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Essential Oils Blog

Tag Archives: Sleep

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

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. I really don’t 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 understood. I understood why it’s earned 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 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. This can be used on 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.

 

April’s Oil of the Month – Finger Root

By: Diane Mishler, Certified Aromatherapist

 

The plant that April’s Oil of the Month comes from is well known in southeast Asia, Thailand, Indonesia and parts of China. Finger Root, also known as Chinese Keys, Chinese Ginger and Krachai is wildly grown in lush, dense forests. It is also cultivated and grown commercially, as it’s such a popular product.

The name, Finger Root, comes from the rhizome, which resembles long fingers. It’s from the Ginger family, which has over 1200 species. The plant which is an ornamental in many yards and looks similar to any lily or orchid, is easy to grow in shady, moist places. It has a lovely pinkish flower and an earthy, mildly spicy aroma.

Thai people use the plant for culinary purposes, and people in Southern China use it for medicinal purposes. Many feel that it can help with the digestive system and nausea and to clear congestion. It’s purported to help with swelling and discomfort, and makes a great oil for those with minor back or joint discomfort. The essential oil as well can help with these issues and is also helps to dispel excessive, busy, worrisome thoughts.

Here is a recipe using Finger Root Essential Oil that can be used for achiness and soreness and also as a chest rub for congestion. When I used this I also received the side benefit of a good night’s sleep!

 

Respiratory/Joint Support Blend                                                                          

1 ounce of unscented Olive Lotion

6 drops of Finger Root

4  drops of Kunzea

3  drops of Sweet Orange

3  drops of Fragonia

Mix eos into lotion well, and apply whats needed to problem area.

All is Well Blend  (for personal inhaler)

4  drops Finger Root

3  drops of Lime

2  drops of Grapefruit

2  drops of Clary Sage

2  drops of Patchouli

Apply drops of eos to wick in personal inhaler. Relax!

Download Product Template Sheet here.

My Travel Kit – Part 2

By: Diane Mishler, Certified Aromatherapist

 

For those of us who do not live in New York , certain words are conjured up when contemplating visiting this great city. For me, it’s synonymous with words like excitement, bustle, sophistication, food, traffic, and diversity. A great place to experience and it will take more than one trip in your life to even touch all that it has to offer.

A few of us Aromatherapists from Plant Therapy went to the Big Apple to attend the Healthy Brands Showcase, which featured vendors from different companies. We also attended classes on CO2 distillation. We are always learning so we can be better informed and offer safe information and education to our customers. Travel to any city, although fun and wonderful, can also mean stress, exhaustion, exposure to illness, headaches, digestive issues, sore muscles and other issues that can cut into the enjoyment of a trip.

There are some products that I bring along on a trip to make the experience better. Plant Therapy’s convenient pre-diluted synergy roll-ons can be quite helpful. I make sure that I include some that will help me wind down from a busy day. Some of my favorites are Tranquil, Tension Relief and Worry Free. They help  quiet the mind, relax the body and bring a more peaceful feeling when everything around you is different from what you are used to.

If the foods in New York don’t tempt you, then you are a stronger person than the three of us. There were signs screaming, “Pizza!”, “Cheesecake!”, “Bagels!” and so many other delectable treats. What could we do? We didn’t want to be rude. For me personally, part of an excursion is trying out the local fare. Repeatedly doing this, added to a hectic schedule, and one can start to feel like your digestive system is “off”. I like to use the DiGiZen roll-on applied to my tummy when I feel a little nausea or indigestion. It soothes and can often divert digestive disaster. I wouldn’t be without it when traveling.

There are so many people in New York City! It’s like a never-ending sea of bodies that you are in the middle of, hoping that you don’t drop something or lose a shoe. It’s amazing and fascinating, but it is also a place where the odds of picking up something that you didn’t start out with can increase. I make sure I bring Germ Fighter or if kids are along on a trip, Germ Destroyer instead. They both can help keep one safer from seasonal threats. Immune Aid or Immune Boom are also great for helping to lend support to us when we are feeling run down or in need of help to our Immune systems.

