AROMATHERAPY WINTER BLEND

Using a blend of essential oils rather than one single oil will provide greater efficacy to either, nip a dose in the bud or reduce / ease the symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of a dose.

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A blend of oils provides greater synergy e.g. the oils work together and in different ways, performing various actions in the body.

Lots of essential oil users describe being confused when it comes to blending oils for specific situations.  Read on for a super winter recipe to avoid any confusion.

If you are feeling poorly or you have a full on winter bug you may not feel like getting all of your oils out to consider the best ones to use.  The reality is you may grab one or two oils, use them once or twice and light your aromatherapy burner on one evening.  While this may be pleasant and enjoyable it will do little to effectively address an infection.  You need a plan and a suitable selection of oils.

Christine Courtney is principal of Obus School of Healing Therapies in Dublin http://obus.ie/massage-clinic/ and she has provided a very easy solution, I can’t quite believe I have never done this prior to attending a recent seminar she gave!  I would really encourage you to give it a go.

You make what Christine calls a ‘Mother Blend’.  Genius!  This blend is then available to you for

  • Diffusing
  • Diluting and applying to the body
  • Inhaling
  • Adding to the bath

No more searching for all your oils before any of the above activities.

Bath timePlease note essential oils do not disperse with water, they sit on the top of the water and you stand the chance of burning your butt (believe me!) or other more sensitive areas and possibly having a skin reaction.

You must dilute essential oils in a carrier prior to adding to the bath.  Many experts suggest vegetable oils do not dilute the essential oils suitably however Fractionated Coconut Oil is acceptable and less greasy than many other vegetable oils.

Better still, Christine’s tip is to apply the diluted oil blend (see below) to your body before getting into the bath.  Be careful you don’t slip.

With the oils on your body the bath doesn’t require as much cleaning after your soak!

Before we list the oils for the Winter Blend, let’s look at why and how?  Christine suggests:

  • To support the immune system, dilute and apply every other day as a preventative
  • At the first sign of infection apply twice daily
  • When ill apply 3 to 4 times a day
  • Diffusing the blend will help inhibit airborne bacteria * helping to protect others at home
  • Keep up the applications well after your symptoms have cleared to support your immune system
  • As an expectorant, follow directions for an inhalation

 

Christine’s ‘Mother Blend’ for Winter

50 drops Tea Tree

30 drops Niaouli

40 drops Eucalyptus globulus

30 drops Ravensara

50 drops Lavander

50 drops Lemon

This makes about 10ml in total so you could double this if you want a larger quantity.

I had no Lemon oil to hand and love using Thyme linalool for it’s respiratory support and cleansing action so I went ahead with the Thyme and the blend is lovely

IMPORTANT

I am regularly asked is this oil safe or that oil safe?  So much about safety is in relation to your dilutions, less is more.  Most of the commonly used essential oils from reputable suppliers are generally safe to use provided you follow safe dilutions.

Christine wisely suggests it is better to increase the number of applications rather than using a higher dilution (particularly with young children, pregnancy, the elderly and those with sensitive skin, use the 0.5% dilution)

Dilution Guidelines for Skin Applications

Your Mother Blend is a mix of pure undiluted essential oils so you must dilute it prior to applying onto the the skin. (see below for a variety of carriers)

1 – 5 years

Up to 0.5 % Add 2 drops to 10 ml of your chosen carrier

5 -12 years

Up to 1 % Add 5 drops into 10ml of your chosen carrier

12 – 15 years

Up to 2% Add 10 drops into 10ml of your chosen carrier

15 years and older

Up to 3% Add 15 drops into 10ml of your chosen carrier

Please remember dilutions are not a target, it is always better to start out at a lower dilution and work up to and not over these suggested guidelines above.

Dropper

The above dilutions are based on small dropper inserts which dispense small drops of oil, not the larger ones which allow the oil to ‘stream’ out of the bottle making  it difficult to be accurate.

