A Dozen YL Products I Love

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I am absolutely in love with these beauties. The most surprising part? They aren’t even essential oils, the flagship, changed-the-world, hello-wellness commodity Young Living is known for.

But of course I’m going to tell you all about them!

  1. Denterome Plus

This is the very first product I was introduced to in YL. I’ve used it ever since as deodorant. Yes, underarm deodorant. Remember when I posted about it here in comparison with other “natural” deodorants?? That was several years ago and there are a lot more options in natural deodorants now, but I’ve still never found anything as effective or inexpensive.

Also, there’s still a lot of greenwashing in natural products, for example, “fragrance” as an ingredient in deodorant. Ewww…no hormone disruptors mashed into my pits/lymph nodes/breasts, thankyouverymuch!

I use a pea sized amount, spread on the tips of my fingers, and wiped in my pits. Every morning! Little goes a long way, which is why the tube lasts at least 6 months, if not longer.

Oh yeah, you can use it for toothpaste too, and it works great. But I mainly love it for deodorant because I have no odor when using it. None. I can even wear a t-shirt a second time, unless I was pouring sweat from a workout.

2. Ningxia Nitro

You’ll hear me talk about Ningxia Red in a minute, because it’s amazing in its own right. But it’s little cousin, Ningxia Nitro, is my absolute BFF. It’s like a power adapter for plugging in your brain. It’s what got me through a year of nutrition school, when I had to study nights after the kids were in bed. It is like waking up on a clear morning as a 20 year old and knowing exactly what you need to do that day. Even if you’re 40, it’s late at night, and you feel completely confused and drained and you’d just like to go to bed except you’re pretty sure you have 2 papers due by morning.

Yes, that’s how much I love it. It makes me feel good. When my brain feels good, I feel good.

What is it? It’s little tubes of cherry chocolate juice, with MethylB12, D-Ribose, Green Tea, Korean Ginseng, Yerba Mate and a bunch of other great brain foods.

I love to squeeze the tube into a glass of crushed ice and Ningxia Red, and drink with a straw, but the tubes are small and slip into a pocket or purse, so I often drink them right out of the tube if I’m out and about.

3. Ningxia Red

So I guess I should talk about this next since I already mentioned it! This has changed the way my husband views “vitamins” and helps me remember that FOOD IS FIRST when it comes to complete nutrition. Because when we drink this daily, we notice more energy, less cravings, and in general more stabile blood sugar and moods.

And it tastes yummy, so I don’t have to remind anyone to take it!!

Ningxia Red is a whole fruit juice concentrate made from a bunch of high-antioxidant fruits like blueberry, plum, cherry, aronia, and pomegranate, BUT…the real star of the show is the wolfberry. It contains wolfberries grown in the Ningxia region of China. That’s important, because that area has rich farmland from centuries of silt from the Yellow River. The plants that grow there are higher in phytonutrients than elsewhere in the world, and their population has a very high number of people living well over 100 years old. They prize the wolfberry and it is local custom to eat it daily!

So we drink our Ningxia Red daily too, and plan out all the adventures we will be taking until we are over one hundred years old!

4. Thieves Laundry Detergent

I am in love with this laundry detergent.

I know that sounds crazy.

How does laundry detergent inspire love??

Well, it works and all that…but I’m really in love with what is NOT in these suds. No fragrances. No fragrance fixatives. No masking fragrance. No fragrance masquerading as essential oils. (And of course no harsh bleaches or toxic stuff.)

When I switched to this laundry soap, it was the last product I swapped out that was exposing me to fragrance. I had been using a “natural” brand that claimed flower essences on the bottle, but those “natural” fragrances stayed in the clothes all the way through the dryer cycle. Which means they weren’t natural. So when I swapped it out…the next month, lo and behold I didn’t hemorrhage during my cycle. Or the cycle after that, or after that.

I’d been working on my hormones and my clean and green home for awhile…so could it really be that laundry detergent was SOO important for my hormone balance? So I began recommending this soap to my tribe of gals in my private mentoring group. I told them my experience and asked them to please write me if they should see any changes like mine. And then the messages began to come in. This person’s teen daughter, this middle aged woman, this mommy of littles, this woman going through menopause, literally hundreds of different stories…all finding that the “symptoms of womanhood” were all melting away since NOT BEING POISONED.

