Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Article 2011

The Aromatherapy Basics of Lavender and Tea Tree
By Kayla Fioravanti, RA

Until my son came down with a prescription resistant case of ringworm, I had no idea what aromatherapy was or the power of using essential oils. In desperation, I made a trip down the book aisle of the local health food store that would forever change our family. Every book I opened recommended tea tree essential oil for ringworm. I invested in a 10 ml bottle of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) in hopes that just maybe aromatherapy would have some merit. Three days later the ringworm was gone and I was on the road that would eventually end with our family starting an aromatherapy based business and myself, becoming a Certified and Registered Aromatherapist. Now my medicine cabinet, beauty counter and bath products are filled with essential oils.

When my kids ask for medicine for their "owie," they are referring to lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil. They are true believers by way of experience. A few years ago my two daughters decided to play with the light bulb in their lamp late one night. My husband and I responded to shrieks of terror. We discovered that my four year old had put her wet hand onto the light bulb. Her palm had already formed a blister and she was hysterical. I applied a small amount of lavender to my hand and rubbed it into her hair to calm her. I then applied lavender directly onto her burn and wrapped her hand up tight. She promptly fell deeply asleep. In the morning she took the bandage off her hand and was surprised to find she had no pain and no blister. Her wounds had healed over-night. She displayed her hand to me with disbelief and exclaimed, "Look, Mommy! Your medicine worked!" By that point, after years of nearly miraculous experiences with essential oils, I had no doubt that my "medicine" would work.

The Science of Aromatherapy and Skin
Skin, our largest organ, allows substances like essential oils, with small molecular structures and low molecular weight to penetrate. The essential oils are then carried away by the capillary blood circulating in the dermis. Essential oils stimulate circulation to the surface skin cells; encourage cell regeneration and the formation of new skin cells. Some essential oils calm inflamed or irritated skin. Specific essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic, antitoxic, nervine, analgesic, deodorizing, circulatory stimulating and diuretic qualities. The needs of the plant from which an essential oil is extracted will often dictate its aromatherapy properties. For instance, if a plant lives in an environment in which it is threatened by fungus and bacteria it will produce an essential oil that is highly antifungal and antibacterial.

Aromatherapy Emergency Kit
No home is complete without having the two most popular and most commonly used essential oils in the medicine and beauty cabinet: lavender and tea tree. This is because these two essential oils will be the antidote for almost every need.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This oil has been used for many conditions, including dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, insect bites, headaches, migraine, rashes, insomnia, infections, arthritis, anxiety, tension, panic, hysteria, fatigue burns, psoriasis, scars, thread veins, and all problems concerning splitting of dermis and epidermis. Lavender soothes and regenerates cells. It is effective in treating infected hair follicles, pimples, blackheads and light forms of acne. It is good for all skin types and balances sebum. Lavender is an excellent and safe children's remedy for rashes, bumps and bruises and sleeplessness. It is antiseptic, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-infectious, antitoxic, anti-parasitic, restorative, antidepressant, calmative and sedative.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This oil has historic uses for rashes, insect bites, nail fungus, dermatitis, ringworm, head lice, sore throats, boils, congestion, wounds, arthritis, cold sores, and is useful for a wide spectrum of infections. Tea tree encourages regeneration of scar tissue and reduces swelling. As an oil-controlling agent with high germicidal value, it is useful for treating acne. It can penetrate pus by mixing with it, which liquefies the pus, causing it to slough off, leaving a healthy surface. It is anti-infectious, antibiotic, balsamic, antifungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, immuno-stimulant, analgesic and antiseptic.

The next time you have a migraine from your job, or your child is not in the mood to "go night-night", turn to earth's gift of lavender essential oil. If suddenly your face breaks out with one big red pimple on the tip of your nose, apply some tea tree essential oil to the affected area. If you are not getting your beauty sleep, put a small amount of lavender essential oil onto a cotton ball and put it into your pillowcase. If there is a random rash that you can't quite identify, start by using lavender essential oil and if that does not work, switch to tea tree. Normally, one of the two will do the job. You can apply them topically, add to a carrier oil or put a few drops into bathsalts for your bath and begin to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Remember, fragrance or synthetic products will not produce the effects of true essential oils.

Kayla is a Certified, ARC Registered Aromatherapist and the co-Founder and Chief Formulator for Essential Wholesale and its lab division, Essential Labs. Wife and mother of three, she runs her company along with her husband, Dennis. In 1998, Kayla started creating products in her kitchen using essential oils. They turned the profit from their first batch of products into more supplies, and they have repeated the process over and over again to remain a debt free company. In 2000, they started an all-natural aromatherapy-based Home Party Plan. In 2002, they changed their business plan and became the distribution and manufacturing company Essential Wholesale. This was followed by the addition of Essential Labs in 2005. The initial $50 investment from their home kitchen, combined with blood, sweat and prayers, has now become a multi-million dollar organically certified and FDA compliant company.

Kayla is the go-to industry specialist for formulating and supplying information on aromatherapy, natural, organic and pure cosmetics and personal care items. Kayla can be found on YouTube in the Essential Wholesale series Kitchen Chemistry with Kayla where she teaches a variety of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) recipes. Kayla is the driving force behind the Essential U blog, an educational center for aromatherapy, cosmetics, industry standards and business ownership. Kayla is the author of a new book titled: The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy and she has also written the book titled: How to Make Melt & Pour Soap Base from Scratch, A Beginner's Guide to Melt & Pour Soap Base Manufacturing. She is currently writing another book entitled DIY Kitchen Chemistry, Simple Homemade Bath & Body Projects. Kayla's books can be found at and all online booksellers.

To learn more about Kayla, please visit her blog at:

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Article

Discover the Anxiety-Busting Power of Aromatherapy

By Gina Rafkind, CPC, Reflexologist, Aromatherapy Consultant's everywhere! And if you are reading these words, then most likely you have experienced some sort of change during your lifetime.

During times of change, anxiety levels rise. But you will be happy to know that you have an ally when it comes to working through anxiety and that ally is Aromatherapy!

Aromatherapy is a wonderful healing tool to help relieve anxiety. How do I know? Because I have experienced these healing benefits first hand in my own journey with anxiety.

According to Robert Tisserand:

"Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul."

How lucky we are to have these amazing, healing and wonderful-smelling essences at our fingertips. Very, very lucky!

Transforming anxiety through aromatherapy

Anxiety is overcome by using your senses as a pathway to presence!

One of the gifts of aromatherapy is that it uses the sense of smell to catapult you into the present moment.

When you are anxious, you are not in the present moment.

Anxiety is caused by many different issues. It manifests in many different forms, as well. But usually the catalyst for anxiety is some form of stress. Stress that is the result of a traumatic event in one's life is a huge cause of anxiety. If we do not integrate the stress in our lives, then we re-live stressful events in our heads through our thoughts. These thoughts then become stories we tell ourselves and end up believing. These stories are based either in the past or the future; hence we are not in the present moment. The present moment is the only moment where you can become totally free of anxiety.

Now of course we can think about the past or future for certain memories or information that we may need to refer back to for some reason. But if our mind lives in the past or future on a daily basis, then we will experience anxiety.

It is no coincidence how I bumped into the art of Aromatherapy and I can still say to this day that it has had a pivotal part in healing my anxiety. Of course there are other tools and techniques that I use, but I am very passionate about aromatherapy because this is what started my healing journey.

Let me take this a step further and explain to you a little bit more about how using your senses can help you relieve your anxiety.

Let's use the example of warm cinnamon buns just coming out of the oven. I can smell them already! Can you? Since your brain can only think one thought at a time, you cannot think 'I'm so anxious', at the same time you are thinking, 'Mmmm, those cinnamon buns smell scrumptious'.

Scent stops your thoughts in its tracks.

Another example is when you are in your house near an open window. The scent of a skunk comes flowing through the window and right up your nose. Need I say more?

Your body is the bridge between your mind and your soul.

On a daily basis, the average person thinks over 60,000 thoughts. Significantly, most of these thoughts tend to be self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. The amazing thing is that most people are not even aware of this! Are you aware of the thoughts you think on a daily basis? If not, I invite you to pay a little more 'conscious' attention each day to the thoughts that your mind turns out. Write them down and start to look at what kind of energy your thoughts are feeding you each day. You will find that your thoughts either give you positive or negative energy. How will you know what energy you are receiving from your thoughts? Believe me, once you write them down and read them, you will feel the energy -- your body will let you know.

Enter the body.

Once you become more aware of the type of thoughts you think every day, you can then choose to change those thoughts into more positive ones. The way to do this is to become more present. One of the ways to immediately enter the present moment is to enter your body. Bringing attention to one of your five senses helps you to do this. When you move the focus of your attention from your mind to your body, you become more present. In this way you start to build a bridge that connects to a deeper part of you -- your soul.

Through stimulating the sense of smell, as well as through the properties in the essential oil chosen, aromatherapy becomes another tool to help you build this bridge from your mind to your soul.

