My top 20 favorite essential oils

People often ask me which Young Living oils are my favorite.  This is a HARD question as in some ways it’s like asking which of my children I love the most! I’ve been working on this list for quite a while now!  Each oil and blend is unique and has so many different uses.  This is my list though.  DISCLAIMER:  It is subject to change!!!  I’ve also noted which oils are  included in the premium starter kit (PSK) as this is how most people get started with Young Living as it offers some of the most popular oils at a discount and with a diffuser. Oils labeled as “vitality” are approved as a dietary supplement.

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#20 PURIFICATION (PSK)

Young Living blend with  Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavender, Melalueca, Myrtle

This one has a really strong but clean scent. It’s one of my favorites for diffusing when I want my house to “seem” clean.  I like to use it in spray bottle mixed with alcohol and water as a natural air freshener in the bathroom.  This one is also great for helping to remove mildew scents from clothes.  A few drops in with the laundry soap does amazing things!

#19 DI-GIZE VITALITY (PSK)

Contains: Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Fennel, Lemongrass, Anise, Patchouli

This is a great one for helping to ease any digestive upsets.  Take a drop or two in honey or water,or  rub directly or with a carrier oil over upset stomach.  Some people think it smells gross, other think it smells like root beer but most people agree that it helps!

#18 PAN-AWAY (PSK)

 Young Living Blend with Wintergreen, Helichrysum, clove and peppermint

This one is great to have around for soothing aches and pains from aging or exercise.  I don’t get a lot of pain myself but I love being able to share it with friends and family when they need it.  It  can make a person a believer!

Not recommended for children under 2

#17 RC  (PSK)

  • Cypress, Spruce, and three types of Eucalyptus (E. globulus, E. radiata, and E. citriodora) oils, peppermint and includes the naturally occurring constituent limonene.

This one is a must have for my husband.  He really loves the way it helps him to feel more clear when he’s been congested.  I LOVE how when he’s snoring at night I can send him out for some RC and he comes back smelling great and breathing better!

#16 PEPPERMINT VITALITY (PSK)

Some people LOVE peppermint and others not so much.  It’s not my favorite but when I need it it’s GREAT!  Peppermint has a cool tingling feeling and can be very soothing for an aching head.  I also like it for motion sickness in the car and to rub on my belly for an upset stomach.  Oh!  And a drop on the tongue is amazing for giving you fresh breath while also helping with digestion!  Win win!

Not recommended for children under 2

Use with caution when breastfeeding as it may decrease milk supply

#15 MELROSE

Young Living blend with Melaleuca , naouli, rosemary and clove

I bought this one for my four year old to help ease some skin issues she has been having.  She LOVED it right from the start!  I wasn’t crazy about the smell at first but after using it for a while I find it quite pleasant.  It’s great for supporting healthy skin and for diffusing to get rid of bad smells. It’s also great for boosting immunity!  I like to rub it on my feet or along my spine for a pick me up.

#14 WHITE ANGELICA

Young Living’s blend of Sweet almond, Bergamot, Myrrh, Geranium, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood™, Ylang ylang, Coriander, Black spruce, Melissa, Hyssop and Rose.

A friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while sent me a message out of the blue to make sure I knew how amazing this oil smells and makes you feel.  It had been on my wish list for a while but her email me pull the trigger.  WOW!  She wasn’t kidding!  Its so soothing and one of my favorite oils to use as a perfume. (Thanks Kortnee!)

 

#13 COPAIBA VITALITY (PSK)

Copaiba has a gentle sweet and earthy smell to it.  I find it SO soothing to inhale.  I also love a drop in my afternoon tea to support overall wellbeing and to help me stay calm during “the witching hour” with my littles.  I like using it directly on my skin to help smooth out the texture and color.  It’s also my favorite for helping to ease sore muscles in my back when I wake up feeling stiff.  Mmmmm… it’s so good!

#12 GENTLE BABY

This is a blend of Coriander, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lavender, Ylang ylang, Roman chamomile, Bergamot,Lemon, Jasmine and Rose oils.

It was created to be very soothing to babies and children but I find it very lovely and relaxing myself!  It’s great for diffusing, rubbing on my littles feet at bedtime or as perfume!

#11 VALOR

Young Living blend of Black spruce, Rosewood, Blue tansy, Frankincense

Mmmm… this one is SO good!  It’s one of those oils that is as good in the morning as a pick me up as it is to help you relax at night!  Many people describe it as “grounding” and I didn’t really know what they meant by that until I tried it!  I find it helpful when in big crowds as it helps me to relax and stay in my body rather than getting all up in my head, you know?  I like to wear it as a perfume and just INHALE from my wrists.  I probably look a little strange with all my wrist inhaling but I don’t really care!

#10 CEDARWOOD

Cedarwood is one of my favorite oils for sleep.  I like to rub it on the soles of my feet and diffuse it.  It’s one of those oils that many people DON’T like the smell of at first.  It is often described as the smell of cat pee.  The strange thing about it though is that after you use it for a while it completely changes.  Now I find the smell heavenly!!! It also doesn’t hurt that this is one of the less expensive oils!

#9 TEA TREE

Great for moisturizing and cleansing the skin of dead cells.  I like to use this one when I’m getting a pimple or for cleaning out cuts.  It’s also great for helping to loosen up a splinter. Tea Tree is great for immunity boosting and deodorizing too!

#8 VETIVER

This smell is just AMAZING.  Although apparently it’s not everyone’s favorite. It’s super earthy and sexy.  I like it as a perfume.  It’s also a very relaxing scent and can help with focus.

#7 JOY

Joy oil is a blend of Bergamot, Ylang ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman chamomile, Palmarosa and Rose.

Joy is one of the best things I’ve ever smelled!  It’s floral and fruity, relaxing and uplifting. I often reach for this one if I’m feeling a little tense and just want to relax and have fun with my kids.  I also LOVE it as a daily perfume.  This past summer I learned how helpful it can be with summer skin issues too!  My whole family used it this summer to help soothe out skin from bug bites, poison ivy and general itchyness.  I’ll never be without Joy!

#6 STRESS AWAY (PSK)

Blend of Copiaba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, and Lavender.

The starter kit comes with a roll on attachment and I immediately put it on my bottle of Stress Away and have done the same with each replacement bottle I buy.  It’s the PERFECT oil to keep in your bag.  It’s my favorite for on the go de-stressing, especially when driving because it is simultaneously uplifting and relaxing.  I swipe some on my wrists and the back of my neck and it helps to ease tension in my neck and the overall mental strain of a long drive. I also think it smells great!

#5 PEACE AND CALMING II

Blend of Tangerine, Orange, Ylang ylang, Patchouli, Northern Lights black spruce, Matricaria, Vetiver, Cistus, Bergamot, Cassia and Davana oils.

I actually like this one more than the original Peace and Calming!  It’s great as a relaxing perfume and is awesome for helping kids during tantrums.  I keep a roller ball filled with this and a carrier oil on hand to run along my kids backs when they start to lose it.  I’m never without my Peace and Calming II!!!

#4 LEMON VITALITY (PSK)

Lemon is a simple but amazing oil. It’s cold pressed from the rind of the lemon so it’s not as acidic as lemon juice.  I love to add a few drops to my water with a pinch of mineral salt.  It’s a great way to start the day.  Citrus oils are amazing at breaking down petrochemicals which is a good thing but don’t put citrus oils in plastic bottles for this reason.  Lemon is great for cleaning and is a non toxic version of goo-gone for stickers and labels. It has  also been studied for it’s effects on immune function as well as mood. Here is an article that explains this more. 

CAUTION: Citrus oils should NOT be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet light within 72 hours.

