Friday, May 7, 2021

Eucalyptus: The Oil of Wellness

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)




It probably comes as no surprise that Eucalyptus would be the oil of Wellness, as it's a common go-to oil for aromatherapists when dealing with illness. Especially illnesses such as colds, congestion, and allergies. Eucalyptus has a strong influence on the throat, both physically and emotionally and it's a strong supportive oil for the Throat Chakra. 

Emotionally, Eucalyptus is supportive for those who are often getting sick. It is not only a helper for these individuals actual physical ailments but also for the emotional baggage of feeling that they are "always sick", or "I can't ever seem to get better", or "I only get attention when I'm sick". Eucalyptus helps with the confidence to let go of these beliefs and break the cycle of being ill. 

Eucalyptus is most commonly associated with Australia, where it's a favorite food of koalas! But Eucalyptus is also found in Spain, China, and I've even seen it grown places here in the U.S. The essential oil of Eucalyptus is made by distilling the oil of the leaves. 

Eucalyptus has a fresh, clean, green scent and is a common essential oil used in spas. Dried Eucalyptus leaves and branches are beautiful in floral arrangements. 

One of my favorite ways to use eucalyptus is with a steam. This can be super helpful if you're feeling congested.

Put one drop of therapeutic grade eucalyptus essential oil in a steaming bowl of hot water. Place the bowl on a table and sit in front of it, leaning over the bowl. Drape a towel or blanket over your head, also enclosing the bowl, so that you're trapping the steam inside your towel "tent". Relax and breathe deeply!

Make sure to be careful with the hot water, and don't use more than one drop of the oil.






Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Lavender - The Oil of Communication and Calm

 



Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is one of the most commonly used essential oils. It’s the one to have on hand for any number of issues, and one I always recommend is a good oil to start with if you’re just getting interested in using aromatherapy.


In Medieval times, there was some debate on how Lavender influenced love. Some people claimed that wearing it would help keep the wearer chaste, while other people thought it had aphrodisiac qualities that would create the opposite effect!


Lavender essential oil has a familiar herbal, floral, green scent. It has both sharper, almost camphor like notes as well as softer, powdery notes. A lot of people like the scent of Lavender, but I actually know some people who can't stand it! Synthetic Lavender scent can sometimes be too powdery, but actual Lavender is more fresh and earthy.


Many people associate Lavender with feelings of calm and tranquility. Lavender actually has properties that are sedative to the Central Nervous System, so enjoying the scent of Lavender really does help you relieve stress!





Lavender is one of my go-to oils for helping with better sleep. Spray a couple spritzes of this on your pillow before bed and drift away.


Cozy Night Linen Spray

(Combine all ingredients in a 2 oz. spray bottle)

14 drops Wild Orange or Bergamot

10 drops Cedarwood

20 drops Lavender

Fill the rest of the bottle with spring water

Shake before each use


Make sure you use either a glass bottle or a plastic bottle that is essential oil safe. Some EO's can actually eat through plastic and make a big mess.


Energetically, Lavender is the oil of communication and calm. It helps us to say what we really want to say despite the fear of being seen and heard. It helps unblock withheld expression and dissipate the stress of potential rejection. Lavender encourages emotional honesty and open communication.



Lavender is a Heart Chakra oil. Apply a drop to your heart and/or at the nape of the neck to encourage an open heart.


Lavender essential oil has anti-bacterial properties. I sometimes put a drop or two on a cut or scrape, after washing with soap and water. For healing support, Lavender works well with Frankincense and Helichrysum. Note that this only works with therapeutic grade essential oil. Synthetic fragrance oils will not have the same chemical properties.


Lavender is a common scent used in perfume making. It is a Middle Note, part of the body of a perfume and is considered an enhancer, modifier, and equalizer. It has an intensity of 2. Lavender blends well with a lot of oils. Almost all citrus oils go well with Lavender as well as floral scents like geranium. I also like lavender with woodsy notes and earthy scents.








Sources:

- doTerra.com

- Aromahead Institute

- Modern Essentials, Sixth Edition

- Emotions and Essential Oils, A Reference Guide to Emotional Healing, 2017 Sixth Edition







Thursday, September 24, 2020

Patchouli: Those hippies were onto something.



Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)


                                


I didn’t used to be a very big fan of Patchouli. I think some of my free spirited friends in college wore way too much of it. While I liked the idea of the lifestyle patchouli invoked, I couldn’t abide the way that lifestyle seemed to smell. Until recently, whenever I smelled Patchouli it would bring up memories of late night coffeehouse conversations and hula hooping at outdoor music festivals.


