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Essential Oils Blog

All posts by Emilee Hughes

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #5

I have always found Christmas and the Holidays to be such a magical time of year. Even though the weather outside can be very frightful, especially here in Idaho, there is a certain warmth in the frosty air. People seem friendlier, colors are brighter, there is music everywhere, and there is a certain sense of togetherness that can only be felt around Christmas.

But what’s the BEST part of the holidays?…

From the time I was a child, I have always loved giving gifts! When I was young, my Grandpa would give me $20 to go Christmas shopping for my family. It always made me feel like I had hit the jackpot and I could spoil my family with their greatest desires — as long as those desires could be found at my local dollar store. The joy of finding that “perfect gift” far surpassed the feeling of opening my own presents on Christmas morning. I will never forget the look on my youngest brother’s face when he opened a toy car in his favorite color or my Mom’s reaction to an “I heart Mom” mug.

As an adult, I still love the joy and excitement of giving gifts to my loved ones. Whenever possible I challenge myself to hand-make presents that come from the heart and that I know each individual will enjoy. While I have always had brothers, thanks to my amazing husband I now have more sisters than I can count on one hand. Gift giving to these lovely ladies is so much fun and has opened up a whole new world of handmade gifts.

This year, we all plan to spend the Holidays together, so I thought it would be fun to create a cute, girly, stocking stuffer for each of them.

~ DIY Lip Gloss ~

What you will need:

What you will do:

  1. In a double boiler melt down all ingredients with the exception of the mica powder and essential oils.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the mica powder. I used a teaspoon of mica but you can use more if you want the color to be more prominent.
  3. Stir in 10-20 drops of Blood Orange Essential Oil (or the essential oil of your choice).
  4. Using a transfer pipette, move the mixture to the lip gloss tubes and assemble.
  5. Once cooled, apply to the lips for a sparkling glossy look.

Happy Holidays!

ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #5

Natural Skincare Routine: Dry Skin DIY Recipes

In this installment of our Natural Skincare Routine series we will discuss using essential oils, hydrosols, and carrier oils for dry skin.

Many are plagued by dry skin, especially during the cold, harsh winter months. Dry skin is characterized by having nearly invisible pores, red patches, a dull and rough complexion, visible lines, and a lack of elasticity. This skin type can be prone to cracks, irritation, and inflammation and can be made worse by harsh cleansers, hormones, indoor heating, and weather changes. Using a natural skincare routine that utilizes products with humectant and emollient properties can be very beneficial.

Products for Dry Skin

Carrier Oils: Almond, Apricot Kernel, Argan OrganicAvocado, Evening Primrose, Jojoba, Meadowfoam, Rosehip , Sunflower Organic, Tamanu.

Carrier Oil Blends: DermiSoothe and Near Perfection  

Oil Cleanser: Oil Cleanser for Normal/Dry Skin

Hydrosols: Helichrysum Organic, Lavender Organic, and Rose Organic.

Essential Oils: Bergamot, Carrot Seed, Frankincense Frereana, Geranium, German Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Roman Chamomile, Rose Absolute, Sandalwood.

Cleansers

Using the wrong cleanser can easily create chaos for your skin and it can take weeks to calm the irritation and roughness after using such a product. To help our customers that tend to be dry, Plant Therapy created our Oil Cleanser for Normal/Dry Skin. To use this cleanser rub four to six drops into dry hands and apply evenly over dry face. Wet the face and massage gently. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel. Avoid the eye area when washing the face or using as a moisturizer.

Many essential oil users also like to use the Oil Cleanse Method which you can read more about here. If you do attempt to use this method I would recommend reducing the amount of castor oil as it can be very drying to already parched skin.

We recommend cleansing the face twice daily, once in the morning and once before bedtime.

Toners

Toners are often used after washing your face to help finish the cleansing process and help with the appearance of pores. Hydrosols are great options to use as toners but it is important to choose the right ones for your skin type. As noted above we recommend Helichrysum, Lavender, and Rose for dry skin. Try the following blend for a well balanced toner:

Dry Skin Toner

What you’ll need:

2 ounces Rose Hydrosol

1 ounce Lavender Hydrosol

1 ounce Helichrysum Hydrosol

What you’ll do:

Mix together in a 4 ounce bottle and spritz the face after cleansing. Refrigerate between uses.

