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Top 5 Essential Oils: Tyler’s Picks

By Tyler Hagan, Aromatherapist

Hello everyone! My name is Tyler Hagan, and I’ve had the privilege  of working for Plant Therapy since October of 2017. I spend almost all of my time in our lovely Facebook group, Safe Essential Oil Recipes (SEOR), but you can often times find me answering your questions via email. 😊 I have been a long time customer of Plant Therapy and a long time member in SEOR. Aromatherapy is my biggest passion in life, and I love being able to work with others to spread safe essential oil knowledge far and wide.

Prior to being employed by Plant Therapy I was a preschool teacher for several years. I’ve worked in several childcare settings, developmental preschools, elementary schools, and churches. Teaching has always been one of my biggest passions in life.

I am happily married to my best friend and we have one little guy together, and I have two lovely stepkiddos . Besides spending time with my family, I also enjoy reading, whipping up DIY projects in the kitchen, watching movies, organizing, and gardening. Our favorite family pastime is camping, when the weather permits.

One of the hardest tasks I’ve encountered working at Plant Therapy is narrowing down my top 5 essential oils. I love SO many different essential oils, it’s hard to just pick 5, however, I’ve narrowed it down to the following essential oils below.

Blue Tansy Tanacetum annuum, is easily my #1  favorite essential oil. It is very uplifting, and it gives me that extra emotional boost I need throughout the year. For someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, it is a must to help keep my chest clear and breathing strong. It’s a big feature in my Free and Clear inhaler blend for my adventures in the great outdoors.

top 5 essential oils

Free and Clear Inhaler Blend

4 drops Saro Cinnamosma fragrans

3 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

2 drops Blue Tansy Tanacetum annuum

2 drops Lemon Citrus x limon

1 drop Cedarwood Atlas  Cedrus atlantica

Cedarwood Atlas Cedrus atlantica, is a close second. It’s sweet yet spicy aroma is extremely calming and can be used to settle the crazy emotions and tension that follow a long, busy day. I love to diffuse it alongside my third favorite oil, Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides.

For those that have never used Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides, you must give it a try! It’s earthy, smoky aroma is just what I need at the end of the day to calm the constant chattering in my head. It also helps keep me calm and healthy throughout the year, which is always a huge plus.

One thing I struggle with daily is getting out of bed in the morning. Ask anyone who knows me, I am not a morning person, and I’m not exactly fun to be around straight out of bed. After many years of struggling, I found essential oils, and my life has forever been changed. And it’s all thanks to my fourth and fifth favorites, Grapefruit Pink Citrus x paradisi, and Bergamot Citrus bergamia. These two oils, blended together in the diffuser, is Tyler’s Saving Grace.

 

top 5 essential oilsTyler’s Saving Grace Diffuser Blend

5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

3 drops Pink Grapefruit Citrus x paradisi

2 drops Steam Distilled Lemon Citrus x limon

2 drops Steam Distilled Lime Citrus x aurantifolia

*You can substitute the steam distilled for cold pressed. It will change the aroma slightly, but it’ll still be uplifting and energizing. 😊

 

DIY Bath Fizzies

calming-the-child-bath-lifestyle-photo-2

I recently have seen a lot of recipes for bath fizzies and got so excited because I remember using these when I was little! I wanted to see how my children would react the first time they saw them, and was a little afraid they would love them so much they would want to use all of them (which they did)!

The thing I loved most about this recipe was how you could use essential oils! How perfect is that! Not only do you get amazing bath fizzies, but you get to make them therapeutic too! I decided that I wanted a batch for when I need to relax. My children needed a batch for when they needed to CALM down. And my family needed a batch for when we were sick.

Bath Fizzies:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 oats

Mix dry ingredients together until completely combined and smooth. (I ground up oats in my blender and added about 1/4 cup of that too. It protects the skin from irritants and helps soothe skin that’s itchy or irritated.)

Wet Ingredients:

-Worry Free/Relax: Lavender, Relax, Tranquil, Worry Free, or Peppermint (I love the tingly sensation)

-Calming for Children: Calming the Child, Lavender, or Nighty Night

-Sick family: Germ Destroyer or Sniffle Stopper

-Skin problems: Soft Skin, Skin Soother, or Silky Soft

-Aches: Muscle Aid, Rapid Relief, Growing Pains, or Sore No More

  • 1/4 tsp of Meadowfoam  Carrier Oil (preserves the oils)
  • 1/2 tsp of Borax (an emulsifier)
  • witch hazel in a spray bottle (you will have to put it in a spray bottle)
  • natural colorant if desired (I left mine white)

Whisk all of the wet ingredients and Borax together in a large bowl.form in hand (2)

Drizzle slowly onto the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are combined.

Lightly spray the mixture 2-3 times with witch hazel.

form in hand (1) The mixture should just start to hold together when pressed in your hand, like slightly moist fine sand. If it’s not sticking together, spray a little more witch hazel.

Pack TIGHTLY into molds. I ordered these fun ones off of Amazon.com, but you could use anything really.  Even a small (1/4 cup) measuring cup.  packed in forms (2)

Let the bath fizzies dry and harden overnight before you pick them up.

 packed in forms (1)

You did all this hard (OK maybe not that hard) work, now it is time to take a fizzie and go relax in the bath!

