Category Archives: Aromatherapy

How, when & Why

Glycerin Soap Benefits

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Ever wonder why your skin is so dry even though you are applying lotion everyday? Not only does the type of lotion you use affect your skin, but so does the type of soap you use. The soap you buy are your local grocery store may be the cause to your never ending dry skin. Actually, the soap you think you are buying, is in fact, not soap at all. “Soap” as we know it is actually made of petroleum by-products and is in fact detergent. Well, I don’t have to tell you, but if you use regular bar soap you know that your skin is tight, dry and sometimes itchy. Not only does regular bar soap contain lye and petroleum, they also contain DEA and drying alcohols. This is all great to know—so what kind of soap can I use that will be good for my skin you ask?? Pure Glycerin soap.

Glycerin is a clear liquid that absorbs water from the air. It is a humectant, drawing moisture to your skin, allowing it to remain hydrated and soft. I love soaps made of pure vegetable glycerin. Beyond hydrating your skin, glycerin is also known to be a natural remedy for yeast and fungal infections, such as eczema and psoriasis. It is especially good for sensitive skin. Glycerin soap does not contain synthetic ingredients that will cause skin irritations. It keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy and soft. Glycerin is a sweet tasting, colorless, thick liquid that has a high boiling point, it freezes to a paste and is a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture. It is also a natural by-product in the soap making process. Commercial manufacturers remove a significant quantity of glycerin from soap to be used in more expensive lotions and creams.

Glycerine was first discovered in 1779 in the saponification process, today, glycerine is found in and sourced from animal fats, vegetable oils and synthetically from petrochemicals. It is generally thought that Glycerine is an ingredient added to handmade soap but as stated above it is actually a by-product of the soap making process (saponification). Clear soap is often mistaken for glycerine soap when in fact all handmade soap contains glycerine, a treatment using alcohol and sugar is what makes the soap clear and this is what people generally refer to as glycerine soap. You can add extra glycerine to improve the moisturizing properties of the soap but it is not a necessity.

Glycerin soap combined with selected oils can be a great way to relax and mixed with carefully selected herbs and essential oils can be great for acne suffers, it is also very mild and gentle so can be used by children.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia found that glycerine makes skin look, feel and function better by attracting moisture and by helping skin cells mature properly; they also discovered that it helps convert fats or lipids in the external, protective membrane. All cells have this layer, but skin cells secrete extra lipids to form a protective barrier. “Think about it. If there was not some sort of barrier, when you took a bath, all the water would go into you and you would blow up like a balloon.” This research is not news to natural soap makers who for years have been telling the virtues of real soap over mass-produced chunks of soap full of chemicals that are cheap, but not skin-friendly. The skin covers our whole bodies. It is the largest human organ and is our first defense against dehydration, temperature, infection and harmful substances. Glycerine Soaps give your skin the care it serves and make bathing a gentle, soothing experience. Indulge yourself. A fragrant, handmade glycerine soap, like is a simple indulgence that enhances the feeling of relaxation and well-being. Treat yourself, or a loved one to the benefits of a handmade glycerine soap. Men love to use it for smooth shaving! It is gentle enough to use on babies. Stop by Scentsations today to smell one of the fragrant choices today. The soap is all natural and is fortified with vitamin E. Starting at only $2.99 per soap bar.

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Aromatherapy – Eucalyptus Oil

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I am a sinus sufferer.  We joke and say I can tell you when a good storm is coming by the sinus headache I get.  I love Eucalyptus- I have planted three plants around patio to help ward off the bugs.  They do however, seem to take forever to grow.  Eucalyptus is a powerful decongestant treatment for respiratory problems such as coughs, colds, asthma, chest infections, and sinusitis. It alleviates inflammation, reduces fever, treats skin infections, and eases pain of burns. It relieves muscle tension, treats rheumatism, and fibrositis. It boosts the immune system, which stimulates new tissue formation, and diuretic capabilities.  This oil is always in my top ten essential oils.

