"Throw away the crutch of knowledge and use the Knowing..." Thomas Elpel.

The Power of Plant Oils is a forum for learning about the therapeutic use of essential oils.
This 13 module course is a means of acquiring the knowledge and experience so you can KNOW the properties
and uses of the plants and their oils.

Please read this blog from the bottom up and check out previous posts to the right under Blog Archives.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Why use a body scrub? Daily oiling of the body helps to support beautiful skin, and gives it great nourishment. It feeds our body from the outside in, increases circulation, reduces the signs of aging and helps our body to be more "lubricated." Like oiling the tin man -- the more you add oil, the better your joints, muscles, and tendons respond to staying flexible. Nourishing scrubs also assist in tonifying the nervous system (helping to calm you down and focus the mind/body) and the gentle exfoliating feels so good!

Nourishing & Invigorating Body Scrub
What you'll need:
-  Any size clean jar, preferably glass. 
-  Fine sea salt
-  Organic almond oil or sunflower seed oil
-  Essential oils of grapefruit, rose geranium, and rosemary (Tri-Doshic blend)-  this blend of oils will generally be good for all constitutions.

-  Fill jar halfway with sea salt
-  Slowly fill jar with your oil; it takes a little time for the salt to absorb the oil. Poke and stir the oil into the salt with a wooden spoon or chopstick. Once the oil is nicely absorbed into the salt, add a little more salt, and a little more oil (small amounts at a time) until your jar is full. You want a small layer of oil floating above the salt.
-  Add total of 12 drops essential oil per ounce of scrub.  
-  Wipe down the jar, label it with a happy name such as, "I Am Radiant Scrub" and VOILA! 

Use daily or as desired to nourish your skin. Use gentle flowing strokes towards the heart as you scrub. Be careful getting in and out of your bathing environment as it will get a little slippery with the oil.

Optional nourishing oils: Sesame, Gotu Kola infused oil,
St. John's Wort infused oil, Calendula infused oil. (If using infused oils;  you can use 10% infused oil added to your primary oil).

Optional Essential Oil Favorites: You should like how this smells!  Find the aromas that make your heart and mind sing. Some favorites are: Vetiver, Red Mandarin, Ginger or Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Grapefruit. Use caution with skin irritating oils such as Peppermint, Clove, Cinnamon and Thyme.

From Yoga Journal contribution writer, Stephanie Bernstein, the Founder and CEO of To-Go Ware

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


BY Arianna Staruch, ND, ACHS Academic Dean

Long before the development of antiviral medications, natural support options have been used to address influenza and the common cold. Essential oils are know to have antiviral activity, specifically the monoterpene constituents, such as alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, alpha-pinene, p-cymene, terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, thymol, citral, and 1,8-cineole.  A number of essential oils, including eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), peppermint (Mentha piperita), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) have been found to have antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in vitro.123 

In addition, some essential oils have been tested for specific antiviral activity against the influenza virus. The essential oil of Houttuynia cordata (an Asian plant related to lizard’s tail) was found to have direct inhibitory activity against the influenza virus in vitro by interfering with the function of the viral envelope, which help viruses to enter host cells.4 However, there have not been any clinical trials yet with human subjects to see if these in vitro or animal studies will translate into effective treatment options as compared with antiviral medications.

One of the common occurrences with influenza is fever. Fever is a protective mechanism of the body to increase the activity of the immune cells. However, sometimes fever can be debilitating or even life threatening. Fevers of more than 103° should be addressed quickly with your healthcare provider. Radix bupleuri (bupleurum root) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to address fever, pain, and inflammation associated with influenza or the common cold. A recent study looked at preparing a nasal spray from the essential oil of this herb and tested it in animals for effectiveness. It did show promise as a fever reducer.5 However, many essential oils can be irritating to mucus membranes and should not be used undiluted or without first doing a skin patch test.

So how can you use essential oil in your everyday life to help reduce to risk of viral infection? Essential oils can be used in the home as antiviral cleaning products. A diffuser with any of the oils listed above, such as eucalyptus, lemon balm, or peppermint, may reduce the airborne viruses in a room. In addition, essential oils may be added to hand creams to help reduce the spread of viruses by contact. Of course, these should be used in addition to the common sense CDC recommendations to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you sneeze, and to stay home if you are sick. (You should see your primary care provider for a proper diagnosis if you think you may have the seasonal flu or the H1N1 flu, and follow their recommendations.) This fall may be a challenging time because there is the potential for many people to be sick with the flu at the same time, but we can use natural support options, such as essential oils, to keep us healthy.

1. Astani, A., Reichling, J., and Schnitzler, P. Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug 3.
2. Reichling, J., Koch, C., Stahl-Biskup, E., Sojka, C., and Schnitzler, P.
Virucidal activity of a beta-triketone-rich essential oil of Leptospermum scoparium (manuka oil) against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in cell culture. Planta Med. 2005 Dec;71(12):1123-7.
3. Schnitzler, P., Schuhmacher, A., Astani, A., and Reichling, J. Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):734-40.
4. Hayashi, K., Kamiya, M., Hayashi, T. Virucidal effects of the steam distillate from Houttuynia cordata and its components on HSV-1, influenza virus, and HIV. Planta Med. 1995 Jun;61(3):237-41.
5. Xie, Y., Lu, W., Cao, S., Jiang, X., Yin, M., and Tang, W. Preparation of bupleurum nasal spray and evaluation on its safety and efficacy. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Jan;54(1):48-53.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


1. The skin (integumentary system) is the largest organ of the body. (ACHS)

2. The epidermis (top layer of the skin) is thinnest on the eyelids and thickest on the palms and soles of the feet (Wikipedia)

3.The entire epidermis  is replaced by new cell growth over a period of about 48 days. (Lizuka, Hajime (1994) “Epidermal Turnover Time”. Journal of Dermatological Science 8 [3]: 215-218.)

4. We have approximately 1500 sensory receptors in 1 square inch of skin; there are more in the mouth, tongue, and hand than on the back or the calf(ACHS)

5. The pH of the outer layer of the skin is usually mildly acidic (5.5) to protect against bacterial, viral, and fungal infection. (ACHS)
6. 50% of a person’s adipose tissue (fat cells) is found subcutaneously. (ACHS)

7. Vitamin C and copper are important for collagen formation. (ACHS)

8. Hair covers the entire body except the palms, soles, lips, and genitals. (ACHS)

9. The average person has around 5 million hairs on their body, 100,000 of which are on the scalp. (ACHS)

10. When the hair is wet, it can stretch to 1 ½ times its normal length. (ACHS)

11. Nails are hardened keratin (protein) and are created by thickening of the epidermis welding together. (ACHS)

12. Nails lose moisture 100 times faster than the skin. (ACHS)

13. The nails are a window into the body’s health; changes in look, shape, or color may indicate disease. (ACHS)

14. Sweat glands are found all over the body but especially in the palms and the soles of the feet. (ACHS)

15. Sweating eliminates about 1/3 of the body’s waste each day. (ACHS)

16. Harmful ingested substances like aspirin can show up in the skin and hair hours after they are excreted (it can take up to 20 days to be fully eliminated).  (ACHS)

17. Diaper rash and thrush (white patches on the cheeks of the mouth) are caused by yeast (Candidiasis). (WebMD – skin problems)

18. Staph infections of the skin can be contracted by touching athletic equipment, door handles, shopping carts, razors, and towels, and are frequently acquired in gyms and college dorms. (WebMD – skin problems)

19. Roughly 10% of the population suffers from athlete’s foot or nail fungus (Jones, Larissa. P. 289)

20. Americans spend an average of 18 billion dollars annually on skin-related products, including hair care (Cooksley. p.160)

21. Wrinkles are the skin folding in on itself. The collagen becomes criss-crossed and hard, greatly diminishing its ability to retain moisture. (Cooksley, p.164)

22. More than 7,000 Americans every year are “afflicted” with skin cancer. (Cooksley, p. 164.).

23. People with dark skin and hair will generally retain a more youthful appearance than others who have fair skin, freckles, and light colored hair (because their skin is oilier). (Cooksley, p.164.)

24. 90% of the symptoms of aging skin are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, and most of these effects occur before age 20. (http://dermatology.about.com/cs/beauty/a/wrinklecause.htm)

25. The number of epidermal cells decreases by 10% per decade and they divide more slowly as we age, making the skin less able to repair itself quickly. (same source as above)

26. Hair is the only body structure that is completely renewable without scarring. (The Biology of Hair)   
27. Hair grows about six inches per year. (The Biology of Hair)

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). Aroma 201 manual. © 2007.
Cooksley, Valerie. Aromatherapy – A Lifetime Guide to Healing With Essential Oils. Prentice-Hall. New Jersey. USA. © 1996.
Jones, Larissa. “Aromatherapy for Body, Mind, and Spirit”. Evergreen Aromatherapy. Salt Lake City, Utah. © Evergreen Aromatherapy, 2001.
Lizuka, Hajime (1994) “Epidermal Turnover Time”. Journal of Dermatological Science 8 (3): 215-218.
The Biology of Hair.  www.dermatology.about.com. Accessed 11/28/2010.
What Causes Wrinkles? http://dermatology.about.com/cs/beauty/a/wrinklecause.htm. Accessed 11/27/2010.
WebMD www.webMD.com/skin-problems. Accessed 11/27/2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This month, we study the anatomy and physiology of the skin. Here is some great information about how wrinkles are created and some ideas for caring for your skin. Read all the way through to discover essential oils that are especially helpful for mature skin:

What Causes Wrinkles and Aging?

Chronological Aging and Wrinkles

As a person ages the epidermal cells become thinner and less sticky. The thinner cells make the skin look noticeably thinner. The decreased stickiness of the cells decreases the effectiveness of the barrier function allowing moisture to be released instead of being kept in the skin. This causes dryness. The number of epidermal cells decreases by 10% per decade and they divide more slowly as we age making the skin less able to repair itself quickly.

The effects of aging on the dermal layer are significant. Not only does the dermal layer thin, but also less collagen is produced, and the elastin fibers that provide elasticity wear out. These changes in the scaffolding of the skin cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. Also, sebaceous glands get bigger but produce less sebum, and the number of sweat glands decreases. Both of these changes lead to skin dryness.

The rete-ridges of the dermal-epidermal junction flatten out, making the skin more fragile and making it easier for the skin to shear. This process also decreases the amount of nutrients available to the epidermis by decreasing the surface area in contact with the dermis, also interfering with the skin's normal repair process.

In the subcutaneous layer the fat cells get smaller with age. This leads to more noticeable wrinkles and sagging, as the fat cells cannot "fill in" the damage from the other layers.

Aging Effects of the Sun and Wrinkles

Exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA or UVB, from sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Most of the photoaging effects occur by age 20. The amount of damage to the skin caused by the sun is determined by the total lifetime amount of radiation exposure and the person's pigment protection.

Sunlight Effects on the Epidermis

Changes in the epidermis caused by the sun include thinning of the epidermis and the growth of skin lesions such as actinic keratoses, basal cell carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas.

Sunlight Effects on the Dermis

In the dermis, sun effects cause collagen to break down at a higher rate than with just chronologic aging. Sunlight damages collagen fibers and causes the accumulation of abnormal elastin. When this sun-induced elastin accumulates, enzymes called metalloproteinases are produced in large quantities. Normally, metalloproteinases remodel sun-injured skin by manufacturing and reforming collagen. However, this process does not always work well and some of the metalloproteinases actually break down collagen. This results in the formation of disorganized collagen fibers known as solar scars. When the skin repeats this imperfect rebuilding process over and over wrinkles develop.

Free Radicals and Wrinkles

Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that have only one electron instead of two. Because electrons are found in pairs the molecule must scavenge other molecules for another electron. When the second molecule looses its electron to the first molecule, it must then find another electron repeating the process. This process can damage cell function and alter genetic material. Free radical damage causes wrinkles by activating the metalloproteinases that break down collagen. There are several factors that start this cascading process including exposure to even small amounts of UV radiation in sunlight, smoking, and exposure to air pollution.

Hormone Effects and Wrinkles

It is likely that there are skin changes as a result of the hormonal effects of menopause or decreased estrogen production. However, studies in humans have not documented which skin changes are specific to decreased estrogen and which skin changes are a result of sun exposure or just normal chronological aging. In animal experiments lack of estrogen can cause a decrease in collagen levels of 2% per year and a decrease in skin thickness of 1% per year.

Muscle Use and Wrinkles

Habitual facial expressions cause the skin to wrinkle as it looses elasticity. Frown lines between the eyebrows and crows feet radiating from the corners of the eyes develop as the tiny muscles in those areas permanently contract.

Gravity and Wrinkles

The effects of gravity make the loosening of the skin more apparent as skin sags more. This causes jowls and drooping eyelids. 
The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) radiation that we divide into categories based on the wavelength. UVC radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and does not cause skin damage. UVB radiation affects the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and is the primary agent responsible for sunburns. UVB does not penetrate glass, and the intensity of UVB radiation depends on the time of day and the season. UVA radiation penetrates deeper into the skin and works more efficiently. The intensity of UVA radiation is more constant than UVB without the variations during the day and throughout the year. UVA is also not filtered by glass.

UV Radiation and Wrinkles

Both UVA and UVB radiation cause wrinkles by breaking down collagen, creating free radicals, and inhibiting the natural repair mechanisms of the skin. A popular classification system of sun-sensitivity is the Skin Phototype (SPT) classification. People with skin types I and II are at the highest risk for photoaging effects including wrinkles and skin cancer. The proper use of sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB radiation is an important weapon in the battle against wrinkles.


Essential oils for mature skin: geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) supports in balancing and rejuvenating dry skin conditions such as wrinkled and mature skin; frankincense and myrrh are both gentle and effective in replenishing moisture. According to Young Living Essential Oils, frankincense repairs DNA damage, and sandalwood prevents further DNA strand breakage. Frankincense is a major ingredient in their day-activator moisturizer, and sandalwood is the main ingredient in the night rejuvenator cream. Boswellia (frankincense) and NingXia wolfberry assist in wrinkle prevention and repair in the Boswellia wrinkle cream.

Rose  (the Queen of Flowers) and Jasmine (the King of Flowers) have been renowned since ancient times for possessing anti-aging properties.

Jojoba oil, actually a wax, is similar to the sebum normally produced by the skin and is helpful in restoring moisture to mature and/or dry skin. Use as a base oil for essential oils. Other base oils for the skin are: Rose hip seed oil (Rosa Mosqueta, or Rosa rubiginosa), hazelnut, macadamia nut, kikui nut, carrot seed and wheatgerm oil. Borage and Evening Primrose are also excellent and help to balance the hormone levels in the skin.

Be gentle when applying oils to the face - never pull, rub, or over-manipulate the skin!

Friday, November 12, 2010


    • Humans have the largest ratio of brain weight to body weight of any creature on earth15
    • Scientists have discovered that approximately 1% of our genes are devoted to sensing aromas1
    • Humans can smell up to 16 million odors16
    • Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than our sense of taste1
    • The sense of smell can be sharpened and intensified with use (and training)1
    • Smoking adversely affects the sense of smell; it can up to a full year for it to return1
    • No two people smell the same odor the same way; a rose may be sweeter to some than others2
    • Inhalation is the fastest indirect route for the body to absorb volatile substances – research says it takes 1-5 minutes1
    • The nose smells directionally2
    • The sense of smell is least acute in the morning; our ability to perceive odors increases throughout the day2
    • We all have our own unique odor (smell fingerprint) and can be recognized by that odor2 
    • Women have a more acute sense of smell than men at all ages.6
    •  Women have an increased sense of smell at ovulation and during pregnancy – estradiol11
    • Study at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennesee showed that 90% of women tested can identify their baby’s smell after only ten minutes to one hour of exposure after birth 8*
    • The odor produced by the fetus changes the pregnant mother’s urine and even alters the odor of the mother herself (Monell Chemical Senses Center study 1995)
    • The fetus samples the outside world through the amniotic fluid1; this influences postnatal preferences13
    • Infants recognize their mothers very quickly by smell (bonding)1
    • Body odor may be linked to sexual orientation**
    • Our ability to smell is at its peak at about age 8 and declines as early as age 1512
    • As we get older, our sense of smell declines; we also lose our ability to discriminate between smells
    • Smell is unique among the senses in its privileged access to the subconscious
    • Your sense of smell doesn’t sleep
    • Sperm may smell their way to the egg14
    • Research has shown that your body position can influence your ability to smell (lie down and you become less sensitive)9
    • Dogs and horses can smell fear in humans; sharks can smell 1 tsp of blood in the equivalent of 3 swimming pools of water1
    • Human males born without olfactory bulbs and therefore have no sense of smell have been reported to suffer from hypogonadism (testicular and penile atrophy)7
    • The scent of grapefruit can cause men to perceive women to an average of six years younger than they really are2
    • A combination of floral and spice scents can cause men to see them as an average of 4.1 pounds lighter in weight.2
    • A combination of lavender and pumpkin increased arousal by 40%, as measured by blood flow.2
    • The smell of peppermint can increase athletic performance.2***
    • Many mental illness are characterized by a decrease in smell can be one of the earliest indications of approaching Alzheimer’s Disease 7****
    • Astronauts tend to lose their sense of smell (thought to be because of nasal congestion as a result of increased capillary pressure)9
    • Viagra may impair the ability to smell5
    • Traumatic head injury can cause an irreversible loss of smell
    • Low vitamin A levels may correlate to a loss of smell (the greater the pigmentation of the olfactory epithelium, the more sensitive it is to smell)
    • Albino animals lack a sense of smell16
    • Zinc has been used successfully to treat some smell and taste disorders.12
    • Smell can be used to decrease seizures in epilepsy (One possible explanation is that because olfactory centers are next to regions where seizures begin in temporal lobe epilepsy, activity generated in these areas by the presentation of a smell prevents the spread of the synchronous activity from the epileptic focus.)
    • Researchers found that what a scent is called can have an affect on whether or not people like it. For example, study participants were told that an odor was either cheddar cheese or body odor.

      (from: Shutterstock 3/06/09)
      *Humans can differentiate blood-relatives (mothers and children, but not husbands and wives) through olfaction. Mothers can identify their biological children but not their stepchildren through body odor, and preadolescent children can pick out their full siblings but not half siblings the same way (the theory is that this has a bearing on avoiding incest)17 

      **Researchers found that gay men and women had body odor preferences that were different from straight men and women. After evaluating 24 samples of underarm odor, gay men preferred odors from gay men and straight women. Odors from gay men were the least preferred by straight men and women and by lesbian women.10

      ***Peppermint has an affect on the reticular formation (in the brainstem), where arousal and sleep are modulated. Bryan Raudenbush, professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia discovered with his research that the smell of peppermint can increase athletic performance.  Peppermint odor also helps people work out longer and harder. Additionally, Raudenbush found that peppermint or cinnamon scents make for more alert, less frustrated drivers.2

      ****“Schizophrenics, depressives, migraine sufferers and very low weight anorexics often experience olfactory deficits or dysfunctions.” One group of researchers even suggested smell-tests should be part of the diagnostic process for psychiatric disorders because many of them are so closely linked to olfactory deficits.11 Alzheimers patients gradually lose the ability to recognize loved ones, and eventually their possessions, their houses and location of rooms – “all permeated with the subtle pheromonal secretions of the occupants”7

      1American College of Health Sciences. Aroma 201 Manual.
      2Dembling, Sophia. “Dr. Smell”. Dallas Morning News.
      3“Fun Facts with Professor Nosetradamus”. The Sense of Smell Institute. The Fragrance Foundation, Research and Education Division. www.senseofsmell.org.  Accessed 10/19/2010.
      4Gordon, C.B. Practical Approach to the Loss of Smell American Family Physician 26 (3) 191-193. 1982.
      5Gudziol, V., Muck-Weymann, M., Seizinger, O., Rauh, R., Siffert, W. and Hummel, T (2007) Sildenafil Affects Olfactory Function. Journal of Urology 177(1), 258-61. 
      6Howard Hughes Medical Institute. http://www.hhmi.org/senses/d130.html Hughes et al. Climacteric. 2002 Jun;5(2):140-50
      7Joseph, Rawn, PhD. Olfactory Limbic System. Reprinted from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Clinical Neuroscience. 3rd Edition. Academic Press. New York. 2000. http://brainmind.com/OlfactoryLimbicSystem.html.
      8Kaitz M, Good A, Rokem AM, Eidelman AI. Mothers learn to recognise the smell of their own infant within 2 days. Dev Psychobiol. 1987 Nov;20(6):587-91.
      9Lundstrom et al., (2006) "Sit up and smell the roses better: olfactory sensitivity to phenyl ethyl alcohol is dependent on body position". Chemical Senses, e-print ahead of publication,         doi:10.1093/chemse/bjj025.
      10Martins Y, Preti G, Crabtree CR, Runyan T, Vainius AA, Wysocki CJ.Preference for human body odors is influenced by gender and sexual orientation.Psychol Sci. 2005 Sep;16(9):694-701.
      11Macalester College’s Behavioral Neuroscience Class. www.macalester.edu/psychology/whathap/UBNRP/smell/memory.htm. Accessed 10/19/2010)
      12Monell Center (The world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell) www.monell.org
      13Schaal, B, Marlier, L, Soussignan, R. Human Fetuses Learn Odors From Their Mother’s Diet. Chemical Senses. 25 729-737. 2000.
      14Spehr, M., Gisselmann, G., Poplawski, A., Riffel, J.A., Wetzel, C.H., Zimmer, R.K. and Hatt, H.  Identifiaction of a testicular odorant receptor mediating human sperm chemotaxis". Science  2003 Mar 28; 299 (5615), 2054-8
      15Social Research Center. “The Smell Report”. http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_emotion.html. Accessed 10/22/2010.
      16Stoddard and Whitfield. Hearing, Taste, and Smell. Pathways of Perception. Torstar Books, Inc. New  York, NY. (Quoted in “Olfaction and Memory”.
      17Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfaction. Accessed 10/22/2010.

      Saturday, October 23, 2010

      Wild Lavender

      The following is re-posted from Kurt Schnaubelt's blog (see link below, and to the right)

      Wild Lavender

      August 15th, 2010

      For the amount of Wild Lavender that is offered on the internet, it is amazing how few pictures there are. Here is one from the Montaigne de Lure, where much of the real wild Lavender comes from. Wild Lavender generally grows in altitudes higher than those of the cultivated population Lavender. Wild Lavender or “Lavande suavage” is available from the OSA site in a 2 for 1 special for a limited time only, as long as the allocated supplies last.

      Wednesday, October 20, 2010

      Magic Relief Formula

      Combine the following in the exact order in an amber-colored glass jar:

      1 oz. V6 mixing oil
      8 drops Spruce
      8 drops Sandalwood
      7 drops Fir
      5 drops Hyssop
      4 drops Lemongrass
      5 drops Helichrysum
      4 drops Birch (or Wintergreen)
      2 drops German (blue) Chamomile
      1 drop Blue Tansy

      The blend was created by D. Gary Young and is indicated for bone, joint discomfort and tissue regeneration.

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      Two Citrus Blends



      Sweet orange Citrus sinensis oil: 4-drops
      Basil oil Ocimum basilicum oil: 3-drops

      Blend the oils and add 3-drops to a full bath or use a foot or hand bath at least once daily. For those people who prefer to shower, adding this formula to liquid soap is an effective alternative.


      Clary sage Salvia sclarea oil: 2-drops
      Grapefruit Citrus paradisi oil: 2-drops
      Sweet orange Citrus sinensis oil: 2-drops
      Gorse flower Ulex europaeus essence: 3-drops
      Mustard flower Sinapis arvensis essence: 3-drops

      Blend all ingredients use in a room spray, candle, or put 1-drop of the mixture on 1-t of honey as a dietary supplement

      *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

      - From the American College of Health Sciences Blog.

      Tuesday, September 7, 2010

      Does Tea Tree Oil Help Kill Mold?

      The following article was posted in naturalhealthezine.com:

      July 15, 2010

      Mold is not only an unsightly blemish in your home, it’s also dangerous to your health. Every type of mold can potentially cause health problems. Mold produces allergens that may trigger allergic reactions. They can even set off an asthma attack in people who are allergic to mold. Certain types of molds can produce strong irritants and toxins. People who are exposed to large amounts of indoor mold can experience a myriad of symptoms. These symptoms include the following:

      • Breathing difficulties
      • Asthma
      • Allergies
      • Cancer
      • Chronic colds or recurring colds
      • Problems with the central nervous system
      • Chronic coughing
      • Skin rashes
      • Coughing up blood
      • Chronic dandruff
      • Diarrhea
      • Skin rashes
      • Dermatitis
      • Headaches
      • Kidney failure
      • Loss of memory

      There are many more issues that mold can cause. The list of symptoms is ongoing, but you get the idea. Mold is hazardous to your health. When you get mold in your home, you want to get rid of is as soon as possible. When you first notice mold in your home, find out where it’s coming from. Mold can gather if there’s a water leak nearby, or in a damp place such as the shower area. Make sure to always hang towels up after a shower instead of just tossing them on the floor or in the hamper. If you let them hang dry before you put them in the hamper, mold will have a harder time of accumulating. If you have a leak that is causing the mold issue, fix that leak as soon as you can.

      How To Kill Mold

      There are many products on the market that can kill mold, but they can contain harmful ingredients. Bleach is said to kill mold, but I know for me, bleach irritates my throat and nose quite a bit, especially in copious amounts. There might be a solution to this problem. Tea tree oil is said to be able to kill mold. Tea tree oil is a clear, or almost clear, hydrophobic essential oil. This oil is extracted from the leaves of the Australian native Melaleuca akternifolia plant. The question is though, can tea tree oil help kill mold?

      The answer is yes! Tea tree oil is a natural mold killer. This oil is a natural fungicide, germicide, and it kills bacteria. It is a bit costly, but a little of this oil goes a long way. You’ll only be using a few drops at a time, but the mold will be gone. Tea tree oil works on a variety of surfaces that mold can be found. Such as ceilings, rugs, furniture, or shower tiles and curtains. The scent from tea tree oil is a bit strong, but the odor will go away after a few days.

      Tea Tree Oil Recipe

      To make a tea tree oil mold spray all you need to do is put two cups of water into a spray bottle and add one to two drops of tea tree oil. Close the bottle and give the it a few good shakes so it all mixes together thoroughly. Spray the moldy area completely with the mixture, and let it sit for few hours. If the area is really saturated with mold, let the spray sit over night. Then wipe the solution off with a clean damp rag. If you let the solution sit over night, it will become dry. Once you wipe the area clean with a damp rag, the mold should come off easily. If you have multiple areas with mold, you can always make more of the solution. Just add one drop of the oil for every cup you use.

      Many people have had success using this oil on mold. You can avoid the harsh chemicals of traditional mold cleaners by making your own with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil does have a strong odor, but it should not cause side effects like headache or irritation of the nose and throat like bleach can. If the mold issue in your home is severe, don’t hesitate to call in a specialist. Traditional mold cleaners and this tea tree oil is fine for small mold problems, but for larger issues, get help from a professional. Mold is not something to be treated lightly.

      Tuesday, August 31, 2010

      Essential Oil Chemistry

      Essential Oil Constituents

      A Synopsis of the Chemical Constituents in Essential Oils

      In general, pure essential oils can be subdivided into two distinct groups of chemical constituents; the hydrocarbons which are made up almost exclusively of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes), and the oxygenated compounds which ar mainly esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides.

      Terpenes - inhibit the accumulation of toxins and help discharge existing toxins from the liver and kidneys.

      • Sesquiterpenes are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. They work as a liver and gland stimulant and contain caryophyllene and valencene. Research from the universities of Berlin and Vienna show increased oxygenation around the pineal and pituitary glands. Further research has shown that sesquiterpenes have the ability to surpass the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain tissue. other sesquiterpenes, like chamazulene and farnesol, are very high in anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity. Chamazulene may be found in chamomile, tansy, and yarrow.
      • Farnesene is anti-viral in action.
      • Limonene has strong anti-viral properties and has been found in 90% of the citrus oils.
      • Pinene has strong antiseptic properties and may be found in high proportions in the conifer oils such as pine, fir, spruce, and juniper.
      • Other terpenes include camphene, cadinene, cedrene, dipentene, phellandrene, terpinene, sabinene, and myrcene.

      Esters - are the compounds resulting from the reaction of an alcohol with an acid (known as esterification). Esters are very common and are found in a large number of essential oils. They are anti-fungal, calming and relaxing.

      • Linalyl acetate may be found in bergamot, Clary sage, and lavender
      • Geraniol acetate may be found in sweet marjoram.
      • Other esters include bornyl acetate, eugenol acetate, and lavendulyl acetate.

      Aldehydes - are highly reactive and characterized by the group C-H-O (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen). In general, they are anti-infectious with a sedative effect on the central nervous system. They can be quite irritating when applied topically (citral being one example), but may have a profound calming effect when inhaled.

      • Citral is very common with a distinctive antiseptic action. It also has an anti-viral application as with melissa oil when applied topically on herpes simplex.
      • Citronellal is also very common and has the same lemony scent as citral. Along with citral and neral, citronellas may be found in the oils of melissa, lemongrass, lemon, mandarin, lemon-scented eucalyptus, and citronella.
      • Elements of aldehydes have also been found in lavender and myrrh. Other aldehydes include benzaldehyde, cinnamic aldehyde, cuminic aldehyde, and perillaldehyde.

      Ketones - are sometimes mucolytic and neuro-toxic when isolated from other constituents. However, all recorded toxic effects come from laboratory testing on guinea pigs and rats. No documented cases exist where oils with a high concentration of ketones (such as mugwort, tansy, sage, and wormwood) have ever caused a toxic effect on a human being. Also, large amounts of these oils would have to be consumed for them to result in a toxic neurological effect. Ketones stimulate cell regeneration, promote the formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous. They are helpful with such conditions as dry asthma, colds, flu and dry cough and are largely found in oils used for the upper respiratory system, such as hyssop, Clary sage, and sage.

      • Thujone is one of the most toxic members of the ketone family. It can be an irritant and upsetting to the central nervous system and mey be neuro-toxic when taken internally as in the banned drink Absinthe. Although it may be inhaled to relieve respiratory distress and my stimulate the immune system, it should only be administered by an educated and professional aromatherapist.
      • Jasmone (found in jasmine) and fenchone (found in fennel) are both non-toxic.
      • Other ketones include camphor, carvone, menthone, methyl nonyl ketone, and pinacamphone.

      Alcohols - are commonly recognized for their antiseptic and anti-viral activities. They create an uplifting quality and are regarded as non-toxic.

      • Terpene Alcohols stimulate the immune system, work as a diuretic and a general tonic, and are anti-bacterial as well.

        • Linalol can help relieve discomfort. It may be found in rosewood and lavender.
        • Citronellol may be found in rose, lemon, eucalyptus, geranium, and others.
        • Geraniol may be found in geranium as well as palmarosa.
        • Farnesol may be found in chamomile. It is also good for the mucous.
        • Other terpene alcohols include borneol, menthol, nerol, terpineol, (which Dr. Gattefosse considered to be a decongestant), vetiverol, benzyl alcohol, and cedrol.

      • Sesquiterpene Alcohols are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-mycotic, and ulcer-protective (preventative).

        • Bisabolol is one of the the strongest sesquiterpene alcohols. It may be found in chamomile oils where it also functions well as a fixative.

      Phenols - are responsible for the fregrance of an oil. They are antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and strongly stimulating but can also be quite caustic to the skin. They contain high levels of oxygenating molecules and have anioxidant properties.

      • Eugenol may be found in clove and cinnamon oil.
      • Thymol is found in thyme and may not be as caustic as other phenols.
      • Carvacrol may be found in oregano and savory. Researchers believe it may possibly contain some anti-cancerous properties.
      • Others in the phenol family include methyl eugenol, methyl chavicol anethole, safrole, myristicin, and apiol.

      Oxides - According to The American Heritage™ Dictionary of the English Language, an oxide is "a binary compound of an element or a radical with oxygen".

      • Cineol (or eucalyptol) is by far the most important member of the family and virtually exists in a class of its own. It is anesthetic, antiseptic, and works as an expectorant. Cineol is well known as the principal constituent of eucalyptus oil. It may also be found in rosemary, cinnamon, melissa, basil, and ravensara.
      • Other oxides include linalol oxide, ascaridol, bisabolol oxide, and bisabolone oxide.

      All pure essential oils have some anti-bacterial properties. They increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight infectious illnesses. It is through these properties that aromatic herbs have been esteemed so highly throughout the ages and so widely used during the onsets of malaria, typhoid, and of course, the epidemic plagues during the 16th century. Research has found that people who consistently use pure essential oils have a higher level of resistance to illnesses, colds, flues, and diseases than the average person. Further indications show that such individuals, after contracting a cold, flu, or other illness, will recover 60-70 percent faster than those who do not use essential oils.

      The information on this page is from the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley. For more information on this subject, see also the book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, by David Stewart.

      Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      This Month's Essential Oils

      Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

      Fennel is native to the Mediterranean area and is now grown in the United States, India, Japan, Asia, and Central Europe. There are two types, sweet and bitter. Bitter is usually used for commercial essential oil production, but the sweet variety is recommended for therapeutic purposes.

      Historically, Romans consumed fresh fennel shoots as a vegetable and it is still considered to be an edible plant in Europe and the United States. The Romans also cultivated fennel for its fruits: Pliny, the elder, recorded at least 22 medicinal uses for it. The ancient Greeks Dioscorides and Hippocrates both recommended fennel to promote the flow of breast milk and it is still used for this today.

      Historical records indicate that fennel shoots, fennel water, and fennel seed were all used as far back as 961AD. Charlemagne encouraged the cultivation of fennel in Europe. In medieval times, fennel was among the many herbs used against witchcraft. It often hung over the door to ward off evil spirits.

      Margaret Maury, the Austrian who brought essential oils from France to England in the 20th Century, mentions the therapeutic benefits of fennel oil for rheumatism, gout, and kidney disorders, especially kidney stones.

      Ways to Use Fennel Essential Oil Today:

      Fennel is excellent for digestive issues such as bloating and gas, constipation, irritable bowel, and loss of appetite, or for babies with colic (rub a little on their feet and/or tummy, mixed with warm olive oil). Fennel water is also effective for colicky babies. Fennel has been shown to stimulate the production of breast milk and assist in balancing blood sugar. Because it reportedly repels fleas, powdered fennel may be sprinkled around animal bedding, in stables and kennels
      , or the essential oil may be mixed with water and sprayed.

      Suggested recipe for breast congestion and soreness:

      Fennel Foeniculum vulgare oil: 8 drops
      Geranium Pelargonium graveolens or P. Odorantissimum oil: 4 drops
      Peppermint Mentha piperita oil: 2 drops
      Jojoba oil: 1/2 cup

      Blend all the oils and pour into an amber bottle (use a funnel if necessary). Wash the breast well before breast-feeding. Fresh fennel leaves can also be used as a poultice, applied directly to the breasts.

      Source: American College of Health Sciences, Aroma 201 manual.

      Wednesday, August 4, 2010

      Scientifically Proven

      (This is a great article about the fallacy of the empirical supremacy of the double blind, placebo controlled study, especially in the field of aromatherapy, and the "myth" of objectivity.)

      Written by Kurt Schnaubelt on 20 July 2010

      Over three decades ago American philosopher and author Theodore Roszak formulated his ideas about, what he termed, the “Myth of Objective Consciousness.” (Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture, Chicago, 1967) It is worth to step back in time to recall Roszak’s argument as it illuminates so many of the predicaments we find ourselves trapped in today:

      Objective Consciousness in this context implies that if only we, or the tireless and unselfish scientist, stepped back from her or his emotions and subjective impressions and instead use the incorruptible tools of experimental laboratory science, that then, and only then, an objective – or in other words a truly true – glance at reality is possible. In the context of treating disease this has led to the perception that testing medicines in a process aptly termed “double blind” is best to determine the efficacy of a (new) drug objectively, because it removes the subjective perceptions of patient and doctor.

      This idea of objectivity has solidly taken hold in American and most other Western societies. But in his book, Roszak goes on to contemplate how this state of objectivity is neither possible nor desirable. He calls our unchecked belief in scientific objectivity the “Myth” of our time, being the underlying belief of our cultural period that is never checked. It is considered to be self evidently true, needing no further proof.

      So we believe that medicines whose efficacy has been demonstrated by the cost intensive double blind testing, must be ‘working.’ That is, if the patient is within the statistical segment of the population, for which the drug was shown to work.

      The paradigm of corporate drug research depends on the assumption that there are close to perfect medicines, which treat a specific symptom as perfectly as possible and which provide the desired effect for all people, all of the time. Of course neither of these assumptions has ever been objectively established to be true. Instead, it is not so difficult to see that the “one drug fits all” idea arises from adherence to the economic model of the mass market. To sell as much as possible of one product to as many people as possible.

      This is why the efficacy of drugs is demonstrated by means of statistics. If the double blind test shows that the drug is working for 89% of the test group we conclude it is working. But what if you are in the non responsive 11%?

      In aromatherapy we accommodate our desire to rationalize the effects of essential oils by invoking the pharmacological effects of their components, which is often convenient since often some of the main components found in essential oils have been researched. But by focusing on the few investigated standard molecules we ignore that the full spectrum of activity of essential oils has remained hidden from the tools of reductionist laboratory science.

      And this is the point of departure where the exploration of aromatherapy becomes an exercise much more involved and rewarding than the sometimes drab recitation of the “proven” effects of cineol or linalool, complex as they may be. In future installments I will discuss some of the approaches which are beyond the parameters of orthodox science.

      (Reprinted with permission from the author)