15 Surprising Benefits of Lemon Water

15 Surprising Benefits of Lemon Water

As we see, lemon water has far too many benefits and is just way too easy to skip! So squeeze that lemon into your water and drink up!

5 Best Essential Oils For Your First Aid Kit

Spa scene with natural cosmetics

Essential oils are one of the cornerstones of natural medicine. They have powerful therapeutic benefits and many different applications for health, beauty and much more. Here is a list of some of the most popular essential oils for your first aid applications and what they are commonly used for.

Lavender:

This is one of the most versatile oils there is. It can be used for so many things but it is best known for it’s calming and relaxation properties. Lavender essential oil is antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory decongestant, deodorant, diuretic and a sedative. It’s fabulous for the skin and is excellent for pain relief, especially muscle aches and headaches. A very effective hand sanitizing spritz can be made from some lavender essential oil and distilled water. No first aid kid or medicine box is complete without lavender.

Peppermint: 

Great for headaches, pain relief, stomach upset, congestion and fevers, peppermint essential oil is another very versatile oil. It’s wonderful refreshing scent reminds us of holidays and warm memories. Peppermint oil can be applied “neat” (undiluted) to the skin for irritations and redness. Peppermint essential oil helps sharpen mental focus, clear up cobwebs, and to refresh and brighten moods.

Tea Tree:

This oil is one of the kings of medicinal oils. Like lavender, it’s applications are many, from treating minor cuts to dandruff and everything in between. A few drops of tea tree oil added to a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar makes an excellent disinfectant spray. Add a bit more water to the mix and you can use this as a wonderful skin toner. Burning it in the aromatherapy oil burner will not just deodorize the room but actually kills the bacteria causing the odor. It can be a little overwhelming when used this way, so if you are sensitive open the windows. Tea tree oil is antiseptic, antifungal, an immune system booster and a natural insecticide. If you have no other essential oils in your home at all, you should have tea tree oil.

Chamomile:

World-renowned for it’s relaxing properties, chamomile is also great as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chamomile essential oil is antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant and a mood booster. There are two types of chamomile, Roman and German. The healing properties of both are similar, with the German type being better suited for digestive and urinary problems.

Rose:

Often described as the Queen of Oils, Rose essential oil is wonderful for skin and hair applications, particularly maturing skin. It’s aroma is heavenly, making rose oil excellent for anxiety, depression, digestion problems, ladies’ problems and it’s a fantastic aphrodisiac, as well. It’s best used in lotions, toners, massage and bath oils.

BONUS! Eucalyptus:

You’ll recognize the scent of this one immediately; it smells like Vicks Vapo-Rub and it’s uses are similar. Eucalyptus essential oil is used best for coughs, colds, sinus problems and decongestant. Burning it in the aromatherapy burner will kill the germs in any sickroom. It’s great in the vaporizer or in the shower, where it can work with the steam to ease respiratory problems. Eucalyptus oil is antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic and a stimulant. It’s cooling, like peppermint and helps with headaches and muscle pain.

If you are just starting to get into essential oils, this is a great list to get you going. These oils are versatile, powerful and have many therapeutic applications. If you are trying to create a natural first aid kit, these oils are perfect for it, able to treat everything from fevers and coughing to cuts and scrapes.

Need more info about essential oils?

You can download the most popular essential oil encyclopedia app on Amazon. This app is also available on the Google Play store.

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Aromatherapy Chart & Information

aromatherapy chart

Aromatherapy is the science of using essential oils to evoke the powerful olfactory sense (sense of smell) to create balance and healing in the human system of physical and mental wellbeing. Aromatherapy sounds like it just refers to scents and smelling – and often it does – but really it refers to all use of essential oils, including using them topically or internally.

Research indicates that doctors who have been providing treatment to patients suffering from anosmia (loss of sense of smell) have repeatedly found that this deficiency is linked to high incidence of mental/psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression and paranoia.

How does aromatherapy work?

On closer examination of the olfactory faculty in humans, it is interesting to note that we have the ability to distinguish more than 10,000 diverse smells.

The mechanism of smelling works in this manner – when a particular smell comes in contact with the limbic system, via the network of fine hair called cilia which form the inner lining of the nose, it reaches the part of the brain which also controls moods, memory, emotions and learning, which is also the center of the brain which processes olfactory stimuli.

