Thursday, July 20, 2017

Best Sellers

Most of you know we had a big sale on Wednesday July 19th. Now, only the Essential oils, Absolutes, and CO2s were on sale, so other items, of course, didn't sell as well, proportionally.  I am always interested by "best sellers" and thought you might be, too:

Tied for 10th place:  4 oz Atomizers of Rose Hydrosol (not on sale!) and 15 mls of Sweet Marjoram

Tied for 9th place: 15 mls each of Eucalyptus Radiata, Lavandin Super, and Wild High Alt. Lavender

Tied for 8th: 15 mls of Rose Attar and of Frankincense Organic

Tied for 7th: Sandalwood New Caledonian 15 mls (YAY!), Midwestern Peppermint and 1 oz samplers of German Chamomile Hydrosol (again, not on sale.)

Tied for 6th: 2 mls of S'wood New Caledonian, 15 mls of Blood Orange and of Lavender CO2

5th Place:  Sweet Orange

4th Place:  Vetiver Haiti (YAY!)

3rd Place:  Monarda 15 mls

Tied for 2nd place: 15 mls of Sandalwood Tamil 2016 and 15 mls of Organic Lemon

Drumroll please: in FIRST place, our brand new Pink Peppercorn Essential Oil! That was a surprise to all of us.

Thank you to all who participated, and special thanks for all those who shared their good wishes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What I learned in Boulder Part 6: There's a Fungus Among Us! (and Herpes)


Fungal infections can range from ring worm, (most common on the skin) deep mycoses (usually at
Typical Ringworm Presentation
hair follicals, red, painful bumps, inflammation.)  Athlete's foot (Tinea pedia) which may be scaly or large blisters with fluid; very contagious!.  Candida albicans, most common in the  mouth (Thrush) and/or the groin area, can develop any place there are skin folds.  (Newer disease, Candida auras, more common in institutions, very serious, can be systemic, cause serious infections in bloodstream or wound infections. Often resistant to conventional anti-fungals.)

For treatment, out of the basic array of carrier oils, best choice is Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) - Madeleine says is anti-fungal in and of itself.  Other bases, borage or evening primrose CO2s, Virgin Coconut or Jojoba. Food grade Aloe Vera Gel can help keep area drier when used as a base.

Best essential oils, either Geranium or Manuka (two first choices.) Depending on the condition you could use German Chamomile for inflammation, Lavender or Peppermint for itching; Helichrysum or Lavender for pain, Sandalwood for itching and soothing, but always the primary oil is one of the two first choice oils. Always a very low dilution!

German Chamomile, Helichrysum, Peppermint or Rose hydrosols may all prove helpful, as may Calendula infused oil.

Suggested using white clay as a dusting powder if area is moist.


Herpes Zoster - Shingles

For shingles, Madeleine recommends Passion flower tincture, or St. John's Wort Tincture, in Food Grade Aloe Vera Gel. (I need to ask if taking the tinctures internally, the way they are usually dosed, would be helpful.)  Reminder,  Dr. R. J. Buckle and Dr.Kurt Schnaubelt both  teach that either Ravensara aromatica or Ravintsara (cinnamonum camphora ch cineole) in a base of Calophyllum Inophyllum (aka Tamanu) is the specific for shingles, in a very strong dilution, even up to 50% initially.

Herpes simplex virus 1 - cold sores
Herpes simplex virus 2 - genital herpes

For both of the above, the preferred base is Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) although Madeleine also recommends Borage, Evening Primrose CO2, or Rose Hip Seed CO2, or Jojoba if Tamanu is not available.    Her preferred essential oils from the basic groupings would be Bergamot or Peppermint, but she also suggests Ravensara aromatica and Melissa.

(Note, Jane Buckle recommended the same treatment for any form of Herpes that she recommended for Shingles.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tea Tree Oil and Contact Dermatitis

For those still using Tea Tree Oil neat:
Re: Review of Contact Dermatitis Associated with Tea Tree Oil Exposure
de Groot AC, Schmidt E. Tea tree oil: contact allergy and chemical composition. Contact Dermatitis. 2016;75(3):129-143. 

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia, Myrtaceae) essential oil prepared from the leaves or terminal branchlets (branch tips) of the tea tree has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antitumoral, and analgesic properties. Therefore, it is used for treating common skin diseases like acne and eczema, skin infections such as herpes simplex and warts, wounds, burns, insect bites, dandruff, and nail mycoses. 
Tea tree oil (TTO) is a common ingredient in a wide range of topical medications, cosmetics, and household products. Of all essential oils, TTO has caused the greatest number (over 90 cases) of contact allergic reactions reported in the literature. This article reviews the literature regarding the chemical composition of TTO and allergic contact dermatitis reactions to TTO. 

