Using Essential Oils

Rosemary herb flower and leaf sprig with aromatherapy essential oil glass bottle, isolated over white background.

My oil posts have been building to lead you, dear reader, to this point of sharing my experiences in my oiling journey: Using Essential Oils! Topics I plan to cover in upcoming posts!

  • Single Oil Faves
  • Oil Blend Faves
  • Oils Around the House
  • Oils for (non-medical) Personal Care
  • Shortening Illness with Oils
  • Oils for Acute Needs
  • Using Oils Internally
  • What Oils Cannot Do

Carrier Oils and Basic Accessories


  • First of All….(a short rant about EO education)
  • Carrier Oils
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil – my fave
    • Why I Rarely Never Use Olive Oil
  • Basic Oiling Accessories


All posts about using essential oils will be from my personal experience. Please don’t take my word as gospel–research and educate yourself on oil safety (for a good place to start, see EO Resources and Education). What I find helpful you may not be comfortable with, and vice versa. I have friends who regularly take EOs internally with no problems and no worries–I am not comfortable with that, though I’ve done it occasionally for an acute need. As with all things in life, nothing is completely risk-free–but that’s never an excuse to fly into something blind!


95% of the time I use EOs topically, I dilute with a carrier oil.

Fractionated Coconut Oil: my favorite carrier!e8d9ef013ef322c74cad1e1d3248be69.image.264x550
It has no color, no odor, does not require refrigeration, remains in liquid form, and has a shelf life of at least one year if stored properly (out of sunlight and direct heat). It’s also cheap…a 4oz bottle from Plant Therapy is $7.99 and SHIPS FREE. I went ahead and bought the 16 oz bottle ($24) since I planned to make a lot of roller ball applicators (and have!). There are plenty of other great carriers available at Plant Therapy with different price-points. This is the one I started with and still haven’t run out.

Why I Rarely Never Use Olive Oil anymore…especially in my roll-on applicators or in DIY projects (like salt scrubs, lotions). Olive oil oxidizes a little bit every time it’s exposed to air, heat, and light. “Extra-virgin olive oil contains chlorophyll that accelerates decomposition and makes the oil go rancid rather quickly.” (1) Before I got my coconut oil, I filled a couple roller applicators with EOs and olive oil…I didn’t use it up fast enough, so within a few months those applicators have a funky smell and the oil comes out a bit sticky. All the applicators I made with the coconut oil are still the same as day 1.

(Random FYI: this is also why I now buy olive oil in the small glass bottles and no longer use it for high-heat cooking [I prefer butter, coconut oil, and ghee]. I tested one of my massive bottles of olive oil that I used for several months and guess what? Yeah, it was rancid and I didn’t even know it. Apparently Americans are used to the taste of bad olive oil, me included!) (2)


I buy all my oiling accessories from Plant TherapyHeritage Essential Oils, my Young Living distributor, and Amazon. Keep in mind that Plant Therapy offers free shipping on all orders. Heritage EOs has a $6 flat shipping rate, so I’ve only purchased accessories from them when I’m also buying oils. I’m only covering the bare basics here: diffusers, roll-on applicators, and pipettes.


Diffusing is one of the safest ways to use oils, and an inexpensive way to freshen a room with a holiday or seasonally appropriate scent…without theYoung-Living-Aroma-Diffuser-250x250 chemicals found in [most] scented candles. There are dozens of brands out there, and most will only cover the square-footage of a single room, sometimes two. Diffusers create faint white-noise–and occasionally you’ll hear tiny “splashes” of water droplets. I find this background noise relaxing, but easy to tune out when I want to. Read the fine print and several reviews (good and bad) before purchasing a diffuser.

If you’re on a tight budget and will not get a diffuser with a starter kit, this $30 Kinps little guy from Amazon has worked great for us as a single-room diffuser (we have two!). We recently used it in a hotel room with an air purifying blend to get rid of the musty (mixed with a hint of urine) smell, and it worked like a charm during the 15 minutes it took us to haul in all our junk from the family minivan. Features/details to know:

  • An OFF setting for the lights—YAY!
  • Mist comes out at an angle, so easy to “point” in a certain direction
  • Light colors do not rotate, but each color has a bright and dim option
  • 4 timer settings: 30, 60, 120, & 180 minutes–will automatically shut off if the water runs out51ToBv4Eu2L._SL1024_
  • Can be tricky to pull off the top and put back on. Best to make sure both hands are free, use one to hold the base, and slightly twist/pull up on the top with the other hand. When putting the top back, gently push/twist into place to line up the 2 dots on the base and top.
  • Directions say to not use single citrus oils as they will degrade the plastic. I’ve used citrus in it short-term a few times, but immediately emptied the water and wiped out the base after use. No problems.

