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It’s all costing money.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The annual insurance benefit selection. Picking a plan. Paying more for coverage. Paying more for doctor visits. Paying more for prescriptions. Paying more.

How do we all take care of ourselves and our families without breaking the bank?

The answer could be natural health care: Aromatherapy, herbalism, or other natural alternative paths.

It’s late, your child has an infected cut, maybe it’s a splinter that you can’t see. As parents, grandparents, and caregivers, we want to take care of our families. What works here? Maybe it is a splinter, grab the ichthammol or drawing salve and cover with a bandage. Maybe it’s an infected cut, make sure the area is clean, add a drop of tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil is a wonderful antimicrobial. A 2017 study has shown that tea tree can help with MRSA. So, if tea tree is that powerful, it can help with a tiny cut that is infected.

More simple examples for using essential oils are;

A headache…bring out the lavender essential oil dab a bit on the temples. Lavender has been shown to relax. For ease on the go, keep an inhaler of lavender in your bag. I’ve used a blend of lavender, peppermint and rosemary in a carrier oil to ease the pain of gout. How about a blend of frankincense, lavender, sweet basil, roman chamomile in jojoba to massage on the back of your neck after a long day at work?

Sweet orange essential oil, grapefruit, lemon, lime, the citrus oils that smell of sunshine! They naturally make us smile when we take in the aroma that their cold-pressed peels produce.

Eucalyptus with its 1,8-cineole or menthol in peppermint are in many over the counter cough and cold preparations. Is there a way that we can utilize them? A natural way to make our families or ourselves feel better?

With safety in mind always, it is important to research the dilution charts that I have posted previously.

visit www.justessentialstoday.com/dilution-and-essential-oils

Maybe you don’t want to use essential oils, how about herbs? For thousands of years people have been using plants to support their health. Indigenous people, our elders, maybe even you already use herbs in cooking. Who of you hasn’t used ginger for nausea?

Food, if not allergic, can be just as important as the medicine we take. We all know that excess sugar is bad, excess salt is bad, excess fat is bad. So, I’m not going to focus on that, but let’s be real here. If you make a few lifestyle changes, like I did, you will feel better. You will start to lose weight. Things that were tasty, well, might not be a craving for you anymore. Eating well is a lifelong process.

Sleep is important. It is the way that your body heals. If you don’t get enough sleep…you know.

And exercise. Yeah, we should all do that.

All these things are important in an aromatherapy consultation. If you are ready to take that journey, read about what is involved. Let us start your natural wellness journey together.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

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The carrier oil series–coconut oil

Image by Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay

You know when you open the jar—the aroma of the unrefined coconut oil is luscious.
It makes me want to put my hand in there and grab a piece…. smells delicious.

Where does coconut oil come from?

Coconut belongs to the family of the Cocos nucifera L. It is a tree that is cultivated for many uses cosmetic, nutritional and medicinal. There are many products that come from the coconut, and I am only concerned about the oil here today, which comes from the fruit of coconut and is cold-pressed.

Does coconut oil have therapeutic properties?

The oil has medicinal properties such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial. The oil is moisturizing sinking into the skin, reported to be good for eczema and psoriasis.

Shelf life: 2-4 years
Viscosity: Solid, melts at 76.
Comedogenic index of 4: high to clog pores.
Feel: Oily

Aroma: Coconut aroma in the unrefined oil.

What is fractionated coconut oil?

Fractionated coconut oil made from coconut oil. The coconut oil is heated to high temperature to remove the solid parts of the oil. The only thing is that fractionated coconut oil is odorless, tasteless, and never gets solid-even in the refrigerator.
Most butters and DIY blends have unrefined coconut oil. I have used it for lip balms, salves, and deodorants. The benefit is that the butter does not get grainy like unrefined shea butter does. Shea butter can start out being ok, then get grainy because it was not cooled down quickly enough.

One of my favorite carriers.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

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The carrier oil series–castor oil

Ricinus communis/

Palma christi

What is castor oil?

Castor oil comes from the Ricinus communis/Palma christi plant which is a treelet originally from Africa. The entire plant including the seeds are poisonous. It contains an irritant substance that poisons the blood. The oils is safe, because the poison remains in the seed.

Castor oil is cold pressed from castor beans, then heated to clarify. It has a thick viscosity with a greasy feel. The aroma is neutral, and the color is slightly yellow. The shelf life of castor oil is 5 years or less. I had some that looked moldy, and I know it wasn’t 5 years old. The oil had no off aroma or rancid smell, it just looked bad. Out in the trash it went.

What else is in castor oil?

