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What is Aromatherapy?

What is aromatherapy? Why should you use it? What kind of results can you expect from aromatherapy? In this blog and the next we’ll introduce some basic ideas about this holistic healing tool.

Aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts to promote your health and well-being. You might also hear it called essential oil therapy. This modality uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of your body, mind, and spirit! At Herbs Can Cleanse, we believe that these three aspects of ourselves work best in balance. Aromatherapy is one modality we use to enhance this balance.

Aromatherapy was used in ancient cultures in China, India, Egypt, and elsewhere. Aromatic plant components were used in resins, balms, and oils. If you study the history of aroma in these ancient cultures, you find they were used for both medical and religious purposes, illustrating their value on many levels.

Our modern distillation of essential oils is attributed to the Persians, in the 10th century, though the practice may have been in use before this. Information about the distillation of essential oils was first published in the 16th century in Germany, and French physicians in the 19th century were familiar with aromatherapy’s potential in treating disease.

Some of the body-level benefits you may experience from using aromatherapy include pain reduction, improved sleep, stress and anxiety reduction, relief of sore joints, headaches, or migraines, reduction of bacteria, virus, and fungus, and improved immunity! Many of the product descriptions for our essential oils include their potential uses, and we’ll discuss this in future blogs as well.

Generally, we experience aromatherapy through our sense of smell or through topical application. Diffusers, spritzers, and inhalers introduce the aromatherapy through the sense of smell. Body oils, creams, or lotions introduce the aromatherapy through the skin (care is required; never apply an essential oil directly to your skin). Bathing salts, facial steamers, hot and cold compresses, and clay masks combine introduction through our sense of smell and through our skin. As you learn more about aromatherapy, you’ll learn which application is best.

At Herbs Can Cleanse, we carry a number of high-quality essential oils! Take a look, and watch our blog for more information about using our products!

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Everyday uses for essential oils – Make your life better!

Essential oils can help you live a better life. Your house can be cleaner, smell fresher, and be healthier using natural essential oils rather than harsh chemicals! Here are some fun and easy ways to bring essential oils and their properties into your daily life.

Deter flying insects with peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, or rosemary oil. Dilute with water in a spray bottle. Remember, a little goes a long way! Start with 15-20 drops per 8 fluid ounces of water. Shake before each use, and spritz near windows. This mix is also safe to use on food prep surfaces.

Disinfect and deodorize your dish sponge with lemon oil. Just place a few drops of lemon oil in a quarter to half cup of water, submerge your sponge and allow it to soak for a few minutes, then squeeze it out. This will leave your sponge disinfected and fresh smelling!

Refresh your carpets with geranium, lavender, or peppermint essential oil added to baking soda. (8-10 drops in half a cup, mix well and allow to rest for at least an hour to allow the oils to disperse.) Sprinkle this mixture onto your carpet, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Vacuum.

Chase away spiders (and rodents!) with peppermint oil! Dilute with water (start with 15-20 drops per 8 fluid ounces), shake before each use, and spray around windows and doors. Plug small openings with cotton balls doused with some peppermint oil.

Does your household have pets? Neutralize pet odor with geranium, lavender, or lemon oil. Mix 10-20 drops of essential oil in a small spray bottle (we’re talking 4 ounces here) filled with apple cider vinegar. Shake well before use, and spray around those smelly areas. If you don’t tolerate the vinegar scent, mix with water. Less effective, but no vinegar aroma!

Wash fresh fruit (and preserve freshness!) with grapefruit oil. Fill a bowl with fresh water and add 5-10 drops of grapefruit oil. Submerge your fruit in this water. Remove fruit a piece at a time, scrub gently and rinse, then dunk in your grapefruit oil water once again. Wipe dry.

Dissolve stubborn substances like wax, oil, chewing gum, or glue with lemon oil. Try a few drops on a cotton pad, then allow it to rest on the substance for 5 minutes. Rub gently to remove the substance. For more stubborn instances, apply a few drops directly to the substance. (Avoid using on finished wood surfaces.)

At HerbsCanCleanse.com, we are proud of the products we carry. Our high-quality essential oils, soaps, and other products are safe and easy to use, and will bring benefit to your life!

