The Difference Between Coriander and Cilantro Essential Oils

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by
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Cilantro and Coriander (Seeds): Photo Credit, Fotolia

Cilantro and Coriander (Seeds): Photo Credit, Fotolia

When I first moved to the United States from the United Kingdom, I was very confused by the term of cilantro in reference to what, I believed, was coriander. However, I have since learned the difference between the two terms, and how they are used in relation to the plant, and more specifically, the essential oil. Here’s a quick summary of what the terms coriander and cilantro mean – depending upon which part of the world you are located in.

Coriander and Cilantro as a Herb

A small annual herb which goes by the general name of coriander in the United Kingdom and cilantro in the United States is one example of why botanical names are important. Coriandrum sativum, of the Apiaceae botanical family, is highly aromatic, with bright green leaves, and umbels of white, lacy flowers. It produces green seeds, turning to brown on maturity, after the flowering season is over.

Coriandrum sativum is indigenous to western Asia and Europe but it is now naturalized throughout North America. In common with mandarin and tangerine, the plant’s name was “altered” when it landed on North American shores, leading to confusion among those who use purely generic English names for plants.

Coriander Seed Essential Oil (UK and US)

Coriandrum sativum produces both a seed essential oil and an essential oil from the leaves and stalks of the plant. The seed essential oil is known as coriander seed essential oil in both the United States and the United Kingdom. However, the term seed may not be used in the United Kingdom, in conjunction with coriander, as much as it is in the United States (based on my experience).

Cilantro Essential Oil (US)

Cilantro is the common term used in the United States to describe the essential oil produced from the leaves and stalks of Coriandrum sativum. It may also be referred to (to a lesser extent in the United States) as coriander leaf essential oil. It is worth noting that the chemical components of the seed essential oil and the leaves/stalks essential oil differ.

Cilantro essential oil has a lesser content of linalool (alcohols) than the seed essential oil, and contains a high proportion of decyl aldehyde (aldehydes). Alcohols are generally less “reactive” chemical components in essential oils than aldehydes, although aldehydes are often more fragrant than many other chemical components.

Coriander Essential Oil (UK)

In the United Kingdom, the term coriander is also used in general when referring to the leaf/stalk essential oil (known as cilantro in the United States: see above paragraph). In summary, there is no real distinction (in name at least) between coriander as a seed or leaf essential oil in the United Kingdom (as there is in the United States), although the terms seed and leaf maybe inserted into the name to ascertain which part of the plant the essential oil has been extracted from, and indicating the expected chemical components and therapeutic properties.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and their use in aromatherapy practice, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

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

  • Tisserand, Robert, Young, Rodney, 2014, Essential Oil Safety, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  • 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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The Difference Between Tansy Essential Oil and Blue Tansy Essential Oil

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by
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Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Tansy essential oil and blue tansy essential oil are very different in their chemical make-up, and subsequent use, despite the fact that they both belong to the Asteraceae plant family. In addition, blue tansy can also be known by the synonyms Moroccan blue chamomile and Moroccan tansy, adding to further confusion with another essential oil. Here’s a quick look at the difference between these two types of tansy oils.

Profile of Tansy Essential Oil

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a medium-sized herb that grows up to three feet in height. It has dark-green, fern leaves and small, round, yellow flowers. It has a fragrant aroma. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the aerial parts of the plant.

Use of Tansy in Aromatherapy

Tansy essential oil has a warm, spicy-herbaceous aroma. The principal chemical component in tansy essential oil is thujone, a fairly “reactive” component. Lawless lists tansy as “abortifacient” and advises against use of the essential oil for therapeutic aromatherapy practice.

Profile of Blue Tansy Essential Oil

Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) is confusingly also known as blue Moroccan chamomile – not to be confused with Moroccan chamomile (Ormenis multicaulis)*. It owes its other synonym, Moroccan tansy, to its country of origin, Morocco. Blue tansy is an annual herb that produces one of the “blue” essential oils; other “blue” essential oils include German chamomile (Matricaria recutica), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). All members of the Asteraceae plant family, the “blue” oils owe their nickname to the azulene chemical component present in the essential oil (from the Spanish word azul, meaning blue).

*NOTE: Schnaubelt lists blue tansy (tanacetum annuum) as Moroccan chamomile in his works. It is important to be familiar with the botanical names of plants for this reason.