 

*UPDATE

My children are loving the bath fizzies! They usually fight over who gets to put it in the bath. The are always wanting more than one! The best part about these fizzies though is how soft my children’s skin is becoming. My almost 18 month old usually has really bumpy skin, maybe eczema. Since we have been using these bath fizzies, yes just these past few days, his skin has become sooooo soft! I love rubbing his little arms when he comes out of the bath!

I am so excited that not only are these fun and my kids love them, but they are making their skin so much healthier! Thank you bath fizzies!

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

Meet The Aromatherapists

Plant Therapy is very excited that we are continuing to expand our team of aromatherapists.  We have some newbies and some who are getting ready to complete their certification programs.  At Plant Therapy our aromatherapists are involved in many aspects of the company and focus on education and safety.

  • SEOR – Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook, where members can ask questions, post recipes and get advice on what to use and how to use it.
  • Blog – On the blog you can find a wealth of information including DIY projects, Product Profiles and Spotlights, Safety information, and Wellness Care.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the blog, please feel free to contact us and we will happy to help out.
  • Email an Aromatherapist – For specific questions or concerns you can email us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com, and one of our team members will assist you.
  • GC/MS Reports – Reading and formatting the reports as they come in and uploading them onto our website for our customers to view.
  • Synergy Blends and other product formulations – Our aromatherapist team is involved in the formulation of some of our synergy blends and other products such as beard oils and balms.  
  • New Oil & Product Selection – Giving input and recommendations on which oils and other products to consider offering.
  • Research and writing -Supporting information for the website, Facebook page, labels, product sheets and more.

We wanted to take an opportunity to introduce (and reintroduce) our aromatherapist team that we fondly refer to as the Potion Patrol.

Retha Nesmith      Retha Photo

Hey everyone!

My name is Retha Nesmith. I was blessed to grow up using essential oils. My mother is a Certified Aromatherapist and because of that, I have used essential oils for as long as I can remember. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to become Plant Therapy’s first Certified Aromatherapist, I jumped at that opportunity. I was passionate about Plant Therapy, I was familiar with essential oils, and it just seemed like the perfect fit.

After doing a lot of research on the different options out there to get certified in aromatherapy, I decided to go with Aromahead Institute. I loved that I could do it all online (at that time I had two children and worked 50+ hours a week)! I loved how involved Andrea and her staff was! I also loved what I learned about the course. When you get your certification through Aromahead, you have to do case studies. This is hands on experience and that was important to me.

I got my Certificate in Aromatherapy in April of 2014 It was exciting to finally be able to call myself a Certified Aromatherapist. Since that time, I have had many opportunities through Plant Therapy to see the lives of so many people change for the better because of essential oils. I have seen people become passionate in not only the essential oils, but the education, safety, chemistry, etc. of essential oils. It has been exciting!

If you are new to essential oils and just starting out, start simple. Pick 1-4 oils that you are most interested in and start playing around. Get comfortable with the oils. Learn the basics and go from there. You will quickly find as you get comfortable with the oils, that you can find basically unlimited uses for them. You will learn to love them just as I do!

 

 Lori ChaseLori Photo

Hello!

I’m Lori and I oversee the team of Aromatherapists at Plant Therapy.  I used essential oils before becoming employed at PT, but my knowledge was limited.  I love everything I do at Plant Therapy, but Aromatherapy is by far my favorite.  After completing the  Aromahead program in 2014 I have continued to learn through experience and by taking additional courses.  I love learning, the challenge of finding answers to things I don’t know, and I am fascinated by the chemistry of essential oils. Helping others in their essential oils journey has been the best part.

As a lifelong creator of baking recipes, I found aromatherapy to be a natural fit. Now I’m frequently in the kitchen whipping up blends, butters, balms and just about anything else I can get my hands on, and I still have an amazing aroma permeating my home.

My greatest joys in life are my grandchildren (I do like their parents too!), and doing almost anything outdoors.  I love to garden, go antiquing, and finding ways to re-purpose old things.

 

Kimberly PhotoKimberly Daun

Hi, my name is Kimberly! I am married and a mother of 4 boys living in New England. Through my many travels and living in three countries and ten states, I have developed a real love and respect for the diversity nature provides.  Since a very young age I have sought ways to live a synergistic lifestyle of respect and cohesiveness with nature.  While living in Hawaii, 12 years ago, I sought alternative holistic health support for an ongoing issue and was introduced to essential oils.  Immediately I saw results and have been using aromatherapy in my home ever since.

In June of 2015 I completed my Aromatherapy Certification through Aromahead Institute and in December officially joined the Plant Therapy team.  Since then my primary contributions have been to both Plant Therapy’s Blog as well as the Safe Essential Oil Recipes page on Facebook. I continue to immerse myself in the industry and seek to further my education at every opportunity.

 

Emilee Hughes20160712_184002

My name is Emilee Hughes and I have been a Certified Aromatherapist for Plant Therapy since June of 2016. While I am newly certified, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with Robert Tisserand on our GCMS reports over the past year. Since I joined Plant Therapy in 2014 I have had the privilege of working in almost every department from production and fulfillment, to customer service, and I am now a Certified Aromatherapist. I love being an Aromatherapist because I get to put my working knowledge of essential oil constituents to use in helping all of our wonderful customers!

