Essential Oils Blog

Safety Guidelines for using Essential Oils with Kids

 

Kids are much more sensitive to essential oils and aromas in general, but when we take care to understand the risks versus the benefits, we see that even young kids can safely benefit from their therapeutic uses.

Where do we start in order to see the big picture?

In the first few weeks, to the first few months of babies’ life, our bundles of joy are working hard to mature in so many ways. The first thing to note is the olfactory bond that begins immediately between baby and mom. This scent recognition it so incredibly important for baby to be soothed, and vise versa (what mom does not love the smell of a new baby), that we should avoid interrupting that by using the strong aromas of essential oils.

There are various systems of a baby’s body that are not mature at birth, those being the Integumentary system (skin), the Central Nervous System (CNS), and the liver. Before we move on to general safety for kids, it is important to be well versed on the information regarding essential oils and babies, you can find that here.

So we know now, that essential oils should generally not be used topically under three months of age, due to permeability of the skin and increased risk for adverse affects. Caution also needs to be used under two years of age when applying essential oils topically, but this is not to say that you can’t do it.

The variety of essential oils that we can use under two via inhalation/diffusion is longer. In general, look to the KidSafe® line for guidelines, however we at Plant Therapy ask you to give hydrosols a try for kids under two years of age, you can read more about hydrosols and their uses here.

*We at Plant Therapy follow the recommended guidelines suggested by Robert Tisserand, and do not state that essential oils should be avoided in there entirety under the age of two.

Before covering basic safety tips for diffusion, lets cover a concept called “mediating a kids immunity”. Our ancestors had it right when they said it is important to let your kids play in the dirt, allow them to come into contact with germs, understanding that when they get sick, it is helping them to build a healthy immune system. As a parent, it can be challenging to let your kids get dirty in this way, however using essential oils daily as a preventative measure to avoid getting sick is not always best practice.

First and foremost, I make sure my kids take in proper nutrition, get plenty of rest, support gut health, and make sure to always make time for laughter and fun. Essential oils come into play as a part of a wellness plan; they are a compliment to every other aspect of what we do for ourselves to remain healthy and happy; to maintain homeostasis.

Diffusion for kids

While diffusion is a great option for kids over topical application, we must consider things like olfactory habituation, and then move to how to diffuse essential oils safely. What does olfactory habituation mean?

Have you ever walked into a room and smelled something very specific? Assuming that it was not a strong enough scent to cause a headache or nausea, did you think about it again after a few minutes and say to yourself, ”Interesting, I do not smell it anymore”. This is called habituation (make or become use to or accustomed to something). This can also be termed temporary sensory fatigue or olfactory adaption.

To keep your nervous system from depleting itself with this barrage of continuous stimuli, the receptors experience temporary sensory fatigue, or olfactory adaptation. Odor receptors stop sending messages to the brain in regards to the continuous stimuli after a few minutes. That’s why your nose adjusts to a stranger wearing too much perfume, or the smell of smoke on someone’s clothing.

When looking at this phenomenon in regards to the inhalation of essential oils, once habituation is apparent, you are no longer obtaining the benefits of inhalation, but rather risking undue stress on the nervous system.

So, in order to avoid unnecessary stress, practicing safe diffusion is key. I typically recommend 30 minutes diffusion for an older child, but for a toddler or baby, 15-20 minutes is typically plenty of time to obtain their benefits.

Make sure when diffusing for kids that you are in a well-ventilated room, and be sure to clean the diffuser thoroughly in between uses to avoid diffusing possible oxidized oil into the room.

Topical use of essential oils

Formulated by Robert Tisserand for kids aged two to ten, Plant Therapy’s KidSafe® line features a variety of synergies and single oils targeted toward specific issues and ailments common in this age range.

All are available as 100% pure, undiluted essential oils as well as pre-diluted roll-ons for ease of use. There are 23 pre-blended synergies included in the line, but if a single oil is KidSafe®, you will know it by our specially designed KidSafe® label.

 

Example of the KidSafe® label.

If you are purchasing single KidSafe® oils, or undiluted KidSafe® synergies, knowing how to properly dilute your oils per not only the oils in question but also age is important. When you dilute properly, you greatly reduce the risk of skin irritation.

One thing that we have already done for you is indicated which ones are safe for topical use. In the creation of the synergies, many oils were avoided altogether in order for Plant Therapy to feel comfortable to recommend them to parents, as safety is very important to us. Let’s briefly take a look at the recommended dilution per age. Spot treatments can also vary in comparison to whole body type applications.

 

 

Other helpful usage tips

*On average, if you have a blend in a rollerball, salve, chest balm, or lotion, application every three to four hours should be sufficient, or four times a day.

*Aromatherapy inhalers carry less risk than topical application. You can utilize KidSafe® essential oils in an inhaler on more of an as needed basis.

*If using a drop of essential oil in a steam bowl for supporting respiratory health for example, this can safely be performed every two to three hours.

Closing

We at Plant Therapy strive to provide you with quality safety and usage information, as it is important for the safe use of these healing catalysts. When equipped with trusted information, you can work to make informed decisions for your kids.

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

Complementary Aromatherapy for Kids

 

 

You will not be hard pressed to find numerous recommendations of what essential oils to utilize to boost the immune system to avoid getting sick, or to eliminate the need to take over the counter (OTC) medication. When would using essential oils be warranted in these situations, and when does it cross over to mediating the immune system and acting as preventative medicine rather than complementary medicine. It is important to remember that essential oils are powerful tools when used appropriately, but should not be overused.

A Powerful and Effective Wellness Plan

Our ancestors had it right when they noted how important it is to let kids get dirty, to not slather their little hands in hand sanitizer or anti-microbial soap, and yes, to even get sick. A study performed in 2012 by The National Institute of Health suggests that early exposure to microbes is essential for normal immune development, supporting what is called the “hygiene hypothesis”(1). The hygiene hypothesis states that a lack of early childhood exposure to microorganisms, parasites, and other infectious agents increases the likelihood of allergic diseases (auto-immune disease) due to the suppression of the natural development of the immune system.

As a mom of two small boys, sometimes it takes effort to step back and just let them be kids. I avoid applying hand sanitizer before every meal or every time they touch a shopping cart, encourage them to play in the dirt, and avoid using essential oils everyday as a means of avoiding the myriad of germs that seem to be constantly floating around their classrooms. So what do I do?

