I’ve been reading a lot, lately, about “crunchy” moms. There seem to be quite a few of them and I was wondering if there was a club or a badge or something. I had heard the term so often, I finally had to ask exactly what it means. Basically, I determined that “crunchy” moms opt for the most natural options in their health care, child rearing, food choices, DIY activities and household product choices. After some deep introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not 100% crunchy, but I think I may, at least, be “chewy”. Is that a thing? 🙂
I make our laundry detergent, hand soap and deodorant. Back in the day I was a breast-feeding mama and wore my babies before it was trendy. I did the cloth diapering thing for about 7 months, hauling them to the laundromat, before we had a washer and dryer, back in 1984. I totally hated it and was so incredibly thankful for Huggies! See? Chewy! I garden and can, cook from scratch and sew. We stopped immunizing our kids back in the 90’s and prefer more natural methods and products when it comes to health care and medication. We are eating less and less pre-packaged, processed food (Not all of them. I’m only chewy.) and are opting for more whole foods and those I prepare myself. I buy organic, when it’s available and affordable in our small town. So, you see, I’m eVOLVing; slowly perhaps, but evolving nonetheless. 🙂 The next phase of my metamorphosis is a better understanding of essential oils and their uses. That should move me up the chewy/crunchy scale a notch or two.
I’ve dabbled in essential oils over the last couple years, mainly using them in my household cleaning product recipes and understanding only what I needed for that specific purpose. I hadn’t taken the time to inform myself, very well, about their use for family health care. I knew that throughout history, essential oils had been used and valued for various healing and healthcare properties. Even the Magi felt that Frankincense, an essential oil, was a fitting and precious gift to bring to our Savior.
It’s funny how when you become interested in something you suddenly start running into people who can help. I have found that I have several friends and a cousin who are reps for one of the well-known essential oil companies and so I have had many good discussions with those who’ve had some firsthand experience. In the end, I looked at the well-known “distributor” options and two other companies with excellent reputations. After some evaluation, I have decided to purchase my essential oils from Plant Therapy, for two reasons that you all know, by now, drive almost all my purchase decisions: 1) equal quality and value and 2) better price. The extraction methods of each of the companies I looked at are similar. But, Plant Therapy sources their plants from their native growing areas around the world, unlike some companies who try to grow all their plant material in the US, which is a change of climate and soil that can affect the properties of the plants. Secondly, because there are no “middle men”, (Plant Therapy doesn’t use distributors), they have much lower overhead and can pass that cost savings on to the consumer. Decision made. The. End.
When it comes to using essential oils, there is a TON of information online; and any number of informative books and guides are available. I’ve spent quite a few hours reading and studying and I still consider myself a novice in this arena. I liked Plant Therapy’s Q & A series on their blog, for getting started with the basics. You can read Part 1, Part 2. and Part 3. Be sure to check out their blog, too. It’s loaded with recipes and DIY tips that use essential oils.
There is SO much to learn and it’s very important to be informed. Just because a product is natural, and/or organic, doesn’t always mean it’s appropriate for everyone. I didn’t realize it when I first began my investigations, but you need to exercise extreme caution using essential oils around pregnant women or infants. There are a handful that are useful and safe for them, but you MUST be carefully informed to know what is safe and what isn’t. For the rest of us, some people may have sensitivities to certain essential oils and will need to stop use of those specific ones. Personally, I will never take essential oils internally. I know there are some who swear by it and have given great testimonials, but there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding that topic and I would prefer to err on the side of caution. Plus, once the oils go through the digestive tract and are broken down by the various stomach and digestive acids, it is believed that they may not have the same potency or even the same benefits as when they are topically applied or diffused into the air. For the most part, though, I’m BEGINNING to understand how we can benefit from adding essential oils to our medicine cabinets and why so much of the world already does. The book I purchased that provides great information on different oils, and recipes for how to use them, is The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. (This is my Amazon affiliate link to the book.) I’ve found it to be very helpful.
