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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.

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.

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.

How healthy will your skin be in 5, 10 or 20 years? Part I - Rosacea

By Ann C Wooledge
on March 19, 2014
2 comments

How healthy is your skin going to be in 5, 10 or 20 years?

And how early should you start to be concerned about that?


Skin health does not always refer to having no wrinkles or even fewer wrinkles, although with all of the glossy photo-shopped magazine ads, that is usually the first thing most people consider - not really the actual health of their skin. What about the typical and pretty common skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea? Interestingly enough, my family has a lot of these issues. I myself have rosacea, my daughter has had eczema since birth and my husband has a type of psoriasis, which we painfully discovered when he had a very bad flareup in November of 2011. So what do you do about these - and how do we keep the wrinkles at bay and our skin glowing and healthy looking?

Can you cure these skin issues or just calm them?

I am going to do this as a series and we'll start with rosacea. Rosacea apparently affects over 13 million Americans and usually causes facial redness and acne-like bumps and pimples. People like myself with rosacea will often blush much more easily or have "ruddy" cheeks. Bill Clinton is said to have rosacea and from looking at his pictures, I'd have to agree.

We've found that all of these skin issues are not "curable", but they can be relieved, calmed and alleviated unless you do something to trigger them. Each of us has our own individual triggers and it is important that we know what they are. I've been able to pretty much get rid of my rosacea; however I used to have red spots that turned into acne almost every day. That was before I started making my own creams and learned what triggers any episodes that I do get. I found that parabens will almost always cause a flareup with a cystic type pimple. I sample any new ingredients I receive because lots of parabens are hidden in other ingredients and are not declared. An example - I recently received a sample of a highly acclaimed and fairly expensive oil called Prickly Pear Seed Oil. It came with all sorts of accolades on how it would prevent wrinkles and other good things for your skin. I was very excited to receive this oil because of all the things I read about it. As I'm constantly searching and researching for new ingredients (part of the fun of being a formulator of skin care products) this one definitely sounded like something I wanted to add to our Skin Renewal Cream. We'll talk more about this particular oil in another blog, but the point I'm making here is - it had to have parabens in it because my face broke out in some pretty ugly cystic type pimples - big yuck for me, especially when my skin care line is our most popular line of products and I was afraid to "face" any of my customers for awhile. Not a very good advertisement. It took a few weeks to get them totally gone, but that's a long time in my experience. I'm super disappointed too because it does sound like a good oil to try. I will get samples from other places and let you know. This one was certified organic and Ecocert certified so how did a paraben get in here? I know some will say it was just the oil itself, but I know my skin and I know and understand the fatty acids in this particular oil and these would not have caused my face to break out to this degree.

Interestingly, the first time someone (a dermatologist) gave me a name for this skin condition was many years ago and she (and I think they still do) told me to use only "oil-free" makeup and creams. Which now makes me laugh whenever I hear that because it is just not true and if anything makes my skin more dry and flaky. Which as most of you know is why I started on this quest of healthy skin and being a skin product formulator.

So what can you do?

1. First of all, find out what your trigger is - it can be any of the usual allergy type triggers such as cheese, chocolate, soy, spicy foods and particularly alcohol can cause flares. I don't find any of these to be a problem anymore as long as I'm using a good skin care regimen and keeping my skin clean. My face does turn a bright red with any strenuous exercise - it just does and it goes away, so I don't consider that a problem except I often have to wash my face and add additional moisturizer after any routine that has caused my face to sweat - including gardening.

2. Secondly, find good organic skin care products. Your skin care products are really the biggest and best thing you can do to help or make worse your rosacea. It is really important to stay away from alcohol-containing products and as I said earlier parabens. I have found that I can use oil-based products and in fact my skin loves it when I use products made from unrefined organic ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil and others. It is important to find products that contain UNREFINED, COLD PRESSED oils because these retain the natural phytonutrients that actually feed your face and keep it healthy. Refined oils can also have solvents still in them, which will worsen the condition of anyone's skin. I recommend always to use products that contain as many natural ingredients as possible and I don't mean a cream that is full of just extracts of this and extracts of that. You need something in there to moisturize, soften and regenerate your skin. It is important if the product contains butters, such as shea butter, cocoa butter and/or mango butter - and this should be close to the top of the list of ingredients meaning it has a larger percentage contained in the total formula for that product, not thrown in at the bottom of the list as what I call eye-candy.

