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Who doesn’t like the scent of lemons?  It’s fresh, crisp, and in some strange way, happy.  We scent our cleaning supplies with it (think dishwasher detergent, furniture polish, etc.), we mask heavy flavours with it (fish oil, anyone?), and we have air fresheners with it.  It makes sense that we’d also be attracted to lemon in an EO as well.

Lemon essential oil (Citrus limon) isn’t like other EOs in that it’s derived from the peel of the fruit and isn’t from the flowers, Young Living - Lemon Essential Oil - 15 mlstems, or another part of the lemon tree.  Because it is cold pressed from the peel, it has a bit of a shelf life, unlike other EOs. Most EOs are ‘shelf stable’ and lose no potency over time, but because the citrus oils have a different derivation, they can lose some of their potency beyond about 6-7 months time.

Lemon oil does more than just smell good, though.  It contains 68% d-limonene, which is a powerful antioxidant, and has been shown to increase concentration and focus by 54% (over not using anything to enhance concentration and focus).

D-limonene (which honestly sounds a bit Elvish to me) is also being studied for its properties in relationship to cancer cells – preliminary information coming from the studies suggest that malignant cells will implode upon themselves in the presence of concentrations of d-limonene.  More study is needed, of course, and Young Living isn’t permitted to make claims about the efficacy of their EOs to treat, cure, or prevent disesases, per the FDA.  Lemon EO contains no vitamin C.

We use lemon oil here almost every day.  Brendan has a terra cotta diffuser that he wears around his neck and I regularly drop lemon oil on it.  We also diffuse it during lessons when he doesn’t wear the pendant, or we dab it under his nose.  It’s not considered a “hot” oil, so we don’t cut it with a carrier oil, and he gets the full benefit of inhaling it.  Even he was amazed at how well it works – and he now asks for it when we tackle world history or he has to concentrate on something. We were using peppermint oil for concentration-enhancement, but peppermint has a lower success-rate in increasing concentration than lemon oil.

But what if you don’t want to diffuse it or wear it on a pendant?  There are multiple uses around the house for it, including dropping it in your water and drinking it.  If you do drop it in water, however, be sure to use a non-reactive container (glass or stable reuseable bottle).  Lemon oil’s properties will cause styrofoam to melt in its presence (and create a huge mess) and there’s a chance that the petrochemicals that go in to making things like PET plastic and styrofoam could end up being ingested.  So don’t do that.  Here are some ideas for using YL’s lemon oil:

  • Add 1 teaspoon of lemon oil to a cup of mineral oil and use as furniture polish.  The citric acid in the lemon oil will help cut through grime and the mineral oil will soak in to wood.
  • Use it straight to remove gum, adhesive, oil, grease spots, and wood stain from clothing or skin (or hair, in the case of gum)
  • Add a few drops to your dishwasher to prevent spots on your dishes
  • Add to water (alone) or combine with peppermint for an energizing lift
  • Freshen the air in your home by putting 10 drops or so on a cotton ball and putting it in your vacuum cleaner bag.

Because we use lemon oil nearly daily, I don’t worry so much about it expiring on us.  And it’s an inexpensive oil, with the retail price being just about $13 for a 15ml bottle.  As always, if you’d like to order it, I’m happy to help.  If not, no worries – there’s never any pressure here, just learning about the natural things that can help us.  :)

This video was made & produced by the Health Ranger at NaturalNews.com and I thought it was worth re-posting here.  It’s a longer video (about 14 minutes) but really gives some first-hand experience and a look at the impact of this bill (S510) that was passed by Congress.

Brendan is now saying he wants to be an organic farmer when he grows up – which is totally cool.  But whether organic farming will even be an option by the time he grows up is questionable.  If we permit this centralization of our food supply, we’re going to face more BigAgriBusiness and more regulations on the “threat” the small farmer is to these conglomerates.  We’ll also face greater disease and concerns about hormones and antibiotics in our food supply – but it will fall on deaf ears, because the end (cheap food) will justify the means (poison in our food).

Oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a strong (sometimes called “hot”) oil with strong medicinal purposes.  You’ll find oregano oil in many natural spray cleaners and sprays that will kill germs like Lysol™ will – because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties.

