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What Winter Blues? Aromatherapy Fights Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you seem to suffer winter after winter from unusually low energy levels, moodiness, and anxiety, it isn’t just your imagination playing tricks on you. Winter is a time of shorter, darker days, significantly less sun exposure, and cold temperatures. This triple threat can cause what is commonly referred to as the Winter Blues, and medically diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Whether you find yourself experiencing a minor case of the winter blues or a more serious affliction of seasonal depression, strategic use of essential oils can improve your mental mindset and clear the fog that the winter brings.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Most common between May and September, but especially prevalent during June, and July, SAD causes anxiety, depression, lethargy, mood changes, and sleep problems. This stress can even weaken the immune system and wear down the body. It’s common for people suffering from SAD to withdraw from their daily activities and avoid social gatherings entirely. It can become a tail-spin of negative emotions that doesn’t relent until the spring sunshine arrives.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Limited sunlight exposure during the winter months drives the occurrence of Seasonal Affective Disorder because the natural light we receive through our eyes actually controls our moods, sleep patterns, appetite, and internal temperature. Since many people are inside at work during the only sunny hours of the winter, it’s possible to go without seeing the sun for days on end! Such deprivation can interrupt the brain’s chemistry and balance, which leads into depression.

How Can Essential Oils Help?

Many doctors immediately prescribe medication for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but traditional antidepressant drugs have been found to increase lethargy and sleepiness and place users at risk of dependence. That’s definitely not the end goal for people trying to escape these winter blues! While doctors can of course offer valuable solutions, essential oils offer a totally different route to mental health and wellness through the use of aromatherapy. Essential oils are some of nature’s most powerful healers because their potent scents go directly into the brain and unleash their phytochemicals in the limbic system to signal the brain to calm down, find balance, and rejuvenate itself and the body.

By carefully choosing essential oils that will send the right signals to the brain, you can fight the winter blues and SAD completely naturally. In general, citrus oil work to cheer and uplift the motions, while floral oils fight feelings of anxiety and melancholy. Some help restore balance to sleep patterns as well.

The best part about using aromatherapy for this purpose is that the essential oils can be used in a whole host of ways based on your preferences. You can vaporize oils throughout your house for a steady stream of mood boosting scents, dab diluted oils behind your ears and on your wrists, or even use them in the bath or diluted in a massage oil. Whichever way you choose, you’ll notice those pesky winter blues fading away long before the sun peeks its head out for the spring season.

The Best EO Choices

  • Sweet Orange is known for its calming properties to relieve anxiety.
  • Bergamot is an uplifting citrus scent that releases frustration and quells nervousness.
  • Neroli is a powerful fragrance capable of calming the mind and heart to heal emotional exhaustion.
  • Lavender is a family favorite to sooth and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Rose Otto balances the emotions for a sense of controlled calm.
  • Frankincense is a meditative fragrance that encourages the ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Clary Sage calms and balances the hormones.
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4 Way to Improve Your Health with Aloe Vera Concentrate

When you think about aloe vera, you probably conjure images of red, sunburnt skin that desperately needs the hydrating chill that aloe vera gel offers. But did you know that aloe vera is useful for so much more than unfortunate sunburn? The truth is, using aloe vera concentrate topically and as a supplement can alleviate or entirely cure many of the health problems you deal with on a daily basis.

What is Aloe Vera Concentrate?

Aloe vera is actually just one of 400 species of aloe. Though it can grow anywhere indoors, Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, Southeast Asia, and the Southwest U.S boast the largest aloe vera crops. The aloe vera concentrate itself is obtained from aloe leaves, which are gently hand-filleted to remove the rind and express the inner gel. Everything is filtered and concentrated using low temperatures, the impurities are removed, and the final product is the pale brown liquid concentrate.

With over 200 active compounds including essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, aloe vera is a true superfood that can help to ensure and maintain optimal health. From vitamins A, B, C, and E to vital minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper, aloe vera concentrate offers a host of health benefits when used in supplement form or topically.

Soothe Your Digestive System

An unfriendly digestive system can really interfere with your life, making you feel sluggish, uncomfortable, and self-conscious. Aloe vera concentrate can actually significantly improve digestive irregularity by clearing out all of the nasty toxins that cause you so many problems. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera also help to calm down irritation and heal ulcers.

Better yet, aloe vera is believed to increase the healthy bacteria needed in the intestines, just like a probiotic. All you need to do is add aloe vera concentrate to a daily smoothie or just take it straight from a spoon. You won’t regret it!

 

Boost Your Immunity

In addition to helping keep your digestive system on track, aloe vera concentrate can also strengthen your body’s immune system since it is an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. By using aloe vera as a supplement, you will feed your body the polysaccharides it needs every day to fight off toxins and dangerous pathogens. The end result is a stronger immune system that can more efficiently prevent allergies, standard illness, and even rheumatoid arthritis!

 

Strengthen Your Heart

Though it isn’t well known for this benefit, aloe vera is actually most powerful for promoting healthy heart function. Forget about the statins your doctor placed you on; aloe vera concentrate actually contains beta-Sitosterol that lowers cholesterol. Aloe can also reduce overall fat levels in people with high cholesterol, which minimizes the strain of fatty deposits and blood clots in the arteries.

Aloe is also powerful for heart health since it detoxifies and cleanses the blood of impurities. The cleaner your blood remains, the more efficiently healthy new blood cells can grow and expand blood vessels.

 

Hydrate Your Skin

And finally, the benefit you’ve been waiting for, aloe vera is like a miracle for your skin. It has been used for centuries to treat burns and wounds, but aloe vera is also valuable for battling premature aging by hydrating the skin. It can even reduce redness from acne and itchiness from insect bites. Aloe vera has become very popular for promoting faster healing after radiation treatment, too. Whatever your skincare purpose, chances are aloe vera can help.

Whether you are using aloe vera topically or internally, just be sure to take caution, as you would with any new addition to your daily routine. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar to ensure that aloe vera doesn’t impact your balance, and don’t use aloe internally during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

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Your Secret Weapon Against Allergies

For many, it’s that dreaded time of year again. The time of itchy eyes, constant sneezing, and terrible congestion. Yes, it’s allergies, the dreaded “A-word” of the spring and summer seasons. Common allergy medications can have nasty side effects that leave you feeling even worse than you did to begin with, and others may cause you to simply fall asleep at your desk. Rather than fight allergies with non-solutions, you should consider giving essential oils a shot. Essential oils are alternative medicine powerhouses that can truly solve many of the conditions that traditional medicine can only temporarily mask.

The Problem With Conventional Allergy Medication

Different people suffer from different allergies. For some, it’s dust mites and pet dander, and for others it’s pollen and ragweed. Whatever it may be, the body responds to certain allergens by creating chemicals called histamines. The histamines cause all of the common allergy symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, itching, and hives. Since antihistamine medicines block the histamines from forming, they also stop allergy suffering.

However, this is a palliative solution. It doesn’t actually fix the body’s bad reaction to allergens, nor does it permanently prevent histamines from forming in the future. Your body becomes reliant upon a drug to feel better, and that’s usually not a great place to be.

Conventional allergy medicines are especially unfavourable when you consider their side effects. Dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, moodiness, and a sense of fogginess are all common after taking antihistamines, and some people even suffer blurred vision, confusion, and urination problems. Sounds worse than all of the trouble that initiated the need for antihistamines originally!

 

Essential Oils: The Better Alternative

A number of essential oils contain potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help the body fight off histamines just like antihistamines can, but without all of the unpleasant side effects! Certain essential oils are better than others, so stock up on these four to ensure that you will never have to suffer from allergy season again!

 

Lavender: Time Tested and True

If you’re familiar with essential oils, Lavender’s presence on this list won’t surprise you one bit. Lavender is a household staple for countless reasons, including respiratory and skin allergies. The irresistible of Lavender doesn’t hurt either! All you need to do is inhale Lavender to enjoy its benefits, which you can do using a diffuser or, when on the move, by carrying a few cotton balls drenched in Lavender essential oil in an airtight bag or container to smell every so often.

Lavender is also one of the few oils gentle enough to be used directly on the skin (cautiously, of course) so you can so you can also apply it to your forehead, cheeks, and chest to help it be absorbed into the body. Consider blending Lavender with any of the other oils below for an even more powerful natural medication.

 

Peppermint: Always Cool

Just the smell of Peppermint alone can make you feel revived and refreshed, but the chemical constituents of Peppermint also have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that efficiently sooth allergy symptoms, especially respiratory allergy reactions that develop into sinusitis and bronchitis. Since Peppermint has a tendency to loosen thick mucus, it’s perfect for congestion and clogged airways. Unlike Lavender, Peppermint needs to be diluted if used on the skin.

 

Lemon: Uplifting and Refreshing

Lemon is one of the most versatile essential oils out there, and it proves itself even more useful to battle seasonal allergies. This oil works best when combined with Lavender and Peppermint, because it supplements the actions of the other two oils by increasing blood circulation and clearing away congestion. This makes a favourite for asthmatics!

 

Roman Chamomile

It can be challenging to find an essential oil that is safe to use on infants. In fact, most essential oils aren’t recommended for use until at least one or two years old, and oils like Eucalyptus are best left alone until a child has turned ten! Roman Chamomile, on the other hand, is gentle and safe enough for infants, making it the perfect natural solution for skin allergies.

Just add 2-3 drops of Roman Chamomile into a carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply to irritated skin. You should see relief quickly, even on insect stings and mosquito bites!

 

The Ultimate Allergy Blend

The only things you need to battle seasonal allergies are Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can choose your amount. You only need to add the same amount of Lavender and Lemon, and half the amount of Peppermint. So for example, try 20 drops each of Lavender and Lemon, and 10 drops of Peppermint.

Blend the oils in a diffuser, or mix them together in your favourite carrier and rub it into your skin for extra benefit. Breath deeply as it diffuses naturally with your body heat and thanks to the synergy of these three oils, you’ll be on your way to feeling better in no time at all!

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All About Absolute Oils

As you delve deeper into the world of essential oils, you are bound to come across products like Jasmine Absolute and Rose Absolute. Though the differentiation can be confusing, absolutes are not standard essential oils. As the name suggests, absolutes are more potent version of oils because they are extracted using different techniques. Despite their differences, absolutes can be just as valuable as essential oils in perfumery and aromatherapy.

Defining and Understanding Absolute Oils

To understand how absolute oils are created, you first need an introduction to the extraction of essential oils. When regular essential oils like Peppermint or Tea Tree are obtained, they are converted into a vapor that condenses back into a liquid. This process of distillation involves suspending the freshly picked plant parts over boiling water so that the steam can pull the plant’s oils right out. As the steam rises it is captured in a large vessel that pushes it along through tubing and catches the oil that separates out when the water cools.

 

However, a number of flowers are too delicate to endure the process of distillation. When fragile flowers like the lily and lotus are placed through distillation, the intense heat damages the petals and ultimately ruins the oils. In order to capture the full fragrance of the plant, the oils of these flowers must be extracted differently, and they have come to be known as absolute oils.

 

The Process of Extracting an Absolute Oil

Plants parts destined to become absolute oils, such as honeysuckle flowers, are placed into a cylindrical drum with an organic solvent like hexane or toluene. The solvent extracts the aromatic oil from the flower before being removed and leaving behind a waxy substance known as a concrete. Ethyl alcohol is then employed on the concrete to extract and separate the waxy residue from the aromatic oil. Like the original solvent material, the ethyl alcohol is removed, and only the absolute oil remains.

 

The Value of Absolute Oils

It’s important to note the differences between absolute oils and essential oils, since those differences dictate how absolute oils should be used. Absolute oils are likely to still contain trace amounts of wax, pigments, solvents, and ethyl alcohol, but they offer the most potent and concentrated form of natural fragrance. Essential oils, meanwhile, are completely pure without any of the extra constituents found in absolutes, but essential oils have a lighter aroma.

 

These differences make absolute oils most valuable in natural perfumery. In fact, most high-end perfumes contain different absolutes like Jasmine and Vanilla.

 

Despite the residues of solvents and alcohol remaining in absolutes, technology has progressed so much in past years that the residue levels are so diluted- down to parts per trillion!- that high quality absolutes can still be used therapeutically.

 

Applying Absolute Oils to Your Own Life and Wellbeing

Rose absolute oil is one of the most popular oils of all time, and it can be used in a number of ways for its fragrance and therapeutic purposes. Rose is a calming and uplifting oil that can also soothe inflammation, so it’s perfect for stress relief and menstrual and menopausal problems. Massaging a mixture of Rose oil and carrier oil into the skin has been found in multiple studies to significantly reduce menstrual and menopausal symptoms while also alleviating anxiety by decreasing breathing rate and blood pressure.

