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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: essential oils

When All is Said and Done, It’s Really an Individual Journey

 

Many people ask, “What is an essential oil that will be a foolproof treatment for….” Well, the truth is while there are generalizations, there are exceptions and what might work for one, might not work for another. That is to say, although some specific essential or blends have been successful in helping many, it’s not a guarantee that it will work for all. There’s more of a guarantee that there will be a few that it won’t work for.

When I discovered essential oils, years ago, I used them ignorantly and luckily didn’t become sensitized to essential oils or harm myself using them. Most of the time, they just sat on the shelf, because I didn’t know exactly what to do with them! Gradually, I began reading and researching and when I began working for Plant Therapy, a whole new world opened up for me. It was an aha moment as I became educated on safe methods and I learned just how effective and powerful that essential oils can be. I also learned more about the many constituents (the natural chemical compounds in oils) that essential oils contain. Not all of these chemicals or combinations are right for everyone. For instance, for children, there are safer, gentle oils that Plant Therapy recommends and we label them KidSafe® . For the elderly, Wintergreen or Cinnamon Leaf would not be my first choice, as they are strong oils with cautions. For some on medications, I might choose another oil than Chamomile German, which can have interactions with some medications.

Concerning myself, I have realized that I have a sensitive system, and some essential oil are better choices than others. So, while one oil, may be calming for someone, it may not be for me.  For many, Lavender is the definite choice when it comes to a calming oil. Although I love it and find it useful for many purposes, I don’t find it calming for my individual makeup. When the topic of scent comes up, we all have our druthers on which essential oils smell the best. Or I may have different preferences for blends addressing discomfort or skin issues than another. I absolutely love Vetiver, while others might find it unappealing. Others love the florals, and for me they are overpowering. I also love Chamomile Roman to calm and balance one’s system, and to help with swelling. Others, sadly, may not give it a chance because they don’t love the scent. The wonderful thing about essential oils though, is that they are multi-taskers and many address similar issues. So if you are wanting a calming essential oil, but aren’t crazy about the Chamomile Roman, don’t be discouraged. There are other options.  Some examples of other calming oils are; Bergamot, Orange Sweet, Cedarwood,  Patchouli, Vetiver and Melissa.

When someone says to me, “That essential oil doesn’t work.” I may smile just a bit, as I ponder that all of Plant Therapy’s essential oils are of the highest quality and have been tested several times to verify that. I like that a specific oil is not just tested once, and then those are the results that our customers will see forever, but every single batch of essential oils that comes into Plant Therapy is tested, so you know exactly what you are getting.  So, I know that although this person may not have found the perfect fit for them, it may be very effective for someone else’s body chemistry.  Also, it’s interesting that essential oils blended with other essential oils create a new synergy. It can be even more effective than if used alone. If someone doesn’t care for plain Lavender or Cedarwood Atlas, perhaps blending it with Orange Sweet or Bergamot, may make it your favorite oil blend ever.

Plant Therapy stands behind of it’s essential oils, and our customers can rest assured that if they are not 100% satisfied, they can receive a full refund, so there are no risks in purchasing an oil that you may not be sure that you will like. It certainly is a journey, and as we learn more and study each oil, and experiment a bit, we will find what works for us and how to use these precious substances to make our life better. Remember that like a lot of things, using essential oils is a journey, and oftentimes more enjoyable, when taking your time, learning along the way, and deciding what works best for your personal needs.

 

 

What Is the Big Deal About CO2’s?

 

There’s a new kid in town so to speak, and his name is CO2. Not many know a lot about him, but he’s here to make a name for himself.

CO2’s have surprisingly been around for decades, developed to be used within the food industry. We know that they have beneficial properties and qualities that can be used to our benefit when used topically or diffused. As they’ve grown in popularity and lowered a bit in price, more people have gotten to know about these exceptional extracts.

This extraction process differs from steam distillation, which is the most well- known method of extracting essential oils. With CO2 extracts, Carbon Dioxide  is pressurized until it’s a liquid. It is used as the solvent to remove the oil from the plant material.  With this solvent, there is no residue left behind,  and the precious oil is removed using much lower temperatures, so less properties within the oils are sacrificed.

