Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Rose Layer Cake

Valentine's Recipe -  Rose Cake

my mother's old Hot Milk Sponge Cake recipe, with a very special touch

Butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 Eggs
1  teaspoon Vanilla    Beat together until eggs are light, fluffy and thick.
1  Drop Pure Rose Otto

Beat in  1 Cup Sugar   beat until smooth.

Sift together:

1 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 dash salt

Stir into the egg mixture.  Will be VERY thick.

Heat until the butter melts:

1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter

Add the hot milk mixture to the batter, stir it QUICKLY together, (work fast here, because the hot milk will start the baking powder rising before the cake is in the pan.)  Stir together quickly, pour into prepared pan and into the hot oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the cake tests done.

Cool upside down on a rack.

split the cooled cake in half to make two layers.  Fill with either Raspberry Jam or,
if you are among the really lucky ones who have some,  with some Rose Petal Jam.  (Trust me, the Raspberry is wonderful  in it!) Sift some confectioners sugar over the top.

and...another recipe...   if you are a white wine lover,  add a teaspoon of our Rose Hydrosol
to a glass of chilled dry white wine, for a romantic dinner a deux.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Exploring the Benefits of Saro Essential Oil, new research

By Christi R. Pugh
For Nature’s Gift

I confess I’ve been fascinated with Saro Essential Oil (Cinnamosma fragrans Baillon) since Marge decided to make it available alongside our wide range of oils.  Being a newer EO, not much was generally known about it & we as always err on the side of caution.  However, we’ve been working hard to (finally!) get our hands on more research as well as experimenting with it at home and are finding the possible uses for it are quite extensive and exciting!

Saro is another gift from plant rich Madagascar which is also the country of origin for the powerful antivirals, Ravensara & Ravintsara.  We found recent research particularly interesting citing its effectiveness for minor infections and in preventing recurrence both as an antibacterial and antiviral and further as an immune builder.  Purported to be antimicrobial, recent research specifically found “the oil could have activities against” bacterial strains such as: e. coli (urinary tract infections, meningitis), dysentery and food borne illnesses (food poisoning), candida albicans (vaginal mycosis, skin infections), certain types of gastrointestinal toxicity, Klebsiella pneumoniae (chronic pulmonary disease, rhinoscleroma), as well as streptococcus pneumoniae (skin infections, pneumonia, endocarditis, pericarditis), vaginal infections, and the list goes on & on. 

There is speculation the antimicrobial activities uncovered during research could be due to the high content of 1,8 cineole combined with a-pinene, as both are expectorant and mucolytic.  Saro has been found to be nontoxic and nonirritating for human use, making it an oil to go to for general overall usage for a variety of issues from the antimicrobial standpoint to usage in massage as a relaxant & anti-inflammatory.  Research indicates although it is generally a safe oil, it is not recommended for use by pregnant or lactating women or young children.  (We did not see any reason for this warning!)  Additionally, some say any 1,8 cineole oil should be avoided by those with epilepsy or seizure disorder.    

A variety of promising applications include: antiviral, antibacterial, antimycosis, antiparasitic, analgesic, immune building, and antispasmodic among others with a specific notion of use in the gynecological field to combat HPV, yeast infections, certain venereal diseases, & herpes simplex; for respiratory issues, and pain relief for achy muscles. 

Research is ongoing into this fascinating essential oil but given what we know so far, it seems to be an important oil to have on hand with its powerful germ killing potential.  I’ve been reaching for it at home instead of Tea Tree over the past few months and find it less medicinal and much more pleasant in aroma.  Saro is an essential oil which may prove to be extremely beneficial over time and an effective “go to” oil for a number of ailments. 

Read more about Saro Essential Oil on our website at www.naturesgift.com. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ringing in the ears - Tinnitus

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Ringing Ear (Tinnitus) Relief

By Liana Carbón, PhD

Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears. The Mayo Clinic suggests that it is a common problem, affecting about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. It involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present.

A number of health conditions can cause or worsen Tinnitus. In many cases, an exact cause is never found. According to the Mayo Clinic, a common cause of Tinnitus is inner ear cell damage. Tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can "leak" random electrical impulses to your brain, causing Tinnitus.

Other causes of Tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect your auditory nerves or the hearing center in your brain. Allopathic treatments and drugs include removing ear wax, identifying any possible vascular conditions and treating them, or possibly changing a medication one may be on which may appear to be the cause of the Tinnitus. While drugs themselves cannot cure Tinnitus, they may help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Often patients with Tinnitus are told to adjust their lifestyle, which may make the symptoms less bothersome. Stress seems to be one of the worse culprits in exacerbating Tinnitus. Finding ways to manage one’s stress, whether through meditation, exercise, relaxation therapy or other means, often provides some relief.

