Was the Garden of Eden the original pharmacy? Did it contain – truly – everything we humans require for health and well being?
I haven’t used conventional medicine in years.
Conventional medicine certainly has its place. But its not the only place to go and it is not a singular cure all.
I’m an almost fully trained clinical aromatherapist. When I last wrote a post on oils (I closed the blog for a couple of years) I think I had just begun my training.
I say “almost” an aromatherapist because there are a couple of modules left for me to complete which from memory include “managing a clinic” and another office orientated part of the course.
Despite this course setting me back a rather large sum of money – taking up a lot of time and energy and being so close to the end – I probably will still take ages to finish it.
Because I don’t want to use the qualification to be a clinical aromatherapist. The college is 6.5 hours away from me and I find it difficult to take time off to go and study inhouse (which is a requirement of the course) I am through the really juicy parts of the course and now the bits at the end don’t interest me so much.
So why take the course? Why travel the 6 plus hours across to the coast to the best damn school of aromatherapy in Australia and spend loads of money if not to complete the very good – very comprehensive, immersive and interesting course – especially if all that is required is a couple of boring modules you could do in your sleep (hello been in administration for most of my career)????
You can see I have had this conversation with myself before. There is a long answer and short answer.
This is the short answer: To begin with I just wanted the knowledge, the contacts and the access to learning about a passion of mine that compliments so many other interests such as health and nutrition.
And yes, somewhat indulgently, I now just use all that training on myself, my family and friends because I have no interest in setting up a clinic or selling products and massages – oh that’s the other bit I have to complete – 200 hours of massage. I have done the modules on different types of massage, so I know how to do carry out a very decent massage – and do practice it on those I choose. I just haven’t given massages to 200 strangers. Which I know would improve my ability to give a massage tremendously as well as breaking down several personal boundaries but I have no desire to massage a heap of people that I don’t know. And I don’t have to. So..
That’s the short answer – God help me but summary is not a talent of mine.
The long answer (which I will shorten considerably now that the “short” answer got so damn long – is because health is an holistic, organic process. It consists of implementing and maintaining many things – good nutrition, healthy exercise etc
I have found that I can help people with aromatherapy but unless they undertake all the other parts of healing themselves, then in the end it can amount to an exercise in frustration.
I tend to care too much, so I get frustrated when people don’t care enough about themselves.
So I don’t wander along that path with people so much anymore.
Is it selfish to say I just wanted the knowledge of aromatherapy?
Well I now have a great start in what will probably be a life long passion as well as the contacts in the Industry, a wealth of information in the form of great books in my library and at least a hundred different pure essential oils, ingredients for balms, creams, ointments, potions and lotions and a great many recipes which I enjoy experimenting with.
So if it is selfish to know these things just for the sake of knowing these things – then a counter to that self indulgence is surely to share – which I freely do if asked in person.
This post is for anyone else in the ether who has an interest.
Which ones? Always 100% pure – always.
There are many brands of great oils out there. In the end as long as you are using a reputable 100% pure oil, (I’ve listed a few ones I know of and have used below) then you’ll be fine.
Do Terra and Young Living are the two with probably the biggest following. There is hardly a bumpteenth of difference between them and actually the story I heard within the aromatherapy sphere was that Young Living was originally owned by two brothers – they split up over a difference of opinions and Do Terra was founded by the brother that left.
I use a lot of Do Terra myself but I flirt around because Do Terra don’t make all the oils I use. For example Hyssop and many of the fine native Australian oils are not part of the Do Terra line. Although they do make a Yarrow now, I still prefer my Sydney Essential Oil Co Yarrow oil. Then there are all the extracts like Gota Kula, Chamomile, Calendula ￼￼and St Johns Wart (to name a few) and beautiful hydrosols, butters and emulsifiers but that’s another post.
A note on the Sydney Essential Oil Company – this is where you can buy all your packaging and other types of ingredients like clays, creams and balms (if you don’t want to make them from scratch and instead just add oils and extracts) extracts and so on.
Back to oils.
If you wanted to access Do Terra oils the best way to do so is find a wellness consultant – I am a wellness consultant but I don’t really sell oils – I just buy them and use them in large quantities so…they made me a wellness consultant. I can access and sell Do Terra oils – but its the access I’m interested in.
Due to heavy market saturation however, if you seek, you should find a wellness consultant very easily within your community.
Perfect Potion have beautiful oils, blends and products.
Salvator Battaglia (the founder of the company) is also the author of the book “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy” which I have in the Third Edition. It is a great book and often used. Salvator is also the founder of what is now a world wide distributor of gorgeous essential oils, blends and products. You can check out perfect potion online here – I visited the Perfect Potion headquarters and factory in Banyo, Brisbane a few years ago as part of my clinical aromatherapy course and had my eyes blown open by just how far a very knowledgeable aromatherapist with a passion for essential oils can go in the wellness industry.
