Vitamin E Content in Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy

Posted on: February 8th, 2016 by
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Vitamin E in Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Vitamin E in Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Vitamin E is one of several components that is naturally found in many vegetable oils used in aromatherapy. It has a number of benefits for aromatherapy skin care and massage. Vitamin E is a complex chemical substance and it comes in various formats, so it is beneficial to have a basic understanding of vitamin E if you are going to formulate your own aromatherapy skin care products.

Types of Vitamin E

Vitamin E exists in eight different formats and can be broken down into two major chemical groups; these groups are tocopherols and tocotrienols. Tocopherols and tocotrienols can be again sub-divided into alpha, beta, gamma, and delta forms. Tocopherol is the type of organic compound that is found in many skin care products; alpha- tocopherol is the strongest format of vitamin E available.1

Alternate Names for Vitamin E

You may find Vitamin E described as any of the following names on a product label, although the INCI name should be ideally used (in the United States):

  • tocopherol

  • tocopherol acetate

  • tocopherol phosphate

  • tocopherol linoleate

  • tocopherol succinate.2

Benefits of Vitamin E for Aromatherapy Topical Use

Vitamin E has several benefits when applied externally but the primary reason that vitamin E is added to aromatherapy skin care products (and used in massage oils) is its value as an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants prevent the formation of free radicals in the body, a group of atoms that can cause cell damage and contribute to the aging process. Vitamin E also helps to repair tissues, reduce scarring, strengthens capillary walls, and promotes healthy skin.1

Vegetable Oils That Contain Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in many cold-pressed vegetable oils which are used in aromatherapy skin care products and massage practice. Vegetable oils that are rich in vitamin E content include:

  • carrot (Daucus carota)

  • corn (Zea mays)

  • linseed/flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

  • peanut (Arachis hypogaea)

  • soy (Glycine soja)

  • wheatgerm(Triticum vulgare).3

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about carrier oils and aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie home study Certification in Professional Aromatherapy or the Foundation Course in Aromatherapy.

References:

  1. Balch, James F, Phyllis A. Balch,1997, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, US: Avery

  2. The Essence of Mineral Make-Up website, Tocopherol Acetate: Skin Vitamin E, accessed 02/08/16

  3. Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Preparing Your Feet for Spring with Aromatherapy

Posted on: February 1st, 2016 by
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Aromatherapy for Feet: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Aromatherapy for Feet: Photo Credit, Fotolia

After a winter under wraps (unless you live in a warm climate), your feet might not be as spring-ready as you would like. However, there are still a few weeks left to get your feet into shape for the spring and summer months ahead – with some aromatherapy help. Essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols are all beneficial to the health of your feet.

Essential Oils for Feet

Feet benefit from various types of essential oils, depending upon specific problems. In all cases, combine essential oils with a base product (such as a foot scrub, foot soak, oil, or lotion). Here are a few suggestions for essential oils for feet:

  • peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – cooling, invigorating, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antiseptic

  • spearmint (Mentha spicata) – see peppermint. A less “harsh” oil for babies, children, and pregnant women.

  • rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)- anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, stimulating, antiseptic

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic

  • lemon (Citrus x limon) – refreshing, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-infectious

  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia) – see lemon

  • fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, anti-bacterial

  • tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – antiseptic, anti-infectious, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic.

Cautions: Note the individual cautions of essential oils before using; consult a certified aromatherapist for further advice.

Carrier Oils for Feet

Carrier oils are great for moisturizing feet and for keeping them healthy. Just be careful when you apply oils as the oils can make your feet slippy and susceptible to falls. Combine carrier oils with essential oils, add to lotion or cream bases, or use simply on their own. Carrier oils for feet include:

  • jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) – an all-round oil suitable for all skin types

  • apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) – a nourishing, emollient oil for sensitive, dry, and mature skin

  • hazelnut (Corylus avellana) – for oily skin

  • olive (Olea europaea) – for itchy skin

  • sunflower (Helianthus annuus) – a softening and moisturizing oil for the skin

  • sweet almond (Prunis dulcis) – for dry, itchy, inflamed skin.

Hydrosols for Feet

Hydrosols can be cooling, refreshing, and therapeutic to feet, giving them a much needed boost to carry on through the day – or to wind down with a cooling mist at night. Use hydrosols on their own in a spray bottle, combine with essential oils, or add to lotions and cream bases. Suitable hydrosols for feet include:

  • cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) – anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, antiseptic; calming and soothing

  • helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium) – anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and soothing

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and soothing

  • melissa (Melissa officinalis) – analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and relaxing

  • tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – anti-fungal, antiseptic

  • witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) – analgesic, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!

References:

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

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

  • Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy, Sedona, Arizona

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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An Introduction to Castile Soap and Essential Oils

Posted on: January 25th, 2016 by
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Olive Oil for Castile Soap: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Olive Oil for Castile Soap: Photo Credit, Fotolia

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make soap for yourself at home, Castile soap may offer you a simple solution. Castile soap is made with vegetable oil and not animal fat. It has a variety of different uses and a number of benefits – and can be combined with essential oils.

