Essential Oils for the Youngest in the Home

Essential Oils for the Youngest in the Home

As someone that focuses on essential oil safety above all else, I tend to talk about why specific oils or methods of use are not safe. Today I want to shift focus to what essential oils are safe and look at them in a bit of detail. Empowering and helping are two words that are very important to me and my business…because if I do not support you to feel empowered to help your family, your children, and yourself..then what have I done? Fear is not where it’s at, so let us begin!

I am not an advocate of “never” use essential oils under the age of two, but I do recommend caution on using oils on the skin of our littlest blessings in the home. It is also important to acknowledge that other methods could be useful before automatically reaching for your oils.

Herbs

When my boys were still little babies, I often used herbs before essential oils. Many times I was successful with herbal remedies and saved the oils for myself. Aviva Romm was a go-to for information a decade ago, as was Rosemary Gladstar. If you are interested in learning more about herbs for small children, I will list some resources at the end of this article for further study.

Elder Flowers Sambucus nigra, is great for overall immune boosting as well as to use in a weakened tea when there is a fever present.

Chamomile Matricaria recutita tea weakened down and given in very small doses is very effective for settling gassy tummies.

Linden Flowers Tilia europaea L. is soothing for a child who feels generally unwell and dehydration is a concern.

Calendula  Calendula officinalis is a wonder herb for dry, irritated, rashy skin, including bums.

Of course, as with any remedy, natural or otherwise…every parent must do their due diligence and research.research,research. Herbs are a fantastic modality for even the littlest in the home.

 

Hydrosols

With the exception of maybe Peppermint Mentha piperita, hydrosols are a perfect choice for babies and small children. They are much gentler than essential oils, can often times be used undiluted, and come without the many cautions and contraindications that many essential oils do. Gentle, effective and safe.

By far, the two books that I recommend for hydrosol use for babies and children (and adults) are Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy by Suzanne Catty, and Harvest to Hydrosol by Ann Harman (see below).

 

Great First Essential Oils

Back to essential oils, there are quite a few that are perfectly safe for babies and small children. We always want to keep in mind that less is more, very low dilutions are always a good idea to start with. Oftentimes you will find that you need very little to be effective. I recommend using Plant Therapy’s dilution chart, found here.

I tend to recommend to my clients to avoid essential oils topically less than one year of age if it can be helped but definitely avoid for the first few months of life. I would consider their skin to be oversensitive; their skin is still very delicate.

Short periods of diffusion is likely your best bet under one year of age (10-20 minutes is a safe amount of time), and if topical use is necessary, remember to use the smallest amount possible, or reach for your hydrosols first. In addition, when diffusing make sure baby is in a well-ventilated room.

*For more information on safe diffusing and why, refer to Robert Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety 2e.

 

Here are a few of the oils that I recommend as first use oils:

Chamomile Roman Anthemis nobilis

Go stand in the middle of an apple orchard and close your eyes, take a big deep cleansing breath. You are smelling Roman Chamomile. R. Chamomile is very high in esters, therefore it is a very calming essential oil. It is also very soothing to irritated skin of all varieties and is a great tummy soother.

 

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

The aroma of Lavender is fresh and sweet, floral and slightly herbaceous. Lavender is superior for supporting mental wellness, promoting a good night sleep, supporting a healthy stress response, and is great to soothe sun-kissed or irritated skin.

*Special note: Lavender is a favorite of many and used often, therefore, we should pay attention to how much we are using it (As we really should with any oil we use). Less is more.

 

Lemon Citrus limon

Lemon smells amazzzing! Super sweet, fresh, and fruity. Due to the phototoxic risk of this essential oil, I recommend diffusing only unless you are very well-versed in how to use oils topically that are phototoxic.

Diffusing lemon essential oil is a great support for a healthy immune system. It can also be utilized in school-aged children as a pick them up to get them started in the morning, or just to alleviate “Grumpy Gus” syndrome.

 

Mandarin Red Citrus nobilis

This is hands down one of my favorite citrus essential oils. Citrusy and tangy, super sweet and fresh. I would diffuse this oil when my oldest (probably 3 at the time) was going through a “Mom don’t you dare leave this room” phase. I would sit and rock him and Mandarin would have him resting in no time, but is great for all ages.

