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Feature Friday: Cinnamon

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Cinnamon Leaf is a favorite scent for many people. It brings to mind winter, the holidays, baking in the kitchen – such wonderful memories! Cinnamon leaf is less harsh than cinnamon bark and can be used on the skin. However, caution must be used and it should be diluted to no more than 0.6% for use on the skin. Diffusing this oil, while wonderful, should also be used with caution, especially around younger children. Let’s look at the profile and different ways you may be able to use Cinnamon Leaf in your essential oil collection.CinnLeaf

  • Add a few drops of cinnamon to a dish of pines cones or potpourri to scent a small room (like your guest bathroom) during the holidays! *Use caution with small children, please.
  • Use 2 drops cinnamon, 4 drops vanilla and 2 drops orange in your diffuser for a lovely autumn scent!
  • Using cinnamon leaf in DIY Salve and use on chronic aches and pains. Be sure to keep the dilution below 0.6% to ensure safety for your skin!

If you have questions, concerns or comments please get in touch with us by emailing us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We are happy to help in any way we can! You can also join us on Facebook Safe Essential Oil Recipes. We share ideas, ask questions and keep a file of recipes for your reference!


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Are there “driver” or enhancer oils?

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We get asked this question often. Are there oils that can act as a driver or can enhance absorption of other essential oils? This means are there oils that can help other oils penetrate further into the skin, thereby increasing absorption rates. While this is something best left to professionals, who understand the chemistry, I want to try and answer the question in the spirit of education!

The simple answer is yes, there are a few oils that can enhance the absorption of essential oils into the skin. But first, let’s take a look at how our skin works:

Our skin consists of

  • the epidermis, which is our waterproof layer and provides protection against infection
  • the dermis, where the parts of the skin” live” (like hair follicles, sweat glands, etc)
  • the hypodermis, which is the fatty layer “beneath” the skin that keep us warm

Layers of skin

Why oil can penetrate the skin and water can’t?

Our epidermis acts as a waterproof barrier for our bodies. Water doesn’t penetrate the skin since it’s made up of several layers of cells. These cells maintain their structure through a phospholipid bond.

Phospho-what?

Phospholipid refers to a group of elements that are composed of fatty acids. This means that the layers of skin are held together by the fatty acids. Remember how oil (or fat) and water don’t mix? THIS is why our skin repels water. Oils, of any kind, can be readily absorbed by the skin since they are of the same type of substance that hold our skin together.

How much EO is absorbed?

Robert Tisserand writes, in his book Essential Oil Safety, that approximately 10% (give or take) of an essential oil that is applied to the skin is absorbed into  the blood steam. This, of course, depends on the type of oils and several other variables. These include; 1) skin temperature 2) rate of dose applied 3) duration of contact 4) Humidity 5) Occlusion (or blocking off the area) and 6) skin hydration

Effect of Enhancers: how they work?

These substances reduce the skin’s ability to perform its barrier function. Then allowing the essential oil (or medication in some instances, like nicotine patches) to cross the epidermis at a faster rate. The constituents in some essential oils can disrupt that phospholipid bilayer and allow enhanced penetration. D-limonene and 1,8-cineole have been shown to do just this function. A water-based cream or lotion provides the essential oil some movement in order to reach and then penetrate the skin. We go back to oil and water not being able to mix, using a water-based carrier sends the essential oil through the carrier faster to the skin and allow for deeper penetration. Since essential oil molecules are more likely to dissolve in fats and lipids – water-based creams or lotions are a better carrier for penetration than a fixed oil.  Using a fixed oil also allows for penetration – but in a slower more controlled manner.

What have we learned?

We can use some essential oils to absorb quickly in the skin. To do so, our “carrier” should be a water-based lotion or cream, since the oils will have more freedom of movement and work to penetrate the skin faster. We also know that oils that have higher amounts of d-limonene (most citrus oils, like lemon) and 1,8-cineole can be used as skin penetration enhancers.

Well, I hope that you learned a little bit more about how essential oils can effectively penetrate your skin & are absorbed to reach the bloodstream. It’s a hard topic to grasp, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help understanding!

As always, any questions you have can be directed to our Certified Aromathereapist at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We welcome questions, comments or concerns. Please check out our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes.

 


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Oil Cleanse Method

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One of the most important things to remember when dealing with your skin is that your body creates oil to help keep your pores clean and free of debris. In order to dissolve this oil and get at the trapped dirt, you need to use oil to cleanse your face.

Now no one is allowed to freak out!  But – that will cause breakouts, right?

No, it won’t. Breakouts happen for several reasons.

  1. Hormonal: Fluctuations in hormones can cause breakout for a variety of reasons. The  underlying cause may even be an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder.
  2. Genetic: Some people are just predisposed to acne.
  3. Psychological: Being stressed out CAN cause acne. When stress is high, the likelihood of a breakout can increase.
  4. Infectious: Some types of bacteria are known to colonize in the pores of the skin. These bacteria can disrupt normal, healthy skin function and result in an acne outbreak.
  5. Diet: Many times eruptions on the skin are a direct result of a food sensitivity or allergy. Finding the root cause can greatly reduce the number of outbreaks.

