Tag Archives: essential oils

THE MAGIC OF SMILING

Smile!

Smile!

“When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”

So the song goes and it’s absolutely true. Smiling is contagious; other people who meet your smile will start smiling as well. Isn’t that a beautiful thing – that we can light up our world with such a simple action. A smiling face sends a message of peace and friendship, it opens to connecting with other people. You’d much rather deal with somebody who’s smiling and you have probably experienced how a grumpy person suddenly became a great deal friendlier when you smiled at them.

Smiling is so much more…

When you smile, the muscle-movement sends signals to your brain, making it release endorphines, the “feel-good-hormone”. The same goes for crying, that’s why you feel relief after a good cry. If you think about it; a picture of somebody crying can sometimes look confusingly like they’re smiling. So even though you don’t feel happy, you will feel better by pulling your face into a smile…Isn’t that great news! It might only be a grimace, but the endorphines will blow some life into that smile, making it wider as you feel better.

If you feel bad or low, try a smile and I can assure you that you will feel, not great, but better. Try using the vowel “e” and keep it long; “eeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and there you have it!

Research also shows that the impact is higher if you watch yourself in a mirror.

Besides, when you smile you use a lot of facial muscles which actually will make your face look better in the long run. As we age, our facial expressions become etched into our faces; worry, anger and disapointment can become your “default” look as well as happiness. Smiles will turn your wrinkles into something attractive and beautiful as you age…

Essential oils to bring some smiles into your life:

Citrus-oils, especially Bergamott, Orange and Mandarin brings sun into a grey feeling.

Ylang-ylang; very good when there is anger involved. Uplifting and euphoric.

Geranium; a great emotional balancer, especially good for irritation.

May Chang, also called Litsea cubeba. Has a sweet citrusy deep scent. Makes tensions fade away.

Lavender; Calming and clearing to the head. Can help dispel negativity.

The best way to use essential oils as mood enhancers is by inhalation:

  • 1-2 drops on a tissue that you can carry around, I usually stuff it in my bra, then I have the scent wafting up to my nose.

  • In an aromalamp or diffuser, be careful not to overdose…A little goes a long way. If you get a headache or in any way feel uncomfortable, breath some fresh air and lower the dose.

  • In a bowl of warm water.

Essential oils disperse into the air with the help of heat and movement (like using a fan). The amounts of drops you use depends on the space you want to scent and your own preference. Always start low, you can add more oil if you want to.

Remember: After 3 minutes your system has adapted to the scent and you can no longer smell it. Don’t add more oils, go outside and breath or smell fresh coffee to clean your “scent-palate”. Another good trick is to inhale through wool, that also helps neutralize your scent.

EXTRACTION METHODS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS, what is the difference?

There are different ways of extracting the essential oils, or scents, from plant matter and I will explain the methods in this post. Some oils can be extracted through different methods and give EO’s  different in scent: Rose, for example, is both distilled; Rose Otto, and solvent extracted; Rose absolute, giving very different scents. Jasmine can be both solvent extracted; Jasmine absolute, and extracted through enfleurage; Jasmine enfleurage, but it can’t be steam distilled.

SteamdistillationSTEAMDISTILLATION:  The most commonly used method.  Steam is passed through the plant matter, “popping” the essential oil cells in the plant, carrying the light-weight EO with it into a cooler where the steam returns to water and the essential oil separates from the water. This is then collected in a vessel where water and essential oil will  separate since EO’s don’t mix with water. Depending on the density of the EO, it will either sink to the bottom or stay on top of the water. The EO is then taken out and bottled while the water is either used again or bottled as a hydrolat. The steam will only carry molecules that are light-weight enough, leaving behind waxes and other heavier plant-matter. Other light-weight molecules that are water-soluble will be carried by the steam and stay in the resulting water, hydrolat, which also contains tiny amounts of EO.

