Manmade or natural, disaster can strike at any moment. A growing community of people (sometimes referred to as “preppers”) are realizing that at a moment’s notice, they could be faced with an emergency situation, causing them to uproot from familiar territory. This growing concern isn’t something to fear, rather prepare for – and in the worst case possible scenario.
One major concern when prepping for any disaster is medical care. Leaving prescription medicine for another blog, let’s talk specifically about products that are easy to get your hands on, relatively inexpensive, and have an incredibly long shelf life. By incredibly long, I mean upwards of 25 years for some oils. Citrus oils lifespan is a bit shorter, right around 2-5 years, however, it all depends on how you store your oils, keeping them out of light and in cool places in your home.
You’ve probably heard all the hype about essential oils lately, many companies and individuals claim that they’re the golden ticket, have “cured” many diseases, and that you can’t live without them. The truth of the matter is, some of this may be true! Essential oils are the volatile parts of plants. You could also think of essential oils as a plant’s own medicine or their natural immune system boosters. It is in the essential oil where the healing properties of plants exist and distillers around the world are making it possible for us to use these healing properties to work in our bodies as well.
So what oils are good for prepping and how do I use them?
Here’s my TOP 10 LIST of Essential Oils Every Prepper Should Have…and how to use them properly. Understandably in an emergency situation, you may not have carrier oils available. In this case, any fat-based product would work well to help spread the essential oil around, increasing the surface area of the oil. Fat, lard, butter, oil, you name it, as long as it’s safe to use topically, there’s no need to worry about using organic jojoba oil if you know what I mean. Why not use water? Well, water and oil tend to repel each other and make it a little more difficult to apply topically. In a pinch, it’s perfectly acceptable to drop a few drops of an essential oil in an ounce of water in a bottle, shake it around, then apply to the skin. Just know that the oil isn’t going to mix well with the water and you may not have an even application.
- Tea Tree / Melaleuca
- A strong anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral essential oil.
- I usually always dilute tea tree as it is one of the more caustic essential oils and can cause skin irritation and rash if used undiluted.
- Times I don’t dilute tea tree is when I’m using it on someone with ring worm. In this case, I drop one drop on the top of the person’s head and be done with it. No rubbing it in or anything, just let it do its work. Within a few hours, you’ll start to see the affected skin start to get flaky and turn whitish. Apply as often as needed (within reason).
- I have also used tea tree to treat vaginal yeast infections. During times of emergencies or when a woman can’t shower, the chances of a yeast overgrowth are likely. In this case, it is simple to place a small amount of tea tree on a tampon and insert vaginally.
- Applied TOPICALLY to the toes, or feet if a fungal growth is suspected. This may save a toenail during an emergency situation. In this case, I do NOT dilute as the goal is to keep this area dry and let the tea tree to its work. If diluted in a carrier oil, the foot may stay damp causing a delay in the healing process if you have to put boots back on and get moving.
- Tea tree used INTERNALLY would be appropriate for internal overgrowth of candida (yeast) – simply take 1-2 drops under the tongue (ORAL) or in a capsule (INTERNAL).
- AROMATICALLY tea tree is used to cleanse the air or deodorize.
- SURFACE cleaning is also possible with tea tree. Simply add a few drops to a bottle of water, shake well, and apply with a towel to the surface you’d like to clean.
- A strong antimicrobial essential oil
- Great for just about everything from cleaning to disinfecting an area in camp to an area on your skin. Dilute 1 drop in 3-5 tsp of a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba carrier oil.
- When added to a water, lemon essential oil has been effective at cleansing the water to make it safe for drinking. There’s a caveat to this – use at your own risk! My personal experience is such that I don’t mess around with tainted water at all. While traveling in Africa, I got very sick from bad water and essential oils absolutely saved me from having to end my trip in a third-world hospital. Our team has recorded through evaluation that 7 drops of lemon essential oil taken INTERNALLY (drank by mouth) for 7 days has taken symptoms of malaria away. I’m not a medical doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice – I’m simply stating that our evaluations have shown lemon essential oil to be an effectively useful tool in our medical kit when dealing with malaria and tainted water in third world nations.
