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Spike Lavender Essential Oil Profile (Lavandula latifolia)

By Ann C Wooledge
on September 25, 2017

100% pure Lavender, Spike essential oil

lavender plant with bee

Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)
Family - Lamiaceae
Country of Origin – Spain
Steam distilled from organic flowering tops

So many lavenders to choose from. This one in particular is distinctly different than the varieties of Lavandula angustifolia, commonly called True Lavender. Spike Lavender is definitely a "lavender" but from a different variety.

  • Contains considerably more camphor and 1,8-cineole which increases its medicinal value, but decreases the relaxing properties.
  • Scent is less sweet and flowery and more camphorous
  • Often used for medicinal purposes such as relieving painful cuts and scrapes
  • Useful in cold and flu blends and respiratory issues but more gently than oils with higher cineole content.
  • Can be useful for mental stimulation and increasing alertness
  • Useful for muscular aches and pains or injuries
  • Has been reported to be useful for migraines. I personally use our Bulgarian Lavender, but haven't really tried the Spike Lavender and it would depend on what is causing the migraine
  • Skin issues such as pimples and rashes
  • Relieves insect bites
  • Well known antibacterial and antifungal properties, with some antiviral properties
  • Can be helpful for stimulating the immune system

 

As you can see, Spike Lavender is not as expensive as our Bulgarian Lavender. This is true because when distilled, this plant produces almost three times as much essential oil as "True Lavender" and is, therefore, sometimes used to adulterate True Lavender. Another good reason to know how to read your GC/MS reports. Spike Lavender is also grown at lower altitudes and makes for easier farming and as per Salvatore Battaglia loves growing by the sea. Lavandin and Spike Lavender are often passed off to other industries such as soapmaking and perfumery to be used as "lavender".

The scent? I personally love this lavender because I know not to expect the flowery smell of the true lavender (which I do very much love - it's just different). You will notice the more medicinal, but not unpleasant, scent of this oil. It's bright and clean and fresh, but still smells like lavender. Which is why I like to use it in respiratory blends, muscle relief blends or antiseptic type blends.

Andrea Butje in her excellent book "The Heart of Aromatherapy" suggests that Spike Lavender could and should be used prior to a workout to help stimulate the circulation and prevent cramps. Also this is helpful for muscle pains when you still want to be alert and not in a more sedated condition that Lavandula angustifolia would cause. I love this that she wrote - "Spike Lavender has the same comforting, nurturing personality (as true lavender), but with a 'kick' that encourages you to get back out there and keep going. It loves giving pregame pep talks to make you feel empowered and congratulating you so you keep feeling good after you're done playing." I love the way she has written this book - please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. 

Below is a fairly recent GC/MS of Spike Lavender from Spain and is fairly representative of what you should expect. France and Italy are also countries that grow and distill this essential oil.

GC/MS of Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) 

Constitutent

Percentage

 

 

Linalool

39%

1,8-cineole

29%

Camphor

12%

Limonene

3%

Ocimene <E-beta>

2.5%

Caryophyllene <trans>

2.3%

Linalyl acetate

1.5%

Ocimene <Z-beta>

1%

Terpineol <alpha>

1%

Terpinen-4-ol

1%

Myrcene

1%

Borneol

0.7%

3-Octanone

0.6%

Geranyl acetate

0.6%

Germacrene D

0.5%

Farnesens <E-beta>

0.4%

Humulene <alpha>

0.4%

3-carene

0.2%

Linalool oxide <trans>

0.2%

Octyl acetate

0.2%

Camphene

0.2%

Pinene <alpha>

0.2%

Citronellyl acetate

0.1%

Nerol

0.1%

Ocimene <allo>

0.1%

Terpinene <gamma>

0.1%

Cadinene <delta>

0.1%

Germacrene B

0.1%

Bisabolene <beta>

0.1%

Farnesene <(E,E)-,alpha>

0.1%

Pseudo-limonene

0.1%

Lavandulyl acetate

0.1%

Cymene <para>

0.1%

Tricyclene

<0.1%

Sabinene

<0.1%

Pinene <beta>

<0.1%

Terpinene <alpha>

<0.1%

Linalool oxide <cis>

<0.1%

Elemene <beta>

<0.1%

Bicyclogermacrene

<0.1%

 

 

 

USAGE AND SAFETY: Please, please, please do not drink essential oils. Do not put this essential oil in your water and use it ONLY diluted (see our dilution chart) for your specific purpose. This particular batch of lavender is from Spain, but it is not "Spanish Lavender", which usually has a higher camphor content and it's botanical name is Lavandula stoechas. Robert Tisserand says that Spike and Spanish Lavenders may be "mildly neurotoxic" due to their camphor content. However, because of its percentage of linalool, it may, as Robert Tisserand says, "mitigate the neurotoxicity of camphor" that exists in Spike Lavender. The camphor also, however, makes it useful for colds and respiratory issues, as well as aching muscles. The GC/MS on this batch of Spike Lavender has camphor as only 12%. Due to the relatively high content of linalool, this oil can possibly become oxidized, so keep in a cool, dark place and keep the dropper safety cap on when not in use. The oil when undiluted (don't do it!) can be irritating. Some of this can occur when an essential oil is not properly stored. Not hazardous during pregnancy UNLESS the camphor content is high - again check out your GC/MS prior to purchasing.