Below are some of my favorite essential oils to provide general anxiety relief:

1. Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) - Ylang ylang is sweet, exotic, floral and a little spicy. It is known to be an aphrodisiac. It is calming to the nervous system, brings harmony to the mind and helps relieve restlessness and agitation. Ylang ylang is a tropical evergreen tree and the essential oil comes from the flowers.

2. Bergamot (Citrus aurantium bergamia) - Bergamot helps to calm and relax the senses as well as aiding with emotional imbalances, which tend to be activated during times of change. Its scent is refreshing and uplifting, yet relaxing. Bergamot has a beautiful fresh, fruity-floral aroma. This essential oil comes from the rind of citrus fruit which is still unripe and green from the bitter orange tree. **Special Note: One thing to be aware of with bergamot is it is known to be phototoxic meaning it should not be used on your skin if you are going to be outdoors in the sun because it can cause extra sensitivity in your skin.

3. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) - Geranium relaxes the nerves and calms anxiety. It helps keep you centered and at ease which is very welcoming to many during times of change. It has a sweet, floral, rose-like scent. The essential oil comes from the leaves, stems and flowers of the geranium plant.

4. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) - Mandarin has a calming effect on the central nervous system. You can also substitute sweet orange essential oil which is usually easier to find because it is more popular. Sweet orange is uplifting and beneficial for sadness, nervousness and anxiety. The essential oil of both mandarin and sweet orange is obtained from the outer peel of the fruit. **Note: Both Mandarin and Sweet orange are also known to be phototoxic so do not use them on your skin if you are going to be out in the sun.

5. Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) - Sandalwood's main element is the earth element so it is very grounding, being rooted in stillness and prayer. It has a sweet, woody, musk-like scent and has a calming effect on the nervous system making it another wonderful essential oil for anxiety relief. Sandalwood is an evergreen tree and the essential oil is extracted from the tree's heartwood. **Important note: I use only the Santalum spicatum Sandalwood species due to the fact that Sandalwood has become endangered because of the over-harvesting of the trees for its aromatic oil.

6. Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) - Roman chamomile has a very distinct scent. It is sweet and slightly fruity. When using this essential oil, it is best to add one drop at a time because of its stronger scent which can overtake a blend. Roman chamomile is known to help with relieving stress of any kind, including anxiety, which makes it one of your greatest allies in Aromatherapy. It also is known to help with chronic tension and insomnia. Roman chamomile is one of several species of herbs with daisy-like flowers which is where the essential oil is obtained.

7. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - Lavender is wonderful for reducing anxiety. Lavender is known as the Swiss army knife of essential oils because it is useful for so many ailments. It helps with almost any imbalance and is a great addition to your first aid kit. I keep a small vial of it in my purse so I can inhale it right from the vial when I am feeling anxious. It has a rich, sweet, herbaceous, floral scent. Lavender is a very fragrant shrub and its essential oil is obtained from the flowers.

Some other essential oils that help with anxiety relief are melissa (Melissa officinalis) and rose (Rosa damascena), as well as grounding essential oils such as cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) and patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).

Hormonal imbalance can also cause anxiety. Some essential oils that can be used to assist hormonal balance are clary sage (Salvia sclarea), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), petitgrain (Citrus aurantium) and vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides).

As you can see, Aromatherapy is a powerful ally for achieving peace of mind, whether used by itself or in conjunction with other forms of treatment. I'll never forget the first time I smelled lavender and how it calmed me down when I was in the epicenter of my anxiety issues. It was the start of a holistic healing journey for me, and I still use Aromatherapy on a daily basis to help keep me present, balanced and anxiety free.

**Important Note: Before using any essential oils, check with your medical practitioner if you have any health concerns or conditions or if you are pregnant or nursing.

Gina Rafkind is a Certified Life Coach, Certified Reflexologist, Licensed Cosmetologist, Reiki Level 3 Practitioner, Acutonics Level 2 Practitioner and Aromatherapy Consultant. She is also founder of Vedasun.

VedaSun helps women bust through anxiety so they can wake up to their life and achieve what they want. Gina founded VedaSun to share the divine insights she experiences throughout her evolving journey of healing anxiety. Her passion is to share these experiences and discoveries with you so you too can open the channel of awareness and by 'waking up', live a happier & healthier life.

Sign up to become part of the VedaSun anxiety-busting tribe and free receive life-enhancing tips and the Anxiety Relief Toolkit at

Click here to purchase a CD recording of Gina's NAHA Tele-conference presentation: The Aroma-Reflex Connection-Relief for Anixety.

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-Newsletter? Click here to download the Writers Guidelines.

October Article

Repel Bugs not Humans!

How to make safe and effective do-it-yourself insect repelling perfumes

By Tracey TieF, Certified Natural Health Practitioner

Many people, especially new parents, who want to work on reducing their exposure to toxins in their daily life, wonder what is worse; the toxins in conventional bug sprays or the torture of bug bites and possibility of infection?

If it can kill a bug, what's it doing to my kid?

In my opinion as a health practitioner and mother of two, the toxins in your average insect repellent are far worse than the bites in the long run. DEET, permethrins and other common insect repellent ingredients are neurotoxic insecticides that you are directed to apply to your skin, and worse, the skin of your vulnerable children! Added to these "chemical name" ingredients are the usual toxins found in the base lotions and creams: parabens, petroleum by-products like "mineral oil", color, fragrance and so forth. Applying the cancer and hormonal disruption risks carried by these ingredients creates the very real potential for neurological and organ damage. Pregnant and nursing women need to be especially careful to avoid these chemicals and they should never be used on babies and children. What it comes down to is this: If it can kill a bug, it can harm you.

Don't smell human!

As with many natural and traditional ways of managing the sometimes unwanted effects of our environment, it's safest and most effective to begin with prevention strategies. Bugs are attracted to our human smell: sweet scents, perfumes, the carbon dioxide we exhale and our own very personal scent.

My father worked in Nistassinan (the ancestral homeland of the Innu, an Aboriginal people of Eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada) where the black flies pick your bones. His advice on how to avoid being mauled by bugs is:

1. Don't eat bananas or other sweet fruits and don't drink fruit juices.

2. Don't bathe, but if you must, do not use any scented soaps or body products.

3. Wear light color clothing and screen off areas if you can.

4. Eat garlic, onions and avoid foods high in salt or potassium like potatoes and salty snacks.

Natural ingredients that are proven to work

Contrary to popular belief, some natural, traditional ingredients have been demonstrated - in both cage and field studies - to be just as effective, or even more effective, as the Vietnam War era insecticidal toxin N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide commonly known as DEET. Examples abound:

~ A product containing 40% oil of lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), with its high concentration of citronellal, was just as effective as products containing high concentrations of DEET. See (1)

~ Non toxic, skin healing neem oil (Azadirachta indica) is mosquito repellent for up to 12 hours even in 1-2% concentrations! See (2)

Citronella oil's (Cymbopogon winterianus) mosquito repellence has also been verified by research, including effectiveness in repelling Aedes aegypti mosquitoes when applied every half hour. See (3).

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus and other types)

~ Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)essential oils, combined with soybean oil (Soja hispida), for example, were found to be effective insect repellents, according to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. See (4)

I believe that all botanicals traditionally used to repel bugs do the job, but most have not been the subject of controlled studies to demonstrate their effectiveness. Nevertheless, these ingredients make great additions to a natural bug spray.

Repel bugs, not humans

There are many naturally occurring scents that repel bugs, but after considering skin safety, we may also consider composing the blend as we would a perfume - using variety to decrease the chances of sensitization and adding base notes to fix the blend. Below are examples of insect repelling essential oils.

Please see the Editor's Essential Oil Safety Note at the end of the article.

Top to Middle Notes:

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Cajeput (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

Catnip oil (Nepeta cataria with Nepatalactone)

Citronella (Cymbopagon nardus)

All Eucalyptus oils (repels mosquitoes), but especially Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora)

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus and other types)

Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Sage (Salvia lavandulifolia)

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Middle to Base Notes:

Cedarwoods (Juniperus mexicana and others)

Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Neem oil (Azadirachta indica)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

Yarrow (Alchellia millefolium)

Also repellent are: Yarrow (Achillea alpina) (mosquitoes), Beautyberry (Callicarpa American) and Neem oil, although technically not an essential oil. This is pressed oil that is very thick and consequently good used as carrier oil.

Beeswax can be added to any blend in order to create an ointment that keeps the essential oils on the

skin longer. Soybean oil (Soja hispida) is known to be repellent and makes a good carrier oil.

Surprisingly non lemon-y and varied blends can be created using the ingredients above.

Floral Insect Repellent
Geranium(Pelargonium graveolens)

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)

Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Herbaceous Insect Repellent
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Cedarwoods (Juniperus mexicana and others)

Musky Insect Repellent
Sage (Salvia lavandulifolia)

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Neem oil (Azadirachta indica)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

Minty Insect Repellent
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Cedarwoods (Juniperus mexicana and others)

Recipe for a (Don't) Bite Me Perfume Spray
Makes one 120ml/4 ounce glass atomizer bottle

Cut your atomizer straw to fit your bottle, measuring from the neck of the bottle to the bottom.

