Jun 10

Essential Oils to Relieve Common Problems

There are many types of essential oils available at your local health food store, but what exactly can you do with them? If you’re unfamiliar with their versatile uses, the Canadian Health Food Association recommends trying these essential oils to help with three common problems.

Chamomile oil to relieve tight muscles and tension.

We’re all familiar with using chamomile tea as a natural sleep aid, but have you ever thought of putting chamomile in the bath? If all your spring adventuring is giving you muscle cramps, try taking a chamomile bath to relieve those sore muscles. Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, chamomile is effective in providing relief if you’re feeling the tension. After a long day, draw a hot bath, add a couple drops of chamomile essential oil and simply relax. Just be careful not to use too much — essential oils come in small bottles, but a few drops go a long way.

Lavender aromatherapy to reduce stress.

Fight family and workplace stress with lavender, which has been shown to provide calming effects on the body and mind when diffused. It can even improve your mood. You can make your own natural reed diffuser by filling a glass vase with 20 to 30 drops of essential oil for every 240 millilitres of hot water and inserting the reeds. The oils will soak into the reeds and dispense the natural aroma. The diffuser smells pleasant, looks great, and is affordable and easy to do at home.

Tea tree oil to soothe bug bites.

Tea tree oil, with its strong and distinctive smell, is used for its anti-microbial properties to treat skin conditions such as dandruff, acne, lice and minor skin infections. It can also be applied to the skin to soothe the itchy bug bites you’re likely to get in the warmer months. When you’re heading out to go camping or visiting the cottage, bring a small bottle of tea tree oil and apply a drop directly to bug bites.

Be sure to use high-quality, 100 per cent pure essential oils, available at your local CHFA member health food store. Find your nearest store and more natural tips online at chfa.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Jan 24

Aromatherapy Basics – Inhalation, Ingestion and Massage

essential oils with rose

Rose Oils

Getting started with aromatherapy? Here’s a little primer for the beginning to intermediate student of this practice, with some important notes about essential oil safety – There are three traditional methods of using essential oils for ‘aromatherapy’, which have been termed the English, French and German models.

Aromatherapy Massage

The English model consists of what is now termed ‘aromatherapy massage’ – involving the dilution of essential oils in ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oils and application topically to the skin. Because both the essential oils and the carrier oils are compatible with the skin, the essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream with subsequent physiological effect.

Lavender Oils

Lavender Oils

Topical application is the preferred method of use for many oils. However, MOST essential oils require significant dilution (often to less than 3% of the total volume) as they can cause skin irritation. Lavender Oil and Chamomile Oil are two essential oils that can be applied ‘neat’ or without dilution; others, such as Cinnamon Oil and Oregano Oil should never be applied topically undiluted – they may be applied once highly diluted to the bottoms of the feet. A VERY small amount should be tested first.

The interesting thing about topical application is that essential oils tend to pass through the skin fairly readily, as they are lipotropic (fat soluble) and their molecular structure is fairly small. In this manner, their possible effects can be targeted – if one has digestive trouble, rubbing Peppermint Oil diluted in a carrier oil (a pure vegetable or nut oil) into the abdomen may help. In the same way, rubbing Chamomile Oil or Lavender Oil into the solar plexus (bottom tip of the sternum) may help relieve tension.

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy Ingestion

NOTE: ORAL INGESTION OF ESSENTIAL OILS IS NOT RECOMMENDED EXCEPT UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A DOCTOR OR A QUALIFIED AROMATHERAPIST.

The French model consists of ingestion and ‘neat’ or undiluted topical application of essential oils. Perhaps these somewhat bravado methods are a result of the French producing some of the world’s finest Lavender oils – also considered one of the safest oils in aromatherapy. As in the English model, essential oils will easily pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. Many individuals directly apply oils such as Frankincense, Sandalwood and Myrhh to their temples to enhance meditation, for example. This is a practice one should begin slowly with, being sure the body or skin does not show any adverse reactions to before proceeding.

Aromatherapy Oil Lamp

Aromatherapy Oil Lamp

Aromatherapy Inhalation

The German model is that of inhalation, where the oils will directly affect the lymbic system, and the intimately associated emotional and hormonal systems. Oils are often diffused in a cold-air diffuser, warmer or oil lamp – these tools disperse tiny droplets of essential oils in the surrounding air. When inhaled, the oils connect directly to the nervous system’s chemical sensors. Certain oils that are high in sesquiterpines such as myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver and frankincense oils, have been noted to dramatically increase activity and oxygenation in certain areas of the brain when used this way.

With inhalation go slowly and start with a small amount – essential oils are effective in very low doses. You will know when you’ve had enough – we tend to notice a distaste for the smell or even a mild headache coming on if the concentration of certain oils in the air has gotten too high.

Inhalation is often effective for mood-altering effects of essential oils; Rosemary for mental ‘stimulation’, Lavender for relaxation, etc. These effects are a result of essential oil components on the lymbic system of the brain – which again is closely tied to the emotional centers.

A nice result can be had from mixing a brighter or sweeter oil (Rosemary, Basil, Orange) with one more earthy oil (Patchouli, Frankincense, Cedar).

A nice result can be had from mixing a brighter or sweeter oil (Rosemary, Basil, Orange) with one more earthy oil (Patchouli, Frankincense, Cedar).

Aromatherapy Blends

Essential oil components from one plant may have synergistic effects with another. One may certainly blend essential oils in a diffuser or burner, adding a couple drops of each oil desired. Often a nice result can be had from mixing a brighter or sweeter oil (Rosemary, Basil, Orange) with one more earthy and grounding (Patchouli, Frankincense, Cedar). The effects are very personal – if you don’t like the smell of a particular essential oil or combination of oils, there’s probably a reason and they’re just not for you! Your intake could be too high or the oil(s) may not be compatible with your body chemistry at that time.

Aromatherapy Safety

A note about safety: Essential Oils are very powerful components of plants – they have the capability of being harmful if improperly used. Essential Oils can be very helpful for some cases, supportive in others, and have little to no effect in others. They are not intended to treat or cure serious medical conditions; there is no substitute for a consultation with a competent physician for any matters regarding your health, or anyone else. If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breast feeding, it is critical you consult your physician before using any essential oil. Please be sure there are no contraindications of an essential oil for your condition before using! Almost all essential oils should be diluted to the range of 1% to 3% in your chosen carrier (or ‘base’) oil – Lavender and Chamomile Oils being notable exceptions (though diluting them will make them no less effective).

Remember – start slowly, pay attention to how an oil and it’s particular application makes you feel, adjust accordingly, keep learning, and have fun!

Misty Rae Cech, ND is a naturopath and yoga teacher practicing in Boulder, Colorado. She is the owner of http://www.anandaapothecary.com and http://www.synergyessentialoils.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jan 12

Using Aromatherapy to Support Symptoms of Depression

Use essences from nature to brighten up your mood.

Use essences from nature to brighten up your mood.

A fantastic and mysterious relationship is continuously unfolding between plants and their surroundings. These organic green machines are ceaselessly performing a glorious alchemy with water, soil, air and sunlight. The nearly infinite possible combinations of plant genetics and environmental conditions on the face of the earth have allowed for an almost immeasurable diversity of alchemal floral expression, resulting in a vast array of natural botanical materials. These range from simple staple foodstuffs to gourmet fruits and vegetables, from rich exotic spices to effective medicinal herbs, and from enchanting natural perfumes to complex therapeutic essential oils. Mankind is reaching ever further into the jungles and rainforests, knowing that nature is the true master of creation in these fields.

