Insert Clever Title Here
Tea Tree & Lavender.

Tea Tree oil has been recognized since 1923 as being a strong antibacterial by western society, however the Aborigines have been using crushed Tea Tree leaves for thousands of years on cuts, wounds even respiratory difficulties. Tea Tree was used in World War 1 hospitals as antiseptics (along with Rosemary) and in World War 2 it was part of the army field kit. 

Lavender has been used since 16th century France as a disinfectant, during World Wars 1 soldiers carried Lavender oil in their field kits for first aid. In the 1930s René Maurice Gattefosse (one of the founders of aromatherapy) treated a burn on his hand with lavender oil and was surprised at how quickly the wound healed with treatment.

edit 28/04/11 - in further reading, René Maurice Gattefosse didn’t just treat the burn with the lavender.. the burn had contracted Gas Gangrene, which both were treated with with lavender. It also occured in 1910, not the 1930’s… His recount was published in his book released in 1937, titled Aromatherapy. 

“The external application of small quantities of essences rapidly stops the spread of gangrenous sores. In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene. Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped “the gasification of the tissue”. This treatment was followed by profuse sweating, and healing began the next day (July 1910).”

What scents go with what?

Ever felt lost when trying to mix your own scents? Use our list below! 

Mix 3 drops from one of the top notes, with 2 drops of one of the middle notes and 1 drop of a base note. What’s a note?

Add 20mL of a carrier and you’ve got yourself a nice perfume… 50mL and you’ve got a massage oil… or pop it in the bath with 1 teaspoon of Glycerine… or straight into a burner… Not a bad way to make your own signature scent… 

Top Notes:

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Citronella
  • Clove Bud
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Melissa
  • Peppermint
  • Pettigrain
  • Spearmint

Middle Notes

  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Juniper Berry
  • Kunzia
  • Pine
  • Rose Geranium
  • Rose Otto
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang

Base Notes

  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver

Aromatherapy and “do not use”

Ever wondered what happens when someone uses an essential oil that specially says “do not use if <insert contradiction here>”?

It’s all with how oils work…

Essential oils work in by being absorbed into the bloodstream whether inhaled from steam / vaporizer, soaked in a bath or massaged into the skin with a carrier oil. When inhaled the oils enter the body from the sinus passages, when applied to the skin from bath, massage or compress, the skin absorbs the oil and it enters the bloodstream after passing through the skin.

Pregnancy can heighten the scenes as a safety mechanism, making pregnant women able to smell the oils stronger, also anything in the bloodstream goes to the unborn baby. Other reasons include they cause irritation to the sensitized skin, are Emmenagogues, or are simply toxic in levels that will not harm an adult, but could certainly harm an unborn child.. 

For blood pressure issues, as the oils enter the bloodstream the chemical makeup of oils may tell the brain to lower or higher the blood pressure further then the original ailment, or have been shown to interfere with the medication for these ailments.  

So, when in doubt.. don’t. 

-Steph

From Plant to Oil…

Moving over some more aromatherapy articles…

Have you ever wondered how much plant material goes into an essential oil? 

Steph’s done some research.

Lavender - 3 quarters of a tonne makes 2 litres of oil 

Sandalwood - 1 tonne of wood makes 50 litres. The trees are preferred to be 14 years old before logging. Sandalwood in India and Nepal is owned and controlled by the government (yes, even if it is in your backyard). 1 tonne of Sandalwood sells for upward of $10,000.

Rose - 12,000 Rose Petals makes 5mL of pure oil. 

Jasmine - It takes 8000 Jasmine Petals to make 1ml of oil. The petals also have to be harvested at night because this is when they are the most fragrant.

Are the terms “Essential Oil” and “Aromatherapy” becoming marketing gimmicks?

Two separate instances occurred in the last week that are making me wonder are the terms “essential oil” and “aromatherapy” becoming marketing gimmicks by sales people? Or have I just had a bad run this week… 

The first (and main) instance was on Thursday night, a friend and I walked into a popular candle shop where I saw a massive banner “Aromatherapy candles” and it piqued my interest… picked up a Neroli candle, took a whiff, and it smelt NOTHING like neroli… zip. (FYI, neroli is my favourite scent, so to me, this revelation was close to blasphemous)… The “Ylang Ylang and Patchouli”, “Frankincense and Juniper” or “Rose and Tangerine” candles did no better. Went onto their website and saw their blurb on the range where it states their “aromatherapy range is created using exquisite blends of both fragrant and pure essential oils.” … Fragrant oil… right. Call me picky but I don’t count fragrant oils in aromatherapy. Also I wonder what percentage is actually essential oil considering their candles are all sold at the same price. 

