Tag Archives: vegetable oil

MACERATION or HERBAL OIL

There are many ways of using herbs; fresh, dried, boiled (tisane), distilled (essential oil), in alcohol (tincture) and in vegetable oil (maceration/herbal oil). Herbs are full of active chemicals that can be drawn out in different solvents such as alcohol, vegetable oil or glycerine. A maceration or herbal oil is when vegetable oil is used (oil extraction). Some well-known macerations are easily found in the market-place, such as Arnica (Arnica montana), Marigold (Calendula officinalis) and St Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum), but there are many others. Extracting herbs in oil is a simple process that easily can be done at home.

As always, quality plays a great role in the final product; you need to use the very best herbs and vegetable oil. One of the easiest vegetable oils to find for the purpose is organic sunflower oil which is most often used. The finished herbal oil has its own specific properties and in ancient time they were used as medicines and unguents for perfumery. The macerated oils carry some color from the plant, St Johns wort is red, and have their specific therapeutic properties.

Macerations can be used in all kind of products that are fatty; creams, oils, liniments and can help with a wide variety of problems; muscular aches, sprains, cramps, depression and skin-problems. Some are anti-inflammatory and promote wound healing. Since they are active substances, use 5-30% in a blend for desired effect. In large dosages they can be slightly drying or even irritating to the skin. Macerations are excellent to use for people who are very sensitive to essential oils as they are milder in their action on the skin.

I have made many macerations through the years, trying different plants and vegetable oils. I found Jojoba oil to be excellent for flowers, now Jojoba has become so expensive it’s not really possible anymore, so I use Sunflower oil. I have used Olive oil for St Johns Wort since there is a true affinity between them. Today I find it easier to buy the macerations I use the most; arnica, calendula, hypericum, comfrey and some others. But there is one maceration I make every year for my own luxury, and that is with roses. In the early days I always used Jojoba for the roses but today I use a very fine organic cold pressed sunflower oil. It gives me a beautiful oil that I use in my facial products. The scent is rather faint and a bit greenish, the texture is absolutely wonderful. I use this in a dosage of 20% in any given product.

What is interesting about macerations is the fact that they don’t go rancid sitting in the sun. Normally sun, heat and light is the worst environment for a vegetable oil. I believe that the active substances in herbs and plants actually help to conserve the vegetable oil. Their shelf-life depends on what vegetable oil was used and how it is stored. Better to make smaller quantities so they are used up during the season and more can be made the next year. In this way you also find your favorites and you learn to “better” the process each time.

HOW-TO:

Pick your chosen herb at the right time of day and season and fill a glass jar, cover the herbs with cold-pressed organic vegetable oil, cover and set in the sun. The jar should be turned regularly and left in the sun for 2-3 weeks. When macerating flowers you need to exchange the flowers in your jar every so often, usually 1-2 times/week, depending on what flower you are using. For roses I exchange the petals every 3 days. Once the oil is saturated you strain, filter and bottle it. Store in a cool and dark place.

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A GIFT FROM NATURE: VEGETABLE OILS

Some of the absolutely best products nature offers are fats and oils. They are rich in all kinds of minerals, vitamins and pure life-force. We  use vegetable oils and fats in our daily life without even thinking about it as an essential part of health. Just as a pure, unadulterated cold-pressed vegetable oil can bring positive results to our health, so can “treated” oils be outright health-hazards.