 

#3: LAVENDER (PSK)

Lavender is known as the Swiss Army knife of essential oils because it has so many uses.  When in doubt use Lavender! Many people find that applying it over their sinuses helps with seasonal allergies.  It’s also very soothing to kitchen or sunburns as well as bee stings or other itchy bites.  I like to apply it to my face at night to help me sleep and to support healthy skin.  And of course, it’s a great for helping you to relax and sleep!

#2: THIEVES VITALITY (PSK)

Blend of Clove, lemon, cinnamon, Eucalyptus radiata, rosemary

Thieves blend is known to be great at supporting immunity. At the first sign of a cold I put a drop on my tongue.  The effects are really great!  Of course, it’s strong and not everyone enjoys the “hot” feeling of applying it directly to sensitive skin.  Putting it on the soles of your feet is a great way to get some thieves love into your system during cold and flu season.  It also happens to smell like cookies so it’s great to diffuse!  Young Living has a whole line of Thieves products including toothpaste and a cleaning concentrate that I love!

 

#1: FRANKINCENSE VITALITY (PSK)

Oh Frankincense… Where to begin?  I love the history of this oil.  It’s just so amazing to me to think about the many ways humans have used it since the beginning of time.  I’m always learning of new uses and studies being done on it’s amazing properties.  Like lavender I tend to reach for this oil for EVERYTHING. Got a bruise?  Let’s put some Frank on it!   Feeling stressed?  Inhale some frankincense!  It’s gentle but powerful.  One of the first uses that made me crazy for it was as a meditation aid.  Inhaling it along with prayer or mediation has been done for thousands of years for a reason!  It really helps my brain to go to a place of relaxation and inspiration.  It’s also an important ingredient in many of Young Living’s facial care products as it can help to smooth fine lines and improve the radiance of healthy skin.

 

So there you have it! My top 20 favorite oils.  I’m pretty essential oil obsessed  and have lots of other articles about how and why I use oils in my daily life on my blog. I only use and recommend Young Living oils as due to the level of purity and the company’s beyond organic and sustainable farming techniques. They have a “Seed to Seal” promise and have been the industry leaders for over 20 years.

Here’s the link to how to get started with Young Living for yourself. It’s been a really fun and life changing experience for me learning about and using these beautiful oils and I hope this has helped you to better understand why!

So which oils are your favorites?  Any that I missed?

 

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Eat the Invasives: Wild Thistle

I’m a big fan of foraging and when I saw a podcast on the “Sustainable World Radio” series entitled, “The Wild Wisdom of Weeds with Katrina Blair” I got pretty excited!  I learned SO much from this podcast!

One of the most intriguing wild edible featured was Thistle.  This spring I pulled a few wheelbarrows full of this prickly invasive out of my lawn.  It spreads SO fast and is SO painful to step on.  I absolutely don’t regret removing it but I do regret not juicing it!

The kids and I decided to sample some thistle juice for ourselves yesterday.  Finding the plants around the periphery of the yard was pretty easy. Even my 22 month old was pointing them out!

Thoroughly soaking the greens seemed like a good idea to removed dirt and whatever else might still be lurking.   Washing them was especially fun as lots of little creatures came to the top and I removed slugs and bugs and put them into bowls for the kids to watch.IMG_1544

 

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We don’t have a juicer so we put them into the blender with a little orange juice.  After blending I strained them twice to remove any remaining spikes. Once thought a metal strainer and then a second time through cloth. The juice that remained was surprisingly tasty.  We made a second batch with just water added and all agreed that the orange juice was an important addition.

My kids loved it and it was really fun to experience this plant in a new way!  Apparently thistle is great for detoxifying and has lots of healthy benefits.  The process was a little labor intensive so I don’t think this will be a regular thing but it was a fun experiment for sure!

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Here’s a video by someone who knows MUCH more about this stuff than I do!

Soothing poison ivy naturally

My husband and I both recently got poison ivy rashes.  I’m usually pretty good about immediately washing any areas that come into contact with the weed but it seems like my tendency towards overdoing it in the garden got the best of me this time.  He seems to get it without even going in the woods. The silver lining to our affliction was that we got to test out some natural remedies.