Reducing one’s alcohol intake will also help enormously. Alcohol increases the force of blood by dilating the blood vessels, causing greater blood flow, especially in the inner ear area.

While some alternative healing methods have been partially successful in relieving the physical distress of Tinnitus, one which has begun to yield good results is essential oil therapy. 

When the aroma of essential oils enters the nose, it immediately stimulates the olfactory nerves. This then alerts or signals the Limbic system ((the control mechanism in your brain for emotions and memory). This sets in motion a series of neuro-chemical signals and response mechanisms that create a natural healing response within the body.

Many essential oils contain healing properties that address the body, mind and spirit. They assist in natural pain relief, are anti- inflammatory, reduce stress and anxiety, support the circulatory system and assist the endocrine system. It is important to choose therapeutic grade essential oils. When working with essentials oils, it is often more effective to create a synergistic blend that will work more efficiently than a single essential oil might. There are several options for creating synergistic blends that will work for Ringing Ear, or Tinnitus. 

Four oils that are particularly helpful are Cypress, Juniper, Lavender and Helichrysum.
The first three essential oils help strengthen and revive the body. In addition, they are powerful decongestants in that they relieve or reduce congestion, vasoconstrictors that stimulate blood circulation, detoxifiers, and sedatives that calm and soothe nerves.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) oil is distilled from the needles and cones of the evergreen Cypress tree located in the Mediterranean. It has a distinctly clean, fresh, woody aroma that has a hint of spice.  Cypress oil stimulates blood circulation and at the same time calms the nervous system. Because it has powerful astringent properties, Cypress is an effective tonic for the circulatory and nervous systems. In addition, it also relieves conditions associated with congestion of lymph or blood circulation, such as rheumatism, arthritis, and sinusitis. It is a potent vasoconstrictor and antispasmodic.
Juniperberry (Juniperis communis) has a resinous aroma with woody undertones similar to pine, but more peppery and hot. Juniper is a powerful detoxifier and an excellent blood cleanser. It is said that it helps excrete uric acid crystals, thus promoting the release of excess toxins from the body.
Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) has a distinctly sweet floral-spice aroma that's a little woody. It is a decongestant and stimulates cellular repair and regeneration. Lavender also has sedative and relaxing actions, which soothe, tranquilize and calm nervous tension, stress, insomnia, anxiety and palpitations.
Helichrysum (italicum, spp serotinum) is often known as Everlasting or Immortelle essential oil, sometimes called the curry plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. There are over 600 species of Helichrysum, but it is the Italicum species that has many therapeutic benefits. It is known for its ability to regenerate nerves, improve skin conditions, and reduce inflammation while speeding healing. It heals physical and emotional scarring, opens the heart, connects body and spirit, and opens human beings to spiritual life.

Synergistic Blend Preparation
To a 1-oz bottle, add equal parts of the Cypress, Juniper and Lavender. Begin with 15 drops of each oil.  Once I have the three oils in the bottle, I then add 5 drops of Helichrysum. Blend well by rolling gently between your palms. In another 1-0z bottle, add a total of 15 drops of the synergistic essential blend. To that add your favorite carrier oil. I tend to use either Fractionated Coconut oil, which I find less greasy, or Jojoba Oil. Shake well. Allow the new synergistic blend (the essential oil blend plus the carrier oil) to blend for at least 24 hours, or longer if you can. Keep out of the light and store in a dark, cool spot.

Application Methods
Dispense 1-3 drops of your essential oil blend for Tinnitus into the palm of your hand, and inhale deeply. Apply to the back and front of your ear lobe and the back of your neck on the affected side(s). First massage each ear lobe, then behind the ears. Always move either in an up and down movement, or in a circular movement. Do not apply pressure, simply gently massage the oil blend into the suggested area. In the front of your ear there is a small pointed “bump,” called that tragus, that is in front of the auditory canal, the opening to your ear. Massage gently directly in front of that in an up and down movement.
Then from under the ear lobe, gently massage down and under the jaw line. The oils will enter the neurovascular gateways located in these areas to effectively trigger your relaxation and healing response.

* DO NOT put the oil in your ears! *

Other options include applying 1 drop of the synergistic essential oil blend on a cotton ball, then place it carefully in the opening of the ear canal. Leave it there overnight. Remove and discard the cotton ball in the morning and gently clean the ear with a warm washcloth. Do NOT place oils directly in the ear canal.

