Thursday, January 9, 2014

Essential Oils: Do they really work or is it all just hype?

I've been spending a lot of time lately researching something that is entirely foreign to my way of thinking.

Essential Oils.

I've been asking all sorts of questions beginning with, "Do they even work? Or is it a bunch of hype?"
I'm a big fan of modern medicine. Big fan! With four little preemies that needed intense intervention to survive (like a ventilator), I put great stock in the research and strides that the medical community continues to make. I'll never be one who tosses all of that out the window. I'm also a strong proponent of vaccines. Everyone has a pet peeve. Un-vaccinated children is mine. Don't even get me started on that.

But more and more, I've been wondering about essential oils. I mean, there has to be something to them with how long they have been in use, right? I wouldn't go so far as to treat appendicitis with them, but for a cold....that might be worth looking into.

Here is the problem: As much as I appreciate modern medicine, it only does so much. My quadruplets are two (almost 3!), so there isn't a ton of stuff that they can take to help when they are sick. Most over-the-counter medications are reserved for older kids and adults. And that's frustrating. Really, really frustrating since my kids get sick every time a germ looks at them.

I just feel like I need something else to combat their illnesses. Another tool in my arsenal  for when they are sick every other week. (Oh, if only I was joking about the frequency of illness!)

So I've started to dive into the world of essential oils. What are they? How do they work? What is the science behind them? Which is the best one? Is it worth the money?

So far, I've looked into (some more than others):


I have to tell you, there is an INSANE amount of information out there, and a good chunk of it is contradictory. I did find two resources that I've enjoyed at length though. This seven-part series on which essential oil companies are the best and this video about the science behind essential oils.

I like having facts substantiated with science, and unfortunately, not many scientific studies exist about them since they aren't highly monitored. It seems, each essential oil user has to do their own research about what makes up a pure oil and then decide which company they think is best. So much for my need for everything to be black and white.

If you think I have answers....sorry. I research stuff  like this to death before making a move on it. Can you blame me? This is my family's health we are talking about!

Hmm...I waver back and forth several times a day about whether or not to give it a try. Right now, I'm leaning toward trying it. But then my mind says, "You just rub a little oil on and you're magically better." (My mind likes to simplify things.) Is it too good to be true? I hope not.

I'd love to hear if you have any experience with essential oils. Did they work for you? Or not? And which companies do you recommend, and which should I avoid?

As my hubby put it last night, "It's a bit granola-y for me."

Me too, Babe. In fact, I can't believe I'm even entertaining the idea. But I once said that about chiropractic care, and now I see - and enjoy! - the benefits of that.

So...I guess I figure essential oils are worth looking into.

Don't miss the other posts in this series!

50 comments:

  1. i love them - use them daily for cleaning and overall health. have a great book that has easy recipes!! i highly recommend them - they are fairly inexpensive and last a long time!!

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    1. They seem pretty expensive to me! But I guess if OTC drugs and copays are no longer needed, there might be a savings...

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    2. The nice thing is that one bottle lasts a long time (at least in our house) as you don't have to use very much. So the cost is actually pretty minimal.

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  2. denise sells them at her shop and her quality is comparable with other companies and far less expensive!!

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    1. Do you know where she gets her oils from? Are they 100% pure, undiluted, with no synthesized, lab-produced oils in them? I read on several sites that those are the best oils. I might look into what she carries. Thanks!

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  3. I have used a couple plant therapy oils and didn't like them at all. I didn't notice help with the things they claimed to help and I honestly couldn't stand the smell. One of them was to help boost your immune system and so I would try to put it on my kids (especially before church, that is a germ fest) but they would run from them because they smelled so bad.

    I am waiting for a couple samples of doTerra oils - breathe and citrus bliss. I have a friend that swears by doTerra. I'll let you know what I think of these two.

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    1. Hmm...and Plant Therapy was one of the companies I was most interested in. I'm glad you said something. Do you remember the other oils you tried besides the immunity one?

      And please do let me know how you like the DoTerra!

