The Gift of Health–Part 1

This month’s inspiring Guest Editor, plus a heavenly host of good-health hints to get you through the holidays–and beyond

Whenever I’m given the opportunity to make a wish (i.e., blowing out candles on a birthday cake, throwing a penny in a fountain, Christmastime) I always ask for the same old thing: good health–and for those around me. It’s not very exciting but it’s what I appreciate most so I figure it can’t hurt to wish for it a lot. Sometimes we don’t have control over our health but more often we are at the steering wheel–and there’s no better time than now to get on the road to wellness. This month’s multipart series kicks off with a very inspiring Guest Editor whose passion for all things natural not only saved her life but continues to heal her family–and her community. The genie in the bottle is never too far away–just look in the mirror. Wishes granted.

I reacquainted with my old elementary-school friend Kim Medleycott Criley on Facebook where she hooked me instantly with her sharp insights on health. I hadn’t seen her since Sixth grade when she abruptly left in the middle of the year: At the age of nine, Kim was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. She missed most of sixth grade–and many other school days after that. Her home was the hospital and movement was a wheelchair or being carried. At the age of 21, she was told that if she didn’t have surgery to remove her entire large intestine, she would die. The surgery wasn’t a complete success and left her with a slew of health problems. The next 15 years were a succession of surgeries, hospital stays, and numerous doctors who couldn’t help. Tired of being sick and tired, she decided that conventional medicine was a bust and began her journey to improved health by using only natural means. “It was a complete turning point. By changing my nutritional habits and seeking natural alternatives to synthetic medicines, I’ve achieved the best health I’ve ever had.”

Currently, Kim and her husband Brian (a retired Marine), along with their six children and skunk-chasing dog, own and run an organic farm homestead, called Slow Grown in Virginia. It is a Community Supported Agriculture vegetable and fruit program complete with poultry, eggs, and meat, but they also produce their own natural soaps and body-care products, herbs, spices, herbals teas, and organic potpourri. Their latest expansion is heirloom grains. They don’t think of their farm as providing food as much as offering a form of health care. If that isn’t enough, Kim is a holistic health coach, homeschools her brood, makes every family meal fresh from the farm, and thanks god every day for her restored health.

The Crileys at home on their happy homestead

The Crileys at home on their happy homestead

Inspired Living: You are a huge advocate of essential oils. Tell me why? 

KMC: I choose essential oils because they don’t carry toxins like pharmaceuticals and mug your body of essential vitamins and minerals, leaving you more vulnerable to illness. Yet they can be just as potent and even interfere with conventional drugs so I always recommend to my clients to always consult their physician before introducing any essential oil, or herbal supplement into their regimen, especially if they are currently following conventional treatment.

Studies show they can lower or raise blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and help repair your immune system. Unlike broad-spectrum antibiotics, many essential oils attack specific harmful bacteria, while leaving beneficial bacteria alone. Today we are seeing bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Essential oils don’t seem to have that problem. It’s easier for bacteria to conquer a single drug constituent, such as penicillin, compared to the multiple beneficial constituents found in essential oils. Some oils have truly amazing properties–recent studies have shown that frankincense essential oil used in cancer treatment acts as a cytotoxin against cancerous cells, while having no effect on healthy ones.

Inspired Living: It was a gift to Jesus–they don’t call them Wise Men for nothin’! Have you tried it yourself?

KMC: I’ve used frankincense essential oil and frankincense resin with great succes for my arthritis and ulcerative colitis. There are studies that show it works better than pharmaceuticals commonly used for these ailments but without the side effects. I remember how depressed I got taking steroid prednisone–the weight gain, the big moon face, and all the other health problems I had from high doses. Frankincense is also antipsychotic so I never suffered with depression or a weaker immune system from it. I am very disappointed that so many doctors don’t know about the benefits of frankincense for those suffering with arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.

Inspired Living: You make your own oils. How do you harvest them?
KMC: The harvesting and distillation of essential oils is very involved. I wish I could make all of our essential oils right here on the farm but it’s just not possible for the many plants that grow only in very specific regions or conditions. Other plants have such small concentrations of the desired constituents that mass plantings are required; while still others are mostly only available through wild-harvesting.  So for now we will only be able to distill from plants such as peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, lavender and other herbs that can be grown as annuals or perennials in our region. When it comes to harvesting medicinal plants and herbs, we have a 30-minute rule here on the farm. I only take herbs from the garden that I can rinse, dry and begin processing within 30 minutes for the freshest results. Whether for oils, teas, tinctures or other preparations, I won’t let them sit in a container for hours, if not days before they get processed, like most large companies must do.

Inspired Living: What brands do you recommend when you don’t use your own herbs and oils?

KMC: The only brand I currently use are from Young Living. They have the strictest quality standards for essential oils of all the companies I’ve researched. They have a great webpage devoted to their distillation process and I recommend anyone interested to take the time to read it. . I only trust a few essential oil companies for their purity and I won’t compromise when it comes to my family and clients’ health. If I don’t use my own harvested oils I research the brand to death. It took me years to finally gain my health back so the time and effort is worth it.

Inspired Living: Are essential oils for everyone? Any caveats? 
KMC: Everyone can benefit from essential oils but since they are extremely powerful I tell anyone interested to find a naturopath or Holistic Life/Health Coach who has a good knowledge of essential oils to help you figure out which ones work best for your needs.

Inspired Living: What are some of the best oils for strengthening the immune system?

KMC: Thieves’ by Young Living is a great oil to start with. It is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, Eucalyptus radiata and rosemary oils that can boost the immune system and destroy colds, flu, and food poisoning. Plus, it has anti-diarrheal and other benefits. I used to be on Lomotil and Immodium, which can cause a major depletion of magnesium and other important mineral and vitamins in the body. Now I use ‘Thieves’ with much greater efficiency, and no side effects. Oregano oil is also anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antiallergenic as well. I love Lemon essential oil because it is so uplifting and I just love the smell. It is a great antioxidant and helps maintain a healthy Ph level. I use it daily in my water. Peppermint oil is one I will never be without. It works wonders on sore muscles, sciatica, upset stomachs, helps bring down a fever, aids in breathing difficulties (I use it jogging to open up my lungs). It is also amazing for headaches! We haven’t used Tylenol, Motrin or aspirin since we added peppermint oil to our medicine chest. Unknown

Inspired Living: What’s your greatest essential oil story? 

KMC: When my 17-year old got giardia while on vacation he became really sick. I had a feeling it was Giardia so I looked up studies to see what herbs or essential oils were successful in treating it. I took him to the doctor to have it confirmed but in the meantime I started treating him with essential oils of basil and oregano after finding a study that showed these oils had a higher bacteria kill rate than the pharmaceutical drug Flagyl. The tests confirmed giardia and the doctor was amazed when I told him my son was already feeling better so he didn’t prescribe an antibiotic and just told me to continue doing what I was doing!

*For more info or to order  Slow Grown in Virginia products go to         

Delicious homegrown, handpicked and all-natural herbal teas from Slow Grown in Virginia.

Delicious homegrown, handpicked and all-natural herbal teas from Slow Grown in Virginia.

*To inquire about Kim’s health counseling email her at


Young Living is a world renowed distributor-marketed essential oil manufacturer. Kim is an independent distributor and you can order through her with this link

Stay tuned for more Gifts of Health in the coming days. 

3 Responses to “The Gift of Health–Part 1”
  1. tribarbaratri says:

    Loved this one

    Sent from my iPhone

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] is powerful stuff: Last month, I posted an inspiring story about Kimberly Medleycott Criley (, who healed her debilitating arthritis and colitis without pharmaceuticals. She maintains her […]

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