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ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS AND YOU

The world can seem to be a very toxic place, especially if you live in an urban setting. So, the
desire most of us have to clean and sanitize is quite natural. Because of this, antibacterial soaps
have been a part of our household landscape for decades. And for almost as long, many
doctors have urged against prolonged and ongoing use of these products. The main reason for
this is that they cause stronger strains of bacteria to grow, but these products are also bad for
the environment, increase the risk of allergies, and may disrupt hormones.

Over these years, the marketing of antibacterial soaps has probably convinced you or someone
you know that simple soap isn’t good enough for today’s dirt, and you need something extra
strong to protect yourself and your loved ones! Unfortunately, most of these antibacterial
soaps may be working against us! So much so that that FDA recently issued a rule banning the
use of 19 chemicals used in consumer hand and body washes. (See
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm517478.htm.)

So, as parents or caregivers, what should we do to ensure a clean environment for our families
and ourselves? Fortunately, aromatherapy can help! Such beautifully-smelling oils as
eucalyptus (a germicidal), peppermint (antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral), and lavender
(antibacterial and antiseptic) can all provide safe protection. And, don’t forget the old standby,
tea tree oil!

Remember what we discussed in earlier blogs, and use these powerful oils safely! Or, instead,
try the high-quality and safe products from PlantLife. Bar soaps that are both safe and
effective and that contain your favorite essential oils are available, as are foam soaps and body
washes.

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Smart Shoppers Buying Club

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Essential oils for Cleaning

What do you expect the cleaning products you buy to do for you? Mainly, clean! However, commercial cleaning products, relying on harsh and sometimes dangerous chemicals that can pollute the air in your home, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched! According to the US Poison Control Centers, cleaning products accounted for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported in 2000. More than half of those reports involved children under six. 

Did you know that you can use common essential oils to replace many (if not all!) of the cleaning products you use? Imagine the satisfaction of a clean, fresh-smelling bathroom that is also safe for your toddlers! And, imagine the satisfaction of knowing that you used cleaning products you made yourself, leaving you in control and saving your household money!

Here are some easy, safe, and effective cleaning products you can make yourself.

For the Bathroom.

Do you think that essential oils might not be powerful enough to tackle the tough germs found in the bathroom? If so, you would be wrong! Some essential oils, such as tea tree, oregano, and eucalyptus, have been proven to work against many viruses! For more information, visit http://www.wisewifesoaps.com/2015/01/antiviral-essential-oils-do-they-work/ (retrieved May 27, 2018). You can review the scientific evidence about these essential oils, and feel safe replacing your harsh chemicals with them.

When you’re ready, try this: add 10 drops tea tree essential oil and 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil to 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide. Store in a colored spray bottle (helps keep your essential oils from deteriorating). Shake well to combine and shake before each use.

To use, shake well, then spray. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes while your essential oils work their magic! Wipe with a clean, damp cloth.

For the Kitchen.

Would you love to have a kitchen that was cleaned using safe products you’d made yourself?

Try 10 drops of black pepper essential oil in 1 cup 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide. (Black pepper oil has been shown to be effective against staphylococcus aureus, bacillus, cereus, and streptococcus faecalis bacteria as well as e. coli and salmonella!) Add 5 drops each of your favorite citrus oils such as bergamot, lemon, orange, or grapefruit. Shake well before each use. To use, shake first, then spray kitchen counters or sink, let the solution rest, and wipe or rinse clean.

In a future blog, we’ll learn how to use essential oils in other ways to keep a safe and clean home! If you need some fresh, high quality, essential oils, head on over to https://herbscancleanse.com/product-category/skin-body-care/plantlife/essential-oils-plantlife/ and see what we have!

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Aromatherapy to Ease the Winter Blues

No matter whether you live in a place with extreme seasonal weather changes or in a place with more moderate changes, winter can bring feelings of sadness and loss of energy! The days are shorter, the sunlight indirect, and temperatures are low. Because of all of these things, we are less active, and the Winter blues can feel more profound. Coupled with the excitement of the winter holidays, we can feel the Winter blues especially in the months of January, February and March.