Measure the following into a glass measuring cup:

35ml vodka or witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) or apple cider vinegar (acetic acid and aqua from Pyrus Malus)

5ml vegetable glycerine

Essential oils:

30 drops lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora)

25 drops cajeput (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

15 drops lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)

10 drops patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

10 drops lavender (Lavandula officinalis)

Mix well by pouring the blend back and forth between two glass measuring cups.

Add35ml aloe vera gel juice (Aloe barbadensis) and mix again.

Pour into your glass bottle. Fill to the bottom of the neck with Soybean oil (Soja hispida) and put on the atomizer top. Shake each time before using. Apply to exposed skin and lightly over clothing up to every 20 minutes.

If you want to make your own, be sure that you use a combination of three to five essential oils and that you check your ingredients to make sure that your blend will be skin-safe and will repel the insects you intend to avoid. If you want to buy an off the shelf product, look it on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to determine its safety first.

Editor's Essential Oil Safety Note:
Avoid use during pregnancy: (Basil, Cajeput, Cedarwood, Citronella, Garlic, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Sage)

Avoid use with epilepsy: (Rosemary, Sage)

Avoid topical use, dermal irritant: (Basil, Cajeput, Citronella, and Garlic)

Avoid using full strength blends and especially those with potentially irritating essential oils on children. It is best to create a separate, milder blend for children, using half the amount of essential oils used in a blend for adults.

(1) Carroll SP, Loye J, 2006, Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 22(3):507-514, 510

(2) Mishra AK, Singh N, Sharma VP, 1995 "Use of neem oil as a mosquito repellent in tribal villages of mandla district, madhya pradesh", Indian J Malariol, Sep;32(3):99-103 Pubmed

(3) Jeong-Kyu KIM, Chang-Soo KANG, Jong-Kwon LEE, Young-Ran KIM, Hye-Yun HAN, Hwa Kyung YUN, Evaluation of Repellency Effect of Two Natural Aroma Mosquito Repellent Compounds, Citronella and Citronellal, Entomological Research 35 (2), 117-120, 2005


Tracey TieF is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner who operates Anarres Natural Health in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Tracey is also a Technical Consultant for New Directions Aromatics.

She carries on a family tradition in the healing arts and has an extensive background in physical therapies and the healing arts. Tracey qualified as a Registered Aromatherapy Health Practitioner and Certified Reflexology Health Practitioner through The School of Holistic Studies, Institute of Aromatherapy. Tracey has a passion and mission for teaching people how to take care of themselves and make their own healthy products! Tracey can be reached at or through her website at

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-Newsletter? Click here to download the Writers Guidelines

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September Article

Five Element Aromatherapy:

By Shanti Dechen, CCAP, LMT

The human relationship to the cycles of the day, seasons and moon were of vital interest to traditional Chinese healers and, through this, the "five element theory" became a fundamental part of traditional healing and a way of life. These five elements were associated with the equinoxes and solstices to help farmers plan ahead and organize their agricultural cycles. The calendar was arranged by naming the elements: wood for the spring equinox, fire for the summer solstice, metal for the autumn equinox and water for the winter solstice. The fifth element, earth, was at the centre of the calendar to signify Indian Summer and the transition time between all the seasons.

Humans embody all of the elements, like a year has all seasons. Along with the yin/yang theory, the five element theory was the most important concept in early Chinese medicine.

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
William Hazlitt "On Taste" (1859)

The principles and theory of the five elements have became widespread, and are now fundamental practices in acupuncture, feng shui, shiatsu, chi gong, astrology, healing with herbs, aromatherapy and nutrition.

The five element theory also explains why substances of the natural world are harmonious with the human body. We utilize trees (wood), herbs (earth), minerals (metal), fire and water because these substances are the same in composition and character to our own underlying make-up. It is when the energy of an element is imbalanced that we then observe symptoms or disease related to that element.

Each element is associated with a pair of internal organs and expresses different characteristics relating to its nature that become evident as balanced or imbalanced states. A disruption of our five element energies can increase disturbances; these eventually create a disturbed pattern of flow or chi in our life energy that can lead to a predisposition to certain mental/emotional or physical ailments.

Let us focus on the earth element as a clinical example. As our landscape starts to change from the long hot days of summer to the golden hue of Indian Summer, the Earth element emerges; the plants go to seed, the tree leaves start to dry and yellow, the days become shorter and the air cools.

Earth symbolizes balance. Earth represents mid-life, mature adulthood. It is center of the mandala or medicine wheel, the point where we stand looking out at the four cardinal directions. Earth phase corresponds to the point of balance between Yang and Yin, to late summertime or Fall Equinox, and late afternoon, the time of ripening of fruit and golden grain. Days and nights are nearly equal in length. The climate is perfect - neither too hot nor too cold, neither too wet nor too dry. Earth energy is stable, giving us a firm center and grounding. Like ripe grain before the harvest, its color is yellow or golden like amber.

If Earth element is weakened from a poor diet and over-worry, you will see that more nourishment is requested from the Fire element to nourish Earth. Additionally, if Earth is weakened, the Metal element may also be affected, as the Earth will be too depleted to provide nourishment to Metal, its child.

From a clinical perspective you may see development of digestive issues from irregular eating, excessive worry and overwork those will lead to a proliferation of dampness (excessive Earth element), which then affects the Metal element. Within this case, you may see a combination of bloating, gas, and fatigue, poor appetite along with the development of Metal (Lung) symptoms, such as nasal congestion or excess mucus in the lungs.

Foods that can enhance the earth element:
The sweet taste tonifies, balances, and moderates. It is used to tonify deficiency. Warming foods are suggested that are easy to digest.

Grains: Millet
Vegetables: Sweet corn, all squash: (acorn, butternut, Hokkaido, Hubbard, spaghetti, pumpkin) shiitake mushrooms, beets, onions, parsnips, rutabaga, collards, chard, artichoke, sweet peas, and string beans
Fruits: sweet apples, figs, cantaloupe, sweet orange, honeydew, tangelo, raisins, sweet grapes, papaya, dates, tangerine
Fish: salmon, tuna, swordfish, sturgeon
Nuts: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Sweeteners: agave, maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt, molasses

There are also specific clinical physical and emotional characteristicsof each of the five elements that can be easily observed. One of the first clues a practitioner can start with is from a hand shake of your client. Does the skin on the hand feel dry (metal element), damp (earth element), hot (fire element), or cold (water element)? Other easy accessible clues for each element can include; body structure, face (shape, color and lines), and tongue.

Other earth element characteristics include:
Color: Yellow
Direction: Center
Season: Late Summer/ Indian Summer
Related organs: Spleen/Pancreas (yin)/Stomach (yang)
Body tissue: Muscles
Taste: Sweet
Body odor: Fragrant
Sense organ: Mouth
Sound: Singing
Climatic Qi: Damp
Emotions: Worry, sympathy and self doubt
Virtues: Balance, centeredness and equanimity medicine.

Essential Oil Example:
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)- Joyful stability (warm and dry, strengthens digestive system and spleen and stomach chi)

Benzoin (Styrax benzoin)-Nurtured change(warming, increases immunity, spleen and stomach chi, clears phlegm, and calms nerves and mind)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)-Peaceful abiding (warming, increases immunity and spleen and stomach chi, and uplifts mind)

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)- Embracing transformation (calms mind, increases immunity, and fortifies spleen and stomach)

"The first method of healing is to cure the spirit;
the second is to give knowledge of how to restore the body." Nei Ching

Shanti Dechen, director and owner of Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy has been teaching the five element theory since 1984 and has found it invaluable in daily and clinical life. Along with its clinical aromatherapy program, Aroma Apothecary also offers a Five Element Healing Series that includes: Five Element Essential, Five Element Aromatherapy, Five Element Reflexes and Five Element Acupressure. Shanti blissfully resides in pristine Crestone, Colorado, where nature is more abundant than humans.

Copyright Shanti Dechen 2011

To learn more about Shanti please visit her website:

To purchase a copy of NAHA Tele-Conference with Shanti Dechen: Five Element Aromatherapy please click here.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Article

Featured Article
First Response Aromatherapy:

Aromatic First Aid
By Valerie Cooksley, RN, Holistic Nurse, Aromatherapist

Summertime for many equates to enjoying the hot seasonal days gardening, hiking, camping, traveling, vacationing at the beach, and participating in extra sports activities. Still, spending more time outside in the summer heat makes one prone to dry skin, excessive sun exposure, dehydration, and more cuts, scrapes and rashes compared to any other time of year. It has been established that what is applied to the skin is as significant as what is placed in our bodies by way of food and nutrition making it all the more essential to create better choices for your first response treatment of minor skin conditions. In addition, avoiding skin sensitizing and potentially harmful chemicals, such as petroleum-based compounds and costly pharmaceuticals, makes it equally important to use natural alternatives for the health conscious.

