Can You Eliminate Stress With Aromatherapy?

Can You Eliminate Stress With Aromatherapy? | aromatherapy-spa-massage | Natural Medicine Special Interests

Aromatherapy is the use of essential plant oils to improve well being. Natural plant oils are often placed in diffusers and allowed to permeate the air and have been used for centuries to address mostly psychological issues. Aromatherapy as a practice is thousands of years old. Ancient Egyptians employed the use of essential oils and other plant substances for massages, bathing, and healing. One of the major uses of aromatherapy in the US is for stress management.

How Aromatherapy Works

Some of the methods of aromatherapy include aerial diffusion (typically with an oil burner), topical application, and inhalation. It’s even occasionally administered vaginally, rectally, and orally for things like infection and congestion. Many practitioners use only natural essential oils since synthetics don’t provide the same benefit as the natural compounds. Synthetic fragrance oils may also contain chemical additives that can irritate the skin if applied topically.

Aromatherapy is very popular today for stress relief. [1] It offers a natural, organic alternative to pharmaceutical substances and works to enhance lifestyle modifications that further reduce stress. These natural lifestyle modifications are of course exercise, diet, meditation, and proper sunlight exposure. One primary application method for essential oils is indirect and direct inhalation. Through inhaling the oils (from a safe distance, of course), the brain reacts by slowing down. This elicits a deep level of relaxation.

Massage is another stress-relieving technique that commonly employs essential oils, incorporating touch and the physical manipulation of joints and muscles to relieve tension and stress. Many essential oils used during massage are often diluted.

Aromatherapy has seen a great deal of scientific scrutiny, and research continues to report the amazing benefits of these natural concentrated plant oils. The scientific research being done so far reports positive results. In France, it’s already part of their mainstream medicine, which is appropriate considering that France is credited with being the birthplace of “aromatherapy.”

The Stress of Daily Life

Stress is an aspect of life; however, there are different types of stress that must be addressed. ‘Good’ stress, or eustress, can actually motivate you to accomplish goals and keep you safe from adverse situations. Negative stress, on the other hand, usually stems from some prolonged negative thought about the past or the future. The negative stress is what should be dealt with in order to support good health.

While you may not be able to always eliminate a negative situation, there are many things you can do to reduce stress which will hopefully eliminate health problems related to that stress. Aromatherapy is one effective way to combat the emotional upheaval that accompanies stressful events. Stress can hinder digestion, immune function, and increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. [2][3][4] Simply by reducing your negative emotions that surround a certain situation, you begin to change the way you think and act, thereby minimizing the situation.

The Dangers of Unmanaged Stress

It’s not worth ignoring stress or accepting it; you have power over the stress you experience. You can attenuate the effects of stress in your life by practicing meditation, deep breathing, exercising, socializing, or simply taking a hot shower. Of course, using essential oils in your daily routine will also support a positive mood no matter what the situation. If you choose to ignore stress, your body becomes worn down in multiple ways. Not only do you become tired and lose motivation, your immune system, cells, and brain weakens.

Consider the following:

  • Stress can affect your blood sugar levels, leading to hunger and, eventually, insulin insensitivity.[5]
  • Many people who do not properly manage their stress experience weight gain.
  • Premature aging is another possible danger of not properly managing your stress levels.
  • General pain throughout the body can be a side effect of unmanaged stress.

Some of the most popular essential oils with stress-relieving properties include geranium, peppermint, lavender, jasmine, chamomile, and lemongrass. Add aromatherapy to your arsenal as you fight against stress. The benefits can be quite effective, and the ease of use makes it a great choice.

How to Use Essential Oils

Be sure to read your labels to make certain that your oil contains organic, all-natural essential oils. Never apply essential oils to the skin without proper diluting it in a carrier agent. Proper carrier oils include jojoba, olive, and coconut oil. Because oils are concentrated, they can irritate the skin without a natural and benign carrier oil accompanying its application. One method of using aromatherapy is simply applying oils to your hands and breathing in the oil deeply. You can apply the oils to clothes, handkerchiefs, pillows, and just about anything. When you go for a massage, ask your masseuse if they can use essential oils geared toward soothing, relaxing, and de-stressing. You may be able to bring your own oil to the session.

How do you use essential oils? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

References:

  1. Tang SK, Tse MY. Aromatherapy: does it help to relieve pain, depression, anxiety, and stress in community-dwelling older persons? Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:430195. doi: 10.1155/2014/430195.
  2. Bhatia V, Tandon RK. Stress and the gastrointestinal tract. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Mar;20(3):332-9.
  3. Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller. Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Psychol Bull. 2004 Jul; 130(4): 601-630. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.601.
  4. Steptoe A, Kivimaki M. Stress and cardiovascular disease. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2012 Apr 3;9(6):360-70. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2012.45.
  5. Shiloah E, Witz S, Abramovitch Y, et al. Effect of acute psychotic stress in nondiabetic subjects on beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity. Diabetes Care. 2003 May;26(5): 1462-7.

 

We recommend ‘Best Blends’ Set of 6 (Organic) 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil – Which consists of various oil blends oncluding Lavender, Peppermint, Bergamot, Patchouli, Ylang-Ylang, Orange, Tea Tree, Lemon and Four Others.


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How To Naturally Make An Essential Oil Diffuser (Plus Aromatherapy Oil Blends)

 How To Naturally Make An Essential Oil Diffuser (Plus Aromatherapy Oil Blends) | essential-oil-aromatherapy-diffuser | General Health

Aromatherapy has been shown to have a profound impact on lifting moods, purifying the air, and making a room smell great in the process.

This type of therapy interacts with the “emotional brain” or limbic system. During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affects the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system.

As much as I love to use my oil diffusers in many rooms of my home, I have begun to steer clear of the oil refills that are commercially sold as they contain artificial fragrances or the carrier oils are phthalate-laden and defeat the purpose of breathing in healthy aromas for therapy. Instead, I have found that mixing your own essential oil solution with a little vodka and a carrier oil can help you create a more natural, balanced, healthier oil solution to add to your diffusers.

Make Your Own Essential Oil Solution For Diffusers

Here’s what you need:

Because you will be combining oils, I recommend you purchase a set of essential oils. This is one of my favorite kits.

I have found that making your own essential oil diffuser is simple. All you need is a small container and a blending of your favorite oils. Ensure that the vessel you use has a small neck. This will help to prevent rapid evaporation of the essential oils. Here are some other ideas:

  • flower bud vase with a small neck
  • votive candle holders
  • ceramic vases or containers (ensure the vase is glazed inside so that it doesn’t leak)
  • empty spice jars
  • rattan reeds

A note on reeds: Rattan reeds are better to use than bamboo because the capillary action of the reeds pulls the oils up through the reed and the oil is slowly diffused into the air.

Also, an alternative to do-it-yourself oil diffusers is to consider using rice. Adding a small amount of rice to a bowl and pouring the essential oil liquid (listed above) over it will also create pleasing aromatic effect. The evaporation rate may be faster because the oils are exposed so openly, but it will work all the same. You can also make aromatherapy rice bags, as well. Here are instructions in creating this project.

Get in the Mood

Now that you know how to create essential oil liquid for your diffuser, now it’s time to get in the mood! We found the following list for essential oil combination blends used to balance moods and adapted them in order to add them to the diffuser. The originals to these blends can be found here.

