Making Your Own Aromatherapy Travel Kit

by Kimberly Seymour

Traveling can be fun, rewarding, adventurous, and also make one homesick. Sometimes all you need to really enjoy those extended trips is to have a bit of home comfort with you. The olfactory system, or your sniffer, is linked to memory and emotion. So it makes sense that bringing those scents that remind you of home, comfort, happiness could only make your traveling experience that much more enjoyable.

It is so nice to know that whether you are traveling by plane or road you can have your essential oils and blends with you. They will help you stay healthy, feel grounded and relaxed, or keep your mental focus going strong.

Here are six great recipes to create for your aromatherapy travel kit. They’re small enough to pass airport security guidelines, and they are so easy to make. 10 minutes of blending fun and you’re ready for your trip.

Aloe Hand Cleanser

This cleanser does not contain alcohol, instead we choose aloe vera gel and essential oils. This reduces germs and nourishes your skin at the same time.

1oz                 Aloe Vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)

7 drops          Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

6 drops          Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

6 drops          Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

 Blend these ingredients in a 1 oz. (30ml) PET plastic bottle—it won’t break if it gets tossed around and is safe to use with diluted essential oils. PET plastic is known as a non-reactive plastic that doesn’t leach.

 

Breathe and Be Calm Inhaler

You can use this blend for some respiratory support, it help protects from colds and flu.

 5 drops          Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

6 drops          Eucalyptus (E. globulus)

4 drops          Orange, Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

7 drops          Carrier Oil of your choice (Jojoba, Almond, etc.)

 You will place the cotton wick from the Inhaler in a glass bowl. Drop the essential oils unto the wick, then drop the carrier oil over the essential oils. This will slow the evaporation rate of the essential oils. Your inhaler should last about 4-6 weeks. Once you are done place the wick into the inhaler and snap shut.

·        A note on Eucalyptus: Globulus should only be used with healthy adults with no lung issues. For children, elderly, or those who have any lung issues Fragonia would be the safest choice.

 

Floral Cedar Room Spray

Aromatherapy room sprays can make any place you’re staying in feel more like home. Even though you can love staying in new places, it’s important to stay centered and grounded. I recommend making a fresh bottle of this every few weeks.

 ½oz                Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana)

½oz                Distilled Water

3 drops          Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini)

1 drop           Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

2 drops          Cedarwood Virginia (Juniperus virginiana)

 Blend the above ingredients into a 1oz PET or glass spray bottle. Shake before each use.

 

Sweet Sleep Spray

3 drops                      Neroli (Citrus aurantium)

3 drops                      Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

5 drops                      Mandarin green (Citrus reticulata)

2 drops                      Jasmine sambac (Jasminum sambac)

1oz                             Distilled water

1oz                             Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana)

Blend the above ingredients into a 2oz PET or glass spray bottle. Shake before each use.

Mental Focus Roll-On

This is a good blend to keep you alert and focused.

 10ml              Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

2 drops          Rosemary ct. camphor (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. camphor)

1 drop           Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

1 drop           Fir Siberian (Abies siberica)

2 drops          Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

 Roll it on the back of your neck and wrists for stronger focus.

 

Lavender Lime & Mint Soap

While traveling you may prefer to bring your own soap over the soaps provided by the hotels you stay in. You will know exactly what’s in your bottle of foaming soap, so you will already know your skin will love it!

 1 ½ oz.                       Castle Soap

10 drops       Lime, Distilled (Citrus medica)

10 drops       Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

2 drops          Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

 If you are using a 2oz foam bottle you will want to leave space at the top of the bottle for the soap pump. If you are using a flip top PET plastic bottle you can use 2oz of Castile Soap.

All you have to do is pour ½ the soap in the bottle, add the oils, add the remainder of the soap, screw on the lid, and shake gently.

 Try pairing this recipe with a shower gel, just use a castile body wash base and use the same essential oils. Remember the 2 drops of Peppermint is all you need for this size, because we really don’t need much Peppermint essential oil to have a strong effect.

 If you’re going somewhere exotic, you may have fun using oils that are native to the area. Rich resins (such as Frankincense and Myrrh) come from countries in Africa and the Middle East, while you are going snow skiing you might enjoy blending with conifer essential oils. It’s just one more way to connect with a new place.

 The great thing about an essential oil is that it can be used in so many ways and one oil can help in many situations. Here are a few ideas for some of the oils listed above:

 Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

 Headaches: Put 3 drops of Lavender into 10ml (1/3oz) of any carrier, lotion, or aloe vera and apply to the temples and back of neck. A travel friendly inhaler may be preassembled for inhalation in the case of a headache or insomnia. Adding 1-2 drops of Peppermint helps for stronger headaches, but not so well for sleeping.

 Insomnia: A drop on a cotton ball or tissue tucked into your pillowcase; or a bath (3-6 drops in a handful of bath salts) before retiring will help ease you (or your excited children) into a natural relaxing sleep.

 Minor Burns, Mosquito Bug bites: 12 drops of Lavender blended into 1oz aloe vera gel or your favorite carrier. Place this blend on the affected area.

 Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

 Upset Stomach: inhaling this oil straight from the bottle seems to do the trick. You can also mix 6 drops into 1oz of carrier to use as needed. Rub 1-2 drops on the abdomen.

 Congestion: If summer’s pollen cause sinus congestion, diluted Peppermint is a wonderful option for either stuffy noses or sinus headaches. Either inhale the diluted oil to begin to clear a stuffy nose, or blend with some Lavender and gently massage on the forehead, temples, nape of neck and then without using more blend you can gently rub the cheekbones to ease a sinus headache. Using 5 drops of Peppermint and 3 drops of Lavender.

 Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

 Scrapes: After washing a scrape, consider a bit of diluted Tea Tree to help keep the abrasion germ free.

 Disinfecting: Any sort of skin irritation that shows signs of perhaps becoming infected, whether they are bug bites, cuts or scrapes will benefit from Tea Tree’s antimicrobial properties.

 This will provide you with a wonderful start to begin creating your ultimate travel kit, personalized to you and your travel mates. Just remember to always play safe with essential oils, no more than a 1- 2.5% dilution is all that is needed, any higher you should consult a qualified Clinical Aromatherapist to ensure you are within safety guidelines for the issue at hand.

Using Essential Oils in First Aid

by Kimberly Seymour

Even during our best moments to live a healthy and toxin free life, there can be  times when illness or injury strike. At times your illness could mean that conventional medical treatment is certainly warranted and we should be grateful that medical treatment is available if needed.

 But what about the times when the illness or injury is merely uncomfortable or limiting? While our first instinct may be to get OTC medication to mediate symptoms, there are often all natural remedies that don’t interfere with the body’s own immune responses and which can help ease uncomfortable symptoms.

 If you are just starting your journey to a more holistic lifestyle you may be wondering what essential oils one needs to have on hand for such emergencies. Although everyone has their favorite oil, the top oils to have in your First Aid supplies would be:

 Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) France: (anti infectious, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory) Cuts, grazes, burns, promotes wound healing, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, insect bites and stings, headaches, insomnia, rashes, nervous conditions, anxiety, and tension.

Minor Burns and Bug Bites: blend with carrier oil or the juice of your fresh aloe plant.

Insomnia, Stress, Tension: A drop on your pillow before retiring to bed will help you relax you into sleep. A bath taken with 3-8 drops of Lavender mixed with 1/2-1 cup bath salts, carrier oil, or castile soap will help ease children and adults alike into restful blissful sleep. A drop on your cotton shirt or a tissue placed near you will calm the nerves.

 Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile): (anti bacterial, anti inflammatory, anti spasmodic) Pain relief, fevers, skin problems, rashes, eczema, teething pain, muscle spasms, calming, nervousness, insomnia, constipation.

Relaxation: Blend with Lavender for a relaxing bath (use above directions)

Antispasmodic: Dilute and then use for intestinal cramping (this works well for Colic also) by massaging clockwise onto abdomen.

Fevers: In a large bowl of warm water mixed with1/4 bath salts, place 2 drops of oil, mix and then using a cloth, wipe down the body and then let the feet soak for 10 minutes. You may also place 1 drop of Spearmint into the bowl for a cooling effect and also aiding in the reduction of fevers.

 Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) or Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora): Niaouli is a better choice when treating children as it is milder form of Melaleuca. (anti infectious, anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory, anti parasitic, anti viral) rashes, insect bites and stings, nail fungus, ringworm, thrush, head lice, boils, bronchial congestion, scabies, ulcers, wounds, cold sores, acne, sinusitis, bronchitis.

Scratches, Scrapes & Wounds: After washing, consider a few drops of diluted oil to help keep the abrasion germ free.

Boils: Place 2 drops each of Lavender & Tea Tree into a bowl of hot water and wash the area twice a day. If inflammation is severe, add 1 drop of Chamomile.

Sinusitis: Place 1 drop of the above oil with 1 drop of Lavender into a cup of hot water, loosely tent yourself( for children do not tent, gently fan steam towards them), close eyes and breathe deeply for 3-5 minutes. Do this 2-3 times daily for 10 days.

 Eucalyptus Radiata (E. Radiata) (anti infectious, anti bacterial, anti inflammatory) bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, colds, flu, fever, sinusitis, headaches, insect bites, rashes, muscle aches.