A convenient item to bring along on a trip are Plant Therapy’s personal inhalers. Be sure to check out this helpful Blog article that we have that explains how to use them – Personal Inhaler Tips and Tricks. They are lightweight, won’t spill and they can be easily tucked in a pocket or purse. Inhalation is a powerful method when using essential oils and these will definitely come in handy.

One other product that can be very helpful is our Aloe Vera Jelly. It’s wonderful as a carrier to your essential oils because it penetrates well, doesn’t leave you oily, and feels light on the skin. It also can be used as a hand sanitizer when a synergy like Germ Destroyer is added.

Travel is always fantastic, but it’s good to be home. My body and mind seem to relax a notch when I get off of that final plane. I take with me many cherished memories and sometimes new friendships. I am content for a short while. Hmmm, I hear there’s a lavender Farm near the ocean in Washington….

DIY Vapor Rub

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

We have had quite the month of sickness at my house.  First my husband spent 8 days with a cold, then I spent 5 days with it, and now both my 7 and 5 year old’s caught it.  They are coughing, suffering with a need to endlessly blow their noses, and just feeling achy and fatigued.  I typically diffuse for upper respiratory issues however we are in the middle of a move and I  don’t have access to my diffusers.

I remember the relief I got when my mom rubbed vicks on my chest when I was little, instantly helping me breathe a little easier.  Fortunately we are in the days of information, and I know that due to the artificial ingredients and chemicals unsafe for little ones that it isn’t the ideal choice for use with my children. I needed to make a safe alternative!

I’m always searching “how to boost immune system”, to take a multifaceted approach to supporting my kids’ health.  The essential oils I chose are powerful tools if you’re seeking ways to boost your immune system. I wanted to pack as much power in this recipe as possible, carefully choosing each ingredient based on its properties.  My intention was to both, help my sons’ breathe a little easier, and kick this illness as quickly as possible.  I absolutely love that Plant Therapy offers batch specific GC/MS reports so I can choose oils high in the constituents I’m looking for.  The percentages I list are for my bottles of essential oils, and if yours is from a different batch the percentages may vary.  I aimed for something a bit softer and easier to apply than a salve, this is more of an ointment consistency which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Beeswax is so fabulously versatile and I use it in many recipes primarily to harden whatever I’m making (deodorant, salves, chapstick).  For this recipe, it’s especially helpful to help hold the aroma longer than a carrier oil which quickly absorbs into our skin.  It also has vitamin A which nourishes the skin, and supports a healthy immune system.

Solid coconut oil has a high amount of Lauric Acid which is helpful in supporting a healthy immune system.  Due to having a high comedogenic level (can clog pores) I don’t use it in my facial products, even though it is moisturizing, but with application to the chest, I’m not concerned about clogging pores.

Fragonia contains approximately 30% of the chemical constituent 1,8 cineole.  This is one of the essential oils that has a low enough level of 1,8 cineole to be safe for children (under 40%), but still offers the benefits of an essential oil high in this constituent.  1,8 cineole is helpful with clearing congestion, breaking up phlegm, warding off seasonal threats, and shortening the length of an illness. This essential oil is great for helping my sick ones get better faster, helping my healthy ones stay healthy, and offer respiratory support to help them breath with ease.

Rosalina has about 42% of the chemical constituent Linalool.  This constituent helps give your immune system a boost, minimize the perception of pain, and help suppress coughing.  It is also helpful at encouraging a restful sleep by calming both the body and mind.  Their coughing seems to increase at night and has caused some issues sleeping so I’m very grateful to have this essential oil to help my boys sleep peacefully.

