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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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Ambient Diffusion

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We often talk about diffusers and how to use them. However, what if you don’t have one? Ambient diffusion is your answer – this simply means allowing the essential oils to scent the air without any mechanical means or through the use of heat. Remember those bags of potpourri that line the shelves of craft stores in the fall & winter? That is an excellent example of passive or ambient diffusion. There are a few other ways you can accomplish this outlined below.

Aromastones can be handmade by you using a porous clay and simply rolling to into small shapes. You can decorate them if you wish, but don’t use paint of any kind – this won’t allow the essential oil to absorb. Clay decorations are another fun way to passively diffuse essential oils. These shapes can be round or even cut outs. Think fun cookie cutters! Get your kids involved, this is one where they can express their creativity too.

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Dried fruit, pinecones and other items from nature. Go on a scavenger hunt with your kids and gather up small twigs, pinecones, leaves and other fun organic items. Bring them in (be sure to check them for hitchhiking bug, then shoo those outside) and place them in a pretty bowl. Now, add a sprinkle of your favorite scent and leave it sit on your hall table or bathroom vanity!

Finally, check out out aromashell diffuser. This little guy gently heats the oil that you drop into a metal pan. It’s inexpensive and a nice way to scent your home without overdoing it!

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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DIY Cayenne Salve

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I often like to highlight the other products, aside from essential oils, that Plant Therapy has to offer. Our beeswax is awesome, since it comes in this easy-to-measure pellet form. I just love the smell, it reminds me of being outside after the hay has been mowed! Our carrier oils are fabulous, and whatever one you choose it’s sure to be a winner. Finally, these awesome round, twist-up tubes! They all come together in this lovely balm that can be used for your sore muscles or aching back after a long day on the sports field or in the garden! No need to rub it in, the tube does all the work!

DIY CayenneSalve

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do: 

  1. Measure 1/2 cup carrier oil of choice into saucepan
  2. Add 2 tsp of cayenne powder to the carrier oil
  3. Warm over low heat for about 30 minutes, then turn off and allow to cool
  4. Strain to remove the cayenne solids from the oil
  5. Return the oil (now a beautiful orange) to heat and re-warm
  6. Weigh, then set aside, 1 ounce of beeswax (approx. 2-3 TBSP)
  7. Once oil is warm, add beeswax and allow to melt
  8. Pour into tubes, allow to cool until solid

 

Next time I make this for myself, I am considering using 1 tsp cayenne and 1 tsp ground ginger to infuse my oil. Rub this lovely balm into your skin to soothe any minor discomfort you may have! The tube provides great application without worry of getting it onto your hands (and later in or near your eyes, ouch!). If you do get some on your hands, be sure to wash well!

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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Personal Inhaler Tips & Tricks

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This little device goes by a few different names. Personal Inhaler, Aromastick, Aromatherapy Inhaler, and many others. Often times we recommend making a personal inhaler. What does this mean? This is a way to take your aromatherapy with you when you travel, head to work or school or anytime your not at home near your diffuser. Since inhalation is such an effective method of use for essential oils, it’s a perfect solution. Want to learn more about inhalation? Check out “Inhale! The underused power of smell” Let’s explore how to use them properly and then check out some good blends for use in them!

Personal Inhalers

As you can see from the above graphic, there are several parts to the inhaler.

  1. The wick is where you drop 10-15 drops of essential oil or an essential oil blend
  2. The Inhaler is the part that you sniff from
  3. The lid or cover keeps the scent from dissipating too quickly
  4. the base keeps everything sealed up tight

Need a more in-depth tutorial? Check out this YouTube Video on exactly  how to prepare an inhaler for use!!

Now let’s get onto the good stuff, the recipes! There are endless possibilities – so please don’t let this list limit your imagination. However, here are some general ideas for certain circumstances. Remember that for the most part, it only take 10-15 drops TOTAL essential oil!