Moisturizers

While both the cleansers and toners listed above offer some emollient properties, it is important to also use a moisturizing agent for dry skin after cleansing. Both our DermiSoothe and Near Perfection carrier oil blends are great choices and can be applied right after the cleansing process.

For severely dry skin you can create this helpful DIY Moisturizing Cream:

What you’ll need:

2 ounces Shea Butter Refined

2 ounces DermiSoothe Carrier Oil Blend

4 ounce bottle

What you’ll do:

Measure ingredients and mix together using a hand mixer. You can then transfer the lotion from the mixing bowl to the empty bottle (I use a frosting bag). Apply directly to parched, irritated skin.

Masks

Once a week it is good practice to apply a moisturizing mask to the skin. Here are two of my favorite DIY masks for dry skin:

Oatmeal Mask

What you’ll need:

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup cooked oatmeal

1 teaspoon Almond

1 teaspoon Avocado

3 drops Roman Chamomile

2 drops Frankincense Frereana

1 drop Rose absolute

What you’ll do:

Mix ingredients together and gently apply to the face, avoiding the eye area. Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with cold water and gently pat dry. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Soothing Shea Mask

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon Shea Butter

1 Tablespoon Jojoba

1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Jelly

3 drops Bergamot

2 drops Sandalwood

1 drop Chamomile German

What you’ll do:

Add the essential oils to a tablespoon of Jojoba and then combine with the rest of the ingredients. Apply the mask and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with cold water and gently pat dry. Follow up with a moisturizer.

If you are diligent with following this routine you can drastically improve the appearance and bring moisture back to your skin.

 

What products do you use in your daily skincare routine?

 

1] The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele

2] The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20353885

Natural Skincare Routine – Determining Your Skin Type

Plant Therapy recently launched our new  Oil Facial Cleansers for Oily and Normal/Dry Skin. Many of you have asked which cleansers the Aromatherapists use and what other products we add to our natural skincare routine. Here’s the thing, the skincare routine that I use for my sensitive skin, won’t work for everyone. When choosing essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols it is important to be aware of your skin type and choose the products that are best suited for it.

Since this is such a frequently asked question I wanted to address it here on the blog in order to help as many people as possible. Before I can make recommendations for products based on skin types, it is important to first determine yours. There are several ways to determine skin type. Today we are going to discuss three of those ways. To perform these tests you will need a mild cleanser, blotting sheets, and your beautiful face!

 

 

Blotting Sheet Method

The first method I would like to discuss is the blotting sheet method. To perform this test take the blotting paper and lightly dab the different areas on your face. Upon completion examine the sheet by holding it up to a source of light. If you find that little to no oil is present then it is mostly likely that you have dry skin. If the sheet has a light amount of oil from the forehead and nose area then you typically have normal/combination skin. If upon examination you find that the blotting paper is covered with oil then you have oily skin.

 

Bare-Faced Method

The next method that can be used to determine your skin type is called the bare-faced method. To perform this test gently cleanse and dry your face. Do not use any moisturizing agents or toners. After an hour evaluate your skin and check for shine. If your skin is tight and parched then you have dry skin. If your t-zone is shiny but your cheeks are not then you have normal/combination skin. If the shine covers your forehead, nose, and cheeks it is most likely that you have oily skin.

 

Pore Size Method

The last method I would like to discuss is the pore size method. After cleansing your face take a look at your pores in the mirror. If you can’t see your pores it is likely that you have dry skin. Those with normal skin will be able to see their pores but they won’t be large. If you can still see your pores after taking a few steps back from the mirror it is most likely that you have oily skin.

 

Sensitive Skin

These methods help us to determine whether we have dry, normal/combination, or oily skin but what about sensitive skin? It may not come as a surprise but if you have sensitive skin, you most likely know it. Those who have sensitive skin have had an adverse reaction to a skincare or cosmetic product at some point in their lives and often times it is difficult to find a product that doesn’t cause irritation and redness.  The good news is using natural skin care products such as carrier oils, certain essential oils, and hydrosols can reduce your likelihood of having an adverse reaction.