Tamanu oil is probably my favorite oil to use alone and for any breakouts or redness. I again encourage you to find unrefined, cold-pressed and organic and it does work wonders for your skin. Keep it out of your eye area as it will sting your eyes. I like to use it at night before I go to bed so I won't be taking the chance of inadvertently getting it into my eyes during the day. And finally, an oil that is truly a very good oil to use for the skin is neem oil. I did use this in our skin renewal cream from the beginning, but slowly phased it out simply because it does not smell very good - at all. I still use it in the garden as do other organic gardeners, but test it out first to see if the odor is offensive to you or not. Tamanu oil has a wonderful rich, almost caramel like odor, but I have heard some people say they don't like it or like the smell better if it is a refined Tamanu. Refined tamanu just doesn't have the same benefits for your face though, but these are individual choices you alone can make.


All products that contain water need to be preserved, although you will hear otherwise, it is just a fact of nature. So you will usually find phenoxyethanol as a preservative and from our testing with this preservative against many others, this is the one that did the best job, using the least amount and without causing problems with my skin.

3. Are there herbs or essential oils that work?  Lavender, of course, is well known for it's calming properties, both mind and body which includes your skin. We love lavender and tea tree in our products and encourage others to search for those ingredients. My research turned up quite a few of our favorite herbs for calming and adding nutrients to the skin. Rooibos tea is well known also for it's anti-inflammatory properties and I have found that if I include that in our creams, it really does make a difference. I add green tea, calendula, chamomile and helichrysum to that mix for ways to calm your skin and keep it glowing, healthy and young looking. Drinking these herbs as teas is also beneficial. The essential oils from these plants are also very beneficial for healthy skin, especially for their calming and healing properties. Finally, one herb, well I guess it is technically a spice, is turmeric which has been gaining a lot of attention with an incredible amount of research in the past few years. It is highly anti-inflammatory and with lots of research backing up those claims. Turmeric can be taken in capsule form and is probably the most effective way to use it unless you eat a lot of Indian type foods - but then you are getting into "hot" foods, which can cause a flare of your rosacea. I love Indian food, however, and just accept the fact that my skin may be red for a little while. It isn't really the redness that bothers me, it is if and when my face gets those pimple-like spots. I know when that happens, which it very rarely does anymore, that I need to take a step back and figure out what I had done that might have caused that and avoid whatever that was in the future - like the Prickly Pear Seed Oil.


And how early should you start to be concerned about this?

In my opinion it never is too early. I know pediatricians will tell you not to use oil products or creams on your babies, but I also have read research showing when sunflower oil was used to massage newborn babies in a neonatal unit, the survival rates were much higher. This only makes sense for several reasons including the fact that touch is very important for all of us, as is massage, but particularly important for babies. The oil (and this is where the pediatricians I think must get it wrong) if organic, unrefined will soften and protect your babies' skin causing it to be stronger. Any broken, chaffed or red areas are places bacteria can quickly enter and cause problems. Keeping your baby's skin supple and hydrated is very important. I think the medical field thinks only in terms of what they know to be available and those are synthetic type products including mineral oil. Do not put mineral oil on your baby - please!! Baby oil that you buy in the stores is usually mineral (read petroleum) based and is definitely not a good choice. I would rather you used nothing than to use mineral oil - which again, may be why the pediatricians recommend using nothing. Vegetable oils when used without water do not need a preservative. Creams and lotions are a mixture of oil and water and do need to be preserved. However, a lot of vegetable oils need to be refrigerated or have vitamin E added to them to prevent oxidation.

So - let me know what you use to keep your skin healthy? I didn't mention too much about nutrition, but I always tell people that their skin will reflect what they do or don't eat. Another blog for another time. Did your pediatrician tell you not to use any creams or oils on your baby as a newborn? Which of these suggestions did you like best or have you used and why?