Aromatherapy may help to uplift your spirits, calm your nerves, and energize your mood naturally! When you’re down and stressed, it’s easy to forget all the self-care strategies you’ve worked on. Take a moment to make a commitment to give to yourself in a healing, supportive way, just as you give to those around you!

(As always, remember that we are not medical or psychiatric practitioners. This article isn’t intended to diagnose or offer medical suggestions. Aromatherapy is a supportive supplement to traditional medical care.)

Here are some suggested blends to use in your home, for yourself and your family!

3 drops orange essential oil + 2 drops grapefruit oil; or

4 drops orange + 1 drop ylang ylang; or

3 drops bergamot + 2 drops clary sage

These blends feature some of the more popular essential oils (that you are likely to have on hand) and can be used in diffusers, as bath oils, as massage oil, or as air freshener! Follow the tips below to use your blend in different ways:

For a diffuser, multiply your blend by 4 to obtain 20 drops total. Store your oils in a dark colored glass bottle and mix well. (Try rolling the bottle between the palms of your hands to warm and relax the oils on a cold day.) Add drops from your created blend to your diffuser, following manufacturer’s instructions.

For a bath oil, multiply your blend by 3 to obtain 15 drops total. Add to 2 fluid ounces of a carrier oil, such as jojoba.

For massage oil, multiply your blend by 2 for a total of 10 drops. Add to a carrier oil. Sweet almond oil is great as a massage oil base.

To use as an air freshener, multiply your blend by 6 for a total of 30 drops. Place in a clean, 4 ounce spray bottle with a fine mist setting (don’t reuse bottles that contained cleaning or hair products) and add 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled water and 1.5 fluid ounces of high proof alcohol. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use a hydrosol or simply double the amount of distilled water. The alcohol helps the aroma linger, and Vodka or Everclear are suitable. Avoid Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol because of the additives.

All of these are simple, beginner level blends that you can use right away! Visit our store to order from our high quality essential oils. We carry PlantLife products because of the care taken when they are produced, and we know you’ll be happy with them!

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Aromatherapy for the Winter Blues

Long winter nights and short winter days can bring about a little of the winter blues! These feelings can be especially severe in the days following the excitement that lasts from Halloween through Thanksgiving and Christmas (or other winter holidays that you celebrate with your family), New Years, and finally Valentine’s Day.

Now that Puxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and we’re facing six more weeks until spring, it’s time to use aromatherapy to chase away those winter doldrums! Through scent, aromatherapy stimulates our senses and, depending on the scent, helps our mood and spirits!

Try these scents. They might just help lift your spirits and create a sense of well-being!

Ylang ylang. This oil is considered to be an antidepressant and is used as an antiseptic. It may also help you relax and access pleasant memories!

Tangerine. This oil may help you relax without feeling tired! Other uses include the treatment of inflammation and reduction of nervous disorders.

Sandalwood. This oil may help calm your nerves and is also used to sooth inflammation and boost immunity.

Sweet Orange. This charming scent may lift your spirits and stimulate your libido! It is also considered to be a general tonic, reducing emotional disturbance and boosting immunity.

Rosewood. Essential oil of rosewood my help fight winter blues, while enhancing libido and stimulating healthy brain activity. And, that headache you have? Try inhaling this scent and your headache may just disappear!

Lavender Bulgarian. Lavender can be calming and help promote sleep. It is also thought to enhance blood circulation and soothe indigestion.

Lemon. The tart and sweet scent of lemon stimulates our senses and may help your mood.

Grapefruit. Essential oil of grapefruit is a wonderful scent thought to lift your spirits out of the winter blues and can stimulate your appetite!

These are some classical uses of certain oils. But, if you have a favorite scent (perhaps not listed here), your personal connection to that essential oil can help carry you through this season.

Use any of these scents in your aromatherapy diffuser. Or blend a few drops into a carrier oil and apply sparingly to the pressure points.