 

Over the next few weeks we will address each skin type and provide recommendations that are specific for your specific concern. In the meantime, if you have questions about choosing the right products for you, be sure to email an Aromatherapist at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

[1] https://www.tatcha.com/tatcha-institute/how-to-determine-your-skin-type/

[2] http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Your-Skin-Type

 

What is GC/MS Testing? Why is GC/MS Testing Important?

 

Here at Plant Therapy each and every one of our batches of oil are GC-MS tested for quality and purity. These batch specific GC-MS reports are available right on our website for the convenience of our customers. Often times we are asked what a GC-MS test is, why it is so important, and how to read the tests. These are important questions and today we are happy to address them for you.

 

What is a GC-MS test?

Before we can discuss why GC-MS testing is so important we must first determine what a GC-MS test is. In a recent discussion with Alexis St-Gelais, one of the chemists we work with from Laboratoire PhytoChemia, he defined GC-MS testing when applied to essential oils as “an analytical chemistry technique allowing for separation, identification and partial quantitation of individual volatile molecules present in an essential oil. The technique thus allows to fingerprint the essential oil sample, whose profile can then be compared with reference profiles and screened for contaminants or adulterants.” [1]

 

A GC-MS test is completed using two separate techniques, GC or Gas Chromatography, and MS or Mass Spectrometry. To really know what GC-MS is we must discuss the separate parts and what takes place in the process. “The GC separates the chemical mixture into pulses of pure chemicals based on volatility or ease with which they evaporate into gas. Similar to a running race where a group of people begin at the starting line but as the race proceeds the runners separate based on their speed. The chemicals in the mixture separate based on their volatility. In general small molecules travel more quickly than larger molecules.” [2]

 

“The MS identifies and quantifies the chemicals based on structure. Let’s say after completing a puzzle you accidentally drop it on the floor. Some parts of the puzzle remain attached together and some individual pieces break off completely. By looking at these various pieces you are still able to get an idea of what the original puzzle looked like. This is very similar to the way the mass spectrometer works.” [2]

 

Why is GC-S Testing Important?

Now that we know what a GC-MS test is and how it works let’s discuss why it is so important when it comes to essential oils. As Alexis mentioned this test allows us to fingerprint each sample showing us the unique identity of the essential oil. These tests are very important from a quality standpoint as it shows us the oils chemical makeup. Most contaminants or adulterants show up with these tests, and for those that don’t, if we suspect that some of what looks like a natural constituent of an oil might be a synthetic addition, we use chiral analysis – a more sophisticated form of gas chromatography – to find out if it is in fact, a natural constituent or a synthetic addition.

 

GC-MS testing is also important because it shows us a breakdown of the main chemical constituents that give an essential oil some of its therapeutic properties. For example, if you would like to create a blend to help you relax before bedtime you might look for an essential oil that has a high content of Linalool. Along with having many other benefits this constituent has shown to be helpful for sleep and relaxation. By viewing the batch specific GC-MS reports for oils like Ho Wood Essential Oil, Coriander Essential Oil, and Lavender Essential Oil you can determine that each of these oils have higher content of Linalool making them good choices for such a blend.

 

The safety considerations of each individual oil are also determined by the chemical profile. For example, here at Plant Therapy we do not include essential oils that have a high 1,8-Cineole content in our KidSafe line. We avoid high amounts of this constituent with children as it may cause breathing issues for some. Through GC-MS testing we can determine the levels of 1,8-Cineole and decide whether or not an essential oil will be a part of our KidSafe line.

 

How to Read Plant Therapy’s GC-MS Reports

The first page of Plant Therapy’s batch specific GC-MS reports will always be a Key Constituent chart that is created in house by our team of Aromatherapists. This chart includes any constituents that are present at higher than 1%. When blending based on constituents this is often the page we recommend using as it contains the main chemical components that give an essential oil the majority of its therapeutic benefits. This page also provides the results of organeleptical testing performed by world renowned essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand. If an oil has a chemotype you can often find this information in Robert’s comments. In addition, you can find the botanical name and the country of origin of the essential oil on this page.

 

The following page of the GC-MS report is called a sample identification page. This page contains both Plant Therapy’s lot specific batch code and Phytochemia’s internal code. You can also find information on the method of testing used, the analyst, and the date of the analysis.