- Known for its anti-inflammatory and calming properties.
- Is safe to use UNDILUTED on the skin.
- You may still choose to dilute lavender in order to increase surface area.
- Extremely beneficial to be applied topically WITHOUT DILUTION to areas of skin that have been burned.
- When used AROMATICALLY, lavender is an excellent choice to help calm someone down during a time of crisis. I used lavender to calm down a 7-year-old girl while she had an invasive procedure done on her foot with no anesthesia. She experienced a great amount of pain, however, the lavender was effective at calming her down so that she could redirect her thoughts.
- Apply TOPICALLY for scrapes, lacerations, sore muscles, and tensions.
- Anti-inflammatory, reduces stress, cooling, decongestant, pain relieving
- One of my favorite essential oils to use for pain. Peppermint is incredibly effective at cooling an injury and can literally feel as good as an ice pack on an injury, especially if you blow on the oil once it’s been applied to the skin.
- I’d recommend using a carrier oil with peppermint, however, it may not be necessary for all applications. For example, one drop of peppermint in the belly button is effective at relieving a bellyache and also aids in digestion. In this situation, I wouldn’t dilute.
- Can be used directly on a burn if the skin is in tact! I would not recommend using peppermint unless the skin is completely in tact, however, if the burned skin is separated in the middle and you can put the peppermint just around the outside, it would be OK to do so – just avoid getting peppermint at the edge of, or inside of the open wound. Peppermint may cause the edges of the wound to not heal as quickly if you get the essential oil in the wound.
- INTERNALLY peppermint is effective at helping to ease abdominal pain associated with incomplete digestion.
- ORALLY peppermint is an effective mouthwash and is used for dental care.
- AROMATICALLY peppermint is extremely effective at opening the airway and nasal passages.
- Oregano is my #1 antibacterial essential oil. This is my go-to for all serious issues that I don’t have time to wait around for another oil to start working. Oregano is extremely caustic (otherwise known as “hot”), and can burn the skin even when diluted, so I’d recommend testing a small area of skin after you’ve made your dilution to assure the blend is diluted enough.
- When diluting oregano, I always dip a toothpick in the bottle then swirl the toothpick in the carrier oil I have chosen. In my experience, one drop of oregano essential oil in 1/4 cup of carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, is the smallest dilution ration I'd mix.
- Oregano can be used INTERNALLY for parasites and ORALLY for tooth care. Caution should be given if taking oregano by mouth, especially if you are a carrier of the herpes virus. If you carry herpes simplex and get cold sores around your mouth, touching oregano to your mouth may cause an activation of the cold sores and they may surface, and do so in a nasty way. Therefore, if you’re going to take oregano by mouth, take care not to touch your lips with the oregano. Another option is to put a drop of oregano on a piece of bread or other food product that can absorb the oregano so that you can take it by mouth and avoid needing to add it to a liquid “drink”.
- Right along the same lines as oregano, clove can be used in conjunction with, or replace oregano completely.
- My number one go to for ORAL care. Tooth abscesses, gum disease, rotten teeth, clove is the best essential oil that can be used orally.
- Use the same precautions as oregano (cold sores, etc).
- When diluting, clove is also a “hot” oil and needs to be heavily diluted. I recommend no less of a dilution than 1 drop in 1/4 cup of carrier oil.
- Aids in assisting with nausea AROMATICALLY and constipation TOPICALLY rub on the belly after diluting with a carrier oil.
- Can be used to draw infections out of the body. I recommend diluting in CASTOR oil for this purpose as castor oil is also known to draw out infection from the body.
- If you’re on the run or avoiding people, you’re probably not going to be around the inner-city. In this case, lemongrass is an effective mosquito repellant and can be sprayed onto the skin or diluted in a carrier oil to increase surface area on the body.
- Just a note about sensitivity: Some people are very sensitive to lemongrass and will experience skin breakouts when they use it. If this is the case, try diluting the lemongrass more to see if it helps to decrease the rash.
- Is effective at warming feet first thing in the morning.
- Another one of my favorite essential oils for prepping! An absolute must-have.
