Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Essential Oil Profile

Botanical name: Achillea millefolium
Family: Asteraceae

I must admit, I have a bit of a love affair going on with yarrow (Achillea millefolium). I have always loved seeing it growing in my wildflower garden, in prairie meadows, and on mountain sides. It is such a delicate looking flower but I know just how hardy and resilient it really is. I am thrilled to be able to wild harvest yarrow whenever I can, because I know I can always use the yarrow flowers and leaves for healing preparations. Continue reading “Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Essential Oil Profile”

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) Essential Oil

Botanical name: Cymbopogon citratus

Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is an old favorite essential oil of mine.  It was one of the first essential oils I used to ease sore aching muscles.  I love the subtle lemon scent of lemongrass, its cooling aroma, and its soothing action on overworked muscles.

Lemongrass is a fast growing, tall, aromatic, perennial grass.  Its aromatic, sword-like grass leaves grow five to six feet high.  Lemongrass has a network of roots that quickly depletes the surrounding soil. It thrives in sunny tropical locations; however, it grows quite well in the hot temperatures of eastern Wyoming too!

The essential oil is steam distilled from the partially dried leaves of lemongrass.  Its aroma, as mentioned, is a subtle aroma of lemon; not as strong or pungent as lemon, but with a lemon scent none the less.  Lemongrass has a fresh clean scent that reminds me of sunshine after a rain.

Historically, lemongrass has been used for medicinal purposes in India for hundreds of years.  Both Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder prescribed lemongrass for medical conditions during the first century.  Prior to WWII India was the main source for lemongrass, but following the war the West Indies had taken over cultivation and oil production.  In India the oil is applied to the skin to combat ringworm.  In Asia lemongrass tea is used to regulate blood sugar levels and aid in menstrual conditions.

Lemongrass essential oil can be used to aid with decreasing inflammation, muscle strains, rheumatism, improve muscle tone, and remove lactic acid build up in the muscles after hard work or strenuous physical activity.  Lemongrass can also assist with respiratory health by preventing respiratory infections, aid with laryngitis, and ease sore throats.  It also is helps to ease fevers.

The benefits of lemongrass for the skin are numerous.  Lemongrass essential oil can be added to blends for acne, athlete’s foot, bruises, weak connective tissue, deodorant, excessive perspiration, fungal infections, insect repellent, lice, oily skin, open pores, ringworm, scabies, slack tissue, and tissue toner.  I have found lemongrass to be a very effective essential oil in underarm deodorant.

This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the therapeutic properties of lemongrass include: abortifacient, analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitif, astringent, calmative,   deodorant, digestive, disinfectant, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, and insect repellent.

Precautions:Lemongrass essential oil should not be used during pregnancy.  Lemongrass essential oil may also cause irritation to individuals with sensitive skin.

Bath blend for sore muscles:

To ¼ cup milk (yes, milk!  It is great for the skin!) add the following essential oils;

4 drops lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

3 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

3 drops cedar (Cedrus atlantica)

 

After the bath tub is full mix the milk and essential oil blend into the bath water.  Allow yourself the pleasure of soaking in this lovely bath for 20 minutes.  Allow your muscles to relax and your concerns melt away.

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions.  You can contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com or find me on Facebook atfacebook.com/yourhealthscents

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

References:

Battaglia, Salvatore; The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition; Brisbane AU; The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2003

Davis, Patricia; Aromatherapy An A-Z; London, UK; Vermillion; 2005

Keville, Kathi & Green, Mindy; Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2nd edition; New York, NY; Crossing Press; 2009.

Lawless, Julia; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils; Dorset, UK; Element Books; 1995

Sellar, Wanda; The Directory of Essential Oils; Brisbane AU; The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2003

Schiller, Carol & Schiller, David; The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia; Laguna Beach, CA; Basic Health Publications, Inc.; 2008.

Carrot Seed (Daucus carota) Essential Oil

[quote]“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine.” Thich Nhat Hahn[/quote]

 

Botanical name: Caucus carota

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)

 

Carrot seed (Daucus carota) essential oil does not come from carrots!  Does that surprise you?  I remember my surprise when I learned this fact.  Carrot seed essential oil actually comes from the seeds of wild Queen Anne’s lace, otherwise known as wild carrot.  The root of the wild carrot is white in color and non-edible unlike the red-orange tap root of the domesticated carrot, which is edible.

 

Carrot is an herb that grows to a height of approximately one foot.  It has green stems that branch out in all directions and it produces delicate white flowers.  Wild carrot is native to Europe, Asia and North America.[1]

 

The dried seeds of the carrot are steam distilled to obtain the essential oil.  The fragrance of carrot seed oil is similar to that of the carrot root.  It has a pungent, herbal, nutty, and earthy aroma.  The red carrot root is solvent extracted or used to infuse carrier oils to create carrot oil, which is not to be confused with carrot seed essential oil.

 

It is the root of the edible domestic carrot that is mentioned in most of the ancient texts as being of important medicinal value.  The Greeks and Romans valued carrot root as a tonic for the stomach.2  In the present we know carrot root to be high in vitamin A and beta carotene.  We often make the comments to children to, “Eat your carrots.  They are good for your eyesight.”

