Essential Oils for Ants

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by
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Although we are approaching the end of the summer season, for those of us who live in warmer climates, ants can continue to be a problem into the Fall months. This week’s post contains both an aromatherapy recipe and some suggestions on using essential oils to reduce the problem of ants (and their effects) from your life

Essential Oils for Ants: Photo credit, ISP

Essential Oils for Ants: Photo credit, ISP

Using Essential Oils for Ant Control

Ants can be a problem both inside and outside the home. Once the weather starts to warm up, you begin to see armies of ants patrolling the areas around your home. Although fascinating to watch, ants can become a problem, particularly if you have children and pets.

Essential oils to use in an attempt to repel ants include:

  • peppermint

  • spearmint

  • cornmint

  • lavender

  • citronella.

Dilute your chosen essential oil in a distilled water spritzer base; use approximately 12 drops of essential oil per one ounce of distilled water. This guideline follows the chart given in my book Authentic Aromatherapy for spritzer bases. Spray the mixture around the affected area to repel the ants; for example, around windows and doors, across the patio.

Cautions: Use any of the mint essential oils with extreme care around children and pets. In particular, peppermint, cornmint, and spearmint essential oils should not be used in the vicinity of babies and children under three years of age, or in any areas where pets might have access to.

A Note on Fire Ants

Fire ants, also known as red ants, are common in Arizona, where I live. Fire ant bites are particularly venomous and can cause extreme pain, stinging, redness, and swelling. In extreme cases, you should consult a healthcare professional. However, for less serious cases, you might find some relief from the following aromatherapy recipe – tried and tested through personal experience!

Cooling Lotion Recipe for Fire Ant Bites

To 2 oz of unscented white lotion base, add the following essential oils:

  • 5 drops peppermint (Mentha piperita)

  • 9 drops of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

  • 6 drops of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Cautions: The amount quoted is for use with a healthy adult; reduce amounts or avoid in use for contra-indicated groups such as those with serious health conditions and the elderly. Do not use in pregnancy or with babies and children under three years of age. Consult a certified aromatherapist for further advice.

Apply a small amount of the blended lotion to the affected/inflamed area of the bite as necessary. This lotion may help to reduce swelling, itchiness, and pain associated with the burning and stinging sensation of a fire ant bite. It can also be used for mosquito bites and similar bites, and for itchiness and redness associated with eczema and dry skin conditions. If the condition is serious, or severe allergic reaction to the bite is experienced, consult a qualified health care practitioner immediately.

Learn How to Use Essential Oils for Minor Health Problems

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and their use for minor health conditions, consider a Sedona Aromatherapie home study course such as the Certification in Professional Aromatherapy. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  • Worwood, Valerie, 1991, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, US: New World Library

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

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Peppermint Infused Aromatherapy Body Melts

Posted on: August 18th, 2014 by
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Last week I wrote about how I infused peppermint into a vegetable oil.This week I am writing about how I used that peppermint infused vegetable oil in aromatherapy body melts. Aromatherapy body melts are easy to make and use. You can also use these types of melts in the bath.

Aromatherapy Melts: Photo Copyright of Sharon Falsetto

Aromatherapy Melts: Photo Copyright of Sharon Falsetto

I also used the Steamburst essential oils, that I reviewed in an earlier blog post, to make these particular aromatherapy melts. Have fun!

Choosing a Base Recipe to Make Aromatherapy Melts

Aromatherapy melts – sometimes called lotion bars – can be made in a variety of ways. The base that I used for making these aromatherapy melts included shea butter, cocoa butter – and the peppermint infused vegetable oil.

Choose a base recipe that you are comfortable with. This base recipe is covered in the Sedona Aromatherapie Professional Certification in Aromatherapy program, the Sedona Aromatherapie Basic Bath Products with Essential Oils course – and the recipe is listed in the Sedona Aromatherapie 25 Fun Aromatherapy Recipes for Bath E-Book (without extensive instructions). I replaced the use of regular vegetable oil with the apricot kernel oil that I had infused previously.

