Thursday, 21 January 2016

Essential Oils For Cancer Support

Cancer. Just writing the word gives me Goosebumps as I think of people I know who have been affected by this disease. Statistics show that one in every two men and one in every three women will likely experience cancer in some form by the time they turn 85, which means that if you haven't personally been diagnosed, chances are high that you've been part of a support system for someone who has. 

A cancer diagnosis elicits strong emotion from the patient and her closest supporters, as it's one of the most complex and difficult to treat of any human disease. Essential oils are our oldest form of medicine, so though cancer patients should always consult a physician for primary care, the following are some ideas of natural therapies with essential oils that can be included in the treatment process.
Immune System Stimulation
Enhancing immune system function, particularly in the early stages of cancer and before beginning more aggressive treatment, is part of effective cancer treatment. Essential oils can be used as part of a natural approach to immune system boosting for most types of cancer, though immune system stimulation is not effective for those with leukaemia or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Always consult with a doctor before use. 
The six essential oils that have the most effect on various types of cancer (breast, skin, cervical, prostate, etc.) are: Sandalwood, Balsam Fir, Thyme, Hyssop, Tsuga and Orange. These oils can be taken orally in a gel capsule by combining approximately 7 drops of the oil with a carrier oil, and as dosage increases can be taken in up to six capsules per day. The body can develop a resistance to one essential oil over time, so it is important to alternate every 3-4 weeks the type of oil you use.
Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatment
While chemotherapy and radiation are two very different types of treatment, they're often used simultaneously and can elicit similar side effects. Here are several natural ways essential oils can support the body during chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment:
  • Radiation can severely damage skin and vital organs, so the use of gentle, antioxidant essential oils in combination with proper nutrition internally can help minimize damage. Use sandalwood, hyssop, peppermint or frankincense and apply topically by diluting with a carrier oil and massaging on affected area 1-2 times each day.
  • Neuritis is another common side effect of radiation and can be treated with Melrose, lavender or nutmeg. Apply 2-4 drops mixed with a carrier oil directly to affected areas 3-5 times each day. These oils can also be used with a cold compress on affected location 2-3 times each day.
  • Chemotherapy breaks down good blood cells while destroying cancer cells. Cypress can help rebuild white blood cells and can be applied directly to skin, inhaled from the bottle or a diffuser or taken orally.
  • Stomach upset and nausea are common side effects of both treatments and can be relieved by using ginger, peppermint or nutmeg. Dilute 1-3 drops with a carrier oil and massage behind each ear and over navel. These oils may also be used with a warm compress over stomach as needed or inhaled directly from bottle.

Emotional Healing
Maintaining positivity and emotional health is one of the most challenging, but most important aspects of the treatment process - both for the patient and their support system. There are a number of essential oils that can be used to support emotional health and healing, so it may be wise to try a few different oils until you find which works best for you. Suggested blends to try are: Joy, Valor, Release, Gratitude and Peace and Calming. Suggested single oils are: peppermint, lavender, bergamot, rose or orange.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

6 Excellent Essential Oils For Skin Brightening

Essential oils are being used as skin care product from the very ancient time. The secret of beauty queen Cleopatra’s beauty was nothing but various essentials oil. Essential oils solve different skin problems and make your skin more beautiful. For this reason nowadays essential oils are being used in different types of skin care products of reputed brands. They cure acne, blemishes, pigmentation, prevent wrinkles and enhance the glow of the skin. But before you use essential oils, you must know the use of it. Essential oils are highly concentrated things. It is better not to use them raw on your skin. It may damage you. So dilute your essential oil either in water or in carrier or base oil to reduce its strength and to avoid the adverse effect on skin. This article will make your inform about the different types of essential oil and its uses.

Essential Oils For Skin Brightening :

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood oil perhaps is the most widely used essential oil. It solves various types of skin problems and side by side it also enhances the brightness of the skin. Antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic property of sandalwood essential oil cures acne, pimples, blackheads, white heads and other skin problems like magic.

It also has ant aging property which rejuvenates dull and dry skin. Regular use of sandalwood oil brightens your skin and makes it very soft. The use of sandalwood essential oil is very easy. Mix sandalwood oil with water in 1: 10 ratio. Mix well and massage that oil on your skin daily. You will notice a brighter skin within few days. Sandalwood essential oil is extracted from sandalwood.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is being used to solve the various skin problems from times immemorial. Like sandalwood oil, lavender oil also has antiseptic and antifungal properties which help to cure various skin problems like sun burn, blemishes, acne scars, hot rashes, etc.