Uplifting Rose

Uplifting Rose

Uplifting Rose

The line between food-plants and medicinal herbs is a fuzzy one. Science regularly reports newfound medicinal effects in plants once taken for granted; many fruits once thought quite plain contain some of the world’s most potent anti-cancer agents. The same goes for teas – green tea is one of the most potent anti-oxidants known – and spices – cinnamon may prevent the onset of debilitating diabetes – and this list continues to grow. This same lack of distinction exists between natural fragrances and therapeutic essential oils. The oil of a rose, laden with Citronellol, does triple duty as a perfume, an effective agent against the herpes simplex virus, and an uplifting aromatic that can help one open emotionally after a traumatizing experience.

Rekindle with Nature

Rekindle with Nature

Naturally Happy

The use of so-called ‘alternative’ therapies is on the rise; more individuals are turning to the wisdom of nature for assistance for all types of ailments, both physical and psychological. Interestingly, the source of most ills, from a naturopathic point of view, is being out-of-balance with nature. Eating unnatural things, following unnatural cycles,and living in unnatural environments. Lack of balance with the earth, from which we are made and upon which we live, leads to ‘dis-ease’ in our bodies and minds. As plants have created their wondrous botanical materials in a process guided by the rhythms of the heavens and earth, we may look to ‘plant wisdom’ to lead our way back into balance.

A depressed emotional state is a common reason for using complementary and alternative therapies today. A wide range of psychological, physical, and energetic issues can lead to feelings of depression and a pervasive outlook of negativity. Moreover, once in a state of depression, patterns can arise that make relief all the more difficult to find. The use of essential oils for uplifting the psyche and spirit is becoming more widespread because of the oils’ broad and dramatic effects. While the oils themselves may not directly affect the underlying cause of depression, they may help individuals break free from depressive cycles – they may provide the impetus to ‘get off the couch’, so to speak, and begin creating long lasting change. Many natural healers believe depression to be a result of, like many other ills, of being out of balance; being unable to ‘synch up’ with the natural state of harmony that permeates the universe. For relieving this is-harmony, aromatherapy can be a very powerful means to infuse one’s body and mind with the most concentrated, sublime botanicals nature has to offer.

In humans, the olfactory (sense of smell) region is an area of about 2 and a half square centimeters, and is located in each of the two nasal cavities between and below the eyes. Containing approximately fifty million primary sensory receptor cells, this region is highly intricate, being 10,000 times more perceptive than the sense of taste. When compared to sight, we find that olfaction is more complex – it is able to distinguish a nearly infinite number of element compounds at very low concentrations. In order to perceive the visible spectrum, humans use only three types of photoreceptors; in contrast, the sense of smell relies on several hundred distinct classes of receptors.

Modern research has shown natural plant oils stimulate multiple regions in the brain, including those controlling endocrine, immune, and limbic (emotional center) functions. Essential oils have a direct and profound effect on the deepest levels of the body, emotions, and psyche. Through inhalation, essential oils have a strong and immediate influence. Passing through the capillary beds of the sinuses and activating the olfactory nerves, volatile plant oils enter the brain, producing direct and powerful systemic effects – the most immediate being on the emotions. Our emotions and our sense of smell have very strong ties – perhaps more than with any other of the other four senses.

In both Naturopathy and Ayurvedic Medicine (The Science of Life), essential oils are considered to enhance the flow of prana (essential life force), enhance and nourish ojas (sustaining energy and immunological essence), and brighten tejas (clarity and mental luminosity). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, essential oils in general are medicines for the Shen, the spiritual essence that resides in the heart and guides and governs consciousness. Used consciously, essential oils powerfully enhance positive mental and emotional states.

Further, the medicinal properties of essential oils, through their ability to support physiological healing, can also be of great benefit to the heart and mind. A Korean study on the effect of aromatherapy on pain in patients with arthritis found that receiving massage with lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint oils significantly decreased both the pain AND mental depression levels.

Following are some oils that have a reputation for up-lifting Shen, enhancing prana, nourishing ojas, and brightening tejas – combinations that may have marked effects on symptoms of depression. These oils can be used alone or in combination in a nebulizing diffuser (producing a fine mist of oils for inhalation), or in aromatherapy massage, thereby inhaled and absorbed through the skin concurrently.

Bergamot

Bergamot

Bergamot (pressed from the peels of bitter oranges) has a strong reputation for its ability to gently uplift. In terms of Chinese medicine, this is a direct result of its smoothing the flow of Liver-Qi (‘Chi’ or Life Force), the liver being thought of as the seat of the eternal soul. Bergamot combines the ability to both relax the nerves and refresh the Spirit; it is suitable for many types of depressive states.

Neroli (from the flower of bitter oranges), like Bergamot, regulates the Qi – and like Jasmine flower oil, comforts the mind and heart. Neroli is called for at a core level, for the type of depression that comes from nervous and emotional exhaustion. Neroli uplifts the mind and Spirit with its potential to nourish and unify. Neroli assists in retrieving and releasing repressed emotions, with potential to nourish and unify a fragmented psyche. Neroli is specifically indicated for individuals who, in order to escape from emotional pain and suffering, cut themselves off from their feelings and senses.

Chamomile

Chamomile

The Chamomiles (German and Roman) are wonderful oils to use when the depression manifests in a moody, irritable, dissatisfied outward expression associated with stagnant Liver-Qi. These flower oils are earthy, rich, and grounding with subtle uplifting qualities.

When depression is of a Fire (overly aggressive) nature, it often involves an imbalance of joy and love – the root emotions of the heart and mind. Joy is an extension of Shen’s (spiritual essence’s) innate sense of harmony and perfection, an experience of emotional and spiritual well-being. The depression that afflicts the heart and Shen involves a loss of one’s natural sense of joy. There is often an accompanied lack of enthusiasm and interest as well as an inability to become inspired. Rose otto – steam distilled rose essential oil – or Rose Absolute may have a profound effect on this state. Rose is thought the premier heart opening aromatic, bringing joy, uplifting and restoring balance.

Aromatherapy Recipes for Depression

What follows are a few recipes for uplifting and releasing depressed emotional states – use your intuition to find the right one. Often, the single essential oil or blend you find most attractive will be the one that serves you best. Experiment, explore, and have fun with these fantastic gifts of nature. These blends may be used in a diffuser or candle lamp, unless where a carrier oil is indicated – blends with carriers are intended specifically for aromatherapy massage (self-massage is very effective, as well as a simple massage from a friend or loved one).

Ylang-Ylang is a naturally uplifting fragrance.

Ylang-Ylang is a naturally uplifting fragrance.

For releasing and opening the heart:

  • 1 part Rose
  • 3 parts Sandalwood
  • 1 part Sweet Orange or Bergamot
  • 3 parts Jasmine
  • 1 part Ylang Ylang
  • 1 part Sandalwood

Brightening, refreshing and uplifting:

  • 1 part Ylang Ylang
  • 1 part Grapefruit
  • 2 parts Clary Sage
  • 1 part Frankincense
  • 3 parts Bergamot or Sweet Orange
  • 1 part Lemon
  • 1 part either Jasmine or Neroli

Nourishing:

  • 1 part (Roman) Chamomile
  • 1 part Vanilla
  • 10 parts Carrier oil of choice

Floral and earthy (uplifting and softening to Spirit):

  • 1 part Neroli
  • 1 part Vanilla
  • 1 part Orange
  • 1 part Sandalwood
  • 1 part Chamomile
  • 1 part Bergamot
  • 1 part Helichrysum

Single oils can also be used, and should be investigated so one can learn the different energies of each plant. For depression associated with negativity: Bergamot, Chamomile, Helichrysum, Neroli, or Sweet Orange. For a profound lack of joy, try Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, or Ylang Ylang. For overthinking and worry, try Frankincense, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh or Vetiver. For pessimism, regret and remorse, try Clary Sage, Cypress, Hyssop, or Pine needle. For doubt of one’s capacity to cope with overwhelming situations, try Juniper Berry.

