Cooking with Essential Oils

The idea of eating essential oils is totally new to me.
That sounds crazy, right? I took complementary medicine, I used oils all the time, I learned about their benefits - but I only really applied that to skin care and aromatherapy. I have long believed in the benefits of inhaling or massaging with essential oils, but it had never occurred to me to eat them.

As a word of warning, not all essential oils are edible. Firstly, some things, e.g. tea tree oil, are never supposed to be eaten. Even if you find an oil that, in theory, is perfectly okay to eat, such as ginger or sweet basil, it is estimated that 98% of all essential oils are not food grade due to lack of purity.

Essential oils that are okay to eat will be labelled 'therapeutic-grade' and have a 'supplement facts' label showing you the nutritional value of the oil. Don't just use the oil you bought in your local drugstore, as it may well contain synthetic scents or colouring that you should not be ingesting.

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Once I decided to take the plunge (it really is a plunge, they are expensive) I started researching and have found a reputable, organic, retailer of essential oils called NHR. The best part? If you are an amazon prime customer you can get their oils shipped next day, free of charge. UPDATE: I now buy Young Living oils instead. NHR are brilliant, but so are YL and with YL I get free bonus products for ordering regularly. I also get a bigger discount from YL than I was from NHR. If you are interested in getting discounted oils from YL too then leave me a message, I'd love to chat. 

So I took the plunge and ordered peppermint a) because it's one of my favorite flavors and b) because it's nearly Christmas and I want to make peppermint candies (recipe to follow soon) and Peppermint White Hot Chocolate (GAPS Legal of course) so that we don't miss out on those lovely, cool, winter-y flavors because of dietary restrictions. I'm hinting to my husband that I'd like to build a wider collection for Christmas, so hopefully I'll have a more varied pantry soon!

I used the peppermint for the first time today, and oh wow!! One drop was enough to totally flavor an entire batch of our favorite chocolate mousse (1 carton double cream, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 tbsp honey) to the point that I thought the kids might cry off about it being 'spicy'.

I was wrong though, they LOVED it. Elisha ate two bowls!

So, along with it's obvious economical advantages, why would you use peppermint oil in your kids food?

Peppermint oil has a tonne of health benefits, and unlike most holistic medicine substances, it's actually had a fair amount of scientific studies prove it. It contains a plethora of minerals and nutrients including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, omega-3, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

It's renowned for aiding digestion, treating heart burn, relieving respiratory congestion (good for the winter), easing headaches and nausea, reducing stress and anxiety, soothing IBS, treating UTIs, boosting the immune system (another great winter benefit) and improving blood circulation and therefore detox speed.

As always, I would recommend that the best possible way to take your herbs is fresh from your own garden, but in winter months essential oils are better than dried herbs because they are so much more concentrated and because many of the water soluble vitamins (A, C and E) are evaporated out during dehydration. Just one drop of peppermint essential oil is the equivalent of 28 cups of peppermint tea!

Overall a pretty useful addition to the pantry - and it might just prove the cure for my Liposomal Vitamin C problems...


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