  1. Uplifting: 5 drops neroli, 4 drops sweet orange, 2 drops vanilla
  2. Nausea: 5 drops of ginger, 5 drops of grapefruit
  3. Energizing: 5 drops mandarin, 5 drops of lime, 5 drops of spearmint
  4. Relaxation: 6 drops petitgrain, 4 drops lavender, 3 drops cedarwood
  5. Emotional: 5 drops lavender, 5 drops of helichrysum, 3 drops of frankincense, 3 drops marjoram
  6. Focus/Calm: 10-15 drops of A+Attention, OR {for adults} 10 drops lemon, 5 drops rosemary, OR {for kids} 10 drops sweet orange, 5 drops cedarwood

Be sure to let me know how these work out for you!If you have questions or concerns regarding any of this information, please emails one of our Aromatherapists at Aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or join our Facebook page Safe Essential Oil Recipes and share your favorite inhaler recipes with us! See you soon.


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Summer Fun, Safety & Essential Oils

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With summer in full swing, we wanted to do a quick review of how to use your essential oils in the sun & still be safe. Did you know there are some essential oils you should avoid u sing within 12-18 hours of exposure to the sun? If you choose to use them, they should be washed off with soap and water before going outside OR placed in an area of skin that isn’t exposed to the sun. In this overview of Summer Sun Safety, you can click on any of the links to take you to past information regarding the topic you’re interested in!

Using Essential Oils Safely in the Sun

If you recall, last summer we talked about this in Be Safe in the Sun This article gives you an overview of phototoxic essential oils and how you can use them safely while enjoying the great outdoors! It’s important to understand how to use these oils safely in the sun or you can end up with a nasty sunburn. Keeping our skin safe in the sun is a top priority. Along with that is dealing with the after effects of a sunburn from being out just a bit too long – hey it happens. Let’s figure out an easy way to deal with it. Soothing Sunburn can be done with hydrosols, especially ones like Lavender, Calendula or Rose!

LavenderHydroSpotlight              CalendulaHydroSpotlight           RoseHydroSpotlight

Another thing that keeps us from making the most of our summer is BUGS. Those annoying mosquitos, and creepy crawlers are so pesky! Learn how to make your very own Bug Wipes that you can take along with you outside to keep them away. My family made good use of these last summer. We like to go fishing & camping and these came in handy. We sorted them in gallon ziplock bag and even took them along in smaller bags when we needed to! My husband is an avid outdoorsman and even found them useful later in the fall during hunting season.  Additionally, you may want to protect yourself from ticks, since they can wreak havoc long after they are removed from your skin. Check out Sue’s post regarding TickB-borne Disease and Tick off the ticks will teach you about how to keep them off you, your family & your pets!

BugWipes

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We hope that you find this information helpful during your summer adventures! Stay safe out there! For ANY questions you may have regarding this or other information you see on this blog, please contact one of our Certified Aromatherapists by email at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or hop on over to Facebook and join our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group! We look forward to helping you in any way we can! 


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Bug Repellant Lotion Bars

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We have a lot of issues with mosquitos and other creepy bugs and while I love these bug wipes I don’t always have them with me. I set out to create something that I could keep in my purse with minimal mess and then when we’re out & about and the bugs start bugging us – we can tell them to BUG off! 😉 Join me in making these awesome lotion bars that keep the bugs away!

Bug Repellant

What you’ll need: 

  • 3 ounces cacao butter
  • 3 ounces coconut oil
  • 3 ounces beeswax
  • silicone molds, I used mini silicon muffin cups!

What you’ll do: 

  1. Warm a medium pan with water on the stove
  2. Weigh all ingredients into glass dishes
  3. Place all ingredients, except essential oils, into a larger glass bowl or measuring cup
  4. Place glass bowl over pan of simmering water
  5. Melt butter, oil & wax
  6. Remove from heat and stir in 36 drops of ban the bugs essential oil
  7. Pour into silicon molds
  8. Cool
  9. To apply simply rub over skin, allowing your own body heat to gently melt the lotion bars into your skin.

We hope that you find this information helpful during your outdoor adventures! Stay safe out there! For ANY questions you may have regarding this or other information you see on this blog, please contact one of our Certified Aromatherapists by email at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com or hop on over to Facebook and join our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group! We look forward to helping you in any way we can!