Monthly Archives: July 2009

ESSENTIAL OILS AS MOOD-ENHANCERS

EssentialOils

One of the most useful aspects of essential oils is the mood-enhancing properties. Every oil will create some kind of feeling in you.  To realize why this happens you need to know a bit about how the essential oils work through our olfactory system: (Following is taken from Wikipedia – text & picture; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfactory_system)

<<In mammals, the main olfactory system detects odorants that are inhaled through the nose, where they contact the main olfactory epithelium, which contains various olfactory receptors. These can distinguish a new odor from the background environmental odors and determine the concentration of the odor.

These olfactory receptors are connected to bipolar olfactory receptor neurons in the olfactory epithelium, which transduce receptoractivation into electrical signals in neurons. The signals travel along the olfactory nerve, which belongs to the peripheral nervous system. This nerve terminates in the olfactory bulb, which belongs to the central nervous system.>>

Olfactory_system

1: Olfactory bulb 2: Mitral cells 3: Bone 4: Nasal Epithelium 5: Glomerulus 6: Olfactory receptor cells

You might say that the olfactory receptors in the nose is the only place where the brain sticks out from the skull. In the olfactory bulb (1) there is a series of key-holes which accommodate different molecules. It’s a little like the round peg in the round hole. If the odor molecule doesn’t fit in the key-hole the odor will stay only in the nose, being analyzed by the brain and that’s it, most odors fall into this category. If, however, the odor molecule fits into one of the key-holes it will enter the limbic system of the brain, also called the reptile brain. )Following text & picture is taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_system)

In addition, these structures are sometimes also considered to be part of the limbic system:

As you can see the limbic system is situated in the middle of the brain – as if it was the heart of the brain.

The molecular structure of essential oils fit in this key-hole system, so the essential oils do enter the limbic system. The essential oils also transgress the blood-brain-barrier and therefore enters the limbic system through the blood as well. Since many of the molecules in essential oils mimic our own hormones, they can, among other things, help to regulate our hormone-system. Some essential oils are very valuable for mental clarity, help with mood-swings, facilitating sleep and much much more.

In my next post I will tell you a little about the different oils and how you can use them as mood-enhancers.  I will also give you dosages and how-to-use tips. Stay tuned!

Advertisements

ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – Ravensara/Ravintsara

ravensaraI wrote in an earlier post about an essential oil I picked up: Ravintsara (cinnamomum camphora). I couldn’t really get this oil out of my head so I have been doing some research. As usual there is plenty of misunderstandings between different oils, popular names, botanical names and the chemical properties. What continues to confuse me are the different Latin names but this is what I have found:

Ravensara, (Ravensara aromatica / Ravensara anisataLauraceae family) Is a a leafy evergreen tree 18 to 20 meters high with a reddish-grey bark indigenous to the moist forests of Madagascar, in Malagasy called Havozo. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the stem-bark (Ravensara anisata) or the leaves & branches (Ravensara aromatica)

The main chemical constituents of R. aromatica are: 1,8 cinèole (up to 49%). The main chemical constituents in R. anisata are: anethole (approx. 85%) and methyl chavicol. This makes these two oils completely different.  Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora – Lauraceae family) is steam-distilled from the leaves. It is also high in 1,8 cinèole.

The problem is that I cannot find any information on the Ravintsara (c. camphora). All info I can find reverts back to Ravensara aromatica/anisata. So the question is; Is it really the same plant? Or is it a mixup of the names? One source states: “Cinnamomum camphora is also named Ravintsara in Madagascar; hence Ravensara camphora is seen on price lists mistakenly as ravensara but no true species exist; various qualities abound”.

So you see the confusion around essential oils; this is why it is so important to make sure that the oil you buy is good quality and has a Latin (botanical) name on the label. In the case with the Ravensara, I would go for the botanical name Ravensara aromatica.

to be continued…when I have more information.

AROMATHERAPY AND HORSES

Jade headThis is Jade. She is 34 years old and she did her last mounted-game competition when she was 30.

