Aromatherapy’s New Secret Weapon

Stressed out at work? Lost your focus on writing that proposal? Or is it the mid-afternoon slump that's causing your work performance to take a dive?

The quick-fix remedy for many office workers is a trip to the staff room for a caffeine fix. For others, it's a prescription pill that helps rev up the energy. Or, maybe you're one of a dying breed of smokers who heads outside for a puff or two.

Chemical stimulants to help manage our stress, perk up our moods or focus our thoughts have been around for centuries. The trouble is they are a temporary solution and unhealthy at best.

There are healthy ways to manage your moods while at work such as the health benefits of aromatherapy which uses natural essential oils to assist in mood management.

Essential oils are distilled from the bark, flowers, or leaves of a plant and can provide physical and psychological benefits. They are more than just a great addition to a relaxing massage or bath. The use of essential oils can enhance moods, decrease stress, help prevent disease and less pain.

But short of lighting an aromatherapy candle or plugging an aroma diffuser into the wall, the benefit provided by inhaling essential oils is a luxury left to enjoy at home or in a spa. The demand for fragrance-free environments has complicated the use of dispersing aromas into the office atmosphere to enhance one's moods.

However there is now an alternative. Aromatherapy is going portable. A new personal inhaler has recently come on the market that eliminates dispersing the aromas into the air or the need to handle the volatile oils. This new development will give aromatherapy a whole new level of access to individuals who recognize its health benefits.

The aromapod is a small, credit-card sized inhaler that delivers the health benefits of aromatherapy through an innovative inhaler that is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse. The essentials oils are infused into a 100% cotton wafer housed inside the aromapod, so not liquids are present. They are discreet, non intrusive and easy-to-use.

Just slide the aromapod open, inhale deeply 3 to 5 times, and close.

“There is a huge market for this innovation,” says 56-year old business executive Linda Ryan who uses aromatherapy on a daily basis to help manage her moods. “With the aromapod, I can enjoy the essential oils without having to deal with the complaints about the dispersing the aromas.”

Aromatherapy, considered an alternative healing technique only 30 years ago, is rapidly gaining acceptance as research reveals the healing power of essential oils and the benefit it has on health and well being. Aromatherapy is a going through a huge growth phase with more and more companies adding essential oils to their product lines including make-up, skin creams, hair products and even cleaning products. Since essential oils are natural, they are seen as a wise alternative to synthetic chemicals.

“Aromatherapy is about as green as you can get,” claims Ryan. “It's nature's own healing balm.”

Billed as an alternative to chemical stimulants, the aromapod inhalers last about 1-2 month of average use. The company that developed the product, The SOS Lab , has six common moods states to choose from: Awake, Calm, Harmony, Focus, Energize and Sensual. Several other blends will become available, including aromapods for anxiety, jet lag, PMS and headache relief.

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This Busy Brain Won’t Let Me Sleep! Crystals and Aromatherapy to Quiet the Mind’s Chatter

Troubled Days Often Lead to Troubled Nights

Your ability to fall sleep (and stay sleep) is closely related to the amount of anxiety or emotional stress you are experiencing.

Perhaps you are unable to go to sleep. You toss and turn in your bed, worrying about something. Your mind repeatedly returns to the troublesome subject, even though there is no solution to be found at this moment. There is no rest to be found now either! Sometimes you fall sleep just fine, but part way through the night you awakened with a disturbing fear or an anxiety. Your mind starts turning the problem over and over (oh, that busy brain). You are now completely awake with an insufficient amount of sleep.

Our bodies are designed to devote a third of our lives to sleeping. But why must we sleep? Why can not we just sit and rest? Those are interesting questions, and scientists are still delving deep into the answers. However, most researchers have now agreed that it is it your brain that requires sleep . Simply resting allows your muscles to relax, but your brain gets no rest.

A consultation with a health care provider is always recommended for questions or concerns about your physical conditions. For an occasional sleepless night, the calming energies of certain crystals and aromatherapy (essential oils) may help quiet the mind to allow you to sleep.

Crystal Energy for Sleeplessness

Did you know the most well-known stone for insomnia is Moonstone? Moonstone stimulates the functioning of the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep. Ideal for calming emotional distress, Moonstone can also help you settle your thoughts so you can get a good night's rest.

Some additional crystal suggestions to keep on hand for those occasional sleepless nights:

  • Amethyst is a very healing stone, helping to manage pain and emotional issues
  • Garnet neutralizes nervous energy
  • Hematite is calming
  • Jade relaxes and provides a sense of well-being
  • Lapis lazuli helps resolve unfinished mental business
  • Lepidolite has anti-stress properties, dissolving tension
  • Sodalite promotes peace and stillness, quieting the chattering busy brain

Aromatherapy for Sleeplessness

Lavender essential oil is associated with relaxation and sleeping. It is wonderful when you can not get your mind to stop going back to a troubling thought when you try to sleep. But did you know that too much lavender is a stimulant ? Be sure to place just a single drop on your pillow, a drop in a diffuser, or a half dozen drops in a bath before going to bed.

Here are some additional aromatherapy oils to try for sleeplessness. You may prefer one of these to lavender.