Massage lavender oil on your skin to overcome these skin problems and to get a brighter skin enhancing the natural glow of it. But before using the lavender oil, you have to mix it in either base oil or in water. Take ½ cup warm water and add 5-6 drops lavender oil in it. Massage it on your skin. Or you can mix this lavender oil with coconut oil, pine oil or chamomile oil.

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine essential oil is extracted from the flowers. It has a pleasing and sweet smell which uplifts your mood. Antiseptic quality of jasmine also cures acne scars and other fungal infections very effectively.Regular massage of jasmine oil brightens your skin and makes it flawless. Mix jasmine oil in pure water before massaging it on your skin. Jasmine oil also blends well in orange juice, watermelon juice, green coconut water, etc.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is produced from the skins of the lemon through the vapor distillation process. It helps to rejuvenate dull skin. Regular use of lemon oil on your skin helps to lighten the complexion of the skin and protects your skin from various problems.Lemon oil is acidic in nature and that’s why it may create skin irritation. Mix not more than 4-5 drops of lemon essential oil in a tablespoon of water or other carrier oil to use it on skin. Lemon oil rejuvenates dull skin and brightens it.


 Rose Essential Oil

Rose essential oil is another necessary essential oil which is derived from rose petals. Rose essential oil not only has beautiful fragrance, it also strengthens gums, tones and lifts skins. It prevents and cures wrinkles of the skin and cures loss of firmness of skin and muscles. But like other essential oils you need to dilute it too.Rose oil blends and works well in chilled milk. Take a cup of chilled milk and add 10 drops of rose water in it. Mix well. Massage this oil on all over your body everyday. It helps to enhance the brightness of the skin and makes your skin petal soft.

 Galbanum Essential Oil

Another excellent essential oil for skin is Galbanum essential oil. Thousands of years ago it was used by Greek to cure acne and to improve the texture of the skin. Mix few drops of galbanum essential oil in any carrier oil and rub it on your skin. Within few days you will notice the enhanced brightness of the skin. To enhance the brightness of the skin there is no need to go to the beauty salon and spend a good amount of money there which may create some extra pressure on your pocket. You can do it of your own. Buy some essentials oils and use them according to the tips. Essential oils work excellent in the long run.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Essential oils for cats

Essential oils for cats is a highly controversial topic but it really is an argument that boils down to the quality of the oil.

