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J is for Juniper Berry. The Who What When Where and Why of using Juniper Berry Essential Oil

J is for Juniper Berry.  The Who What When Where and Why of using Juniper Berry Essential Oil

This little nugget is a well kept secret, but Juniper Berry Essential Oil packs a punch with a myriad of emotional and physical uses to benefit you and your home.

If your looking for a natural solution to a series of ailments including fluid retention, urinary tract infections, abdominal bloating, menstrual cramping, heavy legs, detoxifying, cellulite, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, acne, ulceration, eczema, mental exhaustion, chronic fatigue , anxiety or tension  inJuniper Berry or Juniperus Communis can be a great resource. (Worwood, The Complete Book, 1991, p 549), as it is analgesic, anthelmintic, anti inflammatory, antiseptic, caminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, spasmolytic and tonic.   But WTF does all that mean in laymen’s terms… lets go through it.

Who Started this Phenomon?

Juniper was used to burn as incense in Tibet for both religious and medicinal purposes, and was used to ward off evil spirits.  Historically it was also used as a disinfectant in times of plague or other contagious diseases.  The French burned a mixture of juniper and rosemary twigs in hospital wards to purify the air and in Yugoslavia, juniper oil was a cure all in their traditional folk medicine.  Then there is my favorite use, making GIN. (shout out to The Botanist) my favorite gin at the moment. Not just because the bottle is beautiful, but because they are from the Isle of Islay, which also happens to be my favorite hashtag right now ( #ISlay )  Not to mention it tastes sooo effing good with some lime essential oil on the rocks in the heat of the summer, or with a little tonic sitting by the fire in the winter.

For the astrologers out there, Juniper Berry Essential Oil falls under the astrological signs of Pisces and Libra and is ruled by the planets Jupiter, Neptune and Venus (Lembo, The Essential Oil Guide to Vibrational Healing, 2016, p127).   Libra’s in our trying to always be in balance often suffer from lower back and kidney pain, no wonder this is our oil.

Interestingly, a juniper branch was traditionally hung on doors the eve of May Day to ward off witchcraft.  In Italy it was burned on Christmas Eve to deflect the evil eye.  Who isn’t about warding off the evil eye, I mean really.  Seriously, I’m about to plant a juniper berry plant in the front yard so I can burn the berries and ward it off too.

What is Juniper Berry Essential Oil?

The juniper is a small evergreen tree or shrub with short spiny leaves.  It matures at 4-6 feet in height and is often found in chalky or limy soils.  The oil is steam distilled from the small berries that are similar to black currants in appearance.  The berries turn from green to a deep purple when ripe.  Beware, there are also oils derived from the wood of the plant, but the oil from the wood doesn’t have the same intensity of therapeutic values (Tisserand, The Art of Aromatherapy, 1977, p241).

When to use Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Well the olds (I’m talking the super olds, as proof of their language) say this:

“The berries are hot in the third degree, and dry in the first being counter-poison, and a resister of the pestilence and excellent against the bites of venomous beasts: it provokes urine, and is available in dysenteries and strangury.  It is a remedy against dropsy, and brings down the terms, helps the fits of the mother, expels the wind, and strengthens the stomach.  Indeed there is no  better remedy for with in any part of the body, or the colic, than the chymical oil (essential Oil) drawn from the berries.  They are good for cough, shortness of breath, consumption, pains in the belly, rupture, cramps, confulsions…. the berries stay all fluxes, help the haemorrhids or piles, and kill worms in children (Niholas Culpeper),

In more recent (and FDA Compliant) times it is said to support healthy kidney and urinary tract function, it reduces the appearance of skin blemishes and acts as a natural skin toner, and it is a natural cleansing and detoxifying agent and also helps to promote a healthy complexion…Yes Please!

While we’re on the topic of purification and detoxification, it is also said to cleanse and purify your aura specifically working on your crown, Third eye and Navel Chakras and can relieve your mind of repetitive negative thought patterns.

Where do you use Juniper Berry Essential Oil

  1. So My top 5 Uses for Juniper Berry Essential Oil:
  2. Put a drop in my toner to make my skin tone
  3. Diffuse with Bergamot to promote feelings of calmness and self assurance.
  4. Use in meditation to break ties to anything (including internal dialogue) that is holding you back.
  5. Apply (using proper dilution) to the bottom of my feet after an evening spent with the Botanist or over indulgence in any adult beverage.

 

Massage Blend to Help Reduce Fluid Retention

Mix together:

  • 15 drops Cypress Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Juniper Berry  Essential Oil

Let them mix together as the synergy of the three oils together is where the most benefit comes from.

Add this mixture to 3 TBSP of Sweet almond oil and massage from feet upward towards torso, then from fingertips up arms toward torso, which helps with lymphatic drainage and reduces fluid retention as well as cellulite dispersal (Worwood, The Complete Book, 1991, p 413).

Anti-cellulite Bath

While getting rid of Cellulite is a multi faceted project, baths along with the above massaging can help with that.

Dissolve 1 cup Epson Salt and 1/2 cup of Sea Salt in your bath.

Mix the following Essential Oils together:

  • 6 drops Juniper Berry Essential Oil
  • 10 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Grapefruit Essential oil
  • 8 drops Basil Essential oil

Dilute 5 drops of this mixture to 1 tsp of sweet almond oil or jojoba Oil  and add to your bath.  If any of the oil is floating on the top of the water, scoop it up and massage it in to the cellulite prone areas.

 

Contraindications: Don’t use Juniper Berry Essential Oil if you are pregnant or nursing and avoid in cases of Kidney disease.  Just be cool! Check with your physician, this blog is never meant to treat, diagnose or cure anything other than your curiosity about essential oils.  For Medical advice, talk to your Medical professional.

