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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: peace

Ellen’s Top 5 Essential Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Aromatherapy charged into my world and changed my trajectory in 1999 when a speaker from a local natural living boutique in New Orleans gave a talk at a women’s meeting I attended. She presented us each with a sample of bath salts blended with essential oils.

I can’t remember the synergy, but I can recall the scent exactly. I kept opening the little zip-top bag and sniffing it every few seconds throughout the rest of the presentation — so much so, that my friends were all having quite a laugh at me. But I just couldn’t stop. I found it absolutely intoxicating and I was hooked.

I visited her shop soon after and picked up some basic essential oils with handouts about how to use them. I still have each of those papers to this day and realized later I was blessed to begin my education with information from Jeanne Rose, one of the most respected aromatherapy pioneers in the United States.

From there, I sought out some more in-depth reputable references and came across Valerie Cooksley’s “Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Healing and Essential Oils” published in 1996. The book is now a classic from another pioneer and current educator. Though I have her updated book, I cannot bear to part with the original. Dog-eared, splattered, marked up in the margins with pages falling out — this guidebook has served me well starting out as home enthusiast and onward to this day.

Aromatherapy became my gateway into the natural healing arts. I was so amazed at how well the recipes for remedies worked, when nothing else would, that it stoked my hunger to know even more to practice “some day.”  That some day came sooner than expected. After spending 22 years in healthcare and higher education administration and wanting to get out, but not knowing how,  I experienced a life-threatening and altering accident. In addition to the critical traditional medical care I needed, I also accessed the natural healing arts to enhance my overall wellbeing and vitality.

While being ill or injured is never a blessing, I learned if you allow it, breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. For me it was a rebirth. Now, finally free from the treadmill,  I set out on a forward journey to reclaim my life and my authentic self. That process opened the pathway to pursue my passions personally and professionally.

I completed an intensive program in energy medicine and a professional practitioner program in aromatherapy. I received my license to touch in therapeutic bodywork, with an added emphasis in reflexology. And, I became certified as a holistic health coach. My informal and formal learning, along with my experience, allowed me to bring together and put into practice my life-long interests in the mind, body, and spirit connection, and its impact on our well-being.

Today, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Plant Therapy aromatherapy team where I can live out my purpose and passion for helping others. I love to write, teach, and blend and I am blessed that I have the opportunity to express myself in these ways and more.

My aromatic passions are subtle aromatherapy (working with aromatherapy for the spirit) as well as conscious wellness (the mind, body, and spirit connection). So, naturally, when I was asked about My Top Five Favorite Essential Oils, I immediately chose the following based on how they make me feel.

Bergamot Citrus bergamia – this was love at first smell. It was the oil of all oils that got me hooked. To me, it has a wonderful citrus scent; more tart than orange, but more sweet than lemon. I find it uplifting, balancing, soothing, and joyful. It is often described as a ray of sunshine. As a sun seeker for my spirit, this is my go-to in so many synergies. Based on its therapeutic properties, this little burst of joy is also a powerhouse for so many concerns of mind, body, and spirit.

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans – oh my goodness, if you read my recipes, you will see this makes almost as many appearances as Bergamot. In fact, the two together are lovely. And, what is not to love? It smells softly and sweetly divine and has practically replaced Eucalyptus and Tea Tree in so many of my blends, but with a much more gentle and inviting scent. I especially love it for energy work as it helps to release deep-seated emotional patterns and blocks. I use this in so many blends as it is uniquely balanced and helps to bring that balance to our synergies and our selves.

Take the Ache Away

Those who know me, know how much I love my aromatic baths to restore and rebalance my whole being before bedtime.  Here is one of my best bath blends combining two of my favorite essential oils mentioned so far. I find this blend to be very calming, soothing, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit, especially when experiencing the effects of nervous tension. It is also excellent for soaking away soreness, stiffness, and knots, as well as aches in the muscles and joints.

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

1-2 tablespoons unscented, natural body wash

1/2 cup Epsom Salts

Thoroughly combine essential oils with body wash. Add Epsom salts and mix. Pour under warm running water in the bath. Enjoy.

 

Continuing on with my list of favorite essential oils…

Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora – the first time I smelled this beauty, I just wanted to bathe in it. So, I did. Literally (in an appropriate blend of course). What a wonderful addition to a warm bath blend to prepare for bedtime by relaxing and relieving nervous tension. In fact, immersion in an aromatic bath remains my favorite way to experience Ho Wood as it soothes the body and the mind simultaneously. When I smell this, all is well no matter what else is happening.