Castor oil contains Ricinoleic (ris-uh-noh-lee-ik) acid 85-95% : linoleic acid 1-5%; Oleic acid: 2-6%, A-linolenic acid and undecylenic acids. The therapeutic properties of ricinoleic acid are: Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Ricinoleic acid is used in pigment, printing ink, and textile finishing. It is sometimes added to Turkey red oil and dry-cleaning soaps.

Castor oil is used in over 80% of lip products.

Uses of castor oil…

I have used castor oil in blends that need to sit on the skin-say to use on a wart for example. The castor oil blend sitting on top of the skin allows the essential oils to do their thing. After all, this oil needs to be on the skin, not absorbed into the skin.

The comedogenic index rates how the oils used will clog pores. Castor oil is a heavy oil that will sit on the skin and not be absorbed quickly. Which is really weird because the comedogenic rating is 1–which means it is low on the list to clog pores. Other articles state that castor oil should be mixed with other carrier oils for use on the skin. Make sure that the carrier you buy is hexane free. The emollient properties make it an excellent carrier for psoriasis and eczema. Castor oil is great for lip gloss products. In a study I read stated that castor oil is used in 81% of lipsticks.

Next blog will focus on yet another carrier in the series, stay tuned.

Happy blending,

Crystal.



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The carrier oil series, looking at jojoba

Jojoba (Simmondsia californica)

Jojoba oil is not an oil, but a wax.

Where does jojoba come from?

Jojoba oil is cold-pressed from the seed of the mature shrub. The shrubs are found in southern Arizona, southern California and northwest Mexico. Jojoba seeds contain from 40 to 60% of oil which is chemically classified as liquid wax because unlike most vegetable seed oils that are composed of triglycerides, jojoba oil consists of esters. Jojoba contains 97% mono-esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols (wax ester), a small fraction of triglyceride esters and docosanol (the active ingredient in OTC cold sore cream). It contains vitamin B, E and fatty acids.

The oil is odorless. The refined oil is clear and the unrefined oil is golden in color. The fact that jojoba is a wax, is great because it doesn’t go rancid like most carriers do.

What is jojoba good for?

Jojoba is good for all skin types because it resembles the natural oils of the skin (the sebum). Sebum dissolves in jojoba. The comedogenic index is 2-meaning it is moderately low tendency to clog pores and allows skin to breathe. Other oils that have a comedogenic index of 2 or less are: grapeseed, sweet almond and olive oil.

The emollient ability to protect and cleanse makes jojoba a good oil for everything from preventing diaper rash and wrinkle formation to using as a make-up remover. The high absorption rate allows jojoba to be used in many cosmetic preparations.

Used on the hair, it makes it shiny and silky and can be used for dry hair, to protect the scalp, with an addition of essential oils for a variety of needs.

What are the benefits of using jojoba?

Therapeutically it is antifungal, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory. It is a benefit to keep in mind when creating blends for certain situations. I use jojoba as the carrier in my roller ball blends. Remember that your blend will last as long as your shortest expiration dated oil. This could mean that you have a roller ball blend that is good for 6 months or one that is as long as a few years!

I hope you learned something about jojoba. Come back next time for information on another carrier oil.

Happy blending,

Crystal

“He fills my life with good things.”

Psalm 103:5

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Read this — before you put essential oils in the tub!

It got me started on my aromatherapy journey, overhearing customers in pharmacies stating that they can just pour essential oils in the bathtub! Or rub it on their skin!

Below are products you cannot safely use with essential oils in the bath:

also from Robert Tisserand’s website–“Safety in the Bath.”

They are: Cornstarch, baking soda, epsom or regular salt, milk, witch hazel, aloe, glycerine, and alcohol.

Oil and water don’t mix.

If you want to use essential oils in the bath use Solubol.

For every 1 Tablespoon of product (jojoba, castile soap, shampoo or shower gel) mix in 5-20 drops of essential oils. Avoid any oil that is irritating to the skin, like peppermint, oregano or cinnamon to name a few. Do your research!

Robert Tisserand’s website has charts that are excellent on this subject. Also, the 2nd Edition of Essential Oil Safety is a must have for any aromatherapist.

Sign up for my FREE PDF an “Introduction to Aromatherapy”.

As always, Happy Blending,
Crystal.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Skin safety and essential oils

About that essential oil you just bought…
Can you rub it on your skin?

Today let’s discuss essential oil safety.

In last weeks blog on dilution, you can see the percentages suggested for various ages, issues, and other concerns. There are guides to make a 30 ml. stock blend that can be used to make smaller roller bottles.