  • Mandarin
  • Myrtle
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Lemon Verbena

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What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the holistic method of caring for your body through the use of natural fragrances. Most of these fragments are essential oils, which are derived from flowers, fruits, leaves and roots. These oils have a powerful effect through our sense of smell. Scientific evidence for aromatherapy is preliminary, but it is encouraging so far for treatment of several health concerns. Many people enjoy the relaxing and healing effects of aromatherapy at a spa, but you may also treat yourself to aromatherapy in the comfort of your own home.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy defines aromatherapy as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit”. This non-invasive practice treats the whole person, not just the illness or pain, and is there considered a holistic approach. Aromatherapy is a natural treatment that many people embrace as an alternative or addition to traditional medicine.

Aromatherapy affects your mood and health, and can promote feelings of relaxation. Essential oils fragrances activate the limbic system, which supports the emotions and the pleasure center of the brain. Direct inhalation of certain oils can help also alleviate respiratory decongestion, as well as having positive psychological effects. Essential oils can be diffused in the air by a nebulizer, burned as incense, or through aromatherapy candles. Check out natural body and skin care products containing these oils and enjoy the relaxation and healing at home.

Essential oils are diluted with carrier oils before direct skin application, as used in skin care products, bath products, and massage oils. Aromatherapy products can relieve aches and pains, alleviate tension, and sooth the skin. Many essential oils have antiseptic properties and can kill microbes and fungi when used on the skin.

Essential oils are liquids containing aromatic compounds that are the most potent and concentrated extracts from plant materials. These essence oils are approximately 75-100 times more concentrated than in the dried plant. These oils carry the distinct scent, or essence, of the original plant source. They are volatile and most tend to evaporate quickly when exposed to air. Over 100 essential oils are commonly used today.

Aromatherapy also refers to various traditions that use essential oils in combination with other alternative medicines and spiritual beliefs. Many people feel there is a synergy that exists between the aromatic oils and the body. They believe that when these oils are used in a massage, they are passed on to the specific organs or systems of the body where they enhance the natural functions of these organs.

Aromatherapy originated in France, where it is integrated into modern medicine today. In Europe, essential oils are commonly used for their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Many countries use aromatherapy as a treatment modality, but it is not recognized as mainstream medicine or science, such as the United States.

Aromatherapy and essential oils have very powerful effects through our sense of smell. Aromatherapy uses specific scents from these oils to bring about curative effects on the body. It affects mood and health, and can promote feelings of relaxation. This holistic, non-invasive practice treats the whole person, along with treating the illness or pain. Aromatherapy is a holistic approach that many people embrace as a natural treatment for the body, mind, and spirit.

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Toenail Fungus Cure – Can Essential Oils Work Well?

In medical terminology, toenail fungus is identified as 'Onycomycosis'. Technically, this term denotes the yeast infection affecting the skin, and also the fungal infection affecting the toe nail. It usually affects men twice as much as women. Treatment for Toenail Fungus is rather simple but it depends on the awareness to detect and tackle the situation earlier. If the early signs of nail fungus are left unchecked, you may increase the chance leading to major complications. As such, the basic thing to remember among all is the keeping off all those factors that are triggering the toenail fungus. For this, you should keep your nail quite clean and perfectly dry. The socks you are using should be washed daily and kept hygienic by using disinfectant powder in socks and shoes.

There are many home remedies for toenail fungus which is annoying you. Here are some essential oils to help curing fungal nail.

Tea tree Oil: Tea tree oil is one of the best anti fungal agents used for nail fungus treatment. This oil is potentially great for its antiseptic and fungicidal characteristics in fighting against the skin infections. The oil should be rubbed onto the infection and then it should be rinsed daily using medicated cotton and warm water. Tea tree oil can be applied undiluted, and it can work smoothly in preventing and removing the nail infection.

Oregano oil: One more remedy for treating toenail is with Oregano Oil which is a herb known as wild marjoram. Oregano is a blend of several dried leaves of aromatic plants which belong to mint family. As Oregano oil has anti fungal and anti parasitical properties, it can cure toenail infection.

Olive oil: There is one more precious oil known as Olive Oil. It is a good herbal product which is used as domestic oil as it can control cholesterol. Our concern here is if it can help cure nail infection. Of course, it can do with its exclusive property of killing germs and fungal bacteria that cause skin infections.

Combination of essential oils:

As we have discussed, the above oils are best for treatment of nail infection. The degree of curing effect varies with the sample. It can be blended with any other sample and can be applied to the fungal affected area. In some combination, the effect is doubled whereas in some other cases the combination spoils the whole thing. It is exempted for Olive oil because it can be blended with any other oil for additional effect. In other words, the Olive oil can be blended to work well with extra effect. Olive oil is used for diluting the irritation causing component without loss of anything good in curing fungal nail infection.

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Toenail Fungus Treatment – Can Essential Oils Help?

The Toenail Fungus Treatment can be had in many ways such as synthetic remedies, natural home remedies and herbal remedies. Although many people believe that synthetic medicines of the modern days work well to cure toenail fungus, they are not convinced in these medicines. This is because of the fact that there are adverse side effects in these drugs. So there is a normal shifting over to home remedies or natural treatments to cure any type of diseases. For eliminating bodily ailments, natural ways are considered to be safer and more effective without causing side effects.

Fungal nail infection occurs in and around the tissues benefit the nail. Originating from beneath the nail, the infection has its comfortable bed close to the toe nail, and then spreads over to the entire finger. Nail fungal infection is tough to cure if it is not given proper care in the beginning stage itself. As the fungal infections are tough fighting, the ailment worsens the situation. Here is the description of two varieties of healing oils for toenail infection.

