Essential Oils Blog

Fall Blends Are Here!

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Plant Therapy is very excited to be offering two of our favorite holiday blends from last year, Pumpkin Latte & Spiced Orange, and introduce a new blend, Autumn Breeze. We listened to our customers and formulated  this new blend that invites us into the holiday season and is KidSafe!

That’s not all! We are celebrating the launch of our Fall Holiday Blends  with a contest!

Just visit Plant Therapy Welcome To Fall Contest to enter by liking our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and by signing up for our Email Newsletter. And you’ll get extra entries for visiting our new Fall Holiday Blends page! Don’t worry. If you already like our social media pages or have subscribed to our email newsletter, just click through on the links and you’ll still get your contest entries!

Five people will win the Fall Holiday Blends Set which includes Autumn Breeze, Pumpkin Latte and Spiced Orange (10 ml bottles) valued at $29.95!

The contest is open until 1:00 PM on Tuesday, September 27th! So good luck!

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Download printable product template sheets here:

Autumn Breeze

Pumpkin Latte

Spiced Orange

Mango Butter & Honey Hand Cream

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What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Over a double boiler, on medium, mix and melt together Mango Butter, Sunflower Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, and honey.
  2. Put in fridge until it hardens (about a half hour for me).
  3. Whip vitamin E and essential oils into butter.
  4. A little of this goes a long way so start out with small amounts.

Certified Organic Argan Oil Is Here

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We are so excited to announce that our all-new Certified Organic Argan Oil is now available! Many of us have been using this amazing carrier oil as we’ve geared up to launch the product, and we are totally in love.

Full of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, Argan Oil has been making waves in the cosmetic industry and among beauty experts (certain Hollywood starlets swear by it). Sure enough, as a cleanser, hair conditioner, moisturizer, age-spot corrector — you name it; we’ve tried Argan Oil for it, and we couldn’t be more impressed.

Beauty experts revere Argan Oil for its ability to make dull complexions glow. It helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and can even restore skin elasticity. Even those blessed with young, healthy skin will adore the silky-smooth texture and vitamin-rich body of Certified Organic Argan Oil. Unlike some other carrier oils, Argan OIl is great for all skin types, including sensitive skin and complexions that break out easily. Argan Oil is also super stable and will last (always store in a cool, dark place) for up to two years.

We hope you love Certified Organic Argan Oil and the new look for our carrier oils as much as we do! As always, we welcome your input and feedback.

How to Use Organic Argan Oil as a Cleanser

Take about a teaspoon of Organic Argan Oil and use clean fingertips to massage gently into your skin. Then, using a warm wet towel, wipe off any excess. That’s it! It’s a wonderfully moisturizing, natural cleanser for all skin types.

How to use Argan Oil for your hair

  • Boost your regular shampoo/conditioner by adding 10% argan oil.
  • A leave in oil treatment of Sunflower and Argan, wrap in a towel.
  • Use a few drops on your hair before straightening or curling to help protect form heat damage.
  • Use a few drops for frizz control.

Here’s a lovely Vanilla & Rose Body Lotion

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This smells AMAZING!  I feel like I’m giving myself such a treat when I use this lotion.  The Argan Oil really nourishes my skin, the smell of Rose and Vanilla is so calming, and the ease of having a pump-able lotion makes this a total win!

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Heat wax, butter, and oil in a double boiler until melted.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool, I put mine in the fridge for about a half hour, until a film had hardened on the top.
  3. The vanilla did separate so I whisked it and it’s been 48 hours and there doesn’t appear to be any separation.
  4. I added the essential oils at this point and mixed well.
  5. Transfer to bottle, I used a frosting bag to to get the lotion into the bottle.

 

This post contains affiliate links which support Africa Heartwood Project. This means they will receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. To learn more about Africa Heartwood Project click here.

 

 

M is for Meditation

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I know, I know… now I’ve gone and used the “M” word. Wait! Don’t run.

Still think that meditation is “too woo woo” and not for you?

What if I told you that by simply calming the mind you could reduce nervous tension and worry, slow the aging process, increase your ability to think, reduce the process that leads to serious disease and chronic conditions, and even change the way your genes govern your health?

Ok, so then you think it is too hard and takes too much time?

What if I told you that you can actually create a positive impact on your wellbeing, down to the genetic level, in just 20 minutes day? And, even small single sessions yield benefits!

And, naturally, aromatherapy pairs perfectly with the practice of meditation so I’ve included some blends you may find supportive.

Still with me?

Let’s start by breaking down meditation’s potentially amazing and effective benefits within your own power. Then, we’ll break down the “how to” into seven simple steps to get you started with your own aromatic meditation.

Previously, in Food for Thought we discussed how the mind, body and spirit are connected. Often, our lack of wellbeing starts in the mind and then imCalm Water Web Sizepacts the body.

Meditation creates the oasis of overall optimal wellness starting with a calm mind that ripples outward throughout our whole being. 

While Eastern traditions of medicine have historically used mindfulness and meditation as part of the overall holistic approach to wellness, researchers across the nation’s major academic research institutions have been busy in more recent years studying the practice to explain why and how it works.