1. Blends to Combat Anger

  • 12 drops Orange
  • 10 drops Patchouli

2. Anxiety Blend

  • 12 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops Clary Sage

3. Blends to Help with Depression

  • 12 drops Bergamot
  • 10 drops Clary Sage

4. Energizing Blends

  • 12 drops Bergamot
  • 10 drops Rosemary

5. Blends to Ease Loneliness

  • 10 drops Bergamot
  • 12 drops Clary Sage

6. Stress Relieving Blends

  • 10 drops Clary Sage
  • 4 drop Lemon
  • 4 drop Lavender

7. Blends to Ease the Winter Blues

  • 12 drops Orange
  • 8 drops Grapefruit

or

  • 12 drops Bergamot
  • 10 drops Clary Sage

8. Blends to Ease Fear

  • 12 drops Grapefruit
  • 10 drops Bergamot

9. Blends to Help Increase Confidence

  • 12 drops Orange
  • 10 drops Rosemary

10. Blends to Enhance Memory and Concentration

  • 12 drops Rosemary
  • 10 drops Lemon

or

  • 10 drops Peppermint
  • 12 drops Lemon

The next time you feel that your mood is”off” or that you want to enhance your memory try some of these essential oil combinations and see the positive effects. Aromatherapy is a natural way to improve and balance your moods and create a healthier environment.


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What Are Essential Oils? A Guide from Extraction to Uses

What Are Essential Oils? A Guide from Extraction to Uses | essential-oils | Natural Medicine Sleuth Journal Special Interests

Essential oils are the oil-based aromatic extracts derived from the leaves, stems, fruit, bark, flowers, roots, or seeds of plants. They are a highly concentrated form of volatile oils—another name for essential oils—and have many beneficial properties.[1] Historians estimate that humans have been using essential oils for 5,000 to 6,000 years for medicinal, cosmetic, and hygienic purposes. The earliest methods and technology did not produce the essential oils we are familiar with today. Whereas many of today’s essential oil producers focus on purity, the ancient versions were likely adulterated with stray plant materials, debris, and other oils. As time passed, extraction methods and technology improved. Let’s look more at how essential oils are created and the many ways they can be used.

How Are Essential Oils Created?

There are a few ways to create essential oils and the ideal extraction process is determined by the oil’s source and how well it’s phytoconstituents respond to extraction. Distillation and using solvents are the most popular ways to extract essential oils. Plants or oils that are too delicate for distillation must be expressed, mechanically crushed, or extracted using solvents. Others, like whole citrus fruits, may be mechanically rolled over needles that puncture and release essential oils, a process known as the ecuelle or scarification method.[2]

Distillation

When using the distillation method, there are three distinct ways to obtain oils: water distillation, water and steam distillation, and steam distillation. Pure steam distillation is the most gentle of the distillation extraction methods. In water distillation, the plant material is boiled, and the essential oils are decanted off the water. Water-steam distillation involves both boiling and steaming the plant material.

Steam distillation takes place in a still. If the essential oils are processed fresh, this typically takes place in or near the same field from which the plant is harvested to preserve the delicate phytochemicals. The heat from the still forces the plant matter to release its oils at the lowest temperature possible to prevent burning or denaturing the more fragile phytochemicals. The steam carries the essential oils through the equipment to condense in another section of the still with the water. The essential oils are poured off the top of this water. This water, called hydrosol, contains the water-soluble, aromatic phytoconstituents of the plant. Hydrosols are often used in cosmetics for their more subtle aroma and gentle, beneficial effects on the skin.[3]

Enfleurage

Enfleurage is an old, tedious, and expensive method of collecting essential oils. Historically, essential oil producers used it for fragile plant sources, such as jasmine flowers, that couldn’t tolerate more aggressive extraction methods. The process involves gently placing flowers on top of a fatty medium, either a scent-free vegetable oil or lard, so that the volatile oils would transfer into the fat. These flowers were continually and regularly replaced on the surface of the medium until it was thoroughly imbued with the desired oils. Once completed, the producer would use alcohol to separate the essential oil from the fatty medium by allowing the alcohol to evaporate away.[3]

Solvent Extraction

A relatively new technology for extracting essential oils is called supercritical CO2 extraction. This method applies high barometric pressure under specific temperature conditions to release the oil from its source. Liquid CO2 is used as a solvent and poured over the plant matter to release the essential oils. Sometimes ethanol is added to this process. Afterward, the CO2 (or ethanol) evaporates and only the essential oil remains.

Alcohol tinctures are another method of extraction that uses ethanol to release essential oils. The plant matter is submerged in alcohol and the volatile oils of the plant are extracted by the ethanol. One potential downside of these tinctures is that they contain as much as 60-90% alcohol, and may not be an appropriate choice for everyone.[4]

How to Select Essential Oils

The best quality essential oils are 100% pure, organically grown, and minimally processed. Many phytochemicals are sensitive to heat, light, and harsh chemical solvents, so they must be handled gently to retain the full spectrum of their beneficial constituents. If an essential oil provider doesn’t openly explain how they extract their oils, consider a different brand.

Though the scientific community is skeptical, some aromatherapists ascribe to an idea called an energy signature. They believe that living beings resonate at a particular frequency and life experiences, or processes in the case of essential oils, change the speed at which their molecules vibrate. This energetic signature is what they believe provides the many health benefits of essential oils.[5]

The Top 33 Uses of Essential Oils

Essential oils do much more than just smell nice, they have a variety of health-promoting and helpful uses. Try essential oils the next time you want to soothe a headache, reinvigorate your mind, calm frayed nerves, or any of the other uses for essential oils listed below.[3]

1. Clean Surfaces, Air, and Clothes

Many natural and organic cleaning products already contain essential oils as they tend to have antimicrobial properties.[1] Beyond just cleaning surfaces, the volatility of these oils makes them ideal for reducing microbial contaminants in the air. For example, you can:

  • Use eucalyptus and tea tree oil to freshen humid rooms like the bathroom.
  • Add a few drops of lavender oil to a dry washcloth and throw it in the dryer with your wet clothes.
  • Use lemongrass or rosemary to freshen and disinfect the fridge or freezer by sprinkling a few drops on a damp washcloth and wiping down surfaces.
  • Freshen up gym bags, lockers, car, and shoes with a few drops on a cotton ball or piece of felt.

2. Get Rid of Shower Mildew

Shower mold is unsightly and unhealthy. To get rid of it, liberally sprinkle eucalyptus oil on any areas that have darkened, especially grout or the tracks of sliding shower doors. You can also apply to problem spots with a cotton swab.

3. Promote Skin Health

There are several skin care benefits that essential oils provide. Patchouli and clary sage slow skin aging and increase cell turnover to reveal fresh glowing skin. Orange oil revitalizes aging skin by promoting collagen production, just like the vitamin C in the whole orange.

Apply a drop of bergamot oil to soothe dry, cracked or inflamed skin. Chamomile also helps with skin dryness but is great for itchy skin as well. For dandruff, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo bottle and shake well to distribute evenly.

Patchouli also calms irritated skin and expedites wound repair. Slow or stop a small cut from bleeding with a small dab of cypress oil.

4. Moisturize Hands and Nails

For a DIY cuticle oil, dilute lemon or rosemary oil into sweet almond oil and rub into bare nails.

5. Clear Blemishes

Basil, bergamot, and cedarwood will help clear blemishes. A compress made with bergamot oil promotes the healing process by soothing swollen, painful skin eruptions. Cedarwood and orange oil help balance the production of skin oils.

6. Encourage Supple Lips

Topical bergamot oil minimizes pain from lip conditions, while lemongrass and peppermint promote clear, moisturized lips.

7. Calm Anxiety and Promote Relaxation

Essential oils are well known for their ability to improve mood. Lavender is effective at reducing feelings of anxiety that it’s encapsulated and taken orally by some. Diffuse oregano, basil, black pepper, and cedarwood in a humidifier to create a calming home or work environment.

8. Discourage Harmful Organisms

Several essential oils are good for addressing topical Candida overgrowth, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that suits your preference. These include:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Sage
  • Tea tree oil
  • Thyme
  • Tulsi
  • Clary sage

Make sure to apply them correctly. Check to see if your preferred essential oil requires a carrier oil. You can mix these into your lotion or coconut oil to apply.

For athlete’s foot, rub a few drops of cedarwood into your skin, or mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil into a teaspoon of a carrier oil and massage into skin. For nail fungus, use a cotton swab to apply 100% tea tree oil to the affected area.

