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Essential oils for fall allergies.

There are many causes of fall allergies.

Ragweed, mold and dust mites top the list.

Ragweed (Ambrosia L.) commonly confused with Goldenrod (Solidago L.). The plant has green to pale yellow flowers on branched stems. Ragweed pollen can be carried by the wind for miles. Many people have ragweed allergies.

Mold and mildew also cause problems in the Fall. For an in depth look at mold, check out https://moldhelpforyou.com. It grossed me out, so if you want to learn more, go there. All I can say is clean it.
Dust mites is another sort of thing that grosses me out, I change my sheets regularly and spray with a lavender linen spray. Ew. Bugs. Again, people are allergic.

What is an allergy?

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose, which is what we are trying to help ease with essential oils. While allergies cannot be cured, medication can alleviate symptoms. If you would like to modulate those symptoms with essential oils, read on.

Do a Google search and see how many people have rhinitis, the answer could be 39 million, or 50 million, whatever the number, that is a lot of people. Hay fever has been around since the mid-1500’s, mostly attributed erroneously to roses.

Symptoms and research of rhinitis

The symptoms of rhinitis, sneezing, runny nose, and nasal obstruction can be a nuisance at best. A study in 2015 used sandalwood, geranium and Ravensara for allergy relief. The study found that usage of the essential oils helped with symptoms.

Would these work? Let’s look at the data sheets and see…

Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The essential oil contains over 30% citronellol and 15 % geraniol. It is interesting to note that those therapeutic components have been stated to kill dust mites.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) contains santalols which have analgesic properties.

So, I would personally say that neither of these oils would be my first choice in a home remedy to modulate the symptoms of rhinitis.

What other essential oils would help?

Anti-histaminic components of oils are those oils that help to relieve those runny nose and nasal symptoms. A few oils on that list are sweet marjoram, tea tree, german chamomile, lavender, and helichrysum.

Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) contains over 30% terpinene-4-ol and smells better than most tea tree oils which also contains terpinene-4-ol.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutitia) has been cited in studies having antiallergic and bronchoconstriction relief, as it contains a-farnesene and b-farnesene.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has many properties, cited by Kim and Cho 1999, and Tisserand, Young 2014 reference. The allergy modulation here is not rhinitis, but skin related.

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is another oil cited for anti-histaminic properties, again, for skin, not nose.

Inhaler blends

I have 2 inhaler blends that I use for allergies.

The first one is:
7 drops Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
3 drops Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
3 drops Thyme ct. linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool)
2 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives)

So, Why did I use these oils?

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) has anti-inflammatory properties, used to decongest. Not to be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) bornyl acetate and camphene chemical components make this oil good for allergies and sinus infections.

Thyme ct. linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) Linalool has been found to reduce inflammation in the sinuses. There are times when lavender is not a wanted aroma.

Eucalyptus (dives) not globulus (Eucalyptus dives) I opt for less 1,8-cineole due to asthmatics in the family. Feel free to use other eucalyptus chemotypes here.

The second one I use for over 10-year-olds:
2 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
2 drops Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
1 drop Pine-scotch (Pinus sylvestris)
1 drop Black spruce (Picea mariana)
2 drops Pinion Pine (Pinus edulis)

Orange (Citrus sinensis) d-limonene is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. I use orange here for that purpose and to tie all the oils together.

Atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) used for respiratory issues, instead of eucalyptus.

Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), Black spruce (Picea mariana), and Pinion pine (Pinus ponderosa) are all added for the anti-inflammatory effects and all symptoms sinus.

Enjoy the upcoming fall weather with a little help from your essential oils.

Happy blending,
Crystal.

So, we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:6
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Bites, scrapes and rashes: healing with essential oils and herbs.

I’m one of those people that gets scrapes, scratches, bites from the time the first crocus appears in the Spring. Let’s look at natural healing with essential oils and herbs.

When thinking about bites, scrapes, and rashes, the first thing that comes to mind is cleaning the wound, followed by pain relief, and protecting the wound from infection.

