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 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 cannabis medicine — and essential oils are loaded with terpenes!! 

When it comes to cannabis, terpenes bind to our endocannabinoid 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. 

Young Living essential oil starter kit styled with vintage photos and herbs

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)

This means that terpenes impact our endocannabinoid system, the system responsible for maintaining balance in our bodies, that cannabinoids like CBD can support.

Common Cannabis Terpenes 

There are tons of terpenes out there, but some of the most well-known and prohibition-accessible are myrcene, pinene, limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and terpinolene. Click here to learn more about these terpenes. 

Using Terpenes and Essential Oils

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 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, 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 soon!). 

Young Living essential oil starter kit

Meet the Young Living Starter Kit

Includes a Dewdrop Diffuser, AromaGlide roller fitment, 10 sample packets, 2 NingXia Red samples, 10 empty sample oil bottles + 5 ml bottles of the following:

Thieves Vitality

A blend of: lemon, clove, eucalyptus, radiata, cinnamon bark, rosemary

Benefits & Features:

  • Cleansing when applied topically

  • Neutralizes and purifies the air from strong odors when diffused

  • Freshens any atmosphere when diffused

  • Includes the naturally occurring constituents trans cinnamaldehyde (Cinnamon Bark), limonene (Lemon) and eucalyptol (Eucalyptus Radiata and Rosemary)

Recipe ideas: use to make freshening products

Peppermint Vitality

Benefits & Features:

  • Supports gastrointestinal system comfort*

  • Enhances healthy gut function*

  • Maintains efficiency of the digestive tract*

  • May support performance during exercise*

  • Reduces feelings of discomfort after large meals*

  • Provides a refreshing, minty flavor to food and beverages

Recipe ideas: massage oil, bath oil, diffusion, bug spray Warning: don't use on children

Lemon Vitality

Benefits & Features:

  • Keep Lemon on hand for its clean, energizing, and invigorating aroma.

  • Diffuse it to create a more focused environment.

  • Use its aroma to create an uplifting atmosphere.

  • Add Lemon to skin care products to help reduce the appearance of aging.

  • Use it to help remove adhesives.

Recipe ideas: add to freshening products, diffuse after cleaning
Warning: Never use citrus oils on the skin while in the sunlight

DiGize Vitality

A blend of: tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli, fennel

Benefits & Features:

  • Helps support and cleanse the digestive system*

  • Acts as a great companion to Essentialzymes-4™ when taken with meals to support your wellness regimen*

  • Includes antioxidant properties*

Recipe ideas: diffusion in the home or car

Lavender

Benefits & Features:

  • Promotes feelings of calm and fights occasional nervous tension

  • Has balancing properties that calm the mind and body

  • Cleanses and soothes minor skin irritations

  • Can be soothing to the skin after a day in the sun

  • Reduces the appearance of blemishes

  • Supports aging skin

  • Includes the naturally occurring constituents linalyl acetate, linalool, and ocimene

Recipe ideas: bath salts, body oil, room freshener, add to skincare products 

Frankincense

Benefits & Features:

  • Has a sweet, honey-like, and woody fragrance

  • Has a stimulating aroma

  • Promotes the appearance of healthy-looking skin

  • Reduces the appearance of uneven skin tones

  • Promotes feelings of relaxation and tranquility

Recipe ideas: add to a moisturizer, diffuse during meditation, use as a cleaner

Purification

A blend of: citronella, lavandin, lemongrass, rosemary, myrtle, tea tree

Benefits & Features:

  • Produces a clean, invigorating aroma

  • Clears the air of unwanted odors

  • Freshens musty and stale areas with its lively scent

  • Soothes skin when applied topically

  • Contains Lavandin, an ingredient that helps clean and purify the air

Recipe ideas: laundry detergent, diffusion, room freshener

R.C.