Over 220 constituents of TTO have been reported in more than 50 studies. The composition of TTO
Tea Tree awaiting harvest 
varies widely depending upon the chemotype, plant part used, and method of distillation. Although six main chemotypes have been recognized, almost all commercial products contain the terpinen-4-ol dominant (type 1) chemotype. The
other major constituents of commercial TTO are terpinolene, γ-terpinene, 1,8-cineole, α-terpinene, α-terpineol, p-cymene, and α-pinene.
Exposure to oxygen, light, heat, and humidity changes the composition of TTO over time. The antioxidants α-terpinene, γ-terpinene, and terpinolene are oxidized to p-cymene; the level of antioxidants decreases and p-cymene level increases up to ten-fold; and the formation of peroxides, endoperoxides, and epoxides such as ascaridole occurs. With aging, TTO becomes green-brownish in color, the aroma becomes turpentine-like, and the viscosity changes. Prolonged oxidation and aging leads to crystallization of compounds and formation of long, thin needle-like crystals.
TTO is responsible for causing contact allergy and allergic contact dermatitis. In routine skin patch testing with 5% TTO, the incidence of positive reactions ranged from 0.1% to 3.5% of the population. The highest rates were observed in Australian studies. The relevance to previous exposure to TTO ranged from 20-66% in these studies.

Approximately two-thirds of the case reports were related to the application of pure TTO for treatment of various skin diseases. In some of the reported cases, the allergic reactions were caused by application of topical formulation containing TTO, and six cases were due to occupational exposure to high concentrations of TTO. Studies of the sensitizing potential of TTO have shown that the fresh oil is a weak to moderate sensitizer, but oxidation significantly increases its sensitizing potential. The most frequently reported sensitizers are ascaridole, terpinolene, α-terpinene (and its oxidation products), 1,2,4-trihydroxymenthane, α-phellandrene, and limonene. Other constituents which may contribute to sensitivity include myrcene, aromadendrene, d-carvone, l-carvone, terpinen-4-ol, viridiflorene, and more rarely (<5%), sabinene, 1,8-cineole, and p-cymene. "Most positive patch test reactions to TTO … probably result from sensitization to the oil itself. However, in some cases, they may possibly reflect prior sensitization to an ingredient of the oil.

In addition, co-reactivity to oil of turpentine, as well as fragrance mix I, benzoin (Styrax benzoin, Styracaceae) resin, balsam of Peru (Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae, Fabaceae) resin, colophonium, and other essential oils has been reported.
—Blake Ebersole

(still want to use Tea Tree Oil neat? I hope not!)

Monday, June 12, 2017

What I Learned in Boulder, Pt. 5 More on Skin Problems - Itching!

Itching and Dry Skin in Palliative Care:

(Again this doesn't include the basic course material, just notes I jotted in class in addition to the presentation packet.. And although the course was about palliative care, how many of these solutions apply to daily living, not just hospice situations.)


Many different causes: Dermatological, infections, can be related to oncological conditions, or other diseases, can be side effect of treatment.  Can be caused by or trigger psychological issues.

Suggest adding Evening Primrose CO2 and Borage Seed CO2 to a base of Jojoba for treatment.

If the cause is known, can better address issues.  Even without that, if cause can't be treated we can still perform good skincare and address psychological issues.

Good base substances:  all the fatty oils,  Madeleine specifically mentioned Almond, Olive and Sesame as part of her 'basic tool kit."    Wheat Bran CO2, Evening Primrose and Sea Buckthorn Berry.

Soothing hydrosols: Witch Hazel, Helichrysum, German Chamomile and/or Lavender. 

Useful essential oils (in *very* low dilution, we don't want to risk irritating already traumatized skin!) German or Roman chamomile, Helichrysum, Lavender, Manuka (especially if infected!) Peppermint, Sandalwood, and, mentioned in class, Rose Attar. (especially when causes of itching re related to psychological issues?)

Dry Skin and Itching:

Bases:  Almond, Avocado, Borage CO2, Evening Primrose CO2, Jojoba or Olive Oil.

Essential oils (very very low dilution) Roman chamomile, Geranium, Frankincense, Rose, Sandalwood, (or Rose Attar.)  Possibly Ylangylang.     (Truly holistic care here,  because we could choose from the list oils that address other issues.)

Skin Maceration:  (long exposure to moisture, causing lesions, example, diaper rash, incontinence.)

Jojoba, with Seabuckthorn Seed CO2 and Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu).      For open wounds, food grade aloe vera gel.

Essential oils:  *Helichrysum*,  German chamomile, Benzoin (my note, Benzoin is a sensitizer, I would avoid.) Lavender (preferably higher in Linalol for analgesic effect as well as healing) Sweet Marjoram, Manuka, again, for infection.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Checking them out

In a Facebook group a long time ago, someone talked about finding a new supplier, and buying a dozen oils for her first purchase. 

I cringed, and I had to comment... because when exploring a new supplier (even Nature's Gift!) it only makes sense to start slowly. 