Tea tree Oil: The tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of an Australian tree of the genus Melaleuca alternifolia. The leaves of the tree yield oil that can be used for many herbal treatments. It is a powerful anti-fungal agent which is potent to cure all infections of the skin in the human body. It is insoluble in water and acts as a popular anti-fungal and antiseptic agent for curing infections fast. No wonder, the tea tree oil can cure nail infection when applied on a wet cotton wool to the infected area.

Lavender oil: It is another essential oil which looks colorless to yellow or greenish yellow with sweet perfume and bitter taste. It is distilled from fresh flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Being insoluble in water, it is used in perfumery and as a stimulant medicine. This oil can cure a variety of common ailments. The diluted or undiluted oil is a good antiseptic and pain reliever. Since it is an effective anti-bacterial and antiviral agent, it can cure toenail infection when applied topically on the infected area.

Either of these two oils can be applied onto the infected toenail regularly. The anti-bacterial effect is doubled when the two oils are mixed together in equal proportion. You can get rid of the ailment in about two or three weeks if you follow this home treatment for toenail infection.

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Perfumes And Essential Oils

We enjoy a perfume lover's heaven in modern times, with consumers able to access some of the finest produce from the famous perfume houses of the world. In this regard our current affluence would be beyond the comprehension of those people back in our history who valued aromatic substitutes as much as gold.

Wonderful scents and perfumes are now easily available in toiletries and body perfumes although the costs are relatively high, particularly products based on purely natural oils. This demand has increased with the growth of new professions such as aromatherapy which depends upon products untainted by chemicals in order to offer healing and give clients relief from suffering. Aromas provide a very pleasant and effective therapy. We have experienced a fascinating development in the use of aromatics and the emerging science of osmics.

The natural sensory enjoyment of perfumes out in the garden provides us with delightful olfactory experiences when we are out in the open air. However, through the sophisticated art of the perfumier we are now able to enjoy perfumes at any time we choose.

Perfume represents a special cultural refinement and almost a personal necessity for women, but there are also many scents and essential oils available for men to use and enjoy. As consumers, we are offered a bewildering range of different perfume labels from which to choose. For decision making we must rely upon our intuitive reaction to a product and in its use, remind ourselves that subtletty is best.

Incense sticks provide a means of perfuming through fumes arising from burning aromatic material. This is where our word for perfume originated.

In a variety of ways we seek to indulge our sense of olfactory as we continue to increase the use of perfumes in our lives. And of course, regardless of personal wealth, we all share the freedom to enjoy the perfumes in nature in our travels in the wild, in our enjoyment of our garden, or in the delicate scent of a rose.

We live in the developed countries with a general affluence beyond any previously known era in history and which allows us choices in utilizing products that were once luxury items. This applies specifically to our use of perfume both as a means of sensory satisfaction as well as for more practical purposes. Perfume continues as a subject of fascination today.

The simplest method of enjoyment is through awareness of deeper respiration.

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Aromatherapy – Basics

Oils are the key to aromatherapy. They are extracted from plants and can be used to treat all systems of the body, distortances of the mind and imbalances of the emotional. There are many ways to use the oils, however I recommend massage as the most effective way of getting the oils into the body, as well as the relaxation benefits.

Brief History

Historians believe that aromatherapy came to the Western world during the Crusades. There are some records of aromatherapy being used during the plague in the fourteenth century. It became more popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most ancient cultures valued the healing powers of aromatic plant oils.

Ways to use essential oils

Massage – using massage techniques and diluted essential oils.

Steam inhalations- using essential oils and hot water.

Baths – spotted bath water

Vaporizers – using heat to release the scent and properties of oils in the air.

Creams / Lotions / Shampoos / Gels – essential oils are added to these.

Gargles and Mouthwashes

Compresses – using pieces of cotton soaked in water and essential oils.

Neat – some may be applied to the skin undiluted.

How does it work?

The oils enter the body by inhalation and absorption. Once inhaled, signals are sent to the limbic system of the brain where they exert a direct effect on the mind and emotions. When absorbed, the chemical constituents of the oils are transported in the bloodstream to all parts of the body where they interact with body chemistry in a way similar to drugs.

Who benefits?

Everyone – all ages and levels of health can benefit.

Self-Treatment

Self-treatment is fine for minor or short-term problems such as: minor cuts, burns and bruises, colds, flus and chest infections, mild eczema, dermatitis, rashes, stings, constipation, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, indigestion etc.

When to see a professional

If you are pregnant, have an allergy, have a chronic medical condition such as epilepsy or high blood pressure, are taking homeopathic remedies, receiving psychiatric care, on prescription medicines and stimulating children.

Blending Oils

Essential oils can be used alone, or blended with others. When blending oils, choose two or three that come from the same group, citrus, floral, spicy etc.

Oils are blended to enhance their medicinal actions and to create a different fragrance.

Massage oil

When blending to massage choose a light vegetable base oil such as grapeseed, sweet almond or sunflower oil. Add the oil, then shake and test on the back of your hand. You can keep adding until you reach your desired smell.

Bath oils

For adults add 5-10 drops of essential oil to a full bath. For children use 2 to 3 and 1 drop for babies. You can use 2 to 3 drops for foot baths.

Cream / Lotion / Shampoo blending

Choose unscented products and add 1 to 2 drops of essential oils.

Gargle / Mouthwash blending

This is not going to taste good and is NOT for children. Dilute 4 to 5 drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of brandy then mix into a glass of warm water.

Steam inhalations

Add 3 to 4 drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water, bend over the bowel, cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Make sure to inhale with your chest, and not your stomach.