Coughs: Blend 1 teaspoon of carrier oil with 2 drops of Eucalyptus, 1 drop of Thyme Linalool. Rub over back and chest. You may add 1 drop of Lavender.

Colds: Create an Inhaler or place on a tissue and inhale deeply whenever possible 1 drop of each of the following oils: Euc. Radiata, Fragonia, Lemon or Lime, and Thyme linalool.

  Fragonia (Agonis fragans) (anti microbial, anti bacterial, analgesic, anti fungal) asthma, muscle/joint pain, bronchitis, tonsillitis, COPD, impaired immune system, fatigue, anxiety, jet lag, respiratory issues.

Tonsillitis & Sore throats: In a 5ml Roll On glass bottle, place 4.5ml of carrier oil and 2 drops of Fragonia. You can also make a throat/chest rub with 15ml of carrier with a blend of 3 drops Fragonia, 2 drops Ravensara, and 1 drop of either Lavender or Niaouli.

Asthma, Lung issues: An inhaler, diffuser or tissue with Fragonia helps to open the air passages to allow for deep breathing to occur. You may blend with Lavender and Lemon or Bergamot.

 Peppermint (Mentha piperita) or Spearmint (Mentha viridas): Peppermint should NOT be used in children under 6. (Analgesic, anti bacterial, anti spasmodic, cooling, anti microbial) headaches, upset tummies, fatigue/exhaustion, congestion, poison ivy and other itches, sunburn.

Headache: Mix 4.5ml carrier of choice with 1 drop each of Peppermint/Spearmint and Lavender. Rub 1 drop of blend on temples and back of the neck and base of skull.

Tummy troubles: Simply inhale from the bottle or you can blend 5ml of carrier to 1 drop of Peppermint/Spearmint. You can rub this onto the abdomen in a clockwise manner. You may add 1 drop of Chamomile Roman if cramping is also present.

 Although there are a multitude of essential oils we can add to this list, I hope you have learned new ways to use those oils in your cabinets in safe, effective and new ways.

 

Aromatherapy for Dogs

Aromatherapy is effective in treating a number of dog health problems, such as skin irritations, ear infections, hyperactivity, flea/tick infestations, and much more. I will briefly explain and introduce essential oils and hydrosols; how to use essential oils safely on dogs, and which oils are unsafe to be used on dogs.

Using aromatherapy to tackle dog health problems is starting to gain recognition as a safe and effective alternative treatment. However, many people still have a lot of misconceptions about "aromatherapy" - some of them equate aromatherapy with scented candles or grooming products with synthetic oils.

Aromatherapy is more than just making your dog smell good! 100% pure essential oils and hydrosols have medicinal properties and, if used appropriately, can be effective in treating an array of dog health problems - from skin irritations to motion sickness to certain behavioral problems such as hyperactivity. We can also blend different oils to create synergy.

Want to know more about using aromatherapy for dogs? Great! This will give you - the responsible dog owner - more information on aromatherapy for dogs, so that you can decide for yourself whether to use it as an additional alternative treatment for various dog problems.

What is Aromatherapy for Dogs?

Aromatherapy is not limited to the use of grooming products that contain essential oils. It means more than that - it refers to the use of a pure, therapeutic essential oil, or several oils combined, for a certain healing purpose - either to treat a particular health problem, or to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of the dog.

You may have noticed that I have bolded the words "pure" and "therapeutic " a couple of times. It is intentional because I can't emphasize enough the importance of using 100% pure essential oils when treating your dog. Do not try to save money and buy cheap "essential oils" that contain synthetic substances. They will not have the therapeutic effects and, even worse, the synthetic substances and chemicals may do harm to your dog.

What are Essential Oils and Hydrosols?

An essential oil is a volatile substance contained in the glandular hairs, sac, or veins of different parts of a plant, such as the leaves, flowers, bark, roots, seeds or fruit. They are the "essence" of that particular plant form and are responsible for giving that plant its unique scent.

There are several ways to extract essential oils: steam distillation, solvent extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, or manual expression.

Contrary to what most people think, essential oils are non-oily. They are highly concentrated and should almost always be diluted before use. Each oil has its own individual properties, such as scent, color, chemical properties, and healing effects.

On a physical level, many essential oils are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying. On an emotional level, some essential oils can be sedative or stimulating.

A hydrosol is a water-based substance which is a by-product obtained during the steam distillation process of an essential oil. A hydrosol contains water-soluble parts of a plant as well as very small amount of some essential oil components. Since hydrosols are not highly concentrated like essential oils, they can be used undiluted as is, or essential oils can be added to a hydrosol for synergistic effects.

For extremely sensitive dogs, small dogs, and cats, hydrosols are good alternatives to the more potent essential oils. (Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils so it is better to use hydrosols on cats.)

 Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Essential oils are highly concentrated and therefore extremely potent. When using essential oils on our dogs, therefore, we should be careful not to overuse them. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, etc.) before use.

If we choose essential oils that are safe for dogs, and use them in diluted form, they are perfectly safe to use on dogs and are effective therapeutically for a great number of ailments.

However, some essential oils, diluted or not, are unsafe for dogs and use of such oils should be avoided altogether.

Here are some essential oils that should NOT be used on dogs:

Anise / Camphor / Hyssop / Juniper* / White Thyme / Yarrow

Because of uterine stimulation or possible toxicity, avoid using these oils on dogs, especially on pregnant dogs.

*The oil of Juniper berry is perfectly safe, but the Juniper wood oil is toxic to the kidneys.

Birch / Wintergreen

Some aromatherapy formulae found on websites suggest using the oils birch and wintergreen for joint pains caused by arthritis. However, dermal use of these two oils has been proven to be toxic as they contain high levels of methyl salicylate. Ingestion can cause severe poisoning and death.

Cassia / Clove leaf and bud

These oils can cause dermal irritation and possible toxicity to both people and pets.

Horseradish / Mustard / Tansy

Due to the pungent properties of these oils, they are considered to be hazardous and may cause severe dermal irritation.

Pennyroyal

Although this oil is effective in repelling flea, it is also highly toxic to the kidneys and the nervous system. It is also a known abortifacient. Avoid using this oil on pets and yourself!

Rue

This oil is a terrible photosensitizer.

Wormwood

Both the herb and the oil wormwood are toxic to pets and should be avoided at all costs, even though some people suggest using wormwood for treating worm infestation. There has been reports of wormwood essential oil causing renal failure in humans. It is also a known fact that wormwood causes seizures, and possesses very high oral and dermal toxicity.

How can I use Essential Oils on my Dogs?

Aromatherapy for dogs can be applied topically (through massage), by diffusion and inhalation, or orally. Topical application is the most commonly used technique, and has the greatest benefit because the oils are applied directly to the area(s) needed. The oils penetrate the skin and are quickly absorbed by tiny capillaries which carry them to the bloodstream.

Essential oils can be topically applied via massage, or via spritzers, sprays, and of course the oils can also be added to shampoos, conditioners, salves, ointments, etc.

Remember, the oils have to be diluted before use. Carrier vegetable oils, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, can be used.

Diffusion and inhalation is another way to practice aromatherapy for dogs. A diffuser is used to evaporate the oils which are inhaled by the dog. Leave the diffuser on for about 30 to 40 minutes in order for the dog to inhale and absorb the oils. You should be able to see result if you repeat this procedure twice daily for five to seven days.

Oral application of essential oils to dogs should only be done under the supervision of a holistic veterinarian. As the oils are highly concentrated and potent, extreme care has to be taken to avoid overdose. And of course, some essential oils are not suitable for ingestion at all.

For home remedies, therefore, it is advisable to limit yourself to the first two techniques (topical application and inhalation).

 Some Precautions When Using Essential Oils on Dogs

    Always use 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils on dogs (and humans).

    Use only essential oils that are safe for dogs.

    Always DILUTE essential oils before using them on your dogs. A rough guideline is to add about 10-15 drops of essential oils to 1/2 oz. (15 ml) of carrier base oil.

    Use less amount of diluted oils on small dogs than on big dogs.

    Use less amount of diluted oils on puppies, senior dogs, and those whose health is compromised. When in doubt, start off with hydrosols.

    Check with a holistic vet before using any essential oils on pregnant dogs. In particular, do not use stimulating oils (e.g. peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, niaouli) on pregnant dogs.

    Do not use oils on epileptic dogs or dogs who are seizure-prone. Some oils, such as rosemary, may trigger seizures (in humans too).

    Do not use oils in or close to the eyes, directly on or close to the nose, or in the anal or genital areas.

What are the Dilution Ratios for Dogs?

The best way to think about dilution for dogs is to go by the weight of the dog. A small dog under 20 pounds you would treat as a human child or toddler. I would dilute from 30-90% of the human dose again depending on its size.

Essential oils for larger dogs can be used similarly to humans. A medium dog that is in the range of 25-50 pounds can tolerate less than a large dog that is 100 pounds!

So keep in mind, as we do with humans, that if a dog is sick or toxic then it is best to use less essential oil at first. This is because most oils will detoxify the body at a cellular level.

How do I Use Essential Oils as Home Remedies for Dogs?

Several Ways to Apply Essential Oil to Dogs:

    Apply directly on location;

    Place oil in your palm then pet head to toe;

    Place oil on tips of ears, chest, and under pits;  or

    Smell it right out of the bottle or from your hands!

