Ten Essential Oils For Your Medicine Cabinet

When I discovered essential oils in 2018, I was so excited to use plant medicine—the last piece of the puzzle on my Natural Living journey! Are you searching for natural solutions that will help to eliminate the root causes of your signs and symptoms? Scroll down to read about ten oils that you should have in your medicine cabinet!

1. Lemon

Lemon oil is wonderful for cleansing the body and the house. One to two drops of lemon in water or tea will support the body’s detoxification process. It also has a great taste.

Feeling down? Lemon and other citrus oils can help uplift your mood!

2. Frankincense

The “King of Oils” is an amazing oil that can support all the cells of your body. Frankincense helps to restore the skin and promote feelings of peace. I use it on my baby’s irritated skin and in my night cream. I also take frankincense internally for extra support.

3. Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Melaleuca is effective at cleaning my house, my skin and my nails.

15 drops of lemon oil, 15 drops of melaleuca, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar makes an effective, all-purpose cleaner!

4. Lavender

The “Swiss Army Knife” of essential oils is calming for the skin and the emotions. I used it on my children when they had hives and I currently rub it on my baby’s jawline when he is teething. To help my toddler wind down after a long day, I rub lavender on the back of her neck and on the bottoms of her feet.

5. Oregano

Oregano is a powerful oil that I take internally when I need a boost for my immune system. When my children are not feeling well, I also rub this potent oil on their feet.

6. Protective Blend

The Protective blend is another oil that can support your immune system. I take this oil internally and apply this topically on my children. This blend has an inviting aroma that is very pleasant to diffuse.

7. Respiratory Blend

When I need extra respiratory support, I rub this potent blend on my nose, chest or feet. At night, I like to diffuse this blend with frankincense—it’s a refreshing blend for easy breathing.

8. Digestive Blend

To be honest, the smell of this oil used to make me nauseous. Eventually, it became my “hero oil.” Whenever we have any kind of tummy trouble, this blend provides relief within seconds!

9. Peppermint

The smell of peppermint makes me want to get up and go! I like to rub peppermint oil on my neck for an instant cooling sensation. Peppermint can also be used for stomach upset and head tension. It has also been known to repel insects.

10. Soothing Blend

This blend provides relief and comfort. I like to rub this cooling blend on my forehead, neck, and wrists after a long day. After my husband’s CrossFit work-out, I rub this blend on his back and knee.

What’s your favorite essential oil?

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Coconut Oil Has Superpowers

I have come to realize that the simplest foods can be the most effective at combating health issues. If you are searching for a natural solution, I definitely recommend that you add coconut oil to your grocery list. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits—here are just three of my favorites!

Arthritis supporter

In an animal study, rats were injected with Freund’s adjuvant—mycobacterium that causes arthritis, ulcers, inflammation, and death of tissue. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of the coconut oil helped to decrease swelling and inflammation.

CANCER fighter

A study in Malaysia showed that coconut oil decreased the side effects of chemotherapy and it helped to improve the quality of life in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Coconut oil has also been shown to prevent, stop, or slow the spread of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer cells.

germ killer

A study in Nigeria showed that coconut oil was active against Candida—a fungi that can be drug-resistant and can cause many health issues. An additional study showed that the growth of Clostridium difficile—an infection that can be severe and resistant to antibiotics—was inhibited when exposed to lipolyzed coconut oil. Another study showed that coconut oil was just as effective as chlorhexidine (a synthetic oral rinse) at reducing Streptococcus mutans—a common bacteria that can cause cavities.

Have I convinced you that coconut oil has superpowers? If so, go out and buy pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil and aim to consume 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day (max). The list of ways that you can use coconut oil is just as long as the list of its benefits. You can spread some on your sprouted-grain toast, throw some in your smoothie, or add some to your baked goods. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes—do this three times per week, spit the coconut oil in the garbage after you are done, and brush your teeth afterwards—to help prevent cavities!

How do you use coconut oil?

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DIY: How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

What do you get when you have small kids and a small amount of time to clean? Well, I’ll tell you what I get. I get ANTS! Luckily, I found a cheap, natural, effective way to get rid of ants!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Borax
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic bag

Please note that Borax is a natural powder. However, it is toxic if it is ingested by kids. Therefore, keep these “ant traps” away from small children and pets.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut the plastic bag into approximately seven small squares. The plastic acts as a disposable, waterproof plate for the cotton. In the past, I used a plastic container; later, I switched to a plastic bag so that the ants could get to the mixture faster. If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, you can use any small, shallow container or plate.
  2. Mix the water, sugar and Borax in a small bowl.
  3. Submerge a cotton ball in the mixture and place the cotton onto the plastic. Repeat until you have enough ant traps or until the mixture is gone.
  4. Place the plastic in the path of the ants. Keep the ant traps away from children and pets as the Borax is toxic if it is ingested.
  5. Throw the cotton and plastic away in approximately 48 hours.

These ant traps worked for odorous house ants (ants that like sugar). The ants will carry the mixture back to their home and the whole colony will die from the exposure to the Borax. Vinegar and essential oils are also great for repelling insects, but the ant traps and Borax were more effective because they wiped out the entire ant colony. This recipe came from DIY Natural. Mommypotamus also has some great ideas. 

