Why stocking Essential Oils for Survival is a good idea
Disclaimer: The FDA has declared that essential oils are not to be considered as medicine, even though they have been used as medicine ever since the Bible was first written more than 2,000 years ago, and even though they are still used as medicine in Europe, especially in France and the United Kingdom where there is a huge market and where they are recommended by doctors.
So, this article relates to essential oil as a SURVIVAL TOOL in a post-apocalyptic setting, when NO medicine is available. If you are currently sick or have any medical condition and you are NOT in survival mode, please, seek assistance with an official and licensed physician and ask his advice before using essential oils. Never automedicate without professional advice.
I am not a doctor or a registered nurse, this article should NOT be considered as advice, but as a work of information, based on several hundreds of hours of reading and using essential oils.
Since I am in the survival business, I have searched numerous alternative ways of healing; that is not meant to substitute any training, but you can take it as a complement and as a supplementary tool in your medical woodshed.
Also, before you start to dismiss this article as a bunch of baloney, take a look at any popular medical text from 100 years ago, or browse the internet under “Essential Oils Healing Characteristics”.
Any vintage medical books refer to essential oils, herbs, as valuable for all sorts of treatments involving the use of natural substances.
You need to remember that for the past 2000 years, the only medicine was the one with natural compounds. Essential Oils were conventional medicine then, and when the first chemical medicine started to show up, it was considered “alternative.”
By way of brainwashing, big pharma has convinced us that medicine based on artificial chemicals replicated by the million in chemical factories is now the only valuable medicine and herbal medicine is not working at worst, or alternative and unproven at best.
Remember that this article is written with the idea that a big disaster will hit us. So, when that disaster hit us, it will limit (or even eliminate) your access to any pharmaceuticals; therefore, you should be well familiarized with other means of keeping healthy yourself, your family, your friends and your people.
One of the best options generally used are the Essential Oils. The compounds are labeled “essential” since they concentrate the “essence” of a plant.
Do not confound essential oils with cooking or vegetable oils, like corn, soybean, canola, peanut , or olive. The essential oils are less set and more volatile. That means that the essential oils tend to dissipate very rapidly, unlike the “fixed” oils, which almost never evaporate even in high temperatures.
Because they evaporate with an intense fragrance, essential oils are used to heal in what is called aromatherapy.
You might never realized it before, but you have been using essential oils all your life. When it come to scents and smell, essential oils are the main ingredients in soaps, furniture polishes, perfumes, and a lot of ointments.
Essential oils are extremely concentrated: it only takes a couple of peppermint leaves to make a tea, it takes 5 pounds of leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil. It takes an entire acre of peppermint to produce just 12 pounds. So, when it’s your turn to use essential oils, always remember that less is the best. Unless for extremely rare occasions, you only need a couple of drops of essential oils for the active ingredient to make an effect on your body.
The price of essential oil is very variable. If you need only a couple of pounds of peppermint to make one once of peppermint essential oil, you will need 12,000 rose flowers to extract a single spoon of rose E.O.! That’s why a bottle of peppermint cost a dozen dollars vs the same bottle of rose costs several hundred dollars.
These concentrated scents are the ones you notice sold in 10ml or 15ml, brown or blue bottles, to protect the liquid from the sun.
Be very careful when you buy essential oil. The FDA states that when only 10% of pure and unadulterated essential oil is in the final mix, the bottle of essential oil can be labeled “Pure Essential Oil.” But this is nonsense since the FDA also states that essential oils cannot be considered as medicine.
So, a bottle labeled “pure” essential oil, has no real meaning. Also, be very careful of FDA certification claims; the FDA has no certification or approval process for Essential Oils.
How are essential oils extracted from plants?
First, you need to know that Essential oils are secreted by plants either
- to be used as an attraction to pollinator insects -which explains their powerful fragrance of attraction
- to act as repellant against alien organisms, ranging from bacteria to animal predators (hence the power of some essential oils to repel all insects whose function is NOT to pollinate.
These compounds usually include many chemical substances, making each plant’s essential oil different. Essential Oils may be produced fromleaves, bark, flowers, resin, fruit or roots.
