Essential Oils Blog

March Oil of the Month – Palo Santo

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Although Palo Santo, from South America, was and continues to be used in spiritual ceremonies and rituals, don’t feel that you have to save it for a special occasion! This essential oil, is loved by those who meditate, do yoga and by artists because it’s said to diminish negativity. You will feel calm, creative and focused when Palo Santo is near you.

Palo Santo, also known as “Holy Wood”, truly gives it’s all as the oil is collected from only old dead wood that has died a natural death. Some of the wood is used to create incense to ward off tiny outdoor nuisances.  Some of the wood is cut into small pieces for cleansing and ceremonies.  But some of the wood is used to create this calming essential oil that smells slightly of licorice and citrus.  After several years of lying on the forest floor decomposing, the essential oil forms and the wood gives a high yield through steam distillation.

This essential oil does indeed seem to be an “old soul”, because it has all the answers. It can be helpful for bumps, wounds, muscle and joint discomfort and of course emotional distress and uneasiness. It also addresses seasonal threats as well. Due to it’s superior absorption ability, it’s wonderful in a massage blend to help with soreness. When diluting it would go along with some carrier oils that also absorb well such as Almond,  Grapeseed , or Sunflower.

Palo Santo is rich in limonene, which is supportive to the immune sytem. It also helps with discomfort and swelling.  Enjoy this relative of Frankincense and Myrrh in a relaxing bath salt or in a meditation blend.

Here is a blend for reflecting, yoga or quiet time;

Meditative Forest Master Blend

12 drops  Palo Santo

10 drops Cedarwood Himalayan

4 drops Cardamom

4 drops Copaiba

3 drops Vetiver

Combine these essential oils .  Add 4-8 drops to a diffuser, dilute to 3% with a carrier oil and use topically for specific discomfort or dilute to 1% for an all over body massage.

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here.

Essential Oil Education – Cajeput

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By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

 

 

 

Legend has it that when Captain Cook explored Asia he brought with him seeds that floated to the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and that is how the Cajeput tree came to be in Southern Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes when I smell my essential oils I like to close my eyes and picture myself surrounded by the plants in their native environments.  Fortunately, I have an incredible imagination and with my eyes closed and the essential oil bottle close, I can transport myself to far off lands.  Every so often I get lucky and come across a documentary of someone enjoying in person, what I have only had the pleasure of enjoying in my mind.  Watching these documentaries gives me such an accurate look into what my dreams turned into reality would look like.

Cajeput was one such plant that I found a great documentary on. It took me deep into forests filled with majestic Cajeput.  I learned so much about where Cajeput originates, its incredible resiliency, and the preservation efforts in Vietnam.

My current batch of Cajeput was sourced by Plant Therapy from Indonesia.  The leaves and twigs are steam distilled to get the essential oil known as Melaleuca cajuputi.  This is the same family as Tea Tree, also known as Melaleuca alternifolia; although similar, each has its own unique properties.  Cajeput contains higher concentrations of 1,8 Cineole making it a better choice for upper respiratory support.  It also contains a higher percentage of limonene making it helpful with digestive issues, outdoor annoyances, and cleaning products.  [1]

 

My top 5 uses for Cajeput are:

  1. Digestive Support

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Cajeput, 6 drops Ginger Root, 6 drops Cardamom

  1. Respiratory Support

In a steam bowl place 2 drops of Cajeput and inhale deeply

  1. Bug Bites

1 ounce carrier oil, 8 drops Cajeput, 8 drops Peppermint

  1. Lip Sores

1 ounce coconut oil, 5 drops Cajeput, 4 drops Ravensara, 2 drops Melissa, 2 drops Sandalwood

  1. Joint Discomfort

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Cajeput, 4 drops Rosemary, 4 drops Clove Bud, 4 drops Black Pepper

 

[1] A. Deckard, “14 Uses for Cajeput Essential Oil,” Healthy Focus, 13 May 2015. [Online]. Available: https://healthyfocus.org/12-uses-for-cajeput-essential-oil/. [Accessed 21 December 2016].

 

 

 

A New Season Begins-The Spring Equinox

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Here in the northern hemisphere, March 20th signifies the rebirth or awakening of all kinds of life not only on mother earth, but in you! An equinox is an astronomical event in which the plane of the earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun. This causes day and night to be roughly the same all over the planet (12 hours).

As winter places us in a period of darkness and quiet reflection, the spring equinox is a time to awaken and rejoice with not only more hours of sunlight, but of fertility, reproduction and incredible growth. Birds sing, flowers bloom, bees reappear and babies of all species are born. Like nature, all over the world people with various religions and spiritual beliefs have celebrations; today I want to focus on the celebration of you!

Just like nature, human existence all progresses through cycles, and spring is a beautiful reminder that we can transform ourselves. You may begin to feel awakened and alive for the first time in months! This is no coincidence as the return of our sacred sun brings with it balance. You are as much a part of nature as the green grass, the tree outside your window and the flowers underfoot. So, what can you do to embrace this time and nurture yourself?

Spend as much time in nature as possible

Spend time outdoors taking walks in nature, getting fresh air into your lungs, appreciating all the sights that spring has to offer. Make sure to spend plenty of time earthing. You cannot see the earth’s energy, but we know it’s there. Walk barefoot on dew-moistened grass, a sandy beach, or a pebble path. Pay attention to the new spring flowering bulbs. They are some of the most fragrant of all flowers. The scent of spring is nature’s aromatherapy.

