Essential Oils

For well over several thousands of years, humans have been employing essential oils for therapeutic purposes as well as sustaining good health. In effect, the ancient Egyptians extensively used essential oils. Currently, essential oils are used extensively in lotions meant for external use, aromatherapy, comforting baths and in a great assortment of herbal medications.
Any attempt to define essential oils accurately as well as in a few words is really difficult. For all practical purposes, one may possibly depict essential oils in the form of natural odoriferous (having potent fragrance) compounds that are present in or separated from plant materials. Generally, essential oils are in liquid form (in some exceptional cases they may be in semi-solid form, but seldom found in solid form), are not water soluble and volatile when they come in contact with steam. Essential oils evaporate at dissimilar paces under normal atmospheric pressure and at room temperature. Therefore, they are alternately referred to as ‘ethereal’ or ‘volatile’ oils too. In fact, the general term ‘essential’ is derived from the Latin expression ‘essentia’ – the ‘quinta essentia’, which the ancient alchemists regarded to be the attribute as well as the most vital element of all natural substances.
The comparatively rapid pace of evaporation of the essential oils and their distinct smell, apart from the chemical make-up of these oils, make them basically different from the stable, fatty oils. Among the several thousands of plant species identified in humans so far, comparatively a very little number of them provide essential oils. The essential oils actually develop either all over the complete plant or only in particular parts. A number of essential oils are found only in the roots, or the timber, bark, leaves, flowers or the fruits of the plants. In a number of instances, different parts of the same plant may possibly enclose essential oils of dissimilar composition.
Over the years, numerous theories have been put forward to elucidate the essential oils’ biochemistry; nevertheless, none of them has been established as being totally acceptable. Possibly, the essential oils are just purging products in the life progression of the plants. If this is the case, they are similar to specific gums, resins, and balsams; however, a number of essential oils definitely seem to be the forerunners of this type of exudation products.
It may be noted that as far as their physicochemical attributes are concerned, the essential oils greatly differ and their chemical composition is generally complicated. Some of them are near exclusively made up of only one element, for instance, the essential oils obtained from sweet birch (methyl salicylate), wintergreen and cassia oil (cinnamaldehyde). However, the majority of the essential oils enclose a greater number of ingredients, sometimes 50 or even more – which is something not atypical. These individual constituents are members of numerous categories of organic compounds, especially the sesquiterpenes and terpenes, and their esters, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, oxides and lactones among other things. A number of these essential oils are open chained while several of them are cyclic and bicyclic. Some of them also belong to the aromatic series, for instance, benzyl acetate and phenyl ethyl alcohol, and findings of recent studies have revealed that the azulenes appear to have a vital function in the essential oils.
An analysis of the essential oils can be achieved by conventional physio-chemical examinations, for instance, finding out the specific gravity, solubility in alcohol, optical rotation, boiling point and others. In addition, it is also possible to verify the free acids, esters, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, phenols and phenol ethers through conventional tests. Recently, scientists have made vast advancement in examining essential oils, especially in isolating as well as identifying individual components, by means of introducing state-of-the-art chromatographic and spectroscopic methods, for instance, infrared and ultraviolet (UV) absorption, nuclear magnetic resonance, gas and thin-layer chromatography as well as mass spectrometry. As the smell will continue to be a vital decisive factor always, the assay of an essential oil will not be absolute without cautious organoleptic examinations. However, it requires substantial experience on the part of the examiner to undertake the organoleptic tests of essential oils.
The majority of the essential oils are actually isolated from different parts of plants, for example, the leaves, stem, wood, roots, flowers, and bark, by means of a process known as hydro-distillation – partially in primordial, changeable stills – and partially in contemporary stationary distilleries. Only in the instance of citrus oils, which are present in the peel or coverings of the citrus fruits, essential oils are isolated by means of expressing the peel mechanically. Specific varieties of flowers are actually extremely fragile and, hence, the essential oils enclosed by them are unable to endure the hydrodistillation process, neither are they suitable for expression. Hence, the essential oils contained in such flowers need to be isolated by means of extraction using volatile solvents (generally, extremely refined petroleum ether) to yield the purported natural flower oils in a real, solid variety than can be converted into complete, liquid form. Such flowers include jasmine, acacia, tuberose, mimosa and the like. It is possible to process a number of flowers, including bitter orange blooms and rose, either by means of hydrodistillation or through solvent extraction.
The amount of essential oil yielded by a plant actually varies depending on the species. In the majority of instances, the yield varies from approximately 0.2 per cent to 2.0 per cent. However, oil rose also known as otto of rose and clover oil are two extreme examples in this case. While rose yields only 0.025 percent of essential oil, clover yields as high as 17.0 percent of clover oil.
It may be noted that several regions of the world produce essential oils, especially those having warm as well as temperate climatic conditions.
Not more than a hundred types of essential oils have already achieved genuine commercial significance. These essential oils are extensively used to add fragrance as well as essence to nearly a limitless assortment of consumer items, including food products, chewing gums, confectionery, pharmaceutical, and dental formulations, alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks, soaps, room sprays, detergents, insecticides, perfumes, and cosmetics. They have also employed to camouflage the odor in artificial products, for instance, rubber goods, leathers, and plastics.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS:

aromatherapy-essential-oilsIt has been proved that the essential oils offer numerous health benefits. They are obtained from the leaves, flowers, stems, barks as well as the roots of plants by means of distillation. Essential oils may have a direct or indirect effect on our body’s physiological system. For instance, taking a few drops of peppermint oil by mouth may promote digestion. Similarly, breathing in lavender oil causes a soothing impact.
A number of essential oils may be taken orally to aid in stimulating digestion while several other essential oils are applied topically to alleviate inflammation and provide relief from pain. Essential oils having antiseptic as well as anti-fungal attributes are also employed to sterilize and cure scrapes, cuts as well as other injuries and skin complaints.
Aromatherapy is one area where essential oils are employed extensively. The use of essential oils in aromatherapy is not only very popular but has also proved to be useful in curing physical, emotional as well as aesthetic conditions. A number of essential oils have a tranquilizing and also invigorating effect on our nervous system and they can either raise or lower the blood pressure and regularize secretion of hormones in some way.
In addition, inhaling the steam of essential oils is helpful in the treatment of respiratory problems, for instance, a cold or influenza. The essential oils that are effectual for inhaling comprise eucalyptus, angelica, cypress, sage, myrtle, lemon grass, lemon, ocean pine, mountain pine, chamomile, juniper, niaouli, thyme, cedar, and hyssop. It may be noted that steam inhalation of essential oil is usually not suggested for people suffering from asthma.
Employing essential oils for lymphatic massage is actually a typical aromatherapy treatment that activates the healing process of the body by means of inciting the blood circulation as well as lymph fluid. It needs to be noted cautiously that nearly all essential oils ought to be diluted prior to applying them directly to the skin since direct application of essential oils may result in acute exasperation.
Normally, essential oils are diluted in the ratio of 15 drops of the oil to one ounce (approximately 28.35 grams) of carrier oil. It may be noted that carrier oil is basically any vegetable oil that is obtained by using the compress method on the fatty part of the seeds, kernels or nuts, for instance, wheat germ, almond, coconut, hazelnut, olive oil, jojoba and aloe vera oil.
There are a number of essential oils that alleviate the taut muscles and augment blood circulation. Such essential oils comprise lemon grass, lemon, rosemary, lemon verbena, juniper, lavender, birch, cinnamon and Swiss pine oils. On the other hand, essential oils that have a calming effect include petitgrain, Roman chamomile, rose, bergamot, lavender, mimosa, neroli, geranium, sandalwood, orange, cedar, rosewood, and tangerine. When you employ the facial and body oils every day, it helps to nurture the skin. Essential oils that are used for deep body massage comprise rose, jasmine, sandalwood, orange, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, nd iris.
essential oils and medical flowers herbs

essential oils and medical flowers herbs

Adding a few drops of essential oils to your bath will help to promote relaxation as well as lift your spirits. You may add five to ten drops of your preferred essential oil to the bath water and enjoy the benefits. Nevertheless, it is advisable that people having sensitive skin ought to dilute the essential oil by adding base oil. Ensure that you wipe the tub properly after the bath, since essential oils may leave stains on some type of tubs.

Having a comforting foot bath using essential oils is a wonderful experience. Add drops of rosemary, peppermint and thyme oils to a big basin filled with water and soak your feet in it for some minutes to bring back life to your tired feet. In order to get some extra comfort, after you have soaked your feet, massage some lavender oil on them.
In addition, essential oils are useful in curing insomnia (sleeplessness) or to bring on a peaceful sleep all through the night. For this, you may add a few drops of the essential oil of your preference to perfume your pillow.
Last, but not the least important, handkerchiefs are an extremely handy means to utilize essential oils. Inhaling a handkerchief perfumed by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil will help to alleviate the tension and pressure that build up all through the day. Adding only two or three drops of the essential oil to a handkerchief will be enough to serve the purpose.
Several types of synthetic or man-made oils are also available and they are generally much inexpensive compared to their natural equivalents. However, such synthetically prepared oils never possess the same curative attributes or results that are present in the natural essential oils. In addition, always bear in mind that essential oils are completely dissimilar to the ‘scented’ or ‘perfume’ oils – which are also known as fragrance oils.
It may be noted that perfume or fragrance oils enclose elements as well as chemicals that are not always obtained from plant sources. Very much similar to the man-made oils, fragrance or perfume oils also do not possess any remedial or healing attributes. This is the primary reason why it is always very important to carefully read the labels on all products that you plan to employ for aromatherapy.

What Is An Essential Oil? Essential Oil Safety – Basic Guidelines.

An essential oil is a highly concentrated compound, extracted from a herb, which gives the herb its characteristic fragrance. It is volatile, which means that it is easily dispersed in the air {think fragrance!} and can be distilled off and captured to produce a concentrated oil. It takes a large amount of herb to yield a small amount of oil, which accounts for the high price of commercially available essential oils. They are extremely concentrated – so strong that some are toxic – and should never be taken internally without professional advice. For external use, you should dilute an essential oil with a fixed oil, such as olive oil or almond, in order to avoid irritating your skin. When used safely and sparingly, essential oils add a delightful aroma and flavor to herbal preparations such as dried teas, tinctures, and salves.

Safety First – Using Essential Oils

  • Never use any essential oils of the citrus variety before sunbathing, for they are considered to be photosensitive oils, especially Bergamot.   See table 3 for a list of essential oils to avoid before going into the sun
  • Do not use essential oils before the 18th week of pregnancy and then the essential oils should only be blends which have been formulated by a professional health care provider and Certified Clinical Aromatherapist and always in low dilution.  Essential oils that appear to be safe include Cardamon, German and Roman Chamomile, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rosewood, Rose, Sandalwood, and other non-toxic essential oils.16 Before using any essential oils during pregnancy, check with your doctor first.  It would also be prudent to avoid the internal or undiluted application of essential oils throughout pregnancy.  See table 6 for essential oils to avoid during pregnancy
  • Keep aromatherapy products away from children under 12 and pets unless they have been approved for the correct application and usage by their health care provider or veterinarian.
  • Never take essential oils internally unless advised by a healthcare practitioner and Certified Clinical Aromatherapist.
  • All essential oils should be diluted with the exception of Tea Tree and Lavender which in most cases can be used directly on the skin (neat), but never on children under 12 or pets.
  • Avoid using essential oils when taking homeopathic remedies.
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol after aromatherapy massage.
  • With high blood pressure, avoid Rosemary, Peppermint, Black Pepper, Clove, Thyme, Hyssop, Sage
  • Low blood pressure – avoid excessive use of Lavender oil.
  • Epilepsy – avoid Fennel, Hyssop, and Rosemary.

Essential Oil Application Therapy on the Skin

General safety guidelines include: avoid application of known dermal irritant essential oils on any inflammatory or allergic skin condition; avoid undiluted application; avoid application on the open or damaged skin; and dilute known dermal irritants with appropriate vegetable oil or another carrier. If you suspect your or a client has sensitive skin, perform a skin patch test. Table 1 lists some, but not all, common essential oils considered to be dermal irritants.

Dermal Irritants (Table 1)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Bay Pimento racemosa
Cinnamon bark or leaf Cinnamomum zeylanicum*
Clove bud Syzygium aromaticum
Citronella Cymbopogon nardus
Cumin Cuminum cyminum
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
Lemon verbena Lippia citriodora
Oregano Origanum vulgare
Tagetes Tagetes minuta
Thyme ct. thymol Thymus vulgaris

*bark is more irritating than leaf

Dermal sensitization

Dermal sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. It occurs on first exposure to a substance, but on this occasion, the noticeable effect on the skin will be slight or absent. However, subsequent exposure to the same material, or to a similar one with which there is cross-sensitization, produces a severe inflammatory reaction brought about by cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes). The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, which may be painful to some individuals.

The best way to prevent sensitization is to avoid known dermal sensitizers and avoid applying the same essential oils every day for lengthy periods of time. Sensitization is, to an extent, unpredictable, as some individuals will be sensitive to a potential allergen and some will not.

According to Burfield (2004), the following oils listed in Table 2 are considered to be dermal sensitizers and are not recommended for use in aromatherapy massage.

Dermal Sensitizers (Table 2)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
Cinnamon bark Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Peru balsam Myroxylon pereirae
Verbena absolute Lippia citriodora
Tea absolute Camellia sinensis
Turpentine oil Pinus spp.
Backhousia Backhousia citriodora
Inula Inula graveolens
Oxidized (rancid) oils from Pinaceae family (e.g., Pinus and Cupressus species) and Rutaceae family (e.g., citrus oils)

Photosensitization

An essential oil that exhibits this quality will cause burning or skin pigmentation changes, such as tanning, on exposure to the sun or similar light (ultraviolet rays). Reactions can range from a mild color change through to deep weeping burns.

Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client stays out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photosensitizing essential oils were applied to the skin. Certain drugs, such as tetracycline, increase the photosensitivity of the skin, thus increasing the harmful effects of photosensitizing essential oils under the necessary conditions. Table 3 lists some, but not all, common essential oils considered to be photosensitizers.

Photosensitizers (Table 3)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Angelica root Angelica archangelica
Bergamot unless bergaptene free Citrus bergamia
Cumin Cuminum cyminum
Distilled or expressed grapefruit (low risk) Citrus paradisi
Expressed lemon Citrus limon
Expressed lime Citrus medica
Orange, bitter (expressed) Citrus aurantium
Rue Ruta graveolens

Non-phototoxic citrus oils (Table 4)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Bergamot: Bergapteneless
(FCF: Furanocoumarin Free)
Citrus bergamia
Distilled lemon Citrus limon
Distilled lime Citrus medica
Mandarin – Tangerine Citrus reticulata
Sweet orange Citrus sinensis
Expressed tangerine Citrus reticulata
Yuzu oil (expressed or distilled) Citrus juno

Mucous membrane irritant

A mucous membrane irritant will produce a heating or dry effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes, nose, and reproductive organs. It is recommended that mucous membrane irritating essential oils not be used in a full body bath unless placed in a dispersant first (e.g., milk, vegetable oil). It would also be wise to put the dispersed essential oils into the water after you have gotten into the bath. Bay, clove, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and thyme. Thymol essential oils should be avoided in baths completely. Table 5 lists some, but not all, common essential oils considered to be mucous membrane irritants.

