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Archive for category: Aromatherapy

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Mood and Productivity

Smell is the strongest of our senses and the one best able to influence brain activity. This is why aromatherapy can be so effective! Your sense of smell is part of the limbic system and directly connects to parts of the brain that process emotion and learning. Have you ever noticed that a smell will trigger a memory or remind us of something or someone? This is why.

Here are five scents that are recommended to boost productivity and mood:

Lemon. This scent promotes concentration and has calming and clarifying properties. This may help if you are feeling anxious, angry, or run down. Additionally, its antiviral and antibacterial properties may help fight colds and sore throats!

Lavender. Lavender has calming properties that help relieve emotional stress. It is soothing to the nerves and can relieve your nervous tension as well as help with headaches.

Jasmine. This light floral scent is also used to calm the nerves and has uplifting qualities that may produce a sense of confidence, optimism, and revitalization.

Rosemary. Rosemary improves memory retention and helps relieve physical exhaustion, headaches, and mental fatigue. Some use this oil in the mornings to help get going or topically for muscle aches and pains.

Cinnamon. Stimulating cinnamon oil can help fight mental fatigue and improve your concentration and focus.

Use these oils in an inhaler or put a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale as needed. To use topically, dilute with a carrier oil such as sweet almond (so good for the skin).

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Stress and the Relaxation Response

Responding to stress in today’s world challenges many people. Whether you are trying to keep up with a new job, or balancing responsibilities from both family and work, or a stay at home parent caring for a family, stress can build up! Staying in a constant state of stress will eventually have negative health effects.

Cortisol, also called the stress hormone, is part of the body’s natural response to stress. But if you are constantly at the same stress level, and this hormone doesn’t disperse, it can decrease immunity, bone density, and quality of life.

Practicing consistent and intentional self-care will support our natural relaxation response and help balance cortisol levels. This is essential for long-term wellness.

Aromatherapy is one effective self-care method we can use to enhance the relaxation response and help replace stress with satisfaction.

Aromatherapy, when used properly, triggers the relaxation response. Combined with other known methods, such as deep breathing, self-massage, or meditation, aromatherapy will help you reap many health benefits from the relaxation response to the stress of modern life. It’s important to take time for yourself every day, even if that means stolen moments here or there.

Aromatherapy is flexible and portable, so be creative! Create a synergy of undiluted essential oils in a smaller bottle, using 3-5 essential oils. Try palmarosa, neroli, and bergamot (or your own favorites), and have this therapeutic synergy ready to inhale directly from the bottle between clients or before and after a meeting. Simply waft this bottle under your nose while taking, deep, even inhalations. Repeat up to 3 or times a day as needed. Blend your favorite selection of anise, basil, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, sweet orange, tangerine, and ylang-ylang and diffuse in your favorite diffuser at the end of the day or during an afternoon rest period. Make your own dryer sheets by sprinkling a few drops of lavender or sweet orange on a clean washcloth made of organic cotton and toss in the dryer with your clothes.

Herbs Can Cleanse is your source for all of Plant Life’s wonderful products. We feature personal and service, and answers to all your questions. Take a look at the catalog, and try our Single Note Essential Oils, or helpful blends!

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Top 15 Essential Oils Health Benefits

Each and every essential oil contains compounds believed to provide unique healing and therapeutic benefits. Here are some of the most popular essential oils and how to use them. Remember to work closely with a health care professional when using essential oils.

Clove: May provide anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and antioxidant protection.
Clove Bud blends well with: Lavender, Lemon Cold Pressed Essential Oil, Peppermint, Rosemary

Cypress: Thought to improve circulation, reduce varicose veins, and lift confidence.
Cypress blends well with: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Fennel, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary

Eucalyptus: May improve respiratory issues like bronchitis, sinusitis, and allergies. Invigorating and purifies the body.
Eucalyptus blends well with: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary

Frankincense: Thought to build immunity, reduce inflammation, heal age spots.
Frankincense blends well with: Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Sandalwood

Ginger: Believed to reduce inflammation, support joints, improve digestion and relieve nausea.
Ginger blends well with: Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lemon