 

Safe Essential Oils for Dogs

Essential Oils

Properties & Uses

Bergamot Antifungal, soothing.
Excellent for ear infections caused by yeast or bacterial overgrowth.
Caution: Can cause photosensitization. Avoid the sun after use.

Carrot Seed Anti-inflammatory, tonic, with moderate antibacterial effects.
Good for dry, flaky, sensitive skin which is prone to infection.
Can rejuvenate and stimulate tissue regeneration, thus effective for scar healing.

Cedarwood Antiseptic, tonifying, circulation-stimulating.
Good for skin and coat conditioning and dermatitis of all types.
Flea-repelling.

Chamomile, German Anti-inflammatory, non-toxic, gentle and safe to use.
Good for skin irritations, allergic reactions, burns.

Chamomile, Roman Antispasmodic, analgesic, nerve-calming.
Good for soothing the central nervous system.
Effective for relief of muscle pains, cramps, teething pain.
A "must-have" oil for dogs!

Clary Sage Nerve-calming, gentle when used in small amounts and properly diluted.
Sedates the central nervous system.

Eucalyptus Radiata Antiviral, anti-inflammatory, an expectorant.
Good for relief of chest congestion.
Effective in repelling flea.

Geranium Gentle and safe, antifungal.
Good for skin irritations, fungal ear infections.
Effective in repelling ticks.

Ginger Non-toxic, non-irritating and safe to use in small amounts, properly diluted.
Good for motion sickness, aids digestion.
Effective for pain relief caused by arthritis, dysplasia, strains and sprains.

Helichrysum Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, regenerative effects; extremely therapeutic.
Excellent for skin conditions and irritations (e.g. eczema).
Effective for healing of scars and bruises.
Effective for pain relief.

Lavender Very safe and gentle, antibacterial, anti-itch, nerve-calming.
Good for many common animal ailments, e.g. skin irritations, first aid.
A "must-have" oil for your dog!

Marjoram, Sweet Strong antibacterial, calming, a muscle relaxant.
Good for bacterial skin infections, wound care, insect repelling.

Niaouli Antihistaminic, powerful antibacterial properties, yet less likely to cause irritation than Tea Tree.
Good for ear infections and skin problems caused by allergies.
A "must-have" for dogs!

Peppermint Antispamodic, stimulates circulation, insect-repelling.
Good for arthritis, dysplasia, sprains and strains.
Works well with ginger to treat motion sickness.
Another "must-have" for dogs!

Sweet Orange Calming, deodorizing, flea-repelling.
Caution: Can cause photosensitization. Avoid the sun after use.

Valerian Nerve-calming.
Good for treating dog anxiety such as separation and noise anxiety.

 Comforting arthritis massage blend for dogs

Dogs generally love to be massaged and a dog with arthritis will both enjoy and benefit from the following treatment. Your dog will soon lick off much off the oil, but by then enough will have penetrated the skin and got to the affected tissue and bone. The same blend will work wonders for arthritis and muscle pain of dog owners as well!

6 drops Ginger

4 drops Lavender

8 drops Rosemary

Additions: Oil Base

How to Use:

Massage the following blend into affected joints by working through the coat and into the skin. Dilute with plenty of base oil, 2 or 3 tablespoons:

Essential Oils for Balancing Hormones

hormones Blog Post.jpg

By Amber LaBorde

Have you ever noticed the impact a scent can have on your mood? I’ve experienced this so often – with a deep breath of ocean air, or the earthy smell of a forest when I’m hiking, I can feel my body calming and my mood lifting.

The power of scent is just one of the ways that essential oils can impact your health. So many people are talking about essential oils these days as a natural healing method that can have a positive effect on so many aspects of your health. Have you tried them yet? If not, maybe it’s time!

So many women come to see me about difficult symptoms related to hormonal imbalance. I’m not just talking about PMS or menopausal symptoms either, though those are certainly problems for many women. The constant stress of daily life brings more and more women to me who are overloaded with cortisol, the stress hormone, or have been battling stress so long that their thyroid and adrenal glands aren’t functioning at all in the way that they should.

Essential oils can help with restoring hormonal balances and good health. As part of a healthy lifestyle, which includes stress reduction, good quality sleep, and a nutritious diet, essential oils can really make a difference. Let’s take a look at how.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are all natural oils made up of a complex mixture of natural chemicals that are extracted from certain parts of plants – leaves, barks, rinds and herbs. There are a few different methods that can be used to extract and concentrate these oils – distillation with water and/or steam, mechanical processing known as expression (unique to citrus peel oils), or a process called maceration, which is only used on a very limited number of plants.

After distillation, the oil is separated from the water, so it’s truly pure oil. That makes these oils extremely concentrated – and very powerful. A little goes a long way, and very few essential oils should be used in the fully concentrated form.

Why So Many People Are Talking About Essential Oils

Research on the impact of essential oils is limited, but there are some studies that show some positive benefits, particularly on hormonal activity. If there aren’t a lot of solid studies that prove the benefits, why are so many people touting essential oils for healing? Quite simply, it’s because they work for them!

One of the most important things you can do for your health is reduce stress – and pleasant scents can help that happen. Your olfactory bulb is connected to the part of your brain responsible for emotional reactions, the amygdala, as well as to the hippocampus where memories are stored. Psychological studies have revealed the power that scents have over positive or negative associations – and those associations can activate the release of both “feel-good” hormones and the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel lousy.

Conventional practitioners rely heavily on prescriptions to make you feel better. But if something might help you feel just as good without chemical intervention, wouldn’t you want to give it a try? No intervention will work for everyone. We are all such unique individuals – what works in one way for some may have the opposite effect in others. But there is little to no risk in using essential oils, if used properly, so what’s the harm in giving it a try?

How Do Essential Oils Help With Hormonal Imbalance?

I hope I’ve convinced you to keep an open mind and learn more about how essential oils might help you feel your best. Let’s look at how essential oils can work on hormonal imbalances to get you on the right track again.

What is Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is exactly what it sounds like. Your body has multiple hormones, all with a specific task to carry out, and if the levels of any of these are too high or too low, your body can suffer. Additionally, if the ratio of some hormones to others is out of whack, you might experience uncomfortable symptoms.

There are so many hormones in your body that carry essential messages to so many systems. And it’s not just the sex hormones that everyone thinks of immediately, though of course those are important. Imbalances in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can be responsible for the uncomfortable symptoms women experience in menopause – hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain – and during their menstrual cycle.

Equally impactful are cortisol, insulin, thyroid hormones, and human growth hormone (Hgh). If you have too much or too little of any of these hormones, your health can really suffer. Symptoms might include weight gain, extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety or other mood disorders, insomnia, headaches, and fertility problems. Prolonged imbalances in vital hormones can cause adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, which can lead to more serious conditions. That’s why it’s so important to do anything you can to even out your hormone levels.

What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormones are sensitive, and there are so many factors that can impact your levels that it’s hard to answer this question. That’s why we have to look at the whole picture when we are assessing our health. When your lifestyle is as healthy as it can be, your body is far more able to keep up with producing the proper amount of hormones for every situation. But when derailed by factors like chronic stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, poor diet and sleep deprivation, your body is likely to experience a breakdown somewhere; and that’s usually in hormone production and signaling.

Take cortisol, for instance. When your adrenals are constantly pumping out cortisol, they stop production of other “less important” hormones – like estrogen and progesterone. That’s because survival takes precedence over reproduction in times of stress. But our stress these days goes far beyond survival – we are stressed over work, children, aging parents, and trying to do it all. And our body can’t tell the difference!

A healthy lifestyle is your best defense, and reducing stress is key to maintaining good health. That’s where essential oils can come in. Here are some of the top essential oils for hormones.

Clary Sage

A number of studies, albeit small (and many on animals rather than humans) have shown the impact that clary sage essential oil can have on hormones. One study showed that cortisol levels in participants were reduced by 36% and serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to mood) levels increased after inhalation of clary sage oil. Other research has shown that clary sage essential oil can improve thyroid hormone levels, and balance estrogen in your body by distributing it evenly. This is a big deal because so many issues women face are in part due to excess estrogen, and so many things in our food and environment can raise estrogen levels. And that’s not all. Research has also shown aromatherapy to be effective for relief of menstrual cramps. In fact, some preliminary research found aromatherapy massage which included clary sage to be more effective on menstrual pain than acetaminophen. And study in 2010 found that inhalation of clary sage oil reduced blood pressure in 34 female patients. That’s a lot of good reasons to give it a try.

 Frankincense

When it comes to balancing out functioning of T3 and T4, the thyroid hormones, frankincense essential oil is a great bet. This oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease cortisol, which has a big impact on proper thyroid functioning. And because inflammation is tied to autoimmune diseases, frankincense is a great bet to soothe these symptoms as well. Although research is again limited, frankincense has been used, with success, to reduce symptoms of menstruation and menopause, such as pain, constipation, anxiety, nausea, headaches and mood swings. This oil may also help with regulating production of estrogen.

Lavender

Lavender essential oil has been well researched and shown to have a beneficial effect on hormonal balance, pain relief, stomach trouble, headaches, and reducing feelings of depression and stress. Lavender lowers the amount of cortisol released by the adrenal glands. One study out of Wesleyan University showed that using lavender oil therapeutically can boost the percentage of deep, restorative slow-wave sleep in men and women. Other research demonstrates that inhaling lavender can soothe symptoms of depression and the emotional swings that come with PMS. Because it’s an adaptogenic oil, lavender can be particularly useful in hormonal balance because it can adapt to the specific needs of your body. So if one hormone is too high, but another too low, lavender might be able to help level out both without adverse side effects you might get from prescription remedies.