But besides the fact that therapeutic grade oils must be used there are other precautions that can be taken to assure that your feline can use the oils safely.
Why are Cats sensitive to Synthetic Products?
Cats are sensitive to most synthetically made products and "natural products" as well as some essential oils. Even if we don't know about it!
I say that because a lot of us have sensitivities to food, household cleaners and, hair and skin products. But we don't recognize it because most of us are just not that tuned into our bodies and our environment. Often times, we only recognize a change, when we stop using a product or eating a particular food item!
Seriously, where is your pet when you bomb the house full of synthetic air fresheners, household cleaners or carpet cleaner?
They are right there with us breathing it in and taking it in! Honestly, this is not good for us and NOT good for our pets. Toxicity is a huge problem with us and OUR PETS! They are half our size or less, yet their bodies have to tolerate a huge amount of man made toxicity.
I seriously believe that many of the health problems we are having along with our pets is a toxicity issue. But there is something we can do about it!
Make a commitment to using green cleaning supplies and diffusing healthy essential oils in our home and work place for ourselves and our pets. Notice, I don't say natural, because natural these days pretty much means anything goes! So, check what you are putting on your animal and make sure it's not hurting them rather than helping them! This includes SHAMPOO!
So what else can we do for our Animals?
Essential oils are a perfect solution for us and our animals. Use essential oils for cats, dogs, horses and any other living creature. There are certain oils that we can not use on certain animals, cats included, so please do be careful and learn the ins and outs.
Why can't we use certain oils on Cats?
Cats metabolize and excrete things very differently than the rest of the animal family. The reason behind this is the cats liver. It does not have the liver enzymes to break down certain chemical as effectively as the rest of us, and sometimes it can't do it at all!
So what Happens?
When the liver (and the body) does not recognize a substance, as with most synthetic compounds, it immediately stores it somewhere until it can figure out what to do with it! This leads to toxicity and extreme imbalances of the body.
For cats it can be a slow build up over time and toxicity may led to illness, or it can be so quick that it leads to death, so please be cautious. By the way, while humans and other animals do not have to be this cautious, the toxicity issues result in the same problems!
Animals can not tell us what they are feeling and they are constantly bombarded with our lifestyle choices. So we must learn to look for and recognize the signs and symptoms of toxicity in our animals!
What are the signs of Toxicity?
Here are some common signs -
  • There is a change in their sleeping or eating habits
  • Behavioral changes such as lethargy, lack of energy, or not wanting to be play
  • Digestive imbalances such as vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, or
  • Confusion and light headed.
There are several more as well. My dog, Lexie, has a hard time going up the stairs and doesn't really want to eat when she had something that didn't agree with her.
What else is different about Cats?
Cats seem to have a disregard for strong odors and definitely have thin skin. So again, when you are diffusing oils in your home, remember your pets. Also make sure you use the oil correctly and with high dilution.
So What Supports the Cat's Metabolism?
Supporting the cat with Ninxgia Red Wolfberry Antioxidant Drink and/or Digestive Enzymes is the best way to ensure that your cat can metabolize essential oils. This is not always necessary for most young or healthy cats, but it does help any cat so therefore it is recommended.
What Essential Oils for Cats can we Use?
First, let's start with the essential oils for cats that we should use with caution. Meaning make sure these oils are diluted; and if you have a cat with liver issues, choose an oil that has similar properties that does not challenge the liver to such an extent.
Cats are particularly sensitive to a group of oxygenated compounds called ketones and phenols, and some monoterpenes. It is the thujone content in ketones and carvacal in phenols that seem to create most of the problems when not used with enzymes. Carvacrol is a byproduct of d-limonene which is found in all citrus fruits and in many tree oils.
Examples of essential oils for Cats that should should be used with caution meaning highly diluted are shown below. I say cautiously because all of single oils are fine when used in a professionally made therapeutic blends or supplements (more below); and when used correctly!
And just as with humans, each animal's chemistry and blood type is different so the response is different!
Examples of Phenols – Wintergreen, Anise, Birch, Clove, Basil, Tarragon, Fennel, Oregano, Thyme, Mountain Savory, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Calamus, Cinnamon Bark, Citronella, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Eucalyptus citriodora, Parsley, Ylang Ylang. These all contain greater than 8% phenols.
Please note that I have performed Raindrop Technique on cats which include many of these oils---so there are many factors to evaluate when using essential oils for cats.
Examples of Ketones – Western Red Cedar, Idaho Tansy, Marigold, Spearmint, Thuja, Hyssop, Davana, Sage, Dill, Yarrow, Peppermint. All these oils contain greater than 20% ketones.
Example of Oils containing D-Limonene - Grapefruit, Bitter Orange, Orange, Tangerine, Mandarin, Lemon, Celery Seed, Lime, Bergamot, Angelica, Dill, Neroli, Blue Tansy, Citronella and Nutmeg.
Examples of Oils containing Alpha-pinene – Cypress, Cistus, Pine, Douglas fir, Juniper, Myrtle, Rosemary Verbenon, Silver Fir, Angelica, Nutmeg, Eucalyptus, Dill, Spruce. These are all monoterpenes that have alpha-pinene concentrations greater than 15%.
Here is a list of single oils that I use infrequently or not at all with cats in particular: Black Pepper, Cardamon, Carrot Seed, Celery Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Citronella, Clove, Galbanum, Ginger, Juniper, Melaleuca species (use with extreme caution and monitor cat), Palmarosa, Petitgrain and Western Red Cedar.
Once again, any blends that contain these oils I do use. When not sure, dilute well up to 80% and go slow. :)
I did not give you that list to scare you, but to provide you with more information. When we have good information it is easier for us to make better choices for our self as well as our pet.
What Essential Oils for Cats can we definitely Use?
Here are the essential oils for cats that are very safe for cat use. Here is my top 5 list:
  • Cedarwood Essential Oil