Use of Blue Tansy in Aromatherapy

Blue tansy essential oil has a herbaceous aroma. It is extracted from the annual herb (aerial parts) by steam distillation. Rose list the uses of blue tansy essential oil for sciatica, asthma, nerve sedative, and in skincare. Schnaubelt indicates its use for allergies. However, the essential oil is contra-indicated for use with women who have an endocrine imbalance and in pregnancy. In addition, do not use in dilution above 5%.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

  • Eden Botanicals website, Blue Tansy, accessed July 27, 2015

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

  • Rose, Jeanne, 1999, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, US: Frog Ltd. Books

  • Schnaubelt, Kurt, 1998, Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, US: Healing Arts Press

  • Tisserand, Robert, Young, Rodney, 2014, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author 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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The Omega Components of Carrier Oils

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by
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Omega Components of Carrier Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Omega Components of Carrier Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Carrier oils possess many therapeutic benefits for skincare. A lot of carrier oils have similar therapeutic benefits, as they contain some of the same components. Although each carrier oil will vary in both quantity and exact make-up of components, many carrier oils will possess one or more of the following omega fatty acids, in addition to other components.

Linoleic Acid in Carrier Oils

Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. A polyunsaturated fatty acid has two of more double bonds in its make-up and, in this instance, it has a carbon-carbon double bond in the n-6 position.

Linoleic acid is found in many nut and seed oils, such as sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and safflower (Carthamus tinctorius).

Linoleic acid helps the skin in both function and appearance.

Linolenic Acid in Carrier Oils

Linolenic acid, not to be confused with linoleic acid, is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. Although similar to linoleic acid, a-linolenic acid (ALA) has a carbon-carbon double bond in the n-3 position or y-linolenic acid (GLA: Gamma-linolenic acid) has a carbon-carbon double bond in the n-6 position.

ALA is found in seed, nut, and vegetable oils such as walnut (Juglans regia), sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), and hemp seed (Cannabis sativa). GLA is found in vegetable oils such as evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), borage seed (Borago officinalis), and blackcurrant seed (Ribes nigrum).

Both linoleic acid and linolenic acid maybe useful for conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and eczema.

Oleic Acid in Carrier Oils

Oleic acid is a monosaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Monosaturated fatty acids have a single bond in comparison to polyunsaturated fatty acids that have two or more bonds. Omega-9 fatty acids are not essential fatty acids (EFA), unlike omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids. The body is capable of producing its own omega-9 fatty acids from unsaturated fat.

Oleic acid is found in carrier oils such as olive (Olea europea) and macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia).

Oleic acid is moisturizing and regenerating for the skin. It can also be useful for inflammatory conditions.

Omega Fatty Acids in Carrier Oils

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids for the body, as the body cannot produce these particular fatty acids. Omega- 9 fatty acid is not considered “essential” because the body can produce its own omega-9 fatty acid.

However, all three omega fatty acids are found in most of the carrier oils used in aromatherapy skincare and massage products. In addition to those conditions mentioned above, carrier oils that are high in omega fatty acids components may help with conditions such as dermatitis, aging skin, damaged skin, rashes, and dry skin.

In summary, omega-rich carrier oils maybe helpful for a number of problems and skin conditions. Check the content of a particular carrier oil to work out if it is the most suitable one for the condition that you are trying to address.

Learn more about carrier oils with the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy program. Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

  • Oregon State University website, Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health, accessed July 20, 2015

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

  • University of Maryland Medical Center website, Gamma-linolenic Acid, accessed July 20, 2015

  • WebMD website, Understanding the Omega Fatty Acids, accessed July 20, 2015

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author 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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Drops of Joy Aromatherapy Jewelry: Review and Giveaway

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by
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Drops of Joy Custom Birthstone Diffuser

Drops of Joy Custom Birthstone Diffuser

Recently I reviewed the Welledia aromatherapy diffuser – and we gave away ten diffusers to ten lucky winners. If you missed out on that opportunity, today I am reviewing — together with another giveaway! – a piece of aromatherapy jewelry made by Sara Radginski of Drops of Joy Jewelry. If you would like to win your very own custom piece of aromatherapy jewelry, read on to learn how!