I’ve known about oil of oregano for a few years, but only second-hand.  My mom has a cousin whose wife takes two drops of oil of oregano as a prophylactic every day – she drops it in to a veggie-capsule and downs it that way.  It’s specific to her particular life and health, but I logged that information in my brain and filed it away for future use.  :)

Fast forward to getting involved substantially in essential oils:  I knew that I wanted oil of oregano on hand for any infection or illness we might encounter.  You see, we’re investing in oils as part of our healthcare regimen.  Our insurance stinks – all except the HSA-part – and our deductible is so high that it’s in our best interest to stay healthy.  Well-visits are covered, but if there’s anything that goes on the coding sheet at the doctor’s office other than a well-check (in other words, anything discovered during the well-visit that needs attention), we get to pay ALL of the costs of that visit and the insurance pays nothing. It’s good to be attentive and ask questions about the coding, as well as talking to the physician about the care you’re receiving, but honestly – if we can take care of ourselves here and not risk paying on our deductible… it’s more than worth our investment in essential oils.

The oregano oil is very vibrant and strong and can be used topically and internally, although cutting the oil’s heat with a carrier oil (I like olive oil or coconut oil) is strongly recommended.

Mark brought home some crud last month that threatened to take us all out – but I was the last one standing.  I rubbed Thieves and peppermint oils on my feet religiously and made sure that my D3 dosage was above-normal.  I woke up on a Sunday morning, knowing that I had to speak and serve in kid’s ministry that morning, but feeling like a chipmunk.  My lymph glands in my neck were all lumpy and swollen and it hurt to swallow – not a good sign of things to come.  I left the bedroom and started reading up on a therapeutic dose of oil of oregano to kick whatever was bugging me and found that most people drip it in to an empty veggie or glycerin capsule and swallow it.  I had cinnamon capsules, but I couldn’t open them and exchange the cinnamon for the oil, so I decided that dripping it in a glass of raw milk and chugging it was the next best thing.  I’d never taken it before and reasoned, “How bad can it be?”

I soon found out.  Methodologically speaking, it was a great option – the milk cuts the heat of the oil in the stomach.  But HOLY COW IT WAS STRONG!  My throat was raw, so it stung after chugging the cup, and I’ve never before (or since) eaten an entire Cutie tangerine in two bites.  But the wild thing was that within ONE HOUR, my glands were back to normal.  My throat had ceased to hurt, and although I still has drainage from my sinuses that was bothering me, I felt perfectly well to go to church and talk.

It’s dramatic – and that afternoon, Mark & I ran to a health food store and picked up glycerin capsules.  I dripped oil of oregano in them along with about 12 drops of olive oil and handed them out to everyone the next day, and doggone if that bug didn’t pack up & get out of Dodge.  I did drip a bit on the top of a finger while filling the capsules – and it itched for several hours, so I’m careful now to either wear gloves or make sure that I also drip a carrier oil on my hand where the oil of oregano has been.  It’s stern stuff.

Young Living’s oil of oregano is $36.51 per 15ml for a straight retail purchase, or 24% less if you’d like to purchase it through me.  As always, there is ZERO pressure – but if you’re interested in using it, there are discounted options for ordering.  It’s a fantastic oil with a broad spectrum of uses, and I won’t be without it, especially during cold & flu season.

I’m starting something new here at A Mother’s Heart – partly for you and partly for me.  As we’ve forayed away from traditional medicine and in to more natural remedies, we’ve had pretty darned good success.  And because I’m one who would rather write than talk (yeah, I almost never meet the “number of words a woman speaks” by the end of the day [unless I’m on the phone with Elizabeth]), it seems good to write down what I’ve learned and continue to learn.

By way of disclosure, I am a Young Living distributor, but I don’t *do* anything with that, except order oils for our family at a discounted rate.  If you’re local, I’m happy to order oils for you and share the benefit of my discount, but I’m never going to pressure anyone in to becoming a distributor or signing up.  Ever.  I’ve done the MLM-thing before and it didn’t end well – and I like these oils too much to spoil it for myself.  😉

Peppermint oil (mentha piperita) is one of the first oils I tried – I’ve officially given one of my two bottles away and replenished the supply so  that we have it on hand when we need it.  YL’s Peppermint is very strong, and its medicinal value is high in our home.  We use it to cure headaches, to stimulate our minds (alertness), to relieve sinus pressure and pain, and (for me, especially) to release earache pressure.  We’ve learned to not rub it in our eyes or get it too close to our eyes (because they water at its strength), but it’s one of the first oils we reach for if we feel “off.”

