What the Bible Says About Essential Oils

bible essential oils

I have to admit, when I first heard about essential oils, I thought it was a scam. I was totally put off by the crazy people who were obsessed & making big claims; plus, the fact that network marketing companies were involved certainly didn’t help provide credibility. I started slow, trying a couple oils and seeing results for myself. That lead to lots of research on the safety and efficacy of oils, as well as on the companies that sell them.  That research convinced me, and since then, I’ve totally joined the oil bandwagon.

I’d heard people say essential oils were biblical, but truly thought that was just part of the “cult.”  I knew the wise men brought frankincense & myrrh to Jesus, but was taught in Sunday School that those were more like “perfumes” because people didn’t shower or have deodorant.  And, I had heard of “anointing oil,” but thought it was simply olive oil. There’s a whole lot more in Scripture about essential oils than I ever could have imagined, and it’s quite compelling. I was quite convicted that regularly using essential oils is quite scriptural and something I should be taking advantage of as a gift from God.

The Bible contains over 1,000 references to 33 different species of essential oils. A couple things to keep in mind: many of the references in Scripture aren’t descriptive because the readers at the time didn’t need instructions – they were using oils every day for cooking, health and worship. And while some references will say “oil,” others might say “spices,” which can refer to both dried herbs and oils. Here are a few examples of how oils are reference in Scripture that impacted me most:

Healing

“Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing” Ezekiel 47:12

God intended us to use plants for nourishment and healing.  Eating fresh herbs and vegetables is, of course, essential to health. But another avenue of getting these healing properties is through essential oils- called “essential” because they are the essence/the life of the plant.

“The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” Revelation 22:2 

Many pharmaceuticals are designed to block receptor sites or give false information to cells in order to trick the body out of its symptoms.  Drugs often mask the problem instead of actually fixing it. God uniquely created essential oils to help heal our bodies, not just mask the symptoms. They work toward restoration and healing rather than causing confusion and chaos in our cells like drugs do. You can apply many different oils at once because rather than inter-reacting and causing problems like medications would, they all work together to bring our body to health.

In 2 Chronicles 16:11-14, King Asa “contracted a disease in his feet” that continued to worsen. Instead of seeking God, he sought the aid of physicians and he ended up dying. This is not at all to say you should not seek treatment from a trained doctor, but the lesson this teaches me is to seek God first when I’m sick rather than putting my full faith on worldly medicines.

In Luke 8:43-48, Luke, a physician himself, tells the story of a woman who bled for 12 years, seeking many different doctors and spending all her money doing so without anything working… how many of us can relate? Then, she encounters Jesus- she touches his robe with full faith and is healed.  God is the ultimate source of healing.

Healing is a holistic spiritual term, not a medical one.  Medicine doesn’t heal us. It doesn’t cure us. It addresses symptoms. Only a holistic approach can truly heal you.

Where do you turn first when you are sick?

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” James 5:14 

We all know how antibiotics are predictable and consistent, so the bacteria can learn to adapt and become resistant. The opposite qualities make essential oils so advantageous when fighting infection… there is so much variability with essential oils, bacteria cannot learn it. That’s why the effectiveness has still not diminished after thousands of years of use. Created by God, essential oils can distinguish between good and bad bacteria like they do in nature and can fight against viruses. Thieves essential oil has been proven in testing to kill 99.96% of airborne bacteria, and cinnamon bark oil has been comparable to penicillin and ampicillin antibiotics.

In Numbers 16:46-50, Aaron stops a plague among Israelites by fumigating (old-school diffusing) the essential oils of frankincense, galbanum, onycha and myrrh.

Myrrh is the most referenced oil in the Bible. It appears in both Genesis and Revelation, and was offered to Christ at his birth and at death. It was commonly used at the time because it enhances all other oils, causing what it’s combined with to last longer. Myrrh supports immune system, soothes skin, elevates mood and relieves stress, oxygenates cells, repels insects and prevents mouth infection. And it’s helpful for newborns for umbilical cord healing, coughs, sore throat, thrush.