  • Frankincense Essential Oil
  • Geranium Essential Oil

  • Helichrysum Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil

And many more!
Can I use any Kind of Essential Oil for Cats?
Essential oils for cats need to be therapeutic grade essential oils. This is extremely important!
Most of the problems associated with essential oils whether they are for human or animal use stem from the fact that people use perfume quality oils in the same way that they use therapeutic grade oils. These are totally different and cause more harm than good! Particularly with cats!
For instance, there are many people who I know that use Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Eucalyptus oils routinely on their cat and have no problems. But it is cited in most aromatherapy books not to use these essential oils for cats. And they give examples of where the cat is rushed to the vet!
Did you know that there are many veterinarians who recommend the professionally made blends on this website? Yes, they are used routinely in their practice and they contain many of the oils that are not for use on cats. One example is Peace & Calming blend which contains several different citrus oils.
If your animal has a serious medical condition or if you are not sure about applying any essential oil to your animal please consult your vet. There are holistic vets who routinely use essential oils in their practice with great success!
What is the Difference in Essential oils for Cats?
It is the quality of the oil. If the oil is adulterated which means cut with synthetics, of course your animal is going to have a reaction! I'm not saying that certain oils should not be used, but this should be the first factor when deciding to use an essential oil or not.
How do I use Essential Oils for Cats?
Essential oils for cats should be highly diluted with a high grade pure vegetable oil. Dilute essential oils for cats (and all other smaller animals) at least 50:1 (fifty drops of dilution oil to one drop of essential oil). Dr. Mary Hess, DVM, recommends that Peace & Calming be diluted at 80-90% for felines.
Place a drop of the diluted oil on your hands and pet your cat gently ears to tail.
Diffusing oils is a great way to use essential oils for cats. Lastly, you could place a few drops in a sprayer with some water, shake it up and gently mist--but most cats usually don't like this method of application.
I heard of using Hydrosols, can I Use them? What are they?
Hydrosols are the water based byproduct of the essential oil distillation. They are also called hydrolats or floral waters. They are perfectly safe to use for cats. But again, just like with essential oils, it is NOT the oil or hydrosol; it is the quality or source of the essential oil!
My cat is Stressed what Oils do I use?
Use either Cedarwood and Lavender oil or a combination of the two. You could also make a spray mist with water and gently spray around your cat.
My cat is Scared to go the Vet or the Groomer, what Oils do I use?
Use Valor for courage and Peace & Calming blend for calming and fear! And don't forget the Animal Scents Shampoo!
These are just a few suggestions on how to use the oils. Browse through the site to select oils or blends for your cat as you would yourself. Remember to follow the instructions on the oils and enjoy a non-toxic way of living for you and your cat!

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Top Five Essential Oils for Your Health

Essential oils carry the physical properties of flowers and plants in a highly concentrated form. They are, in short, the essence of the plant and can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts. The particles in essential oils, which come from various parts of the plant such as the flowers, twigs, leaves or bark, can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin and their use can be traced back for thousands of years. Essential oils were even used in ancient Egyptian times, and were made by soaking plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag.
Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varying physical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation, relaxation, pain relief and healing. The most common ways to use essential oils include:
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massaging them (blended with a carrier oil) into the skin
  • Adding them to bathwater
  • Using them in a compress
  • Burning them in a diffuser
In The Maker’s Diet, Dr. Jordan Rubin recommends 14 essential oils that have unique healing properties. He suggests putting five to 10 drops (total) of these "top healing oils" into a warm bath for a real "healing treat." Below you will find five beneficial essential oils along with their uses. I encourage you to check out The Maker’s Diet to learn more about some of the more exotic, but highly effective, essential oils available.
I'd also like to point out that essential oils are not the same thing as fragrance oils. Essential oils come from plants while fragrance oils are artificially created and often contain synthetic chemicals. While they may smell good and are typically less expensive, they will not give you the therapeutic benefits of organic essential oils--and you don't want to be inhaling any synthetic chemicals! So, please be sure that the essential oil you use is of the highest quality and 100 percent pure.

This scent is woody and floral, rich and sweet, and is used for:
  • Low self-esteem
  • Insecurity
  • Stress
  • Enhanced sleep
  • Female reproductive and endocrine health
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Stretch marks
  • Depression
  • Laryngitis
  • Sensitive skin
Has a slightly sharp, woody and sweet aroma that is useful for:
  • Anxiety
  • Skin problems like acne, psoriasis, dandruff and dermatitis
  • Arthritis
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughing
  • Cystitis
  • Stress
  • Insect repellant
  • Hair loss
  • Tuberculosis
  • Gonorrhea
This well-known minty fragrance is used for:
  • Mental fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion
  • Vertigo
  • Asthma
  • Flatulence
  • Sinusitis
The scent is fresh, sweet, and floral and is used for:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mental fatigue
  • Panic attacks
  • Stress
  • Oily skin
  • Bruises
  • Stretch marks
  • Earache
  • Chickenpox
  • Hypertension
  • Vertigo
  • Whooping cough
  • Flatulence
This has a woody, spicy and slightly fruity smell and is used for:
  • Insecurity
  • Grief
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Allergies
  • Headache
  • Herpes
  • Brain damage from head injuries
  • Panic Attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • Bronchitis
  • Scars
  • Stress
  • Stretch marks, stress

Caution: Essential oils can produce very strong and significant changes in tiny amounts. They must be used with caution, especially during pregnancy. It is important to consult someone knowledgeable in aromatherapy before experimenting with these oils.
* Although sandalwood is a beneficial oil, the trees must be felled to collect the product and there has been much over-harvesting. Indian sandalwood is controlled by the Indian government, which allows a limited amount of the essential oil to be traded on the world market. However, due to its high value sandalwood may be produced illegally without replanting programs in place. There is concern that this oil should be on the endangered list and many essential oil producers are contemplating not selling it, so you may want to seek an alternative oil, such as Western Australian sandalwood.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

9 Clever Ways To Use Essential Oils In The Garden

Whether your intent is to repel pests, invite pollinators, or to turn your garden into a relaxing get-away, essential oils can help!  Check out these 9 clever ways to use essential oils in the garden.