- Lemon Essential Oil is extracted from the skin of the fruit
- Lavender Essential Oil comes from flowers
- Cinnamon Essential Oil comes from the bark
Since the oil can be extracted from different parts of the plant, some plants may become origins of more than one essential oil.
Some plant elements produce a huge quantity of essential oil; others produce very little.
The strength and quality of the essential oil are dependent on multiple factors:
- country of origin
- soil conditions
- time of year
- time of day the plant is harvested.
- sub-species of plant
- amount of sun
The production of essential oils is generally known as “extraction” and can be obtained by various methods:
– Distillation Method:
You need a “still” like old-time moonshiner. Water is evaporated and goes through the plant material upstream. Then, steam is produced and travels through refrigerated coils. This steam condenses into a blend of oil and water (remember that oil and water don’t mix) from which the essential oil can be separated since oil is lighter than water, it floats on the surface. The video below will show you how to distil essential oils at home, with no or little technique. Once you have the right material, it’s very simple.
Here are a couple of tips on how distilling Cypress and Tea-Tree essential oils
Cypress Essential Oil – start with 2,000 lb of material to produce 1 lb of oil. The pressure must be 0lb and the optimal distillation time and temperature is 220 at 24h! Anything less produces oil that has 18 to 20 components completely missing from the essential oil!
Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) – start with 1,000 lb of material to produce 10-15lb of essential oil. The pressure in pounds must be 3 and the optimal distillation time and temperature is 218 for 2-3h.
Typical for citrus essential oils, the fruit can be separated by a technique which involves putting the skins through a “press”. This is a mechanical process. This works perfectly with the oiliest plants, such as orange peels.
A fixed oil (sometimes called a “carrier” oil) or lard may be combined with the plant part and exposed to the sun over time, causing the fixed oil to become infused with the plant “essence”.
Alcohol and other solvents may be used on some plant parts, usually flowers, to release the essential oil in a multi-step process.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Each essential oil has different chemical components, so it makes sense (and scents) that the medicinal benefits of each are also different. For centuries, the French have developed an entire alternative medical body to find the appropriate essential oil for the condition that needs treatment. English people followed up, and now the essential oils craze has hit the US (although the FDA does not -yet- recognize its therapeutic benefits).
How to use essential oils
The method of administration may vary but traditional techniques include:
1) Inhalation Therapy:
This method is also known as “aromatherapy”. Add a few drops of the essential oil in a bowl of steaming water (distilled or sterilized), and inhale. This method is most effective when placing a towel over your head to catch the vapors. Many people will place essential oils in potpourri or use a “diffuser” to spread the aroma throughout the room; this technique probably dilutes any medicinal effects, however.
If you have sinus problems, the 10 ten best essential oils to stock for survival are:
- Tea Tree
- Pine Oil
Nasal inhalers are very small and unexpensive. They easily fit in a purse, pocket, or bag, which makes them perfect when traveling. They are also a very good idea if you want to give away essential oils for a special condition without the need to give away the whole bottle. They are perfect for sampling. To know more about how to use inhalers with cold, click here.
2) Topical Application:
The skin is an amazing absorbent surface, and using essential oils by direct application is a popular method of administration. The oil may be used as part of a massage, or directly placed on the skin to achieve a therapeutic effect on a rash or muscle. Before considering using an essential oil in this manner, always test for allergic reactions beforehand. Even though the chemical compounds in the oil are natural, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have an adverse effect on you (case in point: poison ivy).
Direct ingestion is unwise for many essential oils, and this method should be used with caution. Most internal uses of an essential oil should be of a very small amount diluted in at least a tablespoon of a fixed oil such as olive oil. Professional guidance is imperative when considering this method. You can always consider a tea made with the herb as an alternative. This is a safer mode of internal use, although the effect may not be as strong.
The physical act of diffusing essential oils is simple! You add essential oils to a diffuser which pushes them out into the air and dispersing them across a space. The distance and length of time a diffuser can function will depend on your diffuser, but the most popular are cold water diffusers so they operate very similarly.