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 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.

 

 

Foot rub please?

By Ann C Wooledge
on February 09, 2014
3 comments

 

 

I've recently been hearing rumblings within the aromatherapy community telling us that the often repeated recommendation to use essential oils on our feet was a useless method and now declared a "myth". The reasoning I've read is that the bottom of the foot is thicker than other areas of the body and the skin is a “barrier”. I read a few blogs where colleagues were repeating this, but intuitively I knew that this method has worked for me, my friends, family and customers now for over 10 years - so I was intrigued and wondering why they were saying it didn’t work? I put this thought in the back of my mind as I went about doing things that were further at the top of my to-do list. I did mention in a couple of places that I knew it (the foot rub) worked and I'd have to "ponder" it.


Light-bulb duh moment!
 

Then it was the proverbial light-bulb moment as I was doing a "foot rub" on myself before going to bed. I do this often for myself and my husband. We then cover the area with thick socks to enhance absorption. This time, as I was rubbing my feet, I'm thinking DUH!! Now do me a favor and take off your shoes and socks and look at your feet - what do you see? Veins!! There are arteries very close to the surface as well. This is one of the most vascular places on your body! This vast and intricate system of veins and arteries are also VERY close to the surface without additional subcutaneous tissue to have to penetrate - and this includes the bottom of your feet. Take a look at the picture above! Why do we nurses start IV's in the hands and feet? Because that's where the veins are close to the surface and there are a lot of them! 

 

The Mythical Debate:

I believe the argument addressed mainly the BOTTOM of your feet and that the skin in this area is “thicker”. Well, this is true; however, when I do a foot rub for myself or when I would do it for my patients and husband, it is a full foot rub - top, sides, bottom and ankles, and when I tell people to do a chest rub, back rub and foot rub - that is what I mean. I don't really know of anyone who just rubs anything ONLY on the bottom of the feet. I need to ask some of my massage therapist friends, but regardless, a foot rub with essential oils diluted properly in carrier oil is not only very satisfying and relaxing, the essential oils are absorbed very effectively due to the extensive vascular system in that area. The other reason I always liked foot rubs for my patients was that it was not as invasive as rubbing a back or chest. In the hospital environment of pokes, prods, and open doors at all times of the day and night, it was just an easy way to bring comfort to patients. Hand rubs (massages) are also very effective for some of the same reasons - the hands are non-invasive and vascular, clothing doesn’t have to be removed and it takes very little time. You also don’t have to be a Licensed Massage Therapist to do it. So - please do continue to do "foot rubs" with your essential oils. It has also been proven that it does work so much better if you cover the area where you are applying the essential oils as absorption is increased many fold. I don't think we need research studies to tell us why that would be true, but there are some available.

 

Other Aromatherapy Opinions

I did take another look through some of my favorite aromatherapy books and I found that Kurt Schnaubelt, Shirley Price and Jane Buckle all talk about foot massage and how effective it is. Shirley Price in her book “Aromatherapy for Health Professionals” also gives detailed instructions with pictures of how to perform a foot and lower leg massage. Jane Buckle mentions in a discussion about foot and hand massage that “touch has been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce lower back pain, relieve anxiety and alleviate depression.”

I had a very difficult time finding pictures that I could legally purchase and use for this article. I even scanned some pictures from some of my textbooks, but decided that probably wasn't legal either. So here is a link that shows an assortment of pictures of the vascular system for our feet. 

 

So there the "myth" has been de-mythed!  

 

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 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.

 

 

The Powerful Potential of Pink Grapefruit

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 31, 2012

The Powerful Potential of Pink Grapefruit

 

CITRUS PARADISI (PINK GRAPEFRUIT) ESSENTIAL OIL:

I’m talking about the pure essential oil, undiluted and unadulterated. This particular essential oil has many well proven beneficial and healing properties not the least of which includes animal and human studies showing its potential to prevent several types of cancer. In this article I present some of the most compelling research available including well-controlled studies as well as anecdotal evidence and information from some of the more reliable aromatherapy texts on the market. I purposefully avoided reading or considering information listed on the various aromatherapy websites. Some of them have very good, accurate and researched information. However, many of them are simply copied and pasted from either aromatherapy texts or other websites throughout the Internet, which simply leads to confusion and contradiction.