 For further excellent information regarding babies and young children and essential oils use please see:

http://tisserandinstitute.org/learn-more/kids-inhalation-safety/

Carriers

A carrier is anything that you dilute your essential oils into before applying to the skin.

  • Vegetable oil
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Unscented Cream
  • Unscented White Lotion

Use unrefined, old pressed and organic vegetable oils as these are high in all the components such as essential fatty acids that help to nourish the skin.

98% Aloe Vera Gel is a lovely carrier when you do not want an ‘oily’ application.

Blend 50:50 Aloe Vera Gel with vegetable oil for a silky smooth application, this is suitable to dilute your essential oils into and is my current favourite choice! (thanks Christine)

Unscented lotion or cream is another non oily carrier in which to dilute essential oils into.  Jasons Gluten Free body lotion is scent free and has a pleasant texture.

The information above is not in any way intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional practitioner or your doctor. 

Should you suffer prolonged symptoms from Winter bugs seek professional advice (not Dr. Google)

If irritation occurs from using the above recipe or any store bought product discontinue use.  Keep essential oils out of the reach of children. 

Wishing you and yours an enjoyable aromatic time through Autumn, Winter & beyond.

Airborne Bacteria

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1472-765X.2011.03190.x/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22751732

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ffj.2068/full

 

 

 

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TRANSITIONING THE SEASONS WITH ESSENTIAL OILS

The sights and sounds of nature on this morning’s walk were far too autumnal for my liking.  Picking up windfalls earlier in the week had got me thinking along these lines and with these thoughts a sense of dread and discomfort loomed.  Having had a third, especially wet summer in a row in the West of Ireland I feel partly justified.  Although I am aware how this internal dialogue is a tad unreasonable!

Today, as the sun sets on August I am thinking about transitioning the seasons and what essential oils may assist during the changeover.

CITRUSSunshine in a Bottle (aka Citrus Essential Oils)

Instinctively I want to use every citrus oil I have!  Mmmm, Mandarin, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Bergamot and more ………. Close to hand is Bergamot and the tangy aromas from the smelling strip are seemingly just what I need.

Humans appear to naturally try and resist transition in general.  Futile of course, especially when deep down we know that embracing change is key to a smooth transformation.

Cypress oil (cypressus sempervirens (semper meaning always and virens, flourishing or green)) is favoured by many as an excellent oil to use during times of change.  It’s astringent and decongestant properties relating to the venous, lymph and respiratory systems appear to have similar effect on an emotional level.  Perhaps congestion soars when we face change and releasing it then helps us to move on.

CypressCypress Trees with Almond Blossom

I really enjoyed reading this post regarding Cypress oil during times of transition:

http://www.redrootmountain.com/cypress-essential-support-for-transition/106

Interesting, I think, is the trees affiliation to spiritual matters down through history.  Philipp Mailhebiau, in his book Portraits in Oils sites several texts of old (Biblical, Byzantine and Greek) where the tree is mentioned.

In Shirley and Len Price’s book Aromatherapy for Health Professionals there are various useful charts, this one caught my eye ‘Mental and Nervous System effects of essential oils mentioned by various authors’, Cypress is highlighted under the following headings

  • Calming
  • Relaxing
  • Depression (nervous)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Sitting with my Bergamot smell strip I am considering it will blend well with Cypress but I want more!

Cedarwood, Frankincense and Sandalwood all blend well with other ‘tree’ oils.  I see Vetivert in a few ‘transition’ blends however on this occasion I’m not tempted due to it’s grounding properties, I’m trying to move forward!

However I can testify to the exceptionally effective grounding ability of Vetivert especially if one feels they are about to defy gravity and fly off into their own orbit around the planet.  Generally I find this best avoided!

Rose Otto, for me, gives a delicate lift to woody blends.

RoseRosa damascena in Bulgaria

I am now in two minds about the Bergamot, Mandarin oil is calling.  I will try both and return my verdict before the day is out.