SOLVENT EXTRACTION (absolute, concrete, resinoid):This method is used mainly for very fragile materials such as flowers (jasmine, tuberose), or to extract scents for perfumery, as absolutes tend to be more true in scent to the real thing. The plant matter is mixed with a solvent, usually hexane, in which essential oil, waxes and colour is extracted from the plant matter. The solvent is then distilled off, leaving a waxy, semi-solid substance called concréte which consists of essential oil and other plant substances such as natural waxes. The concréte is then mixed with alcohol and filtered from all substances but the aromatic material. After evaporating the alcohol, there is an absolute.

COLD EXPRESSION: This method is used for all citrus oils, where the essential oil is found in the rind of the fruit. There are two different methods: The sponge method: The rind and pith is removed from the fruit and soaked in warm water to become more pliable. It was then inverted to break the cells that hold the essential oil. The EO is collected by sponges which are then squeezed to release the liquid. Water and EO separates. Écuelle à picquer: The citrus is placed in a rotating device with needles that break the EO cells, the oil and water-based material run off through a funnel, the oil is separated from the water and bottled.

CO2 EXTRACTION: Hypercritical carbon dioxide gas extraction. CO2 is the gas we breath out and the gas that plants thrive on. Carbon dioxide becomes hypercritical when a certain amount of pressure is applied, which means that the gas is turned into a liquid. This liquid can be used as a safe solvent for extracting EO’s from plant matter. CO2 is inert and doesn’t interact with the essence that is being extracted, furthermore there is no thermal degradation of the essence, since heat is not being applied. To remove the CO2, all that is needed is to remove the pressure, turning the liquid into gas, which can be used again, leaving only the EO. To obtain EO’s, relatively low atmospheric pressure is needed, extracting only the volatile parts of the plant. When higher atmospheric pressure is used, “heavier” plant materials are extracted as well (waxes, resins), leaving a substance much like the absolutes but without any traces of solvents.

enfleurageENFLEURAGE: A very old, time-consuming method which is hardly ever used today. The only oil I have come across that is extracted this way is a lovely Jasmine. There is not much of it around and it is very costly. Cold enfleurage: Odorless fat that is solid at room-temperature  (usually deodorized tallow or lard) is smeared onto framed glass-plates, called “chassis“, upon which the flower petals are spread in a single layer. The scent is then absorbed by the fat. Once the petals are depleted, they are removed and new petals are spread onto the fat. This is repeated until the fat is saturated with scent, it is then called a pomade. The pomade is mixed with alcohol, drawing the scent into the alcohol. The fat and alcohol is then separated and when the alcohol evaporates it leaves the absolute. Hot enfleurage:Petals are stirred into deodorized fat and heated. Again, depleted petals are strained and new added until the saturation is complete. The rest of the process is the same as in cold enfleurage. The remaining fat is used for soap as it is still scented. If you have read or seen “The Perfumer”, this is the method he used to extract the scent of woman 🙂

Medicine – science, nature or both?

Thymus vulgaris

Thymus vulgaris

Over the years I have seen how closely body and mind works together; If you can balance one part, the other usually follows, sometimes followed by “miraculous healing”. We are biology and as such, we are part of a whole. If we could not heal “miraculously”, we would not exist as a species today, we would be extinct. Sometimes people are to die, it is the way of nature, and no medicine in the world will keep them alive, and sometimes my work is about helping people to die in peace. It may be frustrating to my sensibilities as a healer, but it is also an acceptance of the way of nature – a hard learned lesson for somebody like me who likes to heal…

Every tiniest thing in the Universe is under constant change; like bacteria: With the introduction of penicillin it was believed that bacteria would now be controlled once and for all, never to raise their ugly heads again, but one thing was overlooked; the fact that everything strives for survival, bacteria included. By using antibiotics indiscriminately for every little thing, we have created a new problem; antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The “oh-so-powerful” antibiotics came to a standstill; at best, they do nothing, at worst they diminish the immune-system, leaving body unprotected against the bacteria we all carry around and these bacteria turn on us and devour us. I have seen people  that have been on broad-spectra antibiotics of different kinds for weeks and months on end. Sometimes intravenously…Did it help? No.

laboratory containersI want to make it clear here, that I am not attacking anybody; neither doctors, scientists or the medical system. We all do the best we can but nature will not be controlled and sometimes off-beat healing methods can work really well. I am not a doctor, but I know a lot of doctors and work side by side with a few of them. They have their limits, as do I, or any kind of healer. But if we work together we can find solutions. Nature is coming into play again, and natural antibiotics such as essential oils are being found to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria quite successfully. The healing power of nature can be harnessed and used, but it can not be recreated in a laboratory.