History of Castile Soap

The history of Castile soap is somewhat sketchy, depending on which source you read. However, most sources tend to agree that Castile soap is the name of a soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. If you go back further in time, you will find that Castile soap has its roots in Aleppo soap. Aleppo soap originates from the region of Syria, from where it made its way to Europe through the Crusades (1095-1291). Aleppo soap dates back thousands of years.

Ingredients of Castile Soap

Aleppo soap is a hard soap that is made from olive (Olea europea) oil, laurel bay (Laurus nobilis) oil, sodium hydroxide, and water; you can also add essential oils to it. Olive oil is rich in antiseptic, astringent, and emollient properties.

The ingredients of Castile soap are based on those of Aleppo soap. Today, Castile soap is made from a variety of vegetable oil ingredients but originally it was made from olive oil, with the exclusion of laurel bay oil; early European soap makers didn’t have easy access to laurel bay oil, the other main ingredient of Aleppo soap from which Castile soap originated from.

However, the term Castile soap is often used to describe a wide range of vegetable oil based soaps so it is important to check the actual ingredients of Castile soap before buying it. Castile soap is available as either liquid or hard soap.

Uses of Castile Soap

Castile soap has a wide variety of uses, depending on the type of product that you choose. You can use Castile soap:

  • as an all purpose general cleaner in your home

  • to wash laundry

  • wash your car

  • to bath your pet

  • with baby

  • for personal skincare.

Benefits of Castile Soap

Castile soap is natural and has several benefits over commercially-made soap:

  • it’s kinder to the environment as it is non-toxic, unlike regular cleaning detergents

  • it’s beneficial for a wide variety of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

  • it’s an excellent skin toner as it is nourishing to the skin

  • it’s gentle enough to use with your pet or with baby

  • it’s relatively cheap

  • it’s easy to clean with as it doesn’t cause skin irritation like a lot of regular household cleaners.

Castile Soap and Essential Oils

If you want to make a simple aromatherapy soap, with the added benefits of essential oils, purchase a high quality liquid castile soap and add the appropriate essential oils. Beneficial essential oils, which are anti-bacterial in nature, to add to Castile soap include:

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)

  • rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • lemon (Citrus limon)

  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia)

  • tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).

Use a 2% dilution and combine the essential oils with the liquid Castile soap. Add to a pump bottle and use in place of regular soap.

Cautions: Many essential oils carry cautions for use, so consult a certified aromatherapist for further information, if you are unfamiliar with the use of essential oils. Of the essential oils listed above, use lavender as a beginner essential oil, which is suitable for most people.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!

References:

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

  • Natural Cosmetic News website, Aleppo Soap, The True Natural Soap, accessed January 25, 2016

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Aromatherapy Oils from the Rutaceae Plant Family

Posted on: January 18th, 2016 by
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Citrus Essential Oils, Photo Credit: Fotolia

Citrus Essential Oils, Photo Credit: Fotolia

The Rutaceae plant family, also commonly known as the citrus plant family because of its abundant citrus members, consists of 1,700 species, many of which are found in tropical and warm temperate countries. Also known as the Rue family, Rutaceae aromatic plant family members include familiar fruits such as lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and tangerine.

Botanical Profile of the Rutaceae Plant Family

The citrus members of the Rutaceae plant family share several common characteristics. Many are short to medium height fruit trees, with green, glossy (evergreen) leaves and they produce a variety of different colored fruits (modified berries) in vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red. Their light, fresh, citrus aromas are familiar to many.

The flowers of the Rutaceae plant family are described as perfect; this means that a single flower contains both the male and female reproductive parts. They are often scented (like orange blossom) attracting pollinators such as bees.

The Rutaceae plant family also contains many other members, including some that are used in aromatherapy and perfumery purposes; these include:

  • neroli (orange blossom) (Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos))

  • petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol))

  • amyris (Amyris balsamifera)

  • boronia (Borania megastigma) – perfumery use.

Citrus Essential Oils of the Rutaceae Plant Family

Citrus essential oils of the Rutaceae plant family include:

  • lemon (Citrus x limon)

  • sweet orange(Citrus sinensis)

  • bitter orange (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

  • grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – inc. different varieties

  • mandarin (Citrus reticulata) – inc. different varieties

  • tangerine (Citrus reticulata var. blanco)

  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia)

  • bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

  • yuzu (Citrus junos).

Citrus essential oils are either expressed from the peel or distilled. They produce top note essential oils.

A Note on Phototoxicity of Citrus Essential Oils

Many citrus essential oils are phototoxic. Do not use these types of essential oils before going out in sunlight or before using a tanning unit.

Citrus essential oils that aren’t phototoxic include:

  • expressed sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

  • distilled lime (Citrus aurantifolia) essential oil

  • grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) essential oil.

Uses of the Rutaceae Plant Family

Essential oils extracted from the Rutaceae plant family are usually balancing to the digestive system and used for a variety of skin conditions.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapycourse!

