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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What is an Essential Oil Monograph?

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by
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Information about essential oils is listed in various formats; names that you might hear when referring to essential oil information include an essential oil monograph, an essential oil profile, or an essential oil data sheet. Basically, all of these names refer to very similar types of information about an essential oil. Here is a quick look at the sort of information that should be included in an essential oil monograph.

Essential Oil Data: Photo Credit, ISP

Essential Oil Data: Photo Credit, ISP

A Description of an Essential Oil Monograph

An essential oil monograph contains information, data, or facts about an essential oil that you should become familiar with when working with essential oils. It helps you to compare the information that you know about an essential oil to an essential oil that you may be considering purchasing, or an essential oil that you might be considering adding to an aromatherapy blend.

Basic Information Contained in an Essential Oil Monograph

Information contained in an essential oil monograph may vary from provider to provider but here are some of the main points you should be looking for:

  • the botanical name of the essential oil or plant

  • synonyms for the essential oil or plant

  • the botanical family of the essential oil or plant

  • the method of extraction of the essential oil

  • where the plant is commonly found growing

  • a description of the plant which the essential oil is extracted from

  • the main chemical components of the essential oil

  • the main therapeutic properties of the essential oil

  • caution and/or contra-indications for using the essential oil.

The above information gives you a overall picture of what to expect of the essential oil and the plant from which it is extracted.

An Example of an Essential Oil Monograph

To give you an idea of an essential oil monograph, consider the popular essential oil of true lavender. The monograph for true lavender essential oil may look something like this:

  • Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia

  • Synonyms: Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera, common lavender, true lavender

  • Botanical family: Lamiaceae

  • Method of extraction: steam distillation of the flowers

  • Where the plant grows: Mediterranean region, most countries of the world

  • Description of plant: evergreen herb with violet-blue flowers growing up to three feet in height

  • Main chemical components of the essential oil: alcohols and esters

  • Main therapeutic properties of the essential oil: analgesic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, sedative

  • Cautions: none known for general aromatherapy use.

The above essential oil monograph was adapted and abridged from the full true lavender essential oil profile listed in Authentic Aromatherapy.

Learn More About Essential Oils with a Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Course

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and would like to study with UK certified aromatherapist and published author Sharon Falsetto, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. For a list of the full aromatherapy course program, visit the courses home page!

References:

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

  • Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

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The Difference Between a Botanical Family and a Fragrance Family

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by
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If you study aromatherapy, you will learn about botanical families; but if you study perfumery, you will learn about fragrance families. So, what exactly is the difference between these two types of families – and is there any overlap? Here’s a quick look at defining both botanical families and fragrance families for aromatherapy and perfumery

Botanical Plant Families in Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, ISP

Botanical Plant Families in Aromatherapy: Photo Credit, ISP

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The Definition of a Botanical Family

A botanical family defines a group of plants that share common botanical features and, in the case of aromatherapy, therapeutic properties. Aromatherapists learn the common traits of each botanical family that produces aromatic plants (and essential oils) so that they become familiar with making suggestions for alternative essential oils with similar properties.

A plant classification system was devised a long time ago to bring an “order” to the numerous plant species in the world. Many plants are mistaken for others due to the usage of common English names. The plant classification system gives each plant an unique Latin name within the classification system. Further study of botany is needed to understand this complex subject.

The Definition of a Fragrance Family

A fragrance family defines a group of scents (or chemical components) of plants (or synthetic components) that share similar aromas. Perfumery concentrates on the note and scent of an essential oil in comparison to the overriding notion of a therapeutic property for aromatherapy purposes; in addition to essential oils, a perfume may be made up absolutes, extracts, and/or artificial aromas and substances.

Just as the plant classification system is complex for botanists and aromatherapists, the fragrance classification system can be complex for perfumers too. There are various fragrance classification systems and perfumists may also adapt a system to suit their own needs. Past and present fragrance classification systems include:

  • the fragrance wheel

  • genealogy charts

  • industry personalization.

The Properties That an Aromatherapist Looks for in an Essential Oil

If you wish to use an essential oil for aromatherapy purposes, you will probably be looking for the following criteria; if you study aromatherapy, you will learn how and why you need to know these factors:

  • botanical family (as discussed above)

  • therapeutic properties – for example, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial

  • chemical components – for example, ketones, aldehydes, monoterpenes

  • notes – top, middle, or base

  • aroma – for example, citrus, floral, spicy.

The Properties That a Perfumist Looks for in an Essential Oil

If you wish to use an essential oils for perfumery purposes, you will probably be looking for the following criteria; if you study perfumery, you will learn more about each of these factors:

  • fragrance families (as discussed above)

  • aroma – for example, citrus, chypre, floral, oriental, fougère (notice the difference in some of the aroma names; these are in reference to the fragrance family)

  • notes – top, middle, or base.

