Pangilinan: Oily in the family

Ching Pangilinan

MOST of my friends in the natural parenting sphere, after having completed the phases in breastfeeding, baby wearing, and cloth diapering, are now proceeding to their journeys in essential oiling. This includes me.

My own personal journey with essential oils has been sporadic, from 10 to 12 years ago up to the recent re-discovery which I made. I have also been thinking how the use of oils figures prominently in our lives and our culture. These contemporary mommy-oilbularyos that seem to be ever-present in my social media feeds bear a lot of similarities with the albularyos and hilots that we grew up with, especially in harnessing the potent power of nature.

Even in the present day, aside from regular trips to the pediatrician for check-ups related to childhood sickness, ranging from coughs and colds, to body malaise, there are times when we still bring my daughter to the resident “manilut” in Barangay Bulaon, and much to my surprise, this syncretism between folk healing and orthodox medicine seems to work for us.

I remember how my late maternal grandmother, Apung Ciling, prepares virgin coconut oil infused with bitter herbs, specifically makabuhay (scientific name: Tinospora rumphii Boerl) and Luyang Dilaw (scientific name: Curcuma longa), the uses of which range from curing digestive problems, to healing joint problems. Fast forward to today, my older sister Lissa who is a physician, and I, seemingly continue the oily journey of our grandmother, with the oil blends we make, using essential oils this time, and other carrier oils in addition to VCO.

As a new mother a few years back, I generously slathered premium grade, organic sunflower oil on my then newborn’s skin, a regimen which we have kept until now. Sunis is five years old and has smooth and soft skin, rarely experienced diaper rashes as a baby, and quickly recovers from bruises and cuts that accompany every outgoing and energetic child.

These days, it is going back to basics for me and my family, beefing up our journey with essential oils. For the first time in many years, I have shunned taking painkillers for those stress and hormone-related headaches which I used to get frequently. I would not have been a convert, had it not been for my good friend and breastfeeding, cloth diapering and baby wearing buddy Janet Timbol Munoz, who gifted me with a special blend that had drops of lavender, cedar wood, and peppermint essential oils that aided me in dealing with stress, both at the physical and emotional planes. I have also recently survived a bout with flu, not with my usual anti-biotic buddies, but armed with my essential oil arsenal.

Essential oils may seem to be an expensive fad these days, but they have long been a part of mankind’s heritage. With no less than Jesus Christ receiving precious gifts of myrrh and frankincense, equal to gold, upon his birth.