 

I is for Immortelle. Who What When Where and Why to use Immortelle

I is for Immortelle.  Who What When Where and Why to use Immortelle

I was introduced to Immortelle last summer, It was a fantastic recommendation and I have incorporated it into my daily skin care routine every morning.  It is silky smooth and has a lot of oils that are known to be fantastic for your skin.  I will typically roll it on the top of my forehead (I have very expressive eyebrows, which results in fine lines along my forehead from raising them, a little too often).  I also use it along the corners of my mouth as well as where there would inevitably be crows feet growing if  I didn’t use it.

I also spend ALL Summer out in the sun.  Not sunbathing (I’ve never been into just lying in the sun, but my face does get a lot of sun from hiking, going fishing and crabbing as well as just being outdoors constantly.  This oil goes on every outdoor trip with me and I love how it nourishes my skin after sun exposure

What is in Immortelle: The long answer is that it is a couple of things.  The immortelle that I use is a proprietary blend of oils combined by doterra that consists of the following ingredients:

  • Frankincense Resin
  • Hawaiian Sandalwood
  • Lavender Flower
  • Myrrh Gum Resin
  • Helichrysum Flower
  • Rose Flower

This however is not to be confused with the Immortelle essential oil that is Helichrysum italicum which is an essential oil from a single plant.  Be very careful when you are looking for immortelle that you understand what it is and don’t confuse them.

Who should use Immortelle?  The short answer is anyone trying to keep their youthful glow, and I feel like this applies to people of all ages.  It totally sucks when people wait to start taking care of their skin until they are 40, because a lot of damage is already done, and just like everything else in life, it is much easier to maintain something that it is to try and fix it.  In a nutshell the Immortelle blend will do the following things

  • Helps to reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Helps reduce contributing factors to the appearance of aging skin
  • Helps sustain smoother, more radiant, and youthful-looking skin
  • Helps to beautify the skin
  • There are powerful oils in every drop

When should you use Immortelle?  Well like I just said possible every day for your whole life if you are looking to maintain healthy youthful skin, but here are some daily uses that you could start tomorrow to get your skin on track (and who doesn’t want that right).

  • Apply as part of your morning and night facial routine after toner before serum and moisturizer. The Helichrysum helps to block uv rays according to Dr. Ax, so I add it to my routine because of my sun exposure.  Helichrysum is also an antioxidant Powerhouse, and since oxidation is what causes aging, so I’m totally down with getting as much Helichrysum in my life as I can.
  • Apply topically to reduce the appearance of blemishes.  If you think about it acne is caused by excess oil in a clogged pore which allows bacteria to grow in it, causing redness.  For this reason many of the oils in this blend are great restoring the natural (unclogged) state of the skin because of their antibacterial properties.
  • Apply after a long day at the beach for a soothing sensation it will help nourish your skin
  • Apply under your arms after a sweaty workout or a day in the sun again because of the antibacterial properties, it kills the bacteria that grows in your sweat that causes Body Odor.

Where should you use Immortelle?  I primarily use it on my face and neck because of its ability to make skin glow, but it also has a number of great aromatherapy qualities.  Lavender, Sandalwood and Frankincense are great for relaxing your mind and calming your nerves, so a great place to use it to roll it on the back of your neck, or bottom of your feet.  You could also put it in a diffuser to make your whole house smell delightful.

Why Use It?  Well that one is easy, because it Rocks, and nobody wants to look their actual age.  Anything that helps me look a couple of years younger is great!

 

So there it is, it is awesome, I hope you get some in your life as soon as possible.

 

Ciao

s

 

 

 

 

 

Ylang Ylang in Haiku

Ylang Ylang in Haiku

Dove wings high above

Floral, sweet, narcotic sex

Jupiter’s pupil

 

Recently I read a beautiful Haiku about rain. Since I was raised outside of Seattle it took me not only back to the land of my upbringing, but to my 5th grade english lesson where we learned the art of haiku.  It is a really beautiful way to communicate, and since I need to  flex my writing muscles, I decided to give it a shot.

Ylang Ylang is an extremely sensual oil that has been known throughout history as an aphrodisiac.  The love that comes from this oil is not only about love with another person but also about love for yourself.  It relieves internal dialogue that may not serve you at any given time.  I find that sometimes without thinking of these qualities I reach for it and put some on, only to realize that it was exactly what I needed.

Let me know what you think and if you would like to see more Haiku’s

 

Feature  Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinesh_valke/5067582626

“It may be time to consider how safe so-called safe plastics really are”

You hear reps all the time saying don’t use plastics with essential oils, but then you will see that same company bottling their products (think shampoo, conditioner and hand soap) in plastic bottles.  I was really curious about this, so I decided to dig in and of course share the information with you. 
Why do reps tell you not to use oils in plastic containers in the first place?  I began to question this after squeezing lemon (not oil, just a regular lemon slice) into a styrophome cup on an airplane years ago.  After about 15 minutes the inside of the cup had parts of the styrophome that were literally melting.  That’s when I began thinking about how different materials are better than others for drinking/storing things.

Fast forward a decade and I’m in grad school getting my MFA in Glass Sculpture when I began helping a bioengineering PHD candidate on his dissertation.  He was looking for a way to create a glass medical slide that had channels running lengthwise with a little well at either end so that they could put a chemical in one end and grow brain neurons on the other end to see how different chemicals affect the brain, and whether the neurons grow towards the chemical or away from it.  Crazy right, I was an art major helping this literal brainiac.  Well he needed my help because glass is one of the most resistant materials there is to chemical breakdown (other than a few very strong acids it is impervious to chemical interaction in it’s solid state. At the time the only product on the market to do this type of analysis was plastic, but in many cases the plastic would interfere with the chemicals undermining the results. I know this is crazy. 

Needless to say I am now researching essential oils and everyone says don’t use plastic… Even I tell people not to do it because I know that lemon oil (the one most commonly taken internally with water) can break down styrophome, I can’t even imagine what other oils can do.

The bottom line is this, plastics are reacting with a host of things, some as benign as water, imagine what essential oils can do.   They are showing to release hormone disruptors as well as other harmful chemicals.  As such glass is always your best option.  There are plastics that people say are ok to use with oils, I would say use them sparingly, and only in a pinch when you have no other option.

So what plastics are “considered” safe?

  • HDPE plastic (High Density Polyethylene)
  • #1 plastic
  • #2 plastic
  • Thick, food grade plastic

As far as the hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and other products; the potency of the essential oils are reduced dramatically when they are diluted in these products, therefore not having the same effect on the plastic, and if you are buying from a reputable company, they will always be in one of the above plastic containers. DoTerra uses number one plastic for their packaging containers, however after a quick search I did find this about plastic #1; it is from a site called “living without plastic”, so it is not unbiased.  It is interesting however. 

 “Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE or polyester)

Description: PET is the most well known member of the polyester family of plastic polymers. It initially gained widespread use as a wrinkle-free fiber (commonly called “polyester”), and the majority of its production still goes toward textile manufacturing. It has become extremely popular for food and drink packaging purposes because of its strong ability to create a liquid and gas barrier – so oxygen cannot get in to spoil food, and the carbon dioxide that makes drinks fizzy cannot get out. Properties: clarity, lightness, strength, toughness, barrier to liquid and gas.

Typical Use: Bottles (water, soft drink, juice, beer, wine, mouthwash, salad dressing), peanut butter/jam jars, oven-ready and microwaveable meal trays, detergent and cleaner containers. Also used in liquid crystal displays, film for capacitors, insulation for wire and insulating tapes, and as a common finish for wood products such as guitars, pianos and vehicle/yacht interiors.

PET fabric (polyester) is commonly used in textiles (fabric and clothing), padding and insulation (for pillows, comforters, upholstery), carpet, and mouldings. Also for tyre reinforcements, conveyor belts, safety belts, coated fabrics and tarpaulins. 

Toxicity: PET may leach antimony (antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst and flame retardant in PET) (PET1, PET2). The longer a liquid is left in a PET container the greater the potential for release. As well, warm temperatures inside cars, garages, and enclosed storage areas increase the release of antimony into the liquid. Antimony trioxide is considered a possible carcinogen (PET3). Workers exposed to antimony trioxide for long periods of time have exhibited respiratory and skin irritation and among female workers, increased incidence of menstrual problems and miscarriage — while there is no evidence that these effects could arise from exposure to the small amounts of antimony released from PET products (such as water bottles), we prefer not to be exposed to it at all (PET3).

Evidence is also emerging that phthalate endocrine disruptors also leach from PET (PET4, PET5).

PET as a textile – i.e., polyester – likely contains flame retardants incorporated into it during the manufacturing process. As such, polyester is often described as “inherently flame retardant”, but it is unclear exactly which flame retardant chemicals are added to polyester as it is being made, and thus it is difficult to know if there is a toxicity issue with polyester fibre.  

Recycling: About 29% (PET6). Recycled material downcycled into polyester fibre for fleece clothing, tote bags, strapping. Note: “Downcycling” means that the recycled material is of lower quality than the original PET, and can only be made into progressively lower quality products until it can no longer be recycled and becomes landfill waste which is most likely landfilled.

Alternatives: Use a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle. Buy in glass and reuse those bottles/jars – mason jars are incredibly versatile. Choose natural fabrics (e.g., organic cotton, wool, hemp) for clothing.

Our Suggestion: AVOID. Many consider PET a relatively safe single use plastic, but given the research indicating it can release antimony and phthalates, and our precautionary approach, we suggest avoiding it whenever possible. If you must use it, keep it away from heat and do not reuse it.”

However then I ran across some studies being done in Germany, and since I typically trust European and Australian interests in health over commercialism, I personally, always give a little more weight to studies being done there.  Although the results are different, and not complete yet, the resulting opinion, I couldn’t agree with more; “it may be time to consider how safe so-called safe plastics really are”.

Snail effect

German mineral water comes from natural springs. So, to see if the estrogenic compounds were actually coming from the water itself, Wagner emptied the bottles and replaced the water with a pure snail medium and a tiny species of snail that is especially sensitive to estrogenic compounds.  Eight weeks later, female snails living in plastic bottles had more than twice as many embryos inside their bodies compared to the glass-grown snails.  “Something from the plastic,” says Wagner, “must have leached out and changed the reproductive patterns of our snails.”  Wagner cautions against jumping to conclusions. Water is still a healthy beverage, he says. And until the compounds at work in the snail study have been identified, it’s not possible to know if PET plastics pose a human health risk.  Still, tests in his lab have shown far less estrogenic activity in tap water than in even the most “ultra-pure” bottled waters.  “Having done all of these experiments, I started drinking tap water,” says Wagner. “It might have other stuff in it, but at least it doesn’t have estrogenic compounds.”  Swan says, it may also be time to reconsider how safe so-called “safe” plastics really are.  “I used to say: ‘4, 5, 1, and 2. All the rest are bad for you,'” she says, referring to the recycling codes on plastic products.  “Now, I’m not saying that anymore. We don’t know about 4, 5, 1, or 2. This raises questions about all plastic bottles.”
Another source says :

Never Use Oils in These:

  • Water bottles
  • Solo cups and their equivalents
  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Plastic kitchenware
  • Thin plastic containers
  • (Styrofoam)

As far as me, I will continue to purchase my products because I love them, but am actively looking for glass containers to put them in.  The problem is that most glass containers have plastic pumps and caps and things like that.  I’ll let you know what I find. 
That’s all for now

Xo

S

“M” is for Melaleuca. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to use it.

