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Essential Oils Blog

All posts by Plant Therapy

Castile Soap DIY’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Saponified Organic Otea Europaea (Olive Oil), Saponified Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Rosemary Extract, Organic Aloe Vera.

 

Now that Plant Therapy has added Castile Soap to our line of products, I went in search of different ways to use it. To my surprise, there are hundreds of uses for it! While I am testing out and tweaking these recipes I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

 

Foaming Hand Soap

Here’s what you ‘ll need:

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Add the water to the foaming pump dispenser
  2. Add Castile Soap
  3. Add  Optiphen +
  4. Add essential oil
  5. Replace cap, shake well

 

Multi-Purpose Spray

What you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces water
  • 3 ounces white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Castile Soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon Polysorbate 20
  • 25-30 drops essential oil (I use Germ Destroyer or Germ Fighter in most batches )
  • Spray Bottle

What you’ll do:

  1.  Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray and wipe.

 

Body Wash

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Fruit and Veggie Wash

What you’ll need:

A bowl of cool water (approximately 2 quarts)

5-6 drops Castile Soap

2 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Mix together and that’s it! There is no need to rinse your fruit and veggies, they are ready to go. If you are not using them right away, just drain and store in the fridge.

 

KidSafe Shampoo

What you’ll Need:

4 ounces Castile Soap

1 tablespoon Carrier Oil of choice

4 oz plastic bottle

18 drops of KidSafe Synergy or KidSafe Single Essential Oil of choice.  (Lavender, Tea Tree or Get “Em Gone are great options).

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Bubbling Bath Salts

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Measure Epsom salt, pour into medium bowl and set aside
  2. Measure 1 TBSP coconut oil, into small dish or beaker, set aside
  3. Measure 2 mL essential oil with graduated cylinder {or drop 40-45 drops}. Pour into coconut oil
  4. Measure body wash
  5. Add carrier/essential oils mixture to the body wash, stirring well. Mixture will turn opaque and thicken slightly as you stir
  6. Add carrier/essential oil/body wash mixture to Epsom salt
  7. Stir well
  8. Package in a container of your choice, but do be sure it’s airtight!

To use, run about 1/4 cup under your warm water as you fill the tub. This is the perfect way to send yourself or your little one, or yourself, off to bed all calm and snuggly!

 

Plant Therapy’s Castile Soap is unscented making it safe for kids and adults alike to use for effective and safe cleaning. This soap is perfect for hand, body, and face washing, as well as for dishes, mopping, and other household chores. This green, nontoxic soap base is perfect because of its many, many uses. We will be sharing more of these many uses with you soon!

 

How do you like to use Castile Soap?

 

 

DIY Perfume

 

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

 

Woodland Blooms

3 drops Mandarin Citrus reticulata

2 drops Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara

1 drop Jasmine Absolute Jasminum sambac

6 drops Polysorbate 20

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

 

Peaceful Spring

2 drops Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

6 drops Polysorbate 20

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

 

Vanilla Orange Blossoms

3 drops Orange Blood Citrus sinensis

2 drops Vanilla Oleoresin Vanilla planifolia

1 drop Ylang Ylang Complete Cananga odorata

6 drops Polysorbate 20

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

 

Dill Weed Essential Oil

By Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

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

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

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

Digestion

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

Massage on abdomenal area.

Sleep Diffuser Blend

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

Roman Chamomile

Head Tension

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

Massage on temples and down the back of the neck.

Menstrual Issues

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

Grounding Diffuser Blend

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

 

 

What do you use Dill Weed  Essential Oil for?

 

 

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

 

 

Essential Oil Education – Copaiba Balsam

By Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

Copaiba Balsam is a an Oleoresin obtained by tapping a tree for its resin.  Plant Therapy currently sources its Copaiba Balsam from both Brazil and El Salvador,  and since we provide batch specific GC/MS reports it will be easy for you to figure out where your bottle is from.  Its aroma is smooth like milk chocolate, and has a gently wooded scent.

Copaiba is primarily from deep in the majestic Amazon rain forests.  The Amazons’ alone produce 500 tons of oil-resin each year. [1]  It has a 2-3 year shelf life when stored in a cool and dark environment, giving you plenty of time to use this oil.

It has a unique chemical constituent; Beta-Caryophyllene.  You’re probably asking yourself, B what?!  Don’t worry, I’ll break it down!  Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene also found in significant amounts in Black Pepper,   Beta-caryophyllene is a major constituent credited with targeting parts of the brain which help minimize feelings of nervousness and worry.  It is also credited with easing feelings of sadness and discouragement. The specific findings of this study were published online in the journal Physiology & Behavior. [2]  This main constituent is also credited with minimizing the perception of inflammation and discomfort. It is  excellent at giving you an immune boost and helping you avoid  seasonal threats. [3]

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s the synergy of all constituents that really gives an essential oil its power.  Knowing about the individual constituents gives you a better basis for blending for a specific purpose.  Copaiba Balsam is made up of more than 85% constituents in the sesquiterpene family, making it highly sought after to help reduce the perception of inflammation, help you to feel grounded, and assist in healing broken skin.