Peppermint

This one may come as some surprise, as it isn’t typically used for PMS or other issues around menstruation. But peppermint oil has been shown to have an impact on hormones that impact mood, so its use can help your emotional healing, which in turn can help keep those hormones stable. Headaches often accompany hormonal shifts, and inhaling peppermint oil can help reduce this pain. In fact, one study showed that use of peppermint oil had the same impact as taking 1000 mg of acetaminophen, without the potentially dangerous side effects that come with the use of too much of the drug. Peppermint oil can also help you keep a clear head instead of succumbing to the “foggy brain” that so often accompanies hormonal imbalances.

Rose

Rose essential oil balances testosterone levels in your body, which is important for women as well as men. Rose is also known as an aphrodisiac, which can aid in boosting your libido. A study in 2009 also showed that rose essential oil promoted greater feelings of calm and relaxation than the placebo, which can help in balancing cortisol and supporting the adrenal glands. Finally, rose essential oil has demonstrated ability to decrease blood pressure and breathing rate, improve serotonin levels and other neuropeptides, further promoting a sense of calm.

 Rosemary

Because excess estrogen can have such an impact on issues like infertility and some cancers, and rosemary essential oil can remove excess estrogen from your body, it’s a great aid in healing hormonal imbalances. Research has detailed the many benefits of rosemary, including lowering cortisol in saliva, anti-cancer properties, improving memory and impacting mood. What makes rosemary so effective? Many says it’s the antioxidant activity of its chemical composition.

Thyme

Thyme essential oil impacts hormonal balance by raising levels of progesterone. Since infertility is correlated with low progesterone levels, PCOS and depression, and can also impact the levels of other hormones, thyme oil can be a big help in restoring balance. Research has demonstrated this balancing effect, and it’s certainly less risky than seeking out synthetic hormone replacement, which often comes with severe side effects.

How Do I Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils are potent, and most shouldn’t be used in pure, undiluted form. For topical applications, a few drops can be mixed with a carrier oil – so many work, including olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba and sweet almond oil, along with many others.

Oils can be used topically as lotions or massage oils, depending on which carrier it’s mixed with. They can be added to bath water, and of course, one of the most common ways to use essential oils is to mix a few drops with water in a diffuser and inhale the scent in the air.

Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.

Aromatherapy with ADD & ADHD

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By Amber LaBorde

ADD, or Attention Deficient Disorder, is a developmental disorder often diagnosed in childhood. The diagnosis of ADD is given to children who are inattentive, impulsive and, in the case of ADHD, hyperactive. As more information known about ADD and research is done on ADD, more children and adults are being diagnosed. According to The Health Center approximately 3-5% of children have ADD and of those, research indicates that 30-70% continue to be symptomatic in adulthood.

Hyperactivity is, by definition, having increased movement, impulsive actions, a shorter attention span, and being easily distracted. It’s caused by ADHD, Brain or Central Nervous System Disorders, and a Racing Brain, among other things.

While the first instinct when working with hyperactivity is to look for oils to relax, sedate, and calm down, it is really important to also include oils for clarity and to uplift. When only sedating and grounding oils were used, there have been instances where lethargy and a bit of depression have set in. This in part is due to the chemical component linalol. Balance is the key here when working with issues dealing with the brain.

Typically patients diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are prescribed a stimulant medication such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine, or a non-stimulant medication such as Strattera or some anti-depressants. Many people are concerned about the side effects and long-term effects that these medications may have and are turning to alternative and complementary ways to treat the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. One of the alternative ways to aid your clients or loved ones who suffer from ADD is aromatherapy.

 The principle behind aromatherapy is that certain naturally occurring chemicals contained within essential oils can be used to treat a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional disorders. The success of these essential oils arises from the fact that they stimulate parts of the body that are not functioning properly, restoring the body to its natural state. Recent scientific studies have confirmed the presence of certain key chemicals in essential oils that may react with the nervous, muscular system, and all other systems of the body to encourage healing.

 Aromatherapy treatments tend to differ for each individual. The correct oil or blend is best determined with a Clinical Consultation between Aromatherapist & client. We do know that some essential oils appear to be especially effective for the person with ADD or ADHD because of their well-known properties.

 Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) France: It is often effective in producing a slight sedative effect, causing a person to calm down & relax.

 Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) Morocco: This oil is thought to stimulate the central nervous system, it is also very grounding.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) Ethiopia: Known for its ability to lower anxiety and depression, producing a calming effect. It quiets the mind so one can focus. Enhances self-esteem.

 Vetiver (Andropogon zizanoides) Java: Very calming and grounding. Can improve concentration.

 Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) USA: Can be used for hyperactivity, nice combined with Lavender.

 A blend of Frankincense, Lavender, Grapefruit combined can be used for frustration, impatience and anger.

 A blend of Rosemary & Lemon will help with memory & concentration, and will also enhance alertness.

 Try inhaling Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemon or Frankincense when studying or learning; then inhale the same aroma when you need to recall the information. Try diffusing Lavender, Lemon, or Rosemary to help aid in concentration.

 Ylang Ylang, Ginger, Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Nutmeg all have calming, grounding properties on the emotional and physical levels.

 Lemon, Mandarin, and Cinnamon leaf enhance focus by gently stimulating the mind.

 There was a case study published in the American Medical Association Journal by Dr. Terry Friedman M.D. that found significant results when children who were previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD inhaled essential oils of Vetiver, Cedarwood Atlas, and Lavender France.

 The inhalation of oils proved to settle the children’s brain waves back into normal patterns and improved their scholastic performance and behavioral patterns. Some final results were:

                             Lavender increased performance by 53%

                             Cedarwood Atlas increased performance by 83%

                             Vetiver increased performance by 100%

The combined blend overall improved attention span in test subjects 65-100%.

We have had helped many clients that suffer from various forms of hyperactivity. Despite what is touted on the internet, there is not just one blend or just some oils that work. There are many essential oils that assist with calming the mind, psyche and spirit.

With that being said, here are some oils that we have found to be extremely effective in assisting with hyperactivity of all sorts.

Note: There is a slight difference in oils that are calming.  All oils that are grounding are also calming but all oils that are calming are not necessarily grounding.

Calming

Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

Sandalwood Santalum paniculatum

Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

Marjoram Origanum majorana

Grounding

Vetiver Veteveria zizanoides

Himalyan Cedarwood Cedrus deodora

Buddha Wood Eremophila mitchelli

Patchouli Pogostemum cablin

  Uplifting

Sweet Orange Citrus sinenses

Bergamot Citrus bergamia

Pink Grapefruit Citrus paradisi

Jasmine Jasminum grandifloram

Clarity

Frankincense Boswellia carterii

Palo Santo Bursera graveolens

Fragonia Agonis fragrans

Spearmint Mentha spicata

Rosemary Rosemarinus ct camphor

 Many people also find relief from ADHD symptoms by making steady lifestyle changes.

For example, drinking herbal teas such as chamomile may promote a calm state of mind.

Likewise, a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids could lead to a decrease in ADHD symptoms.

Many people find relief from restlessness by exercising daily. Practices including meditation, yoga, and Tai chi may help to provide a more balanced state of mind.

 

Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.

Why Green Cleaning is the Way to Go

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By Amber LaBorde

Most of us don’t take much enjoyment in cleaning house. (Lucky you if you do – and can you head over to our places?!) It’s a chore that needs done and we usually try to get through it as fast as possible. That’s why many of us find ourselves in the cleaning products aisle, looking for that miracle product that will clean for us while we take a nap or drink a nice glass of organic wine on the porch. 

Unfortunately, there’s no such miracle product. And some of those products that make your place sparkle are doing a number on your body!  It’s frightening how little regulation exists for cleaning products and how much research exists on the toxicity of many cleaning products out there! This is not intended to be a scary so we won’t dwell on this too much. But don’t take our word for it. Check out resources like Metro Portland, Environmental Working Group. Oh, and not only are manufacturers not required to list these nasty ingredients on the label, they usually don’t. So label reading will not necessary help you here! Bah humbug!

But don’t panic! You don’t need to be a chemist to clean green. Just a bit of baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and some essential oils, along with a little elbow grease, is all it takes! So read on and enjoy your cleaning this spring, knowing not only are you protecting your health, you’re saving money, the planet, and you’re getting an aromatherapy treatment at the same time! How’s that for multi-tasking!

General Precautions

 While the amount of essential oils used in cleaning are usually low and diluted, it is always important to think about safety before we get started. When used properly, essential oils are generally safer than their chemical counterparts. However, remember that essential oils are highly concentrated and must be kept out of reach of children. Use a bottle with an orifice reducer to reduce loss by spills or otherwise. Always check a reliable source for cautions and contraindications for each essential oil if you have specific health concerns. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should use caution before using essential oils. For example, even our favorite essential oil of rose should not be used in the first trimester!  Do not use undiluted essential oils on household surfaces without a spot check – some essential oils, including citrus oils and eucalyptus, will strip varnish off furniture. Do not use essential oils with a low flash point near heat such as in the dryer. 

