Essential Oils Blog

DIY Perfume

 

Essential Oils are used for practical purposes, but from time to time it is nice to be able to use them to make us feel good and smell good. Below are 3 recipes that Plant Therapy’s Certified Aromatherapists really enjoy. And for those of you who took advantage of Plant Therapy’s Day 5  Sale and received the perfume bottle as a free gift, you will love adding these to your recipe file.

 

Woodland Blooms

3 drops Mandarin Citrus reticulata

2 drops Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara

1 drop Jasmine Absolute Jasminum sambac

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Peaceful Spring

2 drops Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Vanilla Orange Blossoms

3 drops Orange Blood Citrus sinensis

2 drops Vanilla Oleoresin Vanilla planifolia

1 drop Ylang Ylang Complete Cananga odorata

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Should You Use Essential Oils In Your Food And Beverage?

 

Would you be surprised to know that the majority of the essential oils extracted from plants is primarily used in food, flavoring, and preservatives, with only a small percentage for its therapeutic properties in aromatherapy? Well, it’s true! This is, perhaps, why there is so much confusion about whether or not it is safe or proper to place essential oils in our food and water/beverages.

Essential oils are used in a variety of ways that many consumers are not even aware of such as:

*Soft drinks
*Distilled alcoholic beverages
*Natural food additives in food preparation
*Confectionery food
*Meat preservation (utilizing their antioxidant capabilities)
*Used as a coating for food packaging films to enhance the shelf life  of the food

There is one major missing link in all of this, the aromatics that are used in these applications, are not the same as the essential oils as we know them to be. What do I mean by this? Let’s dig a little bit deeper.

Aromatics In The Food And Beverage Industry

Consumer essential oils are not appropriate for use as food and beverage flavoring. What is being used in the food and beverage industry is absolutes, oleoresin extracts, and liquid CO2’s (carbon dioxide extracts).

Absolutes are extracts used in flavoring. They are extracted from the fragile flowering plant material by using a solvent like hexane (1). Absolutes are also frequently used in perfumery.

Oleoresins are prepared the same way as absolutes but use the dried herb and spice.

CO2’s is where the current excitement is in the industry, and is quickly finding it’s way into the aromatherapy world thanks to pioneers like Mark Webb from Australia and Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes from the Netherlands. There are three types of extracts of CO2’s: liquid subcritical CO2, select CO2, and complete or total CO2.

Unlike steam distillation, CO2 extraction is performed by using carbon dioxide at varying temperatures and pressures. Once the plant material is extracted, the CO2 returns to its gaseous state and what you are left with is the CO2 extract. These extracts are very rich, are much closer to the true plant, are richer in flavor and color, and in most cases have a much longer shelf life than the essential oil counterpart, without chemical alterations (2).

 

CO2 extraction has been around for decades; the use of liquid CO2 for extraction of fruit juice concentrates was reported as early as 1939 (3).

 

Absolutes and oleoresins are typically deterpenated (4) or rectified (5). Deterpination increases the bioavailability of the oils; rectification removes possible impurities. These are the substances being used in the food and beverage industry. They are cleaner and safer. What is being used is not the essential oil as we know them and for good reason. These methods are what make them safe for human consumption in food and beverage.

Aromatics in Beverages

Folded Citrus Oils 

Folded oils may also be a new term for you. These oils are what are commonly used in beverages. A folded oil has been fractionated to remove the terpenes. This process of fractionation is when an oil is re-distilled to remove unwanted isolates, in this case limonene (6). Removing the terpenes makes them safer for consumption in beverages. This does remove the basic therapeutic properties, but is useful for flavoring.

Lemon-lime sodas use folded essential oils from lemon, lime, neroli, and orange; and orange sodas are made from concentrates containing folded orange oil as the major component. Because these oils are hydrophobic, a soda is really a very dilute oil-in-water suspension. Therefore, the concentrate must be presented as a concentrated oil-in-water emulsion (7).

Again, these are not the same as the oils we use aromatically, and are done in a very specific emulsion, not placing a drop of essential oil in a glass of water.

 

 

Essential Oils Rich In Limonene Dropped Into Your Water

What are the issues with dropping limonene rich citrus oils in your water? When you add a drop of essential oil to a glass of water it doesn’t blend/mix with the water. Essential oils will sit right on top of the water, therefore will be the first thing to hit your lips and delicate tissues in your mouth.

The first signs of distress may be mouth and throat irritation, and upset stomach. If this method of use is continued, there is an increased risk of becoming sensitized to the chemical components in the oil. Symptoms such as nausea, migraine, heartburn, and even stronger reactions such as hives and elevated liver enzymes can result.

Oral dosing of essential oils can interfere with medication and can aggravate other medical conditions. You may have heard something like “certain oils are GRAS” (generally recognized as safe for consumption), but this applies to consuming in food (food additives), not in water.

Where Else Can We Find Limonene?

Limonene is a known potent degreaser; it dissolves lipids. Limonene is used in the automotive industry, for things such as:

*Removal of tar, asphalt, gum, and gasoline spills
*Cleans grease and grime from car parts
*Concrete cleaner
*Limonene is in the popular product Goo Gone (8)

In these industrial type products, the limonene must first be combined with a surfactant in order to be effective (9).

