On Essential Oils

November 8, 2016

Background
I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to read and understand as much as possible before a new thing sinks in and becomes routine. Until I get a deep understanding, a part of my brain rejects the idea. This is a gift (because I’ve learned to love doing deep research) and a challenge (because it takes me a long time to accept something that could’ve helped me sooner).

It’s taken me a lot googling, book reading, and self experiments to determine just what the heck essential oils are. These things are new to me but once I dove into that world, seems like these things have existed for ages.

I first experimented with sniffing peppermint essential oil, because of Jillian Michaels and her book Slim For Life. This was one of my many experiments in weight loss. She mentions that sniffing peppermint oil was shown in studies to boost energies while working out. People had more intense workouts after sniffing this.

So I did that.
And it seemed to work. I would dab a lil bit of the oil on my wrists while I did high intensity interval circuits and kept sniffing as needed.

She also mentions Lavender essential oil for relaxation. You can sniff it or use it in a bath. So I got that too and it works.

Jillian mentions that cinnamon, grapefruit, ginger and coriander oils are also supposed to curb hunger, but I haven’t tried those yet.

A year later, I noticed an essential oil diffuser (those cone-like things that change color & pump out copious amounts of mist) in my therapist’s office. Whatever she had going kept the room vibes feeling calm and zen. So a few months later, when I was at Whole Foods, I ended up buying one of those too. Along with Lemon essential oil because that’s meant to uplift & cheer you up.

Fast forward two more years, and my brain has finally accepted essential oils as a real thing. Now I’m using it for multiple purposes, mainly for my gut health. This I learned from Dr. Axe and his book Eat Dirt.

On Essential Oils

1. Plants
Plants have natural defenses against disease. Since plants can’t move, they develop their own survival strategies against pests, fungus, and such.

2. Plants and Humans
Some plants are harmonious with humans, so we eat them, drink them as smoothies & juices, and dry them for use as herbs & teas.

We know that garlic has antiviral properties. Ginger helps with nausea & bacterial infections. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects, even used to help with depression. Chamomile tea will relax and help us sleep. Coffee & black tea will perk us up. Green tea has many anti-aging benefits, including helping against memory loss. Dark chocolate is anti-inflammatory, perk us up and feel good too, releasing endorphins.

And we also eat animals that have eaten plants first (cows, chickens). Even farm pigs, naturally omnivores, are typically fed vegetarian food. We rarely eat animals that eat other animals (dogs, cats, wolves, eagles). So, humans tend to eat things at most one degree of separation from plants.

Plants are food. Plants are medicine.

3. Essential oils are plant juices.
Think of them as plant blood. Just like human blood has red blood cells & white blood cells, plant blood has certain anti-fungal & antiviral properties.

4. Ways to use Essential Oils
This took the longest time to understand.

You can inhale them, rub them on your skin, or ingest them. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, we dilute them before consuming.

Inhale
When you smell an essential oil, the oil particles are traveling up your nose into your brain’s limbic system, the part that controls your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, and such. There are medications that we inhale nasally (asthma sprays, steroid sprays) so that it enters our body that way.

For essential oils, we can rub a couple drops on our skin and smell them, sniff em directly from the bottle, or pour a few drops mixed with water into an essential oil diffuser and let that do the work.

Skin
When we rub something on the skin, it gets absorbed into our body. For example, people rub Vicks Vaporub (which has eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, & turpentine oil) on their chest for cough suppression. Some people take magnesium transdermally, meaning they rub it on their skin so that it doesn’t have to deal with our digestive system to enter the blood stream. Nicotine patches are also absorbed thru the skin.

The same method applies to essential oils, we can rub them on our skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil for dilution. For example, you can mix 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil (known to help digestion issues) with coconut oil and rub it on your stomach, as Dr. Axe recommends for leaky gut issues.

Ingestion
The most common way we put things into our body is by eating & drinking things. The same goes for essential oils. We can dilute the essential oil (1-2 drops) in a glass of water before ingesting.

I’m not sure if all essential oils are safe for ingesting, you’ll have to do your own research there.

Resources:
1. How to use essential oils
2. Essential Oils Guide by Dr. Axe
3. Essential Oil Diffuser – Now Foods

5. More info on Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Garlic, Green Tea, Turmeric