Mucous membrane irritants (Table 5)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Bay Pimento racemosa
Caraway Carum carvi
Cinnamon bark or leaf Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Clove bud or leaf Syzygium aromaticum
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
Peppermint Mentha x piperita
Thyme ct. thymol Thymus vulgaris

Pregnancy

The use of essential oils during pregnancy is a controversial topic and one that is yet to be fully understood. The main concern during pregnancy appears to be the risk of essential oil constituents crossing over into the placenta. According to Tisserand and Balacs, crossing the placenta does not necessarily mean that there is a risk of toxicity to the fetus; this will depend on the toxicity and the plasma concentration of the compound. It is probable that essential oil metabolites cross the placenta due to the intimate (but not direct) contact between maternal and embryonic or fetal blood. Tony Burfield goes on to say, “to my thinking the responsible attitude is to discourage the use of essential oils completely during the first few months of pregnancy”.

Due to the lack of clear information regarding the toxicity of essential oils during pregnancy, it would be best to adhere to general safety guidelines. According to Tisserand and Balacs, the following essential oils should not be used during pregnancy: wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop.

Essential oils that appear to be safe include cardamon, German and Roman chamomile, frankincense, geranium, ginger, neroli, patchouli, petitgrain, rosewood, rose, sandalwood, and other non-toxic essential oils. It would also be prudent to avoid the internal or undiluted application of essential oils throughout pregnancy.

Essential oils to Avoid throughout Pregnancy, Labor, and while Breastfeeding (Table 6)

Essential Oil Latin Name
Aniseed Pimpinella anisum
Basil ct. estragole Ocimum basilicum
Birch Betula lenta
Camphor Cinnamomum camphora
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Parsley seed or leaf Petroselinum sativum
Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium
Sage Salvia officinalis
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus
Thuja Thuja occidentalis
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium

General Safety Precautions & Guidelines

  1. Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client stays out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photosensitizing essential oils were applied to the skin.
  3. Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils.
  4. Avoid the use of essential oils you know nothing about on yourself or your clients. Research and get to know the oil prior to using it.
  5. Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin, unless otherwise indicated.
  6. If you suspect you or your client may be sensitive to specific essential oils or if your or your client has known allergies or sensitivities, it may be wise to perform a skin patch test.
  7. Know the safety data on each essential oil and place into the context of use and knowledge.
  8. Use caution when treating a female client who suspects she is pregnant or has been trying to become pregnant.
  9. Keep essential oils away from the eyes.
  10. Essential oils are highly flammable substances and should be kept away from direct contact with flames, such as candles, fire, matches, cigarettes, and gas cookers.
  11. Make sure your treatment room has good ventilation.
  12. Do not use essential oils internally or advise on the use of essential oils internally unless you have been properly trained in one of NAHA’s approved schools and you have met the required hours of training to do so.  At this point, only those who have graduated and become a Clinical Aromatherapist have the training to prescribe essential oils.  If you advise on the use of essential oils for internal use and are not a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, you are practicing medicine without a license and it is illegal.

Safety Measures

  1. If essential oil droplets accidentally get into the eye (or eyes) a cotton cloth or similar should be imbued with a fatty oil, such as olive or sesame, and carefully wiped over the closed lid. And / Or, Immediately flush the eyes with cool water.
  2. If an essential oil causes dermal irritation, apply a small amount of vegetable oil or cream to the area affected and discontinue use of essential oil or product that has caused dermal irritation.
  3. If a child or animal appears to have drunk several spoonfuls of essential oil, contact the nearest poison control unit (often listed on the front of a telephone directory). Keep the bottle for identification and encourage the child to drink whole or 2% milk. Do not try to induce vomiting.

Used with permission by NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy)

Essential Oils for Grief.

I am already such a huge fan of essential oils and their healing ways.  I love how they address body, mind and spirit.  We lost an adventurous, kind, and joyful friend this month to an Avalanche.  I wanted to make an essential oil blend for his partner, knowing that just smelling these oils or wearing them would be something simple enough that she could manage to do.  I had the advantage of knowing that she is very drawn to Frankincense, so I knew that this sacred oil would be part of the blend.  Frankincense is also one of the best choices for grief. As I did some further research, I found it very fitting that many of the oils that come up for comfort and support are the tree oils.  Both of them were most at home in wild places.  I chose atlas cedar, cypress, noble fir, and some bergamot to blend with the frankincense.  The result made me feel comforted immediately like I was with family and held.  Others who also smelled it had a similar experience.  Oh, the plants and their mystical, healing ways.  I am forever in their gratitude.  Here is the blend if you ever want to make some for yourself or for someone you know that could use it.  These oils are meant to be inhaled, diffused, or diluted with a carrier oil.  Or put a drop on a pillow case, shirt sleeve, or tissue.  10 drops frankincense, 5 drops atlas cedar, 5 drops cypress, 5 drops bergamot and 2 drops noble fir.  

Aromatherapy Ylang – Ylang.

Cananga odorata

Ylang ylang is basically a tropical tree indigenous to Asia, especially Indonesia. The blossoms of this tree are used to prepare an essential oil that is widely used in manufacturing perfumes as well as in aromatherapy. The ylang-ylang essential oil is extracted by steam distilling the highly fragrant flowers of the tree. Ylang-ylang flowers have a profound and sweet aroma something akin to that of jasmine and in many cultures, they are scattered on the beds of the newly married as a sign of good luck or wishing fertility. For a long time, the essential oil obtained from ylang-ylang flowers was regarded as an aphrodisiac, denoting that its aroma stimulates the desire for sexual activities.

Ylang ylang essential oil possesses other therapeutic properties as well. It is comforting and soothing oil that brings about a general feeling of wellness. In addition, this essential oil is also said to be effective in lowering blood pressure, especially when the condition is a result of tension or shock. Since this essential oil has a very potent aroma, it remains for a longer period and even has the aptitude to suppress other comparatively lighter fragrances. As the fragrance of ylang-ylang is enduring, it works fine as a fixative in several perfumes. In fact, when ylang-ylang essential oil is combined with other suitable aromatic oils, it becomes all the more potent. This oil is also used in the manufacture of skin care products, especially those meant for treating oily skin as well as stressed skin.

The ylang-ylang trees bear blooms that vary in color – pink, cream, mauve or yellow. These flowers have a potent, unusual and flowery scent. Owing to its potent aroma which is similar to that of jasmine (botanical name Jasminum officinale) – an expensive flower, ylang-ylang is often referred to as ‘the poor man’s jasmine’.

Generally, the ylang-ylang flowers are collected in the morning for flowers picked during this time of the day are best for preparing essential oil through steam distillation. In fact, the aroma of ylang-ylang flowers is most potent during the morning and afternoon. Normally, the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers collected in the morning are of superior quality in the first distillation, while the latter distillations are somewhat lesser in excellence. The lesser quality ylang-ylang essential oil is sold as Cananga instead of ylang-ylang.

As discussed earlier, the ylang-ylang trees produce flowers having extremely sweet and floral scent. In the Malayan language, the term ylang-ylang actually denotes ‘flower of flowers’ or a superior quality flower. The ylang-ylang essential oil was used as an active element in the well-known Macassar hair oil during the Victorian era. Both men and women widely used the Macassar hair oil with a view to encouraging glossy hair growth. Presently, ylang-ylang essential oil is extensively used to manufacture floral perfumes.

Generally, ylang-ylang oil is considered to be warming and stimulating oil which also possesses aphrodisiac properties. The use of this essential oil has the aptitude to cause relaxation as well as inspire and inculcate a feeling of wellness among people. Ylang ylang essential oil is excellent for comforting the nerves, especially during stress, and also alleviates restiveness and tetchiness. A few drops of this essential oil added to bathwater or watered down for use as massage oil helps in promoting sound sleep. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also said to be highly effective in treating rapid breathing and palpitations or tremors. This essential oil is also helpful in alleviating premenstrual tension and depression. The other therapeutic properties of ylang-ylang essential oil include its effectiveness to combat typhus, malaria and other types of fevers.