The first thing we tried was Young Living’s Joy essential oil.  It’s one of my favorite scents so I was happily surprised to hear that it was helpful for poison ivy.  Joy is a blend of Bergamot,Ylang ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander ,Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa and Rose essential oils.   It smells amazing and was very soothing and calming to our skin.

We both experimented with using Young Living Lavender oil next.  It didn’t cut the itching as well as the Joy but was very soothing on the second day of when it was more of a burning sensation.   I’m a huge fan of Young Living oils and we use them for EVERYTHING but this was one of the more profound experiences I have had using them!

A few notes on safety. We applied these oils “neat” or undiluted but if you are worried about skin irritation I would suggest using a carrier oil. Young Living’s oils are extremely pure and high quality so they can be used in ways that many other brands of essential oils cannot.  I would NOT apply any other brand of oils to my skin.  Also, Joy contains citrus oils and as with any citrus you should avoid direct sun exposure after applying.

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Plantain leaf is a  medicinal plant that grows wild in most yards and is considered a weed. I’ve had success using it on bug bites and also on another patch of poison ivy that popped up on my finger (I just can’t stay out of the woods!) The way I use it is to chew it up a bit to release the oils then secure it in place with a band aid over the itch.  I know people make salves with it but I haven’t tried that yet!  Here’s a photo of it growing in the yard followed by one that shows plantain leaf close up.

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Also an extreme close up of my hand.  How many times must I have creased my hand to get all of those amazing lines?

Another natural remedy that I tried out was Jewel Weed. This lovely plant is considered the natural antidote to poison ivy and is said to grow near where poison ivy is found.  We are lucky enough to have a little patch of it in the yard. It is usually found in shady and moist conditions.  This one worked really well too!  I used the same method as I did with the plantain leaf on yet another patch that popped up.  When I took the band aid off about an hour later there was NO itch or sting and the pain didn’t come back!  The first photo shows what the plant looks like in my yard in June. The second shows the flower that blooms later in the summer. I would have had NO idea what it was if I hadn’t seen it in bloom last year though!  Prairie Moon Nursery  sells Jewel Weed seeds for anyone interested in cultivating some yourself!

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Overall the essential oils were easier for covering large areas but the jewel weed and plantain leaf worked well too and were great for smaller areas.  I’m so happy that we have figured these out!  I’ll continue trying to avoid it but I’m glad to know these just in case it gets me again!

If you would like purchase some Young Living Joy or Lavender for yourself send me an email at LMKOLENDA@gmail.com or read this post to learn more about getting started with essential oils.

What has worked for you when you had an encounter with poison ivy ?

 

The REAL reason why choosing organic matters

I can trace my health and wellness journey back to my teen years.  It was then that I was struck by the reality that I felt bad about animals being killed.  A friend had hit a chicken with her car and was really upset about it and so was I!  But the irony of sharing these tears over chicken burgers was not lost to my fourteen-year-old self.

My struggle toward mindful living could be seen in those early years but continues to be a major theme even now over twenty years later.  It’s SO hard in our culture where mindless and passive consumption seems to be the norm.  Just don’t think about it…

We all know that organic food is good for us, but is conventional “bad”?  Is it really such a big deal if me or my kids eat something that has been grown using conventional pesticides?

Well, on an individual level, no, it’s not terrible, I don’t think?  As a mom I’ve enjoyed taking a middle ground where we TRY to eat mostly organic but don’t stress about it too much.  And I REALLY want to avoid making our food into a stressful thing.

But…

What is the TRUE cost of “conventional” farming?  A few years ago I read this article and it kind of blew my mind.  Somehow the full effect of conventional farming was something I hadn’t really grasped before – the effect that crop dusting has on the farmers working the fields, the families living near by, the ground water and rivers that provide drinking water to the community, the nearby ecosystem of endangered animals, livestock that provide milk, cheese and meat to people. PEOPLE.  FAMILIES.  CHILDREN.  Woah…

It just made and makes me sick to think that this is what is considered normal.  Spraying toxic substances with KNOWN cancer causing chemicals onto our food and onto farmers and nearby families.   And THIS is “normal” and “conventional”?  And I’m the weird one for wanting to seek out organic?

