Essential Oils


How to naturally take better care of our bodies and our homes

Know What You're Buying

A word of warning: the essential oils industry is not regulated by the USDA, or any other government agency, meaning you need to be sure you know what you're using. Poe warns that just because something says it is a 100-percent pure essential oil on the label doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.

“It's really important to think about the chemical makeup of the oils,” says Stephanie Poe, doTerra Wellness advocate. “Where an [essential] oil is sourced from is so critical to its ability to be effective. DoTerra has cut out third parties and goes directly to the artisans and farmers that live in the areas of the world where the plants grow the best. DoTerra knows exactly what is in their bottles.”

What is an essential oil?
A highly concentrated liquid containing the volatile aromatic compounds found naturally in plant seeds, bark, stems, roots, or flowers. In their purest form, these oils are far more powerful than the plants from which they come. For thousands of years, these oils that protect the plants have been utilized to enhance wellness in everyday life. 

It's Good to be King
“When in doubt, use frankincense!” It's a chorus frequently echoed by essential oil users — and for good reason. In ancient biblical times, this resin from the Boswellia sacra tree was more valuable than gold, because of its healing properties–earning it the nicknames “liquid gold” and the “king of oils.”
“It is very anti-inflammatory, supports overall body and cellular health, and anti-aging,” Poe explains. “Some people rub it right on their joints. It's really good support for your body, and your brain health too.” She encourages everyone to get a daily dose of frankincense. 

3 Ways to use oils
Smelling (Take a Deep Breath) The olfactory nerve is directly linked to the limbic system, the part of the brain controlling your emotions, behavior, smell, and memory. Thus, your body can respond quickly when you breathe in the aroma of essential oil. This is frequently done through a diffuser, which disperses the oil throughout a room, typically using water.

Applying topically (Rub it In)  Essential oils can penetrate the skin, providing localized as well as body-wide benefits.

Ingesting (Take a Sip) Swallowing essential oils enables them to enter the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract, for carriage throughout the body.

And that’s not all

The ways essential oils can be used-—and have been used for thousands of years–are endless. They are the ultimate DIY tools. Around the house, oils can be used to make non–toxic cleaning sprays (that smell amazing, too!). Essential oil users tout the benefits of these products in acne treatment, hair treatment, metabolism boosting and fat burning, even quick relief and healing from bug bites, cuts, and scrapes. Essential oils are, after all, key components of a plant's own immune and defense system, harnessed in a tiny drop.

WA good night's sleep. Sustained energy all day. Being able to fight off a cold, or better yet, not get one at all. Keeping a clean house without the use of harsh chemicals. All of these quality-of-life goals are reasons more Americans are turning to essential oils.

“Modern medicine is supposed to be acute care, but there are so many chronic conditions,” says Stephanie Poe, a Pittsburgh-based wellness advocate for doTerra Essential Oils. “Our medical system is dealing with the fact that so many people are sick. We tend to forget about the small quality of life issues. Oils can have a really beautiful impact on someone's life.”

It's not about turning away from modern medicine, but rather, finding ways to supplement traditional treatment, and healthcare professionals are taking notice, too. Doctors are using peppermint oil to treat post-operative nausea. Lavender, citrus, and other oils have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve moods.

“I believe that anyone who is open to the idea of feeling better through aromatherapy could benefit,” says Dr. Betsy O'Neill, physician with the Allegheny Health Network Integrative Medicine Program. She works to find alternative treatment options for patients to complement conventional medical care. Those treatments can involve massage, acupuncture, yoga, and tai chi, to name a few. In the case of oils, the benefits can potentially be two-fold: reducing symptoms for the condition, and also risks of the treatment, especially when it comes to medicine.

“Lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety in adults, and improve sleep in children and adults. Anything that improves the well-being of children without medication is particularly useful, and I would argue adults could use fewer meds as well,” Dr. O'Neill says.

Try This!  

Diffuse these essential 
oil combos for what 
ails you

Seasonal Allergies:  
2 drops lemon
2 drops lavender
2 drops peppermint

Immune Booster-Kick 
that Cold: 
2 drops wild orange
2 drops melaleuca
2 drops frankincense 

Productivity-Get it Done:
1 drop lemon
1 drop orange
1 drop lime
1 drop grapefruit
1 drop bergamot

Sleepy Thyme
1 drop thyme
1 drop marjoram
1 drop lavender

   Story by Anne Trabandt  //  Photography by Adam Milliron