It’s hard to describe what the sensation of the Peppermint oil is, but I assure you, it’s FAR more than the old York Peppermint Patty commercials used to talk about – it’s fresh, cold, and very, very minty.  When applied topically to the temples, forehead, or sinus areas, you can feel it “sinking in” as it were and relieving the congestion and pressure.  Mark had a headache for hours a month or so ago and nothing got rid of it.  I encouraged him to put some peppermint oil on his temples and the back of his neck – and within a 10 minute time frame, his hours-long-headache was GONE.

I’ve also moistened a small part of a cotton ball with it and then placed the i0 where my sinus cavities are, especially right before going to sleep.  The sinus pressure is alleviated and I sleep very soundly after application of the oil.

We have yet to use it for digestive issues, but it can be taken internally (a few drops in a glass of water or in an empty capsule) or applied topically to an area of the abdomen with digestive discomfort and the pain is gone quickly.  One of my friends used it (topically) on her baby who had terrible acid reflux for about a week and after that, there was no more acid reflux and no more need for acid-reducing medication.  Pretty impressive!

Because the FDA is what it is, Young Living and any other natural distributor of essential oils cannot make health claims about their products – they must rely on the testimonials of individuals to spread the word.  So when you go to a website to look at oils, be aware that these stories cannot legally be conveyed, else they risk prosecution by the FDA.  There are many sites around the web that talk about the benefits and uses of essential oils, and if you ever have a question, feel free to shoot me an email.  I’ll research the answer and get back to you.

Look for more installments in this series in weeks to come

I am a chicken.  A complete dental chicken.  This is really quite ironic, because I’ve been to the dentist most The Drillphoto © 2010 Paul Lowry | more info (via: Wylio)
of my life, had extractions, oral surgery, gum surgery, and 6 years of braces and 2.5 years of retainers.  It’s not like I’m afraid of the unknown.

Except maybe that’s my problem.  I’m not afraid of the unknown – I’m nervous about the known.  And then there’s the smell.  My friend Mel is a dental hygienist and she laughs at me – but she’s gotten used to The Smell. The Smell is enough to induce a full-on panic in me – it nauseates me and makes my eyes water.  There was one time I took Brendan to an oral surgeon to have his mouth evaluated (he was tongue-tied at birth and it wasn’t corrected surgically until he was 3.5 y/o – a long story) and they invited us back to the examining room.  As we stepped through the door, I was hit full-face by The Smell and did everything in my Mom Power to keep it together and not completely bolt out of panic.  So far, I’ve done a good job of not relaying my dental chickenhood to Brendan, but it’s work on my part.

Confession time:  I’ve not been to the dentist since I got pregnant with Brendan.  Yes, I’m aware that’s a long time ago.  And yes, I’m aware that he’s nearly 9.  Don’t remind me, please. But I have a good excuse – or set of excuses.  Mark’s previous employer had really crappy dental insurance – regular cleanings were not even covered at 50%, and we simply didn’t have the extra cash to cover the cleanings AND whatever work needed to be done.  Going in to debt to have unpleasant work done in our mouths wasn’t exactly high on the priority list, either.  Doing a really good job on cleaning your teeth and making sure you remove the acids from your mouth becomes a pretty big priority when you can’t afford dental work – and when you’re a dental chicken.  So I’ve been meticulous for the past several years about brushing and flossing and have done a pretty decent job, I think.

Now I look back and see it as a bit providential in the way it worked out.  A few years ago, I finally got my hands on raw milk.  Within a few months of drinking the raw milk, my teeth felt … better.  I’d had some sensitivity that I attributed to some potential decay, but miraculously, they went away and didn’t hurt anymore.  My gums stopped bleeding when I flossed, and there was nothing else to point to except the milk.  I wasn’t drinking a gallon per day, but just a glass and whatever was in my coffee cup in the morning.  Huh.  It kind of went along with Dr. Weston A. Price’s theory about eating real (whole) foods in primitive cultures and not having the dental decay/health decay that Western societies had after eating processed food.