History of essential oils in medicine
Essential oils have been used as medical treatment for a very long time. Essential oils and the plants that produced them are mentioned over 500 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, they are referenced in 36 of 39 books. In the New Testament, they are referenced in 10 of the 27 books.
We know that essential oils act like medicine, however, it has been difficult to provide definitive evidence of their effectiveness for several reasons.
- In the past, efficiency was empirically based. Out of 10 people with headaches who used mint essential oil, if 9 were relieved, then mint was when considered a good medicine for headaches
- Due to variance in the quality of the product based on weather, country of origin, time of day the plant is harvested and other factors that I mentioned above, essential oils are difficult to standardize. Like wine, each batch of essential oil is different from any other batch, that’s because those products are made by plants. Only artificial compounds made in laboratories are 100% similar regarding of the batch (medicine are made like this), but those products are NOT natural and your body
- Comparable plants can produce different essential oils. The Eucalyptus essential oil may be obtained from Eucalyptus Globulus or Eucalyptus Radiata, for example, and have differing properties as a result. Lavender and Lavandin both produce essential oils sold as “Lavender” essential oil. Both plants are extremely similar, but the lavendin is less strong than the lavender.
- To certify a compound as medicine, the FDA requires extensive studies that cost millions of dollars and years of testing, something that no essential oil company has budgeted, given the low price and low ROI of the product. Studies for the medicinal benefit of essential oils are usually performed by big pharma, but there usually have little interest in essential oils. That is because they cannot patent natural products and can’t make huge profits, like with artificial molecules.
The majority of studies on essential oils have not been conducted by big pharma but by the cosmetics and food industries. Essential Oils are also widely used in food preparation and a lot of recipes are available on the market.
Despite that, it has been confirmed that essential oils have various effects. This conclusion is mainly based on their historical use on many thousands of patients by alternative healers.
How to Makeover Your Medicine Cabinet with Essential Oils
Although there are many essential oils, unless you are an essential oils aficionado, you should only keep a dozen different essential oils in your medicine cabinet. The scope of those essential oils is broad enough to help you fight headaches, common cold, cuts, insect bites, etc…
If you are a serious survivalist, here are just some of the best essential oils you need to have in you medicine cabinet makover:
An analgesic (pain reliever), antiseptic, and immune stimulant. It is thought to be good for skin care and to promote healing, especially in burns, bruises, scrapes, acne, rashes and bug bites. Lavender has a calming effect and is used for insomnia, stress, and depression. It has been reported effective as a decongestant through steam inhalation. Lavender oil may be used as an antifungal agent, and may be used for Athlete’s foot or other related conditions.
An antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant (also an excellent insect repellent), Eucalyptus oil has a “cooling” effect on skin. It also aids with respiratory issues and is thought to boost the immune system. Consider its use for flu, colds, sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, bronchitis, and hay fever. When exposure is expected, it has been reported to have a preventative effect. Eucalyptus may be used in massages, steam inhalation, and as a bath additive. Although eucalyptus oil has been used in cough medicine, it is likely greatly diluted and should not be otherwise ingested in pure form.
Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Essential Oil:
Diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut, Tea Tree oil may be good for athlete’s foot, acne, skin wounds, and even insect bites. In the garden, Tea Tree oil is a reasonable organic method of pest control. In inhalation therapy, it is reported to help relieve respiratory congestion. Studies have been performed which find it effective against both Staphylococcus and fungal infections. Some even recommend a few drops in a pint of water for use as a vaginal douche to treat yeast. Tea Tree oil may be toxic if used in high concentrations, around sensitive areas like the eyes, or ingested.
Peppermint Essential Oil:
It is very well known that peppermint essential oil has various therapeutic effects: antiseptic, antibacterial, decongestant, and anti-emetic (stops vomiting). You can apply Peppermint essential oil directly on the abdomen when used for digestive disorders such as heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, or abdominal cramping. I personally use one drop under the tongue for digestive problems or heartburns. Peppermint is the best essential oil to relieve from headache; massage a drop or two to the temples as needed and smell it for a couple of minutes. Be careful to avoid the eyes. It is mot dangerous, but the oil is very powerful. For achy muscles or painful joints, dilute the oil and massage the blend externally onto the affected area. Peppermint essential oil can also be used as an expectorant & decongestant. It can help clear up phlegm in your respiratory tract when used as a chest rub or inhaled through an inhaler.