Via this process, an olfactory stimulus is translated into an actual olfactory experience. Hence it becomes evident that the olfactory center is also linked to emotions, learning, alertness, memory, and moods.

Aromatherapy research regarding brain wave frequency has validated this theory, and further studies have revealed that inhaling the fragrance of lavender immediately spikes up alpha waves which signify deep relaxation. Another similar example reveals that inhalation of the jasmine fragrance stimulates beta waves on brain wave frequency mapping studies, which is indicative of alertness and a sharp state of mind.

These and other such scientific studies reveal that the constituents of essential oils are chemical compounds that have a very specific and focused impact on the combined states of mind and body.

The effects of aromatherapy are as varied as the types of oils available, and it is important to understand what your requirements are, what effects you would like to see and experience, and based on the same, the essential oil can be chosen to bring about the desired effect.

Different oils bring different health and medical benefits of aromatherapy. Some oils have a relaxing effect, some revitalizing, some stimulating, and others antiseptic, etc. They can thus be used for varied aromatherapy remedies.

When talking about aromatherapy, essential oils are mainly discussed; however, essential oils are just one aspect of this branch of healing. Aromatherapy includes all the different types of oils, and it is important to understand their uses, and the effects of aromatherapy that are caused by them in the human body.

Essential Oils

At the top of the list are essential oils which are extracted from herbs / plants via a process of steam distillation. The fragrance of the essential oil is used for medicinal purposes.

Absolutes

Absolutes are a different element of aromatherapy oils, and are more potent than essential oils. The method of extraction is different in that it is extracted through chemical expression.

Absolutes bring about different effects of aromatherapy as compared to essential oils. They contain trace quantities of solvent, which could potentially trigger allergic reactions, so caution should be exercised when used. Due to the chemical process required for extractions, Absolutes are not nearly as natural as essential oils. They are viscous, thick and highly potent.

Hypercritical carbon dioxide or CO2s

This is a type of oil that requires extraction by utilizing pressure to convert gases in plants to liquid. The CO2 in plants is subjected to extreme pressure to bring about its liquidation. In the process the essential oil contained within also gets dissolved in the extracted liquid CO2.

Through a process of removing the pressure, the pure essential oil is separated from the carbon dioxide since CO2 evaporates when pressure is normalized.

This category mainly comprises of volatile compounds found in plants which could not be extracted by any of the other available methods. This type of aromatherapy oil is thick and viscous.

Hydrosols

Hydrosols or hydrolytes is the leftover liquid which is a by-product of the process of extraction of aromatherapy oils via steam or water distillation.

This is the floral water which will have a strong fragrance of the extracted oil, as also the some of the attributes, a milder version of the essential oil. These find their way in cosmetic products such as skin astringents, toners and perfume sprays. The effects of aromatherapy of these oils would not be strong as those of the essential oils.

Infused Oils

This type of aromatherapy oil is created by heating the selected herbs in carrier oil so the attributes of smell and flavour of the herb is infused in the oil.

This is a simple method of obtaining the effects of the herb and enjoying the effects of aromatherapy without having to go through the elaborate process of steam distillation, and can be made at home for use as massage oils, etc.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are used as a base for other essential oils in aromatherapy. A neutral of mild fragrance oil is frequently used as carrier oil, e.g. jojoba, almond, etc.

Strong and powerful essential oils cannot be used directly on the skin and have to be blended with a carrier oil to avoid the possible negative effectives of aromatherapy, for example risk of allergy, irritation, etc. Carrier oils are generally used for massage oils, perfume oils, etc.

Resins

Resins are the sticky substances that one sees oozing from trees when they are injured. Obviously they have healing properties which are used in aromatherapy.

These resins are extracted by solvent or alcohol since they cannot be used directly in aromatherapy oils. Liquid resins are used in aromatherapy for medicinal / healing purposes.

Blends

Blends, as is suggested by the term, are mixtures of two or more essential oils. They can also be essential oils that are mixed with carrier oils or distilled water. Different blends are used to produce the desired effects of aromatherapy.

Understanding and classifying the chemistry of essential oils is complicated since the classifications include different types of chemical compounds such as alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, esters, and terpenes.

However, the science of aromatherapy has studied and recorded the chemical composition of each one of these classifications, and today, is a vital part of alternative medicine therapies offered to the public worldwide.