“And they (the disciples)… anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.” Mark 6:13  

There are different words in the Bible to distinguish gradual vs instant healing. The Greek word “iaomai” for healing means miraculous or instantaneous and is found 30 times in the New Testament (Matt 8:13, Luke 8:47, John 12:40 as examples). The other word “therapeuo” is found 40 times (Mark 1:34, Luck 5:15, Acts 5:16 as examples) and means “to serve, to attend to” – healing over time with care. In Mark 6:13 and Revelations 22:2, two verses quoted above, the word “therapeuo” is used; rather than indicating instant miracles, God asks that we care for the sick and ourselves and use the natural medicines he has provided to do so.

One last note that’s changed the way I use oils: in the Biblical application of oils, it was always with prayer. I believe prayer will heal on its own and oils can too, but the combined power is much stronger.

Emotions

Our sense of smell is different than any other… everything we smell passes through the emotional part of our brain first. All other 4 senses go to the rational brain first. Scientifically, we know there is a strong link between smells and recalling emotions. The fragrance of essential oils can literally touch our emotions; emotions that cause pain, illness, malfunctions on all levels – physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual.

“Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart” Proverbs 27:9

Biblical writers may not have understood the science, but they knew that perfumes, ointments and incense could bring joy and peace, clear the mind, relieve stress, and were essential to prayer and worship. There are many references throughout Scripture of using essential oils to bring joy:

  • Psalm 45:7 – “Therefore God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above…”
  • Isaiah 61:1, 3 “the oil of joy for mourning”
  • Hebrews 1:9 “the oil of gladness”

Beyond helping with immune function, frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, cassia and cedarwood, all commonly used in the Bible, can help bring feelings of happiness.

Cedarwood is a great example of an oil with emotional uses. It clears the mind, increasing the ability to think with clarity. This oil has the highest concentration of sesquiterpenes (98%) – a property that helps it go directly to the brain upon inhalation. King Solomon chose cedar as the wood for his home and for the temple – how perfect for making decisions and wise judgments and meditating.

We should not forget what a valuable resource we have to use not only when we are sick, but also when we feel discouraged, stressed, overwhelmed or anxious.

“precious treasure and oil remain in the house of the wise” Proverbs 21:20

Worship

The most common use of essential oils was in worship and service to God – in sacrifices/offerings, in anointing, and in prayer.

There are 61 royal anointings in the Bible, used as a method of blessing, preparation and sanctification. In Leviticus 8:10-12 (also referenced in Psalm 133:2), Aaron was anointed with enough “precious ointment” to run down his beard- this wasn’t olive oil, these were valuable essential oils.  It is poured over Jesus Christ too (Matthew 26:7-12, Mark 14:3, John 12:3-8) – the Greek word “Kristos” means “the anointed one.”

“This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations” Exodus 30:31

In Exodus 30: 22-38, God gives very specific instructions to Moses for how to use essential oils for worship.  The “holy anointing oil” contains 84% essential oils of Myrrh, Cassia, Cinnamon, Calamus and 16% olive oil.  Then God gives a recipe for incenses, which was burned in temples by Jews and early Christians and still to this day in orthodox churches.

The Lord was insistent that the holy anointing oil and incense was holy, for Him alone and not to be used as a commercial perfume. These verses indicate the importance of how oils, created to bring spiritual awareness, should be used in our worship and prayer to God.

“as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” Ephesians 5:2

If you’d like to study more, I would highly recommend the book Healing Oils of the Bible – it helped me understand so much on this topic and is the source, besides the Bible, for much of the information in this post.

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Monat: Natural Product Review

Over the past few years, I’ve transitioned to using non-toxic products for health and home.  Some of the changes were quick and easy, but others have been hard- like hair and make up products. I’ve struggled to find a reasonable replacement, in cost or effectiveness.

effortless-styleToday, I want to share that I’ve finally found a natural hair care line that I can say, with confidence, works well AND is safe.  The product is MONAT (wondering how to pronounce? it stands for modern nature)!

I was initially wary because it is a multi-level marketing organization and I wasn’t interested in distributing anything. Plus, the price was high and it’s not grocery-store convenient. But dealing with terrible postpartum hair, I was desperate to try something that worked as well as everyone raved.  My expectations were low.

