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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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Feature Friday: Which Frankincense should I choose?

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Last week there was a brief discussion on how to two types of Frankincense are different. If you missed it, check it out now: Frankincense discussion. Today, we will look at the profiles of each and below you’ll find a few ideas on how to best put your frankincense to use.

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Now that we’ve taken two weeks to really look at Frankincense, let’s look a a couple of ways you can incorporate it into your home. Remember, our goal is to make the most of your essential oils collection. If you don’t have Frankincense, you may consider adding it to your arsenal!

  1. Diffuse Frankincense during your yoga, meditation or prayer time each morning. This is a relaxing and amazing way to deepen your practice.
  2. Add a few drops of Frankincense to your favorite facial cream/lotion. This is a wonderful way to reap the benefits without having to make your own!

My sincere hope is that you are learning to distinguish one species from another. By properly identifying the essential oil you are using, you can customize the way you use them. It’s not important to have one of everything, but rather to understand that essential oils have many therapeutic properties and as you learn more you can make proper substitutions! If you have questions, concerns or comments please email us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com


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KidSafe Diffuser Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Thank you to all who participated. The winners are Molly Buettner Petersen, Misty Allen and Denise Garcia Jacob. You each have been contacted via email to confirm details!

We are giving away 3 new KidSafe Diffusers

To be eligible to win, please follow this link a Rafflecopter giveaway
and complete the tasks listed on Rafflecopter! Winner(s) will be announced on Saturday (October 18, 2014) after the contest closes!

 

NEW DIFFUSERS!!!!

 


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Essential Oils 101

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There are so many misconceptions out there when it comes to using essential oils. Hopefully this article can set the record straight on some of the basics. If you’re new to essential oils, this is a very basic overview. If you’re a veteran user, it never hurts to refresh on the basics!!

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What are Essential Oils?

An essential oil is a hydrophobic liquid that contains volatile aromatic compounds from plants. Each plant part has a distinct smell, or aroma and can be useful for various therapeutic uses.

How can I use them?

Essential oils can be used topically, or on the skin. Topical application is perfect for things such as injury, aches & pains or a skin problem. Bumps, bruises, cut and scrapes can all benefit from the use of essential oils in carrier oil. This article better explains the differences between topical vs. ingestion.

They can also be inhaled and this really is the preferred method for most emotional issues. For calming, try lavender. To promote restful sleep look into using vetiver. There are so many great oils out there, the more research you do the safer you can use them! Here’s more on inhalation: Inhale! The Power of Smell.

Finally, under the care of a certified aromatherapist, essential oils can be ingested to fight internal issues such as infections. Internal use is not something to be taken lightly, as without proper training you can do yourself more harm than good. If you choose internal usage, please do your research and consult with a professional. We have another article here: Ingestion 

Why should I dilute with carrier oil?

Dilution is always recommended for topical use. When you use essential oils diluted with carrier oil you decrease your risk of sensitization. Sensitization can take many forms and usually does not occur at first use. Long-term use of undiluted or neat oils can make a person prone to breakouts, rashes and other skin issues. Eventually this leads to not being able to use certain oils due to the consequences. Click here for more on Sensitization.

To avoid all that, use a good dilution chart in order to properly apply oils to your skin. In case you need more information on carrier oils, you can find that here: Which Carrier is Best for Me?

Here is the dilution chart we use at Plant Therapy:

DILUTION CHART

Which oils should I avoid?

Certain oils should be avoided if you have medical conditions or take medications. For example people who are sensitive to salicylic acid should avoid oils such as wintergreen and birch since these oils have high concentrations of methyl salicylate. If you have a clotting disorder, so your blood does not clot properly, you should avoid clove, cinnamon bark & leaf, fennel, oregano, and others. It pays to know which oils can affect the condition or medication you are dealing with. This is why it’s important to do your own research and not rely on what you can find with a quick search from a search engine. Seek out a professional certified aromatherapist and ask lots of questions.

How can I choose a reputable company?

There are many, many wonderful companies out there to choose from. You may even end up buying from more than one! Here are a few guidelines that I use when choosing my essential oils:

  1. Proper labeling. I want to see several things on my labels when I buy essential oil. First I would like to see a full name both common and Latin. I would also like to see a country of origin, method of distillation, and chemotypes (if applicable). This ensures I am getting exactly what I think I should be getting. If those items are not available on the label – the company you purchase from will have it on their website!
  2. I would like to see a description of a few ways I can use the oil. This gives me flexibility in how I can use each oil. I like multi-use items!
  3. Having access to a GC/MS report. Basically this is a chemical analysis done for each batch of oil. This tells me percentages of certain constituents so when I am selecting an oil I can be sure I am getting the constituents I would like to address specific issues.
  4. Access to customer service and/or a professional in the field of aromatherapy. If the company is willing to communicate with their customers, it shows that they are not just concerned about their bottom line. Choose a company that has your best interest in heart as well as their own. I want to know that if I have any questions or concerns I can call or email and get an answer!

 

There are many, many wonderful posts to be found in our blog! Take a few minutes and read through the links provided, as well as any other topics that may interest you. We want you to learn and we want to help empower you in using your essential oils. Please contact one of our aromatherapists if you have any questions or concerns. You can do so by emailing us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes.

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