“An easily perceived example of the difference between steam distilled and subcritical CO2 extraction is the comparison of the two types of extract of ginger (zingiber officinalis). Several of the pungent principles of ginger known as shagaols and gingerols only occur in trace amounts in the essential oil, where in the CO2 extract they are the major components…The cool temperatures of subcritical CO2 extraction also allow the collection of very volatile constituents which are lost in steam distillation. One of these constituents, hex-1-enal, gives the smell of freshly squeezed root ginger, and is found in subcritical CO2, but not in the essential oil.” [1]

 

There are some added bonuses to CO2’s.The smell is closer to the actual plant and to me, are crisp, clean scents. Essential oils can vary a great deal in the scent, dependent on things like climate, conditions, and each batch. With a CO2, they still can vary a bit, but they smell like what you expect them to. Turmeric CO2 smells like the spice turmeric. Lavender Fower CO2 smells like a field of lavender. The scent is very distinct and pristine.

Another benefit is they have a greater shelf life. As mentioned in one of Plant Therapy’s blog article,  “August Oil of the Month – Lavender Flower CO2“,  CO2s are longer lasting than essential oils.  Also, in many cases, CO2s require less oil when using topically as they are more powerful. A very little can go a long way. Here is an example; our Chamomile German, which we recommend diluting at a 2-3% dilution for use on the body. Our Chamomile German CO2 only takes the minute amount of 0.1%-0.2%, for topical application. Not all CO2s offer this dramatic a reduction, but many do require less.

CO2’s are an exciting new prospect. They are not to be jumped into head first, but researched and determined whether they are the best and safest choice for your needs. We always want to give our customers choices and options, whether it is regular essential oils, organic oils, KidSafe® oils, or CO2 extracts. We hope you will become acquainted with a CO2 today.

 

Reference;

[1] Bowles, Joy E. The Chemistry of Aromaherapeutic Oils. Allen & Unwin. 2014. 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

 

Immortelle Skin

 

Personally, I LOVE the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, so using this scrub in the shower before work gives me that extra boost I need to get up and going.  Plus, it smells delicious….and tastes good too! (Only because I accidentally got it in my mouth, but I DO NOT recommend eating my facial scrub!)

Growing up, I was blessed with blemish prone, oily skin and to this day I still struggle with occasional breakouts of pimples, blackheads, or clogged pores. I always thought that at the young age of 27 (okay, okay ….. 31) I would be over the pre-pubescent era and free of its evil clutches, but sadly many of us still suffer with some form of blemish our entire lives.

So, the challenge began. I needed to find something that would both clean and moisturize my skin without irritating it or drying it up. I tried countless over-the counter products, but they would either be too drying – which would cause my face to over-produce oil, in turn causing more breakouts (defeating the purpose), or too oily which would give me that too “shiny” look in pictures.

As I began working more with essential oils and carrier oils, I learned about the benefits of use and which ones are most effective in a given situation. Also, early in the testing stages, I found salt scrubs to be too abrasive for the sensitive skin on my face; which is why I decided to try a sugar scrub instead.

Initially, when I tried this scrub for the first time, my first thought (while I was rinsing it off) was, “Wow – this is wayyyyy too greasy!” But, after you towel dry and wipe off any excess oil, you will love the way your skin feels. Now that I have used it 3 times this first week, I cannot believe what it has done for my face. My pores feel tighter, my skin feels smoother, more hydrated, and for some reason, my everyday makeup just looks better.

Now before I give you the recipe, let me list some of the benefits of the ingredients I chose to use in this recipe:

Sugar – Sugar helps remove the outermost layer of dead skin and leaves your skin soft and smooth without causing pain or being too overly aggressive on the skin.

Coffee Grounds – The caffeine in coffee helps increase circulation, exfoliates, softens, and smooths skin.

Virgin Coconut Oil – This is the most versatile oil for the body and is extremely hydrating to skin.

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil – Argan is incredibly conditioning and known for its skin rejuvenating properties, rich in Vitamin E, and smooths fine lines and improves skin elasticity. Perfect for those prone to breakouts or those who have sensitive skin.

Near Perfection – This Carrier Oil Blend helps minimize the appearance of imperfections, is skin balancing, softens and conditions irritated skin, and contains Tamanu Oil, which extends to a wide range of natural treatments for blemishes and general oily skin.

Helichrysum Italicum – Also known as Immortelle, alleviates the appearance of bruising, rejuvenates the look of healthy skin, and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars, and stretch marks.

Carrot Seed – Nourishes, rejuvenates, assists with healing,  and softening and smoothing to the skin.

Geranium Egyptian – Well known for the ability to help tone skin and revitalize complexion, and is very skin balancing.

Rose Absolute – Cooling, soothing, perfect for dry skin, helps minimize the appearance of scarring,  calming, and smooths skin.