Useful in daytime blends and use cautiously in children under 10, just being sure to adequately dilute the essential oil.

Rosemary's Easy Focus Headache Inhaler (from Andrea Butje's book, page 213)
9 drops rosemary ct camphor
3 drops spike lavender
3 drops basil ct linalool

For children:

4 drops orange
1 drop lavender (assuming she means Spike Lavender?)
1 drop basil ct. linalool

This in my opinion is just one of the most underused, under-appreciated essential oils available and for a reasonable price it can be substituted for its more expensive cousin Lavandula angustifolia if you compare the different uses for each oil; i.e., one is a relaxant/sedative and the other (Spike) can be a stimulant. 

Due to my hopes and dreams of some day growing and distilling, this plant is also a very good attractant for bees and butterflies. Do you want to grow your own? Here is some information about that. This variety can handle transplanting and requires full sun exposure. According to garden.org,  plant lavender seeds beginning in summer and through the fall months. "They are slow to germinate, lavender seeds require patience. It will take about eight weeks for the seeds to develop enough to transplant to their final location." 

Thanks for listening!

 ann mcintire wooledge, RN, CCAP, practicing herbalism and aromatherapist

Ann

 

Find out more about me and Wingsets by clicking Our Story.

 

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition herbalism and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 15 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

Blissful Brain Aromatherapy Blend

By Ann C Wooledge
on March 17, 2017

Blissful Brain Aromatherapy Blend: 

blissful brain essential oil blend recipe and why we used these essential oils 

Finding a name for this blend was really difficult for me - I'm not sure why. I think because I felt inadequate at being able to describe the real emotional affect this blend has on me. I'm still not "happy" with the name and any suggestions would be appreciated. I do feel blissful and happy when I diffuse or use this blend, but it's really more than that. Research has shown that the oils in this blend do different things to the brain and, of course, everyone is unique and will experience different emotions. Basic Aromatherapy 101 (and abundant research)  teaches us that all essential oils when inhaled quickly enter into the limbic system of the brain which is why they are such powerful modulators of mood. To make this blend, simply add it to about 2 ounces of a vegetable or massage oil (organic), your favorite unscented cream or unscented bath salts:


Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) – 5 drops
Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) – 1 drop
Jasmine sambac (Jasminum sambac) – 1 to 2 drops
Rose (Rosa damascena) – 2 drops
Mandarin (Citrus ritculata) – 2 drops

Sweet orange is well known for it's ability to make people feel happy and there are institutions and organizations - more and more now in the USA - who diffuse it into the air to bestow those feelings onto their customers and/or employees. We recommend organic citrus oils due to the potential build up of toxic pesticides in citrus peels.


Ylang-ylang is widely known and accepted in the aromatherapy literature as an aphrodisiac, but it also has some calming properties to it, as does Mandarin due to their ester (chemical constituent) content. These "constituents" in essential oils are natural according to our definition of natural - nothing added to nature.


Jasmine sambac absolute is a well-known anti-depressant with sedative type properties and also well known to be an aphrodisiac. Jasmine must be solvent extracted as an absolute and is quite expensive so be very careful where you purchase this oil, as adulteration is unfortunately common. Yes, we do use it in our blends, but no, we don't carry it for resale yet- still searching for a good reliable source, and frankly the financial resources to be able to purchase a substantial amount of this precious oil. The literature also attributes it with the power to diminish negative emotions such as anger. Dr. Amen calls them ANT’s – Automatic Negative Thoughts and they are particularly bad for you and your brain. Jasmine is quite a powerful scent and will overpower the blend if you add too much. We think 1 to 2 drops in this blend will round out the fragrance and the beneficial properties. I absolutely love Jasmine and swoon whenever I open a bottle of it – seriously. Thankfully, a little bit goes a long way.

Rose absolute (solvent extracted) or Rose otto (steam distilled), also very expensive and precious, can have up to 50% citronellol – per Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt,which accounts for its “tonifying” affects.  He states, “…the physical and emotional impact of a drop of rose at the right moment can extend far beyond those effects (tonifying effects). This precious oil is one of my most favorites and has the reputation of being a very strong antidepressant. I would just add that if I had the financial resources, I would spend them on vats of rose essential oil. I have found this oil to have the ability to lift me from deep emotional pain - just a small scent of it left on a very small glass vial. I don't sell this oil, so you can be assured this is just true feedback.