In addition, you will need to choose some suitable molds for your melts. You can use candle, cookie, or soap molds in a variety of different shapes and sizes. I chose to use flower molds for this project.

Aromatherapy Melts Recipes

Once you’ve made your base recipe, you can then add essential oils. I created these two recipes for my peppermint infused melts:

Recipe #1

  • 2.5 oz melt base recipe

  • 6 drops peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil

  • 7 drops vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) absolute

Recommended For: Apply to soles of feet after bathing.

Cautions: Not recommended for use with (or in the vicinity of) babies and children; avoid in pregnancy. Possible skin sensitization in some individuals.

Recipe #2

  • 2.5 oz melt base recipe

  • 7 drops frankincense (Boswellia serrata) essential oil

  • 6 drops vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) absolute

Recommended For: All over body application (avoiding the face and neck area).

Cautions: Not recommended for use with babies and children; reduce amount of essential oils in pregnancy, with the elderly, and other “at-risk” groups. Possible skin sensitization in some individuals.

Learn to Make Bath and Body Products with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn to make your own aromatherapy bath and body products, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie product making home study courses – or the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy program launching in the Fall! Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist, experienced product maker, aromatherapy educator, and published book author.

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Pure Aromatherapy Candles For Better Health

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by
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Today’s post is written by guest blogger Matt Milstead.

 

An increasingly popular addition to the home is the use of aromatherapy candles. They help to improve your general health by reducing your stress level. Your sense of smell can influence your brain and body to relax. Therefore, by burning pure aromatherapy candles, you will receive the most benefits of the essential oils that are used in these candles

Aromatherapy Candles: Photo Supplied by the Author

Aromatherapy Candles: Photo Supplied by the Author

.

Essential oils can be extracted from the leaves, roots, fruit or seeds of a plant. In addition, you can get some essential oils from flowers and grass. The oils are extracted through a variety of extraction methods such as steam distillation, solvent extraction and cold pressing. These oils offer many health benefits since they are in a concentrated form. Some health benefits include cleansing the body internally, regulating female menstrual cycles, reducing migraine headaches and being helpful as an anti-inflammatory.

 

The Origin of Candles

 

Candles have been used for many years. Originally, candles were made from the fat of sheep and cows. These tallow candles did not let off a pleasant smell until the ancient Egyptians decided to overcome the unpleasant odors by adding some essential oils to the tallow candles. These essential oils were being used in healing and burial rites by the Egyptians. When they added them to the candles, they discovered that the pleasant smells helped improve the moods of the people (1).

Later, beeswax candles were created (2). They burned cleaner, but they were more expensive than the original tallow candles. Therefore, most of the people still used the tallow candles. As the years went by, more discoveries were made concerning the materials used to make candles including paraffin wax. It produced a candle that could be molded into various forms and produced longer burning candles.

 

Discovering the Benefits of Aromatherapy Candles

 

Holistic practitioners recommend using aromatherapy candles to promote emotional and mental health. It is easy to get the benefits from the aromatherapy candles since they can be used in any room or setting. For instance, candles can be placed in delivery rooms to help mothers have a more relaxing labor and delivery. They can be placed in bedrooms to help people with chronic or long term illnesses. The benefits you receive from burning these candles will depend on the scents that you choose. Aromatherapy candles can help you think clearer, have more energy and increase your vigor. They help you release the tension that causes stress. They calm you if you feel anxiety or panic, and they will help you when you feel depressed. Certain scents can be used to help calm a colicky baby or sick children breathe better.

