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Real Talk

My Experiences of Wellness and my Ideas about Wellness Advocacy

Modern-day Simpling (verb) with modern-day Simples (noun)

Maggie O'Connor

In my new line of work as a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, I am basically promoting the do-it-yourself, everyday, household use of plant-based remedies, as per a person's own experience and understanding of a product, and without the guidance of an expert.  I offer people clean, safely produced and tested materials, point them in the direction of reputable resources, and encourage them to share their experiences and ideas in a community setting.  Sounds somewhat innovative or irresponsible... but turns out to be neither (yet hopefully not a boring story).

First of all people use over-the-counter, prescription, supplement, cosmetic, and [actually poisonous] cleaning, renovating and gardening products everyday, with very little guidance.  In many instances we are not encouraged to understand the "ingredients" or risks of substances, which have been created as cheaply as possible, let's be real, not so that we can save a dollar.

  Jessie Reimers, Brisbane, Australia.

Jessie Reimers, Brisbane, Australia.

So that aside, because so far no-one has actually taken the oregano oil to their balls (thank you Jessie Reimers for the quote), I mostly see the use of essential oils in a non-expert, home-based setting as a MUCH MORE RESPONSIBLE way of supporting the health of our bodies, hearts and minds.

And the coolest part is that this is old school.  Simpling.  The medieval practice of people growing plants as medicine along side their food, to use without consulting an expert.  Knowing how to use them based on shared information and personal experience.  Not people lining up to see a specialist (until you want to see the specialist)!

  A 15th-century doodle in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires, a popular classical text used to teach young children about morals. Photo: Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 368.

A 15th-century doodle in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires, a popular classical text used to teach young children about morals. Photo: Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 368.

It was much like dōTERRA's approach now to providing great materials, while encouraging the use of resources, and the sharing of ideas and experiences.  Similarly, dōTERRA doesn't replace conventional medicine, and is not an alternative to proactive medical care - it is complimentary and supportive.  And maybe most interestingly, it magnifies our potential to be self-knowing.

Simpling is using single herbs alone. Some herbalists have a condescending attitude toward simpling, which is more associated with folk herbalism rather than academic or monastic herbalism, but simpling can be very effective. In European medieval times the art of growing and using herbs for medicine was called Simpling and the herbs themselves were called Simples.
— Electroherbalism

I won't deny that there are also several oil blends in the dōTERRA line, offering synergistic qualities otherwise unavailable, which as a medieval household maker of Simples may have been overly labour-intensive or complicated to develop.  However, IMHO the use of ready-made CPTG essential oils as modern-day Simples is an extremely practical solution to the barriers of integrating plant-based remedies into our homes:

  • Potency wise, drop-for-drop, essential oils deliver significant benefits without the cost or digestive challenges of consuming large quantities of herbs in other forms?! because "One drop of peppermint oil is the equivalent of 28 cups of peppermint tea."
  • Most people are not growing plants for food or medicine, and can't, and won't..
  • Most people have access to resources that they understand, providing them with good information about what essential oils are made of, in terms of their chemical compounds, and what those chemical compounds have been found to support, in terms of healthy minds and bodies.

For your inspiration

These are my top five resources, I turn to them frequently:

  1. "Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils" - 7th Edition.
  2. "Emotions & Essential Oils: A modern Resource for Healing" - 4th Edition.
  3. "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-healing" - Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad.
  4. "The Self-Healing Cookbook: A Macrobiotic Primer for Healing Body, Mind and Moods" - Kristina Turner.
  5. "Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition" - 3rd Edition, Paul Pitchford.