Essential Oils Blog

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.

Essential Oils In The Bath

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By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist

Raise your hand, who loves to take a bath? Aromatic baths at the end of the day to de-stress and unwind, there’s nothing quite like it in my book. There is one very specific thing you need to think about before you step into your bath when using essential oils, and that is, are you using a proper dispersing agent? There is a plethora of misinformation floating around the internet and on social media on this topic. I decided to help to clear up any possible confusion. Let’s get started!

 

Touching On Chemistry

 Very briefly, most essential oil molecules consist of carbon and hydrogen. Several contain oxygen, and few contain sulphur and nitrogen. Essential oil molecules have various structures and contain different numbers of bonds, for example monoterpenes have 10 carbon atoms, sesquiterpenes have 15. The types of bonds within a molecule change its structure, odor, therapeutic property, toxicity, and solubility.

 

Let’s Hone In On Solubility Of Essential Oils

It is important for any essential oil enthusiast to understand what solubility means. Joy E. Bowles stated in her book, The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils, For a substance to be dissolved in another substance, the molecules of each substance must freely co-mingle. As a general rule of thumb, polar substances will dissolve in polar solvents, and non-polar substances in non-polar solvents” (1).

From a formulator’s standpoint, solubility is the ability of a solid, liquid, or gas to dissolve in a liquid solvent to create a homogeneous solution (2).

Homogeneous=a solution that is of uniform structure or composition throughout (3).

 

Essential Oils Are Not Soluble In Water. Why is this?

Essential oils are lipophilic (combine with or dissolve in lipids or fats), also called non-polar substances. In contrast, Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda is hydrophilic (mix with, or dissolve in water), also called a polar substance.

Before those well versed in chemistry yells from the rooftops “But salt is ionic”! I am over simplifying here. Ionic substances are VERY polar in nature (more complex, they are metal and non-metal) (4). They are not technically polar molecules, but they are polar in their behavior.

In looking at what Joy stated above, we see that essential oils and water will not dissolve or disperse, they will not freely co-mingle as essential oils are non-polar, and water is polar. The essential oil will float on top of the water. The same would apply for Epsom salt, sea salt, or baking soda; they would dissolve in water but the oil would still stay separate.

 

Spotlight on Solubizers

 Solubizers are a great option for the bath. In this case, solubizers are a substance (a solvent) used to incorporate an oil-based ingredient (a solute) into a water-based product, making them a homogenous solution, or helping them to freely co-mingle (5). A solubizer essentially forces a substance that was not previously able to be soluble in water (essential oil) to properly disperse.

Polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80, and a product called Solubol fall into the category of solubizers, and can be used to disperse essential oils into water and forge that homogenous solution. Of these three, Solubol would be my recommended solubizer. The recommended ratio (before adding to the tub) is 1:4, 1 drop essential oil to 4 drops Solubol.

 

Spotlight On Surfactants

 For ease of explanation, the molecule of a surfactant has one end (head) that loves water and the other end (tail) that loves fat. A surfactant “holds hands” with these two, helping them properly disperse in the bath. In other words, a surfactant helps two substances that do not easily mix together (oil and water), to chemically bond and remain mixed. Therefore, surfactants such as shampoo, soap, or bubble bath, are useful in an aromatic bath. My recommendation is fragrance free shampoo to avoid possible irritation of the urogenital tract. Mix 1tbsp fragrance free shampoo with your essential oil before adding to the bathwater for best results.

 

Spotlight On Diluents

 Following me so far? The last substance that I want to talk about is diluents. For me, these are an added luxury to a bathing experience. Diluents are fat based, and include full fat crème, full fat milk, or carrier oil.

The crème/milk will have a mild dispersing action, whereas the oil will not. We know that carrier oil and essential oil blended and applied topically to the skin works brilliantly, but when we add these two to water, they will float/remain on the top. Carrier oil is acceptable in the bath, but use caution as the tub can get slippery fast (and will need a good scrub when you are done). I prefer full fat crème; one cup is plenty.

 

 

Closing

 I hope that this helps to clear up any confusion in regards to taking an aromatic bath. There are a number of ways that it can be done safely, but salts alone are not enough. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, please reach out to one of Plant Therapy’s on staff aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

References

(1) Bowles, E.J. (2003) The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils. (3rd Ed) Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. (p 45)

(2) Solubilizers: How are they different from emulsifiers? Retrieved from http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2012/06/solubilizers-how-are-they-different.html

(3) Definition of homogenous. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homogeneous

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

(5) Fun with chemistry: solubility. Retrieved from http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/2010/03/fun-with-chemistry-so

Essential Oil Education – Myrrh

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By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

Let’s talk about a less common, less understood oil, Myrrh!