Vaporizers

Add 6 to 8 drops of essential oil to vaporizer. Vaporizer can be electric, ceramic or home made. You can use a ceramic pot warmed by a small candle.

Hot and cold compresses

Add 4 to 5 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot or cold water then soak a cotton cloth in the water, wring out and apply over affected area.

Neat

Only lavender, tea tree and sandalwood can be used un-diluted on the skin.

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Essential Oils Can Relieve the Pain of Lumbar Strain

A lumbar strain is a stretching injury to the ligaments, tendons, and / or muscles of the low back-it can be very painful and put you flat on your back. The stretching can actually result in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain. It can occur due to overuse, improper use, or trauma. A soft-tissue injury such as a lumbar strain is commonly classified as “acute” if it has been present for days to weeks. If the strain lasts longer than three months, it is referred to as “chronic.” Lumbar strain most often occurs in people in their forties, but it can happen at any age. The severity of the injury ranges from mild to severe, depending on the degree of strain and resulting spasm of the muscles of the low back.

Western medicine treats lumbar strains with muscle relaxers, application of heat, massage and historically reconditioning exercises to strengthen the low back and abdominal muscles. Spinal manipulation may help some. Nature in the form of essential oils can offer pain relief for many.

How Can Essential Oils Help?

A muscle responds to pain with a reflex contraction causing blood flow to the area to be impeded. When there is less oxygen and glucose and a decrease in circulation, removal of toxins and waste products will be slowed. The result is inflammation, muscle soreness and pain. There are many essential oils known to be detoxifying, relaxing, pain relieving, and can decrease swelling in muscle tissue.

Here are some examples of essential oils that may help heal lumbar strains and get you back on your feet:

Palo santo– Has high levels of limonene -up to 65% making this an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic oil. Using a combination of Palo Santo & Frankincense for pain & for bone rejuvenation (including Idaho Balsam Fir) will shorten recuperation time.

Lavender -is vasodilating, a relaxant and is anti-inflammatory.

German Chamomile -is anti-inflammatory and a relaxant.

Idaho balsam Fir -is like 98% monoterpenes including limonene and alpha and beta pinenes. It is highly anti-inflammatory.

Basil -is a powerful antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant.

Cypress -is high in monoterpenes making it a great antispasmodic. It also improves circulation and strengthens blood capillaries.

Marjoram -is soothing to muscles and helps relieve body and joint discomfort. It is used for arthritis and rheumatism, muscle / nerve pain, and headaches.

Peppermint -is anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving.

Wintergreen -is anti-spasmodic, highly anti-inflammatory, a vasodilator, analgesic / anesthetic. It has been used in countless liniments and ointments for musculoskeletal problems.

Helichrysum -has anesthetic and antispasmodic properties. It has shown effectiveness in regenerating nerves.

An excellent massage oil for lumbar strains is Ortho Ease or Ortho Sport both of which contain fractionated coconut oil, wheatgerm, grape seed, almond and olive oils plus the essential oils of wintergreen, juniper, marjoram, red thyme, vetiver, peppermint Eucalyptus ericifolia ( Rosalina) and lemongrass. Ortho Sport is the stronger of the two massage oils.

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Should I Take an Aromatherapy Course?

With so much information on the Internet some people believe that it is not necessary to take aromatherapy courses. They feel that what they need to know is already posted somewhere on the net. Is this True? Let's look at some pros and cons.

The truth of the matter is that there is tons of information on the Internet regarding aromatherapy. The problem is that this both a pro and a con.

As I always say, “The Information Highway has quickly become the Misinformation Highway”. Sad, but true. With so much misinformation it is very likely that you could end up using essential oils that are not good for you, or use it in a wrong manner and end up hurting yourself.

Just because aromatherapy is a natural product you must never forget how potent a small bottle of essential oil is. It takes tons of herb to make just a little bit of essential oil. This is why it is always necessary to dilute any essential oil that you plan on using. Even learning the proper dilution rates can be confusing if you look to the Internet as your source.

You must always keep in mind that many of these webpages are put up by the people selling the essential oils. The more essential oils they can get you to buy, the better for them. So, if you use their essential oils very quickly, then of course they can count on you coming back for more.

Aromatherapy courses will teach you the proper dilution rates for essential oils as well as those oils have known to be toxic and unsafe. Be sure to check out who is giving the course. Are they reliable? Are they Certified Aromatherapists themselves or just a company representative of some Multi-Level-Marketing group?

People who have been properly trained in aromatherapy and have completed certification courses are generally taught about the safety of using particular essential oils. It is astounding the number of people who will tell you that such and such an essential oil is good for you and yet, in many cases, it is banned for use beyond a certain dilution, by the FDA!

Some of these charlatans will even tell you to ingest the essential oils. If the FDA were aware of all of these people and could keep track of the new websites and aromatherapy blogs that are increasing daily they would never have enough men and women to keep up with all of the lies and false claims which some of these people ( company representatives) are making.

People may tell you that their essential oils are therapeutic and therefore will not harm you and that many of them are used in the food and flavoring industry. Right away, this is a lie! There is no such grade as “therapeutic”, it is only a badge that their company has put on their label. The FDA does not consider ANY essential oils as therapeutic. It is NOT A DRUG! It is regulated by the FDA as a cosmetic.

