Monday, April 7, 2014

Win A Sample Of My Essential Oil Herbal Spray Blend!

ETA: We have some samples left. I promise you WILL NOT get put on a mailing list. If you don't want this blend, you can take a look around doTERRA's website and request something else to try.

I've had over 500 views on my herbal spray post, and received comments and questions in groups and on Facebook, so I'm offering you a chance to try it for yourself.


I just added a contact form to this blog (check it out on the right).

The first ten people to email me their name and mailing address will receive a small bottle of the exact amount of oils necessary for one spray bottle of my favorite blend: 15 drops of lavender, 10 drops of tea tree (melaleuca), and 10 drops of eucalyptus. Use it, and then tell me what you think!

The oil samples will be mailed from California, courtesy of my sponsor, Melinda. Thanks Melinda!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Favorite, Most Used Herbal Spray!

There are three essential oils I ALWAYS have on hand: lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus. 

I only discovered doTERRA oils a few months ago, but my use of oils predates my mommy years. I fill up a medium sized spray bottle with two cups of water, and then add 15 drops of lavender oil and ten drops each of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil. I use this spray EVERYWHERE.

  • I spray it on wounds and scrapes to kill germs and encourage skin repair.
  • I spray it on feet when someone get's Athlete's foot (it makes the burning subside in minutes. I am not exaggerating).
  • I spray it inside stinky shoes.
  • I spray it on mold if it creeps up on my bathroom ceiling.
  • I used to spray it on wet wash cloths to use on poopy booties during diaper changes. Thankfully everyone is finally out of diapers in my house!
  • I spritz it in trash containers before putting in new bags. I used to use it to refresh our diaper pail.
  • I spray it on the car upholstery when the car starts to smell a little rank.
  • I spray it around the toilet after someone's been extra stinky.
  • I spray it on a wash cloth and throw it in the dryer with wet loads to help them come out smelling fresh, especially if I was lazy and left the wash in for a while.
  • When I had a dog, I sprayed it around her back end and on her dog bed to repel fleas (and it worked wonderfully - the next family to have a dog at the house we rented brought fleas in almost immediately. Our dog never had fleas). 

Why these oils in particular? 

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL is antiseptic and antibacterial. It reduces excitability and irritability, and acts as a mood booster. It soothes indigestion and colic. It can be used undiluted on wounds, burns, and insect bites to reduce pain and inflammation. It encourages skin repair. 

"Lavender essential oil is the most popular in the United States, outselling all other essential oils. If you have never had the intense pleasure of inhaling pure lavender essential oil, you are in for quite a treat...Lavender is used in several pharmaceutical products including antiseptics, cosmetics and anti-inflammatory products. It was used extensively during the 19th century in the making of perfume. It is interesting to note that during World War I and II, that lavender was used when medical supplies were scarce to prevent infection and to relieve pain." Lavender – A Delight to the Senses by Katherine J. Turcotte 

TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OIL is a general anti-microbial. "The benefits and potential of 100% pure Australian tea tree oil (an essential oil distilled from plantations of Melaleuca alternifolia) have been recognised for more than 70 years.  Pure Australian tea tree oil is a natural essential oil and natural antiseptic, world renowned for its purity and quality.  Tea tree oil has recognised antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and is widely formulated into many cosmetic and personal care products including shampoos, creams, gels, acne control face-washes, hand-washes, vaginal pessaries, mouth-washes and other dental care products as well as being used as a topical antiseptic in its pure form on cuts, abrasions and insect stings.  100% pure Australian tea tree oil has also recently demonstrated new and exciting potential efficacy in the control of Golden Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) for both Methicillin (MRSA) and Vancomycin (VRSA) resistant strains." - Australian Tea Tree Industry Association 

EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL is sort of a nice combination of lavender and tea tree - it helps fight infections and alleviate pain, and is a general antimicrobial. It is also a proven expectorant, and helps dilate the bronchioles. See my post on eucalyptus science and research by CLICKING HERE.

I don't know how long this blend stays good, because I use it so often that I've never had a bottle around more than a month or two. I don't keep it in the fridge, but I've recently come across resources that say refrigeration of essential oils will make them last twice as long.  The spray is dilute enough that I let my preschooler help me with spraying things, but only with me standing there so she doesn't spray her eyes with it. It's always a good idea to keep these things out of little people's reach.