OK, I better stop because it get’s me hot under the collar when I realize what’s still being pedaled out there as natural.

Let me just say: if you are a woman, your body wasn’t designed to process synthetic fragrances that are absorbed through you skin, your largest organ. Synthetic fragrances are estrogen mimickers, and many estrogen mimickers have been found attached to breast cells, uterine cells, and fat cells. Please just opt out, and stop exposing yourself!

So you probably want to know how it works? Works great! Contains enzymes to break down stains, and I apply directly for that need. I use this soap PLUS 1 tsp Sodium Percarbonate (Amazon) as an oxygen bleach in every single load I run, and the combo is awesome. It is concentrated, so one bottle lasts my ginormous family months and months.

This might comes as a huge disappointment, so I’m just gonna burst your bubble right now: the Thieves fragrance washes completely out of the clothes. Your wet laundry will just smell wet, not fragranced, when you move it to the dryer. (This is a good thing: it means there is NO fragrance fixative!) To make your clothes smell delicious, choose your favorite YL essential oil or blend to toss on dryer balls. There, now they smell awesome!

5. Thieves Household Cleaner

This cleaner is amazing because it cleans everything well! It’s a concentrate, so I mix with water in my spray bottles, mix with baking soda and a bit of water for a soft scrub, and pour a capful into a bucket of mop water. It cleans windows and mirrors, toilets, sinks, walls, carpets, stainless steel, granite countertops, ovens and stoves, you name it. I keep spray bottles of this in the kitchen and both cars as well as the bathrooms for easy access. It’s not toxic, so I enlist even my littlest children in cleaning with me!

If you’ve been following this blog for years, you might know I used to clean with white vinegar and water. Yes, those work…OK. And they are non-toxic and cheap. But I’ve fallen in love with Thieves cleaner because it SMELLS SO GOOD, and is non-toxic, and works better, way better than vinegar. But, it’s really the yummy spicey clean smell that makes me so happy when I’m cleaning! I can assure you, vinegar does NOT make me feel that way!

I love having only one thing that cleans everything! No more overfilled cleaning cabinet!

6. Thieves Spray

This is a tiny little spray bottle with an alcohol based Thieves spray in it. I use it to spray on shopping carts, counters, clothing, or anything else that I want to disinfect quickly. This is not on the label, but I’ve even sprayed it in my throat to wipe out scratchiness.

The alcohol in this spray has been “denatured” with Cinnamon Bark oil instead of a toxic petrochemical. Denaturing is required by law to transport alcoholic products across state lines without it being designated as alcohol for consumption. In this case, YL denatured it with Cinnamon Bark oil, which only adds to the effectiveness of the product while avoiding a toxic additive. How innovative!

I love it because it smells SO good, and is so handy. It’s always in my purse!

7. Thieves Hand Sanitizer

I used to hate hand sanitizers, because they made my hands feel sticky and gross. Also, I knew they were filled with toxic yuk. Honestly, I avoided this YL product for a long time and just used the Thieves Spray (above). At some point I got a free Hand Sanitizer from YL, so I tried it…and wow! It’s not like other hand sanitizers! It is super thin, so just a drop of sanitizer works for my hands, and it doesn’t leave them sticky!

The alcohol in this product is over 60%, and it’s been denatured with Peppermint oil. So you already know it smells AMAZING, with both Thieves and Peppermint in there! I love how many comments I get when I use it…and of course I share with others who are loving the scent too!

8. Thieves Lozenges

I don’t know how they do it, but YL has made they yummiest lozenges without sugar. They contain Thieves and Peppermint oils, and are awesome breath mints while putting the power of Thieves RIGHT IN MY MOUTH! They are a oval hard “candy” individually wrapped, so they are perfect to keep in my purse and share with a friend.

I love how big they are, and how well they soothe throats and freshen breath.

