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Topical use vs Inhalation: when & how?

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We are often asked “How do I know where to put these essential oils on my body?” Well let’s take the guess work out of this by answering a few questions and then checking out a handy chart!

 

As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!

 


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How to make a compress!

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Have you ever wondered what it means to make a “compress”?   Compresses are a long-overlooked home remedy that has become a lost art. A compress is actually very easy to make, takes simple ingredients, and it works! Let’s take a look below to see how to create your very own compress.

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Compresses work by the application of heat or cold to a local area of soreness and/or swelling.  Cold compresses draw heat away from a compromised area, thereby limiting swelling and pain.  Hot compresses speed blood flow to an area and can ease muscle spasms, relieve congestion, or even draw pus from a minor wound closer to the surface.

Cold compresses are especially good for life’s minor lumps and bumps, such as a twisted ankle or “bonk” on the head from an open cabinet door.  To make a cold compress, pour 1/4 cup very cold water and 1/4 cup chilled hydrosol into a small bowl. Place a washcloth or soft piece of flannel into the liquid and let it soak for a minute.  Wring out the cloth until it’s still wet but not dripping liquid everywhere. Fold the cloth over and place on the affected area, leaving it on until the cloth is no longer cool.  (By folding the cloth, you’ll then be able to flip it over to the “cool” side once during the treatment.)  Cold compresses can be applied as often as once every hour.

Hot compresses can be very helpful for concerns such as menstrual cramps, muscle spasms from a twisting or lifting injury, and in “drawing” a minor abscess.  To make a hot compress, heat 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup hydrosol until it feels very warm on the inside of the wrist, just as you would test baby formula. The water should be very warm, but not hot enough to burn the skin.  Soak the cloth as described in the cold compress instructions, wring out, fold, and apply to the affected area.  Cover the area with a small towel or plastic wrap to help hold the heat in the compress longer.  Hot compresses can be applied as often as every two hours.

Hydrosols are the aromatic waters obtained during steam distillation of plant materials. Essential oils and aromatic waters contained within the plant material are forced out during the distillation process. Both are conveyed through a condenser and then to a collecting chamber where the essential oils float on the hydrosol’s surface and can be decanted away, leaving aromatic waters which have their own soothing properties.  For cold compresses, helichrysum, calendula, chamomile, or lavender  hydrosols are all great choices. For hot compresses, depending on the particular concern, chamomile, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, or marjoram hydrosols would be helpful.

If you like, you can choose to add essential oils to your compress.  Add a drop or two of lavender, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, or tea tree to a half-teaspoon of carrier oil and stir; add to the cold or hot water, stir, and proceed to make the compress as instructed.

Finally, another option is to add 1/4 cup of Himalayan sea salt per cup of water/hydrosol (stir to dissolve) before soaking your compress cloth. This can also provide soothing relief.

Compresses are a wonderful tool to add to your household “first-aid” kit for life’s little aches, pains, scratches, and bumps!  If your symptoms fail to be relieved or are otherwise worrisome, be sure to call your medical provider for advice.

We want you to learn as much as you want to about essential oils and how to use them safely. If you have any questions, comments or other concerns, you’re welcome to email us at aromatherapist@plantherapy.com. Or come join us on Facebook at Safe Essential Oil Recipes!

 

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HOW to read the dilution chart

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The dilution chart. We often get asked just HOW in the world you read this thing. We realize that this might seem intimidating – but we promise it’s not as bad as it seems! It’s important to remember that ANYTIME you apply essential oils to the skin, you’ll want to use a carrier oil. This chart helps you find the right ratio for your situation. Check out the illustration below for some guidance and the following discussion for some clarifications:

Dilution Chart Explination

Once you learn how to how to read the chart there often are more questions:

1. How do I know which dilution rate to use?

For normal, daily use we recommend a dilution rate of 2%. For acute situations, like an injury or temporary condition you can go up to 5% for a SHORT period of time. How long is this? Typically less than 2 weeks.

 2. How do I get .5 of a drop?

You don’t. If you really want to be exact, you need to increase the amount of carrier until you come across a whole number! If you can’t do this, just round DOWN to the next whole number (example 1.5 drops becomes just 1 drop).

3. What about use on the face?

This normally means you’d like to blend into a facial serum or cream and will be using it daily. Stick to 1% dilution – the skin on your face is more sensitive and you should use a lower dilution.

4. What about my kids? or Babies?

For use with children, you can see guidelines in the bottom block. For the most part, we feel like a 2% dilution for spot treatments is fine. You’ll notice that this block refers to WHOLE BODY APPLICATION. Since we rarely cover our entire bodies in essential oils – a 2% dilution is fine.

5. What is “whole body application”?

In the case of a massage (or body cream) where a large portion of the skin is covered, you want to use a lower dilution. Since so much surface area is affected, this increases the total rate of absorption for your body.

That should cover most of the FAQs regarding this dilution chart. However, as always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!


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Hydrosol Profile: Geranium

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Geranium Hydrosol is much lighter in scent that the essential oil. In fact, I prefer it in room sprays since it’s lighter fragrance isn’t as overpowering!

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What else can you do with Geranium Hydrosol? Check out a few other ideas below:

  • When you need a mood boost, spritz yourself with some Geranium hydrosol
  • Use 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of geranium hydrosol in a spray bottle to mist clothing fresh out of the dryer. This accomplishes two goals, a soothing, soft scent along with loosening any last wrinkles from the garment

You should have a collection now, between the essential oils profiles and the hydrosols! Don’t forget, these are printable!! Our goal is to get you as much information so you can make educated decisions for yourself and your family when using natural products! Enjoy! If you have any questions regarding these or any other recipes you find on our blog, please be in touch by emailing us at Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com We look forward to helping you in any way that we can.