First Aid Eucalyptus Oil Uses include:

  • Insect Bites  hate the smell of Off and this will not burn your skin.
  • Blisters
  • Skin Irritations (like scrapes) and Minor Wounds (like cuts)
  • Mouthwash – kills staphylococcus bacteria
  • Relieves Sinus pressure by massaging a drop onto your temples
  • Relieves Headache by rubbing a few drops onto area in mid-forehead
  • Relieves muscle pain by adding to massage oil

 Medicinal Eucalyptus Oil Uses:

  • Add to Vaporizer or room humidifier to make breathing easier
  • Fever?   Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in water, soak washcloth, put on forehead, neck to cool skin
  • Rub Eucalyptus oil on sore, tired, exhausted muscles to feel comforting warmth deep in the tissues
  • Stimulant to increase cardiac activity
  • Anti-microbial oil that treats infectious viruses
  • Provides relief from asthma
  • Treats respiratory tract ailments
  • Treats sinusitis and head colds
  • Eases rheumatism and relieves arthritis
  • Treats Tuberculosis

Preventative Medicinal Eucalyptus Oil Uses:

  • Eucalyptus oil is a natural “pest-deterrent” to  keep mosquitos at bay
  • Antiseptic gargle (germicidal properties effectively kill staphylococcus bacteria)

Animal Eucalyptus Oil Uses:

  • Tick repellent
  • Eucalyptus Oil applied to the skin of your pet can reduce pain
  • Helpful in treating dogs with distemper
  • Treats septicemia (blood poisoning)
  • Treats parasite infestations

Household Eucalyptus Oil Uses:

  • Replace many environmentally-unfriendly chemicals with this Natural Disinfectant for toilets, sinks.  Mix  1.6 oz of eucalyptus oil with a liter(quart) of water.  Storage similar to other disinfectants.  eco friendly and green alternative.
  • Use above recipe with dish detergent to disinfect and wash floor and counter surfaces (hospital recipe, good on finger  marks)
  • Use undiluted to remove sticker/decal residue from glass and/or glass surfaces (like windows)
  • Add 1-2 tsp eucalyptus oil to each load of wash for a fresh scent with anti-microbial benefits
  • Removes paint, grease, or ink from clothing  (undiluted)
  • Revitalize your car air freshener by adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Half a tsp mixed with half liter (half quart) of water makes for a great plant-friendly bug repellent
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Room air freshener – Mix 12-15 drops of eucalyptus oil, 1/2 tsp vodka, 2 cups of water. Put in spray bottle and you have a homemade, non-toxic Febreeze!!   This is very subtle – double eucalyptus oil for a stronger scent.

The Dos and Don’ts Regarding Eucalyptus Oil Uses:

  • Eucalyptus oil should be stored in a dark glass bottle
  • Keep in a cool place
  • Keep out of direct sunlight
  • Unlike other essential oils, eucalyptus oil (when stored correctly), keeps for 1-2 years from the production date

Aromatherapy – Tea Tree Oil

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Tea Tree oil is obtained by steam distillation of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant which is ntive to Australia.  Historically, the leaves were used as a substitute for tea, which is how tea tree oil got its name.   The part used medicinally is the oil from the leaves.  Tea tree oil is full of healing properties because its an antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial.   Tea Tree Oil is an excellent natural remedy for hundreds of bacterial and fungal skin ailments such as acne, abscess, oily skin, blisters, sun burns, athlete’s foot, warts, herpes, insect bites, rashes, dandruff and other minor wounds and irritations. It can be used to clean cuts and infections, wounds, and helps in process of healing scar tissue. Tea tree boosts the immune system and alleviates inflammation. It fights against colds, flu, respiratory infections, and infectious illnesses. It promotes relaxation to help fall asleep and balances hormones in the body.