9. Thieves Mouthwash

Speaking of fresh breath…this mouthwash is my favorite, because it’s so gentle on my teeth and gums, but SO powerful. Again, we are talking the power of Thieves right in my mouth…wow, that’s fresh. It also has colloidal silver in it to kill mouth bacterial. However, it does not contain alcohol like most commercial mouth washes, as using alcohol daily can be really hard on gums and tooth enamel. I know my teeth used to ache after using conventional mouthwash years ago.

I would say to consider this a concentrate. I can only use a small amount at a time, and you may want to dilute in water. If you are using with a child, PLEASE dilute it first, because if you don’t, they might spit it all over you! Haha! It’s POTENT!

I love it because these natural anti-bacs are so great for encouraging a healthy mouth biome!

10. Super C Chewable

I love this supplements because it’s made from whole food! This is NOT isolated ascorbic acid, which is NOT the whole vitamin C that is found in food. Whole C contains the cofactors of ascorbate too, including all bioflavanoids which work together as antioxidants in our bodies.

I’ve taken a lot of different Cs over the years. I now know that my high doses in the past (as recommended by a doctor) were likely doing me more harm than good, breaking down my ceruloplasmin which I desperately needed to build up so I could absorb and transport iron. A few years ago I began to study the biochemical science behind nutrition, and learned about the differences between isolated ascorbic acid and whole C. Since AVOIDING the isolate (and doing a number of other whole food nutrition measures) I’m finally now pulling out of 15 years of anemia. If you want to know more about overcoming anemia, message me!

This Super C is not a miracle supplement, and it’s not even the most important thing I’ve taken in regards to anemia, so don’t get me wrong on that. It’s just a solidly whole food vitamin C, in chewable form, that my kids and husband will chew and take. I like that!!

11. Lavender Lip Balm

This is so smooth and dreamy. It’s awesome on my lips, and I can’t believe it’s cheaper than the grocery store variety, you know the one with bees on it, that always feels rancid? This one is fresh, and oh so sweet to my lips!

12. Progessence Plus Beauty Serum

I kinda saved the best for last. This product is amazing, and I’ll try not to give you the two -hour-hormone-balancing-seminar to tell you why! Haha!

(I’m actually working on some really great projects to help you with hormones, but I’ll hold the details for now.)

This serum…is completely natural and an over the counter product which basically turns me into happy-mommy-angel-wife. Yeah…it’s what I sling on when I’m feeling end of the month-y, dragon-y, or actually anything that’s not Lady Devine. It’s USP grade progesterone, which helps my body rein in the estrogen. It’s a libido boost, a stress reliever, smells AMAZING, and I love it. Makes me feel like a woman!

I use it every day, all month long. I’m pretty consistent, with 3 drops a day, but other women use more or less, we are all different. I don’t have to rotate where it goes, it doesn’t have to be rubbed into fatty areas. I just use it on my neck because it’s an awesome perfume, but if you use it on your inner thighs, I hope you’re married, and congratulations on the new baby. (I need an emoji right there and I don’t know how to get one! Ha!)

I love love love this one! Incredible product!

13. All the Oils

OK I was only going to do a dozen, but honorable mention goes to all those oils I DIDN’T talk about. I have lots of loves in that category, but we will save it for another day! <3

Get Your Kids To Drink More Water

Trying to get your kids to drink more water? Me too. I can tell they haven’t been drinking enough when they are spending more “personal time” in the bathroom trying to do their business. Also without enough water, they seem to be crankier, tireder, and their skin is more dull. (Or maybe that was me…)

Anyway, here’s what I do to coax a little more liquid consumption:

Make herbal tea with raw honey.
Tea party? Sign them up! Even the boys like a treat in a cup. We do caffeine-free varieties like Chamomile or Peppermint. Here is one of my favorite blends:

 

Take water on the go in a toxin-free container.
Like the 50/50 stainless steal cups. We love these, and they keep the beverage cold (or hot) ALL DAY LONG.

Use ingestable essential oils to flavor water.
My favorites: spearmint, lemon, grapefruit, Citrus Fresh. Order individually or with membership here. I recommend membership for the savings and perks, and I offer a private wellness mentoring group for those who order with me.