The cooling sensation provided by peppermint can also help relieve itching caused by insects by blocking the sensation.
Used for many years as a surface disinfectant, it is often found in furniture cleaners. Many seem to think that this disinfecting action makes it good for sterilizing water, but there is no evidence that it is as effective as any of the standard methods of doing so, such as boiling. Lemon oil is thought to have a calming effect; some businesses claim to have better results from their employees when they use it as aromatherapy. Don’t apply this oil on the skin if you will be exposed to the sun that day, due to possible phototoxicity.
Although thought to have multiple uses as an anti-fungal, antiseptic, antiviral, analgesic, and sedative, Clove oil particularly shines as an anesthetic and antimicrobial. It is marketed as “Eugenol” to dentists throughout the world as a natural pain killer for toothaches. A toothpaste can be made by combining clove oil and baking soda; when mixed with zinc oxide powder, it makes an excellent temporary cement for lost fillings and loose crowns. Use Clove oil with caution, as it may have an irritant effect on the gums if too much is applied.
Arnica Oil:Arnica essential oil has quickly become popular for its pain-relieving and health-promoting properties. It’s an excellent addition to your alternative survival kit, especially if you’re prone to exercise-related injuries, such as bruises or sprains.
Deemed to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it is found in a lot of sports ointments. A 2007 study found that a homeopathic arnica solution has a positive effect on muscle soreness after marathon running. Since I do a lot of sports to stay fit, I have personally tested this oil on myself and found it to be somehow effective but not very long lasting. Regular application would be required for prolonged relief.
Arnica can help treat insect bites and stings, especially those that may lead to intense bruising and soreness.
WARNING: Arnica oil is toxic if inhaled, so do NOT use this oil for aromatherapy.
There are at least two versions of Chamomile oil, Roman and German. Roman Chamomile is a watery oil, while German Chamomile seems more viscous. Both are used to treat skin conditions such as eczema as well as irritations due to allergies. Chamomile oil is thought to decrease gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation, and is thought have a calming effect as aromatherapy, especially in children.
Although variable in its effects based on the species of plant used, Geranium oil is reported to inhibit the production of sebum in the skin, and may be helpful in controlling acne. Some believe that it also may have hemostatic (blood-clotting) properties, and is often recommended for bleeding from small cuts and bruising. When a small amount of oil is diluted in shampoo, it may be considered a treatment for head lice.
Thought to be a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Helichrysum is used to treat arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia as part of massage therapy. It has also been offered as a treatment for chronic skin irritation.
Rosemary Oil: Represented as having multiple uses as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic, Rosemary oil is proven to control spider mites in gardens. Use a few drops with water for a disinfectant mouthwash. Inhalation, either cold or steamed, may relieve congested or constricted respiration. Mixed with a carrier oil, it is used to treat tension headaches and muscle aches.
Clary Sage Oil:
One of the various chemical constituents of Clary Sage has a composition similar to estrogen, and has been used to treat menstrual irregularities, premenstrual syndrome, and other hormonal issues. It is also believed to have a mild anticoagulant effect, and may have some use as a blood thinner. Clary Sage also is thought to have some sedative effect, and has been used as a calming agent.
With over 150 chemical ingredients, the Neem tree is referred as “the village pharmacy” in its native India. The majority of Ayurvedic alternative remedies have some form of Neem oil in them. Proven as a natural organic pesticide, we personally use Neem Oil in our vegetable garden. Reported medicinal benefits are too numerous to list here and seem to cover just about every organ system. It should be noted, however, that it may be toxic when the oil is taken internally.
A source of natural salicylates, Wintergreen oil is a proven anticoagulant and analgesic. About 1 fluid ounce of Wintergreen Oil is the equivalent of 171 aspirin tablets if ingested, so use very small amounts. It may also have beneficial effects on intestinal spasms and might reduce blood pressure in hypertensives.
