The Use of Peppermint and Spearmint Essential Oil for the Holidays

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by
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Mint Oils for the Holidays: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Mint Oils for the Holidays: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Both peppermint and spearmint essential oils are popular in aromatherapy use. However, these two essential oils are quite volatile and are not recommended for use with certain groups of people. As the Holidays approach, and you might be tempted to add some mint essential oils to your Holiday products, take a moment to consider the similarities and differences between the mint oils – and which is the most appropriate oil for your use.

Profile of Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is believed to be a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and watermint (Mentha acquatica). It is a small herb with serrated, aromatic leaves and spikes of purple flowers.

Peppermint essential oil has a strong, minty aroma. Although peppermint and spearmint essential oils have similar chemical components, peppermint essential oil contains a higher percentage of alcohols than spearmint essential oil. However, it is the ketone content of menthone that gives cause for this essential oil to be contraindicated in some circumstances. Both peppermint and spearmint essential oils contain quite a high percentage of ketones.

Profile of Spearmint

Spearmint (Mentha spicta) is a similar looking herb to peppermint. Spearmint essential oil has an aroma that is reminiscent of chewing gum, which is perhaps why it is a popular as an essential oil in the United States! The essential oil is composed predominately of ketones (menthone) and alcohols, with monoterpenes. Both peppermint and spearmint essential oil contain the alcohol component menthol.

Mint Oils for the Holidays

Mint oils tend to be stimulating essential oils and are useful for relieving fatigue and stress. They may also be useful essential oils to have around to combat the symptoms of colds and flu.

If you plan to use peppermint or spearmint essential oil for the Holidays, here are some suggestions for use:

  • in candles – combine with other essential oils to minimize the overpowering minty aroma, or use by itself, as detailed in this post.

  • in an aromatherapy diffuser – to combat the symptoms of colds and flu, or to uplift spirits and reduce stress.

  • in bath products – such as these peppermint bath melts. However, use SPARINGLY, and watch for skin irritation. In addition, read the cautions below. Made correctly, these make great Holiday gifts!

Combine mint essential oils with other essential oils such as:

  • lemon

  • lavender

  • benzoin

  • vanilla

  • frankincense.

Cautions for Using Mint Oils

Do not diffuse, or apply topically, any aromatherapy product that contains peppermint or spearmint essential oil in the vicinity of babies and young children (under the age of three). In addition, avoid use in pregnancy and with nursing mothers. Do not use in conjunction with homeopathic treatments. Always use mint essential oils in moderation. Consult a qualified health care professional for further advice.

Make Your Own Aromatherapy Holiday Gifts

If you are interested in making your own aromatherapy Holiday gifts, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie Bath and Body courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Caddy, Rosemary, 1997, Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Colour, UK: Amberwood Publishing

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

  • Heilmeyer, Marina, Ancient Herbs, US: Getty Publications

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

  • Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy

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Three Ways to Use Witch Hazel Hydrosol

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 by
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Witch Hazel: Photo Credit, ISP

Witch Hazel: Photo Credit, ISP

Witch hazel has long been used as an antiseptic in first aid. However, witch hazel hydrosol also has other uses. In addition, it is important to remember that witch hazel hydrosol is not the same as store-bought witch hazel. Here’s more information.

In all cases, consult a certified aromatherapist and/or a qualified health care practitioner, for specific advice pertaining to your situation. This post doesn’t replace the advice of a health care professional and does not claim to cure with the use of aromatherapy; it is for educational purposes only.

Witch Hazel Botanical Profile

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a plant that belongs to the Hamamelidaceae botanical family. It is a Fall or winter flowering shrub with spidery-looking, spicy blooms. It also produces a fruit that is literally launched from it’s pod on maturity. Witch hazel is steam distilled to produce a hydrosol.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol

Witch hazel hydrosol is made up of 70 – 80% ethanol content and 2 – 9% tannin content (Price and Price, 2004). The ethanol content of the hydrosol should be compared to store-bought, over-the-counter witch hazel solutions; these solutions typically have 15% ethanol content and may have alcohol added to them, as well.

Witch hazel hydrosol has several therapeutic properties for aromatherapy use including as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory agent, an antiseptic, and an astringent.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol for First Aid

Perhaps one of the most common uses for witch hazel hydrosol is for first aid. Use it for help with wounds, cuts, and scrapes.