Mandarin Red is a superior, mood-lifter, and promotes all the happy go lucky feelings of being a kid. It is a great addition to a diffuser blend when under the weather, supporting a quicker recovery by providing comfort. Helps to calm thoughts so sleep can come. This essential oil is not phototoxic.

 

Rosalina Melaleuca ericifolia

Rosalina is herbaceous, medicinal, robust, warm, and slightly spicy.

There are even times when our little ones need assistance to push their bodies toward homeostasis. They need support. It is important to note that essential oils are not a cure, but there are times where essential oils are called on to give the immune system a little extra oompf. Rosalina can be used here.

A powerhouse for supporting a healthy respiratory system, Rosalina is a great oil for kids, has calming properties like Lavender as well as is soothing to skin bites and various irritations like tea tree. A very well-rounded essential oil, and a must-have for your wellness kit.

*Special note: If you are utilizing Rosalina between the ages of three months to one year to support a healthy respiratory system, I recommend light diffusing only. Save must-have topical use for Chamomile Roman, Lavender and Mandarin Red.

 

These are the first few essential oils that I do not hesitate to recommend for use (not all-inclusive). I always analyze benefit vs risk in all things. Always start with the least invasive, at the smallest dose. When we respect them and their methods of use, many essential oils are perfectly safe for even our youngest in the home.

Let me know if you have any questions, you can direct them to Lifeholistically@gmail.com. I am happy to assist, always.

Stay tuned for more information on essential oils and kids coming soon!

Herbal Recommendations

Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health

Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs A Beginner’s Guide

Additional Resources

Petersen, D. (1986-2014) American College of Healthcare Sciences. Aromatherapy Materia Medica Essential Oil Monographs

 

Like so many practices in life I encourage you to become educated on the proper use of essential oils. When using them, please do so cautiously, understanding that there is often misinformation on the internet. You can be assured that I support only educated and proven resources. While essential oils should not be feared they should be respected and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them.

Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

My Top 5 Aroma Books To Cozy Up With This Fall

My Top 5 Aroma Books To Cozy Up With This Fall

With so many books on essential oils and aromatherapy, it can be overwhelming to pick one that you know you are going to enjoy, learn from, and best of all….be inspired! With more than a few dozen aroma books on my shelves, I have picked out my top 5 to share with you. Enjoy!

 

Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils
by Gabriel Mojay

This book never makes it back to my bookshelf for how many times I reference it and recommend it to friends and clients. This book is where eastern meets western all in an effort to restore and maintain emotional wellness.

There is so much inherent wisdom in this book, Gabriel will help you to see aromatherapy in a whole new way. Inside you will find the esoteric and energetic healing properties of 40 different essential oils.

Not many teach from this space, and it is imperative that we take time to see beyond the chemistry and the components of the oil and see its energy, its value in the spiritual realm. If you like to learn about this aspect of life and are looking for emotional support for yourself or a loved one-this book is an absolute must have.

 

Aromatherapeutic Blending: Essential Oils in Synergy
by Jennifer Peace Rhind

How many of us have heard the term synergy when speaking about blending our essential oils. What is the meaning you ask? It is the concept that alone one essential oil can be very beneficial and have many therapeutic properties, but when blended with one or two others, the synergy becomes incredibly powerful. The sum is better than the parts. They support and enhance one another. Aromatherapeutic Blending: Essential Oils in Synergy has been one of my favorite books since the first moment I picked it up.

Blending is an art form, it is not necessarily an inherent “gift”. Jennifer takes many different approaches to teaching this concept and has plenty of references to back it up. The wealth of information within makes it an imperative book for all aromatherapists and essential oils users alike.

 

The Aromatherapy Beauty Guide: Using the Science of Carrier and Essential Oils to Create Natural Personal Care Products
by Danielle Sade BSc CAHP

Are you a DIY’er? Are you looking to remove more of the harmful chemicals from your skin care regime? If so, then this book is for you. The DIY market is growing in leaps and bounds, and there has not been a quality reference book to assist in making product at home using essential oils safely…that is up until now.