I told you in my last post that I work with horses. Apart from basic groundwork, natural horsemanship style, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_horsemanship I also work with essential oils. Sometimes in combination with training to help keep the horse focused and/or calm if there is nervousness. Most often I use essential oils with horses who suffer from some kind of trauma. Horses have an average life-span of about 15 years, a pony can get as old as 40. They are incredibly sensitive with an amazing memory – they remember everything. Very few horses stay with one owner for the full duration of their lives, some change owners very very often and the new owners rarely know anything about the past of the horse they just bought. If there is trauma it will make itself known in different ways and this is where I am called in.

This next picture is of a pony that belongs to a friend of mine. She was caught, with her foal,  in a very bad flood a few years ago and the foal drowned. She is a wonderful pony but she tunes out and goes into flight mode when pushed. I have done some ground-work with her and she always ends up going into a slight panic; breathing hard, sweating, rushing and becoming non-communicable. This weekend I brought my oils and she answered very well. We did some groundwork and she could stay calm, which is a good start, but there is still more work to be done. The oils she chose will be used for some time until progress is noticeable, then maybe she will need another oil/oils. Once her trauma is healed she will be an amazing pony.

DSCF0172

I have, through the years, also worked with a variety of different animals; dogs, cats, sheep, cows, lamas, snakes, birds, lizards, turtles, frogs etc with fantastic results. With animals there is no doubt, they instinctively know what they need to heal, and they seem to have a need to be whole. For this kind of work only top quality essential oils will suffice and then in very small quantities.

In England, Caroline Ingraham  works professionally with aromatherapy and animals. When I met her some years ago she was about to work with saving orangutans with severe trauma. She has done amazing work in this area and is the pioneer of animal aromatherapy. If this is interesting to you, you need to check out her home-page.

http://www.ingraham.co.uk/

BEING PRESENT

meditateBeing present or being in the now, is something I have been working on for very long, and it is really not that easy. We think we are present most of the time, but we actually hardly ever are. As I already mentioned in another posting; we judge everything based on something we already know, keeping us in the past or in the future. The present is a constant moment – it has no time. Everything is fresh and new – a possibility of learning or enjoying or maybe even suffering – yes, suffering is also part of being. All emotions are a learning experience, and the now is constantly loaded with possibilities. Changes are now, learning is now, experiencing is now, tasting, touching, seeing, smelling is now. When we are in the past we feel regret and when we are in the future we feel fear.                                                                                                                                                                                 We are constantly searching for our future, looking here, looking there – and the future always seem to elude us since it never comes; Each future moment becomes the present, at which point we completely miss it since we are still searching for the future. In a way we are living like slaves to our emotions; constantly struggling to go forward without ever stopping to reap the rewards.

When my children were small they had their favorite movie which they would watch over and over again, days – even weeks – on end. Each time they watched this movie it was like they saw it for the first time. This is being in the present. I used to watch them, mesmerized by their intense joy over something – to me – “worn down”. I was always in the future; next meal, next day, next chore. I was so busy that I very seldom stopped only to exist. My children showed me how to do this. They were the reason I learned to stop, because the joy of watching them exist made me still. My children were always my greatest teachers.

The source of our creativity is stillness.

I am very good at handling horses, somehow I know inside what they are feeling, what they are about to do. I have never learned about horses and I am not a brilliant rider, but I do know how they tick. Why? When I was a child I had an enormous love for horses,  and on the farm where we lived summers and holidays there were horses in a field. I used to spend my days there, watching them. I would bring a book and sandwiches and just watch.  With time I started to move with the horses, being part of their flock and this is how I learned horses. I learned their “language” and I learned that every movement means something. I learned that horses exist only in the present and this is the key to good horsemanship – the present. Horses were always my teachers.

Everything in the Universe comes from within; every idea, creation, thought, knowledge. Each time I stay in the present I learn something valuable – priceless. The things I do, know and understand best were learned in these moments. I watch my surroundings while being in the present – this is how I learn. But I have to work on it all the time since I slide so easily into the future.