Studies have shown that Tea Tree Oil also treats respiratory problems ranging from common sore throats, coughs and runny nose to severe conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis. The anti-viral properties of the oil fight many common infectious diseases such as chicken pox, shingles and measles, flu, cold sores and verrucae. It also strengthens the body’s immune system, which is often weakened by stress, illness, or by the use of antibiotics and other drugs. It can also be used as a mouth wash, since it is highly effective in healing oral candidiasis (a fungal infection of mouth and throat).

Ways to use it:

Tea Tree Oil help treat toenail fungus infections. Simply apply 1 to 2 drops of the oil directly onto the infected toenails and rub it above and under the tip of the nail. Repeat this once per day.

You can apply it on acne and spots will disappear. Every time I get tea tree soaps in my local customers with acne ridden teens, scoop it up.  You will feel a slight tingle.  I keep a bottle handy at home and apply if I see a spot.  Mt 18 year old uses tea tree soap.

Tea Tree Oil, when used as a mouth wash, acts as a natural cure for bad breath, oral candidiasis, gingivitis, plaque, and inflamed gums. It also kills mouth bacteria prior to dental surgery and also reduces mouth irritation that is often caused by dental procedures.

  • Add 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil to a cup of warm water.
  • Use the solution as a mouthwash two to three times daily.
  • Always spit out the Tea Tree Oil mouthwash. Do not swallow it.
  • You may also add 1 drop of Tea Tree Oil to toothpaste when brushing teeth.

Many people have found it is helpful with removal of genital warts.

Tea Tree Oil can be combined with a simple steam inhalation technique to naturally cure congestion, sore throat, chest infections, and clearing up mucus:

  • Fill a large cooking pot or bowl with water.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and add 2 to 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil into it.
  • Cover your head with a towel and lean over the top of the bowl so that the long ends of the towel are hanging down at the two sides of the bowl.
  • Inhale the vapors for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Repeat the process each night before going to bed until symptoms are cured completely. If symptoms persist for more than 5 days it is best to consult your doctor.

Diluted in water, Tea Tree Oil is an effective treatment for canker sores and laryngitis:

  • Add 3-4 drops of Tea Tree Oil to one cup of warm water.

Tea tree can be used mixed in with shampoo to get rid of shampoo and it will also eliminate lice issues.  I swear by this.  My side of the family has dry scalp issues and I always keep tea tree shampoo in the house.  You don;t have to use it every day when you eliminate the problem but used occasionally it keeps the flakes at bay.

Tea tree can also be used to eliminate yeast infections.

 

With that said…

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid the use of Tea Tree Oil.
Undiluted Tea Tree Oil can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness on sensitive skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, it is always safer to dilute the oil in another base oil such as olive oil.
Pure Tea Tree Oil should never be taken internally in its undiluted form. Extra care should be taken when using it near the eyes, genitals, or even as a mouthwash. If taken internally, Tea Tree Oil can result in diarrhea, vomiting, impaired immune function, excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, confusion, poor coordination, and even coma. If you notice any of these symptoms of overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

Aromatherapy – Lavender oil

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As we delve into aromatherapy and the oils associated closer, I figured I would start with my #1 seller.  Lavender is an evergreen woody shrub, up to 1 meter tall, with pale green, narrow linear leaves and violet blue flowers.  It has a sweet, floral and herbal scent with balsamic undertones.  Almost medicinal.   The oil is distilled by steam from the flowers.  In a blend of fragrances or oils it is generally the top note. Not all Lavender is the same!  It comes from all over the world and in many different qualities!    A well-loved Mediterranean herb, lavender has been associated with cleanliness since Romans first added it to their bathwater. In fact, the name comes from the Latin lavandus, meaning to wash. One Christian legend says that lavender originally had no odor, but since the Virgin Mary dried Jesus’s swaddling clothes on it, it has had a heavenly perfume but I have also heard that Benedictine Monks & Romans introduced it to the rest of the world.