About Drops of Joy Jewelry

Drops of Joy Jewelry is a small business that was founded in 2014 by Sara Radginski and her husband Josh. It combines a love of essential oils, jewelry making, and the gift of joy. The ability to custom design your own piece of aromatherapy jewelry is one of the key components of this business. You can choose both a crystal and a mantra (or favorite saying) to be etched onto your locket, which you can add your own choice of essential oils, too.

And, by purchasing one of the Drops of Joy custom pieces of jewelry, you are helping St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital: $2 of every sale is donated to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in recognition of the health problems of the Radginski’s twin babies when they were born.

Custom Birthstone Aromatherapy Diffuser Jewelry

Sara very kindly sent me one of her custom birthstone aromatherapy diffuser pieces of jewelry to review – and to giveaway to two lucky readers! (more on that below).

I chose my own birthstone and a three-word mantra to be added to the necklace, together with the diffuser. In this case, I chose to have the words “Follow your bliss” inscribed on the disc, and my March birthstone added. You can also choose your chain length: 18”, 20”, or 22”.

The actual aromatherapy diffuser reminds me of the old-fashioned lockets that my grandmother had when I was a child – except in place of a photo inside, you get to place one of the diffuser “dots” (supplied with the necklace). Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and be at peace for the day!

TIP: I would advise using a base note essential oil if you want your aroma to last longer; top note essential oils evaporate quickly, and you will have to keep adding more essential oil/s.

BONUS TIP: Although this diffuser is a piece of jewelry, designed to wear around your neck, I have a couple of my favorite necklaces hung in my car. In addition to a beautiful, handcrafted necklace designed by a friend, I now have an aromatherapy diffuser from Drops of Joy Jewelry, enabling me to have both scent and beauty when I am on the go (or stuck in traffic).

How to Win a Drops of Joy Custom Aromatherapy Diffuser

If you would like to win your own Drops of Joy custom aromatherapy diffuser, simply add a comment to the blog, stating which birthstone crystal you would like, and your favorite saying or mantra (maximum 15 characters). This is the information that will be used to custom make your diffuser, if you are one of the chosen winners! And, please post a comment on what that saying means to you: I will use this piece of information to choose the winner.

I will choose two lucky winners who will receive a Drops of Joy aromatherapy diffuser direct from the business. Please be prepared to share your mailing address with me if you are notified as a winner, in order to mail out your jewelry. If you fail to respond to my notification email within a couple of days of notification, I will choose another winner – so don’t forget to check your spam box too!

CLOSING DATE: July 17, 2015.

Good luck!

With thanks to Sara and Josh Radinski of Drops of Joy Jewelry for allowing this giveaway to happen. For more information on Drops of Joy Jewelry, visit the website at: www.dropsofjoyjewelry.com.

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What is a Folded Essential Oil?

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by
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Folded Essential Oils Undergo Additional Processing: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Folded Essential Oils Undergo Additional Processing: Photo Credit, Fotolia

The term “folded” is applied to some types of essential oils, and you may not actually know what this term means. However, it is important to understand which types of essential oils can be “folded,” why the price point differs from unfolded essential oils, and what you are actually buying when you purchase a folded essential oil. Here is a quick look at folded essential oils.

Folded Essential Oils: What Are They?

A folded essential oil is actually a fractionated essential oil. A fractionated essential oil “has been re-distilled at a low pressure to isolate a number of chemical components” (Falsetto, 2014, Certification in Professional Aromatherapy). Terpenes are usually removed in folded essential oils because the processor does not consider terpenes to have value; however, for therapeutic aromatherapy practice, removing, or altering, any chemicals in the natural make-up of the essential oil devalues and unbalances the oil, and makes it useless.

Folded essential oils are usually produced for commercial purposes where therapeutic properties are of no concern.

Folded Citrus Essential Oils

Although most essential oils contain terpenes – the basic building block of essential oils – citrus essential oils in particular, are high in monoterpenes, making them susceptible to folding by some processors. A folded citrus essential oil has no place in therapeutic aromatherapy practice. An authentic citrus essential oil will have usually been cold expressed or, in some cases, steam distilled, directly from the plant, with no further processing. Citrus essential oils for aromatherapy purposes should be:

  • lemon (Citrus limon) – expressed

  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia) expressed or steam distilled

  • sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) – expressed or steam distilled

  • grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – expressed

  • mandarin (Citrus reticulata) – expressed

  • bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – expressed

  • bitter orange (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – expressed

  • tangerine (Citrus reticulata var. blanco) – expressed.

