Feature Friday: Which Frankincense should I choose?


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.



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


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!





Essential Oils 101


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:


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 or join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes.


No ‘Poo!!


In the interest of reducing chemical load on the body and creating customizable products, today let’s make our own shampoo or NO poo. Below are two different recipes to try. Some people find the baking soda version drying, so I found and modified another recipe that I hope you love just as much as I do! The second recipe does have ingredients not everyone may have on hand, so you may need to run to the store before starting! I only recently started using it – but already I am pretty sure I may never buy shampoo again! Choose one and let’s get started:

 What you’ll need:

Recipe 1

  • 1 c water
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp aloe gel
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • up to 20 drops essential oil {see recipe ideas below}

Recipe 2

  • 1/2 c castile soap
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp jojoba
  • 1 tbsp vit E
  • 30-40 drops essential oils {see recipe ideas below}

What you’ll do:

Recipe 1

Dissolve baking soda into water. Add other ingredients, shaking well to combine.

Recipe 2

Combine all ingredients in a container. Shake well to combine. You’ll need to shake well each time. I have left this out in the shower for two weeks with no issues. However, for longer term storage you may want to store the bulk of it in the fridge and remove small amount to use.

Essential Oil blends to try:

Keep in mind that when changing hair care routine, you’ll need to give your hair time to adjust to the new product. Traditional shampoos strip the natural oils from your head. When you switch to a more natural cleansing process your body may seem to over produce oils on the scalp. However, in reality the body is simply trying to replace what was once being washed away daily. You can combat the greasiness by washing every day at first, then reducing to two or three times a week. Your hair will eventually look and feel great!

Don’t forget, we have aromatherapists on-staff to answer your questions or concerns!! Please email us at or join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes.




This week instead of a profile you can print – I thought we could discuss the differences between different species of frankincense. As you know, we recently added Frankincense Boswellia carteri to our offering of essential oils. It’s fair to say that Frankincense species can be used in place of each other, for the most part. However, for those who want a more targeted approach we want to be sure that you are armed with the information you need to buy the frankincense that is right for you.

Different species of Frankincense

Frankincense is typically steam distilled from the resin of a tree, although CO2 distillation is also used.  The tree is pieced and then sap or “tears” are released from the tree. These tears of resin are collected and distilled. Frankincense has traditionally been used as incense during prayer or mediation. Frankincense is also used in skin care products and is wonderful for aging skin. Also useful in respiratory issues as frankincense can soothe coughs, ease congestion and deepen breathing. Frankincense blends well with citrus and spice scents. The different species of frankincense have similar therapeutic properties but there are a few subtle differences. Let’s take a look at 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.

There is one species of Frankincense that Plant Therapy doesn’t offer. None the less, we will take a look at it’s description and what it is useful for.

Boswellia frereana:

This species also has a light, soft scent. Good for skin care preparations. Also found to have an analgesic effect in laboratory tests with rats (Battaglia).

Next week we will resume essential oil profiles. The two featured will be the species of Frankincense that Plant Therapy offers. Check back with us to print those! If you have questions, concerns or comments please be in touch with us via email at or find us on Facebook at our Safe Essential Oil Recipes page!


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