Elemi – Rejuvenating, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, skin supporting, and restores healthy younger-looking skin.

Organic Rose Hydrosol – Aids with blemishes, reduces redness, aids in removing dirt and oil in pores, and is safe for spraying directly on the skin. Hydrosols are also safe for children and pets alike.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Organic Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Granulated White Sugar

2 Tbsp (Used) Coffee Grounds

1/4 Cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Organic Argan Oil

2 Tablespoons Near Perfection (Blend of Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Tamanu Oil, and Vitamin E)

Rose Hydrosol in a spray bottle

 

 

Essential Oils:

Helichrysum Italicum – 6 Drops

Carrot Seed – 6 Drops

Geranium Egyptian – 6 Drops

Rose Absolute – 3 Drops

Elemi – 12 Drops

Directions:

  1. Combine both sugars in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Add all carrier oils to the dry sugar blend.
  3. Add all essential oils and mix thoroughly.
  4. Use no more than 3 times the first week – then use once a week to maintain a healthy glow.
  5. Use the Rose Hydrosol nightly as a facial toner.

For the Facial Scrub and Toning System I created, I recommend washing your face first, then using the scrub 1-3 times a week depending the needs of your skin.

Begin by gently wetting your face, then take about a quarter sized amount in your hands and gently massage your face with it for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rinse well and towel dry. Next, spray the Rose Hydrosol directly on your face (as a nightly toner) immediately following the scrub. You will feel a difference almost immediately; first with how smooth and hydrated your face feels, and then with how tight your pores start to look and feel. I promise you, this is a scrub you won’t want to live without!

For this recipe, I intentionally wanted to keep my essential oil dilution rate below a 1% since it will be used on the face and used frequently.

What are your morning routines that help put a “spring in your step”?

DIY Deodorant

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about traditional deodorants.  Our conversation was eye opening as she enlightened me to just how harmful they can be.  Upon conducting research, I found there to be aluminum in virtually all store bought brands.  Not being entirely sure what that would do to my body, I decided to find out for myself.  Some of the most alarming side effects are that it clogs your pores and therefore minimizes your ability to sweat.  My initial response to that information was, well, isn’t that what deodorant is supposed to do?  However, our bodies were made to sweat, as it in an effective and healthy way of eliminating toxins.  I think we already have enough hygiene products that we don’t feel entirely comfortable using, or even some where we avoid the ingredients label all together.  I set out to find a homemade deodorant recipe that I felt was safe and would help me maintain my hygienic sanity as two of my boys approach their teen years.  As an added bonus, it’s only 1/3 of the cost of traditional deodorants. After some trial and error, the best one I have found is the following coconut oil deodorant recipe.

 

Baking Soda: I use this often to neutralize odors around the house.  It helps balance your’ body’s PH levels keeping you smelling nice. You know your skin the best, if you feel like this ingredient is a bit abrasive for you then replacing it with arrowroot powder will give you the same results. If replacing it entirely doesn’t resonate with your skin type either you can use both baking soda and arrowroot powder and find a good balance of both. Luckily with this recipe you can fine tune it to you or your family’s needs.

Arrow Root: Absorbs excess moisture and the contains calcium chloride to help balance your PH levels.

Corn Starch: Rather than blocking your pores, like store bought deodorant, it helps to absorb excess moisture.  It can help soothe skin irritation, relieve issues caused by warm/damp environments, and keep your underarms nice and dry.

Virgin Coconut Oil: This is another ingredient that helps keep your body balanced and eliminate skin conditions that can potentially cause an unpleasant odor.  The high content of Lauric Acid found in coconut oil offers a nice support to your immune system.

Bentonite Clay: This is my favorite ingredient because it actually HELPS your body by drawing out toxins, keeping your lymph nodes clear.  Your lymph nodes are a part of your body largely responsible for fighting infection, illness, and eliminating things the body doesn’t need or may be harmful.  Keeping your lymph nodes clear is necessary for a fully functioning immune system. How cool to add an extra boost to your health by using your deodorant, and it doesn’t stain!

Tea Tree:Essential Oil: Warm and damp places are an ideal place for fungus and other germs, aka our underarms on any given day. Luckily, Tea Tree Essential Oil is a great remedy for the unwanted substances and whatever odor could accompany them. Tea Tree has a high content of Terpinen-4-ol which is what makes unpleasant odor lose the battle. If you struggle with skin sensitivity or razor burn Tea Tree can also help with bumps, break outs, and general skin irritation. Because of its immune boosting constituents it has health benefits that extend far beyond your underarms. Not only do I LOVE the aroma of Tea Tree but it was also the first essential oil I was introduced to so it has a special place for me. Because, of the previous factors Tea Tree was the best options for me, however if you want a bit more soft and synergistic aroma, Lavender is a really fabulous addition.  Not only does it help with odors but it also has a very calming effect on the mind and body.

