Take a moment to just breath and relax!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quick Relief For "Pain in the Butt"

Many people suffer from lower back pain, especially in the area of the sacrum causing the common complaint of sciatica. The symptoms of this condition can be a cramping sensation of the thigh or shooting pains from the buttocks spreading down the legs. Sometimes, there can be tingling, or a pins/needles sensation in the legs and thighs as well as some complaints of deep and sometimes severe pain starting low on one side of the back.

The cold weather of winter will sometimes aggravate the sciatic nerve which is the longest and widest single nerve in the human body. This nerve begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the leg. This nerve supplies feelings to the whole skin area of the leg, as well as the muscles of the back of the thigh and the muscles of the leg and foot. Pain that is caused by a compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve by any problems in the lower back is then called sciatica.

As with any major health or pain related problem it is important to be diagnosed by a qualified health care professional. The use of essential oils can greatly reduce this type of pain as well as create healing to the muscles and nerves while at the same time increasing circulation and helping to cool inflamed areas.

One of the most common causes of sciatica is when the nerve is being compressed by the periformis muscle and can be as simple as making sure that you are not sitting on a wallet or other bulges in the back pocket of your trousers. The periformis muscle can also be easily compromised by a fall or other trauma to the hips and buttocks area, causing the muscles to be hypertonic and thereby compressing the nerves.

Compresses with essential oils over the inflames and painful areas would certainly be a part of your treatment strategy. Cold compresses can be very helpful when the area feels warm to the touch. Hot compresses are very soothing for painful areas, but should be alternated with the cold.

Here are just a few of my favorite essential oils to use when plagued with sciatica pain.

German Chamomile has mild analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Geranium is great for all types of neuralgia problems.
Marjoram is a wonderful for relaxing tight, muscles.
Rosemary has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and is antispasmodic.
Black Pepper helps to tone the muscles and reduce swelling to the nerve pathways.
Peppermint is good for cooling inflamed areas and is a great analgesic.

So next time you feel that tight, cramping "pain in the butt" sensation reach for some essential oils to help bring about quick, effective relief.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Rich Aromas of the Holidays

Everyone loves the smells of the holiday season, orange and clove mixed with splashes of cinnamon and nutmeg as well as the fragrant ginger and allspice. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps one of the reasons that these warm and earthy smells are so inviting this time of year is because of the healing properties that they infuse into our beings?

Orange Oil is a harmonious oil that loves to play nicely with other oils. Orange helps to lift the extra tensions that can be found during the winter months, especially around the holidays. This wonderful oil has an invigorating effect and can help increase circulation.

Clove Oil is very effective at killing germs and bacteria. It is also great as an anti-inflammatory agent. During the winter months when house plants will sometimes get an infestation of tiny gnats, clove oil will kill them.

Cinnamon Oil is a great anti-septic and is wonderful for instilling emotional strength, offering peace and composure. Cinnamon Oil also helps to remove dampness and mildew from the air.

Nutmeg helps to increase energy by supporting the adrenal glands. Nutmeg is a wonderful oil for nausea, especially brought about by over eating. Nutmeg is also wonderful for joint pain associated with the cold and flu season.

Ginger's warm and somewhat spicy aroma can help to set a romantic as well as a relaxed mood. It is wonderful for congestion associated with colds and flu. This oil is a wonderful immune booster.

Allspice stimulates the circulation system of the body creating a warming and relaxing effect especially in cases of physical and mental fatigue. The oil can also help to relieve stomachaches and intestinal colic. Allspice is also used to help balance the appetite and give encouragement during times of sadness and grief.

Now that we have talked about a few of the spices of the holidays lets not forget the beautiful fragrance of the stately pine. Pine helps to keep our respiratory passages open and helps promote expectoration when needed. The smell of pine will also relieve swollen nasal mucosa lining, and relieve sore throats. It's cool scent has anti fungal and antiseptic properties. Pine can also be a tremendous help with insomnia.