I currently live in Twin Falls, ID with my husband and our two dogs, Dill and Brutus. We enjoy fishing, hiking, kayaking, and basically anything that gets us outdoors. When I’m not busy spending time with family, you can find me creating a new blend (or if you ask my husband, a big mess!) in the kitchen. Over the next year, I’m looking forward to continuing my education and growing as an Aromatherapist!

 

Ellen Brenner                  Ellen Photo

Hi, I’m Ellen!

My aromatic areas of interest are grounded in holistic and subtle aromatherapy to support a restorative state of balance in our whole being, including our natural energy flow. I feel blessed to bring together my passions for aromatherapy, conscious wellness, helping others, and writing as a member the Plant Therapy team. My current blogs focus on the mind, body and spirit connection and how aromatherapy can impact our essential wellbeing. I especially enjoy blending with an intuitive approach inspired by the synergistic effects of the aromatic essences created by nature.

It was love at first smell when I discovered the world of aromatherapy in 1999. I began exploring and experiencing aromatherapy personally as part of my overall integrative wellness approach. Encouraged by the outcomes, and after some significant life traumas and changes, aromatherapy became the gateway for my formal study in the natural healing arts.  I am  licensed as a therapeutic bodywork practitioner, with comprehensive training and certifications in holistic aromatherapy, energy medicine, and holistic health coaching. I have additional training in reflexology and transformational healing workshops. I continue to expand my education, most avidly in aromatherapy, and feel truly fulfilled i sharing what I have learned to help others.

 

mom1-1-3 Pat Burdick

I have never felt right about “covering up the symptoms” when someone in my family was ill.  I had a desire to get to the root of the problem and heal it.  While I recognized the role of the traditional medical route, I knew deep down inside that there had to be other options.  Thus, the stage was set! When I was introduced to the therapeutic use of essential oils, it made sense to me and a budding Aromatherapist was born!

As an educator by profession, I have always loved to learn.  So, when my youngest child left for college I decided to reenter the classroom not as a teacher but as a student.  Upon completion of a wonderful program at the Aromahead Institute, I signed on with Plant Therapy, which has allowed me the privilege to do what I love; help others.  I currently have the pleasure to serve the members of the SEOR page, which provides the opportunity for caring, sharing and learning to happen amongst thousands!  What an inspiring arena! Plant Therapy, it is truly a fabulous place to work.

 

LeAnna Photo  LeAnna Magee

My name is LeAnna and I started working for Plant Therapy 2 years ago, helping with the website, and then moved into Customer Service. I was given the opportunity to take the aromatherapy course and passed.  As a single mother, working full time and teaching at the college, I was not ready for one more task.  I didn’t know a lot about the oils and wanted to continue working with the customers.  I enjoy working with people and loved the many that I came in contact with in Customer Service.  I also enjoy camping, playing sports and being in nature.

When moving to our new location I was asked to help in the shipping department processing the orders that come in each day.  I had already worked in most departments and knew the processes.  I have been in Shipping 6 months, working all that time on my aromatherapy certification course, and have loved every minute of it.  I have enjoyed learning more about essential oils and how powerful and amazing they are.

I think my favorite part of the course are the case studies, as I have seen the oils first hand being used by friends, family and even complete strangers and the overwhelming changes that they have made in people’s lives. My goal is to have the course completed this year so that I can continue to help and educate people about essential oils.

Diane Mishler Diane Photo

I am a certified massage therapist and began my essential oil journey several years ago. I began reading and doing research and decided I wanted to work for the best and also most caring essential oil company! I love working at Plant Therapy and enjoy working in customer service, especially doing “chat”.

I am currently taking the Aromatherapy Certification course. I feel like it has given me a new lease on life with an exciting new future and vision, and I look forward to helping people with the knowledge I will gain, as a Certified Aromatherapist. I have been married to the same wonderful man for over 30 years and my favorite titles are “Mom” and “Grandma”.

DIY Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

Whitening DIY Toothpaste

I was scouring the internet for recipes on how to whiten teeth naturally and tried quite a few different recipes.  Although this started out as simply a tooth paste recipe it has evolved into my oil pulling recipe by simply adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and swishing for 10-15 minutes.  This recipe is not for the faint of heart, it packs some punch and takes a bit getting used to.  It also takes a few rinses to remove the coloring.  However the results are so worth it!  My mouth feels so clean and healthy!

Whitening DIY Toothpaste2

What you’ll need:
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Soda (Helps to remove stains and whiten teeth.  Fights bad breath.)
  • 1 tablespoon Bentonite Clay (Draws out heavy metals and toxins. Remineralizing, including calcium and magnesium.  See this article about the benefits of magnesium.  )
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric Spice (may help reduce swelling, encourages healthy gums, whitening)
  • 3 tablespoons Solid Coconut Oil (supports healthy gums and freshens breath.)
  • 6 drops Orange Blood (may help reduce swelling, supports healthy gums, and freshen breath)
  • 10 drops Spearmint (supports a healthy mouth)
What you’ll do:
  1. Add together and sift dry ingredients.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well. (I used a hand mixer)
  3. Store in a small mason jar.
How to use:
  • Use a clean utensil to put a generous amount of paste on your toothbrush.
  • Brush for 2 minutes.
  • Spit out everything, do not swallow!
  • Allow residue to sit on teeth for 2 minutes.
  • Rinse well and enjoy a stronger, brighter, and whiter smile!

 

 

How to Dilute Essential Oils

Do you have questions (2)


Click Here to Download Plant Therapy’s “How to Read the Dilution Chart” PDF

The dilution chart. We often get asked just HOW in the world you read this thing. We realize that this might seem intimidating – but we promise it’s not as bad as it seems! It’s important to remember that ANYTIME you apply essential oils to the skin, you’ll want to use a carrier oil. This chart helps you find the right ratio for your situation. Check out the illustration below for some guidance and the following discussion for some clarifications:

Once you learn how to how to read the chart there often are more questions:

1. How do I know which dilution rate to use?

For normal, daily use we recommend a dilution rate of 2%. For acute situations, like an injury or temporary condition you can  even go up to 5%-10% for a SHORT period of time. How long is this? Typically less than 2 weeks.

2. How do I get .5 of a drop?

You don’t. If you really want to be exact, you need to increase the amount of carrier until you come across a whole number! If you can’t do this, just round DOWN to the next whole number (example 1.5 drops becomes just 1 drop).

3. What about use on the face?

This normally means you’d like to blend into a facial serum or cream and will be using it daily. Stick to 1% dilution – the skin on your face is more sensitive and you should use a lower dilution.

4. What about my kids? 

For use with children, you can see guidelines in the bottom block. For the most part, we feel like a 2% dilution for spot treatments is fine. You’ll notice that this block refers to WHOLE BODY APPLICATION. Since we rarely cover our entire bodies in essential oils – a 2% dilution is fine.

5. What is “whole body application”?

In the case of a massage (or body cream) where a large portion of the skin is covered, you want to use a lower dilution. Since so much surface area is affected, this increases the total rate of absorption for your body.

That should cover most of the FAQs regarding this dilution chart. However, as always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Frankincense

BLOG-FF2


This week instead of a profile you can print – I thought we could discuss the differences between different species of frankincense. As you know, we recently added Frankincense Boswellia carteri to our offering of essential oils. It’s fair to say that Frankincense species can be used in place of each other, for the most part. However, for those who want a more targeted approach we want to be sure that you are armed with the information you need to buy the frankincense that is right for you.

Different species of Frankincense

Frankincense is typically steam distilled from the resin of a tree, although CO2 distillation is also used.  The tree is pieced and then sap or “tears” are released from the tree. These tears of resin are collected and distilled. Frankincense has traditionally been used as incense during prayer or mediation. Frankincense is also used in skin care products and is wonderful for aging skin. Also useful in respiratory issues as frankincense can soothe coughs, ease congestion and deepen breathing. Frankincense blends well with citrus and spice scents. The different species of frankincense have similar therapeutic properties but there are a few subtle differences. Let’s take a look at Frankincense.

Boswellia serrata:

Also known as Indian Frankincense and is prized in Ayurvedic medicine. Native to India and North Africa. This oil has light, floral note. Serrata may be useful as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. If you’re looking for relief from symptoms of inflammatory issues like IBS or rheumatoid arthritis – this is the species to choose.

Boswellia carteri (Sacra):

Perhaps the most sought after frankincense, this oil is harvested from Oman and Somalia. Carteri (sacra) has a deep, warm, resinous scent. The resin from Boswellia carteri (sacra) has been shown to have some anti-cancer activity in laboratory applications. There is conflicting information on whether this translates to the essential oil. Carteri (Sacra) has good antimicrobial properties.  Great for emotional concerns when diffused or used in a bath! Try using this species in yoga or meditation.

A quick note, several authors have recently stated that sacra and carteri are in fact one in the same. Robert Tisserand and Lora Cantele both offer this information in their books.


There is one species of Frankincense that Plant Therapy doesn’t offer. None the less, we will take a look at it’s description and what it is useful for.

**Edit 2/1/2015 Plant Therapy now stocks Boswellia frereana, the post has been editted to reflect more up-to-date information**

Boswellia frereana:

This species also has a light, soft scent. Good for skin care preparations. Also found to have an analgesic effect in laboratory tests with rats (Battaglia). Frankincense frereana is especially prized for its skin rejuvenating properties. When added to a carrier oil it can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars, dry skin and damaged skin, and may help heal a wound or cut. When diffused, Frankincense frereana can support your immune system function. B. frereana is also wonderful to calm and relax your body and uplift your mood.

Next week we will resume essential oil profiles. The two featured will be the species of Frankincense that Plant Therapy offers. Check back with us to print those! If you have questions, concerns or comments please be in touch with us via email at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or find us on Facebook at our Safe Essential Oil Recipes page!


This is an addition from Robert Tisserand who was kind enough to clarify the above statements!

Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri

In this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835693 it is proposed that Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri are different species. I will note that two of the article’s authors are Young Living executives; the essential oil samples were provided by Young Living, and the research was funded by Young Living. (It is not stated where the analysis was carried out, but most likely, in Young Living’s own laboratory.) In spite of all this, no conflict of interest was declared in the article. In the eyes of some academics, this could invalidate its findings which, anyway, are speculative. The article does not account for the fact that there can be different chemotypes within the same species – differences in composition do not necessarily indicate different species.