Citrus paradisi is known to be native to Asia and the West Indies however there are many different cultivars being developed and grown in other countries including the USA and Israel. From the information I read, the grapefruit is a recent hybrid. The essential oil is obtained from the cold-pressed peel.

WHY USE THE ESSENTIAL OIL?:

Kurt Schnaubelt, a well-known authority and author on the practice of aromatherapy and the use of pure essential oils said in a brochure for a 2009 conference in San Francisco: "The idea of dominating nature with chemicals and drugs is losing some of its luster. In aromatherapy this is reflected by an increase in research and empirical knowledge about essential oils in the context of serious disease. It is also reflected in conventional medicine. As pharmacology has been reduced to an adjunct of the corporate profit motive; biology is moving center stage."

The therapeutic value of an individual essential oil is related to its composition, which represents a complex make-up of many chemical components each with different biological activities. These varied compositions show wide variations that depend on their source. However, that being said, much of the research available to us today is being done with isolated components of individual essential oils. The influence of trace components on the therapeutic effect of essential oils has not been studied sufficiently. It is believed that these minor components probably contribute significantly to not just the odor of the oil but to the combined synergistic effect of all the components in order to appreciate the full healing potential of any given oil. In fact, grapefruit oil supposedly receives its olfactory character almost entirely from its minor components. I’ll first give you a short overview of what the popular aromatherapy texts say, and then I will delineate some of the current research available concerning this essential oil and/or constituent.

AROMATHERAPY BOOKS:

Out of all the texts most of them agree that grapefruit essential oil has the following benefits and properties:

Cleansing, detoxifying, energizing, uplifting, stimulates the lymphatic system, increases circulation, stimulates liver and gallbladder function, mental stimulant, antidepressant, useful as a room deodorizer, antiseptic, antiviral, diuretic, anti-cellulite, astringent, immune stimulant, tones the skin and tissues. As with all pure essential oils, and unlike pharmaceutical drugs, one oil can provide many proven and non-related benefits. 

What I've chosen to do with this article is point out and give proof to some of the more compelling beneficial properties of this particular essential oil. To do this most of the research refers to the main chemical constituent (sometimes referred to as component) of this oil which is made up of over 90% d-limonene.

ESSENTIAL OIL RESEARCH STUDIES:

 1.  Skin penetration enhancer: In two separate studies that I found, d-limonene was found to affect the skin barrier in such a way that it was shown to enhance the transcutaneous penetration of other substances. This is useful information both for medical applications in skin patches and for cosmetic formulators such as myself (1, 2).

2.   Immune stimulant: This is a particularly exciting property of d-limonene and has been proven in both animal and human studies.  Animal studies have shown that this happens in various ways. The immune system is complex. White blood cells are soldiers and defend our bodies against infectious disease and foreign materials. They are found in the blood, in the lymphatic system as well as other body systems. White blood cells are divided into five types and each type has its own particular assignment with each one often assisting the other. For instance, while in nursing school the characteristic of the macrophage that performs what is referred to as phagocytosis reminded me of Pac-Man and that's how I remembered its purpose and method of operation. If you remember Pac-Man then you'll understand what I mean. The reason I go into these details is to give you a better understanding of why d-limonene is of great importance in enhancing your immune system and increasing your ability to resist and fight bacteria, fungus, viruses and even cancer. In the many studies that I found it has been shown that d-limonene can increase white blood cell count, increase natural killer cell activity, increase the number and activity of macrophages and stimulate antibody production (3, 4, 5). Not directly related to its immune enhancing properties, pink grapefruit oil has been shown also to reduce stress which would also enhance immune function. And finally d-limonene has been used successfully in randomized clinical trials in a combination with other constituents that proved to produce better results than antibiotics and all treatments were more effective than placebo for acute bronchitis (6).

