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Tag Archives: lavender

Do Essential Oils Affect Your Dreams?

Dreams can be amazing and unpredictable experiences. On any given morning you may recall dreams that were wonderfully entertaining, downright bizarre, unforgettably terrifying, or anything in between. Why our brain creates these stories during sleep may still be a mystery, but we do know that a healthy dream cycle relates directly to our emotional and physical well-being [1]. If you want to know how essential oils can promote positive dreams or influence the way a dream plays out, read on!

Why would essential oils influence dreams?

Anything that impacts our emotional state is likely to shape the dreams we have. So, since smells are processed in the brain’s limbic system (which deals with our emotions and memories), even the slightest whiff can arouse powerful feelings. Also, getting to a state of deep sleep is necessary if you are interested in lucid dreaming – dreaming that you are consciously aware of and can, to some extent, control.

Research has shown that external stimuli present during sleeping can affect dream content [2], so let’s take a look at a few essential oils and blends that have been repeatedly linked to better sleep, improved dream recall, and may help create dreams that are vivid and pleasant – helping you get the most out of your nights sleep!

If you’re looking for a wonderfully crafted blend of essential oils to soothe your emotions and set you up for a night of positive dreams, Plant Therapy’s Sweet Dreams Synergy may be just right. Made with Orange Sweet, Juniper, Coriander, Blue Tansy, and Rose, this slightly sweet and spicy aroma is perfect for both children and adults. It is designed to keep bad dreams at bay so that you or your child can rest peacefully without the mental stormy stories that can destroy a good night of sleep. This synergy also comes in a super quick and easy pre-diluted roll-on!

Try this recipe to create an irresistible balm with Sweet Dreams Synergy:

What you’ll need:
What you’ll do:
  1. Melt beeswax, cocoa butter, and coconut oil in a double broiler (or glass bowl over simmering water).
  2. Remove from heat and add 30 drops Sweet Dreams Synergy.
  3. Stir well!
  4. Add glitter (optional)
  5. Pour into tubes, cap it up, and allow to cool completely.
If you want to try single oils to make your dreams sweeter, give these a go in your diffuser or dilute with a carrier oil and use it as a chest or neck rub:

Rose: Popular for its distinct and unforgettable aroma, this essential oil demonstrated its ability to help people have rosier dreams in a study supported by the University Hospital Mannheim in Germany [3]. The rich floral scent has calming properties and helps relax the mind before sleep.

Lavender: This sweet and floral goody is full of therapeutic benefits, particularly relieving restlessness and producing a perfectly calm and tranquil environment. Its use for sleeping has been recorded for centuries; John Parkinson, a famous 17th-century London botanist, wrote that lavender is “especially good for all griefs and pains of the head and brain.” This makes it ideal to put a positive spin on dreams and help you wake up feeling refreshed and positive.

Jasmine: Another sweet and flowery scent, Jasmine is known to aid in deeper and more restful sleep, which leads to pleasant dreams. One study conducted by researchers at the Wheeling Jesuit University found that Jasmine is almost as effective as conventional sleeping aids for falling and staying asleep. The study’s participants were also noted to wake up and remain more energetic, compared to participants who slept in an unscented room [4].

Sandalwood: Revered for centuries to help reduce nervous tension and quiet the mental chatter that often keeps us from falling asleep. The rich, sweet woody aroma is known to improve the quality and duration of sleep. One study published in 2000 by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health found that one of the natural compounds found in Sandalwood, called santalol, notably improved the test subject’s sleeping patterns. Regular deep and restful sleep will keep those happy dreams rolling along!

Got your oils? Don’t forget these tips for sweet dreams!
Keep it clean!

Wash your bedding regularly, at least once every other week. Not only will this keep your bed free of bacteria and fungi growth, it will keep it smelling oh-so-fresh!

Try this DIY linen spray for some extra sleepy-time goodness:

What you’ll need:
What you’ll do:
  1. Add Vodka or Witch Hazel to the spray bottle until almost full.
  2. Add the essential oils.
  3. Allow the oil to meld with the Vodka or Witch Hazel for at least one hour.
  4. Shake well and spray down your bed for a relaxing atmosphere!
Start a dream journal!

Keep a journal and a pen by your bed. When you wake up, write or draw about your dreams. Not only is this therapeutic to the mind, but you may see patterns in your dreams over time. This practice may also increase the intensity of your dreams and the brain’s recall ability when you wake.