In 5ml of Sweet Almond Oil add:

  • Cypress Organic – 3 drops
  • Cedarwood Organic – 1 drop
  • Sandalwood – 1 drop
  • Rose Otto – 1 drop

I made two of the above blends and then added:

  • Bergamot Organic – 2  drops

(Bergapten Free)

to one and

  • Mandarin Organic – 2 drops

to the other.

Approx. a little over 3% dilution.

RESULT:

Both blends are lovely.

The Bergamot blend is a little more rosy and woody in aroma.  On exploring the chemical composition I think Bergamot brings a little more diversity to the table with it’s high esther content which is known to be regulating to the nervous system.

The Mandarin blend is a little lighter in aroma.

This blend (minus the Almond Oil) may be very useful in an aromatherapy diffuser. Speaking of, I am, with great excitement awaiting a new electrical one from Florihana in France https://florihana.com/en/diffusers.html   It came recommended from a trusted source.

Florihane

You may have your own thoughts or preferences on tweaking this blend to suit your needs or personal preference.

Ultimately I am satisfied that the overall properties will be useful in assisting a smooth transition from one season to the next.  Roll on September!

That’s got me thinking, I will fill one of these roller balls bottles so I’ll have my blend on the move, whatever the weather!

il_fullxfull.814548951_sek9

Metal Roller Balls

(I like the 2ml for travel, available online in a number of sizes from various suppliers)

FINDING JUNIPER IN IRELAND

Thinking about the glorious sunshine 2 weeks ago while climbing Lackavrea Mountain in Connemara, Co. Galway.   It is midway between Maam and Maam Cross.  I have eyed it up for many many years so I was delighted when a friend suggested it for our once a month stomp.

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Translated from Irish Leic Aimhréidh, meaning rugged rock-slab (mountaineering.ie).  There is indeed a lot of slab and rock allowing for plenty of pools to refresh hot doggies!

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This kind of terrain is also preferred by one of my favourite botanics, Juniper and it was with great excitement I found my first Juniper growing wild in Ireland.  I think it looks splendid here in this photo accompanied by the splash of colour from the heather.  On pressing the leaves we enjoyed the vibrant aromatic molecules that were released into the air.

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The essential oil is steam distilled from the ripe Juniper berries.   The aroma is lively, fresh and pleasing.

It blends well with:

Rosemary

Black Pepper

Sweet Marjoram

I have used the above blend with great results for chillblanes which were the bane of my teens.    You could include Ginger for added effect.  Juniperberry oil is a good choice in a blend for persons suffering with poor circulation.

It also blends well with some slightly taller members of it’s family, Cuppressacea:

Cedarwood

Cypress

Juniperberry is known to have a diuretic action so if a person is embarking on a detox routine it would be a good addition due to the cleansing action.  Use sparingly with anyone suffering from compromised renal function (kidney problems).

Juniperberry is said to be cleansing to the lymphatic system.  Often found in blends for cellulite combined with Grapefruit and Lemon Oil.

Lemon-Tree

A recent workshop by the inspiring Christine Courtney, principal at Obus School of Healing Therapies in Dublin (www.obus.ie) highlighted the benefits of essential oil use for people of senior years.  The focus was on the importance of supporting the cleansing systems of the body, especially the lymph and blood.

We know that ‘senior’ encompasses an ever growing age group, this blend is not age specific but beneficial as a blend for those growing older.

1

 Senior Support Blend

5 drops Angelica Root

20 drops Cypress

10 drops Sweet Fennell

15 drops Juniperberry

5 drops Rosemary ct camphor

5 drop Helichrysum

20 drops Lemon or Grapefruit

20 drops Carrot seed

For a healthy senior add the above into 100 ml Carrier.

For a more frail individual half the quantity of essential oils and dilute in 100 ml Carrier.

This blend can be applied to arms, shoulders, legs as a general body oil or as a massage oil regularly.

