Saturday, November 2, 2013

Essential Oils: a review

My Review of Young Living Essential Oils:

Several of my good friends, spread all across the country, have been using essential oils for a while now.  My friend Emily has been ranting and raving about them for months.

But see - this girl is totally mainstream medicine.
I'm not crunchy at all.

So I just said "woah, how cool," when she told me something oily,
and went right on with taking my tylenol, you know what I mean?

Well.  Then our insurance situation changed (you, too?), and suddenly we realized that it was going to be very expensive to take our children to the doctor.  So I became willing to consider alternatives.

I read a bit about Young Living, the manufacturer of the oils, and I really like what I learned. YL oils are very high quality - very, very pure.  The oils that I could buy in health food stores, or high end grocery stores are cut, diluted, blended, or otherwise altered.  That makes them different, less expensive, and in most cases - less effective.  YL oils are so pure that they are safe for ingestion.  I really like that YL produce their oils from seed to seal - meaning, they even own the fields that their plants are grown in.  They aren't buying some weird plants from China that have been grown and harvested who-knows-what-and-how.

You see, I don't know why it is, but being all natural/crunchy makes me nervous.  So it makes me feel better to read and understand how safe these oils are.  But, let's get real: why is it that I'm willing to take and give my children medicine that is biochemically manufactured from synthetic products, and I'm nervous about using oils that come from plants God made and designed for our use?

(Please understand: I am super thankful for modern medicine and will still use anytime we deem it necessary.  But we don't love taking medicines in general, so I've just come to the place where I'm willing to give my oils a try before immediately opening the medicine cabinet.)

I also researched a popular brand of essential oils called doTerra.  They are comparable in price, although sometimes doTerra will beat YL's price by a few dollars.  However, as I researched doTerra, I  learned some things that helped me decide to use YL instead.  The first thing I found was that doTerra has been in business not nearly as long as Young Living.  DoTerra is a relatively new company, and they don't offer the Seed to Seal comfort.  After reading some more, I learned that the reason doTerra hasn't been around for as long, is that it was founded by men who had once worked in upper management at Young Living.  Yeah.  Those guys took what they learned at YL, quit/were fired, and then used their knowledge to start their own brand.  Shady, at best.  This girl is very black/white, and I didn't like what I read.  Here is a link you can read if you'd like.

So, after doing my research and deciding that I did in fact want to try Young Living oils, the biggest hurdle for me was spending the $150 on the starter kit.  The kit includes a diffuser (which costs $75 itself), and 5 mL versions of 10 different oils: Joy, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Purification, Panaway, Peace & Calming, Thieves, and Valor.

Once I bit the bullet on the money, I really do appreciate that the Starter Kit is a pretty immersive introduction to essential oils.  I absolutely love the diffuser, and use it every single day, often several times.  I love that I have the opportunity to try lots of the most popular oils, without committing to a large bottle.  It has helped me learn which oils I really can't live without.

I've been using the oils about 4 weeks, and during that time, I tried to make notes on how I used each oil, and how well it worked.  Following is our family's experience with essential oils this month:
Edited December 31: after using oils for another couple of months, I'm editing to add some more ways that we have used them effectively.

I was most skeptical of this one - a mood lifter?  I put it behind my ears on one dreary, rainy day, and I confess: I could tell it changed my mood a bit.
When the kids get cranky, this is the one I reach for to diffuse.  When I am in a "funk," this is the one I rub on my wrists or diffuse while I put my makeup on.  It's actually not my favorite smell in the world, but I can almost immediately tell the difference in my attitude. 

Good for healthy skin; increases feelings of inner strength.
Frank is probably the oil I have used the least; primarily because it is so expensive, so I'm hoarding my tiny bottle, knowing that I won't be able to repurchase again anytime soon.
Frankincense is kind of magical.  Any sort of skin irritation calls for frank.  Tucker's eczema will respond to coconut oil and frankincense when it will respond to nothing else.  Lana's nose got really raw and irritated, and frank and coconut oil have returned it to nearly normal, after just a few days of regular application.

