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Well, I survived.  Thanks to countless prayers from family and friends, several doses of essential oilsPortraitphoto © 2010 R. M. Calamar | more info (via: Wylio)
(Peace & Calming and Valor), and a very chicken-sensitive dental office, I made it through the visit.

I was sincerely hoping that the broken tooth was smaller than it felt – because it felt cavernous.  No such luck – the dentist was looking at the radiographs (digital x-rays) in his office as the were taken and said, “WOW! That’s a BIG HOLE!”  Dang.

The short of it is that I need a crown on that tooth and maybe on another.  The other tooth has a cracked filling and Dr. Kovar will go conservatively at first, trying to do it with a replacement filling, only resorting to a crown if absolutely necessary.  The dental assistant told me that he’s a perfectionist, so nothing short of perfect will be done in my mouth as far as work.  That’s good – it scratches my own (recovering) perfectionistic tendencies.

But here’s where the real work begins.  I chose the dental office I did because Drs. Margolis and Kovar are biological dentists.  A biological dentist is one who practices holistic dentistry and won’t put toxic things in your mouth to fix your teeth.  There’s no point in fixing your teeth and poisoning your body by the materials used to fix your teeth.  I’d begun to be concerned about the sheer volume of amalgam (silver, metal) fillings I had in my teeth, aware that they were very old, and thinking that maybe at some point I would have them removed and replaced with porcelain fillings.

Now is that time.  This crown will be the first in a long series of dental visits to remove the amalgam fillings.  As Dr. Kovar explained it to me, amalgam is 50% mercury (the only metal that’s liquid at room temperature).  When you eat or drink something hot (coffee, tea, dinner?), the mercury expands in your tooth.  It’s packed in the cranies and crevices of your tooth, and it expands as much as the tooth will let it.  But guess what happens when you drink ice water (iced coffee, iced tea, ice cream?)?  That’s right – it contracts!  So all this while, the poor tooth is expanding, contracting, and absorbing pressure from eating, chewing, talking, and (in my case) clenching my jaws while asleep.  So last Tuesday night my tooth said, “ENOUGH!  I can’t take it anymore!” and broke off the first of 4 pieces that would eventually come out.

Now here’s where the “brilliance” of traditional dentistry-propaganda comes in to play:  that mercury filling is toxic when outside of your mouth. When it comes out of a mouth, it must be quickly whisked away, labelled as toxic waste, and disposed of in a safe manner.  But as long as that mercury filling is inside your mouth, it’s “safe.” Huh.  Really?  The distance from my tooth to outside of my mouth is something like 2.5″, maximum.  So the distance from “outside my mouth” to “inside my mouth” suddenly turns the most toxic, non-radioactive substance on earth “safe”?  Wow.  We really are sheep if we believe that!

As much as I dislike the whole dental experience, I am happy to have the amalgam removed.  I am excited to see what new form of health awaits me once this known-toxin is gone.  It’s interesting in that my research about side-effects of mercury exposure have turned up a link between asthma and mercury.  I got my first amalgam filling at age 3 (don’t ask why – most dentists who doing more than drilling for dollars will leave primary teeth alone) and my first recollection of struggling to breathe is at age 4.  Is there a link?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it will be interesting to see if there’s something there for me.

If you’re still not convinced about mercury and its off-gassing in your mouth from fillings, watch this video.  It shows the direct effect of heating up a mercury-amalgam filling (from chewing, drinking or eating hot things, etc.) under normal circumstances.  It’s eye-opening, to say the least.

So I haven’t done an oils primer in a bit and I wanted to get back on track with the series. Purification is an oil that we use here regularly for different things, but nearly always for cleaning out wounds and preventing infection.

Purification is a blend of oils, including: Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia), lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida), and myrtle (Myrtus communis).  It’s got a fresh scent that is lemon-y and clean (the latter part is Young Living - Purification Essential Oil - 15 mllikely from the Melaleuca).