My daughter has this $40 ZAQ diffuser in her room. Super easy to use 31PHAXlmTiL(can do everything with one hand and a baby on my hip), but the OFF setting for the light is actually really blue and annoying (to me), so functions as a faint light and is brighter than a lot of night lights. Colors rotate, which is nice for ambiance…but we end up covering the cone with a shirt when we turn it on at night for our daughter. No timer options…it just automatically shuts off when the water runs out. 4 hour run time. Have also used citrus oils carefully with no problems. I’ll freely (but not shamefully) admit that I haven’t officially cleaned the reservoir or opening of this diffuser in 1 2 3 months….and we run it 1-2x a day in my daughter’s room. 7 months and no problems.

Additional Notes
Some diffuser directions say to only use distilled water. I honestly can’t remember what the directions were for my Kinps and ZAQ diffusers, but I’ve been using our tap water for months. I think using distilled is mainly important for those with hard tap water, but I’m not completely sure. You can always call the manufacturer and ask.

  • Use straight EO drops in your diffusers, no carriers or blends diluted with carriers–a lot of “kid safe” product lines have carriers in them.
  • Don’t run your diffuser close to an air return, unless you’re really wanting to freshen up the ductwork of your HVAC system. No really, if that sounds like a cool idea, put drops of EOs on cotton balls and stick them in your return vent. Cinnamon Bark kills mold or can at least slow down it’s growth, and ants don’t like it either!
  • If you get a tall, pretty diffuser, depending on your kids ages, you’ll need places that are out of reach and close to an outlet to run them. As much as I love my Young Living bamboo diffuser (first pictured) since it covers a LOT more sq. footage than my others, it’s pretty easy to knock over. I’ve given up on using it on end tables in our living spaces until all the kids are older (like way older).

21ktnBE3MKL._SY300_Roll-on Applicators
3 parts to these–the glass tube (can be clear or colored), roller fitment, and cap. Applicators that hold more than 10 mls are bulky and unnecessary. The roller can be plastic or metal. Metal rollers last longer and let out more oil…my husband likes this for his peppermint roller that he takes to work to use on tight muscles and on his forehead for headaches, congestion, and allergies. I like the slower-flowing plastic ones for the oils I use on my kiddos. Get labels (I used dollar store labels) and label as you make…include dilution ratios or some indication of who it’s safe for (examples: Baby Safe Thieves, Kid Safe Allergy Blend). I like to use a 6″ pipette to transfer carrier oil into the glass tube…less mess than squirting or pouring! (save pipettes for repeat use…don’t throw them away)

Where to purchase:

I hope this information serves you well! Happy oiling!

  1. New Warning About Olive Oil (and the best oils to cook with)
  2. Good Oils Gone Bad: Recognizing Rancidity and other Defects

EO Resources and Education

As I find more resources, I’ll add to this post accordingly.

  • Using Essential Oils: my favorite online resources
  • Recommended online classes
  • MLM Starter Kits: a big bang for your buck
  • Oil Kits (NOT mlm)


Heritage Essential Oils has excellent information regarding the safe use of oils for a variety of health issues and ages. I highly recommend reading through the entire Oil Usage page first (which includes appropriate dilution ratios), then explore the categories on the Health Issues page. Heritage is a small business owned and operated by a Christian family in Texas. Linda, homeschooling mother of 8, primarily runs the business, and you can read her personal testimony here. The Heritage website is my go-to online reference for safely using oils on and around my children.

Heritage Resources


Introduction to Essential Oils (FREE): Learn at your own pace and on your own timeline with this free class offered by Aromahead Institute: School of Essential Oil Studies. Features permanent unlimited access to all the course materials and any subsequent updates to the course content, even after you have completed the program. View each video as many times as you like.

Essential Oils & Natural Health ($95): a short modulated course (complete with quizzes) offered by Vintage Remedies. Upon registration, you have 90 days to complete the course. I just started the course for free as a perk for purchasing the 2015 Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle during a sale last October (I paid $129 for the bundle–you can get notified for future bundle sales). Vintage Remedies also offers a FREE Herbalism 101 Mini-Course that I plan to take. Will post reviews upon completion. So far enjoying the EO class!


Buy from a direct-selling friend. Chances are high (like 99%), that at least ONE of your social media friends either sells oils or knows someone who does. Compare prices and what comes with the different starter kits from the two major MLM EO companies (Young Living and doTERRA) and go with your gut on what kit to get. Kits typically contain 10-12 high quality oils and a nice diffuser. It’s the diffuser on top of the high quality oils that makes these kits a good deal.