Now that we know that limonene is not recommended for consumption in water and why, let’s very briefly take a look at essential oils in our food.

Essential Oils In Food

In comparison to adding essential oil to liquids to drink, adding to food is not “as much” of a concern. Remember in the food and flavoring industry, what is being added to foods (absolutes, oleoresins, CO2’s) is still very different from the essential oil.

One drop of an essential oil to a recipe “as long as” you have a decent fat source included (is, butter, crème, fatty vegetable oil, etc.) is likely ok. Add more than one drop, and you may very quickly ruin the recipe, so use caution. The better choice here is CO2’s. If you are new to using CO2’s, be sure to learn the appropriate dilution ratios as well as contraindications as they are often different from the essential oil.

Closing

As you can see, there are many misconceptions regarding the use of essential oils in food and beverages. Using straight essential oils in beverages is too risky a practice. I recommend using the true citrus fruit for your water. Knowing the proper method of use is crucial. When you are armed with the proper information, you can make informed decisions for yourself and your family.

 

References

(1) (2) Webb, M. (2016) CO2 Extracts. The How, What, Where, When and Why in Aromatic Therapies. (p 7, 9)

(3) Mukhopadhyay, M. (2000) Natural Extracts Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide. CRC Press LLC (p 166)

(4) Arce, A., Soto, A. (2008) Citrus Essential Oils: Extraction and Deterpenation. Tree and Forestry Science and Biotechnology. Retrieved from http://www.globalsciencebooks.info/Online/GSBOnline/images/0812/TFSB_2(SI1)/TFSB_2(SI1)1-9o.pdf

(5) Rectification and Fractionation of Essential Oils. (2014) Retrieved from
http://www.epharmacognosy.com/2014/11/rectification-and-fractionation-of.html

(6) http://roberttisserand.com/2014/01/re-distilled-essential-oils/

(7) Preedy, V. (2016) Essential Oils In Food Preservation, Flavor, and Safety. London: Elsevier (p 116-117)

(8) Material Safety Data Sheet Goo Gone Liquid. Retrieved from
https://googone.com/uploads/msds/goo-gone-original.pdf

(9) d’Limonene Products. Retrieved from
http://www.biochemcorp.com/dlimonene2.htm

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Philippines – In Search of Essential Oils

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines. It was an incredible experience, where I learned just how hospitable and kind the Filipino people really are. This was a trip that I was especially excited about because my mother has been serving a religious mission helping people with self reliance in Quezon City for the past 16 months and I hadn’t seen her during that time. She met me at the airport and accompanied me on my travels for the next two weeks.

A long flight seems longer when you are excited to see someone!

 

Finally here!

 

I arrived late at night and got around 4 hours sleep before heading back to the airport to catch our flight to Bacolod. We made the short drive to Bago City where we met the owner and founder of an herbal supplements company. They have recently moved into distilling essential oils and we wanted to see their process and facility. We experienced the freshly distilled local citrus fruits of Calamansi and Dalandan. They had also distilled some Elemi and Organic Eucalyptus.

Visiting a company that distills and checking out their essential oils. Quality always…

 

After a productive visit in Bago City, we drove across town to visit Auke, the founder of a 12-year-old lemongrass co-op called AID Foundation. They have a great vision of helping those in need, which is perfectly in line with ours at Plant Therapy. Many of the people of this region are very poor with limited means to produce income. Many only have access to two resources… time and land. AID Foundation employs agronomists that will go into these rural communities and teach the local people farming techniques and help them set up an operation where they can earn a living.

No, this is a not a blood bank above… It is a supply  of essential oils.  The bottom picture is of a still.  For some communities this is the key to their livelihood.

 

These are the specifics of a small lemongrass operation… They require roughly 25-30 families to participate if they want to have their own still. They will help the community get water using a ram pump- this is an incredible invention that can pump water uphill without the use of electricity. Once water is available they will plant 20,000 lemongrass plants on a hectare of ground- just under 2.5 acres. They can harvest the lemongrass plant every two months. It can be cut low and it will just continue to grow. The cut grass is then left to dry for two days before being placed in the still. 180 kg (400 lbs) of dry material is placed in the still and steamed for 3 hours. This will produce one kg (2.2 lbs) of pure lemongrass essential oil. The oil is then put into a one liter bottle and labeled with the farmer’s name, location, date, and batch number. The spent leaves are put into compost boxes and later returned to the farms as fertilizer. This is the only adjuvant that is added to lemongrass farms. Every few years they will rotate out the crop to grow some root crops like Ginger or Turmeric. The farmer’s all own the distillation equipment and get paid a certain amount of money for each batch of oil that is produced. The AID foundation then sells the lemongrass oil and uses any profits to help another community get set up. I love their mission, values, product and facilities. Unfortunately, we aren’t currently buying products from them because their prices are too high. It doesn’t make sense for them to lower them to the bulk market prices because that would defeat the whole purpose of the co-op, which is to help the farmers. In addition, we batch test every oil and it would be cost prohibitive to test the oil from every 2.2 lb batch. We are working on some ideas that will allow us to work these small artisan distilleries, so that is something I am excited about in Plant Therapy’s future.

Some beautiful Lemongrass fields handled with love and care.

