The EO Life
The EO Life
I've wanted to do a post on essential oils for a long time now but life always has other plans and I haven't had a chance to really sit down and review my thoughts until now.
Now I know what you're probably thinking - "Oh great, another one of those hippie-dippy lavender and patchouli wearing yogi health nuts" (or something along those lines). And I'll admit, a year ago I would have completely agreed with you. For a long time, I carried the assumption that it was mostly the placebo effect - where if you think something works, then it does. And then I was actually introduced to doTerra essential oils through my horse trainer, Mandy. She had started using them to great success, both in the barn and out of it and encouraged me to try them. I hemmed and hawed and kind of ignored it for a while but then a single event truly changed my perspective and it didn't even have anything to do with me.
For those who do not know, in addition to being a farmer, I am also an equestrian. I have been riding horses most of my life and my current love is a 10 year old Arabian gelding named Tucson. He and I had a rough start and some major ups and downs over the years but we have stuck it through and have emerged into an incredible partnership. In August of last year, during a riding lesson, we noticed a lump on Tucson's chest. After some inspection and keeping an eye on him for a couple of days, we arrived at the conclusion that Tucson had contacted pigeon fever. Now everyone in the equine world who is reading this probably just lurched away from their keyboards - it’s an instinctive reaction when it comes to pigeon fever, which is a very gross, highly contagious bacterial infection that leads to large swellings in the chest area of equines. These abscesses burst and release a torrent of some of the NASTIEST stuff you could possibly imagine (puss, blood and all sorts of other cool stuff). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t gagging just writing this, remembering what it is like. But this case was different. As soon as Mandy got wind of the fact that Tucson did indeed have pigeon fever, she pulled out her essential oils. Normally, as soon as the swellings burst, you want to soak the whole area in antibacterials, such as povidone-iodine aka Betadine. The problem with this method is that while it kills as the nasty little beasties, it also kills the good bacteria that the body sends in as a response team. Puss is, after all, just dead white blood cells being sloughed off by the body (doesn't make it any less gross but still). After giving the wounds a good cleaning, we soaked Tucson with a couple different oils: Clove (for numbing and antibacterial), Frankincense (anti-fungal, antibacterial), Lavender (another super awesome anti-bacterial), Peppermint (cleansing and anti-everything gross) and a doTerra Essential Oil blend called OnGuard, which is pretty much the go-to in the doTerra universe for whenever you get sick. We kept the abscess covered and maintained the process up of changing his dressing every day for about 10 days. At one point, a vet came out to take a look at him and commented that it was one of the cleanest, easiest cases of pigeon ever she had ever seen. HUH? I was confused to, until it was explained. And the reason for that is as follows: When you have an open wound, your body immediately sends in a white blood cell to take on the bacterial invader. Using povidone-iodine, you kill both the good and bad bacteria, which causes the body to kick into overdrive and send in more white blood cells, resulting in more puss and more drainage and more mess. By using essential oils, you are only sending in things that body would absorb naturally. As Mandy put it, it’s kind of like sending your white blood cell into a knife fight with an AK-47 - still itself just much more prepared. Long story short, it was one of the quickest, easiest, shortest cases of the dreaded pigeon fever any of us had seen, and that was thanks to essential oils. **For those unmoved by the story of the disappearing pigeon fever case, go google pigeon fever and check out some of the pictures. Warning – it’s rather gross. And if left untreated, pigeon fever can actually kill a horse – all the more reason to get excited about it being taken care of quick and easy.
Since then I've started incorporating them into my daily life more and more. I use peppermint and a blend called ClaryCalm to combat hellacious PMS symptoms instead of using the heavy painkillers I used to take. I use lavender and helichrysum on burns and cuts to help them heal faster. I even use EO’s on the Fisherman, who likes to protest but I think he secretly thinks they are pretty cool. We run the diffuser in our house almost 24/7 and not only does it smell amazing but it can really affect your mood. I use lavender to help me sleep at night and I wear the Balance and Serenity blends during the day. I even used a wet bandana soaked in the Breathe blend while we were evacuating horses during the Valley Fire last year. And you know what? This life-long asthmatic made it through all of the smoke and ash without a problem. We use them on the animals too – obviously there are numerous equine applications but EO’s can be used all through the barnyard too. I add a couple drops of cinnamon to the large 5-gallon waterers for the chickens, and I’ve used OnGuard on pig scrapes. White fir is another great one and we use it on our anxious, hyperactive pup Ally. Makes a world of difference. There are dozens more oils that we use on a daily basis but if I listed them all, we'd all be stuck at our computers until next Thursday.
Now, I will never ever tell someone that essential oils can replace modern medicine or provide a cure that other meds can't. doTerra, the company I use, has made it very clear that, and I quote, “*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Now you normally see that kind of tagline while watching infomercials for those amazing, crazy wonderful weight loss drugs. I can tell you for a fact that the ingredients in doTerra essential oils are nowhere near as terrifying as the crap that must be in all those slim-cap or fat-flush products. The oils are released as CPTG or Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. This goes beyond organic or sustainable and ensures that the resulting products are only the best possible quality.
I use EO’s alongside mainstream medicine and as supplements/compliments - after all, they are a natural lifestyle product, not a miracle cure. But in a world where every third product (including bacon apparently, which I call nonsense) supposedly can cause cancer, I think it’s incredibly important to consider what we use on and put in our bodies. Yep, there's the health nut. Damn, sorry.
There are some people out there who have pursued and created a career out of working with and selling doTerra essential oils. That is incredible but not something I’m trying to do (as much as the Fisherman likes to call it my Mary-kay scheme). I’ve just been fortunate enough to see some incredible results. Not everyone will have the same results, just the way that taking main-stream medication doesn’t always affect every person the same way. But, if you’re interested in trying out essential oils, I highly recommend giving them a try, in your own way and in your own time. I’m happy to answer any questions anyone might have.
My point is, that in a world so much is uncertain, why not consider trying something a little different? You never know, it could be good for you and you might enjoy it too. And in the end, if you don’t like them, you’re no worse for wear.