You can either use it in a spray bottle or soak some on a cotton ball and apply to the area. In addition, you can use it in a compress – either on its own or combined with other appropriate hydrosols and/or essential oils.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol as a Facial Toner

As witch hazel hydrosol has astringent properties, it is an excellent addition to skin care – especially in use as a facial toner.

Combine it with another hydrosol – such as rose – and/or appropriate essential oils. Soak a cotton ball with the mixture and apply to the face.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol for Management of Spots

As witch hazel hydrosol has anti-inflammatory properties, it is a good tool to manage unwanted spots and blemishes that erupt on the skin. Simply soak a small amount of the hydrosol onto a cotton ball and apply to the affected area. Apply daily.

Learn More About Hydrosols

The Sedona Aromatherapie September newsletter contained a short profile of witch hazel. Each quarter the newsletter features a plant that is used in aromatherapy.

Sign up for the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification Course in Aromatherapyto learn more about hydrosols and how to use them in aromatherapy. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist, published author, and aromatherapy business owner

  • Price, Len, Price, Shirley, 2004, Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy UK: Churchill Livingstone

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Limited Edition Holiday Aromatherapy Blends

Posted on: November 10th, 2014 by
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Limited Edition Holiday Custom Aromatherapy Blend: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto

Limited Edition Holiday Custom Aromatherapy Blend: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto

Aromatherapy and perfume roll-ons are fast becoming a popular, and simple, way to use aromatherapy. Although it’s very easy to make your own aromatherapy roll-on, sometimes it is nice to purchase such a product for a gift. With Holiday season on the horizon, I came up with these three simple aromatherapy roll-on blends as an ideal gift for loved ones this year. Peace, Comfort, and Joy aromatherapy blends are available for pre-order now and will be shipped between November 28th and December 15th 2014, while stocks last (over 20% sold out at time of writing this post).

Peace Limited Edition Holiday Aromatherapy Blend

This aromatherapy blend is a mix of vetiver, sweet orange, and sandalwood essential oils in a base of jojoba oil. Custom blended to evoke feelings of peace as you tackle the Holiday season rush – and take a moment to yourself!

Comfort Limited Edition Holiday Aromatherapy Blend

This aromatherapy blend is a mix of frankincense, rose geranium (distilled mix), and sweet orange essential oils in a base of jojoba oil. Custom blended to evoke feelings of comfort as the nights draw in and the temperature falls.

Joy Limited Edition Holiday Aromatherapy Blend

This aromatherapy blend is a mix of cypress, tangerine, petitgrain and rose geranium (distilled mix) essential oils in a base of jojoba oil. Custom blended to evoke feelings of joy as family and friends gather for the Holiday season.

Custom Aromatherapy Blends for the Holiday Season

All Limited Edition Holiday aromatherapy blends are packaged in a 0.33 oz roller-ball bottle for easy application. They also come with the addition of an organza bag, ideally packaged for your Holiday gift. Prices start at $15 for one aromatherapy blend, $25 for two aromatherapy blends, and $35 for three aromatherapy blends – including shipping in the 48 continental United States. For shipping outside of these parameters, contact me for a custom quote, and to see if shipping is available to your destination.

For further information on pre-ordering your custom aromatherapy Limited Edition Holiday blend, visit the website today!

Custom Aromatherapy Blends by Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to order custom aromatherapy blends for your own business or practice, contact me to learn more. In addition, visit the website for basic information. I offer a full consultation service to ensure that the perfect blend is designed to meet your needs!

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Spice Aromatherapy Recipes for the Winter Months

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by
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Spice Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Spice Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, Fotolia

People often associate spice essential oils with the fall and winter months. Spices are considered warming. However, spice essential oils are also powerful and should be used in low dilution by the beginner to aromatherapy. In addition, there are some instances where spice essential oils should never be used. Here is a quick guide to spice essential oils and a couple of spice aromatherapy recipes (all recipes are based on quantities for a healthy adult with no known contra-indications for use).

In all cases, consult a certified aromatherapist and/or a qualified health care practitioner, for specific advice pertaining to your situation. This post doesn’t replace the advice of a health care professional and does not claim to cure with the use of aromatherapy; it is for educational purposes only.