So perhaps the smells and aromas of the holidays are not just pleasing, they are also extremely beneficial to the overall health and well being of you and your family through the long winter months.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sweet Orange Oil

A beautiful orange grove is a joy to behold and a delight to smell. The fresh, sweet citrusy aroma can make you feel as if you are eating the most delectable fruit straight from the tree. The sweet orange tree gives us three types of essential oils. Petigrain oil comes from the foliage of the tree, Neroli oil is developed from the flowers and then the orange peels themselves give us a beautiful, full bodied essential oil.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil improves the mood, calms anxiety and lifts the spirits. This wonderful oil can also stimulate circulation, aid in digestion and help to maintain healthy, youthful skin. Sweet Orange Essential Oil will help boost collagen production and reduce skin puffiness and blemishes. This oil also works in harmony with many other essential oils and flowery scents or floral waters.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil has many health benefits as will as domestic cleaning application, but it is also wonderful to cook with. Orange oil is surprisingly inexpensive; so because of its many uses, it is a good choice when deciding which oils to buy.

Don't forget that the fresh scent of Sweet Orange Essential Oil is a good remedy nausea during pregnancy, and it has no side effects other than the possibility of a photo-toxic effect on the skin so Sweet Orange Essential Oil should be avoided as a topical skin application if you are planning on being exposed to the sun.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fighting infections With Nature

Some of the most powerful infection fighters can be created with the concentrated elements of nature. Essential oils will penetrate the skin quickly and pass into the body's tissues without having to go through the digestive process first.
Major studies at several Universities, such as Weber State Unversity in Ogden, Utah as well as Hoshi University in Japan and North Dakota State University have shown that a large number of essential oil components have a tremendous germ-killing effect as well as having the ability to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus, Micrococcus, Bacillus and Enterobacter strains of bacteria. These and many other compounds found in oils that contain menthol, eucalyptol, linalool and citral exhibit very Strong antimicrobial effects. These oils would include peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, Tea Tree and oregano.

In this season of joy and celebration we all want to be at our optimal health so why not use some of these and other oils to diffuse into the air, making our living and working spaces healthier and safer as they lift our spirits and magnify a greater frequency within our bodies.

A great recipe for sanitizing the air, while at the same time helping to boost the immune system would be to mix equal parts of peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium, orange, clove and cinnamon. Smells like the holidays and adds many layers of healing too.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rose-Otto Oil

Since ancient times, the rose has inspired reverence and wonder; the blossom has been called the queen of flowers. It is not surprising, then, that rose-otto oil was probably the first flower essence ever distilled. Its sensuous and infatuating aroma and the rich bouquet of ingredients give rose-otto oil a broad array of healing properties. This wonderful oil will help fight many bacteria and viruses. It promotes the healing of wounds and reduces inflammation. Today, the finest rose-otto oil comes from Bulgaria, and its production is a very tedious process. As a result, rose-otto oil is one of the most costly. About 30 flowers, picked by hand in the early morning hours are needed to make one drop of the oil. In fact, more than two tons of roses must be distilled to make a single pound of the rose-otto oil.

The active agents in rose-otto oil have germicidal, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. This wonderful oil can help calm the nerves and lift depression.

Rose-otto oil exerts a soothing effect on the entire nervous system. It can be used to treat many psychological conditions as well as physical. This oil works particularly well as a treatment for shingles, anxiety, stress and depression. Because rose-otto oil helps to regulate levels of some female hormones, it may help to regulate irregular menstrual periods. IT may also help to improve uterine muscle tone.

Rose water, a by product of the distillation process, clears the skin of impurities and may help to treat or even prevent acne.

Rose-otto can be used to ease childbirth, treat irregular menstruation, headaches, fever, insomnia, skin inflammations, depression, anxiety, sadness and grief. This wonderful oil works really well with essential oils of sandlewood, neroli and English lavender.

Store rose-otto oil in a dark, tinted glass bottle away from light in a place where the temperature does not fluctuate a lot. Open the bottle as infrequently as possible to retain its potency.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Magnificent Marjoram

Marjoram essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops by a process of steam distillation. A thick, pale yellow liquid, marjoram oil has a warm, herbaceous, and slightly spicy scent that many people find very comforting.

The primary components of marjoram have a relaxing and balancing effect on the body and the mind. This magnificent oil soothes muscle and joint pain and helps to promote circulation. It is often used to treat muscle and joint pain due to overexertion, rheumatism and many types of arthritis.

Inhalations of essential oil of marjoram can help relieve respiratory ailments and asthma, as well as coughs and sinusitis.

Essential oil of marjoram also has beneficial effects on the hair and scalp; it helps condition the hair and promotes healthy blood circulation to the scalp which in turn supports healthy growth.

