For millenia, herbs and plant-based salves, resins, and oils were the effective “drugs” that treated a range of physical and mental maladies. I’m sure Luke was no exception…no bottles of aspirin or ibuprofen in his bag! “At the time Jesus [was] born, frankincense and myrrh may have been worth more than their weight in the third gift presented by the wise men: gold.” (1)
Though the use of essential oils (EOs) hasn’t diminished in places like China and the Middle East, the healing and therapeutic properties of EOs have been “rediscovered” in the Western world in the past century. And thanks to the heavy direct-selling marketing presence of big name essential oil (EO) companies in the past 3 decades, the 6,000 yr-old ancient practice of using oils and aromatherapy has exploded. (BTW, the University of Maryland has a fantastic, brief overview concerning aromatherapy and essential oils.)
Now, moms across the country are adding bottles of essential oils (EOs) to the alternative/natural portions of their medicine cabinets. I think EOs are great…if used correctly and not treated like magic wands. I have and use several brands (will tell you upfront that I don’t sell) in our home with great success, but they are no substitute for common sense or treating root causes of ailments. I’m much more an advocate for treating chronic illness and autoimmunity, for example, from the inside out with proper nutrition and addressing underlying health issues (like inflammation, blood sugar imbalance, and poor gut-health) than from the outside in with oils.
“I’ve got an oil for that” is not my first or automatic response to every injury, illness, or imbalanced emotion, though it may be part of the response. I hope you’ll find all my posts regarding the world of essential oils helpful and balanced!
- A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense and Myrrh from History in the Headlines. Jennie Cohan, June 27, 2011.