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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: essential oil safety

A Field Trip

Some of us recently had the pleasure of taking a “field” trip to a Peppermint/Spearmint farm. It’s always fun to spend time with co-workers in a different environment and being outside in the sun, was an added bonus. We were in beautiful fields where Peppermint and Spearmint are grown for essential oil. Much mint is now grown in the United States. In fact the US is one of the largest producers of mint.

Naturally, we all had to pick some sprigs and smell the wonderful aroma of fresh-from-the-field mint. It’s so uplifting and invigorating. Chris Jones, the owner of Plant Therapy was there with his associates as well. They often personally go to farms where the oils are grown to check the quality of the plants and the practices of the farmers. They also like to look at the sustainability of the farms.

Chris Jones speaking to the farmer while the Peppermint distills

There is something about being in a field or garden that Is very grounding and pleasing to the senses. It brings one back to the earth and our dependence on it. We all were enjoying slowing down for a moment and learning about these wonderful, useful herbs. We know that Peppermint is strong and helpful with many things. In my opinion it is a must have, as it is great for physical issues as well as emotional.  Plant Therapy  has two Peppermint essential oils, from two different places in the world! One is grown in the US and the other is grown India.  Although they can address similar issues, they have a slightly different scent. 

Peppermint is cooling and can help sore muscles and joints, due to over exertion. It is better for a localized area, rather than a whole-body application. It is good for head and neck tension and congestion. I look at Peppermint with fondness, because it turned my husband from sceptical about essential oils, to someone who now asks me, “Can I use some of your Peppermint ? I have a headache.” Peppermint is useful for digestive issues and has calmed my tummy in many situations. Even just smelling it, has at times done the trick for me. It is also upliting and energizing. Peppermint essential oil is not a kidsafe essential oil, and we recommend that it be used on those ages 10 and up.

Peppermint is featured in many different synergies. Some of these are; DiGiZen, Brain Aid, Tingly Mint, Tension Relief, Respir-Aid, Zit Fighter, and our Muscle Aloe Jelly.

KidSafe Spearmint Essential Oil Mentha spicata is the the more subtle relative of Peppermint, and sometimes overlooked. but it too is a gem.  It also can help with tummy issues, head and neck tension and discomfort as well. But according to essential oil expert Robert Tisserand, Spearmint is a more sedating, while Peppermint is stimulanting. They are both uplifting, but in the evening I would be more likely to use Spearmint than Peppermint, if needed, so as to not keep me awake. I also love that Spearmint is KidSafe.

Some synergies with Spearmint are; Tummy All Better, Sniffle Stopper, Coco’s Blend and Tension Relief.

The finished product of Peppermint essential oil and hydrosol 

Any essential oil is very concentrated and requires a lot of plant material. In this case, it takes 1 acre of Peppermint to make  approximately 1 lb of essential oil!  This demonstrates just how powerful each drop can be.  As we watched the collecting of the plant material with a swather coils and pipes and huge vats doing there distillation magic, and then the finished product, we certainly had an appreciation for the hard work that goes into each little bottle. This is a precious and abundant crop that offers such versatility of uses.

 

What are your uses for Peppermint and Spearmint?

 

Carrier oils – The Other Part of the Equation

Carrier oils have become so exciting to me! I used to think of them as just oils used to dilute essential oils. But in reality, there is much more to them than that. Did you know that Argan Carrier Oil can help with scars and with the skin’s elasticity as well as to nourish the hair? Camellia Carrier Oil is great for mature skin, and to help when you’ve experienced sun damage…Rosehip Carrier Oil is rejuvenating to the skin, can be used on minor burns and wounds, and can be helpful for other skin issues. Some carrier oils like Jojoba (which is really a wax) and Meadowfoam can actually extend the shelf life of other carrier oils. Jojoba is also most like our natural sebum and is well received by our skin and rich in Vitamin E. Tamanu is one of the newest carrier oils that we have and one we are very excited about. This shimmery, thicker carrier oil  is amazing at helping with skin issues, irritations, and minor wounds.  It is best used in a blend because of it’s viscosity and strong scent.

We must remember that these carriers come from plants as well and have their own constituents. Although they are not concentrated like essential oils (which makes them very safe), they do have properties and characteristics of their own. They can determine how fast an essential oil will penetrate, depending on the viscosity of the carrier and how many Omega 9’s that they contain. Carrier oils can be blended as well, to create a synergy of their own and be helpful in adding to the benefits of an essential oil, when combined.

 

Correct storage is important with carrier oils because they are made up of fats, which can go rancid.  Most carrier oils, should be stored in the refrigerator.  The shelf life is much shorter than essential oils, so by all means use them up! Don’t save them for a special occasion or you’ll be missing out daily on the benefits of these great oils. If your oil is approaching a year in age, and you still have a full bottle then try using it as a cleanser or moisturizer. Then you can see which carrier oils agree with your skin type. Many have found the the Oil Cleanse Method to be beneficial for them.

It’s a personal decision whether to buy an expeller pressed, which is extracted by steam method, or a cold pressed carrier oil.  While cold pressed does retain more of the beneficial oils, there are benefits to steam distilling too. These beneficial properties can be acquired that didn’t exist without steam distillation, as in the case of fractionated coconut oil; fractionated coconut oil will gain more caprylic acid through steam distillation and in other carrier oils it will decrease the fatty acids.

We’ve created a chart that will be an easy reference for the single carrier oils that we currently carry.  It can help with the basic questions about carriers and will be helpful for a quick comparison regarding different common issues.