Do more of what makes you happy

What makes you happy? What are your talents? What leaves you feeling completely relaxed after a busy, stressful day? What is something that you love to do only do not make the time to do it?

Oftentimes we get into a rut during winter due to cold temperatures and many days of grey skies. Use spring to shake it up a little bit. Love to sit and read a book? Take an aromatic bath? Paint? Get your hands dirty in the garden? Try to make a point to incorporate one thing into your everyday and see how wonderful it makes you feel!

 

 

Want to blend “find your focus” at home?

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 1,8 cineole
Lime Citrus aurantifolia
Grapefruit Citrus paradisi 

List a few things that you are ready to birth

As the struggle of the winter drops away and the nectar of spring emerges, begin to think about what you are ready to birth. Do you have passions that go unattended or have fallen into bad habits? Living from a more conscious place can help you to birth what it is that you really want.

Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind to find these answers. There is no right or wrong to meditation, your mind will not magically go quiet. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathing in and out through your nose, fill your abdomen fully with your breath. Slow, deep, steady, even, without sound, and without pause are the qualities of great breath, not only for during mediation, but throughout your day. Acknowledge the thoughts and let them go without expectation. See how long you can sit, and slowly increase the time in which you sit. See how quiet your mind becomes and how much clarity you find. Aromatherapy can help you here. Try a blend like this in your diffuser during meditation:

 

Want to blend “quiet the mind” at home?

Himalayan cedarwood Cedrus deodara
Patchouli Pogostemon cablin
Australian Sandalwood Santalum spicatum

After meditation is complete, write down what it is that you would like to improve upon, what you would like to birth in your life. Take the important steps in that direction.

Make time for giving thanks and being grateful

Before you go to bed every night (alternatively can be done upon wakening) make a list of what you are grateful for. While this may seem silly at first, believe me when I say this is a great tool to break through any blockages or “ruts” you may be feeling in your life. When you pay attention to the positives rather than your struggles, you will bring more things to be grateful for into your life. This is the law of attraction, what are you placing your focus on?

 

Want to blend “quiet the mind” at home?

Bergamot Citrus bergamia
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha
Sweet Orange Citrus sinesis

Spring equinox brings with it rebirth everywhere you look, so allow your mind and body to harmonize with this and release the thoughts that create paradox. Enjoy this season of newness, and may the beauty around you remind you of all the beauty within you, as well.

Be well,

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.

An Eternal Spring in Your Step

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By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


With the advent of the Spring Equinox this Monday, March 20th, we begin to shake off our hibernal urges of deep winter and celebrate the season of renewal.

What a joyous time it is when “Spring has Sprung.”  And, the perfect time to create new beginnings in our being about how we might keep an eternal spring in our step.

With this in mind, what I would like to share with you are some Lessons from Lucy.  She did a lot of joyful living in the 15.5 years she traveled this Earth. We were together for nearly 15 of those years after she adopted me when I met her at the animal shelter in New Orleans.

I could write a whole blog post on the wellness benefits of pets, but today, I am inspired to share the inherent wellness wisdom I learned from one of my most gifted teachers about her way of being in the world that supported a good life.

Lucy was a 50-pound border collie and black lab mix. Her head was all border collie and heart was all lab so I always said she tried really hard to be good, but found it difficult. Upon meeting her, the vet proclaimed “she had a BIG personality.”  Lucy had a rough start to life. Abandoned. Left short tied. Beaten and shot with BB’s. Yet, her zest for life never wavered.

Lucy was more than a beloved companion. As a working dog, she needed a purpose, and she appointed herself as my guide dog to be sure I was ok and on track. As such, she was passionate about getting me through some of the biggest challenges of my adult life.

She was at my side during a hellish divorce, unexpected job changes, several health challenges, and surgeries.  With a deep empathetic connection, she comforted me in ways that were profound, got me out of bed when life seemed a bit overwhelming, dried my tears, and always made me laugh out loud with her comedic antics. But, mostly, she had the most amazing ability to actively listen. We had a lot of talks about deep stuff and she kept my secrets safe.

Throughout her lifetime, she was also very adaptable. We made many moves through several states. If she had her favorite bed and toy, she was willing to go with positive outlook and a sense of adventure for whatever awaited us.

Lucy was willing to forgive. We were inseparable except for two occasions. After I broke my neck, I remain eternally grateful to the friends and caregivers who kept her safe and well for those first six months away from our home. And, though Lucy was clearly ticked at me when I could finally retrieve her, she forgave me after a short bit and a long hug.  And, then, she became an emotional support dog thereafter before I knew what that was — really illuminating the lessons of unconditional love. Three years ago, this summer,  it was finally her time finally time to pass into the great beyond for a well deserved eternal rest. And, for her sake, I learned the grace of letting go.

Lucy was hale and healthy keeping a spring in her step right up until the end when nature just finally took its course.  Her life expectancy was 10-12 years, and yet she lived a quality life for several years beyond. And, I think, this was in large measure because of her optimistic outlook, zest for living and joy in small things daily.  She didn’t dwell on the past, or worry about the future. She lived in the present and taught me how to get the most out of how to be.

When we lived in New England, spring was one of Lucy’s favorite seasons. There was always an extra spring to her step, especially when the sunshine was melting the last of the snow and just as the daffodils — those happy, hardy harbingers of spring — were making their reappearance.

