Essential Oils for SHTF Medical Care

Essential oils are considered man kinds first medicine and it has been used throughout history for medical treatment. Using essential oils for medicinal use dates back to 4500 B.C. when ancient Egyptians discovered that oils and aromatics could be used for treating illness. Chinese medicine also centers on herbal concoctions and essential oils and is finally gaining attention in the Western world. Let’s not forget those 4 thieves who discovered a simple combination of herbal oils when the Black Plague was wreaking havoc throughout Europe.

Essential Oils Will Be Our Saving Grace

First things first, essential oils are the very essence of the plant. The oils of the plant are stored in the leaves, flowers, bark, roots or rinds of the plant and hold all the medicinal properties. The derived oils can be used for a myriad of medical issues and used in a variety of ways. Some more popular ways of using essential oils are aromatherapy, herbal soaks, compresses, tinctures and salves. But you can also use them in making natural household products, and for medicinal uses. The most amazing aspect of essential oils lies in their ability to effectively kill bad bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone! As well, essential oils have multiple uses. Rather than targeting one symptom, as Western medicine does, it targets multiple symptoms.

Our reliance on antibiotics to be the cure-all for many modern day infections has caused our communities to deal with resistant strands of bacteria and viruses. Although these are community-based diseases, meaning they are typically contracted in hospitals, in a SHTF situation they could become our worse enemy. Some essential oils, such as Oregano oil are believed to be a natural defense against MRSA, SARS and even shingles because they stimulate the immune system and attack bacteria and viruses at a cellular level.


In an extended disaster, bacterial infections and viruses could likely be one of the reasons that people will die. There are two types of essential oils you should stock up on for SHTF planning:

Anti-bacterial – Due to the increase of antibacterial resistant illnesses, many are turning to essential oils such as Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Melaleuca, Myrrh, Orange, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea Tree and Thyme.

Anti-viral – Oils that have been studied to help control viral infections include, Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Melaleuca, Myrrh. Oregano, and Thyme.

Most Popular Essential Oils for Medical Care

Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial essential oil. You can use it topically for cuts, scraps, acne treatment, burns, lice treatment, bug bites, or as a bug repellent. If you have a fungal infection such as athlete’s foot or ring worms on your skin or on your nails, you can also apply it topically. Other uses include toothache, infections of the mouth and nose, sore throat, and for ear infections of the inner and outer ear.

Lavender Oil – Lavender oil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Use it to soothe and calm, assist with insomnia and nervous disorders, as well as for first aid, sunburn, and to boost immunity. Some people use lavender for painful conditions including migraine headaches, toothaches, sprains, nerve pain, sores, and joint pain. It is also used for acne and cancer, and to promote menstruation.

BL_001_14Chamomile Oil – This herb is most recognized for its calming and sedative properties. Most people use it in teas and with aromatherapy. But it can also be used for skin conditions, to calm acne, eczema, rashes, wounds, dermatitis, dry and itchy skin and other allergic conditions in general. Chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for ear infections.

Peppermint Oil – Peppermint oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It also soothes rashes, inflammation of the mouth, joints and skin irritations. Assists in alleviating nerve and muscular pain, including headaches. Peppermint oil is also a digestive aid and helps to bring fevers down, as well as, act as a decongestant with colds. Peppermint is good to use as a steam inhalation to reduce bronchial issues.

Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus oil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, but is most well-known for its use as a decongestant for respiratory disorders. It must be diluted for safety. The diluted oil is taken by mouth for pain and swelling (inflammation) of respiratory tract mucous membranes, coughs, bronchitis, sinus pain and inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections. It is also used as an expectorant to loosen coughs, antiseptic, fever reducer, and in vaporizer fluids. Other uses include treatment of wounds, burns, ulcers, and cancer. Diluted eucalyptus oil is applied directly to the skin for pain and swelling of respiratory tract mucous membranes, joint pain, genital herpes, and nasal stuffiness. It is also used as an insect repellent. In dentistry, eucalyptus oil is included in products used as sealers and solvents for root canal fillings.