It may be noted here that ylang-ylang essential oil is frequently used in the form of candles, in baths or in oil burners to create a romantic setting or to work as an aphrodisiac prior to making love. In addition, this essential oil may also be diluted in suitable carrier oil and used for massage. The ylang-ylang blooms possess a potent flowery scent that invokes the feelings of the tropics. Using this essential oil as a dab in a cotton ball endures for several hours.

Like in the case of rose and jasmine, ylang-ylang flowers too must be picked early in the morning and prepared immediately for steam distillation. In fact, ylang-ylang flowers are processed by steam distillation infractions. In other words, this means that the steam distillation of the ylang-ylang flowers is stopped at various stages of the process and the oil is collected during the intervals. After the oil is collected, the distillation process is started once again.

As in the case of all other essential oils, even the quality of ylang-ylang essential oil also differs from one distillery to another. In addition, the quality of this essential oil also varies depending on the crop condition for a particular season and the time selected for harvesting the flowers and distilling them. In fact, very little proficiency is required on the part of the distiller as this wonderful oil can be obtained without much effort. The fact that ylang-ylang essential oil is quite inexpensive denotes that there is little or no room for the distillers’ art to produce this oil.

In fact, there are three fractions in the process involving preparing the ylang-ylang essential oil by vapor distillation. In other words, the distillation process is halted thrice. The first distillation of ylang-ylang flowers yields the highest quality of the essential oil and is believed to be possessing maximum insubstantial fragrance. This quality of ylang-ylang essential oil is highly prized by the perfume manufacturers. In fact, the different stages of steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers are determined according to the principle that cannot be easily described. Nevertheless, the distillation stage is split by the time taken to distil each fraction of the process.

While Ylang Extra is the most costly quality of essential oil obtained from the ylang-ylang flowers, Ylang I, II and III as well as Ylang Complete are also the complete distillation of this essential oil with no fractions or breaks during the process.

Ylang ylang is a superior variety of sesquiterpene (any specific terpene whose molecules contains 1.5 times as many atoms as a normal terpene). Ylang ylang III is the final fraction of the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of the plant and it is collected during the final hours of the distillation process. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is somewhat viscous, cruder and not as sweet oil as the other varieties of this essential oil. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is also more or less wholly made of sesquiterpenes. It may be mentioned here that sesquiterpenes are basically a category of chemical substances naturally present in higher plant and also found naturally in different alcohols. It may also be noted that sesquiterpenes are hardly present in volatile or unstable aromatic oils. When sesquiterpenes are extracted from the plants, these chemicals are known to invigorate the liver and endocrine glands. In fact, the potent antispasmodic and sedative properties of the ylang-ylang essential oil are attributed to the presence of sesquiterpenes.

Inhaling ylang-ylang essential oil is beneficial for overcoming fear as well as nervous tension. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil should be considered foremost among all essential oils when an individual requires help to regulate as well as balance his or her nervous system. This essential oil is effective in facilitating one’s respiration for slower and more rhythmic breathing and is useful for treating panic attacks. Findings of several types of research have demonstrated that ylang-ylang essential oil invigorates the central nervous system and facilitates alleviating depression.

The essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of ylang-ylang plant is a wonderful natural treatment for comforting tachycardia (rapid heart rate) as well as high blood pressure or hypertension. Ylang ylang essential oil is frequently used in massage oil lubricants and is reputed to provide relief from throbbing muscles and pains. This essential oil is beneficial for treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as mood swings. In addition, it is also an effective remedy for lessening emotional blockage or congestion in the region of the heart.

Ylang ylang essential oil is specifically feminine or yin oil and is said to be obsessive and alive with sensations. You may try using this essential oil at times when you require integration as well as healing the shadow elements of the Divine Feminine. Ylang ylang essential oil helps to activate the Divine Feminine’s inexplicable magnetism as well as an aptitude for living life completely. The essential oil obtained by steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers invigorates sensations of delight and self-confidence. It can also be effective in prevailing over performance nervousness.

This oil is regularly used in fragrances meant for men and is said to be a therapeutic oil for men. Ylang ylang essential oil endorses a man’s relation and expression of the womanly and instinctive part of his nature. You may consider combining ylang-ylang essential oil with petitgrain, bergamot or any spice or wood oil to diminish the intoxicating flowery quintessence of ylang-ylang essential oil. At the same time, ylang-ylang essential oil has the aptitude to facilitate counterbalancing protective coping approaches that are able to result in aggressive types of the communique. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil helps to coordinate the mind and emotions. At the same time, it mitigates present attitudes, mental approaches as well as opinions. It also encourages straightforward communication with other people. You may use ylang-ylang essential oil to comfort the nerves in stressful circumstances.

Ylang ylang is beneficial for the functioning of the kidneys as well as the adrenal gland. In addition, this essential oil is excellent for people with feeble knees and suffering from loss of bladder control.

Traditionally, ylang-ylang essential oil has been used for beauty and skin care since the hormones of this plant encourage the renewal of the cells. Using this essential oil bring in a balance in moisture retention by the skin, which is effective for maintaining the natural sebum production by the skin. This particular attribute of ylang-ylang essential oil makes it an appropriate remedy for different types of skin – sensitive, oily as well as dry mature. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil promotes the growth of healthy and lusty hair and may perhaps also be beneficial for people enduring split ends. To obtain the utmost benefit, add a few drops of this oil to your preferred hair conditioner or shampoo and use it on your scalp.

In aromatherapy, ylang-ylang oil is primarily used for its potent antiseptic properties that help to comfort, soothe, balance as well as work as a tranquilizer. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also beneficial as a stimulant for the reproductive system and has the aptitude to heal sexual problems of an individual. The other therapeutic properties of this essential oil include treating problems, such as insomnia or sleeplessness, hyperactivity in children and tension. Moreover, this essential oil is effective in alleviating problems associated with oily and arid/ dry skin. It is effective for most types of skin care. Ylang ylang essential oil also supports hair growth.

Ylang ylang is an effective essential oil that soothes as well as provides comfort. This attribute of ylang-ylang helps to alleviate nervousness, depression, shock, insecurity, anger as well as obstinacy. When you use this oil it will facilitate in overcoming all such problems. In addition, similar to the essential oil obtained from rose (botanical name rosa Damascena) and sandalwood essential oil (botanical name santalum album), the oil extracted from steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers also acts as an aphrodisiac. Moreover, ylang-ylang essential oil often forms an active element of several perfumes and cosmetics. It is also used to flavor foods and beverages.

General Properties:

  • antiseptic
  • aphrodisiac
  • relaxing
  • stimulant

Blends Well With:

  • bergamot
  • jasmine
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • patchouli
  • rose
  • rosewood
  • sandalwood

General Use:

  • anemia
  • anorexia
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • boils and carbuncles
  • colds
  • coughs
  • dandruff
  • depression
  • flatulence
  • fluid retention
  • glandular fever
  • gout
  • immune system
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • low blood pressure
  • mouth infections
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • nervous exhaustion
  • poor circulation
  • poor memory
  • rheumatism
  • rhinitis
  • scabies
  • sinusitis
  • ulcers
  • urinary infections
  • whooping cough
  • wounds and sores

Precautions:

Be careful, high concentrations of ylang-ylang essential oil can cause nausea or a headache.

A Simple Recipe for Your Hands Using Lavender.

Manicurists charge a lot for hot oil hand treatments.
Here is a delightfully simple recipe you can create for less.
1 tablespoon olive or other cooking oil
1 teaspoon almond extract or 1 drop lavender essential oil {optional}
2 small plastic bags that will fit over your hands
1. Place the oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on medium-high for a few seconds until it is warm, not hot. Add almond extract or lavender, if desired. Stir.
2. Rub the oil on your hands, massaging your fingers and palms. Cover your hands with the plastic bags and wrap a clean hand towel over the bags. Sit comfortably for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the bags and rinse your hands with warm water, massaging away the oil. Gently pat dry with the towel and apply a light hand lotion.

