Essential Oil Of The Week: Jatamansi

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This week’s essential oil, Jatamansi, has a rich history. Jatamansi oil is distilled from the roots of the perennial flowering plant of the same name that grows in the Alpine Himalayas. It has a sweet-woody scent, very earthy and damp. It reminds me a dank greenhouse. I personally think the fragrance is entrancing, but many people find it to be rather vile. It is in the same family as valerian, another fantastic herb for encouraging healthy sleep and calm nerves.

The name Jatamansi actually means “whose flesh is like a dread lock” because of the roots likeness to the matted locks of the ancient yogis and ascetics in the Himalayas. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Jatamansi has been used as both medicine and perfume for many thousands of years. Under the name “spikenard” it appears in the Bible as the type of oil that Mary Magdalene used to anoint Jesus’ feet.

It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, particularly for its incredibly balancing action on the doshas and powerfully rejuvenating effect on the mind.

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Peppermint

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Thad got me a very sleek aromatherapy diffuser for a Christmas present and using it is increasing my love for essential oils. It’s such a great way to experience the benefits of essential oils in a subtle and pleasing way. I’ve been trying out a new oil every few days, with the diffuser in my bedroom on for a few hours before I fall asleep.

Today I want to tell you about a common essential oil, peppermint. Although it might not sound very exotic, this is an excellent oil to keep in your arsenal, especially for nausea and other digestive issues.

Peppermint oil has such a refreshing and invigorating scent. It is best for diffusion and inhalation. Undiluted topical application is not recommended because in high concentrations menthol is an irritant. Definitely don’t put this one on your face, although a single drop in a bathtub is perfectly lovely and safe.

Carrying a bottle of peppermint essential oil when traveling is an excellent cure for all motion sickness, whether it’s car or boat etc., It is also recommended for pregnancy-related nausea and for easing stomach cramps. The scent is very calming for the digestive system, it relieves excess gas and bloating. Peppermint essential oil is routinely given in a low dosage for inhalation to chemotherapy patients to help prevent and ease nausea.

This ability to improve digestion is energetic as well, since peppermint oil facilitates the digestion of new ideas and the processing of emotions. It is very clarifying and consciousness-expanding. It inspires enthusiasm and can boost self-esteem and increase one’s motivation and interest in activities.

Peppermint oil offers relieve to those suffering from migraines and headaches. A drop rubbed on the temples is soothing and cooling and can also aid in concentration. Peppermint has analgesic properties and can help ease muscular stiffness and all sorts of bruising, aches, pains and swelling.

Using essential oils is safe, easy and effective, as well as a portable healing system excellent for folks on the go!

 

Love and Blessings,

Frances

 

 

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Silver Fir

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The fragrance of the holidays has overtaken the flower shops where I work. We are receiving evergreen bundles, garlands and wreaths every day. It is lovely and so very wintery. The resinous, heady and fresh scent of pines, balsams and fir boughs is invigorating and cheery.

This got me thinking about a favorite essential oil of mine: silver fir.

Silver fir essential oil encourages deep breathing and is healing for the entire respiratory system as well as supportive of the immune system. Because it is a strong oil that can be irritating to skin if used undiluted, it is best to use take benefit from this oil through inhalation. Simply placing a drop or two in the palms of your hands, rubbing them together and then holding in front of your nose for 3 or 4 deep full breaths is an easy way to appreciate the healing effects of this oil.

This is also an ideal oil to diffuse in your home. This allows the anti-viral, anti-septic and anti-microbial actions of silver fir to cleanse the air in your home – especially beneficial during cold/flu season. Plus it will make your house smell incredible.

It is a great decongestant because the scent can easily open the lungs, heal respiratory infections and bronchitis as well as clear excess phlegm and mucus. On a more subtle energetic level, this oil offers the sensation of more “breathing room.” It encourages inspiration and creativity.

Silver fir essential oil tonifies Qi and warms the interior. One single drop or two added to a warm bath is very soothing and clarifying as well as relaxing for muscular aches and arthritis.

This oil is distilled from the cut needles of the silver fir tree (Abies alba). It is important to get high-quality, hand-harvested silver fir oil because some conifer oils are contaminated with unwanted resins, petroleum byproducts and turpentine due to chain saws and other harvesting methods.

Happy December dear readers!

Love and Blessings,

Frances

 

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Lavender

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Lavender is one of those classic essential oils that anyone and everyone can use with great success. It is such a powerful and beautiful plant with a multitude of therapeutic benefits. The flowers themselves are lovely and very pleasing to the senses. Case in point, just look at those gorgeous rows! Makes me want to go to France right now.

