essentialoilblogging


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DIY Lotion

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There are so many situations in which a lotion is a better choice than a carrier oil to apply your essential oils to your skin. Plus, you have the added benefit of being able to customize the scent – especially if you just want a nice scented body lotion to apply after showering or bathing. I have tried several recipes over the years and this is one I like because it’s very simple, doesn’t require a lot of time and lasts for several months! If I make a larger batch – then I can share it with family, friends and neighbors! Join me in making your very own, customizable lotion!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup carrier oil ~ choose oils like olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup vigin coconut oil ~ the solid kind, not fractionated (liquid)
  • 1/2 cup beeswax pearls
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (or 4-5 capsules pierced and squeezed out)
  • 20 drops essential oils of your choice {see below for blend ideas}

What you’ll do:

  1. Add beeswax pearls to a glass jar
  2. Add olive or grape seed oil and coconut oil
  3. Allow mixture to heat and melt the beeswax, stirring if needed
  4. Once melted, remove from heat
  5. Stir in the Vitamin E oil along with your essential oils of choice.
  6. Allow to cool, capped, on the counter
  7. Store in a cool, dry place. Best used within 6 months. Refrigeration increases shelf life. I keep a small jar in the bathroom and the rest in the refrigerator for later use.

 

This is a thick lotion, and should be stored in a lidded jar. If you want to make a pump-dispensing lotion omit 2 tbsp of the beeswax pearls. Measure out the 1/2 cup recommended above, then remove 2 tbsp. This creates a looser version of the lotion and should be fine to dispense in a pump!

Blend Ideas for your lotion: these formulations are per ounce of unscented lotion. Use desired amount of lotion and scale up appropriately. 

  • Pain/Inflammation blend {great for sore muscles, sprains & strains} mix 4 drops rosemary , 4 drops black pepper 2 drops vetiver
  • Sweetly Floral blend {a nice everyday scent, for use after bath/shower} 2 drops roman chamomile , 2 drops lavender, 1 drop neroli
  • Good Night blend {have a relaxing nights sleep} 4 drops roman chamomile, 2 drops sandalwood
  • You can always use one of our synergies, which are pre-blended for certain purposes, to add to your unscented lotion as well.

You can also keep your unscented lotion on hand for when you need a carrier to blend in certain situations like upset stomaches, chest colds, etc. Scoop out desired amount, generally 1 ounce, and mix oils into the lotion. Apply as needed to area of concern.

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


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Feature Friday: Peppermint

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Peppermint is usually one of the first essential oils that people buy! It’s fresh, clean and invigorating. It has so many wonderful things that it can be used for. As long as you don’t have very young children, it should be in your stash!

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 4.07.43 PMSo what do you do with your peppermint? I really love stirring 4 drops into 1/4 cup of epsom salt and then placed in a basin of warm water for a relaxing but invigorating foot soak. Here are a few other ideas so you can get the most bang for your buck using your peppermint essential oil:

  1. Use a 5 drops of peppermint with 3 drops of lemon on a personal inhaler to combat nausea.
  2. Upset stomach? Try combing 3 drops of peppermint and 3 drops of ginger and apply in a clockwise motion on the abdomen.
  3. For muscle strains or sprains try using 4 drops of peppermint with 6 drops of Rosemary in 1 ounce of carrier or unscented lotion. Apply to area of concern.

 

If you have any concerns or questions regarding the use of peppermint or any other essential oil, please contact one of our aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com and head over to join our Facebook group!


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Q & A with Robert Tisserand 8/29/2014

We offered our Plant Therapy customers a chance to ask questions and have them answered by Robert Tisserand on our Facebook page. The topic for this Q&A was “Topical Applications and Safety”. Questions were posted within a thread and for an hour Robert answered some of them! Of course, situations like this don’t allow for every question to be answered but below you can see the ones that were:

“Hello Robert, There are alot of opinions regarding the usage of eo’s on children under 2 and I would like further clarification from you since your book does not specifically say not to use eo’s on babies, just particular cautions are mentioned. Can, for instance, properly diluted roman chamomile be used topically on the outer jaw line of a teething infant, regardless if 3 months old or 12 months old? Also, is it safe to use lavender eo in homemade baby powder that would then obviously be applied topically to baby’s bottom or inside clothing, i.e. like 10 drops per cup of organic arrowroot powder? Basically, so long as properly diluted (.5-1%) can eo’s safe for children be used on babies as well?”

