Friday, November 13, 2009
"There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat". - Matthew 26-6
It was a custom to honor guests by anointing their head or feet with spikenard (Lock of hair). Jesus was anointed twice with spikenard the week before he died (Matthew 26:6-7 and John 12:1-3) The fragrance from the essential oil is often used today to relieve fear and anxiety and in the past to prepare the body for burial. Spikenard was very precious in ancient times, used only by kings, priests and high initiates. One of Spikenard's biblical references is that of Mary Magdalene anointing the feet of Jesus with the oil before the last supper: "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of Spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
"Scripture: Song of Solomon 1:12, 4:13-14, Mark 14:3, John 12:3, Luke 7:36-38, John 12:1-3
Spikenard essential oil is regarded as calming, sedative, and stabilizing oil. The root of the tender aromatic herb yields the plant's essential oil. Native to the Himalayan Mountains, the plant grows wild in Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim, at elevations between 11,000 and 17,000 feet. With it's warm and earthy aroma, Spikenard helps sooth anxiety, and like Myrrh, can instill a profound sense of peace.
External application of Spikenard invokes its sedative effect - try rubbing gently over the heart and solar plexus. Spikenard Oil may also be supportive in cases of allergic skin reactions, and can sooth, nourish, and regenerate the skin for some people. Spikenard oil has been used to assist with dandruff.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Recent excavation of the ancient city, Gilead, has unearthed the remains of a building that was probably used for the manufacture of balsam oil, the famous "balm of Gilead" noted in Jeremiah 8:22. It was thought to be nearly miraculous in its ability to heal.
So precious was this oil to the commerce of Gilead, the exact manufacturing process was kept a closely guarded secret. So much so, archaeologists uncovered an inscription carved into the floor of a local synagogue that reads, "Whoever reveals the secret of the village to the gentiles, the one whose eyes roam over the entire earth and see's what is concealed will uproot this person and his seed from under the sun."
When Joseph's brothers tried to sell him to a caravan passing by, the camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, purchased in Gilead, on their way to Egypt (Genesis 37:25).
It wasn't until 1907 that modern day Scientists began to research essential oils. However, pharmaceutical companies today avoid producing and marketing essential oils, because naturally occurring products are not patentable in the U.S. World history richly records the use of essential oils as a means to stave off disease and illness. As modern day "super bugs" have their way with man-made antibiotics, more and more people are turning to the past to find the answers they seek for health and wellness. As they search, they are finding essential oils to be the one source mankind has faithfully depended on over the millennium.
Consider the following oils thought to be helpful for sore muscles: Roman chamomile, wintergreen, peppermint. Personally, I find success using a blend of German chamomile (3 drops), Eucalyptus (3 drops), Ginger (2 drops), Black pepper (1 drop), Lavender (20 drops) in an ounce of carrier oil massaged lightly into the pain area.
Blessings to you, Angelica
Amber is a highly prized fragrance for its warm and exotic aroma. It is a tree resin and is usually commercially available in a base of something like sunflower, or another oil - or in its hard resin form. I mention this because if you can get Amber Essential Oil (probably mixed with a carrier oil) it would be really easy for you to add a few drops of your other two favorites, sandlewood and rose to the pre-mixed Amber Essential Oil for a really beautiful blend.
Let me know if you need guidance finding any of the oils.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
It as been awhile since I checked in on your blog and I happened to stop by when you introduced your essential oil blog. I have a question. I am really trying to stay well this season. I have some early signs of a flu or cold and I want to help my immune system out every way I can. I've been researching things I can do and one place suggested essential oils. What do you suggest?
Thank you for the email with the question. Staying well this season is an adventure. Besides all the support a person can get from essential oils, a nurse practitioner friend of mine reminded me of the benefits of gargling three times a day with salt water. She reminded me that not much can survive a salty environment and I have been faithfully following her advice along with some of the strategies I’ll mention here.