Fortunately, there are safe and effective natural healing options, such as botanical first aid from your kitchen and herb garden, that will save you this summer. Sunburn, scrapes and scratches, insect bites, rashes, bug repellants and natural pest control are a few situations that can be remedied with aromatic first-aid. Botanical medicine has much to offer in treating first-aid situations including natural wound healing, burn treatment and infection prevention, as well as disinfection. Among my personal favorite carriers for first response aromatherapy are fresh aloe gel and raw bee honey. Simple healing agents in their own right, they qualify as preeminent natural first-aid wound care and have been used this way throughout human history.

Aloe: Aloe (Aloe vera) was written about and documented as a folk healing agent for centuries. It is described in the Ebers Papyrus (16th century BC), Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's Natural History (1st century), as well as the Juliana Anicia Codex (512 CE). While there are approximately 400 species in the genus Aloe, the primary plant species used in healthcare products are Aloe vera or True aloe, Aloe arborescens and A. barbadensis. Aloe has more than 170 research studies related to wounds and nearly 1800 studies in generalaccording to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. In fact, it is commonly called "Burn Aloe" or "First Aid plant" and its thick gelatinous leaves contain a range of biologically active compounds such as mannans, glycosides, anthraquinones, and lectins.

Aloe vera is very effective in the treatment of wounds, aids in promoting healing, and is an excellent choice for the healing of first to second-degree burns. Its legendary gel has been shown to have antibacterial (inhibits Streptococcus and Shigella) and antifungal activities. The succulent plant is non-toxic with no known side effects when used topically. It blends well with essential oils. Remarkably, a research study in 2009 investigated the odor-adsorbing properties of aloe vera combined with the essential oil of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) against an activated charcoal cloth (ACC) dressing. The Aloe vera composite dressing was shown to be the most adsorbent and at a 40% dilution had comparable values to those of the ACC dressings. Further research is needed, however, the study concluded that the new aloe composite dressing made with M. alternifolia essential oil may be a potential alternative to ACC dressings and that it has the added advantages of having antimicrobial properties as well as the ability to promote a moist wound environment.

Aloe can easily be grown on a sunny window sill or potted with southern exposure in your yard. I can grow my own where I live in south Texas and northwest Florida in large ceramic pots mixed with plenty of sand and other succulent flowers. The large freshly cut leaves can also be found at Asian markets for around $1.00 per leaf (approximately 2 feet in length) and the bottled gel, purchased in a health food store or pharmacy. Be certain to acquire an all-natural aloe gel without colorants and preservatives. I like Lily of the Desert's "Aloe 80 Organics" aloe gel. It's paraben-free, without artificial colors or fragrance.

Honey: In medical history, honey has been used to treat a variety of ailments through topical application, having been collected since ancient Egyptian times. Used as an antiseptic and antibacterial ointment for exposed wounds, healing agents for rashes and burns, as well as an aid for sore throats, the properties of honey have only recently been scientifically explained. At present, there are more than 200 studies relating to the value of honey in wound healing and more than 5000 research findings on its general attributes. The unique physical properties, as well as color, aroma and taste, vary depending on the type of flora used by bees to produce the honey.

Manuka honey is produced from the flowering foliage of Leptospermum scoparium, also known as New Zealand Tea Tree. Rich in linalool and 1,8 cineole, this sought after honey has been widely researched in New Zealand due to its antibacterial properties against the drug-resistant strain of MRSA bacteria. As a child growing up on a farm in The Berkshires, MA, we had a half dozen bee hives from which we collected honey for personal use. Ours was a multi-floral type since it was from a variety of plants on our surrounding acreage -- clover, wildflowers and herbs, vegetables and fruit trees. Consequently, our honey would significantly differ from the antibacterial manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey from New Zealand, and also from the lavender (Lavendula officinalis, L. angustifolia, or L. vera) honey from the French countryside, or the orange blossom (Citrus aurantium var. amara) honey from Florida State. Fresh honey contains electrolytes, in the form of acids and minerals, and possesses the unique ability to absorb moisture. Raw honey is the most natural form, obtained by extraction, settling or straining, without adding heat and may contain minute particles of pollen and wax.

Today, some wound gels are made with antibacterial raw honey and have regulatory approval. The antibacterial properties of honey are the result of the low water activity causing osmosis, high acidity, the antibacterial activity of methylglyoxal and the hydrogen peroxide effect. Hydrogen peroxide is produced by dilution of the honey with body fluids resulting in the slow release of this powerful antiseptic. Honey has been effectively used in treating diabetic ulcers, reducing odors, swelling, and wound scarring. Honey also prevents the first-aid bandage or dressing from sticking to the wound. It is easy to obtain -- local, raw honey can be purchased in a specialty or grocery store, from a farmer's market or beekeeper, or the adventurous can raise their own hive.

Essential Oils and First-Aid Blending
Essential oils combine well with the carriers aloe and honey for an impeccable first response treatment for a whole host of applications including skin rashes, insect bites, burns and more. The combination of essential oils, honey or aloe then becomes even more effective and potent, yet it is very gentle on the cut or wound. The medicinal properties essential oils possess - antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, cicatrisant, hemostatic and anti-inflammatory - greatly increase the effects of the carriers. You can see why they are among my favorite first aid treatments for minor-moderate skin conditions. As they relate to first aid treatment, essential oils have the specific ability to: arrest bleeding, decrease pain and the inflammatory response, promote and hasten the healing process, prevent infection, and reduce scarring. There are more than 150 research studies pertaining to essential oils and wound healing on the NIH website alone that confirm these reported effects of essential oil therapy .

I hope this educational article on the benefits of aloe and honey as carriers and their valuable use with aromatherapy will inspire people to reach for botanically-based medicine as their first response to addressing first-aid situations. I trust doing so will benefit the individual and families as it is safer and less impacted by the consequences of harsh and expensive chemicals and will be healthier, making a gentler and smarter choice when it comes to first aid treatment. So get out in nature and enjoy the summer - use these tools to prevent the bugs from biting, heal those scrapes and poison ivy rashes, and secure the beneficial vitamin D that is essential to your health by having some fun in the sun!


Barcroft and Myskja, Aloe Vera: Nature's Silent Healer. BAAM, USA, 2003.
Briggs, Margaret, The Book of Honey, Nature's Magical Golden Treasure, Hermes House, London, 2010.
Cooksley, Valerie, Aromatherapy: Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal, Prentice Hall Press, NY, 2002.
Cooksley, Valerie, Healing Home Spa, Prentice Hall Press, NY, 2003.
Eddy, Jennifer, "UW study tests topical honey as a treatment for diabetic ulcers", University of Wisconsin,Madison, 5/2/07.
Eshun K, He Q, "Aloe vera: a valuable ingredient for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries--a review". Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 44 (2): 91-6. 2004.
Faber, Lee, Aloe Vera, The Natural healing Choice, Abbeydale Press, UK, 2008.
Ferro VA, et all. "In vitro susceptibilities of Shigella flexneri and Streptococcus pyogenes to inner gel of Aloe barbadensis Miller". Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 47 (3): 1137-9. doi:10.1128/AAC.47.3.1137-1139. March 2003.
Fleetwood, Jenni, The Book of Honey, Metro Books, NY, 2008.
Honey as an Antimicrobial Agent. Waikato Honey Research Unit. November 16, 2006.
Honey Holds Some Promise for Treating Burns, Newswise, October 7, 2008.
Lee G, Anand SC, Rajendran S., "Are biopolymers potential deodourising agents in wound management? ", University of Bolton, UK., J Wound Care. 2009 Jul;18(7):290, 292-5.
Vogler BK, Ernst E, "Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness". The British journal of general practice: The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 49 (447): 823-8.October 1999.
What's special about active manuka honey?Waikato Honey Research Unit. 2011-02-06.

Valerie Cooksley, RN, OCN, FAAIM, is a Holistic Nurse Aromatherapist, Health Researcher, Educator and acclaimed Author of eight natural health books, including the bestselling Aromatherapy, and her latest, Seaweed. She is Co-founder and Director of the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy/Houston, and Instructor for the Integrative Aromatherapy® Certificate Program, a comprehensive NAHA Level Two correspondence course. Valerie is a Professional Member of NAHA and NAHA Approved School/Educator. She is President of Flora Medica Natural Wellness Company, Regional Network Director for the American Holistic Nurses Association and is Founder of the Houston Holistic Network.

Ms. Cooksley has passionately researched natural medicine for more than twenty years, which included studies in Botanical Medicine at the renowned Bastyr University. She holds six aromatherapy certifications including The International Program in Essential Oils/Advanced Studies at Purdue University. In addition to Valerie's extensive holistic background, she has related knowledge in botanical medicine, raw food nutrition science, wild edible foraging and organic gardening, as well as energy medicine and bio-electron healing. Valerie's clinical experience in nursing specialized in Infectious Diseases, Oncology and Public Health. She is certified in emergency response and triage in catastrophic disasters as a FEMA Community Emergency Response team member for the greater Houston area.

