By Sarah Fancy Fuerstenberger
If you've been following our blog, you'll notice that we all have something in common: using essential oils. What are essential oils? Why is everyone using them these days? Why should YOU try them? According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, an essential oil is "that aromatic, volatile liquid that is wihtin many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds and that is usually extracted through steam distillation." The distillation process used in creating essential oils makes them highly concentrated and far more potent than dried herbs. A large volume of plant material is need to produce very small amonts of distilled essential oils. Here's an example: it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one kilo of rose oil. These oils are nature's original medicine.
So how do you use them? How do you know which one to use when and where? The internet is full of information, not all of which you can trust. Most of us google first, ask questions later. The FDA can't regulate these oils, but drug companies often base medicines on particular components of plants. I personally have a couple of reference books that I consult regularly. I also to some degree, experiment. What I have found over the past year of using oils is that each oil works differently on each person. You know how Sudafed winds some people up and puts others to sleep? Peace & Calming essential oil from Young Living winds one of my kids up and calms the other. So despite my own control freak tendencies and need for information, I have learned to be open to just trying things out.
When I bought my Premium Starter Kit, I was a skeptic. My sister had been raving about oils for a while, and I bought the kit on her recommendation. It sat around on the shelf for a while, I admit. But I finally caved and gave it a go to help my daugther with her concentration issues. She's seven, and is in third grade here in Germany. That means she is young for her class. Due to a couple of international moves, we needed to put her into school before most of her same-aged counterparts were even thinking about it. She's kind of a spitfire. So despite the fact that she could read very well by age 4 (in English), she still struggles with sitting and paying attention for the time required in school. Homework (and there is a lot of it), can be especially trying. She was struggling to get going with her homework at Hort (after school care) and I think she was driving her teachers there round the bend. Then came essential oils. I made her the "focus" mix of Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver. A few weeks later I had the chance to talk to Carola, her teacher (Erzieherin). She told me that Livi now needed 9 minutes less to get going on her homework. I call that a victory.
Since then, our collection of oils has grown and we have started to reach for them before we reach for OTC meds. Germany is a place that is generally open to alternative medicine, which is great. Ibuprofen is expensive here as well! Who wants to pay €10 for 10 ibuprofen? Not me! We've been using them for back pain, for stress, for depression, test anxiety, to create harmony in the home, for alertness. You name it! I've started making creams and lotions for my colleagues and friends and have had great success. This Christmas, we even made chapstick using peppermint and have been handing them out as little gifts. I'm not at all crafty, so I am very proud of myself for that!
I'm really happy to be able to turn to more natural solutions in helping my family get and stay well. I'm an information seeker, so the challenge of finding the perfect oil solution is part of the fun for me. What surprised me the most about these oils, though, is the fact that they can really help with emotional issues. Most of us have had some hard times and traumas in our lives. I certainly have. There have been periods where I have taken antidepressants as well. In Ireland I tried several. They helped, but the side effects were horrible. I am not a person who can stand adding another ten pounds to my already bountiful body. Right now I using Valor and Orange to help me with moods. Stress Away is for the more acute stuff (kids screaming, work colleagues putting on the pressure, that sort of thing). I also am trying Release and Forgiveness. I'll keep you posted on the results.
Want to make 2015 a more healthy one for you and your family? Shoot us an email or fill out the contact form for more information. (German or English, either one will do). Stay tuned for more about oils from me and my fellow bloggers.