Turn off the lights, keep it quiet, and take away any excess stimuli that may negatively impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Remember, dreams occur during deep sleep, so if you want to experience your dreams to the fullest, the first step is to focus on your quality of sleep! Check out these blogs to learn more about how essential oils can give you a better night of sleep:

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR BETTER SLEEP

SLEEP, GLORIOUS SLEEP! 

BEST ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER RECIPES FOR SLEEP (KIDSAFE)

 

Have you ever tried using essential oils to influence your dreams? Have you noticed that certain oils affect your dreams more than others? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

References:

[1] Walker, Matthew. (2017, October, 24). Why your brain needs to dream. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/ item/why_your_brain_needs_to_dream

[2] Schredl, M., Atanasova, D., Hormann, K., Maurer, J.T., Hummel, T., & Stuck, B. A.  (2009, August, 11), Information processing during sleep: the effect of olfactory stimuli on dream content and dream emotions. Journal of Sleep Research, 18: 285-290. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2009.00737.x

[3] Carroll, Rebecca. (2008, September, 23). Smells Influence Dreams, Study Says. Retrieved from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080923-smell-sleep.html

[4] Freeman, Bill. (2002, October 27). Jasmine Found to Encourage Restful Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.worldhealth.net/news/jasmine_found_to_encourage_restful_sleep/

August Oil Of The Month – Lavender Flower CO2

Touring the Lavender farms in Washington recently, I learned that the extraction for Lavender essential oil is generally extracted and steam distilled from the buds because it produces more oil. But this precious oil is extracted from the open flowers using CO2 as the vehicle.

This lovely oil has a pure, beautiful floral scent, more like the actual plant.

It has many of the same qualities as the Lavender that you know and love. It is still calming and relaxing as many of you know Lavender to be and it still can help with skin irritations and for facial blends. The difference with CO2s the scent is usually purer, vibrant and closer to the scent of the actual plant. Also, the temperatures in which the plant material is subjected to during the extraction process (using CO2) is much less, and so more of the beneficial properties can be obtained.  In this first batch of our Lavender Flower CO2, there are several components, not found in the essential oil, that Robert Tisserand says “make the CO2 extract much more long-lasting than the essential oil.”  It also picks up more of the respiratory constituents, camphor and 1,8 cineole.

Lavender Flower CO2  will be a wonderful addition to our Lavender family:

If you are ready for the Lavender of Lavender oils, then Lavender Flower CO2 is for you. Here is a recipe that you can try.

Multi purpose blend (use on blemishes, bug bites, minor scrapes, and sore muscles too!)

3 drops of Lavender Flower CO2 Lavandula angustifolia

2 drops of Chamomile RomanBergamot, and Cedarwood Atlas  

10 ml of carrier oil or Aloe Vera Jelly

 

Download Product Template Sheet here.

A New Respect for Lavender

 

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

I recently had the opportunity to go to a Lavender festival in Washington state. Not that I need much of an excuse to go near the ocean, but throw in a Lavender festival, and I had it booked 6 months ago! I apparently wasn’t the only one with the idea, for as we drew nearer, it took 2 hours to drive 16 miles. When I saw the first farm and Lavender field, I knew it was all worth it. The beautiful, straight, colorful rows were so overwhelmingly striking. My husband, being the great sport that he is, let me take it all in and patiently waited and listened to me go on and on. I walked through the romantic, perfumed, variegated fields of many varieties and colors and gained a greater appreciation for Lavender.

I always valued this versatile essential oil, which was originally used in medieval times to ward off plague and disease (it’s a natural deterrent and kept the fleas at bay), but now I understand. I understand why it has its place in the hearts of essential oil lovers.

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

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

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

 

Oil Treatment for Hair

2 drops of Lavender or Lavender Fine

1 drop of Rosemary 1,8-Cineole

1 drop of Cedarwood Virginian

1 ounce of Argan Carrier Oil

Mix well and apply to hair and leave on for 30-60 minutes and then wash out. Use on your hair once a week.

 

Muscle and Mind Relaxing Massage Blend

8 drops of Lavender

6 drops of Copaiba

4 drops of Marjoram Sweet

4 drop of Bergamot

2 drops of Chamomile Roman

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

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

 

My Top 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
  • Supports 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.

 

 

 

Lavender Essential Oil- A Necessity In Your Home?

Lavender Essential Oil has many uses. In our opinion, it is one of the most versatile essential oils out there. Whether you use it to make bath bombs, a clear and calm diffuser blend, face masks,  a relaxing body scrub, or just sitting on your shelf for the every day uses, Lavender is a great oil to have in every home.

Click here to for a simple Lavender Body Scrub recipe.

What essential oil is a necessity in your home? 
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