DON'T order a dozen oils as your first time purchase... order one or two oils.. and preferably ones that you are already familiar with so you have an idea of what they should smell like.  AND, when ordering, request samples! Most reputable companies will allow them – either for free or for purchase. You do NOT have to buy full sized bottles to see if you like something. 

Let's say you are going to investigate companies 1, 2, 3 and 4.

From Company 1: order.. (Picking oils at random here) citrus sinensis (sweet orange)...and request samples of .. mentha piperita, (peppermint), Cedrus atlantica, (Atlas Cedarwood,) Anthemis nobilis (Roman Chamomile).
From Company 2: you order the Peppermint, and request samples of Sweet orange, Atlas Cedarwood and Roman Chamomile.

From Company 3: order the Atlas Cedarwood and get samples of the others. This will give you, for a minimal investment, a range of 4 oils from different known suppliers.. and you can test them
aromatically yourself and see if you have a preference. 

YES, you'll pay, proportionally, more shipping by ordering only one oil rather than a dozen... but the point of this exercise is educating yourself.  Think of the additional shipping charges as tuition in your aromatic education.

Does this make sense? It truly is the BEST way to acquaint yourself with new suppliers.

ALWAYS request samples. if a company won't allow you to sample.. I would not buy from them.
Some companies have samples for sale at reasonable prices, some offer them for free.

When you have read about a new oil and are interested in trying it, don't jump in and order 15 mls without experiencing it first.  Find a supplier or two or three who offer it and request samples. In most cases there will be small difference between batches, and you can see if you are drawn to the oil or if your reactions is, "No, I don't THINK so!"   

One last thought - TAKE NOTES!.   I have some small samples on my desk, with a product name, but no producer's name.  Lovely samples, but I have no idea of the source, so I can't order. Partially the supplier's fault for not putting their contact information on their label, but also partially my fault for not listing what they were, who they were from, and my reaction the day I opened them.

Monday, May 29, 2017

What I learned in Boulder (Part 4)

The "basic" essential oils in skincare:

(Madeleine teaches a basic tool kit of ten essentials, all readily available and quite effective. In this lesson she reviewed their best known uses, and mentioned some that I had forgotten.  Emphasis on paliative skincare:)

Blue Chamomile and CO2 (known to us as German Chamomile)

Recommended for sensitive and irritated skin, for itching, *allergic reactions* (we reach for Blue Tansy and recommend this more readily available "blue oil".  Adjuvant for oncological ulcers. She recommends combining the Total CO2 extract and the distilled oil for more effective healing.   There was a question about candida and other fungal diseases.  German chamomile will not kill the fungus, it is not anti-fungal, but will definitely help with the inflammation that results and should be added to anti-fungal blends for this reason.

Roman Chamomile 

Recommended for dry eczema, and for psoriasis and scaling skin. (I tend to reach for Roman Chamomile as a relaxent and don't think of it for skin care.)


Madeleine says this is the most versatile essential oil for skincare. Powerful anti-fungal, star at wound healing, effective against Staph, Strep, and MRSA.  Use for infected wound. Calming to the nervous system, use it in blends for scarring in nerve-rich areas.  Safe at up to an 8% dilution (although I would patch test first, geraniol is  a component of the "Fragrance Blend" used in allergy patch testing.)    Use for ear infections in an inhaler.  Did you know that if an oil is inhaled through the mouth, not the nose, that it goes directly to the inner ear and can help combat both infection and pain?  Neither did I!  (Need to remember to add this to our Personal Inhaler description.)

Ginger CO2

Use for skin with poor circulation, directly on Stage 1 decubitus (bed sores) or around stages 2 to 4. Best use: Stimulating surface circulation, use at 0.25% to 0.5%, best diluted in either St. John's Wort Macerate/infusion or in Sesame oil.


"For anything that needs soothing."    She recommends diluting in food grade Aloe Vera Gel for use around an ostomy bag, puncures sites, etc. for any site that skin is subject to irritation.   Acne and infected acne. (perhaps with Geranium?)

Sweet Marjoram

Anti-oxidant and antibacterial. Use for any sort of skin infection.  Add to bandaid/bandage, use to cover the wound.  ie, add to the dressing, not directly to the wound itself.    Use for infected wounds, necrotic tissue (to help with the smell) ulcers and abcesses.    Madeleine recommends a blend of Lavender, Helichrysum, Geranium and Sweet Marjoram to add to wound dressings, to clear infections and speed healing.


Cooling, pain from wound edges, post herpetic pain, itching.  Low dilution!

Pine, Scotch

(May substitute other conifers.)  Use at very low dilution, for candida, for peripheral vascular disease. for poorly perfused skin.

Other valuable oils for skincare, outside of the basic 10:


An alcohol extract, not a true essential oil. (My note, any "pourable" benzoin is diluted in a solvent, important to know what the solvent is. Most common are phthalates.)   Anti-inflammatory, useful addition to an anti-bedsore cream.  Treating scars.  Use at less than a 1% dilution.