Essential oil of lavender is now known to have many application in aromatherapy.  Lavender is among the safest and most widely used of all aromatherapy oils. It is one of only teo oils that may be applied directly to the skin.  This amazing plant is used for acne, athlete’s foot, comforting the stomach, as a disinfectant, for headache and migraine relief, healing burns and insect bites, an insect repellent, scenting linens, stiff joints and sore muscle relief, sunburns and more!  My dog had a touch of fleas from the front yard.  we washed and treated her and then applied a secret blend of oil I have directly onto her back.  eased her pain and she slept like a baby.   It is also one of the most antiseptic essential oils, treating many types of infection, including lung, sinus, vaginal, and especially candida infections.  Lavender is suitable for all skin types.

Cosmetically, it appears to be a cell regenerator. It prevents scarring and stretch marks and reputedly slows the development of wrinkles. It is used on burns, sun-damaged skin, wounds, rashes, and, of course, skin infections.    I use this all the time for sunburns.  It draws the heat out and you turn golden brown instead of bright red.  Lavender also treats indigestion, including colic, and boosts immunity. Of several fragrances tested by aromatherapy researchers, lavender was most effective at relaxing brain waves and reducing stress. It also reduced computer errors by almost one-fourth when used to scent the office.  I love this when heated in the microwave and wrapped around my neck, great stress reducer for me.  Lavender is a popular choice amongst both aromatherapists and massage therapists for its combination of therapeutic quality and pleasant floral scent.

Today lavender remains a favorite for scenting clothing and closets, soaps, and even furniture polish. Lavender was traditionally inhaled to ease exhaustion, insomnia, irritability, and depression. In the Victorian era, women revived themselves from faints caused by tight corsets with lavender-filled swooning pillows.

You will find lavender cookies, lavender ice cream, lavender scones and yes…even lavender infused vodka.  It is dried in sachets, potpourri and in bundles.  Lavender is used in lotions, soaps, shampoo, household cleaners, linen sprays and even laundry detergent.  It is one of the most common essential oils uses in eco friendly green cleaners.

Lavender blends well with bergamot, chamomile, jasmine, rosewood, rosemary, ylang-ylang, orange, patchouli, pine, thyme, bay, clary sage, geranium and citronella.  Interestingly enough, many of these are in my top ten sellers.

I have tried to grow lavender a few times.  I have one plant still alive.  I had it planted in a mound with sloping sides.  I am in Florida and it seems to do better in 3/4 sun with good drainage.  It is a little evergreen looking until it blooms.  Less is more with lavender, it does not like to be over watered.

                      

Aromatherapy – What’s it all about

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For the Month of April, I was thinking about what Scentsations could share with it’s customers.  So many of the fragrance products we carry are essential oil and aromatherapy based, I thought “this would be a good thing”.   I do not claim to be an aromacologist however, I have been using, growing my own herbs and selling essential oils for 17 years.  I have mint, oregano, sage, parsley, thyme, aloe vera and rosemary all growing in my yard or in pots.  It is part of my daily life.  I dry it, throw in in dishes I am cooking and even give tons of it away.  Therefore,  daily I will be choosing an essential oil and going over why people who believe in aromatherapy use it.  Some of the ones I will be featuring will be lavender, lemon, orange, tea tree, peppermint, frankincense, patchouli, jasmine, rose and thyme. I will be sharing with you some of my “secret” blends for remedies from sunburn, mosquito bites and even fire ant bites.

So what is aromatherapy and why do some people utilize it in their daily lives for health, wellness and peace of mind?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.   Essential oils, or aromatherapy oils, are the fragrant essence of a plant. These highly concentrated liquid oils are the foundation of aromatherapy, which is based on the idea that the aromatic oil from a plant has healing properties.  Essential oils are extracted one of two ways – either by steam distillation or expression, or pressing. Distillation is the most prominent method used to extract aromatherapy oils, however. This technique involves steaming the plant matter until it breaks down. The byproduct of this breakdown phase is the plant’s fragrant oil, which is cooled, separated from the water and finally filtered into its pure essential oil.

