The Healing Powers of Plant Essential Oils

Photo Courtesy of Mike Dierken

 

From over-the-counter to across the meadow: One woman’s experiences with self-education and plant-medication

By Sarah Elizabeth Colburn

The good, the bad, and the temporary fix

I grew up taking Advil and Tylenol for my constant headaches, vicks and Sudafed when I had a cold, tums for a tummy ache, and antibiotics when whatever I had caught turned into something more long lasting. My family did the best they could to take care of me the way they knew how to take care of themselves, and I’m truly grateful to them for that. I survived a few bad cases of infection, viruses, and anxiety attacks/fainting spells.

But did I thrive? No, I wouldn’t say that I thrived healthwise as a child, teenager or young adult. In fact, I was always sleeping off or riding out little bugs I would catch or bouts of anxiety or depression that would inevitably crop up. Headaches and stomachaches are two symptoms of disease that were a pretty consistent experience for me since I was very young, and I always seemed to get the same kinds of sicknesses over and over. Knowing what we as a culture know now about the negative effects and harmful ingredients in many over-the-counter and antibiotic drugs (not to mention the fact that they only mask symptoms temporarily and completely rob your gut of its natural probiotic flora), how could I perpetuate this practice? When I began to take responsibility for my own health as an adult, I had to make a change.


New mama steps up

I give you this background of how I grew up and what I experienced to preface my absolute passion and fervent curiosity of plant medicine. In my mid-twenties, I began researching more natural, alternative, and holistic methods of health care and treatment for different things—namely anxiety, digestive issues, acne, and general UNwellness. When I got pregnant, I knew that it was my chance for a new beginning in how I cared for myself and how I would care for the human I was bringing into this world. I visualized a perfectly developed and thriving child who would reach his full health and wellness potential and maintain it throughout his early years and into adulthood. When he was still in my belly, I saw my son as a physically strong, emotionally stable, mentally expansive bundle of joy. This was my dream as a mama-to-be and I knew it was up to me to make it happen.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Elizabeth Colburn 

 

Miscellaneous but necessary changes

After some gradual lifestyle and dietary transitions, I started researching herbs and vitamins and alkaline water. I took reishi mushroom supplements during pregnancy to strengthen my fetus’s immune system. I began to only drink and shower in non-fluoridated water. I began reading the labels on EVERY package of food or bottle of household cleaner I bought, and I realized how many neurotoxins I was introducing into my environment unknowingly on a daily basis. I doubled our grocery bill because I insisted on only feeding our 6-month-old new eater (and us for that matter) organic produce and responsibly-raised meat.


The oils

While all of these changes have made a tremendous impact on my health and the health of my now two-and-a-half-year-old, nothing has empowered me more than starting to use therapeutic grade essential oils as our plant medicine. Essential oils can be used for everything from treating ringworm to beating a cold to calming a hyper child to cleaning the house.


What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are volatile compounds with hundreds of tiny chemical constituents that make up an extremely concentrated liquid. The oils are extracted from the berries, roots, bark, leaves, stems of trees and plants and rinds of fruits. The plants that produce the essential oil need to be grown in a specific region of the world, in a specific climate, and harvested at just the right time to get their optimum therapeutic value. It is also beneficial for the plant, the world, and your family if the plants are ethically and responsibly-grown and made by a company who has the farmers, the oils, and the oil users’ best interests in mind. 

Photo Courtesy of Nina Nelson 

 

How do I use them?

Essential oils can be used in three different ways: aromatically, topically, and internally. When you inhale an essential oil aromatically, your pineal and pituitary gland are stimulated, sending messages of healing, relaxing and calming to every cell in your body. Using oils aromatically is the best way to get the emotional and spiritual benefits of the oils.