Beeswax I used this to ensure the deodorant would stay solid at room temperature.  We throw these in our gym bags and I would hate to open it up to a melted mess when I need deodorant the most!  Not to mention the benefits of vitamin A for your skin and immune system.

 

What you’ll need

 

What you’ll do

  1. Over a double boiler melt beeswax and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk in dry ingredients and essential oils.
  4. Pour into Twist Tube.
  5. Let sit until hard.

 

I specifically wanted to stay with a 1% dilution for my essential oils since we’ll be using this often.  This will help minimize the risks associated with sensitization.  This is my FAVORITE natural deodorant recipe, and has given me the option of never going back to expensive and unsafe store bought deodorant.  Using this natural deodorant helps me to smell nice and boost my immune system.

 

 

What are your favorite essential oils to combat unpleasant odors?

 

 

My Top Five Workhorse Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Welcome back to Essential Education. I hope you are finding this series is encouraging greater confidence toward exploration of your essential oils by distilling down some basic information. At the same time, we want to encourage you to continue your education through reputable books and classes. This is just a start to help support you on your way.

So far, we have discussed:

Aromatherapy – The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy

Learning Your Essential Oils – Welcome to Essential Education

Choosing for Your Concerns – Getting to Know  Your Essential Oils — Part 2

Basic Blending – Beginning Blending, 1, 2 3

With that under our belts, I now want to address another question we are often asked. As aromatherapists, folks want to know our list of favorite oils. This is actually a hard question to answer for a few reasons.

First, ask a bunch of aromatherapists the same question, and you very likely will not ever get the same two lists. Maybe some overlap, but that’s it. Even if you limit the sample group to the Plant Therapy aromatherapy team and the essential oils Plant Therapy stocks you likely will get some shared oils, but the not the same two lists.

Why?

  • First, because choosing essential oils is a very personal choice. Look at patchouli for example. Goodness! Talk about a polarizing oil based on scent. The patchouli lovers will sing its praises while the patchouli haters will be running for the hills. It doesn’t matter how wonderfully patchouli works for various wellness concerns, you won’t get a patchouli hater on board.
  • Second, choosing essential oils must be matched to the concern and the unique needs for whom you are choosing it. What you choose to ease soreness and stiffness at bedtime in an adult might be very different that what you choose for a child during the day. And, there are very often multiple choices. Added to that, see #1 above.

What that means is that, while there are multiple choices of essential oils available within the world of aromatherapy, the best are those that match the unique needs of each individual. Once you distill this down, the lists become shorter and varied, not only from person to person, but even for the same individual at different times.

So, when you ask us about our list of favorites, it is really just that. A list of favorites that we love because we are drawn to them and they suit our personal needs.

What you really might want to know is why certain oils have made our favorites list(s).

If we can frame it this way, then, you can explore if the choices others make might match your needs as well. This is really important when you are reading a recipe, getting a recommendation, or reviewing a list of possible essential oil choices.

 

Within this framework, I am going offer My Top Five Workhorse Oils, and I am going to tell you why. My intention is that by sharing some insight about why they made my list, it will provide inspiration to build your own, much like you would take inspiration for home decor, or fashion from design pages in a magazine. If some of these essential oils suit your personal needs and preferences, great! If not, I hope it will give you a boost to build your own list!

So, what do I mean by workhorse oils? I mean these little powerhouses can pack a punch by pretty much covering all the basic bases. They are well rounded in their application with very few safety concerns. If could only choose five to cover my needs, these would be it.

Here they are and here is why.

 

BergamotCitrus bergamia

This is an all-around favorite essential oil for it’s many uses, its uplifting scent, and it’s ability to infuse a joyful spirit into any blend. 

Bergamot can be used for relaxing the mind, relaxing the body, releasing tight knots and tension, lifting the mood and spirit, helping to balance the nervous system,  supporting the digestive distress, soothing the skin, and as support during times of seasonal threats.

Cautions: I choose bergamot that is bergapten-free so it is sun safe and Kidsafe. Bergamot that contains bergapten is highly phototoxic.