When it comes to my families wellness plan, I take a well-rounded approach to their health. I address the physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of life.

Since the day my boys were born, I have paid extra close attention to their nutrition. I feed them organic when necessary, avoid fast food, overly processed food and excess sugar. They stay well hydrated, get plenty of exercise and sufficient rest. They know the importance of proper hygiene. I teach them that in order to minimize their chances of getting sick or spreading germs at school they need to perform proper hand washing, covering their mouth’s when they cough and sneeze, etc.

In addition to physical health, I place focus on healthy relationships, making sure that they always have a safe place to talk to me about whatever they need to and we are very open to discussing all topics including spirituality and self-care/self-love.

These are just a few of the ways that I foster wellness in all areas of their lives.

Applying Topical Essential Oils Daily/Diffusion

There are a few things that we do know in regards to babies and young kids, and that is the immaturity of numerous systems of the body, including the integumentary system (skin), the central nervous system (CNS), and the liver (Read more here). Daily use of oils puts a strain on these systems and ultimately puts them at increased risk for adverse affect and toxicity. Some of these symptoms will not be noticeable to the eye such as nausea, dizziness, malaise, headaches, etc., so we need to use extra caution for those at a very young age.

A great alternative to essential oils for small kids and babies is the use of hydrosols. With the exception of peppermint hydrosol, which is cautioned under the age of three, hydrosols are safe for babies and kids alike. Follow this link here to learn more about hydrosol use.

Preventative Medicine

There is an increasingly popular approach using essential oils daily as a preventative measure from getting sick, or what I have termed mainstream aromatherapy. Some of the common avenues for essential oil use are applying essential oils daily to the feet/body or daily diffusion to avoid frequent cold and flu, teachers diffusing essential oils in their classrooms to keep up attendance and replacing OTC and prescription medications with essential oils.

There is a certain appeal to what are called anti-germ blends. Diffusing them into a room is a fantastic way to stop the spread of illness, as is using them when someone has fallen ill. Using them everyday however starts to lean towards overuse and puts the user at risk of toxicity.

We know that essential oils such as Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini , Frankincense Carteri Boswellia carteri, Lemon Citrus x limon and Orange Sweet Citrus senesis essential oils just to name a few have the ability to support a healthy immune system. A great time to use one of these or a blend of these essential oils is at the first sign of illness.

Plant Therapy has a KidSafe® synergy for times of illness called Germ Destroyer that can assist in preventing the spread of germs in the household when needed, and it smells great too.

Teachers Diffusing Essential Oils In The Classroom

A classroom has an average of 20 children, some of which may be immune-compromised, taking medication(s), have allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory issues such as asthma, and more. Unless a teacher has obtained full medical disclosure from every parent, they could not possibly cover the very real liability of possible adverse reactions.

Aromatherapists know when working with clients that what works for one person may not work for another. An aroma may be offensive, an oil meant to calm could provide the opposite effect, or could interact with a medication or medical situation. This is not only a liability for the teacher but the school and school district.

An alternative for the teacher trying to keep the classroom air cleansed is to diffuse at the end of the day once the students have gone home. Another option is to make a cleaning spray to spray on the hard surfaces in preparation for the upcoming school day. This helps to eliminate the germs while not putting students at risk.

Hard Surface Cleanser

Lemon Citrus x Limon 50 drops (can substitute with Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini  or Orange Sweet Citrus sinesis essential oil)
-Purified water 1 cup
-White vinegar 1 cup
Castile soap 1 tbsp

Spray hard surfaces and leave sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping clean. Use within one week with no preservative.

Replacing OTC And Prescription Medication With Essential Oils

When essential oils are used to compliment our overall wellness plan, they can be amazingly effective. If there is a possibility over time to reduce a medication, as long as it is something that you and your doctor agree is the best decision for your health, that is always welcome news. It is however, important to recognize the importance of modern medicine when it is needed. What is pressing is to understand the delicate balance between modern medicine and complementary medicine, to know there is a place for them both.

Closing

The following is a quote from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists:

 

 

The body has the ability to heal itself when it is supported and cared for. Using essential oils as part of this support is the basis of complementary medicine.

Aromatherapy is used therapeutically to maintain homeostasis, and looks at the whole person. We do not suggest replacing every item in your medicine cabinet with essential oils. Even though they are quite unique in that they address root imbalances rather than put a band-aid on a symptom, we know that there are times when modern medicine can be necessary. Essential oils and aromatherapy assist the bodies’ own capacity to do what it does best; to heal. When used alongside modern medicine, essential oils can be a powerhouse for you and your family.

 

References:

Olszak, T. et al (2012) Microbial Exposure During Early Life Has Persistent Effects on Natural Killer T Cell Function. National Institute of Health 336(6080): 489–493. doi:10.1126/science.1219328

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

 

 

A New Respect for Lavender

 

If you were on a game show, and they asked, “Name an essential oil.” I am sure that the host would say, “Survey says, Lavender!” Even if people have never used it, they probably have heard of it, or may even know that it is helpful for calming. It is in so many products, like soaps, body washes, shampoos, lotions, candles, ointments, and much more.

I recently had the opportunity to go to a Lavender festival in Washington state. I really don’t need much of an excuse to go near the ocean, but throw in a Lavender festival, and I had it booked 6 months ago! I apparently wasn’t the only one with the idea, for as we drew nearer, it took 2 hours to drive 16 miles. When I saw the first farm and Lavender field, I knew it was all worth it. The beautiful, straight, colorful rows were so overwhelmingly beautiful. My husband, being the great sport that he is, let me take it all in and patiently waited and listened to me go on and on. I walked through the romantic, beautiful variegated fields of many varieties and colors and gained a greater appreciation for Lavender. I always valued this versatile essential oil, which was originally used in medieval times to ward off plague and disease (it’s a natural deterrent and kept the fleas at bay), but now I understood. I understood why it’s earned its place in the hearts of essential oil lovers.