Other perks for buying from a distributor:

  • She might be a good source for fun oil classes/education* and “make and take” events for DIY projects like lip balms, bath salts, etc.
  • Your order will help your actively selling friend earn rewards–I’m all about supporting mommy direct-sellers
  • You are in no way obligated to sell oils
  • You might get some good deals on bulk-ordering of oil accessories. My distributor got a ton of people to commit to ordering the small 5ml glass applicators that came with metal roller-ball fitments and caps, and we ended up paying $.25 per applicator which is a steal!


Not all of us have an extra $200 lying around to buy a fancy starter kit. So here are some other options if you want to try oils! I’m only mentioning brands I have used…there is much more out there. 🙂

  • Plant Therapy’s 14 Oil Set (7 blends, 7 singles) – $60
    I bought this kit early in my oiling journey. You really can’t beat the price, and all PT products ship FREE. These are fun to diffuse on a daily basis without killing my wallet. I generally don’t use these oils for acute health needs, and would NEVER take them internally.
  • Heritage Essential Oils Travel Kit (16 sampler bottles-2mls each-in a convenient case) – $76.50
    Heritage oils are anywhere from 1/3-1/2 the cost of Young Living and doTERRA oils and I am exceptionally pleased with the quality. I’ve tried most of the oils/blends in this kit for various health and injury needs with great success and have loved them all.


*Beware of anyone who claims that oils can or will prevent, treat, or cure any disease, as these claims and statements are not FDA approved and are out of compliance with the statements of these oil companies. Also don’t take any one person’s word as gospel when it comes to properly using oils, especially around infants, children, and pregnant women. Conduct your own research, and don’t stop or wean off any medications without the approval and guidance of your doctor or health care provider.





Essential Oil Brands


Yes, it’s a thing (and you thought vaccines were controversial).

There’s no point in rehashing what’s already been written so simply and with such grace…so, if you want to know my exact feelings on the oil wars, read Erin’s powerful piece, A Grace-Filled Answer to the Essential Oil Wars, at her blog The Humbled Homemaker. A few statements she makes I’d like to highlight:

  • I don’t place my loyalty in brands. I place it in people.
  • When I do purchase from one of the major brands, I have certain representatives whom I will give my patronage.
  • Tummies must be filled first.
  • And as far as natural healing goes? There are many, many natural remedies. Oils are just one. And ultimately? God is the Great Healer–with oils or without. (AMEN!)

So far I have tried oils from 3 different companies: Young Living, Plant Therapy, and Heritage Essential Oils. The first person to talk to me about oils used Young Living, so that’s how I started (it has nothing to do with picking a side in the Oil Wars). After reading Adrienne’s extensive research and her final post Announcing the Best Essential Oils Company (part 7 of her year-long research & journey) over at Whole New Mom, I’m excited to try a few oils from Native American Nutritionals as well (once I run out of current supply).

So, which brand is the best? My oiling creed when it comes to brands…I’d rather someone buy the cheaper oils that still work (though they may need to use more of it or use it longer to see results…and no internal use without very specific research accomplished and guidance from a professional) than be intimidated by the prices of the higher end oils and buy none at all. I will post about specific oils and blends (from different companies) that have grown on me and worked for the intended use, but that does not mean I think if a fellow oily mom comes to a different conclusion that she’s wrong.

Before anybody rails on me about oil quality, I get that. Quality does matter, and affects how I use my oils from different brands (I’ll bring out those points later). But like I said before, I’d rather someone buy cheaper oils than none at all!

Can’t afford an all fresh, organic, whole-food diet? Me neither, much of the time, and my health doesn’t depend on it (yet), though I know people whose health DOES depend on it. But buying conventional whole foods is still way better than buying highly processed, soy and corn-syrup filled foods as my main diet. That’s how I view oils.

Bottom line, I don’t care what brand you buy. If you love Young Living, doTERRA, or some other high-end oils and can afford them all the time, go for it! If you can only afford $50 in oils at first to try one of Plant Therapy’s sets, that’s fine! Regardless of brand, education on safety, proper uses, and dilution ratios (especially for children), is the key to successful oiling. When it comes to EOs, knowledge is power. Do not start your oiling journey without it. DO NOT pass GO, DO NOT collect $200.

My next post will be filled with educational resources that helped me, and I hope will be a blessing and help to you!


Essential Oils: The (not so) New Fad

Rosemary herb flower and leaf sprig with aromatherapy essential oil glass bottle, isolated over white background.Colossians 4:14 tells us that Luke, one of the the gospel writers and recorder of the Acts of the Apostles, was a physician. Ever wonder what he carried in his first-aid kit?

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!

