Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by
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Fall and Thanksgiving

Fall and Thanksgiving

Last week I discussed some seasonal nut carrier oils used in aromatherapy. This week I am following up that post with the types of essential oils that you might find useful as Thanksgiving approaches. Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, but it can sometimes lead to discord among guests, overeating, and grumpiness! Here are some suggestions for getting you through this seasonal celebration!

Essential Oils for Thanksgiving Parties

As discussed in my book, Authentic Aromatherapy, essential oils can be used at parties and social gatherings to encourage a certain mood. Diffusing essential oils is probably the best method for this purpose; always consult the diffuser manufacturer’s guidelines for use. Suggested essential oils for a social gathering such as Thanksgiving include:

  • Lemon (Citrus x limon) and grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – lemon and grapefruit essential oils can encourage conversations and mingling among friends and family

  • frankincense (Boswellia carteri) and myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) – frankincense and myrrh essential oils can relax the mood and may curb any disagreements before they start

  • cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)* and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) – a seasonal combination of spice and zest. Add in vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) for an extra twist.

*avoid in pregnancy.

You can “mix and match” these essential oils to your preference to encourage one of more of these moods or actions!

Essential Oils for Digestion

Family celebrations and gatherings such as Thanksgiving are often times when we over-indulge. To aid in digestion, diffuse some digestive-friendly essential oil blends such as:

  • ginger (Zingiber officinale), cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum), and mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

  • lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), dill (Anethum graveolens), and peppermint (Mentha x piperita)*

  • bergamot (Citrus bergamia), neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos), and celery seed (Apium graveolens).

*Do not diffuse around babies and children under 3 years of age, or in pregnancy.

After Your Thanksgiving Guests Leave

After your guests leave, you may find that your home is left with some lingering energies and/or emotions that can leave you feeling drained and tired. After many people have gathered in one space, this is quite normal. To restore calm and balance to your home, consider diffusing the following essential oil blends – or use a simple hydrosol spray (where suggested):

  • geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)*, cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

  • vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides) and clary sage (Salvia sclarea)*

  • rose (Rosa x damascena) hydrosol

  • neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos)) hydrosol.

*avoid in pregnancy.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about how to use essential oils safely and correctly, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program!

References:

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Nut Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy

Posted on: November 7th, 2016 by
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Walnut Oil for Aromatherapy

Walnut Oil for Aromatherapy

‘Tis nearly the season for Thanksgiving here in the United States, which is swiftly followed by Christmas. With that in mind, I am starting another trilogy of posts in the lead up to Thanksgiving, with a focus on oils and blends I consider appropriate for the season. This week I am looking at three of the more unusual nut carrier oils. Next week, I will look at some suitable essential oil blends for diffusing at Thanksgiving, followed by some seasonal aromatherapy products that you may find useful to have for your Thanksgiving guests.

Nut Carrier Oils

The difference between a nut and seed carrier oil was discussed in a previous blog post but, essentially, nut refers to the hard-shelled fruit of a plant. Sometimes you may see the word kernel used in its place.

A lot of carrier oils are extracted from nuts but those which I find seasonal for this time of year include hazelnut, macadamia, and walnut. Not that these oils have any distinct aroma when added to an aromatherapy blend, but I think that the description of the blend makes it sound authentic for the season! In addition, each carrier oil has its own therapeutic properties, adding value to the blend.

Hazelnut Carrier Oil

Hazelnut ( Corylus avellana) goes by the name noisette in France and haselnuss in Germany.1 The hazelnut tree belongs to the Corylaceae botanical family and is a small, deciduous tree which is indigenous to northern Europe. Both male and female flowers grow on the same tree making it a monoecious plant. The hazelnut tree has yellow catkins in the spring.

Hazelnut oil is extracted by cold pressing the nuts. It is yellow-amber in color and it is very similar to sweet almond(Prunis dulcis) oil. Hazelnut oil is used to nourish the skin, stimulate circulation, as a light astringent, for oily skin, and for acne.

Macadamia Carrier Oil

Macadamia (Macadamia ternifolia) belongs to the Proteaceae botanical family and it is indigenous to Australia. Today’s macadamia nuts are developed from a hybrid of the original tree used by Aboriginal people. A tall tree, with cream-white or pale-pink flowers, the macadamia is able to self-pollinate. Macadamia nuts are distinct for their extremely hard outer shell protected by a green outer husk; within these inner walls is the kernel itself.