First, what I love about this product is the ingredients.  It’s made with essential oils (the products smell incredible!) and antioxidants to support hair health.  And it has none of the super harmful chemicals in almost everything else on the market – there’s NO:

  • Parabens – preservative in nearly all cosmetics that mimics estrogen, therefore disrupting hormone function; studies show it causes cancer
  • Sulfates – foaming agent that dries out your hair and irritates your scalp
  • Cyclic Silicones – makes the product spreadable, but causes lots of build up which is especially bad for curly hair like mine
  • DEA/MEA – a cutting agent you’ll find in most bath products to help mix oil-soluble with water-soluble ingredients; it increases risk for kidney and liver cancer because they are especially tough chemicals for our bodies to break down
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – helps with product penetration; this ingredient may irritate sensitive skin, but the worse risk is how it helps other toxic chemicals in a product get into your system
  • Phthalates – a dissolving agent and fragrance carrier; disrupts estrogen and testosterone levels linking to infertility, effects unborn babies and young children most due to inability to metabolize through digestive system (source)
  • Phenoxyethanol – a common cosmetic preservative; the FDA has admitted it depresses central nervous system and European studies show it is a skin irritant and potential effects on fertility (source)
  • Petrolatum / Mineral Oil – our bodies cannot metabolize so levels continue to build over use, especially bad because it is linked to estrogen dominance and potential carcinogen (source)
  • Triclosan – antimicrobial that causes gut inflammation
  • Formaldehyde Releasers – common preservative and antimicrobial is known to inhibit the immune system and studies show it is a carcinogen (source)

Now that the SAFETY of this product is clear, let me share my experience with the EFFECTIVENESS…

Monat has several different systems depending on your hair type- a distributor could help you identify the best one for you.  I was wanting to tackle a couple problem areas for myself… through all the products I’ve tried, my hair has always ended up oily, frizzy and easily tangled. A bonus would be for my air-dried hair to look better and be easier to achieve.  For reference- my hair is fine but there’s lots of it, is uncolored and is long and naturally wavy.

Based on this, I chose the Effortless Style/Soothing system. Shampooing with this product is a bit different- you have to put a little bit on first and let it sit- there will be no lather. Rinse and repeat and the second time it lathers a bunch. Let that sit and rinse and your hair will feel cleaner than ever!  Conditioning is normal, except you need to let it sit for 5 minutes.

air-dry-newI used the product for a few weeks and was totally disappointed / felt I had completely wasted my money.  My hair was only slightly less oily, but it was tangled worse than ever and still didn’t air-dry well.  The system comes with a blow-out cream, which I never used because I only blow dry my hair once a month. When I told my distributor about this issue, she switched it for the Air Dry Cream.

The new cream was a GAME CHANGER. Suddenly, my hair was healthy, didn’t tangle and air-dried fantastic. I use just a tiny bit (even on my long hair) after towel-drying and brushing and end up with nearly frizz-free (I do live in humid Texas after all) wavy hair.  While I do still have to use some dry shampoo to go a day between washes, the oiliness is much better than it used to be and continues to improve.

As for the cost, I agree it is super expensive, but I do believe it is worth it.  I became a “VIP” to get that discounted pricing with no obligation.  Also, it helps that it lasts- I bought my first bottles of shampoo/conditioner in mid-March and here I am just halfway through my second bottles nearly 6 months later.

I’m not a distributor of this product, but if you are interested in purchasing, I would be happy to connect you with the friend I buy from!

 

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

A few months ago, I received Thieves foaming hand soap complimentary in my essential oils order.  I used it and absolutely loved it.  But, I went to re-order and was astounded to find they cost $17 retail each. Ridiculous!

Refusing to spend that kind of money on hand soap and desperate for the soap that’s left my hands feeling cleaner than ever, I discovered a super easy DIY recipe.  I love that with this recipe I can use whatever essential oils I want, to change scent with the season.  The Thieves essential oil blend feels perfect for this time of year, especially with the added bonus of immune system support.

This only takes 1 minute to make and you probably already have all the ingredients in your cabinets.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy hand soap again after figuring out this simple trick.

What You’ll Need:

Steps:

  1. Fill an empty soap dispenser 2/3 full with water.  You must add water before soap to keep from bubbling up.
  2. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of castile soap.
  3. Add 4-5 drops of essential oil.
  4. Put the top on and shake slightly to mix all ingredients and it is ready.