Grapefruit: May support metabolism and cellulite reduction. Mix with coconut oil and rub on areas of cellulite or take a few drops internally with water.
Grapefruit blends well with: Lavender

Lavender: Promotes relaxation, improves mood and may help to heal burns and cuts.
Lavender blends well with: Clove Bud, Cypress, Rosemary

Lemon: Great to use in homemade cleaning products.
Lemon blends well with: Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Ginger, Lavender

Myrrh: May provide natural anti-septic protection and thought to prevent or reduce infections. Also, supports beautiful skin, helps reduce stretch marks.
Myrrh blends well with: Clove Bud, Frankincense, Lavender, Sandalwood

Oregano: May kill fungus and help you kick a cold fast.

Peppermint: Supports digestion, improves focus, boosts energy, fever reducer, headache and muscle pain relief.
Peppermint blends well with: Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon

Rose: Thought to reduce skin inflammation and great for creating glowing skin. Add a few drops to your facial moisturizer. One of the most valued essential oils in the world.
Rose blends well with: Lavender, Rosewood, Sandalwood

Rosemary: Can naturally thicken hair. May improve brain function and memory. Try it when working, reading or studying.
Rosemary blends well with: Lemon, Lavender

Tea tree oil (melaleuca): natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, reduces bad odors and can help stimulate the immune system.
Tea Tree blends well with: Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary

Sandalwood: Natural aphrodisiac that improves libido and may also improve energy.
Sandalwood blends well with: Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh

Different oils can be blended together to enhance each other’s energy or can be blended with a base oil to be used for massage, shower gels, or body lotions.

 

The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not our intention to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is our recommendation, if trying to get pregnant, pregnant or nursing, that you first seek advice from your health care provider before using any essential oil.

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Easy Ways to Use Aromatherapy

Topically – essential oils are able to pass through the skin and into the bloodstream and into different areas of the body for internal therapeutic benefits.

Some oils are thought to be gentle enough to use undiluted, but only on certain occasions and very sparingly. Lavender and Tea-Tree are usually safe. Carefully apply a drop of Tea tree essential oil to an acne spot or a wart, or apply a drop of Lavender oil on a mosquito bite to relieve itching. Don’t splash them all over the skin!

For safety, use a carrier oil when applying these powerful oils directly to your skin, and follow the directions of a health care professional.

Carrier oils come from the fatty part of the plant and can help increase the length of time the essential oils stay on your skin. This may prolong the aromatherapy effects. Some people mistakenly think using carrier oils reduces the effectiveness of the oil but really it can be the opposite. Dilution increases the surface area of absorption and with certain oils can prevent sensitivities.

Common carrier oils include:
 Almond oil
 Avocado
 Coconut oil
 Jojoba oil
 Olive oil
 Pomegranate seed oil

To begin, start with a 10% (approximately) solution. This is 10 drops of essential oil mixed with 1 teaspoon of the carrier oil. Once you dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil, the shelf life is about 6 months. Store in the refrigerator in an opaque glass bottle. Be sure to label with the type of oil, the dilution, and the date.

Aromatically – Using a diffuser can help you experience the benefits of essential oils. You can diffuse lavender to reduce stress, wild orange to improve mood, frankincense for spiritual enlightenment, or peppermint to improve focus and energy.

There are a number of different types of diffusers to choose from.
They include:

Candle diffusers are composed of a heat resistant vessel that holds water and essential oils, and a heat resistant platform that holds the vessel over a small candle. These diffusers are simple to use and provide a light background of fragrance. Since they don’t produce a strong concentration, they are best used to enhance the environment.

Electric heat diffusers use small, absorbent pads placed inside a heating chamber. Ventilation allows the aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. These diffusers are simple to use and require minimal maintenance. Some essential oils are damaged through direct heat.

Cool air nebulizing diffusers use air pressure to vaporize the essential oils. This method maximizes any therapeutic benefits. This type of diffuser needs regular cleaning, and more viscous oils (such as sandalwood or ylang-ylang) cannot be diffused.

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Essential oils for weight loss

It is common knowledge that in order to lose weight, you must improve your diet and increase your activity level.

But did you know that aromatherapy can help?

