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Essential Oils Blog

Beyond the Basics Archives

Summer Solstice: Sunshine For Your Soul

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Need a little more sunshine for your soul?

We have a perfect opportunity to prepare ourselves as we welcome Summer Solstice on June 21st.  If we see these milestones as signs to tune in, we can tune up our spirit by absorbing the intention of the commemoration.

Marking the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice shines with an abundance of natural, radiant light. And, indeed, sunshine serves as necessary source of nourishment and a sustaining force for our overall wellbeing.

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Carrier Oils: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

carrier oils everything you want to knowOn the never-ending quest for the perfect essential oil recipes, you’ve probably come across the phrase “carrier oil” a time or two. Typically used to dilute essential oils, carrier oils are commonly employed in skincare, cleaning products, aromatherapy and diffuser recipes, and are good to have on hand if you want to apply oil to your skin directly or dial back a specific oil’s scent or intensity. All EOs should be diluted in a carrier oil before applying to the skin. Continue reading

Spotlight Featured Oil of the Week — Citronella

Citronella (and Citronella Organic)

  • Latin name: Cymbopogon winterianus
  • Aroma description: This very fresh scent is similar to a lemony-type smell, but it softer with subtle wood tones.

Therapeutic benefits

  • Promotes a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
  • Supports a healthy respiratory system.
  • Helps dispel negative emotions.
  • Supports a healthy immune system when seasonal threats attack.
  • Helps relieves the aches and discomfort associated with aging joints.
  • When you need to protect yourself from outdoor annoyances, Citronella is one of the best essential oils to use as a natural barrier.

Kidsafe?

Yes, this oil is KidSafe!

Dilution instructions:

Citronella has a recommended dilution of 1-3%.

Diffusion instructions:

Diffuse a few drops in your aromatherapy inhaler to enjoy the therapeutic effects of Citronella. To help support the body during a cold,  diffuse into the air equal parts of Citronella and Cinnamon Leaf.

Where Citronella is used on the body:

Citronella has a very strong scent. Often times a 1% dilution is all that is necessary for topical application. It can be added to deodorants or blended with other oils to support healthy feet and toenails.

Oils to blend with:

Bergamot, Cedarwood Virginian, Geranium Egyptian, Lavender, Lemon, Orange Sweet, and Pine Scots.

Outdoor Spray DIY:  

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Mix all ingredients in 4 oz Spray Bottle. Shake well before each use.

Try out Citronella today!

May Oil of the Month: Honeybell Synergy

honeybell essential oil synergy

Just in time for summer, we created an exclusive, luscious sweet synergy: Honeybell. This synergy blends some common and less common essential oils into an exquisite feast for the senses, and a truly unique experience.

 Honeybell brings you a fresh and fruity aroma, and a juicy, sparkling citrus bouquet with a bit of woody and herbaceous tones rounding it out. This synergy comes out of the bottle with a delicious burst of berry.

 

honeybell essential oil synergy

Honeybell’s Background:

Honeybell contains some favorite familiar oils such as Orange Sweet and Grapefruit Pink and Lime Steam Distilled. But we also wanted to add a little something extra special to make this synergy really pop, so we added Buchu, Cognac and Galbanum essential oils to finish this blend. Each helps to create an amazing symphony of scent.

With that in mind, here is little background on these three less common oils:

 

Buchu (Buchu Betulina)

Buchu is distilled from the dried leaves of a small shrub native to South Africa.

These leaves have traditionally been used to support a healthy urinary system and to ward off pests.[1] Steffen Arctander, an expert and author of natural  perfumery, wrote that Buchu is “primarily extracted into tinctures, oleoresins and other extracts for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Because only small amounts of Buchu are distilled into essential oil overall, it isn’t easily available for everyday use.[2] Arctander notes Buchu essential oil is “prized in small amounts in the fragrance and flavoring industries for its strong, pleasing scent of blackcurrant,” which he further describes as an aroma of “penetrating, tart berry.”

Buchu essential oil also has an important place in working with the spirit, and can be used to support a sense of stability, especially in situations that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar.[3]

 

Cognac (White Vitis Vinifera)

Cognac (one of the finest brandies), is created to very strict specifications, and named for the Cognac region of France. The white grapes used in Cognac are first fermented into wine, and then distilled twice before being placed in a wooden barrel to age much like whiskey. [4]

Cognac Essential Oil is distilled from the fermented grape tissue remaining in the barrel once Cognac has aged . This makes for a scent highly prized by high-end producers in the perfume and flavor industries.

Arctander describes Cognac Essential Oil as an “intensely strong, almost harsh-fruity, oily-fatty, yet green-herbaceous odour of outstanding tenacity and great diffusive power….rectified, it is used in flavors and perfumes to give “lift” and fresh-fruity natural notes in liquors, fragrances.”[5] Because Cognac has such a powerful and penetrating aroma, it’s only used in small amounts.

 

Galbanum (Ferula Galbaniflua)

Galbanum essential oil is distilled from a gum resin extracted from the stem of a large herb native to the Middle East and Western Asia.

The resin itself has been prized since ancient times for its therapeutic and spiritual benefits for wound care, skin issues and respiratory support.[6]

According to Valerie Worwood the Galbanum resin was “one of the ingredients in the anointing oil instructions given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.” Galbanum resin was also used by Hippocrates for its healing properties, and prized by physicians in the Middle East.[7]

Galbanum distilled into an essential oil is still prized today for perfume making. Arctander notes its odor is “intensely rich green, woody balsamic with a dry undertone.”  Only small amounts are required to bring the green note that Galbanum gives to a scent, because of the strength of the aroma.[8]

In aromatherapy, Galbanum essential oil is great for body (and mind) when used for skin care, respiratory ease, and to soothe the nervous system, especially with worry and nervous tension.[9] For the spirit, Joni Keim recommends using Galbanum to support a sense of stability and personal strength.[10]

 

Honeybell’s Benefits:

So, now that we’ve discussed what makes Honeybell so great, let’s talk about its benefits beyond the scent!

Honeybell is exceptionally soothing and relaxing, and can help lift your mood, or promote a positive outlook. Because it’s very calming to the senses, you can reach for Honeybell to help reduce worry and nervous tension.

When diffused, Honeybell helps boost your outlook with a sparkling scent, brightening your day.

honeybell essential oil synergy

 

Blending Honeybell:

Honeybell shines as a natural fragrance to uplift the spirits and soothe the senses. In addition to adding to your diffuser, or carrying with you in a personal aromatherapy inhaler, you can also add Honeybell to personal care products for luscious self care. Just add Honeybell at 1% dilution into your favorite carrier.

KidSafe®: No

Cautions: Not safe for pregnancy and nursing.

 

Here are some suggestions for using Honeybell to get you started:

Honeybell Body Wash

  • 18 drops Honeybell Synergy (or 9 drops per 1 oz carrier for 1% dilution)
  • 2 oz unscented, natural body wash

Add to a PET plastic squeeze bottle and shake hard to mix

 

Honeybell Lotion

Add to a PET plastic squeeze bottle and shake hard to mix.

 

Honeybell Solid Perfume

(from the enclosed Product Details Sheet)

Melt beeswax over a double boiler. Stir in carrier oil. Remove from heat. Stir in 20-25 drops of Honeybell Synergy. Pour into small tins or jars and cap tightly to cool.

 


Sources:

 

[1] Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: the Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-Being. Fall River Press, 2014.

[2] Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Pathfinder. 1960.

[3] Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. CreateSpace, 2015.

[4] “Cognac (Drink).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognac_(drink).

[5] Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Pathfinder. 1960.

[6] Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: the Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-Being. Fall River Press, 2014.

[7] 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. New World Library, 2016.

[8] Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Pathfinder. 1960.

[9] Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: the Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-Being. Fall River Press, 2014.

[10] Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. CreateSpace, 2015.

When Life Gives You Elevens

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Almost exactly two years ago, this happened.

I got in the car, turned it on and this was the odometer exactly. I could have missed it, or I could have been driving. But, that wasn’t the case. I believe the image was there to get my attention.

Up until this point, I had been seeking answers about certain life situations, but I had been spinning a bit.

The opportunity of witnessing the odometer turn to a perfect 100,000 hit me like a ton of bricks. My immediate thought was “what am I supposed to know from this?” You see, I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe in messages. More on that in a moment.

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Preparing for End-Of-Year Exams

Take a look at the calendar — it’s almost summertime! For a lot of hard-working students, this signals a break from teachers, studying, and school. But before the rest and relaxation begins, there are end-of-year exams to take. No matter if you are a child, a teenager, or an adult, taking tests can be an uncomfortable and dreaded experience. If you are looking for a way to calm those pretest nerves and improve your concentration, we’ve got you covered! With the help of some amazing essential oils, you’ll be ready to tackle those tests with confidence.