 

The following morning, we flew out to Cagayan de Oro. We spent two days visiting small farms and a distillery there. Many of these rural farmers are living on less than $1 per meal for their family of 6-7. They are primarily eating rice. In fact, it appears that most Filipino people love their rice, consuming it 3 times per day. We ate it multiple times per day, every day of the trip. If you were to visit a KFC or McDonalds there you are going to be served rice. I was also told that if they don’t eat some rice, many don’t consider it an actual meal. One can eat pizza or a sandwich, etc. but without rice, it is just considered a “snack”.

We visited an oil distiller in Sitio Danao.

 

Most of these farmers are also part of a co-op using only organic farming methods. The farms are sprayed with neem oil (native to the Philippines), molasses, and beneficial fungi. When the crops are harvested, they are sold to the co-op which pays them on a per-pound basis.

Another precious yield of the Phillipines.

 

When we returned to Manila we were able to visit with some suppliers of both Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as well as Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO). Plant Therapy is in a unique position within the FCO market. As you may or may not be aware, the vast majority of products being sold as FCO in the retail market are not made from coconuts at all. It is actually a palm oil that, when processed, resembles FCO. Even though most people can’t tell the difference, we will not sell something as coconut oil unless we are absolutely certain it is actually coconut oil. For that reason, we require proof from our suppliers that it is 100% coconut oil. We are the only company, that I am aware of, with that requirement.

Meeting with some of our suppliers of our wonderful Coconut Oil. We are one company that requires proof that our Coconut products are 100% coconut.

 

The Philippines is an incredibly beautiful country. During my time there we were also able to do many “touristy” type things. Including the following: Dahilayan Adventure Park, whitewater rafting, Zoobic Safari, American Cemetery, WWII battle sites, Underground River, a crocodile farm, weaving factory, Honda Bay tour, Starfish Island, Luli Island, Cowrie Island, Pagsanjan Falls, Taal Volcano, and Art in Island. It is a place I would love to visit again in the future to continue the pursuit of charitable and business opportunities there.

Taking time to play with Mom!

Determining Method Of Use

 

With the variety of ways to use essential oils, including some you may not have thought of before, how do you determine which is the most effective way for specific concerns? I have chosen four different concerns, some of them quite common for adults and children alike, and will share with you some methods of use that you may or may not have tried before. I will also touch on which methods would really not be useful and why, in order to get you more comfortable making these decisions at home.

Aches And Pains

There are a few different methods to finding relief. Now understand that the methods I am about to share are not a replacement for modern medicine. If you are currently working with a doctor, I do not recommend severing that relationship. Pain in any form can be challenging to manage, but it can be done. Just remember, essential oils are meant to be complimentary.

Perception

Emotions have been shown to alter pain perception. However, due to the fact that everyone has a different tolerance to pain, and the threshold can vary greatly dependent upon various circumstances in life, studying pain can be challenging. A randomized crossover study that was completed in 2004, showed that inhalation of Lavender essential oil altered pain perception (1). These were not actual analgesic (physical pain relief) findings, but anyone who suffers with pain, especially chronic pain, knows that emotions are very much affected and are an integral part of the discomfort. Altering the perception of pain can be very useful.

Diffusing Essential Oils for Pain Perception

Most all of us have diffused essential oils for shifting our frame of mind. If you suffer from aches and pains, try calming the mind by diffusing Lavender Lavandula angustifolia and see if it helps to shift your perception of the discomfort.

*Alternatively, you can try other oils that you know work best for you to center and calm, and see if you receive any benefits.

Topical Use

Topical use of essential oils should be the go to for discomfort. You can accomplish this via a blend in a carrier oil, or placing them in the bath.

These are a few of the essential oils (and CO2’s) that I would consider using topically when discomfort arises (the CO2’s will be more efficient in this regard):

Black pepper Piper nigrum
Frankincense CO2 Boswellia carteri
German chamomile EO or CO2 Matricaria recutita
Ginger Root EO or CO2 Zingiber officinalis
Kunzea Kunzea ambigua *My pick!

Juniper Berry Juniperus communis
Laurel Leaf Laurus nobilis
Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile

Follow proper dilution ratios. If this is for a spot treatment such as a knee, elbow, shoulder, etc, you may go a little bit higher on the dilution. The type of excipient used will make a difference as well. For example, for longer lasting relief (chronic in nature), use a fatty based carrier oil such as Jojoba or Almond. The carrier oil facilitates slower absorption of the essential oils over a longer period of time. If you are looking for speedy relief (acute in nature), you may want to try Aloe Vera Jelly as your excipient, allowing for quicker absorption.

*I do not recommend taking essential oils internally for discomforts. It is not the best method of use, nor will it be as effective as topical and inhalation combined.

 

 

Bathing/Soaking

The oils above can also be properly diluted for the bath. Epsom salts is a great addition for discomfort levels. Make note that Epsom salts alone is not suitable with essential oils as a proper disbursement.

*Please follow this link here to learn about essential oils in the bathtub.

Soothing A Fever

Before I dive into a few of my ideas for soothing the discomforts of a fever, I want to state that fevers are our friend. Fevers are a sign that your body is fighting an infection, it tells us our body is in good working order. The goal here is to make yourself or your child more comfortable. Reducing a fever in most cases is not recommended. I understand how difficult it can be to see your child uncomfortable, and I have been there many times, but resist the urge to try to lower the temperature as this is essentially suppressing the immune system from fighting off the current invader.