You might think of lavender mostly for its calming and relaxing properties, but the effects of this essential oil go far beyond that. Because of its ability to treat a wide variety of physical, emotional and mental issues, it is often called the “mother of all essential oils.”

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Palo Santo

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Palo Santo is a sacred tree growing in Ecuador. For centuries and centuries, it has been worshipped by indigenous cultures for its purifying powers.

Today the Palo Santo tree is protected by the government so that no living trees or branches are allowed to be cut. All Palo Santo essential oils and incenses are made by gathering and distilling the resin within aged (a minimum of 2 years on the ground) limbs. When the tree dies, the resin inside the branches is driven into the heartwood where it matures, giving it a unique and powerful fragrance.

The aroma of this sacred tree’s oil has a fresh and citrusy scent with resinous musky wood notes. It is non-sensitizing and non-irritating and can safely be used by all.

This oil is recognized for its myriad of therapeutic properties, including anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral and anti-septic actions. It is beneficial for the respiratory system because of its decongesting and expectorant qualities and is generally supportive to the entire immune system.

It is regenerative for the skin and excellent for soothing all types of muscular/skeletal system inflammation.

Emotionally, this essential oil is uplifting, warming and cheerful while simultaneously offering a very grounded, calming base. It is soothing to the mind and comforting during times of emotional turbulence. Its usage smoothes the flow of chi and relaxes an unsettled spirit.

There is a natural intelligence within the plant itself that can align with prana and produce an expansive, upward-lifting energetic. This profound power is very spiritually enhancing and deserves great respect and proper ritual. The use of this essential oil will assist in creative endeavors, deep meditation and prayer.

Palo Santo essential oil can be diffused, applied topically or simply inhaled via the bottle or a few drops on palms, rubbed together to bring out the warmth in the fragrance.

Have you ever used this powerful oil therapeutically? What is your favorite way to incorporate the healing attributes of essential oils in your life?

 

Love and Blessings,

Frances

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Helichrysum

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Helichrysum is a powerfully healing plant that you don’t hear about that often, but probably should because it is so special.

I learned about it in massage school when I had a massive cut on my knee and asked my teacher what to do about potential scarring. Ever since then, I have used this oil regularly to heal wounds and bruises, improve complexion and reduce scarring. 

Helichrysum’s common name is “Everlasting.” It is tall yellow cluster of aromatic flowers that can grow in deprived soil and sunny harsh conditions where other plants can barely survive. Energetically, that feels very indicative of this plant’s fortitude and power. It is traditionally found in Europe, especially in the Eastern regions and in the Mediterranean.

The scent of helicrysum is spicy, warm and herbal. It’s quite a unique fragrance, hard to place unless you know what it is.

Therapeutically, the essential oil of the helichrysum flowers is safe for topical usage, even undiluted. It is very healing for skin conditions such as eczema, burns, acne, radiation burns, chronic dermatitis etc.,. It is analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.  It reduces pain and can encourage the proper flow of chi and blood in the body. Topical usage is beneficial for bruise healing, broken capillaries and varicose veins. 

On the realm of the psyche and emotions, the use of this oil is most suited for moving through grief, bereavement and emotional trauma. Helicrysum can assist in healing old emotional scars, acute fear or anger and overcoming adversity. 

Energetically, helichrysum has the power to break through the deepest, most “stuck” negative feelings and can help restore feelings of compassion for others and for oneself. 

Keeping a bottle of this powerful essential oil handy to simply take a few long deep inhalations of during times of emotional stress is very soothing. I also keep a bottle of helichrysum hydrosol mist in my fridge for a cooling, skin-healing spritz now and again. 

Topically, a few drops of this oil can be applied directly on healing wounds or old scars. Another good way to benefit from the skin healing and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant is to put a few drops of this oil into a warm bath and soak it up.

Have you ever used this essential oil before? What are your favorite essential oils to work with?

 

Love and Blessings,

Frances

 

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My Clean Green Beauty Routine

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There’s no denying it. I’m kind of a hippie flower child, despite the fact that I cut off my dreadlocks years ago. Take a look in my bathroom and you will see lots of random glass bottles and jars – no Pantene ProV or Secret in sight.