Scents for Specific Needs

Specific oils will offer certain benefits. Some stress relief oils includes chamomile, cinnamon, frankincense and lavender. These scents can be used to soothe or relieve stress and help to promote sleep. Some mood enhancing scents include lemon, rose and vanilla. These scents can help lift your spirits and enhance your mood. You will find other scents that specifically help depression, memory and fatigue. With increased mental focus, improved memory and increased alertness, you will be able to accomplish more things each day. You can combine certain essential oils for more benefits. For instance, orange and cinnamon can be used together to increase your energy. Some candles, such as the Spirit of the Orientcandles (3), even combine scents with colors that induce a particular mood. Many people suffer from various health issues, and they should choose the specific scent that will benefit them the most.

Aromatherapy Candles: Photo Supplied by the Author

Aromatherapy Candles: Photo Supplied by the Author

Candles can be used to set the mood for certain occasions, or they can be used to promote healthier living. Choosing the proper scents for your environment or health is essential if you want to achieve the most benefits from the aromatherapy candles.

About the Author:

Matt Milstead: Used with Author's Permission

Matt Milstead: Used with Author's Permission

Matt Milstead is a health blogger and an advocate of healthy living. He is a regular contributor to several aromatherapy and yoga blogs and forums and practices yoga daily. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

References and Resources:

(1) Beef Tallow website, Lighting the Wick of the Past: History of Tallow Use in Candle Making, accessed July 2014

(2) Health, Home and Happiness website, How to Make Healthy Beeswax Palm Candles and Save Money, accessed July 2014

(3) New Age Markets website, Spirit of the Orient Candles, accessed July 2014

The views and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Aromatherapy Notes blog. You are always advised to carry out your own research and reading with regard to information given in all blogs.

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How to Infuse Peppermint in a Vegetable Oil

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by
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Peppermint Infusion: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

Peppermint Infusion: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

In a previous blog post I wrote about infusing jasmine in a carrier oil. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to infuse peppermint leaves (Mentha piperita) into a vegetable oil. I decided to then use the peppermint-infused carrier oil in a recipe for aromatherapy melts. I received the peppermint leaves for the infusion by way of a neighbor so I knew that the plant material was freshly grown! In this week’s post, I’ll discuss how I actually infused the peppermint leaves into the vegetable oil, and next week I will discuss what I actually did with the infused oil. Enjoy!

What You Will Need for a Plant Infusion

In my book, Authentic Aromatherapy, I describe how to make an infused oil. Basically, you will need the following items to make a plant infusion:

  • a container for the infusion (such as a Mason jar)

  • vegetable carrier oil

  • plant material

  • a sieve

  • sunshine – lots of it!

Preparing Peppermint Leaves for an Infusion

I decided to infuse peppermint leaves for this particular infusion in apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) oil. I dried the peppermint leaves out for a day or so first to avoid any water moisture “contaminating” the infusion. Personally, I found this worked better for me than previous infusions where I had not let the material dry out first. The process is different to making an essential oil or hydrosol.

I dried out the peppermint leaves by lying them on a sheet of clean tissue paper and leaving them for forty-eight hours. As I live in a dry climate, I found that this worked well; if you live in a damp or humid climate, you might need to take a different approach.

The Process of Infusing Peppermint Leaves in Carrier Oil

After the peppermint leaves were dry, I separated them from the stalk and placed them in a Mason jar. I filled the Mason jar with apricot kernel oil and placed the jar in the sun. For the next two weeks, I put the jar outside in the sun during daylight hours. Sunshine is easy to come by in Arizona, so this process worked very easily for me!

From time to time, I checked on the infusion to see how it was doing. It began to take on a peppermint aroma after a few days. After two weeks, I separated the peppermint leaves from the oil using a kitchen sieve. The oil changed to a slightly green color with a peppermint aroma. I bottled the oil that I was not going to use to make the aromatherapy melts, in order to store it for a future project.

Next week I will discuss how I used the peppermint-infused apricot oil in a recipe for aromatherapy melts.