 

Other popular absolutes like Jasmine, Neroli, Lotus, Gardenia, Frangipani, Carnation, Vanilla, and Lavender each offer their own therapeutic purposes in addition to their incredible fragrances and aromas.

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How Are Essential Oils Made?

Thanks to the rise of Pinterest, the DIY trend is taking the nation by storm. While there are an impressive variety of DIY alternative health projects to enjoy like brewing Kombucha and making your own dishwasher detergent, do-it-yourself essential oil making isn’t on that list. Essential oil extraction is a lengthy process that requires complex machinery and an intricate botanical knowledge. Even if you can’t make your own oils at home, it is still helpful to understand how your favorite Peppermint essential oil made it into that tiny brown bottle.

The Basics of Extraction

Essential oils blend with other oils, alcohol, and fats, but not with water, leading the majority of extraction to occur with water so that the oils can be easily separated. The type of plant material ultimately dictates which method of extraction needs to be used to obtain an essential oil. It’s incredibly important for oils to be extracted correctly, as poorly executed extraction will damage the oil and likely ruin its therapeutic benefits. Overall, distillation is the most common form used to extract essential oils from their plants.

How Distillation Works

The basic concept of distillation involves the conversion of an essential oil into a vapor that condenses back into a liquid. It’s a popular method because it’s efficient, safe, and cost efficient.

In order to achieve distillation, specific parts of a freshly picked plant are suspended over boiling water. The steam from the boiling water actually pulls the plant’s oils right out. As the steam rises, the steam-oil blend is captured in a large vessel that pushes the steam along through tubing. The steam is then cooled to condense, but the oil separates out since water and oil don’t mix.

After the oils have been collected, only the condensed water remains. Certain essential oils leave the water so fragrant that aromatherapists consider it a prized possession for use in cosmetics and moisturizers.

Despite the seemingly simple nature of the distillation process, all distillation is not equal. The cooking chambers, condensers, separators, temperatures, and pressure settings can all have an incredible influence on the quality of the oil. As with any machine, the distillation process is only as intelligent and effective as the person controlling it.

How Cold-Pressed Expression Works

Expression is another legitimate form of essential oil extraction, and it is also the most direct method. Often called cold pressing, expression is most commonly used to gather citrus oils like Lemon, Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Lime, and Tangerine.

Hundreds of years ago, expression was done by hand after soaking the citrus rind in warm water to make it more receptive to pressing. A sponge was utilized to press the rind, break the essential oil cavities, and absorb the oils that flowed out. Today, machines using centrifugal force are utilized to separate the essential oils from the fruit juice. This is considered cold pressing because no heat or steam is needed to gather the oils.

While cold pressed citrus oils undoubtedly offer stronger therapeutic properties and a truer aroma, they do contain some nonvolatile residues like rind waxes that have the potential to clog diffusers or stain fabrics.

Other Non-Therapeutic Grade Extraction Processes

If you are seeking essential oils that can be used for physical and emotional therapeutic benefits, you want to stick with oils that have been distilled or expressed. Other forms, while they may sound sophisticated, are very likely to destroy the health benefits of the oils and load them up with extra chemicals.

Solvent extraction, for example, is the leading process in the perfume industry because chemicals such as hexane and acetone are used to increase the oil production volume and thus affordability. Unless you shop carefully, these are the adulterated oils found in toothpastes, shampoos, candles, and air fresheners.

To ensure you use oils that can deliver all of the benefits they are meant to naturally offer, stick with an essential oil provider that you can trust to use legitimate distillation and expression processes.

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Are Essential Oils the Newest Cancer Fighters?

In today’s polluted world overloaded with chemicals and toxins, cancer is becoming all too common. There’s virtually no person who hasn’t suffered cancer himself or watched a loved one suffer the disease. While advanced science and technology have been able to provide groundbreaking and revolutionary cancer treatments deemed impossible only ten years ago, holistic medicine has proven itself worthy of attention in the cancer arena as well.

Some people might deem essential oils too simple or too “alternative” to attack cancer the way that mainstream medicine can, but recent studies prove otherwise. As it turns out, nature has the potential to be the most powerful fighter of all.

Explaining the Power of Essential Oils

Essential oils possess biologically active volatile compounds in extremely potent quantities. These compounds serve various therapeutic benefits that support and improve the body’s wellbeing. In some certain essential oils, the compounds can directly attack cancer cells to either prevent growth or even force the cancer cells to die. The remarkable thing about essential oils is that they can attack deadly cancer cells without hurting healthy cells; this is something that conventional cancer medications and treatments can’t always do effectively.

