Skip to main content

North Hills Monthly

Essential Oils – A Common Scents Approach to Health

Jun 30, 2016 08:55AM ● By Jill Cueni Cohen

Did you know that spiders hate the scent of peppermint; that lavender is calming to the body and mind; that tea tree oil helps the body heal from infections and irritations and also cleans the air of toxins and germs when diffused, and lemon oil makes a great furniture polish? 

In today’s world, where chemicals and man-made substances affect every corner of our lives, many people are attempting a return to nature by avoiding processed foods and purchasing organically grown produce and using organic products. Those who think that health care has been hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry have switched from taking pills for their ills to seeking natural, holistic cures and using nature-made products like essential oils to support immunity and alleviate common issues such as inflammation and pain, as well as speed the healing of wounds and sores. 

To date, more than 3,000 naturally occurring, easily evaporated aromatic compounds are found in plants. In fact, it’s these essential oils that give plants their distinctive scents that protect or help in pollination. They’re also used in a variety of applications for everything from household cleaning and repelling bugs to food preparation, beauty products and health care. Oils can be used topically on skin, diffused through the air, and some can even be ingested.

Emily Linkenheimer, 30, of Ellwood City received degrees in food and nutrition and psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but it wasn't until she saw the healing properties of essential oils for herself that she decided to start selling them professionally for DoTERRA. "A few years ago, I was depressed and anxious and going through a tough time, and I started using a blend of oils called Balance, which really helped me focus and kept my mind from racing," she recalled, adding that the experience was life-changing. "I thought, I want to share this, because it really works for people. This is the reason I started my business."

Linkenheimer suggests replacing toxic cleaning chemicals with odor-eating citrus oils such as lemon and orange. She adds that cleaning and polishing furniture with a homemade blend of essential oils also helps support the immune system, and can be emotionally uplifting. “Most citrus oils are photosensitive for 12 hours after application,” she cautioned, noting that sunlight could damage furniture and wood, so clean such objects with the drapes closed.

DoTERRA sells proprietary blends of high-quality, therapeutic-grade oils to address a variety of health issues, including immunity support during flu season, mood and energy elevation, weight control, digestion and more. For instance, Deep Blue, which is sold as a pre-made cream, essential oil blend, or in oral supplement form, effectively soothes inflammation, alleviates pain, and can reduce soreness. The blend contains wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, German chamomile, helichrysum and osmanthus. 

“Many essential oils have a wide variety of uses across the board,” said Linkenheimer, noting that different blends are appropriate for different ages, and even single oils should be used with caution, especially when ingesting. “Natural doesn't mean 100 percent safe. Some oils shouldn't be taken during pregnancy or while undergoing chemotherapy treatments or mixed with medications. The symptoms of overusage won't be apparent for a while, but the damage will occur over time.” She advises people to try applying oils topically or aromatically before taking them internally. 

Linkenheimer also warned against too much of a good thing. “Don’t use a diffuser for more than 30 minutes at a time and take an hour-long break in-between,” she said, noting that even animals are affected by oils. “Cats’ systems can't break down essential oils, so be careful using them around pets, and don’t forget that they breathe in diffusers as well.”

Essentials oils should not be seen as a cure or a treatment, said Linkenheimer. “They’re used to support and strengthen your body's immune system.”