For cases of moderate to severe depression, professional help should always be sought. It is important to consider if you one requires professional help if the depression is overwhelming – while aromatherapy can provide support in a significant number of situations, it may not be for everyone. Essential oils can safely be used in conjunction with other treatments – consult your care giver to ensure there are no conflicts if medications have been prescribed.

 

Misty is a degreed naturopath, iridologist and herbologist practicing in Boulder, Colorado. She uses pure essential oils and essential oil blends with her clients and friends for their uplifting qualities.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Looking for a way to transform your lifestyle into a healthier one? We have some quick ways to get started as well as tips on implementing more difficult yet more rewarding health transitions into your life in our Healthy Living article.

Jan 03

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Aromatherapy With Children

Girl with flowersEssential oils are pure aromatic plant essences – they are distilled from flowers, fruit, leaves, resins, roots, seeds, and wood. The are used for their healing properties the world over – in, for example, they are only available through licensed, qualified parishioners. In the United States, we have free access to these aromatic oils – but with this comes with some important cautions: Only some of the essential oils available are suitable for children; others are not suitable for children and some are even dangerous to children (children with epilepsy should not come in contact with stimulating essential oils).

When used correctly however, oils can be of great benefit, and will not conflict with your child’s medically prescribed drugs. Always research the oil of choice thoroughly before using with your infant or child – ask advice from a qualified practitioner, or see the references at the end of this article.

That said, oils used in aromatherapy can be a wonderful way of supporting your child’s health, happiness and well-being. Essential oils can be very therapeutic and nurturing to both your child and you, the caregiver. These oils are used externally (on the outside of the body) in your child’s bath, body lotions, oils, creams, gels, compresses, foot baths, or in a oil warmer. The effects of aromatherapy will generally fall into one of three main categories: 1) Assisting in healing from minor illnesses and accidents, 2) Supporting your child’s overall sense of well-being, and 3) Assisting your child in getting quality rest.

When using aromatherapy oils with your child, it is imperative that you find a reputable supplier of therapeutic-grade products, using organic or wildcrafted varieties when possible. Synthetic copies of oils commonly used in perfumery are not appropriate, and may even be harmful to your child’s health. To maintain efficacy, they should be kept in dark amber or cobalt glass containers, in a dark and cool location, away from the child’s access. Wooden storage boxes from craft or ‘Pier One’ type stores can make a nice container for the bottles.

Methods of Using Essential Oils

There are two methods of using essential oils with your child – INHALATION: through a diffuser, nebulizer, or adding to a humidifier reservoir, and TOPICAL APPLICATION: diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying topically. Adding essential oils to a bath combines the two methods, though we will cover it under topical application.

For topical application, essential oils are diluted in varying strengths depending on the use and age of your child. The concentration can vary from one drop of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil, to a couple of drops per teaspoon of carrier added to a drawn bath, to an equal ratio of carrier and essential oil applied directly to your child’s feet (as in the case of gentle Lavender). In other words, there is a huge variation in dilution levels depending on the circumstances. Mamas, do your research and then trust your instinct. Only you and your child baby know exactly what is right for your situation.

General dilution rate guidelines of essential oils in one ounce of carrier oil:

Age of Child and amount of Essential Oil (EO) per One Ounce Carrier Oil for Topical/Massage Application:

Newborn (Consult primary care physician before use)

1-3 drops EO / ounce

2-6 months

1-3 drops EO / ounce

6-12 months

1-4 drops EO / ounce

1-4 years (unless very small)

5-8 drops EO / ounce

6-7 years

5-10 drops EO / ounce

9-12 years

5-12 drops EO / ounce

12 years to young adult

10-15 drops EO / ounce

DO NOT USE AN ESSENTIAL OIL NEAT (undiluted ) on children’s skin, unless indicated to do so for a specific condition. If your child has very sensitive skin, it is important to test a small area before using a new single oil or blend. Keep essential oils away form the eyes. When using citrus oils – orange, bergamot, lemon, tangerine, mandarin, and lime – do not use where the skin will be exposed to sunlight for the next 12 hours. These oils are considered ‘phototoxic’, and can react from the sun’s rays. They may be used in a bath, however, where they will be washed off the skin when the bath is done.

Essential oils are not to be taken orally (by mouth). When your child is taking medications, reduce the amount of essential oil by half the amount recommended for their age group.

Carrier Oils for Children

Sweet Almond oil is generally regarded as the safest and best overall carrier oil for use with babies and children. Apricot kernel oil is also considered extremely safe with children over 6. Jojoba oil can be added at about 10% concentration for any blend – it has a soothing effect on the skin and is good for hair.

massage for happy babyTopical Application – Nurturing Touch Massage Recipes

There is nothing better for any child than the loving, nurturing touch of a parent. A gentle hug, a smile, a kiss on the cheek all reassure the child and help the parent and child to bond. These everyday forms of connection are instinctual and children thrive from it.

Research shows that massage can help children’s growth both physically and emotionally. In hospitals, studies done with premature baby’s show that touch is an essential aspect of the children’s ability to thrive.

Using aromatherapeutic nurturing touch massage can be therapeutic to both the child and the parent. Using a light, conscientious tough you can massage your child’s feet, arms, hands, back, abdomen, and even legs. The massage should always be done with loving intention and the work is done in the direction that the blood flows-from ankles to leg; from wrist to shoulder, etc.

Here are a few suggested blends for this wonderful method – each is in one (1) ounce of Sweet Almond oil:

Restful Sleep – 4 drops lavender, 2 drops Roman Chamomile

Happy Child – 3 drops Rose, 1 drop Neroli

Calm and Relaxed – 3 drops Petitgrain, 3 drops Neroli

Emotional Nurturing – 1 drop Rose, 1 drop Vanilla, 2 drops Lavender

For a Baby oil blend, to be used as a moisturizer OR massage oil (note: the frequent washing of a baby’s skin actually makes it difficult for them to retain vitamin C; application of a quality skin oil will help them keep adequate supplies of this important nutrient).

1 ounce of organic sweet almond oil or hazelnut oil

1 drop of pure Lavender EO

1 drop of Vanilla EO

OR

1 ounce of organic sweet almond oil

2 drops of pure Lavender EO

1 drop of pure Chamomile (German) EO

The above blends can also be added to the bath. One teaspoon with the following amount of aromatic oils added can be added AFTER the bath is filled, per the age of the child: 3-5 years, 2 drops; 6-8 years, 3 drops; 8-11 years, 5 drops. Perhaps the easiest way to do this would be to make a full strength blend (without carrier oil) of your choice, then dilute as needed for the application.

Inhalation of Essential Oils

For inhalation, one can apply one or two drops to a handkerchief and inhale, or add oils to a water misting bottle or humidifier. Calming aromatics that may be used are Lavender (recommended for sleep – one to four drops can be placed under the pillow), Mandarin, Roman Chamomile, Ho Wood (an ecologically friendly replacement for Rosewood), Tangerine, Petitgrain, Vanilla, and Neroli. Use these oils singly, create your own blend, or use one of the body oil blends above without the carrier oil. A few drops per quart of water in a mister sprayed throughout a room or added humidifier reservoir will do.

For an anti-anxiety blend: Try 5 drops bergamot, 1 drop lavender and 3 drops geranium – dilute to 10 drops per ½ pint of water for a room spray or use in a humidifier, or dilute to the appropriate level for your child’s age if using topically. For alertness, try lemon, bergamot, grapefruit or pine, either singly or in a blend that pleases your senses (usually the best way to blend is to trust your nose!)