Danielle Sade has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and practicing in the realm of complementary health. This gem of a book is based on evidence-based information, an angle that is not taken nearly enough in the community. Gain the assurance you need to make lotion, creme, toners, serums, face masks and more at home that are safe…and that work!

Beautifully written and in full color, this book does not cut corners. Learn from one of Canada’s leading experts, and get started making your own product, confidently!

 

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art
by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green

 There are a combined 75 years of true experience in these two inspiring women who came together to collaborate on this gem of a book. Think about all the experience on these pages! Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art was one of the first books I invested in to begin my studies.

Inside you will find a little bit of everything, very well-rounded. If you like recipe ideas, you will find it here. If you want to know the scientific science-based information, you will find that too. Cosmetics, perfumes and herbal treatments? Check, check, and check. This is a great book for essential oils enthusiasts and practitioners alike.

 

Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare, 3e
by Jane Buckle Ph.D. RN

My last recommendation is for the people who really want to know “why” essential oils do what they do, with scientific studies to back it up. Jane Buckle has the credentials, the experience, and the studies to back up the powerful uses of aromatherapy in a clinical setting.

Covering topics such as: Toxicity and Contraindications, Integrative Healthcare, Infection, Oncology, Pain & Inflammation, and Palliative Care to name a few, this is one of the most thorough books on the clinical end that has been published to date.

The R.J. Buckle & Associates school has taught many nurses over the years to help them to integrate complementary care into their practice, and are still being taught all over the United States. If you are looking for clinical andscience-basedd information, you must invest in this book!

 

Happy reading!

 

Are you in touch with your pleasures?

Are you in touch with your pleasures?

Am I happy? Do I follow my bliss? What is my path in life? These are just a few of the many questions that we ask ourselves on a daily basis. Some of us look into the future for our happiness….once I land my perfect job I will be happy. When I move to ____ I will be happy. When I retire I will be happy. When I pay off my debt, then I will truly be happy.

Why not be happy right now?

Happiness is not something that we “find” in the outside world. Happiness is found within ourselves. That may sound strange to you, or something you have heard hundreds of times, but sit and really think about that. Happiness should be found from within. If you think someone else is going to do it for you, you are wasting your precious time. The more you focus on things that are abundant in your life, the more you place focus on things you are grateful for, the more of it you will find. This I promise you.

Stop saying yes!

One of the main sources of unhappiness is the constant over-scheduling of our lives. How many times have you thought to yourself…if only I had more time for me! Why don’t you? Do you over schedule yourself? Say yes when you really want to say no? Spend most of your time doing things for other people? I still fall back into this habit having two boys under 10, but more often than not, I make sure to carve time out just for me, and happiness begins to creep in.

Wouldn’t it be great to say, “I am sorry, but I can’t fit that into my schedule.”
Make a list

One of my first mentor’s Dr. Deb Kern taught me to do things that make me happy. Sounds simple right? For many people it isn’t. Most mom’s are martyr’s and the first thing that may come to mind are things like spending more time with your kids, or doing things for them, seeing them smile, etc. These are NOT the kind of things I am talking about. The things that make you happy have to have NOTHING to do with another person. This is ALL about YOU.

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Make sure you are alone so you can have some real time to think. I want you to write a list of pleasures. Don’t leave anything out. What do you like to do? What makes you happy? What are your talents? What is something that you used to love to do only you feel you have no time for it anymore…write that down! Pleasures should include your deepest desires. Ones that may make you blush if someone else read your list. Do not leave anything out. The list may be hard to write at first, but don’t give up!

Now sit back and read what you wrote. How many things on your pleasures list do you do everyday? None? One? Many?

My list

I found when I first made my list that I barely touched any of those things in a weeks time, or even a month! It was truly a shocking realization for me. I stared at my list and thought, where did I go wrong? When did I stop doing these things? I make sure to revisit the list often to check in with myself and make sure that I am staying on track. I know exactly where my list is at all times, because the more I do these things the more I find that I love and have to add to my list! I make sure to do at least 3 of these things every day.

I will give you a few examples of how I make that work.

