Are you ready to be a witch doctor? Make sure you have a cauldron and a pointy hat. We’re going to break the rules. Are you squeamish? Maybe you should avoid the recipes that include frogs, then. They don’t usually turn out great anyway…
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a Disney movie, so maybe you should collect a pot and a homemade apron instead. Some people may have called herbalists witch doctors in the distant past, but modern research suggests that using herbs to cure a cold and stop a toothache are more effective than a prescription could ever be.
At Edify, we believe God created everything we might need to heal our ailments when He created us. The benefits of herbal medicine have been proven in our own family and we would suggest nothing else. After spending years studying herbal remedies and whipping them up in our own kitchen, we’ve seen a plantain “weed” stop blood poisoning in its tracks, lavender and honey heal a burn overnight, and elderberry syrup and herbal tinctures cure colds.
Essential oils are a quick way to get the benefits of herbs in a compact package.
These few oils are staples at our house for their bountiful benefits. Here’s a brief guide to each one.
Also known as Blue Gum Eucalyptus, this oil is only to be used when diluted and prudence should be practiced if you’re pregnant. It’s always important to remember to use a bit of caution with essential oils and do your research, as they are the most potent and concentrated version of the plant.
Eucalyptus can help aid recovery from burns, cuts, insect bites, lice, skin infections, muscle aches and pains, throat infections, chickenpox, colds, flu, measles, and headaches. This oil is especially useful in opening the sinuses and is used in things like cough syrups. It helps with poor circulation, asthma, and can be used as a great insect repellent. We like to use it as a lotion or bath salt for its help in opening up a stuffy nose, usually paired with peppermint or rosemary.
It is commonly added to the Four Thieves oil mixture, which is said to have prevented a group of thieves from contracting the plague while stealing belongings off victims of the epidemic! Regardless of this myth’s validity, we use the four thieves mixture and have found great results.
Oh, the wonder of lavender! It seems like this is good for everything. Lavandula augustifolia, or True Lavender, is the mildest of essential oils and is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. It can be applied directly to the skin without dilution with no fear of adverse effects.
Let me give you a list of its uses. Be prepared. It’s a long list.
Abscesses, acne, athlete’s foot, allergies, bruises, burns, dandruff, eczema, insect bites and stings, lice, spots, sunburns, muscle aches, sprains, asthma, laryngitis, infections, abdominal cramps, nausea, flu, headache, insomnia, anxiety, shock, vertigo, and depression. It is antiseptic and antimicrobial, with properties that relieve pain, lower blood pressure, deter parasites, remove odors (it can be a deodorant in itself!), and act as a natural (mild) sedative, only to name a few.
Needless to say, we use it in everything. I would specifically like to note that if you burn yourself while cooking in the kitchen, applying a drop of straight lavender essential oil to the burn and periodically applying the rest of the day will have you waking up with a brand new hand. Seriously, this oil can work miracles.
Not only does this make a great seasoning, but it has many the health benefit. This essential oil, however, should be avoided while pregnant and is not advised if you have epilepsy.
Its medicinal properties include assistance with colds, flu, infections, headaches, mental fatigue, stress disorders, bronchitis, whooping cough, colitis, jaundice, and asthma. Rosemary is also great for poor circulation, rheumatism, gout, palpitations, and varicose veins.
I believe its leading use in everyday life is in hair and skin care. It is good for dandruff, greasy hair, lice, hair growth, sebaceous gland balance, scalp stimulation, along with acne, dermatitis, and eczema.
This one is also a popular addition to the Four Thieves mix.
Lemon is non-toxic, although it may cause dermal irritation so moderation should be used. It is not recommended to use on skin exposed to direct sunlight.
Lemon is popular as a natural cleaner, but it can also help with anemia, brittle nails, boils, cuts, greasy skin, insect bites, varicose veins, warts, cellulitis, nosebleeds, obesity, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, flu, cold, infections, and fever.
It has an invigorating smell and is a main ingredient in the Four Thieves mix.
Orange is high in vitamins A, B, and C. It is generally non-toxic, although only in moderate amounts.
Sweet Orange can rejuvenate dull and oily complexions and aids in warding off obesity, palpitations, water retention, and colds and flu. It has properties that are antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and help reduce nervous tension.
This oil is non-toxic and non-irritant. It originated in Australia and works against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It also is a powerful immuno-stimulant, which means its ability to respond is increased whenever the body is threatened by any one of these three forms of organisms.
These properties make it great for a multitude of things, including abscesses, acne, blisters, cold sores, dandruff, oily skin, rashes, warts, infected wounds, asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, whooping cough, thrush, colds, flu, and infectious illnesses like chicken pox.
It works great as a dental hygiene aid. It might not taste great, but if you’re having trouble with an aching tooth, putting some tea tree on the affected area will help numb pain and remove harmful germs. We also like to add this one in when we’re making a Four Thieves blend for its immunity aid.
Clove oil can cause mucous membrane and skin irritation, so diluted moderation should be used. However, it can be used for relief of skin infections, intestinal parasites, toothaches, and even in easing the pain of childbirth.
This oil is also good for acne, bruises, burns, cuts, arthritis, sprains, asthma, nausea, colds, flu, and minor infections. This is also an effective aid for dental hygiene if you suffer from any tooth-related problems and is a main component in the Four Thieves mixture.
Peppermint is non-toxic and non-irritant in moderation. This oil is fantastic for everything stomach-related. From morning sickness in pregnancies to intestinal colic and nausea, peppermint is the answer. Peppermint can also help with acne, ringworm, scabies, toothache, palpitations, asthma, spasmodic cough, dyspepsia, colds and flu, headache, mental fatigue, nervous stress, and vertigo.
Whew! That’s a long list. The only oil in the Four Thieves mixture that we don’t carry is cinnamon essential oil. All of this information was taken from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism by Julia Lawless. This book is a great resource if you’re interested in aromatherapy.
Something to remember is that herbal remedies, whether in leaf form or in their more concentrated counterparts, have a much lower risk of adverse reactions than traditional pharmaceutical medicine. Herbal remedies are plants used in their complete form, so they usually have everything your body needs to safely assimilate the nutrients. This means that even if caution is suggested, it is rare to see serious side effects in overuse.
Leave a comment if you have any questions on the use of these oils. What is your favorite essential oil?