I cheated on my essential oils…

… with homeopathy.

I love my oils. I do. I use them all the time. I make laundry detergent, floor cleaner, household cleaner, and more with them. I love what they can do. I’ve been amazed at what I’ve seen them do.  I’ve seen them heal wounds, clear up congestion, calm an upset stomach.  But there’s a lot of misinformation about using essential oils. It’s sometimes difficult to find out the true information. I have found that even among experts simple things are still debated. Bigger companies combat with other companies saying ones better than the other therefore the rules do not apply. It’s hard to wade through all the information and know what you’re doing right healthwise.

I sometimes find myself riding a fine line. Sometimes agreeing with one side and sometimes agreeing with another side of an issue. I think essential oil use comes with a need for people to be diligent about research education and discretion.  It’s not so simple as just slapping an oil on a sore.  There are safety precautions that need to be followed, and oftentimes in the effort to “sell” an oil, these safety things get left aside.

A few days ago I found myself  abandoning my essential oils. I developed an extremely irritable rash on my face and neck. There were a variety of reasons it could have occurred but my likely culprit was an essential oil even though I didn’t directly apply the directly in that area.

When I was pregnant I started getting a rash on my throat when I’d apply lemon (yes, it was diluted) to my throat for a sore throat. lemon rashThe general response I got was that necks are sensitive.

(And the picture doesn’t do this rash justice. My face feels like sandpaper now 4-5 days later).lemon rash 2

This rash was very similar yet a little different.

So I started to dig a little deeper. I had not applied an oil topically anywhere along my neck.  I had dabbed a little whisper blend earlier that morning behind my ear. My first thought. I had been working in the yard, possibly a plant I touched? I applied sunscreen, maybe that? Yet neither of my children reacted to it and I’ve used it plenty of times before. Miserable and uncomfortable I did the allergy blend in a capsule. 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of peppermint, and 2 lavender. The rash wasn’t getting any better. The itching becoming unbearable. Some of my oil contacts gave me suggestions for other oil remedies and stated that it’s a detox. Then I remembered for the last few days I had been drinking one 32oz water bottle with 1-2 drops of a metabolic blend.  I looked on the ingredient list and low and behold…lemon. So not only did I possibly react to the lemon in the metabolic blend but then added to it by taking 2 more drops of lemon.  The only thing that would resolve the itching was my unda cream (homeopathy) and coconut oil. My husband’s allergy pill didn’t even take away the itch.

Why do I share this?

In my search to determine whether or not it was an oil that I had used that caused the reaction, I stumbled across some startling information. Essential oils can cause reactions.  And they are not always detoxing! It’s simple any substance put into or on your body is going to potentially cause a reaction.  Nothing in this world is completely non-reactive for every single human being. Well I guess maybe water…

Just because it’s natural does not mean it is safe for everyone. 

However, even with a possibility of reacting, I would choose something that is natural that has a chance of reacting over synthetic toxins anyway!  I just hope to do it as safe as possible to avoid a possible reaction.

So many people have reactions to simple mundane things that others do not. It cannot be eliminated the an essential oil could be the same. Or that your body is going to remain the same for your entire life. Your hormones shift. Your diet changes. Your exercise changes. The toxins present in your environment change.  I stumbled across multiple accounts online of changes to people’s response to simple things like aloe vera (being fine with it for 30+ years and then one day breaking out into hives and not being able to use it again).

How do I use essential oils safely?

1. Dilute dilute dilute.

I cannot express or stress diluting enough.  I think this is KEY! So many reactions can be eliminated by diluting. Did you know that one drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea? Essential oils are powerful. People use them because of these powerful properties. But these powerful properties need to be respected. Dilute your oils. Not only does it save your money but it saves the adverse reactions to potentially strong or reactive oils (reactive to be used loosely cause all oils have the power to be reactive).

dilution

(Diluting like this could save a ton of money!)