Aromatic oils can also be used in a candle lamp or warmer – with the oil gently evaporated from the surface of a small bowl of water by the heat of a candle. An electric nebulizing diffuser is generally not recommended for use with children, as the concentration of oils in the air can be too high.

Last but not least, essential oils are wonderful antiseptics.

Cuts and scrapes are simply a way of life for the little ones! A great blend for minor wounds is a 1:1 mix of Lavender and Tea Tree oil. The lavender is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and has regenerative ‘ketones’, while the tea tree is a strong antiseptic used for many generations by native Australians. Use this blend in the water used for cleaning wounds, and apply a few drops to the gauze of a bandage – do not apply directly to the skin as it will be unnecessarily irritating. On the bandage, however, it will be soothing and accelerate the healing process.

So this is a very brief overview of using aromatherapy with children. There are many, many diverse applications for essential oils for almost every conceivable minor ailment seen in childhood. The key is knowledge – finding a good practitioner, or reputable resource for your needs. For further reading, books by Valerie Ann Woorwood are excellent: “Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child” and “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy”; for safety data, see “Essential Oil Safety” by Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs. The essential oils mentioned within this article are recognized as safe for most individuals – if you or your child are recognized as having a specific illness, and/or are under a doctor’s regular care, please consult an appropriate practitioner before proceeding.

That said, aromatherpy can be a very fun and rewarding endevor for both you and your child. Aromatherapy has benefited the lives of many the world over, and have a little bit of plant magic available to everyone.

 

Misty Rae Cech, ND, is a naturopath and yoga teacher practicing in Boulder, Colorado. She regularly employs aromatherapy with her clients, finding essential oils a wonderful natural way to support the healing process. She is the owner of http://www.anandaapothecary.com and http://www.synergyessentialoils.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jan 01

Getting Started With Aromatherapy – Easy Ways to Enjoy Essential Oils

mint oilBeginning ‘bona fide’ aromatherapy, beyond burning a scented candle or soaking with a pleasing pre-packaged bath salt blend, can be a little daunting to many people. All those little bottles of pricey liquids, electric contraptions, and fancy-sounding blends – how does one actually use essential oils to improve their health, happiness and well-being? It’s easier than one might think – getting started can open a whole new world of fun and effective natural remedies that can lift your mood, calm your nerves, and support healing of a great many common ailments.

The basics of aromatherapy are simple, once a few fundamental concepts are understood. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils – the aromatic compounds of plants, extracted through steam distillation or other methods. The oils act as the chemical messengers and protectors of the plant kingdom. Each essential oil can contain hundreds of different ‘volatile’ (easily evaporated) compounds, most of which are very compatible with the physiology of the human body. What’s so wonderful is they can also do for us what they do for plants – act as chemical messengers through affecting our smell sense and limbic system, and defending the body against foreign invaders by their anti-bacterial and anti-viral actions. In this article, we’ll focus on the mental and emotional effects of aromatherapy, and address the physiological aspects at another time.

Essential oils are best used in one of two simple ways: through inhalation, where the oils can directly affect certain areas of the brain, and through topical application, where the oils are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. (Note: Oral ingestion can be an option, but only under experienced medical supervision – further, SOME OILS CAN BE TOXIC, and other even seemingly harmless oils should not be used under certain conditions. If you are pregnant, or have specific medical needs, consult a knowledgeable practitioner before continuing!)

Aromatherapy treatment with lavender and lemon balm

Aromatherapy treatment with lavender and lemon balm

Inhalation of Essential Oils

Essential oils when inhaled directly effect our limbic system, the brain’s emotional centers. Many oils have been found to sharpen concentration, reduce tension and anxiety, and even reduce depression. How can we reap these magnificent benefits? There are a few simple, cost-effective ways to prepare essential oils for inhalation – and experience these wonderful effects: the ‘handkerchief method’, making your own ‘smelling salts’, and making your own aromatherapy ‘mister’.

The handkerchief method is pretty straightforward – put a drop or two of an oil or blend on a tissue and inhale (careful with some oils though – peppermint, for example, can burn the sensitive skin around your nostrils if put in direct contact). You can even leave the tissue (or ‘handkerchief, or piece of cloth, or cotton, or whatever) in a room or your workspace and the oil will continue to evaporate and have its effects.

Making your own ‘smelling salts’ is similar, though your preparation will last a while longer. To make the salts, fill a small vial (dark glass with a good cap is best) with natural sea salt and drop essential oils into the salt. The amount of oil is not too critical – enough that there is detectable aroma, and not so much that the salt gets completely wet. Just unscrew the cap and inhale from the bottle whenever you need a lift, or, like the handkerchief, leave the vial open in your space, letting the aroma slowly fill the area.

A ‘mister’ can be used infuse a room with aroma – just add essential oils to water in a small spray bottle, shake (before each use) and spray!

Ylang-Ylang is a naturally uplifting fragrance.

Ylang-Ylang is a naturally uplifting fragrance.

Aromatherapy Recipes

Here are a few easy recipes for the inhalation method (Note: in all recipes, the number of drops of oil and/or amount of carrier can be used as a ratio, which you can increase or decrease as you need):

For uplifting the mood and brightening the mind –

  • 4 drops of Rosemary Cineol
  • 3 drops of Lavender
  • 2 drops of Lemon and 1 drop of Peppermint OR 3 drops Clary Sage
  • 2 drops Bergamot and 1 drop Sweet Orange

For calming anxiety –

  • equal parts of Roman Chamomile, Bergamot and Orange, OR 3 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Neroli
  • 1 drop Bergamot.

For creating a harmonious atmosphere –

  • 3 drops Jasmine
  • 1 drop Ylang Ylang and 1 drop Sandalwood, OR equal parts Geranium, Patchouli and Bergamot.

Aromatherapy Massage

Now for the topical application method. Usually this is described as aromatherapy massage – ideally, this is done with a partner, but self-massage will work as well. Creating your own massage oil is a straightforward process – just dilute 10 – 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. There are a variety of carrier oils available, though Sweet Almond is a great all-around oil and is recommended for general aromatherapy massage. As for the massage, itself, any technique will do – let your intuition be your guide. When you wish to get a little more advanced, do a little further research to create synergy with certain essential oils and certain acupressure points.

The same blends for inhalation can be used for massage.  Here are a few more fun recipes:

For a sensual massage, per ounce of carrier oil, add –

  • 8 drops Sandalwood
  • 6 drops Rose
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang

For opening the heart, try –

  • 4 drops Spikenard
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops of Rose.

Finally, for sheer relaxation, use –

  • 6 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Neroli
  • 2 drops Bergamot.

Don’t be afraid to create your own blends! You will certainly find particular oils that you enjoy – and aromatherapy is like that. It is the oils you find most enjoyable that are likely those that are most effective for you. My only recommendation is to change the ratios of oils you are blending very slowly. Start with one drop of each oil in a small vial, mixing them and allowing a few minutes for them to blend before adding more oil 1 drop at a time. In general, citrus oils ( Orange, Bergamot, Lemon, Lime) tend to bring alertness while calming at the same time. Herb oils (Peppermint, Rosemary) tend to be invigorating, while floral oils tend to be relaxing (Lavender, Chamomile, Jasmine, Neroli). This is only a guideline – many oils have complex properties and will affect individuals differently – use your nose as a guide.

Conclusion

Getting started with aromatherapy is easy, and with these simple ideas, you will be able to create essential oil preparations tailored to your needs and enjoyment. This can lead to a lifelong appreciation of these wonderful gifts from nature.

