Should Christians Use Essential Oils?

I used to be in the camp where I thought essential oils were hippy-dippy-baloney. (Thank you very much Lego Movie for the sweet new phrase).

spice-235219_1920I only knew a few people who used oils and each had a more wholistic and natural approach to health care than I did. Honestly, I thought it was weird that people would rub an oil on their bodies, use herbs to treat illness, or eat dirt as probiotics instead of popping a tylenol or turning to modern medicine. With my medical history, I’d a built up a lifetime of trusting in modern medicine for every ache, pain, and on more than one occasion, my very life.

To further the weirdness I felt for essential oils, my brain automatically translated the word “aromatherapy” to “New Age” and “crystals”.  My ignorance made me uncomfortable because I believed the loudest noise: the ones that talked about finding your “chi”,  or your “energy”, or your “life force”, none of which I knew were lost or why I should be looking for them in the first place! So, I disregarded the voices of well-intentioned people who were trying to offer help in ways I was seeking, but who didn’t provide the answers I thought I was looking for.

Then about 18 months ago, everything changed.

In short, a Jesus-loving friend who did not fit my stereotypical essential oil user shared an oil blend with me to help calm down my son during a serious meltdown in the middle of Disney World. And, it worked AMAZINGLY! In that moment I decided to pull back the curtain of essential oils and take a deeper look. What I found rocked my world as I began to uncover hundreds of references to plants and oils used in the B.I.B.L.E. While I’d read the Bible cover to cover a few times, somehow I’d totally missed this!

As a previous essential oil critic, let me give you 3 reasons why a Christian CAN in a good, clear conscious use essential oils.

1. The problem is NOT with using essential oils, but in having an unclear understanding of where oils came from.

Modern-day essential oils (and even the infused oils used in the Bible) all come from the vegetation God created.

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation , plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-13

In His infinite wisdom, God created plants and trees to be our source of food and to sustain our life.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:29-31

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One could even argue that a plant-based diet might be everything our bodies need for optimum health and wellness; for a plant-based diet is exactly what God gave Adam and Even. It wasn’t until 10 generations later (roughly 1100 years) in the time of Noah (after the flood), that God gives animals to become another source of food for us.

Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Genesis 9:3

2. The problem is NOT with using oils, but in how the use of oils has been distorted.

Since the beginning of time, most of what God has created has found a way to become distorted. Look at sex, marriage, food, relationships; even angels found a way to become corrupt. The problem is not with the essential oils themselves, but the way humans have once again distorted something God called “good”. 

Because many people in the New Age movement encourage people to use essential oils in an ungodly way, it is easy to perceive essential oils as “bad”. And yet, essential oils are the very immune system of plants, protecting the plant from disease and bringing healing when needed. I find no mistake that the very creativity and wisdom of God allows for plants and humans to have a similar structure, creating a unique relationship where plants have the ability to help our human bodies heal themselves. 

3. The problem is NOT with using oils, but in how the oils have become branded.

Most of my first experiences with essential oils were hearing of them being used for “spiritual awakenings” and in ways that are meant for God alone to spiritually uncover. I would hear of people using oils to “guard against negative energy”, to “enhance spirituality”, or to try and bring about visions and dreams. Therefore, this stamped a “brand” of essential oils being “scary” and “bad”, as they were being used more as a form of spiritual manipulation.

However, like many things in life I don’t believe this was God’s original intention!

If we want to re-brand what has become corrupted in the eyes of many, we must educate ourselves with a clear, biblical understanding of where oils came from, how they were used in biblical times, and how we can appropriately use them today. We must also be gentle in the way we respond to the concerns of others and careful in how we market these products. Essential Oils are not meant to replace God, nor are they the answer to every medical problem we face, or miracle “drugs”.

While essential oils can aid our bodies, God created our BODIES to be MIRACULOUS!

Imagine what would happen if our skin never healed itself. We’d walk around with open cuts and wounds oozing blood everywhere we went. (That’s a pretty gross picture, isn’t it?) Now think about how our bodies constantly create blood, can produce different tears based on why we are crying, fight bacteria and viruses, and constantly pump blood through our veins. This happens every second of every day.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts sometimes we still get sick! And, in those times I am so incredibly grateful that we have a God-given natural way to help our bodies heal through essential oils. And, as I keep my eyes on the Maker and Creator of not just these plants, but more importantly my very soul, I find confidence and peace in HIS wisdom and design to give us this incredible resource.

Can You Use Essential Oils Instead of Drugs?

Essential oils are safe, affordable, and an effective alternative to synthetic drugs. While I’m about to explain the difference between essential oils and pharmaceutical drugs, the great thing is essential oils can be used as a complimentary therapy with your medication or can be used a safe and natural alternative therapy. (If you are on any prescribed medication, please be sure to consult your doctor before making ANY changes.)

What are Essential Oils?

Essential Oils are the natural aromatic compounds extracted from plants. The oil comes from the roots, seeds, stems, flowers, resin, bark and other parts of the plant. The essential oil acts as the immune system of the plant protecting it from disease, invaders, and helping the plant to heal itself when needed. Since human chemistry is so similar to the chemistry of plants, essential oils can help our bodies heal and protect itself too!