Botanical or Fragrance Family?

The study of aromatherapy takes into account both the botanical plant family and chemical family of an essential oil and relates each to a therapeutic property; in perfumery, the chemical components of fragrance families denote a particular aroma that the perfumist uses to create a perfume blend.

Although aromatherapy and perfumery are two different practices, just as botanical and fragrance families are two different types of classification, there is an overlap between the two modalities. If you are interested in both subject areas, it is possible to combine the different aspects with further study.

Study Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about aromatherapy, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses; to learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Clarke, Sue, 2008, Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  • Gilbert, Karen, 2013, Perfume: The Art and Craft of Fragrance, New York: CICO Books

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

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

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Essential Oils for Different Skin Types

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by
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Skincare is one of the main ways in which essential oils are utilized. However, different skin types may be more suited to both different bases and different essential oils. Here’s a quick look at some suitable essential oils for different types of skin. You can find further information on this subject in Authentic Aromatherapy by Sharon Falsetto.

Essential Oils in Skincare Products: Photo Credit, ISP

Essential Oils in Skincare Products: Photo Credit, ISP

Using Essential Oils in Skincare Products

You can add essential oils to various skincare products; these includes facial scrubs, moisturizing lotions, foot creams, bath salts, creams, butters, balms, bath salts, massage oils, and sugar scrubs. You can make your own skincare products at home or use a pre-made cosmetic base to which to add the essential oils. If you don’t know a lot about using essential oils, consult a qualified aromatherapist for further advice on the amount of essential oils to use in your products and any contra-indications for using a specific essential oil.

Types of Bases for Skincare Products

Different parts of the body require different types of base products; for example, you wouldn’t normally use an essential oil blend for your feet on your face. These are my recommendations for some bases for skincare products:

  • feet – choose a richer, thicker emollient cream, butter or balm for your feet, particularly if you are treating dry skin. In addition, salt scrubs (with large grain salt) are good for removing hard, dead skin

  • face – choose a gentle exfoliant for your face. If you are using a scrub, choose ground oatmeal over sugar and salt scrubs. Try a gentle moisturizing lotion or cream that has been specifically blended for the face

  • body – use a general lotion, cream or oil base for your body but pay attention to your skin type and any specific problem areas that might need extra care.

Essential Oils for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you may suffer from spots and blemishes. Oily skin can also produce acne.

Essential oils that are antiseptic and anti-bacterial are a good choice for dealing with oily skin; these include:

  • geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

  • cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

  • cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

  • grapefruit (Citrus paradisi).

Essential Oils for Dry Skin

Dry skin is the opposite problem of oily skin. Dry skin can lead to itchy, red patches on your skin.

Use essential oils that are balancing and are gentle on the skin, if you have dry skin; these include:

  • rose (Rosa damascena)

  • jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

  • neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara).

Other skin types include combination skin and mature skin. Adding essential oils to skincare bases are a natural way to take care of your skin; however, you need to understand your skin type and the type of product base that you are using to choose the most suitable product for your body.

Learn About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about making aromatherapy products with essential oils, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study courses; to learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Davis, Patricia, 2005, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, UK: Random House

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

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

  • Price, Shirley, 2001, Aromatherapy for Women, UK: Anness

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

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Essential Oils for Positive Energy

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 by
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There are many situations and people that may impact the energy that you feel. If you are a particularly sensitive individual, you may pick up on the negative emotions (in people and circumstances) surrounding you and feel drained, tired, and exhausted

Essential Oils for Positivity: Photo Credit, ISP

Essential Oils for Positivity: Photo Credit, ISP

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Clearing negative energy in your personal space is not a new concept; ancient civilizations often used plants to bring in peace, calm, and positivity. Native American Indians used the concept of smudging to purify or bless a place; plants such as white sage (Salvia apiana) and sage brush (Artemisia tridentata) were used in smudging ceremonies. Smudging involves the burning of plant parts which might not be conducive to modern day situations. As an alternative, you can use essential oils and hydrosols to clear out negative energy and bring back positive energy.

Situations in Which to Use Essential Oils for Positivity

Essential oils can be used to clear negative energies and emotions in the following ways:

  • in the therapy room between clients

  • in the office after a particularly intense meeting

  • in the home after an argument or disagreement

  • after a visit from an emotionally draining friend or family member

  • after a hectic and often emotionally exhausting trip to the shopping mall, dentist or doctor office, or other distressing commitment

  • after a long day.