 

Misty Rae Cech, ND, is a naturopath and yoga teacher practicing in Boulder, Colorado. She regularly employs essential oils, flower essences, and other natural therapy modalities with her clients. She is the owner of Ananda Aromatherapy and Synergy Essential Oils.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Nov 08

What Are Pure Essential Oils – An Aromatherapy Primer

Essential OilAs the interest in aromatherapy grows for those interested in alternative health, wellness, and fitness, many folks ask “what are essential oils” and “how do they differ from other oils like olive oil, coconut and the like”? This brief primer should help clarify the matter, and get you started in the wonderful world of aromatherapy. Essential oils are concentrated volatile aromatic compounds produced by plants – these are the easily evaporated essences that give plants their wonderful scents, more akin to an alcohol than what we commonly think of as an oil.

Each of these complex precious liquids is extracted from a particular plant species. Each plant species originates in certain regions of the world, with particular environmental conditions and neighboring fauna and flora. The result is a very diverse library of aromatic compounds, with some essential oils being made up of more than one hundred distinct organic chemicals. Pure essential oils are distilled from oil sacs found in most structures of plants – the leaves, roots, flowers and more. Almost all essential oils are made up of several, sometimes hundreds of various molecular compounds. The combination and ratios of these compounds give each oil it’s particular aromatic and medicinal properties.

Essential oils are not just a by-product of plant growth; plants use these oils in a manner similar to those prescribed in medical aromatherapy: to fight infections from microbes, fungi and viruses; to protect themselves from animal invaders; and some suspect they may be used for chemical communication between plants of the same species. While essential oils come from the plant world, they are particularly suited to use in natural health, wellness and fitness programs as their chemistry is remarkably compatible with our own; they are easily absorbed into our bodies, even at the cellular level. To produce essential oils of therapeutic quality – those that retain as much of the original plant essence in its original state as possible – the most gentle extraction method that will draw the oil from a particular plant is most desirable.

Extraction methods range from Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extraction – being the most gentle (and most expensive), to pressing (as for extracting the oil from citrus rinds) and steam distillation, to solvent extraction. Steam distillation is most common, and as a result of only requiring heating to just above the boiling point of water, is considered gentle enough for most essential oils. Humankind has used plants for healing for many thousands of years, and it’s from this tradition of that the use of aromatic plant compounds is medicine began. Documented use of aromatic plants dates back to near 4500 B.C., though it was in the hands of the ancient Egyptians that the use of oils and plant aromatics was truly developed. Oils were used in the embalming process, in medicine and in purification rituals. In 1922, when King Tut’s tomb was opened, 50 alabaster jars made to contain nearly 350 liters of oil were discovered. There are also over 200 references to aromatics, incense and ointments in the Old and New Testaments; Frankincense, Myrrh, Galbanun, Cinnamon, Cassia, Rosemary, Hyssop and Spikenard are noted for being used for anointing rituals and healing of the sick.

Modern use of essential oils in natural health, wellness and fitness programs began with the discovery of Lavender’s healing properties by a French scientist in the middle of the last century. Lavender was found to have effective healing properties for skin wounds, strong anti-inflammatory properties, and wonderful calming effects when inhaled. Further research has confirmed superior efficacy of essential oils for a broad range of physiological conditions. Research has confirmed centuries of practical use of essential oils, and we now know that the ‘fragrant pharmacy’ contains compounds with an extremely broad range of biochemical effects. There are about three hundred essential oils in general use today by professional practitioners, though the average household could fulfill all its likely needs with 10 (for wound healing, cold fighting, insect repelling, calming children and the like), perhaps 20 if their use were a touch more esoteric (for deepening meditation, enhancing yoga practice, etc).

Using essential oils is very easy, fun, and can be extremely rewarding. Employing oils is most commonly done using one of these methods: inhalation, topical application, and in certain instances ingestion. Diffusing essential oils with a cold-air nebulizer is best for inhalation, as these units make a fine mist of the oils which are easily absorbed in significant quantities. This method is effective both for psychological effects and support for the respiratory system. Topical application usually involved the dilution of essential oils in a carrier oil to a 5% or less concentration to be used with certain massage techniques. Massage is often used for relief of muscle and joint pain, and also with calming and uplifting psychological results. Topical application will frequently take the form of blends for healing various skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and even revitalizing aging skin. Finally, ingestion – which should only be done with very detailed knowledge from a qualified professional – is often used in the form of oil placed in gel capsules. Peppermint oil is frequently used this way for digestive complaints.

There is such a wonderful variety of uses for essential oils; to get the most from them, educate yourself further through courses, texts and knowledgeable practitioners. Most of all, be safe, have fun, and welcome this new edition to your alternative natural health, wellness and fitness regimen.

 

Misty Rae Cech ND is a degreed natural health professional and the founder of Ananda Aromatherapy, a source for pure wildcrafted and organic therapeutic grade aromatherapy essential oils and synergistic essential oil blends.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Sep 08

Beautiful Skin Naturally – Essential Oil Blends for Mature Skin Care

Handmade DIY natural body butterIt’s no surprise several of the world’s finest formulas for beautifying mature skin contain natural essential oils. Therapeutic grade essential oils used in aromatherapy are each selected for their distinctive healing action; many oils are specifically indicated for skin healing and healthy skin maintenance. Of greatest interest here are the oils known for their tissue regenerative effects and support of the skin’s metabolic functions. An effective personal blend using premium therapeutic grade oils is easily made by choosing a few oils corresponding to the needs of your skin type, and blending with easy-to-follow formulas.

What is it about essential oils that make them so suitable to the task of making mature skin glow? The aromatic oils are nature’s liquid healing wonders. It is thought that plants produce them as their own healing potions, with variations that depend on the plant’s habitat; a plant needs to generate new cells, defend itself from oxidative radicals, and promote its own fitness as much as humans do. These aromatic oils are highly compatible with our own health and well-being. Countless essential oils have been examined over time, and a few stand out as extraordinary medicines for our skin. Creating a personal formula using them is a simple task: just mix a small amount of essential oils with the appropriate (and therapeutic) seed or nut oils at the right concentrations, and voila! Your own highly effective skin care blend.

Let’s have a look at the carrier oils, also aptly named ‘base’ oils. These are oils cold-pressed from seeds, nuts and fruit that will make up the foundation of any formula. These natural oils will form 95-98% of your blend, with the essential oils being added as the ‘active ingredients’. Avocado is first on the list, being included in many recipes for its hydrating and nutritive properties. Avocado is especially suited to dry skin, and should make up about one-fifth of the ‘base’ for dry-to-normal skin. Next is Apricot Kernel, also highly recommended for dry-to-normal skin, or for irritated and damaged skin. Apricot can make up the entire base if you so desire. Evening Primrose is a highly nutritive oil with a significant amount of essential fatty acids – important for building healthy tissues. Evening Primrose can make up to one quarter of the base. Hazelnut oil is very common in skin care blends, as it is well tolerated by all skin types. It can be especially useful for those with a tendency toward oily skin, as it has mildly astringent properties. Despite the seeming contradiction to applying ‘oil’ to an already ‘oily’ complexion, Hazelnut is recommended in the most advanced medical aromatherapy texts for this use – it can make up to 100% of the base. Perhaps the most important carrier oil to consider for mature skin is Rosehip seed – pressed from the seeds of a wild rose from South America, it contains research-validated vitamin A compounds that act like natural ‘Retin-A’, enhancing the skin’s natural regeneration, lessening the appearance of fine lines, supporting healthy skin that may have endured sun-damage, and unifying skin coloration. Rosehip seed can, and should, make up to one quarter of your base recipe.