Macadamia oil is extracted by cold pressing the kernel. It is light yellow in color and extremely high in monosaturated fatty acids (oleic and palmitoleic). Macadamia oil is used for mature skin, as a massage oil, as a lubricant, and it is easily absorbed by the skin. Use macadamia oil in place of mineral oil.

Walnut Carrier Oil

Walnut (Juglans regia) is a member of the Juglandaceae botanical family. The walnut is an ancient plant, possibly pre- Ice Age. It is a common, deciduous tree in countries with temperate climates. The walnut tree is an extremely tall tree. The nut is enclosed within an outer green, fleshy fruit.

Walnut oil is extracted by a complex process. First the walnuts are smashed open with a wooden mallet; the kernel is then ground and pressed to obtain the oil. The oil is a deep, golden-brown color and it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid). Walnut oil is used for eczema, itchy scalp and skin, as an emollient, and to soothe burns.

In Europe, walnut oil is often used in place of olive oil.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about how to use carrier oils in aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

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

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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An Introduction to Elemi Essential Oil

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by
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Elemi essential oil is extracted from the gum of the tree

Elemi essential oil is extracted from the gum of the tree

Note: For those expecting an interview with Sedona Aromatherapie graduate Elizabeth Eaton this week, the interview has been delayed for publication until Elizabeth completes her website. It will be published at a later date.

Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) is an ancient essential oil which has been used for thousand of years. However, it is not as well known in aromatherapy use as its close relatives frankincense (Boswellia carteri), myrrh ( Commiphora myrrha), and opopanax (Commiphora erythraea). Here is a quick look at elemi essential oil!

Historical Use of Elemi

The ancient Egyptians used elemi as a resin to embalm and preserve bodies. It has also been used in the past for skin care and respiratory problems. The name elemi is derived from the Arabic phrase “above and below” and elemi is said to balance both the body and the spirit on a physical and spiritual level.

Botanical Description of Elemi

Elemi is a tropical tree that is native to the Philippine and Moluccas Islands; however it has had a widespread use in the Middle East for centuries. Elemi belongs to the Burseraceae botanical family. It grows up to ninety-eight feet in height. When the elemi tree sprouts leaves, it exudes a natural resin gum that is collected and then steam distilled to produce elemi essential oil. The elemi tree is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “vulnerable.”

Elemi Essential Oil

Elemi essential oil is pale yellow in color with a similar fragrance to frankincense. It has a balsamic scent with a hint of lemon. Elemi essential oil is made up of the chemical components elemol, dipentene, limonene, phellandrene, elemicin, terpineol, and other minor constituents. It blends well with other essential oils such as myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon and the spice oils, such as cardamom. Elemi is also known by the synonyms Manila elemi, elemi gum and elemi resin; it is known locally as ‘Pili.

Uses of Elemi Essential Oil in Aromatherapy

Elemi essential oil is antiseptic, expectorant, stimulant, cicatrisant and a tonic. It is used in aromatherapy to treat skin inflammations, infections, wounds, mature skin, wrinkles, bronchitis, catarrh, stress, and sinusitis. It is also used in meditation, due to its calming properties. It is often used in place of frankincense essential oil, due to its similar properties. Elemi is also used both as a resinoid and an oil for fixative purposes in the perfumery industry.

Cautions for Using Elemi Essential Oil

Elemi essential oil is generally non-sensitizing, non- irritating, and non-toxic. Dilute elemi oil in a carrier lotion or oil, such as jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), before applying it to the skin. Elemi essential oil can be used through steam inhalation for effective treatment of respiratory complaints. Consult a qualified professional for further advice in using elemi essential oil.

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 the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics (TM) Home Study Program.

References:

  • Davis, Patricia, 1999, Aromatherapy: An A-Z UK: Vermilion

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

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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An Introduction to Cardamom Essential Oil

Posted on: October 24th, 2016 by
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Cardamom Pods: Photo Credit Dreamstime

Cardamom Pods: Photo Credit Dreamstime

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is one of the “spice” essential oils, although it doesn’t get as much press in aromatherapy use as its more popular cousins such as ginger (Zingiber officinale) and black pepper (Piper nigrum). Here is a quick look at cardamom essential oil!

Historical Use of Cardamom

Cardamom has been used in both Indian and Chinese Medicine for over 3,000 years for the treatment of respiratory problems, digestive problems, urinary infections, and fever. Cardamom was used in ancient Egypt as a perfume and in ancient Greece to treat coughs and stomach problems. It traveled the spice routes to reach the Western world.