Has a cortisone-like effect without the side effects.. Use for the swelling of lymphedeme.  Any sort of inflammation. Swelling of mucous membranes. Anti-histamine.


Strongly recommended instead of tea tree. Milder, less prone to oxidation.  Effective against MRSA and fungal infections.  Madeleine cautions us never to use teatree on mucous membranes, that it stings. Manuka is much gentler yet more effective.


Highly skin soothing, painrelieving.  Use for skin irritation, and redness, helps control perspiration.  For clinicians - infiltrates and extravasation may be treated by a 1% dilution of Neroli in food grade Aloe Gel.

Rose Otto and/or Rose Attar

Antibacterial and skin soothing. Support self image, love and acceptance.  Acne, post radiation treatment.


Anti-oxidant, dry and extremely sensitive skin. Use around stomas and moisture lesions.  The high level of Alpha Santalol may be protective against UV damage.

Friday, May 26, 2017

What I learned in Boulder (Part 3)

Base Oils and Macerates:

More information about some familiar carriers, and information about newer ones in our toolbox.

 Sweet Almond Oil: 

Rich in vitamins, and high in Oleic Acid, which promotes skin absorption.  Preferably cold pressed if available, and unrefined.   Very helpful for moisture lesions, like diaper rash and other chronic sores.  A cooling oil.

Avocado Oil:

Helpful for allergic skin, eczema and psoriasis. Good for "stressed skin", ie, under pressure. (My note, wondering if it can help prevent bed sores?)

Borage CO2 Extract 

 High in GLA (gamma linolenic acid), anti-inflammatory. Much longer shelf life than the cold pressed oil, and may be frozen! Excellent for infant's skin care, for extra sensitive skin.

Evening Primrose CO2 Extract

High in GLA and in Linoleic Acid. Protective and healing for the skin, very quickly absorbed. Recommended for tight dry skin, in cases of mastitis, lymphedema, etc.  Linoleic acid can irritate very sensitive skin. If irritation occurs, dilute with Borage Seed Oil, or discontinue use.


 Anti-inflammatory! (I didn't know that.) Well absorbed, allows for very slow, longlasting release of added essential oils, leading, perhaps, to longer-lasting symptom relief.  Good carrier for all skin types. Helpful for acne.

Olive Oil

Good for dry rough skin, cooling.  Helpful for itching.  Traditional base for macerated oils.

Rose Hip Seed CO2 Extract

Excellent carrier for burnt or damaged skin, scarring, ulcers, acne. Very quickly absorbed.  Do not use alone because it causes skin to regenerate too quickly and will leave the skin over sensitive.  Better to blend with Seabuckthorn Seed oil and Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) for scars.  For deep scars blend Rose Hip Seed CO2, with Calophyllum and Helichrysum italicuum to treat deep seated scars in connective tissue.  (I have had clients report that Rose Hip oil and Helichrysum helped with deep scar tissue and I was surprised.  Here is more evidence.  Seems to me this would be an essential post surgical blend.)  

Sea Buckthorn Seed CO2

Excellent carrier for any pain blend, especially important when treating bed sores, ulcers of any type. Useful for all skincare. Very quickly absorbed.  Use at no more than 5% of a blend, as little as 2.5% will be effective.  Use with Rose Hip Seed and Calophyllum inophyllum for scarring.  Healing for damaged skin and extremely sensitive skin.

(Note, this description is for the Seed extract. Madeleine recommends the Sea Buckthorn Pulp for treating mucous membranes.  More on that another day.))

Sesame Oil

Need to be from white, unroasted seeds.  High in Oleic acid,  Warming.  Excellent for skin prone to atrophy, poor circulation.  Also helpful for psoriasis and eczema.

Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu)

Quickly absorbed. Best wound healer, apply to the edges of a wound, not into an open wound. Soothing for nerve pain, effective against any type of skin infection.  Use in skin products if patient is taking prednisone (to help counteract the thinning and/or fragility of the skin that Predinsone can cause.) Very quickly absorbed.  Necessary for any type of damaged skin.

Macerates (infused oils)

Calendula (and Calendula CO2)

Up to 30% Farideol esters.  Use of the CO2 in a white cream, at only 1/2 of one percent, will turn the cream pink.    Preferably dilute the CO2 in a fixed oil high in Oleic Acid for better availablity.  Preferably use the CO2 at only 1 or 2%.  Blend with Seabuckthorn Seed and Calophyllum.  Add Borage for pain relief.

St. Johns Wort

Useful for post surgical itching, healing in nerve rich skin. Use for muscle and joint pain. Healing for burns.  Useful for skin atrophy.   Macerate should be deep red, indicative of infusing fresh, not dried, blossoms.  The CO2 extract will not give the skin healing benefits of the macerated oil.   Later in the weekend Madeleine referred back to St. John's Wort infused oil for treating ear aches.  Perhaps warmed gently and applied all around the ear, the neck and jawline below the ear.  It would not hurt to dip a wisp of cotton in the warmed oil and insert in the ear.  


