A Mama’s Introduction to Essential Oils

I’m a mom, and it’s flu season. And allergy season, and daycare cough because seriously do they not always have a cough, ladies? Anyway, I’m no stranger to teething pain, tummy bugs and sore throats. But in my medicine cabinet, you won’t find Orajel, Pepto-Bismol or Children’s Tylenol. If you ask me if I have an Advil for your headache, you aren’t going to find me handing you a white and red pill. Nope, if you complain of a malady in my hearing, you’re going to hear the following:.

“Hang on, I have an oil for that!”

My family uses essential oils almost exclusively for our daily healthcare needs. Everything from headaches to ear infections to bug repellant, we take care of all of it with our supply of essential oils.

Before I chat with you about oils, it’s important to know how to choose the right ones. Fragrance oils and essential oils aren’t the same thing, so make sure anything you buy says “essential oil”. Making things more complicated, because there isn’t an officially recognized grading system for essential oil quality, picking one that is good for medicinal use can be dicey.

Essential OilsHow do you know you have a good quality oil? First, smell. Good essential oils smell exactly like what is on the label, without any odd, lingering after smell. Second, though they are called “oils”, they should absorb strait into the skin and should not feel slick. This, despite questionable grammar, is a very good article on how to choose essential oils.

The two big Kahunas in the essential oil business are Doterra and Young Living. I use Doterra, and love the oils and the company. I know others who use Young Living with great success. Having handled both, I’m going to commit essential oil loyalty sacrilege by saying I don’t know that there is a huge difference in quality between the two. I find that people who use Doterra love their Doterra and people who use Young Living love their Young Living. As with any product, do your research and find which product works best for you and your family.

So. Onward. There are so many oils I could tell you about, each with their own set of medicinal properties, but here I’m going to stick to the three most common.


Essential OilsLavender is one of the most popular essential oils, and for good reason. It smells lovely, and is typically associated with relaxation and sleep. Now, it is great for that, but it has uses far beyond relaxation. The one that always surprises people is skin care. Lavender works wonders on things like burns, dry skin, dermatitis and psoriasis. (Also, please look up. Read the disclaimer about good quality oils. PLEASE, for the love of all that is good and holy, DON’T put poor quality Lavender oil on a burn.) Lavender oil on insect bites eliminates itch almost immediately. It’s an anti-inflammatory, and applied topically, can eliminate allergy symptoms within minutes. Used in a diffuser, it assists in sleep and relaxation. I put it on the bottom of my girls’ feet when they are having trouble sleeping.



Lemon oil, made from the alkaline rind of a lemon, is an amazing heartburn cure. I put one drop in eight ounces of water and I’m a new woman. It also works wonders on sore throats and on constipated bellies. Lemon is a diuretic, and helps the body flush its systems when taken internally. I know many people who have taken to drinking lemon in their water daily, just as bodily maintenance. As a side note, lemon can be used to strengthen nails. Just rub a drop on your nails each day.


A personal favorite, Peppermint is incredibly versatile. A drop rubbed on the temples can eliminate headaches and muscle aches. A drop or two on the hand or the collar can be inhaled to calm morning sickness. Rubbed on the chest, it can be used to quiet coughing and loosen congestion. Be careful not to get it too close to your eyes, though. It does not feel nice in the ocular cavities.

LLP (Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint)

Every year, when the seasons change, my oldest daughter gets dark circles under her eyes and seems to be fighting a perpetual cold. She, like her mama before her, is cursed with seasonal allergies. A drop of each oil on the bottom of her feet, and her sniffles are gone. The great thing about oils is that, even if symptoms reoccur, which, let’s be honest, they do even with conventional medicine, oils can be reapplied without fear of overdose.

The Bottom Line

I have had huge success managing my family’s health with essential oils. I like being able to stay away from antibiotics and OTC medications when we can, and I love the peace of mind that comes with giving my children something plant-based, rather than chemically based. If you are interested in learning more about Essential Oil use, the amazing Lindsay Gifford holds a class every Sunday evening. You can find her on Facebook or email her here.

Disclaimer: While I do have a wholesale membership with Doterra, I do not make a business of it, and I have not been compensated in any way for mentioning them in this article. This is based on my own experiences with the oils. If you use Young Living or any other good-quality oil and it works for you, that is fantastic. The Doterra vs. Young Living debate is perpetual. Find what works for you.


Rhyannon YatesRhyannon Yates is a transplant to Jacksonville from the sunny shores of California. She’s lived and taught in Jacksonville since 2003. These days she’s a stay at home wife and mom, trying to balance marriage and motherhood with a writing career and home-preschool. When she’s not busy wife-ing and mom-ing, you can find her at her blog, Grilled Cheese and Applesauce.


  1. My favorite oil is Tea Tree. We use it for all sorts of maladies around here, but especially to fight off and lessen impending colds. Great stuff!

  2. I love Tea Tree (goes by the name of Melaleacua sometimes) too! I use it to clean, but its also a nursing mama’s best buddy if you’re struggling with thrush!

  3. Combine LLP in a diffuser, which is what I do for my oldest who suffers from asthma. She noticed an immediate difference and has asked that I use it as much as possible. I too am trading OTC for essential oils.

  4. I recently started using Young Living Oils and love them so much. I actually am a distributor now because they work so well and I love sharing them with people who didn’t realize how much they actually help! Thank you for this article, it has tons of great information in it!

  5. Hi! I am an essential oil lover as well. I usually order my oils online but would much rather buy locally here in jax, do you know of any retail outlets that offer then in a variety of brands?
    Thanks! 🙂

  6. I would love to find a group for Young Living users. I recently became a distributor but my support grouip is in Texas. I could use more knowledge about the business side.


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