Lavender is actually in the same family as mint. There are dozens of varieties of Lavender and it was a surprise to see the assorted colors. Pinks, Whites, Blues and many shades of the well-known Purple. There is even yellow Lavender. The flower heads varied a bit in appearance from variety to variety. The sterile hybrid of Lavender, called Lavandin Lavendula x intermedia is actually what is used for the “Lavender” scent in many products. Lavandin is a cross between true Lavender Lavendula angustifolia and Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia).  Lavender Essential Oil has more Esters, which is balancing and calming, and helpful with swelling.  Spike Lavender has more Oxides and also alcohol, which help with congestion, respiratory issues and for fighting seasonal threats. So Lavandin, has the qualities of both. We also have Lavender Fine, which is also Lavendula angustifolia, but a different variety grown in France and has a lovely softer scent.

The size of the plant also varied, from small compact shrubs to large, tall bushes. We toured about 6 farms, and each field was striking and almost as calming to view as the essential oil is itself. At B & B Farms in Sequim, WA, we were told that the biggest problem with growing Lavender, is over-watering and poor drainage.  He mentioned that the essential oil was extracted mostly from the unopened flowers, as this produced the most oil. He talked about that it took about a tote full of tightly compacted Lavender to produce just several ounces of essential oil. We saw as they sickled by hand the bunches of Lavender to be used for drying and how they bundled them and hung them in the barns to dry.

As we smelled that sweet, flowery scent wafting from farm to farm and I couldn’t help but think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, lying down in the fields of flowers (albeit not Lavender) and going to sleep. I thought of its calming properties, how I have used it to help with muscle or joint pain. That it’s the first thing that I grab for a minor burn or bee sting. How it is good in cleaning products, body products and for skin issues.  It was a wonderful experience for a fan and student of essential oils. I’m grateful that I could go and that I could share it with our customers and Facebook members of our Safe Essential Oil Recipe group. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook old standbys when there are so many new, exciting essential oils coming out.   I feel that Lavender was put here to help us and benefit us and we would do well to learn more about it. I am including a couple of recipes that I hope you will like.

 

Oil Treatment for Hair

2 drops of Lavender or Lavender Fine

1 drop of Rosemary

1 drop of Cedarwood Virginian

1 ounce of Argan Carrier Oil

Mix well and apply to hair and leave on for 30-60 minutes and then wash out. This can be used on hair once a week.

 

Muscle and Mind Relaxing Massage Blend

8 drops of Lavender

6 drops of Copaiba

4 drops of Marjoram Sweet

4 drop of Bergamot

2 drops of Chamomile Roman

2 ounce of carrier oil ( I like our Marvelous Massage Carrier Oil Blend)

Blend well and store in a glass or PET plastic bottle.

 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Safe for Kids or Not?

 

Utilizing Eucalyptus Essential Oil as part of a child’s wellness plan remains a hotly debated topic on the Internet, social media and with professionals alike. I would like to go over some the research, look at what we do know, and help to clear up any possible confusion surrounding this respiratory powerhouse of an essential oil.

Eucalyptus Oil Basics

The eucalyptus tree is a part of the myrtaceae family and is mostly indigenous to Australia and Tasmania. There are over 700 varieties of this beautiful tree. They are the favorite food for the koala bear, but interestingly enough poisonous to most other animal species.

There are also a large variety of Eucalyptus Essential Oils, but we typically do not see more than a half dozen of them on the market. Eucalyptol, or 1,8 cineole, and isovaleric aldehyde are the two main components that I will be focusing on today. The component 1,8 cineole is a monoterpene cyclic ether; you may have seen it labeled an oxide. Of all the functional groups of essential oils, cyclic ethers have one of the strongest aromas as far as essential oil constituents go. It is a sort of “in your face” odorant.

According to E. Joy Bowles in her book The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils: “Mucous glands and cilia of the respiratory tract are thought to be stimulated by oxides, in particular linalool oxide and 1,8 cineole, which results in an expectorant effect” (1).

Although the constituent 1,8 cineole can have anti-inflammatory effects, studies show it can also cause respiratory irritation. What does the research tell us?

 

 

What The Research Shows

Various research papers have shown adequate reason to warn against very specific use of 1,8 cineole. The following information will help to set the stage to be able to clearly understand where the risk lies. Here are a few of the reported incidents:

“A 4-month-old boy had four days of upper respiratory tract symptoms affecting feeding, and a relative had given his mother, a 30 year old woman with three other children, some ‘Olbas Oil’ without the box or instructions. She did not notice the warning against use in infants and put several drops in his right nostril” (2). He immediately displayed very rapid breathing and an ambulance was summoned. The baby exhibited major side effects, but after he received professional care he recovered with no known lasting damage.

“An almost 2-month-old boy was referred to our intensive care unit about 30min after the mother instilled about 1ml of a menthol solution into the nose instead of NaCI 0.9%”(3). (NaCI is sodium chloride or saline) Four hours after admission, testing, and care, his pulse, blood pressure and respiration rate returned to normal.

*Instilled means introducing a substance directly into the nose.

A 6-year-old Caucasian girl presented with widespread pruritic urticaria (rash/hives). Her parent applied a mixture to her skin including a very large amount of eucalyptol initially over a small area of skin, but was then applied as soaked bandages under Gladwrap occlusion to the limbs and trunk (approximately 25ml). On the morning that she was admitted to the hospital, a new batch of solution was made, this time using 50mls eucalyptol. Bandages were applied. “Within 10-15 min of completing application of the bandages, the patient was noted by her father to appear “intoxicated”, with slurred speech and unsteady gate.” In transit to the doctor the patient lost consciousness. Upon arriving at the doctor’s office, bandages were immediately removed, and she was thoroughly washed. She was then brought to the hospital where she fully recovered (4). This was a case of extreme use where copious amounts of eucalyptus caused a depressed central nervous system (CNS), but an example of why there are limits to usage.

The Facts

There are times when facts are misunderstood, are possibly taken out of context, or even times where being overly conservative comes as a result of learning information that may instill fear or uncertainty. And while it is true that we should all (myself included) work from a space of education, knowledge, experience and comfort; knowing the facts is equally important.

We know that 1,8 cineole (minute amounts) and menthol found in Peppermint essential oil instilled in the nose can trigger cold receptors in the lungs. When triggered, these cold receptors increase airway resistance, similar to what can be seen in exercise cold-induced asthma (5). This phenomenon can slow down breathing.