On to the essential oils – the magic active ingredients. We’ll begin with Carrot Seed, a wonderful warm, smooth and earthy essential oil with a long history in skin care. It is particularly indicated for skin that has lost its glow from undue stress, whether from external environmental factors or other types of strain. Carrot seed is very gentle, inexpensive, and useful for all skin types. Next is Rosemary of the Verbenone chemotype – it’s distilled from common rosemary grown in particular regions of the world that lead to a higher fraction of regenerative ‘ketones’ in the oil. These molecules enhance regeneration and metabolism ‘ improving the use of nutrients and removal of toxins on a cellular level.

Essential oils that simulate the effects of estrogen have been found supportive of mature skin health. Perhaps as natural estrogen production lessens over time, these oils continue to give the skin a youthful hormonal environment. Two oils which can be considered are Clary Sage and Sweet Fennel. Each are noted by various authorities as exceptionally important for aging skin. Clary Sage is soft, sweet and herbaceous, with an aroma considered mildly euphoric to some. Sweet Fennel is a little stronger aromatically, and has been recommended for ‘anti-wrinkle’ formulas for every age. You may decide purely on the basis of your personal aromatic preference if you wish to include one of these estrogen mimicking oils.

A couple of lesser known yet highly effective skin care specialty oils are Cistus and Sea Buckthorn. Cistus is distilled from the Rock Rose flower, with astringent qualities used for firming the skin. Some Cistus varieties tend to have a rather medicinal aroma, but truly fine ones are sweet and alluring. Sea Buckthorn is pleasingly sweet, and should be considered for blends for all skin types. Found as a CO2 distillation (not to be confused with the cold-pressed Sea Buckthorn carrier oil) the essential oil is a deep red color, indicating the high concentration of carotenes, vitamin A precursors so important to skin health. The virtues of Sea Buckthorn have been hailed by users with a wide variety of skin conditions and types at every age – it is useful in very small amounts, and need only make up 1% of your recipe to enjoy its benefits.

Then there is the tried and true French Lavender – Lavendula angustifolia – the essential oil which began the modern aromatherapy revolution with the discovery of its nearly miraculous healing power. Lavender is balancing, gentle and regenerative. It may be added at any concentration to your blend. Its sweet and floral aroma is loved by many ‘ though if you find it too sweet, and are looking for a potent regenerative essential oil, try Helichrysum instead. Helichrysum contains regenerative molecules unique to this plant alone, with a warmer, slightly spicy and herbaceous aroma. Helichrysum need only be used in small amounts, and may otherwise overpower other oils aromatically ‘ otherwise, Helichrysum is very gentle, and is even called for being applied directly to the skin undiluted for acute healing needs.

Creating your own blend is a simple and enjoyable process. Simple, as you only need select the essential oils you wish to include, and can add them in equal amounts – 10 drops of each essential oil per ounce of base oil is a perfect start. Enjoyable as the essential oils smell so wonderful! One can’t help to keep inhaling their aroma while preparing a formula. The essential oils ARE potent; it’s best to limit your total essential oil concentration to less than five percent of the overall mixture. This works out to 30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier. If using more than three essential oils (i.e. more than 10 drops each of three varieties) limit the amount of each essential oil so that the final volume per ounce is less than 30 drops.

Many of the oils mentioned here are found in blends for women, but there is no rule that prevents men from using them as well. For an aroma that a man may appreciate, deeper, earthier essential oils can be used – Sandalwood, Frankincense and Myrrh are all essential oils noted for their benefits to mature skin. Also, for any gender, including essential oils for their fragrance and not just their therapeutic properties is certainly an option. With one’s emotional health often clearly reflected in the condition of their skin, there’s more than likely to be a benefit beyond simply smelling nice! Just be aware that there are a few oils that should not be applied to the face; these are some of the spicier oils – Cinnamon, Oregano, Clove and Thyme varieties; cold-pressed citrus oils like lime, lemon, orange and bergamot should also be avoided for facial care, as these oils can cause the skin to be extra-sensitive to UV light.

Creating your own personal therapeutic skin care blend is a wonderful aromatherapy project for beginning and advanced practitioners alike. You’ll have an effective mixture made just for your skin type, and that you can adjust according to your needs in the future. Plus it’s fun to do, and easier on the pocket book than high-end commercial formulations. As always when starting out with these medicines from nature, be aware of you’re body’s responses to the oils, respect their potency, and most of all, have fun!

The author is a degreen naturopath, herbologist and iridologist trained at the Colorado School of Natural Medicine. She specializes in supporting women’s health through natural means. She is the owner of The Ananda Apothecary, an online resource for aromatherapy information and therapeutic grade essential oils. She may be contacted through http://www.anandaapothecary.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Sep 08

Make Your Own Premium Anti-Aging Skin Care Blends at Home

Handmade DIY natural body butter with coconut oil, almond oil and shea, cocoa and vanilla butter and sunblock, sunscreen with coconut oil, cocoa, vanilla and shea butterHave you always wanted to try the world’s finest skin care product, but found the prices somewhat outrageous? Ever considered making your own? It’s so easy to do, and you can create a formula precisely to match your skin type, with remarkable effective natural and pure botanicals (plant-based ingredients). Making these yourself will give you a skin care product that matches or exceeds the effectiveness of anything you can buy over the counter at a truly affordable price. Try one of these recipes and you may never go back to fancy labels, boxes and prices ever again!

Essential Oils: The Best Skin Care Botanicals

You’ll find essential oils in every “high end” mature skin beauty product, though sometimes you’ll see them discretely labeled as “plant extracts” or similar terms. The thing is that many folks still don’t realize that essential oils truly are medicine, not just fine smelling precious liquid in tiny bottles. When you understand that essential oils are simply the concentrated “volatile” (easily evaporated liquid) constituents naturally present in ALL plants, you’ll see that they’re nothing less than any other herbal concentrate. And essential oils are so very compatible with our skin — they are very easily absorbed — that they can actually work better than other types of botanical skin care ingredients. Making a custom recipe for yourself is as simple as matching the therapeutic properties of the essential oils to your skin’s needs — then mixing them together with one or more “fixed” oils, and voila! You’ve got the perfect daily skin care creation.

Woman’s Oil of Beauty: Rose Essential Oil

Again and again, in every natural skin care recipe book, one finds one oil more highly regarded than any other — Rose Otto, the steam distilled variety of Rose (it is also found as an Absolute, which is more appropriate for natural perfumes). Rose Otto has a host of therapeutic skin care properties: it hydrates without being greasy, it’s gently antiseptic, soothing to damaged skin, can heal broken capillaries, and supports the skin’s natural metabolism. It is also the most important oil for women for its heart opening, anti-depressant action — considered the “oil of the highest vibration” used in aroma-therapeutics. While a bit pricey, it’s very potent; only a few drops are needed in any recipe.

Calendula: Nature’s Healing Magic

Calendula oil has been used for hundreds of years for all sorts of skin care uses. Its exceptionally soothing, with the traditional use being for infant’s skin care. The flowers have been hard to work with however, limiting the uses of this magnificent medicinal plant. A new extraction technique now offers us a Calendula oil concentrate, often labeled Calendula CO2. This new extract is highly antioxidant, powerfully wound-healing, and one of the most effective soothers of irritated or damaged skin available on Earth.

Companion Oils for Balance and Vitality

One or more of these three oils are excellent companion oils to the Rose and Calendula. Rosemary “Verbenone” is a skin-care specialty oil, distilled from a particular variety of Rosemary herb. Long used in all sorts of body care preparations, Rosemary is thought to work by stimulating cellular metabolism (increasing the amount of nutrients getting into our skin cells), speeding the creation of new cells, and enhancing our skin’s vitality. Helichrysum is even more potently regenerative — often used in wound healing, Helichrysum will also increase new skin cell production, while drawing waste products from skin tissues. And lets not forget Lavender, the Grand-Daddy of skin-care medicine. Lavender is regenerative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and aids skin conditions where stress may be an underlying factor.

