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Chakra Synergies for Self Care

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


 

Have you heard about Plant Therapy’s new Chakra Synergies Set?

Wondering what it is all about?

Wondering if it is for you?

Wondering how to get started?

I am super excited about this offering.

The intention of the Chakra Synergy line is to create simplicity and accessibility for those who wish to bring self-balancing practices into our self-care routines for a greater sense of wellbeing.

As with the mind and body, aromatherapy can provide powerful support for our spirit to support a greater sense of  balance from the inside out.

So, let’s get started on learning more about Chakras!

 

 

 

 

How Chakras Impact Our Wellbeing

Chakras are subtle energy centers that intersect with our mind, body, and spirit. The major chakras are located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. These chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being.

When our chakras are in balance our natural energy flows smoothly, creating a sense of overall well-being. Stress, negative thinking, and wounds or traumas to any part of our being can disrupt this vital balance.

If you are new to the concept of chakras, how they impact our well-being, and how aromatherapy can help, I recommend you start by reading “So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy” for an introduction to the basics.

This is just the beginning, of course. Like aromatherapy, energy work provides a vast path to develop and deepen your learning.  And, like other areas of aromatherapy, there are reputable thought leaders, teachers, and authors specific to subtle aromatherapy should you wish to study this synergy for the spirit.

 

 

How to Choose a Chakra Synergy for Your Needs

These synergies were created with the intention of gently supporting balance in each of the unique chakras.

 

 

GROUNDED FOUNDATION

Chakra: 1ST/ROOT

Location:  Base of Spine

Concerns:  Sense safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling present and grounded and present in our body.

 

 

 

 

 

JOYFUL CREATION

Chakra: 2ND/SACRAL

Location: Lower Abdomen

Concerns:  Ability to experience emotional security, passion, and pleasure in creative expression and connection to others.

 

 

 

 

 

SELF MANIFESTATION

 Chakra: 3rd /SOLAR PLEXUS

Location: Solar Plexus

Concern: Sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, and self-confidence while retaining warmth and graciousness toward others.

 

 

 

 

 

LOVING COMPASSION

Chakra: 4th/HEART

Location:  Center of Breastbone

Concerns: Open to love, acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion for self and others

 

 

 

 

 

TRUE EXPRESSION

 Chakra: 5th/THROAT

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEAR INTUITION

Chakra: 6th/THIRD EYE

Location: Center of Forehead/ Between Brows

Concerns: Ability to clearly “see” conceptually and symbolically through intuition, perception, visualization, and imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER CONNECTION

 Chakra: 7th/CROWN

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

 

 

 

How to Use the Chakra Synergies

Because we are working with our subtle body — which houses our spirit, our core essence and our natural energy flow — we recommend you use these synergies at a much less intensity than used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

 

  • Dilution: Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

 

  • Inhalation: Inhalation from the bottle is too overwhelming to the senses and subtle body. Simply add 1 drop to a tissue or cotton ball, or aromatherapy jewelry. You can also add 5 drops per 100 ml to your diffuser and run for a short period, or add 15 drops to your personal inhaler and breathe in gently. You may also choose to use these at half-strength if the scent is more strong than subtle depending on your proximity. The key is to get a gentle hint of the scent and not to overwhelm the senses.

 

  • Topical Application: Dilute to 1% in Jojoba or other carrier oil of your choice. You may wish to anoint your chakras. Anointing is an ancient practice across spiritual traditions in which an oil is applied with intention. It is often used for protection, to connect with the sacred, to empower, and to support wellness. You may wish to anoint your chakra, pulse points, or nearby areas of the body. For the first chakra, you may use the soles of the feet and/or touch behind the knees.

 

  • Combination: Add drops diluted to 1% to the hands and then anoint the chakra, pulse point, or body area desired. Then, bring the hands up to inhale and relax into a mindful balancing practice.

 

How to Combine Chakra Synergies with Mindfulness Techniques

When working with aromatherapy for the spirit, we can create an even more expansive experience when combined with mindfulness techniques such as these outlined below.  This synergy for the senses can help  bring  balance, harmony, and well-being within our whole being.

Please know there are no hard and fast rules, but rather an artful practice based on intention and intuition.  Allow yourself to unplug from your thinking mind, and tap into your inner wisdom.

To help you on your way, I have outlined some traditionally accepted and accessible suggestions as a starting point. The most important thing is to find what works for your unique needs at any given time.

 

Intention – Setting a clear purpose and using your synergy with that purpose in mind. This is likely the most important aspect when using aromatherapy to bring balance to the subtle body.

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation

 

Affirmation– Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. These are always stated in the present tense. And, you might want to consider aligning them with the concerns of the chakra with which you are working. For example, if you are working to bring balance to your 1st Chakra, you might like to affirm “I am safe.”

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation, anointing

 

Visualization: Using your mind’s eye to create a healing image on which to focus. You might choose to focus on a generally soothing and calming image, or you may wish to create a healing image specific to the chakra with which you are working.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

Meditation: Calming the conscious mind to allow for inward introspection and higher information. This is when you can hear your spirit speak while you are soothing the mind and the body.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

As you can see subtle aromatherapy is another approach to enhancing our wellbeing by bringing gentle support to the spirit. The synergies are meant to help make the practice of subtle aromatherapy accessible whether it is new to you, or you are an experienced practitioner.

The synergies themselves are created with the intention of resonating with each chakra in combination with the power of your conscious intention. They are not meant to simply apply to “fix a symptom,” but rather to support you in bringing self-balancing techniques into your self-care routines to enhance your overall well-being.

I hope this helps you on your way. Should you wish to explore the chakras and subtle aromatherapy more, you will find some reputable resources listed below. I wish you well on your wellness journey!

 


Sources:

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

 

So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy?

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


It probably has not escaped your notice that when we talk about the therapeutic value of aromatherapy, we often refer to the benefits for mind and body, as well as the spirit.

And, recently, we discussed how holistic aromatherapy helps bring balance to all three aspects in What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health. It is this harmony in our whole being that helps us sustain better wellbeing.

Sometimes, though, it is best to approach the specific needs of one aspect of our being, before the rest of our selves can come back into a better state of balance. Most of us are familiar with how aromatherapy can support the needs of mind and our body. But, what about when it comes to support of the spirit?

By nature, this realm may feel more ethereal, but it is no less important. Balance in our spirit in actuality is a vitally important source of our wellbeing.

In The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy, we outlined the many approaches to aromatherapy practice. When we want to start by specifically addressing the needs of the spirit, we turn to the practice of subtle aromatherapy. 

So, what exactly is subtle aromatherapy?

With subtle aromatherapy, we use essential oils and aromatic extracts to support sources of imbalance in our core being with the intention of encouraging wellness from the inside out. Rather than starting with the mind, or the body, we start with what we often refer to as the spirit, but more specifically encompassing our entire subtle body.

From this perspective, we see ourselves as whole beings comprised of the following interconnected aspects of our existence:

  • Emotional/Mental Body
  • Physical Body
  • Subtle Body

Our subtle body includes what we would call our spirit, life force, soul or core essence, our psyche, and our natural energy flow.

It is important to note when we are talking about caring for the spirit, or our subtle body, we are not talking about religion, nor the supernatural. Subtle aromatherapy transcends our own personal belief systems about our core essence and how we individually see and feel a sense of connection to higher consciousness while working with our natural energy flow.

Just as with our mental/emotional bodies, and our physical body, our subtle body seeks balance. Imbalances in our energy flow frequently form as blocks. We can work to release these blocks with various approaches to influence the energy flow in the subtle body. When we are out of balance to the point our whole being cannot compensate, we can seek support from qualified practitioners.

 

How Do We Balance Our Natural Energy Flow?

From an Eastern medicine perspective, there are two traditions of working with energy which you are likely familiar. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes to us from ancient China. Acupuncture is one of the most visible aspects of TCM to bring balance to our natural energy flow through the meridian pathways. From ancient India, we have Ayurveda. In this tradition of medicine, our natural energy flows through the chakra system. One familiar aspect of the Ayurvedic tradition is yoga, which helped introduce the concept of chakras to the West.  The flow of yoga helps to open and move our energy through the chakras.

From the Western perspective, we have combined modern studies of psychology and human development with ancient understandings of the chakra and general energy systems. We can create balance in an approach called energy medicine or energy healing by using our hands. There are many types of techniques with qualified and professional hands-on practitioners. Reiki and Therapeutic Touch are two common examples often performed in major medical centers.

My personal training and experience is with the western approach to energy medicine and the chakra system. Before I trained as an  aromatherapy practitioner, I trained as a hands-on energy medicine practitioner. During my clinical internship at a large, urban, bustling teaching hospital, the patients I served during that 6 months reported a nearly 60% reduction in pain overall measured pre- and post-energy therapy sessions.

Because I was grounded in both energy work and aromatherapy, I intuitively longed to bring both together into one practice.  I was delighted to discover others had already done so opening up the path for me for learn and practice both of my passions through the synergy of subtle aromatherapy.

In 1991, Patricia Davis published “Subtle Aromatherapy,” in which she discusses bringing together aromatherapy and chakra balancing into one practice. In essence, she defined subtle aromatherapy as working with aromatic essences to affect non-physical elements of our being.[1]

In 1997, Gabriel Mojay published “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.” In his work, Mojay discusses the use of essential oils for healing the psyche and the spirit by influencing energy flow from the perspective Traditional Chinese Medicine.[2]

Both pioneering works put to paper what many had intuitively felt creating pathways to learning that remain relevant and often referred today. Today, there are even more aromatherapy thought leaders, educators and practitioners coming from both systems of energy work to pursue your area of passion.

Depending on your own unique needs, the practice of subtle aromatherapy can be integrated to support other forms of healing while under the care of professionals and it can be approached independently as part of your self-care routine at home.

 

How Chakras Impact Our Health

As part of our subtle body, chakras are wheel-shaped energy centers that intersect with our emotional/mental bodies and our physical body. The chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being working as a system of intermeshing gears.[3]

 When our chakras are in balance, our natural energy flows smoothly creating a sense of overall wellbeing.  Fear, stress, chronic negative thinking and belief systems, repressed emotions, wounds and traumas, or sudden shock can disrupt this vital balance creating either excesses or deficiencies in our energy flow.  Many times, this distress  manifests as  as blockages and stagnation.

Most often, we are working with the seven major chakras located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. In addition to location, each chakra has an assigned color. And, each chakra is associated with states of our psyche, as well as the energy flow in a specific region of the physical body.

The following is a very brief overview of the seven major chakras:

 

1st Chakra – Root

Color: Red

Location: base of spine/perineum

Concerns: Self-Preservationsurvival, support, belonging

In Balance: Sense of safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling present and grounded and present in our body.

 

2nd Chakra – Sacral

Color: Orange

Location: 2” below naval

Concerns: Self-Gratificationcreation, emotions, relationships, growth

In Balance: Ability to experience emotional security, passion and pleasure in creative expression and connection to others.

 

3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus

Color: Yellow

Location: 2” above navel

Concerns: Personal Manifestationpersonal power, identity, self-worth

In Balance — Sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence while retaining warmth and graciousness toward others.

 

4th Chakra – Heart

Color: Green or Rose

Location: Center of chest

Concerns: Loving Compassionlove and acceptance of self and others, unconditional love, empathy

In Balance: Open to love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion for self and others

 

5th Chakra – Throat

Color: Light Blue

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Self-Expression/Communication — speaking and hearing truth

In Balance: Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

 

6th Chakra – Third Eye/Brow

Color: Indigo

Location: Center of Forehead (between brows)

Concerns: Self-Reflection/Intuition — perspective, insight, clarity, imagination

In Balance: Ability to clearly “see” conceptually and symbolically through intuition, perception, visualization and imagination.

 

7th Chakra — Crown

Color: Violet/White

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Higher Connectionsense of oneness, higher consciousness

In Balance: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

Working with Subtle Aromatherapy to Balance Your Chakras

As its own form of energy work the intention of subtle aromatherapy is to influence the balance in our natural energy flow by “drawing on the subtle, energetic or vibrational qualities of the oils, rather than their physical properties.[4]

 Many aspects  can go into choosing an oil, or synergy, to help support balance in the subtle body include:

  • Color of plant part used
  • Color of the essential oil or extract
  • Color or quality of the smell
  • Part of the plant used/function of that part
  • Therapeutic function of the oil or plant
  • Nature of the plant – shape, climate, conditions, geography, how it grows
  • Folklore of the plant – how used historically

Below are examples of some more commonly used essential oils to help bring balance to the chakras. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor will every oil work for every being. This is simply a possible point to start you on your exploration.

 

1st Chakra — Cedarwood, Patchouli, Vetiver

2nd Chakra — Cardamom, Orange, Jasmine Absolute

3rd Chakra – Black Pepper, Pine, Rosemary

4th Chakra — Bergamot, Mandarin, Rose Otto

5th Charka – Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Lavender

6th Chakra –Clary Sage, Elemi, Spruce

7th Chakra – Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood

 

When you are feeling an imbalance associated with a particular chakra, or energy center, you can choose essential oils or synergies to incorporate into your self-care routines.

Because we are working with our subtle body, we want to use essential oils and extracts at much less intensity than would be used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

Now that we have discussed what subtle aromatherapy is, we can go on to discuss the basics of how incorporate this approach at home. Look for our next blog where we will discuss how we can bring a synergy of subtle aromatherapy self-balancing techniques into our self-care routines.

 


Sources:

[1] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

[2] Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

[3] Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

[4] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

 

 

 

When Precious Oils Are Priceless

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In recent blogs, I have shared a few inspiration lists of some of my favorite oils that suit specific approaches and needs.  In My Top Five Workhorse Oils, we discussed what I consider the powerhouses that pretty much cover the bases of the basics. These essential oils are well rounded, readily available, with very few safety concerns.

As part of the series on holistic aromatherapy, I shared My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance. These, too, pack a punch by providing support to encourage balance for all three levels of our being — mind, body and spirit. These, again, are generally accessible and provide a lot of bang for the buck.

So, when and why would we want to use the pricier oils?  Though they may have multiple therapeutic uses, some of the precious oils can be powerful in a more singular way.  When we need them for their high therapeutic value in these certain situations, and there is no real substitute, Precious Oils Are Priceless.

Let’s discuss three precious oils that can be powerfully priceless:  Melissa, Neroli, and Rose Otto

Each of these essential oils are often sought for significant support to soothe heightened mental and emotional distress.  While some of their actions overlap, each helps in a different way.  And, each can be priceless in episodes that impact our existence when our mind is fogged, our feelings are intense, our body is flooded with the fight or flight reaction, and our spirits feel frozen.

Please know that aromatherapy is never a replacement for care from your professional health provider.  Aromatherapy, however,  can provide powerful support as part of your overall plan of care. Every person has unique needs and responses to all approaches to care, including aromatherapy. If you are under the care of health provider, please advise them if you wish to include aromatherapy as part of your care plan.  If you experience significant distress,  and aromatherapy does not provide relief in your self-care routine, please be prepared to seek professional support. 

A few things to note:

  • When supporting mental or emotional distress, inhalation is the best approach. Direct inhalation, such as through a personal inhaler, provides fastest and most effective route for settling the nerves and soothing emotions.
  • It is best to create a synergy so the senses do not associate a single scent with distress as a negative event or feeling. You can start with a mini-master blend as indicated in the sample synergies below.
  •  I find it is best to first test with a drop or two on a tissue to see how the synergy makes you feel.  If you feel a negative reaction, the tissue can easily and quickly be removed.
  • If the synergy creates a positive feeling, you can, then, create a personal inhaler for follow up use when needed wherever you are. Simply increase the synergies below to 15 drops.
  •  Each of the essential oils below have assertive scents. You won’t need much to mix into your synergy.
  • Plant Therapy offers each of these precious essential oils in 2.5 ml sizes to help make the price point even more accessible.

 

When Precious Oils are Priceless

 

Melissa Melissa officinalis:  

Melissa can be very calming and settling to the nerves after one experiences a shock to the system or traumatic event. It can help to restore us to our senses.

It also can be emotionally balancing, revitalizing, uplifting and strengthening making it invaluable for nervous tension, anxiousness, bereavement, and feeling down. And, it helps to ease emotional blocks.

Cautions: Not KidSafe® . To avoid the risk of various safety issues, we recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical applications.

Relax and Restore

2 drops Fragonia  Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Lime Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Melissa Melissa officinalis

 

 

Neroli Citrus x aurantium:  

Neroli can significantly soothe the emotions and calm the nerves for those who experience an alarming sense of anxiousness or panicky fear helping us to find our sense of tranquility.

Neroli is considered very uplifting for serious sadness and helps to ease grief and sorrow.  It is helpful for sudden shock and for agitation. Neroli can also open us to positive energy and help bring us back into balance.

Cautions: None Known.

 

Balance the Senses

2 drops Geranium Bourbon  Pelargonium x asperum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

1 drop Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

 

 

Rose Otto Rosa x damascena: 

Rose Otto is often cited as the primary essential oil to help  ease the spectrum of emotional shocks to the heart, including heartbreak, heartache, grief, sorrow and loss.

Emotionally, rose is considered calming, uplifting, balancing and strengthening.  Rose is also invaluable for supporting the spirit by promoting unconditional love and compassion for self and others.

Cautions:  Not KidSafe® We recommend a maximum dilution of 0.6% for topical applications.

Heart Soothe

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon*

1 drop Rose Otto (diluted 10%)  Rosa x damascena**

 

*  Rhododendron was featured as an Oil of the Month by Plant Therapy.  Based upon its popularity, it may stocked for general sale in the future.

** I’ve chosen the pre-diluted version of Rose Otto offered by Plant Therapy both for budget and for managing its powerfully assertive scent. You may also choose to purchase it undiluted, which you can find in the 2.5 ml sizes as well.

 


Sources:

Lawless, Julia. Aromatherapy and the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2014. Kindle Edition.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

Keville, Kathi, and Mindy Green. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Berkeley, CA: Crossing, 2009. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

A New Respect for Lavender

 

If you were on a game show, and they asked, “Name an essential oil.” I am sure that the host would say, “Survey says, Lavender!” Even if people have never used it, they probably have heard of it, or may even know that it is helpful for calming. It is in so many products, like soaps, body washes, shampoos, lotions, candles, ointments, and much more.

I recently had the opportunity to go to a Lavender festival in Washington state. I really don’t need much of an excuse to go near the ocean, but throw in a Lavender festival, and I had it booked 6 months ago! I apparently wasn’t the only one with the idea, for as we drew nearer, it took 2 hours to drive 16 miles. When I saw the first farm and Lavender field, I knew it was all worth it. The beautiful, straight, colorful rows were so overwhelmingly striking. My husband, being the great sport that he is, let me take it all in and patiently waited and listened to me go on and on. I walked through the romantic, perfumed, variegated fields of many varieties and colors and gained a greater appreciation for Lavender. I always valued this versatile essential oil, which was originally used in medieval times to ward off plague and disease (it’s a natural deterrent and kept the fleas at bay), but now I understood. I understood why it’s earned its place in the hearts of essential oil lovers.

Lavender is actually in the same family as mint. There are dozens of varieties of Lavender and it was a surprise to see the assorted colors. Pinks, Whites, Blues and many shades of the well-known Purple. There is even yellow Lavender. The flower heads varied a bit in appearance from variety to variety. The sterile hybrid of Lavender, called Lavandin Lavendula x intermedia is actually what is used for the “Lavender” scent in many products. Lavandin is a cross between true Lavender Lavendula angustifolia and Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia).  Lavender Essential Oil has more Esters, which is balancing and calming, and helpful with swelling.  Spike Lavender has more Oxides and also alcohol, which help with congestion, respiratory issues and for fighting seasonal threats. So Lavandin, has the qualities of both. We also have Lavender Fine, which is also Lavendula angustifolia, but a different variety grown in France and has a lovely softer scent.

The size of the plant also varied, from small compact shrubs to large, tall bushes. We toured about 6 farms, and each field was striking and almost as calming to view as the essential oil is itself. At B & B Farms in Sequim, WA, we were told that the biggest problem with growing Lavender, is over-watering and poor drainage.  He mentioned that the essential oil was extracted mostly from the unopened flowers, as this produced the most oil. He talked about that it took about a tote full of tightly compacted Lavender to produce just several ounces of essential oil. We saw as they sickled by hand the bunches of Lavender to be used for drying and how they bundled them and hung them in the barns to dry.

As we smelled that sweet, flowery scent wafting from farm to farm and I couldn’t help but think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, lying down in the fields of flowers (albeit not Lavender) and going to sleep. I thought of its calming properties, how I have used it to help with muscle or joint pain. That it’s the first thing that I grab for a minor burn or bee sting. How it is good in cleaning products, body products and for skin issues.  It was a wonderful experience for a fan and student of essential oils. I’m grateful that I could go and that I could share it with our customers and Facebook members of our Safe Essential Oil Recipe group. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook old standbys when there are so many new, exciting essential oils coming out.   I feel that Lavender was put here to help us and benefit us and we would do well to learn more about it. I am including a couple of recipes that I hope you will like.

 

Oil Treatment for Hair

2 drops of Lavender or Lavender Fine

1 drop of Rosemary

1 drop of Cedarwood Virginian

1 ounce of Argan Carrier Oil

Mix well and apply to hair and leave on for 30-60 minutes and then wash out. This can be used on hair once a week.

 

Muscle and Mind Relaxing Massage Blend

8 drops of Lavender

6 drops of Copaiba

4 drops of Marjoram Sweet

4 drop of Bergamot

2 drops of Chamomile Roman

2 ounce of carrier oil ( I like our Marvelous Massage Carrier Oil Blend)

Blend well and store in a glass or PET plastic bottle.

 

My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Recently, we discussed the practice of holistic care in “What Does Holistic Have to Do with Our Health.” Essentially, we are caring for mind, body and spirit to bring balance to our whole being for a greater state of wellbeing.

You may recall from “Food for Thought, that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. Depending on our state of mind, our body and spirit are impacted in chemical messages from the brain created by stress. This distress of the mind, especially over the long-term, can lead to dis-ease due to our body’s inability to compensate and re-balance.

Aromatherapy, in particular, the practice of holistic aromatherapy, is the perfect partner for helping to support harmony on all three levels of our existence. When we can find balance within ourselves and our environment,  we can experience a greater sense of optimal wellbeing.

Each essential oil and extract has its own therapeutic profile and value, often with multiple core applications.

And, often, we blend synergies from a selection of essential oils to create the holistic profile we are seeking as we did to accompany self-balancing activities outlined in Balancing Our Whole Being.”

There are, however, some essential oils and extracts that are just excellent at equally supporting and entire being.

I find myself reaching over and again for three in particular when I want well-rounded and robust support to bring my being back into balance.

The three I love the most for holistic use are: Bergamot, Fragonia and Blue Yarrow. Oh my goodness, do I love the gifts of these oils.

On their own, they are wonderful to bring equilibrium to mind, body and spirit. Mixed in other synergies, they enhance the holistic value. In my opinion, blended together, they create something extraordinary.

Below, you will find why I consider these my top three essences as my very favorites for holistic support on all three levels — mind, body and spirit.

In addition, I have included one of my very favorite blends with the added benefit of a soothing bath. I find this one of the best ways to find balance from within for my whole being.

As always, I  encourage you to consider options that match your own unique needs.

 

Bergamot Citrus bergamia  (bergapten free)

Bergamot is a favorite for its array of uses and its sunny scent. Bergamot is an incredibly uplifting, calming and balancing essential oil.

It is especially helpful when you feel off balance due to nervous tension and when you need to invite in more positive thinking and energy.

Mind:  Balancing to emotions. Uplifting and calming.  Promotes positive thinking while helping to release negative emotions.

Body: Supports the body in returning to a state of relaxation. Soothes the nervous system and smooths nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit: Helps to harmonize the spirit, especially when affected by strong, negative emotions. Supports the ability to receive positive energy and helps our natural energy to flow smoothly.

 

 

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

Fragonia is highly valued for its uniquely balanced composition. It, too, has a wide array of core therapeutic uses and has a soft, refreshing scent.

It is especially helpful for letting go of old emotional thought patterns and negative energy blocks that are impacting your balance and wellbeing.

Mind:  Helps to release old emotional patterns. Calming and uplifting, it helps to reduce worry and nervous tension.

Body:  Balancing to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving to nervous tension creating discomfort in the body.

Spirit:  Helps to release deep-seated blocks in the energy flow caused by old wounds. Strengthening to the spirit.

 

 

Blue Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Blue yarrow has been prized throughout time for its ability to support wounds on all levels. Though it provides powerful support, it is gentle in nature.

Its “blue” constituents are especially helpful to bring a cooling sense of balance to  heated conditions of mind, body and spirit.

Mind:  Supports emotional equilibrium. Helps to calm worry and nervous tension.

Body: Calming to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving for nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit:  Powerful support in releasing blocks created by repressed strong, negative emotions. Helps to support a smooth natural energy flow. Balanced between opposing energies, it helps to equalize these energies in our own being.

 

Balancing Bath Blend

2 drops Bergamot  Citrus bergamia

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Mix with 2 T natural, unscented body wash

Add 1/2 c of Epsom Salts and mix.

Add to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Bringing the best of the abilities from my top three oils for whole being balance. This is an especially wonderful immersion experience before bedtime. 

 


Sources:

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. New York: Fall River, 2014. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 2005. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

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

The Philippines – In Search of Essential Oils

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines. It was an incredible experience, where I learned just how hospitable and kind the Filipino people really are. This was a trip that I was especially excited about because my mother has been serving a religious mission helping people with self reliance in Quezon City for the past 16 months and I hadn’t seen her during that time. She met me at the airport and accompanied me on my travels for the next two weeks.

A long flight seems longer when you are excited to see someone!

 

Finally here!

 

I arrived late at night and got around 4 hours sleep before heading back to the airport to catch our flight to Bacolod. We made the short drive to Bago City where we met the owner and founder of an herbal supplements company. They have recently moved into distilling essential oils and we wanted to see their process and facility. We experienced the freshly distilled local citrus fruits of Calamansi and Dalandan. They had also distilled some Elemi and Organic Eucalyptus.

Visiting a company that distills and checking out their essential oils. Quality always…

 

After a productive visit in Bago City, we drove across town to visit Auke, the founder of a 12-year-old lemongrass co-op called AID Foundation. They have a great vision of helping those in need, which is perfectly in line with ours at Plant Therapy. Many of the people of this region are very poor with limited means to produce income. Many only have access to two resources… time and land. AID Foundation employs agronomists that will go into these rural communities and teach the local people farming techniques and help them set up an operation where they can earn a living.

No, this is a not a blood bank above… It is a supply  of essential oils.  The bottom picture is of a still.  For some communities this is the key to their livelihood.

 

These are the specifics of a small lemongrass operation… They require roughly 25-30 families to participate if they want to have their own still. They will help the community get water using a ram pump- this is an incredible invention that can pump water uphill without the use of electricity. Once water is available they will plant 20,000 lemongrass plants on a hectare of ground- just under 2.5 acres. They can harvest the lemongrass plant every two months. It can be cut low and it will just continue to grow. The cut grass is then left to dry for two days before being placed in the still. 180 kg (400 lbs) of dry material is placed in the still and steamed for 3 hours. This will produce one kg (2.2 lbs) of pure lemongrass essential oil. The oil is then put into a one liter bottle and labeled with the farmer’s name, location, date, and batch number. The spent leaves are put into compost boxes and later returned to the farms as fertilizer. This is the only adjuvant that is added to lemongrass farms. Every few years they will rotate out the crop to grow some root crops like Ginger or Turmeric. The farmer’s all own the distillation equipment and get paid a certain amount of money for each batch of oil that is produced. The AID foundation then sells the lemongrass oil and uses any profits to help another community get set up. I love their mission, values, product and facilities. Unfortunately, we aren’t currently buying products from them because their prices are too high. It doesn’t make sense for them to lower them to the bulk market prices because that would defeat the whole purpose of the co-op, which is to help the farmers. In addition, we batch test every oil and it would be cost prohibitive to test the oil from every 2.2 lb batch. We are working on some ideas that will allow us to work these small artisan distilleries, so that is something I am excited about in Plant Therapy’s future.

Some beautiful Lemongrass fields handled with love and care.

 

The following morning, we flew out to Cagayan de Oro. We spent two days visiting small farms and a distillery there. Many of these rural farmers are living on less than $1 per meal for their family of 6-7. They are primarily eating rice. In fact, it appears that most Filipino people love their rice, consuming it 3 times per day. We ate it multiple times per day, every day of the trip. If you were to visit a KFC or McDonalds there you are going to be served rice. I was also told that if they don’t eat some rice, many don’t consider it an actual meal. One can eat pizza or a sandwich, etc. but without rice, it is just considered a “snack”.

We visited an oil distiller in Sitio Danao.

 

Most of these farmers are also part of a co-op using only organic farming methods. The farms are sprayed with neem oil (native to the Philippines), molasses, and beneficial fungi. When the crops are harvested, they are sold to the co-op which pays them on a per-pound basis.

Another precious yield of the Phillipines.

 

When we returned to Manila we were able to visit with some suppliers of both Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as well as Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO). Plant Therapy is in a unique position within the FCO market. As you may or may not be aware, the vast majority of products being sold as FCO in the retail market are not made from coconuts at all. It is actually a palm oil that, when processed, resembles FCO. Even though most people can’t tell the difference, we will not sell something as coconut oil unless we are absolutely certain it is actually coconut oil. For that reason, we require proof from our suppliers that it is 100% coconut oil. We are the only company, that I am aware of, with that requirement.

Meeting with some of our suppliers of our wonderful Coconut Oil. We are one company that requires proof that our Coconut products are 100% coconut.

 

The Philippines is an incredibly beautiful country. During my time there we were also able to do many “touristy” type things. Including the following: Dahilayan Adventure Park, whitewater rafting, Zoobic Safari, American Cemetery, WWII battle sites, Underground River, a crocodile farm, weaving factory, Honda Bay tour, Starfish Island, Luli Island, Cowrie Island, Pagsanjan Falls, Taal Volcano, and Art in Island. It is a place I would love to visit again in the future to continue the pursuit of charitable and business opportunities there.

Taking time to play with Mom!

June Oil of the Month – Lemon Myrtle

An essential oil that is as lemony, if not more than Lemon? How can that be? Lemon Myrtle is incredibly lemony. Australians love Lemon Myrtle for many reasons and are very familiar with it. The leaves of this plant are dried and ground up for a spice and used in many delectable dishes. The leaves are also used in something interesting called “Bush Tucker”. Bush tucker or bushfood is various food that is native to Australia and is used by the original inhabitants for culinary and medical reasons, and also for sustenance.

Lemon Myrtle plant also packs a punch. The Rideal-Walker test estimates the antimicrobial activity of plants. The higher the score, the more effective the plant. According to this test, it scored Lemon Myrtle plant a 16, Tea Tree plant an 11, and Eucalyptus Citriodora plant an 8. Again, this speaks of the plant itself. We will be presenting the essential oil, which is highly concentrated and powerful.

Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil (Backhousia Citriodora) is an elevating beautiful scent that is no shrinking violet. It has some amazing properties. Even in small amounts, it is still a force to be reckoned with. It is great for deodorizing and cleaning DIYs, to battle occasional seasonal threats and to freshen a room. It can be helpful for conditions that can develop when feet are moist and warm too often. It also has been shown to be helpful in relaxing and uplifting. When diffusing, use just a small amount, as a little goes a long way. Due to its high citral content, we recommend a low dilution of under 0.7%.

Some essential oils that would go well with Lemon Myrtle are; Cedarwood Virginian, Sandalwood Australian, Fragonia, and Blue Cypress.

Here is a diffuser recipe to help you become acquainted with this lovely, fresh essential oil.

 

Diffuser Blend   – This is good for respiratory and is uplifting.  Of course this is just an example for an ultrasonic diffuser and you can modify to your liking and to your diffuser. This is not a KidsSafe® blend.

2 drop Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

4 drops Cedarwood Virginian (Juniperus virginiana)

2 drops Fragonia (Taxandria fragrans)

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here

 

Reflections of a Summer Lover

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Oh happy days are here!

I am a child of summer.  And, my inner child remains happiest in the season of the sun. This I have learned about myself.

Summer is when my spirit feels most buoyant and unbound. Joy is easier to access as it readily bubbles to the surface.

If winter is the hibernal season, and spring is of renewal, for me summer is a  season of sustenance.

Our mind, body and spirits are nourished by the abundance of sunshine and daylight, the refreshing array fresh fruit and vegetables, the heady scent of summer blooms, and the frequency of the dazzling dragonflies. For many, these beautiful, blessed dragonflies — whose magical beauty shimmers under the summer sun —  represent and remind us of the ability to reflect light for the greater good.

I arrived in this world as a native to perpetually sunny Southern California. Though I was born in December, it was as summer-like, bright, 85-degree-day.

Reflecting back, I realize my spirit has always sought the sun  ever since  to find and create summer for my soul wherever I happen to be.

As a child in Southern California there was joyful abandon playing outdoors and walking barefoot in the grass, especially with the heady scent of the orange groves at the end of our street.

Later, I lived by the beach there and spent every summer day of my teen-age years barefoot in the sand and jumping through the waves.

To this day, I prefer my feet unbound to feel more grounded. If I am not barefoot, then flip flops are the footwear of choice. From my perspective, you cannot have too many pairs.

In my early adulthood, I moved to the Midwest for work. That’s when I quickly realized I needed sunlight and warmth to feel vital and nourished. What I had taken for granted, now needed to be recreated. If it was going to take awhile for summer to come to me where I was, then I needed to go in search of  summer.

Winters breaks became tropical getaways to the Caribbean where the season of the sun was only a flight away.  Immediately upon arrival, my whole being was transported by the soft air, shimmering waters, and the sun in the sky. Not only did my body thaw, but any tension I carried immediately melted away.  Breathing in the sea breeze allowed me to clear the clutter in my head, returning back to real life with a sense of renewed clarity.

Later, I moved to New England with shorter winters, but also shorter summers. This meant ensuring that I savored every drop of summer while it was in season. I joined the tradition of spending idyllic long weekends on Cape Cod. Crossing that bridge from the mainland marked the point where I was able to let go of the go-go-go and relax into loafing.

Now, I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Another west coast for sunsets on the sea and walks on the beach framed by turquoise water and white sugar sand.  And, though actual summer  is a swelter, but most of the rest of the year we live in season as if it  is part of our daily life.  My challenge here is taking the time from daily life to enjoy living in paradise.