Today though I have a very different relationship with Patchouli, a more mature one you might say. It started a few years ago when I was doing massage at a spa where we used an aromatherapy blend that was for relaxation, and I loved the smell of it. I looked into what oils were in the blend and was surprised that Patchouli was one of them. Since them I have noticed that I’m often drawn to aromatherapy blends and perfumes that contain Patchouli. It seems to lend a sort of deep, soft, grounding glue to these blends. It’s the subtle but powerful boss babe running the show from backstage. In control, but not needing the spotlight because she knows she’s got this.


The scent of Patchouli is sultry and dark. It has herbal, woody, narcotic notes, and an almost antiseptic or insecticide finish. This is a bit ironic because Patchouli is actually a great oil to use as a bug repellant.


Energetically, Patchouli helps us feel connected to our bodies. For obsessive personality types this oil can be especially grounding. It calms fear and nervous energy and fosters better synergy between the body and mind. It can be helpful for easing mild depression. Use Patchouli for yoga, tai chi, or my favorite, when you go out dancing!


Patchouli is very helpful for the skin. Historically it’s been used for toning the skin and may be helpful in anti aging skincare blends. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial.


                                


I was surprised to learn that Patchouli is actually part of the mint family. The essential oil is made by steam distilling the leaves of the plant. The flowers when in bloom are a beautiful lavender color that somewhat remind me of lilacs (as far as their look, not smell!) It is high in sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols, which give it it’s skin healing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


For centuries Patchouli has been used in perfumes. It is a base note, and blends well with florals like Lavender, Rose, and Jasmine, and with other woody base notes like Sandalwood, Frankincense, and Vetiver. 

Sources:
- doTerra.com
- Aromahead Institute
- Modern Essentials, Sixth Edition
- Emotions and Essential Oils, A Reference Guide to Emotional Healing, 2017 Sixth Edition





Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Grapefruit: The essential oil equivalent of glitter.

Grapefruit: Citrus paradisi 


Opening up a bottle of grapefruit essential oil is like opening one of those party poppers that shoots glitter everywhere, (without the annoying clean up afterwards). Grapefruit is glittery, sparkly, positive sunshine in a bottle. It also smells just like a fresh, ripe, juicy grapefruit.



This is an oil to reach for when you're wanting to uplift your mood. It's a great pick-me-up when feeling fatigued. It's energetic and has an outwardly happy energy. It's a wonderful source of support when dealing with depression or anxiety and can reduce mental tension. It can also assist with the physical pain and tension that often comes with depression and stress. The d-limonene componant of grapefruit has stress reducing actions. 

 Grapefruit is the oil of Honoring the Body. It's a helpful friend for those who have deep dissatisfaction with their bodies and are not comfortable in their own skin. Those who mistreat their bodies with extrememe dieting, overeating, or eating disorders, might find some comfort in grapefruit essential oil's assistance. Don't confuse the use of the essential oil with the use of grapefruit, the fruit, in diets. Grapefruit essential oil can encourage a positive relationship with one's body.* 

 As you've probably already guessed, grapefruit essential oil comes from grapefruits. It is cold pressed from the rind, or peel, of the fruit. When grapefruit was first "discovered" by Europeans in the late 1700's, it was referred to as a "forbidden fruit", and one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". **

 

Grapefruit is wonderful in an uplifting, energizing diffuser blend. You can also put a drop or two in a glass of drinking water to help stabilize your metabolism and add to that healthy body image. Grapefruit is great for skin care as it has astringent properties and can help with blemishes. It is less phototoxic than other citrus oils, but still use caution when using it topically and use sunscreen when you're going to be exposed to sunlight. Grapefruit is prone to oxidization, so pay attention to how old your grapefruit oil may be and don't use it topically or internally if oxidized. Never use oils internally if they are not CPTG oils. 

 Here is a sparkly, energizing diffuser blend from the Aromahead Institute: 

Sunny Diffuser Blend 
5 drops Grapefruit 
5 drops Orange 
2 drops distilled Lime 

Add to your diffuser and enjoy some liquid sunshine! 



 *Emotions and Essential Oils: A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing, 2017 Sixth Edition 
** doTerra.com

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Bergamot: The love child of Lemon and Lavender


Bergamot (Citrus bergamia):

A lot of people associate the aroma of Bergamot with Earl Grey tea. To me, Bergamot smells like the love child of Lemon and Lavender. It is both citrusy and herbal, with a hint of pepper. Imagine slicing a fresh lemon in half and then sprinkling dried lavender and fresh ground pepper on it, and that’s what it makes me think of. There is a bit of woodiness in there too, which comes from that Lavender-like note.

The light citrus notes uplift the spirit, while the herbal, green notes are calming and grounding. Bergamot is helpful for anxiety and insomnia. It is the oil of Self-Acceptance. Bergamot cleans out stagnant energy that causes low self-esteem and limiting beliefs. It helps encourage feelings of optimism and confidence in the self. 