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    2. DoTerra is the biggest scam on the market. I think you should do some indepth research on the company, its founder, and why MLM marketing is not worth wasting your money on. They are good for making your house smell good. That's it! Zero medicinal properties people. Have any of you seen scientific research to back up on single claim? Just one?

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    3. There are plenty of scientific studies to back these claims that essential oils can help. It's absurd for you to make such a blanket statement without clearly having any idea what you are talking about. An easy way to start is to go to pubmed and look at the multiple times they have studied thinks such as anxiety, osteoarthritis, pain relief, and many others. Now - anyone who tries to tell you that EO's are going to heal you with one drop or will cure your severe illnesses and make you live forever isn't worth your time. The Doterra consultants will tell you to use oils in a manner that you never should. They are extremely potent and need to be used with care. However, that doesn't mean Doterra's oils are bad, after doing all of my own research I think they are all probably very high quality oils. I personally can't afford them, with the exception of a couple of blends, and I like to use Amazon for internet purchases, so my chosen company is Eden's Garden. I was just like Rebecca, not the granola-y type .. at all... I wouldn't know how to use an herb or anything of that nature to save my life. But when I heard that these can be calming and helpful for kids who have autism/odd/adhd, etc, I knew I had to give it a shot. Our home has become much more peaceful thanks to these oils, and I have been able to avoid antibiotics for sinus meds this spring thanks to them. There are multiple other things they can helpful with as well that I haven't even tried yet as I just started a couple of months ago, but in my short time of using them, I am a believer.

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    4. Sorry but I have looked for a looonnnggg time and have found no legitate credible studies on essential oils. Only personal testimonials. Not to say there's anything wrong with testimonials. Some of my initial skepticism came after reading instructions that said to place a dro in my hand and stir with my finger in a clockwise motion to activate the molecules. My first question is "what happens if I stir counterclockwise?" I have listened to no less than 10 of these presentations and I'm stil as skeptical. Seems like old fashioned snake oil to me.

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    5. I am a true believer in essential oils and their role in keeping me healthy and controlling pain issues without ingesting over the counter or pharmaceutical chemicals. I will not advocate any brand because I believe many have good qualities I did notice someone mentioning citrus bliss by DoTerra and I have to say that is most likely in my top 10 favorites of all oils, no matter the brand. Its uplifting and helps keep me going on rough days. Try it.

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  4. I love doTERRA, but I sell it, too, so there's that. On Guard has been my go to oil for the last few months and so far it's been a life saver. I've still gotten sick a couple of times but recovery for me is usually a looong time and it's cut that down to a couple of days. I'm sleep deprived and have very little reserves AND immuno compromised because of my diabetes so that tells me that they're doing something for me. Breathe has also been great and Clary Calm and geranium have helped my hormones balance giving me relief I really never thought I'd have. I also diffuse Purify in my room when I'm getting sick or when my roommates or fellow students and staff at the clinic are sick.

    It takes investment and frequency plays a roll but I really do believe that they've been a huge benefit for me.

    - Erin Jensen

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    1. Thanks for weighing in, Erin!

      I won't hold it against you that you sell it. ;) I know that doTERRA and Young Living offer wholesale pricing to distributors, so even if you are just selling to yourself, it's worth signing up through that route.

      I'm really happy to hear the bit about the immuno one. That's the aspect of the oils that I'm most interested in!

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    2. I recently found essential oils - doTERRA is my brand of choice now. I did purchase NOW at a natural food store because I was in dire need, seems about equal quality. I also stand by OnGuard and Breathe blends!!

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    3. I will never be without Ongard and am grateful to have a good supply for this upcoming winter season. Oh and lets not forget Thieves!

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  5. I have never used them, but I have a couple friends into them. I think I could see them really helping for migraines, etc. I think probiotics are great (good ones) and there's more medical studies on that as well. I have all my kids on them for the winter. I got them from a whole foods type of store. Or Kefir type drinks. They definitely won't hurt anyone.

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    1. What exactly is kefir? I've seen that word floating around, but I don't know what it is.

      I've heard great things about probiotics too. I'm a little overwhelmed about this whole world of all-natural products. There is SO much to it!

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  6. We have been using Young Living for a few months now. We love them! I diffuse Peace and Calming in the boys' room at night, and I swear they sleep SO much better when I do. I also put some peppermint in a little grape seed oil and rub it on their chests and feet if they are stuffed up, and it completely minimized night time coughing.

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    1. Hmm...I wonder if it would help Abby and Ellie sleep better? They are pretty restless at night.

      I have heard that peppermint isn't good over preemie lungs until the kids are 4 or 5 years old, so I'd have to find a different oil for the congestion for my little guys, but I would love to find a way to relieve their symptoms!

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  7. We use Young Living and love them! I am signed up as a "wholesale member" but since there are no selling requirements (you have to spend $50 a year, that's easy!) I just did it for the discount!

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    1. I like the no selling requirements! I've been down the MLM road before, and was burned pretty badly. I would just want the discount. :D

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  8. I have never tried essential oils, but I suspect they fall somewhere between miraculous cure-all and total hype. I do not doubt that they help some of the people some of the time, but I don't suspect that they will be replacing modern medicine any time soon. ;) I know a lot of people who are very enthusiastic about them, but they are often the same people who wholeheartedly endorse kombucha and kefir, make their own sunscreen, bugspray, deodorant, and beauty products, drink raw milk, tirelessly hunt down every organic food source in the greater KC area, and incidentally, don't get their kids vaccinated. Just not my thing. However, that being said, I don't see anything wrong with trying them to see for yourself...I do believe God has provided many natural healing sources that are largely undiscovered. In the past, friends have hosted intro to essential oils workshops. If you'd like, I can give you a heads up the next time I hear of one.

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    1. I actually just attended an Intro to Essential Oils class last night. It's all very interesting, and I agree that God has put some natural healing sources out there. There just seems to be a lot of "extra" info and not a lot of scientific info. :(

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  9. I was skeptical/intimidated for a long time, too. Until I had pneumonia and a friend dropped some off with instructions on how to use them and my pneumonia and sinus infection got better without antibiotics/steroids/anything conventional. It's wasn't a magic cure in that I was 100% better the next day, but I was able to function and get out of bed the next day! And the day after that the congestion in my chest started to break up. And the day after that I was able to leave the house with only a bit of ibuprophen for my sinus headache! I blogged about it here (http://www.raisingthebarrs.com/2013/09/essential-oils-cured-pneumonia/), and have begun using them for a TON of things.

    Most recently my curious three year old put her fingers directly on the just-turned-off stovetop burner and the blisters popped up immediately! I had her soak her fingers in aloe and lavendar and gave her tylenol to sleep (she was arching her bad and screaming from the pain initially and even after the aloe/lavendar she wouldn't stop wimpering). In the morning you could barely see the burn areas (which were a large part of four of her fingertips) and she proclaimed happily that they barely even hurt when you squeezed them! :)

    Before treating your kids, I recommend reading the free safety report here: http://www.learningabouteos.com/ I am of the opinion that most EO companies aren't conservative enough with their safety guidelines, which has you using and buying more oils but potentially overdoing it. I personally dilute all my oils a LOT.

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    1. So glad to hear that it works for you! And I'll definitely be taking a look at your post and the safety report. Thanks so much for leaving the links to those!

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  10. It's funny, but just this weekend, because it has been so cold and dry, hubby put a big pot of boiling water on the stove and added some drops of peppermint oil. Man, an hour or two of that and my sinuses felt fabulous! The humidity plus the peppermint really helped. So I think there is something to it, the same way certain teas can help you feel better. And I have read research that suggests soothing smells can alter a person's state of mind. If you are feeling anxious or upset, put on a scented candle or do something with essential oils, and it can instantly lift your mood.

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    1. I think scents can totally change moods! Glad to hear that the peppermint helped your sinuses. I'll took that tip in the back of my mind.

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  11. I am new to essential oils, and so *not* granola-y. I love modern medicine! I had a friend who sells doTERRA drop some samples off for me for some insomnia (we are talking 4 years of waking up multiple times throughout the night and having a hard time going back to sleep. I slept through the night. So, I was intrigued and asked her questions. She researches the heck out of things, too, so she had so much good information to share. I decided to get a membership ($35 gets you a 25% discount for a year, with absolutely no requirements to purchase or sell) and took advantage of an awesome sale she was having. Literally the day I received my oils, my 3 year old son developed that oh-so-familiarly-distinctive cough. It was croup. I asked my friend for a protocol given the oils I had purchased. I applied 4 oils (2-4 drops each) to my son, about every hour. I put a humidifier in his room that night, and he slept 14 hours straight, not waking up once (and NO coughing until he woke up in the morning)! I kept the monitor on all night because I was expecting to have to tend to him multiple times. Nope. In the morning, he woke up miserable, coughing, and feverish. I gave him a bath with a cooling oil in it, and his fever was gone (it would come back, and go away again with the application of oils). I repeated the hourly regimen, and he was up wanting to play like normal--jumping on his mini-tramp, running, bouncing on his bouncing ball. He would get tired out much more quickly than usual, but was generally "normal" with a little coughing here and there and NO coughing fits. That night he slept 15 hours straight (he normally sleeps 11-12 hours a day) with NO coughing until he woke up. I was seriously amazed. One of the worst things about croup is how miserable they are, especially the coughing fits, and how little you can do for them. The money I spent on the oils would have been worth it to me just for this one bout. Luckily, I used only maybe a sixth of each oil (the 15mL doTERRA bottles each have about 240-250 drops). So, while I have no intention of selling the oils, I will definitely be using them for my son. One thing to note, my friend has said that there are several different protocols and ways of using oils for a problem. So it is likely that there will be some protocols and some oils that do not work for you. It can sometimes be a matter of trying it out, and if it doesn't work, either trying a different protocol or a different oil. I highly recommend trying some doTERRA samples from someone to see if they work for your family. If you don't have anyone you know, I'm happy to get you in touch with my friend. She isn't pushy (at all), and is very helpful and knowledgeable. Good luck to your family with whatever feels right for you. Being sick is miserable!

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  12. I have not yet tried essential oils myself but have placed an order just yesterday for samples of several from Young Living. I have been listening for a couple of years now to my friends testimonies about how fantastic they are. One of them is getting major relief from migraine headaches and one of them even was able to take her ADD son off of his meds. Seems like essential oils are catching on with all the people I surround myself with and I am just about last to board this ship. I have not yet heard a single testimony about the oils being harmful and the women I know are using YL. I have not heard any testimonies about other oil companies just because I seem to be in a bubble of YL users. I hope they prove as effective as all the talk!

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  13. My mother is actually a health consultant who's very into alternative medicine, supplements, oils, etc., and has been since she got cancer about 20 years ago. I'm kind of the same way as you as far as being reluctant to some of the super alternative stuff, but with a lot of what my mom does and has dragged me into with oils, supplements, clean eating, etc., I really do notice a signficant difference in myself and others she helps as well. I think the common misconception with more alternative things is that people expect the same results as conventional medicine in that they expect results the next day or they expect the surface symptoms to stop immediately. The difference with more alternative things is they generally work from the core of the problem or gradually, meaning a person has to be consistent and continue things on a regular basis for a week or two to start seeing significant results. The thing I've grown to like most about alternative is that it generally seems to fix the problem instead of just covering up symptoms along with there's no side effects or downside to trying something alternative, whereas when I get a prescription for something going on, I often end up struggling with side effects and adding another problem on top of whatever problem I'm already having. So, generally when I have a reoccurring problem or health worry, I lean towards alternative, but if I have a cold or flu or something that will eventually go away on its own, I lean towards conventional, Advil or prescriptions to take away the symptoms immediately until it heals itself.

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  14. We've been using doTerra for about 6 months now and i have especially noticed that lavendar helps A LOT with calming down to get to sleep and sleep more soundly (children and adults) and I've noticed the deep blue helps a significant amount with aches and pains and doesn't affect your liver like otc drugs do. This says quite a bit as I really do like modern medicine especially for quick relief...Can't hurt to try. You can't ever really give a first hand opinion on it if you've never tried it.

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  15. I have been researching EOs for a few months now and still have a long way to go. One thing I have discovered is that the terms used by a couple of sellers, such as Pure Therapeutic Grade and such are simply marketing hype. The companies have even trademarked those terms. Know, there is no regulating body for essential oils, thus no grades out there that are real. doTerra and YL are both high quality, but in my limited experience also high price, even with the discount. Here is a link to an article by Robert Tesserand: http://roberttisserand.com/2010/04/therapeutic-grade-oils-read-all-about-it/. This is a very interesting article, but the main thing is that he provides a list of EO sellers deep in the comments. A couple of sellers I have also tried is Appalachian Valley (av-at.com) and Heritage Essential Oils (http://heritageessentialoils.com/). Both seem to have good quality oils. I have searched for reviews of them and found a couple that spoke very highly of them. That is of course the writers opinion. As I said, there is no regulatory agency for this field of products, so you have to do your own research, though you can find others work and use it to help form a base to go from.

    As for results, I personally have not had any results from them, much to my chagrin. However, my father started using frankincense at my urging for his eye floaters. He does not know at this point if it is helping his floaters, as they come and go anyway, but he is seeing results elsewhere. He has a condition which causes collagen buildup in his feet and other places. The growths in his feet are reduced dramatically since he began using the frankincense. They are definitely worth further investigation. God bless you on your quest.

    John
    Alaska

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  16. I use plant therapy, I first started using Young Living, then switched to DoTerra.. then due to all the poor information doTerra reps were giving to other mom's around the area I searched for a company that was A. Affordable and B. practices safe use of essential oils.. I found both of those with Plant Therapy. For myself, Germ fighter has RID my body of staph.. it has cured stomach aches, heart burn, it has kept me from getting bronchitis (which I would normally have several times by now, due to the fact I'm a smoker and everyone around me has had it!).. and several other things.. I've used the ginger diluted to get rid of my heart burn, oregano on my son's foot and his ring worm cleared over night.. lemongrass and lemon to "burn" off a mole on my husbands back.. and a few of their oils to keep my migraines at bay. They came out with a headache synergy roll on I use now, at the first sight of a head ache.. apply it to the back of my neck, temples.. and forhead and the headache is gone within moments and no migraine. I absolutely LOVE plant therapy :)

    Leah
    Alaska

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    1. I had a similar experience. I get the doTerra discount, but it is still extremely expensive, so I looked into Plant Therapy. PT makes all the same claims but, because of doTerra's patent, can't put "certified pure therapeutic grade" on the bottle., yet it is their product descriptions. I have had great success with the few oils I have tried so far, even with the greater dilutions recommended (over doTerra's suggestions, who recommend using most of their oils neat). I can't help but feel that doTerra wants me to use much more oil than is need because that is how all the people above me make money.

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  17. I'm trying to see what results others have had as well because the only stories I hear are from people selling them. So I'll add my 2 cents here.
    I got some do terra samples and haven't had much luck with them. On guard seems completely worthless and breathe did nothing for my husbands asthma or any coughs we've had this winter. I have used tea tree oil a few times over the years to ward off incoming sinus infections (you can feel it when your teeth start hurting) and that has worked. It has not made canker sores go away faster. I use serenity on my kids at night to help them sleep. I think it's a placebo. And I use citrus bliss as a spray in my bathroom and LOVE it!
    So there's my experience. Mostly hype, IMO. Although, placebo is effective 40% of the time so I'm sure it does work for some people.