What was best of all was that the squirrels were once again active. In her later years, chasing the squirrels became more of a game. She didn’t have an expectation of catching them, she just used them as incentive to run short sprints (with me attached at the end of the leash). She didn’t get frustrated at the outcome, but rather, took joy in the madcap journey of the moment.

On another March day four years ago, in what turned out to be her last best spring season, we made her annual checkup visit to the vet.

I recently came across her exam notes and am reminded how profoundly she shifted my awareness about how to live the good life. I had recorded them to share someday.

It feels like that perfect someday is now — a synchronicity to reviewing them again this March as gift during her birthday month for us during this season of renewal.

Notes from the visit:

Today was Lucy’s 98,000 mile check up. She turned 14 this week (98 in dog years)! Her vet continues to be amazed at her excellent health. Heart and lungs pronounced “gorgeous!” Strength excellent. A bit of arthritis — just a little creaky in the back hips. No pain management needed at this time. Loss of peripheral vision, but otherwise ok. Some possible hearing loss, but had wax cleaned out of ear. Hearty appetite and digestion excellent, but adding some Pepcid for some occasional reflux at night. May have a possible touch of dementia, but it could also just be her big personality coupled with age. A few skin tags and fatty tumors, but muscle tone excellent.”

So, in observing her lifetime of near perfect health here are:

Lessons from Lucy

  • Eat a nutritious diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take your supplements.
  • Enjoy yummy, guilt-free treats on occasion and be excited about them.
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Generally at the same time, and get at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Take naps.
  • Get outside in the sunshine.
  • Have structure to your day, but allow flexibility.
  • Exercise at least 15 minutes daily.
  • Engage in a brain game daily.
  • Be curious about the world around you.
  • Use your noggin to sort things out.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Be bold but know when to retreat.
  • Give and receive love unconditionally.
  • Find your purpose and live it. It’s OK if it changes over life stages.
  • Be in social relationships with others and understand the boundaries and roles of each.
  • Smile.
  • Manage your stress by having outlets for it.
  • Push yourself to do more, even if you are unsure if you can.
  • Ask for what you want or need.
  • Accept loving help from others.
  • Be yourself.
  • Allow your personality to shine.
  • Don’t grow old because of your chronological age, or physical limitations.
  • Live in the present and treat each moment as a gift.
  • Enjoy the world around you.
  • Spread happiness, laughter and joy.

As a nose hound, scent was incredibly important to Lucy.  She literally took in the world by smelling everything she passed. A jogger’s dog she wasn’t, because she stopped so frequently, suddenly, and randomly to be able take long and deep sniffs of whatever pleased her senses. Though she loved to be active, the best part of her walks were to  “stop and smell the roses” all along our path.

Though Lucy is no longer physically here, her spirit and teachings remain. In this season of renewal I hope you find the Lessons from Lucy helpful in keeping your own Eternal Spring in Your Step.

I have included these blends to support you on your path. You can add to your diffuser, triple the recipe to add to an inhaler stick to take along, or add a drop to a diffuser necklace to always be with you.

 

Lucy’s Love of Life Blend

2 drops mandarin

1 drop bergamot

1 drop coriander

1 drop elemi

This is playful, joyful, zesty blend that also helps us support peace and clarity.

 

I have also included a repeat of a crowd favorite from a previous blog, The Sunshine State. 

 

Inner Child

 2 drops grapefruit

2 drops mandarin

1 drop spearmint

This blend helps lifts the spirits with child-like joy and optimism.

 


Sources:

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

Are There Any Nutrients In Essential Oils?

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You will not be hard pressed to find articles on the Internet claiming that essential oils are nutrient rich substances. However, when we look at the basics of chemistry and the process of essential oil extraction, we quickly see that this is not possible. Let’s cover some of the main key points in the argument.

  1. Basics of Solubility

Vitamins are either fat soluble, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, or water soluble, like vitamins B’s and C.

The solubility of vitamins is different than that of essential oils. No essential oil is soluble in water. All essential oils are lipophilic (fat loving), also called non-polar substances. In looking specifically at Vitamin C, it is hydrophilic (water loving), and very polar in nature. As a general rule, polar substances will dissolve in polar solvents and non-polar substances will dissolve in non-polar solvents.

  1. The Volatility of Essential Oils VS All Water-Soluble Vitamins

Next let’s talk about volatility. All essential oils are volatile. What does this mean? Volatility refers to the ease with which a substance will evaporate, or at which rate a liquid will turn into a vapor. This is the #1 reason why we need to keep the caps on our bottles tight, to eliminate evaporation and more importantly oxidation of our precious essential oils. Though essential oils do not require heat to be volatile (evaporate), they will do so much quicker when at higher temperatures. Air, as well as heat and light are not their friend.

All water-soluble vitamins are polar in nature and are extremely volatile.

  1. Steam Distillation VS Cold Pressed Extraction

The most common method of the extraction of essential oils from a plant is using heat in a process called steam distillation. The heat sits right around 100° C/212° F. The plant material is placed in a still; the steam of boiled water passes through the plant material and is then cooled to collect the essential oil. This essentially separates the volatiles from the non-volatiles. The higher the temperature, the more volatiles will be lost, so temperature needs to be very specific.