The following authoritative links support the opinion that Boswellia carteri is a synonym for Boswellia sacra:

http://www.gbif.org/species/107312485

http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506409

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boswellia_sacra

None of this is definitive – opinions have been divided for many years, and this this will probably continue for some time. For the present, I take the view that the majority opinion is correct.

Can Essential Oils Be Ingested?

By: Retha Nesmith, Certified Aromatherapist

Do you have questions (2)


Can essential oils be ingested? Yes? No? Sometimes? Maybe?

Yep, that about sums it up. You are probably getting a different answer everywhere you look. You will find people who are adamant for ingesting essential oils and people who are equally as adamant that you should not ingest essential oils. Who is right? Who should you listen to? I am going to be discussing what an essential oil is and why there might be concern when ingesting essential oils. This will be basic “101” information on essential oils. There is so much more I could discuss but I want everyone to get a basic understanding first. I want to create a discussion where people can learn and hopefully get some answers. This is my own opinion, formed from my own research and education.

First, let’s be clear that there is a difference between the use of essential oils as food flavorings and their use for health purposes.

Essential oils naturally occur in many food items such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. So we all consume tiny amounts of essential oil in our food. Some are also added as flavorings in candy, ice cream, pickles, etc., but the essential oil in food constitutes much less than 1% and is equivalent to about one drop of essential oil per day. The essential oil is completely mixed and blended into the food. Taking essential oils in or as a dietary supplement (or a medicine) involves very much larger quantities, and therefore brings in safety issues that do not apply to normal food use. More on that later.

-What is an essential oil?-

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid, from a single botanical source consisting of volatile aroma compounds. These botanical sources are made up of genus and species (e.g. Eucalyptus globulus). This name tells us exactly which plant the oil comes from. Essential oils are composed of dozens of naturally-occurring chemical constituents. Each oil has a unique mix of constituents, although some constituents occur in many essential oils. Linalool, for example, is one of the major constituents of lavender oil and coriander oil, but it is a minor constituent of about 200 other essential oils.

Essential oils have one, two or occasionally three major constituents (about 20-90% of the oil), a few minor constituents (1-19%,) and many, many trace constituents (less than 1%). Sometimes minor or trace constituents still can have a significant effect on the body but most of the effects of an essential oil are attributed to its major constituents. These effects are now being revealed by published scientific research. Some plants of the same species can have major differences in constituents. These are called ‘chemotypes’ and are named after the largest constituent in the plant. Rosemary oil, for example, may be a pinene chemotype, a cineole chemotype, or a camphor chemotype. The majority of commercially available essential oils don’t have these variations however, most of the effects of an essential oil are attributed to its major constituents.

To fully understand the therapeutic action and any safety issues associated with a particular oil, you need to know the botanical name and (if applicable) the chemotype. If you do not know the botanical name of the essential oil or the chemotype, how can you know what is the safest way to use that oil? This is one of the reasons it is very important for Plant Therapy to list all of this information on our website. It is the first step to helping our customers become educated in the essential oils they are using.

-Safety issues-

We have established that an essential oil is made up of many different constituents, so let’s go on to discuss why essential oils might not be safe to ingest. Robert Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety book states”

Contact with potentially harmful substances is unavoidable. They are found in food, water, air, cleaning products, medications and toiletries, and are encountered both in the workplace and in the home. Among the ‘poisons’ found in commonly consumed foods are cyanogenetic glycosides (cyanide precursors) in apple seeds and almonds, teratogenic alkaloids in green potatoes, allyl isothiocanate in cabbage and broccoli, and acetaldehyde, a carcinogen found in most fruits and many vegetables. The quantities of such toxic substances to which we are exposed, do not normally represent a hazard because they are efficiently handled by the body’s detoxification and other defense mechanisms.”
However, if you were to get these ‘poisons’ at a larger dose, they could become very toxic. The same is true with essential oils.

There are some constituents in essential oils that can be toxic, irritating and sensitizing if the essential oil is used in large enough doses. Just because an essential oil is 100% pure and natural, does not mean that it cannot harm you. Harm from an essential oil is not always due to impurities or adulterations; more often it’s simply about the constituents it contains. This is not about purity; it’s about safety. For example, a teaspoon of Eucalyptus oil or Wintergreen oil, even if 100% pure, can be fatal to a child. An essential oil being harmful is not always due to impurities and adulterations but the constituents themselves. I realize that most people do not take essential oils in these large doses, but it is important to know what you are dealing with if you do decide to take essential oils internally.

Another concern is the possible interaction between certain essential oils and certain medications (drug interactions).

For example, there has been at least one case of interaction from the external use of Blue Chamomile oil and another from Peppermint oil. Essential Oil Safety [1] explains potential risks and why Blue Chamomile and Lemongrass oils might present the greatest risk of drug interaction. There are many known and studied interactions but there are also some that are less known and less studied. One of the known interactions is between essential oils containing methyl salicylate (Wintergreen & Sweet Birch) and blood-thinning medications. This combination can cause the blood to thin too much, leading to internal bleeding and bruising. This is one of the concerns I have when recommending the ingestion of essential oils. The reason for this post is not to go into all the possible likely drug interactions, but it is to make the consumer aware that these interactions do exist.