I like using this example for cold receptors when I share with others. This will make sense to anyone that lives where there are bitter cold winters. Chew a piece of mint gum or suck on a mint candy, then step outdoors in the cold and take in a deep breath. You will cough…a lot, and may struggle for the next breath. These constituents “can” do the same.

We learned when Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young published Essential Oil Safety 2e in 2014, to not apply eucalyptus oil (varieties high in 1,8 cineole) on or near the face of infants or children less than ten years of age (6).

These are two quotes pulled directly from Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition:

“1,8 cineole does not appear to be as toxic as is often believed, although elevated oral doses certainly are toxic and children are susceptible to cineole toxicity. The instillation of 1,8 cineole into the noses of young children is clearly not a sensible procedure, but this should not be taken to mean that any preparation containing 1,8 cineole is highly dangerous to children per se” (7).

“Instillation of 1,8 cineole into the nose of children up to four years of age results in non-fatal but serious toxicity and may interfere with respiration”(8).

The key here is to understand that all of the information I have shared with you thus far does not equate to: “Never use eucalyptus essential oil under the age of ten”.

Additional Facts Brought To Light

I recently earned my advanced diploma in aromatic medicine with Mark Webb, and in class we discussed this topic in great detail. This is what we learned:

Oils containing high amounts of 1,8 cineole, can potentially pose an issue for children, specifically un-rectified Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Smithii, which contain isovaleric aldehyde (IA). Isovaleric aldehyde has great potential for causing respiratory irritation (9).

In order to pull this information apart a bit, let’s look at what we know about aldehydes. Essential oils high in aldehydes can often be an in your face aroma, for example oils high in citral such as Lemon Myrtle Backhousia citriodora, Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus, and Lemon Tea Tree Leptospermun petersonii .

The following research paper published in 2014 by the Military Medical Science Letters, states that “Many aldehydes are respiratory irritants which can cause inflammation or other adverse reactions in the respiratory system after being inhaled”(10).

In The Chemistry of Eucalyptus Oils, Penfold, A.R. states,  “It has been found that the first “runnings” contain such objectionable substances as butyl aldehyde and isovaleric aldehyde which produce coughing, and it is very desirable that these extremely objectionable constituents should be removed” (11).

This respiratory irritation can mean coughing to the point of vomiting. These oils are also a higher risk for those with asthma. Eucalyptus Radiata carries much less potential for respiratory irritation due to the missing component of isovaleric aldehyde.

 

 

Closing

As an aromatherapist, I would never think of utilizing Eucalyptus Essential Oil instilled in the nose of a child. In my experience of reading research papers, good ones and bad, I have learned to use critical thinking and weigh everything out. After reading through the papers I have referenced regarding Eucalyptus, I do see how when used improperly and/or at very high doses where the risks lie.

As a general precaution, we should avoid using any eucalyptus oil high in 1,8 cineole on or near the face of a child under ten. It is important to understand that aromatherapy is a risk vs benefit; case by case modality. Therefore, there is no need to avoid the oil altogether, but respect its limits. When we better understand the facts we can make educated decisions for ourselves and our family.

References

(1) E. Joy Bowles (2004) The chemistry of Aromatherapeutic oils (3rd Ed) Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.

(2) Wyllie, J.P., Alexander, F.W. (1994) Nasal instillation of “Olbas Oil’ in an infant. Archives of disease in childhood. 70: 357-358

(3) Melis, K., Bochner, A., Janssens, G. (1989) Accidental nasal eucalyptol and menthol instillation. European journal of pediatrics. 148: 786-788

(4) Darben, T., Cominos, B., Lee, CT., Topical eucalyptus oil poisoning. (1998) Department of dermatology 39: 265-267

(5) Cold Weather Can Give You Exercise-induced Asthma. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/03/cold-weather-can-give-you-exercise-induced-asthma/

(6) (7) (8) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone (p 273, 526)

(9) Webb, M. (2015) Aromatic Medicine, Integrated Advanced Essential Oil Therapeutics for Common Clinical Conditions (p 88-89)

(10) Patocka, J., Kuca, K. (2014) Irritant Compounds: Aldehydes. Military Medical Science Letters. vol. 83(4), p. 151-164

(11) Penfold, A.R. (1934) The Chemistry of Eucalyptus Oils. Sydney Open Journals Online Vol2. No1.  (p25)

 

 

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

 

 

 

July Oil of the month- Rhododendron

 

 

 

This month’s Oil of the Month comes from the remote Himalayan mountains of Nepal.  Although there are hundreds of varieties of Rhododendrons, this is the only variety that is non-toxic and the only one that can be distilled. The plant material from this very special plant has been known to be used by mountain climbers as a tea to help with their endurance.

Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon  is a beautifully soft, smooth scented essential oil and for me, it was love at first breath. It is good for issues such as tight and sore muscles and swelling. It is amazing for support to our immune system and for emotional support as well. It helps with congestion, respiratory issues, and tickly throats. It would go well in a diffuser to fight off seasonal threats.

It may be beautiful, but it’s not lazy! It also knows how to help around the house. It would be good in cleaning products and self-care products as well. You could make a DIY household cleaner or add to a shampoo, soap or body wash as well. It’s an essential oil with a cooling and moisturizing effect.

As I smelled Rhododendron, I could tell why it’s said that it can strengthen us emotionally and even give us courage. It can help with worry and sadness.

Rhododendron is a special treat and we hope you will reap the benefits of this essential oil.

 

Dreamy Body Wash

5 drops of Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon

4 drops of Bergamot Citrus bergamia

2 drops of Cedarwood Virginian Juniperus virginiana

2 drop of Roman Chamomile  Chamaemelum nobile

2 ounce of Castile Soap

2 tsp of Almond Carrier Oil

Mix well and put in pump bottle to use in shower.

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here:

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Oils, Unique Ways To Use Them Before They Oxidize

 

It may or may not surprise you to know that your essential oils do expire. Essential oils are volatile in nature; air, heat and light are not their friends, and can affect their shelf life. This shelf life varies greatly not only from one oil to the next, but is also influenced by the handling and storage conditions of the distiller, as well as by the way you store them once you receive them. Let’s look very briefly about how to properly store them, in order to get your oils to last as long as they can.