How To Apply A Face Mask, Recipes to Get You Started & A Little Bit About Wrinkles!

Woman have used face masks for centuries to clean and tone the skin and give it a glowing vitality. Face masks give their best results if used regularly once a week is not often.
1. To make the process easier, sit or stand in front of a mirror. Cover your shoulders with a clean towel and have a damp washrag or hand towel ready for wiping up any drips.
2. Apply the mask with a clean cotton ball or with your fingers. The mask should cover your face from the hairline to the chin, missing only the area around the eyes.
3. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes the first few times you use it. Later, if your skin is not irritated and you like the mask’s effects, you can slowly increase the time to 30 minutes. To best enjoy the facial mask, lie down, shut your eyes, and relax while the mask is working.
4. When the time is up, remove the mask with your fingers over a basin. If the mask has dried, splash warm water on your face and try again to remove the mask with your fingers. Then use a wet washcloth to remove the last residue of the mask. Finally, splash your face with cool water, pat the skin dry, and apply a toner.
Facial Cleansing Mask.
This simple recipe is aimed at deep cleansing and is especially suited for young faces and the treatment of oily skin.
1 packet dry yeast
3 drops lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, lemon juice, and water vigorously until thick paste forms. If necessary, add more water to achieve the correct consistency for applying to the face.
2. Pat the mixture on the face, avoiding the eyes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Pat skin dry.
Honey Mask.
The ingredients in this mask would make up a solid breakfast, but they’re nourishing for your skin too!
1/2 cup hot water
10 tablespoons quick oats
1/2 apple, cored but with peel on
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg white
1. Clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser. In a small bowl, stir the oats into the hot water until you have a smooth mixture. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a paste.
2. Put the apple, yogurt, and egg white in a blender or food processor and pulse for 45 seconds just to mix. Now add oatmeal mixture and pulse for 20 seconds more.
3. Apply this mask evenly to the face, avoiding the eyes, and let sit for 15 minutes or until skin feels tight. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat skin dry.
Yogurt and Oatmeal Deep-Cleansing Mask.
Imagine!
You can mix up this deep-cleansing face mask for less than a spa-treatment.
Your face and pocketbook will thank you.
1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal
1 tablespoon yogurt {any kind}
1/2 teaspoon honey
1. Before starting, clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser so that you can immediately apply the deep-cleansing facial mixture when it has been stirred together.
2. In a clean bowl, combine the yogurt and oatmeal and mix to a spreadable consistency. In a small glass bowl sitting in a larger bowl of hot water, warm the honey and pour it into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture. Using a spoon, blend the ingredients thoroughly.
3. Immediately apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eyes, and let it stay on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash  it off with warm water. Pat skin dry and apply a toner and moisturizer to your face.
Green Clay Purifying Face Mask.
Green clay also known as bentonite is the most commonly used clay in face masks. It can absorb large quantities of water. In this mask, it is used to draw out excess sebum and dirt from deep down, making the mask suited to oily complexions. Green clay powder can be purchased online or in health food stores.
Palmarosa is an essential oil available at health food or “new age” shops.
1 teaspoon apricot kernel oil
2 drops palmarosa
1 tablespoon green clay
Warm water
1. Clean your face thoroughly using any natural cleanser. In a small dish, mix the apricot oil and the palmarosa together. Put the green clay in a small bowl and stir in the apricot oil mixture. Add just enough warm water to make a spreadable paste. With your fingers, work the mixture thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.
2. Apply the mask immediately, avoiding the eyes. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. As the moisture evaporates, you will feel the mask tighten.
3. Rinse the mask off with warm water, pat skin dry, and follow with an application of toner and then of moisturizer.
One-Minute Substitute: Instant Grape Cleanser for Your Face.
Here’s a sweet way to clean and refresh your skin.
Split 3 or 4 large green or red grapes, remove any seeds and rub the fleshy interior on your face and neck. The grapes condition your skin and reduce dryness, restoring suppleness. Rinse with cool water and gently pat skin dry.

Wrinkles!

A woman has never heard anyone stating that men appear to be prudent as well as eminent when they have wrinkles while women having wrinkles seem to look old. While the baby boomers of the day draw close to middle age, sales of cosmetics are rocketing. The most widespread outlook toward aging in present times is, ‘age elegantly by combating it in each stage of the way’. In fact, you will find that most of the bathroom cabinets are packed with jars, chemical peels, elixirs, and potions that intend to hoodwink Mother Nature. However, it is fateful that wrinkles triumph every time when one tries to conceal them.

It is unfortunate that in spite of our passion and endeavors to wipe out wrinkles, they are a normal feature of the aging process. They occur owing to the slow but steady erosion of the most external skin layer known as epidermis that is made up of lifeless tissue. This part of our skin is replaced by new dead tissue that originates at the base of the lining. In fact, wrinkles form an everlasting aspect of aging skin, as they come from the dermis that lies deeper compared to the epidermis.

The cells in the dermis region of the skin start dying and also shrink in individuals who are over 25 years of age. As a result of this, the suppleness, as well as pliability of the skin, also begins to decline. Any kind of shriveling of the skin tissue in the dermis region results in wrinkles on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). In addition, as people age, their dermis turns out to be more inflexible. The stretching of the dermis is directly related to developing wrinkles – any increase in the expansion of the dermis results in the development of more wrinkles on the epidermis. And, since our face and the facial muscles are very active, usually there is a significant development of wrinkles in these areas of the body.

In opposition to the well-accepted conviction, dry skin or dehydration is not responsible for developing wrinkles. However, pulling a face (frowning) and narrowing your eyes (squinting) too often do result in the development of wrinkles, as these acts stretch the dermis all the time. In addition, scrubbing your skin using any caustic or harsh substance, a deficient intake of vitamins as well as minerals, smoking, consuming alcoholic beverages, damage caused to the skin due to radiation from exposing oneself to too much sunlight, and even sleeping on your stomach or any side contributes to the development of wrinkles.

Using specific herbal products and dietary supplements may be helpful in preventing the development of new wrinkles. For instance, it has been found that taking a diet that is rich in saturated fat content may make your skin dry. Hence, you should ensure that you take a diet that has low-fat content, but includes lots of fiber. In addition, you should preferably use monounsaturated oils and polyunsaturated oils. Also, ensure that your diet includes essential fatty acids in the way of omega 3 oils. Some of the healthy oils that you may use to avoid wrinkles include corn, sunflower, safflower, olive, sesame, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, canola, hazelnut, and almond.

Moreover, you should also keep away from shortening animal fats, coconut oil and hydrogenated oil. On the contrary, you should take a diet that incorporates plenty of raw vegetable and fruits; whole grains; lean meats, dairy products having low fat; and also drink lots of clean water.

Some of the other essential nutrients that you need to prevent new wrinkles from developing are discussed in brief below.

Vitamin A plus beta-carotene: You should take antioxidants that have the aptitude to diminish the damage to cells. Having an extremely dry skin may possibly be a sign of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin A. Therefore, in a number of instances using cod liver oil that has extremely high vitamin A content on the dehydrated skin areas may provide additional relief compared to the lotions sold commercially. Also, consume lots of sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, as they provide vitamin A. You may also use dietary supplements in measures that will not cause any harm to your body. Most importantly, consuming lots of carrots, green leafy vegetable, and fresh fruits may help in encouraging as well as sustaining a hale and hearty skin.

B complex vitamins are vital for your skin’s health. It may be noted that formation of cracks as well as a line in the region of the lips may possibly be an indication of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of B vitamins. Food products like eggs, chicken as well as whole wheat contain B vitamins and may help in encouraging the health of your skin and make it appear more youthful.

Vitamin C is useful for repairing the connective tissues, which are made up of the skin’s dermis layer.

Vitamin E aids in lessening scratches and blemishes, while helping in repairing the skin. In addition, vitamin E is also effective in alleviating dehydrated as well as rough skin.

Unlike many other types of vitamins, you may directly apply vitamin E to your skin. Most of the vitamin E preparations available commercially do not contain this vitamin in adequate strength and, hence, they do not offer excellent results. Hence, it is advisable that you break open a vitamin E capsule or, alternately, directly apply wheat germ oil.

In addition to these vitamins, you may also apply honey facials as they aid in making the skin softer as well as more elastic. Apply soft, raw honey on your face and allow it to remain for about 15 minutes. Subsequently, wash your face with cold water using a washcloth.

Filter one pint of tea prepared from dehydrated peppermint leaf and add it to one pint of apple cider vinegar. This blend is an excellent facial rinse and is especially recommended for people having dehydrated skin. You may also use watered down myrrh extract, which is believed to be an excellent herbal skin conditioner.

Aloe vera facilitates the healing of damaged skin cells and may be used in the form of a lotion or gel.

Several generations of native Indian Americans have used jojoba oil as a skin conditioner as well as to enhance the quality of their skin. The structure of jojoba oil is akin to the natural sebum present in our skin.

Though the name suggests some kind of earth, Redmond clay is basically a conventional herbal therapy used to tone up the skin.

Comfrey, marshmallow, and Irish moss are herbs that possess the ability to make the skin relax or soothe it. These herbs are known to possess emollient properties and have the aptitude to help in lubricating the dehydrated skin. They may be used in various forms, including wet compresses, rinses after preparing a tea from them, or utilized in a gadget called facial mist machine.

Herbs like witch hazel, lady’s mantle, and marigold are regarded to be natural astringent agents that have the ability to tone as well as invigorate the skin. These herbs may be used to prepare a tea, which is used as a rinse, or also sprayed on the face using a good mist atomizer. In addition, herbs like yarrow, violet, elderflower and chamomile work as excellent cleansers. On the other hand, thyme and lavender possess antiseptic properties and possess the aptitude to refresh the skin.

It is advisable that you may also use herbal ointments and creams enclosing comfrey, marigold, olive oil, peppermint oil and marshmallow, as they are effective in repairing damaged skin.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is effective in diminishing the wrinkles from appearing and also put off development of new wrinkles. In order to achieve this, it is advisable that you use face oil that helps to nourish the skin. Prepare this face oil by adding one drop of rose essential oil plus two drops of helichrysum or immortelle essential oil (commonly called ever last) to approximately 30 grams of the essential oil of rose hip seed. Store this blend in an opaque glass bottle and spread on this mixture to your face each morning, soon after cleansing. This mixture of essential oils has a wonderful aroma and also helps to sustain the moistness of the skin.

In Addition

Besides using commercial cosmetic products, herbal remedies, supplements and aromatherapy, you may do a few more things to prevent the development of wrinkles. Be careful to keep away from exposing yourself to the sun for too long or during the mid-day. In fact, when the new or young skin cells are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period, they have the same appearance as those of the old skin that has developed wrinkles naturally. You should know that exposing yourself to the sun in an unprotected manner can definitely result in premature aging. The sunlight during midday causes maximum damage to the skin. Therefore, it is advisable that you should take care not to expose yourself to the sun between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm.

Even if it is essential for you to go outdoors during the day, you should use potent sunscreens having an elevated SPF (sun protection factor). You need to apply these sunscreens no less than 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun and you should apply them once more after having a swim. In addition, surfaces that are extremely reflective, for instance, water, concrete, and sand, may result in significant damage by the sun as these surfaces exaggerate the effect of sunlight on the cells of the skin. In addition, tanning booths may also cause as much damage to the skin as sunlight during midday.

In addition, you will benefit by using a good quality moisturizer every day. Although using a moisturizer will not help to stop the formation of wrinkles, it can definitely enhance the skin texture considerably and make it look softer and gleaming. You may also whip the egg white as fine as that of meringue and apply it to your face. Allow it to stay for about 20 minutes and then wash your face. This technique will aid in tightening your skin for the short term – usually, the effect of this endures for just a couple of hours. It is advisable that you use soaps and cleansers that are mild and those that will not dehydrate or remove the oils that aid in maintaining the suppleness of the skin as well as nourishing it. You may use soaps like Neutrogena, which are sufficiently mild and never disturb the skin’s normal balance.

At the same time, you need to practice sleeping on your back, because when you sleep on your stomach or any side, it may result in the development of unusual wrinkles on your face. Similarly, if you squeeze up the pillow and cuddle up your face in it, it is likely that this will crumple the facial tissues and develop unwanted lines.

If you sincerely wish to avoid the formation of wrinkles it is essential that you quit a few bad habits – drinking and smoking tobacco.

It has been noted that people who smoke generally have noticeably more wrinkles compared to those who don’t. In addition, people smoking tobacco also age more prematurely and faster. In effect, smoking reduces the supply of oxygen to the body and this may result in poor blood circulation to the face causing further damage to the epidermis. Moreover, when one is actually smoking, his/ her face contracts in a number of ways and this may also add to the development of wrinkles and creases.

People who want to avoid wrinkles should know that consumption of alcoholic beverages may result in the swelling of the face that causes the skin to expand and, in this way, creates wrinkles. In addition, alcohol may also deprive one’s body of the essential nourishments that encourage the robust functioning of the skin’s cells.

You also need to wear sunglasses and hats in order to put off frowning, straining your eyes and also damage due to the sun’s rays.

In case you are living in a dry climate, you need to use a humidifier in your residence. Although the moisture from the humidifier will not help to stop or treat wrinkles, it may definitely diminish their appearance or other people noticing them.

Ensure that you use facial massages that augment blood circulation and also enhance stimulation. In addition, you should work to maintain the best possible weight. When you have excessive weight or become obese, you may have wrinkles and floppy skin after losing those extra pounds.

Regular exercise helps to improve blood circulation to the cells of the skin and also results in the general improvement of oxygenation. It has been found that the skin of people who undertake regular work-outs in general has an enhanced suppleness and density. In addition, regular exercise adds a healthy radiance to the skin.

In addition, it is recommended that you do mudra and shoulder stand practices in yoga to avoid as well as control the formation of wrinkles.

Practice various relaxation methods to deal with stress. When people are under pressure, they usually frown too much and this results in the development of ugly creases and lines on their face. There is no doubt that people would any day have a preference to laugh lines than unsightly furrows and ridges on their face.

Although the wrinkle creams are usually very expensive, often they do not prove to be worth the claims made by some. Therefore, prior to spending a fortune, it is advisable that you do some homework to evaluate the constituents as well as the proportions of chemical substances present in some wrinkle cream/ ointment brands. A lot of times, the price of a wrinkle cream is based on its brand name instead of its contents.

Other Beneficial Herbs to Consider

  • Amla
  • Acerola
  • Andiroba
  • Avocado
  • Chaga Mushroom
  • Cleavers
  • Evening Primrose
  • Frankincense
  • Maqui
  • Tamanu Nut Oil

A Few Soothing And Nurturing Skin Care Recipes To Tempt You!

Soothing Massage Oil.

1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil

Dried pot marigold petals

12 drops essential oil of rose geranium

12 drops essential oil of lavender

10 drops essential pine oil or oil of cypress

Place the safflower oil in a glass jar and add as many freshly dried pot marigold petals as possible.

Cap the bottle and place in the sun for 4-5 days. Filter off the petals and squeeze out any retained oil from them before discarding. The oil will now be deep orange and fully charged with the active healing principles of calendula. Mix the other essential oils into the infused oil of marigold, bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Soothing Foot Bath.

This relaxing foot soak will work wonders on your entire body.