Then there are concerns with irritation when using essential oils. Tea Tree and Lavender are both well known and greatly used essential oils. There are more cases of adverse skin reactions from Tea Tree than Lavender. This may be because Tea Tree does not have a long shelf life, and when it oxidizes (undergoes chemical changes), it becomes more skin reactive. Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Ylang-Ylang, and Lemongrass are examples of essential oils that present a moderate risk of adverse skin reaction, especially if used undiluted. Again, this is not about purity. It’s simply about safety and the natural constituents of the essential oils.

Most of the constituents that make up essential oils affect the body one way or another.

How they affect the body is what published scientific research is starting to make known to us.  Some people believe that too much essential oil taken internally can have side effects on the liver. The liver has to process everything we put in our bodies, including essential oil constituents, so giving it extra work to do may cause problems. There is some debate about this, as we don’t know enough about how much of which essential oils may be safe or unsafe in terms of the liver but it is very important to keep in mind that essential oils do have an effect on the liver.

These risks generally increase when dealing with young children, elderly people, and pregnant women. In fact, certain essential oils should be avoided altogether in pregnancy. There are various reasons for this, but the main one is to ensure that the development of the fetus is not adversely affected. And as I mentioned already, some essential oils should not be taken with specific medications.

This is why Plant Therapy’s official stance is to not ingest essential oils unless under the supervision of a medical doctor or an aromatherapy practitioner. It is not that we don’t recommend ingesting essential oils, it is just that there is so much information that needs to be taken into consideration before ingesting essential oils. There can be a time and place for oral use of essential oils but you need to make sure you are educated on the whole parts of essential oils. That is where Plant Therapy wants to help. We want to help our customers become educated in everything they need to know about essential oils so that they can make the best-educated decision for themselves and their family.

-Essential oils and dietary supplement regulations-

Why is it that some companies recommend, and even encourage, the ingestion of essential oils? Recently it has come to my attention that some companies label the essential oils that can be taken internally as essential oil supplements. If you have a bottle with a supplemental fact label on it, see if that is how the essential oil is labeled. As I have studied more on supplements, and the role that the FDA has in this, the more I realize that essential oils and essential oil supplements are not always the same thing.

The FDA plays no part in the grading or safety uses of essential oils. “Therapeutic grade” is simply a made-up term in the essential oil industry. The FDA does have a list of herbs, including some essential oils, which are [2] “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use as food items as a very small percentage for flavor only and not nutrition; (i.e. food additives) but that is as far as it goes. This is a food grade standard for food flavoring and not a standard for taking essential oils internally for medicinal purposes. . [3] “The FEMA Expert Panel only evaluates substances for GRAS status that are used to formulate flavors to be added to foods. The Expert Panel does not evaluate food ingredients with functions other than flavoring nor does it evaluate flavorings for use in products other than food.”  For example, note these FDA statements concerning GRAS listed substances [2]:

-The quantity of a substance added to food does not exceed the amount reasonably required to accomplish its intended physical, nutritional, or other technical effect in food.

-The inclusion of substances in the list of nutrients does not constitute a finding on the part of the Department that the substance is useful as a supplement to the diet for humans.

So, the GRAS status is granted to substances that are intended for use as food flavorings and therefore is not intended to apply to essential oils used as medicines, or to essential oils taken alone. The FDA doesn’t give recommended doses or is even clear about which substances on the GRAS list are essential or herbs. Again, this is a food grade standard and not a standard for taking essential oils internally for medicinal purposes.

The FDA does play a role in dietary supplements, however. This includes essential oil supplements. Here is what is says on the FDA’s website:

Manufacturers and distributors do not need FDA approval to sell their dietary supplements. [4]

Any claims made for dietary supplements are subject to some comprehensive FDA guidelines, although those guidelines are somewhat minute.

By law (DSHEA), the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. Under DSHEA, once the product is marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is “unsafe,” before it can take action to restrict the product’s use or removal from the marketplace. However, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements must record, investigate and forward to FDA any reports they receive of serious adverse events associated with the use of their products that are reported to them directly. [4]

It is important to note that even though dietary supplements are allowed to be marked with dietary claims, they are not allowed to be marked with medical claims. They are not allowed to be marked for the treatment or prevention of medical issues because they have not been substantially proven.

There is no provision under any law or regulation that FDA enforces that requires a firm to disclose to FDA or consumers the information they have about the safety or purported benefits of their dietary supplement products. Likewise, there is no prohibition against them making this information available either to FDA or to their customers. It is up to each firm to set its own policy on disclosure of such information. [4]

Other than the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure safety, there are no rules that limit a serving size or the amount of a nutrient in any form of dietary supplements. This decision is made by the manufacturer and does not require FDA review or approval. [4]

As you can see, the FDA’s part in supplements is very limited, especially if no claims are made for the product. In terms of safety, they will only take action if the manufacturers or distributors report on “serious adverse events associated with the use of their product that are reported to them directly.” This is why I think educating yourselves is important. This is why I think your own research is important. And this is why I think the help of a clinical aromatherapist or medical doctor is important before taking essential oils internally.