Essential Oils are natural concentrated essences derived from plants, bark, roots, seeds, stems, flowers, leaves, fruits, etc. and are usually steamed distilled.   They differ from fragrance oils which are normally made up of a number of synthetic imitations of essential oils creating a fragrance that will smell like a flower, herb, plant or other fragrance.  Do not confuse the two!

I sell many essential oil based products in the store including, oils, Root Candles and Lampe Berger.  There are many different modes of application of aromatherapy: aerial diffusion, direct inhalation, and topical applications.

  1. Aerial diffusion is usually applied via an oil burner but I have some people that also add some in a pot of boiling water on a stove or a few drops on a warm light bulb.  This method is generally used for fragrancing and aerial disinfection. Lampe Berger is also an aerial diffuser so are reed diffusers.
  2. Direct inhalation like in a humidifier or steamer is particularly helpful for decongestant, for respiratory cleansing and also as a soothing peace of mind.  remember when you were a kid and mom fired up the humidifier with the Vicks?  The inhaled aroma of essential oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function but we will discuss that in a minute.
  3. Topical applications like massage oils, baths, compresses and skin care.  Aromatherapy has many benefits, but it is imperative that safety precautions are taken when handling essential oils. While they may seem harmless (they are extracted from plants, after all), many need to be diluted before applying directly to the skin.

Please be sure to read all labels for warning and cautions.  Do not get essential oils in your eyes.  Flush with lots of water if you do and seek medical help. Keep them away from children who may not know what they are for, just that they smell great.   If you are using on your body as a topical application, make sure you are using the appropriate carrier oils. Use only the suggested amount; misuse can lead to headaches and/or nausea. If you suspect you’ve used too much, drink plenty of water and get some fresh air.  Essential oils have wonderful medicinal benefits, but if used improperly the effects can be hazardous to your health.

History:

Aromatherapy is said to have been around for centuries.  Little is known about the history of aromatherapy, or where it originated specifically, but the Egyptians are credited with developing one of the first distillation machines to extract oils from certain plants — cedarwood, clove, cinnamon, to name a few — which were used to embalm the dead. The practice of using infused aromatic oils as a mood enhancer, however, is thought to have roots in China.

The Greeks also played a role in the history of aromatherapy. Megallus, a Greek perfumer, developed a fragrance he called megaleion, which consisted of myrrh. The “father of medicine” Hippocrates is said to have practiced aromatherapy (before it was dubbed so) for healing purposes. Greek mythology claims the gods were gifted with the knowledge of perfume and fragrance.

The actual term “aromatherapy” first originated in 1937 when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse invented the word after a burn incident spurred his curiosity about the healing power of essential oils. On the heels of Gattefosse’s “discovery” that lavender oil helped to cure his burn, French surgeon Jean Valnet used essential oils to help heal soldiers’ wounds in World War II, proving the medical benefits of aromatherapy.

Now that you have a brief background…there are literally hundreds of essential oils that have a wide variety of uses in aromatherapy. The ones that you will favor and choose to use is a personal option.  The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be a professional to begin finding happiness and enjoyment from the advantages of aromatherapy immediately.  You can use them many ways:

Potpourri Candles Incense Light bulb rings
Diffuser Candle diffuse Potpourri cooker Sachet’s
Steam (3 to 6 drops in 2 cups water in pan.) Room Sprays Body Sprays Perfumes
Soaps Lotions Shampoo Hair Treatments
Scented Towels Laundry Bathes Massage oils
Household Cleaning agents Closet Scenting Drawer Scenting Smelling
Facial steams Office atmosphere Atomizers Body Spritzer

Check back tomorrow as I highlight Lavender, my #1 selling essential oil.  If you have any suggestions, recipes you would like to share or thoughts, let me know!  Be sure to follow us if you want to know when I post new essential oils.