There are oils and oils…

  • Mineral oils: Also called vaseline, paraffin. They are a bi-product from the petrochemical industry (together with diesel, plastic, asphalt and much more…). They are widely used by the cosmetics industry as they are cheap and stable. Most baby-oils are mineral-oil with a bit of perfume. Mineral oils clog the pores and halts normal skin-function. They might seem softening at first, but over time mineral-oil deteriorates the skin, leaving it dry and brittle. Mineral oils contain nothing whatsoever that is beneficial to humans and they come from a non-renewable source. This is NOT a vegetable oil!
  • Cold pressed vegetable oils: Seeds and nuts are pressed in mills without any added heat, though the friction of the mill can after some time create heat up to 70 degrees celsius, hence the different “degrees” of cold-pressed oils. For high-quality cold-pressed vegetable oils, smaller amounts are pressed each time, so as not to create friction-heat. The yield is lower than when heat is used and these oils are usually pressed by small growers or millers. The remaining pulp is used as animal-fodder. After filtering the oil is bottled. These oils have their own specific scent and color and they contain essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. If stored properly (cool and dark) the shelf-life is 1-3 years, depending on the amount of mono and unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
  • Heat pressed vegetable oils: Seeds and nuts are ground to a pulp and heated to about 100 degrees celsius. The heated pulp is then pressed to extract the oil. By heating, more oil can be extracted. The remaining pulp is then re-heated and re-pressed to yield as much oil as possible. After extraction the oils are centrifuged to remove particles.
  • Extraction: This method is often used together with heat-pressing to extract the maximum amount of oil possible. A solvent, Hexane , is used to extract the oil. The raw material (pulp) is mixed with hexane, filtered and distilled. Since hexane has a lower boiling-point than the oil, it becomes gaseous and is distilled off, only to be collected and re-used since it turns into  a liquid once it’s cooled.
  • Refining: This is done with all vegetable oils that are used by cosmetics and  food-industry (heat-pressed and solvent-extracted oils).
  1. Lecithin and proteins are removed with the help of phosphor or citric acid.
  2. Fatty acids are removed with the help of lye (caustic soda), which creates a kind of soap that is washed out with water. Then the oil is vaccum-dried.
  3. Bleaching is done by mixing the oil with oxygen-activated mud which is then filtered off.
  4. Deodorising is done to remove scent and taste from the oil. It is done by low-pressure steam-boiling at a temperature of 200 degrees celsius.

There are a few more processes that the oil might go through before being sent off to its destination. Would you ever want to eat or use these processed products? Not only do they contain NOTHING of value, they might as well be harmful. Many years ago there was a scandal in Spain concerning vegetable oils, people died. The reason was that the lye used to refine the oil was not properly removed…the lye corroded the intestines of these people.

A cold-pressed vegetable oil will cost a little bit more, it will be less stable – going rancid with time or bad storage. It will have a taste and scent. Knowing this, do you really believe that you should use the oils you find in the supermarket? The ones sitting on the shelves in a warm and light environment? The ones with no taste, smell or color? I distrust everything that doesn’t go bad over time.


My friend and mentor Jan Kusmirek has written a wonderful book on vegetable oils called “Liquid Sunshine“. You can find it here.

AROMATHERAPY & CEREBRAL PALSY

The use of aromatherapy, especially in combination with massage, can be extremely helpful for individuals (all ages) suffering from any kind of handicap. As I said before, touch transgresses everything as do the essential oils. They reach into the very deepest part of a person to balance and sooth. I want to tell you about Jane, one of my clients some years ago. She was, at the time, aged 24 and suffered from hypotonic cerebral palsy (CP). She was living at home except for some holidays and her parents were wonderful and loving people, doing all they could to make her comfortable. Jane was in a wheelchair, unable to move at all which had, over the years, made her skeletal structure crooked and brittle so she had been through surgery a few times to be able to stay in the wheelchair. She had no communication-possibilities at all since she had no control over her face or body. Her respiratory system was very weak resulting in repeated bouts of pneumonia when she would have to spend time at the hospital. Her digestive system was also weak, and sometimes she wouldn’t take nutrition so then she would go to the hospital for feeding. She was also given medicine to help with the cramping.

