Why do I like, use, and sometimes blog about essential oils?
Maybe it’s because I like controversial things. I enjoy CrossFit, mustard-based BBQ sauce, and the South. Perhaps I’m just a born contrarian.
Or maybe it’s because they improve my life. They help my digestion and calm my sensitive stomach when I’ve eaten something disagreeable, they are part of the bedtime ritual that helps me sleep, and I use them for things like homemade cleaning products, lotions, and non-chemical air fresheners.
I am a Sceptic, too.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe that essential oils are guaranteed to cure every ill, but as someone who both was and is an essential oil skeptic, I have to accept that some of them have helped me in a variety of ways.
The first time I remember realizing that essential oils were more than something nice to smell was when a coworker introduced me to oregano oil several years ago as a way to stave off colds. He was/is an even bigger skeptic about basically everything in life than I am, and he insisted that laboratory research showed oregano oil had antiviral, antibacterial, and even anti-fungal properties. As it turns out, in vitro studies do demonstrate that oregano oil has these properties, and research published in 2014 shows it’s effective at killing viruses outside the body (on food-contact surfaces, for example). No research yet absolutely “proves” it’s antibacterial and antiviral efficacy in the human body, but a small study did suggest that it was helpful in combating intestinal parasites in humans, so clearly it can operate inside people.
As most people know, many of today’s most popular medicines are derived from plants. In most cases, these plants have been used medicinally for hundreds of years. The New York Botanical Garden has a really neat looking exhibiting going called Wild Medicine that talks about many of these plants and how knowledge from local, herbal healers lead to these plants eventually led to their use in modern medicinal form. There’s a nice gallery slideshow of some of these plants currently available online. You probably know that aspirin was developed out of compounds found in willow bark, but did you know that Ephedrine has plant-based roots, too? It’s pretty incredible how many modern medicines were “discovered” by people looking into traditional herbal remedies. In current news, scientists and farmers are looking into essential oils and the possibility of using them as “the new antibiotics” in livestock to combat antibiotic-cause superbugs.
These are the kinds of websites I find while looking for studies about essential oils. I don’t read a label, say “oh, it claims it’s great for solving this problem!” and take it at face value. I read up on the oil and see what I can find out before I start subjecting myself and others to it, especially for anything other than aromatic uses. I highly recommend you do your own research into the research.
While you’re doing your research, try to remember that, no matter what we like to tell ourselves, “scientific research” isn’t infallible and neither are government regulatory agencies. Think back over the course of your life. How many times have you found out about some “horrible” ingredient in something you ate or used that was “just fine” but is now eschewed? (BPA, for example.) How many times have you seen government recommendations change? I just read that, even though I grew up being told I needed three glasses of milk a day, now “they” say you should only give kids two a day and that three is bad. Is this the week when eating meat is going to kill you, or the one where we’re all avoiding carbs? And how about that new study linking some very commonly used medications to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the elderly? Clearly a product isn’t guaranteed free of unknown, unintended side effects just because it’s “approved.”
At some point you have to just make you own decisions. You have to empower yourself and stop trying to follow every single recommendation based on the latest and, presumably greatest, study. You have to simplify and ask yourself if you really think every food, medicine, and material made in a lab is truly better for you just because it was created by modern science. Is drinking water from your old BPA-filled water bottle better for you than drinking it from a glass just because people have been using glass for 5,000 years and it can occur in nature, but plastic is new? Is getting an antibiotic prescription for every sniffle better for you than trying something like oregano oil or DoTerra’s OnGuard (which has been shown to inhibit flu viruses in vitro)?
I’m thankful for things like germ theory and modern medicine and I feel blessed to live in a time and place where I can seek out modern medical care. At the same time, just because I love our new Mini Cooper does’t mean I never walk or ride my bike! The same is true for my approach to my health. I love eating real foods – they taste better and better for you! I also prefer to use products like DigestZen and peppermint tea for an unhappy tummy instead of taking tons of Pepto-Bismol with its weird tongue-darkening effects. I have personally seen some essential oils work – I had a very amusing afternoon chasing ants away with peppermint oil the other week – and others I believe work, based on my experiences. Whether or not lavender is scientifically proven to improve sleep, using lavender is part of my bedtime ritual that does definitely help me sleep, and my husband brings a bottle of it to sea with him as a reminder of home. We’ve consciously made a lot of changes in what we eat and how we spend our time during the last few months, and even my physics and math degree-holding husband credits these lifestyle changes for improvements he’s seen in his physical health.
