Practical Prepping

Be Prepared

Essential Oils

Today, essential oils are normally called "alternative method of healing." Yet, herbs and oils have been used for centuries where modern medicine has been around less than a century. Please understand that I am not in the medical field. I can not recommend going against what your doctor may tell you to do. I am giving this out as a "For Refference Only".

Essential oils are called that because they capture the "essence" of the plant. Essential oils are less fixed and more volatile than cooking oils meaning they tend to evaporate easily. This makes them popular in aromatherapy.

Know What To Look For

You might be surprised to find that the FDA only requires 10% essential oil in a bottle to be considered ":Pure Essential Oil". Beware of any claims of FDA certification. The FDA has no certification or approval process for these products.

Each essential oil has different chemical compounds in it giving each a different medical benefit. This gives us a need for a variety of treatments for different conditions. The method of administration may differ as well. Common methods include:

  • Inhalation Therapy: This method is also known as "aromatherapy". Add a few drops of the essential oil in a bowl of steaming water (distilled or sterilized), and inhale. This method is most effective when placing a towel over your head to catch the vapors. Many people will place essential oils in potpourri or use a "diffuser" to spread the aroma throughout the room; this technique probably dilutes any medicinal effects, however.
  • Topical Application: The skin is an amazing absorbent surface, and using essential oils by direct application is a popular method of administration. The oil may be used as part of a massage, or directly placed on the skin to achieve a therapeutic effect on a rash or muscle. Before considering using an essential oil in this manner, always test for allergic reactions beforehand. Even though the chemical compounds in the oil are natural, that doesn't mean that they couldn't have an adverse effect on you (case in point: poison ivy).

    A simple test involves placing a couple of drops on the inside of your forearm with a cotton applicator. Within 12-24 hours, you'll notice a rash developing if you're allergic. Mixing some of the essential oil with a fixed or "carrier" oil such as olive oil before use is a safer option for topical use. Another concern, mostly with topically-applied citrus oils, is "phototoxicity" (an exaggerated burn response to sun exposure).

    I have some reservations about whether applying an essential oil on the skin over a deep organ, such as the pancreas, will really have any specific effect on that organ. It is much more likely to work, however, on the skin itself or underlying muscle tissue.

  • Ingestion: Direct ingestion is unwise for many essential oils, and this method should be used with caution. Most internal uses of an essential oil should be of a very small amount diluted in at least a tablespoon of a fixed oil such as olive oil. Professional guidance is imperative when considering this method. You can always consider a tea made with the herb as an alternative. This is a safer mode of internal use, although the effect may not be as strong.

10 Essential Oils in a Disaster

During a disaster there are 10 essential oils/blends that I would make sure was in my bag. Why? Because these 9 can be used for a very wide variety of injuries and sicknesses. Don't get me wrong, herbs and other things are benefital but these for their strength and size of container make them very easy to pack with size and weight being constraints. Just compare peppermint. As a tea it would take 26 cups to equal one drop of essential oil. It takes 170-250 lbs of lavender plant material to equal 1 lb of lavender oil. A no brainer in my book. Yet, I will be covering some herbs later.

The 10 Oils

  • Lavender Oil is considered the "Swiss Army Knife" of essential oils because of its many uses. Can be used as a pain reliever, antiseptic and an immune stimulant. It is thought to be good for skin care and to promote healing of burns, bruises, scrapes, acne, rashes and bug bites. It can be used to stop bleeding. Lavender has a calming effect so it can be used for insomnia, stress and depression. Lavender may be used as an antifungal agent such as athlete's foot and other related conditions.
  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil I list this oil even though it has many of the same healing properties as lavender. It too is good for many of the same skin issues like acne, wounds and insect bites. Some recommend a few drops in a pint of water to be used as a vaginal douche to treat yeast. Sometimes, for me that is, it's nice not to smell like a lavender flower so I use this at times.
  • Eucalyptus Oil It too, can be used as an antiseptic, antiviral and an excellent insect repellent. Eucalyptus has a cooling effect on the skin. It works as a decongestant and other respiratory issues and is thought to boost the immune system. Consider it for colds, flus, sore throats, coughs, hay fever, etc.
  • Peppermint Oil has a strong, clean, fresh, cooling aroma. It's great for nausea or digestive upset. Peppermint is great for headaches. A couple drops rubbed on the temples will have a relieving effect. Good for achy muscles and painful joints.
  • Lemon Oil It has been used as a surface disinfectant for many years. Inhaling has a natural uplifting effect. A few drops in some drinking water can be refreshing and good for you.
  • Clove Oil Clove oil is an anti-fungal, antiseptic, antiviral, analgesic and sedative. It particularly shines as an anesthetic and antimicrobial. It is an excellent pain killer for toothaches. Be careful not to over apply as it could irritate the gums.
  • Arnica Oil I find this as a good topical agent for muscle injuries and aches. It's thought to have analgesic and anti-inflamitory abilities. You will find it in many of the sports ointments. I do find this effective but not long lasting. You'll just need to reapply it for long term relief.

The next oils I want to mention are blends of oils. Having more than one oil mixed together can enhance or strengthen the effect in which one is seeking. These blends marketed by many manufacturers are done under many names yet have the same effect. Most of the names I will be using as examples will be their Young Living names mostly because they are well known and it was through them I was introduced to the effects of oils. As an example, Young Living has a blend called "Thieves". DoTerra calls theirs "Onguard", Plant Therapy "Germ Fighter", Eden's Garden "Four Thieves", etc. I mention these brand names only because I have had good success with their products.

  • Thieves Oil As I just mentioned, this is a blend of oils. It's a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary oils. I believe this blend dates back to the bubonic plague. Thieves came up with it in order to rob even the dead from the disease and yet not catch the disease itself. It's been university tested and shown effective against such modern plagues as MRSA. A few drops in some honey can sooth a sore throat. Because it has cloves in it, I've seen it effective with a toothache.
  • Peace & Calming This blend does just what it says, it has a calming effect. Now under stressful circumstances like a disaster, emotions are high. It has helped people get off sleeping medications. It can calm a baby to a stressed out boss. Can be applied to the bottoms of the feet and/or inhaled.
  • PanAway To me, I call it Pain Away. It's good for muscle and joint injuries, tendonitis,and most any type of pain.