Increase Shelf Life

Essential oils are best stored in dark bottles: amber, cobalt or green. Unless stored in a very dark space, I do not recommend clear bottles. You always want to make sure that your caps are twisted tightly. Lastly is the temperature in which to store your oils. Almost all oils will fair better in the refrigerator with the exception of sesquiterpene rich oils. These oils include: Patchouli Pogostemon cablin, Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides, and Sandalwood (all varieties). These oils “can” go in the fridge, but will thicken and make pouring more challenging when you want to use them (never heat your oils). These oils tend to get better with age, rather than degrade.

A small mini fridge dedicated to your essential oils and carrier oils is ideal. If this option is not available to you, try to make a space in the main refrigerator in your home, and store them inside a wooden or plastic box.

Average Shelf Life

Essential oils have what are called functional families or functional groups. I will group them together in this way for ease of explanation to cover their shelf life. This information is important to know. I recommend writing a date on your bottles/labels when you open them, or keeping some sort of a manual or online log. Your nose will also be of great assistance in determining if your oils are no longer “fresh” and have gone off. Color changes, cloudiness, crustiness inside the cap and moisture are also signs that your oils have gone off.

(lists below are not all-inclusive)

Monoterpenes All monoterpene rich oils have an average shelf life of 1-2 years if stored properly. Of the monoterpenes, citrus and conifer oils are at the greatest risk of going off quickly. Examples of monoterpene rich oils are:

Lemon Citrus x limon
Lime Citrus x aurantifolia
Orange Sweet Citrus sinesi
Frankincense Serrata Boswellia serrata

Monoterpenols have a longer shelf life compared to monoterpenes of approximately 2-3 years when stored properly. Oils rich in monoterpenols include:

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans
Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana
Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree can oxidize faster if improperly stored)

Sesquiterpene rich oils can last as long as 4-5 years or more. A few of these oils include:

Cedarwood (all varieties)
Ginger Root Zingiber officinale
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha

Sesquiterpenols are the only functional family of oils that can improve with age. The shelf life of these oils range anywhere from 6-8 years (likely longer). They include:

Patchouli Pogostemon cablin
Sandalwood (all varieties)
Vetiver Vetiveria zizanoides

Aldehydes need special attention. These oils have a shelf life of approximately 2-4 years BUT become extreme skin irritants once oxidized. These oils include:

Cinnamon Bark Cinnamomum verum
Citronella Cymbopogon nardus
Lemongrass Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lemon Eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora
Melissa Melissa officinalis

Ketone rich oils have a shelf life of approximately 2-4 years, and although they contain therapeutic properties, “some” ketones such as thujone and pulegone are toxic and should not be used by enthusiasts (ex Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium and Wormwood Artemisia absinthium). Ketones used in common aromatherapy include:

Peppermint Mentha x piperita
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis CT Verbenone & CT camphor
(Plant Therapy carries Rosemary 1,8 Cineole  Rosmarinus officinalis)
Spearmint Mentha spicata

Phenol rich oils have a high risk of skin irritation when fresh, not even considering oxidation. Their shelf life is approximately 2-4 years. Phenol rich oils include:

Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Clove Bud Eugenia eromaticum
Thyme Thymol Thymus vulgaris 

Ethers shelf life is approximately 3-5 years, and some can be skin irritants. These include:

Basil Ocimum basilicum CT estragole
(Plant Therapy carries Basil Linalool Ocimum basilicum)
Fennel (Bitter & sweet) Foeniculum fulgare

Esters shelf life is similar to that of ethers of 3-5 years. These include:

Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile

Oxide rich oils have a shelf life or approximately 3-4 years. These include:

Eucalyptus (all varieties high in 1,8 cineole…technically a cyclic ether)
Cajuput Melaleuca cajuputi

As covered in the book, The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils, certain essential oil constituents such as monoterpenes and monoterpenoid aldehydes, combine with oxygen in the air and can form resins (polyterpenes), and others will simply oxidize. Positioning of double bonds have the potential to change, open chains can close and form rings. Essentially the entire composition of the functional group can change. Such is the case with primary alcohols, which oxidize to form aldehydes (1).

Some say to diffuse oxidized essential oils into the air or clean with them, I do not agree due to the risk of lung/respiratory irritation.

I asked aromatherapy expert Mark Webb what his take is on using oxidized oils, this is what he said:

 

“The risks of using oxidized essential oils are very real, and depending upon the degree of oxidation the risk increases dramatically. If an essential oil shows physical signs of oxidation ie aroma or color change do not continue to use but dispose of responsibly. Please don’t add oxidized essential oils to cleaning products, air fresheners and the like as you are only making matters worse. Either burn or bury the liquid” -Mark Webb

 

Now For The Fun Stuff!

Unique Ways To Use Your Oils That Are “Near” Expiration

It is important to note that the recommendations below are not for use with oxidized oils, I agree they should not be used but disposed of properly. I prefer to burn mine in an outdoor campfire. Use caution, remember oils are flammable (Do not burn indoors). The following are ideas that you may have never thought of for oils that are nearing their expiration, and are not yet showing sign of oxidation.

Goo Gone Replacement

Specific oils such as Lemon citrus x Limon and Eucalyptus eucalyptus globulus, radiata, or Smitthi are great at removing the sticky residue from old stickers, tape, and essential oil bottles you wish to reuse. Use caution on wood as the oils will remove the varnish as well.

*Use gloves so that you do not irritate your skin and make sure you have proper ventilation.

Scent Letters or Cards

In this day in age of technology, a thoughtful homemade letter or postcard is always a welcome surprise to find in the mailbox. I would choose a floral oil like Fragonia Taxandria fragrans, Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, or a small drop of Rose Otto Rosa x damascena.

Refresh Your Garbage Can

Utilizing essential oils in this way is very effective, and a great alternative to the conventional air fresheners that have the potential to be lung irritants. Rosemary1,8 Cineole Rosmarinus officinalis (any CT) and Peppermint Mentha x piperita are really helpful to combat a smelly trash can.

Clean Your Sink Drain

You need to utilize caution here, as you do not want to use too much oil and risk degrading any of the drainage system or fittings. Here is a mixture that I use once a month to avoid a rancid and/or clogged/slow drain:

Pour 2 cups boiling water down the drain and wait a few minutes.