To learn more about Valerie please visit her website:

Click here to purchase a CD recording of the NAHA Tele-conference: Aromatherapy First Response and Aromatic First Aid with Presenter: Valerie Cooksley

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Monday, July 25, 2011

July Article

Featured Article
Detoxifying with Essential Oils

by Tracey TieF, Certified Natural Health Practitioner, Technical Consultant New Directions Aromatics

Open an alternative health magazine, read the signs in the windows of a spa or health food store, check out the website of your local health practice - chances are you'll see "Detoxifying" treatments offered -from foot baths, to FAR infrared saunas, to cleansing diets and aromatherapy massage. Every culture features traditional practices that help our human bodies detoxify - sweat lodges and saunas, cleansing fasts and herbal teas, hot springs and mud baths.

These traditions accelerate the ways our bodies already work to detoxify. We continuously eliminate toxins through our digestive, urinary, integumentary (skin), circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems. Traditional detoxification treatments are designed to enhance these built-in mechanisms. And it seems that human beings have always sought out and devised ways to cleanse the body of unwanted by products of foods, especially cooked and smoked foods, the remnants of stress and fatigue, occasional encounters with natural toxins (forest fires? volcanic eruptions? radioactive meteorites?) and sporadic bouts of deliberate intoxication (fermented beverages, kava kava, yohimbe, peyote, marijuana, etc.).

Human bodies are designed to process toxins that are naturally occurring, but since the 20th century, we have been increasingly bombarded with new toxins from denatured foods and drinks, regular use of intoxicants such as alcohol and marijuana, pesticides, cigarettes and herbicides, petroleum by-products, air and water pollutants. Fatigue, constipation, gas, bad breath, low immunity, hormone imbalances, menstrual, menopausal and fertility problems, skin problems, poor circulation, mood swings, depression, frequent infections and mucus build-up can signal that the body needs extra help to detoxify.

Like herbs, essential oils can be potent plant helpers in the detoxification process. Traditions correctly identify detoxifying plants and quite a few appear regularly in our diets and folk remedies such as lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, ginger, bitter greens and hot peppers. Detoxifying foods are eaten in their whole 'plant' form, but we must never ingest an essential oil unless prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. For example, you might take a tablespoon of lemon juice in warm water each morning to help the liver detoxify, but it is neither necessary nor advisable to use a few drops of the essential oil Citrus limonum instead.

The foundation of any detoxification program is drinking filtered water (never plastic bottled!) and herbal teas - 3 litres a day is what I recommend to my clients. Drink enough water so that your urine is clear or barely colored so that you know your kidneys are not being forced to recycle your urine in order to maintain your blood pressure. Be sure to eat a variety of green, raw and naturally fermented foods each day.

The body eliminates up to 1 pound of waste products every day through the skin. It makes good sense to keep the skin open and able to release waste products efficiently. Perspiring has many functions, chief among them the elimination of waste, so it also makes sense to exercise daily, use deodorants instead of antiperspirants and enjoy sauna and steam baths whenever you can. In fact, the body relies on simple exercise like walking half an hour a day in order to circulate lymph in the lower half of the body. Brushing the skin of the whole body towards the heart from bottom to top is a simple practice that removes dead skin cells and increases lymphatic circulation. I prefer using a salt or sugar scrub in the same way, then soaking in a nice bath in the dissolved scrub.

Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
2 cups Sea Salt (finely ground Dead Sea salt Maris sal is best) and/or

Sugar (fair traded evaporated cane juice is best)

3 teaspoons raw honey

Oils: 3-6 tablespoons of oil such as castor oil (Ricinus communis), grapeseed (Vitis viniferis) or almond oil (Prunus dulcis)

Vegetable Glycerine (glycerine) or more honey if you want a more fluid scrub

Color: use 1 tsp. of clay, or alkanet root (Alkanna tinctoria) for red, carrot root infused oil (Daucus carota) for orange etc.

Scent: add up to 10 drops of essential oil (NOT fragrance oil) per cup of dry material.

Mix the oils and honey into the sea salts or sugar.
Wet your body. Stand up in the bath and take a handful of the salt mixture at a time and scrub your entire body, using circles up and into your lymph nodes at the back of thighs, the groin, the armpits, the neck, with all motions towards the heart. Let the mixture fall into the tub.
Soak for 20 minutes to refresh and rejuvenate, longer to relax.
Eastern traditions hold that toxins are effectively eliminated through the feet, so try regular foot baths with favourite essential oils. Finally, a good 20 minute soak in a hot bath allows your body to sweat out waste products while you relax. Add fresh, homemade bath salts to increase detoxification and relaxation.

Basic Bath Salts Recipe
½ or 1 cup of Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate) and/or

¼, ½ or 1 cup of coarse sea salt (Maris sal) and/or

¼, ½ or 1 cup of baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) and/or

Optional: ¼ - ½ cup each of (organically grown/non GMO) corn starch (Zea mays)

and citric acid for fizzing effect

Optional: up to ½ cup of oatmeal (Avena sativa)

to soothe dry, irritated skin or rashes.

Color: use 1 tsp of clay, or alkanet root (Alkanna tinctoria) for red, carrot root infused oil (Daucus carota) for orange etc.

Flowers: add up to ½ cup of chamomile typically (Anthemis nobilis), lavender (Lavandula officinalis syn, angustifolia) rose (Rosa damascena), malva (Malva sylvestris) or calendula petals (Calendula officinalis)

Scent: add up to 10 drops of essential oil (NOT fragrance oil) per cup of dry material.

Choose how much of each, and which, ingredients you want to use.
Blend all ingredients one at a time starting with the largest quantity.
Bottle: ideally, bath salts should be kept in a sealed glass jar away from light.
Pour 1 cup of bath salts into the running water per bath and swish until dissolved. If more bath salts are desired, add up to 2 more cups of plain sea salt or Epsom salts.
You can even feed your Epsom salts (not sea salt!) grey-water to your plants, vegetables, and lawn for greener grass and big, healthy vegetables.

CAUTION: Omit the Epsom salts if you have high blood pressure or a heart or kidney condition.

Specific essential oils are used by holistic aromatherapists as powerful agents to assist the body in ridding itself of toxins. Essential oils are not simply scents. They are chemically complex with constituents that have a direct effect on the body, mind, and spirit. If you are lucky enough, you can receive regular massage through an aromatherapist, massage therapist, or exchange massage with a friend as part of a detoxification regimen. Start with weekly massages then maintain your inner and outer bliss with monthly massage.

Detoxifying Massage Oil:
~ 5% essential oils ~

ADD: 30 drops of essential oil, choosing from:

Citrus: tangerine (Citrus reticulata blanco var tangerine), lemon (Citrus limonum)*, lime (Citrus aurantifolia swingle)*, grapefruit (Citrus racemosa), orange (Citrus sinensis), juniper berry (Juniperus communis), cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

TO: 2 Tbsp. (30 mL or 1 oz.) good quality vegetable oil, such as: almond (Prunus dulcis), grape seed (Vitis vinifera) sesame (Sesamum indicum), hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Mix in a glass bottle and use ASAP.

Select essential oils that you enjoy, and that detoxify the systems of the body that you need to work on most urgently. Since the focus on detoxification is not about creating a pleasant fragrance, feel free to combine essences without regard to conventional advice (such as, "basil Ocimum basilicum blends well with lemon Citrus limonum", etc.). Change the essences in the blend every two weeks in order to maintain effectiveness and prevent sensitization.

(a few) Detoxifying Essential Oils
Because essential oils work on many levels, as physical toxins are removed; negative thoughts and emotions are also released.

A note about citrus essential oils: All are detoxifying, but as a rule, none should be worn on the skin in daylight because they may be sun sensitizing.

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is diuretic, acting to tone the blood and lymphatic vessels, and decongest the lymph.

Lemon (Citrus limonum)* stimulates white blood cells to defend the body against infection and is effective against viruses like the flu. Detoxifies through the blood and liver.

Grapefruit (Citrus racemosa) is diuretic, anti-fungal and speeds up lymphatic circulation and the elimination of toxins. Detoxifies through the skin, urinary tract, liver, gall bladder and lymphatic system.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) is diuretic and aids digestion and elimination. Detoxifies through the skin, kidneys and the digestive tract.

Fir Balsam (Abies balsamia) is antiseptic, anti-cancer and detoxifies through the adrenal glands.

Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) is anti-viral, diuretic, and can help reduce cellulite by eliminating toxins from fatty tissues and expel uric acid from the system. Detoxifies through the kidneys, skin and urinary tract.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini) cleanses the digestive system at a cellular level. Detoxifies through the nervous and digestive systems.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is known by tradition to act on the glands todetoxify skin and strengthen the immune system through its profound stress relieving properties.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is powerful against infections and their toxic residues, but never use it in a bath or directly on mucous membranes. Detoxifies through the respiratory and digestive systems.

Rose (Rosa damascena) is gentle and so relaxing that it is said to balance hormones and stimulate the immune system solely through its action against stress and its by-products.

Rose Geranium (Pelargonium odorantissium or graveolens) enhances circulation, balances hormones especially in menopause, and fights yeast while protecting helpful bacteria. Detoxifies by toning the liver, pancreas and spleen.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) increases circulation. Detoxifies the respiratory system and clears mucous.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) is powerfully relaxing, and detoxifies through the nervous and digestive systems.