 

Meditation’s Effects on the Mind:[1]

  • Helps preserve the aging brain, as documented by a study at UCLA
  • Helps to quiet an over-active and wandering mind, often associated with worry, according to Yale University
  • It can be as effective as medication for anxiety and depression, according to research at Johns Hopkins University.
  • It can increase the volume of the brain governing learning, memory and emotions and decrease the volume of the brain responsible for fear, anxiety and stress, according to Harvard University.
  • It can improve focus, concentration, attention and memory retention, according to scientists at UC Santa Barbara.
  • It can be effective in supporting those recovering from addictions, including smoking according the American Lung Association.

 

Meditation’s Effects on the Body:

We know from Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets, that chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation and chronic inflammation can lead to serious and chronic health concerns.

Previous research has shown meditation to be effective in helping to improve health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression and Alzheimer’s[3]

Now, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have shown why. First, they found that meditation is even more effective in reducing inflammation in the body than other relaxation techniques.[2]  And, by studying the brain circuitry and blood chemistry, they have been able to link meditation to an improved effect on how the brain manages stress (as an inflammation trigger), leading to reduced inflammation in the body.

Ok, now wait for it …

We know about genetic predispositions to certain conditions that run in families. But, what if our genetic code is not our destiny?

Harvard University researchers found that meditation for 20 minutes a day over an eight-week period can create positive changes down to our genetic level. In fact, meditation actually “turned up the genes that boost immune response, energy metabolism, and insulin secretions, and turned down the genes linked to stress and inflammation.” Even a single session showed a positive result on impacting our health at the genetic level. [4]

So, what is meditation exactly and how do you do it?

 

Meditation in Seven Simple Steps

While meditation has gone more mainstream in recent years, for many of us it can still seem like a foreign and difficult practice. But, here is the thing. Meditation is not necessarily the achievement of an empty mind, but the practice of calming it. I like this definition I recently came across.

Meditation is simply “cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment.” [5]

We don’t  need to retreat to anywhere away from home (although this is always a treat), we don’t need anything fancy, and we don’t need any expensive accessories. All we need is ourselves, our breath, and even some small space in our days. And, of course, aromatherapy is always a wonderful means of support.

And, while a meditation practice is simple, it isn’t always easy, especially at first. So, it is important to be persistent without pushing to be perfect. This just sets us up for frustration and failure.

While there are many, many forms of meditation out there you may wish to explore (guided, visualization, mantras with beads, walking, kinesthetic such as knitting or coloring, etc), we are going to start with  one of the most basic practices — simply  focusing on the breath. In just  a few easy steps, we can learn to quiet the mind and create a healing balance in our whole being in a practice that can be as portable as needed.

Aromatic Meditation in Seven Simple Steps:

  1. Choose an aromatherapy blend. (see below)
    • You can either diffuse or use a personal inhaler.
  2. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably.
    • Note that you can even create calm in the midst of chaos by plugging in soothing music with noise canceling ear buds)
  3. Gently close your eyes.
  4. Notice your breath, without trying to control it.
  5. Breathe through your nose and bring your focus to each inhalation and exhalation like the ebb and flow of gentle waves.
  6. Choose an option to keep your focus on your breath.
    • You can count each breath; or
    • You can select a word(s) to repeat with each breath 
    • (I like to inhale “Calm” and exhale “Peace.”)
  7.  Return your focus to your breath as needed.
    • When you find thoughts coming to the surface, simply notice them like clouds floating by (without judgment) and return your attention to your breath and your counting or words.

Aromatherapy can provide an incredible sense of support in meditation, most especially for helping to quiet the mind. One essential oil traditionally associated with meditation that often comes to mind is  frankincense carteri. Others you may like include buddha wood,  blue cypress, davana, and ho wood.

Here a few of my favorite blends to get you started. If I am home, I like to use the diffuser. But, I can be sitting in an airplane seat, with my noise canceling headphones and personal inhaler (just scale the blends up to 15 drops), and create a calming session for myself that literally lets me tune out what’s around me and tune in to my own internal sanctuary.

 

Reflect blend

2 drops bergamot

2 drops coriander

2 drops frankincense carteri

For a quieter and more balanced state of mind. Inspired introspection.

 

Mellow Mind

2 drops ho wood

1 drop blue cypress

1 drop buddha wood

1 drop ginger co2

Grounding. Supports a sense of peace. Helps to calm a busy mind. 

 

Sangria Siesta

2 drops davana

1 drop lime

1 drop lemon

1 drop sweet orange

Soothing, calming, relaxing and quieting to the mind, while uplifting the spirits.

 

I try to meditate at least 30 minutes a day. More on days where more is needed.  But, I started slow. Sometimes I could only do 10 minutes, then I worked my way up to the 20-minute mark given the results from the Harvard study and it seemed like a bite from the apple I could chew.

Eventually, I was ready to make it a habit, so I challenged myself to practice at least 20 minutes a day for 60 days straight. At that point, I found it was something I was able to fit into my daily routine and actually increased my time to 30 minutes. It has become my time to shut down and recharge both my mind and body and if I miss out I do miss it.

The thing to do, is just to give it a try. Remember it is called a practice for a reason. The vision of the guru sitting high on the mountain with an empty mind is not the goal. This is just another step in our healing journey giving us the power to soothe our selves by calming the mind and minding the body.

 


References:

[1] Walton, Alice G. “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain.” Forbes.com. PHARMA & HEALTHCARE. Forbes 2/09/2015. Web. 02/20/15

[2] Gregoire, Carolyn. “Here’s How Meditation Reduces Inflammation and Prevents Disease.” The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 July 2016.

[3] Gregoire, Carolyn. “Here’s How Meditation Reduces Inflammation and Prevents Disease.” The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 July 2016.

[4] Quinn, Corina. “Reset Your Health.” Yoga Journal June 2014: 22.

[5] Walton, Alice G. “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain.” Forbes.com. PHARMA & HEALTHCARE. Forbes 2/09/2015. Web. 02/20/15

Certified Organic Argan Oil Sourcing Expedition to Morocco Africa

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In June, I was able to visit both Europe and Africa in search of some rare plants and to vet some suppliers. I took my 12-year-old daughter, Alexa, and Plant Therapy’s Vice President, Paul. My first two blog posts about this trip are: “Farm and Distillery visit in France” and “Morocco Visit in Search of Blue Tansy”.

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On the 8th day of our trip, we woke up early, swam in the pool, and ate a nice breakfast of Moroccan Msemen with jam or honey and fresh squeezed orange juice. The juice there is amazing. It seems like everywhere we went they had fresh squeezed juice and it was very affordable. We left Marrakech and headed west on the highway towards Essaouira. It was mostly desert, dotted by small towns and little vegetation. One funny thing, as we were driving I noticed the driver was going over the speed limit. I think he was driving around 100 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. I saw a police officer ahead of us and pointed it out. He said it didn’t matter. Because of the time of day, he said the police are on break and they wouldn’t bother to pull us over. He slammed on the gas and passed the officer going around 120 km/h. The police officer didn’t even look twice. Also, they drive in the middle of the road on a 2 lane highway. He said they do this because there are frequently animals that run across the road and if they are in the middle, it is easier to avoid them from either side.

As we drove along, we started to see more and more of the same tree. It is a tree of medium height with a bare trunk and a wide base. The trunk and branches are kind of gnarly and covered in thorns. This is the Argan tree. We didn’t see any of them planted in groves, only in their natural state. We were told that there are no privately owned Argan trees, but that they are all owned by the government and that most of them are 200+ years old. Each village has the right to a certain section of Argan trees. If a person owns property in town, they have the rights to specific Argan trees on the government land. The Argan oil companies will just contract with these villagers for the rights to the fruit from their trees.

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As we pulled up closer to one particular tree, we noticed it was full of goats. These goats were all over it, from the lower branches all the way to the top. They were feeding on the bitter fruit. We had to pull over for a picture! The goats play an important part in the process of some of the Argan oil production, as you will see later in this post.

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The Argan tree has been used for centuries in Morocco. Traditionally, the trees have been used as firewood by the local people, but in the past few decades, the Argan oil has become more popular for use by the locals. Legend has it, that people began to notice the young appearance of the Moroccan women and began to study why. It began to become famous when Russian scientists discovered the amazing anti-aging benefits of Argan oil and a couple of celebrities began using it. It has become such an important part of the Moroccan economy, that a special government agency has been set up to protect the trees and ensure the sustainability of the oil.

We continued to drive for more than two hours. We eventually came to an area that was naturally thick in Argan trees. We drove through the trees, on a winding dirt road, and came to a facility where the Argan oil is extracted and barreled. The process was simple, yet amazing.

This homestead was great. We were immediately ushered around the back where they had set up a mid-day snack for us. We ate homemade bread with some mixed nuts and Amlou (Note thatour hosts didn’t eat because it was during Ramadan and they were fasting during the day). I had heard of Amlou in the previous days, but we hadn’t yet tried it. It is made of ground almonds, like almond butter, mixed with honey and Argan oil. It was delicious. I asked if they had made this themselves or if they had purchased it and they said they always make it homemade because of the high amount of adulterated Argan oil on the market, they do not trust anything that is sold in town.

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Argan oil can be used as a beauty product or as a food item, although it must be processed differently for each. If it is for consumption, the kernels must be cooked prior to the oil being extracted. We were taken into the kitchen so the matron of the home could show us how it is done.

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Argan oil production

Each Argan tree will produce an average of 140kg of fruit per year, depending on the amount of rain. 70kg of fruit will yield around 5kg of kernel. 5kg of kernel will result in 2kg of oil. So basically, each tree will produce an average of 4kg (approx. 8.8 lbs) of Argan oil per year. The fruit is harvested in the summer. If it isn’t pre-sold it will be sold on the open market. The basic laws of supply and demand will determine the price. During the summer, the price is less expensive because lots of fruit is available. Between the months of December and May, the price of the fruit goes up, because the supply has decreased. Once the fruit is picked, or dropped off the tree, it will stay good for up to two years. But once the kernel is extracted it will only stay good for 6 months.

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The argan fruit is composed of three main parts. The pulp is the bitter outer layer. It is soft and sticky. The hard shell is the second layer and the kernel is located inside the hard shell. The kernel is what contains the oil. None of the fruit goes to waste. The pulp is sold as animal feed, and the hard shell is burned for warmth. This is particularly important because the tree had been used for many years for its firewood. Since it is now illegal to cut the Argan tree down, they needed a replacement for warmth; this is a great alternative.