“M” is for Melaleuca.  Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to use it.

A few years ago when selling a friend an intro essential oils kit when his husband referred to them as “snake oils”.  I was a little offended as  I believe in the efficacy of essential oils, but it turns out there was a bit of truth in his statement.

Who thought to use this Plant for the Oil:  The indigenous Bundjalung people of Australia have been using Melaleuca Alternifolia  for years medicinally.  They use a poultice on wounds, inhale the oils from the crushed leaves for respiratory support and infusions were made to treat skin irritations.  These people really paved the way for us today to understand how the difference between a common name and a latin name is quite important.  In the case of this particular plant where there are several plants that fall under the “teatree” label, many of which can be poisonous when taken internally.  The specific variety Melaleuca Alternifolia seems to be much less controversial.  As always, consult with your health care professional and when we are using essential oils When in doubt, Take the Safest Route Be smart, know your body and follow all the safety protocols and dilution rates.

What is Melaleuca: Melaleuca Alternifolia is a variety of TeaTree oil which has been used across the world for centuries, and guess what, according to this website, it is the original “Snake Oil”… who knew? It has over 92 different compounds and what some believe are limitless uses, although, If I was challenged, I’m pretty sure I could find a limit, like probably not a great ice cream topping.  Back in the day Pre 1920, Captain James Cook (is anyone else thinking about star trek right now?) used the plant leaves as an infusion tea which is probably where the common name “teatree” came from.

What type of plant is it?: Melaleuca grows all over the world, but is Native to Queensland and New South Whales.  The oil is distilled from the leaves of the plant, which is grown to the appropriate height then chopped off for harvest, and then just starts growing again making it a farmers delight.  It sure doesn’t seem as finicky as other plants, but in as much it is sure a powerhouse.

When and Where: Teatree in general “is commonly acceptable as an antimicrobial agent to  calm and fungal issues of the scalp and feet.” (Schnaubelt, Kurt, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, 2011, p 18) Although wikipedia says this is absolutely not true.  Go Figure, there’s a dispute about how to use essential oils.   Schnaubelt goes on to say that 1-3 drops of Teatree in a glass of water when drunk multiple times a day can affect cystitis or an inflamed unrinary bladder. (p134) Although wikipedia says it is poisonous when taken internally.   I personally base my decision about where to use this oil on the purity of the oils I use and knowing my body well enough to feel when something doesn’t agree with it.  But I also believe that the safest option is the best option.   Don’t forget to dilute it in a carrier oil.  Even if your skin is fine with it today, it might not be fine with it a year from now as skin sensitivities can build up over extended amounts of time increasing from not noticeable initially to extremely painful after multiple exposures.  Dilute Dilute Dilute.

One of the things that I absolutely loooovvvveeee to do is put 2 drops of melaleuca in my facial cleanser along with 2 drops of peppermint and give my face, neck and decollate a little massage in the shower.  After I rinse it off my face, it is left tingly and great.

Because I am a geek about how things work, but am not a science geek I have read how essential oils can affect a virus, but I just couldn’t picture it in my head. Until, I found this gem of a video, Voila… I now get it.  It shows how Oregano and Melaleuca can work together to get inside a virus and kill it.

 

Which  I Found interesting because I recently also came across a study done by Johns Hopkins that was published in the Journal of Infectious Disease and preventative Medicine that outlines how essential oils both in combination with existing antibiotics and without could be the answer to defense against the rise in “super bugs” or antibiotic resistant bacteria.  It is proving effective because of essential oils ability to penetrate the walls of a cell and get to the virus.    BAM… Take that all you “snake oil” naysayers!!!

 

Why:  I love my melaleuca, here are the top 5 reasons I will reach for it.

  1. To put in my facial wash
  2. to zap a blemish on my skin Just roll a little on
  3. I mix it in a little water and spray the inside of my husbands shoes to get rid of the smell.
  4. I roll it on the front of my throat the minute it starts to tickle (you know not a good tickle, but the kind when your about to go down and your voice is gone so you can’t even shout about it.)
  5. I add Melaleuca and lemon to my household surface cleaner.  They’re both antibacterial.

How:  do I use this lovely oil you ask.  Well my favorite thing when I am looking to apply it topically is to use the melaleuca touch which is pre-diluted with a carrier oil in a roller bottle so that it comes safely ready for everyone in your house to use.   But because I’m a freak I also have the 15ml bottle of oil that I can use to put drops in my cleaning solutions.  Here’s 2 of my favorites.

 

 

Throw out Your Comet and use this instead: Super Scrub

  • Put 1 cup of baking soda in a mason jar with a flip lid
  • Add 10 drops Lemon
  • Add 10 drops Melaleuca
  • Shake it up and sprinkle wherever you need a little gentle scrubbing action.

 

Here is the link to the mason jar tops that turn your mason jars into a shaker bottle, They’re freaking awesome.  I love that ball and other jar companies are finding ways to make re-useable things for us so that we aren’t creating so much trash.  Here’s what it looks like.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 4.32.46 PM
Pretty Rad huh!  I can’t wait until they make different colors, but Green work great for now.  You just replace this with the metal disk that goes on top of your jar, then add the existing band that you already used with it over the top of this.  Depending on how much scrubby stuff you go through you can select different size jars. 