 

At Plant Therapy, we have an extensive, lovely selection of carrier oils.  Here is a list of the single carrier oils that we carry:

Amond Carrier Oil (Virgin, Sweet)

Apricot Kernel Oil

Argan Carrier Oil (Organic)

Avocado Carrier Oil

Camellia Seed Carrier Oil

Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil

Evening Primrose Carrier Oil

Grapeseend carrier Oil

 Hazelnut Carrier Oil 

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil  (Organic)

Jojoba (Golden) Carrier Oil

Meadowfoam Carrier Oil

Sunflower Carrier Oil (organic)

Tamanu Carrier Oil

 

Download Carrier Oil Chart HERE:

Carrier oil preferences are an individual choice and everyone has different skin types. We hope that you will explore carrier oils and their benefits.

 

Which carrier oil is your favorite?

 

References:

Price, Len and Shirley.  Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage. 

Worword, Valerie Ann.   The Complete Book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy.

Pregnancy and Nursing Safety – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Nipple Balm

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

Welcome to Essential Education

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


With another new year, we are excited to launch an entirely new blog series! As you may know, we are not only passionate about essential oils, we are passionate about education and educated use.

The mainstream use of essential oils continues to explode. Holy cow, I was in a major, national department store chain over the holidays and ran smack into a display of diffusers and essential oils in the fragrance section as a seasonal offering. Yep! If this iconic store has jumped on the bandwagon (let alone other big box stores), essential oils have reached a new level of exposure.

But, here’s the thing. I feel there is a huge disconnect happening with essential oils from aromatherapy. From  that potent little powerhouse we see as drops from the bottle and the nature of how it got there. And, from safe, appropriate use to anything goes.

When I got started in aromatherapy in the late 1990’s, aromatherapists generally purchased their essential oils from a few, reputable, boutique suppliers. The aromatherapists and suppliers knew their way around the best use of essential oils for their intended therapeutic outcomes.

The few home enthusiasts could find some good solid brands, with a selection of a few oils, at health food stores and places “hippies” hung out. Many times, these supplies were also displayed with featured “how to” books written by reputable leaders in the field.

My very first guide book was “Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils” by Valerie Cooksley, RN who is still widely recognized as an aromatherapy educator and leader today. I still have her book, originally published in 1996, though it is dog-eared, splattered, marked up and has pages falling out.

My new very favorite resource is “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy  — 25th Anniversary Edition,” by Valerie Ann Worwood. The aromatherapy team reviewed this updated and revised version and loved is so very much, Plant Therapy is now offering it through their bookstore (and I made sure my own mom got it).  This is a fantastic guide for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

Our aromatherapy team loves sharing our knowledge with you and will continue to do so. As our community continues to grow, and Plant Therapy continues to grow, one thing has become clear. Folks are hungry to learn. We hear you and, as always, we want to be responsive. And, we want to honor that appetite for learning.

And, we believe it is time to get back to basics. Many of you are new, many are home enthusiasts, and many just want to keep expanding your horizons. Having access to safe recipes is a great way to get started. But, many of you want to branch out and grow. And, we want to encourage you to plant a foundation so you feel confident to move from memorization to exploration. To understand the how and why of safe and appropriate use and well as have the confidence to create your own blends.

If you haven’t had a chance to read The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy,” please start with this blog. It is actually the prequel to launching this series and it launched one lucky winner to the opportunity for formal aromatherapy education at the Aromahead Institute.

We realize not everyone has that opportunity, nor may not be ready just yet. We recognize that many in our community are at various levels of their essential oil and aromatherapy journey. We hope each of you finds something essential to your education.

By no means is this meant to be a replacement for formal classes in aromatherapy education, nor reading essential oil educational and reference books, but rather a supportive nudge toward new knowledge with a basis in safe and appropriate use for the home enthusiasts.

So, here is the basis for this blog series. Our intention is to:

  • Discuss how to use essential oils within the wide world of aromatherapy.
  • Distill down some basic, essential education into blogs with bite-sized bits of beneficial information.
  • Instill the confidence to take the next steps in learning from memorization to exploration.
  • Provide a synergy of info from topics such as using specific essential oils, to how to best use them, to simple ways to blend.

 

Getting to Know Your Essential Oils — Part 1

To get started, the first thing I would like to encourage is simply to get to know your oils. This is an exercise to not only instill confidence and competence, but also to connect us with the nature from which they come rather than the bottle from which they drop.

If you have a large collection, you might wish to start with your top 5 or 10. Or, start with those you with which you are not familiar. You may have some new additions to your collection. Or, you can even go back and test yourself to see what you know and if there is more to learn. But, start with a few at a time.

This may seem overly simplistic at first, but it is the very first thing I do when I get a new oil with which I have little or no experience. And, I have received several lately, so I will be doing this along with you.

You will find attached a printable worksheet as a guide for the basic knowledge for each oil. Even if I have print outs from other sources, the act of writing things down helps the info to stick to my brain. Or, you can use this as inspiration for creating your own worksheet for a binder or your computer files.

Download Printable Worksheet Here

 

But, just sit with your oils. Don’t worry about blends, or creating. Just be and breathe with them. Get to know them as good and trusted friends. Open the bottle and put a drop on a cotton ball or fragrance test strip.

Get to know their smell, what part of the plant they came from, how they were extracted, and what their best uses are. The worksheet will guide you through the exercise. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers at first. The blanks will show you what you still need to research and learn. You can get basic information from the Plant Therapy website and blogs. And, you can find more detailed information in books by reputable aromatherapy educators such as those listed above.

I hope you  will enjoy creating these inventory worksheets for future reference while you create a deeper relationship with your oils.

In the meantime, I look forward to meeting you back here for next steps in getting to know our oils!


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