It is true that some essential oils which are used in aromatherapy are also used in the food and flavoring industries, as well as in the perfume industry, but the FDA sets limits on how much the dilution should be and also if the essential oil is pure Egypt synthetically derived. If it is synthetic then the label must read “Fragrance”. There is also a big difference between Peppermint Essential Oil and Peppermint Extract. Never take a chance just because some sales representative tells you that she has been trained by her superiors. (Also known as their upline in MLM terms)

Everyone, should be taking aromatherapy courses so that they can learn to use these wonderful essential oils safely and effectively.

Always remember the adage: DO NO HARM! Too bad, mlm's do not live by this motto

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Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) And Essential Oils

As we mentioned in previous articles, premenstrual syndrome is defined as faulty function of the ovaries related to the women's menstrual cycle, it effects a women's physical and emotional state, and sometimes interferes with daily activities as a result of hormone fluctuation. The syndrome occurs one to two weeks before menstruation and then declines when the period starts. In this article, we will discuss how essential oils help to treat PMS.

I. Definition
Essential oil is extracted from stem, flowers, leaves, etc. of aromatic plants. Essential oil contains 2 properties
1. Being absorbed through skin into bloodstream.
2. Through our sense of smell into lung.

II. How essential oils effect women with PMS
Essential oils can be helpful to ease symptom of PMS
1. Juniper
The essential extracted form juniper contains alpha pinene, cadinene and terpineo which help to improve kidney function in urinary secret resulting in lessening the symptoms of water retention and bloating.

2. Grapefruit oil
Grapefruit oil contains a-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene which help to improve function of liver in detoxification and gall bladder resulting in reducing symptoms of constipation, sluggish live function.

4. Jasmine
Jasmine essential oil contain benzyl acetate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, indole, etc. Which acts in our body an antiseptic and a sedative that help to reduce nervous tension resulting in lessening the symptoms of PMS such as depression and anxiety.

5. Rosemary
Rsemary essential oil contains carnosic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol and rosmanol which have been used in massage in treating symptom of water retention for women with OMS and others.

6. Chamomile
Chamomile extracted oil contains chemical compunds chamazulene, a-bisabolol, bisabolol oxide A, bisabolol oxide B and bisabolone oxide A which have been helpful in treating PMS including depression and irritability.

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Aromatherapy Courses – Why You Need to Learn Your Latin Binomials

When it comes to learning Latin Binomials people usually are not too excited. Who really wants to learn an outdated language? Why would you possibly want to learn about Botanical Nomenclature?

When taking aromatherapy courses there are actually two views on learning Latin Binomials.

The First View is: Why should we learn the Latin Binomial of an Essential Oil when it does not exactly tell us where it is grown or if that is the exact plant that it came from?

The Second View is: It is best to know the scientific name of the Essential Oil so that we know that it is the correct essential oil we need.

It seems that a lot of aromatherapy courses are not spending too much time highlighting the importance of learning Latin Binomials, but it is really important that we take the time to really get to know them.

From personal experience I remember the first Aromatherapy book I received for Christmas was “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils” by Julia Lawless. I found it quite difficult to find what I wanted in the book because the Essential Oils were listed by their Latin Binomials in Alphabetical Order. This might be nice for someone who has taken aromatherapy courses, but for a novice it was very frustrating.

Another time, I was searching for a chamomile essential oil and had run into the Natural Health Food Store in my area. I saw a bottle of chamomile and asked the store clerk if it was Roman Chamomile, or German Chamomile. She did not know. So, I asked her if inside the bottle is the color yellowish or blue. She did not know. I asked her if she could look it up in her order book to see if the manufacturer had any more information that might help. No, it just said Chamomile. I could not believe that this was a Health Store. (This is why it's so important to take a good aromatherapy course, even if you're just working in a shop.)

As I learned more about essential oils I obviously went on to learn the Latin Binomials for the different Essential Oils in common use. This comes in very handy sometimes.

It is said that if you wish to take the “ARC” exam for aromatherapy you must know your Latin Binomials. None of the questions refer to the common name of the Essential Oil. Even the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy now has their list of mandatory essential oils to learn in aromatherapy courses written in Latin.

So we can see how using the scientific name of the Essential oils can help us and give us a better understanding of what we are dealing with when we purchase an essential oil. It is always better to take an aromatherapy course and learn.

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The Carrier Oils – Therapeutic Base Oils in Aromatherapy For Skin Care and More

When we think of aromatherapy, an extensive list of inoxicating scents springs to mind: jasmine, lemon, myrrh, bergamot, sage! Essential oils are certainly the most exciting and showy aspect of aromatherapy. Wandering behind the bouquet of essential oils, however, come the carrier oils, a group of oils whose function is to assist essential oil application and provide nourishment for the skin. Essential oils, or volatile oils, are small molecules that change once they touch the air. Carrier oils are composed of big molecules that maintain their texture for a long time, giving necessary lubrication and moisture, especially to the skin.

Essential oils and carrier oils have a symbiotic relationship in aromatherapy. While carriers are often thought of in terms of their reflexology and massage uses, these oils actually posses their own virtues. Instead of thinking of them as merely the method of applying essential oils, we can explore the unique qualities of carrier oils separately with great results. Most likely, your aromatherapy techniques will be enhanced by using your special essential oils with carriers that actually increase their medicinal qualities.

Fats, or lipids, are a critical aspect of human health. They are important for staying warm, protecting organs and assisting cellular activity. While nutritionists are focused on finding how fats are used internally, aromatherapy examines how plant oils improve health from the outside. What we've found is that fats, or oils, applied externally also deliver essential nutrients to the skin.

Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen combine to make a lipid molecule. It's not necessary to tune into the chemical make-up of carrier oils, but it can be helpful because these terms are used in relation to many food and supplement products as well. A simple way of viewing a fat molecule is to know that some lipids have carbon atoms that form two bonds, which means they have a shared electron. These lipids are known as unsaturated fats, and you mostly find them in liquid form. They come from plant matter, and most carrier oils fall into this category. The second type of fat, saturated lipids, do not have double bonded carbons. They are usually found in animal fats, but some plants create saturated fats, too. A popular carrier oil, coconut, is actually a saturated fat. It can also be found on the market in its fractionated form, which is derived from breaking off part of the molecular chain. This results in a liquid oil. The oil functions the same way as in its solid, but it is much easier to apply in massage or reflexology.

A lot of carrier oils are composed of the super-stars of the fatty acid world: omega-6, or linoleic acid, and omega-3, known as linolenic acid. These nutrients, part of the essential fatty acid spectrum, are important for human health. Salvatore Battaglia, an aromatherapy practitioner, tells us that linoleic acid asserts our liver, joints, skin and hair and also the cardiovascular system. Evening primrose oil is particularly effective in these areas. Linolenic acid is found in a multitude of carrier oils. When used as a supplement, it asserts the eyes, muscles and growth processes. We find it in fish and plant oils, such as rapeeed and linseed, and this acid is especially useful in combating cardiovascular problems and hypertension. For aromatherapy purposes, finding superior carrier oils means the skin will derive fantastic benefits. Carrier oils help the skin keep its shape, color and nutrients, making it your best ally in skin health.

Carrier oils are primarily derived from nuts and seeds. They are extracted through cold-press technology, meaning high heat is not used. Once oils reach temperatures passing 160 degrees Celsius, their structure is altered, making them trans-fats, a kind of mutated fat that the body can not assimilate properly. Expeller-pressing is another common extraction method. By placing seeds or nuts in an expeller, the precious oil is pressed out and then bottled. Superior carrier oils are mechanically pressed oils and have not been subjected to chemical changes.

There are many reasons for choosing one carrier oil over another, and most of the time this is based on personal preference regarding the viscosity of the oil and its natural scent. While this is a fine way to choose oils, if you want to include the specific healing benefits of carrier oils in your aromatherapy applications, it may be useful to look at how carrier oils are sometimes categorized. The primary carriers can be put into three groups: massage and reflexology, facial skin care and bodily skin conditions. Fractionated coconut, hempseed, sweet almond and sunflower are all great choices for massage and reflexology. By adding 10-15% essential oil, your carrier will be easy to work with and smell delightful, too. Carrier oils such as apricot kernel, hazelnut and rosehip work well in facial skin care, bringing vitality to skin that has suffered from the sun or acne. Rosehip also assists in reducing scars. Tamanu, jojoba, evening primrose, sesame, shea, avocado and grapeseed are excellent carrier oils for helping dry skin and other skin ailments, like eczema. Deciding on a carrier oil may require a bit of experimentation to see how your body responds, but when you land on the best oil for your needs, you can move on to blending your carrier with essential oils.

Mixing carrier oils with volatile oils allows the essential oil to be used more efficiently. Volatile oils have a short lifespan once they hit the air. In about an hour, these oils are no longer active. A carrier oil, with its viscous body, keeps the essential oil vibrant, allowing the essential oils to exhibit their healing qualities longer. A way to remember this is to consider what happens when you put a drop of ylang ylang on your skin. Within an hour the scent is decreed. If you mix the ylang ylang with a carrier, however, the scent, and the oil's medicinal qualities will last much longer.

Aromatherapists have found that essential oils are most effective when they are applied on a regular basis, and carrier oils allow us to do so. Because some essential oils may burn the skin, carriers also protect the skin from this potential pitfall.

While carrier oils may not be as awe-inspiring as essential oils, these simple oils do bring healing into the body. The beauty of discovering which carrier oils work best for you is that your essential oils will be extended, your skin will rejoice, and you will not have to say, “Now what do I do with this neroli?”

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What’s in Your Bottle? Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade Quality

For you and I it is hard to distinguish between a high quality, superior grade essential oil and one that has been “cut” or “extended”. Our noses are just not trained enough so we can not tell the difference, although we can certainly learn. So we must investigate.

One of the main factors that makes an oil therapeutic grade is the kind and amount of chemical constituents it has. Examples of these are thymol, linalol, carvacrol, limonene, linalyl acetate, camphor, terpenes, sclareol, sesquiterpenes, to name but a few that you will come across when you learn about oils.

Very often the more of these in an oil the better because they balance each other out. They complement each other! For instance,

* Oregano is an oil with four important constituents. Carvacrol at 60% to 75% is highly anti-viral but also offers to make it a fairly 'hot' oil, which may cause some reddening on the skin. The other constituents help to balance this effect.

* Just recently a new species of oregano was discovered in Equador with an unprecedented eleven important constituents.

* Testing has shown this oil to be highly therapeutic and not reddening at all.
More constituents balance each other other out. Awesome.

THERAPEUTIC, FOOD GRADE OR PERFUME GRADE

Few companies have in-house laboratories with the right equipment available to test essential oils for impurities. Gas-chromatography (GC) equipment is extremely expensive so many companies rely on independent labs to test the oils for them.

However, independent labs are mostly set up to test synthetic chemicals and industrial grade oils. Their GC does not use the needed 50 or 60 meter length of column for the therapeutic grade substances. Besides GC testing, Mass Spectrometer testing should be performed to weed out oils that have even the slightest hint of possible adulteration or tampering with.