On an emotional level, the oil of marjoram is especially valuable during the grieving process, as it can comfort and help relax the body and the mind.

Essential Oil of Marjoram works well in combination with other oils such as basil, lime and peppermint for exhaustion and nervous tension. For menstrual cramping it can be added to clary-sage or for headaches it can be mixed with black pepper and a small amount of peppermint and applied as a cool compress to the back of the neck.

Remember that the magnificent marjoram is not just a wonderful cooking spice, it has many applications for health, comfort and well being.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Helichrysum Oil

The Unique, aromatic scent of helichrysum oil helps to clear the mind, awaken the senses and promote inner peace and serenity. This wonderful plant is also called everlasting, strawflower and immortelle. Helichrysum is best known as a flower that keeps its shape and color when it is dried and is therefore often included in dried flower arrangements and wreaths. Helichrysum is a hardy evergreen that bears long stems with velvety needles and clusters of ball-shaped white to golden flower heads.

Originally from the Mediterranean region, it was used by the ancient Romans to repel moths and then gained a following for its honeylike fragrance. The flower is often strewn on floors in Europe because of the sweet aroma that is produced when it is crushed under foot. The plant's essential oil is distilled from several species, such as Helichrysum italicum and Helichrysum angustifolium and it has a soothing, pleasant scent.

Essential oil of Helichrysum can help to alleviate skin irritation, aching muscles and joints as well as aid in upper respiratory congetion. On an emotional level, the essential oil assists with creativity and intuition. It blends well with many other oils including cypress, clary sage, juniper, lavender, pin, bergmot, lemon, rosemary, tea tree and geranium.

Since helichrysum oil helps to stimulate the flow of lymph and firms the skin, it can help to relieve varicose veins and edema. Helichrysum has anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bathing Away the Blaahs

Few activities are as soothing and as relaxing as taking a warm bath; soaking seems to ease not only sore muscles but emotional tension, as well. If you are suffering from congestion such as with hay fever or colds, bathing can offer the extra advantage of encouraging your body to sweat the toxins out. Adding essential oils can truly turn the experience into a healing bath. Baths give the oils a double route into the body through scent diffused in the steam and through the skin. Warmed by the bath water, the skin is more permeable to the oils, which can then enter the bloodstream in a faster manner, releasing their therapeutic effects. A thyme oil bath, for instance, works to strengthen the weakened resistance of your body; using eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils will loosen the chest and dry up nasal mucus to help relieve the congestion. Baths containing essential oils also provide an added benefit when mixed with a small amount of a carrier oil, such as almond or olive oil. This will help to moisturize, condition and soften your skin.

Remember that oil will float on water so mix even the carrier oil in a small amount of sea or Epsom's salt and then mixing in the bath water will ensure that they don't evaporate or only lie on the top of the water.

A few simple rules to remember about soaking in a bath;
1. Never take a bath on a full stomach; it can irritate the digestive system.
2. Try not to soak for longer than 20 minutes, any longer and the skin becomes over worked and dried out.

Combining a bath with essential oils can both soothe the spirit and heal the body. The medicinal effects of your bath will vary according to the essential oil chosen. The essential oil of tea tree is antiseptic, rosemary is an expectorant, and thyme will strengthen the immune system.

To maximize the effects of the bath, dry-brush your skin with a natural fiber brush before bathing to open up the pores and remove dead skin. Massage your skin with gentle and circular motions while you are in the bath to help bring blood to the surface. In addition, a massage helps to tone the muscles and energize the body.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Days

With the beautiful days of summer blazing down hot upon us, people are always looking for great ways to sooth the burn, cool down the skin but at the same time moisturize and feed it.

A quiet essential oil that doesn't get much recognition is Ylang-ylang oil. This beautiful oil is native to the Philippines and comes from a tree that can reach heights of over 60 feet. The blossoms from the Ylang-ylang tree are harvested before sunrise to retain the highest amounts of oil and then are extracted through steam distillation. The exotic smelling oil is valuable for softening the skin and helping to balance natural production of moisture.

A wonderful recipe for easing the pain of sunburned skin, while supporting the formation of new skin tissue is as follows: add 7 drops of Ylang-ylang oil, to 5 drops of English Lavender oil, and 3 drops of Frankincense oil, and 1 drop of Peppermint oil to 3 Tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in 1 quart of cool water. Soak a clean cloth in the solution and apply to the affected areas by gently blotting.