Aloe Vera Jelly, when used on the skin has cooling properties on its own. Add the following essential oils (1% dilution will be effective here) for additional cooling effects.

Fever Jelly

3 drops Cypress Cupressus sempervirens
2 drops Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
2 drops Peppermint Mentha piperita
30 ml Aloe Vera jelly

(This blend is 0.3% peppermint, safe for children three and up)

Hydrosols can be used for children and babies alike (Peppermint Hydrosol is for three and up). Hydrosols alone, like essential oils, will soothe, but not lower the temperature.

Hydrosol Spray

Peppermint hydrosol Mentha piperita 1tsp
4 oz spray bottle of water

This is a 5% dilution and can be used for children three and up. You can substitute Rose Rosa damascena hydrosol for babies. An alternative to spraying this mixture on the skin to soothe is soaking a small washcloth for the forehead and neck.

*Use this product up in the course of one fever/illness as there is no preservative included. Read more about preservatives here.

*Just remember the goal is to make the patient comfortable. Neither essential oils nor hydrosols will physically reduce fever, but can go a long way to soothe and comfort.

*Responsible diffusing for limiting the spread of germs will be helpful here as well, but essential oils are not meant to be utilized in this way every day as a preventative measure.

Sluggish Bowel

It is not uncommon for children to have sluggish bowels; but adults can as well while taking certain medications, or for other various reasons. Aromatherapy can be useful to help maintain healthy moving bowels.

Abdominal Washing

I first used abdominal washing after reading Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes book Complementary Nursing in End of Life Care (2).

The theory of abdominal washing is that by placing a cool cloth on the abdomen, it triggers the thermoregulatory system of the body to send warmth to that area. The warmth that is created greatly relaxes the bowels.

You can greatly enhance this by combining aromatherapy. Here are a few possible additions:

Ginger Root EO or CO2 Zingiber officinalis or
Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile for any abdominal discomfort.
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia is also a great addition for its calming effects.

What you’ll need:

-A terrycloth towel (a hand-cloth will be best for little ones)
-One half liter of cool not cold water (about 2 cups)
-You will need a proper emulsifier. My recommendation here would be a carrier oil.
-Your pick of the essential oils above. Blend 10 drops of essential oil into 20 mls (just under 1.5 tbsp) of you carrier oil of choice. Mix well.

After applying the cool (not cold) cloth for a couple of minutes, begin your abdominal massage. Re-wet the cloth and lightly wring it out. Use two fingers over the cloth for a baby or small child, moving up to four fingers for larger child or adult. Slowly massage the essential oil mixture on the cloth in the direction of the intestines slowly and with care. Begin on the right side and trace the colon in a clockwise direction as shown in the image below. There is no need to apply pressure; a gentle, rhythmic movement is all that is necessary.

If you do not have access to be able to perform the abdominal wash, an abdominal massage will still be very beneficial.

 

This action will greatly help to support a healthy moving bowel.

Respiratory Congestion

There are many things that can help ease the discomforts of respiratory congestion, helping you to breathe easier.

Steam Bowl/Tent

My go to for respiratory congestion is utilizing a steam tent or a steam bowl. Adults can utilize either, but for children I recommend using a bowl. Use stainless steel or glass as they are both non-reactive to essential oils, avoid plastic.

My first recommendation is a blend of two essential oils for an adult. Eucalyptus Eucalyptus radiata is the “smoother” of the various varieties of Eucalyptus, it does not have so much of an in your face effect, and the 1,8 cineole levels are great to help support a healthy respiratory system and ease breathing. The second oil is Pine Pinus sylvestris, containing a large amount of pinene, a great decongestant. These two oils complement each other well and will help to assist in more comfortable breathing as your immune system works to restore homeostasis.

My second recommendation is a blend of two oils for a child. Fragonia™ Agonis Fragrans is a shrub native to Western Australia and is a powerhouse for respiratory support. Fragonia™ essential oil has an impressive chemical makeup including: 1,8 cineole, alpha pinene, and terpineol, making this oil my choice in this blend along with Fir Needle Abies sibirica. Fir needle has an uplifting, fresh scent—is rich in monoterpenes, and helps ease congested breathing associated with seasonal illness. Paired with Fragonia™, this is a powerhouse blend.

 

 

It is important to know a few things in regards to a steam bowl for a child. The first is the amount of oil that you will be using. One drop is typically sufficient, but you can go as high as two drops. In order to prepare this blend, make a small amount of master blend, so you are able to use one drop at a time.

Make sure to supervise your child the entire time. Since this is pure oil in water, and very warm water at that, you will want to make sure they are not touching the water. You also want to make sure that they keep their eyes closed to avoid irritation.

Pour the water into the bowl and add your oil. Have them lean over the bowl and cover their head with the towel.

Instruct them to breathe through their nose and mouth, alternating as they go, until there is no longer steam present. The steam will likely last anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Steam bowls/tents are very effective; you can safely perform a steam bowl or tent every 2-3 hours as needed.