Essential oils as medicines

This is the editorial comment in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, Vol. 1 issue 1 2012. The editor is Paul Schnitzler,  Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Germany.

“Plants produce primary and secondary metabolites, which have been exploited by humans for many different beneficial purposes. Many secondary plant metabolites, e.g. terpenes, terpenoids, alkaloids and phenolic compounds have been well characterized. Essential oils are considered the chemical weapons of plants, as their compounds may deter insects or protect plants against bacterial and fungal infections. They also act as plant pheromones to attract insects. In traditional medicine, lots of plant products have been widely used for the treatment of neurologic diseases, cancer, inflammation and infectious diseases and plants represent an abundant source of new bioactive secondary metabolites.

According to the Communicable Diseases Centre in the US, about one third of prescribed antibiotics were inappropriate thus stating an overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Essential oils are also highly active against multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the so-called hospital super bugs, as well as more common and well-known infections like herpes labialis. In addition to antibacterial and antiviral effects, essential oils have been shown to possess many useful pharmacological properties, often being more effective than conventional drugs and revealing fewer side effects.

Oregano oil gland

Although the number of published papers on anti-infective properties of medicinal plants is increasing during the last years, most of these papers seem to somehow disappear and do not attract physicians and pharmacologists. On the other side, there is often lack of finance to continue research to the clinical trial level. This area is largely dominated by pharmaceutical companies, who can afford costly clinical trials. It also seems that natural and complementary therapies are pushed aside by pharmaceutical companies.

Although there is no shortage of research on the antimicrobial effects of medicinal and aromatic plants, it is somehow ignored in industrialized countries. Prescribed drugs are more convenient for patients and physicians, although natural products might offer an alternative in treatment of many different diseases. In resource-limited countries, conventional medications are often not affordable or not available and consequently natural products are the medication of choice.

Our goal is to provide scientific results that can be reproduced by others, thus standardized plant products are required. If more standardized and only high quality natural products are used in basic research as well as in clinical trials, the critics might be convinced and acceptance of medicinal plant products might be increased. Investigators are also encouraged to explore the potential of phytopreparations in combination with synthetic drugs in order to enhance pharmacological actions. High quality plant products and more clinical trials are urgently needed to establish rational phytotherapy.”

BLOGGING AINT EASY

When I started this blog I had lots of ideas for posts and I kept up my steam for quite some time. But after a while it gets heavy to put up posts regularly and often enough. Writing is creative work that looks for a receiver. I have receivers, I can see that on my stats, but who are you? Why do you read me? What are your interests and do you have anything to share?

Some of you guys have sent me comments and sometimes questions. If you have a blog I look at it to find out a bit about you. Then, when I write it is not just words going into the Universe, it is going to somebody: You. Seeing as I have quite a bit of readers there must be a wealth of knowledge, questions and ideas out there and we seem to share interests. Please drop me a line and I will write for you. 🙂

Today I will answer a question from Tiffany (I think is your name) http://livingfrombalance.wordpress.com She asks what brand essential oils I use.

I try every brand I ever run into. Some are pure crap and some are wonderful. Basically I use, since almost 20 yrs, oils from Fragrant Earth in the UK. I do the odd buys from other companies as well. Time is a great indicator of quality-awareness in a company. If the oils stay high-quality and even get better…good company. I have seen the dedication and time that goes into procuring the best oils possible and it’s intense. I think it’s important to stay open; try different brands, compare and use your nose to find the best ones for you.