What simple items can be used for bites, rashes and scrapes?


Aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis) Aromatics International has a great aloe vera gel product that is not a jelly. I love it for making blends. On the label it says that it is “organically grown and 99.75% aloe”. Aloe is a go-to for burns.

Bee stings, mosquito bites and the like can be treated with a dab of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) right out of the bottle or lavender hydrosol would work for larger rashes and brush burns. Lavender contains linalool and linalyl acetate which has many therapeutic benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, antifungal, analgesic, antibacterial, and skin healing.

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) can be used neat on wounds the same way as lavender.  The only exception is not to use them on puncture wounds. I have a recipe for an itch stick that has lavender, helichrysum, peppermint and german chamomile. Wonderful for those mosquito bites that I always get.

Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabay

German Chamomile (Chamomila recutita) helps to reduce inflammation due to the constituent b-farnesene. It also has antinociceptive properties which means it blocks the pain sensory neurons.

Scrapes and rashes benefit from a calendula or chamomile wash or hydrosol. Chamomile’s antihistamine properties make it wonderful for any kind of rash.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is used for wounds and rashes.  Calendula infused oil is also used in my antibiotic-like product. Works wonders for cuts, scratches, scrapes, and the like—just do not use it for puncture wounds because of the comfrey in it.

Calendula

Plantain (Plantain minor) (Plantain major) used crushed in the field for soothing bites and stings.  Chew it up into a poultice and apply.  Infused oil is also in my homemade first aid salve, which is used where you would use an antibiotic-like product. The plantain root is an antivenom for rattlesnake bites, the leaves can also be used.


In the Spring here is an easy salve to make with chickweed (Stellaria media) that may be growing in your yard.


Pick a handful of chickweed (Stellaria media). 

Chop it up, let wilt overnight. Measure out about 1 cup.

In a pot, add 1 cup of carrier oil, and the chickweed. 

Slowly infuse the chickweed and oil for several hours. Use very low heat, so not to burn. 

When infused, add 20-28 grams of beeswax.  Melt and pour into tins.  Keeps 1 yr.


“You must serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your food and water. I will take away all sickness from among you.”

Exodus 23:25

Happy Blending,

Crystal.

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What is that between your toes?!

Sweaty socks and hot shoes can lead to athlete’s foot.

What is athlete’s foot?

Dermatophytes cause athlete’s foot or tinea pedis. The major dermophyte is Trichophyton mentagrophytes.


How to prevent athlete’s foot?

Wash your feet daily with soap and water. Dry them and keep them dry, not wearing the same sweaty or wet socks for too long. Use a foot powder that has antifungal properties.


What chemical components are antifungal?

There are many oils that have antifungal properties. Oils such as tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), oregano (Organum vulgare), thyme ct. thymol (Thymus vulgarus ct. thymol) and lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) are familiar and readily available. Other oils that can be used are: lemongrass (Cybopogon flexuosus, melissa (Melissa officinalis), which are both high in the chemical component phenol. Clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) has a distinct aroma.


Tea tree oil with the chemical component terpinene-4-ol. It also has a tell-tale aroma that many find too medicinal. The easiest way to mask the smell is to synergize the blend with something that smells better; like lavender.


How to use essential oils to alleviate symptoms.

Peppermint foot mist
3 drops tea tree oil
9 drops peppermint oil
14 ml aloe vera – not gel.
14 ml witch hazel.
Mix in a 1 oz. spray bottle. Gently shake before using. Let dry.

Foot powder

5.5 grams arrowroot powder

3 drops tea tree oil

2 drops lavender oil

Mix well. Place in shaker bottle.


Happy blending,

Crystal

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

Ephesians 5:6

Disclaimer note:
Please note that I am not a medical doctor. The use of essential oils is to promote health and wellness. If you have medical issues, seek professional advice.

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Getting out in the sun with essential oils

A day in the kayak doesn’t have to end in sunburn. Safely use essential oils in the summer.

Most essential oils are safe in the sun,

but some are photo toxic.

Well–what does that mean?

It means that if you are in the house, and use a lotion that has certain oils in it, you have no worries. On the other hand, if you use that same type of lotion in the summer–let’s say after a shower. You decide to go out and weed the flower beds later—forgetting about the lotion. You could have a reaction to that lotion from being out in the sun.

What kind of reaction? How do I prevent it?

Redness, burns, itching, blisters, permanent skin discoloration are some of the reactions that you can have by not diluting the oils you use with enough carrier oil. Phototoxic oils have a maximum dermal level. If you use the product with levels over these amounts, it is best to avoid sun exposure for at least 12 to 18 hours after applying, unless you can cover your skin.

  • Bergamot (Citrus aurantium var. bergamia). Maximum dilution of .04% which equals 2 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi). Maximum dilution of 4% which equals 24 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.
  • Lemon (Citrus limon). Maximum dilution of 2% which equals 12 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.
  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia). Maximum dilution of 0.7% which equals 4 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.
  • Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). Maximum dilution of 1.25% which equals 7 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.
  • Laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis). Maximum dilution of 2% which equals 12 drops per 30 ml. of carrier oil.

The good news is not all citrus essential oils are phototoxic!
Those are: Bergamot (FCF), Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), cold pressed Lemon (Citrus limon), distilled Lime (Citrus aurantifolia).


There is no risk in using a product that has been washed off the skin such as shampoo, soap or body wash.

So enjoy and have fun in the sun!

Happy blending,

Crystal.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Mt 11:28
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Happy Father’s Day

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

To my Dad,

Who has always had the faith, the love and the patience with me as I sometimes took the crooked road–

Thank you for being there for me.

Crystal.

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Nauseated? Finding help with ginger.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Years ago, before I started using essential oils, I had Tums everywhere. I used them when I felt wonky, for heartburn or just an unsettled stomach. Like I stated in previous blogs, I haven’t purchased or used over-the-counter medications for these issues in years. It all started with a few simple inhalers. My favorite was ginger for nausea.

Let’s explore ginger.

Ginger is known for calming the stomach related to nausea. It is an antispasmodic which calms convulsions. It neutralizes stomach acid aiding in digestion.

Common name: African ginger, black ginger, race ginger.

Ayurvedic/TCM name: Fire & Wind; Hot, dry, light Yang.

Energy: Hot, dry

Parts used: Rhizome

Chemical components: Shogaol and zingerone. It protects oils and fats from rancidity.

Native to: Tropical Africa, Asia. Can grow in Hawaii, southwestern US, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

Actions: Antispasmodic, stimulating and expectorant.

Taste: Pungent

Preparations: Herb–Tea, tincture, capsules, candied, culinary.

Essential oil– Use as a massage oil for joint and muscle pain.

Inhaler–15-20 drops in a large cotton wick for nausea, indigestion etc.

Uses: Tea for stress, tension and nausea. For nausea drink 3 cups of tea per day. for colds and flu, 1 cup every 2 hours.

Recipe: 5-6 slices (or 2 Tbsp. shredded, or 1/2 tsp. powdered)

1 cup boiling water.

Lemon if desired. Steep 15 minutes.

Fresh root decoction: for chills, and phlegm with a thick cough.

Dried root: Use 2 (500 mg.) capsules 30 minutes before travel; 1-2 more if symptoms persist.

Note: Better than Dramamine for motion sickness according to a Brigham Young University and Mount Union College study.

There are many recipes for candied ginger, which I have made and loved. I make a ginger syrup that I freeze and use in my soda stream. I also have used ginger in homemade kombucha. It’s all good!

Experiment and Happy Blending,

Crystal.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Mark 5:34

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Cool things that aren’t lavender

There are people that I have run across with talking about essential oils that do not like lavender. Let’s face it, lavender essential oil is everywhere and in everything. Today, I ‘d like to make some cool things without lavender. Inhalers, rollerballs, and diffusers are easy when using essential oils. Let’s make a set of inhalers to use every day.
You can buy inhalers on Amazon. I use the larger wick for adults, the smaller for kids.