9. Create a Rejuvenating Bath Elixir

Add a few drops of lavender, lemon balm, jasmine, or chamomile to your next hour-long soak. Drop the oil on your bath salts, on your bath bomb, or add it directly to the water. Boost the efficacy of your foot bath by resting tired feet and killing fungi. If you’re prone to urinary tract discomfort, using bergamot oil in the bath helps keep your bladder and kidneys healthy.

10. Assist Recovery After a Workout

Add a few drops of lavender, rosemary, or rose oil to a damp hand towel and freeze it. Fold over your eyes during savasana at yoga or drape it around your next after your workout to cool down and boost your mood.

11. Increase Alertness

Mix a few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint oil together in your humidifier to increase alertness. You can also try basil oil, bergamot, and black pepper for similar results.

12. Boost Memory and Concentration

Inhale the vapors of black pepper, cypress oil, or eucalyptus to boost your concentration. Clary sage, cloves, sage, and coriander increase your ability to concentrate with the bonus of increasing your recall.

13. Deepen Meditation

To deepen your meditation practice, inhale the vapors of benzoin and cypress oil to increase your focus and turn your thoughts inward.

14. Repel Insects

Peppermint, lemongrass, basil, and eucalyptus are natural insect deterrents. Either diffuse the oils to deter mosquitos, or use a mixture of the essential oil in vegetable glycerin and water and spray lightly on clothing. Just make sure to shake well first.

15. Support Normal Digestion

There are many ways that essential oils can help relieve gastric upset like bloating and gas. Lemongrass relieves gas and helps your body recover from stomach distress. For indigestion, dab a dry mint with peppermint oil. After letting it soak in thoroughly, quickly crunch the mint and swallow. For heartburn, use the same method but with chamomile oil. To relieve gas, stimulate appetite or prevent constipation, try basil, black pepper, coriander oil.

16. Boost Cleansing and Detoxification

After a weekend of overindulging, dilute 3 drops of fennel oil into a teaspoon of olive or flax oil and swallow to help yourself detox.

17. Calm Upset Stomach

Peppermint has long been used to quell nausea, and it’s an effective non-pharmaceutical option for people undergoing aggressive medical therapies, but there’s no scientific evidence it helps with morning sickness. You can also try inhaling the scent of ginger, peppermint, or coriander.

18. Appetite Suppressant

Inhale fennel or bitter orange to suppress appetite.

19. Encourage a Happy Mood

Surround yourself with uplifting scents when you’re feeling down in the dumps. Chamomile and clary sage resist down moods, basil oil brings about feelings of joy, and eucalyptus increases optimism.

20. Boost the Immune System

Many essential oils stimulates the immune system. Add them to your diffuser to reap the health benefits.

21. Promote Respiratory Comfort

Calm a cough with cedarwood and clary sage. If you already have a sore throat, soothe it with bergamot, lavender, or black cumin seed oil. If your lungs ache from coughing, inhale the scent of benzoin to soothe the discomfort. To reduce feelings of bronchial tightness, add 10 drops of clary sage to your humidifier. For a runny nose, inhale cypress or eucalyptus oil through your nose to dry it up.

22. Support Easy Breathing

Many OTC medicines contain chemicals that help loosen thick phlegm, so you expel it, but there are several natural ways to break through chest congestion. Use your humidifier to moisten dry air and diffuse the vapors of essential oils like benzoin, cedarwood, Manila elemi and eucalyptus loosen phlegm and make your coughs more productive.

23. Clear Nasal Passages

To clear a stuffy nose, inhale the scent of basil or black pepper oil.

24. Relieve Headache

Apply lavender, ginger, lemongrass, or willow bark with feverfew to temples to relieve headache pain. Dilute a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint in a carrier oil and apply the same way, or simply rub a few drops between your hands and inhale the scent.

25. Topical Pain Relief

To relieve local pain, apply clove, echinacea, kava, or myrrh topically to the affected area.

26. Menstrual Pain Relief

Attenuate menstrual pain with basil oil, chamomile, clary sage. Rub undiluted chamomile on the abdomen, or dilute basil or clary sage oil in equal parts sweet almond oil and apply.

27. Ease Symptoms of Menopause

For hot flashes, keep a bottle of clary sage on you. Rub a few drops into your hands and inhale the aroma to quell a hot flash.

28. Calm Joint and Muscle Discomfort, Swelling, and Stiffness

Massage black pepper, chamomile, basil, coriander, or eucalyptus into the skin to relieve joint and muscle stiffness and soreness. ef. Dilute the essential oils according to the directions on the bottle.

29. Encourage Restful Sleep

Dispel insomnia with chamomile. Either rub some onto your chest, add it to your humidifier, or sprinkle lightly on your pillow case.

30. Flavor Foods

To flavor your hot chocolate, try a drop or two of peppermint in your cocoa.

31. Promote Hair Growth

Some believe cedarwood and clary sage stimulate hair growth. Add a few drops to your shampoo to apply.

32. Add Shine to Hair

Return some luster to your locks with basil or chamomile oil. Even distribute 2-3 drops into dry hands and comb your hair with your fingers to coat strands lightly.

33. Enjoy a Pleasant Fragrance

You can use essential oils to scent your home, car, or even yourself. Dilute a little rose, orange, lavender, lemon oil in jojoba and rub into your pressure points for a perfume. To fresh your breath, add a drop of peppermint oil to your toothbrush and brush as normal after using toothpaste. For your home, use a humidifier to distribute the oil’s aroma throughout your house.

Be careful about putting essential oils in your car. Some oils phytoconstituents are rough on finishes, but you can easily apply a few drops to a cotton ball, piece of cardboard, or felt and put it somewhere safe to keep your car will smelling fresh and clean.

Essential Safety Tips for Using Essential Oils

The dose is what matters most when using essential oils at home. Always check the label or consult your trusted essential oil producer’s website to ensure you’re correctly using these powerful oils. Many of essential oils must be diluted to prevent skin irritation, and some should only be used in humidifiers or diffusers.

Follow the directions when using essential oils. In addition to skin irritation, some essential oils increase your susceptibility to sunburn when applied to skin. If you’re pregnant, nursing, or trying to get pregnant, consult with your healthcare practitioner before using any essential oils, even if you’ve used them before. Some essential oils stimulate the shedding of the uterine lining and should be completely avoided. If you cannot find information on the essential oil you want to you use, do not apply to your skin or ingest it.[6]

Some essential oil producers intentionally dilute their oils to make them safer for consumer use or to lower the price of extremely expensive oils like neroli. Make sure to buy your essential oils from organic sources and check to see that they are therapeutic grade if you intend to use them pure. If you’re not yet ready to try using pure or undiluted essential oils, you can always try products that contain them—there’s no shortage of options. Parfait Visage® features a blend of essential oils, each selected to promote beautiful, radiant-looking skin.

Have you tried essential oils in your skincare routine? Tell us about it in the comments!

 

 

References (6)
  1. Aromatherapy.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center, 1997. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
  2. EXTRACTION METHODS OF NATURAL ESSENTIAL OILS.” N.p.: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
  3. Wilson, Roberta. “The Essential Guide to Essential Oils: The Secret to Vibrant Health and Beauty.” United States: Avery Publishing Group Inc.,U.S., 2016. Print.
  4. How Are Essential Oils Extracted?” National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy. 2017. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
  5. Rhind, Jennifer Peace, and David Pirie. “Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice.” N.p.: Singing Dragon, 2012. Print.
  6. Are Essential Oils Safe?” University of Minnesota. Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2017

 

 


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Birch Essential Oil For Arthritis, Muscle And Joint Pain

Birch Essential Oil For Arthritis, Muscle And Joint Pain | birch-tree | Natural Medicine Special Interests

Once you move beyond the basic, everyday essential oils that we all know and love, it becomes time to explore some of the more esoteric oils that solve specific ailments.  In my own exploration of essential oils, a specific ailment high on my list was relief from muscle and joint pain.

