaction within the body to help it achieve a more balanced state. You won’t get that from artificial oils and perfume fragrances. For optimum safety the majority of essential oils must be diluted before you rub them on your body or ingest them.
The bottom line is if you are going to use essential oils you need to respect their potency. There are so many tools available to anyone wanting to take control of their own health. The first line of strategy needs to be addressing the diet, cleaning it up and filling it with wholesome foods along with herbs and spices that support good health. Next in line would be supplements to target specific needs such as vitamins, amino acids or cod liver oil. Essential oils will be more effective when you have a strong foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Then you may find you don’t need those OTC drugs and you can clean out your medicine cabinet to make room for more oils! How can you learn how to use essential oils safely? There are many books available that teach you about the different uses and safety guidelines. One I really like is Valerie Worwood’s book The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Valerie has written many books on essential oils, she teaches certification courses and does research into their uses. In this book she gives practical instruction on how to use essential oils safely with any member of the family and in any room of the house, office and even the garden. There are also several online course available through Vintage Remedies for those who want to learn about the evidenced-based side of aromatherapy.
Tell us your favorite ways to use essential oils. Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page!