 

Multi Surface Cleaner

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops Melaleuca
  • 15 drops Lemon

Shake and spray on any surface to clean and disinfect.

And here is a link to the glass jars I use for my multi surface spray cleaner they come with chalk labels on them. Otherwise you can get the bottles and labels separately on amazon.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 4.37.12 PM

 

For more power first sprinkle on the baking soda then put the vinegar mixture over the top and it will foam up a bit.  Love doing this for the super hard places to get clean. (like dog crates…uggghhh)

 

Let me know in the comments what your favorite use for Melaleuca Oil is, or what future blog posts you would like to see.

Contraindications of Melaleuca: Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

 

That’s it for now, I hope you enjoy

xo

s

Who What When Where & Why to use Peppermint Essential Oil

Who What When Where & Why to use Peppermint Essential Oil

Ahhh Peppermint Essential Oil, it is one of my favorites.  It can do a plethora of things from helping cool your body to keeping ants and spiders out of your house.  Here’s the skinny on this fantastic oil and how I use it… what seems like daily.

Who came up with the bright idea to use this plant originally.   It came on the scene with the Romans and Greeks who would crown themselves with peppermint at their feasts.  It was also used by them to season both sauces and wines (I’m not entirely confident in their wine decisions, but I guess it’s too late to really tell them).  Although there is a little evidence that it was also used by the Egyptians, it was definitely used by the Roman and Greek Physicians in their medical practice.

In Greek Mythology, of course, it has a romantic somewhat tragic story.  Mint was once the nymph Menthe, whom Pluto had wondering eyes for because she was super hot.  Persephone, Pluto’s jealous wife, pursued Mentha gave her a smack down like no other, ferociously beating her into the ground.  Pluto then changed Menthe into a delightful herb, and she was no longer a problem for Persephone.

What is peppermint?  Peppermint (menthe piperita) is considered the “River of Creativity”, peppermint is a plant that grows from 1-3 feet in height.  The oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant.

When do you use it?  Well if you’re me, every day.  I love the way that it smells, and it’s cooling affect on the body.  Historically it has been used in tons of medical treatments.  It is even the original chemical constituent that is synthetically reproduced in aspirin, “always use peppermint instead of aspirin“-Tisserand, 1977 p269.  Tisserand goes on to quote many essential oil scholars about the cooling affect it has on the body, the stimulation of the bowel, its ability to dispell nausea as well as its antiseptic qualities.  I never travel out of the country without it, as when traveling across Thailand in a train, or using public restrooms in Cuba, I need it to either help stave off motion sickness, or cover unbearable smells by rubbing it under my nose.

While Peppermint is also used to relive skin irritation or itching, for some, it can also be very irritating to the skin and should always be diluted to less than 1%, as over time the body can become sensitized to it and a sudden reaction could happen (Tisserand, 1977, p270).  It should also be avoided while pregnant or nursing. Tisserand also states that “when applied externally it relieves the breast of curdled or congested milk and prevents infection.  Internally it will discourage the flow of milk to the breast“. Which makes no sense to me after he says not to use it while breastfeeding or pregnant, but, hey I’m not one of the worlds leading experts in Essential Oils, so I’m not going to argue with him.

A great time to use Peppermint essential Oil is during meditation as it helps you to truly remain present.  It is also said that it can help you get in touch with your subconscious and deep inner feelings, with peppermint in the diffuser make sure you take some time to journal, as it will be a very effective journaling session.

Complimentary stones to use in combination with Peppermint for any spiritual practice would be Apache Tears, Orbicular Jasper, Orthoceras Fossil, Elestial Crystal, Time Link Crystal (Limbo 2016, p173-174)

Where is Peppermint grown?  Well if you know anything about gardening, you know that it grows just about everywhere and invades into flower beds often taking over where you don’t want it to. Many gardeners consider it a weed and fight like hell to keep it contained.  I have felt a lot like Persephone while trying to keep my peppermint in check, only to eventually rip it all out and limit its growth to containers.  Despite how lovely it looks and smells, I just don’t want all my flower beds to be peppermint beds.

Despite it’s current day affliction to growing everywhere you don’t want it to, it is cultivated in Italy, parts of the US including the Pacific Northwest (shout out to the #PNW ), Great Britain and Japan as well as in the Mediterranean where it originated.

The doterra peppermint is actually sourced from the Pacific Northwest in the most sustainable way possible.  Here is a video on the sourcing of Peppermint Oil that I love.  I really enjoy hearing from the second and third generation farmers that have learned this trade that has passed down through their family.  It is also of considerable note that Dr. Pappas, the worlds leading expert speaks to this brand of Peppermint Oil in the video.

 

Why do I use peppermint?  Well I use it because it takes me back to Christmas time as a child and those sugary candy canes.  It also calms my stomach and keeps me awake in the middle of the afternoon when I’m dying for a nap.  I love to use it with Lemon and Lavender when their are all sorts of pollens in the air.  It is truly just a delicious smelling oil.

Another reason I use it is because of it’s cooling qualities.  I will roll some on the bottom of my feet before going into a hot yoga class.  While I find it cooling there are some that find it warming, which is the body responding and heating up in response to the cooling qualities of peppermint. In this way it has been used both for treating disorders of heat or cold, such as influenza, fevers or chills (Tisserand, 1977 p269).

I have always loved peppermint tea, and I love it diffusing in my house.  I love the taste of peppermint and when I make brownies, which is not often, I put 4 drops in with the brownie mix before baking to have the best peppermint brownies on the planet.