RT:  “I have general age/dilution guideline maximums, such as 0.2% for up to 3 months, 0.5% for up to 2 years, and these are for total essential oil. In addition there are sometimes even more restrictive guidelines for specific oils, such as 0.07% for cinnamon bark oil. Apart from the very few cases of highly toxic oils like horseradish, which should not be used at all, and those that are best avoided in young children, like peppermint, yes most oils can be safely used on babies if properly diluted
.”

“How often can one apply a diluted oil, for example for a headache. once an hour? every few? every 4?
”

RT: “I would say there is no fixed rule for this. I have applied lavender oil to minor burns or bee stings every few minutes. That would be too frequent for a headache, which will be more like every 20-30 mins.
”

Are the EOs that are listed as phototoxic also more likely to provoke a sensitivity reaction?

RT: “Phototoxic oils of course can cause photosensitivity reactions, but they are not more likely to cause sensitivity (allergic) reactions, because the mechanisms involved are very different.”

“I have a question about ALLERGIES: When I try a new oil, I do a patch test. Here are some questions about the best way to do that:

  • 1) how long does it need to stay on? I’ve seen 12 to 72 hours.
  • 2) what dilution should I use for the test?
  • 3) does it matter what body part it is on? I usually see inner arm recommended – is that because it is a convenient section of sensitive skin? Can I use abdomen? It causes a lot of attention to walk around with multiple bandaids on!
”

RT: “You are supposed to leave on a patch for 48 hours. The dilution depends a little on the oil, but generally 5% would be appropriate. Patch testing is most frequently done on the upper back (by dermatologists, who sometimes want to test 2-3 substances at the same time) or the inner forearm. I don’t see any reason why you could not use the abdominal area (not generally used because in men, can be too hairy..)
”

“Several companies promote “neat” EO use. When is that appropriate? Is it most always better to dilute?
”

RT: “From a safety angle, it’s important to understand that some essential oils can cause allergic reactions, and that once your immune system creates antibodies to an essential oil constituent, such as cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon bark oil, it’s more or less there for life. Two of the important risk factors in skin contact allergies are (1) the essential oil used and (2) the dilution. So when you use undiluted oils you do increase risk. Also, a small point, but most undiluted oils have a drying effect on the skin.

“My dad is on Cumadin. He has arthritis. I know that wintergreen and birch cannot be used due to interactions. What eos can I use for him topically for pain that won’t react with his medication?”

RT: It’s much easier to list the oils to avoid, that might react with coumadin when used tpoically: Wintergreen, Sweet Birch, Garlic, Onion.

“What is the highest dilution recommended for adults when 2-5 is not working? Also, is it possible that when a given blend isn’t working that another blend should be tried rather using a higher dilution rate?”

RT: This really depends on what the problem is, but I would suggest using a different blend before going higher that 5%.

“In reference to child safe oils and safe use..I notice that sandalwood( Australian) santalum spicatum is listed as safe…but why not santalum austrocealeddonicum (new Caledonia) ? Is it ok for kids ..if not why?”

RT: Yes, both are equally safe

“How long can you safely use the same blend topically before it loses effectiveness and/or you risk sensitization? For instance, if I’m using a blend to reduce scarring or similar.”

RT: This is a great question, but there is no simple answer. For both continued efficacy and avoiding sensitization, you might consider changing blends every 3-4 months if you are using something long-term

“When you want to apply several oils-is it better to make a blend (like in a roller ball) or is it OK to apply the single (diluted) oil and then another over it and so on?”