I diffuse orange oil in my home and office. It is pleasant and light enough that it doesn’t disturb other people in the environment who may be sensitive to fragrances. Keep in mind, if you diffuse it in your home and you have cats, be sure to let the animals have easy exit from the room where you are diffusing because cat biology and human biology apparently are equal when it comes to processing essential oils.
If you don’t want to incur the expense of a commercial diffuser, here is a very simple, inexpensive alternative. If you have a fan that can be set on a low speed, like an office desk fan for example, you can place a few drops of orange on a Kleenex tissue and tape it onto the fan so that the air generated carries the essential oil into the room. That is exactly what I do in the office so that I don’t have to schlep my diffusers around.
If you already have a bug, please check out my Nasal Straw video at the top of the blog on the right hand side.
To support your wellness, especially if others in the family are already sneezing, you can begin using essential oils in the shower. Bay Laurel, one drop applied directly to the neck (near lymph glands), and then get into the shower immediately (don’t leave the undiluted oil on your skin for too long) will evaporate in the shower and create a pleasant sensation (and is thought to be antiviral too).
Other oils that can be used in the shower should be oils that are safe to use undiluted (only one drop directly to the skin for very short period of time-the time it takes you to get into the shower). MQV for example is a great support during this season, and each person has to test their sensitivity to the oil by doing a skin test with one drop, say on the wrist and washing it off.
If you do decide to use the one-drop-in-the-shower method. Keep in mind that you should interrupt the regime after one week with a period of no oil in the shower and then take it up, preferably with a different oil.
Please feel free to write with more questions.
I have been wearing the terra cotta pendant diffuser and I am in heaven. I get a whiff of scent all day and have been using that Brazilian Sweet Orange with cloves and eucalyptus. The scent seems to last and last. I would love to see you offer these pendants. I think it would be a great incentive for folks to "wear" their favorites. Thanks for the recent info. Have you experimented with blending any oils together?
November 05, 2009
Edward Viljoen said...
Hi Sanna, the Terra Cotta Pendant diffusers are great and we're looking into getting them for Steppingstonesbookstore.org
Other options are silver lockets that contain a pad on which you can place a single drop of oil. I'll let you know when we get new Essential Oil Jewelry. We have not carried them up until now.
Regarding blending, yes most certainly. I have dozens of blends that I have experimented with and learned about from other Aromatherapists. I am happy to share recipes. If you have a particular use in mind, I will offer the blend that I use.
A general rule is to dilute by adding 10 to 30 drops in one ounce of base oil.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
The resulting solution is then filtered to recover the solvent for reuse. The remaining waxy material is called a concrete.
The concentrated concretes can be processed further to remove the waxy materials by warming it and stirring it with ethanol which breaks the wax into tiny globules allowing the smaller molecules of the essence to separate.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
True Steam distillation uses an outside source of steam which pipes the steam into the distillation unit, sometimes at high pressure. The steam passes through the aromatic material, and exits into the condenser. Another method is to submerge the materials in water completely as in making a soup and is possibly the best method for very dense and rough materials like woods, nuts and roots. Additionally steam and water distillation can be achieved by steaming material over boiling water in something similar to a wok or basket, a method suitable for softer materials like leaves.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Essential Oils are the like the blood of plants, providing the defense mechanisms for the plants, or the immune system to plants. They consist of enzymes, hormones, and vitamins and act as regenerating, oxygenating, and supportive systems in the plant world against infection and disease.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Essential oils are the pure extract of a plant or essence and are distilled in different ways. The term Essential Oil is sometimes used in to include CO2 extracted oil, distilled oil and absolutes.
Aromatherapy includes the use of other complementary natural ingredients including cold pressed vegetable oils, liquid waxes, hydrosols, herbs, salts, sugars, clays and mud.
People respond to the sense of smell on an emotional level more powerfully than other senses. Aroma can trigger a whole series of memories previously forgotten. The area of the brain associated with smell is the same area as that associated with memory. The olfactory nerves are located within the nasal cavity and respond to particular aromas taking the information of the fragrance directly to the brain where the memory and associate emotions are evoked. This area connects with another part of the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary gland) which governs our hormonal systems. Aromas are thought to trigger a variety of chemical actions within the body, including the release of specific chemicals. Because the olfactory nerves are a direct extension of the brain's limbic system, reaction to smell is relayed immediately. Smell tells us how our food tastes and we use it to identify each other and attracting each other.