Cardamom also earns a mention in several historical texts for its medicinal uses, including the Vedic medicinal texts, and those of Hippocrates and Dioscorides. The Indians believed that cardamom was an aphrodisiac; it was also used in many Eastern culinary dishes, and has been used as domestic spice for thousands of years. The Hindu name for cardamom is derivative for the botanical name for cardamom, Elettaria.

Botanical Profile of Cardamom

Cardamom is a member of the Zingiberaceae plant family. It is sometimes known as cardamon. Cardamom is a perennial herb which is native to tropical Asia, although cardamom essential oil is now produced commercially in Sri Lanka, India, and Guatemala. Cardamom grows to a height of approximately 13 feet; it has tall stalks with lance-shaped leaves and flowers of white-yellow. The flowers of cardamom eventually produce seed pods which contain the essential oil.

Cardamom is botanically related to ginger and consequently it can be used as an alternative essential oil because it has similar therapeutic properties to ginger essential oil.

Extraction of Cardamom

Cardamom essential oil is extracted from the dried seeds of the plant by steam distillation; it is a colorless or pale yellow essential oil. Cardamom essential oil has a warm, sweet, spicy aroma with woody undertones. It is certainly one of my favorite essential oils with regard to aroma!

Therapeutic Benefits of Cardamom Essential Oil

Cardamom essential oil is antiseptic, digestive, diuretic, carminative, expectorant, stimulant and a tonic. It is useful in addressing symptoms of flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, colic, nervous and mental stress, coughs and respiratory problems. Cardamom is also used as a perfume and fragrance ingredient in cosmetics, soaps and perfumes, in pharmaceutical preparations and as a flavor ingredient in culinary recipes for curry and spice dishes.

Safety of Cardamom Essential Oil in Aromatherapy

In general, cardamom essential oil is relatively non-sensitizing, non-irritating and non-toxic in aromatherapy use. However, it is wise to exercise caution and take professional advice if unfamiliar with the use of essential oils. Sensitive individuals may exhibit different reactions. In addition, ensure that the essential oil is diluted in a carrier oil/lotion and not applied directly to the skin.

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 the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics (TM) Home Study Program.

References:

  • Davis, Patricia, 1999 Aromatherapy An A – Z UK: Vermilion

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

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Pumpkin-spice Aromatherapy Blends

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by
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Pumpkin-spice Aromatherapy Blends: Photo Credit Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin-spice Aromatherapy Blends: Photo Credit Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

In the final post of my pumpkin-spice trilogy, I have created three pumpkin-spice aromatherapy blends using pumpkin seed oil and a number of spice essential oils as discussed in last week’s post. Add a little seasonal zest to your aromatherapy products this Fall with these easy-to-create pumpkin-spice aromatherapy blends!

The Basic Pumpkin-spice Essential Oil Formula

I created the same essential oil base formula and added it to the three products I created for this post. It is a 2% dilution rate (12 drops of essential oils to 1 oz of base product) and may need adjusting for use with certain groups. DO NOT use this blend with babies and children, in pregnancy, with seniors, or with those who have certain health conditions. In addition, pay attention to the following cautions for individual essential oils:

  • 3 drops of cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): Do not use in pregnancy; possible irritation of the mucous membranes.

  • 2 drops nutmeg (Myristica fragrans).

  • 9 drops cardamomum ( Elettaria cardamomum): See next week’s essential oil profile on this specific essential oil for more information!

  • 5 drops clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum): Possible irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.

  • 5 drops ginger (Zingiber officinale): Slightly photo-toxic (avoid sun exposure after use) and possible skin sensitization.

Consult a certified aromatherapist before use if you are unfamiliar with essential oils.

Pumpkin-spice Diffusion Blend

This is the base formula that I created (as above). Add the undiluted blend to your aromatherapy diffuser, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for use. Some diffusers may need the addition of water in order to work effectively.

Diffuse in a well-ventilated area (this is a potent aroma) to create a Fall feeling, and to combat colds, sniffles, and coughs. The addition of cardamom essential oil to this blend promotes emotional well-being, eases anxiety, and dissipates mental fatigue.

Pumpkin-spice Body Oil

My pumpkin-spice body oil contains a base of pumpkin seed oil and vanilla-infused jojoba oil to compliment the spicy essential oils. Use this blend in moderation and do not apply to the face:

  • 0.5 oz pumpkin seed oil

  • 0.5 oz vanilla-infused jojoba oil

  • pumpkin-spice essential oil blend (as above).