It takes dozens and dozens of pounds of plant stalks, bark or leaves to extract just a fraction of an ounce of essential oil. The more material it requires to extract the oil, the more costly and valuable, the oil will be. Plus, you can imagine how highly concentrated the oils are, to contain all the benefits of those many pounds of plant material. That high concentration means that many essential oils will need to be diluted in a carrier oil, before applying it to your skin. For budget-conscious women like us, that’s great news! It means a tiny drop of essential oil goes a very long way. On average, a 10ml bottle of oil will contain around 200 drops.
I’ve also learned that there is a big difference between fragrance oils and essential oils. Fragrance oils are almost always synthetic or greatly diluted essential oils. They have little or no health value. Their lower cost often entices people to purchase them, rather than the more expensive essential oil cousins, and then disappointment ensues when they discover that the promised results are not recognized. Fragrance oils are usually more “sweet” or “perfumey” smelling. Essential oils are more “earthy” and much like the plants from which they are derived. People are often surprised to open a bottle of a pure essential oil, like lavender, and be greeted by the strong, earthy aroma, that accompanies the delicate notes of the floral fragrance we are more accustomed to. In the beginning, I was actually taken aback by some of the scents, as I had preconceived ideas about what they should smell like, not realizing the fragrances I was used to were largely synthetic. Over the last couple of weeks, using Plant Therapy essential oils and synergies, I have grown accustomed to the new scents and find that I have actually come to enjoy them. Some of them, I feel as though it would be difficult to go without, now. I’ve been enjoying several oils that are included in Plant Therapy’s 14 Essential Oils Set, which includes 7 oils and 7 synergies (blends). The oils included, and uses of each, are listed below:
Sensual (Aphrodisiac): Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser, mix with a carrier oil and massage, or add to a warm bath .
Energy (Physical): Use in a diffuser in the morning for an energizing start to your day. Diffuse into the air at work or at home to energize the whole office or room. Use in a massage oil for an invigorating and uplifting massage. Add a drop to your wrist and rub together for a mid-day energizer.
Germ Fighter (Compare to Thieves by Young Living): Add to any DIY household cleaner to help disinfect your home or office. Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser to kill 99.96% of airborne bacteria. To help ward off colds and the flu, once exposed, mix 10 drops of Germ Fighter with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice and massage on the bottom of your feet-especially at bedtime and in the morning before getting dressed.
Relax (Mental Relaxation): Diffuse in your favorite diffuser or put a drop or two near your pillow at night. This scent is also great mixed with carrier oil or added to a warm bath. To help relieve tension, you might want to try a few drops mixed with unscented body lotion or carrier oil and apply throughout the day.
Immune-Aid: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser. Mix in unscented body lotion or carrier oil and use by applying to your chest, neck and throat. (Use in a 2% dilution)
Tranquil (Stress Reducer): Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser. This synergy is great for the office or at home to help promote mental relaxation and reduce stress. Add 2-5 drops to a bath to help calm down an overactive child before bedtime. During an extra stressful time, add to unscented lotion or carrier oil and use as a daily moisturizer.
Invigor-Aid: The essential oils in this synergy will increase your alertness and help give you some energy. Great for work or at home. Diffuse using your favorite diffuser or mix with unscented lotion or carrier oil for an invigorating massage.
Lavender: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser, add a few drops to a warm bath, put a drop or two on a cotton pad next to your pillow, or add to unscented lotion or carrier oil to help with sleeplessness. Lavender can also be used as a bug repellent. Add to water or witch hazel for an all-natural bug spray. Diffuse Lavender or add to carrier oil to help with depression, anxiety, allergies, and irritability. Lavender can also be used to help heal a burn or cut. Simply apply a small amount to the affected area. Can be diluted with water or carrier oil.
Peppermint: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser or add a few drops to a warm bath to help with headaches and nausea. Peppermint essential oil is great added to unscented lotion or carrier oil for a massage or pedicure. Add to carrier oil and massage directly where you feel a headache coming on to help relieve the pain of the headache.
Eucalyptus: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser to help with frequent sneezing, flu, respiratory problems, headaches and improving concentration. Eucalyptus can also be used as an insect repellent by being added to water or witch hazel for an all-natural bug spray. Add a few drops to a warm bath to assist with arthritis, mucous congestion, colds, headaches and pain relief. Also can be added to unscented lotion or carrier oil to speed up the healing of wounds, calm skin eruptions and clear congested skin.
