Hot new trend slips into daily life for local families

Essential oils are a popular commodity now, but just what exactly are they?

Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from plants for their aroma. The oils usually have an intense smell and those who are advocates of the oils talk about how they like to use them in different areas of the house, for personal application or even for oral consumption.

Some scents are relaxing, others uplifting. Some oils are single, some are blends, and not everyone likes every oil.

Jody Walbridge leads a group at the IREC once a month. Dedicated essential oil users and those who are curious learn about the product during the one- to one-and-a-half hour class time.

Walbridge uses Young Living products. During the November class, the group learned about where oils come from and made their own sample products to take home.

Though the oils are not medicinal, the women in the group liked certain oils for therapeutic benefits they realize. Cherice Taylor uses them in her massage therapy business.

For those who work in a fragrance free setting, Walbridge said some people put a drop of oil in a locket and it is more of a personal scent that does not waft throughout an office. There are also food oils such as peppermint and lemon that are more familiar and acceptable.

People use them for anything from sore feet to adding a little flavor to drinking water.

Some oils are used to neutralize bad odors and cleanse or freshen the air.

The plants used for the Young Living oils are often heirloom plants which are non-genetically modified and are grown on organic farms.

Group member Jenny Harper works with the Mille Lacs Health System Hospice and began using the oils at work. She said the scents are soothing to her patients.  

Essential oils are not meant to treat or cure any medical condition, Walbridge stressed. She encouraged people to check with their doctor before using essential oils, especially pregnant and nursing women, and she said everyone should be aware some medications can be affected by essential oils and supplements.

During the meeting Walbridge had the participants make projects using the oils and inexpensive products people have around the house.

Walbridge introduced the group to making bath salts, deodorant, a foot scrub and a lavender linen mist. The products the group made had a light fragrance, but by making your own products, you can adjust the level of scent you want.  

Bath salts: Epsom salt, food coloring and a few drops essential oils of choice. Add food coloring to epsom salt. Mix well. Add essential oil and mix. Let the mixture dry and put in a bag or container.

Deodorant: Use one part baking soda, one part whipped coconut oil and a few drops essential oil. Mix baking soda and whipped coconut oil. Add essential oils. Store in glass  jar and use for up to two months.

Lavender linen mist: 1 teaspoon witch hazel, a few drops lavender essential oil and water. Put witch hazel in a glass jar, add essential oils and shake well. Fill with water, shake and spray.

Sugar scrub: 1 part coconut oil, 4 parts granulated sugar and a few drops essential oil. Mix all together, rub on feet to smooth rough skin.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be held Dec. 15  at 6 p.m. at the IREC. Everyone is welcome. The focus will be on biblical oils. RSVP to Jody Walbridge at or call (612) 720-5223.

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