Products that include synthetic ingredients are generally not used in aromatherapy. Perfume oils, also known as fragrance oils, are not the same as essential oils, although they may include essential oils in the ingredients. Fragrance oils and perfume oils sometimes contain synthetically made oil and/or chemicals and are not considered to have the same therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
The use of the word “aromatherapy" on products is not regulated in the United States so any product can use the word whether or not the product contains natural or synthetic materials. Some products on the market contain synthetic ingredients claim to be aromatherapeutic, or claim to be “made with essential oils.”
The term aromatherapy is relatively new (20th Century) but the practice of using essential oils dates back almost one thousand years.
Aromatic plants have been used for well-being among Chinese Health Practitioners in traditional medicine and the Egyptians developed a simple distillation process that produced crude cedarwood oil which was used (along with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and myrrh produced by infusion) for embalming.
During the 14th century, the Black Death hit and killed millions of people. Herbal preparations were used extensively and some believe that perfumers may have survived or avoided the plague because of their constant exposure to natural aromatics.
In the 15th century, more and more plants were distilled for their essential oils and a growing number of books on their properties begin to appear. By the 20th century knowledge of the separate constituents of oils leads to the creation of synthetic oils. French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé focuses on the use of essential oils for their medicinal use and is credited with coining the term aromatherapy in 1928.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Oh my goodness this oil is so thick and so sumptuous that you have to have patience getting it out of the bottle. Hold it upside down and wait, and the wait is worth it. What you get is one of the yummiest, richest, woodiest, relaxing-est, loveliest oils on the planet, in my opinion.
Apart from its amazingly earthy and wholesome fragrance, I’ve read that it has beneficial effect on the immune system, stimulates circulation and helps with athlete’s foot. So, I dilute it in almond oil and use it as a foot rub.
I also just like to rub some on my hands and smell it just before prayer and meditation. I don’t know why, but Vetiver works on me like almost no other oil, calming and clarifying my mind, and helping me to feel deeply peaceful.
Botanical Name: Vetiveria zizaniodes
Plant Part: Root. Extraction Method: Steam Distilled
Vetiver essential oil comes from the complex root system of a grass that is used for weaving mats.
Common Uses: Deeply relaxing and comforting.
Well known in India and Sri Lanka as the “oil of tranquility.”
I love this Cedarwood because it instantly makes me feel like I’m in nature, in a forest and peaceful. I have to be careful with this oil because I love it so much I want to inhale it a whole lot… the problem is that it can make a person light headed and dizzy and so I really need to use it with moderation.
It’s another oil that I like to drop onto a wash cloth and line my clothing draws. I’ve read that when added to shampoo, Cedarwood creates a refreshing lift to your shampoo and helps with dandruff. I’ve never tried this, but I have tried a few drops added to Dr. Bonner’s Soap, shaken up, to make a luxurious shower!
Botanical Name: Cedarus atlantica Plant Part: WoodExtraction
Method: Steam Distilled
A pyramid-shaped majestic evergreen tree, up to 131 ft. high. The wood itself is hard and strongly aromatic because of the high percentage of essential oil it contains, and the essential oil is obtained by steam distillation. Color: Light golden yellow Common Uses: Emotionally comforting and uplifting. Thought to be effective in treating acne, coughing and dandruff. Consistency: Medium Aromatic Scent: Cedarwood Atlas has a woody, sweet, sharp smell, reminiscent of mothballs.
History: Cedarwood was frequently used to line linen chests to keep moths out.
Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy. Use with moderation (not in long extended inhalations) as a fragrance.
Despite its common association with an alternative lifestyle, patchouli has found widespread use in the modern fragrance industry. Some say it is a component in about a third of modern high-end perfumes. It is also used to scent products like paper towels, laundry detergents and air freshener.