- Helichrysum contains antiviral properties and is quick at clotting blood. Because of these two reasons alone, I’d put helichrysum up there at the top of my list for oils you just don’t want to be without.
- A few years back I was playing frisbee on the beach. The frisbee caught my finger fat ever so perfectly that the skin between my joint was injured just enough to cause a blood vessel to burst. Immediately my finger started to swell to the point where I couldn’t bend it and the fatty area was quickly turning black and purple. I had my beach herbal medical kit with me so I ran for the Helichrysum. I applied it topically without dilution and within minutes the pain was gone and the color started to return to normal. I was amazed at how quickly the Helichrysum worked to resolve the issue and within about 10 minutes I was back to playing frisbee!
- Helichrysum is not an essential oil that I would worry too much about diluting. It is safe to use on the skin undiluted, but if you dilute to increase surface area, simply dilute 1 drop per 3-5 tsp. of a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.
- A strong antiviral, and antimicrobial essential oil.
- Without a doubt, Frankincense is the #1 essential oil to have on you at all times.
- Frankincense is a wonderful synergistic oil. Simply add frankincense to ANY other essential oil to magnify the original essential oil’s healing potential.
- Frankincense is able to be used undiluted on the skin.
- Frankincense is safe to use INTERNALLY, ORALLY, TOPICALLY, and AROMATICALLY
- I’m adding eucalyptus to this list at number 10 not because it isn’t as valuable as the other essential oils, but because it is an incredible oil to consider for reasons you might not otherwise think of.
- Eucalyptus globulus is extremely effective at lowering blood sugar.
- In a disaster situation, many people who rely on insulin or other blood sugar-lowering medications may require additional help managing their sugar levels.
- Eucalyptus should be used AROMATICALLY, to begin with, to assure that blood sugars don’t fall too quickly.
- I have witnessed on three occasions blood sugar fall from the 400s to 40 in a matter of 5 hours with the application of eucalyptus to the bottoms of the person’s feet. The oil blend was massaged for about 20 minutes.
- Blood sugars should always be monitored when using eucalyptus.
- Although Plantain is not an essential oil, I have it listed here because it is an incredible herb that when used topically, is effective at healing just about any skin condition you can imagine. I would recommend using this product as a carrier oil for your essential oils.
- This plantain is the green herb that grows in just about every backyard across the US, not the banana tree.
- The medicinal properties of plantain have been extracted into the castor oil. This makes a wonderful skin healing salve all alone, or by adding one or more of the above essential oils, you’re setting yourself up for a concoction of healing!
- Great for allergic reactions (add lavender and peppermint)
- Great for broken skin (add frankincense)
- Great for burns (add lavender, peppermint, and frankincense)
A Few Final Words
It’s a lot of work to prepare for the worst, but preppers all over America are networking to assure they’re not all reinventing the wheel. We need to work with each other and use the knowledge that each other possesses in order to make decisions that will put our family first and keep them safe.
Preparing for a medical emergency is scary if you’re not trained. I’ve been in the medical field for 22 years, 17 of which has been spent as a field paramedic. I’m trained to deal with emergencies, making critical life and death decisions in a matter of seconds, all while “remaining calm”. It’s not a responsibility I have ever taken lightly, but boy let me tell you it didn’t come easy!
I’ve been there, right where you’re at! It’s taken me years to develop a strategy, formulate a plan, and execute it – I’m still working on making it right, but a good foundation is key.
Hopefully, you’ve found the information provided here to be a good place for you to start. If you highlight the oils listed, you’ll be directed back to my website where you can purchase anything you’d like. If you’re looking to purchase in bulk, I can supply as much essential oil as needed. I can bottle in 2, 4, and 8 oz glass jars. Typical essential oils are stored in 15 mL glass containers, but if you’re looking for more quantity, please email us!
All our oils are organic, non-GMO, and sourced naturally. Nothing is added, ever (unless it’s sold diluted in a carrier oil) which is organic as well. All oils are hand poured with love in small batches in coastal North Carolina. And a portion of your purchase goes to the Wellness Warrior Foundation, our 501c3 non-profit charitable organization dedicated to promoting herbalism on a global level.