This blend is for general health and wellbeing and does not purport to treat any specific illness or ailment.  Consult with a qualified practitioner with regard to using essential oils for complex health issues or if you are on medication.

The drops above are based on a small dropper insert dispensing small drops of oil e.g. you can count the drops quite easily coming from the bottle as opposed to an almost stream of oil which comes from some larger droppers and in my opinion are unsuitable for diluting accurately and safely .

Some photos courtesy of Mary Duffy.

BODY SCRUBS

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You may not even need to leave the house to make these luxurious body scrubs.  With just 3 ingredients and 3 minutes to make you can spend more time pampering and have some spare change in your pocket!

Care for Your Skin

Consider your skin to be like a unique fabric, as with a delicate silk garment if you want it to last any length of time and remain in good nick you should pay attention to the care instructions.  Fire it in the washing machine on a hot wash with heavy-duty detergent and it may be the last time you get to wear it.  You can’t replace your skin so taking care of it is a start.  Luckily it has the most amazing capacity to repair itself and with some extra help from Nature that process can be greatly enhanced.

Body Scrubs

An essential oil salt scrub is an excellent way to exfoliate, energise and help to detoxify your skin.  It’s so easy and affordable to make and free from any nasty or undesirable additives leaving your skin thoroughly moisturised.

6 Tablespoons Epsom Salt

6 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil*

30 Drops (total) Essential oils * 

  • Choose from the blends of essential oils (below) or use your own favourites and mix thoroughly with the salt and vegetable oil.
  • Store in a water tight container, this will keep for approximately 6 weeks.
  • Ideally use scrub once or twice a week on dry skin while standing in the shower, work up the legs, arms, shoulders, neck and torso then rinse off.
  • Be mindful that your hands & feet are now oily and take care not to slip.  Do not use shower gel or shampoo.  Pat skin dry and enjoy softy, silky skin.

*30 drops in 60 ml carrier = approximately 1%, half this amount for pregnancy, children, sensitive skin  

The Organic Body Oil in the above picture is unfortunately no longer available due to a world shortage of macadamia which was one of the main ingredients in the blend.

ESSENTIAL OIL COMBINATIONS

Restore / Rejuvenate Blend

Rose Otto (5%)* or Absolute (7%)* – 25 drops

Frankincense – 10 drops

Sandalwood – 15 drops

Relax / Calm Blend

Lavender – 10 drops

Roman Camomile (16%)* – 25 drops

Imortelle or Carrot Seed – 15 drops

Revitalise / Detox Blend

Geranium – 15 drops

Juniperberry – 10 drops

Grapefruit – 5 drops

The above three blends of essential oils can also be diluted in a carrier oil and used for massage, as a body oil or bath oil.  Use 30 drops of essential oil in 20 ml (2 tablespoons approx) carrier oil will give you a 3% dilution.  For sensitive skin and children use 5 to 10 drops of essential oil in 20 ml carrier to give approx. 0.5%  to 1% dilution.body bath massage oil

Instead of Sweet Almond Oil you could try Avocado, Wheatgerm or Calendula all of which have nourishing skin properties.

veg oils

*Pure & precious oils like Rose and Camomile are often sold in dilutions in order to allow customers access these costly gems at affordable prices eg a 2.5 g bottle of pure Rose retails at around €50.00 whereas a 5ml Rose Otto @ 5% dilution retails at around  €7.95. When using precious oils such as Rose and Camomile that are pre diluted  increase essential oil from 30 drops to 50 drops (total in the above quantities of salt & oil.)

Quick Fix

Choose a Massage / Body oil from Atlantic Aromatics range and add 6 tablespoons of oil to the 6 tablespoons of salt et voila, you’re all set!

Epsom Salt

The main active ingredients in Epsom Salt are Magnesium and Sulphate. Both help to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.  Renowned for its ‘drawing properties’ Epsom salt helps the body to eliminate toxins.  5kg costs about €12.00.  An Epsom salt bath is a great way to absorb magnesium, 3 mugs into the bath and soak, for great tips and further info on the benefits of using Epsom Salt (even on your roses!) see The Epsom Salt Council website ~ www.epsomsaltcouncil.org

Happy Scrubbing!

