Archive for the ‘Aromatherapy’ Category

What Are Aromatherapy Hydrolats, and Why Are They Useful to Health?

Hydrolats – also known as hydrosols – have been described as the ‘next aromatherapy’. They are safer than essential oils, easier to use, and gentler. But what exactly are hydrolats?

Most essential oils are produced by a process of steam distillation. Here’s how it is done:

You take a large quantity of, say lavender stalks, and you put them into a still. You then allow steam to pass through the plant material. (It is far better to do this under gentle pressure and gentle temperature. Higher temperatures give a greater yield, but a lesser quality).

As the plant is exposed to the steam, many active chemicals in the plant are released into the steam, which is then condensed (cooled down by passing into a cool tube). The steam then turns back into water, but the water now contains many wonderful natural healing chemicals that were in the plant.

Now here’s the interesting bit: some of those chemicals are so-called hydrophillic (that means they love water and dissolve in it), while others are oily and ‘hydrophobic’ (they are repelled by water). When you leave this water-oily mix for 15 minutes or so, the two parts quickly separate out, just as vinegar and oil will separate out when left to their own devices. The oil is the plant’s ‘essential oil’, and the water is known as a hydrolat, or a hydrosol.

So we can understand that, generally speaking, the hydrolat contains the water soluble chemicals from the plant, while the essential oil contains the non-water soluble chemicals.

Now consider something else: the human body is composed of about 60% water. Water is the major compound in every single cell in the body, and also in the fluid that runs around the outside of the cells.

So if we want to get the balancing, therapeutic energies from the plants to our body’s cells, would it not make great sense to use the ones that dissolve in water? We can begin to see the power of the hydrolat!

Hydrolats are great to use in situations that involve great gentleness and delicacy. They can be used on children (even babies), on the elderly, and many vets use them too.

One word of warning. Hydrolats can be a little unstable, and for that reason they are frequently adulterated with alcohol and or preservatives. These chemicals certainly preserve their shelf life, but they may adversely affect their therapeutic value. So it is always better to try to find hydrolats that are unadulterated and 100% pure, but also that come from a reputable supplier who tests each batch for the existence of microbes.

You will be familiar with some hydrolats already. True ‘Rose Water’ is in reality rose hydrolat. Witchhazel, which is a wonderful natural antioxidant, that is great for skin care is the hydrolat from the Hamamelis plant. You may be familiar with Orange Blossom water (neroli hydrolat), and of course Lavender water too.

Hydrolats are great for skin care (having a perfect pH value) and most are quite safe to digest. Try spraying Rose hydrolat on your face, on bed linen, or add it to yoghurt for a taste of luxury!

Cedarwood Oil and Deep Tissue Massage to Breakdown Cellulite

Cedarwood has been used for over 5,000 years and for several good reasons. The ancient Sumerians as well as the Egyptians believed cedarwood could connect the body with the mind in rituals ceremonies. The Egyptians also believed that the body should be embalmed in cedarwood so the journey to the other side was a smooth transition.

Scripture writers tell stories about Solomon and his love for cedarwood. He built his temple and palace from the Cedars of Lebanon, which made him the wisest man on the planet. Cedar was a symbol for strength, connection, and protection in those ancient days. Cedarwood oil continues to attract people who want to connect with their soul consciousness in this physical plane, but it is also used as insect repellant as well as a bacteria preventive.

Cedarwood essential oil is fantastic for breaking down cellulite and it’s one of the main oils used for deep massages. But, the therapeutic qualities of cedarwood oil don’t stop there. This aromatherapy oil is effective for hair loss, acne, psoriasis, urinary tract infections, and bronchitis. Attention deficient disorder and compulsive behavior can be treated with cedarwood oil, and it reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries.

Cedarwood stimulates the pineal gland so melatonin is released to promote deep sleep. The pineal gland not only releases melatonin it also open channels to innate senses that are buried under beliefs about separation. The Sumerians were the first to discover this awakening, but it has been an interesting as well as beneficial side effect experienced by ancient cultures around the world. The real benefit of using this essential oil on a regular basis is the emotional and spiritual transformation that develops when the oil is used in an aromatherapy session.