Note: I should not have to say this, but I am not a medical professional and this blog is not a science journal. Always check my or anyone's sources yourself, and be prudent when using alternative medicine for major diseases or conditions that might otherwise require a doctor's care. I subscribe to Dr. Christiane Northrup's philosophy that the least invasive thing should be tried first, and then one should move up from there until one finds what works. If natural therapies don't work, consult a medical professional.

Original botanical art courtesy of Bryan R. Terry

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Accidentally Made Flubber Instead of Gummy Snacks

I found THIS TUTORIAL from for making homemade gummy snacks. My kids freakin' love gummy snacks, so I figured, what the heck, it only has two ingredients. How hard can it be?

First you use 1/3 cup (yes, that's right, about enough to barely coat the bottom of your pot) of juice concentrate with two packets of unflavored gelatin. I doubled the recipe and it still barely covered the bottom of my smallest pot. Then, you stir over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves.

Shut up about my wonky whisk 

We could not find silicon ice trays anywhere, so I poured the mixture into my silicon bread pan. I figured, whatever, we can slice it up when it's done.

Shut up about the crumbs on my stove

After ten minutes in the fridge, the gummy snack pealed off the bottom of the pan without incident. 


We used scissors to cut little squares.


I though they were not very flavorful, and too chewy. The kids ate them up, however, and that's what matters the most. Also, they threw some against the windows to watch them stick. It's a snack AND a toy!

Next time - more juice concentrate? Maybe a little honey? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are dōTERRA Essential Oils An Overpriced Scam?

When I began buying dōTERRA essential oils and oil blends from my sister (and subsequently signed up to be a consultant) a friend shared this "helpful" article with me from Granola Living about why she never uses them or any other oils sold through MLMs. MLMs are not for everyone. I love going to Pampered Chef parties but I'm not going to anyone's candle party. However, I looked more into some of her complaints, and found that her article is not entirely accurate.

Going Point by Point:

"doTerra uses the term “certified pure therapeutic grade” in their marketing. Well, it’s exactly only that – marketing. There aren’t any certified essential oils because there isn’t any recognized organization or agency that certifies essential oils. So, doTerra coined the term, put it on their bottles and trademarked (see the TM after the logo above) the term."

She has a point there. It's sketchy to make up your own certification. Their excuse is that there is no certifying body or regulatory organization that guarantees the quality or content of oils, so they made up their own to show that they choose oils sources that are organic, and their oils are independently tested and bottled without added fillers or solvents/chemicals. Since not all countries offer organic certification, they have all their oils tested, and their label is a guarantee that there are no pesticide or herbicide residues. Still, wha...?

I can tell you personally that they smell stronger and work better than the Aura Cacia ones I've been using for years, but that's anecdotal evidence. I've seen a lot of stories online of people saying they switched simply because they tested the oils and "knew" they were stronger and worked more effectively. Obviously the bottom line is that you want to know more, try them yourself. 

"The best way for a consumer to know the quality and value of any product is to experience it for themselves." - dōTERRA website

There is some debate online about consultants saying that dōTERRA oils are FDA certified or approved. Because the FDA does maintain a list of ingredients that are "Generally Recognized As Safe," or GRAS, dōTERRA is able to say which ingredients or oils are GRAS. This is indirect, of course, and it sometimes gets miscommunicated by consultants. dōTERRA's official statement about FDA approval CAN BE READ HERE.

"Consultants of doTerra are taught to recommend internal use of essential oils to the general public. However, this contradicts the respected advice and scope of practice recommended by Aromatherapy and Herbal associations, organizations and health care providers (including both mainstream and alternative medicines)."

I can find hundreds of edible products that use real peppermint oil. Lemon oil comes from lemon. Ever use lemon zest in a recipe? 
Rosemary, basil, thyme, and marjoram are culinary herbs. You only use very small amounts in cooking, so it doesn't take a genius to know you wouldn't go overboard with a concentrated extract, but I also have to raise one eyebrow when someone says these wouldn't be edible. dōTERRA labels eucalyptus, cypress, and wintergreen as NOT for internal use. Meanwhile, my sister's favorite thing to do at her class is to use a few drops of lemon oil to make lemonade so people can taste for themselves how potent just a few drops are. I will raise both eyebrows and throw in a side eye if someone wants to tell me oil from a lemon can't be consumed. 