Cypress has 50% Alpha-pinene which is helpful in warding off seasonal threats and shortening the length of an illness.  It is also helpful at relaxing the lungs and opening the airways to offer optimal oxygen intake, allowing them to take nice, deep breaths.

 

Vapor Rub

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Over a double boiler melt together the beeswax and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your essential oils.
  3. Pour into tin.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Shelf life of 1 year when stored in a cool and dark place.

*Update:

4 Tablespoons of Beeswax Pellets = 1 weighed ounce

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil = 1 weighed ounce

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

Slipping Into Slumber

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

essentialwellbeingheaderimage2


Do you sleep like a baby? Or, do you have trouble slipping into slumber?

I admit that lately I have been having trouble drifting off to a good night’s sleep. Left to my own devices, I am a night owl. Yet, I am one who needs my beauty rest to be at my best. And, lately, I have added more to my daily schedule. All good things, but things that mean I need to plan for a more structured sleep schedule so I can create a healthy rhythm to meet the needs of my mind and body.

Lavender Pillow Reduced

There are many reasons for insomnia (inability to sleep). And, if your inability to sleep is serious, long-term, and affecting your daily life and health, you may want to see your health practitioner to discuss your concern.

What I want to focus on here is perhaps one of the most simple sources of sleeplessness. And, that is ensuring that we are properly preparing the mind and body for slumber.

Many of us tend to go, go, go — and, then, squeeze in one more thing until we run out of enough hours for a proper night’s sleep. Then, when we do finally clock out and fall into bed physically fatigued, our brains may still be working overtime. And, if you take your electronics to bed, you have a few more strikes against your quest for sleep. Not only are they stimulating to the mind and body, the light emitted also suppresses the natural sleep hormone, melatonin. [1]

On average, most adults require between 7 and 8 hours of deeply restorative sleep a night to maintain their wellbeing.[2] So, what happens when we get by on six, five, or maybe even less hours sleep? Not only does it put us into the debit column for the next day’s functional needs, lack of sleep begins to have immediate and long-term consequences on our wellbeing.

According to sleep research, effects of sleep deprivation include: [3]

  • Drowsy driving, which slows reaction time as much as drunk driving, after only one night’s loss of proper sleep;
  • Impacted ability to learn, think, concentrate and store memory information from the day;
  • Chronic sleep loss is linked to risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes;
  • Those who suffer from long-term insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression; and
  • Sleep is also required for a healthy immune system.[4]

When we are deprived of sleep, we deprive our body the ability to restore. I first learned of this after injuring my spinal cord. As part of my multi-disciplinary rehabilitation regimen, my physician was intensely focused on the quality and quantity of my nightly sleep. He explained slumber is the vital period required by the body to restore and renew — critical functions to the rehabilitation process. Research has indicated sleep is the time when the body repairs through “muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis and growth hormone release.” [5]

And, then, there is the ability to function mentally and emotionally. Back in 2003, my personal physician was head of the one of the earlier medical school  integrative medicine departments. At the time, I was going through a hellish divorce while trying to balance my responsibilities at work and had reached my wit’s end after enduring six sleepless weeks.

I was not only beyond physically exhausted, I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted as well. At a time when I needed to be sharp, I was foggy, forgetful, moody and emotional. My spirits were down. I couldn’t make thoughtful decisions. I felt dull. I was slow to respond and found myself going in circles while trying to mentally sort things out.

Desperate for sleep and functionality, I went to see my physician to ask for a short-term prescription to get that elusive sleep that always seemed to be just out of reach. We talked about the issues that seemed to be the source. And, then, she had this to say. She indeed had a prescription. But, it was not for a medication.

It was for what she called “sleep hygiene,” a process of preparing the body for slipping into slumber. She exacted a promise from me that I would follow her sleep preparation process exactly as given for exactly one week. If it did not work and I did not sleep by the seventh night (if not before), she would write me the prescription for the medication. I left bewildered and not a total believer, but willing to try knowing there was sleep at the end of the tunnel one way or another.