In the past year or so I’ve been thinking more and more about where “stuff” comes from too. Discovering Konmari was super inspiring for me in this regard.  The fact that consumption is the leading cause of global warming rather than just population is a very interesting and upsetting reality. Somehow I had managed to go 34 years without thinking about the environmental impact of manufacturing and the impact of manufacturing on the people who work in the factories, the families who live nearby and breathe in the pollution from the factories, the animals in the surrounding areas…

I think for most people (myself included) there is a disconnect between what it actually MEANS when we buy something.  What is the impact on a broader scale?  Where does the cotton for my new t-shirt come from?  Who picked it?  What was the factory like where it was made?  What sorts of toxic chemicals were used in the growing, harvesting and manufacturing of it? The effects of GMO cotton seeds (Monsanto!!!) on the PEOPLE  of the villages is upsetting for sure.  Here’s a good recourse for seeking out ethical and fair trade clothing companies, and my favorite for affordable and ethical basics here.

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The idea of “Fair Trade” being a thing you can choose is baffling to me too.  Why is this a choice?  Why is unethical treatment of workers “conventional” and we have to seek out clothes and food that were manufactured in ways that allow people to retain dignity and a minimal quality of life?  Organic manufacturing tends to be better in this regard too, which is a good reminder to me when I’m feeling temped by low prices.

When my first baby was born I really tried to only put her in organic clothes.  My reasoning behind it was that her skin was so delicate and I didn’t want chemicals seeping into her sweet little body.  People thought that was strange.  I’ve tried for years to buy mostly organic food to keep my family healthy.  I always justify it with the idea that I am voting with my dollar and the more people who demand organic, the more affordable it will come for everyone.

I never thought about the REALLY important reason to choose organic though.  The unseen and unheard PEOPLE who quietly work in the farms and factories.  The FAMILIES who live nearby.  I want to choose to support their health and quality of life too.  Call me idealistic, I don’t care.  That’s a compliment to me for sure.  Because I WANT things to be better.  I NEED to see the world start to heal from years of mistreatment and neglect. Our children NEED to grow up as gentle and mindful consumers.  This is the REAL reason why choosing organic matters.

This is the kind of stuff that just screams “sustainable and joyful” to me.  I really want to feel truly good and joyful about the choices I make as a consumer.  Yes, it’s more expensive to buy this way.  But what if we all just bought less? And I take it one day and one decision at a time.  Because EVERYthing makes a difference.  Even the smallest change matters.  That being said, I’m far from perfect on this stuff.  Sometimes convenience just wins out.  But I’m trying!

What are your thoughts on this?  Any good recourses for living a more mindful life as a consumer?

 

DIY essential oil bug spray

It’s Spring, which means that in addition to the amazing rebirth of flowers and leaves, the bug are back too! Essential oils can be a great all natural way to help deter pesky and dangerous bugs.  The list of oils that serve as insect deterrents is long so I picked out a few of the ones I’ve seen most commonly listed to make my DIY tick spray.  I used equal parts of the following Young Living essential oils:

Geranium

Eucalyptus Globulus

Lemongrass

Cedarwood

I put about 10 drops of each in a spray bottle with some high proof alcohol to help them disperse and filled with water.  I’m sure boiled or distilled water would be best but I just used tap.

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I’ve been using this mixture sprayed directly onto the back of my cats necks in the morning for the past month. I’ve only found one tick, which is better than during the same time period last year using a conventional toxic treatment.  The added bonus is that this blend smells great and from an aromatherapy perspective is very uplifting and relaxing!  I’ve done a LOT of research on essential oil brands and I only trust Young Living oils to have the potency and purity necessary to be effective and safe.  You can read more about this here.