Examples of Spice Essential Oils

Spice essential oils include many of the spices that you may be familiar with for culinary purposes; these include:

  • black pepper (Piper nigrum)

  • cardomon (Elettaria Cardomum)

  • cinnamon ( Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

  • clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

  • ginger (Zingiber officinale)

  • nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

  • oregano (Origanum vulgare)

  • star anise (Illicium verum).

Spice essential oils usually blend well with citrus essential oils in aromatherapy practice.

Cautions for Using Spice Essential Oils

Spice essential oils often contain more potent chemical components than some of the other essential oils and should always be used with care. Consult individual essential oil monographs before using a particular spice oil. Many spice essential oils are contra-indicated for use in pregnancy, with babies and children, with certain health conditions, with certain medication, and with the elderly.

In short, understand the potential results for using your chosen spice essential oil – before using it.

Spice Aromatherapy Diffuser Mix

One popular way to use spice essential oils is in an aromatherapy diffuser, particularly during the Holiday season. Diffuse for a seasonal feel, for parties, and for friends – or to combat a particular ailment.

Here’s a simple spice aromatherapy diffusion mix:

  • 5 ml blend:

Essential Oils:

  • 20 drops ginger (Zingiber officinale)

  • 30 drops cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

  • 50 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

Blend the essential oils together and add to a suitable aromatherapy diffuser. DO NOT use this blend undiluted on the skin or in any other type of application. Note contra-indications before use.

Spicy Floral Mix for Perfume

Spice essential oils blend well in perfume bases, if you like the aroma. Experiment with this spicy floral mix:

  • 8 oz white lotion base*

Essential Oils:

  • 12 drops ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)

  • 7 drops rose (Rosa damascena)

  • 20 drops tangerine (Citrus reticulata blanco)

  • 7 drops anise star (Illicium verum)

*Learn to make a simple white lotion base in the Sedona Aromatherapie Basic Butters, Balms, Creams and Lotions Course.

Note contra-indications before use.

Use this blend as a perfume body lotion. Increase quantity of essential oils as desired – and within safety guidelines.

Warming Spice Aromatherapy Rub for Colds

Spice essential oils may help to relieve the symptoms of colds, depending upon specific circumstances. Here is one simple spicy aromatherapy mix for colds:

  • 1 oz sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil

Essential Oils:

  • 3 drops lemon (Citrus limon)

  • 2 drops black pepper (Piper nigrum)

  • 3 drops Eucalyptus smithii

Note contra-indications before use; apply to the chest area to relieve congestion.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils, and how to use them safely, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist, published author, and aromatherapy business owner

  • Caddy, Rosemary, 1997, Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Colour UK: Amberwood Publishing Ltd

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

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Pomegranate Seed Oil for Skincare Products

Posted on: October 27th, 2014 by
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Pomegranate for Aromatherapy: Photo Credit and Copyright, Sharon Falsetto

Pomegranate for Aromatherapy: Photo Credit and Copyright, Sharon Falsetto

There are many carrier oils that can be used in aromatherapy, particularly for skincare products. One carrier oil that I’ve discovered recently is pomegranate seed oil. Pomegranates also grow in my garden here in Arizona, so I was interested to learn more about what this fruit could offer in terms of therapeutic benefits! Here’s a brief look at pomegranate seed oil.

Botanical Profile of Pomegranate

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) belongs to the Lythraceae plant family (formerly in the Punicaceae family). It is a small deciduous shrub or tree that bears red-colored fruit which varies in size from a lemon to a grapefruit. It produces the fruit between September and February (Northern Hemisphere). Pomegranate grows in a dry climate with a Mediterranean-type rainfall in summer or winter. The plant is drought tolerant and can withstand frost to about 10F, which explains why it does so well in my northern Arizona garden!

The tree or bush reputedly grows up to a height of 32 feet but the pomegranate tree in my yard is probably no more than 10 feet in height. It has glossy, narrow, green leaves and produces bright red flowers in season. The fruit contains hundreds of individual seeds. There are various cultivars available which may produce different colored fruit and subtle botanical differences.