Learn How to Make Aromatherapy Products with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to make a variety of different aromatherapy products with a simple home study course, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie product making courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

Peppermint Leaves for Infusion; Photo copyright Sharon Falsetto

Peppermint Leaves for Infusion; Photo copyright Sharon Falsetto

Dried Peppermint Leaves: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

Dried Peppermint Leaves: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

 

Peppermint-infused Vegetable Oil: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

Peppermint-infused Vegetable Oil: Photo copyright, Sharon Falsetto

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Wild Edible of the Month Review: Pine

Posted on: August 4th, 2014 by
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The Pinusspp. is used as essential oil in aromatherapy practice. However, there is a lot more to pine than just its use as essential oil. Various parts of the pine tree can be used medicinally to help with a variety of health ailments.

If you are looking to learn more about pine, beyond its scope as an essential oil, this week’s review of Edible Wild Food‘s new monthly subscription publication might be of interest to you! Here’s some more information about Edible Wild Food, the new subscription service – and a review of the first subscription flip book of the month, Pinus spp.

Wild Edible of the Month: Pinus spp. : Photo copyright Karen Stephenson (used with permission)

Wild Edible of the Month: Pinus spp. : Photo copyright Karen Stephenson (used with permission)

About Edible Wild Food

I first virtually met Karen Stephenson, the creator behind the Edible Wild Food website, a few years ago through a common writing connection. Our contact grew, through a shared interest of plants, and I wrote an initial guest post about vegetable oils for the Wild Edible Food website at its inception. Karen has also, in the past, written a review of my ebook, 25 Simple Perfume Recipes with Essential Oils.

Since its beginning, I have seen the Edible Wild Food website grow and expand as more and more people discovered the benefits of wild edible food and gained from Karen’s knowledge on the subject. This month, Karen was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of her first featured wild edible of the month – Pinus spp. – with her new subscription flip book.

Introducing Pinus spp.

Although I cannot reveal the entire contents of the Pinus spp. flip book – you will have to subscribe to receive your own copy ;) – I can give you an overview of the content. At first glance, I was impressed by the wealth of information in this twenty-nine page flip book.

Even if you have knowledge of the Pinus spp., I am certain that you will learn something new from this edition! Native people have been using and benefiting from the various parts of the Pinus tree for centuries, in addition to some of the more well-known European herbalists and teachers (for example, Hippocrates and Culpeper).

Sneak Peek at Wild Edible of the Month: Pinus spp.

Here’s a few things you will learn from the Wild Edible of the Month: Pinus spp. flip book:

  • Oldest known pine trees in Canada and the United States

  • Oldest living pine fossil

  • How to identify various species of pine (with photos)

  • Nutrients obtained from pine

  • Health benefits and medicinal uses of pine (including as an essential oil)

  • How pine was used in history by native people

  • pine recipes – including one for pine cookies!

Subscribe with Edible Wild Food

If you are interested in subscribing to Edible Wild Food’s monthly subscription to receive a copy of the Pinus spp. flip book, visit this subscription link at the Edible Wild Food website. The next two copies of the flip book will be goldenrod and purslane.

This quality resource will be of benefit to anyone who is interested in learning more about how to use edible wild foods – in addition to aromatherapists who wish to learn more about a particular plant species as a whole and how it can be used beyond its scope as an essential oil. An aromatherapist should always have full botanical knowledge of the plant from which an essential oil is extracted from, in order to fully appreciate and understand essential oil properties, and the plant itself. This resource may help you to expand your knowledge with such information.

References:

  • Edible Wild Food website, accessed August 4, 2014

  • Wild Edible of the Month: Pinus spp. flip book

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Essential Oils Product Review: Steamburst

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by
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Recently I was contacted by Daniel Martin of Steamburst, a small essential oils business based in Melbourne, Australia. Daniel asked me if I would like to review some of their essential oils and I was happy to oblige. Today’s blog post features three of Steamburst‘s essential oils – frankincense, peppermint, and vanilla – with a special offer for readers at the end of the post.

