When it comes to medicine, nature knows what she's doing.
The more we learn about how various things interact within our bodies, the more we find ourselves craving natural, pure products. We don't want to put anything into or onto our bodies that shouldn't be there, so we've started making our own recipes with all natural products from brands we trust.
Over the past couple years, we've been picking up bits and pieces of essential oil knowledge and decided it was time to dive a little deeper. After all, we know from our research about MONQ's personal essential oil diffusers that terpenes, the compound that gives plants their smell and flavor, are just as important as compounds like CBD and THC when it comes to medicine — and essential oils are loaded with terpenes!!
When it comes to cannabis, terpenes bind to our cannabinoid receptors alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD and affect their chemical output, enhancing the cannabinoids' effects and dictating what experience we'll have. If you've ever heard someone say that they like the strain of cannabis that makes them energetic, giggly or sleepy, it isn't the THC or CBD profile that they're referring to — it's the terpene profile.
Terpenes and their effects aren't unique to cannabis.
Since terpenes are what give plants their smell and flavor, any plant that can produce an essential oil will, by default, have therapeutic terpenes. Essential oils are extracted or distilled from flowers, bark, peels, leaves, fruits, stalks, roots, and resins (Science Direct, 2015) and used for inhalation, topical application, ingestion, and baths.
When you use an essential oil, your olfactory bulb is what's letting your brain know that you're smelling something (PubMed Health). This olfactory bulb is directly connected to your limbic system, the system in the body responsible for your "fight or flight response" to stress, and transmits signals to the brain to release chemicals like serotonin and endorphins, causing you to feel a certain way — like really stressed out and anxious, or calm and refreshed (Science Direct, 2017).
Common Cannabis Terpenes
There are tons of terpenes out there, but some of the most well-known and prohibition-accessible are pinene, limonene, linalool, caryophyllene, humulene, and myrcene.
Aroma: earthy, musky, clove-like, slightly fruity
Good for: pain relief, relaxation, muscle tension, depression, increasing the amount of cannabinoids that can be absorbed by the brain
Therapeutic Properties: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-insomnia, antispasmodic, antipsychotic, anti-carcinogenic
Aroma: floral, sweet, citrus
Good for: sleep, relaxation, anxiety, Vitamin E, depression, anxiety
Therapeutic Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, antipsychotic
Also in: lavender*
Aroma: bitter, woody
Good for: suppressing appetite, pain relief
Therapeutic Properties: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic
Also in: hops, sage, ginseng
Click links to view more information about the essential oils of each of these plants
*Indicates that this essential oil is included in the Young Living Starter Kit
It's important to remember that while like terpenes will produce similar effects, every plant has a slightly different chemical composition that is going to affect how it is absorbed and used by the body (PubMed Health, 2017) — and it's also important to remember that everyone's body is different and may not respond to certain essential oils or terpenes in the same way. Make sure you stay mindful when trying new products; always practice safety and collect personal data.
But essential oils aren't cheap, and it always felt like we needed an assortment of oils for all the DIY recipes we experiment with — which added up quickly. That's when we stumbled upon Young Living at Columbia, Missouri's Natural Health & Wellness Expo and were introduced to their Essential Oil Starter Kit, filled with eleven 5 ml bottles of different essential oils; six of the eleven bottles are custom Young Living blends, and five are purely one oil (lavender, peppermint, lemon, copaiba, frankincense).
The plethora of oils for one flat price had our attention, but it was the allure of being added to the secret Facebook page that sold us on joining the Young Living community. We heard whispers of endless, customizable recipes and countless knowledgable "oilers" all happy to answer any questions we may have, and we had to see what it was all about.
The best thing about essential oil recipes is that they are simple.
You could make 50 in one day if you wanted to, not kidding! Most of the recipes involve things you probably already have around the house (or can get at your nearest supermarket) and typically involve mixing no more than 3-5 ingredients. In addition to affecting your olfactory bulb, essential oils have cleansing, moisturizing, drying, and toning properties when used on the skin (Science Direct, 2017), making them great for making our own lotions, soaps, deodorants, tooth pastes, and more — all without the extra chemicals that often come with corporate manufacturing. You can also use them in recipes to replace just about all of your toxic household cleaning products with natural mixtures. In fact, I have a friend who said that when she joined Young Living, she began replacing one toxic item in her house with an essential oil recipe. (Brilliant!!)
We thought it would be a lot of work to start in on these recipes, but again — they're so simple, it makes you wonder why you haven't always been doing it. Plus, when we make our own recipes, we have the added benefit of knowing exactly what's in it, and we can even customize it to our own needs based on what we need it for or how we're feeling!
Young Living is one of the oldest essential oils brands.
We like to know where things have been and who's behind their production; do their creators have our best interest in mind, or do corners get cut? Essential oils are powerful substances, and you never want to be using something that may have extra gunk attached.
As with any product, it's hard to know if a company is playing by the rules. There are tons of sources that hail Young Living's quality, but there are also sources who have reported finding contaminants in their oils, and they have also recently pleaded guilty for sourcing their oils illegally. (We have since begun to make sure that the oils we purchase from Young Living are not derived from endangered plants.)
Nevertheless, Young Living proclaims that they go to great lengths to make sure their essential oils are pristine; on their website, you can read about how they responsibly source their plants, integrate science, and remain sustainable. However, as we have advanced our knowledge of essential oils with classes by Makes Scents owner Christina Kelley and Dr. Axe, a few red flags caught our eye, including the fact that they don't train their sales representatives on proper safety, don't use third-party testing, and are not certified organic. We're not saying this makes Young Living essential oils bad; we're just giving you an honest overview of the facts.
We want what's best for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community.