Chest Rub

Topical use of essential oils can be helpful in a chest rub for respiratory congestion. I recommend a salve for this purpose as it will hold the oils on top of the skin longer, helping to open up the airways.

What you’ll need (you can half or double recipe if needed):

-4 oz glass container
Beeswax pearls 2-3 tbsp
Carrier oil of your choice (I prefer Jojoba here, a wax) Just under 4 oz or 1/2 cup
-Small saucepan, fully washed/sanitized and dried.
-Essential oils

Over very low heat, place your carrier oil and beeswax into the saucepan. Melt the beeswax slowly, mixing often. Turn off the heat and let it begin to cool. You will have to keep a watchful eye on the saucepan, if you let it cool down too much the blend will begin to thicken/harden. Here are my dilution recommendations, they are on the higher end in order to be effective, yet safe. I always recommend using a scale when measuring your oils for accuracy. If you do not have one at your disposal, use a pipette for consistent measuring:

Adults (5%)
After blend begins to cool, add 80 drops Eucalyptus and 40 drops of Pine. Mix well and pour into your glass container. Let cool before covering with a lid.

Children six and up (3%)
Add 45 drops Fragonia and 27 drops of Fir needle.

Children two to six (2%)
Add 30 drops Fragonia and 18 drops of Fir needle.

This does not need a preservative as it is an anhydrous (without water) product. Best practice would be to scoop out the product using a tongue depressor or spoon, but at the very least make sure that you have clean, dry hands before using. Introducing moisture from your hands will increase the rate of spoilage.

*Applying oils in carrier oil will not be as effective in regards to length of time of relief, but can be done if you do not have beeswax.

*Diffusing/inhalers can help with respiratory support as well, but will not be as effective as a steam tent. Aromatic medicine can be utilized if you are working with a trained professional.

Closing

I hope that this helped you to determine which method would be the most helpful in these instances. If you have any questions, we invite you to reach out to one of our on staff aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

References

(1) Gedney, J., Glover, T., Fillingim, R. (2004) Sensory and Affective Pain Discrimination After Inhalation of Essential Oils. Psychosomatic Medicine. 66(4): 599-606

(2) Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes, M., Complementary nursing in end of life care. (2015) Wernhout, NL; Kicozo publishing (p 98-99)

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.

June Oil of the Month – Lemon Myrtle

An essential oil that is as lemony, if not more than Lemon? How can that be? Lemon Myrtle is incredibly lemony. Australians love Lemon Myrtle for many reasons and are very familiar with it. The leaves of this plant are dried and ground up for a spice and used in many delectable dishes. The leaves are also used in something interesting called “Bush Tucker”. Bush tucker or bushfood is various food that is native to Australia and is used by the original inhabitants for culinary and medical reasons, and also for sustenance.

Lemon Myrtle plant also packs a punch. The Rideal-Walker test estimates the antimicrobial activity of plants. The higher the score, the more effective the plant. According to this test, it scored Lemon Myrtle plant a 16, Tea Tree plant an 11, and Eucalyptus Citriodora plant an 8. Again, this speaks of the plant itself. We will be presenting the essential oil, which is highly concentrated and powerful.

Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil (Backhousia Citriodora) is an elevating beautiful scent that is no shrinking violet. It has some amazing properties. Even in small amounts, it is still a force to be reckoned with. It is great for deodorizing and cleaning DIYs, to battle occasional seasonal threats and to freshen a room. It can be helpful for conditions that can develop when feet are moist and warm too often. It also has been shown to be helpful in relaxing and uplifting. When diffusing, use just a small amount, as a little goes a long way. Due to its high citral content, we recommend a low dilution of under 0.7%.

Some essential oils that would go well with Lemon Myrtle are; Cedarwood Virginian, Sandalwood Australian, Fragonia, and Blue Cypress.

Here is a diffuser recipe to help you become acquainted with this lovely, fresh essential oil.

 

Diffuser Blend   – This is good for respiratory and is uplifting.  Of course this is just an example for an ultrasonic diffuser and you can modify to your liking and to your diffuser. This is not a KidsSafe® blend.

2 drop Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

4 drops Cedarwood Virginian (Juniperus virginiana)

2 drops Fragonia (Taxandria fragrans)

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here

 

Reflections of a Summer Lover

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Oh happy days are here!

I am a child of summer.  And, my inner child remains happiest in the season of the sun. This I have learned about myself.

Summer is when my spirit feels most buoyant and unbound. Joy is easier to access as it readily bubbles to the surface.

If winter is the hibernal season, and spring is of renewal, for me summer is a  season of sustenance.

Our mind, body and spirits are nourished by the abundance of sunshine and daylight, the refreshing array fresh fruit and vegetables, the heady scent of summer blooms, and the frequency of the dazzling dragonflies. For many, these beautiful, blessed dragonflies — whose magical beauty shimmers under the summer sun —  represent and remind us of the ability to reflect light for the greater good.

I arrived in this world as a native to perpetually sunny Southern California. Though I was born in December, it was as summer-like, bright, 85-degree-day.

Reflecting back, I realize my spirit has always sought the sun  ever since  to find and create summer for my soul wherever I happen to be.

As a child in Southern California there was joyful abandon playing outdoors and walking barefoot in the grass, especially with the heady scent of the orange groves at the end of our street.