Essential Oils from Steamburst: Photo used with permission

Essential Oils from Steamburst: Photo used with permission

Please note that directGCMS data was not available in reviewing these essential oils due to the start up of this small business, so my review and comments are based solely on independent research of likely outcomes for the essential oil reviewed and my own personal opinion; however, I was provided with COA (Certificate of Analysis) reports from the business which uses data from GC/MS reports. The review is intended for informational purposes only.

Frankincense Essential Oil

It is important to note that there are various species of frankincense essential oil available. The long time favorite of aromatherapists has traditionally been Boswellia carteri. However, there is debate over whether Boswellia carteri is a threatened plant species and its current use is not recommended by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). Therefore, aromatherapists are turning to other frankincense species such as Boswellia serrata.

Steamburst offers the Boswellia serrata species as an essential oil which has been obtained from India. The major constituents of this particular frankincense species were listed (in information provided by the suppliers of Steamburst) as olibanol, terpenes and “resinous matter.” Monoterpenes are the main components of the Boswellia carteri species – with a mix of other chemical components too. All Boswellia species are “related” – in terms of botany – but there will be slightly different variables between the various types. The aromas will differ too; I found that the Boswellia serrata essential oil sample was more sweeter than the traditional deep, rich, balsamic aroma of Boswellia carteri. I thought that it was reminiscent of men’s cologne fragrances.

If you are looking for an alternative Boswellia species to try as an essential oil – and like a slightly fresher aroma, this might work for you! Its uses are interchangeable with Boswellia carteri for the most part.

Peppermint Essential Oil

There is no mistaking the aroma of peppermint! There are various species of mint used in essential oil practice (including spearmint and cornmint) but peppermint (Mentha piperita) is probably the most familiar of the mint oils.

Steamburst’s peppermint essential oil has a strong, fresh, mint aroma which is undeniably peppermint. The plant is now cultivated worldwide and this particular essential oil is extracted from plants grown in India. The major constituent was listed as menthol which is in line with the known major constituent of peppermint essential oil.

Vanilla Essential Oil

Vanilla essential oil is widely used in perfumery practice, although it is becoming more common in some aromatherapy blends, too. It is important to note that vanilla is offered as an absolute/resinoid or a CO2 extracted essential oil. In the case of the absolute/resinoid, it is not steam distilled directly from the plant but from the solvent extracted substance from the plant.

Steamburst’s Vanilla planifolia oil is extracted in India and is steam distilled from the solvent extracted substance. Its main chemical component is listed as vanillin, the ingredient that gives the oil its strong vanilla aroma. This is not a sweet aroma (like the CO2 essential oil) but a more traditional vanilla aroma which I found to be pleasing.

Steamburst Offer for Aromatherapy Notes Readers

Steamburst has kindly offered a 10% discount on all orders placed with them via their website. Simply enter the code “sedona” (without the apostrophe marks) and you will receive a 10% discount on your order. Although the business is based in Australia, essential oils can be shipped internationally. Visit the Steamburst website for further details.

It is always worth checking out small businesses for essential oils (in comparison to some of the larger multi-marketing companies) because they often take more time and care with providing quality essential oils. Check out Steamburst for your next essential oil purchase!

Learn How to Identify Pure Essential Oils

If you would like to learn more about identifying essential oils and how to take steps to ensure that you are purchasing a reputable product, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. To learn more visit the courses home page!

Full Disclosure Statement: I am not affiliated with Steamburst, nor have I had previous business with them. I was not paid to review Steamburst’s essential oil products but I was provided with free samples for review. I also requested information on the essential oils provided; although GCMS reports were not available at this time, I received COA data sheets on each oil. I made my reviews based on my experience, training, the product and the information provided to me. The opinions expressed within this post are not a guarantee of product quality in any way. I always advise both students and customers to do due diligence when purchasing essential oils from suppliers.

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