There has been an argument that vitamin C will crossover in the essential oil that has been cold-pressed. Cold-pressed essential oil is another extraction method for citrus fruits. Extraction or mechanical pressing is quite different than steam distillation. This method uses no heat. Machines are used to pierce the fruits rind and they are then pressed to extract the precious oils. This method “may” contain “minute” amounts of vitamin C. It will be negligible, but nothing to write home about. Be sure to continue to obtain your vitamin C from the real fruit.

  1. Water-Soluble Degradation

The various B Vitamin’s degrade when they get much higher than room temperature. Vitamins B1, B6, and B12 are the most susceptible to degradation, therefore will not be extracted with the essential oil (1).

Vitamin C degrades at 70° C, which is lower than that of the steam distillation process and therefore will also not be extracted with the essential oil (2).

As you can see, most if not all of water-soluble vitamins will either be destroyed or left in the water through the steam distillation process.

  1. Fat-Soluble Vitamins

 Fat-Soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, are lipophilic in nature (lipids), and non-volatile. There are two key points here: 1-the end product of steam distillation only contains volatile material, and 2- the degradation of the lipids due to the heat involved.

The heat of the steam distillation process we now know sits right around 100° C/212° F. The steam distillation process from beginning to end varies per the plant material in the still as well as the size and type of still, but heat over an extended period of time will degrade fat-soluble vitamins.

Consider this: we are told to store vitamins in a cool dark place, away from heat. Do you still think they can survive the heat of steam distillation? 

  1. Minerals

Minerals such as chromium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and so on are ionic in nature. Ionic substances are very polar in nature, but are not technically polar molecules (3).

Minerals are water-soluble. Like water-soluble vitamins, minerals will not move over through the steam distillation process, but will rather be left in the water.

Have I lost you yet? Let’s Quickly Review

*Water-soluble vitamins like B’s and C will degrade under the heat of steam distillation.

*You may get minute amounts of vitamin C through the cold-pressed method, but very little.

*All water-soluble vitamins are completely insoluble in non-polar solvents such as essential oils.

*Fat-soluble vitamins will also degrade under the heat of steam distillation. They are also non-volatiles that will not make it through the steam distillation process, but will rather be left in the water.

*Minerals are ionic (polar in nature), and water-soluble. Minerals will not make it through the steam distillation process, but will rather be left in the water.

*If there is one point to remember in all of this: The process of steam distillation removes all non-volatile foreign matter, mineral as well as organic, and leaves behind only volatile matter.

 

 Closing

We can now see that due the basics of chemistry and the heat of the distillation process that essential oils cannot possibly contain any nutrients. No water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, or minerals. What we do know is that essential oils have great capability, great energy, and great promise.

 

References

(1) Fortification basics, stability. Retrieved from https://www.dsm.com/content/dam/dsm/nip/en_US/documents/stability.pdf

(2) Rahmawati, S., Bundjali, B. Kinetics of the oxidation of vitamin c. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228484005_KINETICS_OF_THE_OXIDATION_OF_VITAMIN_C

(3) Introduction to ionic compounds. Retrieved from http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/143Aioniccpds.html

 

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.

Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 2

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As an expecting mother and essential oil lover I have found myself with a lot of questions about using essential oils safely while pregnant and while nursing. In Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 1 we discussed safe usage while pregnant and reviewed our updated pregnancy and nursing safe chart. In this installment we will look at using essential oils safely while nursing.

When using essential oils while nursing it is important to keep in mind that they do have the potential to cross over into your milk supply. Normally less than 1% of the amount of oil the mother absorbs will cross over [1] however, “[i]t should also be remembered that infants have an undeveloped capacity for metabolism and renal excretion, and so their ability to clear [essential oils] is relatively impaired.”[2]

With all this in mind, one must consider the following when using essential oils while nursing:

  • The method of use
  • The amount of essential oil used
  • How often you choose to use essential oils
  • How often feeding occurs and in what volume
  • Duration of use
  • Your baby’s age and health

The more often we use essential oils, the longer the duration of use, the higher the dilution rate and the amount of absorption, the more essential oils have the potential to transfer to our milk supply. This can in turn effect our little ones. You can safely use essential oils while nursing, we just recommend keeping your dilution rates low, only using your oils as needed, and using essential oils that are safe for children and breastfeeding. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the chest or breasts while nursing.

If your little one has health issues or is premature please email an Aromatherapist directly at [email protected] so that we can offer guidelines and recommendations specific to your needs.

 

Checkout the recipe below for a soothing and nourishing nipple balm.

Nipple Balm

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  • Over a double boiler, on medium, mix and melt all ingredients.
  • Pour melted mixture into 2 ounce tin containers.
  • Allow to harden and use as needed.

 

Click Here to Download and Print the Pregnancy and Nursing Safe Chart

 

Click Here to Download and Print the Pregnancy and Nursing Safe Chart By Concern

 

 

[1] Smith, Anne. “Drugs and Breastfeeding” Breastfeeding Basics., Retrieved 10 October 2016. https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/drugs-and-breastfeeding

[2] Tisserand, R., & Young, R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

 

 

Essential Oils: Methods of Use

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By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist

Do you get confused with the various ways that essential oils can be used, and knowing which method to use for which circumstance? We can understand, as there are a number of methods available. The most used and the quickest route is via inhalation. Before we talk about the various methods of use, let’s take a look at why inhalation is the most effective.

 

The Amazing Efficiency of our Olfactory System

The study of the science of smell is termed osmology, which is from the Greek word, osme, “to smell.” The scientific literature typically claims that “humans can discriminate 10,000 odors, but this number has never been empirically validated, due to difficulty of doing so accurately” (1). These estimates however, are mind-boggling!