-Labeling-

For something to be labeled as an essential oil supplement, it has to have a supplemental fact label on the bottle or product.  There is no regulation of what it has to say unless the FDA has to step in because of reports. The oils that the companies recommend for ingesting, do or at least should, have these supplemental fact labels. Let’s take, for example, one company’s label for Cinnamon Bark. On the label it states to take “1 drop with 4 drops of V6 or olive oil. Put in a capsule and take one daily or as directed by a health professional.” According to the recently published Essential Oil Safety [1], there are several risks associated with Cinnamon Bark oil, including drug interactions, blood-thinning, embryotoxicity, skin sensitization and mucous membrane irritation. Again, educating yourself is very important. For recommendations on internal use of essential oils, see [Box].

The FDA does require that any claim made by a manufacturer for altering body function, such as “anti-inflammatory” is backed up by clinical (i.e. human) evidence showing that the supplement, as taken, has the claimed effect. This information would need to be on the product label for it to be regulated by the FDA. For example, if a company lists that a product is anti-inflammatory on their website but not on the dietary fact label, then those two claims are not regulated by the same FDA requirements or regulations. The FDA will regulate the supplement label. It is required that if a dietary supplement claim is made on a supplement label, that the company has [5] substantiating evidence to back the claim up.

-In conclusion-

There are a lot of things to consider when thinking about whether or not you should ingest essential oils. Remember, that adverse effects are not always immediate or obvious. Unlike an allergic or irritant reaction, liver toxicity, fetal damage or cancer formation will not be noticed at the time they are happening. Please don’t assume that just because you have not seen any side effects that it doesn’t mean someone else might not. In setting general safety guidelines, the risk to the general population has to be minimized.

Continue to do your own research and educate yourself. Essential oils are wonderful natural tools if used correctly. But just like anything else, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Learn as much as you can about the essential oil you are using. A good start is knowing the botanical name that, in and of itself, will tell you exactly what plant that essential oil came from. Then you can learn more about the safety concerns about that plant and more specifically, that exact essential oil.

This is just the beginning of information. I do not expect you to agree with everything I have said. Some of this is factual and some is my own opinion based on my own research and education. I would love feedback but ask that you please be respectful. Any comment that is derogatory in any way will be erased. I do not mind if you disagree, but please give a simple reason why. I truly want to educate people on essential oils and I am simply doing that the best way I know how. Please share your thoughts with me. If you have any questions that you do not wish to share on this post, you can email me directly at retha@planttherapy.com. Thank you!

References

[1] Tisserand R, & Young R 2013 Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edition. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh

[2] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?cfrpart=182&showfr=1&subpartnode=21%3A3.0.1.1.13.1

[3] http://www.femaflavor.org/gras

[4] https://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/

[5] http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/DietarySupplements/ucm073200.htm

Box

-If you choose to take essential oils internally, please do so when needed and not on a daily basis. Also remember that dilution is very important. You only need 1-2 drops in a capsule full of an edible carrier oil. Please do not take essential oils multiple times a day by dropping the oil directly into a glass of water. The oils do not mix with the water and can cause burning and irritation to the very sensitive mucous membranes. Over time, this has been known to cause rashes and extreme irritation. The best and most effective way to take essential oils internally is under the supervision of a medical doctor or an aromatherapy practitioner who is qualified in internal use of essential oils.

-Alliance of International Aromatherapists – “…does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).” http://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/

-National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy – “Do not take essential oils internally without appropriate clinical education and understanding of the safety issues involved in doing so.” – http://www.naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/naha-safety-statements

-Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) – “Never take essential oils internally, unless under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist who has received the necessary training in this very specialized mode of administration. Most aromatherapists have not had this training, so be sure to check this out first.”

You may read articles in magazines and books extolling the virtues of taking essential oils internally, but you should absolutely never attempt this without expert guidance.

http://www.a-t-c.org.uk/safety-matters/essential-oil-safety/

*This post was written by Retha Nesmith. Retha is the marketing manager for Plant Therapy essential oils. She is also a certified aromatherapist. Do you have questions? Please email our Certified Aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com, or you can email Retha directly at retha@planttherapy.com.

**This post was looked over and endorsed by:

Sylla Sheppard-Hanger

Robert Tisserand  – Essential Oil Safety

Sue Sawhill Apito

Homemade Skin Soothing Cream

Long story short… I have three kids, and each one of them has had pretty bad dry skin issues at some point.  No thanks to me and my overly-sensitive skin genes that I’ve obviously passed on.  With my first two kids, I used coconut oil to conquer it. So, when my youngest, now 8 months, started getting dry skin several months ago, I turned to coconut oil again, but unfortunately, it didn’t have the same effect.  I was at a loss.  The doc finally gave me a prescription.  But I decided to do a little more research and try one more thing before going that route…

Hello essential oils!

After a lot — and I mean A LOT! — of research on eczema, oils, and butters, I narrowed my decision down to the following ingredients:

The bottom line is that there are a number of carrier oils, essential oils, and butters that could work here.  But after my personal research, I felt these ingredients were the best (and safest) way to start experimenting. I want to emphasize safe because not all ingredients or quantities are safe for all people, so please do your research if you’re planning to make something similar.