In this picture, you will see a microscopic image of a peppermint leaf.

Peppermint sacs

The two white sacs are the essential oil sacs which are 50-70 times more powerful than herbs. These oils are very potent and contain powerful healing properties, so a little goes a long way.

How many of you have heard the suggestion of drinking peppermint tea for an upset stomach? Well, just 1 drop of peppermint essential oil in comparison is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea.

In fact, just one drop of essential contains approximately 40 million-trillion molecules and we have 100 trillion cells in our bodies. Therefore, one small drop of essential oil contains enough molecules to cover every cell in our bodies with 40,000 molecules. You can see why even a small amount of oil can have profound effects on the body, brain, and emotions.

Why do we try Essential Oils first?

Our family is NOT against modern medicine. We still go to the doctors when needed and still seek their advice. If I fall and break a bone, I do not want my husband rubbing an oil on me, I want him to take me to the doctors. However, for most health concerns instead of starting with pharmaceutical drugs, we will try Essential Oils first. Here’s why:

Essential Oils contain hundreds of natural compounds each associated with a difference use. Until recently, I had no idea the pharmaceutical industry actually studies plants and all their compounds. Their hope is to try and isolate specific compounds to create what we know as over the counter or prescription drugs. The problem with isolating these compounds is that we get side effects when they are taken out of their natural, holistic framework.

Ever since coming to this understanding, I find pharmaceutical drug commercials incredibly entertaining. I never noticed how about 1/4 of the commercial describes how the drug can actually help you, while the other 3/4 of the commercial describes all the crazy side-effects. You’ve probably heard them too – all the nausea, vomiting, liver and kidney damage, and little things like death.  I’ve even heard of depression medications causing thoughts of suicide. Does this bother anyone else??

Melaleuca_15mlI have also been so frustrated at times trying to find the balance with OTC’s and modern-day medicines. I attempt to treat one issue, only to have another issue came up as a side effect from the drugs themselves. I would then have to treat the new side effect, which often turned into another side effect until my body finally gained a balance.

Another reason we try Essential Oils as an alternative to synthetic drugs is that they are much less expensive, just pennies per drop as opposed to expensive doctor visits, co-pays and prescriptions. For instance, a few weeks ago one of our kids had an ear infection. I was able to use 2 drops of Melaleuca Essential Oil on a cotton ball which cost us $0.16 and the next day our son was fine, never needing the up to 14 days of antibiotics. I LOVE having the option of trying a natural approach to healthcare first. If it doesn’t work, we always have the option of proceeding with modern medicine.

If you’d like to learn more, I am teaching a FREE Facebook Class starting today (Oct 13-18, 2014). Please follow this LINK, click JOIN and learn with us as I share more info of why we we use essential oils, how they work, and how our family uses them everyday for most of our health concerns!

My Story: How I Started Using Essential Oils

4x10_banner_Essential_Wellness_Bottles.jpg.570x440_q85About 18 months ago, I did something I never thought I’d do. I got into Essential Oils.

Before this I thought essential oils were a bit hippy and weird, for the only places I’d really noticed them were in “New Age” type stores. I had somehow overlooked all the references in the Bible of how God gave us these oils to help our bodies heal and find balance.

We were at Disney World and our son was having the mother of all meltdowns BEFORE we even got into the park. Now, I get Disney World is overwhelming and can be very over-stimulating. But, we were standing in the entrance line just trying to get into the park when he started screaming ballistically over ANTS – that were five feet away from him!! I don’t even know how he saw them.

Had we not been meeting friends in the park, I would have turned around and gone home. It was THAT bad. 10 minutes later, we reached our friends and I was D.O.N.E!

Seeing what was happening, my friend Traci asked if she could try something on him. In total and complete exasperation, I said, “Girl, I don’t care what you give him. If you can make this stop, make it stop!”

Traci used a doTERRA Essential Oil blend on him called In-Tune and within MINUTES he was totally chill, calm, and collected, bending down playing with the ants.

Did you catch that?? PLAYING WITH THE ANTS.

Now, this wasn’t just a momentary blip in his freak-out session, our son stayed relaxed and calm throughout the rest of the day and night. At that point, I was hooked. I told Traci I was going to need “that stuff” by the gallons.

Having had cancer 3 times and being deemed medically complicated, I grew up trusting in modern medicine as the best option. I was SO stubborn in my view of natural remedies that it would have taken nothing less for me to change my mind and give something natural a try.

After this trip to Disney I researched medical journals and scoured the internet for information before making the decision to jump in with doTERRA’s Essential Oils. And in the last 18 months, these essential oils have aided our bodies to heal multiple bacterial and viral infections, the flu, ear infections, stress, anxiety, croup, bronchitis, emotional struggles, depression (I had this BAD when we went through our last failed adoption a year ago), ADD/ADHD, sleep issues, skin issues (eczema), reflux, nausea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, and we have even made our own all-natural cleaning supplies… you get the picture, tons of great stuff!

Click here for info on ordering doTERRA Essential Oils

How about you? If you have used essential oils, were you also skeptical?

