Essential Oils: Part 1

I have mentioned in a few posts lately that I’ve been using essential oils since November. I really want to share what I’ve learned and how I’m using them so far. I’m calling this post “Part 1” because I’m still very new to learning about essential oils and experimenting with them. I have a pretty decent collection but haven’t even used all of them yet. This is because some of them aren’t pregnancy safe, and some of them I haven’t had a use for yet. So for now, I just want to talk about the ones my family has been using and loving so far, and then I’ll write another post at a later date with more as I continue to explore!

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​Before I begin, I want to say that I am definitely NOT an expert on essential oils. Everything I have learned so far has come from my friend/former Bradley Method teacher/doula Marisa, the Modern Essentials Book, Youtube videos, other online sources, and the entire amazing essential oil community that’s out there. I’ve also talked to my midwives about the safe use of oils during pregnancy (they greatly encouraged it!).

Modern Essentials: my go-to essential oil reference book

Modern Essentials: my go-to essential oil reference book

Here are the oils we’ve been using and loving (so far):

Lavender: Lavender is one of the only oils that I actually ran out of and needed to reorder! That shows how much we use it in our house. I love lavender for so many reasons. I put it in the diffuser in our room at night while we sleep (more about diffusing oils later) and I rub it on Kevin’s feet before bedtime. It helps us all relax and sleep more soundly. It’s also amazing for diaper rash and other skin issues. I went through the 5 mL bottle that came with my Family Physician’s Kit pretty fast and now I’m working on a new 15 mL bottle 🙂 To learn more about how to use lavender, there’s a link at the bottom this post!

Lemon: Another one of my “most-used” oils. Like lavender, lemon has a ton of uses. Since the oils I use are all pure and therapeutic-grade, most of them are safe to take internally and put in food and drinks. I mostly put a couple drops in my water every morning for it’s detoxing properties and how it helps keep things ‘moving’ with my digestion [which is always a huge pregnancy concern of mine!]. It’s also great to use for household cleaning, as well as to wake me up and energize me when I’m tired. Like lavender, I ran out of my 5 mL bottle and reordered the 15 mL size.

Peppermint: Oh how I love peppermint. Like lavender and lemon, there are so many uses for peppermint that it’s pretty much a must-have. This oil is extremely strong and just a drop can fix a lot of issues for me. It helps boost my energy when I’m dragging (by smelling it or putting a drop on my tongue), it is the best heartburn reliever I have found, and it helps me get rid of my frequent pregnancy headaches- just to name a few! This oil is safe to use during pregnancy with dilution, but can affect milk supply as you get closer to the end, so I’ll probably stop using it sometime during the third trimester and until my milk supply is fully established afterwards.

Ginger: This oil was not included in my initial Family Physician’s Kit but Marisa gave me a small sample and then I found myself ordering it almost immediately due to my nausea and indigestion issues during early pregnancy. Even though I no longer feel nauseous, I do have some issues with digestion (especially if I eat dairy), and ginger has really helped. I liked to apply it on my chest and stomach, or even take a drop or two internally. Like peppermint, it’s really strong, so only a little bit is needed. DigestZen is another good digestive oil but it is not really recommended to use during pregnancy, so ginger will do in the meantime 🙂

On Guard: This is a protective oil blend. The oils that are in it have strong abilities to kill harmful bacteria, mold and viruses. It is not really recommended to use during pregnancy unless heavily diluted, but it has been super helpful for my son and husband. If there’s something going around Kevin’s daycare or we notice him start to come down with something, we will dilute this oil and rub it on the bottom of his feet, and also diffuse it into the air. I have noticed that it really does boost his immune system and helps him fight off whatever’s trying to compromise his body. It has also shortened the span of illnesses he has come down with. I love this oil blend!

Breathe: Another oil blend that I LOVE (and is pregnancy safe). This one has been great, especially after a fall and winter full of colds and respiratory issues. It contains oils that help open and soothe the tissues of the respiratory system. It also helps combat airborne bacteria and viruses. If we’re feeling a little congested, I’ll rub this on our feet and diffuse it in our room at night. It opens up the nasal passages really quickly! Just this past week this oil helped all of us get over a nagging cough and congestion we were dealing with.

