Essential Oils – What I Know So Far

I love a good smell. Baby heads, the scent of jasmine coming up in my yard, lilies… These conjure up happy memories for me.

And it’s no secret that I have a history with essential oils. Remember those yummy kid-safe cleaners I used to sell?

I’m picky about good smells.

But can I admit to spending a long time befuddled by the idea that you can use essential oils for health purposes? I even read a book that had CHEMISTRY in it to try and grasp WHY people claimed X oil would heal X ailment.

I didn’t exactly understand the book, but I read it.

I read all the arguments about whether or not its safe to ingest essential oils and what constitutes “therapeutic grade” or high quality oils. I read about the great divide between the two companies that claim to sell these therapeutic grade oils. But I couldn’t be convinced one way or the other until I tried for myself.

I dabbled my toe in the water when Finn was born. I knew I would struggle with maintaining my milk supply and I was willing to try anything. So in addition to my Goat’s Rue herbal tincture, I purchased a bottle of Fennel oil. I took it every day in a teaspoon of honey.

And clearly, Finn and I did just fine.


It was another year before I bit the bullet and decided to add several oils to our family medicine kit. I chose Doterra brand. Mostly because they smell fantastic.

So let’s start there. I’ve smelled essential oils for years and thought I was buying pretty good quality stuff. And then I opened a bottle of Doterra…

To compare, I took my decent quality Lemon oil that I use in my cleaning supplies. I sniffed it and then the Doterra Lemon. The first was like dirt compared to the sweet essence of lemon that came out of that Doterra bottle.

The same is true for every other oil I’ve compared. I’ve got a huge bottle of “decent” tea tree oil sitting in my bathroom that I used regularly. I can’t stand to even open it now, the smell nauseates me. Instead, I prefer Doterra’s version, which is cleaner, much more “plant-ish.”

But Doterra oils are kinda pricey, I admit. So they needed to actually work before I would admit to any of you here on the blog that I use them.

I’ve been trying them out for four months now. I haven’t got it all figured out. But I know that I’m still buying them, I use them every day, and I love them.

Here’s why:

1 – They don’t do any harm. I’ve got a book that I can look up any ailment and hunt down an oil to try it on. There aren’t any side effects, no adverse reactions to worry about. If it works, great. But if it doesn’t…

2 – My kids like to have me try.

There are two parts to this. First, so many times as mamas, our kids just want us to DO SOMETHING about their ailment. These oils are a safe option. I don’t have to worry about overdosing them or giving them medicine for something that doesn’t need medicine.

Second, there’s something in a mama’s touch that is medicinal. Applying these oils gives me a moment to look my children in the eye and touch them.

They really like that.

Matter of fact, they ASK for oils before anything else.


This isn’t posed. While I was typing, she brought me the box and asked for some oil on her tummy.

3 – I have actually strengthened my relationship with my kids with essential oils.

I learned how to do Aromatouch technique, which is an orderly way to apply a certain set of oils that boosts the immune system and makes a person feel really, really good. I figured out I can lay my kids across my lap to do it, no massage table required.

I rub yummy smells on their back and they talk to me. Magic.

My kids fight over whose turn it is to get their back rubbed. When I’m feeling disconnected from a child or I think they need a little extra attention, this is the tactic I use. It’s a great way to minister to anybody you love and it’s super easy to learn.

4 – Essential oils work. Sometimes they work better than others, but here are my favorite oils (so far):

OnGuard – I diffuse this when we’re all gathered in a room or have company coming. It’s an immune booster and germ killer. And it smells like Christmas.

PastTense – This is an anti-headache medicine that I carry with me at all times. Works like a charm on tension headaches.

Melaleuca – (or tea tree oil) I use this one the most. It’s very helpful in clearing up infection. I’ve taken care of my own ear infections this way and several of the kids. Rather than diluting it in oil, I just put a drop on my finger and swirl it around inside the ear. The other week when I had a bad infection, rubbing melaleuca directly on my lymphnodes was especially soothing and helpful. It also works well in a vinegar bath to clear up diaper rash or yeast infections… There’s an entire blog post worth of uses for this oil. Just trust me. It’s good.

DigestZen – I’ve got one child who often complains of an upset tummy. I haven’t figured out the source of her discomfort yet, but a little of this rubbed around her belly and she’s happy once again. I use it regularly for myself and find it’s just as soothing as a cup of ginger mint tea but so much faster.

Balance – Rub it on your wrists when you think you’re gonna lose your mind. You won’t.

Wild Orange – Sweet mercy, this one just smells yummy. If my kids give me that difficult-to-diagnose “I just don’t feel good,” I’ll rub this on their feet to perk them up. It’s one of their favorites.

AromaTouch – I use this for my big migraines that start down in my neck. Andrew tried it once and it worked right away on him, too. This one smells like beach in a bottle to me.

Peppermint – Works great for nausea.

Breathe – With our recent colds, I would rub this right into my lymphnodes and I’d be able to breathe for a bit. I also diffused it in a bedroom just before sleepy time to make breathing easier.


My diffuser. I can control the interval and strength of diffusion.

There’s still a lot I don’t know or understand. And I haven’t quite got the knack of applying oils enough times to shorten the flu or end all allergies. Currently, I would say that the oils are safe way to manage all the symptoms we have even if they can’t cure what ails us.

But I’ve seen the oils work well enough that I’m willing to keep trying for cures in the future. I’ll keep you posted.

Do you HAVE to buy Doterra brand oils? Nope. You don’t. I do think they’re the best available and worth the expense, but I don’t think other brands are ineffective.

One word of caution: unless you absolutely trust the source of your oils, you’ll need to dilute the oils before using them on your kids. Just add coconut oil when applying to the skin. This will dilute the effectiveness some, but it will guarantee they don’t get a rash from sub-par oils. (A perk of Doterra is that I don’t usually have to dilute them so my kids are getting a stronger more effective dose.)

And Mamas? We need to touch our kids more. I can still remember exactly how it felt to have my mother’s cool hand on my forehead or rubbing my back when I was sick. I’ll bet you can remember, too. Using essential oils on my kids has reminded me how important it is to actually lay hands on my children throughout the day and give them that soothing touch that only Mommy can.

Even if Doterra isn’t in your budget, get you some decent essential oils and some coconut oil and spend some time rubbing your babies’ feet. It will be time well spent and something you’ll both remember for always.

And you’ll smell fantastic, too.


*Affiliate Alert* I signed up with Doterra to get the wholesale prices and then happily discovered they were worth sharing with all of you. I’m glad to talk about them all day but I’m not out to sell anybody anything and nobody is paying me to write this so no need to feel awkward. Also: I wish you were all at my house so you could smell the yummy oils…



  1. Good thing I’m coming to your house in just a couple of days! I totally want to hear more about this.

  2. Oooooh, I completely agree! I just mixed some coconut oil with lavender and vanilla EO’s to rub all over my babies. The coconut oil mixed with the lavender is GREAT for diaper areas. I’m still learning a ton, too. I have yet to try doTerra, but I have heard nothing but good about them!

  3. Carrie Taylor says:

    Love Past Tense for my headaches! It keeps me from taking Advil a lot of the time. Dylan is still not crazy about the scent, but I love it!!

  4. JennieVieve says:

    This is great. I’ve been wanting to try out essential oils for a while. Thanks for doing the homework! I have maybe a dumb question: so even though there are no side effects, when you are rubbing the kids down do you wear gloves since you might not want get too much oil on yourself? Or just not worry about it and wash hands after. Also, have you tried clove oil for teething? A friend suggested that to me once. Appreciate your thoughts:)

  5. Okay, so to someone who only uses a few drops of tea tree oil in cleaning products, give me ONE to buy and tell me exactly what to do with it (mix it with coconut oil isn’t specific enough, how many drops in how much oil? Do I put the oil in my hands first and mix it like a potion master?)

    So, one yummy oil, one step at a time. Tell me like you’d tell one of your littles. And when and how do I use this concoction??? Let’s say I want to put it on kids’ feet/hands/backs as a general calming potion. Or DH wants to do so for me. :)

  6. Thanks for doing the legwork for us. I’ve been stuck at wanting to leap into essential oils (alternative medicine/treatments) but not having any real idea what to do next. So in a leap of faith move, I ordered the Family Physician Kit. Hoping it’s great. :)

  7. You’re starting to sway me… ; )

  8. JennieVieve – Nope, I don’t wear gloves. It isn’t necessary. My hands just end up smelling good. You can’t really get TOO much oil on you. You don’t need more than a drop or two for it to be effective, but extra doesn’t do any harm.

    I haven’t tried clove oil, it’s one I don’t have yet. But it’s on my list to buy!

  9. Tara – Hmmm, calming potion? I’d say start with Lavender. It’s very relaxing for mood but it also has antiseptic properties so you can use it to fight infection if you want.

    You can run a warm bath and put about seven drops in it. Kids will soak, smell great, and be nice and chill before bed.

    Or, if you want to just rub it into their back, put about one or two drops (if it’s Doterra brand) straight onto their spine. Then, using both your hands, rub gently up both sides of the spine. I alternate my hands and push slightly, like maybe I’m rolling an imaginary snake of play-doh? The idea is just to warm up the oil and get it soaked into the skin. You aren’t actually rubbing the muscles like a massage, you’re simply rubbing it into the skin. So it’s very soft, very gentle touch. If you don’t buy Doterra brand, still use just a drop or two of oil, but also put a dollop (maybe 1/2 tsp) or coconut oil on the spine and drop the oil on top of that. Then they’ll all smear together. Does this help?