No matter where you live, and what your experience, you can always create your own summer for the spirit. Aromatherapy offers a natural opportunity to help create that buoyant and relaxed state of mind.   Even when you can’t break away to chase the sun, a sniff of the synergies evoking the sense of summer can transport you instantly to to a mini-break in your own mind’s eye.

For me, the sensory experiences of the summer season call for a switch to scents that are fresher and cooling  such as citrus and mints.

To help you get started, or to inspire you to create your own experiences, I offer below some summer loving synergies curated from my own collection to evoke favorite seasonal memories.

These were created for inhalation purposes to most readily connect with the mind and spirit. I prefer to make these in a personal inhaler to have with me when needed. You may also choose to use your diffuser, with the exception of the Beach Rose synergy because the rose otto 10% is diluted in vegetable oil, which can damage the unit.

 

I wish you an abundance of sun in your spirit!

 

Inner Child

This uplifting and cheerful blend helps restore my joy of the simple life on a sunny day during my childhood in Southern California.

2 drops Grapefruit Pink, Citrus x paradisi

2 drops Mandarin, Citrus reticulata

1 drop Spearmint, Mentha spicata

 

Mental Mojito

This refreshing and revitalizing scent helps when I need that sense of clear -headed clarity created after a Caribbean Vacation. 

3 drops Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

2 drops Peppermint,  Mentha x piperita

 

Beach Rose  

This soothing scent is evocative of the slow days, sand dunes, and snow cones of Cape Cod where I crossed the bridge into a state of contentment and relaxation.

2 drops Rose Otto (Diluted at 10%)  Rosa damascena 

2 drops Sandalwood Australian, Santalum spicatum

1 drop BergamotCitrus bergamia

 

Sangria Siesta 

(for Inhalation)

This deeply relaxing and uplifting synergy is reflective of the lazy days of a Florida summer calling for loafing on the lanai for rest and reflection.

2 drops Davana, Artemisia pallens

1 drop Lemon, Citrus x limon

1 drop Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Orange SweetCitrus sinensis

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.

 

 

May Oil of the Month – Eucalyptus Dives

 

“Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,

Merry, merry king of the bush is he,

Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra,

Gay your life must be!”

-Marion Sinclair

Maybe you sang this song as child, like I did,  but may not have been aware of which tree the words were referring to. This song refers to the great Eucalyptus tree-of which there are over 700 species, originating in Australia. Plant Therapy recently visited Australia and was able to see these wonderful trees up close-complete with Koalas!

 

 

There is a mountain range in Australia called “The Blue Mountains”. These mountains are covered with Eucalyptus trees and this is what one author had to share;

“The blue is not only the effect of distance but is also caused by the mountains’ characteristic blue haze. Their Eucalypt-dominated vegetation disperses fine drops of volatile oil into the atmosphere. The oil drops increase the risk of fire, perfume the air and scatter, with great visual effect, the blue light rays of the spectrum.”  (1)

Plant Therapy currently carriers two of the Eucalyptus varieties, Globulus and Radiata. For the month of May we are excited to feature Eucalyptus Dives as our Oil Of The Month. Many of you will be excited to know that you can have your Eucalyptus and use it on your kids too! Yes, this Eucalyptus is KidSafe.

I leaned about this at an essential oil conference I attended. An Australian oil expert took pity on me and my congestion at the time. I had experienced bronchitis a few weeks prior and although I was over the worst of it, I still had some residual effects. He took me aside, and said, “try this!” He then put several drops of Eucalyptus Dives on a tissue and told me to breathe it for a while. I did take a whiff of the tissue every few minutes for about 20 minutes, and then realized my lungs had relaxed and I quieted way down.  I was very excited to hear that we would be carrying this essential oil.

There are other qualities to love about Eucalyptus Dives as well. This refreshing, uplifting oil would be great in a sports blend to help with muscle or joint discomfort or  in a foot bath for those tired feet at the end of a day.  It would also be good diffused for seasonal threats and in a blend for cleaning.

 

Here is a recipe for you to try using Eucalyptus Dives:

Sports Master Blend (for sore muscles)

12 drops of Eucalyptus Dives

8  drops of Juniper Berry

6 drops of Roman Chamomile

6 drops of Marjoram

Blend together and use in a 3% dilution in your favorite Plant Therapy Carrier Oil for localized treatment or add 5-8 drops of blend to a diffuser or personal inhaler.

 

Download Product Template Sheet Here

 

Although many of us would love to go see the gum trees for ourselves in Australia, most of us will have to be content to enjoy Plant Therapy’s great Australian essential oils such as Eucalyptus Dives, Eucalyptus Globulus, Eucalyptus Radiata, Tea Tree, Australian Sandalwood, Fragonia, Kunzea, Blue Cypress, Balm Mint Bush, Buddha Wood, Boronia and last , but certainly not least, Rosalina.

I am grateful to Australia for the beautiful and beneficial essential oils that they produce. I am excited to learn about the latest Oil of the Month, Eucalyptus Dives, and to reap the benefits also. I feel it is a great addition to our collection and to yours.

 

Let us know how you use this essential oil and how it has benefited you!

 

___________________________________________________________________________

Sources:

(1) “The Greater Blue Mountains” area world heritage nomination

 


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