1. Repel Insect Pests

There are a wide variety of essential oils which – with consistent use – can be used to repel unwanted insect pests from your garden.
Rosemary oil is a potent repellent for many types of pesky insects including flies, fleas and mosquitoes.  Rosemary is also great for deterring insect larvae like the cabbage looper caterpillar whose voracious appetite for juicy vegetable foliage can easily destroy entire crops of Brassicas, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and even some root veggies if left undisturbed.  Peppermint oil is an excellent natural insecticide which works on aphids, squash bugs, white flies, ants, beetles, and fleas, just to name a few.  Peppermint is also the best essential oil for repelling spiders.  Thyme oil works against biting insects like chiggers, ticks, and roaches.  Clove oil is another great deterrent for many flying insects.
To create a broad-spectrum all-natural insect repellent, mix equal parts of rosemary, peppermint, thyme, and clove oils (about 10 drops of each) in a spray bottle filled with water.  Remember to shake well before each use.  Apply anywhere you want to get rid of skittering, creeping, crawling, or flying pests.
For particularly bad infestations, try using Neem oil.  This natural insecticide dissolves the waxy coating of many hard-to-kill garden parasites, dehydrating, and eventually killing them.  Neem oil not only works on adult insects.  It also kills larvae and eggs, making Neem oil a super-effective all-natural method for reducing populations of insect pests.


2. Suppress Fungus

The cause of around 85% of all plant diseases, garden fungus can quickly become a big problem if left untreated.  Parasitic fungi cause damage by poisoning or killing cells, blocking stomata (breathing pores), and stealing nutrients from the plant.  If you’re seeing signs of disease in your garden, chances are pretty good that there is a fungus to blame.  Try some of these essential oils to stop fungal pests from spreading:
Tea Tree oil is one of the few natural remedies with the power to not just prevent fungal growth, but also to kill many species of fungus.  To treat existing fungal growth or as a preventative, mix about one tablespoon of tea tree oil per cup of water in a spray bottle.  Apply directly to infected plants once or twice per week.  Remember to avoid spraying leaves when the weather is very hot and dry as sun-heated tea tree oil can easily burn leaves.
Previously mentioned Neem Oil is as effective against fungal infections on plants as it is for treating insect infestations.
Two organic compounds in Citronella oil – citronellal and linalool – have been proven to inhibit the growth of many species of fungus.  Other essential oils with powerful fungicidal properties include Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Peppermint, Clove, and Cinnamon oils.  Also effective against garden fungus are oils extracted from plants in the Allium family (Onion, Garlic, etc.)
To create an anti-fungal garden spray using any of these ingredients, add 8 – 10 drops of essential oil into a large glass spray bottle filled with water.  Remember to shake before each use.

3. Stop Slugs and Snails

Cedarwood, Hyssop, and Pine are the best essential oils for keeping gastropods off of your plants.  Mix about a teaspoon of your chosen oil(s) in a spray bottle filled with water.  Apply diluted oil in a ring around plants where slugs and snails like to visit.  Refresh as needed.

4. Discourage Vermin

Mice and other rodents are repulsed by the clean, fresh scent of peppermint.  Douse cotton balls with 1 – 2 drops of Peppermint oil a piece then tuck them into the entrances of mouse holes, squirrel nests, and other rodent burrows to persuade rodent residents to relocate.  Replace as needed.

5. Dissuade Pets

Did you know that cats hate the smell of Rosemary?  If you can’t seem to keep the neighbourhood tomcat from leaving his delightful presents amidst your herbs and veggies, try spraying your mulch with Rosemary oil diluted in water.  Alternately, you can add a few drops of Rosemary oil to a wide, shallow container partially filled with water.  Whisk vigorously to break up oil droplets then drop in strips of cloth or pieces of string.  Allow them to soak long enough to absorb all of the oil.  Tie strings between plants or around the garden perimeter.  Hang cloth strips between garden rows, around plants, or anywhere you know the cat likes to dig.  Refresh as needed.
Black Pepper (or any other pepper, for that matter) essential oil can also be used to deter larger mammals from your garden.  Dogs, in particular, with their sensitive noses will be turned away from the strong odour of pepper oil.  Apply using the same string / cloth method as with Rosemary oil (above).  Just keep in mind that over-use of this essential oil may make your garden less pleasant for humans as well.