  • Calming to the mind
  • Relaxing before bedtime
  • Eases worries
  • Relieves nervous tension
  • Eases sadness and grief
  • Uplifts the spirit
  • Supports a balanced nervous system
  • Powerful support for smoothing tight knots in the body
  • Excellent at reducing muscle tension, tightness and soreness
  • Soothing to digestive distress
  • Calms oily skin issues and eruptions
  • Cleanses and clears the air
  • Supports the immune system during seasonal illness

 

 Chamomile, Roman Chamaemelum nobile

This is one of the most powerful, yet gentle, essential oils for relaxing mind and body.

Roman Chamomile is strongly supportive for easing into sleep and for easing tight knots in the muscles. It is very soothing to the nervous system for children and adults, alike. Wonderful for easing tension around the head and neck, especially if the feeling is intensive enough to make you feel unwell. Wonderful for soothing the skin, especially if you’ve experienced too much sun, have reddened or irritated conditions,  or have itching or stinging from bug bites.

Cautions: None known. KidSafe.

  • Cleansing and clearing
  • Calming and relaxing
  • Provides a powerful assist before bedtime
  • Strongly supportive in reducing intense worrying
  • Soothes nervous tension
  • One of the best at smoothing tight muscle contractions
  • Helps to soothe discomfort of the head and neck.
  • Eases tired, tight and aching muscles and joints
  • Soothing to the skin, especially for reddened, irritated and itching conditions, including bug bites and stings

 

FragoniaAgonis fragrans

Cautions: None Known. KidSafe

This is, by far, my favorite nurturing go-to. This is a sweet little powerhouse with an amazingly wide range of potential uses due to a uniquely balanced composition. 

Fragonia  recently replaced both tea tree and eucalyptus on my short-list of workhorse oils for its comparable applications, but with a more gentle approach and softer scent.  This is my go-to for all things respiratory during times of seasonal illness, whether I’ve been exposed, or the yuckies have already boarded. It is also my go-to for tired and overworked muscles that need some support to relax. It is wonderfully relaxing before bed and emotionally supportive.

  • Broad-spectrum support for clearing and cleansing
  • Powerful support for respiratory health for seasonal pollen or illness
  • Promotes clear breathing when congested
  • Supports the immune system, especially during convalescence
  • Soothing to irritated skin and eruptions
  • Helps to alleviate discomfort for overexertion of muscles and aging joints
  • Balancing to the nervous system
  • Promotes relaxation before sleep
  • Helps to reduce worrying and nervous tension
  • Uplifting to mood, especially during times of sadness and grief

 

 

LavenderLavandula angustifolia

This oil has been revered for years as the workhorse of all workhorses. 

Oh my goodness. For many of us, lavender is what drew us in. It might not be the most powerful in some situations, but it covers the bases and is a supporting oil in many blends. Balancing to the nervous system for a wide range of distress, soothing before slumber, a workhorse for all things related to discomfort of the muscles and soft tissue discomfort and distress, and broad-spectrum applications for supporting the skin.

Cautions: None known. KidSafe

  • Promotes calm
  • Helps to reduce nervous tension
  • Helps to reduce worry and fear
  • Soothing before slumber
  • Balancing to the nervous system
  • Helps to soothe aches, discomfort and stiffness of muscles and joints
  • Helps to smooth tight knots in the tissues
  • Helps to soothe discomfort with tension around the head and neck
  • Helps to soothe digestive distress
  • Soothing to the skin after sun exposure, minor burns and bug bites.
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and bruises
  • Soothes red, irritated or itching skin
  • Uplifts the spirits

 

 

PeppermintMentha x piperita

This powerhouse packs a potent punch whether you need to calm down problems in the body, or stimulate the mind. It can be either warming or cooling topically depending on how it is applied.

Peppermint is my power tool of workhorse oils for the boost it brings blended into synergies for the mind and body. Powerfully stimulating and focusing to the mind, powerfully supportive for digestive distress, powerfully supportive for a congested respiratory system, and powerfully relieving for an achy and weary body, or tension around the head and neck.

Cautions: Do not apply near the face of infants or children. Maximum dilution of 5% for topical applicationsIf you want to use a KidSafe oil, you can replace with Spearmint (mentha spicata) from the same family, which provides more gentle, but similar actions. 