Another application method involves using only Helichrysum essential oil. It is recommended that you use the Helichrysum without diluting it in a carrier oil. However if you feel more comfortable diluting it, make a 10% solution with Jojoba oil. Apply 1 – 2 drops to the area in front of the auditory canal, the opening to the ear canal. Use your fingertip or a cotton swab. 

Be very careful not to put the oil inside the ear canal, or to swab anywhere other than in front of the ear. Once you have applied the Helichrysum, gently grasp the ear lobe, and firmly but gently pull in a circular motion. Do this 10 times. This will allow the oil to be absorbed and will increase circulation in the ear canal. Continue by gently stretching and massaging the ear lobe, and directly behind the ear lobe.

The following lymphatic drainage massage will reduce swelling and reduce the pain that often comes with Tinnitus.  Choose either the synergistic blend or the Helichrysum neat. With your fingertips, add 1-3 drops on the ear lobe and behind the ear. Begin by gently massaging the ear lobe, gently stretching it downward and out. Continue massaging behind the ear lobe. Be sure to spend several minutes doing this preliminary massage technique. 

Then begin to use a technique called “milking” that will increase lymph drainage in the neck and throat. This will help reduce the swelling that often comes with Tinnitus.
Just behind your ear there is a slight indentation, just under the ear and behind the jawbone. Place your finger there. In long, gentle but firm strokes, rub your finger downward under the jawbone all the way to your collarbone. There is a natural groove that your finger will fall into naturally. Repeat this motion 10 times. If you should find that your finger is begin to meet resistance, that is, not sliding down the throat smoothly and easily, apply 1 or 2 more drops of the synergistic blend or the Helichrysum, whichever you have been using. Once the fluids that are trapped in the tissues of the Eustachian tubes and inner ear are drawn into the lymphatic system and the swelling has subsided, the Tinnitus will be relieved.

For maximum effect, begin the massage with the synergistic blend, then complete the milking technique using the Helichrysum.

While these procedures will not completely eliminate the Tinnitus, they will provide relief from the pain and the noise. The most important aspect to any holistic treatment is to be patient. Because essential oils are generally so gentle, you can safely repeat the procedures every few hours. Just remember to be patient and be persistent! Allow the oils to work their magic!

Would you like to receive Dr. Carbón's bi-weekly newsletter filled with tips on using essential oils, working with energy healing protocols, and other useful life tips? Visit her at http://www.shamanicwisdom.com to get started today!

From Dr. Liana Carbón, The Mystical Shaman * Liana@shamanicwisdom.com
Dr. Liana Carbón is a certified Master Practitioner in Energy Medicine and Luminous Healing, Shamanic Spirit Coach, Author, Teacher and Spiritual Director with a private healing practice in San Diego, CA. She received certification as an Aromatherapist from the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, and has been using essential oils in her healing practice for over 15 years. She teaches online and in-person classes in Aromatherapy and other energy medicine. Liana has presented at the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists’ conventions, and is a member of Alliance of International Aromatherapists.

NOTE:  I love the information that Dr. Carbón has shared and so appreciate her generosity in sharing it!  I have to take issue with one point.  In my experience and in all my research I have never found any indication that Helichrysum italicuum is more effective used neat or undiluted.  Even Dr. Schnaubelt, of the Pacific Institute recommends using it in dilutions as low as 1%, stating that for most of its intended purposes it is equally effective in a 1% dilution.   Because of my personal experience with sensitization as a result of unwise use of undiluted essential oils, I cringe when I see neat usage recommended.  I would hate to see someone become sensitized to such a miraculously healing oil as Helichrysum.  If it were MY tinnitus, I would follow the protocols suggested above, but I would be very sure to dilute the helichrysum before using.   Marge Clark, Nature's Gift.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Facial Oils - Fixed oils

We've packaged our fixed/facial/carrier oils in Cobalt PET bottles for as long as I can remember.  Recently we sourced some really *pretty* treatment pumps that are only long enough for our one ounce bottles.   Beverly suggested that they might look better on clear, rather than the normal cobalt.  So we tried some.  

I had forgotten how lovely some of our facial oils are, until we arrayed them in a rainbow.  From left to right:  White Camellia Oil, Argan Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil,  Calendula Infused Oil, Red Raspberry Seed oil,  St. John's Wort Oil,  Cranberry Seed Oil,  and, in our traditional cobalt bottles,  both our traditional and our new golden Tamanu - Calophyllum Inophyllum.

Perhaps we should all start this new year off by pampering our skin with some special facial oils?

I wish we could package our essential oils in clear glass so you could see their colors as well.

A reminder - the *best* reference for fixed oils that we have seen is Liquid Sunshine, by Jan Kusmirek.  We thought it important enough as a reference that we imported it from the United Kingdom for your convenience.