Make a slushy drink.
The crushed ice is water, afterall! Our favorite recipe:
2 cups crushed ice, from our freezer crushed-ice feature
2 cups filtered water
Juice of 5 fresh limes
1/4-1/2 cup honey
3-4 drops Lime Vitality essential oil
handful spearmint leaves (optional)
Blend well in blender, serve immediately.

At home, designate toxin-free water cups for each child.
Label with a marker and keep near the water supply. Some of our favorite cups: handled jars and stainless steel.

Blueberry Einkorn Muffins

I’ve ventured a tiny bit away from 100% gluten free…into the land of ancient grains. Einkorn is perhaps the most ancient form of wheat, with a different kind of gluten, far less gluten (1.2% vs. 9.9%) and chromosomes (14 vs. 42), and far more nutritional punch (2.5x protein, 3x antioxidants). 

These muffins are light yet hearty, with just a touch of sweetness. A perfect breakfast muffin. 

Blueberry Einkorn Muffins


Blend until “milk:”

  • 1.5 cups pure water
  • 3 TB hemp seeds

Add to large mixing bowl with:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Whisk, then add:

  • 2 cups Einkorn Flour (Young Living)
  • 1 cup Namaste GF flour (Costco)
  • 1 cup GF flour (Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 4 tsp aluminum-free baking soda (Trader Joes)
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt (Amazon)

Stir until just combined, then add:

  • 2 cups fresh or thawed blueberries

Spoon into paper lined muffin tins. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. I baked at 375 on convection for 20 minutes. Serve warm with quality butter. 

Why Fermented Foods for Wellness

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Finished raw milk kefir, ready for the fridge.

You may or may not have heard all the fuss about fermented foods. And you may or may not have starting fermenting at your house. But either way, it’s something which you may want to follow.

Why? Because unlike many of the health fads, fermenting is…well, not a fad. It’s been around from the beginning of time, not just to break down waste into compost, but to break down FOOD into more absorbable, nutritious, and tasty eats. In every culture, you have mums intentionally fermenting foods and feeding it to young and old alike. Some may not call it fermenting, or may not know a thing about lactic acid or good bacteria, but they are doing it none-the-less: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, salami, pickles, kombucha, yogurt, cheese, wine, tamari, miso, tempeh, natto, sourdough.

So you probably HAVE heard of probiotics. Good bacteria, normally found in the gut of every living mammal, which keep the immune system healthy but not over-reacting, stabilize mood, keep us regular, create vitamins like folate and B12, speak to the brain in many chemical ways to keep us thinking clearly, and detoxify a lot of nasty stuff, including some of the pesticides and chemicals and heavy metals we eat (oops). This is not an exhaustive list. There’s a TON of research done on these good little microbes. Like, upwards of 29,000 studies come up on PubMed just by searching “lactobacillus.”

We know that:

You can buy probiotics in many different combinations of strains, quantities, and delivery methods. Which I have done regularly for over a decade, and I’m grateful for the availability of these specific strains (because sometimes, it’s good to troubleshoot with specifics). But, I’ve found the most help over the years by the foods that are packed with good bacteria, so I’m cranking up my ferments. Raw milk kefir is an every-week staple here, but this week I’m excited to try a watermelon juice, a Daikon radish ferment, and a Jun variety of kombucha.

I’m following a fermenting expert I’m lucky enough to know as a friend: Jane Casey of Jane Casey’s Kitchen. She’s amazing, fun, and has an amazing true story of twin sons who were profoundly autistic, but now aren’t. At all. Because of ferments.

I’m learning a ton (like: using ingestable essential oils to promote fermentation…wha??). Best tip of the week: use folded fresh grape leaves to keep the veggies all submerged (this is like the main rule of fermenting veggies: keep them under the brine so they don’t mold). I will keep you posted, because we have a special project coming for these classes, live and local.

Do you ferment? What’s on your counter now?

And for those who want to geek out with me, here are a few interesting studies on the benefits of probiotics which I stumbled across on PubMed. Not that the other 29,000 aren’t interesting too…

This study links good gut bacteria (L. Reuteri in this case), with immune regulation and folate metabolism. So all you MTHFR people (I’m one too) can go crazy about that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27353144

This study notes the protective effect of friendly bacteria against bladder infections in pre-and-post-menopausal women (different strains are more effective for pre- or post- menopausal). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27092529

Probiotics in critically ill children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27081478

This study showed that stressed mice had changes to their gut microflora, specifically reduced L. Reuteri. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028050

 

Healthy Habit #1

Good news! The best and most important thing you can do for your health is what you are doing right now: reading.