Mandarin contains an interesting chemical constituent called N-methylanthranilate. This is a natural constituent as all unadulterated essential oils are natural in the truest sense of the word  – nothing added. What’s interesting about this constituent is that it is not present in Tangerine oil – so don’t substitute the nice tangy fragrance of Tangerine for Mandarin. Again, according to Dr. Schnaubelt, this constituent called an “ester” has “pronounced relaxing qualities”. This is also a very good oil for children, which is why we include it in our Sleepy Baby Blend

Let us know if you make this blend. You can, of course, tweak it to your own personal satisfaction and we'd love to hear about that - how you made it, how you used it and if you did, indeed, feel blissful after using it. We recommend using it in a diffuser such as our ultrasonic diffuser, or simply dropping a few drops on a kleenex, or as we mentioned previously - adding it to your unscented bath salts, unscented cream or massage oil.

This blog was originally published in 2010.

Thanks for listening!

Ann Wooledge, RN, CCAP, certified clinical aromatherapist signature 

 

Find out more about me and Wingsets by clicking Our Story.

 

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 15 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

 

Vegetarian Moussaka

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 02, 2016

Vegetarian Moussaka 

 

This blog post was originally posted in October 2012. We haven't had a garden for the past few years, but this year's garden has been amazingly bountiful. I looked at the amount of eggplants "coming on" and I was trying to figure out all of my options other than giving a lot away - which we have and will - but this recipe came to mind this morning. When I originally made it, Warren and I both were in love with it. This is my eggplant section of the garden. Not bragging, just feeling very blessed and enjoying planting and seeing things grow this year.

organically grown eggplant, lincoln, ne

My recipe records show that I first tried this recipe on July 7th, 2008, and that it was “really good!!” The recipe was adapted from “The Best Ever Vegetarian” published by Parragon Publishing, copyright 2003. I say all that because I don’t see authors listed which is interesting, and there are several other cookbooks with the same name. It is spiral bound, which I particularly like, and I have found this to be a useful guide. I like to scan the recipes and then I can write notes on the printed pages and put it in our family book of recipes.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be “meatless” and you can substitute approximately 12 oz of lamb to make it a truly traditional moussaka. You could also make it vegan by using a nut milk and cheese substitute. The original recipe called for a 10-1/2 oz can of green lentils. I didn’t use the lentils and if I had, I would have cooked my own since they are so easy. It would, of course, add some protein and make it an even healthier meal.

Ingredients:

Approximately ½ cup olive oil

1 onion chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

14 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Pinch of cinnamon and paprika

Salt and pepper

1 large fresh eggplant, sliced

Topping:

2 tbsp butter

2-1/2  tbsp brown rice flour

1-1/4 cup organic milk or milk substitute

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup (divided into ½ cup each) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degree. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in skillet and add the onion and cook until softened. Add the celery, garlic, the tomatoes and juice from the tomatoes, and the chopped parsley. Add the lentils here if you use them. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover this mixture and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until thickened.

2.  Meanwhile, heat a little of the remaining oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the eggplant slices, in batches, if necessary, and cook until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil as necessary. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Eggplant has a tendency to soak up a lot of oil, so be sure to drain these well. Layer an ovenproof dish with the tomato mixture and the eggplant slices, ending up with a layer of eggplant. I actually used a 9 x 13 inch pan and was able to place one layer of the eggplant and one layer of the tomatoes. So – the size of your pan obviously will determine how many layers you will end up with. There is a cook’s tip that says to prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil during cooking, salt it first. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let stand for 20 minutes to let them dry out. In the “olden days” we would salt eggplant to prevent bitterness, but the newer varieties are without that bitterness.

3.  Topping: To make the topping, put the butter, flour, and milk into a pan and bring to a boil over low heat, whisking constantly. Season to taste with nutmeg, ½ cup cheese, salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, then beat in the egg. Pour the sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup parmesan cheese, and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

This evening I’m thinking about using zucchini rather than eggplant, which of course, will make it something entirely different than a moussaka, but I think it will still taste good. I also think I'll add the lentils this time - red ones probably because that's what I have the most of. Let me know if you try this!

 

Thanks for listening!

 

ann wooledge, aromatherapist, holistic health practitioner, herbalist, soapmaker, health and wellness blogger

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health and nutrition. Ann is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

 

GREEN RED ENERGY JUICE RECIPE

By Ann C Wooledge
on January 11, 2016

Morning Energy Juice Recipe Ingredients:

3 to 4 carrots -  tops removed, ends trimmed, scrubbed well, not peeled.
1 cucumber peeled
1/2 to 1 beet, scrubbed, may include stems and 1 to 2 leaves*
1/2 lemon (unpeeled if organic), seeds removed
1 inch finger ginger root, scrubbed or peeled if old.
4 stalks celery
1 apple (not peeled but seeds removed)
1 orange (peeled or not is optional and only use unpeeled if organic)
Kale, spinach, cilantro, parsley or any l
eafy greens of your choice (a handful) - my daughter loves to use fresh wheatgrass and I would too if I had any available. 