This same store was also selling essential oils and electronic diffusers. Now, I buy my essential oils from two places mainly now, New Directions Australia, and Perfect Potion. Perfect Potion have an ultrasonic diffuser for $64.95, this candle store we were in was selling the exact same product for $89.99. Nice work candle shop </sarcasm>

The second occasion was in a shop that sells natural cosmetic, bath and shower products… This shop I have always liked for their products, but it’s the sales people I’m a little iffy with sometimes. They talk of the products and then deliver the “It also has X, X, X and X essential oils in it.” On many occasion I’ve felt like replying “I know WHY those oils are in there… do you?” This one sales person also tried to sell me a tea tree toner when I’d already stated I have combination skin… *thumbs up* Thanks, but I don’t need my normal bits of skin to become dried. I’m just counting this towards the store not offering enough education to their salespeople..  

*sigh* 

Anyone else had an experience like these?

Methods of using essential oils

Okay, I fibbed, I found something else I’d written about essential oils that I wanted to keep a record of here… see, this blog isn’t just about sharing information with others… it’s also a way of me keeping a record for myself. I’ve also found my big spreadsheet I’d made that had a LOT of information so looks like there will be more from me. 

Massage- Dilute the essential oil in a carrier and apply to the body. 10 drops max to 20ml of carrier oil.

Vaporize- Add 6 drops to a vaporiser filled with water.

Bath- Add up to 10 drops of essential oil to either 10 drops of dispersant or a teaspoon of glycerine.

Compress- Put hot water in a bowl and add up to 6 drops of essential oil. Lay a piece of cloth on the top of the water (not dunk it in the bowl) wring out, and apply.

Inhalation- Add 6 drops of oil to a bowl of warm to hot water. Cover head with a towel and breathe the vapour.

Neat- add a few drops to a cotton bud and apply to the skin. This method should only be used with Lavender, Patchouli, Palmarosa, Tea Tree & Lemon. Do not use this method with any other oils unless advised otherwise.

Note: You may find some websites or books published internationally talk about the ingestion of essential oils. This is a practice that is not recommended without proper training and is rarely used in Australia for safety reasons. 

Top 10 Essential Oils…

I’d written this a few months ago… its my top 10 most useful oils… please note this is my list and might vary in usefullness to others

10. Bergamot

Bergamot oil is produced using the peel of the citrus fruit of the Bergamot Orange fruit. This is the same fruit who’s peel is used in Earl Grey Tea (I knew I loved that tea for a reason). It has a unique smell that is definitely citrus but not as sweet as orange or as strong as Lemon and Lime. 

Bergamot has been used in Italy to treat fever & worms, in contemporary uses though it is a strong antiseptic and can be used to treat eczema, soothe headaches, relieve tension, uplift moods and is said to help fight cellulite. Bergamot can also be used in a mouthwash to deodorize bad breath and fight mouth and throat infections. 

9. Cedarwood

Cedarwood! If this were my personal uses list this oil would be ranked much higher! 

Cedarwood has a wonderfully distinct woody smell that is calming and relaxing. Ancient Egyptians used this oil in the mummification process & it is common in aftershaves. For skin and hair care, its great for eczema, treats acne, balances oily skin & hair and relieves dandruff. It is also effective against coughs & bronchitis, as well as being a great base note in any blend. 

8. Orange

Orange! we all know Orange… We’ve seen the goo remover adverts in cleaning products on TV… It’s uplifting, it’s clean, it’s yummy, balances and tones skin, boosts the digestive system, eases mood changes from that pesky time of the month, and eases anxiety and stress. 

7. Spearmint

Spearmint is not as readily available then peppermint but it has more uses. Remedies headaches, stomach troubles, use it as a mouthwash to freshen the breath and help remedy mouth and gum infections. As it is an antibacterial and antifungal it also helps topical skin infections as well as chest infection. Burning it lifts the moods and gives the air a clean feel and scent. 

6. Rosemary

Rosemary for remembrance… Also for the WWII hospitals. As recently as WWII Rosemary was used in the hospitals because it is antibacterial and antifungal. Burn it to disinfect the air of a room as well as warm it, inhale it to help a chest infection as well as coughs and colds, massage it to ease stiff and sore joints and muscles  

5. Jojoba

Alright, it’s technically a wax not an oil… but was the most useful of carriers to include so nyah. 

Works better then the Neutrogena Oil Free make up remover to remove eye make up (I kid you not), also place a few drops on a cotton ball wipe over the face after washing to tone and moisturize in one hit. Great for reducing the visibility of scars. Its anti-inflammatory so it soothes irritated skin, and helps heal damaged  skin as well as skin affected by eczema or psoriasis. Jojoba strengthens sensitive skin and balances oily skin. It is also of a close composition to the skins natural oil so it doesn’t clash and balances the oil amount. I find it best to use Jojoba on my face before bed. 

4. Tea Tree

My sister introduced me to Tea Tree many many moons ago to use on pimples, and I still use it today when I get the odd one. Tea Tree is one of the few oils you can put directly onto the skin without diluting it, so dab away on pimples, bug bites and stings. Inhale to relieve respiratory problems and headaches. Is an anti microbial as well as an anti fungal. Spray to kill mold and mildew. Good for circulation, massage to warm cold limbs. 