I’ve used this oil when I’ve hit my fingernail and separated it from the nail bed (ouch!) – no amount of any sort of anti-microbial agent is easy to get under the nail, but oils drip nicely in to that tender area.  Mark has used it on a cotton swab in his ear when it’s bothering him – it lessens his pain and works to insure that any material which might be the root of the pain is cleaned out.  A friend of mine used it to remove the sting and pain from a bee sting for her son – combining Lavender and Purification rapidly took care of all symptoms from the bee sting.

Purification also works as an insect repellent – if you dilute several drops of oil in a small bottle of spray water, you can use it like a traditional bug repellant, without the worry of chemicals or propellants in a can.

If you add a few drops of Purification to your shoes, you’ll neutralize shoe odors (especially useful if you have tween and teen aged boys!).  If you include Purification in your wash water, your laundry will be fresher and any odors in your machine will be reduced.

You can also diffuse Purification to cleanse the air of odors, including things like “wet dog smell,” and remove impurities from the air you’re breathing.

Purification is a useful tool in our essential oils arsenal, and when paired with Thieves oil, we’re protected from most microbial concerns that would otherwise require medical or chemical intervention.  If you’re interested in purchasing Purification, you can drop me a note if you’re local and I can tack it on my monthly order; if you’re not local and want to order it, I can easily set you up as a customer of Young Living yourself.  The retail price is $23.36 for a 15ml bottle; if you’re tacking on to my order, you’ll save 20% on the retail price. There is no shipping, but there is tax added on to the price of the oil(s).

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of those scents I always hated.  After talking to different people, I figured it was either Love Young Living - Lavender Essential Oil - 15 mlLavender, Hate Lilacs, or Love Lilacs, Hate Lavender.  Lilac is still one of my favourite scents and I’m going to miss the sweet purple blooms this spring, but I’ve found something interesting:  I don’t hate lavender anymore.

When my starter kit (Everyday Oils) came with not one, but TWO bottles of lavender oil in it, I thought, “Well *this* will last us a long time….”  I used it sparingly, and mostly on Brendan (to help him relax before bed).  But what I discovered was that Young Living’s lavender EO is different than the lavender scented “stuff” I’d smelled in the past.  The artificial (or less-than-top-quality) products with lavender oil I’d used in the past had a musky, off-scent to it that was disagreeable to me.  This lavender is far “cleaner” and its scent is actually pleasant, not one that I try to avoid.

So what does lavender EO do?  Most people know it for a calming, help-you-sleep benefit, but we use it on mosquito bites (yes, even in the desert, there are a few flying around) with spectacular success, on cuts and scrapes, on cotton balls for earaches and ear infections, and to reduce stress.

Lavender is well-known as a burn-healer; Rene Gattefossé was a French scientist who was badly burned in a laboratory explosion and tested lavender oil to see how it healed his burns.  Miraculously, it did just that.  In ancient Greece, a physician/botanist/pharmacologist named Pedanius Dioscorides extolled the medicinal benefits of lavender oil, and Romans used it in baths and to deter insects. Shakespeare even wrote about lavender in The Winter’s Tale and included a recipe in the play for lavender tea.  It’s been around for centuries and used medicinally for equally as long.

Japanese researchers have found what they believe to be a link between lowered serum cholesterol and improved coronary blood flow in men who have been exposed to lavender as an aromatherapy treatment, suggesting that one’s coronary health can benefit from the relaxation induced by lavender.

The science behind these ancient oils really fascinates me – in some ways, I think we’ve almost come to the end of ourselves with our over-dependence on laboratory-created supplements and medications, which bleeds over in to an interest in a back-to-basics, more natural way of caring for our bodies. The fact that scientists are still studying lavender and its benefits amuses me, but empirical evidence that backs up what history has known for ages is always good, I suppose.  :)

Lavender oil is one of the less-expensive oils in our arsenal of essential oils; a 15ml bottle is $27.30 (plus tax), and local customers are welcomed to contact me to tack on to my order for a savings of 20%.  Our two little 5ml bottles of lavender are almost gone, and as much as we use it now, we’re due a larger bottle.  I never would’ve thought that I’d use lavender like I do, but I’m delighted to have such a potent and useful EO in our home.