Biblical Oil: Spikenard

“Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.” Song of Solomon 4:13-15

 spikenardWhere does Spikenard come from?

In Biblical times, Spikenard or “nard” was the head or spike of an East Indian plant belonging to the genus Valerianna. Nard was not only a very expensive perfume whose oils were extracted in the preparation of a precious ointment, but according to the King James Dictionary, nard was also used for medicine.

What is the Hebrew word?nêrd = spikenard, nard, an odoriferous aromatic plant from India

How many references are there to nêrd in the Old Testament? 3

Song of Solomon 1:12, 4:13, 4:14

What is the Greek word?nardos = head or spike which yields a juice of delicious odor when used (either pure or mixed) in the preparation of a most precious ointment, nard oil or ointment

How many references are there to nardos in the NT? 2

Mark 14:3 and John 12:3

Historical Uses: Medicine, Ointment, Perfume

SpikenardAmazing Fact: Biblical scholars believe the oil used by the woman who anointed Jesus and wiped His feet with her tears was pure liquid oil of Spikenard: “pure nard, unmixed and genuine; or liquid nard, which was drinkable, and easy to be poured out.” (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, 1746-8)

“While he (Jesus) was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wagesand the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9

In his commentary, Matthew Henry points out that is was a custom for people who were condemned to dieto have their coffins prepared and other provision made for their funerals while they were still alive. This beautiful display of love from this woman not only prepared the body of Christ for his death and burial, but was also the first time anyone acknowledged His fate – even though Jesus had spoken openly that He was to die.

What is also beautiful about this verse is that this woman “broke the jar”, meaning she gave the very best of everything she had to Jesus. Now, here’s the reality check for me? How often do I do this – give Jesus the best of everything I have? (Ouch!)

It is so easy to simply check the boxes. Did you read your Bible? (Check the box.) Pray at mealtime? (Check the box.) Go to Church (Check the box.) We become so busy with the demands and joys of life, that rarely do we stop to give Jesus our very best. And yet, He is SO deserving of our love, adoration, and everything we have to give.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37

As we begin to conclude this series, may I encourage you to begin to spend more time getting to know the Bible? Study – not just read – the Word of God. Join an accountability, Bible study, or small group and dig deep together. Pick a topic and run with it! That’s exactly how this entire series (unintentionally) came to be! The Bible is filled with so much love, grace, passion, and, as we have seen in this class, has the power to relate to our lives (and our passions) even today.

Biblical Oil: Rose of Sharon

“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” Solomon 2:1

 crocus-43186_640Where does Rose of Sharon come from?

Biblical Rose of Sharon was a flower from a fertile plain in the Holy Land named Sharon. This plain was known for its wines, flowers, and pastures. Sharon lies between the mountains of central Palestine and the Mediterranean Sea and north of the Joppa district on the east of the Jordan around Gilead and Bashan. 

What is the Hebrew word? There are two Hebrew words for “Rose of Sharon”

chăbatstseleth = meadow-saffron, crocus, rose, used twice in the OT

Song of Solomon 2:1 and Isaiah 35:1

Shârôn = a plain, used 7 times in the OT

Joshua 12:8, 1 Chronicles 6:16, 27:29, Song of Solomon 2:1, Isaiah 33:9, 35:2, 65:10

What is the Greek word? There are two Greek words loosely related to chăbatstseleth and one Greek word meaning shârôn.

krinon = flower, lily, wildflower, used twice in the NT

Matthew 6:28 and Luke 12:27

anthos = a flower, used 3 times in the NT

James 1:10, 11 and 1 Peter 1:24

Sárōn = plain or level, a level region extending from Caesarea of Palestine as far as Joppa, abounding in good pasture and famous for its fertility. Used once in the Acts 9:35.

Rose of SharonAmazing Fact: Though many people believe the Rose of Sharon was a type of Rose, the Rose of Sharon is more likely a type of crocus or meadow saffron. Of note, some modern day researchers believe the Rock Rose (or Cistus) is the Rose of Sharon and source essential oils from these plants. However, the Cistus plant is unlikely the same as the biblical “meadow saffron” (definition via Strong’s Concordance), as they are from two different plant families. The meadow saffron comes from the “Colchicaceae” family and the Rock Rose comes from the “Cistaceae” family.

Another debate surrounding the Rose of Sharon is the possibility that the term “Rose of Sharon” refers to Jesus. Many biblical scholars believe when King Solomon says, “I am the Rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” (Song of Solomon 2:1), this is really about Jesus and His Church. There are many parallels to consider, but these three stuck out most to me:

1)   The Rose of Sharon was a flower growing wild on the plain and was accessible to all people. In a similar way, the gift of Jesus Christ is free for anyone who chooses to believe in Him.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

2)   Flowers that grow in a field are not planted by the hand of men, but planted by God. While Jesus was born of Mary, He was also not conceived by man, but rather conceived by the Holy Spirit.

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18

3)   The fields where the Rose of Sharon grew were known for their fertility and abundance. In the same way, Jesus told his disciples to share the message of His life, death, and resurrection – to grow the Kingdom of God.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20