Monday, May 22, 2017

DuCane Kunzea Oil (Kunzea ambigua) More aromatic history.

Du Cane Kunzea Oil ™ from Tasmanian farmer John Hood: Exponential Healing Potential
By Christi Pugh for Nature’s Gift, Inc. 
May 22, 2017
Over the past fifteen years or so, Australian essential oils have become more and more familiar across the East and in North America as dedicated and professional growers/farmers have begun making us aware of the abundance of unique plants, shrubs, natural woods, and flowers throughout the continent. 
Tick Bush, Spring Flower Bush, or White Kunzea as it is known in Tasmania, Kunzea ambigua is one   It originally gained its nickname from cattlemen who noticed the bush kept certain types of ticks away from their cattle.
Kunzea blossoms
of the up and coming gems being produced from the white flowering branches of the hearty-scruffy shrub which grows best on sandy soil in Eastern Australia.
It shines as a pain reliever and is one of the key ingredients in our, “That’s Better,” blend and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved it for use as a pain reliever, particularly for joint pain caused by arthritis.  There are many ongoing studies around Du Cane Kunzea Oil ™ and the results are truly remarkable.  The potential for this essential oil is magnificent and some believe it could be the greatest essential oil to come out of Australia. 
For instance: While many folks have heard the story about John and Peta Day’s beloved Australian Fragonia ™ from Paperbark Oil Company, another pioneer, John Hood of Du Cane Kunzea Oil™, has a story that is not *yet* quite as familiar. 
(The Day’s named agonis fragrans, Fragonia ™, and trademarked the essential oil to ensure all the Fragonia ™ that made its way to market would contain the same specific constituents. While the Days initially started with the most famous essential oil export, Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), they soon began exploring benefits of other native Australian species, learning of the aromatic “Coarse Tea Tree,” bush which was actually a previously unnamed Agonis shrub. After an initial planting in 2001, the rest is history. Sadly, fires took out their trees and Fragonia ™ is expected to be scarce till early 2019, at least.)
Ah, but back to the matter at hand…while the Kunzea bush grows frequently in coastal areas on sandy soil and its parts have been used holistically by aborigines for generations; its benefits as an essential oil weren’t truly explored until Tasmanian farmer John Hood noticed a portion of his fence had been spared from rust unlike the rest of his fence.  Wondering why, he realized this portion had been covered and protected by the Kunzea, which seemed to be somewhat oily, where it had rubbed up against the fencing.  This gave him the idea it must be antioxidant and he began producing and testing the essential oil on his large farm.  He found the monoterpene a-pinene or alpha-pinene to be its most abundant constituent, followed by 1,8 Cineole which is also found in Eucalyptus oils.  The a-pinene is believed to be extremely anti-inflammatory and of course the 1,8 Cineole is helpful for respiratory problems including stuffy noses. 
Today Du Cane Kunzea Oil ™ is considered the best quality and of course is produced from the early work John did by experimentation to identify the plants which produced the very best oil.  Thus, he too trademarked his Du Cane Kunzea Oil ™ as it was developed to contain certain constituents.
Du Cane Kunzea Oil™ is not only an amazing analgesic, it is also reputedly antimicrobial, antibacterial, and is helpful battling staph, e coli, and candida.  French physician, Dr. Daniel Pe`noel, has been extolling the use of Du Cane Kunzea Oil ™ for more than a decade.  He suggests it is helpful for bad muscle aches such as aches from influenza or rheumatism.  He also recommends it for healing irritated skin and cuts and bruises. 
The aroma is quite pleasant, very fresh and herbaceous and is said to be helpful for lifting the spirits and easing anxiety, calming, and freeing. 
(Marge’s Comment) We have eagerly been awaiting our newest shipment of Du Cane Kunzea Oil™  (Kunzea ambigua) which was first stuck in customs and now sitting on a truck somewhere in Tennessee. Somewhere.  Not here.  Maybe tomorrow we can put it back online?  We’ve been out of stock for over a month and we need it. So do you!  

I've spoken on the phone several times with John Hood.  It is easier to catch him by phone than get a response to email.  My impression of him? Perhaps a bit of a curmudgeon, but someone I would like to get to know better. (And if I had registered a trademark for a product and found that others were violating it, I might be just a bit irascible myself!)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

What I learned in Boulder, Part 2. (Pain relief)

More information from Madeleine Kerkhof's "Aromacare in Palliative Care" four day seminar. And this was just part of Day 1!

Madeleine focuses on a brief list of essential oils, her "top ten" list.  The criteria for admission? They must be both effective and readily available.  (And this is why, in teaching, she doesn't address some of our "Must haves."  More on that later, or not.)