Hippocrates revolutionized the medical field during his life in 460-370BC.  He mentions Myrrh more than any other plant in his writings.  This is significant because plants were their primary form of medicine.  Even thousands of years ago is was seen as a precious and useful plant.

Much like obtaining syrup from a maple tree, to get Myrrh the bark of the Commiphora tree is cut.  It oozes out in droplets, is allowed to dry, then scraped off the trunk.  Many people use Myrrh in this raw form.  However, we take it a step further to get the essential oil by steam distilling this hard resin.

For thousands of years, and through present day, Myrrh is used for a wide variety of purposes: rejuvenating the appearance of skin, reducing the perception of pain and inflammation, supporting gum health, and calming the mind.  Here are a few recipes incorporating Myrrh to aid in young, beautiful, vibrant hands and assisting with muscle discomfort.

Moisturizing Hand Cream

Shea butter is very moisturizing  with tons of Vitamin E, making it a great choice to breathe new life into dry hands.  The honey is moisturizing and helps brighten dull skin, all while helping to slow the aging process.  DermiSoothe is ideal for moisturizing and repairing dry skin. I chose Fragonia I because I find the beautiful aroma to be very calming, it is also soothing to sore joints.  Myrrh helps to repair damaged skin.  German Chamomile CO2 helps reduce the signs of aging, smooth skin, and offer relief for sore muscles and joints.  Bergamot helps to brighten the skin making it the perfect final touch for this fabulous cream.

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  • Over a double boiler, on medium, mix and melt together Shea, DermiSoothe, & Honey.
  • Put in fridge until it hardens (about a half hour for me).
  • Whip essential oils into butter.

To use;

A little of this goes a long way so start out with small amounts.

to ease sore muscles or joints, try using this recipe in your cream:

6 drops Black Pepper

5 drops Myrrh

4 drops German Chamomile CO2

3 drops Marjoram

 

How do you use Myrrh in your home?

 

Cohen, J. (2011, June 27). A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense and Myrrh. Retrieved from History: http://www.history.com/news/a-wise-mans-cure-frankincense-and-myrrh

 

*This statement has not be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Plant Therapy and it’s representatives are not intending to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

 

 

 

My Travel Kit

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Just between us- even though I love my beautiful state of Idaho, I do love to travel. I especially love it when going to see my family in sunny, 80-degree California…and especially when my house has a flooded crawlspace from a broken pipe. Let’s face it, we couldn’t stay at home anyway. The water was turned off, and with huge, noisy fans running nonstop in the house, we concluded that we might as well go. My spunky 90-year-old Dad lives in California, along with much of my family. When we get together it sounds like something out of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”! There’s a lot of laughter and a lot of love.

Right up there with traveling, I love essential oils, and whenever I travel I always take my “go to” oils- essential oils that for me, are a necessity. Of course, everyone is different and has different preferences or restrictions. But this is my blog article and I get to choose whatever I want. 🙂

In this first part of this article, I am choosing these three:

  1. Bergamot. An amazing essential oil period. The smell is wonderful, like a mixed up citrus tree that has lemons, grapefruit and limes growing on it, with a few peppercorns thrown in for good measure. Almost every person who takes a whiff of it in our retail store, says,”WOW! That smells good!” Bergamot (not Bergamont- no N please), according to many essential oil experts, is one of the best oils to help with anxiety. I do tend to get a little anxious with road travel at times. I’m fine as long as there’s no fog, snow, ice, cliffs, hard rains, curves, or trucks. Basically, I am ok with sunny skies, 72 degrees, straight highways, clear conditions, and no other cars on the road. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often. That’s where Bergamot comes in. It is also good for a cough. It has properties that can be calming and soothing, and  can help with skin issues, such as blemishes and irritation.
  1. Lavender. Many already know the benefits of Lavender, which is one of the most popular essential oils. Its fantastic for minor burns. It has helped many a crying child (or crying adult) with a bee or wasp sting, or a skin irritation from a plant. Diluted Lavender can be rubbed behind the ear during an earache and it is famous for it’s calming properties.
  1.  Peppermint. I think Peppermint was the first essential oil that I discovered, and it was for a headache. I’ve since learned that it can be amazing for an upset stomach, which comes in handy when eating out a lot. It also is helpful for achy muscles. I used it the other day on a painful finger joint of my husband. I remember years ago when my sweet hubby wasn’t as keen on oils, and called it my “voodoo”. Now he not only willingly allows me to try out some concoctions on him, he occasionally asks for some.

 

It’s nice to have a little kit with your favorites and a bottle of carrier oil in case you need to mix some up. I pulled them out to make some goodies to help loved ones on our visit.  Or you can take our convenient roll-ons with you. I will continue this oil journey in Part II. Meanwhile I wish you safe travels and would like to know-

 

What are some of your favorite oils?