Rhododendron* Rhododendron anthopogon – with my first whiff of Rhododendron, I immediately felt a sense of balance in my whole being. It became an immediate favorite, especially for uses in synergies for the spirit. I am not a fan of strongly scented florals, and this fills the bill for my sensibilities. This is such a well-rounded essential oil with so many uses for mind, body, and spirit. But, I also appreciate how well it plays nice with others.  It just adds that special something to so many synergies helping to bring it all into balance.

*Rhododendron was offered as a Plant Therapy Oil of the Month.  Check back to see if it has been added to inventory for general sale. 

Sandalwood Indian and Sandalwood Australian Santalum album and Santalum spicatum – to me, the scent of Sandalwood is so softly, sweetly, spicy, and intoxicatingly exotic to the senses. I especially love Sandalwood Indian, but also really enjoy Sandalwood Australian. The first I save for special use and the second I use more freely. This is the only essential oil that blisses me out more than Ho Wood. Just a drop and I am transported into a place of deep peace. Considered sacred in spiritual traditions, Sandalwood is my go-to for grounding and quieting the mind, making it the perfect partner for meditation.

Bliss Blend

This is another favorite bath blend using two more of my favorite essential oils before bedtime. This blend is very calming to the mind, relaxing to the body, and soothing to the spirit. It helps me to find a sense of inner peace before placing my head on the pillow for the night.

2 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

2 drops Kunzea Kunzea ambigua

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum

1-2 tablespoons unscented natural body wash

1/2 cup Epsom Salts

Thoroughly combine essential oils with body wash. Add Epsom salts and mix. Pour under warm running water in the bath. Enjoy.

Stay tuned for more of our Aromatherapists’ Top 5 Picks!

 

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

 

 

2:00 am…2:20 am… 2:47 am ….

There’s nothing worse than experiencing a phase of sleepless nights. Sometimes it goes on for days, sometimes for months or years. There can be many reasons for lack of sleep. Everything from noise, exposure to electronic devices,  hormonal changes, stress, and worry. Whatever the reason, it can be very taxing and even affect your health.

Lack of sleep can cross barriers of cultures, age, and sexes, although research has shown that usually older adults experience it more and a greater number of women suffer from it than men.{1}

Some essential oils can be of help to some for falling asleep; being calming not only to the mind but also to the body. They can quiet busy thoughts and relax tense muscles. One needs to only diffuse a synergy such as Plant Therapy’s Sleep Aid, or Sweet Dreams or Nighty Night to feel your body relaxing and your mind letting go. My personal pick is Tranquil to help me wind down. Sometimes, it just a matter of getting a little extra help to get one to sleep, and then you are able to stay asleep.

Plant Therapy offers several blends formulated with sleep in mind, and there are excellent singles as well. There are so many different choices and I like to experiment with different essential oils in order to find the perfect blend to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. One blend I might diffuse includes Vetiver, Orange Sweet,  Chamomile RomanCedarwood Himalayan, and Frankincense Carteri. I would use amounts similar to this:

 

Just One Sleep Blend

1 drop of Vetiver Vetiveria zizanoides

2 drop of Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

1 drop of Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile

3 drops of Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara

2 drops of Frankincense Carteri Boswellia carteri

 

Here is a chart that Plant Therapy has put together to help you get some zzzzzs;

Download Sleep Chart HERE :

 

Sources;

({1}University of Maryland Medical Center, http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/insomnia

What’s the Best Essential Oil for… ? Well, the Truth is…

 

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.

 

 

My Travel Kit

Just between us- even though I love my beautiful state of Idaho, I do love to travel. I especially love it when going to see my family in sunny, 80-degree California…and especially when my house has a flooded crawlspace from a broken pipe. Let’s face it, we couldn’t stay at home anyway. The water was turned off, and with huge, noisy fans running nonstop in the house, we concluded that we might as well go. My spunky 90-year-old Dad lives in California, along with much of my family. When we get together it sounds like something out of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”! There’s a lot of laughter and a lot of love.

Right up there with traveling, I love essential oils, and whenever I travel I always take my “go to” oils- essential oils that for me, are a necessity. Of course, everyone is different and has different preferences or restrictions. But this is my blog article and I get to choose whatever I want. 🙂

In this first part of this article, I am choosing these three:

  1. Bergamot. An amazing essential oil period. The smell is wonderful, like a mixed up citrus tree that has lemons, grapefruit and limes growing on it, with a few peppercorns thrown in for good measure. Almost every person who takes a whiff of it in our retail store, says,”WOW! That smells good!” Bergamot (not Bergamont- no N please), according to many essential oil experts, is one of the best oils to help with anxiety. I do tend to get a little anxious with road travel at times. I’m fine as long as there’s no fog, snow, ice, cliffs, hard rains, curves, or trucks. Basically, I am ok with sunny skies, 72 degrees, straight highways, clear conditions, and no other cars on the road. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often. That’s where Bergamot comes in. It is also good for a cough. It has properties that can be calming and soothing, and  can help with skin issues, such as blemishes and irritation.
  1. Lavender. Many already know the benefits of Lavender, which is one of the most popular essential oils. Its fantastic for minor burns. It has helped many a crying child (or crying adult) with a bee or wasp sting, or a skin irritation from a plant. Diluted Lavender can be rubbed behind the ear during an earache and it is famous for it’s calming properties.
  1.  Peppermint. I think Peppermint was the first essential oil that I discovered, and it was for a headache. I’ve since learned that it can be amazing for an upset stomach, which comes in handy when eating out a lot. It also is helpful for achy muscles. I used it the other day on a painful finger joint of my husband. I remember years ago when my sweet hubby wasn’t as keen on oils, and called it my “voodoo”. Now he not only willingly allows me to try out some concoctions on him, he occasionally asks for some.

 

It’s nice to have a little kit with your favorites and a bottle of carrier oil in case you need to mix some up. I pulled them out to make some goodies to help loved ones on our visit.  Or you can take our convenient roll-ons with you. I will continue this oil journey in Part II. Meanwhile I wish you safe travels and would like to know-

 

What are some of your favorite oils?

 

 

A Cup of Compassion — Part II

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

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Now that we have some simple steps fill our own Cup of Compassion from Part I, let’s discuss the benefits of practicing a compassionate life when the world around us may not always feel so kind. In the world of natural health, we say “we get a healing when we give a healing.” And, so, we enhance our own wellbeing by working to enhance the wellbeing of the world around us.

And, it is indeed a practice. At times, it can be a struggle. Like any practice, it requires an intention and a striving to stay grounded in that intention with gentle persistence. Without an intention to live a compassionate life, I find I can just get buffeted around by unkindness around me. I absorb that energy and become reactive.

This triggers the fight or flight condition and my stress levels increase. The more I feel unmoored from a compassionate heart, the more negative thoughts are able to rule my mind creating stories about others and heightening my sense of anxiousness as I enter into a sense of defensiveness and self-protection. And, then, I become part of the problem by contributing my crabbiness in a reactive mode as I flail around in choppy waters.

But, when I empower myself, by making the conscious choice to stay in a proactive mode of positivity, I feel much more anchored and sheltered in the calm of potential storms.

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” — Mahatma Gandhi

heart-light-web-sizeSo, with wisdom handed down from gifted healers and thought leaders who have been part of my healing journey, I have developed a personal practice of living a compassionate life. Not only does it help me stay well within, I am hopeful it contributes to the wellbeing of the world around me. And, because we are human, this is never a perfect practice. Support is important. And, as always, I find aromatherapy to be my perfect partner by helping to calm my mind and body, as well as inspiring a deep sense of peace within.

Be The Ripple in the Pond

 If I am a pebble in the pond, what is the energy I am putting out there? In Food for Thought, we learned how negative thoughts can influence our wellbeing. How I am feeling inside can affect how I react and interact.

Not only am I balancing the wellbeing of myself, I create the opportunity to positively impact the moment I interact with others. It can simply be that vibe we feel when we cross paths.

A big part of my healing journey is learning to be peaceful within. Equanimity – calmness of mind in stressful situations – does not come naturally to me. It had to be cultivated. In fact, if I allow it, folks who are unkind can really flip my switches from the flow of happy juice to stress cocktail.

In Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets, we learned how stress starts in the mind and contributes to serious health conditions. Am I in the “fight or flight” mode of the stress response when I am out and about? Or, are I am radiating a peaceful energy of calm, kindness, and compassion?

Years ago, When I was an undergraduate in a psychology class, I was assigned to a smile experiment. It involved making eye contact with everyone I passed – on campus, at the mall, in a restaurant, at the store – just in every day life –and smiling and recording responses. I was astounded at the number of people who smiled back with genuine pleasure, and often, with surprise. It made such an impression on me, that it is still a habit I practice today. I am still often amazed at how it changes the energy around me, while it charges my own.

Choose To Let It Go

If I carry around perceived or felt hurts or slights, I am taking on the negative energy put out by others. This can be hard for sensitive folks like me.

Trust me, I can be taken way out of my Zen Zone if I feel my wellbeing is being threatened either intentionally or through negligence. And, I’m not talking about turning the other cheek when it comes to big societal ills. Those are discussions for another time and another approach.

What I am talking about are the everyday concerns. Someone didn’t say thank you. A co-worker was brusque. Your spouse came home grumpy. Your friend was late for a night out. Am I going to react, take on that energy, and let it weigh me down? If I do, I am giving away my own power over my own wellbeing.