Happy DIY-ing!  Let me know what you think!

Pregnancy Health Hacks

pregnancy-health-hacksAs I am nearing the end of pregnancy, I thought I would share some “health hacks” that I found helpful during pregnancy.  All of these “hacks” are safe, natural methods for dealing with pregnancy symptoms and in preparing for labor.

Chiropractor Adjustments – I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly for years and can’t imagine life without it.  I continued my regular visits, increasing frequency to once every week or two, depending on how I was feeling throughout my pregnancy.  Not only did I not suffer from lower back pain, which I know is a very common pregnancy ailment as the belly grows, but she was also able to help with other symptoms.  I ended up having some shoulder and neck pain as I started sleeping on my side that she addressed.  She kept my hips in alignment, helping greatly with the round ligament pain.  And, most surprisingly, she was also able to adjust my stomach to relieve most of the indigestion/heartburn caused by pregnancy (up until the last week before the baby dropped). Lastly, my chiropractor is also trained in acupuncture, which can be a great help for natural labor induction- now that I am past my due date, I’m going to see just how well it works!

Prenatal Massage – I’ve always considered massages more of a treat than a necessity, but I really tried to get at least one prenatal massage each month throughout pregnancy.  Studies show that massage during pregnancy can help improve sleep and reduce stress/anxiety.  Of course, they are also greatly helpful for pain relief and overall relaxation (you deserve it, mama!).  Look for a massage practice that has staff specifically trained and certified for prenatal massage AND one that has a special pillow so that you can lay face down, instead of on your side.  Those 30 minutes of laying “on your stomach” were magical because you never get that luxury.

Magnesium & Potassium – Suffering from middle-of-the-night painful leg cramps?  These two supplements are a must; they worked to completely take those cramps away for me.  Magnesium is also beneficial in helping to calm you before bed, leading to better sleep, and for helping to keep you regular if you are suffering from constipation.

Probiotics – I highly recommend everyone take probiotics regularly, not just pregnant women.  We encounter so many antibiotics in our food and other toxins in our environment- we need to consistently restore our levels of healthy bacteria. The health of our digestive system has a strong correlation to the abilities of our overall immune system, so probiotics are essential for supporting your immune function.  They are also helpful for keeping your bowels moving if you are suffering from constipation.  Lastly, I definitely believe that regularly using probiotics was a big reason I tested negative for Group B Strep.

Essential Oils – I am a big fan of essential oils and use them every day for both my health and around my house.  Here are a few that I used most commonly during pregnancy:

  • Copaiba – An anti-inflammatory oil, this helped relieve my indigestion; I rubbed it on my chest/throat/stomach.
  • DiGize – Another one to help with indigestion and to prevent constipation.
  • Peppermint – Great to smell or add to water when you experience morning sickness; it helps relieve nausea.  I plan on bringing it into labor also in case I experience nausea then; but I will put it away while I am breastfeeding since it can cause a decrease in milk supply.
  • Thieves – I put a drop of Thieves on the bottom of my foot every day and diffused it often to boost my immune system.  I also cleaned my house with it to keep everything chemical-free.
  • Frankincense – I definitely suffered from the “daughter stealing beauty” thing and had lots of breakouts on my face from the hormones.  Frankincense mixed with coconut oil was the only thing that works to heal blemishes fast.
  • Lavender – Very useful for overall relaxation and to help promote good sleep.  Mix some with distilled water and mist over your pillow each night. It’s also very moisturizing, so I found it helpful when I was itchy from my belly stretching.
  • Clary Sage – Only to be used at the end of pregnancy when you are full-term, this oil helps ease the pain of cramps and promotes uterine contractions.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – I drank this tea often throughout my third trimester.  My midwife recommended it as a way to tone pelvic and uterine muscles to prepare the body for productive labor contractions.  It’s full of great nutrients like magnesium and vitamin C that are also beneficial for sleep, nausea, leg cramps and immune function.  For more information, Wellness Mama wrote a great blog post about the benefits of this herb.

Evening Primrose Oil – Another recommendation from my midwife, the oil of evening primrose can help soften the cervix to prepare the body for labor.  You can find the capsules in your local pharmacy and it’s usually recommended to start after 36 weeks.