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Essential Oils and Hair Restoration

I recently had lunch with a business contact who asked me if there were any clinical studies regarding essential oils and hair restoration. A search on PubMed for “essential oils and alopecia” revealed 14 hits—two out of these 14 hits peaked my interest.

The first study compared rosemary oil and a synthetic medication called minoxidil. The second study involved four essential oils: thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood. The writers of both research articles concluded that essential oils were effective treatments for hair restoration.

According to the drug label on DailyMed, minoxidil will not work for everyone and unwanted side effects can occur after use. In contrast to synthetic medications which can cause unwanted side effects, natural essential oils produce side benefits. The smell of rosemary oil can help with concentration; thyme can be used to purify the skin; lavender can calm the emotions and soothe the skin; and cedarwood can assist with mood stabilization.

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References

Hay, I.C., Jamieson, M., & Ormerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of dermatology, 134 (11), 1349-1352.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867

Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E.T., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13 (1), 15-21.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469

This post was published on April 19, 2019. It was updated on August 21, 2020.

My Physician Missed A Lump On My Armpit

When searching for a new healthcare provider, it’s difficult to know which providers are competent, kind, and professional. Sometimes, we just have to hope for the best. When I have to visit a new healthcare provider, this is what I hope for.

I hope for someone that will not miss the small things—or even the big things.

When I was in college, I had a big lump on my armpit that was the size of a kiwi. It was so noticeable that my usually calm and laid-back mom sent me to the doctor right away. When I showed it to my doctor, she said, “I don’t see anything.” She didn’t acknowledge it until I pointed at it.

To this day, I am still scratching my head about this incident. Did she think that I was a hypochondriac and assume that I was being paranoid? Did she forget to put her contacts on? Was she tired? Did she even look the first time?  

I hope for someone that knows who I am—or at least doesn’t confuse my chart with someone else’s chart.

When I was pregnant, I saw an endocrinologist because my thyroid was out of whack. His office seemed to be busy because it took them three or more days to answer questions like, “Does the doctor want me to keep my appointment?” When I finally got a call from a nurse, this is what she said to me: “The doctor says that your thyroid levels look good. Keep taking Synthroid.”

I had never taken Synthroid in my life.

I hope for someone that is kind, humble and open to complementary therapies.

A couple of years ago, I was admitted to the hospital because my arm blew up (I had a crazy allergic reaction on my skin). With chin held high, squinty eyes peering down at me, and an expression on her face that said “I am God,” the Attending Physician snidely asked me questions like, “Why didn’t you see a skin doctor? Why are you taking fish oil?”

Due to my burning eyes (my contacts were old and I was not able to get my glasses from home) and lack of sleep from being monitored throughout the night, I was too much of a mess to explain to her that my insurance would probably not pay for dermatological services. I was also too tired to explain to her how beneficial fish oil was for me, so I just responded, “I read that fish oil is good.” With a condescending chuckle, she looked back down at her computer keyboard.

I hope for someone that will spend just a tiny bit of extra time with me if I have questions.

Our first pediatrician was very cordial and pleasant. Unfortunately, she spent most of our appointment typing on her computer and a minute or so examining our child. After the minute or so was up, she said, “Thank you, your papers will be at the desk, take care!” She was almost out the door before I stopped her to ask her a question. She scribbled something on my paper and basically ran out of the room.

I don’t have firsthand experience as a physician, but I know that they are forced to have quick appointments. I also know that some physicians feel as if they have to work so fast that they eventually start to see their patients as products on an out-of-control assembly line. Therefore, I don’t really fault this physician for her behavior. Unfortunately, this might just be an example of our broken healthcare system in the U.S.

I hope for someone with compassion.

I personally know two mothers that recently lost their babies in the second or third trimester. So, when I started having abnormal bleeding in my third trimester, I was very fearful for my baby and almost started crying in the midwife’s office. I was embarrassed of being overly emotional and was (unreasonably) ashamed of being a burden on the midwife.

Instead of impatience or lack of compassion, the midwife took my hand and tenderly said to me, “It’s okay. We are going to figure this out. That’s what we are here for.”

I hope for someone that goes above and beyond my expectations.

When my daughter was sick and our regular pediatrician was on vacation, we visited another doctor with his own practice. When I entered the office, the “receptionist” was on the phone. When it was time for the doctor to see my daughter, the same “receptionist” ushered us into the exam room, took my daughter’s vital signs, examined her and called an outside vendor to order lab tests. A few days later, the same “receptionist” called me to see if my daughter was feeling better.

When I visited the office again, the same “receptionist” was talking to one of the dads in the waiting room. At this point, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and asked, “Why are you doing everything? Is everyone on vacation for the holiday?” He told me that he could not afford his staff anymore. “In the same way that insurance rates are rising for patients, they are rising for us as well.” He went on to say that physicians will probably not be able to afford to have their own practices in the future.

This broke my heart. This kind physician took the time to call me to see if my daughter was okay, even though he had to be the receptionist, medical assistant and physician for his whole private practice.

Do you have a healthcare provider that goes above and beyond your expectations?

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This post was originally published on April 12, 2019. It was updated on August 7, 2020.