Use a large dishpan or kiddie tub if you don’t have a special foot tub.

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 drops lavender essential oil

1 drop rosemary essential oil

1 drop bay essential oil

1 drop geranium essential oil

Rose petals {optional}

1. Fill the soaking pan or tub with enough warm water to cover the feet.

2. Stir in the sea salt until it dissolves. Use your toes to stir, if you wish. Add the essential oils, mixing them well. Float rose petals on the surface.

3. Soak your feet in the basin for 10 minutes, or until the water has cooled off. Pat your feet dry with a towel.

Eucalyptus Foot Lotion.

Use this rich and refreshing foot lotion to follow the *Soothing Foot Bath, or simply to salve sore feet.

1 tablespoon almond oil

1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon wheat germ oil

10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

1. Put all the ingredients in a small, sterilized glass bottle with a tight-fitting stopper. Shake the liquid vigorously until it is completely combined.

2. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place. Shake well before using.

Love Your Feet Cream.

Our feet take a lot of abuse.
Here’s a special treatment to apply to dry, cracked feet that will leave them soft and pretty and costs less than a visit to the salon for a pedicure.
1 ounce grated or shaved beeswax
3/4 cup almond oil
1. Place the beeswax and almond oil in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir together until they are blended and the wax has melted. Remove from heat and pour into two 4-ounce sterilized containers with tight tops.
2. Allow mixture to cool before applying to feet. Spread on feet at night before bedtime. Wear a pair of clean cotton socks over the cream. In the morning, your feet will be much softer.

Leg Massage Cream.

Treat yourself to a massage from your knees to your toes with this easy-to-make cream especially for the legs.
3 tablespoons anhydrous {water-free} lanolin
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apricot oil
1. Put all the ingredients together in the nonreactive top of a double boiler over simmering water. Heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the lanolin has liquefied.
2. Pour the mixture into a sterilized 4-ounce jar with a tight-fitting lid and allow to cool. Keep in a cool, dark place.

Strawberry Foot Scrub.

Can’t get to the spa for a luxury treatment for those tired feet?
Work this simple and sweetly scented natural scrub into your feet and feel like a queen.
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh strawberries
1. Pour salt into a mixing bowl. Add the oil and stir to combine. Remove caps from strawberries and slice or chop them. Add strawberries to the salt and oil mixture and mash with a potato masher or fork. The resulting mixture should be chunky but well blended.
2. Rub this mixture onto your feet, massaging the balls of the feet and the heels. If desired, use a body puff or foot brush. Rinse off and coat feet with a gentle lotion.
Makes enough for one treatment.

Inspiration for Winter Skin {Any Time of the Year}

When the weather is cold and dark, nature still provides us with seasonal herbs to help us look and feel our best. Warm, pungent cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace emit a comforting and delicious aroma while evergreens like juniper, fir, and cedar offer a crisp and invigorating breath of fresh air.
Here are a few recipes that incorporate these fragrant herbs.

Rosemary and Juniper Skin-Smoothing Scrub

Grapefruit, rosemary, and juniper essential oils are often used in cellulite-reducing formulas. While I certainly can’t promise that this blend of essential oils will eliminate cellulite, I will say that these herbs are reputed to improve skin tone, promote healthy circulation, and reduce water retention. Pure sea salt has a scrubbing texture that cleanses, purifies, and exfoliates dry winter skin while hazelnut oil moisturizes and tones. Hazelnut also has gentle astringent and skin-toning properties. {If you can’t find hazelnut, jojoba oil is a great substitute}.
1 cup fine sea salt
1/2 cup hazelnut oil
4 drops juniper essential oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil
6 drops grapefruit essential oil
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place in a wide-mouth plastic jar with a tight lid. To use: Rub gently all over the body. Rinse. Yield: one application.

Deep Forest Detox Bath

Before you get rid of your holiday tree or wreath, consider saving some of the needles to use in this calming bath. This formula is particularly nice if you have needles from the fragrant balsam fir greens, but the scent of most evergreens, such as fir, pine and cedarwood, are calming and helpful for detoxifying. Most of us can use a little post-holiday detox session.
1 cup sea salt
1 handful pine or fir needles {fresh or dried}
5 drops fir essential oil
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight plastic or glass container. To use: Tie a generous handful of this mixture into a muslin bag, square of cheesecloth, or an old, thin, washcloth. Draw a warm bath and add the herbal mixture. Soak for at least 20 minutes.

Eastern Spice Body Powder

I discovered the sweet, spicy scent of mace on a trip to my favorite spice shop. Not to be confused with the self-defense spray {originally manufactured under the name “Chemical Mace”}, the herb mace refers to a lace-like outer covering found on nutmeg seeds. It has a softer and sweeter scent than nutmeg, with a delicious hint of spice. The exotic and heady scent is well-suited to massage oils, perfumes, and bath products. Use a small, handheld coffee grinder to powder the dried mace for this recipe. {Mace adds a delicious flavor to coffee, but if you don’t want the two to mix, use a separate grinder.}
2 teaspoons dried mace, ground
1/2 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Combine ingredients thoroughly. If you desire a little extra “spice,” add ground cinnamon powder as well. Store the powder in an airtight container. To use: I prefer using a wide-mouth tin or jar and applying the powder with a soft fabric “puff.” However, you can also use a shaker powder or even a salt or cheese shaker to store and apply the powder.

Sweet Spice Milk Bath

This was a recipe I came up with as I was cleaning out my spice cupboard to make room for a batch of fresh new baking spices. The combination of the old spices smelled so divine, I had to create this recipe, and I’ve made it many times since. You can use any combination of spices that you have, but I find this recipe works best when it relies heavily on cinnamon and cloves, with smaller amounts of the other herbs. Milk baths in the winter are soothing and moisturizing to dry, winter skin, and don’t have the mess or slipperiness of a bath oil. I use a non-fat dry milk powder in this recipe because it’s easy to find and fairly inexpensive. If you’d like to make this recipe a bit more luxurious, substitute a full-fat dried milk powder. You can usually find this in the refrigerated section of your health food store.
1/4 cup dried spices, such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove
2 cups dried milk powder
 Combine all ingredients; stir well. Store extra milk bath in an airtight container. To use: Add 1/2 cup to a tub full of warm water and soak.

Bath Cookies; Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath; A Scented Bath Powder..

Bath Cookies

If you like experimenting with recipes in the kitchen, you’ll get a real kick out of making these “cookies” for the tub. Bakers will recognize the steps in dough-making, rolling, and baking, but there’s a twist!
Make one batch for yourself and another for friends.
2 cups fine sea salt
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus more for rolling dough
1/2 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon dried, chopped lavender or sage {optional}
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil {if necessary, break open several capsules}
8 drops essential oil or perfume oil of your choosing
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine salt, cornstarch, and baking soda. Stir in chopped herbs, if using. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil, vitamin E oil, and essential oil and keep stirring until you form a dough.
2. Rub cornstarch on a rolling pin and spread some on a work surface. Roll the dough out to about 3/4 inch. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a biscuit cutter. Place your “cookies” on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and store in a tight-topped cookie tin in a cool, dry place.
3. When ready to use, place one to two of your bath cookies into the tub as the water runs.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath.

Mixing up this pleasantly scented bath will give you a double benefit. You’ll gain as much pleasure making the concoction as you will from soaking in it. The combination of powdered milk, oatmeal, and cornstarch will leave you feeling silky and soft. The cinnamon will gently warm you and offer up a soothing aroma.
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup finely ground oatmeal
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and whirl to combine. Transfer into a clean, tightly covered, moisture-proof container, where it will keep indefinitely.

2. Add about 1/2 cup of the Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath to a full tub of warm water and enjoy the soak.

Delicately Scented Bath Powder.

This variation provides a lightly scented powder suitable for adults.
While alum is used as an antiperspirant and deodorant for adults, it is best to use a simple sprinkle of cornstarch on baby’s skin.
2 tablespoons crumbled dried chamomile flowers
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon orris root
1/2 teaspoon alum
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let stand a few days.

Chocolate: 7 Do It Yourself Treatment’s To Make You Say, "Mmm."

Here’s some news: Chocolate is good for your skin!
Many of us grew up with the concept that chocolate causes blemishes.
Instead, scientists have discovered that chocolate can contain more antioxidants per cup than red wine or green tea. In fact, certain compounds in chocolate even help smooth the skin and decrease its sensitivity to the sun.
Chocolate is good for your skin because of its high content of cocoa butter, which is a natural skin softener and conditioner. It is also an antioxidant, which means it prevents free radical damage to your skin and protects its natural elasticity. To receive the full benefit, choose commercial products or recipes with chocolate, cocoa and cocoa butter as the main ingredients. Also, dark chocolate seems to be much more effective than milk chocolate or white chocolate {which many argue is not really chocolate}. Chocolate is considered dark if it contains at least 35 percent cocoa.
In skin care, chocolate, cocoa and cocoa butter are all excellent moisturizers. Chocolate also contains caffeine which can stimulate your circulation and give your skin a healthy glow when used in a massage cream or body scrub. The scent of chocolate releases serotonin, the same hormone that we experience when falling in love and for many people promotes happy feelings and reduces stress. So next time you have a craving for something sweet enjoys a bit of chocolate with the bonus of better skin and a better mood.
Here are some cocoa-based recipes to create at home.
Mocha Facial Mask
Makes 4 ounces, enough for 1 application.
Facial masks are a great way to deep cleanse your skin so that it will work more efficiently. Plus, clean skin holds more moisture and looks brighter. The milk and espresso contain natural food acids that help rid your skin of surface debris and dead skin cells while the chocolate or cocoa powder helps condition and soothe your complexion. Use weekly to wake up a dull complexion!
4 tablespoons finely ground espresso or coffee
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 tablespoons whole milk
1. Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste.
2. Spread over a clean face and neck, avoiding the eye and mouth area.
3. Let sit for 15 minutes and rinse well with warm water.
Chocolate Walnut Body Polish
Makes 8 ounces.
Exfoliate weekly with a body scrub for healthy, glowing skin. This rich recipe, full of natural nut oils, will gently scrub and soften the skin all over your body. Ina pretty jar with a big bow, it also makes a wonderful gift. You can find walnut oil at the grocery store in the cooking oil section. You also might want to experiment with other natural nut oils, such as almond and macadamia.
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Stir together all ingredients until well mixed.
2. Standing in the shower or tub, massage into damp skin, rinse well and pat dry.
Chocolate Lip Balm
Makes 1/2 ounce.
Protect your lips this winter with a rich chocolate and cocoa butter lip balm. Cocoa butter, a key ingredient in chocolate, is a creamy, fatty wax that is obtained from the seeds of the cocoa plant. You can find 100 percent cocoa butter at the drugstore it’s sold in sticks or small jars.
1 1/2 teaspoons grated cocoa butter
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon grated dark or milk chocolate
1-2 drops essential oil {optional, see note}
1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler on the stove top and gently melt until you have a smooth liquid.
2. Pour into a small jar or lip balm tube and allow to cool completely.
Note:
Try adding pure orange, mint or lavender essential oils for unique gourmet lip balms.
 
Hot Cocoa Bath
Makes 16 ounces, enough for 1 bath.
Milk baths are classic beauty basics. They are effective because the lactic acid in milk helps soften and soothe the skin. Chocolate milk is equally effective; combined with the power of honey, this yummy bath will refresh your skin. Be extra decadent and sip a cup of cocoa while bathing. It is especially relaxing in the evening before going to bed.
2 cups chocolate milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons mild liquid soap
1. Stir together all ingredients.
2. Pour under the running water as you fill your tub.
3. Bathe and relax for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cocoa Butter Cuticle Cream
Makes 1 ounce.
Cocoa butter is a popular ingredient in creams and lotions because of its smooth texture, chocolaty fragrance, and rich emollient properties. Many women use pure cocoa butter to rid their skin of stretch marks and scars. Combined with coconut oil, it is perfect for conditioning your cuticles. Massaging this cream into your cuticles daily will help boost circulation and promote healthy nail growth.
1 teaspoon cocoa butter grated
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1. Gently heat cocoa butter and coconut oil in a small pot until melted.
2. Stir well and pour into a clean dish or container. Allow to cool completely.
3. Massage a small amount into your cuticles.
Chocolate From The Ground Up
 
Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. This tree is native to Central America and Mexico and dates back to 1100 B.C. The Mesoamerican people used the seeds to make beverages. The seeds are dried, cleaned and roasted to produce cacao nibs, which are ground and processed into two different substances: cocoa and cocoa butter. Chocolate as we know it combines these two components, along with other ingredients such as sugar, milk, and sometimes herbs and spices.
Cocoa Mint Foot Scrub
Makes 6 ounces.
Invigorate your feet at the end of a tough day with this rich and minty scrub. The raw sugar scrub will smooth and cleanse while the cocoa butter makes your feet super soft. Peppermint oil is a well-known energizer. Use this scrub anytime your feet and spirits need a lift.
2 tablespoons coca butter, grated
2 tablespoons almond oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
4-5 drops peppermint essential oil
1. Gently heat cocoa butter and almond oil until cocoa butter melts; stir well.
2. Add sugar and peppermint oil and mix.
3. Massage into clean feet and rinse with warm water. If your feet are extremely dry, massage in a bit more cocoa butter and cover your feet with clean cotton socks for 15 to 20 minutes.
Chocolate Massage Butter
Makes 4 ounces.
This rich moisturizer is great for extra-dry skin or classic rough skin spots, such as feet, knees, and elbows. Also, this recipe can be used as the ultimate massage balm. Warm up a small amount between your palms and treat a loved one to a decadent and relaxing massage for chocolate lovers.
1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
1 tablespoon grated dark chocolate
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
1. Place all ingredients in a microwave-safe container or on the stovetop in a double boiler. Melt gently, stirring often.
2. Pour the hot liquid into a clean container. For small individual bars, pour into an ice cube tray and let cool completely.
3. Massage into clean skin.

Gypsy Herbal Astringent Lotion.

This wonderful herbal astringent lotion has been hailed as the first herbal product ever produced and marketed. Legend has it that the early Gypsies formulated it and claimed it to be a cure-all. Whether or not it is I hardly know, but I do know that it is an excellent astringent for the face and a great rinse for dark hair.

This Gypsy herbal astringent lotion combines gentle common herbs in a masterful way, it’s easy to make, and it’s a versatile formula that serves many purposes. The Gypsies used it as a hair rinse, mouthwash, headache remedy, aftershave, footbath, and who knows what else! I have seen this formula sold in department stores in exotic little bottles for a fancy price. You can make it for the cost of a few herbs and a bottle of vinegar.

  • 6 parts lemon balm
  • 4 parts chamomile
  • 4 parts roses
  • 3 parts calendula
  • 3 parts comfrey leaf
  • 1 part lemon peel
  • 1 part rosemary
  • 1 part sage
  • Vinegar to cover (apple cider or wine vinegar)
  • Rose water or witch hazel extract
  • Essential oil of lavender or rose (optional)
  1. Place the herbs in a widemouthed jar. Fill the jar with enough vinegar that it rises an inch or two above the herb mixture. Cover tightly and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 to 3 weeks.
  2. Strain out the herbs. To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 2/3 to 1 cup of rose water or witch hazel. Add a drop or two of essential oil, if desired. Rebottle. This product does not need to be refrigerated and will keep indefinitely.
  3.  To use: Pour a small amount of the toner onto a clean cotton ball and rub over your scalp or massage lightly into your scalp after shampooing.