Start with the weakest dilution, such as 1%. If that dilution is not working after 2 weeks, then make a blend that is a 2% product. A 3% dilution is for a specific injury, such as a sprain or strain. It is important to use this dilution for a short duration (10-14 days), then go back to a 2% dilution for daily use. Remember, always start with the lowest percentage of essential oils in a blend. A little goes a long way to help modulate any concerns.
Discontinue use if the product causes redness, rash, or burning. If discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil blend. Apply a carrier oil to the affected area. Never use water to flush the oil off the skin, as this may increase discomfort.

There are a few oils that can be used neat, that means straight out of the bottle. Those oils are tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum).

Tea tree is an antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial oil. The scent is sharp and medicinal. Lavender blends well and tones down some of the sharp properties of tea tree.
A dab of tea tree oil can be used to clear up acne.
Lavender can be used neat applied to the temples for headache relief. Try adding a drop to a tissue, inhale to relieve anxiety. Lavender can also be used on the skin for blemishes.
Helichrysum has skin healing properties that are excellent for wound application, apply a drop on a cut.


Next week, I’ll discuss safety in the bath with essential oils.

As always, sign up for my email list for a FREE INTRODUCTION TO AROMATHERAPY PDF.

Happy Blending,

Crystal

He fills my life with good things.

Psalm 103:5
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Dilution and essential oils.

Dilution of essential oils is the most important thing to learn in aromatherapy.

It is aromatherapy 101 that teaches dilution.  Most of the time, that is an easy equation to figure out:

5-6 drops per 30 ml of carrier. That should be the end of my blog…but it is not.

When I started working with essential oils, I had a ton of questions….What about the oils that we must use in low dilution? Say a .07%? How do we figure that out?

Dilution of essential oils is sometimes tricky, what size bottle, jar or tin are we using? Did we double or halve the recipe?

I do not want to make 30 ml of anything, just a 10 ml rollerball…. how much essential oil is that?
Or a 5 ml bottle—I use those a lot.

Uses for essential oils are in the chart below, note the dilution rate for specific issues.

Easy to use dilution tables for various sizes of bottles.

DilutionUsed for
1%Face, children, pregnant women, immune compromised
2%



3%
Daily use, massage oils, larger area of body



Specific injury of muscle, tendon or bone
4%Local area such as chest congestion
5% or above Severe pain, muscle cramps, bruising
DilutionBottle sizeDrops of stock blend
1%5 ml1 drop
2%5 ml2 drops
3%5 ml3 drops
4%5 ml4 drops
5%5 ml5 drops
10%5 ml10 drops
Best to use a stock blend then add to a carrier oil

30 ml= approximately 2 Tablespoons (29.57 ml)

DilutionBottle SizeDrops of essential oil
.50%10 ml1 drop
1%10 ml2 drops
2%10 ml4 drops
3%10 ml6 drops
4%10 ml8 drops
5%10 ml10 drops
10%10 ml20 drops
DilutionBottle SizeDrops of essential oil
1%30 ml5-6 drops
2%30 ml10-12 drops
3%30 ml15-18 drops
4%30 ml20-24 drops
5%30 ml25-30 drops
30 ml= approximately 2 Tablespoons (29.57 ml)

Do your research on oils that have dermal restrictions, such as Phenols or Aldehydes.

Using these dilutions is important in helping to modulate various issues that may arise.
Whether it is a pulled muscle that needs a massage oil or a cough that just won’t go away. The dilution that you use will help get the results that you are looking for, all with safety in mind.

Happy blending,
Crystal

We fight too many battles that don’t matter. If a battle is not between you and your destiny, it’s a distraction. It’s the enemy trying to lure you off course when a new level is waiting for you. You have to learn to let things go.

Luke 6:29
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Olfaction made simple-using inhalers and diffusers in aromatherapy

How does the inhalation of essential oils work in the body?

What is the science behind how and why it works?

Aromatherapy is about our sense of smell or olfaction.  Human behavior is influenced by smell.  The smell of baking bread or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store.  The floral scents of roses and lavender, the citrus of oranges, lemons and limes, the smell of conifers and pines.

We breathe in the essential oils (which are molecules), our nose has cilia which transports these molecules up to our sensory nerves called the olfactory nerve. This olfactory nerve enters the skull, connects to the limbic system and the olfactory cortex.

Well, that’s great but I just want to use my diffuser!

Let’s talk about diffusers and inhalers.

The easiest way to start with aromatherapy and essential oils is to use an inhaler.