Recently because it is spring I have been getting tons of questions about natural insect repellents.  Here is my recipe that I spray in the corners and wipe my baseboards down with to keep the spiders at bay:

Natural Spider Repellant

  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 7 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil (spiders hate it)
  • 15 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (spiders Run from it)
  • 15 Drops Cinnamon Essential Oil (it causes irritation to their legs)

Mix it all together in a spray bottle and shake before using.

To learn more about the most high quality essential oils that are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, click here and give me a shout.

Follow this blog, for weekly updates on Essential Oils, Healthy Living, Recipes and other Hippy Dippy stuff.  You can also check out my youtube channel at Essential Oils Gangsta and if you found this helpful or interesting please feel free to share it.

If there are specific blog posts you would like to see, comment in the comments section, or feel free to comment on your favorite use for peppermint essential oil.

Have a Great Day

xo

s

 

**Please note, I am not a medical professional and this information is not meant to diagnose, treat or prevent illness.  Always consult with your physician. These statements have not been approved by the FDA.

 

Cedarwood Essential Oil, Uses and Benefits

Cedarwood Essential Oil, Uses and Benefits

 

One of my favorite trees, and consequentially, one of my favorite oils. Their variety of cedarwood comes from the Junipers Virginiana.  Many people, mistakingly think, that cedarwood is a part of the cedar family or cedruss family. That is not the case, in fact this particular variety of cedarwood; Juniperus Virginiana is part of the Cupressaceae family, and the Juniperus species.  It is native to the rocky mountains in north america and it’s oil, bark, berries and wood have a great history of healing among many Native American tribes. However many people mis use cedarwood when looking it up by the common name instead of the latin name.  

 

This history on the general cedarwood oil is long.  Some say that the original Cedarwood oil,  (cedrus libani) which originates in Lebanon was possibly the first essential oil to be extracted from and plant.  It was used by the Egyptians in the mummification process and was used in cosmetics as well as inserted into papyrus leaves to protect the paper from insects. It was so useful in fact that the Egyptians incorporated Lebanon into their empire to ensure continued supply

 

Getting back to our beloved Juniperus Virginiana that dōTERRA distributes.   It is the wood that was used to make pencils, and is hard to smell without reminiscing about middle school math class and using the excuse of sharpening your pencil to get up, move around the classroom and drop a note off to your best friend in a different section of the room.  At least for me, that is what I think about when I open the bottle and inhale the delightful scent.  It is funny how aromatherapy has the ability to transport us back in time based on the association of smell.  This time travel is a blessing, there are many scents I would love to be able to bottle.  Thank goodness dōTERRA is doing it for us in many instances.

Cedarwood (juniperus virginiana), anti mucous oil, it is great for respiratory complaints and inhaling it can help support healthy respiratory function.  A bonus since it also smells delightful.  Additionally, it is of value for use on all skin types as an astringent, antiseptic and to relieve itching.  It helps with reducing oily skin and helping with oily hair and dandruff as well as eczema and psoriasis.

One of the more common uses we think of when we think of cedarwood is it’s use in furniture and in closest.  It is a very good insect repellent, which is why it has been used to line closets to keep moths out since as far back as I can remember.  I also have a hope chest that is lined with cedar, to keep extra linens free from pests, and we spray it in our cabin in the woods to keep the pests at bay while we are not there.

Cedarwood Benefits

  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Balsamic, or Heals wounds and relieves pains
  • decongestant
  • depurative, or purifying and detoxifying
  • diuretic
  • expectorant, or removes phlegm from the respiratory tracts and lungs
  • pectoral, or a remedy for chest and lungs
  • insect deterrent

 

While research is still being done on many essential oils A 2012 study investigated the wound-healing and anti-inflammatory activities of Cedarwood oil. In this study Juniperus virginiana Cedarwood oil was tested along with Western Juniper oil. Both oils exhibited wound-healing and anti-inflammatory activities.

As you can see by the list above, cedarwood has a lot of useful physical benefits, it doesn’t stop there.  It can also have tremendous emotional benefits beyond teleporting your mind back to middle school.  It is a very grounding oil that helps to relax your mind making it a good oil for meditation. It also helps promote self confidence, so when using this oil, it is common to feel confident about yourself, while calm, making it easy to connect with others.  It is both grounding and heart opening.  Yes Please.  I want that in my life, and medicine cabinet.

 

10 ways to incorporate cedarwood oil into your your home

  1. Mist your freshly laid mulch to keep bugs at bay.
  2. Diffusing Cedar oil in your home, office, or workspace can help promote feelings of confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Add 1-2 drops to facial toner for added clarifying qualities.
  4. Add a couple of drops to your personal oil perfume blend to add a warm undertone that will be calming and help you to connect with others.
  5. Mix in a spray bottle and spray chicken bedding to keep bugs out of your chicken coop.
  6. Mix with coconut oil and apply to Psoriasis or eczema.
  7. Boost your dreams by putting a drop of this in your nighttime diffuser blend, or rolling on the bottom of your feet before bed.
  8. Mix a drop with coconut oil and apply as a natural mosquito repellent before a hike.
  9. Cedarwood essential oil has antiseptic properties which can help to treat minor wounds or skin damage.  Make your own balm for minor cuts or scrapes by adding a few drops of cedarwood oil to coconut oil and simply rub it gently into the affected area.
  10. Massage Cedarwood oil into sore muscles using the 1 tsp to 2-5 drops ratio

 

 

Oils that Mix Well with Cedarwood

As a warm, woody essential oil, Cedarwood produces an aroma that is reminiscent of the outdoors. Because of its warm properties, Cedarwood oil blends well with herbal oils like Clary Sage, woody oils like Cypress, and even other spicy essential oils like Frankincense.  I also love to add it to the diffuser with Bergamot for a grounding and focused yet happy and uplifting environment in my office.