2. Change up your oil routine

Using the same oil day in and day out can set your body up for becoming sensitive to that oil. In my particular situation that’s exactly what I think happened. When I was pregnant I was sick frequently. Lemon oil was my oil of choice for helping combat my sicknesses. It was one of the oils I felt was safest to use during pregnancy. Some of the other immune boosting oils I didn’t feel safe using. So I used lots of lemon. And then I started reacting. (That goodness I hadn’t overused lavender!! It’s my favorite). Explore more oils.  If you always turn to lemon for congestion, take a look at lavender, digestion blend, lime, respiratory blend, eucalyptus, peppermint, juniper berry, cypress, melaleuca, cedarwood, ginger, rosemary, fennel, etc. If you always use lavender for sleep, try calming blend, vetiver, Roman Chamomile, or marjoram.  You might be surprise at what success you have with an unsuspecting oil. I love ordering oils with my Loyalty Rewards Program because I’ll often trade in my points for oils I wouldn’t normally want to buy.  After I get them, I oftentimes wonder why I’d never ordered it before! Some of my favorite oils have been ones I get for free with points and later end up ordering all the time!

3. Know your oils

Essential oils can be complex. Know an oil before you use it.  Are there precautions you need to take? Are there people with certain conditions that should not use the oil? Does it cause photosensitivity? Are these oils pure or do they contain impurities (the FDA does not regulate essential oils and the minimum amount of essential oil that needs to be in a bottle to receive the “100% pure” label is only 3% essential oil!)? What country are these oils sourced from?  Please do not just take the advice of someone else, unless you trust that person completely. Do your own research.  There are plenty of books, websites, and other resources available to help make sure you are using essential oils safely.  I encourage you to continue to exploring ways to replace things in your homes that may be toxic or synthetic with essential oils (cleaners, laundry detergents, air fresheners, etc).  I feel this is by far a safer choice!  When it comes to using on your body, be more diligent about your research.Each day I learn something new and love that I can continue to learn about them and help others learn about them!

I will still use my oils and will continue to recommend them to others but I now have a better understanding of their power.  They have gained a little more of my respect.  Also, I do believe that I may be able to restore some bit of homeostasis in my body to hopefully not react to the lemon.  It is like food sensitivities, which change over time and can be healed if treated and cared for properly.  I’m just not sure what that will look like for now other than avoiding lemon.

I am dedicated to recommending oils in the safest way possible.  Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions! If I don’t know, I’ll try to find out for you.

Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

This post is kind of mortifying to me! I’m literally going to show you pictures of my toilet. It makes me cringe. It’s DISGUSTING! I think part of it is with the California drought we aren’t flushing as often, part of it is that we have hard water, and from some research I think some may be rust deposits. Oh, and I guess I should probably clean it a little more frequently.

But this is it! Disgusting!

toilet (1 of 3)

From my research, I saw lots of variations of sort of the same recipe for toilet cleaning. This is what I used

  1. I added 1 cup of baking soda and about 3-5 drops of purification blend essential oil.
  2. I let it soak for approximately 30 minutes and then added 1 cup of vinegar.
  3. I waited roughly 30 minutes again and then used my toilet bowl cleaner.toilet (2 of 3)
  4. It came out cleaner but not like I wanted. So I added all the ingredients again and let it sit for a few hours.
  5. Then scrubbed it a little harder.

This was my final result. Not quite as clean as I would like but WAY better. I’ll probably do this a little more often to keep it cleaner and less difficult to scrub!

toilet (3 of 3)

How to Dilute Oils—And Save Some Money

Every oil user should know how to dilute. There’s some specifics and some fluidity and flexibility with diluting.

  • Some oils require dilution to be used safely All oils should be diluted. (Please see my recent post about sensitivity development.)
  • Some people need oils to be diluted for safety or sensitivity
  • Using oils is all about frequency, not quantity. It saves you money and is more effective if you dilute and apply more frequently.

What do I dilute with?

A carrier oil is the term most people use in regards to using an oil to dilute an essential oil. Good options are Fractionated Coconut Oil (for constant liquid) or Coconut Oil (solidifies in cooler temperatures). Almond oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil are also good.

When do I dilute? ALWAYS!-But some oils require higher dilution

Type of Oil “Hot”

Particular oils are “hot” or powerful.  Some people are more sensitive too. Citrus oils can sometimes cause sensitivity and may benefit from dilution. Oregano, clove, cinnamon, thyme, etc are all hot oils and benefit from dilution. Peppermint, lemongrass, and immunity blend can also benefit from increased dilution on some people.

Skin Test

Every person is different and your response to oils will be different then others. It’s best to trial a small amount of oil in a small part of your body before mixing it into a full body rub and applying!

Children

It’s always recommended to dilute when applying to children. With young babies, you will use a heavier dilution rate than with older children. Typically with children a 1 drop of EO to 1 tbs of carrier oil is sufficient, but it also makes a difference the age of your child and the oil you are using. This dilution would be sufficient for lavender but may need more dilution, even up to 1 drop per 2 tablespoon of carrier oil with oils like clove, cinnamon, or oregano may not be sufficient.