*I love to write and can sit for hours at a time..but I am always sure to take breaks for a few pleasures. I get up from my desk at least once an hour and dance. Unbridled, do not care who sees me dancing. I have a favorites play list on YouTube and I move my body to songs that stir up real feelings within me. Songs that can easily make me laugh or bring me to happy tears, songs that help to me to truly find release.  I sing…loudly. When I sit back down I feel amazing!

*I take aromatic baths a few times a week. I lock the door so my boys can’t come in and ask me for the million things that kids do the moment mom steps in the bathroom.

*I sit in the sun of a window (since it is winter), or on my deck in the summer and do my yoga and meditation practice.  (Vitamin D is great for you too!)

My list is over 50 pleasures strong. Your first list may only have a dozen things, and that is ok. I guarantee your list will grow the more you practice.

Develop a mindset that is focused on finding and following your bliss. This means allowing time and energy to explore different things. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone.  At least a little bit. What humbles you? bringing you to your knees? What do you stand gaping, open-mouthed in awe of? Who do you love impossibly and with every inch of possibility? …is it Art? Painting? Singing? Dancing? Writing? Gardening? Cooking? What would you do even if you weren’t getting paid for it? Think about it….then do it. You can’t “find your bliss” by doing the day to day routing with no changes..no excitement. No excuses, do not say I will start tomorrow or I do not have time. Make the time!

Follow Your Bliss

Yes you can!

The first step is to be willing to make a change. When you are constantly worried or “stressed out”, this is not only the energy you are living in, but the energy you attract. You make bad decisions from a stressed state, “I can’t”, “I won’t”, or worse, say yes when you really can’t afford to.

Once you begin to focus on your pleasures list you will find that you can make decisions using your heart and your body, not your brain or your ego. Your heart wants the best for you; your ego operates from an entirely different place.

Get in touch with your heart

You will see once you begin thinking more about yourself, and doing things that make you happy, that you become centered and more peaceful. When working from this quieter place, you can make better decisions for your greater good. You will begin to say yes because you really want to, and no when you need to.

New4

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”-Joseph Campbell

It is time!

Most of all if you are unhappy in a situation change it. I realize some things can’t happen overnight, but they can be done. I have had the pleasure of hearing stories of people selling everything they own….down to towels and sheets and moving across country, children in tow to start a new life. People quitting their job because it was not their life calling to start a whole new venture, no promises, no guarantees and been happier than ever before. Going back to school in their 40’s to start a whole new career. Leaving their husband of years without a career of their own, but needed to stand on their own two feet. I have heard story upon story of brave souls who made the change, who took that first scary step into the abyss…..to be happier than ever. You can do it too.

 

“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.” –Deepak Chopra

 

It is never too late to turn things around. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

Liver Detoxification Pathways

Liver Detoxification Pathways

The liver is the hardest working organ in the body. It completes many important functions that are vital to life.  The liver plays a major role in all metabolic processes in the body, especially detoxification.

The liver goes through phases or pathways of detoxification; namely Phase I and Phase II. The job of Phase I is ideally to neutralize toxins. This is done via enzymes, specifically a family of enzymes called cytochrome P450. This family of enzymes contains about 50-100 different types, and each one is responsible for neutralizing a certain type of toxin. There is overlap and some enzymes can take care of more than one type of toxin.

 

The effectiveness of these enzymes in the Phase I detoxification pathway varies per individual based on genetics, stress and the level of exposure to chemicals and toxins. When a P450 enzyme metabolizes a toxin, it in essence tries to neutralize it, make it water soluble for excretion in Phase II, or convert it to a more chemically active form. Neutralizing the toxin is ideal. Making the toxin water-soluble also works well as it can be excreted by the kidneys easier. The third process of converting the toxin to a more chemically active form can cause problems. The reason being is for each toxin transformed creates free radicals. Free radicals wreak havoc in the body, leaving you susceptible to disease such as cancer. Another issue with converting a toxin is sometimes they become more toxic then they were to begin with, and unless removed quickly by Phase II, the body cannot keep up and toxic overload is the result. It is crucial that Phase I is working properly, so that Phase II can effectively do it’s job.