 

The essential oil of carrot seed (Daucus carota), that obtained from wild carrot, i.e. Queens Anne’s lace, is excellent for aging skin.  It helps to combat wrinkles and fine lines.  It is also good for age spots, healing of wounds and scars, and helpful for eczema and psoriasis.  It is one of my favorite essential oils for all facial serums, many lotions, and several salves.

 

Carrot seed oil is also reported to be helpful as a liver tonic. It is used in cases of jaundice, kidney stones, and hepatitis.  It is also used to cleanse the bowels, decrease flatulence, stem diarrhea, and ease cystitis.3  Carrot seed essential oil also helps to relieve stress and clear the mind.

 

In addition to the above uses of carrot seed essential oil, the documented properties of carrot seed essential oil include: antioxidant, diuretic, laxative, astringent, antilithic [prevents the formation of stones], antisclerotic [removes deposits from the circulatory system], emmenagogue [promotes menstruation], galactagogue [promotes production of breast milk], tonic, and vulnerary [promotes healing of wounds and sores].2 Essentially, carrot seed essential oil is a good choice to incorporate into blends for skin conditions, digestive issues, and genitourinary concerns.

 

I highly recommend using carrot seed essential oil in facial serum, moisturizing creams, and body lotions.  I have used carrot seed essential oil in my personalized facial serum for over a year now and I have seen results.  The little lines at the corners of my eyes have not progressed and I have noticed my skin tone has evened out.  All of this makes me very happy!

 

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

If you are interested in having a personal consultation, for more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

 

[1] Battaglia, Salvatore; Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, The; Second Edition; The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; Brisbane, Australia; 2003.

2 Schiller, Carol & Schiller, David; Aromatherapy Encyclopedia, The; Basic Health Publications, Inc.; Laguna Beach, CA; 2008.

3 Sellar, Wanda; Directory of Essential Oils, The; Vermillion; London, England; 2005.

 

The Lovely Lemon

Nothing smells more like sunshine than the lemon (Citrus limon).  It has a fresh, clean, cheery scent that banishes all negative thoughts and feelings.  This little yellow fruit is quite powerful. There are so many uses of lemon (the fruit) and lemon (the essential oil), and I am going to share some of my favorite uses of both.

Safety ~ Before I discuss the uses of lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil I want to provide this safety information.  Lemon essential oil is a photosensitizer.  This means that exposure to Ultra Violet rays from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps must be avoided for at least six hours after topical application to avoid burning the skin.  Do not use lemon essential oil neat, i.e. straight from the bottle, always use carrier oil. Individuals with sensitive or dry skin will require more carrier oil and less lemon essential oil to prevent skin irritation.  Lemon essential oil should not be used in the bath.

Uses of Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil to lift the spirits. Nothing says sunshine and carefree like the scent of lemon!  Whenever I smell the fragrance of lemon my imagination immediately takes me to sunny days, lemonade, and warm breezes.  If you are in need of this type of mental vacation try diffusing ten to twelve drops of lemon essential oil in four ounces distilled water in your ionic diffuser or warmer. As an additional effect lemon essential oil will help to clear and disinfect the air in your home.

Lemon essential oil for sore throat & laryngitis. The instant I feel a sore throat trying to take hold I mix the following blend.  In a dark glass bottle add:

5 drops Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil

4 drops Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) essential oil

2 drops Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) essential oil

30 ml. (1 oz) Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) oil

I use six to eight drops of this blend and massage it on my neck and behind my ears.  I do this three to four times a day, especially before going to bed, and typically within a day or two the sore throat is gone!

Lemon essential oil to stop minor bleeding. Individuals with delicate skin, especially the elderly, can easily be cut.  When an older neighbor was accidently scratched by our rambunctious dogs his paper-thin skin broke and bleed quite freely.  I immediately ran to my essential oils.  To help disinfect the wound and stop the bleeding I mixed the following:

2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil

1 drop Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

1 Tablespoon Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) gel

I dipped a sterile cotton ball into the mixture and gently daubed it on the wound.  The area was then covered with an adhesive bandage.

Lemon essential oil to clean tile floors. Lemon is a nice smelling disinfectant to use on the floors.  I mix approximately 20 drops of lemon essential oil with ¼ cup unscented liquid soap in two gallons of warm water.  It doesn’t leave a chemical odor like so many commercial cleansers.  It is also natural and not a lot of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrance oils.

Uses of Lemon Fruit and Juice  

Lemon fruit for cleaning cutting boards.  I have several beautiful bamboo wood cutting boards that I want to keep looking good.  I have found that by rubbing them with a slice of lemon after washing them keeps the wood from looking stained.  The antibacterial, antiseptic, disinfectant, and antifungal properties of lemon juice also helps to clean them.