The oil of choice?  Birch essential oil for arthritis and other aches and pains of the muscles and joints is perfect!

Not only is Birch effective against common, everyday aches and pains, but it is superior if not outstanding in providing relief from arthritis joint pain and those deep, spasmodic cramps that only seem to visit in the dead of night.

What is Birch Oil?

Not surprisingly, Birch essential oil comes from the bark of birch trees. The scientific name is Betula Lenta and sometimes the oil is referred to as Sweet Birch Oil.

Pure, unadulterated birch oil, while not rare, can be difficult to find. That said, it is not an expensive oil relatively speaking.  What makes it special is that 100% pure Birch essential oil contains both salicylic acid and methyl salicylate. Both have a cortisone-like quality that reduces discomfort in the muscles, bones, and joints and in addition, are recognized as germicides and bactericides in the world of medicine.

Whereas Birch essential oil is an effective anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, and diuretic, it really shines in its use to combat muscle and joint pain.  Bar none, Birch is the oil you want to use to relieve the pain of arthritis, tendonitis, gout, and severe muscle cramping.

How to Use Birch Oil to Fight Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

In my own household, we use Birch essential oil blended synergistically with both Geranium and Lemongrass oils.  We came up with this formula by trial and error and although it uses other oils, we still fondly refer to it as “The Birch”.

We use “The Birch” in two ways: as a topical, roller-ball application diluted with fractionated coconut oil, and also as a heavy duty pain-relieving salve. According to Shelly, who is also known as the Survival Husband, the back to back use of both the roller ball and the salve, morning and night, has made the arthritis in his hands bearable.

Here is what he has to say:

“Before using the essential oils Gaye made up for me, I had so much arthritis pain in my right hand that at times my hand was non-functional.  After using the EO blends morning and night for five months, my arthritis pain has almost disappeared.

I can ride my Harley, play golf, do my chores, and simply get through the day with minimal discomfort.”

Replicating the formula I made for Shelly is easy.  Here are my two “arthritis busting” recipes.  That is what I call them although, of course, they are used for other aches and pains as well.

Arthritis Busting Roller Ball Formula

6 drops Birch Essential Oil
6 drops Geranium Essential Oil
6 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 5ml roller ball bottle.  Top with enough fractionated coconut oil (FCO) to fill the bottle.  If you are using a 10ml roller ball bottle, just fill half way.  (I find that the 10ml size is more common.)

Arthritis Busting Salve

30 drops Birch Essential Oil
30 drops Geranium Essential Oil
30 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 1 ounce jar (I use both these and these).  Top with either Plain “Simple” Salve or DIY Miracle Healing Salve and mix well with a small stick (I use a coffee stir stick).  Use twice daily or as needed.

A Word of Caution

Birch essential oil is a strong oil and if used undiluted, may cause irritation.  In addition, Birch should be avoided by those who use blood thinners, have epilepsy, or women who may be pregnant.

If you do use blood thinners, I suggest substituting the birch essential oil with additional drops of lemongrass oil. While not quite as effective as Birch, Lemongrass EO is an amazing pain reliever in it’s own right.  It is also a very inexpensive oil.

About Essential Oils

After a significant amount of research, for health, first-aid, and wellness purposes I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  There are a lot reasons, the most important being their commitment to both quality and value.  I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical grade purity.

If you decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, please know that you will enjoy a 10% discount on your order when you use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. (Note:  I do receive a small commission on your purchase and for that I extremely appreciative.)

The Final Word

As I have mentioned, we call our Arthritis Busting formulas, “The Birch”.  In reality, the title of this article could have been “Using Essential Oils for Joint and Muscle Pain”. Still, with Birch essential oil being a key component, I wanted to introduce the oil to you along with some of its beneficial properties so that you can explore more uses on your own.

Personally, I love using all three of the oils in “The Birch” and even though I do not have arthritis myself, I find the formula useful for breaking down those knots of stress that appear on my neck and on my shoulders.  And for cramping hands and toes?  Nothing beats “The Birch” aka the Arthritis Busting formula.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Save

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DIY Cold And Flu Bomb

DIY Cold And Flu Bomb | Wellness_Products | Natural Medicine

Essential oils have taken the prepper world by storm and with good reason.  For a relatively low cost, a few bottles of carefully selected essential oils can resolve a myriad of first aid woes, not the least of which are colds and flus, headaches, minor infections, and those dreaded aches and pains caused by sore muscles, charley horses, and more.

Each month, as I have written about essential oils, the message has come back loud and clear.  “We want specifics!”

Today I am going to share with you a very basic, very useful, and very specific use of essential oils.  It has been my experience that three simple oils, applied to the bottom of your feet at the onset of a cold, will bust the nasties quickly and allow you to get on with the business of living.

This protocol is commonly referred to as the “Cold and Flu Bomb”.

The Cold and Flu Bomb Recipe

This essential oil recipe is so darn easy, yet effective, that it is embarrassing.

Cold and Flu Bomb

5 drops Melaleuca essential oil
5 drops Shield Blend (a proprietary “Thieves” type blend by Spark Naturals)
3 drops Oregano essential oil

Combine the essential oils in a roller bottle.  At the onset of a cold, apply to the soles of your feet plus the big toe every 2 to 3 hours.  Continue to use for at least one day after your symptoms are done.

I find that this makes up enough to use on one person for one day.  It is easy to double or triple the recipe so use your judgment and prepare as little or as much as you think you will need.

Special note for use on children under eight:  You will not want to use these oils undiluted on the kiddos.  You can’t go wrong with a 50/50 dilution with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or even Plain Ole’ Salve (healing salve without essential oils).

That’s it.  Were you expecting more?

Actually, there are variations to this recipe, such as adding 5 drops of lemon essential oil or a few drops of Peppermint or Frankincense.  I have had excellent results using the basic recipe so have not bothered with any alternatives.

Night Time Cold Buster

For extra healing, I have used 2 drops of melaleuca, 2 drops of Shield, and 1 drop of Oregano in my diffuser at night.  If you are stuffed up, you may want to diffuse eucalyptus or Respire blend instead.

A Note About Essential Oils

I use essential oils from Spark Naturals because I feel they are they are the most affordable, therapeutic quality essential oils out there.  That said, there are many quality essential oil companies and I am certain their oils will work as well.  On the other hand, why pay more when you don’t have to?

That being said, I am building up a supply of Melaleuca, Shield, and Oregano essential oils for long term storage.  So far, I have 2 of each stored away in a cool dark location and there is no reason to believe that they will not be good years from now.  If however, you live in a warm, humid climate, you may want to store your oils in the refrigerator during the heat of summer.

If you decide to give Spark Naturals a try, be sure to use the discount code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount.

I should also mention that you can take these oils internally in gel or veggie capsules.  I have not tried this myself so I leave it up to you to decide if you want to give internal use a try.  The typical dosage is 3 drops of each oil per capsule.  Just make sure you are using a therapeutic grade of oil as indicated by the supplement information on its label.

The Final Word

As I have written in the past, Oregano essential oil is considered to be nature’s strongest and most effective antibiotic.  In addition, Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree Oil) has been proven to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.   Shield is a blend of oils that support a healthy immune function plus kills bacteria, mold and viruses.

All are great oils to have on hand for use now as well as for the long term when traditional drugs and OTC remedies may not be available.  For more information, read:

25 Ways to Use Oregano Essential Oil for Health and Wellness
The Miracle of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival
DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough

One more thing.  Over the next year I plan to share more essential oil solutions that I have used personally with good results.  To me, first hand anecdotal knowledge and first hand experience trumps volumes of material found on the internet that may, or may not be valid, in practical terms.