Antiseptic; disinfects scrapes, cuts, bites; helps the body to sleep; natural antihistamine
Lavendar is the second oil I ran out of - we use it all the time.  It actually made me a believer:
*Tucker got a mosquito bite on his ankle.  In the past, every single bite has turned into a blister, with lots of pus and swelling of his entire foot.  I rubbed lavender on it right away, and followed it with purification in a few hours.  By that night, the bite had completely disappeared.  This stuff is magic, people.
*One night, Lana was having trouble going to sleep, so I smoothed a few drops on her pillow.  The first thing she told me the next morning was "the lavender worked!"  Now she sometimes asks for me to put it on her pillow at night.
*I burned my leg on a tailpipe - you could clearly see the line on my thigh.  I immediately rubbed a couple of drops of lavender onto it, and within a few hours, the mark had totally disappeared.
*Lana sliced her big toe open significantly enough that we wondered if she would need stitches.  After determining she did not, the biggest issue was getting it disinfected.  We used a tub of hot, soapy water to soak it in, and then followed it up with lavender.  It didn't burn a bit, and there was never any sign of infection at all!
*When my seasonal allergies kicked up, I rubbed a drop into each nostril, and within hours, all my symptoms had subsided.
*Lavender is still the oil that we use most often, second only to thieves oil.  When Tucker is resisting a nap, a dab of lav on the back of his neck almost knocks him out.  I use it combined with frankincense and coconut oil for skin issues, particularly eczema.  The magic it works on burns is almost unbelievable: we apply it early and often, and it blows our minds.  

Supports a healthy immune system; aroma uplifts and energizes body and mind
*Rub on glands for sore throat, cough
*Diffuse in the house for a clean, fresh smell
*Use in green tea to fight off the crud
*I've really developed an addiction of sorts to diffusing lemon and peppermint together.  It's one of my favorite combos- just makes me happy.
*Ingesting thieves is so good for you, and one of my favorite ways to do it is with lemon.  I warm a cup of apple juice in the microwave, add a half spoonful of local honey, and 1 drop each of thieves and lemon, and it is the most delicious apple cider.  But way better, because the lemon and thieves are immune system heroes.  
*If I feel that irritating, post nasal drip in the back of my throat, or if the kids complain of their ears feeling cloggy, I immediately rub thieves from behind their ears down the glands on the side of their neck to help everything drain well.

aids in digestion; promotes healthy respiratory function; combats fatigue
*Tucker woke up throwing up and with a 102* fever.  Put this on the back of his neck and spine.  Fever did not go away, but it did not continue to climb as it was doing.  I put thieves on his feet, and he went back to sleep.  Woke up with no more fever, and did not throw up again.
*Dan came home from work with a headache.  I rubbed peppermint into his forehead and the base of his head, and the headache went away.  He didn't need to take any ibuprofen at all.  Another day, the peppermint didn't completely eliminate it.
*We've found peppermint works great for headaches when combined with valor on the back of the neck.  Another headache trick is to put a drop of peppermint on your thumb and press it to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds or so.  
*When Lana's tummy is upset or she needs to have a bowel movement and can't, she'll ask for me to rub peppermint on her tummy.  I also dilute it with coconut oil or EVOO.  
*I am very susceptible to motion sickness.  I cannot read or write or even look at my phone while i'm in the car - I immediately get nauseated.  Sometimes there's not even a trigger - I just get sick from riding in the front passenger seat.  Just smelling peppermint from the bottle helps almost right away.
*1 drop makes a delicious peppermint tea that is very soothing to the stomach.

Neutralizes odors; repels insects; soothes dry, itchy skin
*Lana got an ant bite on her knee - a few drops of purification, and it was gone the next day.
*Strangely, this is the only oil Lana doesn't care for the smell, and at first she resisted.  After she saw what it did with her ant bite, though, she welcomes me using it.
*Since potty training Tucker, the smell of our toilets has made me insane.  No matter how hard I worked, a few days (or sometimes hours) after cleaning, our toilets smelled like public urinals.  I had pinpointed the problem to the base of the toilet, so after getting my oils, I mixed up 8 oz. distilled water, 2 Tbs vinegar, and 5 or 6 drops of purification.  I put it in a spray bottle and used it to clean the base of our toilets.  The smell was totally eliminated!
*After buying the kit in October, I just now ran out of purification, which means the 5 mL bottle lasted about 3 months.  Not too shabby.  I'm using purification more and more these days, particularly in epsom salts in the bathtub.  At the first sign of sickness, I amp up the thieves and draw a bath filled with epsom salts mixed with purification.