Types of Aromatherapy Chemical Compounds

Aldehydes

Aldehydes impart the benefits of anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and sedative properties, and are used to treat related conditions.

The essential oils contain these active constituents possess a lemony fragrance and found in herbs such as lemongrass, lemon balm, citronella and eucalyptus.

Alcohols

Alcohols impart the benefits of stimulant, energizing, vitalizing, antiviral and diuretic properties.

Alcohols are found in rose, rosewood (also known as ylang ylang), peppermint, myrtle, patchouli, ginger and sandalwood.

Phenols

Phenols impart the benefits of antibacterial, tonic, stimulant, immune-system boosting, invigorating and warming properties. It is frequently used in soothing salves, balms and lozenges and cough drops. Over-use can sometimes produce toxicity.

Phenols are found in clove, cinnamon, thyme, cumin and oregano essential oils.

Ketones

The first among the various types of aromatherapy chemical compounds to be covered is Ketones. Ketones or Cetone have the properties of wound healing, stimulant (new cell growth), mucolytic and is used in nail polish.

Ketones are present in the essential oils of camphor, rosemary, eucalyptus, sage and hyssop.

Terpenes

Terpenes impart the benefits of stimulant, soother of skin irritation, and anti-viral attributes. These compounds are found in lemongrass, black pepper, nutmeg, bergamot, and angelica.

Sesquiterpenes

These impart the benefits of anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, sedative, immune-system boosting, and bacteriostatic properties.

These active chemical compounds are found in chamomile, tansy, yarrow.

Esters

Esters impart the benefits of calming, sedative, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

These chemical compounds are found in the essential oils of Roman chamomile, bergamot, sage and clary sage.

Lactones

Lactones impart similar benefits as esters and are part of the same group. They impart the benefits of anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties.

These chemical compounds are found in arnica and elecampane.

Ethers

Ethers are the last major group of the various types of aromatherapy chemical compounds and have a harmonizing effect on the nervous system, as well as antiseptic, expectorant, stimulant, spasmolytic and diuretic attributes.

These compounds are found in clove, anise, tarragon, parsley and sassafras.

Thinking of mixing your own aromatherapy oils?

Once you have understood the fundamentals of aromatherapy such as what is aromatherapy, how does it work, what are the types of aromatherapy and other such information, you may want to mix your own aromatherapy oils at home.

If this is the case, it is important to assess what your needs are, and then proceed. Absolutes, resins and CO2s are concentrated essential oils and will need to be used only if that particular essential oil is not available.

The best bet when you want to make your own oils is infused oils which can be made at home, and hydrosols which have a mild, diluted effect, of that particular essential oil.

As stated earlier, it is important to assess your requirement and then go out and purchase just one or two that you need to make a blend at home. There is no need to go out and buy a whole bunch of essential oils, which you may never use, if you are not clear what the purpose is.

When mixing your own aromatherapy oils, i.e. mixing two or more essential oils, it is important to have a balanced, harmonious blend of oils for the desired effects. This blending of oils if done perfectly is called synergy.

Items Needed for Mixing Your Own Aromatherapy Oils

The tools required to mix your own essential oils are measuring spoons, small clean bottles that can hold up to 30 ml of oil for mixing, and if the essential oils that you purchased did not come with droppers (which they usually do), then you will need droppers, one each for each oil.

Procedure for Mixing Your Own Aromatherapy Oils

The process of mixing your own essential oil is as described below. This process will give you a 2.5 % dilution.

  • Carefully measure 4 teaspoons (or 20 ml) of any carrier oil of your choice into a dark colored glass (dark brown preferably).
  • Add about 10 drops of essential oils.
  • This mixture should be blended well by shaking.
  • Ensure that the bottle is tightly screwed on to avoid spillage.
  • This new blend of oils will need to be used within 1 month.
  • This strength of dilution is best suited for massage purposes.For a blend of 1% dilution, the same process is to be followed. However the quantities will change. Mix 4 drops of essential oils with about 20 ml of carrier oils.This type of diluted blend is best for children upwards of 3 years to 10 years, and also for pregnant women.Some of the general guidelines to follow while mixing your own essential oils are:
  • To wash your hands before and after mixing the oils.
  • Exact measures as indicated should also be used, so drops should be counted carefully in the preparation process.
  • Further, the dropper should be held correctly so the hole on the top should be uppermost, to avoid excess drops flowing through when dropper is squeezed.
  • Also, once blended, the essential oils should be kept in dark colored, tightly capped bottles, in a cool, dark place. They can last for years if stored correctly.Other general guidelines for mixing your own aromatherapy oils are:
  • To never ingest essential oils (diluted or otherwise).
  • Concentrated oil must never be used on skin directly.
  • Carrier oils should be used to dilute.
  • If there is likelihood that you could be pregnant, caution should be exercised since certain essential oils could be dangerous.
  • Also, if there is a pre-existing condition like hypertension, expert medical advice should be sought prior to commencing aromatherapy.
  • Always read and follow the warnings regarding each oil. These are powerful substances and need to be respected.