We do highly recommend that you use organic produce whenever possible. We have some new stores here in town that sell organic produce at very reasonable prices. I think this is true of most towns and cities these days. 

Cut produce to fit your juicers feed tube. Juice all ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass and drink as soon as possible. Serves 1 to 2

*We love the bright red color of the beet juice and the flavor, but other members of our family absolutely do not like the taste of beets in any shape or form, so this is an optional ingredient, but does add a lot of additional nutritional value.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE PULP?

I love to make crackers out of the pulp with a few additions. See that recipe here. Pulp leftover from juicing also makes an excellent addition to your compost pile. 

This is my favorite, quick, classic juice recipe that is adapted from the classic book on juicing, Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life, Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets. by Cherie Calbom, M.S. Cherie also wrote Juicing for Life. The name of the recipe certainly is true. Nothing can give you quite the energy lift like a fresh raw unpasteurized juice such as this. If I have a long list of "things to do", I make this juice rather than sitting down to a breakfast of eggs and fake bacon.

Let me know if you try this or any variation of it - and how you liked it, if it made you feel energetic and healthy.

Thanks for listening!

ann wooledge, rn, ccap, certified aromatherapist, nutritional health and wellness coach

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

 

Leafy Greens for Brain Health

By Ann C Wooledge
on December 08, 2015

Bring on the Green, Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, chard and other green leafy vegetables of every type are great for the brain. In one study, Dr. Martha Clare Morris found that people who ate 1-2 servings of green leafy vegetables per day were 11 years younger—cognitively speaking—than those who consumed none. And that's really not a LOT of green leafies! They are easy to incorporate into our diets and so many ways to do it. That's one of the reasons she included leafy greens as one of the ten essential foods in the MIND diet, with a recommendation of at least six servings per week. If you can't quite make it to six, even two servings a week showed some benefit! 

Here are four recipes to try this month if you'd like to incorporate leafy greens into your diet in new ways. Read more here

Now here is what NOT to do - I let my swiss chard sit out on the deck during an ice storm not long ago. I think I can still maybe saute it? Or try it in this recipe. I love quiche, I love cheddar cheese and I love chard - so this looks like a winner. 

 

Another good way could be to use it in a salad - this one looks really good too - swiss chard, cabbage and brussel sprouts salad!

Now sitting right beside the swiss chard is my patch of parsley that seems to grow regardless of heat or cold this year. I'm going to plant some kale in this area this week too because I've seen it last through even the harshest Nebraska winters. 

 

Now I'm not sure what to do with this much parsley though. Freeze it, dry it? Any suggestions?

Do you have some good ways to incorporate greens into your diet? Please share!

Thanks for listening!

ann c wooledge, RN, CCAP, aromatherapist, herbalist, organic and natural cosmetic formulator

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

 

Black Pepper Essential Oil (Piper nigrum)

By Ann C Wooledge
on July 03, 2015

Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) essential oil Profile:

Family: Piperaceae
Main chemical constituents: b-caryophyllene, limonene, sabinene, b-pinene and a-pinene
Country of Origin - Sri Lanka, Certified Organic
Steam distilled from the dried berries

Gastrointestinal: Reported to relieve flatulence, and to be antitoxic, restores tone to lax muscles of the colon, a stimulant to the gastric juices, relieves nausea and decreases appetite. There are reports in the literature that black pepper can act as an antitoxic agent for food poisoning.

Musculoskeletal: Relieves aches and pains, sprains, muscle stiffness, rheumatism, neuralgia, and is generally an analgesic for muscular pain. We have found it to be very useful in our Spicey Muscle Oil to relieve muscular pain, nerve pain and reduce bruising in an almost immediate manner.

Central Nervous System: Reported to be antispasmodic and increases alertness and concentration. There are some indications in the literature that it is an aphrodisiac, perhaps this is why it is used in perfumery.

Urinary System: Reported to be a diuretic.

Respiratory & Immune System: Reported to be an expectorant, useful to fight against colds and influenza viruses. It is reported to be antimicrobial, diaphoretic, and reduces fever. Also reported to be an immune stimulant and helps relieve fevers.

Skin/Dermatological: Reported to be rubefacient (increases blood circulation to the skin), which is one of the reasons we use it in our Skin Renewal Intensive Facial Complex. I can personally attest to the undeniable fact that this oil has relieved severe bruising and pain almost immediately subsequent to closing my finger in a door on more than one occasion – yes, my proprioception might be of question, but the effectiveness of this oil is not.

General: There is a report from 1994 (Rose & Behm) that the symptoms from smoking withdrawal were lessened by the inhalation of the vapor from an “extract of black pepper”. Now whether we can extrapolate that to the use of an essential oil is not yet proven, but certainly should be tested.

Read my blog here for more about black pepper and cancer.

Safety/Cautions: The literature shows black pepper essential oil to be non-toxic and generally non-sensitizing, but could be a skin irritant in high concentrations due to its ability to increase blood circulation to the skin. It is also one of those oils that can easily oxidize and should be kept in a refrigerator or a cool dark location in an amber glass bottle.

IMPORTANT: All of our products are for external use only.

We also suggest you have a good working knowledge of the use of essential oils or consult with an aromatherapy professional prior to use. In addition, Essential Oils must be properly diluted before use in order to avoid any damages to property or adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm). Please read our Disclaimer before using our products.

Tea Tree Essential Oil - Gas Chromatography Analysis

By Ann C Wooledge
on June 11, 2015

Gas Chromatography Analysis  – Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – Country of Origin – Australia

Steam distilled from organic leaves - fresh batch received December 2016 - Lot #611021

COMPONENT

PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL

Terpinen-4-ol

44%

Gamma-terpinene         

20%

Alpha-terpinene

10%

Terpinolene      

3.0%

     

 

Alpha-terpineol               

3.0%

Alpha-pinene

2.0%

Para-cymene

2.0%

Delta-cadinene

1.0%

Alloaromandendrene          

0.10%

 

 

Limonene

1.0%

Beta-pinene      

1.0%

Viridiflorene

1.0%

Sabinene hydrate <cis>

0.04%

1,8-cineole

 3.0%

alpha-copaene 0.10%
Caryophyllene <trans> 0.30%
beta-copaene 1.0%
Linalool 0.04%
alpha-humulene 0.05%
alpha-thujene 1.0%
Myrcene 1.0%
alpha-phellandrene 0.50%
beta-phellandrene 1.0%

 

Is it a fragrance oil? Is it an essential oil? Which is better?

By Ann C Wooledge
on May 28, 2015

Are essential oils better than fragrance oils? And why?

What is an essential oil versus a fragrance oil – why does it matter? 

My first introduction into using fragrance oils commercially was back when we were making candles. I love fragrance! And I absolutely loved smelling my candles. Then along came essential oils. The first batch I purchased smelled (I thought at the time) pretty awful – I mean compared to my spiced apple and antique lilac! I purchased them because I had learned that essential oils have medicinal value that can’t be denied. I’ve learned since then that essential oils smell so much better once you’ve gotten off the “fragrance oil addiction wagon”. There is a difference. Other than the fact one causes me to have headaches and the other helps me relax, heals wounds, relieve depression, and helps me have a good night’s sleep. 

So, why is there a debate about which is better than the other? Synthetic fragrances used to be cheaper. Not necessarily the case anymore as many of the “synthetic” fragrances also contain essential oils and the price of many essential oils has gone up drastically. Synthetic fragrances always smell consistent – at least from one brand or supplier to the next. Essential oils can vary from batch to batch depending on something as varying as the weather at the time they were grown, not to mention the differences in how they are distilled. Although I read somewhere that there are anywhere from 2000 to 5000 raw fragrance components used to formulate fragrance oils. 

So what's with the phthalates? 

Then there are the phthalates. Phthalates are those unsavory elements in fragrance oils that we are reading more and more about.  I won’t go into details here – just google it and someday I will blog about it, but in our opinion phthalates are to be avoided. Have we always done that? Well, no. We had to learn better. To my delight, it is now possible to source fragrance oils that still smell good and ARE phthalate free. Fragrance oils, even phthalate free, can still give me a headache though. I can use them in our soaps without problems – and I don’t say that just so you’ll think our using fragrance oils in our soaps is okay. It’s actually the other way around. I had pretty much ditched our fragrance oils and they were locked up in a closed cabinet in a closed bedroom until I could figure out how to dispose of them, but upon request from a customer made a batch of lilac soap. It smelled heavenly, I could even use it on my face and it didn’t cause my eyes to water or my head to ache. We’ve since tried different fragrances in our soaps to see if we have the same results. Bottom line though, the essential oils, although expensive, serve many purposes. And again though, saying that, our magnolia soap is one of my most favorite soaps to use, especially if I want to relax and soak for a long period of time. I realize the health benefits aren’t there, but aromatherapy isn’t always about aroma-THERAPY and for most of us the wonderful smell of freshly baked apple pie makes us feel warm and fuzzy - and that in my book IS therapeutic! So, even I'm conflicted about it and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate than I am about essential oils and their benefits. There have been discussions in the aromatherapy industry to which I belong that we need to change the name of what we do from "aromatherapy", since the term has been diluted and overused, to a different term to give the public a better understanding of the medicinal therapeutic properties of essential oils when used correctly and safely. And, of course, then we have to factor in the interference of the FDA (influenced of course by Big Pharma) as to how we word everything we write or talk about. Big Pharma is not happy about the proliferation of the use of essential oils and as the old saying goes - "they should be afraid, very afraid." Truthfully, even making that statement makes me a little uncomfortable and indicates clearly to me that the American fiction that we still have "free speech" is just that - fiction. Ahh - I digress. 

So which is better? 