Extraction of Pomegranate Seed Oil

Pomegranate seed oil is usually cold pressed from from the seeds of the fruit. However, in the course of research for this article, I came across a company which uses carbon dioxide extraction (CO2) to extract pomegranate seed oil from the crushed seeds (Selco).

Therapeutic Properties and Uses of Pomegranate Seed Oil

Numerous studies have been conducted on pomegranate seed oil to establish the therapeutic properties it may contain. Common chemical components that seem to have been established between analyses include phytosterols, tocopherols, and punicic acid (SciMedCentral). These chemical components are noted for therapeutic properties such as anti-oxidant properties, anti-tumor, immunomodalatory, and serum lipid-lowering properties (SciMedCentral).

Some of the reported health benefits of pomegranate seed oil include anti-inflammatory (acne, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis) and anti-oxidant (skin aging, wrinkles, sunburn) actions, stimulation of epidermal tissue regeneration (promote healthier looking skin and increase skin elasticity), and relief from muscle aches and pains.

Many women also use pomegranate seed oil for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia. Clinical studies vary in results.

Pomegranate Seed Oil in Skincare Applications

One of the main uses for pomegranate seed oil for aromatherapy applications is in skincare products. A little goes a long way, and you only need to combine a small amount of pomegranate seed oil with other carrier oils/ingredients in order to see benefits. Add pomegranate seed oil to creams, lotions, serums, massage oils, facial care products, and scrubs. Pomegranate seed oil is golden yellow in color with little to no aroma.

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

Carrier oils are studied in more detail in both the Sedona Aromatherapie Foundation Course in Aromatherapy and the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy Course. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

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Aromatherapy Recipes for Gardeners

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by
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Aromatherapy Recipes for Gardeners: Photo credit, Fotolia

Aromatherapy Recipes for Gardeners: Photo credit, Fotolia

I was doing some Fall planting this past weekend and, as any gardener knows, gardening comes with a few scars, aching limbs and dry, chapped hands! However, as you are planting up your garden, you should also remember that some plants can help soothe and ease the associated discomforts of your toil. Here’s a few aromatherapy recipes that may help soothe away some of those problems!

Note: All aromatherapy recipes stated here assume that you are a healthy adult with no other problems. You should consult a qualified health care professional before using if you have any other illnesses, are pregnant, elderly, or fall into any other “special” group; certain essential oils should be avoided for these groups and/or reduced in quantity. In addition, consult a suitably certified and experienced aromatherapist for essential oil advice.

Aromatherapy Recipe for Gardening Hands

Unless you wear gardening gloves – and, I confess, I do not always, as I like to make contact with the earth directly when planting – your hands will probably incur a few scratches, and your skin may become dry and chapped when gardening (depending upon the climate in which you work; here in Arizona, “very dry” is usually the normal state of affairs).

The following aromatherapy recipe may help the associated problems of “gardening hands:”

  • 4 oz whipped shea butter base*

  • 10 drops helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium) essential oil

  • 15 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

  • 11 drops petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara fol) essential oil

*You can learn how to make this butter base in the Sedona Aromatherapie Basic Butters, Balms, Creams and Lotions Course or the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy Course.

Blend the ingredients together and apply to hands after gardening.

Aromatherapy Recipe for Gardener’s Back Pain

Back pain – along with knee pain, elbow pain, hand pain and any other type of limb pain – is part of the territory with gardening! Even with the right tools, you will be bending and stretching parts of the body you didn’t know you had – until the next day, when the aches and pains set in!

The following aromatherapy recipe may help:

  • 4 oz apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) oil

  • 16 drops Roman chamomile (Chameaemelum nobile) essential oil

  • 8 drops lavender(Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 12 drops black pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil

Note: Black pepper essential oil should not be used in conjunction with homeopathic remedies and may cause skin irritation.

Blend the ingredients together and apply to the relevant area after a soak in the tub or shower.

Learn How to Blend Essential Oils Safely and Successfully

This post is a short introduction to aromatherapy recipes for gardeners. If you want to understand more about essential oils, and how to use them both safely and successfully for other home uses, consider taking one of the Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Aromatherapy Courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist with seven years experience and practice of running her own aromatherapy business in the United States.

  • Author is also a published author and accredited aromatherapy course provider for NAHA.

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