Sweet Dreams Diffuser Blend

  • 2 Drops Lavender
  • 2 Drops Cedarwood
  • 2 Drops Serenity

 

Precautions when using Cedarwood

  • Although a test patch should always be done on sensitive skin and proper dilution of 5% (3% for children) should be followed with a carrier oil of your choice.
  • Use with Caution while pregnant, especially during the first trimester and if you are under the care of a physician consult with them prior to use.
  • Please note that not all essential oils are equal and I can only recommend using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils.

 

One of the things that I love most about dōTERRA Essential Oils is that every month there is an option of placing a 100v order and getting a free oil.  This month, May 2017, the free oil for placing an order is Cedarwood.  If you would like more information about getting the deepest discounts on essential oils contact me, I’d love to get you started.

Manuka Oil…Benefits and Uses

Manuka Oil…Benefits and Uses

Manuka Oil Latin name Leptospermum Scoparium is a great oil, I wish we could have it in the United States but for the time being we will have to live vicariously through our friends down under.  It makes sense that it would be offered in New Zealand and Australia first since the Manuka bush is native to New Zealand.

In order to make the oil, all the parts of the bush are steam distilled including the flowers leaves and stems.  It generally grows next to kanuka bush and care must be taken to seperate the differing plant materials prior to distilling them.    History tells us that Manuka was the original tea tree and Captain James Cook, wrote back in the day that the plant has “a very agreeable bitter taste and flavor when the leaves are recent, but loses some of both when they are dried”.  It looks like this, and it is so beautiful that I would love to have it in my backyard. Maybe when I buy a vacation home in New Zealand.
Interestingly, I heard about manuka honey before the oil itself, because Manuka Honey is all the rage in the alternative health circles right now.  And the great thing is that it’s not even like humans are infusing the honey with plant parts. But the pollen of the manuka bush is so strong that they honey that the bees make from it, as tremendous healing benefits that researchers at New Zealand University at Waikato attribute to higher enzyme content in the honey.

So, thats what it is, but What can it do?

Manuka has been a part of the Mouri medical system or, Rongoa Maori.  Rongoa Maori is a holistic approach to health that predates New Zealand’s British collinization, and along with some of their native Mauri arts, this health system is still alive today.   One of the plants featured in this system is Manuka, of which the essential oil that is widely used to heal cuts, infections, burns, scrapes, sores and topical problems of all kinds. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, Manuka has been intensively studied by scientists for its first aid applications, for which it is highly effective as was written in this Fox News article.  ( disclaimer, I do not usually use Fox News as a reference because I don’t agree with most of what is on the network, but this article was actually good.) And in a 2014 study Manuka was effective in batteling 2 types of candida, staph and e.coli, so it’s a pretty baddass oil.

What does it smell like you ask?  Well it has a very rich spicy herbaceous scent that is calming and grounding.

Benefits of Manuka Essential Oil:

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-histamine (think about the antihistamines you take for allergies)
  • Natural cough reliever
  • Reduces scaring on skin (cicatrisant)
  • Cytophylactic (helps regeneration of cells)

10 Uses for Manuka Essential Oil 

  1. Put a drop on a bee sting or insect bit to get relief
  2. Use it in diy deodorants to keep your pits smelling delightful
  3. It helps wounds heal and has been administered to patients after surgery to promote healing
  4. Put a drop in your moisturizer to help with dry skin
  5. Put a drop in your shampoo to help with dandruff
  6. Apply with lemongrass to relieve sore or achy muscles
  7. Mix with water and spritz in sneakers to freshen the smell
  8. Massage on feet daily to zap toe fungus and athletes fut
  9. Diffuse in your home to calm your heart and your mind
  10. Zap a zit.  Manuka helps fight acne because of it’s antibacterial qualities

It really doesn’t have any warnings which is awesome, but I still wouldn’t recommend drinking a bottle of it or anything,  Use your common sense.
Heal Your Heart Diffuser Blend

  • 2 Drops Roman Chamomile
  • 2 Drops Frankincense
  • 1 Drop Manuka
  • 1 Drop Red Mandarine

Red Mandarine Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

Red Mandarine Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

I am so freaking excited.  I just ordered my mothers day trio of spanking new, never been released before oils from doTERRA.  Included in them is Red Mandarine, Kumquat, and Sunny Citrus Blend.  In my world, this rocks.  So while I am trying to get ready for their arrival with the anticipation of someone waiting for the stork, I thought I would share all my preparatory research.

WTF is Red Mandarine is my first question, and other than I citrus fruit being my first inclination I have no idea.  Thank god for the inventor of the internet.   Red Mandarin Essential Oil is sweet, and  floraly, it smells a little like orange blossoms. Red Mandarine and Tangerine have the same scientific species name, but tangerine is an american term for the red mandarine, they are the same thing but as the variety of the tree was spread across the world, the nutrients in the soil have yielded surprisingly different tasting fruits, with different chemical constituencies.  So one must look at both the latin name of the plant, and the sourcing location.  I have emailed doTerra to find out exactly where theres is sourced and will update ya’ll when I hear back.

 

What I do know is that like other citrus, Red Mandarine is high in d-limonene, and let me tell you d-limonene is our friend.  Sounds silly but that d-limonene has been shown to reduce cholesterol, among other things like fighting off cancer cells as explained in this Alternative Medicine Review.  Ummmm Yes Please!!!!!