I also use several native Australian oils. My source for these is Essentially Australia located in Byron Bay. I can’t speak highly enough of these oils. You can find them here if you wanted to check them out. My favourites are Lemon Myrtle – for cleaning and air freshening goodness, Kunzea which I make up in special blends for muscle and joint pain and Rosalina, Tea Tree and Peppermint Gum – oh and Buddah Wood for deep meditation mixes. This is a great company, wonderful service and gorgeous pure essential oils.
So that gives you a few sources to begin accessing oils. As a side note to this info – this blog isn’t monetised and I don’t get any kick backs – I’m just sharing information about brands I truly believe in here.
Before you do begin any journey with oils however please – do your homework and I explain why a little further down.
I’m a reader (I inhale books like an addict sucks nasty white powder up their nose) so I have a large library and about 20 books alone on aromatherapy. These are the ones I particularly recommend though:
- The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Third Edition – Vol 1 – Foundations & Materia Medica by Salvatore Battaglia
- Aromatica – A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics – Volume 1 – Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes LAc, MH
- Aromatherapy Blending – Essential Oils in Synergy by Jennifer Peace Rhind
- Essential Oil Safety – Second Edition – Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young
Why read a book or do a course on Aromatherapy when there is so much info out there on Pinterest and Google and every second Mum or Dad sells some sort of essential oil these days?
Because there is a great deal of misinformation and way too much underinformation (probably not a word but you get my drift) out there.
One of the reasons my aromatherapy instructors disliked Do Terra so much (which I found out quickly when I began my course) was because Do Terra and Young Living and the like all have a business model which easily delivers powerful oils into the hands of people that don’t know a lot about them. Because it is a sales model – their wellness consultants have a great incentive to sell sell sell. And yes you can read the pamphlets and go to a party but you still may not know enough of what you are dealing with and the extent to which these potent oils can affect your physiology.
This is not just potentially dangerous – it also means that people are not getting the most out of their expensive little bottles of oil. I know quite a few ladies who tell me they have this oil or that oil (or the entire households essential pack of Do Terra) but they don’t really know what to do with them so although they got all hyped up at the sales party – they don’t use their valuable (and quite expensive) oils.
Which is a great shame.
Aromatherapy has been around for a very long time. It may be enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the last few years (and we can thank Do Terra and Young Living sales models for that – which I pointed out to my disgruntled tutors who had to admit I was correct:) but herbal medicine and plant oils have been a modicum of healing that has been studied extensively for many years.
In the time before modern medicine – plant medicine was the only way to heal illness and disease and so a great deal of both folk knowledge and medical lore has been built up around it over the centuries. Unfortunately a lot of information has also been lost to our modern society and that is a truly a tragedy.
Plant oils – like medicine (many of which have their origins in plant extracts before the synthetic versions were manufactured for mass production) are made up of chemical compounds. Chemistry is (or should be) a large component of any high quality Aromatherapy course. It was in mine.
If along with applying the oils topically, you ingest plant oils – essential oils – it is even more imperative that you know the chemical constituents of what you are using, how much is a safe amount to use and how to combine this oil (if doing so) with other oils (and their individual chemical constituents as well). Many of these highly concentrated oils share the same chemical constituents as other oils and overdosing of one particular chemical constituent can occur and does occur more often then you would think.
For example: you wouldn’t take six types of conventional drug that include paracetamol or you would wind up in hospital – the same thing can happen with plant oils that contain Thujone or Carvicol or any number of other powerful chemical components found in individual essential oils.
Many oils shouldn’t be used on babies, children or the elderly nor during pregnancy yet those lovely little bottles just don’t carry enough warnings so… do the research on what you are using and always store oils out of the reach of children.
What can essential oils do?
I use essential oils to fight common illnesses and combat skin conditions and treat muscular aches and pains. I use the oils in different combinations to alleviate emotional and hormonal imbalances, aid muscle recovery from sports and sprains and aches and pains. I use them for cleaning and deodorising and generally around the home. I use them for skincare and dental hygiene.
Actually I think this list would be shorter if I wrote what I didn’t use essential oils for. Safe to say – I use them for many purposes and several times a day.
I have a large arsenal of essential oils and I don’t go anywhere without at least a travel pack of 20 or so of my favourites. But the favourites change. They change according to where I’m going, what I might need them for and they change as to what I am drawn to intuitively at that time. More on that down the track.