Storing Essential Oils  

Making essential oils is a very time-consuming and slow process, and can be extremely expensive. Always ensure that your essential oils are stored carefully, so they don’t evaporate, oxidize, thicken and resinify.  

All essential oils should be stored very carefully in well-filled, tightly closed containers, at a cool temperature, and protected from light. Contact with air will cause both evaporation and deterioration.

Exposure to oxygen causes essential oils to oxidize. This is very undesirable. Citrus essential oils oxidize most quickly. Once an essential oil has oxidized, it should not be used therapeutically. However, some oxidized oils may be used for cleaning rather than throwing them away. 

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Spring cleaning with essential oils is a wonderful way to sweep away the winter doldrums and to freshen your home!

Have you tried using a few drops of Eucalyptus radiata on a wet towel on the kitchen and bathroom counters? Or taken a damp cloth with a few drops of essential oil (of your choosing) and put it in the dryer with your laundry? It refreshes, smells better than costly drier sheets, which are frequently laden with chemicals, and is a green way to spruce up the laundry. 

There are a number of cleaning methods you can enhance with essential oils for a green clean that avoids harsh chemicals.

How To Use Essential Oils in Your Home

While you may want to avoid using your precious essential oils, such as Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) and Rose attar (Rosa damascene), for cleaning and household purposes, you can incorporate essential oils into your everyday life by using them whenever you would use a commercial cleaner or air freshener. You can use essential oils in every room in your house: kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, and laundry… 

Although diffusers or other aromatherapy equipment can be quick and easy ways to disperse essential oils into the air, you do not need to invest in specialized equipment to add essential oils to your spring cleaning routine. The following suggestions do not require any special equipment:

• Use two or three drops on the filter pad of your vacuum cleaner to leave a refreshing aroma around your home as you do the housework.

• Add two or three drops to the edge of the toilet roll before placing on the toilet roll holder. 

*Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil in and around drains, into the trash bin, compost bucket, toilet bowl, and in the dishwasher.

 • Place a few drops of essential oils or an essential oil blend on cotton balls that are distributed in drawers, armoires, closets, and cupboards. Not only will lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) keep moths and insects out of linens when tucked into pillowcases, you’ll also enhance your sleep!

• Use as a room freshener. Pour a few drops of essential oils or an essential oil blend directly on cotton balls and leave in a room. This is particularly good for freshening up a room that is stale with cigarette smoke or pet odors, or just from being shut up over winter.

• Sprinkle a few drops of essential oils or an essential oil blend on potpourri to revive the original fragrance.

• Add a few drops of essential oils or an essential oil blend to the washing machine or dryer when doing laundry. For dryers, add the oil to a damp cloth and place it into the dryer along with the wet laundry. Note: Do not use essential oils with a low flash point in the dryer and do not drop essential oils directly onto rubber or the washer/dryer. Essential oils are concentrated and can damage surfaces when applied directly.

• Add a drop of lavender Lavandula angustifolia to the water that you add to your steam iron or use lavender hydrosol as the water. Remember that hydrosols or hydrolats are the distillate left over after the essential oil has floated to the top (or in a few cases the bottom) after distillation. They smell divine but are much less potent and cheaper than essential oils so make wonderful linen waters or try them as a facial toner or spray.

• You can even use essential oils in the gardens or on your garden paths for mosquito and insect control. Basil Ocimum basilicum essential oil is an especially good choice for insect control. A 2013 study showed the essential oil was very effective against late third-stage larvae of the mosquitos Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, Ae. albopictus, and An. subpictus5.  

Here are a few of our favorites. You can add your choice of essential oils to the basic recipe.

Spray Surface Cleaner

 2 cups white vinegar

5 drops of essential oil or essential oil blend, such as Lavender, Bergamot, or Sweet orange

 Add white vinegar to a clean spray bottle and add essential oil. Shake well before each use. This cleaner will last indefinitely.

Paste Surface Cleaner

 ½-cup baking soda

Sufficient water to form a paste

8 drops of essential oil

 Mix baking soda with water in a small bowl. Add essential oils. Make fresh for each use. 

Natural Carpet Cleaner

 ½-cup baking soda

8 drops of essential oil

 Add the essential oil to the baking soda and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle on carpet. Wait 10 minutes, and then vacuum thoroughly. Make fresh for each use. Do not apply to wet patches on the carpet! 

Dishwashing Liquid

 Since many dishwashing liquids are scented with chemicals and contain phthalates, we prefer to make our own! 

1 bottle organic phosphate and fragrance free dishwashing liquid

8 drops of your favorite essential oil

 Add essential oil to the dishwashing liquid. Shake before each use. This dishwashing liquid will last indefinitely.

 Aromatic Room Spray

 10 drops essential oil or essential oil blend

2-T alcohol (vodka or EverClear is best)

 2-oz distilled water or hydrosol of your choice Spray bottle (PET)

 You can either use single essential oils to prepare a room spray, or use a blend that you’ve created first. The first step is to prepare your aroma concentrate by adding 10 drops of your essential oil or essential oil blend to 2 teaspoons of alcohol, Everclear6, or vodka. Blend together in a bottle and shake. 

To Make a 2 oz. Room Spray

Mix your aroma concentrate with 2 ounces of distilled water or witch hazel hydrosol. You can choose another complementary hydrosol if you prefer. Shake well. Spray upward into the air and walk underneath. If the aroma is not strong enough, add more concentrate in 5-drop increments and test again. This formula is ideal for freshening potpourri, or diffusing throughout your home.

Our Favorite Essential Oils for Spring Cleaning

Bergamot (Citrus aurantium var. bergamia):

 • Bathroom cleaner, room spray, or surface cleaner: Use 2-3 drops undiluted on a damp cleaning cloth to wipe surfaces; add 5 drops to 2 cups of white vinegar to make a surface cleaner; or make a paste with ½-cup of baking soda, add enough water to form a paste then add 8 drops of bergamot and use to clean bathroom surfaces.

• Carpet cleaner: Add 8 drops of oil to ½-cup baking soda. Sprinkle on carpet. Wait 10 minutes, and then vacuum thoroughly.

• Clothes dryer: Add 2 drops to a small cloth and add to dryer. Avoid highly flammable essential oils, including citrus. 

• Washing machine: Add 2-5 drops with softener or in the final rinse.

• Refrigerator: Put 1-drop on a wet cloth, and then wipe down the interior surfaces to deodorize your refrigerator.

• Dishwashing liquid: Because it is an antibacterial (also called a bactericide), bergamot (Citrus aurantium var. bergamia) is useful added to dishwashing liquid. Add 8 drops to a bottle of dishwashing liquid and shake before use.

Eucalyptus radiata or E. smithii

 • Dishcloth disinfectant: Soak cloths in a bowl with 2 drops of eucalyptus and warm water.

• Cleaner: Use undiluted to dissolve the sticky remnants of tape on furniture, floors, and appliances. It can, however, lift the varnish and finish from wooden furniture, so use with care.

• Sanitizer: Fumigate rooms or make a spray and use to sterilize toilet and bathing areas.

• Floor cleaner: Add 3 teaspoons to a bucket of boiling water when scrubbing floors.

• Spot and stain remover: After carrying out a test on a hidden piece of the fabric, apply directly to oil based stains. Leave a few minutes then wash carefully as usual.

• Toilet deodorizer: Place 2 drops in the inner cardboard roll of toilet roll. Or use 2 drops of eucalyptus on a light bulb ring in the bathroom.

• Shoe deodorizer: Impregnate blotting paper and leave in sports shoes overnight.

• Trashcans: Add 1 drop directly in trashcan or add 3 drops to hot water and use the mixture to wash out the trashcan.

Geranium China or Rose (Geranium Pelargonium graveolens)

 • Drawer liner: Impregnate drawer liners with strips of blotting paper  or perfume testing strips soaked in the oil.

• Room cleaning: Use in a diffuser or light bulb ring, and add five drops to the water when wiping down wood, metal or plastic venetian blinds. 

 Lavandin Super or grosso (Lavandin Lavandula intermedia)

• To repel insects: The aroma of camphor repels moths and other insects, so lavandin (which, unlike true lavender Lavandula angustifolia, is high in camphor) is great in pillows and sachets to store in linen cupboards and chests of drawers.

• In your closet: Soak perfume blotter strips or cotton balls in lavandin and place on the shelves.

• To clean carpets: Add 8 drops of lavandin oil to ½-cup baking soda. Sprinkle over the carpet, wait a few minutes, and then vacuum.

• To repel ants: Lavandin oil can be sprayed from an atomizer or left in a saucer to help keep away ants.

• Washing dishes: Purchase a fragrance free natural dishwashing liquid and add a few drops of lavandin for washing dishes and countertops.

• Ironing: Lavandin hydrosol is ideal to fill your steam iron. This adds a wonderful, fresh aroma as you iron your linens. (More multi-tasking – ironing and an aromatherapy treatment!)

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

 • Lavender pillows and sachets impart a fresh aroma in linen cupboards and chests of drawers.

• For your closet: Soak perfume testing strips in lavender and place on the shelves.  

• To clean carpets: Add 8 drops of lavender oil to ½-cup baking soda. Sprinkle over the carpet, wait a few minutes, and then vacuum.