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There are two main ways to get the kernel out of the fruit:

  1. The goats that feed on the Argan fruit cannot digest the hard shell. They will eat the fruit as one of their primary sources of food then they will poop out the hard shell which is collected by local people and sold on the open market. The hard shell is then broken open to extract the kernel. This produces an oil that smells a little different and is not ideal. This is the cheapest way to get the Argan kernel. This is very important to know. You must know the source of your Argan oil to ensure you aren’t buying “post poop oil”. That is why this particular product is important to buy certified organic.
  2. The fruit is left on the tree until it becomes ripe and naturally falls to the ground. The fruit is then left to dry out, or it can be collected and brought into the facility to dry out in the sun. The dry fruit is run through a machine that knocks the pulp off the hard shell, then the hard shell is run through another machine to break it open and release the kernel. This is the process we witnessed and the one we will talk most about.

 

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We are told that virtually all Argan trees are certified organic, therefore their fruit starts as certified organic also. But to remain certified organic, the oil must be traced from tree to bottle. The kernels that are pooped out by the goats do not qualify, but there are many other steps also. For example, the trucks that the fruit are hauled on must be certified to have not been used to haul pesticides or other chemicals. Also, the facilities must be certified organic to qualify. Plant Therapy is a certified organic company and we operate out of a certified organic facility. Therefore, we are pleased to be able to offer our customers a high quality Certified Organic Argan Oil that we have personally witnessed the production from tree to bottle.

Adulteration of Argan oil is extremely common as well. As the demand has increased, so has the dishonesty of many of the producers. Many producers will mix paraffin oil or soybean oil into the Argan and sell it as pure oil. It is very hard to detect because it is colorless and odorless and most tests cannot detect this adulteration. This is a product where you must trust your supplier. For many years, Plant Therapy has had suppliers try to get us to sell their Argan oil. We have held out because we didn’t know enough about it to be sure that the product we are selling is pure and of the highest quality. After this visit to Morocco, I am 100% confident in our supplier and their process. Due to these potential adulterations, we have chosen to only sell a certified organic product that we can trace back to the tree.

The production facility

The Argan production facility is part of their homestead. This is the home where one of the company owners, who is approximately 30 years old and college educated, grew up and where his parents and sisters still live. They had multiple small outbuildings on the property where different stages of production are done.

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This facility is “state of the art” in the sense that the entire process isn’t done by hand. They told us they are the first company to use modern means to extract the oil from the kernel. Most companies are still doing everything by hand. They purchased some used equipment that was manufactured to produce almond oil, and have made some small modifications and re-purposed it for the extraction of Argan oil.

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This particular company hires over 30 women and just 3 men. They hire men to run the 3 machines, which process about 90% of the fruit, and the women will do the final cleanup of the product. So any fruit that makes it through the machine without being properly cleaned, will go into the room where the women will process it by hand. This generally consists of breaking open the hard shell between two rocks so the kernel can be separated. They make it look really easy but it is a learned skill. In the few minutes I tried it, I got lots of laughs and a couple of smashed fingers.

They hire women in particular because their goal is to help with the gender hiring gap, which is a major issue in Morocco. Most of the men can find work without an issue but that is not the case for the women. If the women can’t find gainful employment, they will generally pull their children out of school and put them to work. This company provides a living wage for all employees so they can ensure that their children can stay in school. Each person is paid by the shift. They work 8 hour shifts, 7 days per week. All of the employees are from the small local village and the majority of them are family members. Most of them don’t speak any English so we didn’t really talk, but they seemed genuinely happy to be there. While we were there, they took a break to buy clothing and food from a traveling salesman that stopped by the facility.

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This was an incredible trip and I am pleased with what we found. It was evident to me that our supplier vetting process is working. The suppliers we visited proved to be trustworthy and producing a good, clean product. I look forward to doing something similar in the near future and I hope to be able to share that with you. Until then, please let us know any comments and questions you may have. You are always welcome to give us a call at 800-917-6577 or email us at cs@planttherapy.com.

Thank you,
Chris Jones, President
Plant Therapy

Some random photos of Morocco:

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Common form of transportation.

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Olive stand in the open market.

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The open market- This is where the snake charmers are.

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Fresh Juice!

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Sharing a meal with one of our hosts.

 

How I grew healthier, longer, thicker hair in one month using oil for hair growth *PLUS BONUS BASIL LINALOOL CHART*

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I am so excited to be able to share the success story of Kendra Ochoa.  She has become quite a legend on our friendly Facebook group, Safe Essential Oil Recipes.  Her hair growth journey has been much discussed in the aromatherapy community as proof that there are natural remedies for hair growth.  She started doing scalp treatments on June 2nd (left) by July  24 (middle) you can already see a tremendous improvement.  Only one month later, August 21 (right) there is such amazing progress in the health, fullness, and length of her hair!  It’s not hard to see why she quickly became fondly known as the hair guru!

Kendra 3 month update

As if that wasn’t enough proof check out the growth of her eye brows!  Kendra said “I shaved them for 4 years and plucked excessively for 17 years.  I continued to over pluck and over pluck because I just could never get them to fully grow back no matter how many times I tried so I’d give up and just pluck some more!  So yes to me these are miracle oils.”   Thanks to her oils she now has beautiful, full brows again!

Kendra Eyebrows

Her favorite recipe for her eyebrows; 10ml roll on, 10ml Jamaican Black Castor Oil, 6 drops Coffee (drop it to 3 drops if you’re using it daily).