 

 

A Crazy Little Thing Called (Self) Love

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By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Ah! The Season of Love! We are reminded to express our love to those we love.

So, while you are handing out all those Valentines to others, let’s also include ourselves. A Crazy Little Thing Called (Self) Love is another opportunity to practice conscious wellness.

Do you love yourself unconditionally?

If you answered in the affirmative, that is awesome! Many of us, however, are on various forks in the path still working our way there.

Some never learned how. Some believe they aren’t worthy. Some learned love was conditional.

Well, let me share one ginormous Valentine that was shared with me by a gifted healer, teacher and mentor, Dr. Dorothy Martin-Neville:

“You are worthy of love simply because you exist.”

Think about that for a moment. Not because of what you do for others, or how you look, or how smart you are, or how well you do your job, or what a great spouse or parent you are.

“You are worthy of love simply because you exist.”

Oh man! If we could all just get through life with that understanding intact, I do believe we would have world peace. But, alas, what we learn in our lives along the way can get in the way.

There might be those voices in your head telling you otherwise. In Food for Thought we discussed how the voices we mind may not be your own. So, you can’t believe everything you think.

We discussed how our chronic negative emotions can become self-limiting beliefs and how over time that becomes how we see the world. That world includes how we see ourselves. And, well, when we don’t love ourselves, it can affect our sense of self.

 

My ex-husband was emotionally abusive.

I believed that marriage wasn’t easy. That it took hard work over the long haul. Not to be so sensitive. To be a good girl. To be tough and shake things off.

I had also believed that I earned love by what I did for others and how well I performed. I had low self-esteem and I didn’t know how to love myself. And, I was disconnected from my authentic self. And, so, I felt affirmed and worthy when that love and acceptance was bestowed on me by others.

This was the manifestation of my self-limiting belief system that I perceived as reality. And, I didn’t understand that all those mixed together made an unholy gumbo for someone who needed that on which to feast his own fears.

I share this part of my story because it was the start of my journey to whole–heartedly work toward healing my whole being. And, that includes learning to love myself simply because I exist. When we don’t know how to love ourselves how do we feel worthy of love from one who is worthy of sharing it with us?

I discovered, through therapeutic work and the support of others, that it was simply chronic negative emotions and self-limiting belief systems masquerading as my reality through the window with which I viewed the world. What a gift when I discovered that they were beliefs that can be changed. And, I myself, held the power change them by learning how to love myself.

When we are able to look through the window inward, we can begin to see our core essence – who we truly are and came into the world to be. The soul that is worthy of love simply because we exist. And, when I began to connect, with that part of my self – my true self, I felt love.

The trick is staying connected. When I get up in my head (where I am prone to go when I am not grounded), I disconnect from my seat of love and those voices can start to pull me toward the fear, anxiety and stress of not being worthy. It is a journey for sure, perhaps my life’s lesson, but I know longer live in that unreality.

I don’t have a magic bullet to offer. For me, it has been a lot of work, and a work in progress, with the support of many gifted healers and teachers over the years. And, while I have sought the support of professionals along certain steps, I also seek to tap into my own sense of self-support.

This is one of the reasons that mindfulness work is so important to me. It is a practice that brings me back to the path of healing. It is part of the work of learning and staying connected to and believing in the unconditional love of myself. Mindfulness techniques such as journaling and meditation, affirmations, being aware of negative self-talk and emotions are wonderfully self-empowering.

As always, aromatherapy provides a wonderful companion on my journey toward optimal wellbeing, whether it is in the moment, or providing support for a healing practice. They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. That is very true for me in aromatherapy. At a time in my life when I have renewed my greater focus on freeing whatever heart constraints remain, I have been very drawn to the beautiful rose otto.

For time immemorial roses have been the language of love. We think of them when we give to another. But, what a wonderful gift we can give to ourselves, for rose offers a beautiful support for the spirit for those seeking working on wounds of the heart.

In our subtle body, our core essence and our natural energy flow — the heart center is seated at the place where our physical self and spiritual self meet. Its purposes are to regulate love and balance in our being. Yet, the heart is often the seat of heartache, emotional pain, grief and loss. When blocked by these imbalances, it is difficult for us to experience love and acceptance either for self or for others.[1]

In subtle aromatherapy, rose is also one of the first choices for healing the heart and promoting love of self. Robbi Zeck, in “The Blossoming Heart” recommends rose for times when you feel unloved to help embrace your own divine love within.[2] Gabriel Mojay in “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit,” recommends rose for repair of love, trust and self-acceptance when the heart has been hurt.[3] In “Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques,” Joni Kein and Ruah Bull indicate rose to provide comfort for heartache and to support love compassion, acceptance for self and others.[4]

A decade and a half later, I am in a much happier and healthier place. While I appreciate and feel uplifted and affirmed by the love of others, I have learned to love myself simply for who I am – simply because I exist.

