Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hip - Hippie - Hooray: Essential Oils (My New Love)

Two years ago, when I was early in my pregnancy with Elsa, I caught a horrible cold that would not go away.  Even after I felt better, the hacking cough lingered.  I was having multiple coughing attacks a day which I coughed so hard tears would stream down my face, I would pee my pants, and would end up with a splitting headache because I could not catch my breath.
Desperate for relief (you are advised to take nothing over the counter during the first trimester), I asked my friend Sabrina if she had wisdom for me to shake the persistent cough.  I knew she had been researching and trying many remedies to help her asthma and allergies.  She suggested some breathing exercises and gave me 2 small bottles - peppermint and lavender essential oils.  They were nearly empty, but she said to try them and see if they helped.
And they did!  I could feel the peppermint open my airways with a cool sensation.  I had a coughing fit at an Awana conference - I was embarraseed, so I was trying to stifle my coughs, which led to more coughing....  I put lavender on my temples, and could feel myself relaxing even though I was still coughing.  It was the weirdest thing.
It was enough to convince me there might be something to this hippie essential oil fad.
I also had horrible varicose veins, which pregnancy definitely made much worse.  The throbbing pain was so bad when I didn't wear compression tights that I would almost be limping.  I researched what oils might help, and kept coming up with one called "helichrysum."  It was expensive, but finally I bit the bullet and ordered some.
The relief was unbelieveable.  Even for me, still somewhat of a skeptic.  I put a couple drops on my hand, added about a teaspoon of sunflower oil and rubbed it on my aching leg, and by the time I put my leg down to the ground, the pain was gone.  (That is not an exaggeration - it was the weirdest thing!  And it still works like that on days I have vein pain!)
And that... Has led to this:

Paul built me this beautiful cabinet when my collection outgrew the drawer.

We may have a problem.....

Paul is still skeptical on all of it, but did give me one concession - the blend I have that claims to help with digestion definitely worked on him when he caught a stomach bug.  It was one and done, which has NEVER happened when he starts throwing up!
However, Paul has gotten into diffusing oils.  Not for therapeutic purposes, but just because they smell good!  He can blend a bit of this and that, and if it doesn't smell good, the commitment is only a few hours (unlike a candle).  And if it smells horrible, you can dump it out and start over!  (Lime and cinnamon being one of the few that I vetoed.)  For Christmas, he even got me a pretty diffuser for our bedroom!
I have also switched most of my skin care to oils.  I even use oil to wash my face - for real!  And my skin is much healthier than it was 18 months ago when I started.  I use essential oils with coconut oil instead of body lotion or perfume.  (Since having children, I have developed allergies to scents in some perfumes, soaps, and household cleaners and air fresheners.)  I make beeswax lip balm (just like the stuff you can buy!) for both Paul and I, and make a dry skin salve that really works!  (Maybe I will post the recipes another time.)
I don't sell oils, and I never will - I refuse to buy from or be a part of multi-level marketing.  But I will talk about them - a lot!  My research has slowed down (no time!), but I am always interested to read about new uses.  Who knew that just breathing in certain scents can help with sleep, concentration, and motivation?  If you're dubious that a smell can effect our brain like that, the best explanation I've read compared it to the smell of vomit making you want to vomit, the smell of fresh-baked bread making your mouth water - there's a smell/brain/body connection, even if I can't explain it!
So to wrap it up - here are a couple of our favorite diffuser "recipes" that make our house smell yummy:

Chocolate Mint Diffuser Blend
2 drops peppermint
1 drop vanilla
Smells just like chocolate mint candy!

Holiday Cookie Diffuser Blend (courtesy Edens Garden)
3 drops wild orange
2 drops cinnamon bark
2 drops vanilla
Zadie walked in when I had this going and exclaimed, "It smells like Christmas!"

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