A blend of: spruce, cypress, three types of eucalyptus

Benefits & Features: 

  • Supports the feeling of normal, clear breathing

  • Promotes restful sleep and provides a relaxing aroma in a stuffy environment

  • Creates an invigorating experience when added to a bath or shower

  • Can be used as part of an exercise routine to promote the sensation of deeper breathing

  • Can be diffused during the cold-weather season

  • Provides a refreshing respiratory experience when applied to the chest

Recipe ideas: massage oil, bath salts, perfume, diffusion

PanAway

A blend of: wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, peppermint

Benefits & Features: 

  • Offers a refreshing, stimulating aroma.

  • Cools the skin after physical activity

  • Provides a cooling sensation when applied to shoulders, neck, and scalp

  • Includes the naturally occurring constituents methyl salicylate, gamma-curcumene, menthol, and eugenol

Recipe ideas: pain massage oils/creams

Warning: Never use on children under the age of 6

Stress Away

A blend of: copaiba, lime, cedar wood, vanilla, ocotea, lavender

Benefits & Features: 

  • Formulated with Lime, Lavender, Cedarwood, and more for a well-rounded and relaxing aroma

  • Promotes relaxation and a calming environment

  • Can be diffused, applied topically, and used as a personal fragrance

  • Has an inviting aroma that helps calm the mind

  • Includes ingredients that have the naturally occurring constituents beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, limonene, cedrol, and linalool

Recipe Ideas: diffusion, perfume

Copaiba Vitality

Benefits & Features:

  • Has a pleasant, complex taste

  • Can be used to support general wellness*

Recipe ideas: moisturizer, massage oil, diffusion

 *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

Information about Benefits & Features of each oil taken directly from Young Living's website

Other essential oils to use with caution around children: 

  • Hyssop

  • Sage

  • Clary Sage

  • Wintergreen

  • Eucalyptus

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. 

Aromatically

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 Caution: 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, and use caution with dogs as their bodies don't process compounds found in essential oils the same way. Click here to learn more.

Topically

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)
    • 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

    Internally

    You can use essential oils as a dietary supplement — but this method is for advanced users only! Always consult a healthcare professional prior to using internally. 

    • 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)

    How to Buy from Young Living

    Young Living is built on multi-level marketing, meaning that they encourage existing customers to sell to their friends and family, offering a percentage of their sales in return for their efforts. This is great for anyone who may want to build a side-business for themselves, but it can unfortunately leave some people feeling pressured to sell oils themselves. 

    We're big fans of Young Living's essential oils, but not so much of this system. We believe that Young Living has some of the highest quality oils available — and we've personally experienced phenomenal benefits from using them — but we also know that there are lots of other great essential oil companies out there. Unfortunately, those with broadest selection and highest quality seem to all be based on multi-level marketing. (If you know of one that isn't, let us know!

    But never fear! If you're not feeling the membership program, or maybe you just want to start with a couple oils and see if you like using them rather than committing to a full kit, you can absolutely shop as a retail customer without joining the Young Living program; you'll just have to pay full retail price instead of the discounted price. Here are the differences: 

    About the Young Living Membership

    • Access to the Starter Kit for only $160, complete with 11 of the most useful essential oils and a diffuser valued at over $300 
    • 24% off retail pricing (after purchasing a Starter Kit
    • You'll be added to the Facebook communities with unlimited access to helpful resources and information along with a bunch of people excited to share their favorite essential oil recipes and discoveries with you! 
    • If you end up really loving your essential oils and use them regularly, you can sign up for Essential Rewards to earn extra discounts and freebies

    Retail Customer

    • Shop without purchasing a Starter Kit
      • Please know that while you don't have to submit as much information as you do with a "Membership," you unfortunately are still required to "enroll" with Young Living to shop their products 
    • Unfortunately no discounts are available shopping this way

    We actually left the Young Living program in 2019 because their model didn't work with ours, but we still order the occasional favorite oils from a local friend. If you need a contact, let us know — we'll be happy to introduce you! 

    Kristen Williams