Often people who want an extra boost to help them reach their weight loss goals. Unfortunately, many turn to stimulants such as caffeine to help. This results in extra stress on the body, when your body is already stressed by the changes you’re making.

Why not use natural, supportive, and soothing plant-based medicines that reassure the body instead of stress?

When using essential oils for weight loss, you can use them in diffusers. However, with the direction of a health care professional, you may choose to use them internally. All of these oils are generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Still, for best results and safety, choose organic oils and only buy from a trusted source.

These four essential oils have been proven to support fat loss:
Grapefruit oil contains d-limonene, which is found in citrus peels. A study found that supplementing d-limonene improved metabolic enzyme levels. (Published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology Vol. 112, Issue 3, pp 175-181, Mar 2013.)

Add a drop or two to 12 ounces of drinking water and consume before breakfast.
Peppermint oil has been shown to improve weight loss because it suppresses cravings and improves digestion. (Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:297-303.)

Add a drop or two to a quart of drinking water or choose enteric-coated capsules to make sure the peppermint oil reaches the bowel.

Cinnamon oil helps balance blood sugar levels, which will assist in weight loss and improve diabetes. (J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 May; 4(3): 685–693. Published online 2010 May 1.) Add a drop of cinnamon oil to your steel cut oats (after cooking) for breakfast, use a drop or two in fruit smoothies, even stir into vanilla ice cream!

Ginger oil contains gingerol which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and increases thermogenesis, which boosts metabolism. (J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol; 2015 Jan; 26(1):95-103.)
Ginger juice or grated ginger contain these aromatic and flavorful compounds and can be used to make tea or flavor drinking water. Drink before or after each meal, or anytime you like! Also, use ginger oil diluted in water with a squeeze of lemon.

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Aromatherapy – How to use it

Herbs Can Cleanse recommends the product line from PlantLife Natural Body Care, and these
products are available on our website. They make it convenient for you to integrate
aromatherapy into your life in the following ways:

Aromatic Baths. Baths are an aromatic and convenient way to begin to experience the benefits
of aromatherapy. PlantLife products are developed using old-world formulas and are
completely free of gluten, GMOs, parabens, SLS sulfates, and artificial colors or dyes. They
contain absolutely no animal products and are cruelty-free. PlantLife only uses 100% pure
essential oils and fresh herbs.

So, experiencing an aromatic bath is as simple as following these steps
Set the mood. Light a candle; play some soft, soothing music; turn your phone off to avoid
interruptions. You may also dim the lights, but be sure to remain safe!
Draw the bath. Check the temperature of the water. Add PlantLife Bath Salts or a few drops of
an essential oil such as lavender, calendula, eucalyptus, or another favorite. (Be careful not to
go overboard.) Have an Aromatherapy Herbal Bar from PlantLife (or your own favorite bar of
high-quality soap) ready.

Soak! Submerge your body in the aromatic bath, and relax. Close your eyes and let yourself
float. Allow the water and fragrance to gently soothe your tired muscles. Imagine the stress of
the day, and all your problems, fading away. When you empty the tub, they can go down the
drain with the water!

Finish with a brief shower. About 15-20 minutes is a good amount of time to experience
relaxation and stress relief. After a bath, many like to finish with a shower to more completely
wash away the stress. Use your favorite bar of soap.

Regular practice of aromatic baths can improve the quality of your life!
Diffusers. This method is ideal for releasing essential oils in the home (including bedroom,
living room, etc.) or office.

There are several types of diffusers. Some, such as candle and electric heat diffusers, use heat
to release the aroma. These are easy to use, but heat may damage some essential oils. The
other main type of diffuser is a cool air nebulizing diffuser. This type uses air pressure to
vaporize the essential oils. The essential oils are released into the air. This type of diffusion
maximizes benefits, but the unit will need to be cleaned regularly and cannot be used with all
oils. Thicker oils, such as sandalwood or ylang-ylang cannot be diffused with this method.
These two methods are the most accessible to those new to the use of aromatherapy. We’ll
discuss other methods in future articles. Send us an email (or comment) with your questions!