Topically, the oils soak into your pores (just like every lotion, soap, makeup or other substance you put on your skin). The difference between essential oils and other cosmetic products is that the chemical constituents of the oils are so small that they soak into your bloodstream quickly and effectively, and there are no synthetic fillers, additives or dangerous chemicals in a certified pure therapeutic grade (CPTG) essential oil (sidenote: not all essential oils are created equally).

I only recommend the use of essential oils internally if you are using CPTG oils and you are aware of the list of oils that are generally recognized as safe to consume internally. When you take a drop of an essential oil under your tongue, in a glass of water or in a veggie capsule, the oil can quickly travel to where it needs to go in your body. Essential oils are living, bioavailable, and extremely effective and powerful.


Living proof

My two-and-a-half-year-old, River, has never been to a sick visit with his pediatrician—only well checks. He got ringworm when he was a year and a half and we treated it with melaleuca (tea tree) and lavender oil. The fungus was gone within three weeks. When he has had a fever, we put a drop of peppermint on the bottoms of his feet and three minutes later, I can literally feel his body temperature drop back to normal. When he has had a cough or congestions, we have diffused Breathe (a respiratory blend made of eucalyptus, peppermint, melaleuca, and other essential oils). When mama is going crazy, I use clary sage to balance my hormones, citrus oils to uplift my mood or lavender and ylang ylang to calm me down. I clean my counters, bathroom and floors with a mixture of lemon and a protective blend called OnGuard (cinnamon, rosemary, clove, wild orange, and eucalyptus). No chemical cleaners in our domain. I use the essential oils to compliment my own personal yoga practice and the yoga classes that I teach.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Elizabeth Colburn 

 

Thriving

I would like to say that River and I are always “thriving” on a daily basis, but of course we have our ups and downs. Like every family, we get sick and we backtrack on our progress, and we recommit to our commitments and restart our resolutions—but we get back up quickly and are constantly learning and growing. Our immune systems are working for us, not against us, because we are feeding them with substances that promote vital health and longevity. We know that we can take our health into our own hands by making healthy choices as to what we put in our environment and in and on our bodies.

So how did I begin using essential oils? I began with buying a Family Physician Kit from a doTerra Wellness Advocate and diving into the vast plethora of research, stories, and information about essential oils that I could find at the library, the bookstore and online!

Visit my website at or email me for more information or a free personal wellness consultation.

Photo Courtesy of Nina Nelson  

 

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and tag #myphilosophie!  

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Heart of the Week: Seed Phytonutrients // Sustainable Choices

This post is in partnership with Seed Phytonutrients, but 100% my opinions!

Earth Day is this Sunday! How are you going to give a little extra love to Mother Earth? I’m constantly looking for new and creative ways I can be sustainable in my day-to-day. Besides making conscious choices while grocery shopping, I choose health and wellness products that follow a more sustainable mission statement.

I’m so excited to share this brand with you, beauties. Not only do their products feel amazing on my skin, face and hair but they’re completely recyclable + compostable. Amazing, right?!

Seed Phytonutrients hair, face and body products are completely sustainable and full of phytonutrients, making them extra beneficial for your health. I 100% support their mission to protect organic farmers and seeds from over-commercialization, while promoting natural beauty + healthy living. Living sustainably doesn’t just only mean recycling or minimizing your waste (although, yes!) but also promoting and supporting brands that are fighting to protect Mama Gaia and all her wonders.


Lately, I’ve been using Seed Phytonutrients hair + body products in the shower. I love their Daily Hair Cleanser. It feels so natural and light. When you’re a girl that can go days without washing your hair this product is your best friend. I also pair it with their Body Cleanser. All their products are paraben free, non-GMO and all vegan. So magical.

These products really stand out because of their shower safe and downright beautiful packaging. Seed Phytonutrients have bottles that are compostable on the outside and recyclable on the inside. There’s absolutely NO waste with them. I feel so great doing my part while treating my skin + hair at the same time.

Beyond the products that you use and the foods that you buy, you can make little Earth conscious choices in so many ways! Here’s how I practice sustainability on the daily.