SILVER FISH & CEDARWOOD ESSENTIAL OIL

Why do I find Silver Fish creepy?  Creepy in a seemingly unreasonable way.  Apparently I’m not alone which makes me feel better about this.  Mind you, I’ve decided not to include any pictures of them here!  Instead, say hello to an aromatic giant, cedrus atlantica.

cedar

Cedarwood is a natural insect repellent and has been used for centuries as a building material due to these properties.  Many moons ago I volunteered on a straw bale house project in Mayo that had the most beautiful cedarwood shingle roof.

cedar_shingles

I’m not sure when I spotted the first silver fish at home and I’m puzzled as my house is super dry having  underfloor heating upstairs and down.  They are known to like damp environments, mind you my location in the west of Ireland certainly qualifies there!  Perhaps they came in with old books, apparently they love the binding glue.  Who knows.

I have been using Cedarwood essential oil with great results. Six months ago I tried the following and have not spotted one up until last week prompting me to repeat these steps:

I’ve been a fan of Cedarwood balls for some time.

Coated them in the  pure essential oil:

cedar

Then placed them in organza bags to hang in wardrobes etc:

cedar-2

I advise not to allow them (when freshly oiled) in direct contact with any precious fabric.  A few drops on the underside of drawer liner paper is another approach and avoids direct contact with clothing or other contents.  A few drops on the wooden surround of a drawer or wardrobe is also effective.

waverly_drawers_1

The other useful method is to place 6-8 drops on a cotton pad, fold it 2 or three times and slide in underneath skirting boards in any room you have seen silver fish.

cedarwood skirting boards.jpg

If unpacking festive decorations from the attic or bringing items in from the shed keep an eye out for these unwanted visitors.  The cedarwood balls are useful to use as a deterrent when storing items or clothing away.  You can find them in some health stores, hardware stores or on line.  Pure and organic essential oil of Atlas Cedarwood available in good health stores.

Further information:

http://cedaroil.com/fleainsect-infestation/silverfish/

Season’s Greetings All.  Wishing you an aromatic festive time!

THE WARMTH OF GINGER……. chilblains, joints and muscles

ginger-oil

Ginger is extremely useful when feeling cold or suffering from poor circulation.   The essential oil is often used in blends for joint and muscular pain (or in a compress).  For both purposes it blends well with Black Pepper oil, Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Lavender.

Warming Blend

This rubefacient blend may be very beneficial to use with chilblains.  Having spent a childhood in welly boots and on horseback, freezing blocks of ice for feet led to chilblains. While I did get them on my hands they were always worse on my toes.  I successfully rid myself of these pesky and painful visitors by applying a similar blend at least once a day.

FOR ADULTS:  try a 3% dilution: 15 drops (total) of above oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.

FOR CHILDREN / SENSITIVE SKIN: approx 1.5% dilution:  7 drops (total) essential oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.

It did take a few months and  following winters I used the blend as a preventative measure.

The combination of the oils together with the action of massage will improve circulation locally provided applications are regular .

chillblains

Chilblains can itch ferociously and crack which in turn can be painful and cause local irritation.

BALMS

Balms usually incorporate beeswax and or shea or cacao butter with other vegetable oils to create a soothing application.  They are more solid and melt upon contact with the skin.

This recipe is what I suggest for cracked skin and may help when the area is very itchy.

CRACKED FOOT OINTMENT 

BEESWAX     ~ 8 grammes (melt on low heat & remove from heat)

Add

AVOCADO        ~ 20ml

CALENDULA   ~ 20ml

JOJOBA             ~ 10ml

May require further very gentle warming before adding essential oils. To make a ‘thinner’ ointment add more vegetable oil.

BENZOIN      ~ 20 drops

ROMAN CAMOMILE ~ 20 drops

GERMAN CAMOMILE      ~ 20 drops

img_1600_1Pour into suitable containers to set.