We’re now in a place where we can afford to have dental work done – and our dental insurance enrollment is coming up in January.  All of a sudden, I realized – I want a dentist who looks at health like I do.  It’s what has put me on the hunt for a biological dentist – one who doesn’t use mercury-amalgam fillings (I have a mouthful of them), who doesn’t push fluoride on patients, and who will treat my whole family.  A few in this area are covered by our dental insurance, but several aren’t.  Which also makes me question if it’s possible to take the premium for our dental insurance ($70/mo) and stuff it in our HSA, paying for dental care out of our pockets.

Lots of questions, but I think there are answers out there – I just have to be diligent.  If the office doesn’t have The Smell, that could very well be a tipping point for me – because it also erases the majority of my fear about seeing a dentist.

Hard to believe that when I was Brendan’s age, I wanted to be a dentist!

I’ve been using this remedy for a couple of months now; I was turned on to it by reading about the healing properties of elderberries on a few different blogs.  And even if some of my friends (*cough* *cough*) call it “voodoo medicine,” I’m a firm believer that God gave us ways to heal our bodies long before pharmaceuticals were invented.  :)

Plus, it really works.

Brendan had a cold with fever last month (which might’ve been a flu bug, but there’s no way I’m going to have him tested by sticking a swab up in to his nasal cavities) and I diligently did a few things:  I let the fever run its course (it never got above 103F) in order to speed the death of the virus; I gave him all the chicken stock (complete with the minerals from the feet) he could handle; and I gave him a tablespoon of elderberry syrup every hour on the hour for 2.5 days.  Before day 3 was up, he was up from the sofa, poking around for real food, and playing Lego.

So now Mark has some creeping crud – and I just finished another batch for him.  He’s dozing on the sofa now (and I’m faithfully rubbing Thieves essential oil on the bottom of my feet and peppermint essential oil on the tops of my toes to stay healthy) and he has already had a dose, warm from the pan.

I sort of feel like an elderberry evangelist now, but I’m really quite dead-set against flu vaccines and overreaction with antibiotics.  So this is my answer  and if anyone around me is talking about a cold remedy, elderberries are likely to come in to the discussion.  :)

So if you want to make elderberry syrup, you’ll need the following:

  • ½ c. dried elderberries (or 1 c. of fresh/frozen elderberries) I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 T. finely chopped ginger root (fresh or frozen, not dried)
  • 2 c. of filtered water
  • 1 c. raw honey

 

Add the ingredients above (elderberries, cinnamon stick, cloves, and ginger) to 2 cups of filtered water in a pan

 

Turn your pan on medium-high heat, making sure everything is wet.  Note the water level in your pan before things begin to boil

 

When things begin to bubble, turn your pan to medium-low heat and allow it to simmer gently.  You’re going to decoct (reduce, but used in herbal “cooking”) by half the amount of liquid, strengthening the finished product.  Watch your liquid level – as a point of reference, on my stove, it took about 20 minutes to decoct to the mixture to where I wanted it.

 

If you look carefully, you can see the line on the inside of my pan where the water level started out; this was right before I strained it.

 

I tamped down the elderberries, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon stick to make sure I got all the good stuff out of the strainer

What you can’t see is that I had a cup of honey in this bowl before pouring the hot elderberry juice on top of it.  It’s important to have the elderberry juice hot, or the honey won’t dissolve properly and it will be inconsistent in texture and dosing.

 

It’s thin on the spoon at this point, but it will thicken as it cools.  The honey is a great cough-soother (just be sure to use raw honey, not refined honey!), the cinnamon and ginger have warming properties for the chills, and the cloves are anti-viral and downright medicinal, along with the elderberries themselves.

 

You’ll get a good pint out of this recipe; pour it in a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  I also have amber medicine bottles that I fill up with this stuff for portability (one fits in my purse) and easy dosing.  Take 1 tablespoon per hour while you’re awake – if you wake during the night, take another, but don’t actively dose at night otherwise.  In other words, rest while you can and take this while you’re awake.

You’ll feel better in no time!  And this is safe for kids – no worrisome pharmaceuticals in it, just the things that God put on our planet to heal us, naturally.  :)

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