At the Young Living convention in Brisbane, last year (Oct 13-15th 2011), I attended the lectures of Dr Peter Minke.
Dr Peter Minke, a survivor of cancer, is a prominent advocate of healthy lifestyles and an avid user of therapeutic grade essential oils. Married with four children, Dr Minke explained why essential oils should form an integral part of every family’s first aid.
For Peter Minke, therapeutic grade essential oils fulfill all the requirements for a first aid tool. These are that they should be:
  • safe
  • easily available
  • easy to carry
  • easy to apply
  • easy to regulate the amount used
  • durable with long shelf life
  • fast acting
He outlined 6 key principles in the use of therapeutic grade essential oils as first aid tools for the family.
Principle 1: Expect therapeutic results from therapeutic grade essential oils. 
Dr Minke says don’t waste your time (and risk your health) with recreational fragrances. Only therapeutic grade essential oils will give you therapeutic effects. There are thousands of peer reviewed studies and journal articles documenting the effects of therapeutic grade essential oils. There are some things to consider regarding the safe use of essential oils:
  • Essential oils and water don’t mix. If you find that an oil is too hot on the skin, don’t use water. If it burns put vegetable oil on it first. This will draw up the essential oil. Then you can use soap and water.
  • Babies and menthol don’t mix. Don’t use peppermint or wintergreen with children under 3. One in 10,000 are sensitive to menthol. It can anesthetise the respiratory system.
  • Some oils are photo-sensitive (mostly citrus), so don’t put them on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
  • In first aid speed matters. With bumps and burns each passing moment allows for more swelling, inflammation and tissue damage. Likewise with bleeding, stings and bites, panic and extreme stress – work quickly.
Principle 2: Use what you have.
Some examples:
When Dr Minke’s 4 year old child had a fall and bumped his forehead – he used the blend Valor*
Another example was where he got 15 ant bites on his foot and it swelled up – he put the blend Purification* on it quickly.
Or if he got overheated out in the sun – Peppermint oil on his ear.
His wife became anxious during labor – she inhaled Lavender oil and it brought her blood pressure down.
A nose bleed on his son – he put Cypress oil on his arm.
If you see the kids are starting to get sick, start giving them Thieves* oil blend or Immupower* blend.
For babies some oils are harsh. Oils such as LemonMyrtle and Frankincense are gentle. Dilute them with V6 if there is any sensitivity.
Principle 3: Be a super sleuth
  • Watch for signs of change – better or worse
  • Expect immediate results.
  • Change the programme if it’s not working.
  • And bring the oils with you when you’re waiting in or on your way to the emergency room.
Early intervention is best.
Principle 4: Body Weight Equivalent
Use less on a baby. 1 drop on a 10 lb baby is like 20 drops on a 200 lb adult (2.2 lb to the kilogram).
Dr Minke’s favourite oils for infants include: Valor*LemonMyrtleLavender and Frankincense.
Diaper bag essentials: Valor*CypressPurification* and Thieves
Home essentials: FrankincenseLavenderLemonPeppermintMyrtleImmupower* and Deep Relief* roll-on.
Principle 5: Frequency, Intensity and Duration
How much oil to use? Enough oil often enough for long enough to make a difference. Watch for signs of improvement or change.
Dr Minke uses about 1-3 drops of oil for a small child (0-5 years of age)
Principle 6: Be prepared.
Last but not least, you can’t use oils if you don’t have any oils.
Till Next time
(* Blends: Deep Relief roll-on (made of Peppermint, Wintergreen, Copaiba and Palo Santo essential oils); Immupower (made up of  Hyssop, mountain savory, cistus, ravensara, frankincense, oregano, clove, cumin and idaho tansy essential oils); Purification (made up of Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca, lavandin and myrtle); and Valor (made up of spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense in a base of almond oil).
About Dr Peter Minke:

Peter Minke received his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Texas A&M University in 1992, graduating Magna Cum Laude with University Honors. Dr. Minke went on to complete a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Biology in 1998.

Dr. Minke currently works as a bodywork and movement specialist as a certified Aston-Patterning® Practitioner and Licensed Massage Therapist. Peter has over 15 years of clinical experience in private practice, over 1100 hours of hands on training in advanced movement and bodywork, and has helped hundreds of people achieve better body movement patterns for improved quality of life and athletic performance. Peter’s background as a cancer survivor and wellness enthusiast has led him to advocate for health conscious lifestyle choices. Dr. Minke is an international trainer and speaker on numerous wellness topics including plant-based diet, non-toxic lifestyle, stress management, therapeutic use of essential oils, and cleansing.