Reaction

There have been times when I’ve had a reaction to an oil. Applying a carrier oil on that site will then help dilute the oil and reduce the reaction. Next time, try diluting heavier or apply only to the bottom of your feet. Also, watch out for a sensitivity to an oil. Discontinue use of an oil if you continue to have reactions even with higher dilutions.  Attempt to bring your body into more homeostasis with rest from that oil and immune boosting strategies such as whole and raw foods and probiotics.

Can I pre-Dilute?

This has been my latest love when it comes to oils! I’ve mixed up commonly used oils in our house in roller bottles.  I don’t have to figure out how much oil to carrier oil needs to be used when my daughter is crying with a tummy ache. I just grab the roller bottle and rub it across her belly, knowing I’ve already done the dilution and thought ahead of time. These roller bottles are easy to find on amazon.com or aromatools.com. I’ve been using clear ones but with more reading, I just ordered a set of blue ones to help maintain the oils. You can also order spray caps that screw onto old essential oil bottles so you can dilute and spray on as needed.

You can check out this website for more information regarding diluting. Please take note that each website has a different “right way” so it is best to make a decision that is appropriate for you!

dilution

Scrub a Dub Dub, What do you have in the tub?

My husband calls me a hippie.  I don’t think he realized it when we got married (neither did I!) but time as slowly progressed me into a more and more natural person, parent, and professional.  I know I still have lots of areas to improve upon but it’s one slow step at at time (did I mention that we just got a chicken coop!?!? sooo excited! I will blog more about that when we get the process rolling. We bought it off craigslist and have a few things in the next few weeks so chickens probably won’t happen for a few weeks!).

But as a part of this journey, I’ve started trading out chemicals for more natural products.  Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs whatever we put onto it. I’m picky with our sunscreen (and have a homemade recipe here) and we use coconut oil as a moisturizer 99% of the time.  I’ve been playing with homemade cosmetics (I will share!). But being frugal, I just can’t throw away soaps people give me (aka…I get lots of Bath & Body soaps as gifts).  So when I was given a bar of Believe Soap, I was thrilled to be using something way more natural that didn’t require me to buy soap when we still have some in the shower.

Winter-Citrus-300x300

(I meant to take a picture before I started using it but forgot, so here’s a picture from their website).

I got a full bar of Winter Citrus and a couple small samples of Lavender Oatmeal and Refreshing Mint.  So here are my thoughts.

  • 100% vegan (A+)
  • All Natural products, literally the ingredient list was mostly essential oils 
  • Handmade

Their website says they even use herbs freshly picked from their garden when possible! And even can custom order soaps for you because they hand make them.

  • They are $5/bar (it’s really not that much!)
  • Safe for the whole family

Because there is nothing toxic and these are natural products, I feel comfortable and safe using it on anyone in my family (do you know what kinds of  toxins are in baby soaps??)

  • Made in California 

if you are a Californian, you are supporting local business!–if you aren’t, then you are supporting small business! (A+ for both)

  • Lathers well 
  • Scent is pleasant and subtle 

Being an OT I am acutely aware that many people are sensitive to smells. This would be the soap for you if you are overwhelmed by many of the scented products.  It smells earthy, pleasant, and is subtle enough that you don’t think you are washing yourself with a slice of orange.  I tend to like things with a little more scent but I know many don’t so it’s a great middle road.  If you are one that likes stronger scents, maybe try one of the other flavors. My guess would be Rosemary & Mint or similar would smell a little more.

  • Long Lasting

I’ve been using the soap for a few weeks now and it really doesn’t look like I’ve made a dent in the size of the bar. I could see it lasting awhile.

  • Can be used on your face, or body

When I tried it on my face, I got a little in my eye and it wasn’t super pleasant but most soap isn’t. So if you use it on your face, just be sure to wash extra carefully

  • Essential oils can promote healing

It’s one thing to wash your body with just soap, but soaps using essential oils can promote healing while you use them.

My overall opinion…

I don’t know if I will order more soap for awhile (I still have lots) but if you are looking for a natural, vegan, handmade, local option, this is a great place to start.  My only preference would be to have a little stronger scent but it gets an A+ from me in all other categories!

Check them out! Have you used Believe Soap??