Serenity: This is a relaxation blend. It’s pregnancy safe and filled with oils that help calm and soothe the body, alleviating stress and anxiety. I like to diffuse this one if I am feeling extra moody or stressed and I need more than just lavender to help calm me down. It has really helped my pregnancy insomnia as well.

Cedarwood: This is another oil that Marisa recommended to us for sleep issues, especially for my husband because he really has trouble sleeping. He needed something a little stronger than lavender and serenity, and cedarwood is more of a calming sedative oil, a.k.a. it knocks him out. He applies it on the bottoms of his feet before bed every night. It is not really recommended to use during pregnancy so I haven’t tried this one, but Kevin says it’s working really well for him and has helped him get better quality sleep.

Deep Blue: Kevin (my husband) uses this oil blend which is great for reducing muscle aches and pains and soothing inflammation. He likes to apply it to certain “hot spots” after we run, especially his knees. He says it’s like a natural version of icy hot. I have only tried it heavily diluted because that is what is recommended for pregnancy. This oil will really come in handy when I get back into marathon training next year!

My headache blend: I discovered this blend in the Modern Essentials book when I had a bad headache (common during this pregnancy) and was trying to figure out how to get it to go away. The book recommended combining frankincense, peppermint, and lavender and applying it on the temples, back of the neck and forehead. I was amazed when my headache disappeared within 5 minutes. I’ve tried it multiple times since then and it always does the trick, for both me and my hubby. This is awesome because there’s not much you can take while pregnant, plus I am not a big medicine taker as it is. I love that there’s a more natural way to cure these types of things.

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Other tools I have needed as I venture into the essential oils world:

​Fractionated ​Coconut Oil: This is used to dilute some of the oils. There is a chart in the back of the Modern Essentials Book that lists whether each oil can be used aromatically (by smelling it), topically (applying it to your skin), or ingesting it. Some of the oils are used topically, but it is recommended they be diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) first. This depends on the strength of the oil and also certain factors, like pregnancy or if the oil is being used on a child. Marisa recommended this fractionated coconut oil and I ordered mine from Amazon.

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Here is what the chart looks like, with the key to explain what the different colored dots stand for.

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Diffuser: I use a diffuser to use oils aromatically. A few drops of oil go into the diffuser with water, and it either puts out steady steam or comes out intermittently. I bought my diffuser (again, recommended by Marisa) from Amazon, and plan to get a couple more soon. I want to get one for Kevin’s room as well as downstairs. It’s important to get an ultrasonic diffuser, because they will not destroy the chemical properties of the oils, which is important if you want to get medicinal benefit from them. The biggest thing to look at when researching which one would be right for you is the amount of time they can run and how big of a space they fill up. I like the Jasmine diffuser because it can go 7 hours continuously and 21 hours intermittent with a half cup of water; however it is better for small to medium-sized rooms rather than large ones. There are other diffusers that put out a lot more steam but only run for 3 hours continuous or 6 hours intermittent. It all depends on your purpose for diffusing and what size room you have.

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To build my stash, I started with the Family Physician’s Kit which includes 5 mL bottles of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue, Breathe, DigestZen, and On Guard. When I ordered my kit it also included the Slim & Sassy oil which helps boost metabolism (not pregnancy safe but will be great to use afterwards!). It’s definitely an investment but I wanted to start with a good variety of oils that would be useful to us in many ways.

 

After that initial order I’ve been placing small orders each month. We are just beginning to experiment with some oils that will help me with my new lovely varicose veins and my husband’s high blood pressure. I’ll make sure to report back on if the recommended oils helped us with these issues! Beginning this month I will be also start to build my stash with oils that are good for labor/delivery, post-partum and breastfeeding, as recommended by Marisa. I am thinking of doing a whole post (or series) on how I’ve used oils in pregnancy, labor/delivery, post-partum and breastfeeding- once I get through all of those stages of course.

I really can’t say enough about how much using essential oils has improved my family’s health and happiness, even after only 3 months! I’m so excited that I’ve discovered them and I know they’ll continue to benefit us in the future.

Helpful Links:

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