 

Once you figure out WHY your face is breaking out, you can take the appropriate steps to remedy the situation. Now, back to using oil to clean your face. There are a few guidelines to follow when blending carrier oils to use as your OCM base. First, start with about 20% of the whole as castor oil. Castor oil is drawing and helps to clear the skin of deep dirt in the pores. The remaining 80% is up to you. At the end of this post, you’ll find a few links that can help you choose the carrier that’s right for you.

You’ll want to know what type of skin you have. Perhaps you already know, but if not here is a handy tool I found for you to use to discover your skin type: http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Your-Skin-Type

Knowing your skin type is useful in choosing which carrier oils will make up your oil cleanse. Adding essential oils is like icing on the cake! You can seriously customize this concept to really fit the goals you have for your skin! Let me give you a few examples.

 

None of these ratios or recipes are set in stone. You may have to experiment a little in order to find what works well for your skin. Always make a small “batch” in order to see how it works, then you can scale up or change as needed. In order to learn more about carrier oils, check out this post: Which Carrier Oil is Best for Me? This will guide you in choosing carrier oils that suit your needs. Other great posts like  DIY Facial Serum and Beauty Masks have helpful recipes that you may consider using to customize your carrier oil blend.

 

So once you’ve made your oil cleanse you’ll follow these step to use it:

  1. Massage a quarter sized amount into the skin
  2. Using hot water, wet a wash cloth and apply over the face to steam the skin (this allows the pores to open and the oils to get inside to help pull out the dirt)
  3. Wipe the skin with that wash cloth
  4. Rinse the wash cloth
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 at least one more time

 

I like to do this in the evening prior to bed. After cleansing with oil, you’ll find you don’t need any additional moisturizer. In the morning, I simply use water and a wash rag to wipe my face clean. I will apply a light serum in the morning!

 

As always if you have any further questions or concerns, please email us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We can also be found on Facebook at Safe Essential Oil Recipes.


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Feature Friday: Tea Tree

 

 

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Tea Tree essential oil is one of the most commonly used oils. It’s a must have in your stash! Truthfully, it was the very first essential oil I ever purchased. For years I have used it in cleaning products in my home. Now, let’s look at the profile and a few ways you can use it in your home as well.

Tea TreeLet me share some ways I use tea tree essential oil in my home:

  • Add a few drops to 1/2 cup baking soda and scrub the toilet with it
  • Place a drop or two on a tissue or personal inhaler and use to “sniff” when you are traveling through the airport
  • Check out The Art of a Steam Part 1 and use it in your  next steam for congestion or sinus trouble.

If you have questions, concerns or comments please get in touch with us by emailing us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. We are happy to help in any way we can! You can also join us on Facebook Safe Essential Oil Recipes. We share ideas, ask questions and keep a file of recipes for your reference!

 


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Same Genus, Different Species…

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There is one question we get time and again. “Which _____ should I use?” Do you recall the article Latin Names & Chemotypes ? This was a brief look at why Latin (or botanical) names are so important when choosing essential oils for your products. You can see in the following article that information has been expanded on.

Below you will see the common essential oils used to fill in that blank. While I dislike the term “best” since it is so subjective, I do realize that there are reasons why you’d choose one species over another. Keep in mind these are very brief reasons. It’s important to invest in good reference materials for your essential oil library!

CHAMOMILE

There are two true chamomile and two that are commonly referred to as chamomile. For some uses they are similar, they both are relaxing and have anti-spasmodic properties. However, Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile is generally used for children and general relaxation since it has a lighter, more enjoyable fragrance. Chamomile German Matricaria reutita is typically used for inflammation or injury due to it’s high percentage of chamazulene which is responsible for the blue color.
Just to confuse things even further when someone says “Moroccan Chamomile” it could be either Ormenis multicaulis (Wild Chamomile) OR Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy). Neither Ormenis multicaulis or Tanacetum annuum are true chamomile. Each of these oils have different properties. If you know your Latin names it’s much easier to match your symptom to a solution!

FRANKINCENSE

Boswellia serrata:

Also known as Indian Frankincense and is prized in Ayurvedic medicine. Native to India and North Africa. This oil has light, floral note. Serrata is useful as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. If you’re looking for relief from symptoms of inflammatory issues like IBS or rheumatoid arthritis – this is the species to choose.
Boswellia carteri (Sacra):

Perhaps the most sought after frankincense, this oil is harvested from Oman and Somalia. Carteri (sacra) has a deep, warm, resinous scent. The resin from Boswellia carteri (sacra) has been shown to have some anti-cancer activity in laboratory applications. There is conflicting information on whether this translates to the essential oil. Carteri (Sacra) has good antimicrobial properties. Great for emotional concerns when diffused or used in a bath! Try using this species in yoga or meditation.

A quick note, several authors have recently stated that the two species are in fact one in the same. Robert Tisserand and Lora Cantele both offer this information in their books.