What do you think?  Do you have an essential oil “recipe” or formula to share that may be useful to someone else?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Save

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DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer Is Not Enough

DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer Is Not Enough | spray | Natural Medicine

 

Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

One of the most valuable benefits of pure essential oils is their ability to kill a virus. Yes, you heard that right KILL a virus and, without side effects mind you!  This reason alone makes essential oils universally beneficial for all mankind because our bodies battle bacterial and viral infections daily. Additionally, more virulent strains of bacterial infection like MRSA are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics.  But here’s the kicker…

Traditional prescription antibiotics cannot kill a virus, did you know that?  However, our ever generous planet offers us a superhero solution to the complex health hazard of antibiotic resistance – essential oils.  It’s so simple it’s almost unbelievable but it’s true, spend some time with Google and learn for yourself because I love validation!

Tis the season for enterovirus related illness especially contagious in schools. This virus isn’t new but the strain showing up this fall is spreading rapidly and that IS new.  Enterovirus D68 is a big worry for children with compromised respiratory systems ie: asthma, chemo patients, infants.

After reading many articles, a common preventative is to wash hands often especially in public places like schools, stores and public transportation.  “Store bought hand sanitizers are not enough”.  This comment was made on national news last night.  Not a good choice anyway, many contain triclosan which the Environmental Protection Agency has listed as a pesticide.

Let’s get serious and put pure essential oils to work instead.  They’re portable, strong enough to kill a virus and they can protect your family safely, responsibly and effectively.

In my experience, a small spray bottle is the best application to take with you or send with your kids. Glass or PET plastic spray bottles are widely available and affordable. However, you can add antiviral EOs to Naked Salve or a roller bottle if that’s your preference!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

Add essential oils to empty spray bottle, top off with alcohol free witch hazel and a pinch of salt. The salt acts as an emulsifier but this is optional. If you decide against adding salt to emulsify, shake bottle gently before each use.

Author: Camp Wander

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FYI – I made sure this blend wouldn’t be a problem for little hands that rub their eyes.  I tried rubbing my eyes after sanitizing my hands and all was well, no burn from Oregano or Shield with cinnamon and clove in it!

Good news!  Everything in Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizer can be used to fight infection should you or a loved one succumb to Enterovirus D68.  I will suggest two additional essential oils however: Melaleuca to assist Oregano (watch how) and, Respire Respiratory Blend in case an infection goes to the lungs.  Respire can be inhaled or diffused to help open up airways.

The Final Word

Over the past year, I have had some amazing results using essential oils in lieu of over the counter remedies.  My favorite uses are in a healing salve (see DIY Miracle Healing Salve) and in a roller ball bottle when combined with a bit of fractionated coconut oil.

That said, as always, seek medical attention for any sort of serious illness or when you have symptoms of a high fever, persistent cough, or unbearable pain.

For more information about the basics of hand sanitation, be sure to also read Survival Basics: Hand Sanitation For Good Hygiene.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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What You Need to Know About Using a Diffuser

What You Need to Know About Using a Diffuser | essential-oil-diffuser-1024x683 | Natural Medicine Special Interests

Using a diffuser to dispense the healing qualities of essential oils is one of the easiest ways to become accustomed to their use.  Say, for example, someone in your home is sick with a cold or flu.  Adding 5 or 6 drops of an anti-microbial essential oil to a diffuser will allow the healing qualities of the oil to disperse and circulate around the room, benefiting all if its occupants.

Likewise, if you are having problems breathing, a few drops of an essential oil running in a diffuser can clear the nasal passages and allow you to breathe more easily, especially at night.  If this sounds familiar to the old fashioned vaporizer our mother’s put in our rooms as kids, you are correct.  The concept is the same but instead of breathing in a chemical cocktail invented by the OTC drug industry, you are breathing something plant based that is actually good for you.

In this article, I share with you some of the benefits of using an essential oil diffuser along with alternatives for those times when a diffuser is not available.  I also suggest specific oils and blends to get you started.

The Role of Smell In Staying Healthy

Smell plays a large role in the way essential oils affect the body.  Let me walk you through it.

As we breathe the aroma from an essential oil, the receptors in the nose are stimulated.  These, in turn, send a chemical message through our nerve system and to the brain’s limbic system.  Moods, emotions and physical health are affected. This process, collectively, is what is commonly referred to as aromatherapy.

Alas, credible scientific research on these effective use of essential oils for healing is spotty at best.  This article from the University of Minnesota gives the following reasons.

Essential Oils are not standardized

It is difficult to conduct blind studies with aromatic substances

It is difficult to get approval and funding for research on essential oils (no surprise there).

It is difficult to tell what caused the outcome.

Much of the research that does exist has been either conducted or funded by essential oils companies themselves. The results of the research may be valid but to me, that is like asking your favorite cousin to give you a glowing job reference.  It may be true, but then again, it may be rigged.

Still, anecdotal evidence is abundant, and much of it comes from professional aromatherapists who have made it their life’s work to treat individuals with the use of essential oils.  Many if not most do not have a relationship with a specific brand name; they simply want the best product for the job.

Although I am not a scientist, health professional, or trained aromatherapist, I do believe that the use of essential oils is a diffuser is beneficial to our health and well-being  The benefits I outline for you are benefits I have personally experienced and for me, it does not get much better than that.

Note:  For the most part, the essential oils below are not-brand specific.  The exceptions are some proprietary blends that I use myself on on ongoing basis.

11 Benefits of Using Essential Oils with a Diffuser

Avoid Colds and Flu

Many essential oils are anti-microbial and when used in a diffuser, can collide with airborne pathogens before they have a chance to invade your body and attack your immune system.

Suggested:  Melaleuca (also known as tea tree), Oregano, Shield Protective Blend

Promote Sleep

At the end of the day, many of us are wound up tight, managing our to-do list in our head, and focused on the coulda, woulda, shouldas of life.  A bedside diffuser is calming with the added bonus of running for up to 6 hours throughout the night, promoting relaxation and blissful sleep.

Suggested: Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Bliss Calming Blend

Relax and De-Stress

I wish I could say that stress was a 21st century ailment but my guess is that stress from jobs, relationships, chores, and just the process of surviving have been around for a long, long time.  I remember being stressed in high school, college, early in my career, and even now, when life should be slowing down.  Relaxation?  What’s that?  Diffusing essential oils can be a major stress reliever, whether during the workday, with a diffuser sitting on your desk, or in the evening, while winding down from a busy day.

Suggested:  Wild orange, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Zen Grounding Blend

Mood Elevating

Essential oils are effective in turning a bad day into a good day b elevating your mood and giving you a boot in energy.  This helps when you are sad or depressed or just plain tired.  Try diffusing a blend of oils after a long day of work or chores and feel rejuvenated and ready to enjoy the evening, whatever you happen to be doing.

Suggested: Wild Orange, Lavender, Geranium

Purify and Cleanse the Air

Say you forgot to take the garbage out and you walk into the house after being gone for awhile only to realize the place stinks and stinks big time.  Funny how we don’t notice the smell until we leave the house and come back!

Suggested: Any Citrus (Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit), Refresh Cleansing Blend

Mental Focus

Essential oils can be clarity to your work and help you focus on the task at hand.  This is especially true during the work day, when you have a project deadline and can’t seem to focus on what needs to be done to bring it to completion.

Suggested: Wild Orange combined with Cedarwood or Zen Grounding Blend

Breath Easier

This is typically one of the number on reasons someone will invest in a diffuser and begin using essential oils.  Not only will essential oils will clear the nasal passages, but they will also travel throughout the respiratory system, soothing the sinuses and lungs.

Suggested: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Respire Respiratory Blend

Immune System

One of the best ways to avoid illness is to have a strong immune system.  This allows your body to fight bacteria and viruses that are just waiting to attack and take you down. Seriously, a diffuser misting antimicrobial and antibacterial oils will go a long way in helping you avoid any “bugs” that are going around.  This is especially true while traveling and staring in hotels where someone else has stayed just hours prior to your arrival

Suggested:  Oregano, Melaleuca, and any robbers-type blend such as Shield Protective Blend

Relieve Headache Pain

Relieving a headache via the topical use of an essential oils is quite common.  You can extend that relief by also using a diffuser.  This is especially true with one of the those nagging headaches that keep coming back.  I like to follow-up topical treatment with diffused oils.

