The true believer


Photo by Lauren Thomas
Photo by Lauren Thomas

The oldest remedies often turn out to be the best. Take, for example, “Thieves,” a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils used by grave-robbers during the bubonic plague, which decimated much of Europe and Asian in the 14th century, wiping out almost entire populations. “Thieves” allowed the grave-robbers to secure the wealth of deceased victims without contacting the disease themselves. They were protected so well that courts would order them to provide their secret weapon: nature’s oils.

Given our modern pharmaceutical enterprises, that tale could sound foolish — the stuff of legend. But when I was introduced to essential oils almost six years ago by my mother, a veteran counselor and workshop leader, I took her advice to heart. She had many ties in the traditional and not-so-traditional worlds of therapeutics. She had workshops and certifications. And she had accumulated a vast network of alternative-healthy, life-loving friends. Her clients were astounded that what she swore by was “hot water and lemon,” via Deepak Chopra and essential oils.

Besides, she’s my mother. How could it hurt if I followed her advice?

So I used lemongrass to offset the onslaught of bugs during the recreational baseball season, and basil to help cure the itch of bug bites and poison ivy. Prone to panic, I found that lavender essential oil, placed on my temples, sternum and palms of my hand, helped me sleep and relax.

Tending to three active children who are usually running cross-country or swimming when they’re not doing homework kept me busy. It was a full-time chore for me just to keep them fed, not to say vitamin-sufficient.

Subscribing to the age-old remedy of essential oils, every night I would anoint my children every night with Thieves, purification and alternate amino-power. The result? No one got sick. The strep throat which had plagued our swim-family abated. Though we avoided the flu shot, there were no sicknesses.

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