There is still work to clear out some of the webs woven into the spiritual level, to clear out old hurt, grievances and programming, but I have also learned what lies beneath. A pureness of heart that can radiate unconditional love in such a way that it can bring balance not only to our own wellbeing, but also a whole-heartedness to others.

As I continue brighten my heart light, these are some of the blends that beauty in a bottle, rose otto, has inspired. I hope they inspire and support you should you be working to heal your heart as well.

From my heart to yours, on this day of love and beyond, I wish you unconditional and whole-hearted love!

 

“You are worthy of love simply because you exist.”

 

Notes on Rose Otto 10%:

  • These synergies all use rose otto 10%. Plant Therapy offers organic rose otto undiluted, or pre-diluted to 10% in carrier oil. I’ve used the diluted version. Precious rose otto is not only rich to the budget, it is rich to the nose. It is a very fragrant flower. While I love rose, I am not fond of floral scents that “take over.” I find the proportion in these synergies plays nice with others.
  • Diluted rose otto is not appropriate for a an electronic diffuser. But, these blends are for highly personal work and best reserved for personal inhalation.
  • Cautions: Rose otto is not considered KidSafe and the maximum topical dilution recommended is 0.6%.

 

These mini-master blends are perfect for personal inhalers, passive diffusion such as aromatherapy jewelry, or anointing blends diluted to 1% in roller bottles to use as companions to your healing practices.

 

Beloved Beach Rose

2 drops rose otto 10%

2 drops sandalwood

1 drop bergamot

Balancing to mind, body and spirit. Opens the heart center to love. Eases grief and heartache. Supports healing on all levels. Invites positive, optimistic energy. Quiets the mind and promotes a sense of wellbeing and serenity. Uplifting and calming. Encourages acceptance of self and others. Helps to connect to our inner essence. Grounds while opening to a higher state of consciousness. 

 

Hearts and Flowers

2 drops lavender fine

1 drop neroli

1 drop rose otto 10%

1 drop mandarin

Balancing to body, mind and spirit. Promotes sense of peace and wellbeing. Invites positive energy. Uplifts the heart and encourages joyful love for self and others. Calms and comforts the heart. Eases grief, sorrow and heartache. Encourages compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.

 

Sunshine of My Heart

2 drops lime

2 drops rose otto 10%

1 drop coriander

Restorative and uplifting. Invites positive energy and promotes a sense of wellbeing. Encourages emotional warmth and passion. Encourages love and compassion for self and others. Eases and comforts the heart. Helps support the healing of heart wounds.

 

Precious Peace of My Heart

2 drops yuzu*

1 drop melissa

1 drop rose otto 10%

1 drop sandalwood

Balancing to mind, body and spirit. Restorative supporting healing on all levels. Encourages an overall sense of wellbeing. Supports acceptance, peace and serenity. Encourages unconditional love. Invites positive energy, hope, love and compassion. Supports love and patience for self and others. Helps to connect to our inner essence. Helps to ground while linking to a higher consciousness.

*Yuzu was recently featured as an Oil of the Month. If you do not have yuzu, you might try bergamot, mandarin or lemon to suit your senses. 

 


Sources:

[1] Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1996. Print.

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

[3] Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 1999. Print.

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

Getting to Know Your Essential Oils — Part 2

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By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Perhaps one of the most frequent questions we receive is “what oil can I substitute” for another oil in a blend? The best answer to this is truly getting to know your essential oils a bit more. So, let’s discuss one way to do that.

By now, you hopefully have read:

  1. The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy; and
  2. Welcome to Essential Education

In the first, we gave you a bit more background that connects us to the world of aromatherapy – the field of natural healing arts which makes use of essential oils and extracts. One does not exist without the other. And, we will expand upon this as we go along.

We, then, introduced the new Essential Education blog series and encouraged you to become more familiar with each of your essential oils. We provided a worksheet to guide you in collecting and processing information about your oils both on paper and through your senses.

So, now, we are going to continue to get to know our oils, but we are going to reverse the process. Rather than starting with the oil, we are going to start with the concerns we wish to support.

Before we continue, I’d like to make a point about natural healing, aromatherapy, and essential oils and the role they play. Let’s go back to the definition of aromatherapy from the Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy:

“Aromatherapy is a natural healing practice using the pure and natural concentrated essences from aromatic plants to enhance the wellbeing of mind, body and spirit, support our innate healing process, and improve quality of life.”

 As a natural healing art, aromatherapy is a complement to support your body’s built-in healing mechanisms. This is important to keep in mind when you are thinking about why you want to use essential oils, how to appropriately introduce them into your family’s wellness care, and what you can reasonably expect to achieve.

So, with this in mind, the next step is to inventory your issues for which you would like support and begin to build a list of oils that match that concern.  My suggestion is to start with your top 3-5 primary concerns. You can then compare this list of concerns and supporting oils to the inventory of the essential oils you have on hand (or would like to have on hand) that you created from Welcome to Essential Education. Keep in mind many oils have overlapping and multiple purposes. 

Here is a downloadable and printable worksheet you might like to use as a guide:

 

Download and Print Worksheet Here

 

For your basic research for reputable information here are some suggested sources. There are many other good resources, but in the beginning, and for this exercise, let’s keep it simple:

Plant Therapy Website:  usage and safety info is listed for each oil. This information is compiled by Plant Therapy in consultation with  Robert Tisserand who is respected as the foremost expert on essential oil safety.

Safe Essential Oil Recipes: this Facebook group is focused on safe usage information shared by members and Plant Therapy and monitored by Plant Therapy’s certified aromatherapists. This is a closed group, so if you are not already a member, you can request to be added.

Reference Books: Three books I like for the home user, written by long-standing respected authors and leaders in aromatherapy are:

“The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness” by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele

“The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy(2016, Revised  25th Anniversary Edition) by Valerie Ann Worwood

“Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils” (2015 edition) by Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN

As you compile your worksheets, you will see that each essential oil has multiple actions affecting mind, body and spirit. And, while some of the key uses of your essential oil choices may overlap, some of the other aspects may not be beneficial for what you are trying to achieve.

Here are some examples:

 

For discomfort of tight and kinked up muscles in a local area:

Roman chamomile   (chamaemelum nobile)

Body: Strong support for relieving tight muscles

Mind: Relaxing. Excellent in supporting sleep.

Cautions: None known.

 

Peppermint  (mentha x piperita)

Body: Strong support for relieving tight muscles.

Mind: Stimulating. Excellent for enhancing alertness and sense of energy.

Cautions: Not safe near the faces of children. Not safe during nursing. Maximum dilution of 5% for topical use.

 

  1. Which would you choose before bedtime?
  2. Which might be helpful for a morning massage?
  3. Which would be safest to use with children?

 

Ok, so taking the multiple uses of many essential oils a step further, let’s look again at peppermint. But this time, let’s say our concern is digestive distress.

 

For digestive distress:

Peppermint  (mentha x piperita)

Body: Helps to ease a queasy stomach

Mind: Stimulating. Excellent for enhancing alertness and sense of energy.

Cautions: Not safe near the faces of children. Not safe during nursing. Maximum dilution of 5% for topical use.

 

Spearmint (mentha spicata)

Body: Helps to ease a queasy stomach.

Mind: Calming and uplifting. Reduces emotional agitation.

Safety Concerns: Max dermal application of 1.7%.

 

  1. Which would you choose for children?
  2. Which would you choose before bedtime?
  3. Which can you use for a stronger topical application if the above are not concerns?

 

I hope you find this exercise helpful for focusing on your concerns for which you would like support, getting to know which essential oils can be the most beneficial, and making the best and most appropriate choices based upon your needs.

In our next blog, we will begin to discuss blends based upon what we know so far:

  • How essential oils and aromatherapy support our wellbeing
  • Getting to know our essential oils
  • Choosing the most appropriate essential oils for our concerns

I  look forward to our next Essential Education discussion!

 


Sources:

Cooksley, Valerie. Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils. The Woodlands, TX: Floramed, 2015. Print.

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.

Purchon, Nerys, and Lora Cantele. The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness. Toronto, Ontario: Robert Rose, 2014. Print.

Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Second ed. N.p.: Churchill Livingstone, 2014. 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.

How Essential Oils Are Currently Being Used Alongside Modern Medicine

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By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP,  & Certified Aromatherapist

We at Plant Therapy LOVE our essential oils, yet we do not use them every day. Aromatherapy is a beautiful healing modality, and should always be respected. Essential oils are not meant to replace modern medicine; they are complementary. Complementary medicine is generally regarded as additional treatment that is used alongside and to enhance modern medicine.

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

This quote explains the beauty of aromatherapy very well from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists:

“Aromatherapy is the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of mind, body, and spirit. It unifies an individual’s innate healing process”.

We could not agree more.

 

How Essential Oils Are Currently Being Used Alongside Modern Medicine

 Cancer Patients

 Essential oils are being used quite successfully in hospitals with cancer patients to help them with nausea, discomfort, insomnia, and anxiety (1). The popular choice for uplifting mood tends to be Lemon citrus x limon, Sweet Orange citrus sinensis, and Mandarin citrus reticulata. A popular choice for hand massage is Lavender lavandula angustifolia. It is important to note that essential oils have not been proven to cure cancer. This has only recently shown promise in a petri dish (in vitro). The results of this method of testing, although encouraging, cannot be extrapolated to what would happen inside the human body (in vivo).

 

 Superbugs

 Essential oils are very effective at combating antibiotic resistant infections alongside antibiotics, as oils can and do potentiate their effectiveness (2). Maggie Tisserand stated in her book Aromatherapy vs MRSA, “Essential oils have a huge potential for exploitation in the healthcare setting. Many of the bacteria we now see routinely in hospitals are resistant to many antibiotics. Alternative treatments have to be found. Essential oils offer a new direction in the prevention and treatment of infectious disease in the future” (3). The future of aromatherapy in regards to antibiotic resistant infections is promising, as modern medicine may be becoming more limited.

 

Labor, Delivery, and Postpartum Care

 Essential oils are very useful during labor and delivery, as well as postpartum care and beyond. To be able to show a new mom how she can use the oils to help with this phase in her life is exciting. In a recent interview with Pam Conrad, PGd, BSN, RN, CCAP, she stated when essential oils are used as a compliment to a mother’s care, it not only greatly decreases her chance of being affected from post partum depression (PPD), it greatly increases her quality of life (4).

 

 

 Palliative and Hospice Care

 Aromatherapy is being used with palliative care to reduce nausea and discomfort, ease anxiety, and help with insomnia. During hospice care, aromatherapy can bring comfort to end of life, not only for the patient, but for their loved ones. A comfortable environment can be successfully established to reduce disturbances on the physical, emotional and spiritual level.

“Aromacare can complement the holistic support and care on a physical, emotional, social, and spiritual level, as essential oils have an effect on all levels of our wellbeing.”-Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes


 

Dementia

Essential oils are being used for late-stage dementia patients to relieve worry and anxiety, bring comfort, and reduce discomfort (5). Scent memory can be very beneficial for dementia patients. Briefly, smells transmit through our olfactory bulb, and travel through to our amygdala and hippocampus. Both of these regions of the brain handle memory. Scent memory is having scents that attach themselves to specific memories. Using essential oils and scent memory, a patient’s early life memories can be temporarily restored, bringing meaningful connections with spouses and loved ones.

 

Other Complementary Methods for Essential Oils

 As you can see, essential oils have powerful effects on our emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, and can support us through many times and transitions in our lives. Here is some other ways to use the essential oils that we know and love:

*Promote healthy immune function

*Relieve minor aches and pains

*Promote wellness of the respiratory system

*Promote healthy digestion

*Help to potentiate antibiotics with bacterial infections

*Play a critical role in seasonal wellness

*Help to soothe skin irritation

*Help enhance your beauty routine

*Powerful household cleaners and purifiers

With exception to the more serious or terminal health related issues, essential oils can typically stand alone and have many health pertinent benefits. When used safely, aromatherapy can be a great asset to compliment and maximize your wellness.

There does not need to be a separation between “complementary” medicine and “modern” medicine. We should all work to promote health and healing, and that may look different for every one of us. Let’s unite for the greater good and understand the incredible power that aromatherapy has when used safely and appropriately.

 

References

(1) Dyer J, et al., (2013) The use of aromasticks at a cancer centre: A retrospective audit, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.11.006

(2) Yap, P. et al., (2016) Essential Oils, A New Horizon in Combating Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance, The Open Microbiology Journal, ISSN: 1874-2858 Vol. 10

(3) Tisserand, M. (2015) Aromatherapy vs MRSA, Antimicrobial essential oils to combat bacterial infection, including the superbug. Singing Dragon publications. London: UK

(4) Advancing Clinical Aromatherapy Education in Women’s Health, (2016) Interview with Pam Conrad: https://ijpha.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/advancing-clinical-aromatherapy-education-in-womens-health/

 (5) Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes, M., (2015) Care vs. Cure; Aromacare for body, mind and spirit in the last stages of dementia. International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy. ISSN: 1961-7623 Vol. 10 Issue 1 (p 48-57)

 

 

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.

DIY Vapor Rub

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By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

We have had quite the month of sickness at my house.  First my husband spent 8 days with a cold, then I spent 5 days with it, and now both my 7 and 5 year old’s caught it.  They are coughing, suffering with a need to endlessly blow their noses, and just feeling achy and fatigued.  I typically diffuse for upper respiratory issues however we are in the middle of a move and I  don’t have access to my diffusers.