 

My top 5 uses for Copaiba Balsam are:
  1. Ease Joint Discomfort

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Copaiba Balsam, 6 drops Marjoram, 6 drops Frankincense Serrata

  1. Upper Respiratory Support

Diffuse 3 drops Copaiba Balsam, 3 drops Eucalyptus Globulus, 2 drops Fir Needle

  1. Emotionally Grouding

Diffuse 3 drops Copaiba Balsam, 2 drops Frankincense Carteri, 4 drops Sweet Orange

  1. Assist in healing cuts and scrapes

1 ounce carrier oil, 6 drops Copaiba Balsam, 8 drops Lavender, 4 drops Helichrysum Italicum

  1. Sooth Sore Throat

1 ounce carrier oil, 18 drops Copaiba Balsam

 

[1] Wikipedia, “Copaiba,” [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copaiba. [Accessed 5 January 2017].
[2] Leaf Science, “β-Caryophyllene: A Terpene For Anxiety and Depression?,” [Online]. Available: http://www.leafscience.com/2014/07/08/b-caryophyllene-terpene-anxiety-depression/. [Accessed 6 January 2017].
[3] Aromahead Institute, “Therapeutic Components List,” Aromahead Institute, [Online]. Available: https://www.aromahead.com/online-course/aromatherapy-certification-program/reference/general-reference/therapeutic-component-list. [Accessed 7 January 2017].

 

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

 

My Travel Kit – Part 2

By: Diane Mishler, Certified Aromatherapist

 

For those of us who do not live in New York , certain words are conjured up when contemplating visiting this great city. For me, it’s synonymous with words like excitement, bustle, sophistication, food, traffic, and diversity. A great place to experience and it will take more than one trip in your life to even touch all that it has to offer.

A few of us Aromatherapists from Plant Therapy went to the Big Apple to attend the Healthy Brands Showcase, which featured vendors from different companies. We also attended classes on CO2 distillation. We are always learning so we can be better informed and offer safe information and education to our customers. Travel to any city, although fun and wonderful, can also mean stress, exhaustion, exposure to illness, headaches, digestive issues, sore muscles and other issues that can cut into the enjoyment of a trip.

There are some products that I bring along on a trip to make the experience better. Plant Therapy’s convenient pre-diluted synergy roll-ons can be quite helpful. I make sure that I include some that will help me wind down from a busy day. Some of my favorites are Tranquil, Tension Relief and Worry Free. They help  quiet the mind, relax the body and bring a more peaceful feeling when everything around you is different from what you are used to.

If the foods in New York don’t tempt you, then you are a stronger person than the three of us. There were signs screaming, “Pizza!”, “Cheesecake!”, “Bagels!” and so many other delectable treats. What could we do? We didn’t want to be rude. For me personally, part of an excursion is trying out the local fare. Repeatedly doing this, added to a hectic schedule, and one can start to feel like your digestive system is “off”. I like to use the DiGiZen roll-on applied to my tummy when I feel a little nausea or indigestion. It soothes and can often divert digestive disaster. I wouldn’t be without it when traveling.

There are so many people in New York City! It’s like a never-ending sea of bodies that you are in the middle of, hoping that you don’t drop something or lose a shoe. It’s amazing and fascinating, but it is also a place where the odds of picking up something that you didn’t start out with can increase. I make sure I bring Germ Fighter or if kids are along on a trip, Germ Destroyer instead. They both can help keep one safer from seasonal threats. Immune Aid or Immune Boom are also great for helping to lend support to us when we are feeling run down or in need of help to our Immune systems.

A convenient item to bring along on a trip are Plant Therapy’s personal inhalers. Be sure to check out this helpful Blog article that we have that explains how to use them – Personal Inhaler Tips and Tricks. They are lightweight, won’t spill and they can be easily tucked in a pocket or purse. Inhalation is a powerful method when using essential oils and these will definitely come in handy.

One other product that can be very helpful is our Aloe Vera Jelly. It’s wonderful as a carrier to your essential oils because it penetrates well, doesn’t leave you oily, and feels light on the skin. It also can be used as a hand sanitizer when a synergy like Germ Destroyer is added.

Travel is always fantastic, but it’s good to be home. My body and mind seem to relax a notch when I get off of that final plane. I take with me many cherished memories and sometimes new friendships. I am content for a short while. Hmmm, I hear there’s a lavender Farm near the ocean in Washington….