RT: Well you can do either, whichever is easier, but there is no advantage to “layering” in my opinion

“I have an infant. Can I use oils topically on myself (chest, neck, etc.) when I’m around him? Is there a timeframe for how long I need to wait before holding him if I use them? Is it safe to use them if they’re covered with clothes or does it just depend on the oil?”

RT: Basically, yes, so long as you are not using undiluted oils or very concentrated blends

“Certain oils/blends work best for certain things (anxiety, sleep, etc). If I only get results from a certain combo, and have the condition daily, how can I prevent sensitization and still use frequently enough to get benefit?”

RT: See my previous comment on frequency, but I would say do change, or alternate your blend every 3-4 months.

“For those that have chronic illness’ like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, etc, what are the risks associated with using EO’s everyday, (alternating blends to avoid sensitization), and what would be the max dilution you could apply for Pain aid or muscle aid? Thanks Robert!!”

RT: There are no increased risks because a person has fibromyalgia / chronic pain, and for general use, maximum would be around 5% for long-term use

“If you have known allergies to tree pollen, grass pollen, ect. Do you run a risk of having allergy to eo?”

RT: No, there is no increased risk. Inhaled allergies don’t cross-relate

“There is some conflicting information concerning using essential oils during preganancy. The latest information that I took from NAHA basically is stating that ‘normal use of eo’s by inhalation or diluted topical application shows no record of abnormal conditions to fetus. Because of the conflicts, I am wanting to hear your thoughts concerning using eo’s and pregnancy.”

RT: Most of the research is carried out in animals, using moderately high doses, but we do know from this that certain oils or constituents pose a greater risk of causing fetal malformations that the majority of oils. These include cinnamon bark, sage, wintergreen and others, which I recommend should not be used topically.

“Is there another way to do sensitivity test of oils besides bandaids, as I highly allergic to the adhesive.”

RT: Bandaids are not ideal anyway, but the patches made specially for patch testing are only sold to dermatologists. Perhaps a business opportunity here?

“If you have a reaction to an oil topically, is it still safe to use it by diffusing/inhalation or does the body process these the same way? Thank you for taking the time to respond.”

RT: 99% of the time it is safe to use it by non-topical routes, yes. Very rarely, there will be a reaction though

“I like to inhale from my hands over my nose/mouth rather than a difffuser, plastic inhaler, etc. Is it OK to use a higher dilution (30%?) If it’s only going on the thicker skin of my palms?”

RT: If you are not experiencing an adverse reaction then in a sense yes, it’s safe. But be aware that a few aromatherapists have developed hand dermatitis to some of the oils they used, so such reactions are possible

“Can sensitization be reversed? Thanks and you are awesome RT!”

RT: It sometimes just goes away after 10, 20, 30 years (similar to some vaccinations) but otherwise, I don’t think so

“Is clary sage safe to apply topically on the abdomen at a 1% dilution immediately following a birth? Thank you Plant Therapy and Mr. Tisserand!”

RT: Yes, totally safe

“I am sorry I can no longer see my question posted and it was about topically applying EOs. I have been putting Cedarwood on my 12 year old son’s feet to sleep at night and I wonder how many nights I can do that in a row and what signs I look for to see if there are problems.”

RT: It’s a very safe oil to use, but you might want to consider switching tom something else occasionally.

We want to thank Robert for doing this, and we hope that you have learned something while reading this! If you have specific questions or concerns, please be in touch via email at aromatherpist@planttherapy.com We look forward to hearing from you!


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Chemical Families

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Organic Chemistry…

No, don’t run! It’s ok! Don’t let your eyes glaze over quite yet. I am going to try to explain this so we can all be on the same page! Don’t worry – it’s not too complicated.

Chemical Families or Functional Groups refer to a group of compounds that share similar characteristics. Let’s take a quick look at each family and for the sake of basic information, I will be discussing the  main therapeutic properties of each family.  This information is important because we can make generalizations based on the percentages of each family present in an essential oil. Since the chemistry of essential oils is complex, these are very general, but give us a jumping off point when choosing oils for blends. You can find this information on a GC/MC report (which we are working on getting onto the website) and then you can see the breakdown of compounds in each family. Essential oils typically belong to many families, however certain constituents are higher in some families than others. Keep in mind this is a basic list and covers only the most common families.