Later, I lived by the beach there and spent every summer day of my teen-age years barefoot in the sand and jumping through the waves.

To this day, I prefer my feet unbound to feel more grounded. If I am not barefoot, then flip flops are the footwear of choice. From my perspective, you cannot have too many pairs.

In my early adulthood, I moved to the Midwest for work. That’s when I quickly realized I needed sunlight and warmth to feel vital and nourished. What I had taken for granted, now needed to be recreated. If it was going to take awhile for summer to come to me where I was, then I needed to go in search of  summer.

Winters breaks became tropical getaways to the Caribbean where the season of the sun was only a flight away.  Immediately upon arrival, my whole being was transported by the soft air, shimmering waters, and the sun in the sky. Not only did my body thaw, but any tension I carried immediately melted away.  Breathing in the sea breeze allowed me to clear the clutter in my head, returning back to real life with a sense of renewed clarity.

Later, I moved to New England with shorter winters, but also shorter summers. This meant ensuring that I savored every drop of summer while it was in season. I joined the tradition of spending idyllic long weekends on Cape Cod. Crossing that bridge from the mainland marked the point where I was able to let go of the go-go-go and relax into loafing.

Now, I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Another west coast for sunsets on the sea and walks on the beach framed by turquoise water and white sugar sand.  And, though actual summer  is a swelter, but most of the rest of the year we live in season as if it  is part of our daily life.  My challenge here is taking the time from daily life to enjoy living in paradise.

No matter where you live, and what your experience, you can always create your own summer for the spirit. Aromatherapy offers a natural opportunity to help create that buoyant and relaxed state of mind.   Even when you can’t break away to chase the sun, a sniff of the synergies evoking the sense of summer can transport you instantly to to a mini-break in your own mind’s eye.

For me, the sensory experiences of the summer season call for a switch to scents that are fresher and cooling  such as citrus and mints.

To help you get started, or to inspire you to create your own experiences, I offer below some summer loving synergies curated from my own collection to evoke favorite seasonal memories.

These were created for inhalation purposes to most readily connect with the mind and spirit. I prefer to make these in a personal inhaler to have with me when needed. You may also choose to use your diffuser, with the exception of the Beach Rose synergy because the rose otto 10% is diluted in vegetable oil, which can damage the unit.

 

I wish you an abundance of sun in your spirit!

 

Inner Child

This uplifting and cheerful blend helps restore my joy of the simple life on a sunny day during my childhood in Southern California.

2 drops Grapefruit Pink, Citrus x paradisi

2 drops Mandarin, Citrus reticulata

1 drop Spearmint, Mentha spicata

 

Mental Mojito

This refreshing and revitalizing scent helps when I need that sense of clear -headed clarity created after a Caribbean Vacation. 

3 drops Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

2 drops Peppermint,  Mentha x piperita

 

Beach Rose  

This soothing scent is evocative of the slow days, sand dunes, and snow cones of Cape Cod where I crossed the bridge into a state of contentment and relaxation.

2 drops Rose Otto (Diluted at 10%)  Rosa damascena 

2 drops Sandalwood Australian, Santalum spicatum

1 drop BergamotCitrus bergamia

 

Sangria Siesta 

(for Inhalation)

This deeply relaxing and uplifting synergy is reflective of the lazy days of a Florida summer calling for loafing on the lanai for rest and reflection.

2 drops Davana, Artemisia pallens

1 drop Lemon, Citrus x limon

1 drop Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Orange SweetCitrus sinensis

Dandelion Infused Carrier Oil DIY

Spring is in the air and the Dandelions are once again popping their bright yellow heads out of the ground. Up until recently I have never looked at these pesky lawn ornaments as beneficial-only as the usual weed that I struggle to banish from my perfectly groomed lawn. But boy does my heart melt every single time my toddler brings me her gorgeous bouquet of freshly picked dandelions. I don’t dare throw them out and break her little heart – so random cups of water, with yellow blossoms floating in them litter my kitchen all summer long.

So what’s so great about these bouts of infestation consuming my luscious green grass? Fresh dandelions are beneficial for a variety of reasons. To my surprise, every part of a dandelion is useful including the flower, stem, roots and leaves. Dandelions are extremely beneficial for fighting bacteria and helping to heal wounds. They have been considered a natural food source for so long due to having a very high vitamin and mineral content (even higher than vegetables) and are used to decorate salads or to be eaten raw in many countries. You can boil them, or dip them in batter and fry them. Due to the fact that dandelions are such a sustainable plant and they are easily grown, they can be used year-round for a multitude of medicinal purposes.

The dandelion dates back to the early 1800’s and is said to originate in Europe, where they used to rid their lawn of the grass in order to make more room for dandelions and other “weeds.” The name “Dandelion” is an English corruption of the French name for this plant: “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”, a reference to the tooth-like serrations on the plant’s leaves.” (Ehrlich, 2015)

As for therapeutic properties, they are gentle, calming, and have pain relieving qualities that can be beneficial for muscle rubs and over-exertion balms. Dandelion infused carrier oil is perfect for beauty products or for topical applications due to its healing properties. It can also help reduce feelings of worry and is skin moisturizing. Dandelions are chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, are an appetite stimulant, and are great for upset stomach. Dandelions can also help with digestion and help fight inflammation.