Of course, don’t limit yourself to my blog. Read health articles online and in magazines, read headlines and bylines, read cookbooks and warning labels. There are lots of opinions out there, so of course you won’t agree with everybody. But you will begin to formulate a philosophy of healthy living. Most of all, read the fine print on everything that you buy. Check out my post on How to Read an Ingredient Label.

Reading the list of ingredients is important even for things you never thought about having ingredients, like baby wipes. You definitely want to know what going into and onto you and your loved ones. Since our skin is our largest organ…and since it is an absorbing organ, what is ON us, is IN us. So choose carefully what you expose yourself to.

And keep on reading. It’s good for you.

Good news for the eco-conscious: more consumer demand = more choices

It seems that everywhere you look these days natural and organic products are cropping up. Coupons, promos, and advertisements -from such traditionally non-natural companies like Clorox- inform us that not only is there a demand for these types of products, but everyone wants part of the market share.

Green is now far more than a color. Organic is the new little black dress.

Of course, with so many newcomers to the game, the rules can get a little fuzzy. A lotion promising “95% organic ingredients” may still have paraben preservatives, and an all-purpose cleanser labeled “earth friendly” may mean little more than that it was produced in a plant that had low energy bulbs hanging overhead.

Now, more than ever before, consumers must be savvy.

But the good news is that there are now so many options for healthier products in so many consumer lines, whether body care, food, cleansers, food and water containers, toys and baby products, even home furnishings. And more options mean a competitive market that responds to consumer demand.

So do your research. And enjoy your growing choices.

EWG Resources

Here’s a site you’ll want to be familiar with: ewg.org. That stands for Environmental Working Group, which is a consumer education and advocacy organization. And importantly, they have invested heavily to create databases for checking on toxicity.

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Those databases include:

I’m particularly excited about the guide to household cleaners because…well, I’m not a scientist. I had no previous way of knowing whether my goods were what they claimed. And guess what? Some of my “green” labeled products came up with FAILING ratings. What? Yeah. Charlie’s Soap products, which were sitting in my cabinet when I found the database and began searching.

Charlies

Not all the databases are perfect (being updated often, but not perfect), and of course some of the opinions are subject to your health philosophy (like saturated fat in raw organic cheese being flagged as unhealthful; you probably know I’m a butter-fat advocate, in moderation).

But if you’ve been frustrated by the lack of ingredients on your cleaning products, or the lack of your own knowledge on how to interpret the ingredients which are listed on your personal care products, these sites are for you!

Oh, there are some Apps too…check your app store for EWG. The privately created ThinkDirty app is nifty too…barcode scans your personal care items!

Have you used any of these databases? Have you had ingredient revelations?

Skillet Italian Chicken

Here’s a yummy, fast dinner, if you have the ingredients on hand.

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Skillet Italian Chicken

Over medium heat, fry 7-8 chicken breast tenders in 1 Tb. butter, liberally seasoned with Italian Seasoning (herbs and garlic from Frontier herbs) and celtic sea salt (my favorite yummy salt). I cooked the tenders from frozen, and it took only about 10 minutes. I kept a lid on my skillet the entire time to preserve the juices and keep the tenders moist, then I chopped them into chunks with the cooking spatula and transferred them into a lidded casserole to keep warm.

Next, I added to the skillet/juices: 1/2 lb of cherry tomatoes, cut in half, and 1 lb. red and yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped. I left the lid off the skillet and turned the heat up to nearly high, to get some blackening on the edges of the veggies, about 7 minutes. I then transferred them to the casserole.

Next, I added more butter to the skillet, more salt, and 1.5 lbs crimini mushrooms (most of a large box from Costco), washed and halved. (I know you’re supposed to “wipe” mushrooms with a dry cloth to preserve their full flavor. But really? They’re grown in manure! I wash them.) Again I left the lid off and sauteed them on med. high until they produced a nice jus.