 

Benefits of Red Mandarine Essential Oil

  • It has a soothing and balancing energy.  that makes it great for yoga or to add to any of these meditation blends.
  • It has superior anti-spasmodic properties and can be used in massage blends to soothe the muscles and relieve tightness.
  • It is great for your skin.  Historically it has been used to clear acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and scars
  • It reduces pain and anxiety when used aromatically
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • circulatory
  • cytophylactic (stimulates generation of new cells)
  • depurative (a.k.a detoxifying and purifying)
  • digestive
  • hepatic (good for your liver)
  • nervous relaxant
  • sedative

Uses for Red Mandarine Essential Oil

  • Put a drop  in your nighttime facial moisturizer to reduce acne, and improve cell regeneration while your body is resting.
  • Instead of drinking orange soda try putting a drop of this in your soda water for a delightful tasting bubbly water.  Make sure you use glass as oils deteriorate plastics and you don’t want to drink that.
  • blend with lemongrass and coconut oil to massage on sore muscles
  • Add 4 drops to a diffuser during your meditation or yoga practice
  • Make a room spritz and deodorize rooms that have stagnant air

 

Red Mandarine Diffuser Blend That is Spicy Grounding and sweet

  • 3 Drops Red Mandarine
  • 1 Drops Basil
  • 1 Drops Black Pepper

 

And just in case you think I’m a freak,,,, check out this guy… I love this song, and even more, this parody.

 

If you haven’t started on Your Essential Oil Journey yet, I’d love to get you started  Visit this page to get started

 

That’s it for now

xo

s

Kumquat Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

Is anyone as excited as I am right now.  I just ordered my Mothers Day Citrus Trio from Doterra, and in includes Kumquat Essential Oil, Red Mandarine and Sunny Citrus blend. I’m really stoked to get these little bottles in my hot little hand.

Since I am doing research for myself about this lovely little gem of an oil, I thought I would share.  While there are several different varieties of Kumquat trees, the oil that doTERRA sourced is from the Fortunella Japonica variety which is sometimes called Morgani Kumquat, not that you really care.   Here’s a couple of fun facts:

Fun Facts About Kumquats

  • Kumquat is cantonese for Golden Orange
  • Kumquats are the size of a very large olive or a very small plum
  • Kumquats are native to South Asia
  • The first historical record is in 12th century Chinese literature
  • Kumquats came to America as an ornamental plant in the 1880’s later becoming  a marketable fruit as the Asian Population grew.
  • Kumquat fruit is added to many Asian teas
  • Kumquat trees are used as ornamental bonsai trees in many Asian gardens
  • The Fruit can be eaten whole, peel and all
  • The peel is the sweet part, while the flesh is bitter (reverse of oranges)

Why Use Kumquat Essential Oil

One of the major reasons that I am super into essential oils and am really into this one is because I don’t like to take a lot of pharmaceuticals or use synthetic chemicals.  I haven’t taken an antibiotic in more than a decade (but I absolutely would, if I needed to)  I just try to have a healthy lifestyle and keep a chemical free home, well, mostly chemical free.  In todays world there are so many antibiotic resistant viruses or “super bugs”, which is another reason I am into oils.  The whole super bug thing makes me wonder why the whole planet of species seems to be getting stronger while, we as a human species  are getting more sick.  I guess that’s a later post, but I got on that train of thought because of my findings today… drumroll please…..  In this study kumquat essential oil was tested for antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory affects agains skin pathogens.  The study shows that kumquat oil exhibited strong activity against most of the pathogenic bacteria and yeast strains that were tested.  AND… it was was active in fighting a series of super bugs.  Kumquat oil also reduced the nitric oxide, which is a super science way of saying that it is an anti inflammatory as well.   Pretty freaking awesome right,,, I’ll take two bottles please.

Kumquats Essential Oil is also 98% d-limonene, and let me tell you d-limonene is our friend.  Sounds silly but that d-limonene has been shown to reduce cholesterol, among other things like fighting off cancer cells as explained in this Alternative Medicine Review Volume 12, Number 3 2007

So beyond that, it smells great and accesses the emotional part of your brain that convinces your body you should feel energized and have a positive attitude… I think we could all use a little kumquat oil.

So just to sum all of those benefits up:

  • antimicrobial
  • anti-inflamitory
  • helps your body protect itself against viruses
  • helps dissolve cholesterol
  • helps you feel invigorated and energized
  • improves mood

Not bad right.  This might be my new favorite oil.

 Uses For Kumquat Essential Oil

  • Use this oil with vinegar to wipe down solid surfaces in your home (see the recipe below for homemade non toxic cleaner)
  • Diffuse in the air to get rid of airborn pathogens
  • Put a drop in your hand and inhale to get a mid day energizing boost
  • Add a drop to your facial cleanser, toothpaste or shampoo for additional cleansing properties
  • Add to baking soda and use to scrub the grime off your bathtub

If all of that wasn’t enough I found this guy:

Check out this kid trying a kumquat.  So freaking funny.  Now I feel like I have to look for more. And I just found this one, that might be even funnier.

That just made my Day!!!  Kids are so freaking cute!

 

Homemade Non-Toxic Surface Spray

Ok so in a 16 oz glass spray jar I add 1 cup of water, 1 cup distilled white vinegar, and 25 drops of anti bacterial essential oils.  You can use 25 drops of 1 oil or do a mixture of a couple of different oils as long as the total number of drops adds up to 25.  The ones I usually use are Melaleuca, Lavender, Lemon, On-Guard and guess what, Now I’ll be adding kumquat.

Get Started with Essential Oils

If you haven’t gotten started on your essential oil journey yet, and you would like to check out my how to order oils page where it explains all the options.  I’d love to help you get started.

I hope you enjoy the kumquat as much as I think I’m going to

xo

s