Having lived overseas for eight of his first sixteen years, Peter’s experiences growing up have provided a view of the world as a global community. His family returned to the United States in 1985 to Houston, Texas. Peter now considers Bryan, Texas his home where he lives with his wife Amy and their four boys. Peter and Amy enjoy homeschooling and are dedicated to providing an at-home learning environment for their children. His two websites are:

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer

Interview on Beyond The Heart

Hi Folks, this is an interview I recently gave (October 8th 2011) for the web radio programme – Beyond the Heart- hosted by Jenetta Haim. I talk about how I got into essential oils as well as how and why essential oils work. Check it out at :

Beyond the Heart with Jenetta Haim Aromatherapy 10/08 by The Difference | Blog Talk Radio



OUCH!!! So you’ve been bitten or stung by some insect or spider.  Well just as essential oils can be used as effective insect repellants, they can also be used for insect bites. The beauty is they can act very quickly to break down the poison and render it harmless.

The molecules of essential oils are very small (less than 500 atomic mass units in fact) and lipid soluble (can pass through fatty substances or tissue), so they can pass through the skin very easily and quickly enter the blood stream.

The Original Snake oil.

Everyone will have heard of the phrase “snake oil salesmen”. Nowadays it denotes someone engaged in shonky business practices, usually selling something that isn’t what it’s been purported to be. However over 100 years ago, the term Snake oil referred to a real product, which was exported to the U.S. from Australia.

The product in question was Tea Tree oil (or Melaleuca alternifolia) and it was found to be very effective against rattlesnake bite. Traveling salesmen would sell the oil to the settlers, trappers and miners traveling through the Wild West. Unfortunately over time, many of these traveling salesmen would be selling the pioneers an oil, that wasn’t really snake oil – hence the phrase – Snake oil salesmen.

This is no reflection on Melaleuca mind you. The oil is effective against snake poisons which affect the blood and organs (hemotoxic venoms). This includes rattlesnakes and copperheads. It’s not so effective against snake poison which attacks the nervous system (neurotoxic venoms) and which are the most deadly. And many snake venoms include both a neurotoxic and hemotoxic component. [1]  An essential oil like Clove or the blend Thieves is likely to be the most effective. [2] Clove oil has analgesic/anaesthetic, anticonvulsant, and anti-inflammatory properties. In any case, you should seek emergency medical attention in the event that you are bitten by a poisonous snake (or spider for that matter).


Coming down the scale of lethality (considerably) what about bites/stings from such critters as ants, bees, spiders and ticks? The essential oil that I would most likely turn to is the Young Living oil blend – Purification. It consists of  Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca (there’s that snake oil again), Lavandin and Myrtle.

Single oils that are effective include Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Eucalyptus Globulus, and our old friend, Melaleuca (or Tea Tree as it’s also known). Lavender and Peppermint will be effective in reducing any itchiness that can occur after a bite. In the event that there’s pain, the oil blend Panaway could help. Panaway contains Wintergreen, Clove, Helichrysum and Peppermint. Clove is the most antiseptic of all essential oils, while Helichrysum is effective as an anaesthetic and analgesic. Wintergreen is highly anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. How much oil to apply? Around 2 drops 2-4 times a day.

The Essential Oils Desk Reference (EODR) also lists Melrose, an oil blend that consists of Melaleuca, Naouli, Rosemary and Clove oils as the first recommendation for bee stings. [3]   Don’t forget that before you apply the essential oil, you will need to remove the stinger first. Apply around 2 drops 2-3 times a day until you see the redness start to abate.

In the event of spider bites, the same caution applies as per snake bites. If we are talking about funnel web or red back (black widow in Nth America) bites, seek immediate medical attention. If you’re unsure or unable to identify the spider in question, try to catch it (safely). This will be necessary to assist the medics/hospital in determining which anti-venom to use.

While waiting for medical attention, I would most likely apply the Purification oil blend or even Thieves and Panaway. A number of spider bites, while not deadly, can create serious problems such as gangrene (the Brown Recluse in Nth America, and I believe, the White-tail spider in Australia). Purification, Thieves and Panaway are helpful here, but again, seek medical attention. How much oil do we apply in the event of a spider bite? The EODR says 1 drop of any of the above mentioned blends every 10 minutes, until you reach medical treatment. I would probably be applying more than that in my own case, but you be the judge.


In the case of ticks, you need to remove the tick before attending to the bite. You can use essential oils to remove the tick as well. Either Thyme or Oregano would be effective here, but you may wish to dilute them 50:50 with a vegetable oil (almond or coconut are good, but so is olive oil) as these oils with their high phenol content, can irritate the skin. Apply2 drops over the bite area and the phenols in the oils will cause the tick to let go.

After you have removed the tick, you can apply an oil like tea tree, peppermint, lavender or rosemary. Apply anywhere between 1-6 drops, around 3-5 times daily.

Anyway, back to the garden…   🙂

Till next time



 Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.


[1] An excellent source of info on snake venom or snakes for that matter is The Reptipage.

[2] Essential Oils Desk Reference, 4th Edition, Essential Science Publishing, Sept 2007, P461

[3] Essential Oils Desk Reference, 4th Edition, Essential Science Publishing, Sept 2007, P410-411


Fish Oils for Mental Illness

By now, most of us have probably heard of the benefits of fish oil in our diets – the Omega 3 in particular. Most of us are also probably aware that mental illness is a major health issue in our society, next to such things as Cancer and Heart disease.

A new study from a team of researchers from Australia, Switzerland and Austria, and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, has revealed that fish oil supplements are very effective against mental illness.[1]

The randomized, placebo controlled study involved 81 participants that were considered to be at high risk for psychosis. Half the participants were given 1/2g of fish oil supplements each day for 12 weeks and the other half placebo supplements. Only 2 people in the fish oil group developed psychosis as against 11 in the placebo group.

The study is certainly small but one hopes that there will now be follow up studies. If fish oils supplements become widely acceptable in the medical/psychiatric field, it will certainly be preferable to the antipsychotic drugs that bring with them a whole range of side effects and problems.[2]

Aside from mental illness, Omega 3 fatty acids (or PUFA’s they’re sometimes known) have been shown to support cardiovascular, joint, eye and brain health and in reducing the risk of heart disease & stroke, pulmonary disease, autoimmune diseases, crohn’s disease, hypertension, and ADD/ADHD. Low Omega 3 levels on the other hand have been associated with depression, dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Selecting the right fish oil supplements is equally important. You need to make sure your supplements are free from heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic residues.

Three years ago Young Living (YL) developed a fish oil supplement that combines the benefits of fish oil with the effectiveness of essential oils. Indeed YL were the first producers of essential oils to combine essential oils with food and food supplements. Omega Blue stands out way above many fish oil supplements in the market place for the following reasons:

  • It’s sourced from wild-harvested fish (sardines, mackerel and anchovies) and YL’s molecular distillation process pulls out any toxicity that is present.
  • The essential oils added increase the bioavailability of the nutrients by 10 times
  • Omega Blue fish supplements use an enteric coating which ensures that it is absorbed through the intestines, rather than through the stomach. Nutrients are thus absorbed into the body more easily. It also guarantees that you don’t get any “fish” taste or fish breath after taking the capsule.
  • Research has shown that many fish oils begin to oxidise within days of being packaged, even though their expiry date is 3 years away.[3] Oxidised fats produce free radicals, which in turn promote disease and aging. The essential oils added to Omega Blue protect from oxidation.
  • The essential oils also lend their own benefits. For example:
    • Clove oil, German Chamomile, Myrhh and Lemongrass are anti-inflammatory.
    • Clove oil is the highest recorded antioxidant as measured on the ORAC scale.
    • Eugenol, one of the constituents of Clove oil protects the neurons in the brain from a lack of oxygen.
    • Myrrh oil increases digestion, while Lemongrass oil lowers cholesterol and offers cardiovascular support.

Till next time,



Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1]Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Indicated Prevention of Psychotic Disorders

[2] BBC: Fish oil supplements beat psychotic mental illness.

[3] Oxidised fish oils on market may harm consumer, warns researcher

What essential oils do I take to work?

For a long time I’ve been in the habit of carrying a small case of essential oils, in my briefcase, going to work each day. While the contents have varied somewhat over time, there are a number oils I like to have on hand.

Peppermint. Peppermint is, if not one of my favourite essential oils, then certainly the most used.  For me it’s come in handy for two reasons. If I’ve gone out to lunch with friends and perhaps have eaten a little too much or the wrong combination of foods and developed a tummy ache, this is the oil for me. I’ll rub 2-3 drops on my stomach area and within less than a minute, I get relief. The other alternative is to put the drops in some water and drink it.

The other way it’s handy is as a relief for headaches, particularly those that might be caused by back ache or tension. I’ll rub it on the back of the neck and again it provides me with relief. You just have to be careful that you don’t get it in your eyes, so I suggest washing your hands very well after using it.

Lavender. This is also a good one for headaches, particularly those that are cold related. The incidence of headaches for me is pretty low, so I haven’t used this one as much. I simply apply 2-3 drops on the temple and forehead.

Purification. This one is a Young Living blend (and all the oils I’ve mentioned up to now are YL – refer to my About page for the Whys) that consists of Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Lavandin and Myrtle.  Incidentally, in a series of recent lab tests at Weber State University in Utah, Lemongrass was found to be the most effective essential oil against the MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) bug. (1)

Purification is a good oil to have around in the event of cuts, scrapes and insect bites. In this case I apply it directly to the wound, again 2-3 drops depending on the wound. It’s also useful in cleaning the air. So here, a person could either use it in a diffuser or put it on cotton balls and leave these in desks, drawers, rubbish tins or vents.

Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier. I could write a whole article just on the essential oil blend – Thieves – that is the main ingredient in this product (watch this space in the near future). I would regard Thieves as one of the most powerful oils in my arsenal. Thieves is made up of the oils of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata and Rosemary. Thieves has powerful anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Working on the desk of a busy public library, handling hundreds of books and items each day, this waterless hand purifier comes in very handy. We unfortunately get back some pretty grotty books. No need to rush off to the bathroom sink each time. Just a drop or two of the Thieves hand purifier in the hands, rub them well and I’ve diminished significantly the possibility of infection as well as having my hands smell great.

Valor Essential oil roll-on. I work in an environment that’s not well air conditioned, so I can get pretty hot and perspired after shifting books or working with computer cabling. And I don’t have the luxury of going for a shower whenever I want. This is where the Valor roll-on comes in handy. Valor is an essential oil blend made up of the essential oils Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy and Frankincense. It smells great!

I can either rub a little on my wrists, neck and collarbone, or as I’ve done a number of times, I rub a little on my hands and then rub my hands in the armpit area. There’s a lot more that can be said about Valor and I will come back to it in future. What I’ll say for now is that it’s a very potent oil blend that serves as more than just an aftershave or deodorant. Having said that, it makes a fabulously safe alternative to a lot of the ‘products’ people put on their bodies as deodorants, colognes and perfumes, but which is loaded with chemicals and what-not. Till next time.



Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

(1) The scientific data was published in an article entitled, Inhibition of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) by Essential Oils in the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 23:444-449, (2008).

Welcome to the world of Essential oils


Over the coming weeks some of the topics we’ll be visiting include:

  • Cheap essential oils – Do they exist?
  • Allergic reactions to essential oils
  • Essential oils for spiritual development
  • Swine flu and other menaces
  • Essential oils for ante-natal and neo-natal
  • Essential oils for the brain

If you’re totally new to essential oils, I urge you to check out the short 4 minute video on my post – Essential Oils – A brief history. On the same post you’ll also find The Missing Link. This is an excellent intro to how and why essential oils work.

What’s my background in essential oils? My journey began in 2003, when I came across a juice made of wolfberries from the NingXia region in China and developed by a man named Gary Young. There were some amazing claims put forward regarding the longevity of people in the NingXia region, attributed to the wolfberries.

Doing my own investigation, I uncovered research showing that the wolfberry had in fact the highest level of antioxidants in any food known to Man. So I bought my first bottle of this juice, now known as NingXia Red. And I’ve been using it ever since.

Furthermore, I came  to learn that Gary Young was something of an authority in the world of Essential oils, devising his own means to safely and effectively distill essential oils. His company Young Living produce and sell not only the Ningxia red juice, but a multitude of essential oils, oil blends, and essential oil products (food supplements, personal and beauty care and cleaning).

I began experimenting with and using Young Living’s essential oils and I haven’t looked back.  If I had a tummy ache, I would apply peppermint oil and in less than a minute start to feel better. With headaches I could apply either peppermint oil or lavender and do away with headache tablets for good. Oil blends such as Abundance and Joy would lift my spirits, as well as make a healthy alternative to after shaves.  And my health and wellbeing have improved immeasurably. Flu’s and colds that would sometimes last weeks are a thing of the past.