A few notes on Pain Relief, first from her basic top 10 oils:
German Chamomile (Blue Chamomile)

German Chamomile:  (I have tended to use this soothing oil for inflamed skin, rather than for pain relief.)  Madeleine recommends it for nerve pain, swelling and inflammation,  for over-strained tendons and ligaments.  And she comments that in blends for pain, it is best to use a blend of both the CO2 Total and the distilled oil since they bring slightly different components. I would not have thought of blending them!

Geranium: I had never considered Geranium for pain relief, but she recommends it for any sort of nerve pain, as well as for emotional pain

Ginger CO2 Total: As well as using alone, in dilution, she recommends blending with Sweet Marjoram. 

Lavender: Add to any pain blend.  (Madeleine uses a first aid gel, food grade Aloe Vera gel with 2% helichrysum, 2% lavender and 1% peppermint.)

Sweet Marjoram
Sweet Marjoram: Amazing for use with Neuralgia. Marvelous for smooth muscle spasms of all types, and for cramps of any type.  It also improves microcirculation which also contributes to pain relief.  She urges us to combine the CO2 and the distilled oil, especially in treating Fibromyalgia.    Madeleine strongly recommends the CO2 extraction for its emotional effects, as well as for pain relief.  She recommends the CO2 for what she calls "emotional cramping"... when a patient is for some reason embracing their sickness and clinging to it, or to ease perfectionism, another form of emotional cramping.

Peppermint:  Cooling.  Helpful for shingles pain, in a 10% dilution. (That surprised me. And I am wondering if Aloe might be a better diluent than a carrier in this case.  I also would want to use the proven Ravensara diluted in Calophylum for Shingles.)  She recommends low dilutions for muscle and joint pain, and to stimulate circulation.  She also recommends substituting Corn Mint (Mentha arventhis) since it is higher in Menthol and it is the Menthol content that gives the effect we want.

Scotch Pine: (she says these recommendations apply not only to Scotch Pine but to most other conifers.  I am thinking Black Spruce or Siberian Fir.)  Stimulates circulation, and in Germany is used in baths to remove lactic acid from overused muscles.

Other oils also recommended for pain relief:

Helichrysum: (At last, I was afraid she would omit this treasure.) Although it is not in her basic 10, she stressed its use for pain of any type and origin.

Lemongrass:  Like Helichrysum, another Cox2 enzyme inhibitor, and powerful anti-inflammatory. Madeleine recommends Lemongrass for detoxifying inflamed joints, and recommends a blend of Pine (or other conifer oils) and Lemongrass for muscle pain and discomfort.

Rosemary (ct Camphor):  Highly recommended for muscle spasms, for restless leg syndrome.  Madeleine warns us never to use Rosemary ct Camphor in cases of epilepsy, brain tumors, or mental disorders.  There are no contraindications for dementia, however.

Spikenard: We are used to Spikenard for insomnia, and for spiritual uses, but I had not considered it for pain relief.  Madeleine recommends Spikenard specifically for sedating, calming, and especially recommends its use in blends for nerve pain.

Addendum: Not an oil that Madeleine teaches, or is familiar with, is our new favorite pain reliever, Kunzea ambigua from Tasmania, off the coast of Australia.  We are seeing amazing results with this relatively new pain reliever and getting amazing feedback.  When Madeleine finally settles down in the Netherlands I have to send her some to add to her tool box. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Before and After (the Bite!)

Michelle gave her cousin Stephanie some SkeeterBeater and After The Bite, because Stephanie reacts badly to mosquito bites.

She recently posted this message on our Facebook Page, but for reasons unknown, I can't see it, nor can most of our visitors.  We thought it was worth sharing.

Before (bottom( and After (top)  Within one hour.

Stephanie wrote, "Can't thank my cousin Michelle Minor White enough for the goodies! I am a mosquito MAGNET and they always swell up so bad and itch like crazy! She sent me these blends yesterday (SkeeterBeater Gel and After the Bite.) Ironically, I ate breakfast on the screened in porch this morning with the kiddos and lo and behold, I got bitten by a mosquito.  I ran to grab my After the Bite Rollon and it feels WONDERFUL!  It's barely swollen, which is a huge change for me, and it doesn't itch AT ALL!  So then, I made sure to rub some Skeeter Beater Gel on the kids as soon as I got bit.  they both sniffed and said, "mmmm what's that smell?" because it smells great, too.  Go check out her shop and get some goodies! Can't wait to take these jewels camping with us in a couple of weeks!"

Stephanie we are so glad the After the Bite worked for you.  I am amazed by the two pictures, and Michelle says they were taken less than an hour apart?

Wonderful!  and thank you so much for sharing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What I Learned in Boulder

Some of you know I spent the last weekend in April in Boulder CO as a student in Madeleine Kerkhof's AromaCare in Palliative Care seminar.