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New to essential oil – Part 2

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Previously, in New to Essential Oils? we took a look at some basic posts to get your started. Since we feel it’s always a good idea to refresh on the basics, let’s continue with some additional information that can be very useful as you begin your journey with essential oils. Here are a few additional educational blog posts that explain some of the concepts needed to enjoy aromatherapy responsibly with your family & friends:

How do we “get” essential oils from plants? Do you want to learn more about the various extraction methods? Check out these posts

For help differentiating between different “kinds” of the same essential oils read about why knowing your Latin Binomials (names) is so important

Hydrosols are HOT! Check out what they are and how to use them in the following posts

Dilution is a crucial lesson! Learn how to read our dilution chart in the following post

Did you know there are some essential oils that should be used in limited amounts on the skin? Learn more about maximum dilutions by checking out this post

Finally, we are often asked which books we’d recommend for those new to use aromatherapy, this is the list of recommended books that contain up-to-date safety information and are easy to understand.

For the beginner – intermediate user:

1. The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon & Lora Cantele
2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless
3. The Essential Oils Handbook by Jennie Harding
4. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell

For more advance information:

1. Essential Oil Safety by Tisserand & Young
2. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
3. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals By Len & Shirley Price
4. Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare by Jane Buckle

Wow! After reading all this great information, you should have a much better handle on how to use essential oils safely. As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!


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A blending practical {Interactive}

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This is something I have been looking forward to sharing with you. The oils used in this practical are among my favorites. I don’t particularly care for Ylang Ylang, as it’s very strong in scent. Although typically when you prepare  for blending you do so on a perfume strip, I chose to add my essential oils to the wick of a personal inhaler. This way I can enjoy my blend again and again.

I began with the 1 drop of Roman Chamomile. This essential oil is at first very floral but then I noticed grassy undertones. It reminded me very much of freshly mown hay. That is a scent that takes me back to childhood and growing up on a farm. Next I added the 8 drops of lavender. This lavender has a sharp, almost camphorous scent. I notice the floral notes second. It’s not what I think most people expect when they think of lavender. It certainly balances the sweetness of the Roman Chamomile. Next, I moved onto Bergamot. This is perhaps my most favorite essential oil. I love the bright, fresh citrus scent. I smile anytime I smell bergamot, it’s like bottled sunshine. Finally, the Ylang Ylang. I was careful with this one since it is a stronger scent and I knew I likely only wanted 1 drop. I have seen many descriptions of Ylang Ylang, but it always brings to mind dying irises. As a child my mother has gardens full of them and they had a very distinct aroma as they bloomed, then died.

My final blend for my inhaler is as follows:

  • 1 drop Roman Chamomile – middle note, strong scent
  • 8 drops Lavender – top note, medium strength scent
  • 2 drops Bergamot – top note, light scent
  • 1 drop Ylang Ylang – middle/base note, strong scent

I was surprised on several of these essential oils that they reminded me very much of being a child. I am always amazed at the power of scent. I also enjoy smelling different kinds of lavender, as they always seem to be different than I expect. I know better, now, that the “lavender” lotions from stores aren’t truly authentic! To learn more about the power of scent, read Inhale! The underused power of Smell.

Will you be trying this at home? I now keep this inhaler on my desk for when I am overwhelmed and need a “brain break”


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Aromatograms – what are they?

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The Aromatogram is a unique evaluation tool available to the aromatherapist. According to Buckle (2003), Gattefosse created this term by applying the logic of an antibiogram to essential oils. The result is a clinical example of the effectiveness of essential oils on pathogens. This shows great promise for research.

Their potential is limitless. As antibiotic resistance has continued to increase, resulting in over 2 million antibiotic resistant infections a year and 23,000 deaths (CDC, 2015) new methods to combat this issue need to be found. Imagine using a swab or sample from a client to create an essential oil blend just for their specific concern. In this manner, an aromatherapist is able to work toward validating the reasons for choosing certain essential oils (Price and Price, 2012). Further, with this knowledge hospitals or doctors offices would be able to use diffusers to mitigate airborne pathogens and reduce the spread of illness (Price and Price, 2012).

To create a study using an aromatogram, first a pathogenic sample should be taken and placed into a petri dish. The tester need to decide on the essential oils to be used and they are added near the sample in the dish. Bensouilah et al. (2006) states that results can be measured by observing the concentric growth of the sample in the dish. If an area appears “blank” or shows no growth, this means the essential oil used effectively inhibited the growth or spread of the pathogen. The procedure is fairly straightforward provided that proper hygiene and laboratory conditions are followed.

Image courtesy of www.ingridnaimin.com

Image courtesy of http://www.ingridnaimin.com

The use of an aromatogram can be the tool of the future in dealing with antibiotic resistance. Luckily, clinical aromatherapists stand on the forefront of using essential oils, whose chemistry changes based on environment, growing conditions and location, pathogens now have a lesser chance of becoming resistant to their effectiveness.

We want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!

Resources:

Bensouilah, J., Buck, P., Tisser, R. and Avis, A. (2006) Aromadermatology:

Aromatherapy in the Treatment and Care of Common Skin Conditions. United

Kingdom: Blackwell Publishers

Buckle, J. (2003) Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice. Philadelphia:

Elsevier Health Sciences

CDC (2015) Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance. Available at:

http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/ (Accessed: 23 June 2015)

Price, S. and Price, L. (2012) Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Edinburgh:

Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier