Essential oils on the homestead  "Mama, where's the peppermint oil?" 

My 9-year old son had eaten something that didn't agree with him and was looking for relief.  As is usual around here with all sorts of health maladies, we didn't reach for pharmaceuticals or the remedies most of us used growing up (remember that pink stuff... yuck!) - we opened up our vintage cedar boxes full of therapeutic grade essential oils (we use a number of different brands - Essential Aura, Young Living and a few small artisanal brands).  In fact, I think I can count on one hand (with some fingers left over) the number of times this child has been exposed to 'conventional' remedies.  His first bout with antibiotics came for a tooth infection when he was 5, and none since.  I consider myself lucky to have that knowledge, helping him build a strong immune system from day one.  He's never had any of the common 'childhood illnesses', even though he's been exposed to a few, and as he gets older, he's falling to fewer and fewer colds and flus than seem average among his friends.  Part of that is that he doesn't have any siblings snarfing all over him, partly our relatively clean diet, and the rest, I firmly believe, is due to our regular use of essential oils.

When I did my Registered Aromatherapist training back in 2000-2003, I could never have imagined the things I'd one day use oils for.  Mostly I was thinking of using them for relaxation and emotional stuff.  But when we moved onto 7 acres in the country, I discovered there's no shortage of applications!  In the last year, we've pulled out those vintage boxes for all sorts of things:

  • deterring mice (lots of opportunity for that here)
  • disinfecting counter tops, appliances and other surfaces
  • headaches
  • sore gums as new teeth come in
  • calming down for a restful sleep
  • anxiety
  • deodorant
  • bug bite remedy
  • avoiding said bites in the first place
  • asthma after an ill-fated long walk in tall grass (remind me not to do that again)
  • fleas (on the dog, not us!)
  • relaxing pulled and strained muscles
  • colds and flus (rare as they've been)
  • bruises
  • cuts and scrapes (lots of those around here)
  • digestive issues
  • burns (lavender to the rescue!)
  • focus and confidence before big business meetings
  • a bleeding comb on our rooster
  • as a short-term 'antibiotic' for the chickens' water
  • cleaning the chickens' waterer and feeder
  • most recently, we're using a blend as part of the treatment for my parents' dog's lipoma (fatty tumour)
  • removing tree sap from our hands
  • gifts for friends and business associates
  • and I'm sure a lot of instances I've complete forgotten about

They're definitely our go-to for health and wellness, not an after-thought.  And I've been studying more about their use with animals - again, the applications seem endless... and successful.  Next up for me - more essential oils first aid training and research on effectively treating viral conditions as we prepare for a winter of potentially virulent bugs.

But what I love most about essential oils is that not only are they extremely portable (unlike dried herbs or tinctures) and easy to use (unlike homeopathy, where it seems like you need a degree to figure out the right remedy - though we do use a few tried and trues like Traumeel), but the peace of mind they bring when it comes to emergency preparedness.  I know that I can take care of myself, my family and my livestock through most illnesses or injuries using common sense and essential oils.  Should we have no access to the clinic, hospital or vet due to power outages or some other calamity, we're covered.  That's something not a lot of people can say, and I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to learn about these incredible substances and use them in our day to day life.

In short, I can't imagine being without our little bottles of wonder!  In fact, I wouldn't be without them.  With increasing natural disasters kicking up all over and the growing ineffectiveness of conventional medicine in the face of communicable diseases, it's reassuring to know we're covered for so many emergencies with just a few bottles of essential oil.  If we needed to look after our own health and that of our animals, we could.  In fact, we do.

Chelsea Blake Carmichael
11/11/2012 3:44:44 AM

Love this article! We to use essential oils for everything in our lives! Medical uses, hygiene products, cleaning, and also on our house pets and livestock! I am actually an Independent Consultant with Doterra Essential Oils! We are beginner homesteaders and spead alot of time on our 175 acres, we do still work outside the homestead but not in jobs that would allow to spend as much as we wanted on these essential oils. Luckily Doterra has an amazing sharing plan where just by sharing with your friends and family you are able to get your oils paid for!!

Heather Kelleher
9/28/2012 4:19:29 PM

Hi all, Perhaps I am wrong, but a word of caution: I've been told essential oils are very bad for cats and their livers so be careful using them around your feline friends. But again, maybe I am misinformed.

Michele Hoover
9/27/2012 11:27:37 PM

The only problem with essential oils is it is very hard for a homestead to extract these oils on their own, and they are very expensive to buy. By contrast, herbs for tinctures, teas, salves, vinegars, capsules and pills are easily grown and stored, and the remedies are fairly easy to make and store each season.

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