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Tag Archive for: 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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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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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.