6. Treat Bites & Stings

Bites and stings from bees, wasps, ants, and other insects are always a possibility, even for the most careful gardener.  Mix 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of  Chamomile, and 1 drop of Basil essential oil with one teaspoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  Apply this remedy to fresh bites and stings with a cotton ball or pad.
Alternately, you can mix the same oils, but substitute Jojoba oil for the ACV.  Cleanse bites and stings with a cotton ball soaked in ACV, dab dry, then applying the soothing oil blend.

7. Attract Pollinators

Essential oils aren’t just for repelling unwanted creatures from your garden.  You can also use certain fragrant oils to attract natural pollinators to your garden.  The scent of Neroli (orange blossom) is an irresistible attractant for bees, as are the essential oils of many small-blossomed flowers such as Lavender, Hyssop, Marjoram, Helichrysum, Basil, Sage, and Rosemary.  Also, try Lavender, Yarrow, Catmint, Fennel, Helichrysum, and Sage essential oils to attract more butterflies to your garden.

8. Enhance the Mood

Perhaps you have a private little nook – a sanctuary filled with growing things where you go to relax after a long and stressful day.  Why not add an essential oil burner and fill it with aromatherapy oils to enhance the calming effects of your secret garden? 

9. Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent

Probably the most well-known essential oil for repelling mosquitoes and other biting insects is Citronella.  However, if you aren’t a big fan of the scent of this pungent herb, there are plenty of alternatives which can be used to keep these annoying blood-suckers away from your skin.  Either way, just follow these simple instructions to create your own natural mosquito repellent.

Before you begin, you’ll need a small glass spray bottle filled with about 2 ounces of water and 1 ounce of organic witch hazel.  You can also add about 10 drops of jojoba oil which is a natural insect repellent and great skin conditioner. 

The “Heavy Hitters” – (Choose one or two.)

Because these oils are very strong, they should be used in smaller amounts than the other ingredients in your mosquito repellent.  Choose one or two from the following six essential oils and add 2 – 4 drops total to the mixture.
Citronella, Lemongrass, Cajeput, Eucalyptus – all great natural insect repellents
Peppermint – also works against ants, flies, lice, and spiders.
Garlic oil – personally tested and confirmed to be very effective.  (Even tiny six-legged vampires hate garlic!)

The “Distance Runners” – (Choose at least one.)

These essential oils have lower levels of volatile organic compounds so they tend to have richer, longer-lasting aromas than the ingredients from the first category.  Keep in mind that this will be the main ingredient – and thus the main scent – in your natural mosquito repellent.  Choose your favorite (or favorites, if you want to use more than one) from the following five oils and add 10 – 15 total drops to the mix.
Clove, Lavender, Tea Tree – all effective natural insect repellents
Pine oil – also works well against fleas and ticks.
Rosemary – keeps flies away in addition to mosquitoes.

The “Harmonizers” – (Choose one, maybe two.)

These oils help to balance out your blend and stabilize the more volatile, strong-smelling ingredients.  Choose one (maybe two) essential oils from the following three oils and add 3 – 6 drops total to top off your homemade mosquito repellent.
Cedarwood – natural insecticide with a fresh piney fragrance.
Sandalwood – somewhat weak protection against mosquitoes, but has an incredible warm and woody aroma.
Patchouli – deters bed bugs, ants, fleas, and lice in addition to mosquitoes.  Very strong, smoky and musky scent.
Always remember to shake well before spraying your all-natural homemade mosquito repellent!
Essential oils have a huge number of uses for health, beauty and around the home, and with the advice of this article, you now know how you can use essential oils in the garden.