Most importantly, take the opportunity of a self-directed detoxification program in order to thoroughly enjoy yourself - the taste of clean water, the textures and colours of fresh foods, the satisfaction of moving the body and the sensory delights of homemade essential oil treatments. When it comes to eliminating toxins, the rule is: Reduce, Relax, Refresh and Relish!

Recommended Reading and Sources:

Aroma Web online

Gray, Bev, Aromatherapy Detox with Essential Oils by Bev Gray Source: alive #269, March 2005

Price, Shirley, Practical Aromatherapy: how to use essential oils to restore health and vitality. Thorsons, 1983.

Benham, Jan, The Creamy Craft of Cosmetic Making with essential oils and their friends, The Aroma Shoppe, 1996.

Benham, Jan,The Baby Boomers Beauty Bible,

The Aroma Shoppe, 2004.

Tracey TieF is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner who operates Anarres Natural Health in downtown Toronto, Ontario. She carries on a family tradition in the healing arts and has an extensive background in physical therapies and the healing arts. Tracey qualified as a Registered Aromatherapy Health Practitioner and Certified Reflexology Health Practitioner through The School of Holistic Studies, Institute of Aromatherapy. Tracey has a passion and mission for teaching people how to take care of themselves and make their own healthy products! Tracey can be reached at or through her website at

*Editor's Safety Note: These essential oils cause a photosensitive reaction when used, diluted or neat, on the skin. Distilled lemon and lime, and bergaptene free bergamot, can be used without contraindication.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

June Article

Featured Article
Neroli: Sweet Sunlight
By David Crow, L.Ac.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) is the fragrance of orange trees blossoming under the Moroccan and Tunisian sun. It is the fragrance that greets farmers as they begin another spring day of harvesting, gently plucking the tiny golden gems that shine from inside green citrus foliage. Many factors will influence the quality of the neroli oil: each blossom must be plucked when it is just starting to open; the buds must be gathered only on warm sunny days; the flowers cannot be bruised; leaflets and petioles must not be included. By the end of the day, the clothing and weather-aged hands of the dark-skinned harvesters will be saturated with an intoxicating aroma desired by queens and empresses, sheiks and maharajas.

Neroli is a fragrance that has been known and loved for centuries throughout the Mediterranean region. Generation after generation of skilled distillers have slowly extracted the neroli oil from the tender flowers, creating one of the world's finest and most sought after perfumes. Every spring, the delectable fragrance of Citrus aurantium blossoms rises inside wood-fired stills in North Africa's temperate mountains; an aroma that will bring joy to all, especially those who have the pleasure of savoring the first few drops that appear in the collecting beaker.

Hundreds of pounds of the precious floral treasure create a small mountain of botanical gold that will yield only a tiny vial of exquisite oil. Those engaged in this unique alchemical art know that a special satisfaction is found in producing high quality natural products with healing powers: the happiness of making others happy.

Bees find the fragrance of neroli irresistible. Busily climbing into each sunburst world, they delight in the labor of gathering its essence and transforming it into ambrosial orange blossom honey. Lovers are also rapturously attracted to the sensuous nectar secreted by the yoni-like mandalas of silken petals and the aphrodisiacal euphoria it produces when worn by one's beloved. Neroli was the cheerful fragrance sprinkled in the bedchambers of Arabian princesses of old and the scent that wafted from scarves of European noble ladies. To this day, it excites and inspires the master perfumers of the great fragrance houses, who use its delicious sweetness in their expensive aromatic creations.

Neroli is a medicine that the soul craves when besieged by stress, anxiety, worry, and depression. Like scented liquid sunlight, the yellow drops of citrus joy uplift the mind from gloomy moods, rescue the heart from realms of sadness and grief, and strengthen the spirit of those enduring unending hardships. Inhaling a few drops of neroli essential oil from the palms has a fortifying effect on the brain and nervous system, while simultaneously pacifying the irritation of sensory over-stimulation. The effects of neroli on emotional well-being can be compared to the nourishing, soothing, and revitalizing effects of Mediterranean sunshine. For those who cannot escape their troubles and flee to a Greek isle or an Italian villa, enveloping oneself in neroli's blessed aura is the next best thing. Widespread use of neroli could end the daily aggravations caused by the rat race of modern society, especially if used for aromatherapy in cars: scientific research has confirmed that inhaling the oil has an immediate sedative effect on over-caffeinated hyperactive mice.

For some fortunate elders, neroli was the fragrance of childhood in southern California. Only a few short years ago citrus orchards stretched from Santa Barbara to San Diego and from the coast eastward to the edge of the high desert. Every spring the land was awash with neroli's intoxicating aroma. What were our city planners thinking when they cut down the beautiful cooling trees that give such refreshing fruit and replaced their exotic enchanting perfume with the hot hydrocarbon exhaust of freeways?

Neroli is both the fragrance of paradise lost and the fragrance of hope for the future. Just as we pulled out the green orchards to make room for cars, someday soon we will need to invite the trees back into our communities. When that time comes, as a result of intelligence, wisdom, and foresight, cities will become gardens and urban forests filled with an abundance of nutritious foods and healing herbs. Families will once again wake to the sweet scent of orange blossoms carried on the morning breeze, and the aroma of neroli's exotic perfume will be freely available to all.

To learn more about David Crow please visit his websites:

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Article

Featured Article
Celestial Aromatherapy
By Shellie Enteen, BA, RA, LMT

One of the first things I encountered on my personal journey into the field of holistic health was astrology. That may seem like a strange statement but actually, it is not a big leap from astrology to health matters and, in fact, there is a whole branch of this art called Medical Astrology. When astrology crossed my path in NYC in the late 1970's I quickly realized that because the birth chart could indicate health and the root of medical conditions, my clients would want to have some idea of what to do with the information I conveyed. Certain clients would have Aquarius on the 6th house cusp or some other indication indicating the need for more unusual forms of healthcare to solve their problems. I decided to become familiar with alternatives (Aquarius is on my own 6th house of health) and this lead me from nutrition to massage and that was how aromatherapy came into my life.

Back in those days, I was still a bit concerned about the acceptability of both studying and practicing something considered 'occult'. But all that concern left for me when I attended a workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY on Tibetan medicine. The monk answered my question about astrology with the idea that every astrologer was a physician, and every physician had to be an astrologer. But why?

The short answer to this is that, in a manner similar to Oriental Medicine, astrology follows element theory. We have twelve astrological signs, separated into 4 groups: earth, air, fire and water signs. And those are further subdivided into 3 qualities, fixed, mutable and cardinal. If you are an Aries, you are a cardinal fire sign. If you are a Taurus, you are a fixed earth sign...and so on. The planets are said to 'rule' signs and so they partake of these elements as well. Mars, ruler of Aries, is a cardinal fire planet. Venus, when ruling Taurus, is a fixed earth planet. So it is a short jump from looking at the planets and signs in a chart and what a person's elemental makeup is, along with any stresses indicated by other chart placements or those planets, to discover what 'ails' a client or one's self.

Astrology was widely practiced in China, India, the Middle East and Europe in the day of the famous herbalist William Culpepper. Culpepper's writings give us both planet and sign indications for different plants. And from this and our own observations of how these plants work, and what systems and issues they affect, we can draw some conclusions as to which planets and signs are indicated by certain essential oils. Just as with 'note' designations, there is some difference of opinion in this realm and certain essential oils will be given to more than one planet or sign. But astrological indication is as valid as any other subtle aromatherapy 'signature' method for selection...and often as valid as any pharmacokinetic selection as well....perhaps, as it encompasses both, it is even the most effective but that idea is certainly going to cause a lot of debate! The work of Aromatherapists like David Crow and Farida Irani expands understanding on the use of essential oils through element correspondences in Aryuvedic medicine. Dr. Bruce Berkowsky also uses astrological information in his Kabalistic approach to the application essential oils.

In our current world and personal atmosphere, knowing which essential oils augment or balance a particular energy at work can be a very helpful tool. I hope you'll join us for the tele-conference in May, "Celestial Aromatherapy", to learn how you can apply essential oils to planetary trends and your own or others' birth chart to create a blend that will promote harmony and wellness on the physical and the mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

To learn more about Shellie visit her website at
Sign up for her free e-newsletter at website. Email Shellie at if you are interested in future classes on this topic.

Click here to purchase Shellie's NAHA tele-conference presentation recording: 'Celestial Aromatherapy'.

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April Article

Featured Article
Spring Renewal
By Susan Stype

Just like spring cleaning our homes, our skin can benefit from exfoliation as we transition from the cold drying winter months to springtime. Pollution, smoke, dryness, UV rays, stress and more are the factors that accelerate the aging process for both men and women. The benefits of exfoliation will be noticeable right away and should be part of your daily or weekly facial/body cleansing routine.

