So, unless you’re living under a rock . . .
You’ve probably noticed that essential oils have taken over the natural living world. You’ve probably also guessed by now that, despite some reports, they won’t give you superpowers or vacuum your house while you nap. But maybe you’re wondering if most of the claims about them could possibly be true.
Maybe you’re wondering “how” and “when” and “when NOT” to use them, especially when it comes to applications for children and pregnant/nursing women. If you’re not at least a little confused about essential oils, this post is probably not for you.
But if you are, today I’m going to share with you what I would say to any friend who happened to be sitting at my kitchen table with questions. Let’s get started with the most common ones:
Why is everyone so gaga over essential oils?
It’s just a theory, but I think it’s starting to worry people that acne medications may cause hair to grow on the side of their nose, cholesterol medications can trigger full-blown amnesia, and a medication designed to treat male pattern baldness may also cause them to grow fully functional, lactating breasts.
Maybe those concerns, plus concerns about toxins in our food, cleaning supplies, and beauty products are inspiring people to re-evaluate their lifestyle. Or it could be that essential oils just, um, smell amazing.
Okay, so . . . do essential oils really work?
I believe they do. I wouldn’t say every claim made about them is true, but several studies suggest that essential oils can be very useful:
Tylenol Vs. Tiger Balm
One study concluded that Tiger balm, which is made with the essential oils camphor, menthol, cajaput, and clove, was just as effective as Tylenol for relieving tension headaches. (source)
Asthma Medication Vs. Eucalyptus
Another study found that steroid-dependent asthmatics who were given eucalyptus oil were gradually able to reduce their medication dosage to a greater extent than those who received a placebo. (source1, source 2)
MRSA Vs. Essential oils
Hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become major health concerns worldwide. (source) Many oils, including tea tree, thyme, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon and lemongrass have demonstrated the ability to rapidly kill one of the most concerning superbugs – MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) – in lab experiments. (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4)
Godzilla Vs. Essential Oils
No studies on this one, but essential oils would send that giant lizard running back to the ocean with his tail between his legs, obviously. If you want more studies to look through, though, type “essential oils” into the PubMed Database you will get over 12,000 studies and articles to review. TWELVE THOUSAND, folks.
Not all researchers found essential oils to be beneficial for the condition they were studying, and not all studies are well-constructed, but I have found much of the information to be very compelling. I encourage you to take a look and see what you think.
Of course, we haven’t even talked about how useful essential oils can be in homemade beauty products and cleaning supplies. We’ll get to that soon, but first, I’ll bet you’re wondering . . .
Are essential oils safe?
So, er, this is what I wanted to talk to you about. My personal opinion is that essential oils are very beneficial, but because they are so powerful they need to be used with wisdom.
Here’s how I see it: When I was a girl, my mom didn’t teach me to cook by handing me a steak knife and heading out for a relaxing afternoon at the movies. Though I may have succeeded in making lunch, I may have made some unwise decisions in the process. Instead, she worked alongside me, teaching me to properly use each kitchen tool in different situations.
When I started using essential oils, I didn’t receive much guidance regarding safety considerations. Now that I know better, I’m trying to do better. That is what I want to see happen in the world of essential oils.
As these amazing tools go mainstream, I want to help families discover safe and effective ways to use them. Because I want to be as thorough as possible, I’ve done something kind of crazy for a mom of three, blogger, homeschooler and (newbie) homesteader. I’ve enrolled in Aromahead’s Aromatherapy Program with the goal of becoming a certified aromatherapist! Aromahead is approved by the National Association For Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), and I’m so excited to be a part of their program.
I’ve also invested in a ton of resources, including Essential Oil Safety, which was written by world renowned expert Robert Tisserand. I nearly fainted when I first saw the sticker price for it, but considering it took him and his co-author 10+ years to write I’d say it’s well worth it. And hey, at least the shipping was free.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to use essential oils safely, here are some things you can do.
1. Sign up for my newsletter by going to the top of the homepage and entering your email. I’ll send you a free gift right away, and I’ll also let you know when some posts I have planned – essential oils that are safe for babies, children, pregnant/nursing mamas and more – are ready.
3. Join the Using Essential Oils Safely Facebook group – it’s run by certified aromatherapists that volunteer their time to answer questions and share safe recipes.