Shownotes: Using Essential oils medicinally

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Essential oils as medicine

Essential oils. The backbone of almost any natural healing medicine cabinet. Extracted from the roots, stems, bark, flowers, seeds and fruit of a list of plants and other botanical material, these small bottles are touted to be wondrous and effective. The idea behind the oils are that because the botanical properties have been extracted either through cold pressing or distillation, they are highly concentrated and include various chemical and medical properties. So if turmeric root is great for inflammation, then the concentrated oil should be even better.

Many studies have been done to proof (or disprove) their uses and effectiveness, and so far nobody can agree. While typing this I myself am wondering how much should I really invest and believe in these oils. Yet I am still convinced – essential oils work. I don’t care if you want to convince me it is merely the placebo effect at play – doesn’t matter. If the placebo effect can take my migraine away, break a fever, help with joint pain and ease anxiety, then I am all in. Even if I have to pay lots of money for the effect to take place.

We use essential oils in and around the house for everything from cleaning to personal care products to simply smelling great. And we use them medicinally as well. Now I first need to put in a disclaimer – I have no problem with Western medicine, nor with allopathic drugs. I believe there is a time and place for both and we go to the doctor when necessary. I do have a very relaxed attitude towards medicine and my threshold for “absolutely necessary” is very high. But that definitely doesn’t mean I don’t reach for the Nurofen bottle when my kids have pain, or have a fever that peppermint oil couldn’t break. We have even used antibiotics. I am not ignorant and will never put my family’s lives at risk. So yes, we do natural and we use oils, but not at the expense of our safety.

So if you are also convinced they work, either on their own or in conjunction (so as support) with other medicine, or you are interested or just plain curious, here are a few of the common ailments with our favourite oils to use medicinally:

·         REDUCE PAIN

o   Combine peppermint, cypress, rosemary, ginger, cayenne pepper and coconut oil for a homemade pain relieving rub. Bergamot is also good at pain relieving

·         REDUCE FEVER

o   Add 1-3 drops eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender oil to a cool cloth and sponge the body. Mix with a carrier oil and apply on soles of feet

·         EARACHE

o   Add a few drops of tea tree, clove, and lavender to sweet oil. Drop a few drops into the ear.


o   Combine a few drops of lavender and peppermint oil and apply to the temples


o   Mix eucalyptus and turmeric with clove and coconut oil and apply to sore muscles

·         CURE HEAD LICE

o   Mix 3 drops of tea tree, lavender and thyme oil into your regular shampoo. Use as normal


o   Add a few drops eucalyptus, peppermint, camphor and wintergreen to a diffuser or steaming hot water and inhale. Do not use with kids or if you have a salicylate sensitivity . Cedarwood is also effective in relieving coughs


o   Add 8-10 drops of grapefruit to warm bathwater

·         DIAPER RASH

o   Lavender, rose geranium and chamomile is both soothing and healing while being gentle and safe for use on babies


o   Take ginger, peppermint and fennel oil to support digestion and heal a leaky gut

·         RASHES

o   Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a natural ointment base. Tea tree is antifungal so if the rash is as a result of a fungus the tea tree will sort it out

·         BURNS

o   Mix lavender oil with aloe Vera to treat burns


o   Use lavender oil to soothe bites and stings


o   Make a homemade vapour rub by combining eucalyptus, peppermint and coconut oil. Rub on your chest and neck


o   Add 5 drops of lavender, 5 drops rose geranium and 5 drops of frankincense to 120ml hot water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and use as a hot compress


o   Use peppermint, lavender and ginger oil to reduce motion sickness


o   Add a few drops of orange, lemon or ginger oil to a handkerchief and inhale


o   Combine lavender or chamomile oil with 1 tablespoon o coconut oil and apply to skin to reduce swelling


o   Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and apply to blistered are up to 5 times a day

·         RELIEVE PMS

o   Mix 2 drops of sage, basil and rosemary and apply to a warm, moist hand towel and press on abdomen

·         TREAT ECZEMA

o   Apply a mixture of lavender, tea tree and shea butter


o   Mix 1 drop of oregano oil with 4 drops of carrier oil and rub on soles of feet before flying

·         ALLERGIES

o   Rub frankincense and lavender on your palms and inhale deeply to relieve itchy eyes and throat


There are many more oils, and many more uses. But please be warned – just because something is natural doesn’t automatically make it safe. Always speak to your doctor first (there can be drug interactions or even allergic reactions) and always to a skin patch test before using any oil. And to be on the safe side, rather do not use essential oils internally.

In South Africa, the best essential oils that we have, and the ones that I personally love and use, are Soil Organic oils. Get them here (not sponsored)

Get my cheat sheet here