Then pour in:

2 liters boiling water mixed with 4 tbsp dish detergent and 10 drops of Lemon Citrus x limon , Lime Citrus x aurantifolia, or Orange Sweet Citrus sinesis Essential Oil. Pour down slowly and it will not only clear clogs but will freshen the drain.

**NOTE I do not recommend using baking soda and white vinegar together down a drain. Baking soda is a base while vinegar is an acid, their chemical reaction produces water with a tiny amount of salt in it. The two together does not produce a fat destroying drain cleaner.

Teenagers? Freshen Shoes, Gym Bags and More

Sports mom? I am and mom’s I feel your pain. The smell coming from the shoes and gym bags can be overwhelming and spread through the house quickly.

Plant Therapy has a blend called “Deodorizing Synergy” that would be great to use here. The synergy contains Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini, Lemon Citrus x limon, Patchouli Pogostemon cablin, Coriander Seed Coriandrum sativum, Grapefruit Pink Citrus x paradisii, Cypress Cupressus sempervirens, Bergamot Citrus bergamia, and Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia. You can also use any of these single oils on a cotton ball and insert into shoes or gym bags to freshen them up quick.

Have Kids That Adore Stuffed Animals?

My kids had an affinity for stuffed animals. The amount of dust that accumulates on them and subsequently tiny dust mites can cause allergy symptoms in your little ones. You can combat dust mites with Buddha Wood Eremophila mitchellii (3). Place in a glass spray bottle with Solubol (4:1 Solubol to Buddha Wood) and water. It is important to shake this well as Buddha Wood is a more viscous essential oil. Spray the animals. Once sprayed let them sit out in the fresh air of the outdoors to dry.

Keep Mildew At Bay

Avoid having to use too much elbow grease to your shower and tub. Keep a 4oz glass bottle nearby with Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia oil and water to spray the surround after you wash to keep mildew at bay. (If not properly diluted and you use only tea tree and water, be sure to use gloves to wipe down to avoid skin irritation).

*Only make 3-4 ounces at a time and be sure to use up within a week without a preservative. 

Closing Thoughts

Remember, the best way to determine the state of your oils is to use your nose, and check for cloudiness and color changes, especially with the monoterpene rich oils. If they no longer smell fresh, it is time to dispose of them. As Mark Webb stated, the risks of adverse reactions increase dramatically when using oxidized oils. If you have oils that are nearing their expiration and still look and smell ok, try some of the methods I covered in your home. As you can see, there are many ways to use them that we don’t often think about. Happy experimenting aroma friends!

References:

(1) Bowles, E. J (2003) The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils (p 66)

(2) (3) Webb, M. (2015) Aromatic Medicine, Integrated Advanced Essential Oil Therapeutics for Common Clinical Conditions (p 83)

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

Essential Oils On The Feet….Effective?

 

Without a shadow of a doubt, the most popular recommendation for the topical application of essentials oils on the Internet and social media is the bottom of the feet. Would you be surprised if I told you that the feet are not one of the “best” places on your body for absorption? Let’s take a closer look at why that is.

The Integumentary System

The Integumentary system, also known as the skin, has three main layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous (fat) layer. Our skin is the largest system of the body and acts as a barrier from many things in the outside world such as microorganisms, toxic agents/chemicals and guards against dehydration. The outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, serves as our body’s primary defense.

The stratum corneum is an impressive structure of defense made up of 18-20 or more layers of corneocytes, depending on the anatomical location on the body. Corneodesmosomes are what holds the corneocytes together. There is a mortar type layering stacked between the corneocytes, comprised of ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids (1). Within and around these structures are lipids, which are compromised of a mixture of naturally occurring molecules, including various types of fats. This is important in the topical application of essential oils, more on this later.

Not everything we put onto our skin is fully absorbed into our bodies. If this were the case, we would swell something awful while soaking in the bathtub. However, when we do sit in the bathtub for an extended period of time, we get quite the wrinkled look on our fingers and toes. So this tells us that a small amount of absorption does take place (2).

In order to understand our skins ability to absorb essential oils topically, we need to understand the types of glands of the body, how they work, and other various factors of our skin.

Eccrine Glands

We have two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. The eccrine gland is the common type of sweat gland found all over the body, but is found primarily on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and forehead (eccrine glands differ from the apocrine sweat gland found in the armpit).

Why do we sweat? The purpose of the sweat gland is the body’s way of cooling itself. This is called thermoregulation and acts much like a furnace. You set a temperature on the thermostat in your home. When the temperature falls below that set degree, the furnace kicks on to maintain the desired temperature. The body needs to maintain a core temperature as well, and thermoregulation makes this happen. Explained at an elementary level, when you get hot and your body temperature rises, you sweat in an effort to cool your body down. When you are cold, your body sweats much less, and you shiver as a means of bringing your temperature back up. Hair on your arms and legs also stands on end, causing the glands to close so that your body can efficiently trap in heat, and is the cause of what we know as goose bumps (3).

When a sweat gland is stimulated, the cells secrete a solution of primarily water, with concentrations of sodium, chloride, and a small amount of potassium; also known as sweat.

There are two very important points to review in regards to this information. The first is the direction of flow so to speak of the eccrine sweat gland, and that is “out” of the body (excreting). This tells us that absorption of essential oils on the bottom of the feet, which in its nature is going “inward”, happens in minute amounts compared to other areas.

The second point, which is rooted in chemistry, is a term called “like dissolves like.” This tells us that a solvent will dissolve substances that have a similar structure (4). Essential oils are considered lipophilic (fat loving). You have undoubtedly heard that essential oils should be diluted in a fatty based carrier oil before applying to your skin. Diluting in this way not only protects you from potential skin irritation, it keeps the essential oil from quickly evaporating and allows them to slowly absorb into the skin.

We now know that an eccrine gland secretes water and is therefore an aqueous environment. The absorption of essential oils in a lipid based carrier oil happens in very minute amounts through a sweat gland.

Hair Follicles

At the base of our hair follicles are sebaceous glands. These sebaceous glands produce an oily secretion to help condition the hair and surrounding skin. This makes hair follicles lipophilic due to its oily secretion. Recent studies have shown that hair follicles can act as conduits into our skin. It has been shown that chemicals are absorbed into the skin much more quickly through hair follicles than through adjacent sections of skin that don’t have hair follicles (5).

