Not blogging, for me, is not usually about whether or not I have something to say. Once in a very blue harvest super moon, that is it, but usually it is something else: lack of time, lack of mental energy, complete inability to sit down at a computer without a toddler climbing me like Mount Everest. But most of the time it's the lack of confidence that anyone cares what I have to say.
|So you tell me... is a Spruce Christmasy enough for you or is that a part of the PC agenda too?|
I don't remember if I also mentioned I have kicked up my herbal studies as well, but I have. I know I have posted sporadically in the past about my herbal meanderings, but I am taking a much more focused and much more methodical approach as of late. As a small part of that, I have decided to highlight weekly one herb and one essential oil that I feel is 1) underrated, and 2) of potential use to most people in one form or another. In light of the first criteria I won't be covering essential oils like lavender, most of the citruses, or peppermint (among others) or herbs like (again) lavender, plantain, nettle (well, maybe not nettle, I go back and forth...), elderberry, or dandelion (plus a few more).
Disclaimer- I am not a doctor. Nor am I a trained aromatherapist. I am merely an essential oil enthusiast, so please do your own research before using anything claimed to have any health benefits at all, even if it is from me (ha). Also, full disclosure, some of the info I cite below comes from Dr. Gary Young's book Essential Oil Pocket Reference (in other words, it is a Young Living publication). I say this because there is general disdain for any information that comes directly from an MLM essential company. I sometimes share such disdain, in fact. BUT I think that to completely disregard the entire works of a prominent name in the field of essential oils simply because he was able to turn it into a successful company would be a mistake. Instead I take the information from him and balance it out with other sources, like Robert Tisserand. Full citations can be found at the end of the post.
The top of my list? Spruce. (which, I didn't even do that on purpose... get it... Christmas... spruce) After lavender and the citruses, Spruce is probably one of my most frequently used oils. The main reason for this is that it can be used safely around small children in place of oils like eucalyptus and peppermint, and in fact has many of the same effects- it is expectorant and can help open airways, as well as being antibacterial (Young). (more on essential oils that are safe around children here, and why to avoid eucalyptus and peppermint around small children here).
I diffuse a blend of citrus essential oils and spruce, with their strong antibacterial properties, during flu and cold seasons and any time someone in my home is sick or has been exposed to someone who is sick.
But one of the biggest reasons I love spruce is for its grounding qualities (Young). I will openly admit that I allow my kids some screen time. We live in Minnesota, and we travel a lot, and I have a son who wakes up at like 5:30 in the morning, and all of this leads to me, for survival purposes, allowing limited screen time. That sometimes borders on too much. From my experience screen time has different affects on different kids- my nine year old daughter can self regulate and I rarely see negative affects on her, but my seven year old son would play on something with a screen all day every day (and half the night) if allowed, and the more he plays the more out of control he gets. Only out of control isn't exactly the right way to describe it... he gets cranky, touchy, emotional, entitled, and super bratty. So when I know he has had too much screen time, aside from turning everything off and strongly suggesting he go outside, I diffuse spruce essential oil. In my opinion, it makes a huge difference (and there is no research on this, nor have I even found it alluded to anywhere specifically, but because of its grounding affects the connection made sense in my brain and my own experience has born it out... plus everyone needs grounding and it is safe, so why not?).
Spruce is also well known for its ability to release emotional blocks, especially those held in the throat, jaw, and chest (Young). I have less experience with this affect, although that is kind of the purpose of this project, now isn't it- so I learn something new as well. In fact, I have been carrying a lot of tension in my jaw lately, so perhaps I will try some diluted spruce essential oil on my jaw before I go to bed tonight. (find dilution guidelines here)
Contraindications: As said above, there are none known, although you should always exercise caution while pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have any medical conditions. Essential oils specifically are prone to cause contact reactions or sensitivity. Do not apply any essential oils topically to children under the age of two unless under the supervision of a well trained holistic health care provider.
Have you ever used spruce essential oil? What do you use it for?
Essential Oils and Children- http://www.learningabouteos.com/index.php/2014/02/07/essential-oils-and-children/
Avoiding Menthol Containing Essential Oils Around Children- http://www.learningabouteos.com/index.php/2013/08/06/menthol-containing-essential-oils-and-children/
Properly Diluting Essential Oils- http://www.learningabouteos.com/index.php/2013/08/07/properly-diluting-essential-oils/
Young, Gary; Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Life Science Publishing, 2014