Compost, compost, compost - Some people think this is impossible when you live in a city like LA, but the city offers green compost bins all over and you can request to have one for your building/house. All you have to do is keep a small compost container in your home and take it out with the trash.

BYOB (bring your own bag) - It’s so easy to do this now in LA where grocery bags are now banned. No one wants to pay 10 cents a bag and it makes so much sense to leave your favorite totes/reusable bags in the car for the next time you have to run to the store.

Less waste - Go to grocery stores that offer grains, nuts, etc. in bulk and bring your own jars. It’s so cute to see them around your home, too! Turn to reusable products like our Philosophie Smoothie Jars. I’ll be going reusable with all of baby girl’s diapers and I’ve cut out sack lunches/ziplock bags for the boys.

Happy Earth Day, tribe!

Do you use environment friendly products or make conscious choice in your daily life? I want to know! Share with me on Facebook. Use #PhilosophieLove or #MyPhilosophie

Spiralized Squash Noodles Recipe

Spiralized veggies make my ♥ so happy and the boys love them too! Squash makes delicious “pasta” especially mixed with superfoods.

If you pair spiralized squash with our Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend, you’ll have a simple, raw, gluten-free, + vegan dinner packed with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin C, + manganese (an essential mineral for bone health and brain and nerve function). Be sure to make extra—it’s beyond delish + makes a wonderful lunch for the next day!

 

Gather This:

Spiralized squash

½ sprouted beans

1 bag of Organic Spinach

1 cup Sun Dried tomatoes

¼ EVOO

1 tsp Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend

2 tbsp Hemp Seeds

1 clove of garlic chopped

S+P


Do This:

Cook spiralized squash in a pan for 3-4  minutes with 1 tbsp EVOO. Add chopped garlic, bean sprouts, spinach,  and Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend then cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to individual serving bowl. Top with Sun dried tomatoes, sprinkling of hemp seeds, and salt+pepper, also more green dream if desired!

 

How do you sneak superfoods into your family dinners? Share with me on Twitter using #PhilosophieSuperfoods or #MakeEveryFoodASuperfood

Sacred Pause // Time After Birth

Third trimester and feeling it all. Adi and I are so excited to welcome our newest Jaffe member into this world. This spring has been all about the transition and preparation from a family of four to a family of five.

I had a consultation with an amazing postpartum Ayurvedic doula, Jenna Furnari. She was gentle, understanding and so helpful as I prepare for the arrival of our baby girl.

Here’s a look at my transition into labor/birth and the plan for when baby girl arrives. As always, thank you for being a beautiful community that allows me to share in this space.

 

TRANSITION

As I progress through the third trimester of this little angel's pregnancy, I am starting to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for what's to come.

We are preparing our home, making sacred space for baby girl, clearing out what we no longer need, and getting everything organized for the boys. I am working with the brilliant Dany from Spatial Soulutions who really understands our home and the inner workings of a mother (she was a preschool teacher for years). Taylor has also been helping us get organized and prepared by helping me pack my hospital bag, ordering candles for the birth, and making sure all our ducks are in a row.

I’ve held a couple new moon circles with my soul sisters. Welcoming in sacred, positive energy and clearing out the old, stagnant air. I’ve focused on a full mind + body connection as I work to create a magnetic and welcoming home for baby girl.

Watch my YouTube video for more about my third trimester of this pregnancy.


THE PLAN

My plan for postpartum is starting to become more clear. Since my life is so chaotic and FULL of beauty, work, passion and magic, I need to really set intentions that surround what I want to create.

I want to take a full month to bond with baby girl. Both in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, they promote taking a full month to 40 days to really heal and connect to this new chapter in your life.

I will be continuing to work with Jenna Furnari. She will be working with me two days a week for around 5 hours each session. During the days she is with me, she will help prepare Ayurvedic nourishing foods, help me with emotional and physical recovery, support me in breastfeeding, babywearing, and spending time with baby so I can rest. She will also do Ayurvedic birth recovery bodywork and help with the transition for the entire household to adjust to new roles (this will be very important for Kai and Leo).

She will make us lists of what to purchase and then we will get all our groceries and stock the fridge so she can come and help prepare nourishing foods for me. She has mapped out a food plan for everything from the first 24 hours that includes warmed/spiced milk and panchakola ghee to 3 days postpartum that includes stuffed dates, stewed fruits, Mama Chai tea, and Lactation Tea. She’ll also be delivering to the hospital for the first day or two. The time after having a baby needs to be nourishing as the body has undergone extreme trauma giving birth and the 9 months of growing the babe. I'm excited for a slow, mindful recovery.

During these 40 days we will only allow our inner circle family and close friends into our home. This will be a sacred time full of love, bonding, sweetness, recovery and intimate moments.

I'm so grateful Adi works from home now and will be on summer break from teaching at UCLA so he can be really present to this new addition into our world. Kai and Leo will be at a sports camp close by so they will be happy and exhausted when they get home and I can really get the time I want with this sweet baby.

Jenna sees clients virtually via phone and skype, if you would like to schedule a pregnancy consult with her pre or postnatal! I highly suggest it, she's an absolute angel.

Did you take a sacred pause after giving birth? If you're pregnant, are you planning on doing something like this? Would love to hear from you!! Please share x

Cacao Magic Smoothie Recipe w/ Kitchfix Grain-Free Granola

We're deep into a spring cleanse mood! Smoothie bowls are NEEDED and so freakin’ good. This Cacao Magic smoothie is a perfect brekkie loaded with superfoods, fruits and topped with my fav Kitchfix Grain-Free Granola.

Remember, we offer Philosophie cleanses and you can start anytime! They’re available here. If you have questions, concerns or want to talk it all out, please message us below!

xoxo

Gather This:

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp almond butter (or any nut butter)

1 tsp Cacao Magic Superfood + Protein Blend

1 tsp Coconut Magic Coconut Butter

1 tsp Vital Proteins Collagen (extra magic!)

1 tsp Sun Potion Women with Superpowers Powder

¼ cup dairy-free vanilla yogurt (we love Kite Hill)

Handful of ice

½ cup granola (we used Kitchfix)

Drizzle of Cacao Bee Honey


Do This:

Blend all ingredients into the blender, saving the yogurt, honey and granola for the toppings!

Pour smoothie into the bowl, spread a bit of yogurt on top, a drizzle of Cacao Bee Honey, and a sprinkling of Granola.

Are you joining the Philosophie spring cleanse? Let us know on Facebook using #PhilosophieSuperfoods or #MakeEveryFoodASuperfood

Sleep Sanctuary

Dropping in to give you a little friendly reminder to take care of yourself in all the ways! This doesn’t just mean in the kitchen. Take care of yourself in your bathroom, living room, and yes, your bedroom.

I’m an all about sleep! Seriously, it’s so needed. Your bedroom is supposed to be a haven and legit the coziest and comfiest room in your home, but often we let technology, work, clutter, stress and even food (guilty!) slip in between the sheets. There’s been a few nights where I treated my bed like my work desk instead of the sleep sanctuary it’s supposed to be. On my wellness journey, I’ve learned to truly treat my bedroom like a sacred space. It’s changed my life!

How did I transform it into a sanctuary?

I worked to create a space that activates all my senses while also limiting distractions and disturbances. It’s important to create an environment that doesn’t encourage overstimulation. That’s why my room is largely white and clean except for pops of color. I strive to create a space for relaxation, restoration, intimacy and deep, beautiful sleep.

My bed is at the heart of this and I’ve transformed it into the purest cocoon for Adi and I. We have a new Buffy comforter and I’m obsessed with it. It’s a literal cloud. Nights have been tough during this pregnancy and when baby comes, I know I’ll need to cherish the little sleep I’ll get that much more. You need a comforter that holds you, but doesn’t suffocate you. Buffy is also sustainable and environment friendly. It’s made of silk-soft natural eucalyptus fibers which is so soothing. Buffy also uses rejuvenated microfiber instead of down, which makes it ultra soft and light. No sweating during sleep here!

Use cofe “SOPHIEJ15” which expires at the end of April!

On my nightstand, I’ve put objects and treasures that each serve a purpose and work to soothe me to ultimate relaxation and sleep. The nightstand itself is from Joybird, which complements my sleek, clean style so effortlessly.

Here are my other treasures on my nightstand:

Books: Mastery of Love, The Book of Awakening, Nurture (a much better alternative to late night TV)

Crystals: Rose Quartz (a stone that promotes love + compassion; you can find them in our Magic Moon Satchels) + Crystal Quartz

Himalayan Sea Salt Lamp: Besides being so beautiful, it generate negative ions which help to improve mood + energy levels

Flowers: simple answer, spring!

Palo Santo: I light it when I’m feeling anxious, stressed or worried and need to regulate my energy levels.

Chrysalis Water: I spritz it on my pillows, in the air in my room or on myself in the mornings for an instant refresh

Flower Essences: Scleranthus, which is good for indecisiveness and tapping into your higher self + knowing (which I've been having this pregnancy)  

How do you create your own sleep sanctuary? Share yours with me on Instagram using #PhilosophieLove or #MyPhilosophie.

Beauty Obsession: AHAVA

AHAVA has always had a special place in my heart thanks to my strong ties to beautiful Israel where my hubby, Adi, was born and raised. It’s also where we spend our summers with our own family. I’ve been using this whole line from head to toe for over a decade now, so I can truly speak to the incredible benefits that the nourishing Dead Sea mud packs in. Kai + Leo have the best time putting the magical Dead Sea mud all over each other and us. It's the one time in life we FULLY allow them to get us dirty since it’s the most hydrating mud on the planet!

One thing that's been keeping me sane during the first and second trimester of this pregnancy was having at home spa nights. Lathering up with a yummy mineral rich face mask and moisturizer mentally and physically makes me feel like I’m transported to the beaches of Tel Aviv.

I immediately notice a glow after using the Brightening & Hydrating Facial Treatment. The natural green pigment in the Brightening & Hydrating Facial Treatment Mask cancels out any redness I’m may be experiencing for a more even + refreshed look. As you babes know, I'm a busy mama on the go so finding natural products that work wonders are a lifesaver.  I have to be on camera a lot for work so I majorly rely on this to keep my skin looking even and polished.

Key Ingredients:

Dead Sea mud purifies the skin targeting oil and debris while hydrating

Niacinamide, a physiologically active form of Vitamin B3, helps brighten skin

Natriance Brightening Extract prevents and corrects uneven skin tone creating a beaming glow

My skin has changed a ton during pregnancy! Any other mamas out there feel the same way? (HORMONES!!!!) My skin is so dry as baby girl sucks out all the hydration. The major hydration I’m getting from the AHAVA Extreme Night Treatment has been a game changer.

Love that its loaded with antioxidants that protect against environmental aging, reduce wrinkles, and help with firmness. All seriously needed, plus I adore the fact that they use REAL ingredients like goji berry and Himalayan Raspberry Root.

BONUS: try the matching Extreme Firming Eye Cream for those same benefits but for the sensitive skin around your eye area. It helps me look awake when I’m feeling far from it!

You know I am all about standing behind brands of integrity and only put my stamp on products out there that I truly believe in. AHAVA products are so pure and magical I feel so lucky the boys (and soon to be girl!) get to experience them, as well. Treat yourself to the beauty that is the mud from the Dead Sea!

These products have been amazing for me during my pregnancy but always check with your doctor for questions on trying new products.

What natural beauty products are you obsessed with lately? Share with me on Twitter using #PhilosophieLove or #MyPhilosophie.

 



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