(Not Sad) Cypress (Wellness Wednesday)

When I turned seven, a couple of family friends gave me Nancy Drew mysteries for my birthday. I gobbled them up and was soon devouring the whole collection from our little public library in Brooklyn. By the time I was twelve, I was devouring Agatha Christie mysteries. Since the essential oil I’m sharing about today is Cypress, that made me think of the Christie mystery, Sad Cypress.

Actually, Cypress isn’t sad at all–it has quite the opposite effect. It is gentle and uplifting to the emotions. Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! It’s time for another edition of “What Should I Do With My Oils?”.

Latin name: Cupressus sempervirens L.; Family: Cupressaceae; Part of plant used: Leaves, twigs, cones.

Therapeutic Actions: Antispasmodic, Antiseptic, Decongestant, Restorative to the Nervous System.

How to use: Helpful for varicose veins, edema, preventative for sore throats, relieve lymph congestion, respiratory infections in the early phase, influenza, asthma, sore throats, dry spasmodic coughs, bronchitis, rosacea, wound healing, calming, helpful for transitions or times of grief, soothes anxiety.

Soothing Cypress Diffuser Blend for Anxiety, Immune Support, Allergy Relief

6 drops Cypress

3 drops Lemon

3 drops Black Spruce

Allergy Diffuser Blend

5 drops Cypress

3 drops Naiouli

4 drops Scots Pines

Nightime Leg Blend for Varicose Veins, Swollen Legs and Feet

2 oz. fragrance free lotion

16 drops Cypress

12 drops Lavender

8 drops Red Mandarin

Needing Niaouli (Wellness Wednesday)

Every Tuesday, I go Live on Facebook and Instagram with my series “What Should I Do With My Oils?” and talk about one essential oil, its uses and benefits, and share a few recipes/blends as well. This week I shared about Niaouli, an EO that is super beneficial this time of year.

Niaouli: Latin binomial: Melaleuca quinquenervia ct 1,8 cineole; Family: Myrtaceae; Parts used: Leaves; Aroma: Camphoraceous, fruity, warm, earthy, 

Safety concerns: Don’t put near the nose or face of infants and children under 5 years old; can cause breathing problems in infants and young children.

Therapeutic Applications: weak immune system, allergies, bronchitis, respiratory infections, chest infections, fungal infections, mental fatigue.

Three blends/recipes:

Sore throat recipe: 1 drop Frankincense, 1 drop Niaouli, 1/2 teaspoon Jojoba oil. Rub on front of throat and back of neck.

Breathe Clear Blend: 6 drops Niaouli, 3 drops Cypress, 3 drops Spike Lavender. Diffuse for 1-2 hours at a time.

Allergy Lotion Blend: 15 drops Niaouli, 9 drops Lavender, 5 drops Eucalyptus Radiata, 8 drops Lemon, 8 drops Scots Pine in a 1 oz bottle of lotion. Apply lotion to neck, chest, and upper back.

I also wanted to recommend an aromatherapy book that I refer to often that you might want to consider for your home library. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit contains plenty of history and lore connected with plants, as well as information on essential oils to use for emotional and mental well-being.

Bay Laurel Essential Oil: Benefits and Uses

Each Tuesday I go Live on Facebook at 12pm ET and Instagram at 12:15pm ET with a series called “What Should I Do With My Oils”. I focus on one essential oil each week, sharing benefits, ways to use it, blends and recipes, as well as any safety concerns. And on Wednesday I share the info here on the blog. This week I’m focusing on Bay Laurel also known as Laurel Leaf or Sweet Laurel.

Bay Laurel

Latin binomial: Laurus nobilis; Family: Lauraceae; Parts used: Leaves and branches

Aroma: Fresh, Spicy, Sweet, Camphoraceous, 

Safety Concerns: Do not apply to the face or near the nose of infants and children under the age of 5. Use caution when applying to hypersensitive, damaged or diseased skin or on skin of children under the age of 2.

Blends Well With: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Niaouli, Grapefruit, Lemon, Juniper Berry, Rosemary, cypress, Cinnamon Leaf

Therapeutic actions: analgesic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic, expectorant, mucolytic, stimulant, neurotonic, immune modulatory.