HELICHRYSUM

Currently, we offer two species of helichrysum for sale. Let’s look at the differences. Helichrysum italicum is rather useful for skin conditions. Healing of scars, helping with redness or irritation and overall skin health. Helichrysum splendidum is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and is useful for respiratory issues such as allergies or respiratory illness.

LAVENDER

This genus is a bit more complicated. The species here vary widely in therapeutic properties. Why don’t we take a look. First we have traditional, everyday Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia). Useful for soothing, calming and is a go-to for many first time users. The difference between Lavender Population and Lavender 40/20 is this: Population is the lavender to choose when you want the therapeutic effects listed for lavender. Lavender 40/20 is a standardized product which is a favorite for  people who make their own soaps, creams, and candles. The standardization process ensures a consistent scent from batch to batch.

Next, we have Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia) which has a high percentage of camphor and is useful for issues relating to illness such as chest congestion and coughing. This species of lavender should not be used with children or those suffering from seizure disorders. Finally, we have Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) which has properties similar to Lavendula angustifolia.

MELALUECA (TEA TREE)

This is one that get’s a tad confusing. First we have Tea Tree oil (melalueca alternifolia) which is useful for so many things! It’s among one of the first essential oils that many new users purchase and one that is versatile. Tea Tree can be used for illness, skin issues and cleaning products. Next, Rosalina (melalueca ericifolia) is one of our new additions. This gentle, and kid safe, meleluca is useful for respiratory issues and is considered a safer alternative to eucalyptus. Also, there is Cajeput (melaleuca cajeputi) which is useful for muscle aches and soreness and may be useful against colds, flus and infections. Lastly, Naouli (melaleuca viridiflora) is much higher in cineole than it’s “cousins” and should not be used with children under age 10.

THYME

There are a total of 6 known variations of Thyme, each chemotype has a specific constituent that allows the oil to have varying effects on the body. Thyme ct. thymol and ct. carvacrol are very good antiseptics. On the other hand, Thyme ct. linlool and ct. thuyanol are much gentler and used to boost immune function. To address a specific concern, you must know which chemotype you are working with and what it’s constituents are able to do therapeutically.

GERANIUM

We offer two species of geranium at Plant Therapy. Geranium Bourbon is more useful for skin care and for use in warding off bugs when outdoors. Geranium Egyptian is more useful in emotional conditions (like anxiety or stress) and is wonderful for insomnia.

Hopefully you can see that knowing which species of essential oil you are using is very important. Please always double check to be sure that the essential oil you choose is safe for your intended purpose. Choosing properly can ensure that you and your family are receiving the benefit you want, instead of an unintended consequence.

As always, we hope that this gives you some insight into these essential oils. Please be in touch with us via email if you have any further questions, concerns or comments. We can be reached at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. You can also join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes to share your favorite recipes with like-minded members!


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DIY Body Wash

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Who doesn’t love a rich, foamy body wash? That luxurious feeling of clean and soft skin! I wanted something rich and creamy that I could customize with my own scents.Once I set out to make my own and after a few trials and errors this is how it finally went down.

With winter coming up , it needed to be moisturizing. I chose mango butter (personally I do not like the smell of shea butter) and WOW is it fantastic!  Check  out the recipe, then check out some scent combinations that you may enjoy – or come up with your own signature scent!

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 c shea or mango butter
  • 1/8 c aloe vera gel
  • 1/8 c jojoba wax (a carrier or fixed oil)
  • 1 cup castile soap
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (a thickener, commonly found near the Gluten Free baking items in your local grocery)

I used vanilla infused jojoba. Basically, I cut up 1 vanilla bean and it’s been hanging out in the small bottle of jojoba for about 3 weeks. I wanted to boost the “Love Vanilla” which is the essential oil synergy I chose for my body wash!

What you’ll do:

  1. Melt shea or mango butter over double boiler
  2. Then add aloe and jojoba
  3. Remove from heat stir in xanthan gum & castile soap
  4. Allow to cool slightly, add essential oils
  5. Pour into jar/container (TIP: use a funnel,  it’s way less mess!)

Body Wash

 

Alternately you could try this recipe, it’s a bit thinner and isn’t as luxurious but it gets the job done & isn’t too difficult to make at home! Bonus, it make A LOT! It does take a bit more time for the end product to set up but the results are worth the wait.

What you’ll need:

  • Bar of castile soap
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 TBSP glycerine (can be found in most pharmacies)

What you’ll do:

  1. Grate bar of soap
  2. Simmer your water in a large pan on the stove
  3. Add soap, stirring to melt
  4. Once melted remove from heat
  5. Add glycerine and essential oils
  6. Pour into containers and allow 24 hours to set up

 Scent combinations you might love: Use 5 drops of essential oil (total) per ounce of body wash. 

As always, we hope that this gives you some insight into these essential oils. Please be in touch with us via email if you have any further questions, concerns or comments. We can be reached at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com. You can also join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes to share your favorite recipes with like-minded members!

 

Edit: It has come to my attention that this should probably be stored in the refrigerator between uses. The combination of water and other ingredients can cause an issue with mold if left out. An alternative may be to use a smaller bottle and leave the majority of it in the fridge, only taking out what you need for a week or so! 

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