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ESSENTIAL OIL

Picture from: http://www.sustainablescoop.com

Quite often people comment on the price of essential oils, they find them expensive. The size of the bottles may be small, but what is in there is an astonishing amount when considering below facts. When they are pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade essential oils, they most definitely are a gift from nature. Then consider that some oils are from wild plants; they are not grown in perfect, easily accessible rows, but scattered over a large area – more often than not making cutting by hand obligatory. Some oils, such as Melissa and Rose require huge amounts of plant-matter, further explaining the high prices of these oils. You get what you pay for.

 

Obtaining 1kg of its essential oil requires:
– 7 kg of dried buds of cloves (Eugenia caryophyllus)
– 50 kg of lavandin (Lavandula burnati)
– 150 kg of true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
– 1 ton of immortelle (Helichrysum italicum)
– 4 tons of petal of Damascus rose (Rosa damascena)
– 5 to 10 tons of Melissa (Melissa officinalis)

SENSUAL FRAGRANCES

Fragrances have through time been associated with sensuality, love and passion. Humanity has forever looked for the scents which are aphrodisiac in nature, turning people’s heads, making them breathless with desire. Essential oils are amongst these scents; since ancient times have they been used to induce passion and love. Scents as widely removed as clover and rose are on this list.

When researching aphrodisiac scents I noticed that the idea of aphrodisiacs has changed through the times, depending on society and whims. At one time the strongest aphrodisiacs were thought to be musk and civet – taken from the sex-glands of the muskrat and civet-cat. These are strong pheromones that supposedly stimulate the vomeronasal organ, or VNO. Today it is known that this part of the olfactory system is used to “pick up” pheromones between individuals of the same species.

Over time the idea of aphrodisiacs has gone through most scents we know today, from grasses and spices, through woods and roots to flowers. (Though some flowers were always thought to be aphrodisiacs.) I think it also had something to do with the abundance of human smells in the earlier days. In a letter from Napoleon to Josephine he writes: ” I will be home in 3 months, don’t wash”. This gives an idea of the pheromone power!

I personally believe that sensuality is a combination of many things; pheromones – we enjoy the other person’s smell, food, relaxation, scent and, of course for women, monthly cycle. Body smell is made up of pheromones; as much as we enjoy the scent of our loved ones, as badly do we experience the smell of someone we don’t like. One of the first signs of “falling out of love” is when we no longer enjoy the other person’s smell.

(“Researchers have already shown that ‘man sweat’ can elicit some unusual physiological responses in some women: an increased heart rate, a better mood, and sexual arousal.” Read the article here)

Perfumes are designed to make people attractive to each-other. Male perfumes are usually the scents that mostly attract women and vice verse. Today there is a whole industry creating perfumes with pheromones (synthetic) to enhance the attraction of the other sex.

Here is a list over the most commonly used aphrodisiac essential oils, there are of course many more. Sniff around and go with your feelings. The best-known aphrodisiacs are often warming and bring you into contact with emotion and body. To access the emotional areas of the brain, true essential oils are needed, not synthetic scents.

  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale / J.grandiflora): Helps when there is tension or fear.
  • Rose (Rosa centifolia, R. damascena): Heady scent that helps open up the heart.
  • Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina): Euphoric, releases tension and anger.
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album): Deeply relaxing and balsamic.
  • Cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum): Warming and opening.
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): Exciting, releases tension
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Hot, fiery, stimulating.
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea): Very close to female hormone, deeply seductive.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromatica): Liberating, seductive. (might work best in a blend, since many associate it with the dentist!)
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum): Warming, fiery, movement.
  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia): Sensual, relaxing.
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin): Playful, straightforward, fun. Used as a perfume by the hippie-generation.
  • Oud (Aquileria malaccensis): Use it straight up as a perfume, deeply sensual and sexy. Enhances floral notes.

Use them in the bath, as air-spray, massage-oil, perfume and/or room-scent. Spray them on your linen and on your hair. Use your imagination and have fun. Just remember dosages and possible sensitization. For best effect, use them sparsely – too much scent dulls the mind and can give head-aches instead. Be careful with floral oils if there is asthma or allergy.