Tea Tree: Tea Tree is known for fighting all three categories of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses. Add Tea Tree to your favorite DIY household cleaners. Add Tea Tree to unscented lotion or carrier oil and apply directly to affected area of athlete’s foot, acne, eczema or psoriasis. Tea Tree can also be added to your shampoo and condition to with dandruff or get rid of lice.
Orange: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser to freshen up the air. Orange can also be added to a warm bath to help with stress and digestive problems. Add to a homemade deodorant or carrier oil and apply to your underarms to be used as a natural deodorant. Orange can be used as a degreaser when added to your favorite cleaning product or just simply apply directly on the grease spot.
Lemon: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser to help freshen the air and sanitize the air. Add Lemon to water or your favorite cleaning product and use to clean and sanitize surfaces. Use 1-2 drops of Lemon essential oil to remove oil, gum, adhesives and crayons from most surfaces. Lemon can be used in laundry or cleaning products as a natural whitener. Add Lemon to unscented lotion or carrier oil and massage into cellulite to help circulation and eliminate waste from cells.
Cinnamon: Diffuse into the air using your favorite diffuser to help fight bacteria and to give the air a delicious cinnamon smell. Cinnamon can also be added to unscented lotions or carrier oils and used as a perfume.
Our eleven-year-old daughter has always had difficulty falling asleep. I have been putting 3 drops of Tranquil in a teaspoon of Rosehip Oil (carrier oil) and massaging it onto her shoulders before she goes to bed, each evening. It is an amazing transformation! She rests peacefully and falls asleep with no complaints, now. I don’t know if the effects are because she expects it to work or if it truly is relaxing her that thoroughly. Either way, I’m good with it! Having her well-rested is a great blessing, especially now that school has started!
David and I have spent the last two weeks fighting a pretty intense case of bronchitis – lots and lots of coughing and mucous. So gross! I’ve been using Germ Fighter in the diffuser, placed in the main living area of our home, which is a large open family room and the kitchen. So far, neither of the two kids have gotten sick and I’m hopeful that they won’t. I LOVE the cinnamon and cloves fragrance that fills our home as Germ Fighter is diffused into the air!
I have also alternated using Germ Fighter and a blend of Lavender and Eucalyptus on some sort of crazy bug bites that I got out in the garden. There were six separate bites that I didn’t notice, until the next day, when my entire arm was red, hot and swollen from infection. By alternating the oils, I have been able to bring down the inflammation and the bites are nearly healed. From the looks of things I am confident that there isn’t going to be any scarring, even though the wounds started out pretty nasty.
The other recent experience that comes to mind is a two drops of Peppermint Oil in a tablespoon of carrier, massaged into the abdomen of our granddaughter for a tummy ache, for which she seemed to get fairly quick results. A few days later, I was able to provide relief for our eleven-year-old in the same way.
What I love about all the examples, above, is that no chemical, over-the-counter or prescription intervention was needed to take care of the problems we were having. I’m excited to continue learning and investigating how we can use other oils to continue to minimize those pharmaceutical interventions and continue to make our home, and our family, “naturally” healthy.
So, which are you? Crunchy? or Chewy? or somewhere in between? Do you use essential oils at home? What are your favorites? I’ll be sharing some new DIY household products with you, soon, that feature some essential oils, but in the meantime, I wanted to let you know about the fabulously generous giveaway that Plant Therapy is sponsoring for Busy-at-Home readers! One lucky winner will receive the wonderful 14 Essential Oils Set that contains 7 oils and 7 synergies! It’s a $54.95 value and an excellent set to get your family started with learning all the benefits of essential oils. Be sure to enter below!
You must be at least 18 and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Giveaway is administered by Busy-at-Home. Prize will be fulfilled and shipped by Plant Therapy. Winner will be randomly selected from all confirmed entries, using the Rafflecopter app. Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted.
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me which Plant Therapy Essential Oil or Synergy you would most like to try and how you would use it. That’s it! (To see all the oils available, click here.) Be sure to register your entry on the Rafflecopter form, below.