3.   Lipolysis and/or weight reduction: Probably one of the most talked about and misunderstood benefits of this component regard its ability to cause decreased appetite and weight loss. The major study that looked at these properties was actually related to olfactory stimulation (the inhaled essence of grapefruit oil) rather than internal intake. There are many websites on the Internet now that are copied and pasted endlessly from one to the other that refer back to a particular multilevel marketing product where one is encouraged to take "eight drops to a glass of water and drink in between your meals during the day to help you manage hunger and overcome cravings." In actuality the main study that I found was done on chronic olfactory stimulation (inhaled); i.e., 15 minutes per day three days a week for six weeks which did in fact result in a "significant decrease in caloric intake and body weight" (7).

Currently, professional aromatherapy organizations do not allow their members to advocate the internal use of essential oils and their insurance does not cover this activity. Essential oils suggested for digestive issues can be applied to the abdomen in a carrier oil or lotion and massaged in a clockwise direction. The entire discussion concerning the oral use of essential oils is greatly debated but most everyone in the professional arena agrees this should not be done without guidance and direction from a professionally educated aromatherapist who has an in-depth understanding of the risks, benefits and pathophysiology.  And let me add, this is not accomplished in a 10-day course and should result in an internationally recognized certification.

A professional aromatherapist might suggest that this discussion, specifically concerning d-limonene, revolves around a well-known book written by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, translated from French and edited by Robert Tisserand. In this book, Gattefosse states that “taken internally terpenes (which would include d-limonene) dissolve mucus, damage the stomach lining, cause auto digestion, alterations and painful irritation.” However Robert Tisserand made an editorial comment in that book, page 142, and also replied on a LinkedIn aromatherapy group discussion that “indeed terpenes are very useful for dissolving mucus; however, they do not cause the problems that the author list here unless perhaps if taken in abnormally high doses.”  He goes on to state that “everything depends on concentration -- any essential oil used in flavoring will be very dilute and will not cause the G.I. tract irritation. Any essential oil -- of whatever composition -- should be properly dispersed before ingestion. It is inadvisable to ingest essential oils undiluted or in water." This of course only makes common sense since essential oils are lipophilic (not soluble in water) and would simply sit on top of a glass of water. One wonders why this is recommended for this particular company's blend.  Essential oil molecules are very small and regardless of how the oil is introduced, either by rubbing them into the skin or by inhalation, these routes are in many cases more effective than internal ingestion. According to a study done at the University of Nottingham's school of health, a consideration and caution concerning the ingestion of essential oils such as those containing d-limonene, since it is able to inhibit a broad spectrum of organisms, the d-limonene could also potentially cause an imbalance in beneficial gut microflora.

All of that being said, however, d-limonene has been shown in laboratory studies to increase the metabolism of adipose (fatty) tissue and more recently has been shown to be helpful in alleviating insulin resistance (8). It has also been proven in studies that d-limonene deposits and accumulates mostly in adipose tissue. This particular attribute is one of the reasons it is thought to be effective against breast cancer. See cancer discussion below.

4.   Anticancer/anti-tumoral:  One study shows clearly that rats with stable mammary tumors when given a 10% d-limonene diet had an 87% regression of tumors. It also showed those fed d-limonene have significantly increased survival time. In other animal studies d-limonene showed antitumoral action in cancers of the breast, liver, pancreas and stomach (9, 10, 11, 12). These results were believed to have been mainly due to the metabolites of d-limonene. On the assumption that d-limonene is a lipid soluble bioactive food component found in citrus peel, a study in the Tucson metropolitan area was done comparing citrus and black tea intake and its effects on non-melanoma skin cancer. The total combined citrus peel and black tea intake was associated with a 78% decreased risk. Black tea alone was associated with a 40% decreased risk but was not considered significant. However citrus peel intake was associated with a 70% decreased risk.  It was believed that this study gives evidence in humans that biologically active components exist in the peel of citrus that may have a protective effect against select cancers, and especially those cancers related to adipose (fatty) tissue such as skin and breast.