What a diverse group we were... Hospice Nurses with little or no background in complimentary therapies, aromatherapists with absolutely no experience working with hospice patients, and all sorts of training and experience in between those extremes. We came together as a group, made new friends, and oh did we learn!
Class picture

I've been going through the 'course book' and flagging new information, mostly comments that Madeleine made in class.  I'm listing them here for my own use and reference, but perhaps you might find something helpful. (No, I'm not entering information from the presentation, or from her book.  These are all comments made in the course of the four days.)

But first... (priorities, folks...) FOOD! 

DINNER:  If you like Italian food...  especially if you like "gourmet" Italian food (this is far beyond Momma's Spaghetti and meatballs, folks) we highly recommend Carelli's of Boulder How highly?  Eight of us ate there our first night.  The same eight went back the following night. (We wanted the whole class to come, but it happened to be Prom Night and the restaurant couldn't accomodate us.)  A different group of us went Tuesday night after class ended.   Three out of four nights? We liked it!

Now, to my notes:

PHANTOM PAIN:  Madeleine discussed two different methods of massaging limbs with "phantom pain" (ie, the limb has been amputated but still hurts.)  In both cases she recommended the use of Sweet Marjoram CO2, for both physical and emotional spasms.

Some notes about different base products:

BORAGE CO2: extract for Neuropathy?   Madeleine suggests using the Borage CO2 as 10% to 25% of the base oil in a Neuropathy blend because of its high level of Gamma Linoleic Acid.

SEA BUCKTHORN SEED CO2  Madeleine explained that the pigments in this oil are anti-oxidants. She recommends using it normally at a 2% dilution, with a maximum of 5%.  In cases of extreme pain, where its anti-oxidant effect may prove helpful, she would go up to a 10% dilution. (Which makes me wonder about adding it at 5% to our Trauma Oil.)

CALOPHYLLUM INOPHYLLUM (Tamanu)  Use for anything having to do with pain. (We are already seeing excellent results in its use for neuropathy.)


Lavender Hydrosol:  Just 10 mls of  Lavender Hydrosol (1/3 fl oz) in a 3 or 4 gallon foot bath can ease pain and inflamation, as well as relax the patient.

Peppermint Hydrosol:  She taught that peppermint stimulates the nerve endings in the skin that are sensitive to cold, and thus gives an instant sense of cooling.  In cases of severe bruising, ice will slow circulation, hence slowing healing.  For this purpose, Peppermint hydrosol, either spritzed on, or in a compress, may be more effective than ice.

WHITE CLAY (Kaolin):  She says that 50 grams of white clay added to a warm bath is helpful for joint pain, as clay both stimulates circulation and helps detoxify waste products.  I think we are all used to making face masks of clay, but whoever thought of just adding to a bath?

More to come.  As time allows Christi and I will be adding these notes to our product descriptions on the website, but for now, I wanted them in one place so that we can both access them, and share them with you.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fragonia™ update:

Was emailing back and forth with John Day this past week, regarding some other oils,and he shared an update on the Fragonia replanting.

Above is a picture of some of the burnt out acreage.

John writes: "We seem to be endlessly busy getting things together again after the fire.
We have 80,000 little seedlings (picture attached) which will be ready to plant out in about Sept/Oct, and need to get the old burnt out plantation(picture attached)cleaned up and ready for planting by then.

We've also bought the burnt out pine plantation next door, so we have"future proofed" our business going forward...I'm thinking more about the next generation, not us, and Lisa is super keen to carry the business forward.

And for your info we are also putting in a trial planting of Manuka oil(Lept. Scaparium), along with a substantial planting of Manuka for honey production.

So plenty to do.    cheers
I can not conceive of 80,000 seedlings, much less of planting them all.
So many of us love Fragonia™.  I think we have no idea of the hard physical labor involved in bringing it, or the other oils we love, to us.

Thank you for sharing this, John. 
 (And I'm wondering about the new Manuka, how it will compare with our treasured East Cape Manuka.  It will be interesting to see GC's of that, when its ready.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Post Partum Problems, part 1.

The first in a series of guest blogs by Sue Pace. Sue is a Registered Nurse, Paramedic, Certified and Registered Aromatherapist, and doula-in-training. She holds certifications in Aromatherapy from Aromahead Institute, RJ Buckle's Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner program for healthcare professionals, and recently received her Advanced Diploma in Aromatic Medicine studies with Australian expert Mark Webb. She is also the Connecticut representative to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and a member of their Clinical Committee.

In the aftermath of a baby’s birth, new mothers contend not only with a vivid swirl of emotions, but also with some distressing physical issues. After the passage of the baby through the birth canal, perineal tissue (including the external vulva and tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus) is often swollen, bruised, or even lacerated. The resulting discomfort makes walking or sitting difficult for days or weeks postpartum. As well, pain can diminish the mother’s enjoyment of her newborn baby and interfere in family dynamics (Marshall and Raynor, 2014).