Purchasing inhalers is easy; your favorite essential oil supplier or Amazon sell them.  They are cheap, and you can reuse them for your own personal use. In the beginning of my aromatherapy journey, I started with these 3 inhalers: one with ginger, one with lavender, and one with peppermint.   I used antacids or acid reducing medications…you know that purple pill.  My use of OTC medications has all but ceased except on a rare occasion, then I will use a chewable antacid.  Peppermint is great for keeping alert while driving. One time I sprayed peppermint oil in my eye, but that story is for another day! The point is–we all start somewhere…and safety is important. 

Inhalers have 4 parts, the wick, the tube, the cover and the cap.

To make an inhaler:  place the cotton wick in a bowl.  For an adult add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the bowl. (for children, use 7-8 drops of kid safe oils: lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, etc).  Move the wick around with a clean tweezers to soak up the oil.  Place the wick in the tube of the inhaler-the part with the holes. Put on the cap, snapping it tightly and put the tube in the case, twisting closed. Label the inhaler: For example: Ginger for my belly, Peppermint to keep me awake; Lavender for relaxing and many more.

Like I said, I reuse my inhalers by disinfecting the inhaler parts, and use a new wick every so often.  I keep them in an essential oil bag in my purse when I travel. Yay TSA!

I just made an inhaler for a nagging headache of almost equal drops (total 12) of frankincense, sweet basil and spike lavender. Surely helped ease that!

What about a diffuser?

Using the diffuser is just as easy!  Read the manufacturer directions on how many drops to use in the diffuser as they come in all different sizes.

The Aromahead Institute ACP course, taught to diffuse 30 minutes with the diffuser on, then 30 minutes off for safety reasons.  For infants, it is recommended to diffuse and hour before having the child in the space, such as putting them to bed.  Always have an escape route for your pets, remember that they might not like or be sensitive to the smells you are diffusing!

Happy Blending,

Crystal.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3
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Checking the distillation dates of essential oils.

Why is it so important to check the distillation date from the manufacturer?

Is that date even listed?

Well, lesson learned. I recently was going through all my essential oils.

I have accumulated a lot from the aromatherapy certification program I had enrolled in. There was a supply list of all the oils to buy for the course, so I did!

After all, who does not want to get involved in the course and use the oils, smell the oils, make the blends, inhalers, and lotions?

All this brings me to the dating of the batches and the distillation date.

When you buy the oil, that is not the date when it expires. When it expires is the distillation date.


Some of my oils were 2 years old when I bought them!

One oil, fennel, was 3 years old!

No offense, but I have expired sweet marjoram, fennel, laurel leaf and only 4 months to use the orange oil. The orange oil is a favorite, but cleaning with fennel? Laurel leaf? Don’t think so…. ☹

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum) With a batch number as: ANS 102. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it on 10/13/2019. The shelf life is 5 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
  • Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamonum seylanicum) With a batch number as: CIL 105. This was distilled in 3/2018. I bought it in 4/2020. The shelf life is 4 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
  • Fennel sweet (Foeniculum vulgare) With a batch number as: FEN 105. This was distilled in 7/2016. I bought it in 10/12/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
  • Laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis) With a batch number as: LLF 111. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it in 7/14/2019. The shelf life is 3 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
  • Marjoram sweet (Origanum margorana) With a batch number as: SWM 113. This was distilled in 7/2017. I bought it in 7/19/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil has expired in July 2021.

So if you look at the chart, you will see that the distilled date is 2 to 3 years before the date I bought the oil. The total life span for my use could only be 1 year! and when you are buying oils for a course, that’s a lot of money and waste.

Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay


What if I don’t know when my oils expire? How do I tell how long they are good?

I did find out from the seller of my oils that most oils are distilled once a year–some even less. I guess that is the case and point with Anise or the fennel oil.

The list below helps judge, but beware that your distilled date could be years earlier.

1-2 years Most citrus oils; orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit.

3-4 years Conifer oils; pines, firs, spruces. Bergamot, black pepper, Citronella, cypress, eucalyptus, laurel leaf, juniper berry, geranium.

5-8 years Lavender, rose, carrot seed, helichrysum, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood.

I hope my mistakes help someone else. I listened to a NAHA webinar from Penny Price a while back.  she said: “Your box should have no more than 30 oils, learn to use them!”

Before clicking the BUY NOW button, check the DISTILLATION DATE!

It will save you aggravation.

What I am going to do with an outdated fennel and laurel leaf oil are beyond me. I thought that I had 2 years left on these oils. In fact, I thought I had 2 or three years left to use all these oils.

