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Romelia Rodriguez Walters guest posts on the THE essential oils every family needs to get through the winter. She’s also offering us some great recipes for our common winter ailments. Read more about Romelia at the end of the post!
Transitioning from fall to winter seems to take its toll on many people. Whether it’s adjusting to a decrease in temperatures, switching to daylight-saving time, or tapping into pocketbooks to buy the latest must-haves of the holiday season, no one is left untouched. These changes in the daily flow of things can wreak havoc on our immune systems and make us susceptible to colds and infections prevalent during this time of year. Many people choose to treat these ailments with over-the-counter drugs and prescription medicines. However, an increasing number of people are choosing an alternate route to hold these winter maladies at bay: Essential Oils.
Essential oils are naturally occurring volatile aromatic compounds. Here, volatile means that they quickly dissipate into the air, even at room temperature. They have been used historically for food preparation, beauty treatments, and health-care practices. As early as 2000 B.C., the ancient Egyptians were using essential oils for medicinal benefits, beauty care, spiritual enhancement and most notably, for mummification. And who could forget the gifts of the Magi brought forth to the baby Jesus? Frankincense and myrrh.
The purity of the essential oil is its most important characteristic. Proper methods of growing, harvesting, and distilling essential oils contribute to the purity of that oil.There is not an accepted standard for essential oil quality in the United States. However, one company has created its own system of testing calling it CPTG® – Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. This process certifies that there are no added fillers, synthetics, or harmful contaminants in the essential oils.
There are three ways to use essential oils: aromatically (A), internally (I), and topically (T). Aromatic use is a popular application method of essential oils. It offers immediate benefits such as promoting a calm, stable environment, purifying the air, managing mood and emotions, and so much more. Aromatic use is a simple way to experience the power of essential oils with very little skill or knowledge.
Ingesting essential oils allows one to reap the internal benefits they hold for the body. Some oils can be used internally to promote healthy cell function, support gastrointestinal health, or maintain healthy immune function, while others provide cleansing benefits. When ingested, essential oils are transported to the gastrointestinal tract, directly into the bloodstream, which is then carried throughout the body. Because essential oils are lipid soluble compounds, they can easily be transported to all parts of the body’s organs, including the brain. Note: Not all essential oils are safe for ingesting. If the oil is CPTG® and has “Supplemental Facts” listed on the bottle, it may be ingested. [PM adds: please do your own research to determine if ingesting oils is right for you.]
Topical use of essential oils allows specific areas of the body to be targeted for desired effects. When used correctly, essential oils can be beneficial for the skin, useful for massage, and can naturally cleanse and purify the body. Essential oils don’t include toxins or fillers that are often found in chemical cleansers and toners, accommodating sensitive and delicate skin by first diluting the oils in a carrier oil.
Understanding how each of the application methods benefit the body can help in selecting an arsenal of essential oils to support your immune system and improve overall health and wellness.
For support during the winter months, these 10 essential oils are a must-have.
Cassia(Cinnamomum cassia) Cassia is a “warming” oil that helps promote a healthy immune function when ingested. It also is a great oil to diffuse during cold months due to its warming properties and spicy scent. Due to its caustic nature, cassia should be diluted with a carrier oil when applied to the skin and can be very strong when inhaled directly. Application method: A, I, T
Cinnamon(Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Cinnamon is derived from a tropical, evergreen tree that grows up to 45 feet high and has highly fragrant bark, leaves, and flowers. Extracted from bark, cinnamon oil supports healthy metabolic function and helps maintain a healthy immune system when needed most. Due to its high content of cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon should be diluted with a carrier oil when applied to the skin and only one to two drops are needed for internal benefits. Application method: A, I, T
Clove(Eugenia caryophyllata) Extracted via steam distillation from the bud of the plant, clove contains powerful antioxidant properties, supports cardiovascular health, and helps clean teeth and gums. Application method: A, I, T
Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus radiata) Eucalyptus trees are tall, evergreen trees that grow up to 50 feet in height and are sometimes referred to as Gum Trees. The main chemical components of Eucalyptus radiata are eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol, making it an ideal oil to promote feelings of clear breathing, open airways, and creating a soothing massage experience. Eucalyptus has purifying properties that can be beneficial for the skin and for cleansing surfaces and the air. Application method: A, T
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii, frereana, and sacra) Often called the “king of oils,” frankincense has extraordinary health benefits. Ingest to support healthy cellular function. Its aroma promotes feelings of relaxation, topical application helps reduce the appearance of skin imperfections, and can support healthy immune, nervous, and digestive function when taken internally. Application method: A, I, T
Lemon(Citrus limon) The cleansing, purifying, and invigorating properties of lemon make it one of the most versatile oils. Placed in a spray bottle with water, it cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Adding a couple of drops to drinking water naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion and supports healthy respiratory function. When diffused, its citrus aroma promotes a positive mood and purifies the air. Application method: A, I, T
Melaleuca(Melaleuca alternifolia) More commonly known as “Tea Tree,” melaleuca essential oil has over 92 different compounds and limitless applications. Melaleuca is best known for its purifying properties. Taken internally, melaleuca promotes healthy immune function, and melaleuca can be used on surfaces throughout the home to protect against environmental threats. Application method: A, I, T
Myrrh(Commiphora myrrha) Myrrh essential oil is derived from the gummy resin of the small, thorny Myrrh tree and has been used for centuries for its internal and external health benefits. Myrrh has powerful cleansing properties, especially for the mouth and throat. Application method: A, I, T
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Known as a popular cooking spice, oregano also acts as a powerful cleansing agent, and offers powerful antioxidants—extending its uses far beyond the kitchen. The primary chemical component of oregano is carvacrol, a phenol that possesses antioxidant properties when ingested. Due to its high phenol content, caution should be taken when inhaling or diffusing oregano; only one to two drops is needed. Additionally, oregano should be diluted with a carrier oil when applied to the skin. One drop taken internally each day can help maintain healthy immune function; oregano can be taken more frequently as needed to further support the immune system. Application method: A, I, T
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) With a specific chemistry that supports a healthy immune system, thyme is a potent, warm essential oil that holds powerful cleansing and purifying properties. Although it is commonly used as a seasoning, thyme also produces a potent essential oil that has cleansing and purifying effects for the skin; however, due to its high thymol content, thyme should be diluted with a carrier oil before application. Application method: A, I, T
Everyone responds differently to essential oils. What works for one person, may not necessarily work for another. The beauty of essential oils is that you will know almost immediately if they are benefitting and working for you. These ten listed are a small fraction of the CPTG® essential oils available. If you’re interested in beginning a wellness journey with essential oils, first identify what your health and wellness needs are. This will help to choose which oils fit your needs best. And do your research to ensure that the oil has undergone rigorous testing for purity and efficacy.
Romelia Rodriguez Walters is wife to a musician and homeschooling mom of three. A native Texan who has called New Mexico her home since 1999, she has been actively involved in community health for over 20 years. Some of her greatest achievements in that realm include co-founding a statewide nonprofit focusing on asthma management and education, advocating for Asthma Educators – Certified reimbursements, and developing a best practice model for home asthma visits to be implemented on a national level. She currently owns a home-based business, Casa Walters Essentials, that provides resources, tips, education, and business opportunities for those seeking alternate paths on their wellness journeys, via educational classes, wellness seminars and 1:1 consults.