That is your choice. You do have the right to know, however, which one is being used in the product you are purchasing. Many more people are coming to us with fragrance sensitivities – many more! You will see products on the store shelves that say they are full of “lavender”, when in fact they are full of synthetic chemicals. Even natural isolates are being used in many of the “natural” or “organic” products on the shelves. These are cheaper and again, more consistent in their fragrance and easier for the large commercial companies to use. Believe me – they could NOT sell you their lavender cleaning sprays and laundry wash if they were using pure aromatherapeutic (for lack of a better term) lavender essential oil. Even the high-end cosmetic companies are using isolates and you will see words such as "linalool" and "linalyl acetate". These isolates do not contain the full benefit of the plant as nature intended. There are many ways you can be fooled and fragrance companies do not have to disclose their ingredients as they are allowed to claim intellectual knowledge and seriously, the list would be too long to put on a label anyway. And would you even know what those names were? It’s an individual choice and I don’t like that people are demonized because they may like fragrance oils and choose to use them. I personally have been criticized and my credibility questioned as a certified clinical aromatherapist because we choose to use some fragrance oils in our soaps, a wash off product (seriously?!). It hurt at the time, but it seems many people are conflicted on this subject. Essential oil use in soaps is an entirely different discussion as not all essential oils will come through the soap making process - what a colossal waste of a good essential oil if it doesn't, just to be able to say you use ONLY essential oils in your soaps. 

The bottom line – educate yourself. 

If you have sensitivities to a particular brand of lavender, don’t throw out ALL lavenders as being bad – the real deal lavender essential oil  may be just what you need to calm your sensitivities! Lavenders are the most adulterated and there are many different varieties with varying properties from relaxing to stimulating. Know what plants DO produce “essential” oils and from what part of the plant. You won’t find a strawberry essential oil – you might now find a “natural” strawberry fragrance made from what they call nature identical – made in the lab or even extracted from the plant itself. If it is an essential oil, it will have a country of origin, it will have a botanical name and chemotype – and MOST IMPORTANTLY – it will have the natural synergy from the true plant. Once you learn how essential oils really smell, you WILL know when you are smelling a synthetic fragrance oil – or even a nature identical – just not the same. When I compare the true lavender essential oil that we use in our products versus the lavender fragrance oil we once used in our candles (and thought at the time that it was SO NICE), it is amazing to me that I ever thought that! Now, I just wrinkle my nose when I smell the false lavender. You may find just as I did that essential oils are something you can breathe in deeply, but if you take an opened bottle of synthetic fragrance oil, you simply can’t do that. Or if you do, it’s not enjoyable. All of that being said, people can have allergic reactions just a easily to essential oils. Always test one before using to see how you respond. 

 An expert's opinion: 

And finally, I decided rather than just trying to explain it myself, I'm attaching a link to the very BEST explanation of what defines an essential oil. This is from someone who can easily be said to be the foremost authority on all things pertaining to essential oils. Take a moment to peruse his blogs. You will get hooked on essential oils. 

Oh! And did I mention that essential oils are natural - truly natural - so they are not a threat to our environment. 

Thanks for listening!

 

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning true aromatherapy, health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

Read our legal disclaimer here

 

 

Fir Needle Essential Oils, how are they similar, how are they different?

By Ann C Wooledge
on December 02, 2014

When I was a young child we would swim in a very cold river. The water flowed down from the mountains and was fresh, clean, wonderful – and cold! Some years later our little small town would build a city-wide swimming pool which is where we spent many a pleasant summer afternoon. What I remember though is the wonderful crisp, clean, deeply pungent smell of the “pine” trees that we walked through to get to the river which was surrounded on both sides with evergreens. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now the specifics of each evergreen, but the rich fragrance was something not easily recreated or forgotten. I didn’t think so anyway because I would smell the various artificial and often expensive “Frasier Fir” or “Douglas Fir” air fresheners found in some of the gift stores. They did smell good, but did not smell like nature and did NOT smell like I remembered the evergreens of my youth. Down through the years I would recognize that same real fragrance while hiking or kayaking but never in an air freshener. Not until I discovered the fir essential oils – silver fir (Abies alba), Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea). I began to use these essential oils in air fresheners in our house, began to sell them on our website and shop and then in a soap. I knew I’d found what I had been looking for. I also began to do more research about the benefits of these oils as well as any cautions. It was also about this time that Robert Tisserand published his newest edition of "Essential Oil Safety” and we learned that essential oils high in 1,8-cineole were not recommended for use with young children – and he recommended instead the use of evergreen oils such as fir, spruce and pine. Nice!