 

The Phase II detoxification pathway is called the conjugation pathway. According to Murray and Pizzorno (2012), the conjugation process is where a protective compound binds a toxin by adding a small chemical to it. The conjugation reaction either neutralizes the toxin or makes the toxin more easily excreted through the urine or bile. Some Phase II enzymes act on some toxins directly while other need to be activated by the enzymes of Phase I. There are 6 Phase II detoxification pathways: glutathione conjugation, amino acid conjugation, methylation, sulfation, acetylation, and glucuronidation. These enzyme systems, in order to work properly, need nutrients for activation as well as for them to be able to bind to toxins for elimination. The main method of elimination is via the kidneys.

 

Detoxification cannot do its job optimally without your help. Make no mistake about it, with the many environmental toxins in today’s society, you absolutely need to provide it with support.

Read more here.

References

Liver Detoxification. Retrieved 7/30/2015 from the Tuberose website: http://tuberose.com/Liver_Detoxification.html

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J. (2012) The encyclopedia of natural medicine. (3rd Ed.) New York, N.Y. Atria Paperback

 

Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

 

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Digestive Sense: Defining How Our Emotions and the Food We Eat Affects Our Gut Health

Digestive Sense: Defining How Our Emotions and the Food We Eat Affects Our Gut Health

A big factor in determining our overall health involves an organ system that many of us ignore and disrespect. This system does so much for us but does not get the respect it deserves; that system is our gut. However, once our gut is in a state of distress, we are not likely to ignore it any longer. There are many things that can disrupt the function of our gut, which is also called our second brain. There is a strong relationship between the food that we eat as well as our levels of stress in regards to how our gut functions, and our overall health.

Have you heard the term your second brain? Contrary to what most know to be our one and only brain located in our head, our gut actually holds what is called the second brain. Dr. Alejandro Junger explains that your first brain serves as your intellectual hardware and your second brain-the gut-is your spiritual and emotional GPS. (Junger) Each of us has a digestive brain, or ENS (enteric nervous system), that has millions of neurons which, via multiple neurotransmitters, have the power to influence both our digestion and our psychological state. (Matveikova) So as Dr. Junger states, your second brain, or your gut, is where you’re spiritual and emotional center is. This is because 90% of your serotonin levels are produced there, with the remaining 10% being produced in the brain in your head. (Gershon) Therefore, if your digestive system is out of whack, your feel good hormones are also disrupted.

Stress, tension, never ending work, no vacations, and the standard American diet (SAD) exhaust the body and the mind and cause the systems of the body to become compromised—beginning with our digestive system. Do you show symptoms of stomach upset when you are under high levels of stress? How about when you make a less than healthy meal choice? Both of these things can result in the exact same symptoms. These can include:

  • Stomach upset
  • Constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating
  • Cramping (IBS)
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Excess mucous
  • Sinus pressure
  • Skin eruptions
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation of any kind

If you have many of these symptoms your digestive system is likely totally out of whack. Gut issues have also been linked to seemingly unrelated conditions like: obesity, arthritis, cancer, vaginitis, and even mental conditions including depression, attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. (Wallace) Hippocrates stated that all disease begins in the gut. I think he was on to something.

health_brain-gut

Even if you do not have some of the many symptoms mentioned above you may find yourself in another situation, that of developed food allergies or sensitivities.  I have had to learn, and troubleshoot my newly developed health issues the hard way. I did not have any of the classic digestive symptoms, but in the recent years have been under extremely high levels of stress. I have endured the loss of a parent, a severe car accident resulting in years of chronic relenting pain, a surgery, and the common life challenges that a mom of two young boys and being a full time student brings. My health issues started in the gut, but did not show it until I was way beyond a simple fix. You see, once the digestive system is under constant assault with stress, bad food choices, etc., the gastrointestinal (gut) microbiota is negatively affected, and this is the cause of the various possible health issues listed above.