• For a fresh scent for ironing: Put 4 drops directly into the steamer of your iron with the water or use lavender hydrosol.

Lemon (Citrus limonum)

 • To clean silver jewelry: Rub jewelry with a slice of lemon, rinse in warm water, and dry with a soft cloth.

• Energy clearing:  Sliced lemons on a plate sprinkled with salt are said to correct negative energy in a house. Diffusing organic lemon essential oil can also be used.

• Floor cleaning:  Add 6 drops to your steam cleaner to wash the kitchen floor. 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

 • Memory enhancement:  Rosemary is very effective at improving aroma and deodorizing the air in your home. Leave a saucer with a few drops of rosemary oil near a source of warmth and the evaporating oil will deodorize and fragrance the room. 

• Kitchen cleaning:  Use a few drops of rosemary on a wet cloth to wipe down counters. It deodorizes and imparts a fresh aroma. 

Tea Tree Australia (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Tea Tree New Zealand (Leptospermum scoparium)

 • Household disinfectant. For an antiseptic action in the laundry, add ½ teaspoon of oil to each wash load. It is also great for diapers.  

Got Mold?

Tea Tree Essential Oil Helps Clean Mold from Your Home.  Mold not only looks unsightly, is can pose several potential health risks, including triggering allergic reactions and asthma attacks. 

Australian Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil is attributed with antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is a good alternative to more traditional cleaning products, like bleach. Plus, a little bit of the essential oil used in water goes a long way. You may, however, want to wear gloves while cleaning with tea tree essential oil. It can cause skin irritation in those who are sensitive. Although we’ve never met anyone personally who had this reaction, we recommend using a skin patch test before cleaning your home if you don’t want to use gloves.

Tea Tree Essential Oil Cleaning Spray

 2 cups water 

1-T alcohol (to dissolve the essential oil)

10-20 drops of tea tree essential oil Melaleuca alternifolia

 Directions: Add the alcohol to your spray bottle then add the essential oil. Shake to combine then add the water. Shake the bottle thoroughly before spraying. Then saturate the moldy area with the spray and allow it to sit overnight; wipe down the area the next day.

 

Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.

Lavender Essential Oil: The Most Versatile Oil

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by Kimberly Seymour

“Lavender: the glory of aromatherapy, a mother queen to pacify and console, a cooling tonic relaxer and rescue remedy, a panacea of amazing amplitude, a multiple healer for the heart, the lungs, the digestive tract, a bestower of tranquility and peace…..” Dr. Malte Hozzel

The amazing Lavender is one of the most versatile of essential oils. It sometimes seems as if there is nothing that Lavender can’t do! Lavender lifts you up when you are tired; it settles you down when you are anxious; it aids sleep; it relaxes the muscles; when used in a massage blend it balances and emphasizes the notes in other oils; it uplifts you when you are feeling down; and it soothes the skin.

Added to all of this, True Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is one of the safest essential oils, and one that you can put on the skin undiluted; always test patch first to make sure there isn’t a reaction. In fact modern aromatherapy really began when Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist, used pure Lavender oil on his burned hands after a laboratory explosion, and noticed exceptionally quick and complete healing.

There are so many different types of Lavender, and this can be confusing. So to help you through the maze, I have some Lavender facts that will help you choose the correct lavender for your needs.

The Genus Lavandula: Lavenders cross pollinate to produce seed, and also hybridize between themselves. The seed therefore never runs true to its parent plant, which means that a particular variety grown from seed may, after two or three generations, differ significantly from a plant propagated purely from cuttings. To complicate matters further, or perhaps I should say “to add to the joy of diversity”; the same variety of Lavender will produce essential oil of different quality depending on the soil, sunlight, altitude, latitude, etc.

Different Species:  There are many different species of lavender which produce variable essential oils that have very different constituents, qualities and uses. Since we are Aromatherapist or lay people rather than academic botanists or gardeners let’s concern ourselves with those varieties that produce readily available essential oils: True lavender, Spike Lavender, Lavender Stoechas and Lavandin.

True Lavender: (Lavendula angustifolia) is produced mainly in France, Bulgaria and Kashmir. It is native to the mountain areas, and plants grown at higher altitudes are often considered to have the highest therapeutic benefit giving essential oils with higher ester content and a more enchanting aroma. The finest quality oil comes from plants growing in the pure clean air high in Provence, which provides the idyllic soil and climate for this most prized lavender. Renowned for its remarkable therapeutic capabilities, diverse applications, and soft, refined, fresh floral fragrance, Lavender High Altitude has particularly powerful relaxing, soothing, and balancing properties. Some uses for this oil can be: analgesic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balancing, cardio tonic, emmenagogue, insectifuge, neurotonic, wound healing; arthritis, muscle aches/pain, rheumatism, candida, nail fungus, dry eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, sinusitis, cystitis, bruises, sprains, acne, bronchial infections, flu, cramping, headaches, migraines, anxiety, insomnia, tachycardia, burns, scars, varicose ulcers, PMS, painful/scanty menses, childbirth anxiety/pain, hypertension, debility, melancholy, mood swings.

 What is Population Lavender? As mentioned earlier, lavender is grown from seed will, within a few generations, give rise to plants with very different characteristics. Fields of wild lavender will display plants of many different hues: deep purple, blue, pink and white. This is known as “population lavender”. Now if we take one particular plant and propagate it purely from cuttings, we restrict this natural variability and replace it with a plant (and an oil) that is more predictable (in terms of makeup and the yield it gives), but perhaps less complex. Examples of these cloned lavenders are Lavender maillette and Lavender matherone. These are frequently cultivated at lower altitudes.

Spike Lavender: (Lavendula Spica or latifolia) is a different species, mostly used as a support for respiratory and muscle conditions and to relieve the discomfort of insect bites and stings. The plant produces a greater abundance of essential oil. It has stronger anti-infectious properties than True Lavender, with a fragrance which is more penetrating; less floral and more herbaceous and camphoraceous, due to the existence of camphor and 1.8 cineol.

Lavender Stoechas: (Lavendula stoechas) contains higher concentrations of ketones (39% Fenchone and 24% camphor being typical). For this reason it should always be used with caution, and its use is generally within the realms of “medical aromatherapy” and not with pregnant women, babies and young children.

Lavandin: (Lavendula hybrid) is a hybrid plant, a cross between True Lavender and Spike Lavender. Grown from cuttings, not seeds, it is easier to grow than Lavender and produces a higher yield of essential oil. Lavandin and True Lavender have similar therapeutic properties but Lavandin are better suited for respiratory, muscle, and circulation conditions. Their fragrance is less floral and more herbaceous than the True Lavender. Examples of Lavandins are:

Lavandin Grosso:  (Lavendula hybrida) Used extensively in the fragrance trade for a huge range of products. Grosso generally has lower levels of camphor and 1, 8-cineol, compared to Abrialis, which gives products a slightly gentler aroma similar to pure Lavender. Antimicrobial. Can be used for most of the purposes that Lavender is used for. Ideal for easing bronchial congestion caused by colds and flu as well as soothing sore airways. Can relieve the soreness associated with many skin conditions, especially when used in creams or lotions. Can reduce stress related palpitations, depressive states, nervousness. Ideal as a gentle relaxant before sleep to reduce insomnia. Often used in massage where one wishes to achieve relaxation without the soporific effects of pure Lavender. Excellent for muscle stiffness in massage or in the bath. Do NOT use for burns. If susceptible to epilepsy, use Lavandin oil only with caution. Avoid during pregnancy.

Lavandin Super:  (Lavandula x intermedia) (a cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia) this oil is fresh, sweet, floral, more herbaceous than lavender with a slightly camphorous quality. The major constituents varies somewhat between the hybrid species but Linalool, Linalyl acetate, Camphor and 1,8-Cineole are generally the constituents composing the largest percentage of these hybrid oils. Some benefits are; flea and tick repellent, antibacterial and tonic to the nervous system, bronchitis, hypotensive, for those suffering deep anguish, for the respiratory, muscular, and circulatory systems. This oil can be used for the following: abscesses, acne, allergies, athlete's foot, boils, bruises, burns, dandruff, dermatitis, earache, eczema, inflammations, insect bites and stings, insect repellent, lice, psoriasis, ringworm, scabies, sores, spots, wounds, lumbago, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, sprains, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, halitosis, laryngitis, throat infections, whooping cough,
abdominal cramps, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, depression, headache, hypertension, insomnia, migraine, nervous tension and stress related conditions, PMS, sciatica, shock, vertigo, flu, and colds
NOTE: Do not use Lavandin on burns. Instead use the High Altitude Lavender or True Lavender on burns and for other therapeutic purposes.

How to use your Lavender:

Lavender All-Purpose Cleaner

The word lavender comes from the Latin lavar, meaning to wash. Long before the antimicrobial properties of lavender were discovered, it was used in solutions for bathing and housecleaning. Now you can add it to an all-purpose cleaner made from common household ingredients to impart a pleasing aroma and all the disinfectant benefits.

2 tbsp. white vinegar

1 tsp borax powder

¼ cup liquid castile soap

10 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops lemon essential oil or 1 tsp lemon juice

1. Mix the white vinegar and the borax together in a 16-ounce bottle. Fill the bottle ¾ full with hot purified water. Shake well until the borax is dissolved.