ETA 3/28/2014: In The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D., it states, "The discussion about the safety and overall usefulness of ingesting essential oils has gone on for a long time; it consists mainly of a superficial back and forth of talking points provided by different parties with vested interests. Obviously those who engage in the manufacture and distribution of adulterated oils, knowing about the natural or synthetic chemicals, will warn against ingesting essential oils. It appears, however, that ingesting a drop of such oils is harmless, based on all the experience gathered in aromatherapy and from what is known about the toxicity of quite a number of essential oils. Common sense helps to resolve the issue." (pg 131-132)

"In doTerra’s Introduction to Essential Oils almost every oil listed in the manual is recommended to use undiluted....Because essential oils are so powerful, they should always be used diluted."

So far I have found lot of organizations and business and essential oil sellers who say "never use oils undiluted," but none of them have a reason for it beyond "may cause irritation" or "may cause increasing sensitization." 

ETA 3/28/2014: In The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D., it states, "Mild undiluted essential oils can be appropriate in the treatment of localized skin issues and to deliver larger quantities of essential oil for systemic issues." (pg 128) I also states, "The assumption that undiluted oils will work for efficiently is generally not true. Perhaps surprisingly, experience often indicates that diluted oil is more effective than diluted." (pg 128) 

There are instances where undiluted essentials oils can be safe and appropriate. This book I have quoted, for example, is an excellent resource with a list of oils that can be used for direct, undiluted skin applications, including Roman Chamomile, Helichrysum (which it states is best used neat to avoid getting fatty oils in open sores), Lavender, Peppermint, and Ylang-Ylang. 

The key is to test for sensitivity, and use in a way recommended by someone who knows what they are doing. This may or may not be your doTERRA consultant. It's wise to always do your own research. 

I have heard stories of consultants not checking for allergies or potential drug interactions before trying to get people to sample them at essential oils classes. This is dangerous and needs to be addressed. dōTERRA is a relatively young company and takes suggestions and listens to complaints (my sister just participated on a meeting where they discussed lowering shipping and other fees, for example). This is one they should take seriously.

From the comments section, the blog owner recommends Eden Botanicals, Floracopeia, and Aromatics International. Out of curiosity, I made a spreadsheet and compared some of the prices from these three companies with dōTERRA. I also threw in Mountain Rose Herbs, which is a trusted source for herbs as well as oils. I calculated the price per 15 ml, so if an oil only came in a 5 ml bottle, I did the math.

Where there is a range of prices, the company offered oils from different parts of the world, and made from different extraction techniques. There were also differences between conventional and organic oils. dōTERRA guarantees that their oils are pesticide/herbicide free, and grown "in a region in which it is indigenous."

Their frankincense, for example, is sourced from Oman. Mountain Rose Herb's frankincense comes from France. Eden Botanicals prices their frankincense from Oman at $168 for an equivalent amount. Their frankincense from Somalia is $16 for 1/2 ounce. The source of an oil makes a huge difference in price, as does its quality. 

The dōTERRA prices are countered over time as one earns points towards free product. After only two months, I already picked up a free essential oil blend this month. Obviously that's part of the marketing plan to get people to sign up and remain loyal customers. 

Now, the elephant in the room...aren't all MLMs just giant pyramid schemes?

No, because instead of just money changing hands, there are products involved that have value. Nevertheless, not every company has a fair or easy-to-achieve compensation plan, is ethical with their claims, or even puts out a very good product. A lot of us know that Tupperware is actually a really good quality product, but we run from Amway like the plague. Some people sign up to try and make a living and most people never do. Some of us just like having the discounts. Also, parties usually include tasty food. 

I think that the dōTERRA essential oils are better quality than what I've been getting at my health food store, and I love that my purchases are helping my own sister, who makes a nice 20% off of my purchases. She loves using the oils and loves giving the free classes, so it's a way to earn money for her that makes her happy, which makes me happy. I am now a consultant, too, but have no plans on becoming rich off of it. I like the oils, many of my friends use the oils already, and if I make a little money to break even, huzzah.  

Could this company's approach use some tweaking? Yes. Is it a fraud? No.