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  18. I'm a massage therapist who uses Essential Oils and I do not sell any brand. I have used doTerra and Young Living, I have ordered from Rocky Mountain Oils and West Village Oils and, in a pinch, used the brand that they have at my local Earth Fare. I am a believer in Essential Oils; they help my clients and I use them on my children at home. I sent them off to college with my daughter recently. I do not recommend anyone ingesting any of them! How you apply them can make a difference. When introducing them to children always combine them with some carrier oil - olive oil from you kitchen is fine, and apply to the feet first. Watch for a reaction... a quality natural oil can be found in the blood stream as soon as 20 minutes after introducing topically. Try them, and don't be afraid to mix and match!!

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  19. Hi! I came across this article and wanted to weigh in. I too am a big fan of modern medicine and will vaccinate my kids, once I start a family. My fiance and many of our friends work in the medical field and I understand the importance. I just began selling doTerra - but I only did because I was using the oils and found them to be very effective for colds, sore throats, sleep, lifting mood etc. I would not treat a very serious issue with oils first - but rather go to the doctor - however, I think they are great and very effective for the small stuff and for keeping us healthy in the meantime. The trick with the oils is to use BEFORE you are super sick, if you feel a cold/flu coming- oil up! Glad to find someone with a similar view point as myself :)

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  20. I am a fan of essential oils, and I'd like to add that they do work. I wouldn't expect miracles, but if you're in the need of some pain relief, decongestant, clearer skin, stress relief, restful night sleep, hair regrowth, muscle relaxer, uplifting, energy (among other things) then essential oils are a good option. Just my two cents =)
    Lindsey

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  21. I've tried doTerra lavender for sleep and not only did it not help me sleep but I did not like the smell at all. I do however like the smell of doTerra lemon. I have also bought some plant therapy and like the smell of the ones I bought but have mostly stuck with peppermint and fruity smells. I personally have not found that doTerra works any better than plant therapy and is a lot more expensive. But as I said I have not used essential oils a lot so I can't really make a fair judgement. I read where some one said they didn't like the smell of Plant Therapy but I think that is a personal preference because I did not like some of doTerra either but probably wouldn't like the smell no matter who the manufacture was.

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  22. for someone who does a lot of research...your research on vaccines is highly inadequate

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  23. All of the EO companies are money making schemes. Purchase oils from an herbalist..it's much cheaper!! Also, an herbalist cares about what they sell, they are going to be far greater in quality. May I suggest Mountain Rose Herbs.

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  24. I was glad to read your review, as well as all the comments on essential oils. I've heard about them and seen them listed for sale on many of the blogs I read. One of my friends is now selling them and I'm sure it's the expensive ones because she always jumps in on this type of new remedy, but never follows up by doing any research on the products she sells. It's all about the money for her, but I'm sure by the time she stops selling them, she will have spent way more than she ever made. She last sold some type of natural stuff, but I don't even remember what it was. Before that she sold these "natural" energy drinks that were $12.00 a can. She gave me one to try, but it smelled and tasted terrible and gave 0 energy.

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  25. Rebecca-just finding your blog after doing some research myself about essential oils-Have you heard about NYR Organics yet? I think the doTerra debate has already been established and thats why I'm not buying from them. If you are still interested in learning how we use them (in our very much non-granola lives!) then I would love to chat and why I get ours from NYR! jendaniels5@gmail.com

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  26. I bought Eden's Garden about a year ago and spend under 50 for 14 10ml bottles. I have loved it and have used peppermint for help with nausea during pregnancy, Lavender rub for kids owies and bug bites. I have been battling depression since I was a kid and have been on anti-depressants before and lately noticed myself having suicidal thoughts and just being really depressed and using the essential oils have truly been a blessing and have helped a ton to where I wouldn't need to be on meds. I have gained weight when I get off of meds, and so refuse to ever be on them again. I also use essential oils for my acne and for dry, aging skin. It has been nice knowing all the ingredients that go on my face or body, vs other store bought products that I don't even know what the ingredients are. I've used them recently to help with fever, eye infection (put around the eye, not in), and back pain as well. I plan to buy from Eden's Garden and hope to get a bigger supply of different oils. I consider myself to be a spiritual person and so enjoyed reading about different aromas/ointments and things found in the Bible and hope to get some of those as well. Hyssop, Cassia, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Myrrh, Spikenard, and more.