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Aromatherapy for Cold and Flu Season

Be prepared for flu season this year! Maybe, like so many, you and your family don’t trust the flu shot to protect you. Or maybe you took the flu shot and found you still got sick. While we’d all prefer to prevent the flu, if you’re suffering there’s plenty you can do to relieve the symptoms. Try these essential oils for symptomatic relief and prevention:

Pine essential oil. Derived from the pine tree, this oil helps clear your nasal passages and can help in relieving sore throat pain.

Lavender essential oil. This gentle oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, and is suitable for use with children.

Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint has antiseptic and anti-viral properties, and can be useful as an expectorant. Not suitable for babies or young children.

Thyme essential oil. This oil is also antiseptic and anti-bacterial. Blend with tea tree, lemon, and eucalyptus oils in the bath or in an inhaler to help fight congestion. Avoid thyme essential oil if you have high blood pressure.

Lemon essential oil. With its high vitamin content, this oil helps boost the body’s immunse system and stimulates the production of white blood cells, thereby increasing your body’s ability to fight off illness! May also improve circulation throughout the body.

Eucalyptus essential oil. An antiviral and a decongestant, eucalyptus essential oil helps treat colds and congestion. Use in a steam inhaler to help open blocked nasal passages, sooth inflammation, and fight bacteria.

Rosemary essential oil. Rosemary works as an antiseptic and antimicrobial. Blend with lemon and eucalyptus oils (and a carrier oil). Massage around nose, cheekbones, and temples to relieve congestion and discomfort.

A great way to get the benefits of these oils is by breathing them, allowing them to enter your body through the membrane in the nose and lungs. Use a diffuser, or add four or five drops of the oil to a pot of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel, and carefully lean over the liquid to breath the steam. Be careful to avoid burns from the steam!

Or, place a drop or two of the oils on a warm, damp cloth and place the cloth on your chest or forehead to relieve pain and congestion. These oils are also good in a bath (4-5 drops added as the water is filling the tub.)

While essential oils are not a substitute for other proven methods of fighting colds (get enough fluids, rest, and see your health care professional if symptoms worsen), if you are looking for natural ways to boost your body’s defenses during cold and flu season, try these oils!

Herbs Can Cleanse features high-quality, pure essential oils by PlantLife. Head on over to https://herbscancleanse.com/product-category/skin-body-care/plantlife/essential-oils-plantlife/ and see our wide variety and reasonable prices!

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Essential Oils for inflamed, dry, or itchy skin

Many suffer from dermatitis, itchy and flaky skin, or just plain dryness. Did you know you can use essential oils to treat these conditions safely and naturally? You can!

Sensitive skin impacts so many people, which means either you or someone close to you suffers from rosacea, acne, contact dermatitis, excessive dryness and flakiness, eczema, or redness. All these conditions are a bit different, but there’s a clear common denominator: inflammation!

Many artificial or harsh scents, colors, etc. in commercial skin products can trigger skin inflammation. All inflammation, including skin, is complex and not completely understood. If you suffer from any of those conditions, it’s time to take a good, long look at your cleaning supplies and start weeding out the likely triggers! Get rid of commercial fabric dryer sheets, laundry detergents with surfactants, commercial soaps containing harsh ingredients, and start protecting your skin! Wear non-latex gloves when you clean the bathroom, for example, and use natural and gentle skin care products.

You can also begin to heal damaged skin using essential oils! Some of the top essential oils for healing and calming troubled skin include

Geranium (uplifting and strengthening). Geranium essential oil offers balance by both calming inflammation and stimulating new skin growth. It also balances skin condition by helping to regulate sebum production, and so is perfect for all skin types. This also helps Geranium speed wound healing. Use in very small amounts, and go slowly!

Juniper (healing and anti-inflammatory). This soothing essential oil offers amazing anti-inflammatory action! Famed for helping with eczema and psoriasis, try this essential oil on itchy, patchy skin.

Sandalwood (moisturizing and protecting). With its rich scent, Sandalwood is effective for nourishing dry skin and can help with rashes. It may also protect your skin against impurities, pollution, and unwanted microbes. Try it on acne-prone skin!

Lavender (calming and cooling). Skin benefits of Lavender may include reducing redness, soothing inflammation, and assisting with dryness. Lavender may also help to clear up eczema, acne, psoriasis, and scarring! Plus, you can use it directly on your skin!