Frankincense is probably the most documented essential oil. Evidence of its use goes back 5000 years to ancient Egypt. Frankincense is meaningful in Christianity and is one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus. Catholics will remember it as the incense used during religious ceremonies. Studies from Johns Hopkins and Hebrew Universities affirm that Frankincense relieves anxiety and depression in mice. Direct application may have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is thought to be helpful for wound healing.
Frankincense oil has been found useful for certain health conditions, such as Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, Colds and respiratory disorders, Oral health problems, Digestive disorders, Uterine health. As a cold or steam inhalant, it is sometimes used for lung and nasal congestion.
Blue Tansy Essential Oil:
Helpful as a companion plant for organic pest control, Blue Tansy is sometimes planted along with potatoes and other vegetables. The oil has been used for years to treat intestinal worms and other parasites. One of its constituents, Camphor, is used in medicinal chest rubs and ointments. In the past, it has been used in certain dental procedures as an antibacterial.
Oregano Essential Oil:
Beware: Oregano essential oil is derived from a different species than the Oregano that you regularly use in your cooking. I extremely recommend adding oregano oil to your stockpile of survival healing tools, because of its wide range of uses. Oregano oil is a potent antimicrobial that can help fight off infections. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Other ideal uses for oregano oil are, treating foot or nail fungus, help in killing parasites and easing infections, alleviating sinus infections and colds. I also encourage using the antiseptic powers of this herbal oil to clean your home. Here’s one way how: Combine 4 drops of oregano oil with 10 drops of lemon oil and a 1/4 of white vinegar. Add the blend to a bucket of water. Use this mixture to wipe and clean surfaces.
One of the few essential oils that are safe to ingest, oregano, is considered to be helpful in calming stomach upset. It may also help relieve sore throats. Its antibacterial action leads some to use the oil in topical applications on skin infections when diluted with a carrier oil. Oregano Oil may reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, so consider an iron supplement if you need to use it regularly.
Thyme Essential Oil:
The advantages of thyme essential oil have been appreciated for thousands of years in Mediterranean basin. This essential oil is also a common tool in Ayurvedic practice. The best producers of Thyme Essential Oils are France, Morocco, and Spain. Due to its antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and calming properties, thyme has a long list of uses that include wounds, bites, gout, arthritis, and sores, water retention, menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea and fatigue, respiratory problems (like colds), skin conditions (oily skin and scars), athlete’s foot, and hangovers. As an aromatherapy oil, thyme can be used to stimulate the mind, strengthen memory and concentration, calm the nerves and combat depression.
Some people have confirmed that thyme oil can help prevent hair loss. Sometimes, it is even added to shampoos and other hair products.
Thyme can help tone worn skin and prevent acne outbreaks.
Like peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oils, thyme oil is used to improve oral health. Thyme essential oil can keep away insects and parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and moths.
When diluted, Thyme essential oil is used to cure skin infections. It may be helpful to get rid of ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Some important caveats to the above list should be stated here. Most of the essential oils listed are unsafe to use in pregnancy, and may even cause miscarriage. Also, allergic reactions to essential oils, especially on the skin, are not uncommon; use the allergy test I described earlier before starting regular topical applications. Even though essential oils are natural substances, they may interact with medicines that you may regularly take or have adverse effects on chronic illness such as liver disease, epilepsy or high blood pressure. Thorough research is required to determine whether a particular essential oil is safe for you.
Having said that, essential oils are a viable option for many conditions. Anyone interested in maintaining their family’s well-being should regard them as just another weapon in the medical arsenal. Learn about them with an open mind, but maintain a healthy skepticism about “cure-all” claims.
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Essential Survival regularly publishes information about your themes of interest, if you want to know when the next publication will be, just give me your email below and I will be glad to send you an email at the date of the next article.
This newsletter is perfect if you want to know about the latest develeopments about preparedness, and survival tips and information. It is geared towards women's preocupations themes.
This newsletter is perfect if you are a fan of ESSENTIAL OILS. As you can see, I have a passion for Essential Oils, so this E.O. newsletter is full of tips that you won't find anywhere in the web.