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  27. If you really do research , your research would take you to websites like pub med where you would find that young living oils are used at all major hospitals and university testing.

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  28. old posting but I guess i'll add my experience with essential oils...or an essential oil...I'm a trainer at a gym and both my elbows are shot from heavy interactive training over the years..the oil lady came in and I told her not to touch my left elbow and started working on my right....Well....right elbow is feeling great and left elbow is about the same...I would have to say, this particular oil for this specific pain site works!!!

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  29. If your kids are getting sick so much, another thing to look into might be chiropractic care...

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  30. I had never heard of essential oils before my sister who lived an hour away invited me to a class. I was experiencing heightened arthritic pain at the time, waking up stiff and aching in the mornings and did not want to use prescription drugs after another relative got cancer as a side effect of the drug he was using. I had tried health food stores and over the counter remedies with no success, so when my sister started talking about theses oils I was not impressed, but I went because she asked me. The class was very interesting and they passed around oils to try. The next morning when I got up I had no stiffness or pain. I couldn't believe it. I tried so many oils I didn't know which one helped the arthritis, but I was certainly going to find out.
    To make a long story short I signed up as a member to get the oils at wholesale price, got a oils reference book and wake up every morning pain free. I have had other positive results using the oils for other ailments. I currently have no plans to become a distributor (been there done that), but when sharing my testimony with friends and family they are becoming members also. I only share my own experiences. At any rate I can end up getting my oils for free.
    I use Young Living Oils, but hear there are a few other good ones. There was a Today show episode with Dr. Oz talking about Eastern and holistic medicine in hospitals (Cleveland Clinic being one) and while camera panning some of the natural products Young Living Oils was shown. Made me feel better about the product.

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  31. I know this is an old post, but figured I would throw a thought in here anyway. Assuming you are among those who believes humans and the earth we live on were designed to co-exist, it is not a stretch at all to view plants as medicine. Throughout the animal kingdom there are many examples of animals seeking out certain plants when suffering specific ailments. Surely if animals were given that instinctive sense, humans would not have been left out? The ancient people we have extensive knowledge of relied on the medicinal effects of plants and herbs. Many of those uses are acknowledged and undisputed by scientists today. Scents are of significant importance to the animals who rely on plants for all of their needs, and the scent of every plant is unique to itself. Why such variety if not for a purpose? Obviously there are those who feel all of nature's marvels are a happy accident, but I am not one of them. I have only dabbled with a few essential oils- tea tree is one that shows visible results on the skin, hair and scalp. Peppermint took the edge off of morning sickness, though it didn't eliminate the nausea altogether. The human body is as much a mystery as the world around us, and it is humility to accept that and be open to new ideas, even if they seem improbable at first. For your kids, the proven SAFE herbs are certainly better to experiment with then the existing pharmaceutical methods that have known side effects. As for those whose safety has not been proven or is called into question, it seems prudent to not use your kids for guinea pigs. Many alternative therapies can and DO work- some better than others, and as we are all unique, individual responses are bound to vary. Use your own motherly instinct, and take both proponents of oils and naysayers with a grain of salt. As for vaccines- no one can deny they have saved countless lives. However, when your child or a child you know has had a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine, the very real risks hold much weight. Every parent takes a calculated risk whether they decide to vaccinate or not, and either choice can have devastating results. I took the risk of vaccination with both of my children. My eldest was just fine. My son, within hours of his pre-kindergarten vaccination developed 105 degree fever,an a raging un-identifiable illness that left him with permanent neurological damage. He has since developed two auto-immune disorders as well. There is no way of knowing if that would still have been his fate. I am not anti-vaccine- if I had another child I am not certain what choice I would make- the threat of once devastating diseases is very real- but equally devastating is the children who become victims of a "cure." No parent should stand in judgment of another when it comes to difficult medical choices.

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