Next let’s talk about how to make a Dandelion Infused Carrier Oil. First of all, there are different infusion methods you can use to extract the medicinal benefits of the Dandelion. There is the Solar-infused method, cold infusion method, and double-boiler method. This recipe is going to be for the cold infusion method.

Any carrier oil can be used for this recipe, the only thing you should keep in mind is the shelf life of the carrier oil – this will determine how long your dandelion infused carrier oil will last. I chose to use a blend of Camellia Seed Carrier Oil (12-18 months) and Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil (2 years). Some excellent alternatives are Almond Carrier Oil, Argan Carrier Oil  or Jojoba Carrier Oil (which will extend the shelf life of the carrier oil).

Before you begin picking, always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals. When you go out to pick your dandelions make sure it is a bright sunny day and late enough in the afternoon that all the dew has evaporated. You want to pick enough of them to fill up your mason jar. Shake each individual flower head gently to evacuate any small inhabitants that may be living in them.

Once the jar is full, fill your mason jar with your choice of carrier oil until it covers the dandelions completely. You do not want your dandelions to be sticking out of the oil because the air and moisture can inhibit bacteria growth and lead to molding. Once they are completely submerged in the oil, stir gently to ensure all the air bubbles have been removed and place in a sunny window. You can cover the oil with a breathable mesh such as cheesecloth or a coffee filter to be sure no foreign objects fall into the oil while it is infusing.

 Let the oil sit, stirring every few days, for 2-3 weeks. Dandelions can be left in the window for up to 4 weeks if you choose to make the carrier oil more aromatic, but any longer could result in bacteria growth and mold. This method of infusion is called the “cold infusion method” because you do not use heat to extract the properties from the dandelion. Once the 2-3 weeks has elapsed, use a slotted spoon to remove the dandelion heads, then strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh cloth to remove any small particles. Also, you will want to store the oil in a cool, dark place as you would any other carrier oil.  To calculate the shelf life of your dandelion infused oil take average of the shelf life your carrier oils have; for this particular recipe, it would be about 21 months.

When the oil is finished there are so many different DIY products you could use it for. It can be used to create an oil blend, salve, or butter for pain associated with age and over-exertion. It can be added to a lotion which would be beneficial for dry chapped skin. Making a facial toner is a great option as well, due to the inflammation and healing properties of the dandelions. Don’t forget that the carrier oil alone has added therapeutic properties, so making this dandelion infusion then becomes a powerhouse for therapeutic benefits.

Helpful Hints:
  • Always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals.
  • Only pick dandelions once the dew has evaporated on a warm sunny day.
  • Shake/tap gently to remove inhabitants.
  • Check your carrier oil for mold growth and air bubbles every couple of days while it is in the sunny window. (If you get a small patch of mold on one of the flower heads it should still be fine, but if there is too much you may consider throwing it out and beginning again.)
  • Store your dandelion infused carrier oil in a cool, dark place.
  • Label your container with the infusion date to ensure accurate shelf life.
  • Be sure to use clean, dry containers and utensils when preparing your dandelions for infusion.

 

“When you look at a field of dandelions you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.”

– Unknown

 

References:

Ehrlich, S. D. (2015, June 22). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from Dandelion: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

 

What do you like to infuse your carrier oils with?

Father’s Day Essential Oil Gifts He Will Love

 

 

Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 18th this year and I am here to help you create the perfect gift. Not many men are into pampering themselves, or “think they like” many of the scents of essential oils, florals for example. I am here to tell you that there are so many essential oils that your man will appreciate, and many gift ideas using them that he will love.

When it comes to essential oils, you will not be hard-pressed to find one, two, or twenty that you adore. Men will be no different, but up until now have only likely been smelling the ones that you like. So let’s take a look at some of the options for him:

Citrus oilsBergamot, Orange Blood, Grapefruit Pink, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Neroli, Petitgrain,  Orange Sweet, and Tangerine.

*Add citrus oils in small amounts to a cologne or signature scent to soften a synergy.

Conifers – Cedarwood (Atlas, Himalayan, Texas, Virginian), Cypress, Fr Needle, Juniper Berry, Pine, and Spruce.

*Conifers are a favorite of many men, much like the majestic cedarwood tree, these essential oils impart powerful grounding and balancing properties to the user.

Herbaceous aromas Basil, Blue Tansy, Cajeput, Cistus, Coriander, Davana, Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf, Lemongrass, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, and Thyme.

*Herbaceous aromas add masculinity to any synergy. Small amounts will do the trick.

Rich & earthy fixatives Buddha Wood, Coffee, Copaiba Balsam, Frankincense (Carteri, Frereana, Serrata ), Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood AustralianVanilla Oleoresin, and Vetiver.

*Fixatives are especially important in cologne, or massage oil. Remember essential oils are extremely volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly. Fixatives will slow down the rate of evaporation.

Spicy optionsBlack Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon (Cassia, Bark, Leaf), Clove Bud, Ginger Root CO2 , Nutmeg, and Star Anise.

*Spicy scents are a must for most men. I have not met a man that did not like the aroma if cinnamon, just be sure to dilute responsibly.