Merlin & Wolfie i hagen

FOODS continued…

I was astonished to see the movie link in my last post is unavailable due to “terms of use violation”. Hmm, interesting. So I will post you another little film here instead, can’t enough stress the importance of nutrition.

A connection is made between additives and ADD in children. ADD has increased enormously over the last years…makes me wonder…

FOOD

FruitVegWe need to take a look at how and what we are eating.  So many people are overweight and obese, have problems with; concentration, sleep, hormones, digestion, emotions…the list goes on forever. I have been watching this development for a long time and it took me some time to realize that much of it is connected to foods and eating-habits. “We are what we eat” doesn’t mean that we become pigs for eating pork, it is more about health and balance.
Our bodies have certain needs, and they are quite simple, in the old days all nutrients came naturally through our foods. Today much of our foods are either polluted or depleted of nutrients. Our bodies find ways to handle the toxins that come into our systems – to a certain point. When the amount of toxins becomes to large, the body slowly starts breaking down. And with body is included the brain = emotions, memory, hormones, concentration, learning…the list is vast. So much of the food people eat today is full of chemicals that are bad or outright dangerous. Much foods have no nutritious value at all. Many people don’t even know how to cook a simple meal.
Check out this video on additives in foodstuffs and tell me if you are prepared to feed this to yourself and your children.

Information on additives, toxins and depletion is becoming widely available as disease from unhealthy eating is growing rampant. Research has been and is being conducted to ascertain what nutrients we need to function  and what additives make us ill:

  • Essential fatty acids are vital for healthy brain-function and has been found to help combatting dyslexia, how interesting then, that the number of dyslectic children is rising in today’s society. Essential fatty acids are found in fish-oil and cold-pressed, unrefined vegetable oils. The vegetable oils you find in your local store, with the exception of good quality olive oil, are so refined as to be unfit for eating.
  • Vitamins and trace-elements (calcium, iron, magnesium etc) are found in most unrefined food-stuffs; vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy-products. Today most people suffer disease from vitamin and trace-element depletion. The levels of these vital nutrients are lower also in natural food-stuffs since the soil has been depleted.
  • Natural sugars are being replaced with “fake” sugars such as aspartam, sorbitol and others. Some are believed to induce cancer. Extensive studies are being done in this area.
  • Meat-producing animals are heavily medicated with antibiotics – not because they are ill, rather to “protect” them from illness. They are also given hormones for bigger meat-yield. Antibiotics and hormones are stored primarily in fatty tissue and also in muscle tissue (meat). When we eat the meat, we are also ingesting these antibiotics and hormones.
  • Fizzy soft drinks; the carbonic acid, which gives the fizziness, lowers the pH of the body. To balance that, calcium is excreted from the sceletal system, depleting the bones of calcium = osteoporosis. The number of children with osteoporosis has risen drastically. Osteoporosis is normally an old peoples disease and comes from low calcium-levels together with a sedentary life-style. Children need calcium and movement to grow healthy. Now they are drinking sodas (which are cheaper than milk) and sitting still.

The list goes on forever.

A whole new food-movement is gaining momentum in today’s society, especially in the USA; check out this article about one amazing mans work to change the wave of food-induced deterioration:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/magazine/05allen-t.html

In the article is a link for the website, if you don’t feel like reading the article you can go straight to:

www.growingpower.org

05allen-190Will Allen

Picture by Nigel Parry for The New York Times

THANK YOU

comfort-zoneThank you people for such nice feed-back on my post yesterday,  I was – again – reminded of the rewards that come when I step past my comfort zone.

I received quite a few comments, ideas and questions that led me to believe that there is a great need for communication out there. So last night while falling asleep I had the idea to post questions and answers on this blog, this way you will get information on stuff that interests you; be it aromatherapy, herbs, natural skin-care, personal development, nutrition, stress-management or whatever…this way everybody helps each-other, which is how it should be.

By the way, please click on the ad to the right. It is a charity widget – every click helps children.