Its attractive and exotic fragrance overshadows is frequently underestimated usefulness for a variety of skin conditions (such as skin and nail fungus) and in the hands of a trained health care practitioner can be used to reduce fever.
I use it because its fragrance is heavenly. And this particular Patchouli from Indonesia is peppery and calming. I sometimes put a drop or two on a wash rag and put it at the bottom of my sock drawer. Yumm!
Patchouli is a very fragrant plant with soft oval leaves and square stems. It grows to about 3 feet in height and provides an unusual odor when rubbed. Color: Deep golden brown Common
Uses: Patchouli is effective for calming nerves, helping with dandruff, and athletes foot. It is considered to have anti bacterial and anti fungal. Patchouli improves with age and the darker, aged product is sometimes preferred over freshly harvested oil.
History: During the 18th and 19th century silk traders from China travelling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth. Many historians speculate that this association with opulent eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. This trend has continued to the present day in modern perfumery.
I’m not particularly fond of the scent from Eucalyptus trees, but this lemony fresh Eucalyptus from Madagascar is wonderful. It’s almost impossible to separate Eucalyptus from its legendary effectiveness in relieving discomfort associated with colds, coughs, sinus and flu.
So when I found Eucalyptus citriodora, I had something to add to my home stash of comforting oils that had a smell I could enjoy and would do the same thing for me that Eucalyptus would.
The Eucalyptus tree is a tall evergreen that grows over 250 feet tall. The young trees have bluish-green leaves, while mature trees develop long, narrow, yellowish leaves, creamy-white flowers and a smooth, pale gray bark often covered in a white powder.
Common Uses: Arthritis, bronchitis, colds, coughing, flu, poor circulation, sinusitis. Lemon Eucalyptus has a camphorous odour with a sweet, citrus undertone. History: Lemon Eucalyptus has been inhaled in to combat fevers, colds and flu symptoms and to relieve sinus issues.
Frankincense is a treasured and luxurious fragrance. In ancient days the resin from the Frankincense tree was worth more than its weight in gold and the location of the trees were kept secret for the longest time. Since it’s earliest times it has been used to enhance spiritual practice, associated with focused meditation, prayer and clear thinking. It has the effect of both calming and uplifting at the same time.
Apart from the beautiful effect it has on the emotions, natural medicine practitioners also use it as an anti-inflammatory and a rub to relieve joint pain. Frankly, I’ll use any excuse to rub some Frankincense into my hands and fingers just because of the delightful resiny fragrance.
Common Uses: The therapeutic properties of Frankincense oil include use as an antiseptic, astringent, and expectorant. It is considered to be calming.
Frankincense has a woody, spicy, haunting smell. It has a slightly camphoric tone.
Frankincense oil is said to help rejuvenate skin, help with the healing of scars and inflamed skin. It is generally regarded as safe to use, is non -toxic and non-irritant and could be used by most people.
(Eriocephalus punctulatus) 20% in Grape Seed Oil
Cape Chamomile is a precious and delicious oil that has been described as “one of the most spiritual oils with the ability to heal the heart.” (Monika Haas). It’s fragrance is quite strong so I have made a blend of 20% in grape seed oil making it easier to massage it into larger areas without it becoming overwhelming. The grape seed oil is fatty in nature and helps slow down the absorption of the small moleculed essential oil, extending the presence of the aroma on your skin.
This is a great oil to rub into your skin after a stressful day, when feeling emotional distressed or just when you need a little tender love and care.
Botanical Name: Eriocephalus punctulatus Plant Part: Flower Head Extraction Method: Steam
Distilled Origin: South Africa
Description: This variety of Chamomile is a particularly fragrant aromatic shrub indigenous to the mountain areas of South Africa. It is a white flowering small shrub with fleshy, gland dotted leaves which grows up to a meter in height and is locally known as “Cape Chamomile”.
Uses: Chamomile has a long tradition in herbal medicine. The flowers were used in many cures including an herbal tea to cure insomnia, relieves stress and depression. In Aromatherapy it is used to enhance meditation, relieve stress and calm the nerves.