Core Indications:

Lymph and immune system: lymphatic congestion, edema

Musculoskeletal system: muscle or joint stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, 

Nervous system: poor concentration, lack of memory, depression, exhaustion, nervous tension

Respiratory system: colds, flu, viral infections, bronchitis, 

Psyche/emotion: lack of energy, self-doubt, low self-esteem, inability to move forward

Keep Going Diffuser Blend

5 drops Bay Laurel 

4 drops Juniper Berry

3 drops Grapefruit

Just Breathe Diffuser Blend

6 drops Bay Laurel 

4 drops White Spruce 

2 drops Frankincense 

Laurel and Lemon Leg Lotion 

For varicose veins, poor circulation

2 oz fragrance free lotion

20 drops Laurel

16 drops Lemon

http://www.aromaticstudies.com

5 Things I Learned In March

I am a wimp when it comes to books about tragedies and the strain they create on relationships. I really wanted to read The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey–the writing is so beautifully stunning I was re-reading passages by the second page. And the atmosphere is instantly palpable, but the depth of desolation and the emotional distance of the two characters was overwhelming. I’ve read a couple of sad books in a row lately and knew my sensitive heart was not going to be able to handle this tale. At least for now! (But if you are made of stronger stuff, please read it!)

Deadlines make me move forward. I knew I needed to put my aromatherapy certification to good use, so I scheduled aromatherapy events on Facebook and began inviting my friends, emailing folks on my list, and getting the word out. Terrifying, yes, but I’m such a perfectionist I would wait forever if I didn’t take Seth Godin’s advice and just “ship it”! And both my aromatherapy classes were so much fun–I am going to keep creating deadlines to challenge myself toward constant learning and growth, both personally and with my business.

The women in my second aromatherapy class.

I really can avoid a cold. All my life, I thought there was nothing I could do once that scratchy, sore throat started. But now I pull out my arsenal and fight back. My weapons of cold virus destruction? Essential oils such as Lemon, Tulsi, Black Spruce, Niaouli, Cypress, Frankincense, and Helichrysum gymnocephalum. All of them are immune strengthening, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, a lot of them are anti-viral, anti-microbial, analgesic, help with energy levels, etc. This last weekend, I diffused for several hours a day, made myself a personal inhaler, put some on my throat area (diluted, of course), and did self-massage. I also ate plenty of dark, green vegetables, stayed away from sugar (I usually do anyway), and drank tea (Tulsi, Throat Coat, Green). By the second day my sore throat was gone and by the third day, my energy levels rose. Because I want to be sure, I’ll continue to diffuse daily. Click here to read my post on Black Spruce and get some diffuser blends.

I actually like herbal teas. I used to just drink tea for medicinal purposes, but now I’m finding the taste is pleasant. This month I began drinking Lemon Balm when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I definitely feel calmer. Tulsi tea is another favorite–it’s immune strengthening and it is an adaptogen, which means it should calm me when I’m anxious, boost me when my energy has slumped. I’ve only had a few cups so far, but it seems to have more of an energizing effect. Every body is different, though, so you’ll have to try it for yourself.

Live Streaming on Social Media is fun the second time around. I’ve set up a schedule for Facebook and Instagram Live for my business, Delicata House, and for our musical duo, The Inner Crazy. Since I’ve only done it a few times, I’ve felt unprepared, nervous, and breathless when I go Live on Facebook. Then when I head over to Instagram right afterward and go Live, I feel warmed up and more relaxed. (I know it’s possible to go live on both platforms at once, but I don’t have another spare device to do that right now.) Each week, it gets slightly better as I think about what went well, what didn’t, and how I can improve.

If you want to check it out, my Delicata House schedule is every Tuesday Facebook Live 12pm ET, Instagram Live 12:15 ET. I’m doing a series called “What Should I Do With My Oils?”. Our duo The Inner Crazy does a Facebook Live at 8pm ET and Instagram Live at 8:15pm ET every other Tuesday where we perform a couple of songs and talk all things music-related. Follow Delicata House on Facebook and Instagram and The Inner Crazy on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed of our Live events!

Alright, now it’s your turn! What have YOU learned this month?


