Yesterday, I had the honor to teach an aromatherapy class at Vision Forward‘s Play it Forward Sports & Wellness Camp at Marquette University. Vision Forward provides services and resources, from birth through adulthood, to people with visual impairments.
What a BLAST! 16 adolescents ranging from 10-16 years old joined me in learning a little background on essential oils and safety. They all experienced different aromas and what those could help with: sleeping, relaxing, focusing, and waking up. At the end of the class, they picked 1 or 2 essential oils to mix with their carrier oils to take home. They were enthusiastic and such a joy to work with!
Whether or not you make resolutions, it’s become more important than ever to take care of yourself. Besides living a long life and being around for your loved ones (including children), don’t you want your long life to be as stress-free as possible? Many people are probably laughing at that last thought, but of all the things you can control: How to relieve your body of unwanted stress.
Have you heard of 21st Century Stress? Yes, it’s a real thing. Whether we want to admit it or not, our lives are a constant buzzing around, checking emails, posting on facebook, tweeting this and texting that. We’ve actually somehow added to the day to day stress of just living, working, and even playing.
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I hope you are enjoying this Red Tent journey through self-care. There are so many ways to show your self you care. In this post, we will delve a bit into creating. You don’t have to be an arts and crafts to create, it can mean so many things!
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Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea canadensis) is associated with winter time and the holidays, but it can also be a refreshing aroma for any time of the year! Some benefits:
- great for aching muscles
The essential oil is distilled from the needles. It’s great diluted and used topically for achy muscles and joints. Diffused it is said to help tight coughs and congestion as well as calming and grounding.
Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
Essential Oil: Steam Distilled
Uses: antiseptic, nervine, stomachic, anti-inflammatory, calming, mild sedatitive. Fresh or dried Lavender can be used in teas, tinctures, liniments and infused oils. The essential oil can be used in lotions, salves, oils, bath soaks, sprays or diffusers and sometimes neat (please use caution and test before using it undiluted)
Quick Tip: Make a sleep sachet by filling a muslin bag with dry or fresh lavender to hang by your bed. Rub the flowers to release any essential oils again.
Herb of the week is to give you a brief overview of the many plants that grace our Earth. Please research further into herbs before using these on yourself and loved ones.
Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum) is steam-distilled from the seeds, usually originating in Egypt. It has a sweet licorice aroma similar to Fennel. Benefits include:
- stomach soother (do not consume Anise essential oil)
- good for respiratory health
- pro-estrogen (some say good for milk secretion, do not use when pregnant)
Blends well with Lavender, Orange, Wood aromas, Clove and Cinnamon
Clove (Eugenia carophyllata) oil is steam distilled from the Clove flower bud usually originating in Madagascar. It is still used by dentists to numb areas but can be sensitizing to skin*. Here are some other benefits:
- good for blends used for arthritis
- stimulates memory (in diffusers)
- uplifting and awakening (diffusers)
- Eugenol in clove has antiseptic properties
Clove blends best with Cinnamon, Ginger, Orange, Lavender, and other wood aromas.
*Please use caution when using Clove oil. This oil needs to be highly diluted. Ask a trained aromatherapist for advice when dealing with Clove oil.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) is sometimes distilled in fractions from the blossoms commonly originating in Madagascar. It is called the “flowers of flowers” and carries a sweet, slightly exotic aroma that is used in many perfumes. Benefits may include:
- uplifting for the blues
- calms and releases tension
- balances skin sebum production
Ylang Ylang blends best with other florals as well as citruses and woodsy aromas.
Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) is steam distilled from the Fennel seed. Used in Italian cooking, it has a licorice candy aroma. There are a few benefits as well:
- eases upset stomach or ingestion
- Energizes but can also ease stress
- supports healthy fluid retention
Best blended with Basil, Lemon, Lavender, Sandalwood, and other florals.
Palma Rosa (Cymbopogon martinii) is a grass usually native to India and steam-distilled. It has a floral aroma of roses and geranium. Benefits of Palma Rosa:
- insect repellant
- sebum balancer
- stress relief when inhaled
It is best blended with Rose, Geranium, Lavender, and citruses and woody aromas.