In the crunchy granola world, using essential oils is a Big. Freaking. Deal. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that oil enthusiasts might just be bigger proselytizers than any religious group I’ve met yet. I’ve actually taken to avoiding the Lululemon-wearing yoginis at my local food cooperative lest I be subjected to yet another enthusiastic round of “OMG! Have you heard about the miracles of doTERRA and Young Living?!” It gets old in a hurry.
In case you’ve not yet been subjected to this particular terror, doTERRA and Young Living are both companies that promote the use of therapeutic-grade essential oils for all manner of health in your life. There’s nothing wrong in this in itself; I just happen to feel that they both go a bit too far in their marketing and generally contribute to the problem of cult branding in our contemporary culture. There isn’t a speck of difference between a doTERRA or Young Living lemon oil and the lemon oil I pick up from The Herb Shop except price: $4.98 for 15 mL from The Herb Shop and $13.33 and $14.80 for the same amount from doTERRA and Young Living respectively. I don’t know about you, but I think I know who will be getting my money.
Now, both of these companies market a ton of special blends at even higher prices than their straight oils, and both have immune-support blends that are almost identical: doTERRA’s On Guard® Protective Blend and Young Living’s Thieves® Essential Oil. Both make use of a citrus (lemon for Young Living and orange for doTERRA), clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. They’re popular blends, and people use them for everything–adding them to soaps and various floor, window, and counter washes, adding a few drops to the dishwasher, diffusing them into the air, putting them into massage oils–you name it, I’m sure someone’s done it. The thing, though, is that for a mere 15 mL, you’re paying a lot of money: above $40 for each brand. I went and priced out the composite oils at The Herb Shop, and I came up with $4.25 for 10 mL lemon oil, $4.95 for 10 mL orange, $4.95 for 10 mL rosemary, $4.95 for 10 mL eucalyptus, $9.95 for 5 mL organic cinnamon bark, and $4.95 for 10 mL organic clove. That means that for $29.75, you can make multiple batches of this stuff for yourself.
Now, as much as some people will go on about “oh, but they’ve precisely measured the oils for optimum results!” you and I both know that’s not going to matter overmuch. However, a great and manageable proportion for a very similar blend has already been determined by Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite hometown organization out of Eugene, OR:
- 40 drops Clove Bud essential oil
- 35 drops Lemon essential oil
- 20 drops Cinnamon Bark essential oil
- 15 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops Rosemary essential oil
Mix all essential oils together in a dark glass bottle. [Note: at minimum, use a 1/4 oz/7.4 mL/2 dram bottle. 120 drops is about 6 mL.]
This essential oil blend is very strong and must be diluted! The essential oil content should only account for 1 to 2% of the total formula. This means that up to 6-12 drops of essential oil can be added per 1 oz of carrier oil or other menstruum.
There are many ways that you can use the blend, here are some of the most common applications:
- To sanitize and purify the air in your home or workplace, place 2-3 drops of the essential oil blend in a diffuser, nebulizer, or in a pot of simmering water on the stove. Diffuse for approximately 20-30 minutes. This is especially beneficial if someone in your home or workplace is sick.
- Make an antibacterial all-purpose spray for cleaning and disinfecting your home or workplace. This is perfect for office spaces and shared areas! Fill a spray bottle with water and add the essential oil blend at a 1-2 % dilution rate. Spray on counter tops, desks, and on other surfaces. Make sure to shake before using as the oil and water will naturally separate.
- Use a 1-2% dilution rate of the essential oil blend in a base of water or alcohol, and spray onto insect bites, poison oak, and poison ivy rashes to help reduce inflammation, itching, and irritation.
- Mix the essential oil blend at a 1-2% dilution rate with organic Jojoba or Olive oil. Use as a massage oil for sore muscles, the lower back, neck, and feet. It can also be dabbed on skin throughout the day for general cold and flu prevention and immune support.
- When congested, mix a 1-2% dilution rate of the essential oil blend with organic Jojoba or Olive oil, and rub under the nose or on the chest. Or, place 1-2 drops in a bowl of hot, steaming water and inhale the vapors under a towel to relieve congestion.
I’ve been using this all winter, and I think it’s really helped with my health. Aside from a bout with a terrible cold this December, I’ve been largely sniffle-free: practically unheard of for me. My favorite applications for it include adding it to a room spray with water, aloe, and glycerine and spraying that frequently into the air around me whenever I or my housemates are ill. I’ve also been known to add it to a vinegar/water blend and use it as a countertop disinfectant spray…but I prefer to use fresh ingredients and steep the vinegar over a moon cycle for that one. My best friend, who is a great fan of oil pulling, adds a couple drops to her nightly dollup of coconut oil. I’m also in the process of figuring out a way to incorporate it into a recipe for hand salve…but more on that later!