The mushrooms are then added to the casserole, blended together, and sprinkled with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I love the raw one which Trader Joe’s sells in a convenient bag). Serve hot next to a salad of baby greens. Bon appetit!

Container Veggie Gardens

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I recently stopped to smell the roses, and went on a walk with my littles in NW Portland.

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What inventive container gardening we found. Metal farm troughs used as vegetable beds beside a steep driveway:

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Of course the neighbor gets in on the act:

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Glazed tall containers mixed into established plantings:

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And old-school wooden raised beds, not hidden behind garden gates but on display in the grass strip:

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Lots of roses:

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And textural ground covers mimicking roses:

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Mini farm rows by the sidewalk:

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Charming steps:

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And a Portland blue sky.

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If you would like to tour this neighborhood and more on June 28, 2014, visit sustainableoverlook.org for details.

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Trauma and Drama; Baby’s first week

Even after a great birth, there’s body-trauma to deal with. And even with a healthy, peaceful baby, there’s a little first-week drama to face. Here are a few things I found to help with both.

Bruising on upper chest (stripe from armpit to armpit where I leaned into the side of the tub): lavender essential oil applied directly to the skin. I did not dilute, and was not concerned about the proximity to breasts/nursing since this is indicated for mastitis as well.

Bruising on sacrum: PanAway* essential oil blend, applied neat. I felt that this not only helped with bruising of the bones, but that the absorbed oil helped to mend the pelvic floor muscles faster than in previous births.

Sore Upper Arms: PanAway* applied neat on location.

After Birth Pain: Cramp Bark tincture (alcohol) every few hours in first day, decreasing until 3rd day. I also used more of my Labor/Birth essential oil blend as a foot rub and low belly rub. I did not need to take Advil or any other synthetic pain killer.

Neck Misalignment/muscle discomfort from turning my head tubside during labor: Valor essential oil blend, on location.

General Exhaustion (birth is a marathon, afterall!): Frankincense oil on wrists, and inhaled. NingxiaRed wolfberry juice with essential oils (Young Living) and Chinese herbal tea (blended by my doctor) really helped me feel revived.

Water retention; drinking lots of water with lemon essential oil to help flush out excess fluid.

Tissue Soothing/Regeneration; Gentle Baby essential oil blend in peri bottle with water: 1 drop per peri bottle at each potty use.

Emotional Stability Post Partum: I used Ylang Ylang on wrists and inhaled. At ten days I began ProgessencePlus* serum which contains wild yam extract; 3 drops on forearms 2xday. I also began 1 drop Sclaressence* essential oil blend under tongue 2xday. I continued to take nutritional oils of flax, evening primrose, and fish for their omega 3 fatty acids.

Mastitis/clogged duct/engorgement: lavender and copaiba essential oils rubbed on site. Lavender is very effective alone, but copaiba magnifies it’s potency and is highly anti-inflammatory in its own right.

Baby

Belly Button: a drop of myrrh on the navel helped the belly button to heal and dry faster than my other babies. Works as an antiseptic.

Circumcision: a drop of myrrh in a dab of carrier oil at the base of the penis as an antiseptic. For pain, the “morphine bomb” worked wonders: I mixed 1 drop each Copaiba, Idaho Balsam Fir, and Frankincense in the palm of my hand and applied to baby’s feet and spine, and he was sleeping peacefully within 5 minutes (previous frantic pain).

Colic: in week 2 baby had a night of colic after too many feedings. Upon applying 1 drop of DiGize to his bloated belly in a clockwise pattern, he became calm and we all went back to sleep.

*Note: PanAway, ProgessencePlus, and Sclaressence essential oil blends contain a small amount of peppermint oil, which in large amounts some women find to reduce their milk supply. I have not found this to be the case with these blends, perhaps because it is such a small amount, or perhaps because the other oils in the blends support milk supply.

I only use Young Living essential oils for topical and internal use in my family. Please do your research about essential oils; I feel confident that Young Living EOs are the safest and most pure oils on the market, and have personally seen a difference in their potency as well. Please see my Essential Oils page for more information on purchasing a starter kit of Young Living essential oils.