Poised for Spring (Wellness Wednesday)

Happy First Day of Spring! We have sunny, cloudless skies and slightly milder weather today, so I’m soaking up the cheer and enjoying birdsong.

Interestingly, in the middle of all this sun and hope and good vibes, I am dealing with anxiety. If you struggle with depression and anxiety, do you find that anxiety heightens during months of fluctuating weather, such as Spring and Fall? Mine does. And as a result, I am always looking for tools that I can use to settle my mind and emotions. I do yoga, drink herbal teas, take an herbal supplement and use essential oils in various ways to alleviate anxiety.

Today I have two aromatherapy blends to share with you that combine some of my favorite oils that will help with grounding, calming, centering, steadying, etc., along with plenty of other benefits.

First, is a massage blend. I chose four essential oils for this blend:

Vetiver: Vetiveria zizanioides; Part of plant used: Roots of grass; Botanical family: Poaceae; Vetiver is strengthening to the immune system, eases muscular aches and pains, helpful for anxiety and depression, nourishing and healing to the skin, is grounding, centering, gathers your thoughts together when you feel scattered in your thinking, is balancing and stabilizing.

Black Spruce:Picea Mariana; Part of plant used: Needles; Botanical family: Pinaceae: Black Spruce is a decongestant, eases minor pain and inflammation, is antimicrobial, antispasmodic, builds confidence, is revitalizing to the mind.

Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia; Part of plant used: Flowering tops; Botanical family: Lamiaceae: Lavender is anti-inflammatory, is good for wound healing, eases muscular aches and pains, is calming and soothing, eases and helps with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Green Mandarin: Citrus reticulata: Part of plant used: Peel/zest of fruit; Botanical family: Rutaceae: Green Mandarin is useful for easing nervous tension, anxiety, depression, headaches, stress, is nurturing, warming, calming.

Steady Spring Massage Blend

In a 2 oz. PET plastic bottle or glass bottle, combine the following:

5 drops Vetiver

8 drops Green Mandarin

13 drops Black Spruce

18 drops Lavender

After you add the essential oils to the bottle, fill the rest of it up with refined sesame oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba. Screw cap on tightly, shake well, and store in a cool, dark place.

To use: Massage into back, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, feet.

The second is a diffuser blend. Here are the essential oils I chose:

Frankincense: Boswellia carteri; Part of plant used: Resin; Botanical family: Burseraceae Frankincense relieves anxiety, tension, supports reflection, contemplation, and prayer, alleviates feelings of despair, is anti-inflammatory, a wound healer, good for respiratory system.

Cypress: Cupressus sempervirens; Part of plant used: Leaves, twigs, cones; Botanical family: Cupressaceae; Cypress is a decongestant, supports healthy lung and airway function, is calming, helpful for alleviating feelings of sadness and during times of transition and bereavement.

Black Spruce: see above

Lavender: see above

Steady Spring Diffuser Blend

2 drops Frankincense

2 drops Cypress

4 drops Black Spruce

5 drops Lavender

Drop into diffuser, fill with water, and diffuse for an hour at a time.

The information I’ve shared with you today comes from my Level 1 Aromatherapy Course from New York Institute of Aromatic Studies.

I’d love to know what you think of either of these blends if you make them. Also, let me know in comments what essential oils you want to learn about or what kinds of recipes you are looking for.

A Diffuser Blend to Boost Your Mood (Wellness Wednesday)

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Am I the only one who has been fighting the blues now that the weather is colder and dusk settles sooner? No, I didn’t think so. I’m reading (and loving) The Upward Spiral and taking a look at my life and asking myself how I can make small changes in my day that can benefit my depressed brain and boost my mood.

As I study for my aromatherapy certification, I am learning so much about how aroma affects the brain and the emotions, as well as the physical body. Just breathing in certain aromas can change your mood, prevent you from getting a cold, or help strengthen your immune system.

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Some folks think aromatherapy is weird and a bunch of hippie New Age nonsense. Well, they’re actually just shutting down a whole world of wellness possibilities. Think about it: don’t you get a cold because you breathe in someone else’s cold virus some of the time? Of course, you can also get sick from touching a contaminated surface and rubbing your eyes or putting your hand into your mouth. But if sickness can come to us through the air we breathe, why is it so hard to believe we can boost our mood, stay well or prevent a cold, for example, through breathing in a diffused essential oil blend?

Just yesterday afternoon, I was feeling weepy and blue. I set the coffee kettle on the stove to boil, and grabbed Gabriel Mojay’s Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit from the library shelf. After leafing through a few of the pages on depression, and using my intuition and sense of smell, I came up with this blend.

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Lift Me Up Fall Diffuser Blend:

5 drops Cypress

2 drops Juniper

3 drops Sweet Orange

Fill your Diffuser to the fill line with distilled water, add the drops of essential oils and turn it on. Diffuse for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

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Within half an hour of diffusing, I stopped in the middle of my work and it hit me: the sadness and emotional heaviness had completely lifted! All I could think was, Thank You, God! I am so grateful for the very real power to heal holistically that is available to us through what we find in Nature. It’s amazing and very empowering on a personal level!

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I’d love to hear about how you stay well and boost your mood during the Fall! Do you have a favorite diffuser blend? Please share with us in the comments!

PS, if you want to learn more about essential oils for free, this link will take you to the The Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Summit airing 12-6pm EST October 23-26.

* This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through one of the links here, it benefits me in a very small way at no extra cost to you!

Starting My Aromatherapy Education

 

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I was a teenager when I first bumped up against the likes of Lavender and Patchouli and a host of herbal and homeopathic medicines that my friend’s mother used in their home for common complaints.

In my late teens I decided I wanted an herb garden. As I worked at a bookstore, I read books on herb gardening and herbal medicine and was fascinated to learn how to make my own lip balm, salt and sugar scrubs, body butter, and more using natural and plant-based ingredients.

When I was raising my children, I read books on homeopathy and natural medicines so that I could limit my kids’ exposure to pharmaceutical drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter. For everyday things like colds and coughs, trouble sleeping, minor earaches, insect repellent, and immune-system building, I went to Nature as often as I could. My kids roll their eyes even now, but I believe it was better for their health.

I also made some of my own cleaning products, incorporating essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus and lemon into my recipes. Cleaning a bathroom or mopping the kitchen became almost a delight because of the pleasant aroma of the oils.

This past December, I decided to join Young Living as a member, which enables me to purchase their products at a discount and also allows me to directly sell to others. For the most part, I am delighted with the quality and ease of use of all the essential oils and blends I’ve purchased. That said, there are other reputable companies that sell essential oils and I purchase from them as well.

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As I began to read Young Living literature and the information that is spread around the internet about essential oils, I felt a need to start an education in aromatherapy. I needed to learn how to safely administer oils to myself and loved ones. I wasn’t completely sure what are the best practices for making blends, butters, salves, balms, etc. But I wanted to learn what those were if I’m going to continue to sell natural body care products.

Looking up recipes on Pinterest is fine and most of the time I love the results, but I clearly needed to know how much and which oils to put together and why.

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Just because a substance is natural doesn’t mean it can’t harm you. (I’ll blog about this subject more in an upcoming post.) And when I’ve heard the dosing advice, particularly for internal use, that friends of mine have been given, I wince, thinking about the possible harm they could be doing to themselves in the name of essential oils and natural remedies/wellness. This can give aromatherapy a bad reputation. Any one of us who sell essential oils or make and sell aromatherapy products owe it to our customers, friends, and family to do this the right way.

Within weeks, I realized how ignorant I was and decided that I wasn’t going to take an essential oil company’s word at face value. Not that I’m assuming they’re lying, but ethically speaking, receiving education from an institution of learning, rather than a commercial enterprise selling the product they’re educating about, seems more responsible. I needed to go to school and that’s what I’ve been doing.

I signed up for two free webinars with Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute. Following those, I enrolled in two online classes at Aromahead. I also signed up for a free 18-hour online class from New York Institute for Aromatic Studies taught by Jade Shutes. I’m thoroughly enjoying this class and am considering enrolling in classes there eventually as well. My goal is to at least become a Level 1 Certified Aromatherapist so that I am knowledgable enough to formulate my own blends and products for sale, and to be able to use aromatherapy for myself, family, and friends in a responsible manner. And who knows where this path will lead?

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