Blend together all of the ingredients, shake well, and store in amber-colored glass bottle in a cool, dark place.

Pumpkin-spice Body Scrub

Prepare your skin for winter, with this melody of spices, vanilla, and pumpkin in a warming mix of demerara sugar and sandalwood powder. This is a wash-off product. Do not apply to sensitive areas such as the face:

  • 1.75 oz demerara sugar

  • 0.5 oz pumpkin seed oil

  • 0.5 oz vanilla-infused jojoba oil

  • 0.1 oz sandalwood (Santalum spictum) powder

  • pumpkin-spice essential oil blend (as above).

Mix together all of the ingredients. Apply in a clockwise motion to the skin. Leave on for 10 -15 minutes. Wash off and rinse.

Learn More About Making Aromatherapy Products with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to make more aromatherapy products like this, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics (TM) Home Study Program.

References:

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Create a Pumpkin-spice Aromatherapy Blend with Essential Oils

Posted on: October 10th, 2016 by
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Create Pumpkin and Spice Aromas with Essential Oils

Create Pumpkin and Spice Aromas with Essential Oils

Fall is reminiscent of pumpkin and spice aromas. Although the pumpkin does produce a pumpkin seed oil for use in aromatherapy, it is not an oil with a dominant aroma. However, it is possible to create a pumpkin-spice aromatherapy blend by using a few essential oils. Aroma and intensity may vary depending upon which essential oils you choose to include in your blend. Here’s a quick look at the most frequently used essential oils used to create a natural pumpkin-spice aroma in aromatherapy products – and how you can create your own pumpkin-spice blend.

Next week’s post will include some pumpkin-spice aromatherapy recipes!

The Aroma of Pumpkin

Pumpkin, as a stand alone aroma, doesn’t actually smell of anything much – other than perhaps a vegetable-based note with a buttery undertone. The reason that we associated spice with pumpkin is due to the commercial development in the past few years of pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-spice muffins, pumpkin-spice cookies… and so the list goes on! And, of course, there is that familiar, home-comfort aroma of pumpkin pie (notably, the spices that go into creating the pie).

The aroma of pumpkin pie is also said to be an aphrodisiac to both men and women,1so the interest in creating a pumpkin-spice aroma is of interest to many people for more reasons than just humble pumpkin pie!

Spice Essential Oils for a Pumpkin-spice Blend

Essentially, when you create a pumpkin-spice blend from essential oils, you are relying heavily on the spice essential oils, together with some vanilla, to both ground the blend and give it that “butter” undertone. In my research for a pumpkin-spice aroma, I came across the usual suspects in the spice essential oils, with a variation or two between recipes, to create a pumpkin-spice blend; these include:

  • cinnamon

  • ginger

  • nutmeg

  • clove

  • cardamon

  • all spice (pimento berry)

  • star anise.

In some aromatherapy recipes, I found carrot seed essential oil included. You can also add in citrus orange essential oil for an added twist.

An Aromatherapy Pumpkin-spice Blend

Although I have lived in the United States for over a decade now, I was not raised on pumpkin pie “back home!” I understand that the aroma of pumpkin pie can vary depending upon the spices used in the recipe. Therefore, my advice to you in creating your own pumpkin-spice aromatherapy blend is to think about the familiar spices you recall from your childhood memories of pumpkin pie.

From a blending point of view, you will want to secure those volatile essential oil top notes with at least one base note essential oil; my recommendation would be vanilla. If I was to create a version of the pumpkin-spice blends popular in today’s culture, I would recommend a blend such as this:

  • Top notes: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Add in other spice essential oils as you prefer.

  • Middle notes: butter CO2 extract (not plant-based), clove essential oil, cardamon essential oil.

  • Base note: vanilla.

You will need to experiment with dilution rates and quantities of individual essential oils in order to find your own perfect pumpkin-spice aroma. Remember to pay attention to all contra-indications associated with individual essential oils before using the blend. All blends should be diluted in a base – such as a carrier oil or lotion – for topical use.

Next week, I will show you how you can incorporate this pumpkin-spice blend into different aromatherapy product bases!

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics(TM) Program

If you would like to learn more about making essential oil blends, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics(TM) Program!

References:

  1. Chicago Tribune website, The Power of Your Nose, accessed October 10, 2016

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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