Friday, June 4th, 2010

Essential Oils PhotoHerb Garden -1 month Where did spring go? Summertime heat hit most of us of hard this last month after one of the coldest winters ever, across the entire country.  The mugginess, mosquitoes, flies, tics,  no-see-ums and more are upon us. There are numerous  herbal and natural products that I use for natural bug and insect repellents. My herb garden has grown well in just a month;  I already have herbs and flowers in bloom and am enjoying the fresh herbs with my meals and in my iced herbal and green teas.

One of my favorites is  Rose Geranium which is part of the citronella family - there are many spectacular flavors ranging from lemon to chocolate.  Rose remains a favorite and I use the essential oil as part of my summer scents to detract insects of all types. Perfume ceased to exist in my personal care routine after the dangers of formaldehyde poisoning, synthetic fragrances and chemicals emerged into my knowledge base about 2o years ago.  So many people have allergies and or chemical sensitivities and they have no idea that it may be their favorite scent in body lotion or shampoo. Geranium,  literally keeps the bugs away and helps you maintain a positive mood.  People always comment on the fragrance.

Aromatherapy is a powerful  healing medicine that has clinical applications in many areas from insect bites to many types of first aid actions.  Oils can be anti-inflammatory, repellents, antiseptic, wound healing, anti-parasitical, deodorizing and emotionally lifting and healing.

Essential oils, the form of aromatherapy most commonly used,  are usually steam distilled essences from fragrant plants, flowers and trees. The components are numerous rendering them for a variety of applications from a pleasant fragrance to a therapeutic condition.

The better oils that are not adulterated contain small molecules that can penetrate the skin and eventually enter into your bloodstream.  The body usually clears them in under 14 hours.  Essential oils are very concentrated and that is why a few drops  be enough per application.  The oils can be used singularly or in combinations depending on the result or fragrance you wish to accomplish.

I usually use a high quality oil like Aura Cacia ( www.auracacia.com) and mix it with an unscented body lotion, a neutral gel (aloe, calendula or silver) or carrier oil, brose geranium picody lotion or  a light weight carrier oil like grape-seed (1 oz)  Add  in 3 drops of geranium,  2  lavender or  lemon balm and 3 sandalwood. This emits a wonderful daytime scent that keep the bugs away and is less medicinal  and healthier than conventional options.  So many people ask me what perfume I am wearing.  When Hiking or gardening, I use some tea tree mixed w/ geranium and or lavender and apply it around my hairline, wrists and ankles.  The insects may still fly around you but they won’t land.  Adding some oregano oil or thyme oil for tics may also be necessary when tromping through fields and grasses.

Other oils that can be used to repel insects or treat stings and bites etc are: Penny-royal, eucalyptus, citronella, rosewood, patchouli, cedar-wood and cedar. Choose the scents that you like and customize your own formula. Using over 5 different oils may be counter productive as the anti-bacterial qualities may be weakened – so stick to 2- 4 when customizing yours.  A little goes long way. You can store them in the refrigerator for the best nutrient protection.

Oils can also be directly applied to your bath oil, light bulbs, decorative pine cones  or used in a diffuser for additional home and or office protection or just direct inhalation directly from the bottle, a cotton ball or pie e of cloth.

For people with skin sensitivities, a drop or oil on a cotton ball behind your ear is a good way to test .Caution for pregnant women:  Some oils will stimulate menstruation so please wait until after the first trimester and then perform a skin patch test.  Also, oils like Bergamont should not be used with constant sun exposure, tanning beds or even a hot kitchen as it may affect skin pigmentation.  There are other precautions for other ailments so always do your research first.  One of my favorite very detailed books is The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood.  An easy to read reference book is Aromatherapy for Everyone , by PJ Pierson & Mary Shipley.

Many women experience an increased of headaches in the warmer months.  According to Chrissie Wildwood, a great balm for relieving headaches is as follows: massage the cream or oil into the base of the neck or on the temples in a small circular motion.

Headache Balm : 2 drops  lavender , 5 drops eucalyptus and and 5 drops peppermint in an unscented carrier oil or cream (30 g)

Sometimes adding a couple drops of Clary Sage will offer additional benefits.  This uplifting oil helps to promote laughter and a good mood. Works great in a diffuser with screaming kids or a challenging business day. For those of you who have trouble with insomnia, try adding these oils to your bath, pillow or sachet or using them on a light bulb in your bedroom. Oils such as Sandlewood, Chamomile, Lavender, Melissa, mandarin, hops, neuroli, ylang/ylang and vervitier may help relax your body when your brain would shut down .

Some of the oil brands that I like are Simplers Botanical corp ( www.simplers.com , Eden Botanicals ( www.edenbotanicals.com) Ananda Oils (www.anandaapothecary.com) and Young Living ( www.youngliving.org).

So venture into the world of aromatherapy and feel and sense the difference, without the risk of toxic chemical poisoning from your perfumes and your bug spray.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

In Continued Health,

Sally Byrd

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