Our sense of smell has five steps: detecting, transmitting, perceiving, analyzing, and storing. The olfactory epithelium is what detects the aroma. The olfactory epithelium is a small patch of tissue inside each nostril, and each contain on average 40 million sensory neurons. Each of these neurons contains olfactory cilia, which are bathed in mucous (odor binding proteins), essentially enabling them to grab onto the odor. They are the chemical receptors of the cell (2).

The aroma then travels from the olfactory epithelium to the:

Olfactory cortex (conscious perception of smell)

Limbic system (transmitting the aroma)
Reticular formation (analyzing the influence of the aroma)
Hypothalamus (the human brains center for basic drives and emotions, responds to the aroma and stores it)

The bonding of aromas happens nearly instantly and can trigger many emotions and memories. Our olfactory systems are amazing! Let’s look at inhalation in a little bit more detail.

 

Methods of Use

Inhalation

Aromastick

Aromasticks or inhalers are the easiest and most portable way to inhale oils, are cost effective, and can be used for a variety of reasons. You can purchase plastic white inhaler sticks, or ones in a variety of colors. If purchasing plastic be sure to look for food grade quality. You can also find stainless steel or other metal aromasticks with glass inserts.

All aromasticks use a cotton wick to apply the essential oils to. The cotton wick will soak up approximately 15 drops, depending on the size of the wick. These are good for about three months before you need to replace them.

 

Steam Bowl/Tent

Steam bowls or steam tents are very helpful for respiratory support. It is safe for most ages; oil selection and dosage needs to be modified accordingly for a child (a child only needs 1 drop of oil).

You can use the sink, or for a child use a stainless steel or glass bowl. Bring water to nearly a boil, but not too hot. Pour into plugged sink or bowl. Add a few drops of essential oil, cover your head with a towel and lean over the steamy water. Be sure to keep your eyes closed. You can alternate breathing in through your nose and mouth as long as the water is still producing steam (on average 3-5 min). You can safely do this every two to three hours.

 

Diffusion

Diffusing is an easy and effective way to inhale the aromas of essential oils; there are a variety of shapes and sizes. This method is great for uplifting mood, helping to unwind, or purifying the air. When diffusing, there should be a window of time for doing so. This quote is pulled directly from Robert Tisserand’s book, Essential Oil Safety, “A few drops of essential oil in a burner, vaporizer or in a steam inhalation is virtually risk-free. However, prolonged inhalation (more than about 30 minutes) of concentrated essential oil vapors (e.g., steam inhalation, or direct from a bottle) can lead to headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy. In certain instances more serious symptoms might be experienced, such as incoherence and double vision” (3).

It is important to note that diffusing carries little risk when done so appropriately. A good rule of thumb is to not diffuse for much longer than one hour at a time without a break. Provide adequate ventilation. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the diffusers manufacturer, the amount of drops that you use will depend on how much water the unit holds.

As I mentioned earlier, aromatic oils stimulate your olfactory nerves, which send signals to your brain. The olfactory bulb becomes saturated rather quickly; which is why the oils effect on your mood seems almost instantaneous. Therefore, diffusing for long periods of time is not only unnecessary, it is a waste of precious oils, and is not without risk.

 

Topical/Dermal Use

Topical use of essential oils is great when you are looking for something specific to the place you are putting the diluted blend. A few examples would be but are not limited to: minor discomfort, bruises, or dry, irritated skin. There are varying circumstances such as which oil or oils you plan to use, age, and thickness of skin, but it is estimated that about 10% of the essential oils (diluted) gets absorbed into your skin. Topical use is an effective method of using essential oils, but if not done so properly, it can come with a certain amount of risk.

When oils are applied to the skin undiluted there are two risks involved. The first risk is skin irritation. Skin irritation is a direct result to where the oils are applied. Healing begins once the oil is removed. Remove with carrier oil such as Almond, Coconut, Jojoba. Healing may not be immediate, but you should see improvement relatively quickly.

The second, more serious reaction is a systemic (affecting the entire body or organism) response involving the immune system called sensitization. According to Dorene Petersen of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), “Sensitization occurs once the offending substance has penetrated the skin, been picked up by proteins in the skin, and mediated by the IgE response that produces histamine and other irritants”(4). This type of reaction begins at the site of application, but will quickly spread. This immune response can look like a bright red rash or hives, and can quickly progress to more serious allergic responses. If you suspect this reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

Just like in the case of proper diffusion, if you are putting oils on your skin at proper dilution rates, and avoiding oils that are of a higher risk for skin irritation, your risk of these types of reactions is greatly reduced.

Plant Therapy Essential Oil Dilution Guide

 

Internal Use

As an aromatherapist with formal training in aromatic medicine, I have been taught how to use essential oils internally. However, due to current regulations, this is not something that I currently freely recommend or teach to others. It is also important as an aromatherapist that I do not attach any health claims to the oils. There are a lot of grey areas in regards to being compliant where the FDA is concerned. Even so, there are many sales reps and laymen currently using them in this way. Let’s look over how they are being used, the risks, and some of the common misconceptions about their use.