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Aromatherapy – What is it? part two

In our last blog post, we learned a little about the history of aromatherapy and its modern
expression. We also discussed distillation, the main process of extracting the valuable essential
oils of a therapeutic plant or fruit. Today we’ll talk about other methods of extraction, how
they work, and their roll in aromatherapy.

Cold Pressing (also sometimes called expression) is another important method of extraction
used today, especially for delicate citrus essential oils. Historically, this process was done by
hand. The zest or find of the citrus was first soaked in warm water to make the rind more
receptive to the pressing process. Next, sponges were pressed against the rind to break the oil
cavities and absorb the essential oils. Sponges were pressed over storage containers, and
allowed to rest until oils and juice separated. Today, the majority of modern cold press
techniques use centrifugal force. The spinning in the centrifuge separates much of the essential
oil from the juice.

These cold pressed oils contain a vibrancy sometimes lacking in distilled essential oils. They
have also not been heated (beyond the heat that is generated through friction). In cases where
tangerine, lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, or lime are desired look for cold pressed or
expressed essential oils.

Hydrosols were originally a byproduct of extraction. However, today, they are seen to have
their own therapeutic value and some distilleries focus primarily on these delicate waters.
When plant material is steam distilled the chemical compounds of the plant first accumulate in
the water. Only after they reach maximum solubility in the water do they separate in a layer of
oil on the surface. Many of the water-soluble plant compounds and some of the oil-soluble
compounds wind up in this water. Hydrosols are usually clear and have the viscosity of water.
Their aroma is usually similar to that of the essential oil, but is usually quite subtle. Hydrosols
can used in toners, creams, lotions, body sprays and room sprays. Many people use these
hydrosols because they are generally safer for use with babies and those with immune
disorders. Please consult a medical profession before using any hydrosols with these
populations.

Solvent extraction is used in cases where the plant material is too fragile to be distilled.
Petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol, or hexane are used to extract lipophilic material from the
plant. The solvent will also remove the chlorophyll and other plant tissue, resulting in a highly
colored or thick extract. The first product of this process is called a concrete, which is a
concentrated extract containing waxes and fats as well as the valuable aromatic compounds.
This concrete is then mixed with alcohol, which removes the aromatic principle from the
material. This end product is known as the absolute.

Solvent extraction is used for jasmine, tuberose, carnation, gardenia, jonquil, violet leaf,
narcissus, mimosa and other delicate flowers. Neroli and rose can be distilled or solvent
extracted, and this will generally be indicated on the label and in the product catalog.

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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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Aromatherapy – What is it?

Aromatherapy is a modern take on the time-honored understanding that by using natural plant
essences we can promote health and well-being. Today’s aromatherapists follow the path of
the alchemists and healers from many traditions and use pure essential oils obtained from a
wide assortment of plants. With the benefit of modern equipment, these essential oils are
cleaner and may be more effective.

Marestheus, a Greek physician, wrote of the effects of wearing garlands of different leaves and
flowers in combinations designed to refresh and encourage. Today, we have soaps, bath oils,
body lotions, diffusers, and other ways to integrate these natural plant essences into our lives and experience the benefits they offer. And, remember that favorite perfume? Chances are it
was developed with the principles of aromatherapy!

How are these essential oils derived?

In today’s aromatherapy laboratory, the methods of extraction fall into several main categories:

Distillation is the main method used today. Within this category, there are different processes;
in all of them, water is heated to produce steam. This steam serves to release the most volatile
chemicals of the aromatic material, and carry them away. When chilled in a condenser, the
resulting liquid is collected, and the essential oil will float on top of the remaining fluid
(hydrosol, which is used in other ways). The different processes used are steam distillation,
which brings steam from an outside source to pass through the aromatic material;
hydrodistillation, which submerges the botanicals in water then heated; and water and steam
distillation, which holds the botanicals above the heated liquid. The method used is
determined by a number of factors, including which works best with the botanical.

Cold Pressing is another important method used today. In the way that the orange essential
oils can be released when you zest an orange, may citrus oils are cold pressed by machines
which score the rind and capture the oil. These cold pressed oils contain a vibrancy sometimes
lacking in distilled essential oils. They have also not been heated (beyond the heat that is
generated through friction).

Other methods include solvent extraction and florasols, which we’ll discuss in another blog
post.