You’ve probably heard of essential oils and I’m pretty sure you know quite a few people who sell and swear by them for numerous medicinal benefits. My own curiosity was piqued even before I became a consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies in August of 2015. Early last year I started out slowly, trying a sample pack from one brand and few single oils from the specialty grocery store. It wasn’t until I joined NYR that I started understanding that not all oils are created equally and that there are numerous contraindications to be aware of, especially with small children around. I don’t claim to be an aromatherapist (nor do I play one on TV), therefore I will still recommend customers do additional research, especially if they have underlying health issues or diagnoses. However, I am happy to share what I have learned through my journey to becoming a lover of organic essential oils, especially from Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Essential oils are basically the essence or life-line of a plant, it’s immune system if you will. The essential oils protect the plant from disease as well as attract pollinators. In order to obtain the best possible health benefits for ourselves, it is important to use oils that come from plants that are organic or otherwise not treated with pesticides. Just as essential oils are extremely concentrated, so too will be the pesticides when using essential oils. The fact that many NYR oils are certified organic by the Soil Association, it ensures that the cultivation of the plants is managed under the strictest independently audited ethical and environmental standards. They are free from synthetic chemical herbicides and insecticides. In addition, all of the essential oils are wild-crafted, meaning they are grown in their natural habitat, which leads to the highest grade of therapeutic properties. Not only that, but our oils are ethically sourced and fair trade. In 1981, Neal’s Yard Remedies was actually the very first main street retailer in the UK to sell certified organic essential oils. Now members of the Aromatherapy Trade Council, NYR actually licenses aromatherapists in the classroom above the flagship store in Convent Garden, London.
I really love being able to count on my essential oils to help with everyday cold, flu and allergy symptoms. I carry around my 100% organic Defence hand spray at all times in the place of sanitizer to kill germs on hands, surfaces and even in the air. If we are unlucky enough to get sick, I will diffuse the 100% organic Defence blend. For myself, I can let the diffuser run for hours, however with my three year old, I’ll only diffuse for around ten to fifteen minutes. Babies and small children have a smaller esophagus as well as mucous membranes that tend to be more sensitive. Therefore, it is important to avoid using oils that have a high camphor element around them, which includes, but is not limited to, peppermint and eucalyptus. Neither of these are recommended until a child is six years old, some sources even say ten for eucalyptus. Another great cold buster is cinnamon, however cinnamon bark is not recommended, only cinnamon leaf essential oil. Cinnamon bark oil is also not recommended while pregnant nor breastfeeding. Another oil I love is rosemary, however it is not recommended for children under ten years old. Clove bud is very common in essential oil blends for cold and flu viruses, but is not recommended to be used around children under two. When using an essential oil blend, it is very important to look at all of the ingredients to be aware of contraindications. These are all recommendations I have come across while reading articles from licensed aromatherapists, and therefore tend to err on the side of precaution when giving recommendations to friends and customers.
Once you have the essential oil(s) or blend you plan to use, you can either diffuse it in a cool mist diffuser, mix it with a carrier oil or lotion and apply to the skin, mix it with an oil put into the bathtub, apply it to a wash cloth to create a compress or place a few drops in a bowl of hot water to create steam inhalation. Different oils require different amounts of dilution when applying directly to the skin. All of Neal’s Yard oils come with a proper dilution chart based on age and weight. If you are going to use an essential oil on your skin, it’s always good to do a small patch test to check for an allergic reaction. Neal’s Yard does not recommend ingesting oils and I personally would always defer to a licensed aromatherapist before taking an essential oil orally.
Although essentail oils can be purchased from consultants, online and in stores, it is still important to remember that they are medicinal and can be very strong. I look at them as over the counter medicine and treat them as such. I definitely have found relief from sluggish energy, sleepless nights, regular headaches, and stuffy noses from essential oils. If you’re looking for a more natural alternative than over the counter medicine, essential oils are a great place to start.
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