History: The word Chamomile comes from the Greek word Chamomaela or 'Ground Apple'. In the Middle Ages it may have been used as a 'strewing' herb to improve the atmosphere at gatherings and festivals. Cautions: Non-toxic, nonirritant -- causes dermatitis in some individuals.
Do not use during pregnancy.
40% in Grape Seed Oil
Where I grew up scented geranium grew wild. This variety, Rose Geranium, is one of the most fragrant species and its oil is highly sought after in the perfume industry because it can be made to imitate more expensive rose oil.
But it has a power and strength of its own, being able to help focus the mind and calm the emotions. I find a few drops in a bowl of water over a candle can help my meditation experience be both peaceful and visionary.
In this base of grape seed oil, there is nothing more luxurious to me than a few drops rubbed in my palms and into my hair.
Known for being one of the few oils with the ability to both uplift and sedate, Rose geranium works wonderfully on the emotions. It is used in skin care remedies to help in the treatment of acne, bruises, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, lice, mosquito repellant, ringworm, ulcers, edema, poor circulation, stress and neuralgia. It has traditionally been considered as an astringent.
Rose Geranium Blends well with Angelica, Basil, Bergamot, Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lime, Neroli, Orange and Rosemary. History: The plants originated from South Africa as well as Reunion, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco. They were introduced to Italy, Spain and France in the 17th century. In native Africa the herb teas was drunk to cure stomach upsets and the plants were grown to keep unwanted spirits at bay.
Cautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitizing, though it can cause sensitivity in some people and due to the fact that it balances the hormonal system, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
I was delighted to discover this South African Essential Oil of Lavender (Lavandula Marie) which reminds me of rugged South African countryside. In other words, it’s not like the delicate aroma of French Lavender. This is bold, rugged and hearty.
I love it!
I use it as a mood enhancer for meditation, prayer and for sleep. A drop or two on a Kleenex under my pillow creates an aura of comfort and peace while sleeping. Or, I keep a drop or two on a Kleenex in my pocket whenever I get a stuffy nose. Sniffing the lavender seems to help tremendously.
Botanical Name: Lavendula Marie Extraction Method: Steam distilled Origin: South Africa
Common Uses: Lavender South African is credited with being an antidepressant, antseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericide, decongestant, and deodorant. Lavender is widely used in aromatherapy and in the perfumery industry. The scent has a calming effect which aids in relaxation and the reduction of stress & anxiety. It also has antiseptic and analgesic properties which will ease the pain of a burn, prevent infection and promotes rapid healing. It can be used with massages oils to effectively relieve joint and muscle pain.
Consistency: Thin Strength of Aroma: Strong Blends well with: bay, bergamot, chamomile, citronella, clarysage, geranium, jasmine, lemon, mandarin, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, pine, tangerine, thyme, rosemary, rosewood, ylang ylang Aromatic Scent: Has a fresh sweet, floral-herbaceous odor with a touch of the African veld
History: The use of Lavender has been recorded for more than 2500 years. Records have shown that it was used by the Egyptians as a perfume and also in the mummification process. In Roman Times, Lavender was so popular that only the wealthy could afford it. It may have been used during the Great Plague of London in the 17th century, when individuals believed that bunches of lavender fastened on each wrist would protect them from infection.
Non toxic, non irritant and non-sensitizing.
brought to you by Edward Viljoen.
Edward began collecting Essential Oils as a hobby and then after training at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy his hobby turned into a passion and after that he started receiving requests for the oils he had grown to love. His personal success using oils, and his obvious enthusiasm about them, soon made it necessary to develop a line of products to share with the world. World Essentials is his growing collection of personal favorites now available to you.
Edward enjoys looking for oils from unexpected places (Lavender from South Africa?) and has been experimenting with blending and using oils both for mood, meditation and spiritual enhancement, and for the traditional applications Essential Oils have been famous for (inhalation to combat colds, calm the spirit and enhance sleeping, etc.).