I can choose how I am going to react and respond. This is where taking a few deep breaths to turn off that fight or flight stress response can be helpful. That also gives me time to calm my reaction and change the dialogue in my head from “wow she is really being a witch today, to “wow, she is not herself at all today, I wonder what is wrong?” Just that compassionate change in my mindset, creates a more peaceful change in my body. Not only am I letting go of the issue, I am letting go of the tension I feel.

Meet Them With Compassion

This doesn’t meant accepting bad behavior. But, sometimes it means either walking away and discussing at another time if merited, or meeting them with compassion and seeing what happens.

At the health practice where I spend some time, our patients are often grumpy, short on patience, and sometimes, just short of rude when they first come to us. But, I have been on that side of the aisle. They are also hurting, stressed, overwhelmed, fearful and frustrated. I believe their healing experience starts with the energy and interactions they feel when they walk through the front door. So, my goal is to meet them with compassion. A smile when they come in, kindness while they are there, and hug (for the huggers) when they leave. It’s amazing how much most of them relax. This creates a healing environment for their wellbeing, and my own inner being benefits from more peaceful exchanges that can literally change from barking at me to laughing with me.

The point is, we don’t know what folks around us are experiencing and we don’t know their stories. We don’t know if something just happened, or if something terrible is going on in their lives. The day I held my beloved canine companion of 15 years in my lap as she passed over to the Rainbow Bridge was absolutely heartbreaking. As I moved through the world in a dismal fog for days after, who knows what I projected around me and the stories people may have told themselves in reaction. Maybe I didn’t park correctly, or perhaps I accidentally cut someone off in the grocery line. Or, maybe I just didn’t smile when I ordered my coffee in the drive through. What I do remember is the folks who didn’t know my story, but met me with kindness anyway and how much that helped to sooth and smooth my heartache.

Reflect the Glow for Good

 I have always been drawn to dragonflies. And, they seem to be drawn to me. Many years ago, I looked up their symbolic meaning and learned that the dragonfly represents the power to reflect light and energy out into the world for the good of others. This resonated with me deeply as I was pursuing my path in the natural healing arts. I adopted the dragonfly as my spiritual reminder of this message of empowerment for impacting those around me in a positive way. Every time a see a dragonfly, I am reminded I have the power and the choice to reflect a glow for good both professionally and personally.

Yes, there are cranky and crabby folks out there. But, there also those filled with grace and kindness. And, that is whom I choose to focus on and absorb the energy to be redirected for my next interaction.

Recently, I was leaving a store just as the skies opened up in a drowning drenching. Of course, I did not have my umbrella with me and my car was parked across a large lot. Just in the moment I was exiting the store to be confronted by this dilemma, a gentleman was just arriving at the doors with his wife under a giant umbrella for two. As she was passing me into the store, without missing a beat, he said “you go ahead honey, I am going to escort this young lady to her car.” And with that, he had already pivoted toward the parking lot, placed the umbrella over my head and simply said “which way is your car, Miss?”

I can’t even describe the rush of gratitude and goodwill I felt at that moment by such a seemingly simple act of compassion on his part, but I simply smiled (probably beamed) and carried on to my car with my unexpected escort. And, I carried that warm glow the rest of the day, basking in it and letting if affect my mood and outlook on the world as I passed by a multitude of other in my daily rounds. More importantly, I am reminded, no matter how much of a rush I am in, it only takes a moment to extend a simple act of kindness to others who could benefit from an assist. I may be flitting around like a dragonfly, but in that moment, I can still reflect positive vibes and an act of kindness.

So, I admit, living a compassionate life isn’t always an easy practice. But, a practice it is. It is a conscious choice to be the ripple in the pond, let things go, meet folks with compassion, and reflect the glow for good. I mentioned how aromatherapy is my perfect partner, and I’ve created synergies to support these sensibilities depending on the situation. These can be used in a diffuser or tripled to carry with you in a personal inhaler.

 

Balance Blend

2 drops geranium bourbon

2 drops neroli

1 drop orange, sweet

This is my go-to, when I need a little boost to balance my being by letting go of strong turbulent emotions

 

Bliss Blend

2 drops ho wood

2 drops kunzea

1 drop sandalwood

Relaxing and grounding to the mind, body and spirit. This blend is often helpful to set a blissful mood.

 

Zen Zone

2 drops bergamot

1 drop blue cypress

1 drop davana

1 drop sandalwood

Relaxing, centering, uplifting and calming. I like this blend to help me return to a place of peace.

 

I know I feel better by doing better for those around me. It is really my choice. Do I want to continually drink the poison of the stress cocktail, or do I want to bathe my being in happy juice? I know when I experience inner peace, I am more able to transmit that back out into the world. And, I can create that by being the calm in the storm. When I do, while all may not be right with the world, all is right with my world right now. And, perhaps, just a bit of that helps another looking for their own piece of peace.

 


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