Are you looking for some simple aromatherapy home recipes or easy aromatherapy recipes for the house?

Making use of aromatherapy at home has many beneficial effects. It can harmonize and make the atmosphere very pleasant and uplifting, which is a great mood enhancer for all family members.

If it is a general pick-me-up that you or anyone in your family needs, aromatherapy can create the right ambience in any home.

A simple recipe for aromatherapy air freshener that is made by blending oils is to add 8 to 10 drops of any essential oil in a cup of water and fill this in a spray mist bottle. After shaking the bottle well, this spray can be used as a misty fresh air spray for the home and pet area.

Another aromatherapy home recipe for a home spray is to carry out the following:

  • You will need a 4 ounce clean spray container and a blend of essential oils of your choice. To this you will add 3 ounces of distilled water.
  • The essential oils that can be used, for example, are 20 drops of orange essential oil, 14 drops of bergamot, 4 drops of ylang ylang and 2 drops of rose.
  • When mixed in the manner described, you will have your orange blossom air freshener, which will make your home a fragrant heaven.
  • Similarly, you can create as many blends, aromatherapy formulas or aromatherapy recipes as you like with other essential oils. The process will remain largely the same.Other general guidelines for easy aromatherapy home recipes are as follows:
  • Synthetic air fresheners are bad for the environment. Replace them with air fresheners made with essential oils such as lavender, geranium and rose.
  • Cedar wood balls are a good, natural aromatherapy substitute for insecticide filled moth balls. Cotton balls dipped in a bit of lavender oil also make great closet fresheners.
  • A good deodorizer is to drop lemon oil in the water prior to mopping. This will also sterilize your floors besides making it smell good. Use natural cleaners. Alternatively, simply use vinegar, lemon juice and borax. For carpet cleaning solution, you can put 10-15 drops of lemon oil in each gallon to help pull out stains and brighten the rug. This also leaves a fresh smell in the room.

There are little or no dangers to using these simple aromatherapy home recipes or easy aromatherapy recipes for the house, so feel free to try them. They can help turn your home into a healthy and fragrant haven.

NOTES: Click the image to save or zoom. Info taken from “Holistic Healing Spotlight: Aromatherapy I” on our sister blog, Modern Pioneer Magazine.

Making Herbal Medicines – A Guide

Anyone interested in learning more about making herbal medicines would do well to download this .pdf file. 35 pages of recipes, how-to and more. Recommended. Download here. You might also be interested in this guide as well.

*NOTE: As with all medicines, you should not take anything until you have checked with your doctor or Master Herbalist. Nothing on this website should be construed as medical advice or a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

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Using Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

Some of the most powerful natural remedies you can use are essential oils. Muscle problems are very common complaints and essential oil can work wonderfully for these.

The types of muscle-related pains are listed below, along with the oils that are most helpful. Unless otherwise noted, the oils are to be used topically. More information on how to use the oils is given at the end of the post.

General Muscle Pain
The best general-purpose essential oils to have on hand for muscle pain are Marjoram and Peppermint followed by Balsam Fir, Basil, Birch, Cypress, Ginger, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Silver Fir, Spanish Sage, Vetiver, White Fir, and Wintergreen.

Aches and Pains
If you are achy due to sickness, have fibromyalgia, or connective tissue pain, these essential oils are most helpful: Birch, Clove, Marjoram, Oregano, and Peppermint followed by Ginger, Helichrysum, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, White Fir, and Wintergreen.

Cardiac Muscle
Marjoram and Lavender work best, followed by Cinnamon, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Use topically or put in a diffuser for aromatic use.