Her favorite recipe to encourage growth;

Kendra advises using 10ml of carrier oil for a scalp treatment and leaving it on all night.  Use 5ml of carrier oil for growth, leave it in for a couple hours, overnight if possible.  Always apply directly to the scalp when the hair is dry.  This will provide the best absorption.  Stick to 1-2% dilution if you’ll be using them often, and switch up your blend to avoid issues associated with sensitization.  Typically 2 carriers and 3 essential oils are sufficient to use in each of your blends.  Her recommendations are as follows;

Fine/Thin Hair

Carrier OilsSunflower, Grapeseed, Jojoba, Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Essential OilsYlang Ylang Extra, Rosemary, Thyme Linalool, Lavender, Cedarwood Atlas, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Basil Linalool (scroll down for bonus chart!), Clary Sage

Dry/Itchy Scalp

Carrier OilsJojoba, Almond, Grapeseed, Avocado, Hemp Seed, SunflowerJamaican Black Castor Oil

Essential OilsRosemary,Tea Tree, Steam Distilled Lemon, Lavender, Sage, Thyme Linalool, Cypress, Eucalyptus GlobulusBasil Linalool (scroll down for bonus chart!), Coffee, Bergamot

Oily Scalp

Carrier OilsHemp Seed, GrapeseedSunflower

Essential OilsLavender, Rosemary, Steam Distilled Lemon, Peppermint, Cypress, Basil Linalool (scroll down for bonus chart!), Tea Tree

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This post contains affiliate links which support Africa Heartwood Project. This means they will receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. To learn more about Africa Heartwood Project click here.

 

 

Meet The Aromatherapists

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Plant Therapy is very excited that we are continuing to expand our team of aromatherapists.  We have some newbies and some who are getting ready to complete their certification programs.  At Plant Therapy our aromatherapists are involved in many aspects of the company and focus on education and safety.

  • SEOR – Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook, where members can ask questions, post recipes and get advice on what to use and how to use it.
  • Blog – On the blog you can find a wealth of information including DIY projects, Product Profiles and Spotlights, Safety information, and Wellness Care.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the blog, please feel free to contact us and we will happy to help out.
  • Email an Aromatherapist – For specific questions or concerns you can email us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com, and one of our team members will assist you.
  • GC/MS Reports – Reading and formatting the reports as they come in and uploading them onto our website for our customers to view.
  • Synergy Blends and other product formulations – Our aromatherapist team is involved in the formulation of some of our synergy blends and other products such as beard oils and balms.  
  • New Oil & Product Selection – Giving input and recommendations on which oils and other products to consider offering.
  • Research and writing -Supporting information for the website, Facebook page, labels, product sheets and more.

We wanted to take an opportunity to introduce (and reintroduce) our aromatherapist team that we fondly refer to as the Potion Patrol.

Retha Nesmith      Retha Photo

Hey everyone!

My name is Retha Nesmith. I was blessed to grow up using essential oils. My mother is a Certified Aromatherapist and because of that, I have used essential oils for as long as I can remember. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to become Plant Therapy’s first Certified Aromatherapist, I jumped at that opportunity. I was passionate about Plant Therapy, I was familiar with essential oils, and it just seemed like the perfect fit.

After doing a lot of research on the different options out there to get certified in aromatherapy, I decided to go with Aromahead Institute. I loved that I could do it all online (at that time I had two children and worked 50+ hours a week)! I loved how involved Andrea and her staff was! I also loved what I learned about the course. When you get your certification through Aromahead, you have to do case studies. This is hands on experience and that was important to me.

I got my Certificate in Aromatherapy in April of 2014 It was exciting to finally be able to call myself a Certified Aromatherapist. Since that time, I have had many opportunities through Plant Therapy to see the lives of so many people change for the better because of essential oils. I have seen people become passionate in not only the essential oils, but the education, safety, chemistry, etc. of essential oils. It has been exciting!

If you are new to essential oils and just starting out, start simple. Pick 1-4 oils that you are most interested in and start playing around. Get comfortable with the oils. Learn the basics and go from there. You will quickly find as you get comfortable with the oils, that you can find basically unlimited uses for them. You will learn to love them just as I do!

 

 Lori ChaseLori Photo

Hello!

I’m Lori and I oversee the team of Aromatherapists at Plant Therapy.  I used essential oils before becoming employed at PT, but my knowledge was limited.  I love everything I do at Plant Therapy, but Aromatherapy is by far my favorite.  After completing the  Aromahead program in 2014 I have continued to learn through experience and by taking additional courses.  I love learning, the challenge of finding answers to things I don’t know, and I am fascinated by the chemistry of essential oils. Helping others in their essential oils journey has been the best part.

As a lifelong creator of baking recipes, I found aromatherapy to be a natural fit. Now I’m frequently in the kitchen whipping up blends, butters, balms and just about anything else I can get my hands on, and I still have an amazing aroma permeating my home.

My greatest joys in life are my grandchildren (I do like their parents too!), and doing almost anything outdoors.  I love to garden, go antiquing, and finding ways to re-purpose old things.

 

Kimberly PhotoKimberly Daun

Hi, my name is Kimberly! I am married and a mother of 4 boys living in New England. Through my many travels and living in three countries and ten states, I have developed a real love and respect for the diversity nature provides.  Since a very young age I have sought ways to live a synergistic lifestyle of respect and cohesiveness with nature.  While living in Hawaii, 12 years ago, I sought alternative holistic health support for an ongoing issue and was introduced to essential oils.  Immediately I saw results and have been using aromatherapy in my home ever since.