A few years ago, I got serious about “cleaning” up my beauty routine. I’ve always used high quality products, but when I read a book about the dirty side of the cosmetics industry, I knew it was time to step it up a notch. The amount of cancer-causing, endocrine-disrupting and generally nasty chemicals in our conventional products is down-right scary! So I purged my bathroom of all my fancy makeup and shampoos and started fresh with simple, organic, cruelty-free and natural products.

Using Skindeep as a resource for investigating different product’s safety ratings, I began experimenting with new hair and beauty concoctions. Whole Foods carries a lot of great products, many of which make the cut in terms of my standards of health/chemical-free cleanness. Acure Organics is one of my favorite brands that Whole Foods carries, mostly because it is so affordable for the high quality and cleanliness it delivers.

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Essential Oil of the Week: Ginger

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In the culinary realm, ginger is by far one of my absolute favorite flavors. I go gaga for anything ginger – seriously, I can sit down and eat a whole box of crystalized ginger without batting an eyelash. I love ginger tea, I love ginger in my smoothies and juices and I especially love grating fresh ginger into stirfrys and salad dressings.

Despite my love of consuming all things ginger, using the essential oil of this potent healing root has been a new discovery for me. It is a fabulous way to benefit from the power of this universally respected plant. Ginger has been used for just about ever as a food, medicine and spice. It has a long history of use in Asia, was used in both Greek and Roman medicine and is an essential component of TCM healing. Ginger was even introduced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages and apparently was used to combat the Black Death because of its sweat-producing capacities. Native to India and China, it is now grown commercially in many tropical climates.

In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is viewed as the universal medicine that can be of benefit to all constitutions. It destroys toxins, it is a strong digestive, prevents nausea, stokes the digestive fire (agni), alleviates pain, is rejuvenating and beneficial for breathing difficulties.

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Essential Oil of the Week: Ylang Ylang

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It has been too long since I’ve shared an essential oil with you. This week’s delightful one, ylang ylang, is celebrated for its ability to calm the heart, and since I shared my favorite heart-calming meditation practice with you a few days ago, it only seemed appropriate to follow up with this post. I also find ylang ylang to be a very fun word to say.

Ylang ylang is sometimes called the “poor man’s jasmine”, but I don’t think that is completely fair because it has a gorgeous dreamy fragrance all of its own. Apparently, the petals of ylang ylang flowers are strewn across the beds of newlywed couples in Indonesia for their beauty and aphrodisiac qualities. The scent of ylang ylang is feminine, sweet, heavy and sensual. It is simultaneously cooling, calming and euphoric.

Ylang Ylang essential oil is considered a “harmonizing” oil as it has been shown to reduce pulse rate while at the same time increasing alertness and arousal. It is beneficial for the circulatory system for treating high blood pressure and heart palpitations. It is used in addressing impotence, PMS and anxiety. It is soothing, increasing feelings of inner trust, peace and self-confidence.

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My Magic Scar-Removing Oil Blend

I scar more easily than anyone I know. I scratched my leg with my fingernail a few months ago, and it scarred. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Luckily, in my study of essential oils, I’ve learned which ones I can use on my body to promote skin regeneration and healing. I’ve seen remarkable improvement in my skin and the appearance of scars by using essential oils daily. Even my worst scars and stretch marks (aah! God forbid! those nasty little reminders of what happened when I “lost” my anorexic body) have visibly decreased after consistent use with my magic oil blend.

My formula for a scar removing oil blend is not super precise and it changes a bit each time I make it, but there are a few important and necessary oils to use in order to make the most effective blend.

These are helichrysum, vetiver, lavender and carrot seed.

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Essential Oil Of The Week: Rose Geranium

dryland-herbs_rose-geranium-208x300All essential oils are pretty wonderful and magic in my opinion, but this week’s feature is one of my absolute favorites. I personally think this is the single most important essential oil for every woman to have because of its great healing properties for the skin, hormones and the reproductive system.

Rose Geranium (Pelargonium roseum) has a broad range of uses and a beautiful and complex sweet fragrance of roses and citrus. It is very cooling, anti-inflammatory and uplifting, a wonderful oil to have handy for the dog-days of summer (a hydrosol spritz is a lovely way to garner the benefits of this plant – so good for the skin!).

This astringent and antimicrobial essential oil is very balancing for the hormones and can reduce PMS symptoms as well as menopausal hot flashes. It supports the adrenal cortex to actually balance hormones. Adding a few drops of Rose Geranium into a warm bath is a wonderful way to soothe your body and relax during your cycle. It promotes healthy detoxification and gently reduces water retention in the body.

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