Test Taking Tips for Adults —

Breathe and relax. You’ve taken tests before! This is just another test. If you give yourself enough time to study and control your stress so that you can study effectively, you’ve already won half the battle. Then, just get set yourself up in a comfortable place, create your study schedule (and stick to it!), and try these oils to add a boost to your brain power while you review!

  • Peppermint: This unmistakable and familiar aroma is a powerful energizer and great for attention [1]. When you feel the mental “fog” begin to settle, let the fresh and clean scent of peppermint focus your senses and keep you motivated.
  • Rosemary:  If you’re having trouble getting information to stick into your head, consider Rosemary. Research from Northumbria University has found that simply being in a room diffused with the smell of Rosemary boosted memory test scores by 15% [2].  Further studies have shown that Rosemary significantly reduces test anxiety, which was demonstrated through a series of improved test scores [3]. So, basically, it is simply amazing for memory, mood, and cognition.
  • Brain Aid Synergy: For a quick pick-me-up to clear an foggy brain, this synergy is just right. It is filled with uplifting and mentally energizing oils to keep you alert and focused on your studies! It also comes in a pre-diluted roll-on; just apply and inhale for an instant boost!
  • Clarity Synergy: Made specially with essential oils that promote memory and mental focus! With its fresh and uplifting aroma, it is a wonderful help when you are studying.
Need a few more handy studying tips?

Try to engage as many senses as you can! Color code information, create manipulatives to work with, and fuel up with healthy snack foods. If you’re willing to get a little wacky, try reading aloud with the book upside down! This will force you to concentrate harder on the words and you’ll be less likely to start spacing out.

For Taking Tips for Kids and Teens —

This early age is when young minds should begin to develop healthy test taking strategies and attitudes. Since this is a skill that needs to be taught, parents and other caregivers may need to be the driving force behind their motivation. Help and encourage them by engaging with their studies along the way.  Here are a few essential oils to help your children stay on the right track while they get ready to show what they know!

  • Lavender: This powerhouse oil has an incredibly wide range of therapeutic properties. It is calming and great for relieving the nervous tension that can build up when preparing for something challenging (4).
  • Spearmint: This is the KidSafe alternative to peppermint. It is uplifting, reduces emotional agitation, and improves concentration.
  • A+ Attention Synergy: Designed to help focus an overactive body and mind with calming and mood-boosting essential oils. This synergy is a great place to start if you’re looking for a way to support your child while they are studying.  
  • Calming the Child: This soothing, sweet, and relaxing aroma is perfect for slowing revved-up minds and emotions. With a positive attitude and the right studying environment, you are setting your child up for success!

If you think your child is really struggling with their studying, touch base with their teacher; they may be able to provide additional study materials. When it comes to the daunting task of memorization, work with your kids to change the lyrics of songs they like or help them write a funny story about whatever it is they are studying. And never forget the importance of a good night of sleep and a healthy breakfast before the test!

End-of-year exams may not be very fun, but essential oils can absolutely make them more bearable. Hard work has been put in all school year – it’s time to let good test grades reflect that!

 

 

References:

[1] Meamarbashi, A. (2014). Instant effects of peppermint essential oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 4(1), 72–78.

[2] Herbs that can boost your mood and memory. (2016, 29 April). Retrieved from https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/news-events/news/2016/04/herbs-that-can-boost-your-mood-and-memory/

[3] Mccaffrey, Ruth & J Thomas, Debra & Orth Kinzelman, Ann. (2009). The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test-Taking Anxiety Among Graduate Nursing Students. Holistic nursing practice. 23. 88-93. 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181a110aa.

[4] Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304

New Chakra Roll-Ons!

Ever since we first introduced our Chakra Synergy line last Fall, we have had resounding and repeated requests to produce our Chakra Synergy line in pre-diluted roll-ons.

We heard you and we have delivered!

You can now purchase the pre-diluted roll-on chakra synergies as a set of seven, or you can purchase each individually. The set comes in the same beautiful keepsake box as our undiluted synergy line, complete with a printed booklet.

We want to make it simple for anyone who wants to bring self-balancing practices into their life for a greater sense of wellbeing. And, they are perfect for those who are on the go and don’t wish to blend them yourself.   

Whether you’re an experienced practitioner of chakra healing techniques or someone who hasn’t even a clue what the word “chakra” means, these roll-ons make a perfect addition to any self-care routine you have.

Want to learn more? One of our amazing Certified Aromatherapists, Ellen Brenner, has written two exceptional blogs that dive deeper into the subjects of chakras and subtle aromatherapy:

Reintroduction of Loving Compassion

With the introduction of our pre-blended Chakra Synergy line, we want to share with you our reintroduction of a fan favorite, Loving Compassion.

The market for Fragonia has been fraught since wildfires burned the solely available crops in December 2015 that were scheduled to be harvested in 2016. Fragonia has been replanted, and the aromatherapy community is hopeful this precious crop will be fruitful. With nature we wait.  It will be at least another year before Fragonia is available again.

Not only is Fragonia a popular single essential oil, it also has been an important supporting essential oil in our Loving Compassion Synergy.  And, demand for both of these favorites ran high.

With all this in mind, and with the introduction of our Chakra Roll-On Synergies, we are very pleased to be able to continue to offer Loving Compassion, introducing Rhododendron in place of Fragonia. We think you will be just as pleased with the similar scent, the same subtle aromatherapy uses, therapeutic value, and price.

Now let’s take a closer look at our new roll-ons!

Each one is diluted at 3% in Fractionated Coconut Oil and can be applied directly to your skin! At 10 mL each, they make perfect travel buddies, too!

How to use the pre-diluted Chakra Synergy roll-ons:

  • Dab them onto the correlating chakra points and rub gently in a clockwise direction.
  • Use as anointing oils by applying directly  to the chakra. Or, anoint the palms of the hands, hold over the chakra, and then inhale.
  • Use on pulse points for a personal aromatic perfume by simply choosing based on how they make you feel.

Grounded Foundation1st Chakra (Root): Use to help, soothe, calm, and relax when you are feeling disconnected and distressed. Helps to create a sense of security, protection, and hope. Supports feelings of trust and belonging. Firmly grounding and centering, while allowing a sense of expansiveness and higher connection. 

Grounded foundation has a rich, earthy blend with a hint of sweet spice comprised of oils considered sacred treasures.

 

Joyful Creation2nd Chakra (Sacral): Use this synergy to help nurture inspired creativity, spontaneity, passion, and expansion in the birth of new concepts. It encourages harmony, warmth, and enthusiasm in relationships. Joyful Creation helps to clear energetic blocks related to relationships and creative expression, while inviting a sense of joy and enthusiasm in moving forward toward transformation.  

Joyful Creation has a lushly layered and smooth floral scent that continues to unfold as it reaches the senses.

 

Self Manifestation 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus): Helps to quiet the mind so that we may go inward to tap into our own sense of self-definition and autonomy with clarity. This strengthens our sense of self-empowerment with enthusiasm, stamina, and motivation. It nourishes our sense of self-worth with courage, confidence, and optimism. It also invites positive, cleansing energy to support manifestation of our purpose, while encouraging warmth and graciousness toward others.

Self Manifestation has a softly sweet punch of power and spice.

 

 

Loving Compassion4th Chakra (Heart): Comforting and calming, use this synergy to help to ease wounds of the heart and nourish the spirit. It helps to clear and cleanse deep wounds and blocks, while opening and uplifting the heart center. This synergy invites positive energy and encourages a joyful outlook and outward connection, and promotes unconditional love for self and others with compassion and acceptance. 

Loving Compassion has a soothing and softly rosy and green aroma, that is a synergy for the soul.

 

True Expression5th Chakra (Throat): Use this synergy to support clear communication in integrity with yourself and others. Soothing, cooling, and calming to the spirit, while nurturing a sense of self-esteem, confidence, and strength, this unique synergy helps to release energetic congestion to create a sense of opening and expansion. It helps to connect to our inner essence, as well as higher consciousness, so that we may know and outwardly express our authentic selves through truth.

True Expression is cooling, fruity, and refreshing with an herbal undertone.

 

Clear Intuition6th Chakra (Third Eye): Use this synergy to quiet the conscious mind and encourage introspection. Helps to connect to a higher state of consciousness while remaining grounded in peace. Promotes the ability to “clearly see” through intuition, insights, and clarity. It invites creation energy and inspires possibility.

Clear Intuition is a softly intoxicating synergy with fresh and clearing aromas.