In June of 2015 I completed my Aromatherapy Certification through Aromahead Institute and in December officially joined the Plant Therapy team.  Since then my primary contributions have been to both Plant Therapy’s Blog as well as the Safe Essential Oil Recipes page on Facebook. I continue to immerse myself in the industry and seek to further my education at every opportunity.

 

Emilee Hughes20160712_184002

My name is Emilee Hughes and I have been a Certified Aromatherapist for Plant Therapy since June of 2016. While I am newly certified, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with Robert Tisserand on our GCMS reports over the past year. Since I joined Plant Therapy in 2014 I have had the privilege of working in almost every department from production and fulfillment, to customer service, and I am now a Certified Aromatherapist. I love being an Aromatherapist because I get to put my working knowledge of essential oil constituents to use in helping all of our wonderful customers!

I currently live in Twin Falls, ID with my husband and our two dogs, Dill and Brutus. We enjoy fishing, hiking, kayaking, and basically anything that gets us outdoors. When I’m not busy spending time with family, you can find me creating a new blend (or if you ask my husband, a big mess!) in the kitchen. Over the next year, I’m looking forward to continuing my education and growing as an Aromatherapist!

 

Ellen Brenner                  Ellen Photo

Hi, I’m Ellen!

My aromatic areas of interest are grounded in holistic and subtle aromatherapy to support a restorative state of balance in our whole being, including our natural energy flow. I feel blessed to bring together my passions for aromatherapy, conscious wellness, helping others, and writing as a member the Plant Therapy team. My current blogs focus on the mind, body and spirit connection and how aromatherapy can impact our essential wellbeing. I especially enjoy blending with an intuitive approach inspired by the synergistic effects of the aromatic essences created by nature.

It was love at first smell when I discovered the world of aromatherapy in 1999. I began exploring and experiencing aromatherapy personally as part of my overall integrative wellness approach. Encouraged by the outcomes, and after some significant life traumas and changes, aromatherapy became the gateway for my formal study in the natural healing arts.  I am  licensed as a therapeutic bodywork practitioner, with comprehensive training and certifications in holistic aromatherapy, energy medicine, and holistic health coaching. I have additional training in reflexology and transformational healing workshops. I continue to expand my education, most avidly in aromatherapy, and feel truly fulfilled i sharing what I have learned to help others.

 

mom1-1-3 Pat Burdick

I have never felt right about “covering up the symptoms” when someone in my family was ill.  I had a desire to get to the root of the problem and heal it.  While I recognized the role of the traditional medical route, I knew deep down inside that there had to be other options.  Thus, the stage was set! When I was introduced to the therapeutic use of essential oils, it made sense to me and a budding Aromatherapist was born!

As an educator by profession, I have always loved to learn.  So, when my youngest child left for college I decided to reenter the classroom not as a teacher but as a student.  Upon completion of a wonderful program at the Aromahead Institute, I signed on with Plant Therapy, which has allowed me the privilege to do what I love; help others.  I currently have the pleasure to serve the members of the SEOR page, which provides the opportunity for caring, sharing and learning to happen amongst thousands!  What an inspiring arena! Plant Therapy, it is truly a fabulous place to work.

 

LeAnna Photo  LeAnna Magee

My name is LeAnna and I started working for Plant Therapy 2 years ago, helping with the website, and then moved into Customer Service. I was given the opportunity to take the aromatherapy course and passed.  As a single mother, working full time and teaching at the college, I was not ready for one more task.  I didn’t know a lot about the oils and wanted to continue working with the customers.  I enjoy working with people and loved the many that I came in contact with in Customer Service.  I also enjoy camping, playing sports and being in nature.

When moving to our new location I was asked to help in the shipping department processing the orders that come in each day.  I had already worked in most departments and knew the processes.  I have been in Shipping 6 months, working all that time on my aromatherapy certification course, and have loved every minute of it.  I have enjoyed learning more about essential oils and how powerful and amazing they are.

I think my favorite part of the course are the case studies, as I have seen the oils first hand being used by friends, family and even complete strangers and the overwhelming changes that they have made in people’s lives. My goal is to have the course completed this year so that I can continue to help and educate people about essential oils.
Diane Mishler Diane Photo

I am a certified massage therapist and began my essential oil journey several years ago. I began reading and doing research and decided I wanted to work for the best and also most caring essential oil company! I love working at Plant Therapy and enjoy working in customer service, especially doing “chat”.

I am currently taking the Aromatherapy Certification course. I feel like it has given me a new lease on life with an exciting new future and vision, and I look forward to helping people with the knowledge I will gain, as a Certified Aromatherapist. I have been married to the same wonderful man for over 30 years and my favorite titles are “Mom” and “Grandma”.

 

Macadamia Nut–The best kept beauty secret of the islands

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How to use Macadamia Nut Oil For Stronger, Longer, Hair.

Hawaii is my beloved home, everything about it is beautiful.  There is such a strong emphasis on health and happiness.  One of my favorite memories is sitting on an abandoned beach in Haleiwa, eating chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and breathing in the intoxicating scent of the plumeria trees.  I was able to justify my guilty pleasure due to the many health benefits Macadamia Nuts offer.