Cartilage Injury
Birch, Marjoram, and Wintergreen are best for this injury. Lemongrass and Peppermint are also helpful.

Energizing
To energize the muscles before a workout, use Rosemary. It warms the muscles and helps them to stretch for optimal performance.

Leg/Foot Cramps
Often prevented by staying hydrated, sometimes brought on my strain or lack of blood flow. Lemongrass, Marjoram, and Peppermint are the best oils for relief, followed by Basil, Clary Sage, Cypress, Grapefruit, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, and Vetiver.

Fatigue
These essential oils are best for muscle fatigue: Cypress, Marjoram, Peppermint, and White Fir. Eucaluptus, Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Thyme are also helpful.

Spasms
Usually not painful, spasms can be relieved by using Basil, Marjoram and Roman Chamomile. Clary Sage, Cypress, Lavender, and Peppermint can also help.

Sprains
Ligament strain is most helped by Lemongrass, Marjoram, and White Fir. Other essential oils that may be helpful are: Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Helichrysum, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver.

Tendonitis
Marjoram and Lavender are your best choices for inflammation of the tendon.

Tension
Whether due to physical stress, or emotional stress, Marjoram is your best choice. Helichrysum, Lavender, Peppermint, and Roman Chamomile are also helpful.

Make Your Own Essential Oil Blends:

  • Pull a muscle? Blend together 3 drops Roman Chamomile and 2 drops Sweet Marjoram. Apply via cold compress (see below for how to make a cold compress).
  • For muscular pain combine 3 drops Roman Chamomile with 3 drops Lavender. Apply via cold compress (see below).
  • For inflammation, apply a cold compress (see below) of 3 drops Peppermint and 3 drops Yarrow.
  • To release a muscle spasm combine 4 drops Cypress, 2 drops Ginger, and 4 drops Sweet Marjoram with 4 teaspoons carrier oil of your choice.
  • To soothe aching muscles combine 2 drops Lemongrass, 4 drops Ginger, and 4 drops Lavender with 4 teaspoons carrier oil of your choice.
  • To loosen tight muscles combine 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Rosemary, and 2 drops of Ginger with 4 teaspoons carrier oil.
  • To ease rheumatic pain, combine 2 drops Spike Lavender, 4 drops Ginger, and 4 drops Silver Fir in 4 teaspoons carrier oil.
  • To increase blood flow to cold and cramping leg muscles combine 2 drops Ginger, 4 drops Black Pepper, and 4 drops Cinnamon in 4 teaspoons carrier oil.

Applying the Blends
Some injuries may do better with a cold compress.To make a cold compress, add the oils to the surface of a small bowl of water. Dip a facecloth onto the oils, and it will be sufficiently diluted. Apply to area of pulled muscle for relief.

Other injuries to best when combined with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, and massaged on the surface of the skin. A good rule of thumb for frequent/daily massaging is a 1% solution. For occasional deep muscle aches, use 3% (and up to 5%).

1% solution would be adding 1 drop of EO to one teaspoon of oil; 2% solution would be adding 2 drops of EO to one teaspoon of oil, etc. To make a 1 ounce bottle use 5-6 drops for 1% solution; 10-12 for 2% and 15-18 for 3%.

Courtesy of  NourishingTreasures.com

A Natural Remedy For Headaches That Really Works

Headaches. Ugh. Is there anything worse? From annoying sinus headaches to skull-busting migraines, everybody oilhates a headache. Most headaches are caused by dehydration, so remedying them is simple enough: drink more water. This is not an instant cure though, and if you are tired of taking too many synthetic painkillers, there is something else you can try: peppermint oil.

Peppermint essential oil is well-known as one of the most efficient painkillers on earth. Even just breathing in the scent can help reduce pain, especially the pain of a headache. This is a very simple remedy for headaches and it works very well. Simply take a washrag and fold it as you would to lay it across your forehead. Wet the rag with very hot water and wring it out. Place 3-4 drops of peppermint oil along the length of the folded, damp washrag and then lay it across your forehead. Peppermint oil can also be applied “neat” (undiluted) to the forehead, but this method works well and the heat seems to help. You can also apply this same compress to a sore muscle with good results.

The next time you have a headache, drink a big glass of water and try some peppermint oil for the pain. Let me know if it works!