This shows us that absorption of essential oils in a lipid-based carrier oil can happen relatively easily due to the fact that hair follicles absorb in an “inward direction”.

 Other Skin/Essential Oil Considerations

There are a few other considerations where essential oils and the skin are concerned:

*Age of skin. Babies and small children have immature skin, and elderly have thin skin. This increases the permeability of essential oils. Topical application needs to be performed in lower dilution percentages and with extra precautions.

*At best, 10% of a leave on essential oil blend will absorb when properly diluted (wash off products will be less than this)(6).

*Essential oil constituents vary in their molecular size. Smaller molecules more easily penetrate the skin, whereas large ones may penetrate very little, if at all.

The Best Bet For Your Feet

The excipient used can affect the rate of absorption of essential oil blends. For example, gels increase the rate of absorption, and fatty based carrier oils slow down the rate of absorption. There are benefits to both!

Therefore, my recommendation for application of essential oils to the bottom of the feet would be in an aloe vera gel (different from aloe vera leaf extract), rather that a lipid-based carrier oil. Aloe vera gel is water based and will increase the rate and efficiency of absorption (aloe vera gel is a penetration enhancer) (7). Plant Therapy sells a variety of Aloe Vera Jellies, perfect for this type of application.

 

 

Common Misconceptions About The Feet

*Reflexology proves that essential oils absorb through the bottoms of the feet. -Reflexology is typically performed on dry feet, no oil. The preface of reflexology is to apply various pressure techniques to certain reflex points on the feet that communicate to other areas of the body. It is NOT the essential oils on the feet that are doing the communicating (8).

*The pores of the feet are large, increasing essential oil absorption. -The absorption that does happen through the bottom of the feet are not influenced by the size of the pores, rather the chemistry of the excipient/substance being used.

*The bottoms of the feet are the safest place for babies. – It is important to know that using essential oils in any form for small babies under three months of age is not typically recommended. Few oils should be used topically between three months and two years of age. Any parent knows that babies/toddlers love to play with their feet and bring them close to their face, so any essential oil applied to the feet will be inhaled. This is likely how “absorption” is occurring in these instances, via inhalation/the lungs. I recommend gentle diffusion to obtain the same effect while removing the risk of irritating baby’s skin.

Closing

Upon closer examination, we can now see that essential oils can be applied to the bottom of the feet, but we must consider the excipient/substance being used. The most effective places  for topical application of essential oils in a fatty based carrier oil are:

*Where you have the most hair follicles
*The abdomen (9)
*The inside of the arm (10)
*And lastly, closest to the nose for maximum inhalation

Always remember that the quickest way to the blood stream will always be via inhalation. Providing you with trusted information so you can make the best decisions for you and your family, safely.

 

References

(1) Menon, G., Cleary, G., Lane, M. (2012) International Journal of Pharmaceutics. The structure and function of the stratum corneum. 435: 3–9

(2) Why do fingers wrinkle in the bath. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-fingers-wrinkle-in/

(3) Homeostasis. Retrieved from http://biologymad.com/resources/A2%20Homeostasis.pdf

(4) Understanding “Like dissolves like”. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIhWWpvKOTM

(5) Hair biology, hair follicle function. Retrieved from http://www.hairbiology.com/hair-follicle/hair-follicle-function.shtml

(6) (9) (10) Tisserand, R. Complete skin series. part 2, transdermal absorption. http://tisserandinstitute.org/

(7) Hamman, J. (2008) Composition and applications of aloe vera leaf gel. Molecules 2008, 13(8), 1599-1616://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/13/8/1599/htm

(8) Kreydin, A. (2014) Essential oils and the feet. Retrieved from http://www.amykreydin.com/essential-oils-and-the-feet/

 

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

Castile Soap DIY’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Saponified Organic Otea Europaea (Olive Oil), Saponified Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Rosemary Extract, Organic Aloe Vera.

 

Now that Plant Therapy has added Castile Soap to our line of products, I went in search of different ways to use it. To my surprise, there are hundreds of uses for it! While I am testing out and tweaking these recipes I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

 

Foaming Hand Soap

Here’s what you ‘ll need:

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Add the water to the foaming pump dispenser
  2. Add Castile Soap
  3. Add  Optiphen +
  4. Add essential oil
  5. Replace cap, shake well

 

Multi-Purpose Spray

What you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces water
  • 3 ounces white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Castile Soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon Polysorbate 20
  • 25-30 drops essential oil (I use Germ Destroyer or Germ Fighter in most batches )
  • Spray Bottle

What you’ll do:

  1.  Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray and wipe.

 

Body Wash

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Fruit and Veggie Wash

What you’ll need:

A bowl of cool water (approximately 2 quarts)

5-6 drops Castile Soap

2 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Mix together and that’s it! There is no need to rinse your fruit and veggies, they are ready to go. If you are not using them right away, just drain and store in the fridge.

 

KidSafe Shampoo

What you’ll Need:

4 ounces Castile Soap

1 tablespoon Carrier Oil of choice

4 oz plastic bottle

18 drops of KidSafe Synergy or KidSafe Single Essential Oil of choice.  (Lavender, Tea Tree or Get “Em Gone are great options).

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Bubbling Bath Salts

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Measure Epsom salt, pour into medium bowl and set aside
  2. Measure 1 TBSP coconut oil, into small dish or beaker, set aside
  3. Measure 2 mL essential oil with graduated cylinder {or drop 40-45 drops}. Pour into coconut oil
  4. Measure body wash
  5. Add carrier/essential oils mixture to the body wash, stirring well. Mixture will turn opaque and thicken slightly as you stir
  6. Add carrier/essential oil/body wash mixture to Epsom salt
  7. Stir well
  8. Package in a container of your choice, but do be sure it’s airtight!

To use, run about 1/4 cup under your warm water as you fill the tub. This is the perfect way to send yourself or your little one, or yourself, off to bed all calm and snuggly!

 

Plant Therapy’s Castile Soap is unscented making it safe for kids and adults alike to use for effective and safe cleaning. This soap is perfect for hand, body, and face washing, as well as for dishes, mopping, and other household chores. This green, nontoxic soap base is perfect because of its many, many uses. We will be sharing more of these many uses with you soon!

