By Joy Ballard, RN
Editor’s note: Joy Ballard is a nurse and guest blogger who offers webinars on Essential Oils. To sign up for the March 24 webinar, click here.
So last time we talked about how more and more nurses are encountering patients who are bringing essential oils into the hospital when they are admitted. I posted a link to a short audio clip on how Essential Oils could be a Missing Link to modern medicine. Did you watch it? What did you think? For me that full lecture was enough to stop me and make me think there may be something to this “oily” craze that is sweeping our nation.
Let’s talk today about a few of the most common single essential oils and blends you may encounter. The brand I’m most knowledgeable about is Young Living Essential Oils, so I will be talking about some of the most popular blends used from this brand.
Three of the most common single oils are lavender, citrus and peppermint. Lavender and citrus oils are often used with the intent to calm and relax, while a patient may use peppermint with the intent to calm an upset stomach. According to an article on Pubmed.gov, “efficacy studies of lavender or orange and peppermint essential oils, to treat anxiety and nausea, respectively, have shown positive results.”
As a mom with young children, I can tell you from experience that all three of these oils have been used with success in my home. Insomniac toddlers sleep (lavender diffused at the bedside), motion sick prone children travel without vomiting (peppermint on a cotton ball in the vent of the car), and stressful moments are eased when citrus oils are diffused. Route of application with these oils has mostly been topical although all three carry the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe for oral consumption) stamp of approval from the FDA. A couple of drops of Young Living’s Citrus Fresh blend in homemade lemonade really punches up the flavor and helps to give the blues the boot on a rainy day.
The one blend I want to talk about is called Thieves. Now this blend of oils has pretty cool historical roots in light of recent health concerns. The blend is called Thieves in honor of the band of spice merchants who designed it during the Black Plague days in Europe. These merchants robbed the dead and dying but were able to avoid becoming ill themselves by anointing their bodies with this blend of herbs and spices. There is a document on the wall in the Louvre Museum in Paris that tells the story of this unsavory group.
Modern scientific studies have demonstrated how this blend is capable of decreasing bacterial counts when this blend of oils is applied in an aerosolized (diffused) application. According to a study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research, “there was an 82% reduction in M. luteus bioaerosol, a 96% reduction in the P. aeruginosa bioaerosol, and a 44% reduction in the S. aureus bioaerosol following 10 min of exposure.”
So, if you ever walk into a patient’s room and it smells like Christmas, chances are your patient is attempting to play an active role in their own care by diffusing this blend with the intention of keeping more germs at bay. Embrace this as a positive, if only for the fact that it smells amazing in that room and your patient is interested in getting healthy and staying healthy.
If you want to know more about other common oils, join me at 8 p.m. Tuesday (CST) for a 30-minute webinar, and I’ll quickly introduce you to the very basics of some of the ins and outs of these ancient medicinals turned modern phenomenon.
To your Health,
Joy Ballard RN