Suggested:  Lavender, Peppermint, Relief Headache Blend

Repel Insects and Other Unwanted Visitors

Bugs seem to be repelled by essential oils and especially peppermint.  In addition to putting peppermint infused cotton balls in your cupboards and closets, essential oils in a diffuser helps control flying insects such as house flies, mosquitoes,  fruit flies, and even or moths.

Suggested:  Peppermint, Cedarwood, clove, Lemongrass, Lavender

Safe Alternative to Candles

Candles are an age old tool for inspiring calm and promoting romance.  That said, candles have the potential of causing a fire or being knocked over, splashing hot wax on both people and furniture.  With a diffuser, you avoid the risk and mess.

Suggested oils:  Any oil you find pleasant

No Diffuser?  Try This Alternative

As much as I love diffusers, as a practical matter, I know that there are times when one may not be available.  Or perhaps a diffuser is not in the budget.  If that is the case, try steam inhalation instead.

There are two ways you can do this.  One of the easiest is to place 1 or 2 drops of an essential oil or blend onto a tissue or handkerchief then bring it up to your nose and inhale.  It takes a while for the oils to dissipate so you can do this many times throughout the day with good results.  Of course, a handkerchief will hold up better than a tissue!

The second method is to add 3 to 5 drops of oil to a steaming bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel that is large enough to reach over the sides of the bowl.  With your face 12 inches away from the bowl and your eyes shut, inhale deeply.  Repeat again several times over the period of 5 or 10 minutes.

What Does Antimicrobial Mean?

When studying essential oils, you will see this term used a lot.  Sometimes you will even see the word anti-microbial used interchangeably with the term “antibiotic” but that is wrong.  Here is a definition I can live with:

An ANTIMICROBIAL is any substance of natural, semisynthetic or synthetic origin that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms but causes little or no damage to the host.

All antibiotics are antimicrobials, but not all antimicrobials are antibiotics.

Source:  Michigan State University

Many 100% pure essential oils are a natural antimicrobial with far fewer side effects than antimicrobials of synthetic origin.

Additional Resources

The use of essential oils for healing is somewhat controversial and so, to present a balanced article, I share the following resources so you can continue your own research.

If you are interested in learning about the history of aromatherapy, Aromaweb has an article you may find interesting. .http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/history.asp

Another interesting article is The Science of Essential Oils: Does Using Scents Make Sense? It states:

“Although many essential oils have pleasant smells and some of their active ingredients are purported to have health benefits, there is limited scientific evidence that they actually improve people’s health or mood.”

I tend to agree that there is little in the way of scientific evidence although anecdotal evidence, including my own, is substantial.

And finally, this article for the NIH describes the promising use of essential oils to relieve the symptomatic effect of disease (cancer mostly) along with a medically-based Q&A:  Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

A Word About Essential Oils

In the article, I have outlined some of the benefits of using an essential oil diffuser to promote a positive attitude, good health, and general well-being. In addition, as I mentioned above, I have also tried to avoid being brand-specific, since the value of using essential oils comes from their use, and there are many fine essential oil companies in the marketplace.

That said, I do prefer essential oils from Spark Naturals, an online company located in Orem, Utah.  They sell a high-quality product at reasonable prices.  They provide one up-pricing and there are no membership fees.  In addition, they offer my readers a 10% across the board discount when they use my coupon code, BACKDOORSURVIVAL, at checkout.

Spark Naturals also has weekly sales which I share on a special page on this website.  You will find the link to the right-hand position of the top menu bar. You will find this week’s special below.

 

The Final Word

In Part 2 of this series, I will talk more specifically about diffusers and will review one of my current favorites. I will also explain how they work and maintenance procedures to keep them in tip-top shape.  Finally, I will share some of my favorite DIY blends (called synergies) made from essential oils I keep on hand at all times.

Essential oils are not snake oil and much of what I share comes from my own experience as I have made them a part of my everyday life.  They are an important part of my overall survival strategy, not only for first aid, but for stress relief, wellness, and for maintenance of a healthy and strong immune system.

I wish you good health in good times and bad!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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What Is Neroli Oil and What Is It Used For?

What Is Neroli Oil and What Is It Used For? | orange-tree-white-blossoms | General Health Natural Medicine

Neroli oil is a pale-yellow essential oil derived from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree (citrus aurantium). Extracted via steam distillation, neroli oil has a sweet, distinctive citrus scent and is widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy. According to legend, neroli oil is named for Anna-Marie de Nerola, an Italian aristocrat who popularized the oil in 17th century Europe.

Related Essential Oils

Orange trees produce a wide variety of essential oils. The bitter orange tree also yields petitgrain essential oil. While neroli oil is extracted from the flowers, petitgrain oil is derived from the leaves and young twigs. Petitgrain is chemically distinct from neroli and possesses a woodier aroma. Bergamot orange (citrus bergamia) is a closely related cultivar. The peel of the bergamot orange fruit is used to produce bergamot essential oil, which is used to flavor Earl Grey tea, Turkish delight, and marmalade. Orange oil extracted from the peel of the sweet orange fruit (Citrus sinensis) is used in an assortment of beauty products, cleaners, and flavorings.

Uses of Neroli Oil

Neroli Oil In Beauty Products

Neroli essential oil is prized for its aroma and is one of the most commonly used essential oils in perfumery. Although many people think of “cologne” as a generic term that may refer to any cosmetic fragrance, Eau de Cologne is actually the name of a specific fragrance formula and neroli (along with bergamot, lavender, lemon, and rosemary) is an ingredient.

When used properly, neroli oil is nontoxic, won’t irritate, and is safe for sensitive skin. It moisturizes dry skin and may reduce the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. Neroli oil can be blended with other essential oils and used to relieve occasional itchiness and irritation that comes with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.[1]

Therapeutic Applications

The benefits of neroli oil extend well beyond its pleasant fragrance and ability to support skin health. It has a strong action against harmful organisms.[2] It offers benefits as a digestive aid and can help relieve bloating, gas, and diarrhea.[1] Neroli oil can even promote normal sleep.[3]

Due to its relaxing properties, neroli oil is frequently used in aromatherapy. Although viewed with skepticism by some, aromatherapy has real, scientifically proven benefits, especially for stress management. Inhaling an essential oil blend that includes neroli has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels, and improve mood.[4, 5] Because of its mild sedative effects, neroli is a relaxing massage oil.[3]

Neroli oil can positively affect women’s health. One study found that aromatherapy with neroli oil is a safe, simple, natural, and effective way to reduce labor anxiety.[5] Another study tested the effects of neroli oil on menopausal women and found that inhalation reduced stress and blood pressure, improved pulse rate, and increased sexual desire.[6] As an added bonus, the study concluded that neroli oil may also support the endocrine system.

Chemical Composition of Neroli Oil

Neroli oil has a unique chemical composition. The oil is composed of over thirty distinct compounds including nerolidol, alpha-terpineol, alpha-terpinyl acetate, and farnesol.[7] Limonene, which is the most abundant compound in neroli oil, is used as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. Limonene, alpha-terpineol, and farnesol have also been evaluated for possible anticarcinogenic effects.[8, 9, 10]

Neroli Oil Blends

Many essential oils must be diluted with other oils before they are safe to use on human skin. Neroli oil should be diluted but not because it’s unsafe—because it’s expensive!

Pure neroli oil can cost $100 per ounce! Beware of retailers who charge significantly less—it is likely a fake or a blend. There’s nothing wrong with an essential oil blend… as long as it’s not being passed off as 100% pure neroli oil. Exercise caution and read ingredient labels and reviews before purchasing any neroli oil product.

Why is neroli oil so expensive? Because neroli oil is costly to produce. It takes one ton of bitter orange blossoms to make one quart of oil. Fortunately, a little neroli oil goes a long way and it blends well with other essential oils. Oils frequently blended with neroli include benzoin oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, jasmine oil, and rosemary oil. Neroli also blends well with other citrus oils.

