One of my most frequently asked questions is about our use of essential oils. I am learning as I go here (and obviously not a medical professional) but thought I’d share a bit about our use of oils, particularly to treat the flu last week. There’s an epic giveawy down there too! Additional resource, a piece I wrote for eHow: 9 Ways to Use Essential Oils to Improve Family Health.
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Like most kids in the 8os I ate antibiotics with breakfast. Anytime I felt any way other than great I feel like I took antibiotics. Noticing that my kids have each had antibiotics one time and that medicine in general seems different than it was when I was a kid, I asked my mom about it. Because my mom knows everything.
Me: What was medicine like when you were a kid? Did you take prescription medicine preventatively like I did when I was a kid?
Mom: No. When we were sick, my mother started with humidifiers, mustard packs, Vick’s VapoRub. She pushed fluids. We rested and ate popsicles on the couch and she kissed our foreheads.
Me: What is a mustard pack?!
Mom: Oh they were wonderful! I don’t know why I never gave them to your brother and you. Your dad grew up with them too, to treat his allergies. Hold on. Let me google it. Here:
Mustard Plasters (also known as Mustard Packs) have been used for centuries throughout the world as a natural folk remedy. Although they have been used to treat maladies from gout to sciatica, today we will focus on its usefulness in treating chest & lung congestion. As we enter the cold and flu season, if you get sick and can feel or hear phlegm in your lungs when you cough and you are finding it hard to cough the phlegm up and out, the mustard plaster can help.Mustard is a rubefacient, which means it stimulates blood circulation through dilation of the capillaries, which, when applied over the lungs will help open them up and encourage expectoration of mucous that may be trapped. One of the reasons you want to stimulate coughing and moving the phlegm is that it can help prevent infection in the lungs and conditions such as bacterial pneumonia & bronchitis.
You mix dry mustard and flour and warm water and apply to cheesecloth and wrap the torso.
Me: How did your experiences with being treated for illness when you were a kid translate into your mothering of Travis and me?
Mom: I think when I was little I was taught by my mother (who was an RN) and my dad (pharmaceutical rep) that doctors where to be revered, almost God-like. Not to be questioned, we just accepted one person’s knowledge as the only solution. When you were sick I took you to the doctor to fix it, to make you feel better. I took my childhood reverence of doctors into motherhood. I didn’t really ask about other possible treatments when I was handed a prescription. It’s just what we did. My mom also worked her magic with some holistic healing – which I believe in all of us deep down – and I also took this into motherhood. I believe modern medicine definitely has it’s place, but Mother Nature’s medicine is also very powerful!
Me: Would you have done things differently if you knew what you know now?
Mom: Yes, some. There is power in learning, in understanding how bodies work, how medicine – eastern, western and everywhere in between. I have had many changes in my thinking as I have grown older: I now question information and seek different opinions. I am bold now. I am not timid in my questions. Today, your generation has the benefit of easier access to information and different opinions which I think gives you greater access to your confidence and greater trust in your intuition.
Me: So it is different but mostly the same: we do the best we can with the information we have. Thanks mom. You’re the best.
Mom: Love you Burb. See you on Sunday!
(my mama is coming to town for my birthday)
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Ruby had influenza last week. Honestly I probably wouldn’t even have known she had the flu because I wouldn’t have taken her to our doctor had she not been exposed to strep. If she had strep, we would have indeed given over to the power of antibiotics. She had a decent fever but I tend to let fevers run their course when possible. I asked my dear, old friend Dr. Julie Lyons her opinion on fever treatment:
I say treat the symptoms around the fever. If your child is in pain and miserable then fever reducing can be good. But there is nothing inherently wrong with a fever as long as it resolves within five days for most kids. It’s a sign of a robust immune response to a pathogen. The number one call I get at night is in regards to fever. I also see many unnecessary visits to the emergency room for fevers alone. I think education is key. It’s the symptoms that matter.
Ruby didn’t have strep but our doc did swab for the flu and the test was positive. It was good information. Particularly, that she was contagious for seven days — this was key because she was feeling well after two days and had I not known it was the flu we would have been out and about. We stayed home and dug into our illness arsenal: essential oils, rest, baths, movies, books and hydration.
So, the flu. We kicked the symptoms in two days and nobody else got sick so I am declaring a victory! Our protocol:
> Ibuprofen. During the initial 24-hour period, Ruby’s fever was consistently around 104. And she was incredibly achy and lethargic. We gave ibu every eight hours on that day to knock it back and it was so helpful. And awesome to see her spunk return for short bouts.
> Oils. We used: Oregano, Thieves, Lemon, Purification, Peppermint, Peace & Calming, RC, Melaleuca.
Our entire family applied Oregano and Thieves to the soles of our feet several times a day. Oregano and Thieves are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic.
We put lemon oil in our water. Lemon is antiseptic, antiviral, invigorating.
I diffused oils 24 hours a day. I alternated between Thieves, Purification (antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, sanitizing), Peace & Calming (reduces stress and tension) and RC (assists with respiratory congestion, colds, sore throats), Melaleuca (antiseptic, soothing). We have this diffuser.
I applied peppermint oil on Ruby’s belly when she felt tummy blech. Or to a warm bath. Peppermint oil on feet is also successful at reducing fevers.
Morning baths with a few drops of Peace & Calming, RC and Melaleuca.
I applied RC to Ruby’s chest every few hours. RC is wonderful for respiratory relief. It is also my kids’ favorite scent so they like to smell it when I am applying their least favorite scent (Oregano).
> Smoothies, Tea and Lipton Brothy Soup. Pretty much all Ruby wanted to eat. Andy picked the Lipton soup up at the store and I told him that was what my mom always gave me when I was sick. “Yep,” he said. “Me too.” We avoided dairy. Smoothies contained a variety of frozen fruit, a banana and almond milk. I am a big fan of these lids and straws for smoothies.
> Fresh Air. We didn’t go far those first few days but it always feels good to get out, for the sick and the caretaker.
Essential oils have changed my family’s health, our lives. I write that and I want to reword it because it just sounds so SO. But I only tell you the truth and that is a true statement.
Our little box of oils are pretty much all we use for everything that ails us. From bruises to fevers to cuts to anxiety to colds to cold prevention to dry skin to sleeplessness to back pain to nausea to headaches. Everything. They work.
And The Reference Guide for Essential Oils is my favorite book. Mabel approves.
I was introduced to oils by my friend Erika (we did this post and this post together a while back). She is incredibly knowledgable about essential oils.
Erika sells Young Living Oils and is has some awesome offerings for you chickens! Plus she’s just a generally rad human.
- A free Lemon Oil to anyone placing a $50 order during the month of February.
- Sign up for the Premium Starter Kit HERE and you will receive a free reference guide.
- Like Mama Loves Oils facebook page and leave a comment here for a chance to win an Essential Oil Starter Kit, valued at $163! Thanks, Erika. xo (
comments closed and winner announced on Saturday, Feb 7) Winner: Lucky #47! Congrats Laura.
- A free webinar! Beginning Essential Oils: a basic intro course on how to use essential oils for personal and family wellness. Meeting time is February 19th at 7pm (Mountain Time). The class is limited to 15 participants. Sign up by messaging Erika through her facebook page or via email: erikavosshickey @ gmail . com
Need help ordering or have questions? Contact Erika directly or ask away in the comment section here.
Also an important part of healing: big sister snuggles. We are doing research for a road trip next fall. Oh yes!
This is so timely, Nici, thank you! I’ve been using essential oils for the last few months, and really just feeling my way out with them, trusting my gut to steer me right (and so far, it has, I google my inclinations before applying). I’ve been looking for a good reference book, though, and have seen yours, but didn’t know whether to trust it or not.
I do know that the effects I’ve seen have been amazing. I’ve been using Vitex for my way out of control PMS and that condition has been virtually non-existent for the past few months.