It is important to sit and observe your gut, as it is trying to speak to you. Once symptoms arise such as painful bloating, cramps, and diarrhea, your gut is beyond talking and is now yelling. Observe your gut signals when there is no pain, both on an empty stomach and after meals. Is there rumbling, dull aches, throbbing, emptiness, or minor bloating? Listening to your gut can help to identify foods that are irritating, as well as our guts overall state of health during any given moment of the day.

It is equally important to observe your stresses. Everyone is stressed, and there are many ways to cope. Many are surprised when they learn that the amount of stress they are under directly correlates to the health of their gut. Stress is a normal part of life, but it is important to recognize and observe it, as well as to do things to find relief. When you are under undue stress, pay attention to how your feel. Is your stomach tight and in knots? Do you have more indigestion? Constipation? General stomach aches?

Meditation

Try to sit in silence and see what your gut is telling you when you are in a stressful situation. Maybe you have never paid attention before. You may find the sensations are very strong. This is the gut-brain connection at work.

Have you ever heard the phrase over 70% of your immune system lies in your gut? This is our gut microbiota, or gut bugs. For the most part we live in harmony with the bacteria, viruses, and fungal organisms that typically inhabit the gut (called the gastrointestinal microbiota), and these have played a vital role in maintaining human health. Gershon stated that the rigors of the modern lifestyle, overuse of antibiotics, and the SAD diet have done much to restructure the once symbiotic relationship, resulting in significantly disrupted gut environment.

Some indicators of a happy and healthy gastrointestinal tract include 2-4 bowels movements per day, feeling good and energized not only after eating but all day long, sleeping well, and having no extreme mood swings or food cravings. These indicators are pretty rare; do you have all of them? What can we do to help to restore the gut microbiota of our gastrointestinal tract as well as our health? A good first step is to avoid processed foods; eat less from a box, bag, or can.  The main culprits of food sensitivity include but are not limited to: wheat, gluten, yeast, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, nuts, and coffee. Taking a high quality probiotic is critical to keep the balance of your microbiota healthy. Digestive enzymes are naturally produced in the body but are on the decline as we age. It is important to eat plenty of raw uncooked fruits and vegetables to get enzymes naturally; cooking kills the enzymes in our food. If you are having digestion issues, taking an enzyme may prove to be very helpful. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fiber. Equally crucial to overall health is reducing stress. Do something every day that makes you calm, happy, and brings you back to what is really important in life.

Some simple ideas on how you can improve digestion when eating a meal:

  • Eat in a relaxed state
  • Take time in between bites
  • Make sure to chew your food thoroughly
  • Do not drink a lot of liquid during your meal

Another great recommendation is to keep a food journal. Recognizing what you have eaten before you became bloated, gassy, and irritable will be very helpful to finding out what is not working for you.

I hope that this short explanation of our digestive system has led to a better understanding of why it is vitally important to provide your body with the good food and good attitude it needs; and what can happen if you don’t. Remember, your digestive system is very complex, and is there to protect you; but it needs your constant attention so be sure to take care of it. 

 

References:

Gershon, M. (1999) The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines. New York, New York. HarperCollins Publishers

Junger, A., M.D (2013). Clean Gut-The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health. New York: HarperCollins Publishing Inc.

Matveikova, I., M.D (2014). Digestive Intelligence. Scotland, UK: Findhorn Press

Wallace, TC., Guarner, F., Madsen, K., Cabana, MD., Gibson, G., Hentges, E., Sanders, ME., (2011) Human gut microbiota and its relationship to health and disease. Nutr rev. Jul;69 (7); 392-403

 

Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions. 

 

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Essential Oils-Uncovering Fact From Fiction

Essential Oils-Uncovering Fact From Fiction

Aromatherapy is the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit. It unifies an individual’s innate healing process. –National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

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You will be able to find a plethora of articles on the internet regarding essential oils, consequently there are many myth’s surrounding them. This article will speak to some of those and provide links when appropriate for further reading.

The widespread marketing of two popular brands of essential oils has introduced many people to these powerful tools for health which is a blessing. What is of great concern is the unsafe recommendations for use that is seen on blogs, Pinterest, as well as Facebook pages. Essential oils are not to be used carelessly, and misuse can lead to injury.