Because of its many benefits for beauty and body, and because it complements other essential oils, Global Healing Center includes neroli oil in several of our products. AquaSpirit® is a refreshing body and face mist that combines neroli oil, oxygen, and other natural aromatherapeutic ingredients to promote radiant, beautiful skin. French for “perfect face”, Parfait Visage® is our top-of-the-line, organic skin care product. It combines neroli oil with natural antioxidants, moisturizers, and botanicals to encourage fresh, healthy-looking skin.

Have you tried neroli oil? What do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!

 

References (10)
  1. Wilson, Roberta. The Essential Guide to Essential Oils: The Secret to Vibrant Health and Beauty. New York: Avery Group, 2016. Print.
  2. Ammar, A. Haj, J. Bouajila, A. Lebrihi, F. Mathieu, M. Romdhane, and F. Zagrouba. “Chemical Composition and in Vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Citrus Aurantium L. Flowers Essential Oil (Neroli Oil).” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 15.21 (2012): 1034-040. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  3. Suryawanshi,Jyotsna Saonere A. “An Overview of Citrus Aurantium Used in Treatment of Various Diseases.” African Journal of Plant Science, vol. 5, no. 7, July 2011, pp. 390–395. Accessed 23 Nov. 2016.
  4. Kim, In-Hee et al. “Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2012 (2012): 984203.PMC. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  5. Namazi, Masoumeh et al. “Aromatherapy With Citrus Aurantium Oil and Anxiety During the First Stage of Labor.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal16.6 (2014): e18371.PMC. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  6. Choi, Seo Yeon et al. “Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial”Citrus AurantiumL. Var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2014 (2014): 796518. PMCpan. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
  7. Ammar, A. Haj, et al. “Chemical Composition and in Vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Citrus Aurantium L. Flowers Essential Oil (Neroli Oil).” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences vol. 15, no. 21, 1 Dec. 2012, pp. 1034–1040.
  8. Jidong, Sun. “D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications.” Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 12, no. 3, 2007, pp. 259–264.
  9. Hassan. Saadia Bashir, et al. “Alpha Terpineol: A Potential Anticancer Agent Which Acts Through Suppressing NF-κB Signalling.” Anticancer Research, vol. 30, no. 6, June 2010, pp. 1911–1919. Accessed 23 Nov. 2016.
  10. Burke, Yvette D., et al. “Inhibition of Pancreatic Cancer Growth by the Dietary Isoprenoids Farnesol and Ge aniol.” Lipids, vol. 32, no. 2, Feb. 1997, pp. 151–156.

 

 

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How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils

How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils | DIY-Hand-Sanitizer-With-Essential-Oils-1024x682 | General Health Organic Market Classifieds Organics

Hand sanitizers have their place in our lives, especially in the sick room where alcohol-based sanitizers rule.  On the other hand, many hand sanitizers currently on the market deliver a chemical brew that results in a sticky, nasty mess along with ingredients such as triclosan and other anti-bacterial ingredients that are now suspected to contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Given that plant-based essential oils are some of the strongest antibacterial and anti-microbial substances around, I have chosen to make my own day-to-day hand sanitizer.  I use this hand sanitizer to supplement good old fashioned hand washing with plenty of soap and water.  This recipe uses  100% organic, cold-pressed Aloe vera gel, organic coconut oil, and a mix and match blend of essential oils.

Before sharing the recipe, let me point out that this is not an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is absolutely what you need when someone is sick or if you are in a nasty, germy environment.  On the other hand, this is a wonderful, moisturizing gel that will not only clean your hands but will nourish them with the healing qualities of Aloe vera, and the coconut and essential oils.

Natural DIY Hand Sanitizer The Easy Way

Ingredients for 1 ounce
1/2 ounce Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (I used this)
1/2 ounce Organic Aloe Vera Gel (I used this)
30 drops (total) Essential Oils (see suggestions below)

Ingredients for 1 cup/8 ounces
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Organic Aloe Vera Gel
120 drops (total) Essential Oils (see suggestions below)

Blend everything together then put them in a squeeze bottle to carry around with you or a pump bottle to keep on the counter.  Personally, I prefer small plastic squeeze bottles that I can keep in my pack, desk drawer or handbag but this is my own personal preference.

Be aware that if your home is on the cool side, your coconut oil will be semi-solid. To easily mix things, I warmed the coconut oil ever-so-slightly before adding the other ingredients. I found it easiest to mix everything in a large Pyrex cup.

I like to label things so the last step in this project is to label your freshly made hand sanitizer.  They may not be pretty but I find using standard 3M painters tape and a Sharpie makes a great label.

When choosing essential oils, choose individual oils or blends that have strong antimicrobial properties.  Here are some suggestions to get you started:  Eucalyptus, Lavender, Oregano, Clove Bud, Rosemary, Peppermint, and Melaleuca/Tea Tree. This is by no means a complete list but it does include popu;lar, budget-friendly oils that many of us have in our kits.

My favorite blend?  I use this powerful combination:

Melaleuca/Tea Tree Essential Oil
Oregano Essential Oil
Spark Naturals Shield Protective Blend

The latter is a thieves-like blend that includes Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary.

~~~~~

Note: This week Spark Naturals is offering huge discounts on all of the oils that were part of the 2016 Oil of the Month Club.  What that means is that each of the 12 oils that were part of  OOTM will be $15.99 for this week only.  For those of you that are interested, I am listing the oils and their original price below in the Bargain Bin, but just as an example. Shield Protective Blend, normally $28.80, is only $15.99. 

This is one of the most important oils in my collection and I keep six bottles on hand for SHTF purposes.

As always, you get a 10% discount on your Spark Naturals order using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.

~~~~~

What is So Bad About Triclosan?

In a word, lots.  Here is a quote from the Smithsonian Magazine article, Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap.

About 75 percent of liquid antibacterial soaps and 30 percent of bars use a chemical called triclosan as an active ingredient. The drug, which was originally used strictly in hospital settings, was adopted by manufacturers of soaps and other home products during the 1990s, eventually ballooning into an industry that’s worth an estimated $1 billion. Apart from soap, we’ve begun putting the chemical in wipes, hand gels, cutting boards, mattress pads and all sorts of home items as we try our best to eradicate any trace of bacteria from our environment.

But triclosan’s use in home over-the-counter products was never fully evaluated by the FDA—incredibly, the agency was ordered to produce a set of guidelines for the use of triclosan in home products way back in 1972, but only published its final draft on December 16 of last year. Their report, the product of decades of research, notes that the costs of antibacterial soaps likely outweigh the benefits, and forces manufacturers to prove otherwise.

A Word About Aloe Vera Gel

I have been doing a ton of research on Aloe Vera lately and sadly, what you see is not always what you get.  I was shocked to learn that some brands are either not 100% Aloe vera or, even worse, are a synthetic substitute.  I even had some of the sticky, yucky type sitting in my cupboard.  The texture was more like 50’s hair gel than the real thing.

Aloe Vera is a plant and if you are lucky enough to grow some, it works miracles when you experience a kitchen burn.  Break off a piece of the plant and use the healing juice to calm the redness and set you on a path toward healing.  As a matter of fact, the two-step punch of Aloe vera and lavender essential oil is my number one tip for soothing burns.

Getting back on topic, let me just say that there are plenty of quality Aloe Vera gels on the market.  Because I shop online, I chose this Aloe vera from Amara Organics and I am thrilled with it.  Look for this or something similar and you will not be disappointed.

 

The Final Word

This all natural, DIY hand sanitizer has saved the day on many occasions.  Most recently, on one of our trips to the mountains, I found myself with the urgent need to take a potty break.  This was the middle of nowhere and the TP was buried deep in the bottom of my Bug Out Bag.  I will leave the rest to your imagination other than to say I was able to freshen up my hands after the fact with my homemade germ-fighting hand sanitizer.