 

The next page or pages will include a list of the identified compounds, the percentage of which they are found in the essential oil, and the molecular class. When viewing these pages you may notice that there are two different columns listed with percentages, BP5 and WAX. These are two different types of GC-MS analysis. One is no more or less correct than the other. It reminds us that these numbers are never precise. In these two columns you may find percentages that are listed in brackets meaning that two or more constituents are represented by one number and that the analysis was unable to identify the correct percentage of each constituent. For our Key Constituent Chart we pull the majority of the constituents from the BP5 column. If we find that there is a coeluting percentage we then turn to the WAX test results. After all of the components of the oil have been identified you will then find the conclusion from the lab.

 

The last page or pages consist of the Mass Spectrum which is defined as “a spectrum of charged particles, arranged in order of mass or mass-to-charge ratios.” [3] This provides the same information that is listed in the identified compound list but in graph form.

 

Plant Therapy is one of the only essential oil companies that offers batch specific GC/MS reports for our customers to review. You can find these reports under the “Test Reports” tab on the product page of the single essential oils.  If you have any additional questions on GC-MS testing or Plant Therapy’s reports please feel free to email our Aromatherapist team at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

[1] Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc., chimiste, Directeur scientifique, Laboratoire PhytoChemia

[2] https://courses.ecampus.oregonstate.edu/oer/gcms/

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mass-spectrum

Top Three Uses For Lavender Infused Vinegar!

In Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 1 we learned that essential oils should only be used sparingly while pregnant and often times it is best to limit oil usage to relieving unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. In Essential Oils and Babies – What the Research Shows we also learned that although not completely restricted, exercising caution with the use of essential oils with babies and small children is paramount.

As an expecting Mom, who wants to lessen the amount of harsh chemicals used in my home, such as chlorine and bleach, these guidelines left me in a bit of a pickle. While I love to use essential oils in homemade cleaning products, I want to limit my growing baby’s exposure both while in the womb and once he arrives. After doing some research, I stumbled upon the wonderful cleaning properties of infused vinegar. Lucky for me, I even had dried lavender on hand to create lavender infused vinegar. I can’t tell you guys how much I love this stuff!

 

 

To create lavender infused vinegar add 1 cup of lavender buds to 3 cups of vinegar. Let the mixture infuse for 2-6 weeks. I went with 4 weeks and it was just perfect!

Here are a few ways I have used it so far:

Surface Cleaner

1 part lavender infused vinegar

2 parts water

Add to a spray bottle, shake well, and get to work! I use this as a cleaner for counters, windows, mirrors, etc.

Fabric Softener

Add ¼ a cup of lavender infused vinegar to your washers final rinse cycle. Not only does this make your laundry smell great but it really softens!

Soothing Bath

Add one tablespoon of lavender infused vinegar to a warm bath to soothe away worries and nourish the skin.

 

If you have children under the age of two and would like to use essential oils in cleaning products, we would encourage you to use them while your little ones are in a different room. Once the area has cleared for 30-60 minutes your babies can return to the area.

For additional DIY cleaning products be sure to check out our blog post The Best Homemade Cleaning Products

Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Nipple Balm

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 1

 

by: Emilee Hughes, Certified Aromatherapist

During Pregnancy

Over the past few months, Plant Therapy has received a surge of questions about using essential oils safely while pregnant and nursing. Today we are going to discuss the topic of pregnancy safety in depth, provide safe usage guidelines, and explore our updated Pregnancy and Nursing Safe Chart.

During pregnancy our doctors frequently ask us questions like: “What are you eating?”, “Do you consume alcohol?”, and “Are you a smoker?” This is because our growing baby receives all of its life forming nutrients from us, the mother. Whether or not we are eating right, exercising, or consuming caffeine during pregnancy can have drastic effects on our growing little one as many of these variables have the potential to cross the placenta.

So what does the placenta do? “The primary function of the placenta in all species is to promote selective transport of nutrients and waste products between mother and fetus. Such transport is facilitated by the close approximation of maternal and fetal vascular systems within the placenta.” [1]

It is important to keep in mind that “Essential oils by their very nature, being organic substances, will cross the placental barrier and have the potential to affect the fetus. “[2]

With this in mind, when choosing to use essential oils during the first trimester we recommend very limited use. This is because so much change is taking place within our bodies. In general, we do not recommend active or daily use of essential oils during the first trimester and it may be best to avoid use all together during this time. However, to assist with nausea you may consider adding a drop of Peppermint or Spearmint to a tissue and gently inhaling to relieve some of these symptoms.