We use Young Living and feel that it is a great option for people who want to begin regularly using essential oils and start their collection; they offer a rewards program that allows you to get wholesale pricing, build credits to use towards future purchases, and even get surprise gifts — and their starter kit is a simple way to start your collection (a $300 value for only $160).
But we don't believe they are the best company (we're going to need to explore a lot more brands before making that kind of claim), and for people who want to just try a couple essential oils or buy locally, other brands would work just as well. The important thing to remember is to look for pure oils from reputable and responsible brands — and that often means doing your research (which is why we're working on exploring and researching more brands for you — new reviews coming this winter!).
Young Living Starter Kit
Dewdrop diffuser, AromaGlide roller fitment, 10 sample packets, 2 NingXia Red samples, 10 empty sample oil bottles + 5 ml bottles of the following:
A blend of: lemon, clove, eucalyptus, radiata, cinnamon bark, rosemary
Can be good for: immune and respiratory systems, comforting, disinfecting
Recipe ideas: add to milk or cereal, dietary capsule, cleaning products
Can be good for: anxiety, mood, pain, respiratory system (Organic Facts)
Recipe ideas: moisturizer, massage oil, diffusion
Can be good for: stress, digestion, skin blemishes, pain, cleaner, sleep (Dr. Axe)
Recipe ideas: add to a moisturizer, diffuse during meditation, use as a cleaner
A blend of: wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, peppermint
Can be good for: soothing, stimulating
Recipe ideas: pain massage oils/creams
Warning: don't use on children under the age of 6
Can be good for: pain, digestion, focus, respiratory system, energy, allergies, headaches (Dr. Axe)
Recipe ideas: massage oil, bath oil, diffusion, bug spray Warning: don't use on children
A blend of: tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli, fennel
Can be good for: relaxing
Recipe ideas: diffusion in the home or car, dietary capsule, enhanced water, flavored honey
A blend of: citronella, lavandin, lemongrass, rosemary, myrtle, tea tree
Can be good for: masking odors
Recipe ideas: laundry detergent, diffusion, room freshener
A blend of: copaiba, lime, cedar wood, vanilla, ocotea, lavender
Can be good for: relaxing, comfort
Recipe Ideas: diffusion, perfume
Can be good for: disinfecting, metabolism, mood, immune system (Dr. Axe)
Recipe ideas: add to cleaning or beauty products, diffuse after cleaning
Can be good for: relaxing, pain, skin blemishes, headaches, sleep (Dr. Axe)
Recipe ideas: bath salts, body oil, room freshener, add to skin care products
A blend of: spruce, cypress, three types of eucalyptus
Can be good for: energy, motivation, mood
Recipe ideas: massage oil, bath water, perfume, diffusion
Essential oils to use with caution around children:
- Clary Sage
*Oils labeled as "Vitality" are safe to ingest, but ingestion is something only advanced users should do, or under the guidance of a healthcare professional
**Always consult your healthcare professional prior to use
3 Ways to Use Essential Oils
Remember, essential oils are powerful and should be used responsibly and with intention. Over and improper use of essential oils can lead to sensitization, meaning that you can become allergic to the oils.
When inhaled, essential oils affect our olfactory bulbs and impact the way we're feeling.
- Rub 2-3 drops of (diluted) essential oils between your hands and deeply inhale, or inhale straight from the bottle
- Add a few drops to a bowl of hot water, then cover your head and the bowl with a towel while you breathe deeply and slowly
- Add 1-2 drops to a diffuser & diffuse for 15 minutes (be sure that you are diffusing oils that are safe for everyone who will come into contact with the space — you should not use essential oils around cats)
Many essential oils are great for the skin. But use caution! Essential oils are extremely potent and (most) should be diluted before use. You can dilute with coconut oil, almond oil, vegetable oil, hemp oil, alcohol, and more.
- Massage 2-3 drops of essential oil directly into the skin (after dilution)
1-3% essential oil for general use
(max of 10% for ages 10+)
.5-1% for children & elderly
*don’t use essential oils on/around
children under 6 months
You can use essential oils as a dietary supplement — but this method is for advanced users only!
- Place essential oil into a gel capsule and swallow (this should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional)
- Add 1-2 drops to your drink, juice, yogurt, or sweetener — but never into water (water and oil don't mix!) and never into a plastic container (essential oils eat plastic — instead use a glass, metal, or ceramic container)
- Add 1-2 drops to your meals while cooking (do this sparingly and intentionally)
Antibacterial Spray Recipe
We've already created about 12 different things with the oils in our starter kit, but one of the most unexpected things we made was a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers from the store are always incredibly strong and sterile smelling, and leave our hands feeling dried out. This recipe, however, was insanely easy to make, and we were able to customize it based on each of our aromatic preferences. (Sam likes lavender, and Kristen loves lemon)
- 2 oz dark glass bottle
- 1 tbsp. witch hazel
- approx 3 tbsp. distilled water
- 15 drops sanitizing essential oils of choice
- Thieves and Lemon
- Lavender, Tea Tree, Frankincense
- Mix all ingredients in spray bottle (We told you it was easy!)
How to use it
Use on hands while on-the-go, spray on public restroom seats, freshen clothing, wash fruits and veggies, clean toys, door handles, and shopping carts — and lots more!!
Want to join Young Living's essential oil community?
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*This review was updated on October 23, 2017
**This product was purchased by the Hempsley team.
We are affiliates with Young Living, meaning we earn a commission of sales from each product sold through our affiliate links. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Hempsley!
"Hempsley is a living collection of information about holistic wellness techniques. Our mission is to empower you with knowledge so that you can begin taking better care of yourself + your loved ones."
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Not for children or anyone under the age of 18. Not for use by women who are pregnant. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Hempsley and/or Kristen Williams will not be held responsible for any consequences that may result from using these products. Please use carefully.
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