What Is Exfoliation?
This is simply the process of removing dead skin cells to make way for younger cells while unclogging pores. The term comes from the Latin word "exfoliare", which means "to remove leaves." Our skin is constantly generating new skin cells and, as cells start to pile up, they give the skin a rough, dry and dull appearance. Used weekly, exfoliation helps keep the skin renewed by smoothing the epidermis and helping to minimize fine lines. It also boosts circulation to the face and gives the complexion a healthy glow. After exfoliation skin will look softer and healthier.

What Should I Use To Exfoliate?
There are a myriad of products on the market and choose one best suited for your skin type. For the face always use a gentle exfoliation product. Never use body scrubs on the face as they are too harsh. Like most good things, the key is moderation. You can over-exfoliate and increase dryness, especially for sensitive skin types. Natural exfoliation products would be finely ground oats, blue cornmeal, mild clays, colloidal oatmeal, flours, powders such as baking soda, herbs, etc. Only ½ to 1 teaspoon of scrub is all you need. Place in your palm and add a bit of water to make a paste and add 1-2 drops of essential oils for your skin type below. Gently massage paste into skin and leave on 1-2 minutes. Rinse well. For dry skin, you can add several drops of a carrier oil, like olive oil, into the scrub blend. Weekly exfoliation and daily moisturizing are two important treatments that, if carried out regularly, maintain the epidermis for a supple and youthful appearance. Always moisturize after exfoliation. Water is also vital for your skin's overall appearance, so drink plenty of water daily.

Essential oils help regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation and stimulate the growth of new cells. Whether you have normal, dry, oily, mature or combination skin, you will benefit from their use. You will notice that many essential oils have crossover benefits for each skin type.

Normal Skin Types:
Cedarwood-Atlas (Cedrus atlantica), Chamomile-Roman (Anthemis nobilis), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Geranium (Pelargonium roseum), Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), Rose(Rosa damascena),Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Sandalwood-Australian (Santalum spicatum), and Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides).

Combination Skin Types:
Geranium-Rose (Pelargonium roseum),
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata).

Oily Skin Types:
Bergamot BF (Citrus bergamia)*, Cedarwood-Atlas (Cedrus atlantica), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Geranium (Pelargonium roseum), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)*,Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum), Juniperberry (Juniperus communis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limonum)*, Lime-Distilled(Citrus aurantifolia)*, Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), Peppermint (Mentha x. piperita), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Thyme-Linalol (Thymus vulgaris), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides), and Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata).

Dry, Mature Skin Types:
Bergamot BF (Citrus bergamia)*, Carrot Seed (Daucus carota), Cedarwood-Atlas (Cedrus atlantica), Chamomile-Roman (Anthemis nobilis), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Geranium-Rose (Pelargonium roseum), Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium), Rose (Rosa damascena), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis),Sandalwood-Australian (Santalum spicatum) and Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides).

Sensitve Skin Types:
Carrot Seed (Daucus carota), Chamomile-German (Matricaria chamomilla), Chamomile-Roman (Anthemis nobilis), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara).

(Sensitive Skin Soother- for all skin types)

4 drops Geranium-Rose (Pelargonium roseum)

8 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

1 oz. Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)

Mix essential oils together and add to carrier oil. Massage into skin after treatment.

(Skin Toner helpful for oily skin or combination skin)

4 oz. Rose Geranium Hydrosol (Pelargonum graveolens)

2 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

2 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum)*

Add hydrosol to clean 4 oz. bottle. Add essential oils together and then add to hydrosol. Shake well before each use. Apply the toner with cotton ball after cleansing face.

(Luxurious Face Elixir, delightful and restorative for mature skin)

10 drops Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

5 drops Geranium-Rose (Pelargonium roseum)

5 drops Sandalwood-Australian (Santalum spicatum)

3 drops Lavender-French (Lavandula angustifolia)

1/2 oz. Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)

1/2 oz. Rosehip Seed Oil (Rosa Rubiginosa a/k/a Rosa Mosqueta)

Mix essential oils and add to carrier oils. Soothe over cleansed face day and night.

(Body Oil for Dry Skin - good for both men and women)

10 drops Cedarwood-Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)

9 drops Chamomile-Roman (Anthemis nobilis)

6 drops Lavender-Bulgarian (Lavandula angustifolia)

4 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini)

2 drops Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

½ oz. Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca)

½ oz. Grapeseed Oil (Vitus vinifera)

Mix essential oils and add to Carrier Oils and mix well. Apply oil to body after bath for optimum absorption.

Susan Stype is an Aromatherapist and owner of - a trusted online source for essential oils, including many exotic and rare essential oils, professional natural skin care products and much more. Her research has shown a connection between healthy skin, well-being and essential oils. To learn more about Susan visit her website at: and sign up today for her free online newsletter.

*Editor's Safety Note: These essential oils cause a photosensitive reaction when used, diluted or neat, on the skin. Distilled lemon and lime, and bergaptene free bergamot, can be used without contraindication.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Article

Featured Article
Using Flower Essences with Essential Oils: Double the Flower Power!

By Kelly Holland Azzaro, RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT

I am often asked by clients and students what the difference is between flower essences and essential oils (which some also call 'essences'). The difference between the two 'essences' is also what makes them a perfect match, especially when creating a blend for emotional balance and support.

The basic difference is that essential oils are derived from the actual plant material, i.e., flowers, leaves, seeds, roots and bark by distillation or with citrus oils by cold expression method. These methods are used to create the essential oil found in colored bottles used in different aromatherapy applications. Flower Essences, on the other hand, are prepared by infusing the energy of the actual plant material into pure spring water preserved with brandy or an organic vegetable glycerin via the action of sun or moon light. The flower essences can be taken internally, either under the tongue or in water. They can also be applied topically or mixed with a lotion, as in the Bach 'Rescue' cream. Another difference between flower essences and essential oils is that flower essences do not posses the actual scent of the plant.

I believe that in capturing the essential oil from a plant's material, you are also capturing its 'life essence'. To me this is why the word 'essence' is often used when explaining essential oils -- the connection to their vital essence in addition to their lovely aroma.

Understanding homeopathy and how homeopathic remedies are prepared creates the ability to see how the flower essences can be very effective when balancing and shifting negative emotional blockages to the positive. Flower essences can be combined with essential oils in an actual aromatherapy blend for topical application, mist sprays and with compresses.

In my work, both people and their animal friends often times have an issue we are creating an aromatherapy blend for that is also shouting out-loud for flower essences. A powerful example of when the two kinds of 'essences' can be combined is when helping to support the body/mind/spirit when going through fear issues such as anxiety.

If the client is receptive to trying the flower essences we move forward with doing a flower essence consultation. This helps to narrow down the choices in essences and allows the client to be a part of the flower essence selection which empowers them to be active in the healing process.

A flower essence consultation is very similar to an aromatherapy consultation, yet also uniquely different. Honing in on the underlying cause of the anxiety reveals the appropriate flower essence(s) and oil(s). For example, if the anxiety is caused by a known fear, the key flower essence is 'Mimulus', but if caused by an unknown fear, 'Aspen' is the flower essence to use.

Next choose the essential oils that are useful for stress-based anxiety and work with the client in narrowing down the choices. Fill a bottle with the appropriate amount of essential oil drops followed by drops of the flower essences and topped off with a base carrier oil or water/hydrosol for a mist spray.

Here is a blend* that I have found useful for mild anxiety. Combine the following in a 2 ounce aroma-bottle with jojoba, or mix with 4 ounces of hydrosol/water mixture:

Essential Oils:
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) 10 drops

Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara) 10 drops

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 6 drops

Melissa (Melissa officinalis) 8-10 drops

Flower Essence:

4-7 drops of Mimulus or the Bach Flower Remedy called Rescue RemedyĆ¢.

Shake well before each use. This blend is for topical use only and if irritation occurs discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

(*Note: even one drop of Melissa on a tissue for inhalation is effective for anxiety relief.)

Note that when working with issues such as anxiety you will want to take into account if hormones are playing a part in the anxious sensations and overwhelming feelings. If so, considering using essential oils that support hormonal balance along with other flower essences that balance a feeling of being overwhelmed. When working with flower essences and essential oils for use with animals, especially dogs and horses, you will want to know if the anxiety is manifesting during a particular activity or due to a past trauma or if it is caused by an imbalance in their diet. This will help guide you and the client in making 'effective essence' choices. Also note that essential oils should not be used with birds, cats, fish or reptiles.

Kelly Holland Azzaro RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT is a Registered Aromatherapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner, Certified Bach Flower Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner. Kelly is also President of NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). She has over 20 years training and professional experience in Canine/Equine Acupressure-Massage, Intuitive Animal Communication, Crystal-Gemstone Therapy, Reiki, Aromatherapy and Flower Essence Therapy for people and their animal friends. Kelly and her husband Marco a Licensed Acupuncturist and Qigong Practitioner- Instructor have a Holistic Healing Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Kelly offers online courses in Animal Aromatherapy and Bach Flowers for Pets. Kelly is approved by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Provider Number 451233-10

To learn more about Kelly please visit these websites: .
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Click here to purchase Kelly's NAHA tele-conference presentation recordings: Animal Aromatherapy;Safe use of essential oils and Blending Essential Oils and Flower Essences for Animals.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

February Article

Featured Article
Brief History of Hydrosols
By Ann Harman

When discussing hydrosols, many of my students don't realize that the distillate waters (hydrosols) predate essential oils by hundreds if not thousands of years. There is evidence of distillation as long as 5000 years ago. It is not clear whether they were distilling alcohol that early, though there is some evidence that the Chinese had spirits many, many hundreds of years ago. It is more likely these ancients were distilling for the herbal waters. One very old description is of a crude distillation that involved a pot of water filled with cedar and water with lamb's wool stretched over the top to catch the rising vapors. The wool was periodically wrung out and collected resulting in an early distillate water.