relief from tension and stress; soothes muscular discomfort; eases tension
*Dan has been complaining of heel pain, which we've learned is plantar fasciitis.  When I rubbed a few drops of valor, followed by panaway into his heel at night, he woke up the next morning with no pain, which he hadn't experienced for weeks.  If he would do it 3x a day for 2 weeks, I am sure that we could eliminate his discomfort altogether.
*Dan woke up with a crick in his neck.  I rubbed in a combo of panaway and valor, and within a few hours, he was totally back to normal.

Peace and Calming
contains deeply relaxing properties
I put this one in my bathtub at night, and behind the kids ears as I'm putting them to bed.  Tucker loves it so much that he even asks for me to diffuse it in his room at naptime.
RC is my favorite for coughs/congestion, but that doesn't come in the kit, and I've learned that Peace and Calming is helpful to soothe a cough, too.  Apply it on the feet or directly on the chest, diluted.

Immune protection; eliminates bacteria
This is my absolute favorite oil - the one we ran out of first.
Studies have shown that diffusing thieves kills 99.96% of all airborne viruses and bacteria.
*If I even start feeling cruddy, I immediately do a cheek swipe with a drop.
*Put on an ulcer in my mouth.  It worked as least as well as zilactin does, and tasted much better.
*To boost the kids' immune systems, I put 1 drop each of thieves, lavender, and lemon on each foot at bedtime so that it can work as they sleep.
*Lana loves it so much that she asks for us to diffuse it in her room at night.  If I diffuse it in the living room, the kids will just go sit near it.  It is recommended to diffuse it for 10 minutes, 3 times a day to boost immune systems.
*Tucker's friend came in the house to play.  He took him right over to the diffuser with Thieves diffusing, and he said "This is our diffuser!  It gets rid of all of the germs in our house, right mommy?"
*This is the oil we will never be without again.  We rub it on our feet every night.  We ingest it by drinking it in hot apple juice.  We swipe it on the insides of our cheeks at the first sign of sickness.  We diffuse it when we have company (and the germs they bring with them).  I soak up the little bit left at the bottom of the diffuser with a paper towel and use it to clean around the base of my toilets.  I put a drop of my toothbrush sometimes.  This stuff has completely changed things for us.  Last winter, Lana had the flu twice, despite having gotten a flu shot.  Tucker battled respiratory illnesses all winter long, requiring nearly daily nebulizer/inhaled steroid treatments.  This year, we have not been to the doctor one time.  We have not filled a prescription one time.  We have not used that nebulizer or those steroids one time.  

relieves anxiety; promotes calmness and courage; helps restore body systems to normal
This one kind of blew my mind.  I had to go to the bank to sign for an automobile loan for my Jetta.  I was nearly throwing up, I was so nervous.  We haven't had any debt in years, and I was just scared to death.  I put a few drops of valor behind my ears, and all those feelings of anxiety were gone.
*Apply this one to the big toe to stop snoring.
*Apply it to the jaw to reduce teeth grinding/TMJ.
*Super duper anxiety reducer.

Oils I've added:
I've added a few oils that aren't included in the starter kit.  The one I would recommend most is R.C. (Respiratory Congestion).  At the first sign of a sniffle or cough, I rub this on the kids' chests, and usually the issue is resolved by the next morning.  I also ordered Eucalyptus, but it's in the R.C. blend, so you don't have to have both, I don't think.  I've added Lemongrass for inflammation.  This month I will order Cedarwood for sleep, and Melrose for ezcema.

Combinations of oils:
*Lana was complaining of a runny/stuffy nose, and scratchy throat.  I put thieves on feet, lemon on outside of throat and glands, diffused thieves and peppermint in her room, and gave her green tea with a few drops of lemon in it.
*Lana and Dan both had a sore throat from cough/drainage.  Spoonful of local honey, with a couple of drops each of peppermint, lemon, lavender.  Though they said the taste was horrible, it completely soothed their sore throat, and they asked for it again within a few hours.
*I am ordering some Shea butter to make some different kinds of creams this month: an eczema cream, a sleepytime cream, and a pain cream.  Stay tuned for recipes and reviews on those.
*I also received some Slique weight loss capsules as a bonus for ordering so much (whoops), so if I get real skinny in the next month or so, you'll know those work, too.  :)  I'm going to start using those tomorrow, and will review at the end of the month.