Ginger Candy – I carried this in my purse constantly when I was battling pregnancy nausea (aka morning sickness that lasts all day).  You can make them or find them in a store; the hard candies last a bit longer in your mouth, but crystallized ginger is also yummy to chew on.

Controlling Blood Sugar – I wrote a whole post about the diet, exercise, supplements and water intake that helped me keep my gestational diabetes under control – check it out here.  If you want to limit weight gain during your pregnancy, this is definitely the protocol to follow; plus, the diet+exercise simply make for a healthier lifestyle that will help you avoid much of the discomfort of the 3rd trimester.

Is there anything natural you tried during pregnancy that helped you?  Please share!

A Recap of 2016

Wow… is it really almost 2017!?!  As I look forward to the huge life change that 2017 will bring, I wanted to take some time to reflect back on 2016.  If you’ve missed any of my blogs this year, this will be the perfect opportunity to catch up!

2016 was certainly a roller-coaster for my health.  The year started off with me still trying to figure out what was causing my random high cortisol responses and unexplained weight gain.  Then, in May, we found out we were expecting, even though doctors had told me I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant. Pregnancy brought on constant nausea and exhaustion that kept me down and out for a few months, and then a gestational diabetes diagnosis rocked my world.

Here’s a recap of the blogs I wrote in 2016:

Travel

VeniceI’m a huge believer that vacations are super important for your overall health and well-being.  We all need to take a break and relax, and traveling to experience different foods and cultures is great way to relieve stress. The past couple of years, we have taken two trips to Europe that were incredible.  I got so many requests for advice, I just decided to write all about our itineraries and recommendations right here:

My Favorite Natural Products & Organic Grocery Deals

BruschettaHealthy Recipes

Pregnancy:

Essential Oils

Thieves Essential OilHighlighting the benefits of some of my favorite essential oils to both your overall wellness and to creating and keeping a natural home.

Happy New Year!!

2016-recap

DiGize Essential Oil

digize-oilLooking for natural help with digestive issues? DiGize is the oil to try!

DiGize is my go-to whenever I have an upset tummy or I’m suffering from pregnancy indigestion.  It’s a blend of several different oils creating a powerful combination:

  • Tarragon – traditionally used to fight intestinal parasites
  • Ginger – a very common stomach-calming item, especially helpful with nausea
  • Peppermint – many cultures chew mint leaves or drink mint tea after meals to relax stomach muscles and help with digestion
  • Juniper – helps to detox and cleanse
  • Fennel – stimulates the digestive system and helps prevents gas
  • Anise – shown to help calm spasms and increase the flow of bile
  • Patchouli – very helpful in alleviating nausea
  • Lemongrass – traditionally used for it’s anti-inflammatory properties for the digestive system

I’ll admit it is my least favorite oil in terms of scent (I think it’s the fennel maybe?), but I use it all the time regardless of the way it smells. It’s totally worth it!  You can also get the Vitality version and put a couple drops in a capsule to swallow so you don’t have to smell it.

Another great home remedy for digestive issues is activated charcoal – learn more about that here!

For more about essential oils, visit this page.

Natural Product Review: Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak

Thieves Fruit and VeggieI am constantly trying new natural products to replace the toxic ones and create a safer environment in my home.  Every once in awhile, I come across a product that really stands out – Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak by Young Living is one of them.

I kept having friends try it and tell me how much longer it helped keep their produce fresh, but I didn’t really believe them. Finally, I decided to give it a try and was blown away by how well it actually worked.  Produce that used to go bad in just a few days now lasts me all week, if not longer. I was especially surprised at how long it kept strawberries fresh (even when cut!), which for me are always the fastest to get moldy and soggy.

This wash is powerful because it uses the combination of 3 different essential oil blends:

The three of these oils help to clean the produce of dirt and bacteria from grocery handling as well as protect from mold.

It comes in a concentrate so you just add 1 oz to a gallon of water for your soak.  My routine is to put all my produce in a clean sink when I get home from the store or farmer’s market and soak for a couple minutes.  Then, I rinse and dry the fruits and veggies before putting them in my fridge or counter top ready to eat!  I also put some in a spray bottle with water to use if I skip my routine and just need a quick wash for things like apples or potatoes.

What do you use currently to wash your produce?  Is it working to keep things fresh?