I then, of course, began to try to discover the differences for each of these oils as I could definitely smell a difference. I will say right from the start that the Siberian fir was and is my favorite, but I particularly like the three blended together. I wondered why they had a distinctly different fragrance and assumed it had to be because of the chemical constituents in each one. So I am giving you my breakdown and considerations of the similarities and, apparently, the differences would mostly relate to how they were distilled. And then, you have to consider the area and climate where any particular oil originates. As you would expect, they have more similarities than differences and as a group, they are extremely beneficial for many reasons. These oils are now my go-to oils for a lot of different situations and I particularly love that they are safe to use with young children. Some of the essential oils are steam distilled from the needles and twigs together, while others may be just from the needles (or just the twigs), which will give a different fragrance and chemical makeup.


All essential oils should be used with caution, and special caution with internal use. This practice is not recommended or encouraged by most professional aromatherapists unless you have a good working knowledge of the different cautions for each oil. The cautions are not, as many large companies are telling their associates, related to how pure a particular oil is. These cautions are related to many things, not the least of which would be whether you understand if a particular oil might interfere with any medications you may taking, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. That being said, the fir essential oils carry an added caution against oral use. They also need to be well diluted prior to topical use. These oils also need to be fresh, and kept in dark bottles and preferably refrigerated. These oils can oxidize easily and thereby increasing the chances of skin irritation and decreasing their therapeutic value.


According to Wickipedia, “Abies alba, the silver fir or European silver fir, is a fir native to the mountains of Europe, from the Pyrenees north to Normandy, east to the Alps and the Carpathians, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and south to southern Italy and northern Serbia.” The essential oil we carry is from Bosnia. And the Balsam fir – “Abies balsamea or balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central British Columbia) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to West Virginia)." Since I grew up in West Virginia, I guess what I was smelling was Balsam fir! The Balsam fir essential oil we carry is from Canada. And finally, for the Siberian Fir – “Abies sibirica, the Siberian fir, is a coniferous evergreen tree native to the taiga east of the Volga River and south of 67°40' North latitude in Siberia through Turkestan, northeast Xinjiang, Mongolia and Heilongjiang.” Ours is from Russia; i.e. Siberia.


Not surprisingly, each of these oils share many of the same properties as listed below. Many of the aromatherapy texts lump them together as one.


• Anti-arthritic
• Anti-bacterial, moderately so, but also antifungal and effective particularly against Candida albicans
• Anti-parasitic (thread worm)
• Antiseptic – particularly useful for bronchial issues, rhinitis and sinusitis
• Antiseptic – for urinary issues such as cystitis
• Anti-spasmodic – making it useful for muscle tension and possibly for asthmatic issues
• Analgesic, especially for arthritic conditions
• Anti-inflammatory
• Anti-tussive, making this a useful essential oil for coughs since it is also anti-spasmodic
• Neurotonic and stimulant, useful for depression and stress. Probably not a good idea to use in the evening
• Cicatrizant – helpful for healing of wounds, burns and/or cuts
• Said to be a very balancing oil with uplifting properties and helpful during the winter months for those who become depressed with the dark days of winter
• Fir, pine and spruce oils are all considered to be useful as tonics for the adrenal glands and helpful to apply diluted in a massage oil to the lower back
• Due to its antiseptic properties, the fir essential oils have been used for skin infections and acne prone skin, although it can be drying
• Often used in cleaning products and air fresheners
• Believed to be able to increase circulation

According to the excellent book by Mindy Green and Kathi Keville, “Aromatherapy, a complete guide to the healing art”, I found this paragraph that I particularly found helpful: “Emotional attributes: The scent is used to increase a feeling of family harmony and goodwill. It combines the sensation of being grounded and elevated at the same time, and it increases intuition and releases energy and emotional blocks.” Perhaps this is why the Christmas tree is a wonderful thing to have at your family gathering this year. You could even add the benefits of an air freshener that contains the real essential oils and not the synthetic artificial scent. Here is my favorite air freshener recipe and some other uses for these very versatile and relatively inexpensive essential oils.


Christmas Fir Air Freshener:
In a 4 oz aluminum spray bottle add the following:
1 teaspoon vodka or denatured rubbing alcohol
30 drops Siberian Fir essential oil
30 drops Balsam Fir essential oil
30 drops Silver Fir essential oil
10 drops Scotch Pine essential oil
Fill to almost the top (leaving room so that you will be able to shake the bottle) with distilled water. Water and essential oils do not mix, but the alcohol helps the process. You still may find it necessary to shake the bottle prior to each use.


Re-energizing Foot Soak:
Small tub of luke warm water
2 drops of each of the fir essential oils (total of 6 drops)
2 drops of rosemary essential oil
2 drops of clary sage essential oil
1/8 cup of our unscented bath salts (or make your own blend with Epsom salts, Dead Sea Salts, Pink Himalayan Salts)
1 tbsp of honey (as an emulsifier and for its skin healthy benefits)
Mix the oils into the bath salts and place into the water, stirring until the salts are dissolved. Allow yourself to sit quietly and soak for at least 20 minutes in order to gain the benefit from the mixture. Towel dry.

Let me know if you try any of the fir essential oils or my recipes. I'd also love to hear if you find emotional benefits from these oils.

Thanks for listening!