Monday, 11 January 2016

The oils of the orange tree

Blown in from Neverland on the breeze of children’s laughter, the oils of the orange tree are forever young. They bring warmth, cheer and optimism, their innocence and happiness connects with your inner child.
With spring in the air, trees in blossom and summer on its way, I’ve been living with aromatherapy’s cheeriest and sunniest oils – the oils of the orange tree: sweet orange, petitgrain, neroli and mandarin.
The first three oils hail from the same small evergreen tree (Citrus aurantium var amara or Bigaradia) and are extracted from its fruit (sweet orange), leaves and twigs (petitgrain) and blossom or flowers (neroli). Mandarin is extracted from the fruit of another evergreen (C. reticulata). Both trees are natives of China and India, though their treasures are now distributed worldwide.
As with all essential oils, the orange oils have a variety of uses. I’ve described some of my favourite here. Summary profiles of all four oils, listing actions and uses, are provided at the end of this post. One property the orange oils have in common is their ability to calm nerves, to reduce tension and to uplift moods.
A children’s remedy
Mandarin, and sweet orange, is often referred to as the ‘children’s remedy’. Its scent is sweet and fruity, making it pleasing and comforting to babies and children. Its actions are subtle and gentle, making it very safe to use. A soothing and slightly sedative mandarin-scented bath can be used for babies after six months. It’s best to use the lowest dilutions for babies and children, even when using the gentlest of essential oils. The blend below is a 1% dilution:
  • 10ml full-fat milk
  • 2 drops mandarin oil
Run your baby’s bath, then slosh in the milk and mandarin oil blend, making sure it’s distributed thoroughly in the water. Now bathe your child and let them enjoy the subtle orange-like fragrance to aid a good night’s sleep.
Mothers to be
There are many aromatherapists that specialise in aromatherapy for pregnancy – I am not one of them. And while there are many aromatherapy books on the subject, their advice often varies. With this in mind, and preferring to err on the side of caution, I am guided by these three recommendations:
  1. Don’t use essential oils during the first trimester
  2. Only use one or two essential oils in a blend and always at a 1% dilution (ie 5 ml carrier product to one drop essential oil)
  3. Always ask your medical practitioner (GP or midwife) before using aromatherapy treatments, especially if there is a prior history of miscarriage and/or other medical complications in this or any previous pregnancy
Safety bit out of the way, the orange oils are lovely for mothers to be – in baths, room fragrances or massage. Daily massage the blend below onto your tummy using gentle circular movements:
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 1 drop neroli oil
  • 1 drop mandarin oil
If used everyday from the second trimester this blend is thought to help prevent or minimise stretch marks.
Spring cleaning
I love blending sweet orange and petitgrain, creating a sweet, fruity, citrus, woody aroma. It’s perfect for use during spring cleaning. When doing my laundry I like to use it to scent towels and bed linen. Pour three drops each into your cup of washing powder or onto laundry tablets, allowing the oils to soak into the powder before placing in the drawer or drum of your washing machine. Your laundry will come out with a lovely subtle orangey fragrance.
For a room fragrance, fill a 30ml spray bottle with water and pour in 9 drops each of sweet orange and petitgrain. Shake vigorously and then spray around the room, especially around curtains and carpets to let the fabrics pick up the scent.
The flower of the princess
Finally, my favourite of the orange oils is neroli – typically the most luxuriant and expensive of these essential oils. It was the favoured perfume oil of Anne Marie Orsini, a 17th-century princess of Nerola (Rome, Italy) who famously used it to fragrance her gloves. Its benefits to skin include helping to stimulate new cell growth, minimise scars and stretch marks, reduce thread veins and broken capillaries, and soothe dry or irritated conditions. It’s a wonderful anti-aging and rejuvenating oil. Use on its own in a 5% dilution (unless pregnant) blended in jojoba oil, or in the blend below for nightly facial massage:
  • 30ml jojoba oil
  • 6 drops neroli oil
  • 6 drops rose otto oil
  • 6 drops frankincense oil
Massage a teaspoonful on cleansed and dry skin, avoiding the eye area. After two to three weeks of use you should notice your skin is looking younger, fresher and more radiant.
This post is dedicated to Kim, whose inner child is alive and well.
Profile of sweet orange:

Latin name: Citrus sinensis
Plant family: Rutaceae
Plant type: citrus
Perfume note: top/middle
Botany and origins: a small evergreen tree native to China and India (Citrus aurantium var amara or Bigaradia)
Extraction: cold expression of the fruit peel
Chemical properties/active components: primarily monoterpenes (75%), particularly limonene, which is stimulating, bactericidal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
Blends with: lavender, clary sage, frankincense, myrrh, rose, chamomiles, citrus and spice oils
Key actions: antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, fungicidal, sedative (nervous system) and stimulant (to body tissues and fluid)
Common conditions: cramps, constipation, flatulence; colds and flu, chills; heart palpitations, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, stress; dry and irritated skin, acne, mature skin, dull and oily complexions
Contraindications: non-irritant, non-sensitising, but may be phototoxic – avoid using 12 hours before exposure to sunlight or sunbeds. Avoid during the first three months of pregnancy.
Profile of petitgrain:

Latin name: Citrus aurantium var amara
Plant family: Rutaceae
Plant type: floral
Perfume note: top
Botany and origins: a small evergreen tree native to China and India (Citrus aurantium var amara or Bigaradia)
Extraction: steam distillation of the leaves and twigs
Chemical properties/active components: primarily esters (55%), particularly linalyl acetate, which is antispasmodic, calming and toning
Blends with: lavender, geranium, rosemary, palmarosa, jasmine and the other orange oils
Key actions: antispasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, uplifts, refreshes, restorative, stabilises
Common conditions: nervous exhaustion, stress, depression, insomnia, irritability, anxiety; tones oily skin and hair, congested complexions, acne, promotes hair growth
Contraindications: non-irritant, non-toxic, non-sensitising – avoid during the first three months of pregnancy.
Profile of neroli:

Latin name: Citrus aurantium var amara
Plant family: Rutaceae
Plant type: floral
Perfume note: top
Botany and origins: a small evergreen tree native to China and India (Citrus aurantium var amara or Bigaradia)
Extraction: steam distillation of the blossom flowers
Chemical properties/active components: primarily alcohols (40%) such as linalool and monoterpenes (35%) such as limonene, which contribute to its bactericidal and antiseptic actions
Blends with: chamomiles, lavender, rose, frankincense, palmarosa, geranium, jasmine, ylang ylang, clary sage, benzoin, myrrh and most other floral and citrus oils
Key actions: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bactericidal, aphrodisiac, sedative
Common conditions: heart palpitations, poor circulation, muscle spasms; nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, depression, agitation, PMS, shock, stress; red/dry/irritated skin, broken capillaries, thread veins, mature skins, scars, stretch marks
Contraindications: non-irritant, non-sensitising – avoid during the first three months of pregnancy.
Profile of mandarin:

Latin name: Citrus reticulata
Plant family: Rutaceae
Plant type: citrus
Perfume note: top/middle
Botany and origins: a small evergreen tree native to China and India (Citrus reticulata)
Extraction: cold expression of fruit peel
Chemical properties/active components: primarily monoterpenes (90%), particularly limonene which is stimulating, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
Blends with: the orange oils, citrus oils and spice oils
Key actions: antispasmodic, antiseptic, stimulant (digestion), sedative (nerves), cheering, optimistic and comforting
Common conditions: calms intestinal spasms and upsets, flatulence; insomnia, nervous tension, restlessness; fluid retention, cellulite, stretch marks, acne, oily and congested skins, scars, spots
Contraindications: non-irritant, non-sensitising, non-toxic, non-photosensitising – avoid during the first three months of pregnancy.

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Best Essential Oils for Your Bath

A comforting bath detoxifies, relaxes muscles, restores the body and pampers the skin as you soak. And with a few drops of the right essential oils, an otherwise average bath becomes a spa treatment tailored to the needs of your body and mind.
  • Rose “If I had to pick only one oil, I’d probably choose rose oil,” says Block. “It’s calming but gently uplifting and it helps with anxiety or nervous tension.” Rose oil supports all skin types, so even those with dry, sensitive skin will benefit from its restorative effects.

  • Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Rosewood “Any oils that come from tree bark are incredibly soothing and grounding,” says Block. “Many people like to use these individually, rather than blend them together.” Sandalwood in particular is prized for its fragrance, as well as its calming properties.

  • Neroli Another one of Block’s favorite oils for the bath, neroli, which is extracted from orange blossom flowers, calms the mind and uplifts the spirit. “We’re often starved for uplifting scents in the winter,” she says. Neroli is a gentle sedative that encourages sleep and reduces anxiety. Think of this oil as the antidote to a stressful day at the office.

  • Vetiver “In India, vetiver is called the oil of tranquility,” says Block. Vetiver, distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant, is also a humectant oil that brings moisture to skin dried by cold air and indoor heat.

  • Lavender Known as the quintessential oil for calm, lavender is a favorite for nighttime baths and the treatment of insomnia. Lavender also supports damaged, stressed or irritated skin– so settle in for a good soak.

  • Roman or German Chamomile Chamomile is known for its gentle, calming properties, making it an excellent essential oil to add to a tension-reducing bath before bed.  Add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a chamomile tea bag and let it soak in your bath for extra benefits, suggests Block.

  • Ylang Ylang or Jasmine Not quite ready to hit the hay? Ylang ylang and jasmine essential oils are stimulants and aphrodisiacs that uplift your mood while soothing your body. A bath scented with these exotic oils, which blend especially well together, is also beneficial to dry skin.

After filling your bath, wait a few minutes for the water to reach a warm temperature; never get into a bath that’s steaming or scalding. “As much as we love hot baths, they strip the natural oils from skin,” says Block. Sprinkle a few drops of your chosen essential oil (or essential oil blend, since most oils mix well with others) into a cup of whole milk or a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add this diluted mixture to your bath water and stir to blend. Add essential oils directly to hot water and they will evaporate quickly, along with their therapeutic benefits. Or, as an antidote to sore muscles, mix a few drops of essential oils into two cups of Epsom salts and dissolve into your bath.