  1. A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense and Myrrh from History in the Headlines. Jennie Cohan, June 27, 2011.

Understanding Hepatitis B

SECTIONS of this (lengthy) Overview:

  • Introduction
  • What is Hepatitis B?
  • Hepatitis B Quick Facts
  • Who is Considered “High Risk” for Hepatitis B Infection?
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine History
  • Rate of Hepatitis B Infections in the USA
  • Why Christian Parents Vaccinate
  • Why Christian Parents Delay
  • Why Christian Parents Opt Out
  • A Consideration, Some Common Sense, and Love
  • Sources & Resources

I’m the oldest of 5 children. I recently learned that I was never vaccinated for Hepatitis B (HB), and neither were my first two brothers since we were born before 1991, when the CDC launched a national campaign of adding a recommended 3-dose vaccine series (with the first dose given within 12 hrs of birth) to the childhood vaccination schedule. My 3rd brother, born during the national transition to this new vaccine, was the only one of us to receive the HB vaccine–one dose (not at birth, but at 1 or 2 months–Mom doesn’t remember)–and had a violent reaction. Mom, a nurse, opted to not complete the series for him and passed on it for my sister completely.

After my own research and talking through the Hepatitis B (HB) disease with my mom and other healthcare professionals, I’m convinced that HB is widely misunderstood and that parents should understand the disease as it exists in the United States, risk factors, and the vaccine itself, regardless of vaccine choice.

If you are reading this and were born before 1991 and do not work in the healthcare industry, it’s probable you were never vaccinated either. If you’re a mom or expecting, screening for Hepatitis B infection and immunity is part of your initial blood work early in pregnancy (this is how I found out my status–I’m not immune or vaccinated, but I’ve never been exposed either).

Don’t freak out if you are not immune–like any disease, though this means you’ve probably never been vaccinated (there is a limited 5-10% HB vaccine failure rate), it also means you have made it this far in life without ever being exposed to the real thing (think HIV). If you grew up in a Christian home with a godly heritage, chances are high (99%) your parents and grandparents grew up without being exposed either.

Before rushing to your doctor or local health department to start the 3-shot series, read up on the disease and the vaccine first so that you can make an informed, objective choice either way rather than one based on fear or “just because.” Remember, I’m all about vaccine choice and informed consent. I will not tell you what to do or not do with yourself and your children. If you haven’t already, Read This First: Concerning Vaccines before continuing. Continue reading

Why Parents Delay Vaccines

Please do not read this post until you Read this First: Concerning Vaccines.

Most parents who choose to delay some or all vaccines usually do so for one or both of these reasons:

These events could be anything from poor response (persistent vomiting, prone to catching secondary illnesses after vaccines), to allergic reactions (anaphylactic reactions, febrile seizures), to serious adverse events (recurring seizures, encephalopathy, paralysis, neurological damage, death). Though statistically the chances of experiencing a serious adverse event are minimal (by some estimates, 1/100,000), to the parents and families of the 1 affected the reality is 100%. These parents would rather delay and be safe than sorry. As an extreme example, a couple loses their first child to SIDS within days or even hours of receiving the recommended round of 2-month vaccines. Though the CDC states there is no causal relationship between vaccines and SIDS, who in their right minds would blame or vilify these parents for delaying vaccines for their future children?

There is no law in any state requiring that parents follow the CDC schedule to the letter. State requirements simply say, school/daycare children must have X number of doses of XYZ vaccine before attending. They don’t care that your child started the 3-shot Hepatitis B series at age 12 months or 24 months instead of at birth like the CDC recommends. These requirements do not even include every vaccine on the market (HPV, for example), so just because the CDC puts a vaccine on the recommended schedule does not mean it’s required or necessary. Understand that the CDC assumes worst-case scenarios in regards to risks for children, and came up with a schedule that they truly believe offers the best protection for everyone (the “greater good” concept). Parents who choose to delay consider the risks of delaying, and for whatever reason believe these risks are worth taking. Just like some low-risk pregnant women opt for home birth, they understand that their choice always comes with some risk.

Unfortunately, parents who delay vaccines often experience vilification from health care providers instead of compassion, understanding, and objectivity…and the doctors out there who choose to listen to parents’ concerns and respect their right to informed consent are often thrown under the bus by their medical peers (such as Dr. Paul Offit, a popular media mouth-piece for mandatory vaccines, ridiculing and making untrue statements concerning Dr. Sears, author of The Vaccine Book–a simple “Offit Sears” Google search will tell you all you need to know).

Our family doctor has written several posts concerning vaccine choice that parents who fall on either side, or somewhere in between, would benefit from reading. I’ve posted links, along with a PBS interview with Dr. Sears for further consideration: