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.

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.

Marshmallow

Althaea Officinalis

Also, Known As:

  • Althaea
  • Marshmallow
  • Mortification Root
  • Sweetweed

Found growing in abundance in moist and wet places all over the world, marshmallow is a perennial aromatic herb that is sometimes found to grow up to four feet in height. While the herb can be found growing in plenty in the wild, it is also cultivated commercially for medicinal use. The root of the plant is white in color and tastes sweet similar to the parsnip (a long tapering cream-colored root cooked and consumed as a vegetable). However, unlike the parsnip, marshmallow roots contain plenty of mucilage (a gummy substance secreted by some plants containing protein and carbohydrates). The plant has numerous branchless stems that are wooly or covered with long, soft, white hairs. The marshmallow stems bear serrate (edged with indentations or with projections that resemble the teeth of a saw) and pubescent (covered with down or fine hair) leaves. The flowers of the herb are approximately two inches in width and they may be found in white, light red or royal purple colors.

Ointment or cream prepared with marshmallow leaves and elder flowers is an excellent remedy to cure facial aching, skin rashes or eruptions, leg ulcers and repulsive-looking wounds more rapidly. To prepare the useful ointment, first gently mash about one gallon of fresh marshmallow leaves and mature flowers each. Next, spread out the mashed leaves and flowers uniformly in a big roast pan and add approximately two-and-one-fourth cups of liquefied lard and one-and-a-half pounds of beeswax. Blend and beat the ingredients systematically with a wooden serving spoon, cover the pan and allow the ingredients to simmer or boil on an oven in 150° F. Continue simmering the ingredients until the herbs are reasonably crunchy and crush when touched. Then drain out the liquid mixture using a wire net strainer and keep on stirring the liquid with a wooden ladle till it is completely cold. Once the mixture has cooled, you may add half a cup of glycerin or 2/3 cup of pulverized slippery elm to preserve the ointment. Next, pour the ointment into clean jars or containers while it is still fairly warm and let it become firm to some extent. Seal the jars with air-tight lids and store the ointment in a cool and dry place till it is required for use.

Parts Used:

Root, leaves, flowers.

Uses:

Researchers over the years have shown that marshmallow has numerous medicinal benefits, particularly in safeguarding and soothing the mucous membranes. The roots of the herb are effective in counteracting additional stomach acid, peptic ulcers as well as gastritis. In addition, marshmallow has moderate laxative (a substance used to promote bowel movements) properties and hence is helpful in healing several problems of the intestines, including colitis, ileitis, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Ingesting warm infusion of marshmallow leaves is effectual in curing cystitis as well as frequent urination. The demulcent (soothing irritated or inflamed skin or mucous membranes) properties of marshmallow offer respite from dry coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion or jamming of the bronchioles and even pleurisy. One may apply crushed fresh marshmallow flowers or a warm infusion prepared from the herb’s flowers to comfort the inflammatory (irritating and swelled) skin. On the other hand, marshmallow roots form a crucial ingredient of an ointment or cream that effectually cures boils and abscesses. The roots are also used in mouthwash for treating inflammation. In addition, peeled fresh roots of marshmallow can be given as a chew stick to teething infants.

Other medical uses
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Wrinkles

Habitat of Marshmallow:

Although the marshmallow is indigenous to Europe, over the years, the herb has acclimatized itself in the Americas where it is now commercially cultivated for medical use. Usually, marshmallow grows best in marshy lands. The above-ground parts of the plants are collected in summer when they just begin to blossom. On the other hand, the marshmallow roots are dug out or harvested during the autumn.

Constituents:

Marshmallow root contains about 37% starch, 11% mucilage, 11% pectin, flavonoids,  phenol acids, sucrose, and asparagine.

Usual Dosage:

Marshmallow can be ingested in various ways. One may consume a tea prepared with marshmallow both hot or cold. In order to prepare tea with marshmallow, add the herb’s roots and/ or leaves to cold or hot water and allow it to steep for some time. You may drink the tea three to five times every day. Extracts of the herb are also available in capsule and tablet forms. One may use these tablets or capsules that provide five to six grams of marshmallow daily. As an alternative, it may also be ingested as a tincture. Taking five to fifteen ml of marshmallow tincture three times every day is effective to cure several disorders.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions:

Researchers over the years have not found any side-effects of marshmallow application. The herb has been reported safe for use.

How Marshmallow Works in the Body:

What the mucilage presents in the marshmallow is the primary component that not only safeguards the body tissues but also soothes them during inflammation. While it is an established fact that marshmallow is extremely useful in soothing inflammations in conditions such as bronchitis, pleurisy, even dry cough and other respiratory problems, since ages the herb has also been used to protect and heal the digestive system. It is particularly useful in curing digestive system disorders such as ulcers and gastric inflammation which often lead to tetchy bowel syndrome and other symptoms. Marshmallow and its extracts are used in the urinary system to comfort the aggravated tissues in urinary tract infections like cystitis. Poultice prepared with marshmallow leaves and roots may be applied externally to heal skin problems like ulcers and boils. In fact, the herb has a double action – it soothes the irritation as well as heals the disorder.

Applications:

Flowers:
SYRUP: Syrup prepared from the infusion of the marshmallow flower is beneficial in curing various types of coughs. It may be used as a cough expectorant.
Leaves:
INFUSION: An infusion prepared by boiling and then cooling the marshmallow leaves may be used to cure bronchial and urinary disorders.
Root:
DECOCTION: In order to cure inflammations like esophagitis and cystitis (an inflammation of the urinary bladder owing to infections). To prepare the decoction, add 25 g of marshmallow root to one liter of water and then boil it down to about 750 ml. In certain cases, the decoction may require some dilution by adding water.
TINCTURE: Tinctures prepared from the marshmallow roots may be used to cure swellings and irritations (inflammation) of the mucous membrane in the digestive and urinary systems.
POULTICE: To prepare a poultice of marshmallow, use the plant’s root or a paste prepared from the powdered root blended with water. This poultice is effectual in curing skin irritations and swellings (inflammation) as well as ulcers.
OINTMENT: Ointments or creams prepared from marshmallow or its extracts are highly effectual in healing injuries, skin ulcers and even to even pull out unwarranted particles from the skin. To prepare an ointment with marshmallow, liquefy 50 g of lanolin, 50 g beeswax and 300 g of soft paraffin (a white colored waxy solid combination of hydrocarbons acquired from petroleum) collectively. Next, heat 100 g of powdered marshmallow root in these liquid fats for an hour over a water bath and after it cools, blend 100 g of powdered slippery elm bark by stirring.

Marshmallow Face Mask –

The marshmallow face mask is also apt for sensitive skin and the ingredients required to prepare it to include:

  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of a potent decoction prepared with marshmallow root
  • Superior quality oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 grams) of natural yogurt

Blend the marshmallow infusion and the yogurt and add the oatmeal. Stir the mixture thoroughly to prepare a paste. Apply this mixture uniformly and gently to your face.

Herbal Marshmallow Root Detangler.

marshmallow detanglerRecipe:
3 cups distilled water (purified will work in a pinch)
2 tablespoons marshmallow root
1 tablespoon horsetail
1 tablespoon oat straw
1 cup aloe vera juice (or so, read directions)
10-30 drops essential oil *optional

  1. Make an herbal decoction with the marshmallow root and water – Boil water and add marshmallow root then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Take off heat and remaining herbs. Let rest at least 15 more minutes.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve into the bottle when cool.
  4. Add aloe vera juice (if the infusion results in less than one cup, I just use equal parts aloe vera juice so its half infusion and half aloe).
  5. Spritz on comb or hair and get to work!

Eucalyptus {Eucalyptus globulus}

Also, Known As:

  • Blue Gum
  • Blue Gum Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fever Tree

The familiar tree known as the eucalyptus is indigenous to Australia. This popular quick growth tree is now cultivated in many other countries. The tree is one of the quickest growing tree species around; it is also among the world’s biggest and tallest trees. The eucalyptus grows successfully in many places with varied soils and climate. When fully grown, some sub-species of this tree can cross two hundred fifty feet in height. The eucalyptus is an efficient dry land tree, putting out a vast network of roots underground to probe for water. The efficient ability of the eucalyptus at scrounging water from the soil has been applied to great effect in draining marshy and waterlogged areas in land reclamation programs. This characteristic of the tree has proven to be of the greatest help in the complete reclamation of water bogged malarial swamps in many countries with hot and humid climates. For example, the malarial swamps in the Central American country of Guatemala were largely reclaimed by planting a large number of eucalyptus trees in the marshy wastelands that acted as the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Eucalyptus trees are characterized by the possession of bluish white colored bark, the bark easily peels off and many trees shed the bark. The tree bears green branchlets and foliage at the top. A white and waxy bloom coats the tender shoots and the leaves. The leaves of eucalyptus plants are dissimilar in shape and other characteristics, while the bluish green hue and sticky tender leaves tend to grow in opposite venation and are heart shaped, bluish-green, the mature green colored leaves grow in alternate venation, they are also lance-shaped and have a smooth texture. Eucalyptus has a peculiar pungent smell; this is due to the aromatic oil contained in the leaves and buds of the plant. This pungent scent is given off by crushed or bruised leaves.

Eucalyptus leaves are harvested and the aromatic oil is extracted for commercial purposes. For example, the essential ingredient in balms like the Vicks Vapo-Rub and other herbal remedies contains the aromatic eucalyptus oil. Vicks Vapo-Rub is a very popular over the counter mentholated herbal preparation and many millions of people have been using this remedy for many years to locally alleviate the symptoms of various respiratory disorders, particularly the symptoms of chronic asthma and bronchitis. The topical remedy is used by placing a small amount of the ointment on the chest of the affected person, following by a slow and gentle rub using the forefingers in a circular motion to spread out the soothing balm on the chest. A flannel cloth is at times laid over the skin rubbed with the Vapo-Rub – this results in warm stimulating and penetrating effect persisting for a longer time on the skin.

Among all native tree species in Australia, the Eucalyptus globulus species of tree is considered to be one of the most widely cultivated trees as far as commercial and non-commercial acreage is concerned. This tree species can be easily spotted at many of the parks and gardens in all Australian cities and urban centers. This tree has also been naturalized in many countries around the world. For example, Algeria on the North African coast, Brazil in South America, France, Spain, Portugal, and India all have fully naturalized and teeming populations of eucalyptus plants – the eucalyptus is almost cosmopolitan in distribution in the contemporary world and grows all over the world. Many Californians even regard the eucalyptus as a native species and are unaware that it is an introduced species due to its huge success there.

Eucalyptus is classified into four primary recognized sub-species – each of which differs from the other trees, in a range of physical or morphological characteristics that includes the type of bark, the habit and the arrangement of flowers when in bloom.

The Eucalyptus tree known as the “Tasmania blue gum” is botanically known as the – E. globulus tree. This sub-species of eucalyptus is found growing in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the island of Tasmania including a population in the islands of Bass Strait. This sub-species of eucalyptus can also be found in some areas in the southern part of the state of Victoria. This sub-species of eucalyptus is characterized by bearing flowers singly in the axils of the leaf. The bark of this sub-species is rough and most of the bark at the base of the tree trunk never peels off. The state of Tasmania uses the flowers of this subspecies of Eucalyptus as its floral emblem.

The subspecies of Eucalyptus called the “Maiden’s gum” is botanically called the-E.globulus maiden-tree. This sub-species of the eucalyptus can be found growing in Northeastern regions of the state of Victoria and in south-eastern New South Wales. The flowers of this sub-species of eucalyptus form into groups of seven along the axils of the leaf when in bloom. The bark at the base of the trunk normally peels away in this tree type.

The subspecies of Eucalyptus called “Gippsland blue gum” is known as the “E.globulus pseudolobules” to botanists. This sub-species of eucalyptus can be seen growing in southeastern New South Wales State, Flinders Island in the Bass Strait as well as in eastern and southern parts of the state of Victoria. This sub-species bears flowers primarily in floral groups of three attached along the axils of the leaves. The bark at the base of the trunk usually peels away leaving the tree base bare.

The subspecies of Eucalyptus called the “Southern blue gum” are known as the E.globulus bi costa ta to a botanist. This sub-species of eucalyptus is mainly found in a number of places along the Great Dividing Range in Australia, extending from the northern region of the state of New South Wales to the western region of the state of Victoria. This sub-species of eucalyptus tends to bear flowers primarily in groups of three in the leaf axils. This sub-species of eucalyptus possesses a rough bark that is usually retained at the base of the tree.

Eucalyptus is cultivated in many parts of the world and is a popular tree for cultivation and reforestation efforts as it is quick growing. The sub-species globulus is especially a popular tree for cultivation in many parts of the world. Some of its characteristics including the pretty and blue-grey – glaucous – juvenile foliage and its rapid growth make it ideal for land wasteland reclamation and reforestation efforts. This sub-species may not be suitable for all locales and places as it may be too big and demand too much space for average-sized suburban blocks. This sub-species of the eucalyptus also has a very robust and vigorous root system that fans out rapidly underground – the spreading roots can damage housing and underground pipes if the tree is not sited at a suitable location.

The globulus sub-species of the eucalyptus possess an open textured wood that is marked off by distinct growth rings – which can be used to identify the age of the tree. This wood of this sub-species is also hardy and strong as well as being durable; it, therefore, finds use in a variety of roles and manufactures, such as in the manufacture of railway sleepers, to make piles and planks, the paper industry, as well as a being a source of wood oil and in the manufacture of honey. Wood of this sub-species has also been used as a fuel and the tree coppices well. The quantity of volatile oil obtainable from this sub-species is relatively low compared to the other sub-species of eucalyptus. However, this sub-species still serves as a substantial source of volatile oil and commercial extraction of the oil from this sub-species species is carried out on an extensive scale in Spain and Portugal and on a lesser scale in other places. The soap making and perfumery industry utilizes this pale yellow volatile oil in the manufacture of a variety of products.

Parts Used:

Leaves, oil.

Uses:

The Australian aborigines traditionally used various herbal remedies made from different parts of the Eucalyptus to treat fevers and all kinds of infections. These days, remedies made from the eucalyptus are used by many people all over the world for the treatment of these types of complaints. The potent antiseptic and anti-viral power of the eucalyptus makes it very helpful to treat colds, flu, and it is often used as a gargle to treat sore throats.

The remedies made from the eucalyptus are effective in the treatment of chest infections of all kinds as the plant has strong expectorant action – disorders like bronchitis and pneumonia are often treated using this herbal eucalyptus remedy.

The essential oil of the eucalyptus is diluted and then used on the skin as a form of an herbal chest or sinus rub, this oil induces a warming and mildly anesthetic effect on the skin. The oil helps in relieving respiratory infections and complaints of all kinds. A similar effect can be induced by the use of a eucalyptus infusion or tincture as an herbal gargle to treat soreness in the throat. The essential oil can also be used in the diluted form to bring relief from the symptoms of rheumatic joints, symptoms like sudden aching pains and stiffness. The diluted essential oil is also useful for the treatment and alleviation of the symptoms of neuralgia, and to treat some kinds of skin infections caused by bacterial pathogens.

Other medical uses
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ( COPD )
  • Herpes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tension headache
  • Viral infection

Habitat:

The eucalyptus is an indigenous Australian species, originally it was found only there. Due to the great popularity of the eucalyptus as a quick growth tree, it is now extensively cultivated in plantations around the world in countries that have a tropical, sub-tropical or temperate climatic regime. Eucalyptus trees are quick growing hardy species, however, it has been increasingly realized that planting the eucalyptus plants without planning can bring great ecological disruption and environmental problems to any area. One of the primary reasons is that these trees often absorb huge volumes of water from the ground and this can prevent the normal growth of native plant species – often endangering the local plant community. However, the water absorption capability of the eucalyptus species is considered very beneficial in some cases, especially when trees are planted to help dry up marshy areas – thus lowering the risk of malaria in an area. The leaves of cultivated trees are harvested and subjected to distillation to obtain the essential oil or they are dried and used for other purposes.

In cultivation, the ideal site to grow eucalyptus is in sites that have a good exposure to sunlight. The tree grows best in soils that are moderately fertile and are well drained. Eucalyptus also prefers moisture retentive and circumneutral soils and gives optimal growth in such soils. However, as already mentioned the eucalyptus is a hardy plant and can easily grow with success in most soil types. It is a strong plant and can tolerate even poor and very dry soils. The tree is tolerant of even those soils that are particularly low in essential mineral elements required by most other plant species. One eucalyptus has been grown on a site, the established mature trees become very tolerant to drought and prolonged dry periods. When planting the eucalyptus, it is best to avoid planting in frost pockets or along windy sites. Growing eucalyptus plants usually need a sheltered position; the young eucalyptus plants may not be able to tolerate extreme cold temperatures and will also not grow well if exposed to winds that are dry or desiccating during the crucial early growth stage. Eucalyptus plants are tolerant of moderate rainfall and are tolerate annual precipitation from 80 to about 160 cm. The species also tolerates fluctuations in annual temperature ranging from 16 to 20°C. As the eucalyptus is a sub-tropical species, it does not possess the deciduous habit of stopping growth in cold weather and trees will continue to grow until it turns too cold for any growth to occur. This factor makes the eucalyptus plants vulnerable to physical and tissue damage from the appearance of sudden cold conditions and frosts. Eucalyptus trees resist the cold better, when the fluctuation in the temperature is much more gradual such as in woodlands and sub-temperate areas, often stopping growth and becoming dormant – eucalyptus plants grown in such conditions or areas are much more cold resistant than plants grown in temperate or colder regions. The eucalyptus trees also survive much better and grow at an optimal rate if provided with a deep mulch in the site around the roots – this mulching prevents the freezing of the soil and aids the resistance of the trees to cold weather. The Genus Eucalyptus is nevertheless one of the most adaptable plant genus’s around and the trees are remarkably hardy in all kinds of weather conditions. The hardiness of each generation can undergo a dramatic as seeds from subsequent generations of plants grown in the temperate zones are planted – the tree adapts to the local conditions in a few generations. Among all the different eucalyptus sub-species, the “Tasmanian blue gum” with a total number covering about 800,000 ha in dozens of countries around the world is considered to the most extensively planted sub-species of eucalyptus. The Tasmanian blue gum is the eucalyptus species of choice in S. Europe and can commonly be seen there, particularly in countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal. This sub-species of eucalyptus is used as a source from commercial timber, as a tree for soil stabilization in degraded lands and as a source of the essential eucalyptus oil found in the leaf extract. Eucalyptus trees are also extensively planted in bogs and marshy areas to help lower the wetness of the land in land reclamation projects or to rid such areas of breeding mosquitoes – the high transpiration rate of eucalyptus plants is the reason for their efficiency in clearing excess water from bogs and marshes. Eucalyptus plants are shallow rooting during the early growth periods and have to be planted at the permanent sites while they are small to protect them from the danger of high winds. Eucalyptus saplings do not tolerate disturbance to the root system very well and are best grown in containers initially before they are taken for planting at permanent sites. Eucalyptus trees are also favored by apiarist as the nectar-rich flowers are a good source of nectar for bees. The typical balsamic eucalyptus aroma is given off by leaves when they are slightly bruised – a stand of eucalyptus trees can be identified by the presence of this peculiar aromatic smell.

Eucalyptus trees are propagated using stored seeds. The seeds are sown on the soil surface either in February or March, usually in seedbeds within greenhouse – sites with good exposure to incoming sunlight is preferred. The best method to grow seedlings of sub-species that are from high altitudes is to subject them to cold stratification for six or eight weeks. As soon as the second sets of seed leaves appear, the seedlings are placed into individual pots – this is done because it becomes difficult to successfully move or transplant the seedlings at a later stage. Early in the summer, seedlings are planted out into the permanent positions and at this stage, usually given them some protection from the cold during the winter of the first year of growth. Eucalyptus seeds are often sown in June as well, in such a case, the young trees are only planted at the permanent site late in the spring of the next year. Eucalyptus seeds are viable for long periods of time and can be stored for years on end.

Research:

There has been numerous and extensive research into the essential oil of the eucalyptus in the last half century. The essential oil has been shown to possess a distinct and potent antiseptic action as well as a power to dilate the bronchioles and respiratory passages in the pulmonary system. The main constituent of the oil is a compound called cineole, however, the potency of cineole, when used alone, is weaker compared to the whole essential oil – other compounds in the oil are also responsible for the beneficial effects in addition to the cineole.

Components:

The volatile oil contains about 70% eucalyptol (1, 8-cineole), as well as pinene, limonene, alpha-terpineol, and linalool. While it is similar to the oils of related species, this oil appears to be better tolerated by the skin.

Applications

Leaves:
HERBAL STEAM INHALATION – This steam remedy can be prepared by pouring scalding boiled water on a few eucalyptus leaves in a bowl, the vapors can be inhaled to alleviate chest infections and respiratory ailments.
Essential oil:
EUCALYPTUS COMPRESS – A herbal compress can be prepared from the oil to treat topical problems. Two ml of the oil dispersed in a hundred ml of water can be used to soak a compressed pad. The thoroughly soaked pad can be pressed on inflamed skin, rubbed on painful joints, and applied on skin burns and other topical complaints.ORAL GARGLE – Five drops of the eucalyptus oil mixed well and diluted in a glass of water can be used as a gargle for throat infections and as a general antiseptic mouthwash.

TOPICAL CHEST RUB – About 0.5 – 2 ml of the essential oil can be diluted in twenty-five ml of almond oil – this can be used as rubbing oil to relieve complaints like bronchitis, asthma, and the common cold. This oil is a good topical rub for influenza affected patients as well.

INHALATION – Some hot water can be used to dilute ten drops of the essential oil. The vapors given off can be inhaled to treat and relieve chest infections or pulmonary problems of all kinds.

HERBAL OIL – Two drops of the essential eucalyptus oil can be mixed with ten ml of sunflower oil or another herbal ointment base, this herbal oil can be applied to the skin to treat cold sores and other topical problems.

MASSAGE OIL – A herbal massage or rubbing oil can be made by mixing ten to twenty drops of the essential eucalyptus oil with ten to twenty drops of herbal rosemary oil, with the addition of twenty ml of infused bladder-wrack oil or some almond oil – this oil can be massaged on the joints to treat symptomatic rheumatic or arthritic pain in affected patients.

CHAKRA HEALING ESSENTIAL OILS.

Just as color, sound and stones have a certain resonance with the Chakras, so do different plants. Essential oils are the fragrant distilled essence of plants, and can be used to help balance the chakras. Use the fragrances which are the most appealing and pleasing to you, and it is recommended to blend the pure essential oils with a carrier oil, such as almond oil.

 

Essential Oils Which Resonate with the Chakras

Root Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Root Chakra are corn, clematis, rosemary, ylang-ylang, myrrh, frankincense, benzoin, patchouli and sandalwood.

Sacral Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Second Chakra are all citrus oils, such as neroli, melissa, and orange. Also rose, hibiscus, jasmine, Indian Paintbrush, and lady’s slipper.

Solar Plexus Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Third Chakra are yarrow, chamomile, peppermint, lemon juniper, vetiver, petitgrain and marjoram.

Heart Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Fourth Chakra are holly, poppy, rose, eucalyptus and pine, bergamot, melissa, jasmine or rosewood.

Throat Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Fifth Chakra are cosmos, trumpet vine, larch, blue chamomile, sage, lemongrass, geranium or hyssop.

Third Eye Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Sixth Chakra are wild oat, Queen Anne’s Lace, madia, rosemary, lavender, peppermint, spruce, frankincense, patchouli, elemi or clary sage.

Crown Chakra: Among the essential oils and flower essences used to balance the Seventh Chakra are lotus, angelica, star tulip, frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, jasmine, benzoin, neroli, lavender, angelica or St. John’s Wort.

How to Use Essential Oils for Chakra Balancing:

The simplest and most direct way is to rub a drop or two, blended with your carrier oil, onto the skin above the Chakra you wish to treat.

Another way is to rub the oils into your palms, then wave your hands through your aura, rather than placing the oil directly on the skin. This will disperse any negative energy which has collected in your aura. Swirl your hands first in a clockwise motion, to break up and dispel unwanted energies, then go clockwise, to rebalance your aura.

You can also treat your environment, by using an oil diffuser. This is a small ceramic piece, with a shallow bowl shape at the top, and a hollow area underneath, where you place a small candle. Place a little water, plus a few drops of essential oil in the shallow bowl, and light a candle underneath; as the candle warms the bowl, the oil will begin to burn off, and diffuse into the air.

Essential oils are generally safe, but do not ingest them, and use caution on your skin. It is possible to develop allergies. Essential oil treatments are also not recommended for pregnant women or children.

Aromatherapy Peppermint.

Menta Piperita

Peppermint (botanical name Menta Piperita) is basically a hybrid plant – a cross between the spearmint and watermint. Although the herb is native to Europe, presently it is grown across the globe. This perennial herb possesses numerous therapeutic properties that were identified and used by the Indians, Egyptians and Chinese since the ancient times. In order to avail the detoxifying attributes of the peppermint, the ancient Romans used to make wreaths with this herb and wear them as crowns during festivities. Owing to its sharp and spicy fragrance, peppermint is well accepted by most people.

The peppermint plant usually grows up to a height of 30 cm to 90 cm. The plant has smooth stems that are squares in cross section. The rhizomes or subterraneous roots of the plant are fleshy and travel far and wide while the bare roots are fibrous. The plant bears deep green leaves with reddish veins that are 4 cm to 9 cm in length and 1.5 cm to 4 cm in width. The peppermint plant bears purplish blooms that have four-lobed corolla in whorls around the stem. The plant usually blossoms between mid and late summer.

The essential oil extracted from peppermint not only has a soothing effect, but it also rejuvenates the skin and is tremendously resourceful for household use. The oil possesses a clearing aroma that is effective in fighting fatigue and, at the same time, very stimulating. Use of this essential oil enhances the capability to concentrate as well as brings clarity of thoughts and decisions. Peppermint essential oil is said to be inspiring and revitalizing.

It may be mentioned here that irrespective of the herb, all essential oils are prepared solely using the herbs or the plants. This denotes that the essential oils do not enclose any outside element, such as moisturizer, which could dilute their attributes or potency. As a result, whenever bottles containing essential oils are opened, they exude an exceptionally strong smell.

Peppermint essential oil is beneficial for people enduring headaches, asthma, cramps, fainting, colic, flatulence, nausea, and fevers. It is known to be highly effective in relieving pains associated with these conditions. This oil also has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of insomnia, distress, tension, anxiousness, lethargy and/ or vertigo (light-headedness).

The essential oil extracted from peppermint can be used in various ways. Some of the different uses of peppermint essential oil are briefly mentioned below.

Provided you have a water spritzer (a container for two different liquids or drinks), fill it up with water and add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to it. If the bottles are small, you need to add just 15 to 20 drops of the oil, while you may add 20-30 drops of oil in medium-sized bottles. Shake the mixture of oil and water thoroughly and gently spray it on your bedding, curtains and also carpets as an alternative to a room deodorizer.

Get a small pot filled with water for boiling over a stove top. Add three to five drops of peppermint essential oil to the water and inhale the aromatic vapor. While doing so, ensure that you take deep and slow breaths enabling the mixture to infuse your lungs.

In aromatherapy, peppermint can be effectively used as a massage oil to alleviate a number of conditions. However, as in the case of any essential oil, remember to dilute the peppermint essential oil blending it with any suitable carrier oil before use. In fact, the moisturizers present in carrier oils help to make the skin smooth and softer – supple to touch. As the concentration of peppermint essential oil is extremely high, only a few drops (one to three) of it need to be added to a little amount of carrier oil.

These days, there are several stores that sell ceramic oil burners meant for aromatherapy. Generally, these ceramic oil burners have the appearance of archetypal, glass milk bottles, but are smaller having a small, detachable, saucer-shaped lid, underneath which one can position a tea-candle. When you have lit the candle, replace the lid and pour in a small quantity of peppermint essential oil in the lid. As the candle will heat the oil in the lid, the sharp and spicy aroma of peppermint will infuse the air. This will help to refresh your senses.

You may also put in two to three drops of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and fold it before placing it under a pillow. While the delicate aroma of the oil will not be too intense for your nose, it will help in ensuring sound sleep.

As mentioned earlier, peppermint essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties and is, hence, used to treat a number of conditions. Its health benefits are many and some of them are briefly discussed below.

  • Since peppermint oil possesses potent antiseptic properties, it is very helpful in dental care. This oil not only helps to get rid of foul breath but also aids the gums and teeth to fight germs. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that peppermint essential oil forms an active ingredient in toothpaste. In addition, like clove oil, peppermint essential oil is highly effective in healing toothaches.
  • The essential oil extracted from peppermint is also effective in alleviating digestive problems while promoting digestion. On many occasions, people add a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a glassful of water and drink it following a meal with a view to facilitating digestion. The digestive properties of peppermint essential oil make it an excellent tonic for those enduring poor appetite. This oil also possesses carminative properties and, hence, is effective in expelling gas formed in the stomach and intestines, thereby, providing relief from flatulence and bloating. In addition, this essential oil is also useful when one is suffering from an upset stomach or motion sickness. Initial researches have established that a blend of peppermint essential oil and caraway oil can also be used to effectively treat heartburn.
  • Peppermint essential oil is also a good home remedy to cure a headache and nausea. Topical application of watered down peppermint oil on the forehead is helpful in providing relief from headaches.
  • As in the case of a majority of the essential oils, peppermint essential oil also has the aptitude to alleviate tension, depression as well as mental exhaustion. These actions of peppermint essential oil are attributed to its ability to revitalize and refresh. This oil is also helpful in providing relief from nervous anxiety and restiveness. It is also known to be an effective remedy for insomnia.
  • Peppermint essential oil is rich in menthol content and, hence, is helpful in clearing the congestion in the respiratory tract. It also possesses potent expectorant properties which help it to draw out mucus and phlegm from the lungs, providing instant, albeit provisional, relief in several respiratory problems, such as cold and cough, sinusitis, nasal congestion, bronchitis and even asthma. Owing to these actions of peppermint essential oil, it is widely used in several formulations for cold rubs. Massaging or rubbing the cold rubs enclosing peppermint essential oil on the chest helps to get rid of nasal congestion as well as blockage of the respiratory tract almost instantly.
  • The essential oil extracted from the peppermint plant also possesses analgesic properties and, hence, it can be used topically to get relief from pains and aches. Peppermint essential oil encloses calcium antagonism which is believed to facilitate in providing relief from pain. This oil also has a cooling nature, which is effective in bringing down high temperatures during fever.
  • It is important to note that peppermint essential oil is highly effectual for colonoscopy, gastroscopy, and also during double-contrast barium enema (the inducement of a barium salt suspension into the rectum and colon before taking an X-ray). In such cases, peppermint essential oil is applied intraluminally (a lumen inside the space of a tubular structure, such as an artery or intestine). Presently, scientists are studying the additional benefits of the oil’s anti-spasmodic properties.
  • Peppermint essential oil is also known to augment blood circulation throughout the body.
  • It has been found that the essential oil extracted from peppermint plant possesses the property to relax the muscles. Also, relaxing the stomach muscles helps in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome. Initial findings of several types of research have proved this action of the oil, but the scientists are yet to determine the precise manner in which it works.
  • As mentioned before, peppermint essential oil contains high amounts of menthol which is beneficial for the health of the skin. Owing to the presence of menthol, using this oil topically on the skin brings forth a cooling effect. In addition, this oil nurtures dry skin and removes the problems associated with oily skin.
  • Peppermint essential oil also helps to fortify the immune system, thereby, enhancing the body’s capability to fight against diseases. In addition, this essential oil also helps to safeguard the body against several ailments.
  • Peppermint essential oil is also extremely beneficial for our hair. It brings forth a calming effect when applied on the head and facilitates getting rid of dandruff and lice. In addition, peppermint nourishes the hair follicles and makes the hair appear glistening.
  • Although researchers are still trying to ascertain the anti-cancerous properties of peppermint essential oil, it is generally believed that this oil is helpful in treating cancer. Moreover, peppermint essential oil is said to be effective in curing tuberculosis.
  • Many herbalists recommend the use of peppermint essential oil for people suffering from urinary tract infection {UTI}. Nevertheless, it needs to be mentioned that the scientists are yet to ascertain the use of peppermint essential oil for this purpose.

General Properties:

  • antibacterial
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • carminative
  • stimulant
  • stomachic
  • tonic

Blends Well With:

  • eucalyptus
  • juniper
  • lemon
  • rosemary
  • rosewood

General uses

  • abdominal pains
  • acne
  • anorexia nervosa
  • bites
  • bruises
  • colic
  • coughing
  • mouth thrush
  • mouth ulcers
  • nausea
  • painful menstruation
  • stings
  • stress
  • swollen gums
  • toothache

Precaution:

Although the essential oil extracted from peppermint possesses several therapeutic properties, it is said that this oil negates the efficacy of a number of homeopathic medications. Similar is the case for the essential oil derived from eucalyptus

 

Peppermint Oil: Four Surprising Utilities.

For several centuries, the oil obtained from the peppermint plant has been a vital element of several medications and there are sufficient reasons for this too. Peppermint oil is not only intense but also highly aromatic. In addition to being an established analgesic, carminative, and expectorant, peppermint oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties and, it is widely used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) problems like indigestion as well as stomach spasms. However, this oil is used in mild doses for these purposes. There are an increasing number of evidence indicating that peppermint oil can also be used for treating irritable bowel syndrome {IBS}.

Generally, peppermint oil has been extensively used in the form of an internal medication. However, it also offers a number of cosmetic benefits; for instance, it is especially effectual in augmenting the health of our mouth, skin, hair and nails.

Four Amazing Uses of Peppermint Oil:

Mouth care

Peppermint oil possesses antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it effectively kills several harmful microbes that may be present in our mouth and eventually lead to tooth decay. It has been found that menthol, an active element present in peppermint oil, is effective in treating foul breath.

You may use peppermint oil to prepare an effective mouthwash. Add three to four drops of the oil to a little amount of clean purified water and gargle with this solution for anything between 30 seconds and one minute. For best results, you may add one teaspoon of baking soda to the solution as this will enhance its tooth whitening attributes.

Skincare

Individuals who want their skin to appear more youthful and healthy will find peppermint oil very beneficial. This oil is a proven astringent and possesses the ability to put off blockage of the skin pores. In fact, peppermint oil has been proven to be a very effectual natural therapy for acne. It contains elevated levels of menthol, which aids in keeping the skin cool and make the dull patches brighter. Applying peppermint oil to the face helps to cleanse the waste and dirt build-up.

A solution prepared by adding peppermint oil to water is ideal for external use on the skin all over the body. You may also add other ingredients beneficial for the health of the skin like aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar to augment the potency of the solution.

Hair care

Many commercial shampoos and conditioners enclose peppermint oil as an active ingredient and there are important reasons for this. This oil possesses significant invigorating and regenerative actions, which may aid in alleviating scalp irritation, encourage new hair growth as well as revitalize the existing hair. In addition, application of peppermint oil to the scalp results in a cooling sensation, making the entire head feel stimulated and refreshed.

You can prepare an effective natural shampoo at home by blending peppermint oil (10 drops), olive oil (three tablespoons), baking soda (10 tablespoons), and aloe vera gel (6 ounces) with purified water (7 ounces). You can store this home-made shampoo in a bottle for use when necessary. It is much more nourishing compared to commercial shampoos and does not contain any chemicals that may deplete the natural oils from the hair.

Nail care

Many people across the world are affected by fungal nail infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot. While such problems hardly ever raise medical concerns, they definitely are cosmetic problems and may be responsible for obstinate itching and other bothersome symptoms. Since peppermint oil possesses anti-fungal attributes, it can effectively deal with fungal nail infections. Just apply peppermint oil to the infected nails once or twice every day till the problem disappears.

A Natural Antibiotic: Thyme Oil

Superbugs like methicillin – resistant Staphylococcus aureus {MRSA} are on the rise and, unfortunately, are becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat them. When faced with a microbial infection, using natural antibacterial agents may not only be more effective but also safe and risk-free.

Apart from using spices like garlic, I recommend you try essential oils derived from herbs like thyme oil. Not only do they have antibacterial properties, but they also provide a number of health benefits. Before I go into thyme oil’s antimicrobial functions, let me share some information on the essential oil.

What Is Thyme Oil?

Oil of thyme is derived from thyme, also known as Thymus vulgaris. The perennial herb, a member of the mint family, is used in aromatherapy, cooking, potpourri, mouthwashes, and elixirs, as well as added to ointments. Thyme also has a number of medicinal properties, which is due to the herb’s essential oils.

The benefits of thyme essential oil have been recognized for thousands of years in Mediterranean countries. This substance is also a common agent in Ayurveda practice. Today, among the many producers of thyme oil, France, Morocco, and Spain emerge as the primary ones.

Uses of Thyme Oil

Due to thyme oil’s antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, and calming properties, it has a long list of uses that include:

  • Home remedy – Thyme oil is used to relieve and treat problems like gout, arthritis, wounds, bites, and sores, water retention, menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea and fatigue, respiratory problems (like colds), skin conditions (oily skin and scars), athlete’s foot, hangovers, and even depression.
  • Aromatherapy oil – The oil can be used to stimulate the mind, strengthen memory and concentration, and calm the nerves.
  • Hair product – It is said that thyme oil can prevent hair loss. It is used as a treatment for the scalp and is added to shampoos and other hair products.
  • Skin product – Thyme oil can help tone aged skin and prevent acne outbreaks.
  • Mouthwashes and herbal rinses – Like peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oil, thyme oil is used to improve oral health.
  • Insecticide/insect repellent – Thyme oil can keep insects and parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and moths away.

Composition of Thyme Oil

Thyme is an example of a herb with over 300 varieties and various chemotypes, which are plants with the same appearance but have different chemical compositions. Each chemotype yields different oils with corresponding therapeutic benefits. This occurs when the plant is grown in different environments, climates, and soil.

Depending on which chemotype it is derived from, the oil of thyme produced will have a distinct chemical structure. The known chemotypes are:

  • Thymus vulgaris thymolThis chemotype has strong antiseptic activities and is 60 to 70 percent thymol. It goes by the name of “thyme” and “red thyme,” and is harvested during the fall.
  • Thymus vulgaris linalool This is the most gentle of all thyme chemotypes. Referred to as “garden thyme,” this variation has potent antiparasitic and antifungal properties and is grown at high altitudes.
  • Thymus vulgaris carvacrol– As its name suggests, this type contains the chemical constituent carvacrol. Its amount will depend on when it is harvested. When collected in the spring, it will contain 30 percent carvacrol, and 60 to 80 percent when harvested right after flowering or during the fall. T. Vulgaris carvacrol is known for its antiseptic properties.
  • Thymus vulgaris thujanol– Found only in the wild, this plant contains 50 percent thuja oil and is known for its beneficial effects on the immune system and hormones. It is often called “sweet thyme.”
  • Thymus vulgaris alphaterpineolThis type is harvested during the early spring and has a pepper-like smell.
  • Thymus vulgaris geraniol ­– The geraniol chemotype has a lemon-like fragrance and is grown in high altitudes. It is often picked during autumn.
  • Thymus vulgaris 1,8 cineole – This contains 80 to 90 percent cineole and has diuretic, anticatarrhal, expectorant, and analgesic properties.
  • Thymus vulgaris p-cymene– This should be obtained from spring or else it becomes a different chemotype.
  • Thymus vulgaris phenol­– These are thyme plants that grow in high altitudes and contain up to 90 percent of phenol compounds.

Benefits of Thyme Oil

As I previously mentioned, thyme oil is an effective natural agent against nasty bacterial strains. A study presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s spring conference in Edinburgh pointed out that essential oils may be efficient and affordable alternatives to antibiotics in the battle against resistant bacteria.

Among the essential oils tested, cinnamon oil and thyme oil were found to be the most successful against various Staphylococcus species, including the dreaded MRSA.  Researchers said that this can help lower antibiotic use and minimize the formation of new resistant strains of microorganisms.

Oil of thyme can also function as a decontaminate for food products. As shown in Food Microbiology, both basil, and thyme essential oils exhibited antimicrobial properties against Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri that may contaminate food. The compounds thymol and carvacrol in thyme oil demonstrated this benefit.

Furthermore, thyme oil can be used as a preservative against spoilage and several foodborne germs that can contribute to health problems. It is effective against other forms of bacteria like Salmonella, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas species.

Other reports also show that oil of thyme has anti-inflammatory properties. In a research published in the Journal of Lipid Research, six essential oils including thyme oil showed the ability to suppress the inflammatory cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme in the same manner as the antioxidant resveratrol does. It was noted that the chemical constituent carvacrol was responsible for this effect.

The same study also noted that thyme and the other essential oils activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), which help suppress COX-2 expression.

In addition to these, significant health benefits of thyme oil include:

  • Helps reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Stimulates menstrual flow
  • Increases circulation and elevates low blood pressure
  • Triggers the removal of waste that may lead to cellulite
  • Eases nervousness and anxiety
  • Helps fight insomnia
  • Eliminates bad breath and body odor

How to Make Thyme Oil

Thyme essential oil is produced through the steam distillation of the fresh or partially dried leaves and flowers of the thyme plant. Distillation produces a red-, browns, or orange-colored thyme oil, which has a strong, spicy smell. Further distillation yields white thyme oil, a clear or pale yellow oil with a mild fragrance. As mentioned before, its chemical composition varies depending on the type of thyme used in production.

Fortunately, you can make infused thyme oil at home. Here’s is one guide you can use.

What You Need:

  • ½ cup fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces carrier oil (ex. olive oil)
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Saucepan
  • Funnel
  • Glass container

Procedure:

  • Wash the herbs and dry it by patting it with a clean cloth. You may also dry it in the sun or place it in a salad spinner.
  • Crush the herbs using the mortar and pestle to release their natural oils.
  • Place the crushed thyme and its oil into the saucepan, and place the carrier oil. Simmer this mixture over medium heat for at least five minutes or until it produces bubbles.
  • Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool. Pour the mixture into the glass container then store in a cool place.

How Does Thyme Oil Work?

Thyme oil can be used in a number of ways. It can be inhaled, applied topically, or used as a mouthwash. Below are some particular ways to enjoy its benefits:

  • Relieve pain – Mix three drops of thyme oil with two teaspoons of sesame oil. Use this mixture as a massage oil and apply on the abdominal area to relieve pain. This may also be used as a massage oil to treat other types of pain.
  • Alleviate fatigue – Add two drops of thyme oil to your bath water.
  • Improve sleep – Add a few drops to your diffuser.
  • Promote oral health – Use thyme oil as a mouthwash by adding one drop to a cup of warm water.
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and skin marks – Apply oil of thyme mixed with any carrier oil (like almond oil) on the affected area.
  • Use as cleanser – Add a few drops of thyme oil to your facial wash.
  • Treat or protect against respiratory problems – Add two drops of thyme oil to hot water and use for steam inhalation.
  • Uplift mood – Simply inhale the scent of thyme oil.

Is Thyme Oil Safe?

Thyme oil should not be used directly on the skin, as it can cause sensitization. It must be first diluted with a carrier oil (like olive oil or almond oil). Before use, test on a small area to see if you have any allergies.

This herbal oil should not be taken internally, as it can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle problems. Doing so may also negatively impact your heart, lungs, and body temperature. It may also stimulate the thyroid gland, which is why this essential oil is not recommended for people with hyperthyroidism.

Since thyme oil can be used to increase circulation, it should be avoided by people with high blood pressure. Pregnant women should steer clear of thyme oil because it can stimulate menstrual flow. Thyme oil should also be kept away from infants and young children because they are sensitive.

Thyme Oil Side Effects

Use of thyme oil may result in allergic reactions, even when it’s diluted. Some people who use it may experience dermatitis or inflammation of the skin. People with allergies to rosemary or mint oils should also stay away from thyme and its essential oil.

Always consult a physician or anyone knowledgeable in essential oils before using one, especially if you’re suffering from any disease or are taking certain medications.

Lemongrass Oil.

You may have tasted the refreshingly mild flavor of lemongrass, a herb that’s commonly added to foods and beverages. But have you ever tried using lemongrass oil, an all-around herbal oil with many health benefits? Keep on reading to discover more about lemongrass oil.

What Is Lemongrass Oil?

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the Poaceae grass family, which thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, such as in India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, and Guatemala. This plant grows in dense clumps and has bright-green, sharp-edged leaves, similar to grass.

Lemongrass is a popular flavoring in Asian cooking – added to curries and soups, or paired with beef, fish, poultry, and seafood. Fresh lemongrass is also used to make lemongrass tea.

There are over 50 varieties of lemongrass, but not all are edible or ideal for medicinal purposes. The two varieties of lemongrass most popularly used today are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus. While they can be used interchangeably, especially for making lemongrass oil, C. citratus is more popularly known in culinary applications, while C. flexuosus is more dominant in industrial applications, such as perfumery.

Lemongrass oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. It has a thin consistency and a pale or bright yellow color. It has a strong, fresh, lemony, and earthy scent.

Uses of Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil is a great addition to various skin care and cosmetic products, such as soaps, deodorants, shampoos, lotions, and tonics. It also works as an air freshener and deodorizer, especially when blended with other essential oils like geranium or bergamot. Simply put it in an oil burner, diffuser, or vaporizer.

Lemongrass oil is also known for its ability to repel insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, due to its high citral and geraniol content. Spray it around your home, diffuse it, or rub a diluted mixture on your skin.

Lemongrass oil’s refreshing scent makes it a valuable aroma therapeutic oil. It’s clean and calming aroma helps relieve stress, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia, and prevent drowsiness.Lemongrass oil can also help relax and tone your muscles, as well as relieve muscle pain, rheumatism, period cramps, stomachache, toothache, migraines, and headaches.

Here are some ways to use lemongrass oil:

  • Make a refreshing foot bath. Add two drops to a bowl of warm water, and soak your feet for 10 minutes. If your feet are aching, add two tablespoons of Epsom salts.
  • Make a massage oil by mixing it with sweet almond or jojoba oil.
  • Kill your pet’s fleas and lice by spraying diluted lemongrass oil all over his coat. You can also soak his collar in it, add it to his final rinse after shampooing, or spray it on his bedding.
  • Blend it into your favorite bath products or add it to your bath water. 

Composition of Lemongrass Oil

The main compounds of lemongrass oil are geranyl acetate, myrcene, nerol, citronellol, terpineol, methyl heptanone, di pentane, geraniol, neral, farnesol, limonene, and citral. These are known to have anti-fungal, antiseptic, insecticidal, and counter-irritant properties.

Citral is known for its antimicrobial effects, and can help kill or suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi. It’s said that lemongrass oil’s quality is generally determined by its citral content.

Another beneficial compound in lemongrass is limonene, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, according to research.

Benefits of Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil has analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, astringent, antipyretic, fungicidal, bactericidal, and antidepressant properties, making it one of the most versatile and health-promoting essential oils. It works well for:

  • Inflammation – Lemongrass is an analgesic that can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to many chronic diseases. According to a 2005 study by Dr. Sue Chao, lemongrass oil is one of the top six essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Hair problems – If you’re struggling with hair loss, oily hair, and other scalp conditions, lemongrass oil may be beneficial as it can help strengthen your hair follicles. Just apply a diluted solution onto your scalp, and then rinse out.
  • Infections – Lemongrass can help kill both internal and external bacterial and fungal infections, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.  In a 2008 study from the Weber State University in Utah, it was found that out of 91 essential oils tested, lemongrass ranked highest in inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.
  • Fever – The antipyretic effect of lemongrass oil helps bring down very high fever, especially when it is beginning to reach dangerous levels.23
  • Digestive issues – A diluted lemongrass mixture helps facilitate nutrient assimilation and boosts the functioning of the digestive system, which is helpful for treating bowel problems and digestive disorders. It also prevents the formation of excessive gas and increases urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body.

How to Make Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil sold in the market today is made via steam distillation. But if you have lemongrass growing in your backyard, you can easily make this oil by infusing it with another carrier oil. Here’s a simple method:

Materials:

4 to 6 lemongrass stalks
Fine cheesecloth
Mortar and pestle
Carrier oil (Olive, rice bran, grapeseed, or any unscented natural oil)
Two jars
Dark glass container

Procedure:

  1. Get two lemongrass stalks and remove the leaves. Crush the stalks using a mortar and pestle (or any heavy object) to release the oil.
  2. Fill a jar with your carrier oil of choice and put the crushed stalk in it. Leave the jar for two days in a place where it can get plenty of heat and sunshine.
  3. After two days, strain the oil using the cheesecloth and transfer it into another jar. Make sure to press and squeeze the stalks until they’re completely dry.
  4. You may need to repeat the process using fresh new stalks to achieve the desired lemongrass fragrance. Just keep replacing the stalks every two days to increase the oil’s potency.
  5. Once you’ve reached the desired fragrance, transfer the oil into a dark glass container and leave it in a cool, dry and dark place. You can use this oil for a year or more.

How Does Lemongrass Oil Work?

Lemongrass oil is a tonic that influences and helps keep the systems in your body working properly, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems. It also allows nutrients to be absorbed into the body, which keeps your immune system strong and robust.

Lemongrass oil can be diffused using a vaporizer, inhaled, applied topically, or ingested. To ensure the efficiency of lemongrass oil, you should use it depending on the health condition that you want to improve. For example, if you want to quell stress and anxiety, diffuse the oil using a vaporizer. But if you want to relieve muscle pain or use it to treat infections, it’s better to massage a diluted solution in the affected areas.

For internal health ailments, such as digestive issues, lemongrass oil can be taken internally in a diluted form. However, I do not recommend taking this oil orally without the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.

Is Lemongrass Oil Safe?

Lemongrass oil is generally safe as long as it is used in small quantities (it is one of the strongest-smelling oils in aromatherapy) and properly blended with a carrier oil. Undiluted lemongrass can actually burn and injure your skin due to its high citral content, so it’s best to mix it with a carrier oil. Some of the best carrier oils you can use with lemongrass oil are basil, palmarosa, vetiver oil, lavender, rose, clary sage, patchouli, ginger, fennel, geranium, sandalwood, and cedarwood.

I advise doing a patch test before applying lemongrass oil on your skin, to see if you have any adverse reactions to this essential oil.

Side Effects of Lemongrass Oil

Skin irritation, discomfort, rashes and a burning sensation are some topical side effects experienced by people with sensitivity to lemongrass oil. Using the oil may also lead to lowered blood glucose, and may have contraindications for people who are taking oral diabetes drugs or antihypertensive medications, as well as those who are diabetic and hypoglycemic.

I do not recommend children, pregnant women, and nursing moms to use lemongrass oil orally. Those with liver or kidney disease and other health conditions should also consult their physician before using lemongrass oil.