When aromatics are used in food and beverages, they are typically deterpenated (5) or rectified (6). Deterpination increases the bioavailability of the oils; rectification removes possible impurities. The industry also uses oleoresins that have been CO2 or solvent extracted. The takeaway here is that what is used in the food and beverage industry is not the same as essential oils as we know them and for good reason. These methods are what make them safe for human consumption in food and beverage. This is not something that many essential oils enthusiasts know, but it is very important in regards to safety. Certain essential oils are designated GRAS or “generally recognized as safe” for consumption, but this again applies to consuming in food (food additives), not alone in a glass of water.

We see advice given on the Internet and social media, such as “take oils internally everyday to stay healthy”, “put multiple drops of oil in a glass of water”, and “put drops of oil neat on or under your tongue”. Let’s take a look at why this advice is not recommended.

Essential oils are not meant to be a preventative taken in a capsule everyday. This places a large burden on the liver. The liver’s job is to remove foreign substances and chemicals (essential oils included) and remove them as quickly as possible. A good analogy here is water in a glass. Begin pouring water in, once the glass has hit maximum capacity the water overflows. The liver is no different.

Placing drops of essential oils in water and drinking it can be dangerous. Oil and water simply do not mix. Essential oils will sit on top of the water, and will be the first thing to hit your lips and tissues in your mouth. Once consumed, the first signs of distress may be mouth and throat irritation. Some may get stomach upset. When you practice this often, the risks increase. You can become sensitized without even putting the oils topically on your skin. The risks include: hives, migraines, damage to the mucous membranes of your throat and esophagus, chemical burns, and if done often enough, liver/kidney dysfunction and/or damage. Oral dosing can also interfere with medication or aggravate other medical conditions.

 

Closing          

Inhalation is by far the most effective and safe method of use, but when applied topically and diffused responsibly and appropriately, we greatly reduce any potential risk. I hope that this helps you to understand the various methods of use, and to have a clearer idea in which method would be the most appropriate. If you have any additional questions regarding this topic, we invite you to reach out to one of our on staff aromatherapists at [email protected]

 

References

(1) Bushdid, C. et al. (2014) Humans can discriminate more than 1 trillion olfactory stimuli. NeuroScience Magazine. Science 343, 1370. Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/343/6177/1370#ref-list-1

(2) Petersen, D. (2012) Aroma-101. Olfactory System. American College of Healthcare Sciences (p184-185)

(3) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone (p 658)

(4) Petersen, D. (2012) Aroma 101. Sensitization. American College of Healthcare Sciences (p 50)

(5) 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

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

Tisserand, R. (2014) Is there such a thing as re-distilled peppermint oil? Retrieved from http://roberttisserand.com/2014/01/re-distilled-essential-oils/

 

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.

Can Pre-Blended Synergies Be Used for Other Purposes?

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By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Ok! By now, I hope you are comfortable with your single essential oils and how they can help support your wellness concerns. If you are just now jumping in, here is where we are so far in this introductory series of Essential Education:

The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy — How essential oils and aromatherapy support our wellbeing

Welcome to Essential Education — Getting to know our essential oils

Getting to Know Our Essential Oils – Part 2– Choosing the most appropriate oils for our concerns

Another question we often get asked is:

“Can pre-blended synergies be used for other purposes?”

 

The short answer is “it is possible.”

Once you are familiar with the effects of essential oils, and how to match those effects with your concerns, you can create a roadmap to your answer, ensuring it works with your unique needs.

I always start with the concern I want to address. So the question I ask is “what pre-blended synergies do I have on hand that could address this issue?” Yep! Even aromatherapists “cheat” now and then when you have some wonderfulness already in your arsenal for times of need.

Here is a real-life example from my recent experience.

Recently, very late into the night, the muscles of both legs were tight and aching. I also had a great deal of discomfort from some very tight knots in certain spots, and my low back was throbbing. I needed some relief and wanted to take a hot bath with a blend that would support relaxation of not only my body, but also my mind, so I could get in a good restorative sleep for the night.

I happened to have Calming the Child on hand and, after checking a few key things, I knew it was perfect as my “grab-and-go.”

Here’s the description of Calming the Child from the Plant Therapy website:

“Calming The Child is absolutely wonderful and a delight for little ones. Calming The Child was created to help promote a tranquil atmosphere during the day or before bedtime. Used by adults and children alike, Calming The Child can help anyone feel more calm.”

 The essential oils in this synergy were specifically chosen and blended for the purpose as described above, and it does an amazing job.

 

 But, remember, what I needed was a remedy to support relaxation of my body and mind so I could get some rest.

So, here is the checklist I went through to assess whether I could repurpose this-pre-blended synergy to suit my specific needs. You can use your worksheets from Welcome to Essential Education and Getting to Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2 as advance guides to map out potential multi-purposes for your blends when you are making purchasing decisions, or after they arrive. Even with a Plant Therapy blend, you may need to research through other reputable resources such as those recommended in Getting To Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2

 

What are the ingredients?

You can check:

  • The label (all reputable companies list the essential oils used)
  • The website (see the product details box, under “ingredients”); or
  • The product template sheet (open and/or download from the website)

Here are the essential oils used in the blend:

 

Do these essential oils address my concerns?

  • Lavender – relieves muscles tension, stiffness, aches and tight knots. Calming and soothing for restlessness. Relieves nervous tension.
  • Chamomile, Roman – powerful support for relieving tense muscles and tight knots. Soothing to the nervous system. Promotes calm and supports relaxation before bedtime.
  • Mandarin – Helps to soothe nervous tension. Eases the mind and body before bedtime. Mild support for tight knots and muscles.
  • Tangerine — Mild support for tight knots in the muscles. Helps to clear the mind and reduce nervous tension. Relaxes the mind before bedtime.