The Different Essential Oil Cancer Killers

Thyme essential oil is most popular for its culinary applications, but it actually possesses a host of therapeutic benefits.  In particular, Thyme is gaining popularity for its ability to beat breast cancer. Of the different essential oils used in a 2010 Switzerland study, Thyme oil demonstrated the strongest cytotoxicity against breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer cells. Thyme’s component called thymol is credited with the essential oil’s ability to kill a whopping 97% of breast cancer cells at 0.2% concentration.

Rosemary essential oil also deserves a shout-out for its ability to stand up to cancer.  Far from just serving its purposes in the kitchen, Rosemary has potent antioxidant properties that protect against the free radicals that kill healthy cells and replace them with tampered cells that breed cancer. In fact, a myriad of studies exhibit Rosemary’s anti-tumor features in the blood, colon, breast, liver, stomach, and skin. Amazingly, a 1% concentration of Rosemary was able to destroy more than 90% of ovarian and liver cancer cells in one recent study.

Frankincense is the most popular and well-known cancer-fighting essential oil, and for good reason. It’s been utilized in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of health conditions, and modern medicine is finally catching up. Western studies now show that Frankincense essential oil can prevent tumors and instigate the death of cancer cells, especially in the bladder and pancreas.

Finally, Chamomile is also gaining a strong reputation as a cancer fighter. This essential oil comes right on the tail of Thyme oil with its 93% effectiveness against breast cancer. Chamomile’s bioactive constituent called apigenin maintains healthy cells while inhibiting cancer cell lines, especially for ovarian, breast, skin, and prostate cancer.

What Does All of This Mean?

These findings offer both proof and hope that mainstream medicine is not the only route to curing cancer. Essential oils offer a treatment supplement without any painful and unpleasant side effects. If this could positively impact your life or the life of someone you care for, you need to be your own advocate.

Since essential oils are natural compounds that cannot be patented, pharmaceutical companies make no profit on oils and thus have little motivation to utilize them. It is up to you to demand holistic essential oil treatments in conjunction with standard medical treatments to ensure that your body can protect itself and heal in the best way possible.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Blending Essential Oils

Unless you’re a professional chef with many years of experience, you probably rely upon a recipe when you head into the kitchen to cook dinner or make a dessert for your sister’s birthday party. Adding one tablespoon of pumpkin spice or one tablespoon of garlic in a recipe can make all the difference to the outcome, and blending essential oils is no different.

For anybody just joining the essential oil movement, essential oils are the liquid extracts of various plants. They are extremely potent with unbelievable aromas and even more impressive therapeutic properties. For example, Lavender is known for its ability to relax and aid sleep, while Clary Sage is popular for female hormone support. While essential oils are incredibly powerful on their own, they possess even more influence when they are blended together.

If you are just beginning to experiment with blending your own essential oils, you certainly are not alone! Blending can seem complicated with the different sizes, percentages, measurements, and oil types available, but this guide will help to break it down so that you can establish the basics before vying for your aromatherapy certification.

Step 1: Understand Categories

Essential oils are commonly grouped into categories to help blenders combine oils that will work well together. As you read essential oil descriptions, you’ll notice that one at least one, and sometimes two or three, of these categories are used to describe an oil’s aroma.

Citrus Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine
Floral Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Rose, Ylang Ylang
Herbaceous Basil, Clary Sage, Rosemary
Camphoraceous (Medicinal) Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cajuput
Minty Peppermint, Spearmint
Spicy Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Coriander
Resinous Frankincense, Myrrh
Woody Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Pine, Cypress
Earthy Patchouli, Vetiver, Valerian

 

If you’re blending oils for the first time, start by combining oils within the same category. Citrus blends well with other citrus oils, and woody oils smell nice with others of their kind. If you’re ready to experiment more boldly, consider these guidelines.

Base Category Blends Well With…
Floral Spicy, Citrus, Woodsy
Woodsy Everything!
Spicy Floral, Citrus
Camphoraceous and Minty Citrus, Woodsy, Herbaceous, Earthy

 

Step Two: Understand Notes

If this is starting to sound like music class, it’s not your imagination. In addition to categories, essential oils are also described as base, middle, or top notes. A ‘note’ identifies how quickly an oil evaporates and what scent remains after many hours.