It’s important to remember that when working with essential oils many aromatherapists are looking for specific compounds, but the entire composition should be taken into consideration when making choices. Simply because an oil has a higher percentage of a certain chemical family doesn’t make it a direct substitution for another oil.

Still with me? Ok, let’s dive in!

We have two large groups, with smaller family groups:

HYRDOCARBONS or TERPENE COMPOUNDS

Refers to a group of compounds with only hydrogen and carbon atoms.

Monoterpene

Large, light & airy compounds. These molecules tend to evaporate or oxidize quickly. Essential oils in this family are airborne deodorizers, antiseptic, decongestant and rubifacient. This is the largest group, comprising a large selection of oils many of whom belong to other families as well.

Examples of essential oils in this group are:

  • Citrus oils

Sesquiterpene

Essential oils in this family are anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-spasmodic & sedative.

Examples are:

  • German Chamomile
  • Blue Tansy

OXYGENATED COMPOUNDS

Refers to the many compounds that contain hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms. Many essential oils with high percentages of alcohols are generally anti-infectious, bactericidal, and antiviral. Some may have a balancing effect

Monoterpenol

Antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal & uplifting.

Examples are:

  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Peppermint
  • Palmarosa

Sesquiterpenol Anti-inflammatory, cooling, grounding & supportive to body systems. Oils high in sesquiterpenols tend to be from the roots/bark of plants. The most “famous” of these is a-santanol found in sandalwood.

Examples are:

  • Cedarwood
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver

Phenols

Stimulating to body & immune system, anti-infectious. Phenols should be used in acute situations for very specific reasons and for short periods of time.

Examples are:

  • Clove
  • Thyme ct thymol

Esters

These compounds are antispasmodic, calming to the central nervous system & healing for the skin. Some can be anti-inflammatory.

Examples are:

  • Bergamot
  • Roman Chamomile

Oxides

Can be decongestant, anti-viral, analgesic & stimulating for the mind. This group is known for the compound 1,8-cineole which is a fantastic decongestant.

Examples are:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree
  • Rosemary ct camphor

Aldehydes

These oils are fantastic anti-fungals, sedative, cooling & anti-inflammatory. Please use in low dilution (typically 1%) as they can cause sensitivity to the skin.

Examples are:

  • Lemongrass
  • Melissa (Lemon Balm)

Ketones

A group of compounds that can be toxic (as in the case of thuja and wormwood). Properties include mucolytic, circulatory stimulant, analgesic. Caution should be used with ketones during pregnancy.

Examples are:

  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary ct camphor

It’s important to remember that this is a very brief look at these compounds, the properties they exhibit and how they function in essential oils. Each oil is a complex structure containing hundreds of compounds. For more information on the chemical make up of essential oils, consider a great reference book like “Essential Oil Safety” by Robert Tisserand or “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy” by Salvatore Battaglia. Both of these books break down each chemical family, compounds and allow you to have a better grasp on what each does therapeutically. Use the above information with our post about Therapeutic Properties for a good start on the chemical makeup of essential oils. 

 

If you have questions or concerns please contact one of our certified aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com and head over to join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes.


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Help! Headlice

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It’s back to school time! You send your child off to school with hopes that their heads will be filled with knowledge. Then – horror – your child comes home with head lice! Let’s explore how we can use your stash of essential oils to help combat the problem!