Just as you would (or should) exercise caution and research when using pharmaceuticals, you should practice the same careful research when using essential oils. Essential oils are profoundly powerful, which makes them capable of both great good and great harm. Overuse and misuse can and does lead to injury. Many have jumped in with both feet without fully exhausting the scientific research  (not biased blog posts), then only after beginning their journey find out what they thought was true may not be accurate at all.

Believe what you like, but do not believe everything without questioning it. –Pauline Baynes

Quotes

So what are essential oils???

Very briefly, essential oils are derived from the true plants (leaves, stems, flowers, bark, and roots), most often by steam distillation. Essential oils are the true essence of the plant (not the life blood of the plant), and are highly concentrated extracts.  The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefit. Most benefits are achieved through methods including inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin.

Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Perfume oils are artificially created fragrances and contain artificial substances that do not contain any therapeutic benefit like essential oils do.

Essential oil Dilution

Essential oils are super-concentrated extracts, typically 100 times or more concentrated than the plant material that it derived from. Since they are so concentrated, they need to be diluted before they are safe for children and adults.

When used undiluted or what some call “neat” there are two risks involved:

1-Irritation which is direct result of contact with a material and is localized. Healing occurs once material is removed. Removal is best with a carrier oil (almond, jojoba, etc.) or milk. Healing may not occur immediately, but you should see improvement after proper removal.

2-Sensitization which is systemic response involving the immune system. According to Dorene Petersen of ACHS, “Sensitization occurs once the offending substance has penetrated the skin, been picked up by proteins in the skin, and mediated by the IgE response that produces histamine and other irritants.” (1) This is an allergic reaction. Some oils are more likely than others to elicit this sensitization response, such as lemongrass and cinnamon bark….but it can happen even with oils such as lavender.  Once this immune system response is triggered, that may mean you can never use that oil again. Never! Compare this to a nut allergy. Not worth the risk!

Please do not subscribe to the “detoxing” explanation where skin irritation is concerned, this is simply not true. If you get a rash or a burn from putting something on your skin is it because it is irritating your skin.

Check here for a detailed explanation on this topic. (Aromatic Wisdom Institute)

Oil and Water

Essential oils are not water soluble. Oil and water does not mix/blend. They need a disbursing agent before adding to your bath water (carrier oil); epsom salts alone is not enough.

Please do not add essential oils to a glass of water and drink it.

Oil and Water

 

When you add a drop of oil to a glass of water it doesn’t mix with the water. The risks are not worth the practice.  There have been reports of people having permanent esophageal damage as well as liver damage due to putting oils in water (2). Oral dosing may interfere with medication or aggravate other medical conditions. Read more here.

Take a moment to see the injuries that have been reported. Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy Injury Reporting

You may hear something like “our oils are pure therapeutic grade and are safe for internal use” or “certain oils are GRAS” (generally recognized as safe for consumption), but this applies to consuming in food (food additives); not in water. Follow the link here for an informative new article by Amy of Barefoot Dragonfly about what GRAS really means. I have also recently written an article that goes into the meaning/purpose of GRAS here. Essential oils can be safe for internal use under certain circumstances when under the care of a professional; someone who has been trained, ultimately over 200 hours of training, and has understanding of how these oils react inside the body, if it is necessary for your condition, and most of all if it is safe and indicated for you and your situation (medication, medical conditions, allergies, etc.).

More on Internal Use…

Many are educated in this area and there are instances where internal use is warranted. It is not meant to be an everyday practice. It is not to lose weight, ease indigestion, or rid yourself of chronic pain. Most of all it is not a preventative measure to maintain health. That is where healthy eating, exercise, sleep, vitamins and minerals come into play when you are deficient. Essential oils have no “nutritional value”; another myth. Read more here.

Inhalation

By far the most common method for using essential oils is via inhalation. The inhalation of aromatic molecules in oils affects us on a variety of levels – physical, emotional and spiritual. When inhaled, aromatic molecules enter the nasal passages where they stimulate olfactory receptor sites and trigger nerve messages to the limbic center brain. The limbic brain has pathways that in turn stimulates physiological responses within the body via the nervous, endocrine or immune systems, affecting sensations of pleasure, pain centers of the brain, emotions, memory, sleep, appetite and sex. –AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists)

Inhalation is THE QUICKEST route to the bloodstream. You can achieve this by using an aromastick, using a diffuser, using a steam bowl, or spritzing into the air.

