Miranda Kerr apparently used essential oils to help her get over her breakup with Orlando Bloom. Beyond showering a few drops of lavender oil on our pillows in the vague hope of sleep or dripping Olbas Oil over our children in a winter benediction, most of us have had probably had little exposure to essential oils. So what might they do for us, and why are we now focussing more on them in terms of healthcare rather than perfume?
FOUNDER: Bridget Brocklebank
We spoke to Bridget, Founder of This Wholesome Life, to find out more.
We know that humans and their search for plant remedies began over 5,000 years ago however despite this, there is little published research on many of their properties or benefits. Now as concern over our general wellbeing rises, this may be set to change.
That lavender promotes sleep, clove oil works for sore teeth, tea tree for bacteria, menthol for colds we also know. However the therapeutic benefits now attributed to essential oils range from stress relief to remedies for migraines, arthritis and adrenal fatigue. So much of the ‘proof’ is anecdotal. But powerful.
Something which Bridget understands.
‘A few years ago I was tired, stressed and strung out. I had spent a year trialling different meds and nothing had really helped. I felt I was back to square one, with lots of side effects from the drugs. Someone came along and gave me a sample of essential oils. Back then I was convinced it was hippy rubbish, I never thought oils might have physical or emotional benefits. Then, after sitting on my shelf for 2 weeks I put a few drops on the back of my neck and thought nothing of it.’
Standing in her kitchen she remembers feeling a whole lot different. ‘I felt positive and happy. Even then I couldn’t think what might have changed and it was then realised it was the oil.’
Bridget started to learn more about essential oils, using them on herself and her family to counteract and prevent colds bugs and viruses. ‘I couldn’t believe how quickly they bounced back from illness – in fact since then they haven’t really been ill. I use a protective blend on the soles of their feet to protect the immune system. I find it empowering as a mother that the oils not only support me emotionally but that I can use them with my kids. ‘
After working in law and starting a family, Bridget chose not to go back to the City and spent a year studying at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and trained as a holistic wellness coach.
As she points out, mothers are often all things to all people and the cup is empty a lot of the time. ‘New mothers want to be the best they can be and perfectionism comes into play. Not accepting help and serving everyone really well except themselves. This can simply fry your adrenals. These tiny little things sit behind the kidneys and we only really know their importance once we experience adrenal fatigue.’
But can we expect to learn more about how essential oils work? Of course our sense of smell has a powerful effect on brain and body. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, breathed in, plant oils stimulate smell receptors in the nose, sending chemical messages through nerves to the brain’s limbic system, which affects moods and emotions, and may have some physiological effects on the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And when used on the skin, the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Admitting they are no quick fix – Bridget still struggles with emotional challenges but uses them every day and is a distributor of doTerra oils. ‘They are something I need every day and which speak to my heart. I couldn’t hold a conversation with mothers at the school gates sometimes – I was so consumed about what was going on within me. I didn’t recognise the chronic anxiety for a long time. And they absolutely helped me. I love the way they work, bringing me back into natural balance.’
So at best a pure, natural medicine. At worst, a scent of happiness. Either way, a tiny bottle of good.
What is – or has been – your greatest struggle (either personal or
Depression & anxiety
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A dancer, make-up artist, and a forensic scientist – I thought I was multi-talented! 😉
Best advice ever received and from whom?
‘That remaining tight in a bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.’ Jen Sincero, author.
Who do you most admire?
Ellen DeGeneres for her humour, love, & compassion.
What keeps you up at night?
Whose life can I touch or change next with high vibrational oils.
When were you happiest?
The day my twin boys were born.
Favourite object you possess?
My blender for the nutritious smoothies it makes me every morning.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Be careful’ & ‘calm down’ – my children are wild & crazy!
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To lead with love over fear, love always wins.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Cup of tea + mince pie – must be homemade 😉
What change do you hope for in your lifetime?
To see an end to factory farming and a cleaner planet.
Please recommend a brilliant female-led brand or business you have used recently.
Blo Bar salon in Chiswick. I can get my hair and nails done while my kids happily watch a movie – they think Blo Bar is their second living room!
Who might help you next?
Byron Katie. She simplifies the complicated parts of us.