In short, any situation that you find yourself in that leaves you exhausted or emotionally drained.

How to Use Essential Oils to Combat Negativity

I find that the most effective way to use essential oils to clear a space is an adaption of the Native American smudging practice; instead of using a smudge stick, use essential oils in a spritzer bottle and spritz the area. Alternatively, you can use a ready-to-go hydrosol and mist the space with it.

How to make an aromatherapy spritzer was discussed in this earlier blog post. If you are purchasing a hydrosol, either buy it in a spritzer bottle or transfer the hydrosol to your own spritzer bottle.

Once you’ve chosen you essential oil blend or hydrosol, spritz the space where you want to clear out negativity and bring in positive energy.

Alternatively, you might prefer to diffuse essential oils in a space – but I find that the act of spritzing appears to help to “move energy” more effectively for me.

Essential Oils to Choose for Positivity

Although some essential oils (and hydrosols) are more suitable for encouraging positive energy, I also find that a favorite aroma can be just as beneficial. You may have a favorite aroma that invokes happy thoughts and positivity and can make you feel calmer and positive after using it.

These are some of the popular essential oils suggested for clearing out negative energy:

  • cedarwood

  • sage

  • peppermint

  • cypress

  • frankincense

  • myrrh

  • citrus essential oils.

The following essential oils are some which I personally find helpful in increasing positivity in a space:

  • rose

  • neroli

  • vetiver

  • pine

  • geranium

  • fennel.

I also find that rose and neroli hydrosols work well; remember that hydrosols are not as intense in aroma as essential oils, so if you find rose essential oil too “heavy,” you might benefit from the lighter aroma of rose hydrosol.

Emotional Benefits of Essential Oils

Essential oils are frequently used to help with anxiety, depression, and stress. In today’s overloaded world, most people suffer with some level of stress. Clearing out the negative energy that often accompanies stressful situations is quick and easy to do with essential oils. Have an essential oil spritzer or hydrosol to hand and move forward with positivity!

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

The physical and emotional benefits of essential oils are covered in further detail in the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course; to learn more about courses offered by Sedona Aromatherapie, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Sedona Aromatherapie Sage Aromatherapy Short Course

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

  • Hutchens, Alma, 1992, A Handbook of Native American Herbs, US: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

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Three Simple Aromatherapy Recipes for Travel

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by
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Essential Oils for Travel: Photo Credit, ISP

Essential Oils for Travel: Photo Credit, ISP

Summer season is upon us – and many people are preparing for their annual vacation! However, travel can sometimes bring about some unwanted side effects that may detract from the enjoyment of your vacation if you aren’t prepared.

Here are three simple aromatherapy recipes that you can prepare for your vacation – and have handy in case you need them!

Amounts quoted are for a healthy adult; adjust as necessary for babies and children, in pregnancy, for the elderly, or if you have an ongoing or serious medical condition.

#1 Aromatherapy Travel Recipe for Jet Lag

Jet lag affects many travelers who cross one or more time zones when flying to a vacation destination. Here’s a quick and simple aromatherapy recipe to help to relieve the symptoms of possible jet leg on long haul destinations this summer:

  • 36 drops of grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) essential oil

  • 4 oz white lotion base.

Apply to the temples in the morning and up to three times during the day to help you to stay alert and to adjust to the different time zone.

#2 Aromatherapy Recipe for Motion Sickness

Motion sickness can affect you if you are traveling by plane, train, boat, or car – and you don’t have to be traveling far to suffer from motion sickness. To help relieve the feeling of nausea, consider the following aromatherapy recipe:

  • 3 drops peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil

  • 4 drops lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil

  • 0.15 oz balm base*

* for information on how to make the balm base, consult Authentic Aromatherapy, page 95.

Apply to temples and wrist pulse points; inhale as needed. Note: this recipe is contra-indicated for babies and children under 5 years of age, and in pregnancy. In addition, be aware that lemon essential oil is photo-toxic; do not apply prior to going out in sunlight.

#3 Aromatherapy Recipe for Sunburn (After Care)

You should always protect yourself from the damaging heat of the sun but, in case you are caught out, here’s a soothing aromatherapy recipe to help relieve the effects of sunburn:

  • 20 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

  • 16 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 4 oz white lotion base.

Apply to the affected area up to three times a day.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Essential Oils for Travel in Authentic Aromatherapy

Essential oils for travel is just one of many useful subject areas covered in my book Authentic Aromatherapy. You can purchase a signed copy of the book direct from the Sedona Aromatherapie website – or pick up an unsigned copy from many online and retail outlets such as Amazon.com.

References:

  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

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

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