  • Eases discomfort and aches in the muscles and joints
  • Powerful support in reducing muscular contractions
  • Reduces tension around the head and neck
  • Soothes spastic digestive distress, a queasy stomach and general upset
  • Helps to clear congested breathing during seasonal illness
  • Cooling when feeling overheated, or in hot weather.
  • Mentally stimulating.
  • Supports alertness and concentration
  • Uplifting to the spirit

 

So, now that I have provided some information about why I have chosen my Top Five Workhorse Oils, I am hoping you will take inspiration for the following challenges should you choose to accept the mission:

 

  1.  Create your own list of Top Five Workhorse Oils.
  2. Practice some simple blending from the last Essential Education Blog, Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3. (Using this list or your own).
  3. Compare notes by sharing what you have crafted and why.

 

Looking forward to seeing what you create!

 


Sources:

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

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

Worwood, Valerie Ann. Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant … Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home an. Place of Publication Not Identified: New World Library, 2016. Print.

 

 

 

Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


By now, I hope you have had the opportunity to review the following information, especially if you are new to essential oils.

The next step is beginning to explore blending your essential oils.

Here a some baseline concepts before we begin:

 

Blending 1, 2, 3 is just a beginning:

The intention of this Essential Education series is to help instill some confidence with basic information to help you move from memorization to exploration. The method described here is just one method of blending, with some basic parameters to help keep things simple, yet effective. Once you learn more, you will find what works best for your style and needs as an aromatherapy enthusiast.

 

Blending varies by type of aromatherapy practiced:

 As you begin to explore more, you will see many different methods to blending. For example:

  • By chemistry/constituents – often used in clinical aromatherapy
  • By scent/notes – often used in perfumery
  • By therapeutic action – using historically known applications for a remedy of a wellness concern of body, mind or spirit.

For most home enthusiasts, blending by therapeutic action most often suits personal aromatherapy concerns. You will find many of the home reference books written in this way.

 

Blending is an art:

As you study more about blending you will see, even within areas of specialty, aromatherapists have their own way of going about it. Aromatherapy is indeed a natural healing art, and blending is a big part of the art.

 

A blend of undiluted essential oils is called a synergy:

The concept of an essential oil synergy is that the outcome of the blended oils is going to have greater value than the essential oils working alone. If you blend more quantity than for a single use, you will also see the synergy referred to as a master blend, or a stock blend.

Ok, ready to get started?

 

Step 1: Planning Your Blend

Before we begin blending, it is important to know what you are seeking to accomplish by answering some key questions. This list is not all inclusive, but is outlined to give you some idea of the planning needed before you even begin to prepare your blend.

What concern are you looking to support?

  • It is best to address one primary thing at a time.
  • Your blend can have some supporting effects, which we will address.

For whom is this blend being made?

  • A healthy adult?
  • Child?
  • Someone who is pregnant or nursing?

How is this blend going to be used?

  • Inhalation?
  • Topically?
  • Short-term?
  • Longer-term?

Are there any safety concerns?

  • Does it need to be KidSafe?
  • Are the oils phototoxic?
  • Maximum dermal applications?
  • Health concerns?
  • Potential medication interactions?

Other considerations?

  • Time of day to be used?
  • Scent preferences or aversions?

 

Step 2: Choosing Your Essential Oils

Now that you have answered questions such as those above, you can begin to choose your essential oils. There may be a variety of choices, but some oils work better together either synergistically, and/or how they smell.

This is where being familiar with your oils (what they do, how they smell, what their safety considerations are), as well as which oils best address your concern may be. If you need help with this, please review Welcome to Essential Education and Getting to Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2.

 

To begin, we are going to keep blending simple. And, we are going to blend by therapeutic action as a starting point for this exercise.

I learned my preferred process for choosing my oils to blend from Jade Shutes, an aromatherapy educator, and author.  When you are ready for more complexity, I highly recommend her manual “The Dynamics of Blending,” for learning blending in far more detail and depth .  Jade advocates a three-step approach to choosing your oils, summarized below:

  • First Oil/Primary – addresses primary concern
  • Second Oil/Supporting – supports the first oil for the primary concern
  • Third Oil/Enhancing – brings the blend together and enhances the effects of the synergy

A few more additional oils could be added to enhance the overall synergy, but let’s start with the basics. I have created many effective blends using simply three oils. Once you get going and gain your confidence and more education, you could certainly begin to branch out to more complex methods and synergies.

 

Step 3: Creating Your Blend

 To help get you started, you will find a worksheet below to help record your progress and process:

 

Download and Print Blending 1, 2, 3 Worksheet Here

  

 

1)     Choose Your Essential Oils for the Synergy

Select Your First Oil  — to address your primary concern, ensuring it meets the criteria in the planning phase.

Select a Second Oilto support your primary concern and to support the first oil.