Most essential oils must be used with carrier oils, in very small amounts! Some favorites include sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or evening primrose oil. Look for organic products and get to know the manufacturer.

A good starting point to try essential oils on your skin is to start with one or two drops of the essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil. Mix small amounts at first, while you find a combination that works for you.

And, the quality of the essential oil is important! Check for artificial fragrances and chemical fillers! Use your health care dollar to purchase pure ingredients, and mix them yourself.

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Do you find yourself having trouble falling asleep at night?

Do you find yourself having trouble falling asleep at night? Or, do you snap at the children even though your intention is to remain calm? Are you irritable, sometimes for no reason?

One thing to check is how much caffeine you ingest each day. Many of us start the day with a cup of coffee, and studies show that coffee (in moderation) can actually be beneficial. Researchers at UCLA identified that drinking coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3012180/ retrieved 4/8/2018) especially I women. Additionally, coffee and caffeine intake has been linked to a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s Disease (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/192731 retrieved 48/2018).

But many of us also add a second, third, or fourth cup to our mornings. Or, we drink a caffeinated soft drink when we hit the 3pm afternoon slump. This additional intake can lead to irritability and sleeplessness.

How much caffeine do you ingest each day? The average cup of coffee has approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine. Despite its stronger flavor, espresso actually has less caffeine, at 64 milligrams per shot. That cola that you drink in the afternoon probably has about 40 milligrams of caffeine. Add it all up, and you may discover why you snap at the kids and have trouble falling asleep at night!

Aromatherapy can help.

If you reach for caffeine because of lack of energy, try diffusing lemon, orange, or eucalyptus oil in the morning and early afternoon. All of these are known to increase energy and help us handle stress.

Peppermint and Spearmint oil can also help with energy levels! Try mixing 3-4 drops of peppermint oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil (try almond oil!). Rub on the back of your neck and your temples.

You can also use aromatherapy to help unwind at night. Lavender oil is a popular solution for folks who tend to take their work home with them. Inhale directly for immediate calming effect. Diffuse it in the bedroom for a sound night’s sleep!

Cinnamon leaf essential oil is also great for stress and anxiety. Try a blend of 4 drops cinnamon leaf oil and 6 drops orange oil in 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil (coconut is another great option). Massage gently on the back of your neck and your temples, and let these oils help you release the stress of the day!

Head over to our shop to see the great selection of Plantlife Essential Oils!

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Essential Oils for Healthy Teeth and Gums

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a fresh, clean mouth! We work hard to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Good oral hygiene is also very important for overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health may be connected to cardiovascular disease and other heart problems. And, if you are diabetic or suffer from osteoporosis, these conditions may be linked to worsening oral health. (Visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475 for more information!)

Make sure you work with a dentist or dental hygienist for professional oral health care. But, you can also add essential oils to your oral health care and improve the health of your teeth and gums naturally! Here are some ideas:

Peppermint and spearmint essential oils are both antiseptic and help to treat pain. This is why you see them as flavors in so many oral hygiene products. They will also help combat bad breath.

Rosemary essential oil is a good disinfectant and helps with mouth odor.

Tea tree essential oil is great to help fight germs, heal cold sores, and combat bad breath.

Myrrh oil is very good for oral hygiene. It can strengthen gums and has both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Eucalyptus essential oil is a germicide that may fight plaque build-up, gingivitis, and perhaps also prevent cavities.

Lemon essential oil is antiseptic, strengthens gums and helps to whiten your teeth.

Cinnamon essential oil is great for bad breath and helps with oral pain.

Many people add a drop or two of one of these essential oils to their toothbrush (either beneath or on top of toothpaste) and brush as they regularly do.

You can also make your own mouth rinse! Mix and match from the above essential oils, and blend 5-10 drops of each together. Add 8 ounces of purified or filtered water. Shake well, rinse and spit, and avoid swallowing. Adjust the strength to your taste.

For more information and ideas, visit https://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-35/issue-10/features/incorporating-essential-oils-into-clinical-dentistry.html (retrieved June 10, 2018.) Our blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, prescribe, or cure any disease or condition, and the information is provided for educational purposes only.