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 15 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

SKIN CARE 101 - Occlusives

By Ann C Wooledge
on November 17, 2014
1 comment

organic skin care at wingsets

 

This series of blogs will be about skin care and how we can make the right choices while we search the aisles, go to home parties and read a bunch of "stuff" online. Now if you are new to this blog, you should know that we are unrelenting advocates of being label readers - always! I know, I really do. It takes time, precious time, but our health is as precious as it gets. I've been researching skin care ingredients for over 12 years and I've seen some very good and some very bad advice. I hope to help you with just the basics on what to look for in a good, healthy, effective skin care ingredient. This will be the first of a series and will be repeated in our Ingredient Benefits tab at the bottom of each page of our website. I have been juggling too many balls the past few years and have been remiss on sharing what I do know about skin care including carrier oils and essential oils. The winter months remind all of us that tight, dry, flaking and chapped skin is something to be avoided.

Occlusives - what are they?

I will make this abbreviated for now and go into more detail on each oil as we progress. We do actually have some information we've shared in the past about the oils we use in our products plus other ingredients. But this series is more about why you want or don't want a particular ingredient.

So, what makes an oil “occlusive” and what does that really mean? Occlusives generally get a bad rap because we automatically think of things that clog our pores, but that isn’t true. You need these protective oils. They prevent transdermal moisture loss, protect your skin from harsh winds, dry weather and cold weather. I’m sitting in front of our pellet stove right now. I love this stove and it is the only thing (well, maybe not the only thing) that keeps me sane through the cold Nebraska winters. But, I also notice a distinct drying of my skin as I sit here if I don’t use a protective cream that contains at least one occlusive oil, preferably at least two.  There are so many quality ingredients now available to all of us through the internet and, of course, I recommend organic or certified organic and cold pressed, unrefined. Why? I have compared the cosmetic grade oils to the cold pressed unrefined oils that we now use and the difference in just the appearance tells me that the beneficial properties have  been refined out of cosmetic grade oils. I have a picture I posted on our Facebook page probably two or more years ago of our beautiful dark green certified organic, cold pressed, unrefined avocado oil sitting in a clear glass container beside the expeller processed, cosmetic grade of avocado oil that we once used before I figured this out. The cosmetic grade is colorless, thin and odorless - something large manufacturers look for - plus it is significantly cheaper. The cold-pressed (i.e. without heat that ruins beneficial properties) is dark green, thicker and has a nice subtle plant-type fragrance. Before I knew better I thought – well, if it is cosmetic grade and I’m making a cosmetic, then that’s what I need. Simple right? Well, not so much. Oils retain their phytonutrients only if they are cold-pressed and unrefined, which means they are full of antioxidants that fight those free radicals that try to make those wrinkles on your face. Cosmetic grade oils, which are what you will find in your big box store and home party brands, have been stripped of their benefits! Do they still “feel” like they are doing something for your skin? Well, yes, they do because oil is still oil. It is what is going on beneath your skin at the cellular level that you can’t “feel” that makes such a huge difference.

So here is a list of oils that are “occlusive”:

Jojoba oil (one of our favorites)
Rice Bran Oil
Sesame oil (not the roasted kind that smells heavenly in any stir fry recipe)
Avocado oil (again one of our favorites)
Pumpkin Seed oil (okay, another of our favorites and I will tell you why in another blog)
Macadamia Nut oil (obviously not to be used with nut allergies)
Moringa oil (we are experimenting with this one to determine if the hype is hype or true information)
Mineral oil (which is petroleum product and we advise you to avoid any products containing mineral oil and it also clogs pores)

Why do occlusive oils work to protect our skin?

Oils are – well obviously fats. And we will talk in another blog about the different types of fats and why some work better than others.  It is known that fats penetrate deeper into the surface layers of the skin and alleviate drying of the skin and help to retain the skin’s moisture by preventing moisture loss through evaporation. The healthier our skin is, the healthier our body is. It is truly a protective covering and keeping that covering intact, healthy, moisturized and elastic is key to overall health. Bacteria and viruses can enter quite easily through broken, red and chapped skin. It is more than just a beauty question (listen up here men!), or holding back the ravages of time and preventing and delaying wrinkle formation, it is essential to the health of your body overall. We all need and want (we really do) more supple, softer and elastic skin regardless of whether it is on our face on our feet.

I've just mentioned carrier oils here, but I should mention beeswax as well and probably the star performer in this lineup. Waxes in general are absorbed more slowly and can contribute to the “greasy” feel  that a lot of us try to avoid. But beeswax provides more protection than oils. The greasy feel only lasts for a short period of time and it is so worth it. We all need that protective barrier and only by using some occlusive oils/waxes in our products can we achieve this function. 

I know there are others and am just giving you a short synopsis. There have been newer oils on the market but we keep coming back to the ones we have used for years except, of course and importantly, we have switched to organic, cold pressed and unrefined. 

 

Thanks for listening!

 

 

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

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