                                        

Bergamot is a powerful anti-spasmodic, and can be very helpful for reducing coughing and stomach cramps. It is helpful in supporting digestion in general (which could be why Earl Grey tea is so popular). You never want to apply Bergamot neat to the skin, as it can be phototoxic. Always dilute it when using topically, and wear sunscreen or avoid being in the sun outdoors. It can be helpful for drying up pimples and balancing oily skin.

Bergamot is cold pressed from the rind of the fruit. (I like how the rind is bumpy, and when you cut it in half, it forms waves around the flesh inside.) In Italy it has been historically used to cool fevers and expel intestinal worms.


                                    


Bergamot is often used in perfumery for “eau de cologne” type fragrances. It is a top note, and blends well with other citrus oils as well as the herbal aromas like Lavender, Rosemary, and Clary Sage.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Pink Pepper: It's not just for fajitas



Pink Pepper (Shinus molle):

As we enter the season of grilling here in the U.S., it seems appropriate that I introduce you to an essential oil that might be more associated with seasoning BBQ. This is an oil that I’ve just recently been introduced to, and I wasn’t sure if I was a fan of it at first. After spending a little bit of time with it, it’s started to grow on me.

My initial impression of Pink Pepper was of melons that have been sprinkled with spices and pepper. The first notes I pick up are fruity, floral, and somewhat green, and then they’re followed up with a kick of whole, fresh, peppercorns. Light and relaxed at first, Pink Pepper reminds you she has a strong backbone and isn’t to be taken for granted. I think this oil would work well in a blend as either a top or middle note.

Pink Pepper essential oil comes from the pink peppercorn tree. The oil is steam distilled from the fruit of the tree. Historically Pink Pepper was used by the Incas for medicinal purposes.


                         


When used internally, Pink Pepper could be helpful for the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems.* Energetically and emotionally, it is both relaxing and uplifting. Two of it’s main chemical components, Limonene and a-Phellandrene, could be calming for the nervous system.

Of course when most of us think of pepper, we think of cooking, and Pink Pepper is an oil that can be very handy in the kitchen or on the grill. It’s especially good on grilled veggies. Here’s a recipe I shared a little while back on Instagram.

                          

Some other ways to use Pink Pepper are to add a few drops to a diffuser, or add one to two drops to a lotion or massage oil.**

I think Pink Pepper would blend well with Lavender, Rosemary, and Cedarwood.

*Use caution when taking essential oils internally. Always consult with a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils internally.

**May cause skin sensitivity. Test a small amount on a small area of skin before using. Do not use topically on children under the age of five, and if you are pregnant or nursing.

Sources: doTerra.com

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Frankincense - When in doubt, get your frankincense out.


Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): When in doubt, get your frankincense out.



Frankincense is one of those oils that, if you’re going to have any oil on hand, it’s the one you want (and probably Lavender, but we’ll leave that for another discussion.) doTerra’s Dr. Hill has a saying, “When in doubt, get your Frankincense out.” It’s definitely one I often reach for. Frankincense has a wonderful grounding and calming effect on our emotions. It’s great to use for meditation or yoga, or anytime you want to soothe an overactive mind. It’s scent is woodsy, earthy, a bit spicy, with a touch of citrus and herb.


Frankincense is often known as the “king of oils”, both for its wide range of uses and it’s association as a gift for the baby Jesus. Emotions & Essential Oils, 2017 Sixth Edition, refers to Frankincense as “The Oil of Truth”. It helps the individual let go of lower vibrations and deceptions, as well as feelings of abandonment, spiritual darkness, and feeling unprotected or disconnected. It can help with focus, and to shut out distractions.



                           




                                      


Historically Frankincense has been used in religious ceremonies. The Egyptians used it in perfume and skin healing salves. Besides being excellent at soothing the nervous system, Frankincense is a wonderful skin healer. It helps to protect the skin and reduce inflammation and is a great anti-ageing helper. I add it to my facial oil and use it daily!


Frankincense essential oil is steam distilled from the resin or gum. The tree is from the Burseraceae family. These trees/shrubs grow in the middle east, mostly Somalia, and Frankincense can be difficult and costly to make. A bottle of therapeutic grade Frankincense essential oil may be pricey, but it is worth every bit.


Sources:
Emotions & Essential Oils: 2017 Sixth Edition
Modern Essentials: Sixth Edition
doTerra.com
Aromahead Institute

Eucalyptus: The Oil of Wellness

Eucalyptus ( Eucalyptus radiata ) It probably comes as no surprise that Eucalyptus would be the oil of Wellness, as it's a common go-to ...