For specific skin care needs, we’ll also include Sandalwood and Myrtle essential oils in certain blends (you’ll see which oils go with which skin type in the recipes below). Both these oils are considered excellent for acne-prone skin. Myrtle is potently antiseptic, regenerative, and commonly found in acne and oily-skin formulas. Sandalwood is hydrating AND an excellent treatment for acne. Myrtle offers a great herbaceous “high note” to your blend, while Sandalwood gives a lovely earthy tone.

Holding It All Together: Your Formula’s Base

While the essential oils are often considered the “active ingredients”, its important to consider the “carrier oils” are exceptionally therapeutic as well. For these recipes, we highly recommend the use of two very well-regarded tropical nut oils: Coconut and Kukui. Coconut has a very long history (thousands of years, actually) in skin care, mentioned often in Ayurvedic medicine. It is antimicrobial and hydrating (spanning the needs from the acne prone to the chronically dry). Kukui has similar properties, and remains liquid at room temperature — allowing easy mixing and application of your custom recipe. These two oils have been used by peoples of tropical climes to care for the skin of the young and old, successfully, for so long — and now you too can reap their benefits.

Rosehip Seed: A Woman’s Beauty Gift from the Mountains of Chile

For everyone EXCEPT those prone to acne, Rosehip Seed oil is the third important base oil. Rosehip seed naturally balances the incredible tropical nut oils, coming from the high mountain arid regions of South America. Rosehip seed may be the most thoroughly studied carrier oil for skin care use — and with excellent results. Rosehip has been shown to significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and scars, while smoothing overall skin texture and color. Imagine what its going to do with all these other top-notch therapeutic ingredients…let’s get on to mixing them.

Get Yourself Started With These Ingredients and Instructions

Gather your ingredients: 1 glass bottle 30 or 60ml (1 or 2 ounces), preferably colored glass (helps protect the oils) with an eyedropper (makes it easy to dispense your formula later). ALL recipes are for EACH FLUID OUNCE, so you’ll want to know the size of our bottle to make measuring easier. A funnel might make things easier as well. And of course your selected base oils and essential oils (note for purchasing oils — the recipe calls for drops, and essential oils are sold in milliliters — there are 25 drops per milliliter).

Mixing instructions: Add the required number of drops of each essential oil to your empty bottle. If making 2 ounces, double the amounts, 4 ounces, 4 times, etc. With a funnel, add approximate amounts of your carrier oil — if using all three carrier oils, for example, just fill the bottle about a third of the way with each oil. Don’t overfill, as you won’t be able to get the eyedropper in (if using one) without spilling! Gently invert the bottle several times and let set for a bit. The aroma will not really be brilliant until the following day, but you can use the mixture right away. The formulas are designed for using one to 3 times per day. On to the recipes:

Brilliant Beauty Recipes for All Skin Types:

Moderate to sever dry skin with smile lines: Rose Otto 8 drops, Lavender 12 drops, Calendula CO2 6 drops, three parts Coconut and one part each Kukui and Rosehip seed oils.

Mature skin with scars or color variations and smile lines: Rose Otto 6 drops, Lavender 8 drops, Helichrysum 6 drops, Rosemary V. 6 drops, Equal parts Coconut, Kukui, and Rosehipseed oils.

Irritated or sensitive skin, perhaps with broken capillaries: Rosemary 8 drops, Lavender 6 drops, Calendula CO2 6 drops, Sandalwood 6 drops, in three parts Coconut and one part each Kukui and Rosehip seed oils.

For oily, acne-prone or combination skin: Myrtle 10 drops, Lavender 8, drops, Rosemary V., 6 drops, in equal parts of Kukui and Coconut oils.

Four easy recipes to get you started — and there’s so many essential oils to choose from, with a range of therapeutic properties. These blends described here can be VERY effective, and by making them yourself this first time, you’ll open up whole new doors to formulating your personal, customized, high-end skin care at a fraction of the cost of the Big Names in the business. May you have beautiful, healthy skin where every you go!

 

The author is a degreed naturopath and herbologist, and owner of Ananda Aromatherapy and Synergy Essential Oils of Boulder, Colorado. Her passion is getting the word out on the amazing healing effects of essential oils in particular, and natural medicine in general. More on aroma-therapeutics is available at The Ananda Apothecary at http://www.anandaapothecary.com and Synergy Essentials at http://www.synergyessentialoils.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Looking for simple, natural ways to look and feel more beautiful?  Then check out these beauty tips in our beauty section!

Sep 07

Using the Magic of Rose Essential Oil – Aromatherapy Healing For the Mind, Body and Soul

Rose Essential Oil

Rose Essential Oil

The Rose has been an enduring symbol of love and beauty throughout history. The flower itself is beautifully complex, with deep hues, luxuriant petals, and an Absolutely wonderful aroma. This same beauty is found in the aromatic oils made from Rose flowers. Not only is the smell sweet, rich and distinctive, but it so happens that Rose oil has the most diverse healing applications of any essential oil used in aromatherapy today. The oil is considered a supreme healer of both the body and soul, and it is very easy to use with basic natural healing techniques.

Rose essential oil is becoming more popular, which is interesting at this time where its unique healing applications may be most needed the world over. True Rose oils are the number one choice for opening of the heart chakra, an opening that many individuals are seeking to inspire; this heart-opening action is evidence of the true symbol of love. Rose essential oil is a premier ingredient in the finest skin care products as well, revealing its potential to enhance beauty. Further, it’s an effective antiviral and antidepressant…All this in one tiny concentrated bottle. What makes Rose oil so special, and how can anyone (not just the natural health enthusiasts) make use of its abundant healing actions?

Rose essential oil is a remarkable liquid. It’s really an incredible concentration of Rose flowers: it takes an amazing amount of Roses to make just a few drops. On average, under the most favorable conditions, the yield of Rose oil is one kilogram for every 2,500 kilos of Roses. it can take more than four times this amount of Roses to make the same amount of oil if the weather has been less than favorable. Think of it — It can be hard to imagine even what 2,500 kilos (over 5,000 pounds) of Roses looks like! And the oil itself is naturally a mixture of over a three hundred individual molecules, many of which have yet to be identified through scientific methods. It is this fantastic combination of extreme concentration combined with Mother Nature’s alchemy which imparts Rose oil’s incredible healing value.

Two types of Rose oils are commonly available: Rose Absolute, the less expensive of the two, is a liquid solvent extract. The Absolute smells most like the flower, being produced under cool temperatures, leaving most of the natural constituents intact. The yield of Absolute is relatively high, thus it is the somewhat less expensive variety. Rose Otto is this steam distilled oil, and the true ‘essential oil’ of Rose. While the Absolute retains the deep red color of the flower, the Otto is clear or slightly pale yellow and has its own unique aroma. The scent of Otto is brilliant and uplifting, with brilliant high notes and a subtle sweetness. The most famous of Rose growing countries is Bulgaria, producing the most sought after varieties of each oil type. Rose Otto is also produced in large quantities in Turkey, while the Absolute is also commonly extracted from flowers grown in Morocco.

When looking at the oils’ the therapeutic applications, it is important to take into account the entire mind body/complex — rather than divorcing the two which is so often done in modern medicine. Rose essential oil is very active on a physiological level, however it is when its action on the emotions and spirit are taken into account that Rose really shines. Otto is a strong antiviral, being used by many folks for its efficacy in treating herpes and shingles. Despite its potency, it is gentle enough for undiluted application to the skin for this use. Rose oils are also profoundly effective tonics for the female reproductive system; they are said to enhance fertility and bring about health for the uterus and ovaries. For these needs, a dilute formula of 3% Rose oil can be massaged into the lower abdomen on a frequent basis.

