I have recently been introduced to Essential Oils and I am by no means an expert, but I believe they definitely have a place in the prepper’s medical bag. They are a pure, all-natural alternative to many types of medications and ointments without the side effects of chemicals.
Essential oils are extracted from certain varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, and flowers. The oil is concentrated in different parts of the plant. The most common way of extracting oil is through steam distillation. It takes thousands of rose petals to make one small bottle of rose oil! Most essential oils are not ‘oily’ like vegetable oil, but will penetrate the skin without an oily feel. Shelf life varies, but I’ve read the shelf life of citrus oils is 1-2 years, and other oils possibly up to 8 years, making them a great addition to your 1st aid kit. They should be stored in a dry, dark place. A 5 ml bottle of essential oils contains approximately 85 drops. One drop goes a long way, so I suggest getting a few glass droppers to use instead of dripping from the bottle-sometimes the oil can come out too fast and you don’t want to waste a drop!
Some common words you will see when reading about essential oils and their meanings:
Neat=Undiluted drops of essential oil
FCO=Fractionated Coconut Oil (regular coconut oil is solid at room temp, Fractionated Coconut Oil stays liquid),
Carrier Oils = Oils used to dilute EOs. Some common carrier oils are: Olive Oil, Grape seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, and FCO.
Some ways to use EOs: Smell straight from the bottle or place a few drops on tissue/handkerchief and inhale, diffuse, dilute with carrier oil or witch hazel, apply neat to skin, room sprays, roller bottles, or apply to a clay pendant necklace.
Here’s a small list of some things EOs can be used for: burns, bug spray, aches and pains, insomnia, cold and flu symptoms, toothaches, PMS, athlete’s foot, ADHD, allergies, anxiety, constipation, bed bugs, lice, cleaning solutions, animal issues and many more.
If using on infants, use 1-2 drops EOs to 1 TB carrier oil.
If using on children, use 1-2 drops EOs to 1 tsp. carrier oil.
Do not ingest unless it specifically states on bottle that it is safe to consume.
Use only pure therapeutic or pharma grade oils.
Use glass bottles when mixing up an EO ‘recipe’. The EOs will often break down plastic.
Many oils have similar properties, so if you don’t have an oil you can substitute another.
There are many sources to buy EOs from; I recently became an Affiliate with Spark Naturals. They are very affordable. If you are just starting out, I would suggest the most common oils- Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree (also known as Melaleuca), Lemon, and blends thereof are great for specific issues without having to buy many different oils. Spark Naturals offers oils and oil blends. (You can use Coupon Code “DISCOUNT” for 10% off your order.)
-Lavender is one of the most popular EOs, and is great for burns or scalds. Lavender has anti-biotic, anti-septic, anti-depressant, and sedative properties. Promotes healing and prevents scarring. It stimulates the immune system.
-Peppermint has analgesic, anesthetic, anti-septic, decongestant, and stimulant properties. It is great for digestive issues, respiratory, circulation, fatigue, and headaches. It can also keep fleas, ants and mice away.
-Tea Tree is anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. It helps the immune system and helps the body fight off illness. It can be used to treat ringworm, athlete’s foot, infections, and mold. I’ve used it on blemishes-1 drop applied twice a day is very effective. It is also great for cold sores.
-Lemon is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic, and diuretic. Lemon can be used as a water purifier. Add a drop to a glass of water to detoxify and stimulate the lymphatic and digestive system. I’ve even read it can help with weight loss and keep wrinkles away!
-Shield is a blend based upon the legend of grave robbers in 15th century England. They developed a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary to protect them while robbing the plague victims. I use Shield in my diffuser during the winter or when someone in our house is getting sick. It smells great. I like the Zaq Allay Diffuser. I’ve bought cheaper ones that haven’t lasted long. (Spark Naturals is one place that sells it) Shield can also be used neat on the bottoms of the feet (feet have the largest pores and EOs get into bloodstream quickly) to protect against germs. I apply Shield (diluted with carrier oil) on my daughter’s feet before school using a roller bottle. I also make a hand sanitizer with Shield.
Other blends: Amend for sore muscles, Bliss for calming, Dream for sleep, Jeddy’s blend for ADHD and anxiety, Respire for respiratory issues, and more.
Essential oils that are good for Sinus issues: Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Oregano, Lemon.
Oils that can help with cramps/PMS: Basil, Clary Sage, Geranium, Cypress.
Uplifting oils: Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, and Clary Sage.
Oils for stress relief/calming: Frankincense, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.
Oils for energy/alertness: Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Rosemary, Peppermint.
Frankincense was of course one of the gifts for baby Jesus. It can be used for anxiety, asthma, and to treat bronchitis. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and has anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
Myrrh was another gift for Jesus. It is used in skin care, diffuse for bronchitis.
Ylang Ylang and Coriander are said to be aphrodisiacs.
White Fir is a powerful antioxidant, can be used to reduce cold and flu symptoms.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood is a good reference book to have. Another great resource is www.campwander.blogspot.com . Type in an ailment and I’m sure you can find an EO ‘recipe’! Organicfacts.net has a lot of information on oils and what it can be used for. Aromatools.com is a great place to find roller bottles, glass droppers, small glass spray bottles, carrying cases and other accessories.
My suggestion when starting out with EOs is to start a journal, write down or print off recipes you find on the internet. Experiment and write down what works for you.
Here are some recipes I’ve found to work for common ailments, and other uses:
Allergies: Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint applied to feet morning and night.
Athlete’s foot: Apply tea tree neat to affected areas twice a day.
Backache: Equal parts Lavender and Peppermint. Use with a little carrier oil if you wish-makes it easier to massage and helps it go farther. My mom suffers back pain and has become a believer after I told her to try this! My dad has diabetes and suffers neuropathy and this has helped him also.
Bleeding: Helichrysum can stop bleeding.
Bug Spray: In 2 oz. glass bottle, 10 drops Lemongrass, 10 drops Lavender, 10 drops Geranium. Top with alcohol free Witch Hazel. You can also use Citronella or Peppermint EOs.
Burns: Apply 2-3 drops neat Lavender. Helps burns heal faster and have less scarring.
Colds and Congestion: Diffuse any combination of Lemon, Oregano, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. Or place a drop on a tissue and inhale often.
Constipation: 1-2 drops Lavender in carrier oil, massage on abdomen every few hours.
Coughs: Apply 4-6 drops Eucalyptus on bottoms of feet. Dilute for children.
Cramps: 1 drop Rosemary, 1 drop Cypress, plus carrier oil. Apply to abdomen as needed.
Ear aches: Use carrier oil and Basil EO applied to a cotton ball; rub all around ear several times a day until symptoms are gone.
Fever: 1-2 drops each Peppermint, Lavender, Frankincense with a little carrier oil applied to bottoms of feet.
Hair growth: Add a few drops of Rosemary to your shampoo.
Hand Sanitizer: 2 oz. alcohol free witch hazel, (I like Thayer’s Aloe Vera Witch Hazel) 15 drops Shield, 10 drops Tea Tree.
Headache: 1-2 drops each Lavender and Peppermint applied to temples.
Homemade vapor rub: Melt 2 oz. coconut oil, 5 drops Rosemary, 5 drops Tea Tree, 3 drops Peppermint, 3 drops Eucalyptus. I use a small 4 oz. canning jar.
Mice (Repelling): Put peppermint oil on cotton balls and place around areas needed.
Other types of pain-joint pain, carpal tunnel, arthritis, etc.: Peppermint, Lavender, Birch and Wintergreen in carrier oil. Birch and Wintergreen are very high in methyl salicylate; which is the same component in aspirin. They should both always be diluted in carrier oil. Both are an anti-inflammatory. Birch and Wintergreen should not be used if you are allergic to aspirin or are on blood thinners. People with epilepsy and pregnant women should not use Birch.
Pets: add a few drops of tea tree or peppermint to your dog’s collar to get rid of fleas. For an ear infection, apply tea tree and carrier oil to a cotton ball and wipe inside of ears. Horses, goats, sheep and other farm animals can benefit from EOs too!
Runny nose: 1-2 drops Lemon on the sides of your nose will stop the running. Use caution when going into the sun, citrus oils can cause skin to burn easily.
Sweet Dreams Spray: Water and Lavender in small spray bottle. Shake before using. (I use this when my daughter has trouble sleeping. She gets excited about it and asks for it!)
Toothache: 2-3 drops Clove oil applied to cotton ball, apply to gums.
I am not a doctor; please do your own research!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to essential oils! I am thankful God has given us this gift and the ability to research and use them. There are so many more oils out there and so much more you can do with them. I’m excited to keep learning about them so hopefully I can be prepared for whatever comes our way. God Bless!