How to get rid of head lice

So how do you know you’re child is infected with a case of lice? Here are a few signs & symptoms:

  • itchy scalp, behind the ears and nape of the neck
  • tiny, white shell cases that are attached to the hair near to scalp
  • very small insect on the scalp and in the hair

Once you’ve established that your child has lice – what should you do? The best and easiest thing to do is to work with what you have on hand. Here are a few idea:

  1. Get a fine tooth comb and run it through the hair. Start at the scalp and pull through to the ends.
  2. Use olive or coconut oil all over the scalp and hair. Really saturate the hair and cover with a shower cap. You can add Lice Away synergy to this oil. Use 18 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier. Leave on for 30-60 minutes.
  3. After oil application, comb through again. Discarding the nits that comb out of the hair.
  4. As a preventive over the next few days, add 10-20 drops of Lice Away to 4 ounces of water. Shake well before each use, using this as a final rinse after shampooing.
  5. Repeat daily as needed until infestation  has cleared.

 

Let us know how this works for you! If you have any questions or concerns regarding the information, please contact us at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com and join us on Facebook

 

 


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Feature Friday: Bergamot

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Bergamot is a wonderful essential oil! It has a pleasant aroma and is very useful for emotional issues like anxiety, depression and nervousness. Check out this profile and the few suggestions for use!!Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 9.51.19 AMI really love Bergamot!! It’s one of my favorite oils since it blends so well with nearly everything. Use caution with bergamot topically – it is a phototoxic oil. Here are a few ways to use it:

  1. To relieve anxious feelings, diffuse 4 drops of bergamot with 2 drops of grapefruit and 2 drops of neroli.
  2. To make an inhaler that is great for panic attacks use 5 drops Bergamot, 4 drops lemon and 2 drops lavender on the cotton wick for your personal inhaler.

 

Don’t forget to print this sheet & save it with your references! As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by contacting one of our on-staff aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com and head over to join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes.


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Essential Oil Extraction 101

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Extraction refers to how the essential oil is removed from the plant material and made available for use. There are several methods of extraction. Each has benefits and depends on the type of plant material and the types of compounds you want in your final oil. Distillers may use one or more method of extraction for different plants.

Cold Press

COLD

Reserved for citrus extraction. The citrus fruits are rotated against rollers and bruised. The essential oils is released into a collection vessel also containing water. The water is siphoned off, leaving the oils behind since they float in the top. This method is good for citrus, since it’s not subjected to heat. The heat may destroy some of the compounds in citrus oils.

Steam Distillation

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The vast majority of essential oils are created this way! For this method, steam from a boiler in piped into a vessel containing the plant matter. The volatile compounds (essential oil) are released and move through a condensing tube into a collection vessel. This vessel contains water, which is the hydrosol. The essential oil floats on the surface of this liquid. Later, the water/hydrosol/floral water is decanted off leaving the essential oil for bottling.

The benefit here is the speed in which this can be completed. Again, some compounds can be subjected to degradation under high heat conditions. If the process can be quick, the degradation can be controlled.

Solvent extraction

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Reserved for oils in which compounds would be damaged by traditional steam distillation.

Flowers too delicate to be processed with heat are soaked in a solvent, usually hexane that extracts the volatile elements. The solvent is then evaporated leaving only the most fragrant constituents behind. This process produces what is called an “absolute”. Here is a more in depth step-by-step process:

  1. Plant material is macerated in a solvent, usually hexane
  2. After several days the solvent is removed, leaving the viscous, fragrant concrete
  3. The concrete is dissolved with high-proof alcohol
  4. The mixture is chilled, and separates into plant waxes and fragrant tincture
  5. The fragrant tincture is vacuum distilled to evaporate off the alcohol, leaving an absolute

 

Hydrosols or Floral Waters

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The water that is siphoned off prior to bottling essential oils. As you can see in the diagram, he essential oil is floating on the surface and there is water below. THAT water is the hydrosol. These are perfect for everyday use, having many of the benefits of essential oils, but in a much gentler form. Good for cuts, scrapes and for use with children.

 

You can tell right on the website what type of extraction was used for your essential oil! If this information isn’t found on the label, most websites have it available to you! It’s just another important piece to the puzzle! If you have any concerns or questions please fell free to contact one of our on-staff aromatherapists at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com! Also, join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes.

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