As stills were developed and perfected over the following centuries more and more plants were distilled. The resulting distillate waters were often compounds, where more than one botanical was distilled at a time. A very famous compound or co-distillate is Eau de Me`lisse de Carmes or Carmelite water. This recipe dates to sometime between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Though sources disagree on the origin of this distillate, many agree on its medicinal value and ingredients. It includes lemon balm, angelica root, nutmeg, lemon peel, cloves, and coriander seed, distilled in orange water and (grape) spirits. It was sold for centuries, which seems to indicate its value as medicinal water. There are literally hundreds of recipes for waters and their uses up to the late 1800's. Many were included in the official pharmacopoeias of the time.

It was not until the invention of the condensing coil and water baths that distillation became efficient enough to begin collecting the essential oils that separated from the distillates. This began in the 16th century and has continued to the present.

When you use a hydrosol (or 'hydrolat', as they are called in other parts of the world), know that you are participating in an ancient healing ritual. Here are a few ideas for using these beautiful hydrosols:

Atomizer: Spritz directly on body and face. Use after shower/bath to rehydrate dry skin. Spritz in air and inhale. Freshen a room.

Compress: Dampen clean cloth with hydrosol (hot or cold) and apply to affected area. Great for sore muscles, rashes, bites.

Bath: Add 1-2 cups of hydrosol to bath and enjoy.

Footbaths: Use hydrosols in footbaths and hydrotherapy.

Massage: Spritz on skin and massage gently.

Neti Pot: Add 1 tsp to the water portion of your neti pot.

Facial Toners: Spritz on face to rehydrate after shower or anytime during the day.

Laundry: Add Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Rose Geranium (Pelargonium roseum) hydrosol to a wash cloth and toss in the dryer. Great for freshening clothes and making doing the laundry a joy!

Kitchen: Experiment with Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Sage (Salvia sclarea) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) hydrosols. Spritz on a roasting chicken or add to pasta water.

Ann Harman is a Botanist, Herbalist and Artisan Distiller. She studied Botany at Colorado State University in Ft Collins, CO. She has been making herbal products for decades and distilling hydrosols for over 15 years. She enjoys teaching the Art of Distillation and offers workshops at her farm and other venues. When not distilling she is a guest lecturer at Bastyr University in Seattle, and contributes articles to several Aromatherapy publications. When funding permits, she continues to research the many aspects of the world of hydrosols. Ann is the owner of Morning Myst Botanics, a certified organic business located in Washington State. Ann is also a NAHA Regional Director (WA) and Moderator of the Hydrosols Aromatherapy group topic on the NAHA Members group site.

To learn more about Ann visit her website at

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

January Article

Featured Article
Essential Oils for Acute Bronchitis
By Liz Fulcher, RA

I pride myself on having consistent robust health since I haven't had anything more serious than a pesky cold or tummy ache in over 10 years. I'm just never sick. I attribute this to working with essential oils every day, washing my hands frequently and generally being a pretty happy soul.

Well, in mid-October, I fell hard. Out of the blue I began to ache in my joints and mostly everywhere, making me wonder if I'd been hit by a truck in my sleep. This fun was followed by three days with a fever of 102 which morphed into a cough the likes of which I've never known. My husband, James, insisted I see our family doc or he would bind my hands and feet and take me himself. I broke down and saw Dr. Sally, who took one listen to my lungs and said, "Woah, girl, you've got acute bronchitis." Argh.
My Meds

Dr. Sally prescribed 40mg of Prednisone for five days (never again never again never again), Tylenol with Codeine at night and Albuterol to be used with an "AeroChamber" to assist the Albuterol into my lungs. James called this my "bronchitis bong". Very funny.

I began to come around, thanks to the meds, 10 hours of sleep every night, daytime naps and lots of essential oils. I am too busy to stay sick and ready to have my old energizer bunny self back. I also realize that illness and pain are important messages that we need to heed and I'm treating my body with much love and care.

As much as I embrace the power of natural therapies, I felt that seeing my doctor and taking those meds were necessary for me to reduce the inflammation in my lungs quickly. I'll never say "we don't need doctors" because we do. However, receiving and taking prescribed meds is where many people stop in treating their own illness. I consider my use of the meds only one spoke in the wheel of healing my bronchitis and am positive that my diligent use of essential oils has been an important part of my continued recovery, especially since illnesses of the lung can linger on forever without them.

How I Chose the Essential Oils for My Bronchitis
First of all, let's look at what action I wanted from the oils. In a few words, bronchitis is congestion and inflammation of the bronchial passages in the lungs. The body creates a ton of thick mucous which can be sticky and difficult to expel, thereby creating a hard cough - your body's way of getting it out.

Therefore, I chose oils that contain a significant percentage of ketones which are highly effective mucolytics (help dissolve mucous) and act as expectorants (help expel mucous.) I also used oils that are high in oxides which help decongest, decrease coughing and aid mucous expectoration. Other actions I sought from my oils were anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, warming and relaxing.

Methods of Application of the Essential Oils for My Bronchitis
Steam Inhalations: 1 drop of essential oil in a bowl of steamy hot water, 2-3 times/day for 5 minutes.
(I tend to vary the oils I use with each inhalation)

Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Eucalyptus Dives (Eucalyptus dives) (mucolytic, expectorant)
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) (decongestant, anti-infectious, expectorant)

Nightly Chest Rub with Jojoba Oil at a 3% dilution (15 drops to 1 ounce of Jojoba) (varying the oils I use)

Spike Lavender (mucolytic, expectorant and I love the smell)
Balsam Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis) (anti-inflammatory, calming and I find the aroma comforting)
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Ginger (Zingiber officinale) (warming)
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) (strong antimicrobial, dries mucous, calming for a spastic cough)
Thyme ct. linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) (immune system support. Note: Thyme ct. thymol is another option for immune support but I find the thymol too stimulating for nighttime rest.)
Basil ct linalool (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool) (Note: this is a good anti-spasmodic oil for cough but after one evening application found it too stimulating to use at night. It kept me awake. Better for morning.)

Pre-Bedtime Bath (I use about 10-20 drops in the tub right before I step in, then soak for 30 minutes breathing in the steam)

2 Cups Epsom Salts (I used these to detox from the prescription meds)
Any of the oils above that I felt drawn to use, although I really felt pulled toward the Spike Lavender (maybe because of the high Camphor content) and I've used that with Tea Tree quite frequently.
There are many more oils that are good for bronchitis such as Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Thyme ct thymol (Thymus vulgaris ct thymol), but I tried to listen to my body and use those I felt drawn to.

In addition, I drank gallons of water, ate well, avoided all dairy products, took vitamins and supplements and said no to nearly all social engagements. I also diffused oils in the house to keep airborne germs at bay.

Frankly, I don't know how people who don't use essential oils get along. A condition like bronchitis can drag on for months and even become chronic, but I've been diligent with using my oils and can feel in my body that I have overcome this condition.

I am immensely grateful to have this amazing plant medicine in my life.

Liz Fulcher is a Registered Aromatherapist and Certified Massage Therapist. She brings over twenty years of experience, research, training and love of essential oils into her aromatherapy teaching and massage practice. Her fascination with essential oils began in 1991 while she was working with the United Nations in Rome, Italy. When her second child was born in a Roman clinic, they massaged him with essential oils immediately after his birth and from the moment on she was hooked! This led her to the formal study of aromatherapy with many talented teachers and excellent schools: The American Institute of Aromatherapy, Essential Oil Programs at Purdue University and Rutgers University, The Australasian College of Herbal Studies, RJ Buckle Clinical Aromatherapy Program and more.

Liz is on the faculty of The Mt. Nittany Institute of Natural Health at the State College, PA as the Director of Aromatherapy Studies and serves as a Pennsylvania Regional Director for NAHA. In 2010 under the tutelage of Andrea Butje of Aromahead Institute, Liz became a Certified Aromatherapy Instructor and will offer a 235-hour Aromatherapy Certification Program starting in 2011. She also offers training classes in aromatherapy throughout the year and is a frequent speaker at community events, medical and holistic health conferences.

Liz also has her own line of essential oils under the label of 'Liz's Garden Aromatherapy' which is owned and operated by her husband, James Fulcher. Liz owns and operates The Body Wisdom Center for Massage and Well-being and her aromatherapy school: Aromatic Wisdom Institute of Creative Aromatherapy. She shares her lifer with her husband, sons and one spoiled pug.

To learn more about Liz please visit her website at or email her at

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