Always check how a citrus essential oil has been extracted to work out if it could be a folded essential oil.

Folded Vanilla Oil

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is another plant that can be used to produce a folded essential oil. In fact, there is no such thing as a vanilla “essential” oil; vanilla absolute or vanilla CO2 extracted oil is usually available for aromatherapy (scent) purposes.

You may also see five-fold and/or ten-fold vanilla “essential” oil for sale. Although used commercially, folded vanilla oil is of little-to-no-value in therapeutic aromatherapy practice. In addition, anything beyond a single fold vanilla oil, would require excessive heat to produce, damaging the value (and the flavor for food purposes) of the oil/extract (Nielson Massey website).

How to Check For a Folded Essential Oil

The following are some key points to refer to when figuring out if you are actually purchasing a folded essential oil:

  • price – if its lower than expected for the oil you are purchasing, it could be a folded essential oil.

  • Availability – if an “essential” oil is available for a plant species that does not produce a true essential oil, it may be a folded essential oil (or adulterated).

  • Use – is it suitable for commercial use or therapeutic aromatherapy practice?

Ask the supplier if you are unsure about the quality of an essential oil. Determine if key chemical components may have been removed by requesting a GC-MS analysis for the essential oil (if possible, third party testing).

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils for aromatherapy practice, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Certification in Professional Aromatherapy: Module One, Sedona, AZ

  • Research by Author: Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author 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

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

  • Neilson Massey website, FAQ, accessed July 6, 2015

  • Price, Shirley, Price, Len, 2012, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, UK: Churchill Livingstone

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An Introduction to Berry Carrier Oils

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by
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Berries for Carrier Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Berries for Carrier Oils: Photo Credit, Fotolia

There are a number of berry carrier oils, in addition to the more “traditional” carrier oils, available on the market. If you take the time to do some research, you will find that many berry carrier oils are packed with beneficial properties for the skin – and can be combined with essential oils in aromatherapy for greater effect.

What is a Berry Carrier Oil?

Berry carrier oils are cold-pressed from the seed of the berry. Many berry carrier oils are high in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and anti-oxidants, making them a favorable skincare product for all types of skin.

Berries have a long history of use in plant medicine. Understanding the type of berry oil, and its uses, can help you to decide which berry oil is best for your purpose. Use berry oils as a carrier oil in aromatherapy practice, in combination with other carrier oils, and in many skincare bases – such as creams, lotions, lip balm, and hair care products.

The Different Types of Berry Oils

Below are listed some of the different types of berry oils suitable for aromatherapy skincare applications:

  • strawberry seed (Fragaria x. ananassa)

  • blackberry seed (Rubius fructicosus)

  • blueberry seed ( Vaccinium corymbosum)

  • raspberry seed (red) ( Rubus idaeus)

  • raspberry seed (black) ( Rubus occidentalis)

  • blackcurrant seed ( Ribes nigrum)*

  • cranberry seed (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

  • acai berry seed (Euterpe oleracea)

  • seabuckthorn seed (Hippophae rhamnoides).

* Note that blackcurrant also produces an absolute used in perfumery.

Common Characteristics of Berry Carrier Oils

In researching berry carrier oils, I found that many berry oils share the following characteristics (although there are exceptions to the rule):

  • most berry carrier oils are high in omega 3, omega 6, omega 9, and vitamin E. They also contain other beneficial ingredients to the skin.

  • Most berry carrier oils are suitable for all skin types; some are more suited to, for example, oily skin, or mature skin, but you will find that there is an appropriate berry carrier oil for all skin types.

  • Most berry carrier oils (like many other carrier oils) are not high in aroma, so you can blend them with other carrier oils and/or essential oils.

  • Most berry carrier oils are not known to have any contra-indications for general aromatherapy use.

  • Many truly organic, authentic berry carrier oils can be quite expensive, so I would advise blending then in a mix with other carrier oils.

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning about traditional carrier oils, and their applications in aromatherapy practice, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy program. To learn more, visit the courses home page.

References:

  • Natural Sourcing LLC website, Berry Oils, accessed June 29, 2015

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

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author 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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