Choosing Essential Oils
When you’re done researching and ready to try essential oils for yourself, you’re faced with a lot of choices. I used “grocery store” essential oils for a long time, though mostly in cleaners and aromatically. Once I started using them in homemade deodorant, lotions, and other topically-applied products, I realized I needed to look into which oils were safe to apply to my skin. (I also got a lecture from that old coworker about how I need to look for “wild grown” oregano and search for other ingredients to make sure the oil was pure!) I discovered that a lot of the less expensive oils are frequently diluted, and some even contain chemical additives. Have you ever picked up a cheap bottle of vanilla extract and realized it had corn syrup in it? Yeah, that happened to me once and I was pretty disturbed. A lot of the cheap essential oils are like the corn syrup vanilla.
I did my research and decided to use DoTerra when I wanted start really using essential oils topically, instead of just as a nice additive to natural floor cleaner. I love DoTerra because all their oils are natively-sourced, meaning they use oils from plants grown in their natural habitats. They don’t have fillers and added chemicals. Plus, each bottle is labeled to let you know whether or not you should put it on your skin or just smell it, and if you should dilute it when applying topically. Best of all, they have a great wholesale program that anyone can take advantage of. It cost me less than my annual Costco membership and, just like at Costco, I get wholesale prices without having to be an actual “retailer” of the items I buy.
You do not have to be a member to buy DoTerra essential oils. You can get on their website and buy essential oils at full retail price any time you want. If you’re curious to see what they have to offer, please check out my DoTerra store.
If you’re interested in saving the most on essential oils, here are the quick details:
If you don’t want to purchase a kit, enrollment is $35 of your first year (which is actually less than I paid for my Costco membership). If you want to renew again next year, enrollment is only $25. Each time you renew, you get a free bottle of peppermint oil, which normally costs about $20, so it’s kind of like paying $5 for your second year of membership.
There are several kits available, if you want to go that route. I started with the Family Physician Kit. I have an entire post on that decision, but basically it cost me less to sign up for a wholesale account with the Family Physician Kit than it would have to purchase the two oils I wanted at retail. This kit is DoTerra’s most popular because it contains several of their most popular, versatile oils. Not sure what to do with them? DoTerra has a great post called “101 Uses for the Intro Kit” that tells you, well, 101 things to do with lemon, peppermint, and lavender essential oils.
There are other kit options, too. Another popular choice is the Home Essentials kit. It has the same popular oils in larger bottles, plus a petal diffuser. Considering I purchased a new, larger bottle of DigestZen after one month and added in more lavender, OnGuard, and a diffuser the following month, I honestly probably should have gone with this one. Live and learn.
Then there’s the premium Natural Solutions Kit. It has the greatest value when compared to individual purchase price and comes with all sorts of amazing extras. It comes with toothpaste, hand was, face wash, a wooden box, sample vials for sharing, and more. It’s a pretty impressive kit!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any required minimums?
Nope– you can order as frequently (or infrequently) as you like.
What’s the catch?
No catch!! There are absolutely no hidden fees, obligations, quotas, minimums, or strings-attached. Just high-quality essential oils, and as much help and support as you need.
I don’t live in the US! Can I still sign up?
Absolutely! Whether you live in Canada, Europe, Australia, or South America, you can still sign up with a wholesale account! DoTerra is a worldwide company.
Do I have to commit to sell the oils if I sign up as a wholesale member?
NO! Building a team is an option, it is absolutely NOT a requirement as a wholesale member. Plus, you won’t be pressured to sell after you enroll.
Do I have to start with a kit?
No, the kits are completely optional. However, they are definitely the best value and what I personally recommend.
But how do I use essential oils?
One of the things I love about DoTerra is the great team spirit. There are people, myself included, willing to help you every step of the way. I do not personally operate a FaceBook group, but several of my teammates/mentors do. You can join in The Elliot Homestead’s group for fantastic support, and the From the Earth Team has a lot of the same helpful folks.
Here are a couple resources for more immediate assistance:
Everything Essential Site – This site has a list of ailments and the best DoTerra oils to use for each.
I’m not sure…can I talk to you?
Sure thing! If you have questions or want to chat about essential oils, please email me at natashalh(at)stalkingthewildsnark.com. I’m here to offer the support you need!