Lemon fruit for cleaning the kitchen sink. Trying to keep stains out of the kitchen sink can be difficult, and sometimes the odor from the garbage disposal can be unpleasant.  I like to use half a lemon to scrub the sink, focusing on dark stains.  Lemon juice is whitening, a mild bleach, and it works well to remove stains.  After scrubbing the sink with the lemon I then feed it to the garbage disposal.  The nasty odor is quickly replaced by the fresh scent of lemon!

Lemon in drinking water. Every time I go out for a meal I order water with lemon.  Most people assume I do this for the clean taste, but I do it for a more healthful reason.  While traveling in Mexico I learned that a slice of lemon in drinking water helped to “disinfect” it.  I don’t know if this is scientifically true, but I do know I don’t drink water in restaurants anywhere without having a slice of lemon in it.

Another reason to put lemon into your drinking water is to help your body cleanse itself.  As a child I remember my family drinking a hot lemon water beverage every morning.  It was simply hot water with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  This hot lemon drink helped with the process of elimination every morning.  I don’t remember anyone in my family suffering from constipation.   Since becoming an aromatherapist I have learned, “This daily drink is said to help cleanse the blood vessels, intestinal tract, liver, and other organs, and provide an important amount of vitamin C for the body.”[1]

Lemon for dental hygiene. That piece of lemon in your drinking water can also be used as an oral cleanser following a meal.  I typically don’t carry a toothbrush with me when I go out to eat, but I don’t really need to.  The last thing I do before leaving the table is take the piece of lemon from my water and eat it!  The lemon deodorizes my breath and makes my mouth feel clean.

Lemon juice for hair care. I am not a blonde, far from it.  My hair is as black as jet, but I have several friends with blonde hair.  Many of my fair haired friends use lemon juice to keep their tresses looking shiny.  Some people use a mixture of one tablespoon lemon juice to one cup of water to rinse their hair after shampooing.

There are so many diverse uses for lemon that I have not included, but these are a few of my favorite. It truly is a remarkable fruit and essential oil.  It can give anyone a little boost when needed.  Just seeing this little dynamo in the produce section of the grocery store can put a smile on my face.

The information provided is for educational purposes, and it is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.

✿´´¯`•.¸¸ Haly JensenHof, MA, RA ¸¸.•´¯`´✿

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com.  I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions.

You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

 

[1] Schiller, Carol & Shiller, David; The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia; Laguna Beach, CA; Basic Health Publications, Inc.; 2008.

Subtle Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

[quote align=’left’]The world is like a little marsh filled with mint and white hawthorn. Mary MacLane [/quote]

As I was walking through my gardens the other day I paused a moment to admire my patch of Spearmint (Mentha spicata).  I then realized that spearmint is a little discussed, often over looked, member of the mint family.  Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is the mint that seems to get all of the attention.  Think about it for a moment…we have peppermint sticks at Christmas; mint chocolate chip ice-cream is made with peppermint; the Girl Scouts sell Thin Mint cookies, which are made with peppermint; and of course there is Peppermint Patty from the Charlie Brown comic!  I can’t imagine calling the tom-boyish redhead ‘Spearmint Patty,’ can you?

Peppermint receives all of the glory and attention while spearmint plays second fiddle.  Does this mean peppermint is superior to spearmint?  The answer is, no.  Spearmint is a more subtle essential oil.  I view it as being a milder, gentler, less ‘in your face’ type of essential oil.  Spearmint doesn’t take my breath away when I chew its green leaves, or inhale its essential oil, like peppermint. Peppermint is more bracing, more commanding, harsher than spearmint.  If I were to give each essential oil a personality I would describe peppermint as the flamboyant, flashy starlet and spearmint as the quiet, demure wall-flower.

Spearmint and peppermint are both excellent essential oils to aid with digestive problems such as colic, heartburn, flatulence, bad breath, hiccoughs, nausea, and vomiting.  Both spearmint and peppermint help with relieving sinusitis, headache, acne, asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, colds, flu, fevers, and migraine headaches.

What I like about spearmint essential oil is its mild approach.  Spearmint essential oil is preferable to peppermint for use with children and pregnant women.  Spearmint is less harsh on sensitive skin and has fewer irritating therapeutic constituents.  Since spearmint is less irritating I prefer to use it in mouthwashes because it doesn’t burn the sensitive inner cheek like peppermint.  On hot summer days a sprig of spearmint in a cold glass of water provides a cooling effect without the bite a sprig of peppermint would give.

I have just given examples of how spearmint is a mild, gentle, subtle herb/essential oil but now let me tell you about how it packs a punch.  Fresh spearmint leaves are high in Vitamin C, and it is rumored that the fresh leaves have more Vitamin A than carrots.  Spearmint has a long history of being an aphrodisiac and helps people overcome sexual frigidity.  When spearmint essential oil is inhaled it provides a sense of joy and happiness.  Additionally, when inhaled, spearmint is refreshing, reviving, improves mental clarity, sharpens memory, increases physical endurance, and promotes communication.

I hope the next time you are trying to make a choice between spearmint or peppermint gum; a sprig of spearmint or peppermint in your tea (or mint julep); or flavor of toothpaste you consider giving subtle spearmint a try.

Here is to your good health, and as always, Fragrant Blessings!

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

 

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!