When I saw her the first time she was strapped in her wheelchair, hands tightly clasped against her chest. She kept moving her head from side to side, gnawing her teeth. I sat with her and her mother for some time, chatting and bringing out the oils. I made a selection of oils for Jane to smell. I could see by the way she moved her head what oils were interesting to her, they made the motion of her head slow down. In this way she chose:

Orange (citrus sinensis) 14 dr, Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus) 8 dr and Lavender (lavendula augustifolia) 10 dr. Blended in 100 ml blended vegetable oil + 50ml macerated oil of Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Together with her mother, we massaged her hands and arms, one hand each. Soon she started relaxing her fists, allowing her hands to lie open in her lap. Once the hand-massage was finished, the hand massaged by her mother stayed relaxed and open longer. I then massaged her legs, showing the mother how to enhance circulation. By this time Jane was meeting my eyes and her head was stiller. I just had this flash that she was suffering from headaches (constant gnawing of her teeth) so I asked her. Tears started rolling down her cheeks and I made an oil-blend for her face and neck which I massaged her with; feeling the tension leave her head as I massaged her scalp.

In a blend of 25 ml veg.oil blend + 5 ml of infused Teebalm (monarda fistulosa) + 3 dr of Neroli (citrus aurantium ssp amara var. pumilla).

I showed her mother and father the massage and made oils for them to use: Massage of legs, feet and stomach every morning, massage of face, head and hands 3-5 times during the day. A month later I visited again and Jane, was visibly happy to see me again. She basically stayed with the oil-blends above with small changes in the essential oils to help with circulation and relaxation. When I left Sweden I referred her to another very good aromatherapist in the area. Jane is still doing fine on the oils, her life (and that of her parents) a little bit easier. Over time her respiratory and digestive problems have lessened with a lot less traumatic days in the hospital.

Her movements are involuntary, which makes the observations very interesting, proving that massage (and) essential oils have an impact on the central nervous system.

For info on Cerebral Palsy (CP):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy

HOME SPA

roman_religion_bathThe original SPA was to detox and heal with the help of the curative powers of mineral water. In Egypt elaborate bath-rituals were acted out by the priests to cleanse themselves. The Romans and Greeks are widely known for their practice of baths and massages.The great Hippocrates (also called the Father of Medicine, doctors still take the “Hippocratic Oath“) once said; “The way to health is having a scented bath and a massage every day”. In Japan the bath-culture is a part of every-day life and in Arabic cultures there is the “Turkish bath” also called “Hammam”.

Essential oils, floral waters, herbs and oils have always been widely used for beauty and health within the bath-culture. Also used were honey, fermented milk and clays. Water-therapy was used; alternating the temperature of the water in specific patterns, also called Hydro-therapy.

Doing a SPA has plenty of benefits: It is detoxing, relaxing, up-lifting, helps with aches and pains and sleep-inducing. You don’t need an elaborate set-up with sauna, jacuzzi or pool to be able to benefit from a Spa-experience – all you need can be found in your own home. The recipes for the different products are listed at the end.

The first thing you need to do is disconnect the outside world – no phone, computer, television or radio. Put on some peaceful and relaxing music to set the mood. Make your bathroom beautiful; bring in some flowers and candles and make sure it is clean and warm. Float flower-petals in your bath.

Always start by drinking a detoxing tea, such as nettle-tea or green tea. It will start a detox-process in your body and also warm you up. The next step is to dry-brush your whole body (optional, but brilliant for skin and circulation.) you can also choose to do only the salt-rub. If you have sensitive skin choose only one option. The skin-brushing is to get your circulation going and is done cold. The salt-rub is to detox, since salt “pulls out” the toxins through your skin, and is done when you are warm and all the pores of the skin are open. The salt-rub will also peel away the top gray skin-layer, leaving your skin glowing. Don’t use salt-rub on your face or sensitive areas.

Home Spa

  • If you have only a bath you now slip into the bath and relax for 10-20 minutes. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. Then you get out of the bath and rub your whole body with the salt-rub and rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you have only a shower you shower first quickly with cold water (after body-brushing) and then as warm as you can. After that you rub your whole body with the salt-rub. Rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you are lucky enough to have both bath and shower separated you start off by showering quickly with cold water after the body-brushing. Then you get in the bath and soak for 10-20 min. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. After bath, do the salt-rub and rinse off with tepid water, don’t use soap.

Clay mask

While bathing it is wonderful to use a face-mask and a hair-conditioner. Wash it off in the final shower. If you have only a shower, you do this before your treatment, leaving the mask and conditioner on until you rinse off the salt-rub.

Usually you don’t need any body lotion after the salt rub, since it leaves you smooth and “oiled”. But if you could not resist using soap, or you have very dry skin, you can massage lotion or body-oil into your skin. Pay attention to your feet! Do your facial care as usual; toner, oil and creme.

Now REST! At least 10 minutes. Put cool pads on your eyes, lie down – well covered so you stay warm – and allow yourself total peace and relaxation. Do your home-spa on days when you know that you will not be disturbed. Cleansing in this manner is exhausting to the body. You need time to allow your body to recuperate. Always finish with a nice cup of herbal tea with some honey and/or tepid lemon-water to strengthen your liver. Eat lightly; soup or steamed veggies are best. Stay away from alcohol, meat and bread-products. This way the spa-moment will give maximum benefits. As I said; The idea of the Spa is health more than beauty because HEALTH = BEAUTY.

d.i.y.-Beauty-recipes-lip-stain

RECIPES:

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE BATH:

  • Relaxing: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/l. officinalis), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Orange (citrus sinensis/c. dulcis), Petit-grain(citrus aurantium, c. sinensis), Frankincense(boswellia carterii), Sweet Marjoram(origanum majorana), Rose-wood(aniba rosaeodora), Roman Chamomile(chamaemelum nobile), Vetivert(vetiveria zizanoides), Geranium(pelargonium graveolens).
  • Detoxing, invigorating, strengthening: Lemon(citrus limon), Rosemary(rosmarinus officinalis), Pine(pinus sylvestris), Lemongrass(cymbopogon citratus), Black Pepper(piper nigrum) – careful if you have weak kidneys. Eucalyptus(eucalyptus globulus), Grapefruit(citrus x paradisi), Fennel(foeniculum vulgare).

Mix 5-10 drops of essential oils in 15ml (1 tablespoon) base: Honey, cream, unscented soap, vegetable oil, yoghurt. If you have sensitive skin, use a lower dosage. NOTE: If you seem to not smell the scents after a while, do not add more. Your nose has accustomed itself to the scent. If you leave the room for a few minutes and come back, you will smell the scent again.

SALT-RUB: You need to use high quality fine sea-salt. Cover the salt with vegetable oil; almond, apricot-kernel, grape-seed or a blend. For very dry skin mix in a bit of olive oil or shea-butter oil, they are heavier and will stay on the skin a bit longer. (Only use high quality cold-pressed veg. oils) Allow the salt to be saturated by the vegetable oil and then you can (optional) add essential oils; 5-10 drops/15ml (1 table-spoon). Lower doses for sensitive skin. The salt-rub will keep for up to 6 months. Don’t use salt-rub more than once a week. Remember that it takes the skin-cells ca 28 days to reach the surface; if you scrub (peel) to often it might cause dermatitis. (irritation or sensitivity)

HAIR-CONDITIONER: Make a blend of vegetable oils (see above) and add essential oils of choice; 2-5 drops / 15ml (1 tblspoon). Good oils for the scalp are: Dry hair: Lavender, Rosewood, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Greasy hair: Use lighter vegetable oils such as grape-seed and Jojoba. Essential oils: Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Massage the blend into the hair and scalp, cover with a bath-cap or towel. When washing: Always put schampo in first, then rinse. Then wash as normal.

FACIAL MASK:

Clay: Green (greasy skin, acne), pink (dry skin, sensitive), white (allround). Mix with water and some vegetable oil, yoghurt and/or honey.  Add essential oils if you wish; 2 dr/15ml (1 tblspn). It is better to use calming essential oils in a clay-mask: Lavender, Rosewood, Orange, Cedar, Roman Chamomile, Geranium. Apply the mask on clean face and let sit 3-10 minutes. Note: Clays are rather active and can create redness if left too long.