References:

  • Britannica website, Rutaceae Plant Family, accessed January 18, 2016

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

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

  • Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy, Sedona, Arizona

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Aromatherapy Oils from the Asteraceae Plant Family

Posted on: January 11th, 2016 by
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Sunflowers and Daisies of the Asteraceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Sunflowers and Daisies of the Asteraceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

The Asteraceae plant family, also known as the Compositae plant family, is one of the most common, and largest, botanical families. Members of the Asteraceae plant family are found throughout the world; because of the characteristics of the members of this plant family, other alternative names include the sunflower, daisy, or aster plant family. Several oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from Asteraceae plant family members.

History of the Asteraceae Plant Family

According to an article in The New York Times, Longer Roots Are Discovered in Large Plant Family, published on September 27, 2010, scientists found a fossil flower that is nearly 50 million years old. Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact age of any plant family with precision, it was previously thought that the Asteraceae plant family was younger than 50 million years old.

The fossil flower which scientists discovered had both leaves and blooms, unlike previously found fossils of pollen grain, which gives a greater insight into both the age and identification of the plant species. It was found in northwest Patagonia, where the climate was believed to be different than it is today in that region, that is more tropical.

Botanical Profile of the Asteraceae Plant Family

There are approximately 20,000 species within the Asteraceae plant family. Most Asteraceae plant family members are herbaceous; however, some plant family members are shrubs, vines, or trees.

Most Asteraceae plant family members have:

  • flower heads of small flowers: composite

  • alternate, whorled, or opposite leaves

  • erect stems.

Essential Oils of the Asteraceae Plant Family

You can easily recognize those plants that produce an essential oil from the Asteraceae plant family by their characteristic “daisy-like” flower heads; these include:

  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

  • tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

  • marigold (Calendula officinalis)

  • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

  • helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium)

  • German chamomile (Matricaria recutica)

  • Moroccan chamomile (Ormenis multicaulis)

  • tagetes (Tagetes minuta).

Carrier Oils of the Asteraceae Plant Family

There are also several carrier oils that are extracted from Asteraceae plant family members; these include:

  • calendula (Calendula officinalis)*

  • safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

  • sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

*not to be confused with the essential oil of the same name. Calendula oil is also an infused oil.

Uses of the Asteraceae Plant Family

Asteraceae plant family members also show similar therapeutic properties; for example, essential oils extracted from the Asteraceae plant family are soothing to the skin and digestive system. Carrier oils, too, have beneficial properties for the skin.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and carrier oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!

References:

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Aromatherapy Oils from the Rosaceae Plant Family

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 by
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Rosaceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Rosaceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

As many aromatherapy students know, plants within the same botanical family share common characteristics and properties. The Rosaceae plant family has gained its popularity from one specific plant family member: the rose. However, the Rosaceae plant family contains other plant species that are commonly used to extract other oils from.

Botanical Profile of the Rosaceae Plant Family

The Rosaceae plant family contains approximately 100 genera and 2,000 plus plant species, all of which share some common characteristics. Rosaceae plant family members are trees, shrubs, and herbs of various sizes. In general, they have pinnate leaves, with serrated edges, that are arranged spirally. The flowers have five sepals, five petals and several stamens that are arranged in many ways. Rosaceae plant family members also have fruits, in various forms; these fruits give up various carrier oils for aromatherapy.

Plant species that belong to the Rosaceae plant family are found in many climates and ecological conditions throughout the world, although the majority of plant species are found in the Northern hemisphere. The Rosaceae plant family is a large, diverse family that contains several thousand species with varying uses.

Carrier Oils of the Rosaceae Plant Family

The Rosaceae plant family contains plant species that produce common fruits such as apricots, almonds, cherries, peaches, plums, blackberries, and raspberries – all of which produce a carrier oil. Fruits may be soft and fleshy, such as drupes, or hard pseudo carps such as hips. Fruits are usually purple, red, or yellow. Two of the common genra for carrier oils in the Rosaceae plant family are Prunus and Rubus, in addition to Rosa (rosehip).

Carrier oil extracted from the Rosacaeae plant family include:

  • sweet almond (Prunus dulcis)

  • apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

  • cherry(Prunus avium)

  • peach (Prunus persica)

  • plum (Prunus (x) domestica)

  • red raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

  • black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

  • blackberry (Rubus fructicosus)

  • rosehip (Rosa canina).

Rose Essential Oil of the Rosaceae Plant Family

The rose is the most well known aromatic member of the Rosaceae plant family and it is used as an essential oil, absolute, extract, and concrete in aromatherapy for both therapeutic and perfumery purposes. There are various species of rose used in aromatherapy including:

  • Damask rose (Rosa x damascena)

  • May (cabbage) rose (Rosa x centifolia)

  • Gallic rose (Rosa gallica)

  • white rose (Rosa alba).

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and carrier oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!

References:

  • Britannica Encyclopedia website, Rosaceae, accessed January 4, 2016

  • Britannica Encyclopedia website, Attar of Roses, accessed January 4, 2016

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

  • Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing

  • University of Hawaii website, Botany Department, Rosaceae, accessed January 4, 2016

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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