Base notes are the heaviest notes that serve as the foundation of a blend because they will last the longest. Middle notes, as the name suggests, hold the blend steady but are not as intense as the base notes. Top notes, meanwhile, are light, airy, and dissipate after 1 or 2 hours.

The most effective blends will contain top, middle, and base notes, although it’s not a hard and fast requirement. Experts suggest a blend consists of roughly 30% top notes, 50% middle notes, and 20% base notes.   Don’t  let the percentages stress you out though, a blend with different proportions can still work well!

Common Top Notes Anise, Basil, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tangerine
Common Middle Notes Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Black Pepper, Rose, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang
Common Base Notes Balsam, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver

 

Step Three: Choose Your Results

Blending essential oils can serve a huge variety of purposes. Do you need to energize your mind? Relax and unwind? Focus? Alleviate muscle pain? Boost the immune system? The list goes on and on! Since essential oils serve such an abundance of functions, it’s best to browse your favorite essential oil website (wink, wink) or do a trust Google search to gather a list of the best essential oils for your purpose. Here are a few examples.

Mood Boosters Lemon, Lavender, Jasmine, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Peppermint
Support the Immune System Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Frankincense, Eucalyptus
Sleep Aids Valerian, Lavender, Chamomile, Frankincense, Sweet Marjoram,
Focus and Concentration Oils Rosemary, Lemon, Cypress, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Black Pepper

 

Of course, there are an abundance of customized blend recipes already out there that you can utilize, but understanding the logic behind those recipes allows you to adjust them to your own needs if desired.

 

Step Four: Blend!

As you’re learning to perfect your art of essential oil blending, it’s a good idea to use only five drops of oils total. This way you can experiment without depleting your essential oil stocks and save up for the blends that you master and want to use consistently.

Use a dark glass bottle to store your blend so that your oils don’t evaporate or become compromised by too much light. It’s also a helpful idea to keep track of your blends in a notebook so that you can officially eliminate blends that don’t work and remember your favorites for the future.

And now the big question… what do you do with the oils once they are blended!? You have quite a few options. The easiest is to diffuse the blend into the air and reap the benefits via inhalation. Diffusers are extremely easy to use and serve to send your essential oil blend into the air throughout the day.

You can also dilute the oils with a carrier oil to apply topically. This involves combining your oil blend with an ounce or two of coconut oil, jojoba oil, or any other base that you would like to use. This is the preferred method to safely massage oils onto the skin. Dilution is different for children than adults, so check out this blog for more information: Using EO’s Safely With Babies and Children!

Blending is a fine balance between art and science. Use these basic steps to serve as guidelines, but don’t be afraid to get creative!

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Everything You Never Knew About Diffusers

A diffuser is a very worthwhile investment that allows you to, well, diffuse, or disseminate, the essential oil(s) of your choice into the air. This is helpful for a number of reasons including air purity, emotional and physical health benefits, and aroma.

Before going into more detail about diffusers, let’s take a moment to consider the scented candles that are used in so many homes around the world.

The Secret Dangers of Candles

It hurts me to say it, but most candles are actually breeding grounds of toxicity that you don’t want in your home. I love autumn pumpkin-scented candles as much as the next person, but the truth is that candles are a major source of indoor pollution with dangerous chemicals.

Most candles sold in stores are made of paraffin wax, which is a petroleum waste product deodorized and chemically bleached to form candle wax. When burned, paraffin wax releases benzene and toluene, both of which are known carcinogens that are also found in diesel fuel fumes. It sounds scary, and to be honest, it is.

If the carcinogens weren’t enough, some candle wicks even contain heavy metals that clog the body and make it harder for the liver to filter toxins. Not to mention the artificial scents and dyes that contain chemicals as well.

Fortunately for true candle lovers, beeswax candles make an excellent alternative that are completely safe and even purify the air as they burn. Many are even scented naturally with essential oils! But there’s an alternative to candles altogether that can purify the air while also providing a host of health benefits: an essential oil diffuser.

Diffusers are used in aromatherapy to disperse essential oils into the air and help the oils’ aroma fill a room with natural, safe fragrance.  There are two different types of efficient diffusers, but they both maintain the same benefits: they make the room smell great, purify the air, and allow the body to inhale the oil molecules in order to reap the emotional and physical benefits of the oil.