Ylang-ylang has many other uses such as headaches, high blood pressure, anger, fear and mild depression.

NOTE: try to make sure your Ylang-ylang oil is hexane or solvent free other wise you might find the smell mildly nauseating or causing mild headache reactions.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Natural Aftershave

Did you realize that the principles of aromatherapy are practiced whenever cologne, aftershave or any other scented product is used, whether it is to add a pleasant fragrance, to mask odors, or create an astringent action on the skin but instead of using chemical reproductions or synthetics why not use natural products that feed and nourish the mind as well?

Throughout history men have used essential oils to treat wounds and restore their mind and spirits. Anciently the Egyptian priests would also use essential oils for embalming and Greek soldiers would carry different compounds into battle to help treat wounds.

A common, everyday use for essential oils would be in treating irritated skin after shaving. Shaving irritation can result in a painful, burning sensation on the cheeks and around the mought, but aftershave made from natural ingredients can soothe the skin.

Blend 10 drops each of lavender and sandalwood into 3 ounces of jojoba or grapeseed oil and then add 3 to 4 drops of lemongrass. Shake the mixture well and then gently pat it onto your face after shaving. If you prefer an antiseptic type aftershave, add 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil and 1 ounce of witch hazel. Shake well and apply as needed.

Hair loss is an issue that concerns many men. Sandalwood, Cedarwood, basil, sypress and rosemary oils can help stimulate hair growth. Mix 10 drops each of any two of these essential oils listed and mix with 4 ounces grapeseed oil, apricot oil, almond oil or jojoba oil and massage a few drops of the mixture into your scalp twice each day. NOTE: if you choose to use basil oil only use 5 drops!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Often Over Looked

Everyone seems to know that Mandarin is a member of the orange family and originated in China, however Essential oil of Mandarin is often over looked as an important oil to use for mental strain, mental exhaustion and stress, especially in the work place. A really great advantage to this wonderful oil is that it can safely be used during all stages of Pregnancy. Pressed from the peels, Essential oil of Mandarin emits a flowery, sweet aroma which seems to be especially popular with children.

Some women who suffer from PMS have found that Essential Oil of Mandarin eases their distress prior to and during menstruation. This is also a beneficial oil to use in the prevention of stretch marks, combine 50 drops of Essential Oil of Mandarin with one half cup of your favorite massage oil such as almond, coconut or even extra virgin olive oil and gently massage into the breasts and abdomen every evening before retiring.

You can lighten the sober, sterile atmosphere of a hospital with a few drops of mandarin oil in a spritzer or spray bottle, help to chase away the septic odor common in hospital rooms. Essential oil of Mandarin can also help lift the feelings of anxiety and nervousness as well as the the tension of contracting muscles.

Remember that Essential oil of Mandarin is slightly yellow and can leave a residue on materials. If you apply Essential oil of Mandarin to the skin, be sure to avoid any direct exposure to the sun for a minimum of 6 hours after application because skin that has been treated with Essential oil of Mandarin can develop stubborn brown spots when exposed to the rays of the sun of tanning beds.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Essential Oil of Bergamot

Many people wonder what Bergamot Oil is and where it comes from. We most likely have Columbus to thank for transporting the Bergamot tree from it native home in the Canary Islands to Italy. The fruit of the Bergamot tree is inedible and is very bitter, however the essential oil which is pale emerald green in color and has a slightly sweet, almost lemon/orange scent is very useful in aromatherapy.
Bergamot Oil is most commonly known for it's culinary use in Earl Grey teas giving it a wonderful flavor and delightful aroma.
Bergamot Oil has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can help treat such things as urinary tract infections. This wonderful oil is restorative and can help you combat fatigue due to stress or illness. When it is combined with essential oil of lime is can help to counter depression. Bergamot has also been very effective in the treatment of acne and many insect bites, as well as helping to clear up cold sores. Bergamot Oil can help ease the discomfort of chicken pox especially when combined with the drying power of eucalyptus oil.
Like many citrus based essential oils, Bergamot oil is considered to be photo toxic. When you use regular Bergamot Oil, or any citrus based oil, for that matter, avoid exposing your skin to direct sunlight for at least 4 to 6 hours following the application; exposure to the sun may lead to skin discoloration, blistering or even severe burning.
If you are concerned about any particular essential oil and any reaction you might have to it, always do a patch test. Simply apply 1 to 2 drops of the oil in question to the inside of your wrist of the forearm and then check the spot for any redness or irritation after an hour or two has gone by.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Create A Yummy Complexion & Soft Hands

