Millions of Americans are turning to essential oils in an effort to minimize the number of chemicals in their lives. People use these plant extracts as a replacement for many synthetic medications, for home health care and to clean their homes naturally.
Dr. Eric Zielinski, a leader in the field and author of the best-selling, The Healing Power of Essential Oils, told CBN News he became interested in the topic after reading about them in Holy Scripture.
"The Bible says, 'The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations.'" he said, "I can think of no other substance on the planet that epitomizes that like essential oils."
Dr. Zielinski says oils derived from roots, bark, flowers, and leaves address a wide variety of health issues.
"When you inhale citrus essential oils specifically like orange, bergamot, lime, and lemon, it's been shown clinically to decrease anxiety, decrease depression and boost your mood," he said, noting promising results in cancer cell studies using frankincense and clary sage oils.
"And there are more things than just cancer," he continued, "There are things that we have seen also related to autoimmunity, related to inflammation, related to heart disease, a lot of research being done with cinnamon and blood pressure balancing, so whether someone's diabetic, someone's obese, there's a lot of things you can do."
Lavender is perhaps the most popular essential oil. People like Sarah Hilburn use it to help them sleep.
"I can honestly say essential oils saved my life," she told CBN News.
Sarah struggled with emotional issues that led to physical ones.
"I had gotten to the point where my anxiety and depression was keeping me from sleeping at night," she recalled, "I would spend several days out of the week being awake the entire night, being awake the entire day."
Sarah didn't want to take sleeping pills. Instead, she combined several drops of lavender oil with water in a vaporizer next to her bed. The natural remedy worked beautifully.
"I diffuse the lavender, usually by itself, just because it's very calming and it smells really good and it makes me sleepy," she said.
Sarah was so pleased the lavender oil helped her sleep, she began incorporating other essential oils into her daily life. For instance, she puts cooling peppermint oil on the bottoms of her feet when she's overheated and credits rose oil for her flawless complexion.
In Place of Pills
Dr. Zielinski says it should come as no surprise that we can swap our pills for essential oils considering many of today's pharmaceuticals are modeled after plant extracts. Aspirin, for example, mimics willow bark, which people used for centuries as a pain reliever.
"So next time your son or daughter, your grandson or granddaughter, gets a fever, you can apply some diluted peppermint or orange oil on his or her back and you'll see the fever go down," he said, "Next time you get a sore throat, you can gargle with a little bit of myrrh essential oil and water. Next time you get a headache you can apply some pain relieving oil such as frankincense or copaiba."
More Americans prefer non-toxic versions of things like toothpaste, body lotion, deodorant and mouthwash, even acne treatment and hairspray. These items can all be made at home with essential oils, often for less money than what you'd pay for their chemical-laden counterparts at the store.
Sabrina Zielinski, Eric's wife, nicknamed "Mama Z," created several recipes for cleaning products featuring essential oils. She says most store-bought products can cause serious health problems.
"So many of them have so many chemicals," she said, "When you talk to people who clean for a living, and I've had discussions with different ladies, they say not only does their chest hurt after they've been using the toxic chemical products but also their fingers, they peel, and the chemicals change their nails."
She says essential oils do an amazing job in DIY cleaning products, working tough jobs, like the stove.
"I make my own granite cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner and then you can't forget dusting," she said, adding she also makes wipes using ripped t-shirts. It costs her twenty dollars to make laundry detergent using ylang-ylang that washes 150 loads.
"So when you're thinking about not just your kids, but your animals as well, it's really important to choose the right things when you're cleaning," she said, "We know how sensitive we are to chemicals, but imagine dogs and cats going across the floor. They're so much smaller. and they're absorbing every single thing that you put on the floor."
She uses the same base for her cleaners but changes the oils for variety. For example, in the fall she uses cinnamon and clove, "smells like Thanksgiving," she said, "everything got clean and the whole house smelled amazing!"
She feels especially good about making this quick and easy hand sanitizer. "All you need is a two-ounce glass spritzer bottle, 10 drops of essential oil, my favorite is lemon, then you need 10 drops of witch hazel, 10 drops of a grain alcohol, then you fill the rest of the bottle up with either purified or distilled water, shake and go!"
Since essential oils are highly concentrated, it's best to dilute them using water, such as in diffusers, or other oils, called "carrier oils." Using essential oils directly on the skin can actually cause physical harm and secondarily wastes money. Carrier oils include olive, coconut, almond, jojoba, apricot, avocado, grapeseed, borage and evening primrose oils.
Sabrina devised a carrier oil base blend that she uses for most skincare products. She says to use six to twelve drops of essential oils for every one ounce of the base blend.
MAMA Z'S CARRIER OIL BASE BLEND
54 ounces raw, organic, unrefined coconut oil (melted)
16 ounces sweet almond oil
8 ounces jojoba oil
4 ounces vitamin E
Dr. Zielinski says since essential oils are so popular these days, consumers can be fooled into buying cheap imitations. He says it's critical to purchase only high-quality oils, which can be a bit tricky.
"It is absolutely necessary to only use pure essential oils," he explained, "What most people don't recognize is, what a lot of these manufacturers are doing, is synthetically adding different chemicals to essential oils and to other compounds to make them smell sweeter. And that's where you get your plug-ins, your aerosols, and they've been linked to a number of diseases: neurotoxicity, cancer, we're talking Alzheimer's and dementia."
Here's how to choose a reputable oil brand:
- Get a referral. Ask friends and family members whom you respect for a list of their favorite brand.
- Find out about sourcing. Contact the company that you're interested in for a report of their sourcing and quality standards.
- Get a batch report. Ask the company for a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) report of a few oils that you're interested in. These linear graphs are used to identify adulteration and to break down the chemical components of individual oils.
- Sample some. Try a couple of different brands and test for yourself, paying particular attention to how your body reacts.
These days essential oils are booming in popularity. These wonderful smelling plant extracts are used for healing, personal care and around the house.