I am not pretending to know everything about every essential oils – far far from it – in fact – the more I learn the more I realise how little I know and how far I have to go. I constantly refer back to my books and study materials if in doubt. I usually have a book or two on oils beside my bed and because of this ongoing study I am always finding new ways to use individual oils and experiment with different combinations to obtain different results. It’s an exciting and interesting field of study and I will probably be immersed in plant medicine for the rest of my life.
This is how I know without a shred of doubt that we (as a culture) have no idea of the extent to which plants can offer us their life enhancing qualities. Pity they burnt so many witches, pity they haven’t been writing this stuff down, pity half the species of plants and trees will be wiped out before humans discover their benefits.
You don’t have to know everything or even spend a lot of time studying (although you may well become obsessed like me and simply have to try to know all you can discover) you just have to know enough to be able to use the oils that you buy safely and how to use the oils you have to their full potential.
Because if you don’t – you can do more harm than good and if you don’t know what you are doing – sooner or later you will wind up with a bad reaction. Or someone you care about and innocently offer the oils to will.
I remember a doctor in one of our classes asking what the known effects of essential oils are on the gut microbiome. It was a great question don’t you think? With so much attention to gut issues and what we are finding out about the gut and its effects on mood and health – I would say it is an extremely pertinent question.*see note
After all essential oils such as Oregano and Thyme are incredibly strong. If I feel a cold coming on I use these oils in a mix with Black Seed oil and various other vitamins and extracts – they work extremely effectively. But you shouldn’t use Oregano (or Thyme for that matter) for longer than a week at a time.
These oils are known to be as strong as antibiotics to treat a great many afflictions. When used in the right combination and at the right time they are lethal to bacteria and of great support to our immune system .
In fact essential oils work better than many of the modern antibiotics and disinfectants which are becoming useless against the ever adapting cells of bacteria. This is because, like the bacteria, essential oils are skilful at the art of war and they are able to rapidly change in order to fight disease within the cells of the body.
Plants use their specialised defences to protect themselves against mould, pests, decay, rot etc. When we take these chemical compounds and use them in our own body we are accessing those same weapons. Like all weapons we need to handle them judiciously.
Antibiotics destroy all bacteria in the gut, they do not discern between good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria is essential to health. Do essential oils also destroy all bacteria or are they smart enough to pick and choose their target?
What effect are these powerful oils having on the gut? Particularly when people are indiscriminately adding them to smoothies and cakes and biscuits and not just using them as carefully chosen and wisely administered doses to counter illness or disease.
And that’s just the area of the gut. What about the liver? Alcohol and sugar, excess fats, drugs (both legal and illegal) every chemical that enters the body has to be processed and excreted via the liver. What potential damage to them liver are these concentrated oils capable of?
Its just food for thought and I don’t want to scare you about using essential oils because they are power houses of alternative healing and I absolutely love them, however I do want to offer caution. Anything powerfully good can be equally powerfully bad.
Read the right books (not just Pinterest or Google) and do your research, educate yourself about your passion. I realise that I was fortunate to be able to undertake study just for the sake of educating myself on Aromatherapy however those four books listed above or even just one of them (I would choose “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Third Edition – Vol 1 – Foundations & Materia Medica by Salvatore Battaglia” if pushed for just one – it’s a great grounding in the principals and uses of aromatherapy and different essential oils) contains a wealth of information that you can refer back to time and again.
Enjoy the journey – it is an ongoing passion that can truly transform your life and those around you.
Oh and as a footnote – if you don’t think essential oils are something which the men in your life will embrace you are wrong. My husband (who is the most male sort of a male that I can imagine) loooooooves them. He loooooooves that they feel so good and repair so much after a hard day working (he is a builder). He loves that when he has a cold – the cure is so much quicker. If I can bomb him early enough – the cold may not even go beyond a few hours of feeling low and a bit of a sore throat.
Prior to essential oils he had to take a course of antibiotics just to get rid of a heavy cold and it was always zero to 100 in under an hour – it would always end up on his chest and take ages to clear up – the cough went for months. And this happened every season. Post essential oils – he may still get a cold now and then but it is over and gone in a couple of days, rarely makes it to his chest and the cough situation never eventuates.
From mental health to physical health to skincare and cleaning, essential oils are bottles of goodness I use every day.
They are a passion of mine and because of that I’ll post further about essential oils in the future.
*As an aside to this story – in my classes – I was surrounded by some very interesting people – a doctor, a psychiatrist, an extremely wise older lady who was a skilled herbalist, counsellors, a teacher, two beauty therapists and so on. Isn’t it great that these natural alternatives are being taken up as valuable viable therapies by people who can have a great impact on the broader community?