· G E N T L E · M E D I C I N E ·
At the root of my own self-healing journey, and that which led me to create Wildflower company is slow, gentle plant medicine. From nourishing myself with good food from the Earth, drinking herbal teas + tinctures to maintain wellness and vitality, or using plant infused oils in skincare. I believe the best daily medicine we can give ourselves is usually gentle and of the Earth. In particular plant infused oils have become a big part of my daily skincare rituals and one of my biggest offerings through Wildflower Company. I believe infused plant oils offer us so much in the way of healing & re-connecting with nature and ourselves.
Infused oils use whole parts of the plant infused in oil and don’t require a lot of plant material to create large jars of gentle, healing oil. Infused oils are also relatively simple to make and can be made at home. The old, wise art of making your own infused plant oil is medicine in itself and they are lovely to have on hand for everything from skincare and first aid to cooking!
· ( W ) H O L I S T I C · H E A L T H ·
I truly feel that the rise in natural healing & holistic health is our bodies feeling the call of our Mother Earth. For too long we tried to live in separation from her, in denial or unaware of our connection with all living beings. We forgot our connection to the flower and the bee.
But we are starting to remember…
We are a few molecules away from being bananas after all (seriously, just a few molecules separate us from being actual bananas) and what heals the Earth, heals us too.
We are starting to remember that to be healthy is more than just taking care of our physical body. It’s our spiritual and emotional well being too.
But.. with more and more people remembering and seeking “natural health” and “holistic” wellness comes more and more greedy corporations ready to jump in and exploit “the latest trend”. Which has led to further exploitation of the planet and it’s people.
Which leads me into my next topic… The murky waters of the essential oil industry.
· E S S E N T I A L · O I L S ·
In contrast to gentle, slow infused plant oils, essential oils take huge amounts of precious plant material to create small amounts of highly concentrated oil. The process requires distillation which the average person can’t do at home. Some essential oils are more difficult to extract because instead of being externally secreted by the plant, the oils are stored in tiny cavities or ducts within the plant, making up such a small amount of the plant itself making the yields small.
For example, 10,000 pounds of rose petals are needed in order to produce a single pound of essential oil! If you think about this and then think about the HUGE amount of essential oils being sold and mass-marketed by multi-level marketing companies it’s easy to see how the waters can be muddied. Or the Oils I should say..
To meet demands large companies are exploiting already threatened plant populations and planting huge crops where there is currently no organic certification required. Meaning GMO crops where pesticides have been sprayed are often used.
There is also currently no certification required for therapeutic grade essential oils. This means that companies are able to get away with labeling essential oils as “100% Pure” when in actuality they may only contain as little as 3% of actual pure essential oil. The use of fillers like synthetics, dyes, fragrances and carrier oils is common. Another trick of the industry is to combine higher grade essential oils with cheaper alternatives, like combining High Grade Cinnamon oil with lower grade Cassia oil.
The kicker: as holistic & natural healing becomes more popular essential oils are being branded as holistic health cures for everything under the sun which couldn’t be further from true (w)holistic health or the truth. This is dangerous. The continued misuse & exploitation of essential oils is giving natural health a bad name while hurting people & plants.
I am not trying to say ‘avoid all essential oils!‘ There is certainly a time & place where essential oils can’t be beat. Aromatherapy itself has many therapeutic benefits and the use of pure essential oils has been found to have tremendous healing results for a wide range of imbalances of the mind, body and spirit.
What I am trying to say is that true (w)holistic health focuses on a wide range of healing facets and not just one. I’m trying to say that just because something has essential oils in it doesn’t make it automatically good or safe. It is important to do research before buying essential oils and seek out smaller companies that distill their own essential oils and/or can guarantee purity. Some things to look for when picking essential oils are the source of the oil, whether or not they’ve been tested for purity, and where the plant material used was grown and picked.
Once you are confident in the purity of your essential oils, it is important to use them safely and treat them as the potent medicine that they are. Do your own research on the healing benefits and safety precautions of that particular oil and use with caution, respect, moderation and love.
· TOPICAL ESSENTIAL OIL SAFETY ·
Essential oils are extremely powerful. Most of them should very rarely (if ever) be used in their pure, undiluted or “neat” form and should never be ingested. Unless otherwise recommended by a trained Aromatherapist or other type of experienced natural healer.
Essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to skin or added to bath water. There are some cases with less potent essential oils like Tea Tree and Lavender where applying small amounts of neat oil to the skin may be recommended but should be done so with caution and never added neat to bath water.
When applying small amounts of neat oil to the skin, the oil quickly evaporates and absorbs into the skin, however when added undiluted straight to bath water the oils sit on top of the water and can burn or irritate the skin. It is recommended to dilute essential oils in carrier oils and salts before adding to the bath.
Carrier oils can range from coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed, almond, etc.. As long as it is a natural oil that is safe for skin it should be good to use. Liquid oils work best, and the infused plant oils I mentioned above can be transformed into the most beautiful body oil with just a few drops of essential oil!
Using too much or undiluted essential oil can cause skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and even panic attacks depending on the oils used.
It is always better to use a little less essential oils than too much as a little goes a long way! A general rule of thumb for topical dilution of essential oils is 25 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of essential oil. This can differ for children and pregnant women, and extra caution should be used before using essential oils on children or while pregnant.
Note:Always use extreme caution when diffusing or using essential oils around infants or pregnant women. Some essential oils like Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Rosemary can be dangerous. Eucalyptus and Rosemary are on the list of essential oils to avoid using on children under age 10. Peppermint is not recommended for children under the age of 6. THESE OILS CAN CAUSE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM AND BREATHING PROBLEMS IN YOUNG CHILDREN AND SHOULD NOT BE “APPLIED TO OR NEAR THE FACES OF” OR “OTHERWISE INHALED BY” CHILDREN UNDER 10 YEARS OF AGE.
For more information, I’ve added some links below.
Let’s use these precious gifts in moderation, safely & with respect.
Stay safe friends & respect the plants!
*None of this is intended as medical advice and is of my own experience and training. Please use own research and discretion.