The therapeutic properties of this amazing oil are astringent, antiseborrhoeic, diuretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, fungicide, insecticide, sedative, emmenagogue, and expectorant. The oil has the ability to sedate the skin, which relieves itching, and it acts as a general tonic, which helps control acne, dandruff, and oily skin.

In vapor therapy this essential oil can be used to relieve arthritis, rheumatism, and respiratory issues. The oil can be massaged into the skin or diluted in a bath to relieve painful joints, cystitis, and catarrh.

When cedarwood is blended with other essential oils such as cinnamon, bergamot, frankincense, juniper, benzoin, cypress, rosemary, jasmine, lavender, neroli, rose and lemon the results are better than expected, especially when cellulite and muscle pain cause unnecessary stress on the body.

Ancient civilizations knew the importance of using cedarwood especially when the body was in a state of distress. The physical and mental connection that humans have with cedarwood oil is so special that it can’t be taken for granted. The old remedies are new again and cedarwood oil tops the list when it comes to bringing the body and mind together in an innate as well as objective way.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

Nutmeg Oil and Its Mild Hypnotic and Aphrodisiac Properties

Nutmeg powder has been a valued commodity for centuries. The Chinese were the first to recognize nutmeg’s medicinal abilities, and the Indonesians were the first to sniff it and expand their awareness. The natives used it to hallucinate, but when they used it in extreme quantities they found it could be fatal.

The scent as well as the taste made nutmeg a popular spice during the 15th and 16th centuries. Byzantine traders sold it to the Arabs, and those folks actually named it “mesk.” The French called it “noix muguette” and the English transliterated the name to “nut meg.”

The Europeans fell in love with this tantalizing spice. Middle Eastern food was filled with it so the Portuguese set out to find the Spice Islands in Indonesia and cultivate it themselves. Thanks to their due diligence and Dutch intervention, Grenada and Indonesia now produce a large amount of the world’s nutmeg, but Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, and St. Vincent in the Caribbean produce large amounts of nutmeg as well.

The ingredients in nutmeg oil are myristicin, limonene, l-terpineol, d-pinene, d-borneol geraniol and safrol, which make the oil colorless, but it smells and tastes like nutmeg powder. The cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries use the oil in toothpaste and in cough syrup, and in traditional medicine it’s used to treat nervous disorders as well as digestive issues.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article on the narcotic effects of nutmeg oil in 1964 and once again in 1971. The psychoactive powers of the oil are well documented. Students, prisoners, sailors, alcoholics, and marijuana users switch to nutmeg oil from time to time to experience out of body experiences as well as to “get high,” but the impact of nutmeg on the internal system can be debilitating if it is not controlled.

Other reports list nutmeg essential oil as an aphrodisiac since low doses can increase the libido, which increases sexual activity. The sexual stimulating properties of the oil can be traced back to the chemical compound myristicin. Traditional medicine has been using nutmeg oil to treat male sexual disorders for years, and aromatherapy also uses it to stimulate the libido.

The recreational qualities of nutmeg may take about four hours to manifest. Large doses can produce uncontrollable sleep as well as dehydration. Nutmeg oil does help some people reach a state of bliss, which some call a hypnotic state. The experience seems like another reality, but that reality can help increase the sex drive in some men. The oil stimulates the libido, plus it has a pleasing aroma and great taste among essential oils, and those qualities alone make nutmeg renowned in the natural world.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

Essential Oils and 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Them

Did You Know The Use Of Essential Oils Predate the Bible?

It’s history can be traced back as far as 3,500 BC. The ancient Egyptians used essential oils extensively everyday in medicine, cosmetics, aromatherapy and in religious worship. Ancient Egyptian pots have been found at Tepe Gawra filled with the oils. The ancient Egyptians used a type of effleurage extraction method to extract the oils.

On the other side of the world, humans started using essential oils around the same time as the ancient Egyptians. In China and India, essential oils have been widely used in medicine. In 460-370 BC the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates’ holistic method of treating patients included aromatherapy and massage.

As we move forward in history Romans took over the medicinal secrets of the Greeks. The Greeks believed in the importance of hygiene, and in the healing and cleansing power of fragrances and aromatherapy.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the world descended into the dark ages. The Arabian empire took over and during this period essential oils evolved through the perfection of the distilling process accredited to Persian Physician Avicenna (980-1037AD).