Beyond the first trimester there are some additional variables to consider.

First let’s discuss the means of use, as we all know there are several different methods to use essential oils. Through topical application only a small amount of oil will actually reach your blood stream and the absorption rate is slow. Through diffusion you will receive a small but continued dose of essential oils via inhalation. Steam inhalation offers a high but very short dose of essential oils. Lastly, when using a personal aromatherapy inhaler we receive a dose that is not as strong as steam inhalation but stronger than diffusion. [3]

While considering the means of use we must also reflect on how often we use essential oils. You may have heard us say with essential oils “less is more” and this is especially true when using essential oils during pregnancy. The more often you choose to use essential oils the more you will absorb and in turn the more that will cross the placenta. It is best to limit essential oil usage to relieving symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, or occasional head tension. By limiting your use, you may still receive the wonderful benefits of essential oils without over exposing yourself or your growing baby.

The next thing to consider is a safe dilution percentage. “The recommended dilution is 1% or less, for all skin applications… [For] bath[s]… [one] should add no more than 4 drops of essential oil.” [2]

The last and most important factor to consider are the essential oils that you are using in your blends. We must remember that “Certain essential oils are contraindicated due to the nature of their chemical components, which may be too strong (and unnecessary) for [pregnancy].” [2]

It is very important that you only use essential oils that are safe during pregnancy. This is where our list of Pregnancy and Nursing Safe oils will be very helpful. This list was created by our team of Certified Aromatherapists here at Plant Therapy and has been approved by world renowned essential oil safety expert, Robert Tisserand.

There are also variables to consider when breastfeeding which we will discuss in depth in Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 2. In the meantime, if you have any questions about using essential oils safely while nursing please email an Aromatherapist at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

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

 

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

 

 

References:

[1] Bowen, R. “Transport Across the Placenta” 6 August 2000. Retrieved 25 October 2016. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/reprod/placenta/transport.html

[2] Christie, Deacon, Pickard, Price. “Pregnancy Guidelines: Guidelines for Aromatherapists Working with Pregnant Clients” 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2016. https://naha.org/assets/uploads/PregnancyGuidelines-Oct11.pdf

[3] “Aromahead Institute’s Aromatherapy Certification Program” https://www.aromahead.com/courses/online/aromatherapy-certification-program

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

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

Plant Therapy Organic Certification

usda

On May 10th, 2015 Plant Therapy became a certified organic facility through ECOCERT ICO, an inspection and certification organization fully accredited through The National Organic Program (NOP). As our line of certified organic products continues to grow, we wanted to take a moment and discuss what this really means to your, our customer.

As a company, we have always been passionate about helping to conserve our precious natural resources and reducing environmental pollution. The next time you order a bottle of your favorite essential oil that holds the USDA certified organic seal, you can feel confident in knowing that your purchase is contributing to this goal.

At Plant Therapy, we have always believed in exceptional quality and the purest of ingredients. It has always been of the utmost importance for us to know everything about the farmers, distillers, suppliers and plants. By having this additional certification, we can also proudly say that we are adhering to the strictest of standards to bring you quality organic ingredients.

Some of these standards include:

No GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms are prohibited in organic products. This means that an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds and an organic producer can’t use any ingredients containing GMOs.

Clean soil: The land where the products are grown must not have had any prohibited substances applied to it for at least 3 years before the harvest of an organic crop. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

No harmful pesticides: Crop pests, weeds, and diseases are controlled primarily through physical, mechanical and biological efforts. If for some reason these methods are not working, a biological, botanical or synthetic substance that is approved on the National List may be used.

All organic, all the way: Operations must use only organic seeds and other planting material.
When you purchase a certified organic product, you are also helping to conserve biodiversity, ensuring that our natural landscapes and their ecosystems are maintained and intact for generations to come.

At Plant Therapy, we are committed to supporting these conservation efforts and to be able to offer to our customers certified organic options.

To learn more, visit these links:

For a list of all of our certified organic products, please follow this link:

Plant Therapy Organics

Throughout this week, keep an eye out for some exciting product profiles and recipes on our new certified organic releases!


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