DO

Be vigilant with gloves / socks.  I had gloves everywhere at one point, in different coat pockets and bags so I wasn’t caught out.  Proper footwear (not too tight), insoles and  thermal socks can help prevent chilblains from developing.

AVOID

Placing your frozen feet or hands directly near heat, while tempting it is not recommended and can exacerbate the condition.

Poor circulation can be improved or addressed by a number of different herbal remedies and supplements, seek advise from your local health store to effectively address this.  Poor circulation is often hereditary.  However should you have any concerns be sure to seek medical advice.

GINGER OIL ……. a super soothing friend of the digestive, circulatory and muscularskeletal systems

 

Tummy

Whether it’s an upset tummy, nausea, bloating, travel sickness or general tummy discomfort, Ginger oil is one of my go to oils.  Ginger is termed as a spice and has a strong association with the digestive system helping to settle it when it’s out of kilter.  It’s been around for a while, according to Salvatore Battaglia’s wonderful book (The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy) the first known recorded use of Ginger was in China circa 500 BC, by Confucius no less!

Ginger essential oil (zingiber officinale) is distilled from the root and up until recently I only came across oil distilled from the dried root or by a Co2 extraction which was my preference. Recently I am besotted by an organic Ginger oil from Madagascar which is steam distilled from FRESH ginger root and it smells divine.   With eyes closed while inhaling this oil you would think you had just minced large quantities of fresh ginger root.  Aromatically speaking it is fresh, cleansing, woody, warm and spicy.

In aromatherapy it considered to be a soothing tonic to the digestive system.  For this purpose it blends well with Spearmint or Peppermint oils and another digestive hero Cardamon oil.  This is a super soothing tummy blend, feels a bit like a warm comforting blanket!   I tend to opt for Aloe Vera Gel as a carrier for tummy applications as it dries in quickly without any oily residue.

PicMonkey Collage

For younger children Spearmint is a gentle oil and with it’s sweet aroma is quite appealing to children.

SUPER SOOTHING TUMMY BLEND (Approx 2% Dilution)

1 Tablespoon of Carrier (Vegetable oil or Aloe Vera Gel)
4 Drops of Ginger
3 Drops of Peppermint or Spearmint
3 Drops of Cardamon
(For children mix 1 drop of each of the above e.oils with carrier)

Avoid using Peppermint oil on children under 3 years of age.

It is generally recommended that only Lavender & Roman Camomile essential oils be used on babies (3 years and under) at a 0.5% dilution or less (1-3 drops in 10ml carrier)

APPLICATION

With applications on the tummy area ALWAYS WORK IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION. This follows the natural direction of the peristaltic movement in the gut.

THE WARMTH OF GINGER……. muscles, joints & chilblains

Tempted to stop at tummy’s, I can’t where Ginger oil is concerned!!   Ginger is extremely useful when feeling cold or suffering from poor circulation.   Often used in blends for joint and muscular pain (or in a compress).  For both purposes it blends well with Black Pepper oil, Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Lavender.

Warming Blend

This blend could be used for chilblains.  Having spent a childhood in welly boots and on horseback, freezing blocks of ice for feet led to chilblains.  I successfully rid myself of these pesky and painful visitors by applying a similar blend at least once a day, for adults try a 3% strength: 15 drops (total) of above oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.  It did take a few months and  following winters I used the blend as a preventative measure.

The combination of the oils together with the action of massage will improve circulation locally provided applications are regular . Placing your frozen feet or hands directly near heat, while tempting is not recommended and can exacerbate the condition. Being vigilant with gloves / socks and proper footwear can help prevent chilblains from developing.

Poor circulation can be improved by a number of different herbal remedies and supplements, seek advise from your local health store to effectively address this.

In a burner / diffuser, Ginger and Mandarin oils sing harmoniously together.

All things Aromatic to you all throughout 2016!