The use of ice or cooling pads has long been recommended to help decrease discomfort to the perineal area after childbirth. “Padsicles”, as they are popularly known, are cooling gel, cloth, or feminine hygiene maxi-pads which are treated with soothing substances and then placed in the freezer. Applied to the perineum several times daily in the immediate postnatal period, they can be an effective tool in decreasing symptoms of pain, swelling, and bruising (Steen and Marchant, 2007).

In addition to the use of cooling pads for relief, herbalists and aromatherapists sometimes suggest the addition of herbs and/or essential oils in perineal applications to reduce pain, swelling, and to speed healing. Herbalist/aromatherapist Demetria Clark recommends herbal sitz baths, compresses, perineal rinses, or poultices using herbs or extracts such as aloe vera, witch hazel, calendula and plantain, among others (Clark, 2005a and b).  

Several clinical studies have been conducted which were designed to examine the effects of lavender essential oil on postpartum perineal tissue concerns. Symptoms such as pain, swelling, or redness were found to be less prevalent in lavender treatment groups than in the control groups (Sheikhan et al 2012, Vakilian et al 2011).

Professional aromatherapists have been asked “Is it safe to use essential oils on such delicate tissue?” or “I heard that essential oils shouldn’t be used on broken skin or stitches”. As with much in the aromatherapy profession, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions.  Care certainly must be taken to avoid injuring delicate mucous membranes. Researchers associated with one of the above referenced studies used a 1.5% dilution of lavender essential oil in olive oil. This lavender dilution was found to significantly lessen tissue redness over a more traditionally used solution of Betadine, a common hospital antiseptic (Vakilian et al, 2011).

When asked about use of oils on stitches/suture lines, many aromatherapists advise waiting until sutures have been removed and the skin is healed over. However, in the case of a new mother who has significant pain or tissue swelling from an episiotomy, the benefits of using properly diluted essential oils like lavender can be helpful indeed. Veteran British aromatherapists Shirley and Len Price (2012) recommend that essential oils should be “diluted in a suitable base or used on a dressing pad rather than straight on the wound”.  Alternatively, if one can assure that the product is very fresh and has been properly stored, a hydrosol spray can help soothe inflamed tissues. Lavender or witch hazel hydrosols come immediately to mind due to their anti-inflammatory, calming, and analgesic effects (Kerkhoff-Knapp Hayes, 2015).

There are any number of “mommy blogger” sites which offer DIY “padsicle” recipes. Such products are relatively inexpensive, disposable, and easy to make. If one keeps in mind safe dilutions and careful selection of appropriate oils or hydrosols, addition of these substances to a cooling pad may offer significant relief for one of the least pleasurable parts of new motherhood.

Soothing Hydrosol Padsicle
Choose from any (or a mix) of these hydrosols to spritz onto the surface of the pad that will make contact with tissue.  Don’t saturate the pad, as you don’t want to diminish its capability to absorb fluids. After spritzing, wrap the pad in plastic wrap or place in a container in the freezer. Remove the frozen pad from the container/wrap when needed and tuck into underwear for soothing, cooling relief. As mentioned previously, please be certain that the hydrosols you choose are very fresh and have been properly stored in a cool, dark place (a refrigerator is best).

  • German chamomile hydrosol
  • Helichrysum hydrosol
  • Witch hazel hydrosol
  • Lavender hydrosol   
Lavender Relief
Make a 1% dilution of lavender essential oil in 1 oz (30 ml) of Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil. (Any carrier oil would be acceptable, but tamanu has wonderful healing properties of its own). Spread a thin layer of the mixture on the surface of a clean maxi-pad; wrap in plastic or place in a container in the freezer. Remove frozen pad from the container/wrap when needed and tuck into underwear for soothing, cooling relief.

Please note that all the listed hydrosols are available online at Nature's Gift.

Clark D. Herbs for Postpartum Perineum Care: Part One. Midwifery Today, 2005.

Clark D. Herbs for Postpartum Perineum Care: Part Two. Midwifery Today, 2005.

Dale A and Cornwell S. The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1994;19(1):89–96.

Kerkhoff-Knapp Hayes M. Complementary Nursing in End of Life Care.  Kicozo (Netherlands), 2015.

Marshall J and Raynor M. Myles’ Textbook for Midwives, 16th edition. Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier), 2014.
Price S and Price L, eds. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 4th ed. Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier), 2012.

Sheikhan F, Jahdi F, Khoei EM et al. Episiotomy pain relief: use of Lavender oil essence in primiparous Iranian women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012;18(1):66–70.

Steen M and Marchant P.  Ice packs and cooling gel pads versus no localised treatment for relief of perineal pain: a randomised controlled trial. Evid Based Midwifery 2007; 5(1):16-22.

Vakilian K, Attarha M, Bekhradi R et al. Healing advantages of lavender essential oil during episiotomy recovery: a clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2011;17(1):50–53.