Exploring Essential Oils: Lavender

For several years now, there has been a lot of stuff online about essential oils. Some people swear by them, some people think it’s all mumbo-jumbo, and some people think they just smell nice. For me, the jury is still out, but it’s definitely something that interests me. Don’t get me wrong, I think modern medicine is amazing … I had pneumonia last February, and thanks to antibiotics I bounced right back (well, maybe ‘bounced’ is a bit of an exaggeration … more like ‘crawled on my hands and knees’ – but it worked!) I’d like to keep the strong stuff in reserve for the big fights (like pneumonia), though, and let Mother Nature do her thang first, if she can.

I mean, I don’t think essential oils – whatever their quality – can stop me or my kids getting sick, but Middle Child particulary suffers from chest problems and is always being prescribed inhalers throughout the winter. Of course, if she needs them, she needs them – but I’m always on the lookout for ways to head her gruesome cough off at the pass without the need for steroids. I’m also interested in the alleged ability of oils to affect mood. I keep reading words like calming, reduces anxiety, alleviates depression, aids sleep … that all sounds pretty good to me.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything via the link, I get a teeny tiny percentage (at no extra cost to you, of course!)

The two ‘big’ names in essential oils are doTERRA and Young Living and, from what I saw on the ole world wide web, there’s something of war going on between some of the essential-oil-loving, blog-writing ‘momtrepreneurs’ in favour of one or the other. Could be something to do with the fact that they both operate pyramid schemes? Could be … . Anyhow, as far as I can make out through the haze of information (and accusations!) on the Net, both companies produce high quality oils. But with high quality comes a high cost … naturally.*

So I started my own research and eventually found Anjou. They’re an ethical company which sells quality oils at affordable prices. (I am not affiliated with them in any way. In fact, they don’t go in for distributors and pyramid schemes – they sell all their products through Amazon). I don’t imagine their oils are as high quality as the aforementioned brands, so I won’t be applying them topically or ingesting them, though!

The first thing you need when starting out with essential oils is a diffuser. I bought this diffuser from Anjou because it looks nice and it was on sale at a great price (at the time I bought it, there was a 41% discount – hopefully you guys will catch it!) Also, it changes colour and I thought I could get the kids (and Mr Chef, who is naturally skeptical about all this stuff) on board with this little gimmick. To my surprise, however, the kids paid little attention when I started blasting different scents around the house. My eldest wanted to know what each oil was ‘for’ and that was it. Even more surprising, Mr Chef was quite enthusiastic about the whole thing – although I’m not convinced he believes it does anything other than make the house smell nice.

Now for the oils themselves. The only snag with Anjou is that they don’t sell oils separately. They have two sets available: a set of six therapeutic grade oils for £14.99 and a starter set of 12 oils for £17.99, which I bought. The great thing about this set is that, while it contains commonly-used oils such as Tea Tree, Lavender and Sweet Orange, it also contains some of the rarer ones, like Cinnamon, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang.

So I’m set up with my diffuser, my oils and a ton of information from my lovely friend and the ever-helpful Internet. I’d like to invite you along on my journey as I explore essential oils and decide for myself – fact or fiction? Let’s begin with trusty Lavender … .

I started off with Lavender – 300 ml of water and three drops of essential oil in the diffuser. I picked Lavender first because it’s common knowledge that it relaxes and aids sleep. That’s not new age stuff – people have known that for years. I didn’t think I liked the smell of lavender – I always found it heavy and cloying. But actually, in the diffuser, it was quite pleasant. It reminded me of my grandma and the tiny lavender pillows she had in her closets when we were kids. The first time I used it, I can’t say definitively whether there were any obvious results – I felt relaxed, but then again I was watching Netflix and drinking beer with Mr Chef, so no big surprises there! However, my restless baby did pass out super quick that night, and stayed asleep until nearly 3 am in her cot (as opposed to waking up 30 seconds after I put her down like all the other nights). Coincidence? Perhaps, but that hasn’t stopped me diffusing Lavender around bedtime many times since, especially if we’ve been out and the kids are still a bit excited!

Join me again soon when I’ll be taking a whiff of Cinnamon and Bergamot.

*If you are interested in the doTERRA route, my old university flatmate Ffion can hook you up. She’s a lovely girl and a mama, too, and she gave me TONS of useful information about essential oils and their uses. Check her Wild Wellbeing Facebook page for deets.