This mixture is also nice to spray on your legs or clothes when going into area where you are expecting to find ticks.  I also make it a habit to shower and do a tick check within an hour of returning from the woods.  Removing ticks quickly is the best way to prevent them from transmitting disease but there is plenty on that available elsewhere on the internet!

If you are more concerned with mosquitos using the Purification blend in a similar way would be a good place to start.  It contains Citronella, which has been historically used to keep bugs away.  Purification contains Tea Tree though, which is one to be avoided on cats so I didn’t include it in this spray.

Good luck and let me know how this works for you!

 

The little Azalea that could…

In February of 2014 we moved out of the city in to a house surrounded by the woods.  It was what I had always wanted and working in the yard has been even more wonderful than I could have imagined!  In Spring of 2015 I decided to tackle the overgrown area between the lawn and the street.  Pulling up invasive Burning Bush, Barberry, Multiflora Rose and other little mangy things was very satisfying work!

The previous Spring I had noticed two Azalea blooms among the thick of it but figured the plants were as good as gone.  As I cleared I found that there were actually a handful of Azaleas that were bring strangled by the brush.   Seeing that the previous owners had at one point planted a little grove of flowers made me feel even better about the work I was doing.  It was like I was unearthing some of our home’s history and the love that had been planted so many season ago.

Here is a “before” picture:

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Here is the “after” from that year:

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I was walking around feeling quite pleased with myself after this.  Doing work around the house is the gift that keeps on giving… sitting in the yard felt that much more satisfying when I could see the results of my hard work.

But the real gift came this year, a year after the land clearing.  The plant that had only had a few blooms the past few years finally was able to shine!  I guess having the soil all to itself helped it to regain health?  I moved some of the other plants around the property and they are also doing well.  Clearing out invasives and reinvigorating the plants I already have is TOTALLY sustainable and joyful! Yay!!!

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The story of our backyard… In time lapse…

We have lived in our current home for over two years now and are finally getting to some of the bigger projects we dreamed about since we first saw the property.

When we moved in the back “yard” was a completely overgrown field that was completely unusable and mostly impassable.  It was covered with multiflora “rose” plants, forsythia, barberry and who knows what else.Getting rid of invasive plants is an ONGOING battle around here!   BUT there was a knocked down apple tree that whispered of a time when the land was loved and used. We were inspired..

Prior to moving in I had grand plans of clearing it all myself.  I enjoy clipping vines and clearing quite a bit.  Videos of land clearing with a Bush Hog were REALLY fun to watch! Once we got to our new home and were able to assess further it seemed like a lot for us to do on our own with all of the other house and yard projects we had as well as me being pregnant at the time.

SO we hired it out to some local tree specialists.  And it went a little something like this:

Yeah, it was a pretty good show that day!  They were only mildly creeped out that my husband wanted to take a time lapse video of the project!  But I can watch it all day…

Anyway, we had the land cleared in the fall and then tilled and planted the following spring.  This spring we jumped in and I got to work on creating my new garden beds!!!  I’m quite proud of it so naturally I wrote a blog post .

Last weekend we hired out yet another project and had the garden fence installed.  I had dug holes for the posts last fall but then kept putting it off and new if I waited much longer spring planting would get delayed.  Also, we did our other garden fence and it was a BIG job.

So yeah, this post is basically just chronicling all of the work we hired out to create our back yard. Yet as I write this I realize how MUCH we have done on our own too.  It’s crazy how much work goes into working the land and creating your own space!

Here’s a lovely photo I took of the beds to highlight my new pretty fence (happy Mother’s Day to me!).  It also shows the fruit trees we planted and fenced (ourselves… we aren’t THAT lazy!).  And the grass… that I have been working to pull large rocks and thistle out of… A work in progress for sure!  I can’t wait to see what’s going to grow back there!  The yard is bleak to look at but also full of SO much potential!  And it’s ours!!!13062356_10154233416464203_8214981081303999173_n