Inhalation is extremely powerful when it comes to essential oils as is illustrated in the image below. –Photo courtesy of Marge Clark Owner of Nature’s Gift

Inhalation

Topical Use

When used topically (on the skin), in a suitable dilution, essential oils have a multitude of applications for health, beauty and well-being. Methods include massage, skin care, and first aid remedies. Essential oils can be added to many personal care products. Applying to the skin also induces inhalation, therefore benefiting multiple systems of the body at the same time. Use the image below for proper dilution.

Essential Oil Dilutions

There are a number of oils that cause photosensitivity or phototoxicity. This can occur when certain essential oil constituents, particularly furanocoumarins, (chemicals found in essential oils) react when exposed to ultraviolet light. Inflammation, blistering, and burning of the skin is common. These particular oils can be used on the skin, but use caution. It is advised not to go out into the sun for 12-24 hours after exposure. Just to be clear, this applies to the skin that has been exposed to the oil, not your body as a whole.

Here is a list of oils that should be used topically with caution, and their maximum use levels according to IFRA standards (3):

 

Angelica Root Angelica archangelica 0.8%
Bergamot Citrus bergamia 0.4%
Bitter Orange (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus aurantium 1.25%
Cumin Cuminum cyminum 0.4%
Grapefruit (expressed) Citrus paradisi 4.0%
Lemon (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus limon 2.0%
Lime (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus aurantifolia 0.7%
Mandarin Leaf Citrus reticulate 0.17%
Rue Ruta graveolens 0.15%
Taget Tagetes minuta 0.01%

Always use extreme caution when using any of these oils topically. Bergamot is by far the oil with the highest risk, and it is possible to have a reaction within up to 12 hours after application.

It can be assumed that if someone is taking moderate amounts of a phototoxic oil internally that a phototoxic reaction can occur. If you use any of these oils, utilize caution.

 “Therapeutic Grade”

The term therapeutic grade provides marketing weight rather than signifying that the oils meet a regulated quality standard. (Essential Oil University), a helpful website unaffiliated with any oil company, is dedicated to busting essential oil myths like this one. The author of the page, Dr. Robert Pappas, explains:

“There seems to be a misconception that there is some kind of independent body that certifies oils as therapeutic grade, but to this date there is no such body, at least not one that is widely recognized. Does this mean there is no such thing as therapeutic grade? No, but just realize that any therapeutic grade standard out there right now is an internally derived company standard. Now this standard may be an overall great standard and perfectly acceptable to me or any other analyst or aromatherapist out there but it just needs to be noted that it is not an independent standard” (4).

Basically any company can put whatever they want to on a label…..any company. So do your due diligence and do your own research. At the risk of repeating information; please do not use biased blogs for your research. There are a couple companies that state they have the “only” pure oil. Please know that this is simply not the case.

There are many companies in the world producing pure essential oils, and there are plenty that are not recommended and others still that adulterate their oils. The important thing to remember is there is more than one company that sells high quality essential oils, at a reasonable price. The best ones are happy to provide you with what is called their GC/MS testing for each batch, and the results are posted for public viewing on their website. For all you techies out there; here is a great resource to understand what GC/MS means.

All aromatherapists, vintage or up and coming, as well as other pioneers in the field of aromatherapy can agree on one thing; safety is our #1 goal. When it comes to conventional medicine and natural remedies:  first, do no harm. Our 2nd goal is to continue to change the lives of our clients in helpful, healthy ways. Essential oils should not be feared they should be respected and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them.

 

References

(1) American College of Healthcare Sciences, (2012) Aroma 101

(2) http://www.thebarefootdragonfly.com/aromatherapy/why-essential-oils-are-not-water-flavoring-agents/

(3) IFRA standards. Retrieved from http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/standards-library/s/phototoxicity#.V9VaSpMrJn4,

(4) http://www.weedemandreap.com/essential-oil-myths-dr-pappas/

 

Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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