Avicenna drew on the knowledge of the Romans Greeks, Indians and Chinese to perfect his method.

Essential oils have been documented throughout history helping us to relax and heal our bodies. As modern technology evolves we are learning more and more about its hidden powers. There are so many good oils available out there that can help with all sorts of ailments but where do you start?

What are essential oils?

They are extractions from aromatic plants. When aromatic plants are distilled, the essences go through subtle chemical changes and turn into essential oils.

How are they used?

You can use essential oils in a variety of ways. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • In massages – dilute 3% in a carrier oil such as jojoba oil and massage into skin. A little goes a long way
  • In body and bath oils – a few drops in a bath will keep you feel relaxed and refreshed and is safe enough that you don’t need to wash it off afterwards
  • Steam inhalations – 2 drops in a litre of boiled water makes a great method for clearing congested chests and sinuses
  • Hot and cold compresses – allows you to apply essential oils directly to a localised area
  • Blending them in creams and lotions – a safe and convenient way to for everyday use
  • Perfumes and room fragrances – diluted formulas sprayed onto the skin or into the air to target psychological and emotional benefits

5 reasons why you should consider using them:

  1. They are a natural alternative to modern medicine to treat common ailments such headaches, cuts and burns
  2. They are simple and versatile to use. One essential oil has many different uses including topical, psychological and emotional aspects
  3. Readily accessible and affordable. There is a vast range of oils that can easily be purchased from your local health store or online without requiring a prescription
  4. Can be used for preventative measures. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, you can start enjoying the benefits immediately to help prevent ailments from occurring
  5. You can use your creative flair to create your own blends of perfumes and fragrances making them personalised and unique

It is highly recommended that you should seek advice from an aroma therapist to ensure safe usage and blending.

Some people may be sensitive and if you show any signs of irritation you should discontinue use immediately.

Rosemary Oil and Its Ability to Enhance Memory

Rosemary or Rosmarinus, which means “sea dew” in Latin, developed a reputation for being a sacred plant that wards off evil spirits. The oil was also used as protection from the plague. The Romans and the Greeks used it for all sorts of things. Rosemary was always around during wedding ceremonies, religious rituals, and family gatherings. The Egyptians liked it and burned it as incense, and the French burnt it in hospitals during the Middle Ages.

Paracelsus said that rosemary oil strengthened the entire body back in the 16th century. He believes the oil had the ability to heal the liver, heart, and brain, and modern medicine agrees with him. Rosemary is used for flatulence, stomach cramps, and other digestive issues, plus it stimulates hair follicles, and prevents premature hair loss.

Rosemary oil is great for boosting mental awareness and brain activity.Students use it to concentrate during exams, and when used as an aromatherapy oil it helps with depression, mental fatigue, and short term memory loss. When rosemary oil is inhaled it lifts the spirits, and removes that feeling of boredom. A surge of energy quietly infiltrates the innate senses as the vapor is inhaled.

A diluted rosemary oil bath or massage can alleviate headaches as well as the agony and pain of arthritis and rheumatism. A regular rosemary massage will remove dryness and tone the skin. The oil is also a great disinfectant and can be used as a mouthwash.

The chemical constituents of rosemary oil give it the ability to boost mental alertness as well as act as a hormone stabilizer. Those constituents are limonene, 1,8-cineole, borneol, a-pinene, b-pinene, bornyl acetate, camphene, and camphor.

The therapeutic properties are: nervine, digestive, analgesic, astringent, carminative, cephalic, diuretic, cholagogue, antidepressant, cordial, tonic, emmenagogue, and hepatic, as well as hypertensive, rubefacient, sudorific, and stimulant. The diuretic properties of the oil also help reduce water retention and cellulite, plus it’s used to treat certain obesity cases.

The oil also helps ease congestion, swelling and puffiness, and it is effective on bronchitis, sinus, and sagging skin. One of the main things that rosemary does is increase circulation throughout the body. More oxygen gets to the organs, especially the brain, and that helps increase mental functions.

Paracelsus believed that rosemary oil could help heal the gall bladder and liver as well as the heart, and modern medicine has confirmed his beliefs. Rosemary oil is one of the most important essential oils in aromatherapy because it continues to produce results in terms of physical and mental well being.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.