I know frankincense from my days in the Lutheran church, when the pastors would burn solid frankincense and myrrh as part of a Christmas tradition.  Frankincense was given to the Baby Jesus by the Magi, and burning it would often be a part of Christmas traditions.  The trouble is, I always got ferocious headaches from it and never appreciated the smell.

So when I was introduced to frankincense essential oil, I did not have high expectations or even think it would Young Living - Frankincense Essential Oil - 15 mlend up in my oils collection.  I expected headaches from the scent and to find the smell of it to be overpowering.  I found the exact opposite, which blew me away.  I eventually deduced that a church’s budget is generally not grand, and that the frankincense burned when I was a child was likely imitation or some cheaper derivation of the real stuff.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is considered one of the “cure-all” oils – maybe not officially by EO professionals, but definitely by those who use it regularly.  It is sourced in Africa, from trees.  The tree is cut (not cut down, but the bark is cut) and the tree ‘bleeds’ frankincense resin.  The resin hardens as a type of band-aid for the tree and is then chiseled off carefully and collected.  This resin is what goes in to making Young Living’s Frankincense EO.

Frankincense is mentioned one of the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus, which dates from the 16th century B.C.  Ancient Egyptians used it and mentioned it in many of the recipes and prescriptions for healing, possessing a value greater than gold in ancient times.  Worldwide, this oil is still used ceremonially and medicinally, and it can be used topically, ingested, or diffused.

The oil has a warm, almost balsam-type scent to it that I find very pleasant to rub on the back of my neck or temples, and I love smelling it on my hands after I use it.  It’s said to have spiritual benefits as well – opening up our minds for a greater spiritual connection.  While that likely sounds a bit weird, the science behind it is actually quite compelling.  Arieh Moussaieff, an Israeli scientist, discovered the unique capabilities of incensole acetate, which is a major compound in frankincense.  The studies have shown that incensole acetate, when tested on mice models of human brain injury, provides protection for the nervous system.  Moussaieff later noted that the resin’s mood enhancement and anti-anxiety properties act on a previously-unknown pathway in the brain that regulates emotion, a connection with the spiritual center of the human mind.

So fascinating stuff, right?  But what do you DO with it?  A friend of mine has a fantastic testimony about using frankincense to heal her body and get off of THIRTEEN different prescriptions, restoring her health.  It can be used to clear the mind and to overcome stress and despair.  It has skin-healing benefits as well – frankincense can be used to help heal wounds, prevent scarring, and make skin more youthful-looking.  It also contains sequiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system in the brain, positively affecting the memory center in the brain, the hypothalamus, pineal, and pituitary glands.

Frankincense oil isn’t inexpensive.  I was quite put off by the retail price ($91.78 for a 15ml bottle), but I received my first bottle when I signed up for a distributorship (and received 11 5ml bottles of oils altogether); frankincense in the 5ml size is in the distributor-pack of oils called Everyday Oils.  I’ve been delighted with it and have used it regularly – sometimes when I’m about to drive in insane Phoenix traffic, other times when I need to focus and make sure that I’m remembering things correctly.  I found it to be amazingly helpful when I did drama for the women’s retreat at church – it helped me focus before going on stage, but also calmed my butterflies and made sure I was grounded and remembered my lines well.

If you’re interested in getting some Young Living Frankincense oil, shoot me an email.  If you want a small bottle and are interested in becoming a distributor (no need to sell; it’s kind of like a life-long Costco membership with discounts) and getting a set of oils to start with, including the Frankincense, I’m happy to help out with that, as well.  Local customers can save 20% off of the retail price on a 15ml bottle by tacking on to my monthly order.  No pressure, as always.  :)

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

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