 

Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers

Ultrasonic diffusers double as small humidifiers since they emit a fine cold mist to spread essential oils into the air. They tend to be more affordable than nebulizing diffusers and come in a variety of styles, designs, and sizes. Just five or ten drops of oil can last six to eight hours depending on the diffuser, but the concentration of oils is weaker since water serves as the base. The only major caveat is that ultrasonic diffusers can’t handle citrus oils, since they can erode the parts.

 

Nebulizer Diffusers

You will find that nebulizer diffusers come with a higher price tag, but it’s for a good reason. These diffusers use an atomizer to generate very fine particles of essential oils that are sent airborne in a continuous stream of goodness. No water or heat required! Some even have a space to attach a bottle of essential oil so that you can keep it running all day and night if you want to.

Since nebulizers don’t use water to dilute the oil, the concentration is stronger for the aroma and health benefits. This does have a downside however, since more oil is required without the water serving as a filler.

 

The Bottom Line

Every home should have at least one essential oil diffuser. Simply put, they work miracles. Depending on the blend you choose, your essential oil diffuser can help you sleep, elevate your mood, ward off illness, ease respiratory issues, relieve pain, stimulate your mind, and save you and your family from the toxins found in most candles.

 

Try These Recipes!

The first time I ordered a diffuser online, I waited for the mailman at the door like a puppy dog. When it finally arrived, I ripped open the packaging and plugged it in at lightning speed. I now use it every single day for just about any purpose imaginable. We diffuse for headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and simply just to smell something nice. Here are a few essential oil diffuser recipes to help you utilize your diffuser with that same excitement.

 

Enhance Your Focus and Brain Power

3 drops Rosemary

3 drops Frankincense

3 drops Peppermint

 

Regain Your Energy

2 drops Grapefruit

3 drops Peppermint

3 drops Rosemary

 

Smile!

3 drops Bergamot

2 drops Geranium

3 drops Lavender

 

Immunity Booster

2 drops Rosemary

2 drops Clove

2 drops Eucalyptus

2 drops Cinnamon

2 drops Wild Orange

 

Get to Bed

4 drops Cedarwood

3 drops Lavender

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The Best Carrier Oils and Their Purposes

Essential oils and carrier oils are like an old married couple; you never find one without the other close behind. Just like wine brings out the taste of food and beer pairs perfectly with pizza, carrier oils supplement and emphasise the best features of essential oils. They also make it possible to use essential oils safely for nearly every purpose imaginable.

But with so many carrier oils out there, how do you know which makes the best investment for your purposes? While you really can’t go wrong with a high-quality carrier oil, it always helps to know each oil’s specialties and unique uses.

Argan Oil:  Moisturiser, Hydrating , Rejuvenate.

Produced from the nuts of the Argan tree that grow only in Southwestern Morocco, Argan oil is known by many as “liquid gold”. It boats essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote overall health without any negative side effects like harmful toxins and parabens found in other beauty care products.

It’s superb moisturising properties make Argan oil ideal for face moisturiser, hydrating toner, rejuvenating face mask, leave-in conditioner, and moisturiser on pregnant bellies. Blended with essential oils for specific cosmetic purposes, Argan oil is unstoppable.

Make sure that you only purchase Argan oil made from raw, un-roasted pits.

Coconut Oil: Moisturise, Treat Skin Conditions, Strengthen Hair, Boost Immunity

As you most likely know, coconut oil’s popularity has absolutely exploded in Western society in the past few years. It’s now available at every major grocery store thanks to its classification as a superfood. So how exactly does coconut oil function as an essential oil carrier?

This anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral oil is the perfect base for homemade ointment and skincare products like diaper rash cream and lip balm since it is so beneficial for the skin. Coconut oil remains solid at room temperature and melts around 70 degrees, so it’s best to use this for any essential oil use in which a solid carrier oil is acceptable.

Grape Seed Oil: Treat Oil and Acne, Anti-Ageing, Moisturise

You may know grape seed oil best for its culinary uses, but it also makes a great addition to homemade essential oil lotions and creams. It’s colourless, lightweight, and glides easily over the skin for a great massage oil. Grape Seed Oil’s Essential Fatty Acids, vitamin E, and flavonoids make it an asset in treating various health conditions, especially on the skin.