Here were her instructions:

  • One hour before bedtime, shut off all electronics – TV, phone, radio, computer – everything
  • No reading – even things that seem relaxing, because the act of reading and thinking still stimulates the brain.
  • Drink a large mug of warm, chamomile tea.
  • Immediately following, take a very warm lavender and epsom salt bath. Soak for about 20 minutes.
  • Wrap the body in warm robe, or pajamas and immediately get into bed.
  • Shut off the lights, put your head on the pillow and close the eyes.

It was not easy. To get the appropriate amount of rest, I needed to be asleep by 10:00 p.m., which meant I needed to start this regimen at 9:00 p.m. each night. That meant missing TV shows (back before DVR) and letting friends and family know I would not be available for phone chats. Fortunately (to make things easier), it was before smart phones and tablets that put computer communications in the palm of our hands. I also lived alone, which meant I could create a silent sanctuary. This might be were soothing spa music or white noise could come in handy to create a sound-filtered space.

I have to admit, the first several nights, I just laid there. But, since I was training my body for a new regimen, lay there I did.  At least, I was resting. After several nights, I started to get drowsy and would eventually drift off. By the last few nights I was drifting off soon after getting into bed.

As it turned out, slipping into slumber was within my grasp after all. In my case, regardless of what I was going through, the source of my sleeplessness was my lack of preparation, especially under trying circumstances. I never did need that prescription.

What I understand now was that I was not only creating conditions more conducive to signal sleep, I was also resetting the button to create a new pattern to signal my sleep rhythm. And, while I have the best of intentions, like most of us, I can drift away from healthy practices. When I find myself having difficulty drifting off, I realize it is time to bring out the regimen to, once again, retrain my mind and body.

I was blessed to have an integrative medicine physician who not only advocated natural remedies, but also who understood the benefits of aromatherapy in this remedial and relaxing routine. I had already been using aromatherapy for a few years at this point, but was amazed to find it provided such a simple, yet significant, means of support as part of my physician’s care plan for sleep deprivation relief.

Lavender  has been well documented to support relaxation by reducing stress hormones and increasing neurotransmitters that promote improved rest and mood.[6] Roman Chamomile has long been used in aromatherapy for it’s relaxing benefits. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) identifies its therapeutic value for relieving tension and worry as well as supporting slumber. [7]

In addition to the relaxation routine outlined above, I have incorporated lavender and roman chamomile essential oils into some blends below to support your efforts to better slip into slumber.

 

Relaxing Bath Blend

Relaxing to both mind and body

2 drops lavender

2 drops roman chamomile 

1 drop sweet marjoram

1 – 2 T natural body wash

½ – 1 c Epsom salts

Add essential oils to body wash to disburse. Mix in Epsom salts. Add under running very warm running water.

 

Clear and Calm Diffuser Blend

Clearing, cleansing, clarifying and calming.

3 drops lemon

2 drops lavender fine

Diffuse for 30 to 60 minutes for a clearing and calming experience.

 


Sources:

[1] Hatfield, Heather. “How TV, Internet, and Other Electronic Devices Impact Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

[2] “Adult Sleep Needs at Every Age: From Young Adults to the Elderly.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

[3] Peri, Camille. “10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep.” WebMD. WebMD, 2014. Web. 13 July 2016.

[4] “Why Sleep Matters.” Healthy Sleep: Understanding the Third of Our Lives We So Often Take for Granted. Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 2008. Web. 19 July 2016.

[5] “Why Sleep Matters.” Healthy Sleep: Understanding the Third of Our Lives We So Often Take for Granted. Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 2008. Web. 19 July 2016.

[6] The Therapeutic Foundations of Essential Oils. Robert Tisserand. Tisserand Institute. Tisserand Institute, June 2015. Web. 19 July 2016.

[7] “National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.” Most Commonly Used Essential OIls | . National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

 


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