The most common therapeutic application may be for healing the skin, as Rose extracts are found in many of the world’s finest cosmetics. Rose Otto can reduce inflammation, heal capillaries, hydrate and soften, and act as it an effective astringent and antiseptic. Including a 1% concentration in any skincare formula can vastly improve its beauty enhancing ability. Rose water (‘leftover’ from the distillation process) is an excellent beauty care preparation unto itself. The water, called ‘Rose hydrosol’ is often used with a cotton ball as a cleansing tonic for the face.

While not the most common, certainly the most important therapeutic application of Rose is as a healer of the Soul. The aromas of both the Absolute and the Otto are well-known antidepressants, an action that is not clearly defined by modern medicine. The olfactory sense is the one of the five senses directly hardwired to the brain, and here has a deeply rooted in effect on our overall well-being. Rose Absolute can be worn as a natural perfume for this purpose, often diluted to 10% in jojoba oil and dabbed on the wrists and neck. The same can be done with the Otto, though it may be even more useful and small concentrations as an aromatherapy massage oil. In the esoteric medicine systems, inhalation and topical application of Rose is thought to regulate the flow of Chi through the liver. This is of profound importance, as it is a blocked flow of this Chi that can lead to anger, irritation, and anxiety. And perhaps the greatest of all effects is the unfolding of the heart chakra, allowing us to be more open, loving, and receptive to one another, and to be comforted in tense times.

Employing the healing properties of Rose oils is fun and easy to do. Both the Otto and Absolute are safe, and can be used undiluted whenever desired. They are both considered highly potent, and diluting them in a carrier oil will not reduce their efficacy however. A 5 to 10% dilution is most often used for personal perfume, a 1 to 3% dilution as a massage oil, and a 1 to 2% dilution and beauty care preparations. Either oil is excellent for use in even the simplest of aromatherapy diffusers, by themselves or blended with other aromatics of your choice. There are other aromatherapy methods of course, and you should use your intuition to guide you for the most appropriate technique.

The essential oils of Rose are considered among the most transformative and aromatherapy, and effect which seems a natural evolution of Nature’s symbol of love and beauty. Mankind has developed the technological know-how to put the power of thousands upon thousands of Roses in one tiny bottle, and transport it around the world almost instantly. It is Nature however, who developed this fantastic medicine millennia ago. If you’d like a little more beauty and love in your life, you might consider giving Rose essential oils try.

Misty Rae Cech is a degreed naturopath, and a co-owner of The Ananda Apothecary. She strives to educate her clients and the public on the benefits of supporting one’s health naturally. More is available about Rose essential oil at Ananda Aromatherapy.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Sep 06

Lavender Essential Oil – A Cornerstone of Aromatherapy For Your Family

aromatherapy treatment with herbal flowersInterest and motivation for creating a completely ‘green’ household is on the rise as awareness grows of the many potential hazards in the synthetic chemicals found in our modern lifestyles. Here are a few tips on going green by going ‘purple’, with the extremely versatile essential oil of Lavender. The flowering, fragrant purple tops of Lavender yield an essential oil that’s inexpensive, and has diverse uses for your family’s health and wellness. In many cases, Lavender can replace synthetic formulations that you just might not feel comfortable with for long-term use — as you have little idea what the ingredients really are, if you are even able to pronounce them. So what can this wonder oil do? Let’s have a look at some of its most common, simple to use applications.

The overall action of Lavender oil is both calming and regenerating. It’s a profound effect, as our bodies need to be relieved of stress in order to heal, and lead healthy lives in general. The sweet smell alone bestows calm on folks of all ages; from the little ones all wound up when it’s time for bed, to the wizened generation whom may be recovering from illness or loss. It has done the same for lab rats, hamsters and mice in many university studies. And this effect may be the most simple to produce, too. For personal use, you only need to inhale deeply from a bottle, or dab a couple drops on your wrists to get a little whiff of the scent now and then. There are several styles of essential oil diffusers available which release aroma into the air. Almost every one will work for stress reduction; it just takes a hint of Lavender in the air to have its effect.

Another favorite stress reduction technique is the Lavender bath: just add 20-30 drops of Lavender to an already drawn bath for a soak. If one needs to unwind before they make it home from work, small diffusers are available that plug into the cigarette lighter of a car. A few drops placed on the pad can really go a long way to relieving the tensions of the day while still in the evening commute!

Associated with its calming effect is Lavender’s ability to improve sleep. One headline proclaimed ‘Lavender Beats Valium’ in sleep studies. If you or your children have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, Lavender can be a profoundly effective home remedy. For a really simple method, sprinkle just a drop or two (really just a litt1e as too much can actually be a stimulant for some folks) on the bed sheet, on-top-of, or under the pillow before bed. It’s especially nice to fall asleep to a hint of Lavender, and catch another whiff if one wakes again in the middle of the night. For some, it works well to utilize a diffuser set to run on low all night long, or one on a timer that cycles on for a minute or two every hour. Think about how the scent is relaxing your whole body; using lavender regularly this way may continually improve the aroma’s effectiveness as a sleep aid over time.

Lavender essential oil is a surprisingly effective wound healer. We sometimes think a product needs to be more medicinal smelling, or sting at least a little bit to work, but it was actually Lavender that began the modern ‘medicinal’ aromatherapy revolution. Dr. Rena Maurice Gattafosse, a French scientist, burned his hand in a laboratory accident; he thrust it immediately into the closest vat of liquid, which happened to be filled with Lavender essential oil. He recovered from his injury so quickly that he was inspired to write the first book on the medical use of essential oils, coining the term ‘Aromatherapy’ as the title.

As you can guess, Lavender works exceptionally well on burns. It can be used neat, undiluted, on any burn where the skin is unbroken; it will bring quick pain relief and speed healing. Lavender is considered anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and regenerative, so virtually all cuts, bruises and scrapes will also respond well. You can use in combination with Helichrysum for burns and bruises (Helichrysum is a powerful anti-inflammatory/regenerative/pain reliever as well), or with Tea Tree for a stronger, yet still soothing anti-bacterial formula (a 50/50 mix of Lavender and Tea Tree can replace any sort of topical anti-bacterial formula used under band-aids and small dressings). Lavender can work well on a sunburn, at a 10% dilution in water dabbed over the area. A drop of lavender on a bug bite or sting is also highly effective, and is useful for many itchy and irritated skin conditions as well.

Lavender’s antiseptic properties make it an excellent natural household disinfectant. Sprinkle baking soda and Lavender in place of chlorine-based cleansers and scrub away! Add a little lemon essential oil too for greater potency, and a very uplifting scent. Lavender and Lemon can be added to a bucket of water (use about 30 drops of each) for larger surfaces and floors.

Getting a nice, sweet Lavender essential oil is important when using it for stress reduction and as a sleep aid. Some Lavender’s are labeled ‘high-elevation’; this is because the plant produces a higher concentration of the more floral components of the oil when grown in mountainous regions. The most lovely aromatically are typically from France — these oils might be higher-priced, but are worth it for these uses, especially as you only need a little at a time. If buying the oil for antiseptic and anti-inflammation, a medium quality oil can be acceptable. Looking for a real bargain is likely to be counterproductive, as a mass-produced poor quality oil will not have the same stress-relieving therapeutic effects no matter how much you use. The finer the oil, the less you’re likely to need in any application — and the more likely you and your family will make a lifelong friend with Lavender.

Misty is a consultant to the therapeutic blending of essential oils at The Ananda Apothecary. She is exceptionally fond of Lavender essential oil, a staple in aromatherapy for its well-loved aroma and broad range of effects.

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