Sometimes the simplest ingredients from your kitchen can be used to make the nicest feeling, younger looking skin. For instance, the following ingredients can be used to create a great facial treatment that will leave your skin smooth and soft. Mix thoroughly 1/2 cup of baking cocoa powder with 3 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup of raw honey, 8 drops of essential oil of English Lavender and 2 tablespoons old fashion rolled oats that have been finely crushed. Gently rinse face with warm, not hot, water and then apply mixture evenly to face. Lie back and relax for 10 to 15 minutes and then gently wash off with warm water and soft cloth.

Next concentrate on your hands; mix 1/2 cup of raw, granulated sugar with 1/4 of sea salt, 5-6 drops of English Lavender and 1 tablespoon of good, extra virgin olive oil. Cover hands with mixture and gently massage into each hand making sure to involve the wrists. Let stand on hands for 5-6 minutes and then rinse off under warm, running water. This will help to soften and deep clean the skin and nails.

What a fun activity for a girls night in!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fungus Can Be An Easy Foe

One of the most common, and persistent fungal infections around is Athlete's Foot -Tinea pedis. This is caused by the ringworm infections Trichophyton rubrum; Trichophyton interdigitale; or Epidermophyton floccosum.
Essential Oils that research has shown to be effective against the Trichophyton species include:
Citrus limonum - lemon; Cymbopogon citratus - lemongrass; Foeniculum vulgare - fennel; Lavandula angustifolia (officinalis) - lavender; Melaleuca alternifolia - tea tree; Melissa officinalis - melissa; Ocimum basilicum - basil; Ocimum gratissimum - wild basil; Pelagonium graveolens - geranium; Rosmarinus officinalis - rosemary; Thymus vulgaris - thyme; Vetiveria zizanioides - vetiver.

Essential Oils that research has shown to be effective against the Epidermophyton species include: Citrus limonum - lemon; Cymbopogon citratus - lemongrass; Foeniculum vulgare - fennel; Melaleuca alternifolia - tea tree; Mentha spicata - spearmint.

Armed with this information it makes sense that one would first try essential oils. However, one must keep in mind that because of the tenaciousness of fungal infections as a whole, one must be prepared to continue the treatment over a period of time in order to see results. A minimum of a month is generally recommended and sometimes depending on the strain and the severity it might take up to a year to affect a change.

Using anti-fungal essential oils while bathing or showering is especially important because fungal infections thrive and try to grow in warm, moist environments. All of the oils mentioned above can easily be added to Epsons salts to combat fungal infections.

Pathogenic Fungi have a tendency to hibernate along the spinal cord and in the lymphatic system. The body can then hold them in a suspended state for long periods of time; hence the reason that these types of infections are so difficult to get rid of.

When the immune system becomes compromised from stress, fatigue or other factors, these pathogens can be released. Lymphatic drainage therapy can help remove dormant fungi.

Alkalizing the body will also make it easier for you to rid the body of disease of any kind.

Acidophilus cultures have also been shown to help combat fungus overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Is In The Air

Essential oils can play a very important part of welcoming spring into the home, office and personal life. The old lines about spring cleaning and the welcoming of new life will always play an important part of the human existence. So get ready to gracefully usher out the old, the stale, and the slightly dusty. Essential oils like geranium, bay laurel and lavender can help rejuvenate in a clear and simple manner while ravensara, thyme, and rosemary increase feelings of vitality. Adding several drops of tea tree and clary sage to the dryer will freshen and give an airy uplifting to sheets, pillows and drapes.

For those of you who may not have used Bay Laurel much let me explain that this beautiful oil is stimulating and uplifting. It can restore the adrenals and help lift the immune system. Bay Laurel is wonderful to use in the early spring because it can be a very useful tool in fighting tiny new insects especially those found around potted plants. Some feel that Bay Laurel has a somewhat masculine scent but balances beautifully with geranium or lavender.