Hemp Seed Oil: Clear Acne, Soothe Eczema, Strengthen Hair and Nails

Though very popular in Eastern cultures, hemp seed oil is just recently gaining popularity in the Western world as a multi-purpose natural remedy. Its essential fatty acids boost the immune system, brain, hair, skin, and nails. Try it with select essential oils to clear away acne, eczema, and nourish your skin with a host of vitamins.

Jojoba Oil: Clear Skin, Antibacterial, Protect from Free Radicals

This oil is wildly popular in the natural wellness world thanks to its hydrating tendencies. Blend with Tea Tree or lavender oil and massage into the skin to enjoy its benefits!  You can also use it for makeup removal, hair conditioner and face cleanser.

Sweet Almond Oil: Soothe Dry Skin, Relieve Itching, Massage

We all know that almonds are the perfect heart-healthy to-go snack, and almond milk is a well-loved alternative to cow’s milk, but do you know about the power of almond oil? Its health benefits of beauty values are highly sought after; in fact, sweet almond oil is even gentle enough to be used on a baby’s skin. Try blending it with your favourite essential oil to deeply cleanse your skin, remove dark circles, and even relieve eczema and psoriasis.

Whichever carrier oil you choose, your body will benefit! Search for specific recipes to target your exact problem or purpose for best results.

RECIPE IDEAS

Headache Relief

Blend a few drops of Rosemary essential oil with 2 tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil. Massage into temples.

Relaxing Massage Oils

Blend one ounce of Jojoba Oil with 15-30 drops Clary Sage or Roman Chamomile oil. Massage for calm and peace.

Peaceful Baby

Combine 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil with 2 tbsp coconut oil and massage on baby’s stomach, back, and feet.

Radiant Hair

Combine 10 drops of Tea Tree oil into 1 ounce Hemp Seed Oil. Use as a leave-in conditioner for shiny, extra-strong hair.

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Spice Up Gift-Giving With These Essential Oil Baskets

Whether for a birthday, special holiday, or major life event, planning and executing a great gift can be stressful, tricky, and downright frustrating. Rather than searching your brain and emptying your wallet, try using essential oil baskets as a very neat and affordable alternative. These essential oil baskets are a blend of practical, luxurious, and thoughtful, and they’re so easy to customize that you can find a theme for anyone in your life. Check out the ideas below to help morph gift giving into a genuinely enjoyable experience!

Gift Basket Themes

This list could on, and on…and on. Think: get well visit, housewarming, new baby celebration, winter comfort, relaxation, fitness, kitchen foodie, momma pampering, and everything in between! Essential oils are so versatile that there are DIY projects to fit just about anything. The trick is to determine what the gift receiver would most appreciate. Do they love to pamper themselves, or would they prefer more practical items like house cleaner or diaper cream?

Blend this with the occasion. If you’re making a basket for a new mother, she will most likely appreciate anything to numb her physical pain, help her and her baby sleep, and take care of her hair and skin when she just doesn’t have time for anything else. Cleanliness is also going to be a huge priority for her as she works to keeps her little one safe! You’ll aim to build your basket based on those concepts.

Gift Basket DIY Projects

Now that you’ve determined you recipient and your basket theme, it’s time to decide exactly what goodies will fill that basket. From pillow spray and lip balm to deodorant and natural play dough, there are practically no limits to the ideas you can use.

The internet will be your best friend here to research recipes and blends. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Sleepy time foot massage oil sounds pretty incredible. So does teething oil! Choose a few projects to form the focal points of your basket.

Find “Fillers”

Your basket will look rather empty if you don’t fill the gaps with useful but affordable “fillers” that will complement the theme and help the basket appear more substantial. They don’t necessarily have to include essential oils, but they should help the basket make more sense. A sleeping mask, diffuser, rubber duck, silk pillow case, soap dispenser, dish clothes, baby clothes, and antique mugs or wine stems make attractive fillers for a small cost!

Presentation

This is where your tendency for attention-to-details becomes so useful. Fill in any remaining gaps with decorative paper, or even whole pecans or pine needles. Choose your theme-related ornaments, wrapping, cards, bows, or anything else you want to add. Consider even sprinkling the contents of the basket with dried flowers for a natural look.

Once you’ve placed the final touch on your gift basket, it’s time to make the recipient very happy. People love receiving a gift that has clearly been prepared specifically for their needs. You can save yourself a great deal of money while also enjoying making someone you love so thrilled and appreciative.