I love Macadamia Oil for so many of the same reasons I justified indulging in my chocolaty treat.  I also LOVE a good deal, and today only Macadamia Oil is discounted as the daily deal!  It’s jam packed full of fatty acids; oleic, palmitoleic, linoleic, and a-linoleic.  This makes it an ideal carrier oil for personal care as there are so many benefits to your hair and skin.  Plus is has a shelf life of a year when stored properly so I never need to worry about expiration (I use it too frequently)!  Here are some of the ways I use it on my hair and skin.

How to use Macadamia Nut Oil For Stronger, Longer, Hair.

It helps to hydrate and strengthen your hair and scalp, preventing breakage and frizz.

To use alone;

Deep Conditioner; Massage into your hair, starting at the roots, until you have covered your hair.  Is doesn’t need to be drenched, just mostly covered with a layer of oil.  The amount will depend on how long and thick your hair is.  Then put on a shower cap, or wrap a towel and let sit for an hour.  Rinse with your regular shampoo for noticeably softer/shinier hair.

Frizz Control; Apply a couple of drops to the palm of your hand, start at the tips and apply to dry hair (I typically only apply to the lower half of my hair).  Style as usual!

Amp it up by using the following essential oils;

Oily Hair; Peppermint Western, Steam Distilled Lemon, Rosemary, and Tea Tree

Dry HairCedarwood Atlas (you can use Virginian or Himalayan), Lavender Fine (you can also use Population), and Tea Tree (it’s pretty much good for everything!)

Thinning Hair; Rosemary, Thyme Linalool, Cedarwood Atlas (you can use Virginian or Himalayan), and Lavender Fine (you can also use Population)

As you can see several of the recommended essential oils are really great for any hair type.  So mix and match a total 1-2% dilution to enhance the therapeutic properties of Macadamia Oil.

How to use Macadamia Nut Oil For Stronger, Longer, Hair.

It efficiently penetrates and absorbs leaving a non greasy satin finish, and is very nourishing.  I even like to rub it all over my body right out of the shower for super soft skin.  You can use it alone by massaging on the areas of concern.  Below are some essential oil suggestions to make an even more effective combination.

Scars; Neroli, Lavender Fine (you can also use Population), Helichrysum Italicum, or Frankincense Frereana, Anti Scar/Stretch Synergy

Massage; Black Pepper, Marjoram, Lavender Fine (you can also use Population), Spruce, Turmeric, or Juniper Berry.

Anti aging; Sandalwood, Rose, Neroli, Frankincense Frereana, Frankincense Serrata, Frankincense Carteri, Anti-Age Synergy

Dry feet; Lavender Fine (you can also use Population), Petitgrain, Palmarosa, Carrot, Helichrysum Italicum, Silky Soft Synergy

I would again recommend mixing and matching for a total 1-2% total dilution.

Here are some previous DIY blog posts using this fabulously nutty oil; Face Serum, Lotion Spray, and Hair Mask.

DIY Organic Rosemary & Coconut Shampoo

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I’m slowly trying to convert to a more natural lifestyle.  There are so many homemade shampoo recipes!  Creating shampoo for my boys was easy, shampoo for myself was a bit more challenging (my hair is pretty long).  After using this homemade shampoo this last month I’m sold!  Keep reading to see how to make shampoo for the whole family!

Rosemary Shampoo

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Add everything to your bottle.
  3. Secure the lid and shake well!
  4. Massage onto damp hair and rinse.

 

This post contains affiliate links which support Africa Heartwood Project. This means they will receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. To learn more about Africa Heartwood Project click here.

 

Slipping Into Slumber

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Do you sleep like a baby? Or, do you have trouble slipping into slumber?

I admit that lately I have been having trouble drifting off to a good night’s sleep. Left to my own devices, I am a night owl. Yet, I am one who needs my beauty rest to be at my best. And, lately, I have added more to my daily schedule. All good things, but things that mean I need to plan for a more structured sleep schedule so I can create a healthy rhythm to meet the needs of my mind and body.

Lavender Pillow Reduced

There are many reasons for insomnia (inability to sleep). And, if your inability to sleep is serious, long-term, and affecting your daily life and health, you may want to see your health practitioner to discuss your concern.

What I want to focus on here is perhaps one of the most simple sources of sleeplessness. And, that is ensuring that we are properly preparing the mind and body for slumber.

Many of us tend to go, go, go — and, then, squeeze in one more thing until we run out of enough hours for a proper night’s sleep. Then, when we do finally clock out and fall into bed physically fatigued, our brains may still be working overtime. And, if you take your electronics to bed, you have a few more strikes against your quest for sleep. Not only are they stimulating to the mind and body, the light emitted also suppresses the natural sleep hormone, melatonin. [1]

On average, most adults require between 7 and 8 hours of deeply restorative sleep a night to maintain their wellbeing.[2] So, what happens when we get by on six, five, or maybe even less hours sleep? Not only does it put us into the debit column for the next day’s functional needs, lack of sleep begins to have immediate and long-term consequences on our wellbeing.

