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: 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: 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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Essential Oil of the Week: Tulsi

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Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a very powerful and sacred plant. Indiginous to India, parts of northern and eastern Africa as well as Taiwan, it is cultivated today all over Southeast Asia. It is also grown and venerated in Hindu temples around the world. If you’ve ever been to a Vaishnava temple, you will see the beautiful Tulsi-devi plant being lovingly cared for. Next to the lotus, tulsi is the most sacred plant in India. Tulsi-devi is regarded as a goddess and a consort to Lord Vishnu. Pujas and prayers are performed to her and the tulsi leaves are taken as a sacrament.

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Essential Oil of the Week: Vetiver

Vetiver LeavesVetiver essential oil comes from the fibrous root structure of a dense perennial grass grown in places such as Haiti, Sri Lanka and India.

This potent, earthy and sweet smelling oil has been used traditionally as a base note in perfumes (to this day it is used in 90% of all perfumes). It has a long history of use to bring about tranquility and protection from evil spirits and influences and… bugs!

Vetiver essential oil is a complex oil, golden to dark brown in color with a warm, deep aroma reminiscent of the woods and marshes. It is a very safe oil (non-phototoxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing) with many uses, so definitely a good one to consider purchasing. 

Incredibly centering and supportive to the nervous system, this is a great oil for grounding vata and cooling pitta aggravation. Emotionally, the use of vetiver oil provides a sense of security and balance. It helps to calm the mind when too many thoughts are swirling around creating anxiety and confusion.

Vetiver oil has the ability to consolidate and bring clarity to a frazzled mind – it’s a perfect tool for bolstering your meditation practice. Vetiver grounds energy and promotes strength and solidity. It is an ideal essential oil for people who tend to “float outside” their bodies, because it can help center them back into the physical and into body-centered reality.

For the physical body, vetiver oil is beneficial for varicose veins, poor circulation (cold hands/feet), muscular aches and pains and arthritis. It can be helpful for insomnia, PMS, menopause and postnatal depression.

Wonderful for the skin, vetiver oil helps with inflamed conditions, acne and oily skin as it is slightly astringent. It’s used as a preventative for stretch marks and wrinkles. Vetiver is very nourishing for dry or irritated skin and can help with wound care and topical infections caused by fungus or bacteria.

A great way to employ vetiver in your skincare regime is to add just one or two drops to an unscented natural lotion or carrier oil for your face and body.

I like to put a drop on the soles of my feet and on my heart center for its grounding and relaxing effect.

Have you used vetiver oil before? What are your favorite essential oils and way to incorporate them into your health and beauty regimes?

 

Love Frances

 

PS – Please enter the  GIVEAWAY for a free yoga mat!

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Essential Oil of the Week: Mandarin

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This week’s featured essential oil is one of my personal favorites: mandarin. 

This soothing and delightfully uplifting oil is one of the safest oils to use for children, the elderly and pregnant women. It is non-irritating and non-toxic and has a pleasing zesty fragrance.

Not to be confused with Tangerine (they share a botanical name but not the same therapeutic potency), mandarin essential oil is a great tool to bring some lightness, sweet warmth and stress-relief into your life. Energetically it assists in clearing out clogged ideas and psychic heaviness.

Beneficial for the physical body by improving general circulation, easing stress-related digestive upset, soothing headaches and insomnia (especially if paired with lavender), it is also a top essential oil for women’s health, assisting in ameliorating PMS symptoms, hormonal imbalance and for managing birth and labor stress.

In terms of skin, mandarin oil is a good one to have because it is gentle enough for sensitive skin and can be used to help detox congested or oily complexions. It has a toning effect and is often blended with other essential oils to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

Emotionally, mandarin oil is simultaneously calming and uplifting. It provides a nurturing sense of well-being and contentment. It’s usage can ease feelings of anxiety, depression, fear of physcal contact or disturbed eating patterns. It’s even supposed to help you deal with a dislike of exercise! I kid you not, for a while, Thad was rubbing a few drops on his wrists and inhaling its fragrance every morning before practice.

For those of you with young children, mandarin oil can be diffused in the air to provide a soothing peaceful energy to help deal with hyperactivity or temper tantrums.

In general, diffusing essential oils in your home is a nice way to utilize them. I also recommend adding a few drops into a carrier oil (such as almond, apricot or jojoba) and soaking up the goodness in a warm bath. If you’re on the go and you need a little essential oil assistance, just shake a few drops onto your palms and take long deep breaths. Apply a few drops on your wrists, temples, heart center or under the nostrils to continue receiving the healing effects throughout your day.

Have you used mandarin essential oil before? What’s your favorite way to incorporate essential oils into your life?

Blessings!

Frances

 

 

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