Here are some thoughts I have regarding YL's essential oils after a month:

--->It is difficult to prove a negative.  That is to say, how would we prove how well Thieves has worked?  How many colds/viruses/sicknesses has it prevented, or shortened the length of?  That can't really be proven, but my instinct tells me that it's working.  I came home from teaching first grade one day and just felt the sickies coming on.  You know what I mean - I was cruddy, and worn down.  I did a cheek swipe of thieves 3 times a day for the next several days, and I never got sick.  To be sure, I combined that with rest and good foods, but I am convinced that the thieves helped my body fight it.

---> As soon as I ran out of thieves and wasn't putting in their feet every night, both kids and Dan got sick.  I'm just saying.

--->My children ask for them.  That speaks volumes to me.

--->Dan, who laughingly calls them my "voodoo oils" is a believer.  He now will reach for the oils before the medicines, and at least try them first.

--->I have already reordered a bottle of Thieves, and also a bottle of RC, which was not in the starter kit.  RC supports the respiratory system: coughs, wheezing, etc.  That's a must have for the winter time in our house.

--->I also ordered Thieves floss this month, and I am super, super excited about it.  No matter what I do, how often I floss or brush, what products I use - my teeth and gums rebel.  They hate me.  I can't wait to see if Thieves has any impact.  I want to try the toothpaste, too.

--->Next month, I will order a bottle of Thieves and a diffuser for my classroom.  We are going to fight those winter, it smells exactly like Christmas.  Yum.

--->My only criticism of Young Living at this point is how very difficult their website is to navigate and order from.  It is laborious, and it seems like I always have some sort of problem.  Perhaps it's user error; and I hope that will get easier for me with time.
They've rolled out a new Virtual Office, which is really lovely and very easy to navigate.   Additionally, their customer service is top-notch.

--->I'm currently researching Essential Rewards, a monthly autoship program.  I'll keep you posted on that.  So far, I know you get a discount on the cost of shipping, and it's different from other autoship programs in that you can change the date and product of your order every month, so you don't always have to get the same thing.  I have signed up for ER, and love it.  It's kind of an autoship deal, but not really because every month I order something new, and you can skip one month a calender year and keep your points.  There's basically a point value (essentially a point for every dollar) assigned to everything you order, and you can use those earned points to purchase free oils.  Also, you can unsubscribe at any time, so I figured I would give it a month or two, and it's really a great deal for me.  You never ever have to do this, but if you love the oils and want to reorder, I'm happy to tell you about it.  

--->If you are interested in trying out essential oils, but you're not ready to buy the starter kit, I am happy to include you on my order and share my discount with you (24% off retail plus discounted shipping).  Just let me know!

---> If you want to purchase a starter kit, let me know and I will send you a link.  The EveryDay Oils come in the starter kit, along with the diffuser (that normally costs $75), along with several other goodies.  The everyday oils alone cost around $165, so the starter kit for $150 is definitely the way to go.


  1. does YL give you instructions on how to apply them? and what to use for different ailments?

  2. Yes, Candace! You get a booklet that gives some directions, and there is also a facebook group that I have come to LOVE - people share how and what they are using oils for. It's where I learned to treat Dan's plantar fasciitis.

  3. My friend led me to your blog... I just purchased the essential oils premium starter kit... I am much like you were at the beginning of your journey with essential oils... into mainstream medicine...after getting the news that my husband (being only 27 years old) had cancer last year I started questioning the things we use in our house and I've always hated what I've had to medicate my daughter with during the winter months (she sounds much like your son...she is about to be two but both winters have been filled with congestion and wheezing and illnesses most all winter)... im interested to see how they work for our family but also somewhat skeptic... my daughter right now is fighting another horrible cruddy cough this season... my friend is going to give me some rc until it comes in.. I hope my story can read like yours one day!