I remember the relief I got when my mom rubbed vicks on my chest when I was little, instantly helping me breathe a little easier.  Fortunately we are in the days of information, and I know that due to the artificial ingredients and chemicals unsafe for little ones that it isn’t the ideal choice for use with my children. I needed to make a safe alternative!

I’m always searching “how to boost immune system”, to take a multifaceted approach to supporting my kids’ health.  The essential oils I chose are powerful tools if you’re seeking ways to boost your immune system. I wanted to pack as much power in this recipe as possible, carefully choosing each ingredient based on its properties.  My intention was to both, help my sons’ breathe a little easier, and kick this illness as quickly as possible.  I absolutely love that Plant Therapy offers batch specific GC/MS reports so I can choose oils high in the constituents I’m looking for.  The percentages I list are for my bottles of essential oils, and if yours is from a different batch the percentages may vary.  I aimed for something a bit softer and easier to apply than a salve, this is more of an ointment consistency which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Beeswax is so fabulously versatile and I use it in many recipes primarily to harden whatever I’m making (deodorant, salves, chapstick).  For this recipe, it’s especially helpful to help hold the aroma longer than a carrier oil which quickly absorbs into our skin.  It also has vitamin A which nourishes the skin, and supports a healthy immune system.

Solid coconut oil has a high amount of Lauric Acid which is helpful in supporting a healthy immune system.  Due to having a high comedogenic level (can clog pores) I don’t use it in my facial products, even though it is moisturizing, but with application to the chest I’m not concerned about clogging pores.

Fragonia contains approximately 30% of the chemical constituent 1,8 cineole.  This is one of the essential oils that has a low enough level of 1,8 cineole to be safe for children (under 40%), but still offers the benefits of an essential oil high in this constituent.  1,8 cineole is helpful with clearing congestion, breaking up phlegm, warding off seasonal threats, and shortening the length of an illness. This essential oil is great for helping my sick ones get better faster, helping my healthy ones stay healthy, and offer respiratory support to help them breath with ease.

Rosalina has about 42% of the chemical constituent Linalool.  This constituent helps give your immune system a boost, minimize the perception of pain, and help suppress coughing.  It is also helpful at encouraging a restful sleep by calming both the body and mind.  Their coughing seems to increase at night and has caused some issues sleeping so I’m very grateful to have this essential oil to help my boys sleep peacefully.

Cypress has 50% Alpha-pinene which is helpful in warding off seasonal threats and shortening the length of an illness.  It is also helpful at relaxing the lungs and opening the airways to offer optimal oxygen intake, allowing them to take nice, deep breaths.

 

Vapor Rub

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Over a double boiler melt together the beeswax and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your essential oils.
  3. Pour into tin.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Shelf life of 1 year when stored in a cool and dark place.

*Update:

4 Tablespoons of Beeswax Pellets = 1 weighed ounce

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil = 1 weighed ounce

*This statement has not be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Plant Therapy and it’s representatives are not intending to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Welcome to Essential Education

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By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


With another new year, we are excited to launch an entirely new blog series! As you may know, we are not only passionate about essential oils, we are passionate about education and educated use.

The mainstream use of essential oils continues to explode. Holy cow, I was in a major, national department store chain over the holidays and ran smack into a display of diffusers and essential oils in the fragrance section as a seasonal offering. Yep! If this iconic store has jumped on the bandwagon (let alone other big box stores), essential oils have reached a new level of exposure.

But, here’s the thing. I feel there is a huge disconnect happening with essential oils from aromatherapy. From  that potent little powerhouse we see as drops from the bottle and the nature of how it got there. And, from safe, appropriate use to anything goes.

When I got started in aromatherapy in the late 1990’s, aromatherapists generally purchased their essential oils from a few, reputable, boutique suppliers. The aromatherapists and suppliers knew their way around the best use of essential oils for their intended therapeutic outcomes.

The few home enthusiasts could find some good solid brands, with a selection of a few oils, at health food stores and places “hippies” hung out. Many times, these supplies were also displayed with featured “how to” books written by reputable leaders in the field.

My very first guide book was “Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils” by Valerie Cooksley, RN who is still widely recognized as an aromatherapy educator and leader today. I still have her book, originally published in 1996, though it is dog-eared, splattered, marked up and has pages falling out.

My new very favorite resource is “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy  — 25th Anniversary Edition,” by Valerie Ann Worwood. The aromatherapy team reviewed this updated and revised version and loved is so very much, Plant Therapy is now offering it through their bookstore (and I made sure my own mom got it).  This is a fantastic guide for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

Our aromatherapy team loves sharing our knowledge with you and will continue to do so. As our community continues to grow, and Plant Therapy continues to grow, one thing has become clear. Folks are hungry to learn. We hear you and, as always, we want to be responsive. And, we want to honor that appetite for learning.