So break out of the ordinary and spend some time getting to know essential oil of bay laurel as you "spring clean."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

With spring right around the corner it is time to start thinking more seriously about refreshing our lives. Essential oils can be the easiest and more effective way in which to clean out the hard to reach, hidden corners of our lives. The beautiful and uplifting notes of the citrus and mint families can brighten and refesh everything from furniture and floors to our personal mind set. Essential oils such as clove, gernaium, lavender, spruce, lime and even spearmint are great natural additives in the laundry room and can be used by placing a few drops on a cotton cloth and thrown in the drier.

With the coming of summer the need for pest control becomes more of an issue and there is no better way to repel unwanted pests than the use of Essential oils. Everyone knows that citronella is a powerful warrior but did you know that oils used in a combination can keep the bugs away without harmful chemicals? The following recipe is easy to make, easy to use, SMELLS GREAT and best of all NO chemicals!

In a two ounce spray bottle, combine 1 Tablespoon jojoba oil with 50 drops of Sandlewood oil, 30 drops of cajeput oil, 25 drops of Geranium, 10 drops of Cedarwood and 15 drops of Lavender. Finish by filling the bottle the rest of the way up with 50% distilled water and 50% vodka. Try it you will like it! Mist the exposed areas of the body before going outdoors. CAUTION< avoid spraying the face, instead spray a small amount in the the hands and then gently apply to the face being careful not to get the mixture into the eyes as this will cause a burning sensation.

Spring time pests such as tiny "sugar" ants cannot stand the taste and aroma of lemongrass, tea tree and patchouli. Misting corners and doorways will keep them from returning.

Think about the many properties of the different oils and let your imagination run with great ideas for your home and property while enjoying the fresh aromas that will lift your heart and mind.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Understanding Is Key

Feelings of intense sadness can be the result of a recent loss or other sad event but another key element of mood disorders can be contributed to light deprivation such as during the winter months when the days are very short. During the winter months especially, feelings of depression come more frequently for some and last much longer for others. Statistics have shown that post holiday mood swings elevate in February and March as we long for spring to make it's appearance and the cold dreary days of winter to subside. Understanding the symptoms can always go a long way into helping deal with the experience of depression.
Symptoms will typically develop gradually over a period of time, days or weeks, and can include feelings of mild sadness, guilt or hopelessness. Other symptoms can also be a loss of interest, difficulty in being able to concentrate and a lack of decisiveness.
Just the right blend of essential oils can help to lighten and uplift one's mood. Just the right blend applied on the pulse points, similar to the wearing of perfumes, or diffusing in the air, using in baths or delicately adding to massage therapy can lighten as well as uplift the heart and mind.
Different oils speak to different symptoms and can be custom fit for each individual need. If your mood tends to be one of restlessness you might consider including the oils that help to calm, such as those in the chamomile family or Clary sage, lavender, sandalwood and ylang ylang. If you are suffering from feelings of lethargy you might want to consider some of the more uplifting oils such as geranium, jasmine, tangerine, bergamot and rose. Neroli can help with anxiety!
The exact causes of depression may not be fully understood, but there is always help and hope. Nature gives us both in the gentle uses of essential oils.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Virtues of Lavender Oil

The sweet smelling herb, Lavender as a long and legendary history. In the 12th century, Hildegard von Bingen who was a Catholic nun and noted herbalist, had this to say about the many virtues of Lavender; "Especially good for all forms of headaches, especially migraine and can be used as a restorative and tonic against weakness, spasms, giddiness, colic and vertigo. It will cause melancholy to go away and will raise the spirits. A drop or two in a glass of water is a good gargle for hoarseness and the loss of voice."

Later in 1910, Gattefosse, the father of modern aromatherapy, experimented widely with Lavender oil. He found it to be very beneficial to the nerves, calming to the skin, useful in treating colds and flu. It can be useful for such skin disorders as acne

Lavender oil can be employed as an aromatic, an agent to sooth the digestive system as well as an agent to sooth the nervous system, making it the perfect oil for mental stress such as test anxieties or job interviews and even first dates.

Lots of things have been said about the virtues of Lavender oil, and many more things will yet be said as people fall in love all over again with this wonderful and therapeutic oil.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Subject Of Great Controversy

A Subject of great controversy is whether or not essential oils can be used in oral applications. In the United States, most people avoid this conversation all together because most don't want to be involved in the subject so they give the advice of "when in doubt, don't."

With any subject we should take the time to think the situation through. The commercial Food industry has used essential oils for years as flavoring agents, and the American FDA provides a food-grade rating to indicate purity and safety even for some aromatic oils which are synthetic. These oils have no therapeutic effect however and should never be used for aromatherapy application.