 

Are there any safety considerations?

We already know this synergy is:

  • KidSafe; (marked on the website and the label); and
  • Safe for topical use as well as inhalation (either by reading the product template sheet on the website, or because we can see the product also comes pre-blended for topical use).

 

Are there other considerations?

Since it was way past bedtime, anything stimulating would be no-go. It would be a bonus if the ingredients would to also help calm the mind and support sleep.

 

Bingo! Calming the Child met all of my needed criteria, plus the bonus round of supporting a good night’s rest. I was able to quickly mix Calming the Child into an epsom salt bath, soak, relax and crawl into bed. It worked beautifully for the much needed relief and the restorative night I required. With this awesome result, Calming the Child remains in my rotation for those nights when I need a “go -to” to “grab and go.”

 

Calming the Child Bath Soak

Soothing to Mind and Body

Mix Calming the Child with the body wash to completely disburse the essential oils. Add the epsom salts to the body wash and mix. Pour under running water for a warm bath. Soak, soothe, and sleep!

 

I hope this helps walk you through how to answer the question about whether your pre-blended synergies can be used for other purposes. The key is really knowing your essential oils and how they can best address your concerns. If the ingredients meet that criteria, in addition to safety and other considerations, it can be considered a go. You can explore and experience for yourself to determine whether your pre-blended synergy becomes a “go-to grab-and-go” for other purposes.

In our next blog, we will discuss some simple steps to creating our own blends.

 

 


Sources:

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, & Well Being. San Francisco, CA: Conari, 2013. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, n.d. Print.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016. Print.

 

 

Essential Oils and Babies—What the Research Shows

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By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist

It is such an exciting time, when a new baby enters the world. As parents, we will do just about anything to keep them healthy and safe from harm. Along with the joy of parenthood can come with it a certain amount of trepidation, we do not want to do anything that is not in their best interest. Research commences looking for the safest baby carriers, cribs and toys. So many fun moments watching them play and sleep, along with all the fun firsts that parents revel in. Sooner or later, one of the firsts will include their first illness, and nothing is harder than watching your baby be uncomfortable for the very first time. But are essential oils the answer?

You may have found conflicting information regarding essential oil use for infants and babies. There are some things that we do know, and we would like to share them with you. Safety is important to us at Plant Therapy, and we want our customers to be armed with the latest research and information.

 

Olfaction With Mothers And Their Newborns-From Smells To Smiles

Pheromones are chemicals that we all secrete. On a very basic level they are responsible for attraction or altering behavior.  They are the reason for the first connection ingrained with mother and baby. Research shows that at the time of birth and during the first few weeks of life, newborns have a strong ability to recognize and distinguish their own mother, and vise versa (1). This is a main component in the deep bond that forms very early on in babies’ life, and it is this signature odor that brings immediate comfort-from smells to smiles.

Aromatherapy industry professionals agree that this olfactory memory development should not be interrupted. Science is amazing, and it is the reason why mothers are addicted to their offspring, quite literally.

Olfaction between mother and baby is one very important reason why we should limit the use of essential oils around a newborn. Let’s look at a few others.

 

Babies Skin Maturation

 Newborns, although ready to enter the world after 40 weeks of gestation, have many body systems that have not reached maturity. The first system worth mentioning is their integumentary system; or skin, hair, nails, and exocrine glands. The integumentary system is the largest system of the body and is the protective barrier from chemicals, disease, and physical damage from the outside world.

The skin has three main layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous (fat) layer. Neonatal skin does not mature until baby is around three months of age (2). This recent study performed in 2014, Biology and Function of Fetal and Pediatric Skin, states “Skin development is a continuous process, beginning in utero and continuing throughout life. The skin is anatomically mature at birth, but continues to functionally develop through the first year of life”(3).

For these reasons outlined above, newborn skin is much more permeable to essential oils than that of an older child, and should be extremely limited during the first three months of age. Essential oils for premature infants should be avoided all together. The risks include skin irritation, and adverse effects including immune sensitization (4).

 

The Central Nervous System (CNS) of a Baby

The CNS of children in general is consistently developing. The nervous system of a newborn is not fully mature at the time of birth, but is rather evolving and not fully mature for years after.

There are numerous ways to measure the development or maturity of a babies’ CNS, the first of which is a newborns’ eyesight. Infant vision, which starts out as nearly no vision at all, moves into shapes only at specific distances, then only black and white, and eventually matures to full vision at approximately the age of six months (5).

Sleep-wake patterns are another indicator of a maturing CNS. Dr. Susan Tucker Blackburn explains, in Maternal, Fetal, & Neonatal Physiology, that “Infant development entails increasing amounts of quiet sleep as well as increasing periods of quiet alertness. Both of these states reflect sophisticated neural control. Sustaining a state consistently or making a transition from one state to another requires tremendous neural organization (6).” This is proof of how constant a babies’ CNS is developing in the months after birth.

What does this mean for essential oil usage? Inhalation of essential oils communicates signals to the olfactory system, and in turn stimulates the brain to exert neurotransmitters. This means that all essential oils have an effect on the CNS on one level or another.