2. Add the liquid castile soap and the essential oils to the solution and shake well. Use as you would any other all-purpose cleaner.

Lavender Blends; Inhalers

Lavender is probably the most famous essential oil for relaxation and soothing nerves . . . if not the most famous essential oil hands down! That’s because it’s so safe, and so good for a wide range of issues.

Emotionally, it’s good for “calming the mind, comforting feelings and alleviating fears, while it is uplifting and revives the spirits.” (That’s from Salvatore Battaglia’s excellent book, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy.) Lavender may be powerful, but it’s also very gentle, and it’s one of the oils I trust the most in blends for children. Here’s an Aromatherapy inhaler for kids (over five years old) who experience anxiety:

 

Breathe and Be Calm for Children

  • 2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • 3 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)

  • 2 drops Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)

Breathe and Be Calm for Big People

  • 3 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • 6 drops Juniperberry (Juniperus communis)

  • 6 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Kimberly Seymour is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.

Aromatic Blending of Essential Oils

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by Amber M LaBorde

Aromatic blending for the sheer pleasure of the aroma is a combination of creativity and science. When using a blend created primarily for its fragrance, therapeutic benefit can also occur. The focus of the blend, however, is on the final aroma, not its therapeutic properties.

Safety precautions should be followed for any type of blending, including for aromatic blending. For instance, you would still want to be extremely careful when using Bergamot because of its phototoxic properties and still avoid using all hazardous oils and all oils that are contraindicated for conditions that you have.

Traditional perfumers that work for the famous fragrance houses study for years to master the art and science of perfumery blending. The perfumer’s standard repertoire consists of essential oils but also of synthesized chemicals that mimic the constituents (chemicals) of essential oils and other natural ingredients. Perfumers use synthesized chemicals and chemicals extracted from essential oils because they are often cheaper than using pure essential oils and because the chemicals are standardized and will be more consistent in aroma. If you can find a copy, The Science and Art of Perfumery by Edward Sagarin (copyright 1945) is a fascinating book that provides insight into the history and science of perfumery.

In aromatherapy blending, only natural ingredients such as essential oils, absolutes, CO2s, grain alcohol, carrier oils, herbs and water are used. Because aromatherapy blending requires and benefits from the use of unsynthesized chemicals, you shouldn’t have high expectations for perfectly duplicating your favorite commercial fragrances.

Essential Oil Blending Basics:

Essential oils can be categorized into broad groups based on their aromas. An example categorical system is as follows:

•           Floral (i.e. Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine)

•           Woodsy (i.e. Pine, Cedar)

•           Earthy (i.e. Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli)

•           Herbaceous (i.e. Marjoram, Rosemary, Basil)

•           Minty (i.e. Peppermint, Spearmint)

•           Medicinal/Camphorous (i.e. Eucalyptus, Cajuput, Tea Tree)

•           Spicy (i.e. Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon)

•           Oriental (i.e. Ginger, Patchouli)

•           Citrus (i.e. Orange, Lemon, Lime)

Oils in the same category generally blend well together. I hesitate specifying that particular categories blend well with other specific categories because it can limit your creativity and experimentation. Additionally, there are always exceptions. But to get you started, below are some categories that generally blend well together:

•           Florals blend well with spicy, citrusy and woodsy oils.

•           Woodsy oils generally blend well with all categories.

•           Spicy and oriental oils blend well with florals, oriental and citrus oils. Be careful not to overpower the blend with the spicy or oriental oils.

•           Minty oils blend well with citrus, woodsy, herbaceous and earthy oils.

 

Harmonizing Your Essential Oil Blend:

Have you ever noticed that a fragrance smells differently after several hours than when you first apply it? Some essential oils evaporate more quickly than others. As the oils in a blend evaporate, the aroma will change to reflect the aroma of the remaining oils.

Using the analogy of a musical scale, oils that evaporate the quickest, usually within 1-2 hours, are called “top notes.” Oils that evaporate with 2-4 hours are considered “middle notes.” Oils that take the longest time to evaporate are referred to as “base notes.” Some base notes can take several days to evaporate! Edward Sagarin credits Septimus Piesse with this analogy that has been used by many perfumers:

“Another contribution to the field of odor classification was made by the famous perfumer and perfume historian, Septimus Piesse. This unique figure in the history of the science created what he called an “odophone.” the odors were like sounds, he pointed out, and a scale could be created going from the first or lowest note, the heavy smell to the last or highest note, the sharp smell. In between there was an ascending ladder. Each odor note corresponded to a key on his odophone, and in the creation of a happy mixture of many different odors, which we call a “bouquet” and which every finished perfume must be, the creator seeks not only to hit the right notes, but to strike those notes which go with one another. His perfume must not be out of tune.” [Edward Sagarin, The Science and Art of Perfumery (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1945), 145.]

Below is a chart of commonly available oils based on their common classification:

Top Notes: Anise, Basil, Bay Laurel, Bergamot, Bergamot Mint, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Galbanum, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lavandin, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Spearmint, Tagetes, Tangerine

Middle Notes: Bay, Rosewood, Cajeput, Carrot Seed, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Cypress, Dill, Elemi, Fennel, Fir Needle, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniperberry, Marjoram, Neroli, Nutmeg, Palmarosa, Parsley, Pepper Black, Pine needle, Rose, Rose Geranium, Rosemary, Rosewood, Spruce, Tea Tree, Manuka, Thyme, Tobacco, Yarrow, Ylang Ylang.

Base Notes: Angelica Root, Peru Balsam, Benzoin, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Helichrysum Myrrh, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Spikenard.

Blending does not have hard and fast rules that must be followed to create that wonderful blend that you’ll love for a lifetime. The lack of limits and restrictions is what makes perfumery an art form. Having said that, a few tips will help get you off to a fine start:

 

Blending Tips:

•           When creating a new blend, start out small with a total number of drops of either 5, 10, 20 or 25 drops. 25 drops should be the most that you start with. By starting small, you waste less oil in your blending experiments.

•           Start creating your blend by only using essential oils, absolutes or CO2s. After you have designed the blend, then you can dilute it by adding carrier oils, alcohol, etc. If you hate the blend you created, you have then not wasted any carrier oils or alcohol.

•           Keep a notebook that lists each oil that you used with the number of drops used for each oil. When the creative juices flow, it is easy to get carried away and later forget the exact recipe for your blend; one drop too much or too little of even one oil can drastically change the aroma of your blend. When you find that perfect blend, you want to be able to replicate it, and it’s near impossible if you didn’t take notes! If you are especially ambitious, it’s also a wise idea to note the vendor name of the oil that you used as the aroma and quality of oils do vary between vendors (even with the same vendor, the aroma of oils can vary from batch to batch, due to crop fluctuations and resourcing).

•           To store your beautiful creations, perfume sample bottles and 2ml amber “shortie” bottles are very inexpensive and can often be purchased from aromatherapy vendors and glass bottle companies.

•           Be sure to label your blends clearly. If you don’t have enough room to specify exactly what your blend is, label it with a number that corresponds to a number in your notebook.

•           Start off your blending experiments by creating blends that are made up in the following ratio (you do not have to be exact – this is just a guideline to get you started): 30% of the oils are top notes, 50% are middle notes, and 20% are base notes. See the chart above to find out what oils belong to each category.

•           Some oils are much stronger than others, especially the absolutes and CO2s. Study oils you wish to use in a given blend and observe the oils that have the strongest aromas. Unless you want those oils to dominate the blend, you will want to use dramatically less of the stronger oils in your blend.

•           To learn more about the strength of oils, it is useful to experiment. Begin by adding one drop of a selected essential oil to 4 drops carrier oil. This will result in a 20% dilution. Smell it and study the aroma. To obtain a 10% dilution, add 5 more drops of carrier oil. Smell it, study the aroma again, then repeat as desired. This can help educate you on the characteristics and strengths of each essential oil at various dilution ratios.

•           After creating your blend, allow it to sit for a few days before deciding if you love or hate it. The constituents (natural chemicals) contained within the oils will get cozy with each other and the aroma can change, usually rounding out a bit.

Recipes:

 Carrier Oil Base Perfume Recipe

•           7-15 drops of your perfume blend

•           1 tablespoon Jojoba (other carrier oils may be substituted, but stable carrier oils with longer shelf lives are recommended)

Directions: Blend all oils together well and store in an airtight dark-colored glass container. Dab a drop onto your pulse points. Please note that this blend has a heavy concentration of essential oils and is meant to be used sparingly. As with any new oils and blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using.

 

Alcohol/Water Base Perfume Recipe

•           4 1/4 teaspoons Vodka

•           1 1/2 teaspoons Distilled Water

•           30 drops of your perfume blend

Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce dark-colored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the perfume through a coffee filter and rebottle (using the same bottle is fine). Please note that this recipe has a heavy concentration of essential oils and is meant to be used sparingly. As with any blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using.

 

Cologne Recipe

•           4 1/2 teaspoons Vodka

•           2 teaspoons Distilled Water

•           22 drops of your perfume blend

Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce dark-colored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the cologne through a coffee filter and rebottle into a one-ounce, fine-mist sprayer bottle. Please note that although this recipe makes a lighter cologne, it still has a heavy concentration of essential oils and is meant to be used sparingly. As with any blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using. This makes only a one-ounce quantity so that you can try your cologne to see if you like it or want any changes to it before making a larger quantity.