Mind you, sub-therapeutic grade essential oils are not destroyed after these tests and will most certainly end up in someone's bottle. Even though they are only fit for the fragrance or food industry.

A good indication you are working with the therapeutic oils is their labeling with ISO and AFNOR standards, set down by the European Community. And recently the Young Living Therapeutic Grade (TM) (YLTG) standard was introduced. YLTG means that “every essential oil Young Living distills or sources has the optimal naturally-occurring blend of constituents to maximize the desired effect” (product guide 2009).

FROM PLANT SEED TO THE OIL IN YOUR BOTTLE

To make sure all the valuable ingredients make it from the live plant to your bottle a company must start at the very beginning.

  1. Use great Soil. Plants should be grown on virgin soil, never treated with pesticides and herbicides.
  2. Climate and Water. Plants must have the right amount of sun and rain or be watered with pure spring or mountain water.
  3. Type of Plants. Getting lavender oil from the Lavendula angustifolia plant will produce something entirely different from the lavendin plant ( Lavandula x hybrida ). They may smell similar but the latter plant produces a lot of camphor, which can be hot and burn the skin. Lavendula angustifolia has severely any camphor at all and a lot of linalol, which is soothing on the skin.
  4. Time of Harvest. It is crucial for plants to be harvested at the right time if you want to get all the constituents out of them. Time of day, before or after it flowers, resting time, stressing time, drying time, all contribute to the final product. The distillery should be close by so plants are fresh.
  5. Distillation Method. Once a plant is in the distiller, in small batches, most of them need time and gentle steam to release all their components intact. Frankincense needs as long as twelve hours to be properly distilled.

UNSCRUPULOUS VENDORS

From what you just learned you can see how often things can go wrong!

  • Soil is treated with herbicides which will end up in the oil.
  • Plants are watered with chlorinated water, which will show up in the oil.
  • The wrong plant species are used, which may smell like the real therapeutic oil but contains none of the goodies.
  • Plants are harvested at the wrong time of day and taken far away to a distillery. A lot of the good components die and will never make it to your oil.
  • The distiller is not made of high alloy-, food grade, stainless steel and may interact with the plants
  • Because the vendor needs to get as much oil out of the plant as possible, he distills the plants at extremely high temperatures (400 degrees), and even does second and third distillations using odorless solvents to increase volume.

All this adulteration is giving essential oils bad press. They do not hold therapeutic value so nothing happens when they're used and they may make things worse.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF USING ADULTERATED OILS?

The story of the lady who used a lavender oil from the local health food store brings it home:
She had read of the ability of lavender oil to heal burns and used her oil on her arm after spilling boiling water on it. The pain intensified and the burn worsened so she complained that lavender oil was worthless in healing burns. When her oil was analyzed it was found to be lavandin, the hybrid lavender that is chemically very different from pure Lavandula angustifolia. Lavandin contains high levels of camphor (12-18%) and can itself burn the skin. True lavender contains virtually no camphor and has burn-healing agents not found in lavandin. (EODR, pg.11)

Synthetic, cut, extended oils can cause rashes, allergies and other irritations. Along this they will not give you any therapeutic effects.

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Essential Oils – The Hidden Dangers For Well-Meaning Animal Lovers

As Aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream, more people are using essential oils on their own, at home. Unfortunately, as some people are finding out, this is not always having a positive affect on the animals in their lives.

There have been many reports of animals harmed, even dying, from essential oils. Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia, has received a bad rap laTelly, mostly reasonably stemming from the fact that it is so widely available. Well meaning owners have used this oil to treat dermatological afflictions such as bites and scratches, only to end up at the veterinarians office with an animal exhibiting signs of toxicity, such as ataxia, incoordination, weakness, tremors, vomiting or depression.

Misinformation is an awful problem in this area as well. As an increasing amount of people turn to a more natural approach at life, companies are jumping to cash in. Thousand of products include essential oils in their ingredients; pet products are no different. The average person, unaware of the dangers, can easily think these products would be completely safe when in fact they are not.

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), for instance, is widely used as flea control. This oil is a known abortifacient in humans, and considered a toxin to the liver and the kidneys. Not exactly a strong selling point, although it is very good at keeping fleas at bay!

Many products for cats also contain essential oils. Unfortunately, for the cats, many cat owners are unaware that by using these products, they can slowly cause toxins to build up in the feline's system, causing a slow onset of organ failure. A cat's liver can not process toxins as a human's or even a dog's can, and the chemical constituents of the oils, such as terpenes, phenols, and ketones, are no exception. The effects of these can be immediately in showing up, or can take years.

Birds are well known for being sensitive to scents and particles in the air, and essential oils are no different. Gillian Willis, a toxicologist in Vancouver, has seen many cases of avian poisoning, including a well-meaning cockatiel owner who, upon seeing an abrasion on her bird's foot, applied a drop of Tea Tree oil. The bird became depressed and even with veterinary intervention, died within 24 hours of respiratory failure. Even diffusing oils around a bird can produce dire consequences.

Not all is lost:

While this may all seem daunting to an animal lover who also enjoys the benefits of aromatics, all is certainly not lost. A little knowledge can go a long way while incorporating essential oils in and around your animals.

Choosing essential oils:

Purity can be an issue when it comes to essential oils. For example, it takes approximately one hundred pounds of plant material to produce one pound of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Due to the expense, many essential oils are diluted in other substances. These can range from carrier oils, such as Jojoba, to synthetic fragrance, even chemicals. When you are choosing essential oils to use therapeutically for yourself and your pets, you only want the purest available. To determine this, there are a few key things to look for:

– EO's should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.
– Packaging should include the common name (Lavender), the Latin binomial (Lavandula angustifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company , how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” OR the ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.
– Price usually dictates quality.
– Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $ 7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.