5.   Antifungal:  According to a study published in the Journal Food Chemistry the essential oils of lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and orange all exhibited antifungal activity and against common food molds. The researchers attributed this finding to the "monoterpene content of these essential oils", which would be d-limonene (13).

SAFETY & CAUTIONS:  Grapefruit essential oil due to its d-limonene content has a very high potential for oxidation when exposed to light, heat, moisture and air. If and when this should happen, the likelihood of skin irritation is also more likely. I recommend first of all purchasing only an organic essential oil and keeping it tightly closed in an amber or blue bottle and refrigerated. We refrigerate all of our citrus oils.  As are most other citrus oils that are cold-pressed (opposed to steam distilled), this oil is photo-sensitizing which means exposure to direct sunlight or a sunbed within the next 24 to 48 hours could result in severe burns or irritation. It is recommended to use this essential oil in dilutions of 1%. The regular cautions concerning medications and interactions with grapefruit juice would most likely apply to the use of the essential oil as well.

IN CONCLUSION: Athough there are many other studies available showing additional beneficial properties for this particular essential oil, due primarily to its high content of d-limonene, I have covered the ones that seem to have the greatest amount of recent research studies proving these properties. At some point I would like to go into more detail about the anticancer/antitumor possibilities of not just this essential oil but others as well. Another area of great interest is the use of pink grapefruit essential oil during pregnancy. Coming soon!

Thanks for listening!

 

REFERENCES:

  1.  Almirall M, et al (1996) Effect of d-limonene, α-pinene and cineole on the in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol. Arzneimittel-Forschung 46:676-680
  2. McAdam B, Keimowitz RM, Maher M et al (1996) Transdermal modification of platelet function: an aspirin patch system results in marked suppression of platelet cyclooxygenase. Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics 277:559-564
  3. Del Toro-Arreola S, Flores-Torales E, Torres-Lozano (2005) Effect of d-limonene on immune response in BALB/c mice with lymphoma. International Immunopharmacology 5:829-838
  4. Hamada M, Uezu K, Matsushita J et al (2002) Distribution and immune responses resulting from oral administration of d-limonene in rats. Journal of Nutritional Science & Vitaminology (Tokyo) 48:155-160
  5. Manuele MG, Ferraro G, Anesini C (2008) Effect of Tilia x viridis flower extract on the proliferation of a lymphoma cell line and on normal murine lymphocytes: contribution of monoterpenes, especially limonene. Phytotherapy Research 22:1520-1526
  6. Matthys H, de Mey C, Carls C et al  (2000) Efficacy and tolerability of myrtol standardized in acute bronchitis. A multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group clinical trial vs. cefuroxime and ambroxol. Arzneimittelforschung 50:700-711
  7. Shen J, Niijima A, Tanida M et al (2005) Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats. Neuroscience Letters 380:289-294
  8. Victor Antony Santiago J, Jayachitra J, Shenbagam M, Nalini N. (2012) Dietary d-limonene alleviates insulin resistance and oxidative stress-induced liver injury in high-fat diet and L-NAME-treated rats. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Feb;51(1):57-68
  9. Haag JD Lindstrom MJ, Gould MN (1992) Limonene-induced regression of mammary carcinomas. Cancer Research 52:4021-4026
  10. Lu XG, Zhan LB, Feng BA et al (2004) Inhibition of growth and metastasis of human gastric cancer implanted in nude mice by d-limonene. World Journal of Gastroenterology 10:2140-2144
  11. Nakaizumi A, Baba M, Uehara H et al (1997) d-Limonene inhibits N-nitrosobis(2-oxopropyl)amine induced hamster pancreatic carcinogenesis. Cancer Letters 117:99-103
  12. Uedo N, Tatsuta M, Iishi H et al (1999) Inhibition by d-limonene of gastric carcinogenesis induced by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine in Wistar rats. Cancer Letters 137:131-136
  13. M.Viuda-Martos, Y.Ruiz-Navajas, J.Fernandez-Lopez, J. Perez-Alvarez (2007) Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulate L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradise L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils. Food Chemistry

Fragrance oils versus essential oils - which is better?