Take the caps off the two bottles and hold them together. Gently waft the caps together under your nose (note: you don’t want to touch your nose or take a big sniff. Just a gentle inhale as it passes by).

How is the scent? Is it generally pleasing?  If you like it, proceed. If not choose another oil you want to go with your first choice oil and start again.

Select a Third Oilto bring together the overall blend

What enhancing effect do you want to add to your blend? Do you want to enhance the scent? Do you want to enhance the overall action? Do you want to add a supporting action? All the above?

Hold the cap of the third oil with the caps of other two oils and do the wafting experiment again. Is the scent generally pleasing? Are you happy with the combination of the three in general? If so, then you are ready to proceed.

 

2)      Make Your Blend

For this you will need:

  • Cotton balls or fragrance test strips
  • Scratch paper and a pen or pencil
  • It is also good practice to wear gloves

 

Try This 3 Oils + 5 Drops Method

This method keeps things simple, and it makes for a blend that is easy to use immediately, or to scale up or down with minimal math.

For example, with a 5-drop mini-master blend, you could easily add the following within safe and appropriate guidelines:

  • 5 drops in a diffuser (per 100 ml)
  • 5 drops on a cotton ball at your bedside, or desk (this is what I do with my tester samples)
  • 5 drops (mixed with appropriate carriers) in a bath
  • 15 drops in a personal inhaler
  • 1 drop x 5 uses in aroma jewelry
  • 20-40 drops per ml for a master blend stock bottle.

 

Choose the Ratio of Oils

  • Grab your scratch paper and a pencil.
  • Write down the name of each oil you have chosen.
  • Add one drop of the first oil to your cotton ball or scent strip.
  • Mark down a hatch mark next to that oil written on your paper.
  • Add one drop of the second oil and record it.
  • Add one drop of the third oil and record it.

(Trust me, marking each drop immediately is critical. If you think you will remember what you did when you are done, ask me how many times I have lost my place with which oil I just dropped, or how many recipes I have forgotten by the time I finished dropping and smelling my oils!)

  • Now, take a smell of what you have so far. How do you like it? What would you like to increase or mute?
  • Add one drop of the next oil you choose. It can be any of the three. Don’t forget to write it down.
  • Smell again.
  • Add the final drop of any of the three oils you choose and smell. How do you like it? Love it? Great! You have your blend. Don’t love it? Start again, adjusting the choice of which oils to bring out more in the blend and which ones you want to stay in the background.

 

3)    Record your Recipe

  • Once you are finished, be sure to write down your synergy recipe and store in a safe place.
  • Recipes are written in descending order of volume (which oil you used most first, and then, alphabetically.
  • It is good practice to also include the Latin names, so you remember which variety you used.
  • Be sure to write down the purpose of the blend.
  • If you created a synergy that is larger in volume than for single use, be sure to label the bottle.
  • If you created a master or stock blend, also be sure to date it. Your shelf life will be determined by the essential oil in the synergy with the shortest shelf life when stored properly.

 

Examples of sample blends using the 3 Oil/5 Drop Method

These are all mini-master blends to sample if you are looking for some inspiration to get started.  Feel free to change the amount of each oil in the synergy suited to your own personal sense and needs should you wish. If you have gotten to know your oils, you can even play with making substitutions that better suit you.

 

Australian Awesomeness 

 2 drops Kunzea (kunzea ambigua)

2 drops Blue Cypress (callitris intratropica)

1 drop Fragonia (agonis fragrans)

This is soothing to aching muscles and joints. Soothing to mind and spirit. Helps to release blocked pain and emotional scars to the spirit.

 

Sensationally Soothing

 2 drops Ho Wood (cinnamomum camphora)

2 drops Rose Otto 10% (rosa damascena)

1 drop Lavender Fine (lavandula angustifolia)

This is a sweet soother to the mind, body and spirit when needing to significantly relax nervous tension on all levels.

 

Refresh

2 drops Peppermint (mentha x piperita)

2 drops Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis ct 1,8-cineole)

1 drops Lime (citrus x aurantifolia)

An invigorating blend. Supports focus and clarity.

 


Source:

Shutes, Jade. “The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials.” N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. N.d. Print.

Essential Oil Education – Cajeput

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

My top 5 uses for Cajeput are:

  1. Digestive Support

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

  1. Respiratory Support

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

  1. Bug Bites

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

  1. Lip Sores

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

  1. Joint Discomfort

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

 

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

 

 

 

Can Pre-Blended Synergies Be Used for Other Purposes?