Using quality oils in homes with pets:

Once you have your essential oils and are satisfied with the quality, the task becomes using them correctly. While they can be very therapeutic and helpful, they can also do harm. Remember, just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.

There are some essential oils that should never be used for animals: Anise, Clove Leaf / Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow, to name a few.

Some that can be used include: Cedarwood Atlas, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Myrrh, Ravensare, Rose, And Valerian. (Note that these lists are not exhaustive and further research from the pet owner should be done).

For dogs, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, from bathing to calming the nerves through diffusion. Some points to remember:

– Dogs can not tell you what is or is not working. As such, you must closely watch their reactions. Excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining are all signs to watch for.
– Always dilute the oils. A common acceptable dilution is 25% of the adult human formula.
– Giving essential oils internally is not generally recommended.
– Do not use any oils on medium-large breed puppies under 8 weeks, and small or toy breeds under 10 weeks. Hydrosols are a much better choice.
– Gradually introduce the oils.
– What is good for a large dog is NOT good for a small dog. Size Matters, and less is definitely more when working with oils, for animals or humans.
– Sick, frail, older, or pregnant dogs have special considerations, just as in humans. Do not administrator the same dose to them as you would to a healthy animal of the same size.
– Never use oils near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genital area.

Felines are especially sensitive, as previously mentioned. Even dispersing oils in the air or using them as cleaning agents around the house can be detrimental. Make sure that the cat has a way to go into another room, with fresh air to 'escape'. Oils should never be used topically because of their liver's ability to process them. Hydrosols, also known as hydrolats or floral water, are a much safer option with many of the same benefits. For smaller animals, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits, hydrosols are also the best option, at a 50% dilution of what is used for felines.

Birds should never be exposed to oils, whether topically or in the air due to their extreme sensitivity. Hydrosols can be used, but in very minute amounts, much like in homeopathic remedies.

Fish can not tolerate oils or floral waters. The oils, not being water-soluble, would end up sticking to the fish, causing a host of problems, up to and many times including, death. Hydrosols each have their own pH levels, and have the possibility of wreaking havoc on the pH levels within the tank, also causing harm to the fish.

An animal lover's best bet, for the sake of their pet, would be to educate themselves even further. One must be cautioned about searching the net, however, as misinformation is everywhere. Be sure to check the credentials of the writer before following the advice of any site. There are a few good books on the subject, one of my favorites, and the reference for this article, is Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell. With a little love and research, aromatherapy can be very beneficial to humans and animals alike!

Reference:

Bell, Kristen. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. Findhorn-Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press, 2002.

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Healing With Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy as a healing option has roots in ancient times. It is widely believed that the Chinese were the first people to use aroma to influence well-being, which took the form of burning incenses. Other civilizations such as the Egyptian, the Indian, the Greeks and the Romans made use of the healing properties of plants through aromatherapy. In the 21st century, the use of aromatherapy is enjoying a growing resurgence after years of being put on the back burner by a skeptical society used to synthetic medicines and scientific approaches to healing the human body.

Modes of Healing

In aromatherapy, the essential oils extracted from plants enter the human body in two basic ways – the skin and the nose. Unlike synthetic medicines, the emphasis is on healing the mind and body with and through the sense of aroma and touch instead of significantly altering the natural balance within the body.

Thus, aerial diffusion is utilized when the air needs to be disinfected and fragranced while direct injection is used for decongestion, disinfection and inspection as well as to influence the psyche.

For topical applications of aromatherapy, the essential oils together with carrier oils are applied directly to the skin when giving general massages, compresses and baths. Typically, topical applications are used to treat pain, insomnia, skin diseases and other illnesses that can be treated with direct applications of essential oils to the area involved.

Materials of Healing

In aromatherapy, there are essentially six substances used in healing the body and mind. These materials, of course, only works with the proper application by the healer and the sincere acceptance of the patient since aromatherapy, like all other treatment methods, must be a two-way exchange between healer and patient.

o Essential oils are plant extracts made from either solvent extraction or steam distillation. These are diluted with carrier oils before being used in massage, diffused in air, heated over candle flames, and burned as incense.

o Absolutes are fragrant oils coming flowers and plant tissues. These must be used with extreme care as these may cause allergies.

o Phytoncides are known for their antimicrobial properties.

o Herbal distillates, also called essential water, possess similar benefits as essential oils albeit in a safer form.

o Infusions that result from stepping plants in water or oil such as an infusion of chamomile.

o Carrier oils are used to dilute both absolutes and essential oils before these are applied directly to the skin. The most popular types are grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil.

When used in aromatherapy, these oils and waters can be used singly or in pairs depending on the results desired. Thus, carrier oils and essential oils are always shared when these are used in topical applications to reduce allergic side effects.

Of course, healing with aromatherapy has its merits. For one thing, the materials used do not accumulate within the body unlike synthetic oral medicines that affect the stomach, liver and kidneys. Even when the oils are applied directly to the skin, these are quickly excreted by the body. For another thing, the oils go directly to the area that needs treating the most instead of also targeting the healthy areas. This way, the natural balance of the body is protected.

Indeed, smell can heal! Therefore, aromatherapy bought to be one of your defenses against diseases of the mind and of the body.

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