Buyer beware: Tea Tree is also one of the few oils available commercially as well as in the niche aromatherapy market, but as a rule if you’re putting it on your skin, go with quality. Also check the label as not all commercial brands have 100% Tea Tree. If you see anything other 1ml/ml, it has been diluted. (This means 1ml of oil per 1ml of liquid). I’ve even seen a skin product brand labelled as Tea Tree but when I checked the ingredients listing there was no Tea Tree in sight in any of their products! 

3. Lavender. 

Yup, good old Lavender lands in at number 3. Rene Gattefosse successfully treated gas gangrene on his hands using lavender oil after a laboratory explosion in 1910 and thus aromatherapy was born. Well at least it was born when he published his book in 1937. ANYWAY back to lavender. In WWI the soldiers carried Lavender in their first aid kits to treat wounds, it is an antiseptic and can be used directly on the skin. Apply on stings, bites, burns, cuts, grazes and anything on the skin… Relaxing, uplifting, calming… Inhale to help fight throat infections and laryngitis. 

Helps skin conditions eczema, acne, psoriasis and athletes foot, is an insect repellant and can be used as a mouthwash to deodorize breath and as a mouth antiseptic. 

2. Lemon

Lemon… LEMON?! at number 2? Yup! (I didn’t really want to put 3 citrus oils on this list but couldn’t avoid it…)

Put some lemon on the end of a broom and attack any spiderwebs in the house. Not only will the lemon oil easily get the sticky bits off, it will also deter spiders for roughly 3 months from re-building the web in that spot. 

Use lemon as a goo remover, air freshener, de-odorizer, it uplifts moods, stimulates circulation, cleanses and tones the skin, combats respiratory problems, colds and flu, strengthens the immune system, is an insect repellant, and gives you a bit of ZING after a big one on a work night (tisk tisk) as well as during times of sluggishness. Refreshes after a long day. Use directly onto warts to get rid of them. 

1. Eucalyptus

Are we surprised? There is a whole book that is about the uses of eucalyptus oil! 

It clears sinuses, eases symptoms of colds, flu, sinuitis and hay fever. It is an antiseptic and anesthetic. Use diluted to treat athletes foot, bites & stings, herpes, shingles & parasites (eg lice & ringworm). Pop it in the bath to help treat urinary tract infections. Massage to ease muscular pain and stiffness. Use it with cleaning products to disinfect surfaces and remove sticky bits. 

Eucalyptus is also an insect repellant as well as a deodorizer. Use it in your pets area to get rid of any unwanted smells. 

Buyer beware: Eucalyptus is also one of the few oils available commercially as well as in the niche aromatherapy market, but as a rule if you’re putting it on your skin, go with quality. Also check the label as not all commercial brands have 100% Eucalyptus. If you see anything other 1ml/ml on the label, it has been diluted. (This means 1ml of oil per 1ml of liquid)

Investigation - Skincare oil

I heard about a certain skin therapy oil product from a friend of a friend, when I looked into it, I’d realized that some of their biggest ingredients are essential oils…

So the brain started ticking, and curiosity got the best of me. I got an ingredients list off the web and lets have a squiz. 

Parrafinum Liquidum - Liquid paraffin. One of the first things I learnt about carrier oils is that mineral oils block the body’s ability to absorb the essential oil. Paraffin is a mineral oil. I found the oil quite hard to absorb into the skin, and my guess is this is the reason. It’s first on the ingredients list so would make up the bulk of the oil. 

Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde - It’s a fragrance ingredient which causes allergic reactions in 2-3% of eczema patients undergoing patch testing. 

Isopropyl myristate - Did you know they use this to kill head lice? They also use it for mouthwash… 

Citronellol - Citronellol should be avoided by people with perfume allergies. 

Coumarin - Coumarin should also be avoided by people with perfume allergies. It is also toxic to the liver and kidneys, and is used as a rodenticide (kills rodents)

Eugenol - Can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Is hepatotoxic. 

Limonene - Limonene is a skin and respiratory irritant… 

WHAT THE HELL IS A SKIN IRRITANT DOING IN A SKINCARE PRODUCT?!

For something that is marketed as hypoallergenic, there are quite a few ingredients with allergy warnings.. However, by definition, hypoallergenic means “contains fewer allergens” (but in comparison to what!?) There are no standards that govern using the term hypoallergenic, so it can mean anything the company wants it to.  

Now, the good stuff… 

Roman Chamomile

Lavender

Rosemary

Calendula

Sunflower Seed

Soybean

Yup, essential oils are awesome… 

Retinyl Palmitate - An antioxidant and rich source of vitamin A

Tocopheryl Acetate - Vitamin E. 

The ingredients list also lists chemicals that are found naturally in the essential oils listed above. 

After doing this lookup, I think I might be going through the ingredients lists of things more thoroughly in the future, be slightly more paranoid about the term hypoallergenic, as well as playing with making my own using skincare oil with using Soy as the base…  

Who wants to be my guinea pig?