In France and Germany, it is not unusual for a physician to prescribe oral doses of pure essential oils to treat many conditions that are routinely treated with antibiotics in other countries.

We now live in a world where knowledge and information travels, literally, around the globe in mere seconds making the world a very small place in reality. As people learn more about essential oils they will want to be able to take advantage of their potential healing power. It is important to remember that in almost every example, a little may do you great good but an overdose can do you great harm. The use of essential oils is no different in their applications.

The key to any subject is the willingness of the individual to engage in real and honest research so that they become informed consumers.

Current research has shown that assimilation of orally ingested essential oils occurs primarily in the duodenum and the first third of the intestinal tract. No digestion of fats occur in the stomach. Absorption of the active ingredients in essential oils occur on contact with the surface of the mucous membranes. Now think about the contact of 1 drop of essential oil, it is a very small area and the oil is very concentrated. If that same drop is then dissolved in an excipient such as a vegetable oil, honey, or water then the surface of contact is greatly increased and not so concentrate. This is why most therapist recommend that oral doses of essential oils be taken in an excipient for efficacy as well as safety. In fact a lot of therapist have recently started recommending that drops of essential oils be placed in gelatin capsules and then swallowed, however this application while useful and effective tends to defeat the purposes behind AROMA-therapy because it bypasses the olfactory system and does not include the brain in the message system.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Use A Helping Hand

Essential oils are highly concentrated and using a very small amount, counted in drops, can be very effective. Getting a helping hand from carrier or base oils helps the essential oils do their work more effectively especially when using them in massage applications or with young children.

The carrier or base oil serves as a gentle lubricant allowing smoothing distribution over the skin's surface. Different carrier oils are used for different purposes, but common to all is the need for the carrier to be 100% pure and without an odour that could overpower the aromas of the essential oils. Most carrier oils contain vitamins and minerals and the texture will moisturize the skin. These oils are produced from the nuts, seeds, beans or kernels of a wide variety of plants. A few of the more common carrier oils are sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado,
grape seed, sesame seed and wheatgerm.

Sweet Almond oil is derived from the kernels of the almonds by warm pressing; however this oil should never be confused with bitter almond oil which contains prussic acid or cyanide. Sweet almond trees have pink blossoms whereas bitter almond trees bloom with white blossoms.

Sweet Almond oil is one of the most popular carrier oils used in aroma therapy and massage. This oil is not expensive and the vitamin E content helps to preserve the oil. It will nourish the skin and is very useful in cases of eczema and other irritations. Sweet Almond oil is high in vitamins A, B and E.

Apricot kernel oil is high in essential fatty acids, although, unlike the fruit, it does not contain many vitamins. The is very light in texture, and is particularly suited to facial massage. Excellent for dry, sensitive or mature skins as it is absorbed easily.

Mechanical pressing followed by centrifugal extraction is used to obtain avocado oil from the flesh of the fruit. Grown largely in Mexico as well as part of the Southern United States and South America this oil is wonderful on the abdomen and legs of pregnant women who wish to avoid common stretch marks. The oil is a deep green colour and is full of vitamins, lecithin, protein and essential fatty acids. It has a tendency to become cloudy and thick when cold, but gentle warming of the bottle with warm hands will reverse this process.

Grape seed oil is obtained from the seeds of grapes, and is often imported from wine growing areas in Europe. Without any noticeable odour, grape seed is universally used in aromatherapy for its non-greasy, silky feel. Generally grape seed oil is even more inexpensive than sweet almond oil and many people will mix the two for color and texture.

Sesame seed oil is extracted from the seeds, it is light and has virtually no odour. This oil has the advantage of washing out of towels better than grape seed or sweet almond oil. Because it is a monounsaturated oil it will retain its freshness longer than some other oils and will not go rancid in strong sunlight or excessive heat.

Cold expression of Wheatgerm oil is performed to extract this thick, rich oil which is very nourishing and contains B vitamins as well as vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The vitamin E makes wheatgerm oil a natural antioxidant helping to extend the shelf life even after exposure to oxygen, light or temperature changes. It is useful for dry skin, scar tissue and burns.

There are many other carrier oils, but those outlined are easily available, relatively inexpensive and offer a versatile selection for the purpose of aromatherapy.