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Ok! By now, I hope you are comfortable with your single essential oils and how they can help support your wellness concerns. If you are just now jumping in, here is where we are so far in this introductory series of Essential Education:

The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy — How essential oils and aromatherapy support our wellbeing

Welcome to Essential Education — Getting to know our essential oils

Getting to Know Our Essential Oils – Part 2– Choosing the most appropriate oils for our concerns

Another question we often get asked is:

“Can pre-blended synergies be used for other purposes?”

 

The short answer is “it is possible.”

Once you are familiar with the effects of essential oils, and how to match those effects with your concerns, you can create a roadmap to your answer, ensuring it works with your unique needs.

I always start with the concern I want to address. So the question I ask is “what pre-blended synergies do I have on hand that could address this issue?” Yep! Even aromatherapists “cheat” now and then when you have some wonderfulness already in your arsenal for times of need.

Here is a real-life example from my recent experience.

Recently, very late into the night, the muscles of both legs were tight and aching. I also had a great deal of discomfort from some very tight knots in certain spots, and my low back was throbbing. I needed some relief and wanted to take a hot bath with a blend that would support relaxation of not only my body, but also my mind, so I could get in a good restorative sleep for the night.

I happened to have Calming the Child on hand and, after checking a few key things, I knew it was perfect as my “grab-and-go.”

Here’s the description of Calming the Child from the Plant Therapy website:

“Calming The Child is absolutely wonderful and a delight for little ones. Calming The Child was created to help promote a tranquil atmosphere during the day or before bedtime. Used by adults and children alike, Calming The Child can help anyone feel more calm.”

 The essential oils in this synergy were specifically chosen and blended for the purpose as described above, and it does an amazing job.

 

 But, remember, what I needed was a remedy to support relaxation of my body and mind so I could get some rest.

So, here is the checklist I went through to assess whether I could repurpose this-pre-blended synergy to suit my specific needs. You can use your worksheets from Welcome to Essential Education and Getting to Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2 as advance guides to map out potential multi-purposes for your blends when you are making purchasing decisions, or after they arrive. Even with a Plant Therapy blend, you may need to research through other reputable resources such as those recommended in Getting To Know Your Essential Oils – Part 2

 

What are the ingredients?

You can check:

  • The label (all reputable companies list the essential oils used)
  • The website (see the product details box, under “ingredients”); or
  • The product template sheet (open and/or download from the website)

Here are the essential oils used in the blend:

 

Do these essential oils address my concerns?

  • Lavender – relieves muscles tension, stiffness, aches and tight knots. Calming and soothing for restlessness. Relieves nervous tension.
  • Chamomile, Roman – powerful support for relieving tense muscles and tight knots. Soothing to the nervous system. Promotes calm and supports relaxation before bedtime.
  • Mandarin – Helps to soothe nervous tension. Eases the mind and body before bedtime. Mild support for tight knots and muscles.
  • Tangerine — Mild support for tight knots in the muscles. Helps to clear the mind and reduce nervous tension. Relaxes the mind before bedtime.

 

Are there any safety considerations?

We already know this synergy is:

  • KidSafe; (marked on the website and the label); and
  • Safe for topical use as well as inhalation (either by reading the product template sheet on the website, or because we can see the product also comes pre-blended for topical use).

 

Are there other considerations?

Since it was way past bedtime, anything stimulating would be no-go. It would be a bonus if the ingredients would to also help calm the mind and support sleep.

 

Bingo! Calming the Child met all of my needed criteria, plus the bonus round of supporting a good night’s rest. I was able to quickly mix Calming the Child into an epsom salt bath, soak, relax and crawl into bed. It worked beautifully for the much needed relief and the restorative night I required. With this awesome result, Calming the Child remains in my rotation for those nights when I need a “go -to” to “grab and go.”

 

Calming the Child Bath Soak

Soothing to Mind and Body

Mix Calming the Child with the body wash to completely disburse the essential oils. Add the epsom salts to the body wash and mix. Pour under running water for a warm bath. Soak, soothe, and sleep!

 

I hope this helps walk you through how to answer the question about whether your pre-blended synergies can be used for other purposes. The key is really knowing your essential oils and how they can best address your concerns. If the ingredients meet that criteria, in addition to safety and other considerations, it can be considered a go. You can explore and experience for yourself to determine whether your pre-blended synergy becomes a “go-to grab-and-go” for other purposes.

In our next blog, we will discuss some simple steps to creating our own blends.

 

 


Sources:

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, & Well Being. San Francisco, CA: Conari, 2013. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, n.d. Print.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016. Print.

 

 


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