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on June 15, 2012
1 comment

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, 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 formula fragrance oils.

So what's with the phthalates?

Then there are the phthalates. 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. They 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 do not cause my immune system to go into high alert because something foreign is coming into my air space. 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. 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.

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 aromatherapy grade (for lack of a better term) of lavender essential oil. 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 clinical aromatherapist because we choose to use some fragrance oils in our soaps. It hurt and still does, but it seems everyone is 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.

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!

 


Why buy organic soap?

By Ann C Wooledge
on June 15, 2012
3 comments

What's so special about organic soap?

And I guess more importantly, for us anyway, is why buy Wingsets' organic soap?

1.      Our soap is artisan crafted and handcut by us in small freshly made batches. Wikipedia describes an artisan as follows: "An artisan or artizan (from Italian: artigiano) or craftsman (craftsperson) is a skilled manual worker  who is engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.

2      We use 100% certified organic vegetable oils, cold-pressed and unrefined, thus saving all of the benefits, vitamins and minerals that are normally processed out of conventional oils.

3      We use 100% certified organic shea butter well known in the cosmetic industry for its extremely high levels of hydrating and protecting properties for the skin.

4.     We use NO artificial dyes or chemical additives.

 5.    We use 100% certified organic or wildcrafted (NOT sprayed) botanicals with additional antioxidant and inherent beneficial properties.

6.    “Soap” that we can choose to purchase such as Dove is a mix of chemicals and not real soap, which is why they cannot legally call it soap – it is a “bar” or some other such marketing name. Only real soap is a natural process that results in additional glycerin which is very moisturizing for the skin. Even according to the FDA, it is a "toxic mix of synthetic, non-biodegradable ingredients."

7.     We use pure plant based essential oils or phthalate-free fragrances.

8.     Certified organic vegetable oils are not sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides; conventional ones are.

9.     We use no palm oil, which is not a sustainable crop and is resulting in the destruction of vast areas of the rain forest.

10.   These pesticides, herbicides and fungicides do leach into our ecosystem and it MATTERS for the short and long term.

11.   Our earth should not be allowed to be a dumping ground and what we leave behind for our grandchildren MATTERS.

12.   What we put on our skin MATTERS for the short and long term for the health of our skin and bodies.

13.   Our soap gently but thoroughly cleans partly due to the Nebraska yucca we infuse into our organic olive oil. It moisturizes and hydrates our skin – you will be able to tell a difference.

14.   We package our soaps in biodegradable shrinkwrap so you can smell them but not worry about who smelled them before you did. 

14.   Yes, we raised the bar on our bar soap! Yes, you can find other, less expensive, well made, even prettier soap. But is it made with any extra fat – much less the 30% shea butter we add to each and every bar of our soap? Is it made with certified or even organically grown vegetable oils? Probably not – and the number of satisfied customers tells us it MATTERS to them too.

15.  And, I think our soap is pretty too....

Thanks for listening!

Ann

 



 


Cajeput essential oil (Melaleluca cajeputi)

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on August 23, 2011

Cajeput (Melaleuca cajeputi) essential oil profile:

 

The most recent addition to our Essential Oil Database where you will find in-depth information about this particular essential oil as well as others as we work to complete this, what we feel to be, very important information. Melaleuca leucadendron = cajeputi – would be the another name for this oil. Cajeput, or Caju-puti, as it is called in Malaysia means white wood, since it’s wood is – well – white. This particular oil is steam distilled from fresh leaves and twigs of the paperbark tree. This oil is penetrating, a bit camphorous with a slightly medicinal odor, not unlike and related to other members of the Melaleuca group, such as eucaplytus, clove, niaouli and the familiar tea tree. Valued for its medicinal properties, the leaves of this tree are used by the indigenous population for respiratory and muscular problems. In Europe the oil is used in herbal medicines for its warming properties. This oil is occasionally used as a flavor component in food products and soft drinks. It has also been used as a freshening fragrance in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and some perfumes.

Follow the links provided for the "rest of the story"!

Thanks for listening!


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