In looking at specific CNS activity in regards to essential oils, there are three categories: stimulants, depressants, and sedatives. Here are some very basic effects of each:

CNS Stimulants– Oils that can cause a heightened state of cognition and coordination. On a more extreme end, a CNS stimulant can cause seizures for some. For a complete list of oils that can potentially cause an increased risk of seizures, please review the latest research in Robert Tisserand’s book, Essential Oil Safety (7).

CNS Depressant– Oils that can cause depressed heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breath. On a more extreme end can cause partial loss of coordination and memory impairment (8).

Sedative– Oils that can cause calmness and relaxation. Similar to CNS depressants, on a more extreme end can cause slurred speech, loss of reflexes, and possible impairment of judgment.

The latest research in Tisserand’s book, Essential Oil Safety, shows which essential oils should be limited with babies and small children.

 

What is Safe and Reasonable?

 When can you safely begin utilizing essential oils topically for children? We at Plant Therapy feel that for ages two and under, a reasonable recommendation for the home user is to stick to diffusion. Tisserand recommends diffusing for no longer than 30-60 minutes before taking a break to avoid over exposure.

It is important to note that we are not firmly against topical use for children under two. We tend to follow the guidelines recommended by Tisserand, who states that essential oils can be used topically on small children, within reason.

 

Plant Therapy’s Dilution Guide:

 

Closing

 Identifying and understanding the most recent research is important, as what we know is constantly changing and evolving. Exercising caution with the use of essential oils with babies and small children is paramount, although not completely restricted. If you have any additional questions regarding this topic, we invite you to reach out to one of our on staff aromatherapists at [email protected]

 

References

(1) Vaglio, S. (2009) Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition. 2(3): 279-281. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2717541/

(2) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed) Elsevier: London, UK. (p47)

(3) Leung, A., Balaju, S., Keswani, S., (2013) Biology and Function of Fetal and Pediatric Skin. 21(1): 1-6. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654382/

(4) Dermal Safety, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists. Retrieved from http://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/#dermal

(5) Eye and Vision Development. Retrieved from http://www.healthofchildren.com/E-F/Eye-and-Vision-Development.html

(6) Nervous System Development (2014) Retrieved from   https://www.thevisualmd.com/health_centers/child_health/infant_nutrition/nervous_system_development

(7) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed) Elsevier: London, UK. (p131-146)

Additional resources on the risks for an immature CNS

Saunders, NR., Knott, GW., Dziegielewska, KM. (2000) Barriers in the immature brain. 20(1): 29-40. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10690500

Sperber, EF., Viliskova, J., Germano, IM., Friedman, LK., Moshe, SL., (1999) Age-dependent vulnerability to seizures. Department of Neurology. 79: 161-169. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10514812

(8) Central Nervous System Depressants. Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Central+Nervous+System+Depressants

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Oil of the Month – Blue Yarrow

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If you were to mention the words Achillea Millifolium, most would not know what you were referring to.  If you were to say “Blue Yarrow”, most would have at least heard of it, and many have seen it, as it grows in most every state in the US and in many different countries.

For many years, Native Americans have recogmized this plant as a digestive aid and as a help for other ailments. It was referred to by some tribes as a “Life Medicine”.

Blue Yarrow, has such a long and fascinating history.  Its’ history begins with its botanical name, Achillea millefolium, named after the Greek myth Achilles.  It is said that when he was wounded in battle, the Goddess Aphrodite used Blue Yarrow to treat his wounds.  He was said to have gone onto the battle field with the yarrow to assist his fellow wounded soldiers.  It was later recorded as being used on soldiers during WWI to dress their wounds, stop bleeding, promote healing, as well as help prevent infection. [1]

Even today Blue Yarrow is renowned for its ability to help support the healing of damaged skin.  It promotes healthy immune function and minimizes the length of seasonal illness.  Emotionally, it is helpful with harmonizing your mind and body, promoting courage, and increases intuition. [2]

My top 6 uses for Blue Yarrow are:

  1. Ease the appearance of Eczema

1 ounce Hemp Seed Carrier Oil, 6 drops Blue Yarrow, 6 drops Juniper Berry, 6 drops Palmarosa, massage onto areas of concern

  1. Soothe illness, ease discomfort from fever, and support respiratory function[3]

1 ounce Fractionated Coconut Oil, 4 drops Blue Yarrow, 6 drops Manuka, 4 drops Lemon, 4 drops Cypress, massage onto chest

  1. Minimize joint discomfort

1 ounce Olive Lotion, 6 drops Blue Yarrow, 4 drops Rosemary, 4 drops Myrrh, 4 drops Roman Chamomile

  1. Promote Courage

In a personal inhaler, 4 drops Blue Yarrow, 4 drops Laurel Leaf, 4 drops Ho Wood, 3 drops Lavender Fine

  1. Increase Intuition

Diffuse 2 drops Blue Yarrow, 2 drops Clary Sage, 2 drop Jasmine, 2 drop Grapefruit

  1. Promote Healing of Cuts and Scrapes

In a roll on, 10 ml Hemp Seed Carrier Oil, 2 drops Blue Yarrow, 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Helichrysum Italicum

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here

 

What is your favorite Oil of the Month and how do you use it?

 

 

[1] V. A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Novato: New World Library, 2016.
[2] K. &. Bull, Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques, CreateSpace, 2015.
[3] P. &. Cantele, The complete aromatherapy & essential oils handbook for everyday wellness, Toronto: Robert Rose, 2014.