 

Higher Connection7th Chakra (Crown): Use to help strengthen your purpose and ability to connect to higher spiritual consciousness. Invites pure, radiant, and joyful energy allowing connection with greater self-knowledge and our higher selves.  Nourishes the spirit with a sense of wholeness throughout our whole being while helping to heal spiritual wounds. Gently encourages strength in our spiritual growth to know greater love and deeper purpose.

Higher Connection has a warm, shimmering, and radiant heady scent gently wreathing the senses in its bloom.

We hope you enjoy these new roll-ons as much as we do!

Remember Last Month? Try this Kumquat Recipe!

Hello, Oil of the Month club members! Do you still have your Kumquat Oil? If you haven’t already used up this refreshingly bright and juicy treat, try this amazing recipe, perfect to send some happy vibes to your senses, while helping sweetly freshen your living space!

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Our Favorite Ways to Use Essential Oils for Kids

essential oils just for kidsOk, so we’ve already gone over which essential oils are safe for kids and which aren’t—but what are some of the best ways to use essential oils for your kids?

The very best way to use essential oils for your kids is to make sure you’re using oils (and synergies) developed just for them. You don’t have to guess, because it’s all 100% safe! If you want to get started right away, we’ve already done the hard work for you with our KidSafe® oils selection.

Use Nighty Night or Sweet Slumber to aid with bedtime restlessness.

essential oils just for kidsTo help prevent restlessness, diffuse Nighty Night in your child’s room about 15 minutes before they head to bed. Or, add a couple drops of Sweet Slumber to their KidSafe® Aroma Plush. (True story, I tried this on my son who has the worst time settling down for bed, and it works like a charm!)

Diffuse Calming the Child to help with focus.

Calming the Child can be added to an aromatherapy inhaler or diffuser when your child needs to find some calm, and A+ Attention helps your child stay on-task during homework time.

Help heal owies with Better Than Kisses

Essential oils just for kidsAfter washing your child’s owie with soap and water, dilute Better than Kisses to 4-5% in Coconut Fractionated Carrier Oil and apply to the scrape or sting to aid healing.

And remember, if you ever have questions about proper aromatherapy and essential oils use for kids, please feel free to contact us at www.planttherapy.com!

 

 

Do Essential Oils Expire? Here’s the Scoop

When you think of something expiring, the thought of curdled milk or rancid juice may come to mind. Will the same thing happen to that precious bottle of Lavender Essential Oil you love to use so much? Not really. While they don’t “expire” in the way we usually think of that word, they do change, and it’s important to know what that means.

Unlike foods, there are no firm expiration dates for essential oils. But if you open up a bottle of Lemon from three years ago and expect it to smell and work the same way as it did originally, prepare for disappointment. That’s because there are three main things that can change the chemical composition of an essential oil: oxygen, heat, and light (check out THIS  blog for a more in depth look at how these can change your oils).

So don’t expect mold or mildew to start growing inside your bottle, but do expect some change.

Oils have a shelf life, which is recommended to make sure you are getting the most out of your essential oils. To better help you understand the topic of essential oil shelf life, we are happy to present a handy chart!

Plant Therapy Shelf Life Charts

Since it’s impossible to know under what conditions essential oils are stored and used, the times listed are approximate. To learn more about how proper storage can make a difference in the shelf life of your essential oil, check out this blog:

Proper Essential Oil Storage

Once the essential oil reaches you and you open the bottle, the clock starts ticking on shelf life! Keep these tips in mind to make sure you are getting the most out of your essential oils:

  • Colored bottles help keep the oil out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep your bottle capped tightly.
  • Keep it cool! The ideal temperature is 35-38 degrees fahrenheit, the temperature of most refrigerators. Keep the oils in a container (like a wooden box or plastic bag) unless you want your food to start tasting like your oils!
  • Some oils become thicker as they cool. This is totally normal! Just warm the bottle up in your hands for a moment to return it to a more liquid state.
  • You can tell if your oil has oxidized if it does not smell as fresh as it did originally.
  • Citrus oils can go cloudy. If this happens, let the sediment settle to the bottom of the bottle and use a clean pipette to transfer the good oil into a clean bottle.
  • Using a personal inhaler? Refresh it about every 3 to 4 months, since inhalers get frequent exposure to the air.

Interested in learning even more? This blog post from our colleague Robert Tisserand has done a masterful job of explaining this in his blog post Lemon on the Rocks: keep your essential oils cool.

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