And, we believe it is time to get back to basics. Many of you are new, many are home enthusiasts, and many just want to keep expanding your horizons. Having access to safe recipes is a great way to get started. But, many of you want to branch out and grow. And, we want to encourage you to plant a foundation so you feel confident to move from memorization to exploration. To understand the how and why of safe and appropriate use and well as have the confidence to create your own blends.

If you haven’t had a chance to read The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy,” please start with this blog. It is actually the prequel to launching this series and it launched one lucky winner to the opportunity for formal aromatherapy education at the Aromahead Institute.

We realize not everyone has that opportunity, nor may not be ready just yet. We recognize that many in our community are at various levels of their essential oil and aromatherapy journey. We hope each of you finds something essential to your education.

By no means is this meant to be a replacement for formal classes in aromatherapy education, nor reading essential oil educational and reference books, but rather a supportive nudge toward new knowledge with a basis in safe and appropriate use for the home enthusiasts.

So, here is the basis for this blog series. Our intention is to:

  • Discuss how to use essential oils within the wide world of aromatherapy.
  • Distill down some basic, essential education into blogs with bite-sized bits of beneficial information.
  • Instill the confidence to take the next steps in learning from memorization to exploration.
  • Provide a synergy of info from topics such as using specific essential oils, to how to best use them, to simple ways to blend.

 

Getting to Know Your Essential Oils — Part 1

To get started, the first thing I would like to encourage is simply to get to know your oils. This is an exercise to not only instill confidence and competence, but also to connect us with the nature from which they come rather than the bottle from which they drop.

If you have a large collection, you might wish to start with your top 5 or 10. Or, start with those you with which you are not familiar. You may have some new additions to your collection. Or, you can even go back and test yourself to see what you know and if there is more to learn. But, start with a few at a time.

This may seem overly simplistic at first, but it is the very first thing I do when I get a new oil with which I have little or no experience. And, I have received several lately, so I will be doing this along with you.

You will find attached a printable worksheet as a guide for the basic knowledge for each oil. Even if I have print outs from other sources, the act of writing things down helps the info to stick to my brain. Or, you can use this as inspiration for creating your own worksheet for a binder or your computer files.

Download Printable Worksheet Here

 

But, just sit with your oils. Don’t worry about blends, or creating. Just be and breathe with them. Get to know them as good and trusted friends. Open the bottle and put a drop on a cotton ball or fragrance test strip.

Get to know their smell, what part of the plant they came from, how they were extracted, and what their best uses are. The worksheet will guide you through the exercise. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers at first. The blanks will show you what you still need to research and learn. You can get basic information from the Plant Therapy website and blogs. And, you can find more detailed information in books by reputable aromatherapy educators such as those listed above.

I hope you  will enjoy creating these inventory worksheets for future reference while you create a deeper relationship with your oils.

In the meantime, I look forward to meeting you back here for next steps in getting to know our oils!

January Oil Of The Month – Balm Mint Bush

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By: Diane Mishler, Certified Aromatherapist

Rare find- another Stellar Essential Oil from Australia!

Many haven’t heard of Balm Mint Bush and when they do, they might ask, “Are the words backwards? Shouldn’t it be Bush Mint Balm?” Well, whatever you want to call it, it is yet another wonderful, refreshing essential oil from Australia. A member of the mint family, Balm Mint Bush is steam distilled from the leaves of this pretty plant.

The plant itself explains the name as these grow as bushy, evergreen shrubs. With it’s aromatic eucalyptus-minty scent (and a slight floral undertone), the shrubs grow 4-6 feet and have pretty purplish/pink flowers. In 2007, it was deemed Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association.

Balm Mint Bush is rich in keystones. Ketones are valuable constituents for respiratory issues as they have expectorant properties. Ketones are also helpful with healing scars, cuts and can have an positive effect on circulation.  Piperitone is regarded as a generally safe ketone, and is a large percentage (approximately 1/3) of this essential oil. It also contains a safe amount of 1,8 cineole, another constituent that  helps support .respiratory  health. Oils that are high in ketones have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years.

This KidSafe oil is said to have properties that can help with headaches, respiratory issues, teenage skin concerns, cold symptoms, digestive issues, bug bites and cold sores. And its also in cleaning recipes!

Here are two of my favorite recipes using Balm Mint Bush:

Respiratory Blend: (for diffuser or personal inhaler)

3 drops of Balm Mint Bush

2 drops of Kunzea

2 drops of Bergamot

Tummy Blend: (for topical application)

3 drops of Balm Mint Bush

2 drops of Roman Chamomile

1 drop of Spearmint

10 ml carrier oil

 

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