With the goal of making 8 ounces of cream, here are the ingredients and ratios I used:
  • 5 ounces Shea butter (crude/unrefined)
  • 3 ounces Avocado oil OR Coconut oil (I’ve made it both ways with good results either way, although the avocado oil seemed to give me a little more healing power.  You could also choose to use a combination of the two oils, which I’ve done too.)
  • 20 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 20 drops of Tea Tree essential oil

Using a double boiler, I gently heated up the butter just to the point that it softened enough to combine with the other ingredients.  I was careful not to heat it too much as heating can destroy good properties.

I mixed together the butter and oils, then let it cool a bit.

I then whipped it up to a spreadable consistency.   It took about 5 minutes on high speed to get a good whip.

The results are in!

After about two or three weeks of daily application, my daughter’s skin has cleared up!  The eczema on her arms and legs has completely disappeared and has not returned (and it’s been about 6 weeks).  The area on her back has improved to normal dry skin as opposed to scaly, red eczema. I apply the cream to her back just a couple times a week now, and it really helps to keep it under control.

You’ll notice that the cream is a bit oily upon application.  But the great thing about these particular ingredients is that they absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy feel.

When my family went to the beach a few weeks ago we actually used this as an after-sun balm.  No itching, and no peeling! I’m very excited about this little “discovery” in my life and am so thankful for the good results.  I look forward to continuing my research of butters, carrier oils, and essential oils, and look forward to sharing more results with you in the future!

By Kristi @ Living Unbound

Or you can simply try Plant Therapy’s Skin Soother.

Essential Oils for Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

(This is an actual photo of some more poison ivy that needs to get the heck away from my house!)

It’s that time of year again and around here, I think I actually have more poisonous plants than I have of anything else.  (Ok, probably not, but it sure seems that way!)  I had NEVER had a poison ivy breakout before now, so I was quite surprised when I noticed my arm was bright red and twice the size that it normally is.  Then the itch set in…and it itched and itched…  I searched the medicine cabinet for relief, remembering my poor little ornamental rose bush, that 2 days earlier was being strangled to death by that evil little vine known as poison ivy.  I set my roses free and threw out the poisonous leaves, thinking there is no way I would have a reaction to the sap on it’s shiny green surface.  I guess I was arrogant to think that I was above the sting of that innocent looking vine.    I was wrong, dead wrong.

Calamine lotion was definitely NOT an option at this point, as I didn’t want to look like a leper sitting in church. I had to think quick, so I snapped a pic and sent it to everyone I could think of who knew anything about home remedies for this sort of thing.   This is what I was given, short of climbing in a bath of full of my morning oatmeal…

What you will need:
  • 2 Tablespoons Distilled Water**
  • 2 Tablespoons Natural Apple Cider Vinegar, with the mother
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil (for itch)
  • 3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (antiseptic)
  • 3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (soothing menthol)
  • 36 drops of an Emulsifier such as Polysorbate or Solubol (this helps disperse the EOs in the water base)
Directions:
Mix everything together, making sure the salt dissolves.  Dab the mixture onto the affected area as needed.  Stir well before each use.
NOTES:
**The vinegar works best when cold, plus, it felt REALLY good putting a cool, soothing cotton ball over my irritated skin.
**The kosher salt created a “film” over my rash which I believed helped dry up the blisters so quickly.
**You can tell when you need to re-apply because you no longer feel that salty film that is left behind from each application.
**If you choose not to use a preservative you will need to store it in the fridge.  Optiphen plus is a preservative which reduces the instance of bacterial growth in water-based products. We recommend that a preservative be used in any water-based products that you make at home. This is a great choice since it contains no parabens, no formaldehyde, and are not formaldehyde contributors. 
Here, you can see the rash on the underside of my forearm, between my elbow and wrist.
I couldn’t believe how swollen my arm got, and the itch, oh the ITCH…
Another thing that helped was actually that oatmeal bath I spoke about earlier.
I used to take those soothing baths often as a child when I would get covered in mosquito bites.
(now THERE’S something I’m allergic to!)
What you will need for the Oatmeal Bath Soak:
  • 3 cups Quick Cooking Oats
  • 3 drops Chamomile Roman
  • 1 drop Peppermint
  • 1 small box baking soda
  • Muslin or a Double Layer of Cheesecloth
  • String (to tie it with)
  • 2 Tbls of bubble bath or body wash (to mix with EOs) to help  disperse properly in the bath)
Directions:
Lay out the cheesecloth and pour the measured oats on top.  Add the essential oils to the bubble bath and then to the pile of oats and tie up the cloth.  Run a bath and dissolve the box of baking soda in the water while the tub is filling.  Toss in the oatmeal sack too.  Get in and soak up to three times per day.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

*There are TONS of home remedies for poison ivy and this one worked for me. (and relatively fast too) I did not have a severe reaction, like I have seen in some people, like my husband for example.  I have practically rolled around in it my whole life and never got it till now, which is probably why it wasn’t THAT bad.

I was also told to put a paste made out of baking soda and water on it, but being that it was on the underside of my arm, I didn’t know how well that would work.  I would have probably had more on the floor than stuck on me.
Another tip I got was to rub a banana peel over it, I didn’t have any, but supposedly this works pretty well.
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