On other occasions, I have used this at social functions where there is a lot of handshaking.  It makes good sense to have clean hands going into such a situation but not everyone is with the program in that regards.  Throughout the evening I apply my hand sanitizer which not only smells good but prevents me from acquiring someone else’s nasties.

Remember that washing hands with plenty of soap and water is always going to be your best bacteria-fighting solution.  But for extra protection?  Forget the hand lotion and use this nourishing hand sanitizer instead.  It just makes sense.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

The post How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Evidence-Based Aromatherapy: Stress Relief And Much More

Evidence-Based Aromatherapy: Stress Relief And Much More | lavender-aromatherapy | Natural Medicine

The health benefits of aromatherapy can no longer be considered placebo in nature. Accumulating evidence now shows that the fragrance of flowers and other volatile plant compounds pack a punch as powerful as certain drugs.

In a day and age like ours, bouts of stress and anxiety are expected to occur at least occasionally during the course of daily life. In fact, if the experience is completely alien to you, you may not be paying attention to what’s going on in the world around us — or, you may be enlightened, and should be congratulated.

Certainly, anti-anxiety drugs can be effective, but they are also addictive and dangerous, with withdrawal symptoms that include seizures and, paradoxically, extreme anxiety. Because of this fact, natural alternatives are needed now more than ever.

Fortunately, finding a non-pharmaceutical solution is no longer simply a matter of guessing, or relying solely on the anecdotal accounts of others. There is an accumulating body of pre-clinical and clinical research available today demonstrating the power, safety and effectiveness of natural compounds for relieving stress and anxiety. In fact, some of these substances do not even require being ingested, as they can be inhaled in exceedingly small doses to be effective.

For example, back in 2002, an amazing discovery was reported in the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology. Researchers found that the simple inhalation of patchouli and rose oil reduced sympathetic nervous activity by 40%, with rose oil reducing adrenaline concentrations by 30%.1    

Such a profound reduction in fight-or-flight associated hormones is hard to accomplish through other non-toxic means. In fact, many folks use alcohol, tobacco and harder drugs, and even foods that contain opioid peptides, to self-medicate themselves down from the emotional cliff — but not without a wide range of unintended, adverse health effects. All the more reason to appreciate the power of therapeutic fragrances.

In turns out that many flowers are well-suited to calm the human body and soul, bringing them back into greater balance. Lavender oil, for instance, has also been studied for the ability to reduce stress,2 anxiety, aggression,3and cortisol levels,4 among two dozen other potential therapeutic properties.5  

Aromatherapy, of course, works primarily through the nose, but can also act through the lung and the skin. When inhaled, volatile aroma compounds from plants are capable of exerting direct-to-brain actions, primarily through the limbic and olfactory systems.  As opposed to the oral ingestion or topical application of a drug or herbal substance, aromatherapy usually offers a far higher margin of safety because the active compounds are small molecule.

Aromatherapy Offers Far More Than Stress Reduction

Stress and anxiety are only two of 30 potential therapeutic applications that have been studied in connection with aromatherapy.

Others of note include:

  • Dysmenorrhea (Menstraul Pain): Aromatherapy massage on the abdomen was found superior to Tylenol for alleviating menstrual pain in high school girls.6   Another study, this time in college students, found that the topical application of a combination of lavender, clary sage and rose essential oils was effective in decreasing the severity of menstrual cramps.7
  • Insomnia: Lavender fragrance has been found effective in a number of studies for treating mild insomnia.8, 9 Beyond sleep-promoting properties, lavender has also been found to simultaneously reduce depression in women college students.10
  • Excessive Chocolate Cravings: While there are worse addictions, jasmine essential oil has been found to reduce chocolate cravings.11
  • Reducing Tobacco Withdrawal: The inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms.12
  • Arthritis Pain: The essential oils lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint blended in proportions of 2:1:2:1:1, resulted in decreased pain and depression scores in arthritic patients.13
  • Infantile Colic: The use of aromatherapy massage using lavender oil was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of colic.14
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: 28 days of aromatherapy consisting of the use of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and lavender and orange in the evening, resulted in significant improvement in personal orientation related to cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.15
  • Migraines: Inhalation of lavender essential oil appears to be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.16
  • Postpartum Depression: Aromatherapy-massage has been shown to have value for postpartum mothers in improving physical and mental status and to facilitate mother-infant interaction.17

View the rest of the research on GreenMedInfo.com here: Aromatherapy’s Health Benefits.

Resources

1 Shinichiro Haze, Keiko Sakai, Yoko Gozu . Effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adults. Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov;90(3):247-53. PMID: 12499579

2 Sioh Kim, Hyun-Jae Kim, Jin-Seok Yeo, Sung-Jung Hong, Ji-Min Lee, Younghoon Jeon. The effect of lavender oil on stress, bispectral index values, and needle insertion pain in volunteers. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep ;17(9):823-6. Epub 2011 Aug 19. PMID: 21854199

3 Sun-Young Lee. [The effect of lavender aromatherapy on cognitive function, emotion, and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia]. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Apr;35(2):303-12. PMID: 15860944

4 Masahiro Toda, Kanehisa Morimoto. Effect of lavender aroma on salivary endocrinological stress markers. Arch Oral Biol. 2008 Oct;53(10):964-8. Epub 2008 Jul 16. PMID: 18635155

5 GreenMedInfo.com, Lavender’s Health Benefits

Myung-Haeng Hur, Myeong Soo Lee, Ka-Yeon Seong, Mi-Kyoung Lee. Aromatherapy massage on the abdomen for alleviating menstrual pain in high school girls: a preliminary controlled clinical study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 ;2012:187163. Epub 2011 Sep 22. PMID: 21949670

7 Sun-Hee Han, Myung-Haeng Hur, Jane Buckle, Jeeyae Choi, Myeong Soo Lee. Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;12(6):535-41. PMID: 16884344

8 George T Lewith, Anthony Dean Godfrey, Philip Prescott. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):631-7. PMID: 16131287

9 Li-Wei Chien, Su Li Cheng, Chi Feng Liu . The effect of lavender aromatherapy on autonomic nervous system in midlife women with insomnia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 ;2012:740813. Epub 2011 Aug 18. PMID: 21869900

10 Inn-Sook Lee, Gyung-Joo Lee. [Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students]. Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Sep;128(2):380-4. PMID: 16520572

11 Eva Kemps, Marika Tiggemann, Sarah Bettany. Non-food odorants reduce chocolate cravings. Appetite. 2012 Mar 9. Epub 2012 Mar 9. PMID: 22407134

12 J E Rose, F M Behm. Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1994 Feb;34(3):225-9. PMID: 8033760

13 Myung-Ja Kim, Eun-Sook Nam, Seun-In Paik . [The effects of aromatherapy on pain, depression, and life satisfaction of arthritis patients]. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Feb ;35(1):186-94. PMID: 15778570

14 Bengü Cetinkaya, Zümrüt Başbakkal. The effectiveness of aromatherapy massage using lavender oil as a treatment for infantile colic. Int J Nurs Pract. 2012 Apr ;18(2):164-9. PMID: 22435980

15 Daiki Jimbo, Yuki Kimura, Miyako Taniguchi, Masashi Inoue, Katsuya Urakami. Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics. 2009 Dec ;9(4):173-9. PMID: 20377818

16 Payam Sasannejad, Morteza Saeedi, Ali Shoeibi, Ali Gorji, Maryam Abbasi, Mohsen Foroughipour . Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur Neurol. 2012 ;67(5):288-91. Epub 2012 Apr 17. PMID: 22517298

17 Masumi Imura, Hanako Misao, Hiroshi Ushijima. The psychological effects of aromatherapy-massage in healthy postpartum mothers. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2006 Mar-Apr;51(2):e21-7. PMID: 16504900

©  December 7, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

The post Evidence-Based Aromatherapy: Stress Relief And Much More appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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