Citrus Oils (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine) – Citrus oils are mood-enhancing oils, but each possess other medicinal benefits including assists with acne, scars, wrinkles, oily or dull skin, toxin buildup, and stress. Sweet orange oil in particular assists with colds and flu’s, gum and mouth ailments and slow digestion.

Oregano – This essential oil assists in respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions. Oil of oregano is taken by mouth for intestinal parasites, allergies, sinus pain, arthritis, cold and flu, swine flu, earaches, and fatigue. It is applied to the skin for skin conditions including acne, athlete’s foot, oily skin, dandruff, canker sores, warts, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain, and varicose veins. Oregano oil is also used topically as an insect repellent.

Frankincense – Frankincense essential oil is an herbal powerhouse! It can be used as an antiseptic and be directly applied to wounds without any side effects. It also protects the wound from tetanus and becoming septic. Along those lines, frankincense acts as a coagulant, helping to stop bleeding from wounds and cuts. This astringent property also helps to relieve diarrhea of various types. Its antiseptic properties can also be used to prevent mount and tooth infections – so use it as a mouthwash. Other properties include use as a disinfectant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine and helps to heal wounds faster will applied as a lotion or cream.

Tips on Purchasing Oils

Because many essential oils are concentrated, some may be harsh on your skin. Therefore, do research to ensure they are safe to use. You can purchase essential oils online by doing a simple search for essential oils. Some of my favorite stores to buy from aredoTERRAMountain Rose Herbs and Eden’s Garden. When you purchase your oils, ensure that you buy a therapeutic grade oil. Another plus about using essential oils as medicine is they don’t expire because they are perfectly preserved in the oil.

Making Your Own Essential Oils

Since most of us are on the same self-sufficiency path, you can easily make your own essential oils using a carrier oil and herbs. Carrier oils are derived from the fatty parts of vegetables such as nuts, kernels and seeds. Some examples of carrier oils are grape seed oil, olive oil, hemp seed, jojoba, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil. A complete list of carrier oils can be found here.

When you are preparing the plant material to make the essential oil, follow the following instructions:

  • For herbs: use 1/4 cup of herbal leaves and flowers and chop roughly.
  • For spices, use 2 tablespoons of whole spices and crush in a mortar and pestle.
  • For flowers, use 1/4-1/2 ounce of only the petals.

To make essential oil you need:

Crock pot

1 cup carrier oil

Herbs, spices or petals (see necessary amounts above)

  1. Place the carrier oil in the crockpot. See list of suggested carrier oils above.
  2. Place the plant materials directly into the oil or wrap in several layers of cheesecloth.
  3. Set crock pot to the lowest setting and allow to heat for six to eight hours. If the fragrance is not strong enough, cook for a couple hours more, not to exceed 12 hours. If the fragrance is still not strong enough, remove the spent plant materials and add fresh in the same ratio, taking care to not overcook.


Healing Salve

  • 1 C. Body Oil
  • ¾ ounce Beeswax
  • 1/4 tsp. calendula oil
  • 8 Drops Essential oils – Frankincense, lavender, oregano

Combine body oil and beeswax, heat mixture just enough to melt the wax.  Add essential oils, stir and then pour into clean glass jars.  Let cool.  Stored at room temperature this salve will keep for 6 months.

Natural Hand Sanitizer

  • 1 cup pure  aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel (add until the desired consistency is reached)
  • 8 drops of essential oils known for disinfecting

Lemon and Lavender All-Purpose Home Cleaner

  • 3-5 drops lemon oil
  • 3-5 drops lavender oil
  • 3-5 drops Thyme oil
  • 1 spray bottle filled 3/4 full with water

During a time without the availability of Western medicine, we must find another alternative to medical care in order to keep our loved ones healthy. Natural medicine including essential oils may be all that we have access to during a long term disaster and understanding the power that they possess could keep us healthier and may even save our lives.


By Tess Pennington

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at


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