Essential Oils 101 with Jen Kruidbos
Introducing our newest series on the website, Woo Woo 101! Jen Kruidbos shares why essential oils are a powerful addition to your life. She is a coach, teacher, doTERRA wellness advocate, and founder of Essential Rituals.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are tiny volatile, lipid-soluble molecules. They easily change from liquid to gas, and they can pass through the cellular wall. This makes them a powerful compliment to any self-care practice, and in some cases, and even replace medication. Think of essential oils as the power of nature in a bottle - immune system of plants.
Essential oils are very concentrated. One drop of peppermint essential oil has the same therapeutic benefits as 28 cups of peppermint tea! Less is more, and they should be treated with the care and attention of medicine. When used properly, essential oils can enhance all areas of your health: physical, emotional, social and spiritual.
Why are they helpful for relaxation, stress relief, etc.?
When you bring a bottle of essential oil up to your nose and inhale, the tiny essential oil molecules ascend the nasal passage, and travel to a part of your brain called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus.
So, simply smelling an essential oil can shift an emotion.
Every new experience creates a new neural pathway, and essential oils help us anchor new ways of thinking and feeling. For example, I deeply inhale an oil I adore, these days, it’s Siberian Fir. I either smell directly from the bottle, or add 2-3 drops to my palms, rub them together and hold in front of my face. I then breathe in silence for 15-20 minutes, slowly relaxing my nervous system. At the end of the meditation, I smell the Siberian Fir again. Presto! Now the neural association of relaxation with Siberian Fir is even stronger!
The next moment I feel stressed at my laptop, I can whip out a bottle of Siberian Fir, and smelling it effectively shifts me away doubt and fear, and towards, relaxation and creativity, which aids in problem solving.
How did you get into essential oils? How have they changed your life/health?
To tell you the truth, four years ago, I thought they smelled nice, but I definitely did not believe they could uplevel my overall health as effectively as they did! So when my friend Maddie insisted I try them, it took me a full year before I bought my first kit of oils.
It’s important to note that I only use doTERRA essential oils because they have the most transparent testing practices. The Aromatic Plant Research Centre (APRC) has proven that 90% of essential oil companies mix their oils with perfume and synthetic chemicals. These adulterated oils will not give you the results I’m about to share, and they can also cause harm to the endocrine system.
The four major ways they have impacted my health is removing the low level anxiety, improving my skin, reducing physical pain, and improving energy and mental clarity.
I am consistently studying essential oils. I both use them on my own body, and observe the results as well as read peer reviewed scientific studies. For myself, I was amazed when my skin cleared up from massaging diluted Frankincense, Lavender and Tea tree into my face after cleansing. No more pimples!
Another use that yields great results is rubbing a blend called Deep Blue which mixes Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint and Ylang Ylang into my sore neck and knee muscles which I’ve found helps reduces physical pain by 80%.
For my yoga students, I was able to deepen their yoga experience with the use of essential oils. I regularly offer a lavender or Balance blend neck massage, and let my yoga students deeply inhale the oils while in savasana. They often share that’s their favourite part of the class.
How do I use them in cooking or how can I consume them?
In cooking and with any use of essential oils, less is more. My favorite oils for cooking these days are:
1 drop Oregano and 1 drop Thyme, and 1 drop Rosemary in a chili or pasta sauce.
1 drop Peppermint when I make brownies. Peppermint Brownies!
1 drop Lemon or Wild Orange and 1 drop Turmeric or Ginger in my water first thing in the morning makes me feel warm, awake, and focused.
Internally, only consume 2-3 drops every four hours. And when drinking oils in water, make sure to add the oils first, then the water so it all mixes up. Finally make sure you never add oils to a plastic water bottle or cup - they actually create a chemical reaction. Drink oils out of glass or metal containers only!
What other uses do they have?
I follow a wellness ladder which lists how the oils improve all areas of my well being.
Nutrition: Lemon essential oil (contains more limonene than regular lemon juice), in my water, and it supports my liver, and tastes great! Hence, I drink more water which is excellent for all the system in my body!
Movement: Peppermint oils gets me in the mood to move and Deep Blue soothes my muscles. Sweating is part of hydration!
Reducing toxic load: I have replaced every toxic chemical in my home with an essential oils equivalent, as well as some skincare products. People don’t know how inexpensive and easy it is to make their own all-purpose spray for the kitchen, or scrub the bathroom. They also don’t know that most of the cleaning and body care products we use are toxic, and making us sick.
You will be amazed at how much more calm, clear and happy you feel when cleaning your home with Siberian Fir and Lemon (as just one example!) you will feel!
Remember, you cannot out-oil an unhealthy mindset or environment. You have to create a life that nourishes your soul, that includes fun, movement, and rest. Oils cannot do that for you!
What do you love most about essential oils?
I love how they make me feel! I love that they keep me connected to the sacred knowledge of nature. There’s so much that nature can do that science has not yet been able to measure. I love the sense of connection and community I see happen when a group of people come together in the spirit of learning, and share their experiences with essential oils. The oils bring out everyone’s inner healer, and that is very empowering.
Jennifer Kruidbos is a teacher, coach, and the founder of Essential Rituals, an organization that guides 2,000+ (and growing) entrepreneurial women, from around the world, to create an abundance of health, wealth, and joy in their lives. Her main tools (and passions!) are yoga, meditation, essential oils, and digital marketing. Since completing her Master's in 2010 on "Thriving Under Stress at Work" she has been offering workshops globally in schools, hospitals, workplaces, and online. Her greatest joy comes from watching her clients thrive. She enjoys summers in Canada, and escapes to a different tropical beach, every winter with her husband, Chris.