Pastes:  Use your imagination; Banana, avocado, cucumber, oatmeal, green tea, vegetable oils, yoghurt, honey. Just mix your ingredients into a paste and apply. These masks are usually better to use if the skin is very sensitive. You can also add some clay for consistence.

If you are interested in more home-made beauty recipes please check out this great site: mybeautyrecipes.com.

clay

Enjoy your home-spa, give yourself time-out and luxury without spending a fortune and be good to yourself. You will look absolutely stunning!


AROMATHERAPY TRICKS FOR EVERY DAY

OilDropThere are plenty of stuff for which you can use essential oils in a very easy way. First of all I need to point out: Essential oils should never be used undiluted on skin, so don’t try these tips with any other oils than those I tell you about. Make sure to keep them away from eyes, so wash your hands when you have been touching essential oils. (don’t want to accidentally rub them in your eyes – that really hurts and can cause severe problems.)

Do not use essential oils on children unless you have first spoken to an aromatherapist.

Make sure the materials you have are good quality, otherwise you will not get the results you want.

There are 3 oils which can be used undiluted on skin for specific problems; Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). Vegetable oils for mixing the essential oils in should always be cold-pressed.

vegetable oils

  • Fresh small wounds and bi-stings: 1-2 drops of Lavender directly on the area. Cover with a band-aid or compress. Or put 1 drop on the band-aid and put on.  Warning: If this process is repeated too often, or during some time there is a risk that the wound grows bigger. Lavender is an essential oil, and they are very strong. This is a one-time acute treatment. After that Lavender must be diluted in vegetable oil or cream for ointment: 5 dr. of lavender to 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil/cream.
  • Burns: Cool the area with cold water and Aloe Vera, put 1-2 drops of Lavender on the burn and cover with ice-bag until heat is gone. When cooled down, use an ointment of 5 dr. Lavender in 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera gel. Tips: Make sure you have an Aloe Vera plant in your house. When needed, you cut a piece of the leaf and rub the gel onto the wound. Aloe plants are hardy and easy to keep.

aloe-vera-plant

  • Sunburn: Rub Aloe Vera (fresh or gel) onto the burn and let it dry. Then anoint with 5 dr Lavender in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Infected small wounds with pus: One drop of Tea tree on a band-aid or compress. Leave it on the wound for min. one day. If still infected with pus, repeat the treatment. Tea tree is amazing at “pulling out” the pus from a wound. Once the pus is gone, use a lavender ointment for healing.
  • Acne: Dilute Tea tree in water; 2-5 drops to 1 tablespoon (15 ml). Shake and use cotton-wool to wash the face with the tea-tree-water. This can be done as often as you wish during the day. Note: Do not use pure tea tree since it will irritate the skin and worsen the condition. When acutely infected pus-filled acne, dab on pure tea tree with the help of a moist q-tip.
  • Colds, sore throat: Gurgle with Tea tree or Eucalyptus; 2 drops in some tepid water. Gurgle at least 1 min. Repeat 3 times/day. When acute stage up to 5 times/day. Rub lavender oil into the base of your skull. Rub 1 drop neat eucalyptus oil into the sole of each foot 2-3 times/day. Use Eucalyptus as an inhalation to clear airways. ( 3 drops in a basin of hot water, cover head and basin with a towel and breath deeply, keep eyes closed. NOTE: Not for asthma sufferers) Make an ointment of 2-5 drops Eucalyptus in vegetable oil or cream and rub on chest, throat and upper back.
  • Headaches: Lavender and/or Eucalyptus rubbed into the base of the skull and the temples.
  • Tiredness: Eucalyptus on a tissue for inhalation or as a room-scent.

herbal-inhalation