    I will sometimes rub a drop of lavender between my wrists like perfume if I need to chill a bit.

  10. Michelle – Yay! Let me know how you like it and if you have any questions! Make sure you either order a book (like the one I linked to) or there’s an MDO app for your iPhone. It’s ten bucks but it has everything the book has. Kinda handy!

  11. JennieVieve says:

    Are you a “consultant”? I’m going to place an order. I’d love to order through you if so.

  12. Rébecca says:

    That was a great post ! Just last night several of my children were coughing and I thought I should go rub some oils on them… but I selfishly didn’t because it wasn’t keeping them (or me…) awake. I really should have. I woke up sick myself and was reminded how good it feels to have someone care for you when you’re sick… anyway, your ost was such an encouragement to me to seek ways to show love to my children and help them feel better.

    However, since I’m not in the US, I don’t think I can find the Doterra brand, so would you mind telling me what EO are in the mixes you quoted (OnGuard, PastTense, etc) ? Thanks !

  13. LoraLynn says:

    JennieVieve – Why yes, I guess I am! You can order from the button in my sidebar or from this link: http://www.mydoterra.com/vitafamiliae/

    Those are the retail prices or you can sign up like I did for wholesale. If you were going to make a big purchase up front, that would be my recommendation. But if you just want to try one bottle, going retail is fine. :-) Thanks!

  14. LoraLynn says:

    Rebecca – Doterra is available for international order online. Just click on the button in my sidebar (http://www.mydoterra.com/vitafamiliae/) and choose your continent. The Doterra blends are super yummy. You’ll love ‘em! Hope y’all feel better soon!

  15. This is a wealth of information, LL. You da bomb.

  16. i have been really interested in trying essential oils for awhile, but didn’t know where to start. thanks for the info!! i’m not sure if my husband will be on board to get the family physician kit- which i really want to order- but i may start with the fennel for increased milk supply. baby is coming soon and with my last 2 i didn’t seem to have as much milk as i did with my others. how did you use the fennel? also, i found an article online where a woman recommended using basil and fennel together, taking a break from the fennel for 5-7 days every 10 days and then continuing with both. did you ever try the basil for increasing milk supply?

  17. LoraLynn says:

    Rachel Marie – I had a lot of success with Goat’s Rue before I ever tried the fennel. It tastes terrible. But it definitely worked. I took a dropper full 3 x a day. With the fennel, I think I took a few drops in honey twice a day. I never used basil. But you’re right, here’s an article discussing how to use both: http://www.naturallivingmamma.com/2012/08/03/how-to-boost-breast-milk-production-with-essential-oils/

    Here’s the protocal I followed: http://yoursacredcalling.com/commonscentsmom/2012/01/got-breast-milk/

  18. Thanks for posting this, Lora Lynn! I, too, have been messing around with thinking about Essential Oils. Most people that I know and most blog articles I’ve read tout Young Living. What’s your research tell you about the difference between them? (I might as well use your research. Saves me the legwork – ha!)

    Also, how did you find out about the Goat’s Rue herbal blend? That’s something I’ll need to try if/when I have another little one. Thanks!

  19. LoraLynn says:

    Dovey – You know, I read lots of versions of the story from both sides and in the end, I basically went with my gut. Or my nose. Doterra smells better. But as far as the difference between the companies, Doterra was YL employees who left over purity disagreements. I figure you have to have some pretty strong feelings to leave and go start an IDENTICAL company. They certainly weren’t trying to sell the stuff cheaper. But I don’t know how much stock I put in things I read on the internet, so in the end, it came down to smelling the difference. I think they’re both perfectly fine. I just like the Doterra smell better. *just my two cents* :-)

  20. Thanks! I really appreciate your taking the time to answer. I didn’t really know anything about it. I’ve never smelled either, so I thought I’d ask.

  21. LoraLynn, is that the “Emergency Preparedness” kit shown in your photo? It seems to have a good selection and I like the idea of the little box.

  22. LoraLynn says:

    Tara – No, I think I started with the Family Physician Kit. I bought the box with some points I earned, I think it was 15 bucks. And then I’ve just been adding to my collection… Oh, I’ve also got the Aromatouch kit from when I took the training.

  23. We got our Family Physician kit and LOVE it. We’ve been using lots of breathe here for colds, deep blue for a ballet knee issue and even frankinsense as an attempt to get rid of a skin tag. Going to check out the book you recommended. Thanks for tips on how to use our oils. It’s so helpful to us newbies.

  24. Great information on the benefits of essential oils! I find that essential oils are a key to happiness, health and a holistic life!


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