Warning. Long rambling blog post ahead. Make a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, because believe me, when I get to my point, it’s going to be worth it!
I am going to hazard a guess that nearly everyone reading this will have tried an essential oil for something at some time in their life, whether on a natural health journey or not – lavender to calm, chamomile to soothe, some yummy blend in a diffuser to make the house smell nice… And if not in the form of an oil, they have experienced the power of a plant or herb, like peppermint tea for an upset tummy.
I am very passionate (as you might have guessed) about how and why we have gotten so far away from the powerful properties of plants in the first place, related to our healing, to reach for modern day drugs and all their dangerous side effects as a first option. Did you know many of them find their origins in the chemicals that are found in plants anyway?
Take aspirin as an example. Many moons ago in the mid-eighteenth century, willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation. By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to the active component of willow extract, called salicylic acid. In 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants that give you the pain relief. The problem was that it was tough on the stomach and a ‘buffering’ of the compound was needed. Cue French Chemist, Charles Frederick Gerdhardt. In 1853 he neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid. This was rediscovered in 1899 by a German Chemist names Felix Hoffman (who worked for Bayer) and thus the ‘Wonder Drug’ Aspirin was patented, on February 27, 1900.
Aspirin is now used for fevers, pain and inflammation (and other things), but has some serious side effects for the unlucky ones, which last much longer than the effects of a headache. What baffles me is that this is what the original willow bark was used for in the first place, and successfully.
In my bid to get back to the natural when I had Eden, rather than use over the counter remedies for the discomforts that come part and parcel with being a bubba, I stocked my wellness toolbox with essential oils (amongst other thing like vitamin c and probiotics, but that’s a whole other blog post!) as my “go to” in cases of illness or discomfort:
- Lavender for sleep and to calm
- Chamomile to run along her jaw line when teething and clove to rub directly on her gums when it got really bad
- Melaleuca for bad nappy rash and thrush
- And peppermint when she was stuffed up from colds.
This was as adventurous as I got in those early days, but I was amazed by how these remedies worked so well for us.
Inspired and I guess curious, it was at this point that I invested in dōTERRA’s Family Physician Kit and dared to take my oil use to the next level…
When this magical box arrived my eyes opened wide to the possibilities… Lemon, oregano, a number of oil blends and then I saw it…. Frankincense!
I began to read about this oil straight away because while I had heard about the benefits of the other oils, to be honest all I knew about Frankincense was that it was one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus! I guess this made it pretty special, but how it could help me I was unsure.
I began to read… I learned that Frankincense comes from the Boswellia genustrees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteriis; a tree or shrub that produces a gum or resin that can be steam distilled into an essential oil. Its aroma is uniquely warm, deep, rich and kind of like incense (sounded good so far). The high level of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in this oil are what promote the body’s natural healing processes.
As I began to look at what areas of my life could incorporate this luxurious oil, the possibilities seemed endless! And exciting. It seemed I could replace many of my shop bought beauty products with frankincense alternatives and then there was the ways in which Frankincense could support my emotional well-being. It all felt a bit too good to be true, so I began experimenting.
The first thing I created was a simple moisturiser using coconut oil as a carrier for my face. I am naturally ruddy in the cheeks, which I hate, and had tried numerous creams to help, which hadn’t and were expensive. In fact I had resorted to just using straight coconut oil, which left my skin beautifully soft and hydrated, but was not supporting the reduction in the blemishes and din’t get rid of break-outs. Using my Frankincense moisturiser, within 3 days I saw a difference!
I have since changed the carrier oil in my moisturiser to fractionated coconut oil from just a cold pressed organic coconut oil because I discovered that the solid fats in the cold pressed were clogging up my pores and this was not clearing (and was possibly causing) the breakouts. I still use the cold pressed oil with Frankincense to rub onto my big baby bump, as frankincense can support the body’s ability to keep existing cells and tissues healthy and promote healthy cell regeneration.
A property of Frankincense that has really interested me is to do with comforting in times of stress and despair, and clearing the mind; useful for visualizing and improving one’s spiritual connection. I must admit that I personally do not use oils much for aromatherapy. I often diffuse for my daughter and see benefits, but I guess for me I didn’t see a “need”. Now I know that is not true and that I have really been missing out. As an anxiety sufferer, Frankincense has proved to be a very effective sedative for me that induces a feeling of mental peace, relaxation, and satisfaction, and helps relieve my anxiety (or anger or stress), whatever the negative emotion. I inhale 3 deep breaths of Frankincense in the morning and I feel my mind clearing. I am now waiting on the delivery of a beautiful clay necklace to diffuse the oil when I need it at other times – challenging meetings, when being a mum gets hectic or if I feel fear or anxious for any reason – any occasion where I feel I need to let go of lower vibrations, deceptions and negativity.
I am now looking at Frankincense’s uses as an astringent to strengthen gums and hair roots, stop wounds from bleeding and speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils.
I am fascinated by this oil’s connection to improving overall wellness, especially spiritually because I think we all have moments of darkness. Can this powerful oil really shield the body and soul from negative influences?
I guess only more experience with this oil will tell. I was definitely sticking to my comfort zone when I first started my journey with oils and was both surprised and impressed by what we are now achieving as a family by using all the oils incorporated in the Family Physician Kit. And the great thing is that once you have your good quality oils you can make so many things yourself, rather than buying over the counter – for beauty, cleaning, well pretty much anything! And I guess as a mum we spend so much time looking at the things we need to make sure things are clean and safe and good for our family, but with Frankincense you can do all of this and still have a bit of luxury for yourself!
I will leave you with this luxurious bath salts recipe for the next time you get (or make!) a moment for yourself (I call this the Cleopatra)…
- 1/2 cup Epsom Salts
- 1/2 cup Dead Sea Salts
- 2 tsp Baking soda
- 8-10 drops Frankincense essential oil (where to buy)
- 8-10 drops Lavender essential oil (where to buy)
And… mix all the above ingredients together and throw them in the bath! (Don’t bathe with soap at the same time otherwise you will be washing away all the important nutrients before they’ve had a chance to be absorbed through your skin. A good excuse to have to lie still for 15-20 minutes!)