So now that I have covered some of the options for scents a man will love, now for the fun part. Here are three ideas that can you make at home, a gift that he is sure to appreciate.

Sugar scrub for hard working hands (approximately a .5% dilution)

Olive oil 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 1/2 cups
Raw honey (softened) 2 tbsp
Western Australian sandalwood Santalum spicatum 10 drops
Copaiba balsam Copaifera officinalis 7 drops

Place the sugar into a bowl and add the olive oil and honey. Mix well. The consistency will be similar to wet sand. Mix in your essential oils. The dilution is low as a little will go a long way with these chosen oils (both fixatives). This scrub will help to remove stubborn grease and dirt after a hard working day and leave them well moisturized.

Men’s Cologne (2% dilution)

(Master blend)

Cedarwood Texas Juniperus mexicana 10 drops
Sandalwood Australian Santalum album 6 drops
Black Pepper Piper nigrum 4 drops
Bergamot (furocoumarin/bergapten free) Citrus bergamia 4 drops

Place 6 drops of your master blend in a 10ml roller bottle and top of with Jojoba Carrier Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil (If you prefer, you can replace the carrier oil with a high proof alcohol such as vodka). This master blend will make 4-10ml rollerballs at a 2% dilution.

 Scalp Replenish Massage Oil (1% dilution)

Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara 10 drops
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 4 drops
Carrot Seed Daucus carota 4 drops
Argan Carrier Oil 1 ounce (30ml)
Jojoba Carrier Oil 1 ounce (30ml)

Massage this oil using circular movements into scalp and let sit for 15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing. Store remaining mixture in a glass container.

After the Shave (approximately a 1% dilution)

Grapeseed Carrier Oil ½ cup
Meadowfoam Carrier Oil 2 tbsp
Glycerin (optional-for extremely dry skin) 1 tbsp
Laurel leaf Laurus nobilis 10 drops
Lime Steam Distilled Citrus x aurantifolia (not-phototoxic) 15 drops
Vanilla CO2 5 drops

*Meadowfoam oil is thick but not at all greasy, has a stable shelf life and is protective and rejuvenating to the skin.

These are just a few ideas for dad. You can swap out any of the oils I suggested and try making a synergy of your own. The possibilities are endless for the man in your life, he will love essential oils just as much as you do in no time!

Happy Father’s Day!

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.

 

Dill Weed Essential Oil

By Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

I was super blessed to have had 4 enjoyable pregnancies, outside of the awful first trimester.  That first trimester I was constantly nauseous.  I know people crave odd foods when they’re pregnant, for me, the only thing I could keep down was pickles!  I remember one day when I was taking my 2 and 3 year olds to playgroup, I was sick but so hungry at the same time.  The thought of pickles made me salivate so I took a little detour and got the biggest jar of pickles the grocery store had.  I then sat in the car and proceeded to eat every single pickle, even drinking some of the juice!  I remember how shocked I was that not only did I keep it all down, but it helped to settle my stomach.  As I began learning about herbs and essential oils it made so much sense to find out that Dill Weed is one of the most recommended essential oils for an upset stomach.

Dill is such a great addition to any garden as it attracts ladybugs, who eat aphids, making it wonderful tool for organic gardening.  You can also harvest Dill leaves at any point during the year. I do container gardening yeararound (I often bring the containers inside during the winter) and my boys just love being able to pick off, eat, and enjoy the plants all year.  It helps to keep their digestive system balanced.  I also keep a roller bottle of Tummy All Better (which has a main ingredient of Dill Weed) for the upset stomach that often accompanies seasonal illness.  In ancient Greek and Roman Cultures, Dill was seen as a sign of wealth.  Soldiers would apply it to their wounds to help promote healing.  The Conqueror Charlemagne used to provide Dill on his tables to help those guests who may have indulged in a bit too much food at his banquets. [1]

To get the essential oil all aerial parts of the plant are steam distilled.  Plant Therapy currently sources our Dill Weed Essential Oil right here in the USA.  Although it is best known for digestive support there are many other uses.  It is helpful with head tension, ease symptoms associated with a normal menstrual cycle, and encourage restful sleep. [2]  Dill helps to calm, balance emotions, ground, and promote emotional harmony. [3]  My top five uses for Dill are:

Digestion

1 ounce Carrier Oil, 18 drops Dill Weed (massage on abdomen)

Massage on abdomenal area.

Sleep Diffuser Blend

2 drops Frankincense Serrata, 1 drop Dill Weed, 1 drop Lavender, 1 drop

Roman Chamomile

Head Tension

1 ounce carrier oil, 8 drops Peppermint, 6 drops Dill Weed

Massage on temples and down the back of the neck.

Menstrual Issues

Diffuse –  3 drops Palmarosa, 2 drops Dill Weed, 2 drops Ylang Ylang Extra  

Grounding Diffuser Blend

3 drops Cardamom, 2 drops Cedarwood Himalayan, 2 drops Dill Weed, 1 drop Patchouli

 

 

What do you use Dill Weed  Essential Oil for?

 

 

[1] World Healthies Foods, “Dill,” [Online]. Available: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=71. [Accessed 27 December 2016].
[2] V. A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Novato: New World Library, 2016.
[3] J. K. &. R. Bull, Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques, CreateSpace, 2015.