According to sleep research, effects of sleep deprivation include: [3]

  • Drowsy driving, which slows reaction time as much as drunk driving, after only one night’s loss of proper sleep;
  • Impacted ability to learn, think, concentrate and store memory information from the day;
  • Chronic sleep loss is linked to risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes;
  • Those who suffer from long-term insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression; and
  • Sleep is also required for a healthy immune system.[4]

When we are deprived of sleep, we deprive our body the ability to restore. I first learned of this after injuring my spinal cord. As part of my multi-disciplinary rehabilitation regimen, my physician was intensely focused on the quality and quantity of my nightly sleep. He explained slumber is the vital period required by the body to restore and renew — critical functions to the rehabilitation process. Research has indicated sleep is the time when the body repairs through “muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis and growth hormone release.” [5]

And, then, there is the ability to function mentally and emotionally. Back in 2003, my personal physician was head of the one of the earlier medical school  integrative medicine departments. At the time, I was going through a hellish divorce while trying to balance my responsibilities at work and had reached my wit’s end after enduring six sleepless weeks.

I was not only beyond physically exhausted, I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted as well. At a time when I needed to be sharp, I was foggy, forgetful, moody and emotional. My spirits were down. I couldn’t make thoughtful decisions. I felt dull. I was slow to respond and found myself going in circles while trying to mentally sort things out.

Desperate for sleep and functionality, I went to see my physician to ask for a short-term prescription to get that elusive sleep that always seemed to be just out of reach. We talked about the issues that seemed to be the source. And, then, she had this to say. She indeed had a prescription. But, it was not for a medication.

It was for what she called “sleep hygiene,” a process of preparing the body for slipping into slumber. She exacted a promise from me that I would follow her sleep preparation process exactly as given for exactly one week. If it did not work and I did not sleep by the seventh night (if not before), she would write me the prescription for the medication. I left bewildered and not a total believer, but willing to try knowing there was sleep at the end of the tunnel one way or another.

Here were her instructions:

  • One hour before bedtime, shut off all electronics – TV, phone, radio, computer – everything
  • No reading – even things that seem relaxing, because the act of reading and thinking still stimulates the brain.
  • Drink a large mug of warm, chamomile tea.
  • Immediately following, take a very warm lavender and epsom salt bath. Soak for about 20 minutes.
  • Wrap the body in warm robe, or pajamas and immediately get into bed.
  • Shut off the lights, put your head on the pillow and close the eyes.

It was not easy. To get the appropriate amount of rest, I needed to be asleep by 10:00 p.m., which meant I needed to start this regimen at 9:00 p.m. each night. That meant missing TV shows (back before DVR) and letting friends and family know I would not be available for phone chats. Fortunately (to make things easier), it was before smart phones and tablets that put computer communications in the palm of our hands. I also lived alone, which meant I could create a silent sanctuary. This might be were soothing spa music or white noise could come in handy to create a sound-filtered space.

I have to admit, the first several nights, I just laid there. But, since I was training my body for a new regimen, lay there I did.  At least, I was resting. After several nights, I started to get drowsy and would eventually drift off. By the last few nights I was drifting off soon after getting into bed.

As it turned out, slipping into slumber was within my grasp after all. In my case, regardless of what I was going through, the source of my sleeplessness was my lack of preparation, especially under trying circumstances. I never did need that prescription.

What I understand now was that I was not only creating conditions more conducive to signal sleep, I was also resetting the button to create a new pattern to signal my sleep rhythm. And, while I have the best of intentions, like most of us, I can drift away from healthy practices. When I find myself having difficulty drifting off, I realize it is time to bring out the regimen to, once again, retrain my mind and body.

I was blessed to have an integrative medicine physician who not only advocated natural remedies, but also who understood the benefits of aromatherapy in this remedial and relaxing routine. I had already been using aromatherapy for a few years at this point, but was amazed to find it provided such a simple, yet significant, means of support as part of my physician’s care plan for sleep deprivation relief.

Lavender  has been well documented to support relaxation by reducing stress hormones and increasing neurotransmitters that promote improved rest and mood.[6] Roman Chamomile has long been used in aromatherapy for it’s relaxing benefits. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) identifies its therapeutic value for relieving tension and worry as well as supporting slumber. [7]

In addition to the relaxation routine outlined above, I have incorporated lavender and roman chamomile essential oils into some blends below to support your efforts to better slip into slumber.

 

Relaxing Bath Blend

Relaxing to both mind and body

2 drops lavender

2 drops roman chamomile 

1 drop sweet marjoram

1 – 2 T natural body wash

½ – 1 c Epsom salts

Add essential oils to body wash to disburse. Mix in Epsom salts. Add under running very warm running water.

 

Clear and Calm Diffuser Blend

Clearing, cleansing, clarifying and calming.

3 drops lemon

2 drops lavender fine

Diffuse for 30 to 60 minutes for a clearing and calming experience.

 


Sources:

[1] Hatfield, Heather. “How TV, Internet, and Other Electronic Devices Impact Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

[2] “Adult Sleep Needs at Every Age: From Young Adults to the Elderly.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

[3] Peri, Camille. “10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, 2014. Web. 13 July 2016.

[4] “Why Sleep Matters.” Healthy Sleep: Understanding the Third of Our Lives We So Often Take for Granted. Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 2008. Web. 19 July 2016.

[5] “Why Sleep Matters.” Healthy Sleep: Understanding the Third of Our Lives We So Often Take for Granted. Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 2008. Web. 19 July 2016.

[6] The Therapeutic Foundations of Essential Oils. Robert Tisserand. Tisserand Institute. Tisserand Institute, June 2015. Web. 19 July 2016.

[7] “National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.” Most Commonly Used Essential OIls | . National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.