“Essential” is a word that is often thought to mean necessary — such as essential vitamins and minerals. However, the word’s use in “essential oils” refers to the powerful essence of a particular plant or its basic nature and all the intrinsic bodily and household benefits that it can provide.
Some people are beginning to feel that, perhaps, these oils are becoming an essential/necessary part of their lives.
“I’ve made a complete, healthy lifestyle change,” said Jordan Stone, a wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. “It’s all just a part of my daily routine now.”
These oils are not a new invention — think frankincense and myrrh, both of which boast antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties — but they are becoming much more common commodities, as the shift to healthy, natural living continues to broaden and improve.
Jordan Stone is pictured with her “medicine cabinet” of essential oils and her guide book of some of the thousands of health and wellness benefits and household uses they can provide.
Many essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties. A huge array of benefits has been shown to impact brain chemistry, emotional well-being and spiritual wellness. Aromatherapy and internal and topical consumption of the oils are making a strong return to people’s health and wellness arsenal.
“I haven’t taken any over-the-counter medications for probably eight or nine months now,” Stone noted.
What human senses may think of as simply scents or fragrances are actually aromatic compounds of a plant that can provide many protective, reproductive and regenerative purposes for the plant and also for people.
Stone showed the assortment of oils that she said goes almost everywhere with her, basically an essential pack she always has on hand.
“It’s amazing how well they work,” Stone said. “There is an oil for almost everything.”
Holyoke Junior/Senior High School ESL teacher Allie Balog is also a doTERRA wellness advocate. She said she finds herself using them for all kinds of things around the house and for health and wellness.
“Lately, my favorite use is for teething,” said Balog, who has an 18-week-old son. “I love that I can put them on Cameron because there’s not a lot of options with him being so little.”
Around Holyoke, doTERRA has been one of the most popular oil brands. Some other well-established essential oil companies are Rocky Mountain Oils, Young Living, Edens Garden and Native American Nutritionals.
Both Balog and Stone recommend that people start simple with what they need most, whether it’s help with stress, sleep, aches or whatever. Then they can build from there.
Lemon, lavender and peppermint provide a great blend for allergies. While a common way of using oils is with a diffuser, this blend is often taken as a drinkable “shot” of 2-3 drops of each oil.
“Brett (Stone’s fiancé) has terrible allergies when the season hits, and he was skeptical,” Stone mentioned. “But now he regularly uses this blend, and it has kept him much clearer.”
Lavender is often known as the “universal oil” to essential oil users. It can be used in hundreds of ways. From allergy and sunburn relief, to acne and dandruff treatment, or for calming and relaxation purposes — just to name a few — it is one of the most highly versatile and recommended oils.
“The oils are simply great for prevention,” Balog said.
Another common immune-boosting blend consists of wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary.
“There are so many benefits, it isn’t possible to touch on all of them right now,” Stone added. “They are so simple to use and can help completely revamp the medicine cabinet.”
Essential oils are generally extracted through a natural distillation process in which pressurized steam is circulated through plant material, drawing the oils out into the steam. As the mixture cools, the water and oils naturally separate, and the oil is then collected in its pure form. Some oils, such as citrus ones, are extracted through a compression process.
“They are really making people take a step back and realize the harmful products they might be using,” Stone said. “It’s comforting to know a child or pet is not going to get hurt if they accidentally get into a bottle of oil.”
She stressed the importance of being aware that everyday household products and medications have harmful additives.
“It’s important to be educated and become more informed,” Stone noted. “I hadn’t ever looked into alternative medicines before. But since I have, there are a lot of other people I’d never expect to get on board with the idea that now have.”
Stone has even been running a diffuser in her classroom at Julesburg Elementary School where she teaches special education, often opting for a calming or balancing blend.
“I’ve had students come in and say it is clearing their senses,” Stone said. “It’s a practice that has been around for thousands of years, and I think it’s returned in this age now for good.”
Holyoke Enterprise March 26, 2015