 

Body Splash Recipe

•           4 1/2 teaspoons Vodka

•           2 teaspoons Distilled Water

•           14 drops of your perfume blend

Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce dark-colored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the body splash through a coffee filter and rebottle into a one-ounce, fine-mist sprayer bottle. As with any blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using. This makes only a one-ounce quantity so that you can “try” your body splash to see if you like it or want any changes to it before making a larger quantity.

 Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.

Common Essential Oil Myths Busted!

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by Amber M. LaBorde

The dawn of the Internet age opened up a whole new and ever-expanding informational highway that has liberated many and also, unfortunately, misinformed many.

Anyone who wants to have a blog, website etc. can have one and they can post just about anything they want to these sites. No matter how well intended these bloggers are, many are putting information out there that is incorrect, and sometimes even dangerous.

Although essential oils are natural, don’t ever underestimate their power to heal and even their power to harm. Essential oils should never be approached without caution and much understanding as to their safe application.

Essential oils are highly concentrated chemical compounds.  HIGHLY CONCENTRATED is the key piece here. 

To give you an idea of this: it takes between:

•      150-250 pounds of Lavender flowers and top leaves to make one pound of oil

•      20 pounds of lemon peels to make 1 drop of oil

•      Approximately 12,000 pounds of delicate rose petals to make one pound of oil

•      Approximately 1,000 pounds or 3 million jasmine flowers to make a pound of oil

•      Around 250 pounds of peppermint leaves to make one pound of oil

•      One drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to drinking 26-28 cups of peppermint tea

Would you be willing to sit down and eat 20 pounds of lemon peels…what would that do to you? Are you willing to drink 26-28 cups of peppermint tea in one day?

The combination of growing interest in alternative therapies, including essential oils, combined with the internet, has made it possible for some very misleading information to be published. Let me help you out by shinning some light on some of these myths while giving you some facts to help clear things up!

There is only one truly pure and superior essential oil brand…….

There are many quality brands of essential oils at a variety of price points. Brand name and price tag do not necessarily mean higher quality and purity. When checking out an essential oil company, see if they offer batch-specific GC/MS reports (these detail the chemical profile of every essential oil sold). Then, find out how the botanical material is sourced and how fresh it is to the company from their supplier. That should give you a good idea of the company and its standards. Choosing an essential oil brand usually comes down to doing your research, checking your budget, and going with your gut.

Make sure the essential oils you use are therapeutic grade…….

The term “Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils” is a potentially misleading claim.  There is no governmental agency or generally accepted organization that "grades" or "certifies" essential oils as "therapeutic grade," "medicinal grade," or "aromatherapy grade" in the U.S.  There is no formally approved grading standard used consistently throughout the essential oil industry.   Initially, ‘therapeutic grade” meant that an essential oil was distilled to contain the correct chemical constituents to produce the therapeutic effect of a specific essential oil.  What, exactly, does "therapeutic grade" mean?  It means nothing, in fact it is simply a term tossed around to impress. Young Living Essential oils trademarked the term “Therapeutic Grade.”  Therefore the use of this term is in violation of a trademark.

Let’s get one thing straight: the term therapeutic grade provides marketing weight rather than signifying that the oils meet a regulated quality standard. A helpful Facebook page called Essential Oil University, unaffiliated with any oil company, is dedicated to busting essential oil myths like this one. The author of the page, Dr. Robert Pappas, explains:

  “There seems to be a misconception that there is some kind of independent body that certifies oils as therapeutic grade, but to this date there is no such body, at least not one that is widely recognized. Does this mean there is no such thing as therapeutic grade? No, but just realize that any therapeutic grade standard out there right now is an internally derived company standard. Now this standard may be an overall great standard and perfectly acceptable to me or any other analyst or aromatherapist out there but it just needs to be noted that it’s not an independent standard.” 

All true essential oils are therapeutic by nature. In order for an essential oil to not be therapeutic, it wouldn’t be an essential oil at all. It might be a synthetic fragrance oil, a reconstructed oil, or a highly adulterated oil, but it won’t be a true essential oil.

Some companies use the term therapeutic quality to mean genuine, unadulterated, pure essential oil with nothing added or taken away. So if you see the term used, ask the company exactly what they mean by it to get a better idea of their standards.

So long as you use a pure essential oil, you can freely ingest it and use it undiluted…….

Essential oils are extremely concentrated substances that demand careful use.

The benefit of highly concentrated substances is that you can use a small amount of it and dilute it in something else. Essential oils are no different. Even the purest of oils, in the vast majority of situations, should be diluted in a carrier oil before they’re used. The type of oil you use (meaning the plant material), not the brand, and where you are using it determines how carefully it must be diluted.

As an aromatherapist, I can’t begin to describe how very concerned I am with the trend of freely ingesting essential oils, be they dropped into water or placed in a capsule. In fact, if you’re going to ingest them, especially long-term, you need the guidance of a professional to prevent any internal organ or tissue damage. If you must go this route be sure to consult a trained Aromatic Medicine Practitioner.

By the way, water and oil don’t mix. When you drop an essential oil into water, it doesn’t freely disperse like an herbal extract. It floats on top and hits the sensitive tissue in your throat and mouth, potentially causing irritation and/or burns!

Essential oils are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and around or on infants and young children…….

No one would ever suggest that an unborn baby, infant, or young child should have an adult medication at an adult dose. We all understand that their small, sensitive bodies could have a very negative response.

The same is true for essential oils. Many oils are unsafe to use while pregnant, breastfeeding, or around infants. As children grow, the restrictions lessen, but great care needs to be exercised. Some very common oils, like Peppermint and Eucalyptus, are known to trigger breathing difficulties in children when used incorrectly.

You can never/can always trust an essential oil brand representative…..

There’s never going to be an easy, one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to essential oil brand representatives. There absolutely are essential oil reps that make safe and accurate information their top priority. I know some of them. These people have generally gone through outside training and/or certifications to ensure they have the education needed to best help their customers.

On the flip side, not all brand consultants give factual information. It’s vital you know where an essential oil representative got his or her information before you accept it as truth and apply it. The sales rep may stand up in front of a group and teach a class, but that doesn’t necessarily make the person a trusted source of information. Before following the guidance of a brand rep, find out if the individual has gone through any training or certifications outside of what is offered by their company or team sponsor. If not, keep that in mind as the representative gives suggestions or information.

If you use a pure essential oil on your skin and it causes a rash or burn then it’s just a detox reaction…..

The plain and simple truth of this one is that if you put any substance on your skin and it causes a rash or burns, it should not have been put on your skin in the first place. This is an adverse reaction, not a harmless detox reaction. Clearly a burn, rash, or any other type of abnormal issues with your skin indicate an irritation.  In addition, a detox reaction occurs when something is taken away, not added. So, if you find yourself with a rash or a burn after using an essential oil on your skin it is your body saying to stop! This is one of the reasons why a patch test is recommended on a small area before using any substance on a larger area.

Skin Sensitization:

Unlike skin irritation where symptoms are immediate, skin sensitization develops over time, taking weeks if not years to occur.

Just because you do not have any adverse reaction now, does not mean you will not have one in the future. If you really love essential oils, you should use them with caution by diluting them appropriately so that you can continue to use them.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Sensitization

  • Applying oils neat (undiluted), or at high concentrations

  • Frequent use over long periods of time

  • Using contaminated oils

  • Using oxidized, degraded or otherwise expired oils

  • Use of oils that are known sensitizers

Pure essential oils without additives should last forever….

This is just another very ridiculous claim. Oils may seem to last for a long time but in reality, they will eventually go bad because of oxidation. All oils have a shelf life and will naturally begin to oxidize over time. Proper storage will help to keep your oils longer. Store your oils in a cool, dry place with the lids tightly sealed. Heat, oxygen and sun light can all play a part in breaking down your oils faster.

 Storing your Essential Oils:

Essential oils must be stored in dark, airtight, glass bottles. Exposure to light, oxygen, and heat will begin to break the oils down and they can become skin irritating. If oils are stored appropriately, they may last 1-10 years, although the optimum time varies. Some oil’s aromas actually improve with age, with the exception being the citrus oils – they should only be kept for one to two years. All oils need to be kept cold. The ideal temperature is 65°F, although between 45°-65° is adequate.

 ·         Citrus: 1-2 years

·         Needles: 2-3 years

·         Leaves/Woods: 7-9 years

·         Flowers 5-6 years

 Frankincense essential oil will cure cancer…..

The antitumoral component of frankincense is Boswellic acid. Boswellic acid is not found in the essential oil, but it is in the gum resin. In an article by Robert Tisserand, an essential oil expert, he states:

 “They are being told, in videos and blog posts, that frankincense oil contains boswellic acid—the antitumoral active ingredient in frankincense gum resin. But it doesn’t, and the simple reason is that boswellic acid is much too heavy a molecule to be volatile.”

 (Retrieved from: http://tisserandinstitute.org/frankincense-oil-and-cancer-in-perspective)

 I have just skimmed the surface here with all the many myths and rumors flying around, if you are ever unsure I suggest reaching out to trained aromatherapist for guidance. You can never be to safe when it comes to using your oils and using them properly!

 Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist & Co-Founder at the Wholistic Aromatics Institute. Visit www.wholisticaromaticsinstitute.com for more information.