DIY DISHWASHER DETERGENT

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

I have been hand washing all the dishes for my family of 6 for the last 4 years.  At the end of the month I am very much looking forward to having a dishwasher!  My excitement pales in comparison to that of my boys, especially when they found out that the dishwasher doesn’t just wash but dries as well!  I have a spinning pie wheel that has each of my boys names, and their job with the dishes.  This morning I handed the chart to my 9 year old and asked him to throw it away.  Before I knew it he had gathered his brothers and was doing a ceremonial march to the trash at the curb to officially retire the chart, my 7 year old loudly humming Taps, and an eruption of cheers as they all put it in the trash together.

I went to purchase dishwasher detergent and experienced some sticker shock. When I considered the fact that I would probably need to run it twice a day, I was looking at $20 a month in new expenses.  The worst part was the ingredients – so many dangerous chemicals.  As I started to research a few I found frightening studies on the potential dangers, ranging from eye irritation to cancer.  It made me question the efficiency of the dishwasher at eliminating these chemicals, and if I was willing to risk having chemical residue left on our dishes.  It didn’t take long before I realized I needed a safer alternative.   

Washing Soda: I didn’t have washing soda but quickly found out that by cooking baking soda I could change the chemical makeup into washing soda.  Simply spread ¼ inch on a cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees stirring every 15 minutes for 45 minutes.  You’ll notice a visible difference, – it will be more course, much like sand.  This is helpful with cleaning and deodorizing.

Borax: This is a natural mineral compound used for thousands of years and is a strong cleaner.  It will help to kill any little germs hoping to hang onto my dishes.

Epsom Salt: I used this for its odor eliminating properties, as well as its texture to help scrub any leftover food.

Lemon Juice: I use lemon juice to clean everything!  The citric acid is disinfecting and the lemon juice smells fabulous.

Clove Bud Essential Oil: This essential oil is used in most of the top germ synergies in the industry.  It is high in Eugenol (mine has 84%) which is a constituent well known for being effective in household cleaning.  Clove is helpful in minimizing seasonal illness and an essential oil I use often in multi purpose cleaner.  

Cinnamon Cassia Essential Oil: This is certainly my favorite aroma of the three essential oils I use in this blend. Studies show that he high level of cinnamaldehyde (high in all cinnamon chemotypes) is very helpful in household cleaning.  

What you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces borax
  • 4 ounces Epsom salt
  • 8 ounces washing soda
  • 4 ounces lemon juice
  • 4 drops Clove Bud essential oil
  • 10 drops Cinnamon Cassia essential oil

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Mix Borax, Epsom Salt, and Washing Soda.
  2. Slowly stir in the lemon juice a teaspoon at a time.
  3. Add essential oils and mix well.
  4. Push firmly into mold.
  5. You can allow to dry for 3 hours or stick them in the oven on 200 for 20 minutes.
  6. Pop out of mold and store.

These have a 6 month shelf life if refrigerated.  Citric acid is a natural, mild preservative, however I tend to err on the side of caution and make these fresh every two weeks. I store them in a cool cupboard. 

 

How do you like to clean with essential oils?  

 

*UPDATE*  I’ve been so pleased with how well recipe has been working.  As a huge bonus I don’t have the residue buildup that my friends do from using store bought detergents.  

 

Essential Oil Education – Cajeput

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

My top 5 uses for Cajeput are:

  1. Digestive Support

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

  1. Respiratory Support

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

  1. Bug Bites

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

  1. Lip Sores

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

  1. Joint Discomfort

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

 

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

 

 

 

Essential Oils: Methods of Use

By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist

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

 

The Amazing Efficiency of our Olfactory System

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

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

The aroma then travels from the olfactory epithelium to the:

Olfactory cortex (conscious perception of smell)

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

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

 

Methods of Use

Inhalation

Aromastick

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

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

 

Steam Bowl/Tent

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

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

 

Diffusion

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

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

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

 

Topical/Dermal Use

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

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

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

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

Plant Therapy Essential Oil Dilution Guide

 

Internal Use

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

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

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

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

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

 

Closing          

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

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

Essential Oils and Babies—What the Research Shows

By: Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist

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

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

 

Olfaction With Mothers And Their Newborns-From Smells To Smiles

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

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

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

 

Babies Skin Maturation

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

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

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

 

The Central Nervous System (CNS) of a Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Safe and Reasonable?

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

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

 

Plant Therapy’s Dilution Guide:

 

Closing

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

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional resources on the risks for an immature CNS

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

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

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

 

Leslie Moldenauer, CHNC, HHP, Certified Aromatherapist, has been studying natural living and holistic wellness for over 10 years. Leslie is a trusted resource that covers essential oil safety and encompasses all that natural living has to offer.  She is passionate about providing education and tools to help others make decisions regarding safety above all things when utilizing aromatherapy in the home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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