 

How do you like to use Castile Soap?

 

 

Wintergreen Essential Oil – Why It’s Not For Everyone!

 

Certain essential oils carry with them contraindications for their use. Some are more suspect than others, and Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens is one that needs special attention. Let’s briefly look at what the contraindications are.

Wintergreen contains the compound methyl salicylate, in some cases as much as 99%. This is no innocuous compound. Methyl salicylate is an ester, and although it does have mild analgesic properties and significant anti-inflammatory properties, it does not come without risk.

A quick Google search will bring you to multiple sites telling you to avoid using wintergreen if you have an allergy or even sensitivity to aspirin. As you can see by the infographic below, the compounds are not exactly the same between aspirin and methyl salicylate, but they are in the same family and react in very much the same way, with small differences. If you have an allergy to aspirin or a salicylate sensitivity, avoid wintergreen for all routes of use: inhalation, topical, and oral. Those that have ADD/ADHD often have this sensitivity (1).

 

Wintergreen Contraindications

There are other contraindications to keep in mind in addition to salicylate sensitivity. The following contraindications are for all routes of use (inhalation, topical, and oral):

-Avoid around any major surgery both before and after (at least one week).

-If you have any kind of bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet counts).

-If you are taking anticoagulant (blood thinning) drugs such as: aspirin, warfarin, or heparin as wintergreen can potentiate its effects (increase the effects).

-Avoid if you are pregnant or nursing. The reason for this is that methyl salicylate in large doses is teratogenic. Since we can’t ethically test on pregnant mothers, it is recommended to avoid it altogether.

-Avoid with children

-Wintergreen should be avoided for anyone that has GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), orally.

*The above contraindications were pulled from Robert Tisserand’s, Essential Oil Safety (2).

 

Using Wintergreen Responsibly

Wintergreen can absolutely be used responsibly. If you have none of the contraindications above, you can use wintergreen topically when properly diluted at a percentage no more than 2.4%. This is what 2.4% looks like:

1. 1 ounce of carrier oil to 14 drops wintergreen essential oil (rounded down)

2. ½ ounce of carrier to 7 drops of wintergreen (rounded down)

3. 10mls of carrier to 4 drops of wintergreen (rounded down)

 

 

References

(1) Food Sensitivities and ADHD.  Retrieved from http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/food-sensitivities-and-adhd/

(2) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone (p 469-470)

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

 

 

My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Recently, we discussed the practice of holistic care in “What Does Holistic Have to Do with Our Health.” Essentially, we are caring for mind, body and spirit to bring balance to our whole being for a greater state of wellbeing.

You may recall from “Food for Thought, that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. Depending on our state of mind, our body and spirit are impacted in chemical messages from the brain created by stress. This distress of the mind, especially over the long-term, can lead to dis-ease due to our body’s inability to compensate and re-balance.

Aromatherapy, in particular, the practice of holistic aromatherapy, is the perfect partner for helping to support harmony on all three levels of our existence. When we can find balance within ourselves and our environment,  we can experience a greater sense of optimal wellbeing.

Each essential oil and extract has its own therapeutic profile and value, often with multiple core applications.

And, often, we blend synergies from a selection of essential oils to create the holistic profile we are seeking as we did to accompany self-balancing activities outlined in Balancing Our Whole Being.”

There are, however, some essential oils and extracts that are just excellent at equally supporting and entire being.

I find myself reaching over and again for three in particular when I want well-rounded and robust support to bring my being back into balance.

The three I love the most for holistic use are: Bergamot, Fragonia and Blue Yarrow. Oh my goodness, do I love the gifts of these oils.

On their own, they are wonderful to bring equilibrium to mind, body and spirit. Mixed in other synergies, they enhance the holistic value. In my opinion, blended together, they create something extraordinary.

Below, you will find why I consider these my top three essences as my very favorites for holistic support on all three levels — mind, body and spirit.

In addition, I have included one of my very favorite blends with the added benefit of a soothing bath. I find this one of the best ways to find balance from within for my whole being.

As always, I  encourage you to consider options that match your own unique needs.

 

Bergamot Citrus bergamia  (bergapten free)

Bergamot is a favorite for its array of uses and its sunny scent. Bergamot is an incredibly uplifting, calming and balancing essential oil.

It is especially helpful when you feel off balance due to nervous tension and when you need to invite in more positive thinking and energy.

Mind:  Balancing to emotions. Uplifting and calming.  Promotes positive thinking while helping to release negative emotions.

Body: Supports the body in returning to a state of relaxation. Soothes the nervous system and smooths nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit: Helps to harmonize the spirit, especially when affected by strong, negative emotions. Supports the ability to receive positive energy and helps our natural energy to flow smoothly.

 

 

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

Fragonia is highly valued for its uniquely balanced composition. It, too, has a wide array of core therapeutic uses and has a soft, refreshing scent.

It is especially helpful for letting go of old emotional thought patterns and negative energy blocks that are impacting your balance and wellbeing.

Mind:  Helps to release old emotional patterns. Calming and uplifting, it helps to reduce worry and nervous tension.

Body:  Balancing to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving to nervous tension creating discomfort in the body.

Spirit:  Helps to release deep-seated blocks in the energy flow caused by old wounds. Strengthening to the spirit.

 

 

Blue Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Blue yarrow has been prized throughout time for its ability to support wounds on all levels. Though it provides powerful support, it is gentle in nature.

Its “blue” constituents are especially helpful to bring a cooling sense of balance to  heated conditions of mind, body and spirit.

Mind:  Supports emotional equilibrium. Helps to calm worry and nervous tension.

Body: Calming to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving for nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit:  Powerful support in releasing blocks created by repressed strong, negative emotions. Helps to support a smooth natural energy flow. Balanced between opposing energies, it helps to equalize these energies in our own being.

 

Balancing Bath Blend

2 drops Bergamot  Citrus bergamia

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Mix with 2 T natural, unscented body wash

Add 1/2 c of Epsom Salts and mix.

Add to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Bringing the best of the abilities from my top three oils for whole being balance. This is an especially wonderful immersion experience before bedtime. 

 


Sources:

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. New York: Fall River, 2014. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 2005. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours, 2004. Print.