I am posting this as a precaution. It is so important that we safely and sustainably use essential oils. I feel that I have wasted precious product. This year my sweet marjoram and nutmeg expired in July. The orange oil will expire in September, with only 4 months of dating.

I think the company ought to put a disclaimer on the page that has short, dated oils.

Happy Blending,

Crystal

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What oils can I use to prepare for back to school?

Is there any way essential oils can protect from germs when going back to school? Is it hype? Or fact?

What is safe for children?

Hydrosols are a safe way to go, and trauma oil with no essential oils added are great for the little ones—infants and children under 5.  If you are unsure, these are also a great starting point for school-aged children.  Hydrosols are easy to find and great for topical skin use.

This post is going to focus on oils that can help keep us safer. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) and how they are airborne antimicrobials. I use roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) frequently in blends for adults and children.

Roman chamomile has an apple-like scent, not in an overpowering way. I like the oil for its antispasmodic and digestive therapeutic properties. I have a blend that I use for diarrhea. Roman chamomile has analgesic actions too.

Atlas cedarwood is an oil that I substitute in place of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) a lot. It is great for the cough and cold season. I have a couple of diffuser blends with cedarwood, for when they are sick, as an inhaler for allergies, or on a shower tab for congestion relief.

Orange (Citrus sinensis) – I love orange!  Who doesn’t? Kids love it.  Orange essential oils is not phototoxic, it is safe for use with children in blends.  Orange and lemon are in the Monoterpene chemical family.

Orange oil does not have the research to back the antiviral properties as much as the major component that is in the oil does.  That is d-limonene which is at a percentage of 96% in orange oil.  D-limonene activates white blood cells which are important for protecting against illness and disease. 

White blood cells are also called leukocytes. Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells, always at war flowing through your bloodstream to fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health.

Lemon (Citrus limon)  Is another citrus that most people recognize.  The difference between orange and lemon is that lemon essential oils is photo toxic.  Which means that using the oil then going outside in the sun is going to be a problem.  Keep the dilution under 2 % dilution to be safe. 

The chemical components in lemon oil are also d-limonene at 65%, y-terpinene at 10%, and b-pinene at 11%.  As with orange, lemon has the antiviral properties due to the d-limonene.  The b-pinene also has analgesic actions and the y-terpinene.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) Not in the citrus family, but the Lamiaceae family. Love the mints!  Peppermint is a monoterpenol, which is high in menthol and menthone.

Studies have shown that peppermint has antibacterial actions because of these chemical components.  Peppermint is said to also have an antiviral potential, helping to stimulate immune function.

Remember– to follow good hygiene  practices first to keep everyone healthy.

Many of you probably have favorite products with lavender.  From room sprays and diffuser blends to lotions and butters, lavender can cover a range of issues.  Lavender has so many uses and because it can be used neat or diluted it is great to carry in your bag.  From headaches and muscle aches to sore throats–dab lavender neat on a blemish, on the temple for a headache;  use a few drops of lavender in a carrier oil for a bedtime massage;  or use in a lotion base for a sore muscle blend.

Recipes for simple inhalers

An inhaler is a great way to use essential oils without any mess for grade school children.

My granddaughter loves and asks to make her own inhalers.

For boosting immunity (ages 6-12):     3 drops lavender, 3 drops sweet orange, 2 drops lemon in an inhaler.

For congestion in an inhaler:       3 drops cedarwood, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops tea tree.

For getting rid of germs:     3 drops cedarwood, 2 drops orange, 2 drops lemon and 1 drop lavender in an inhaler.

Making stock blends for any of these combinations is a timesaving way to have oils ready to use when needed.  All you have to do then is add a few drops to a diffuser when your family is sick.

Research and a few common oils can help protect everyone when returning to the classroom.

Be ready for the start of school.

Happy Blending, Crystal.

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Welcome to the new “Just essentials today” blog

“An elementary treatise” is dictionary.com’s definition of introduction; “an essay, commentary, review, composition or discussion” among many related words.

I have revamped my sort of monthly blog to talk about all things essential oils and herbs and incense, and so on….it is a journey.

Some of the topics I’ve covered in the past are:

     Summer and essential oils-how to stay safe in the sun.

     An introduction to carrier oils-it’s not just jojoba.

     Diabetes medication and essential oil use.

     Trauma oil and first aid.

Unfortunately, my website went away…everything. All posts, pages etc. So I get to start over. So maybe there will be a blog that you see again, I’ll get everything back sooner or later.

In the meantime, sign up for my email list to receive a newsletter about all things essential oils, herbal and what not.

Happy blending,

Crystal