The first blend is lemon, orange, and grapefruit.  All in the Rutaceae family, these monoterpenes contain the chemical compound d-limonene.  They are all wonderful as mood enhancers.  What a cheerful way to wake up!

wake me up blend
9 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
5 drops grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
6 drops lemon (Citrus limon)


The second blend is for that head that needs attention. Spike lavender is a monoterpenol, like lavender, in the Lamiaceae family, but with camphor and 1,8-cineole components. These two components are used to modulate headache symptoms. One note, be careful with asthmatics and 1,8-cineole. Always test to see if they are triggered by these oils. Ravintsara is a monoterpene in the Lauraceae family with 1,8-cineole is good for this blend. Frankincense is a monoterpene in the Burseraceae family. This resin has anti-inflammatory and analgesic therapeutic properties. It is grounding and smells wonderful.

my head hurts blend

8 drops spike lavender (Lavendula latifolia)

5 drops ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphor ct. 1,8-cineole)

6 drops frankincense (Boswellia carterii)


When you need to focus on your work and need a boost, the following oils will get you there.

We talked about frankincense and lemon; this blend also has cardamom.  Cardamom is a member of the Zingiberaceae family with mostly esters and oxides.  The 1,8-cineole content is around 30%.  Even though cardamom is thought of for digestion it is great for this focus blend because it has a calming and sedative quality.

focus on my work blend
10 drops frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
5 drops cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
4 drops lemon (Citrus limon)

Image by K Wol from Pixabay


The last blend is to help fall asleep without the aid of lavender.
Cedarwood is a member of the Cupressaceae family and is a sesquiterpenol. This oil has sedative and stress relieving properties. Sandalwood is also calming and sedative, a member of the Santalaceae family and is a sesquiterpenol. Patchouli, a member of the lamiaceae family is an anti-depressant. Another sesquiterpene, vetiver is a member of the poaceae family. It has CNS sedative properties.

let me fall asleep blend

6 drops cedarwood (Cedrus virginiana)

5 drops patchouli (Pogostremom cablin)

4 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)

3 drops sandalwood (Santalum album)


Check out my latest project…a new 21-page pdf just in time for summer! See my products page.

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Enjoy the blends and inhalers-until next time.
Happy blending,
Crystal

“you of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Mt 8:26

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first aid, using trauma oil.

Home remedies are great and I absolutely hate having to run to the store. Check out all about trauma oil.


The history of trauma oil

I absolutely love Bioron’s arnica cream, Bioron founded in 1932. I use it for swelling and bruising most of the time. The tube has a long shelf life, which is why it is still a go-to product for me. The homeopathic ingredient at work in this cream is Arnica montana. The second item that is great for swelling, bruising and inflammation is Trauma oil. The herbs used in trauma oil are: calendula, arnica, St. john’s wort. Each item has its own therapeutic properties all blended together to be excellent in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

What’s in trauma oil

Arnica (Arnica montana) Arnica is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic herb. It is used to relieve swelling, bruises and inflammation for strains and sprains etc.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Calendula is an anti-inflammatory, and wound healing herb.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) What comes to mind is that this herb is popular for depression. Why is it in my trauma oil? St john’s wort can treat wounds, treat pain, and modulate inflammation. It has been noted to be antiviral and antimicrobial. Blend all these herb-infused oils together for trauma oil. There are many websites that sell trauma oil, or you can make your own. Personally, I buy mine.

Trauma oil can be used for boo-boos on young children with no essential oils added.
It has a slight aroma, is mildly oily and golden in color.


Using trauma oil with essential oil

In addition to all the essential oils that we use like tea tree and lavender, trauma oil with essential oils like black pepper, cypress and spike lavender are a powerhouse for helping alleviate inflammation and pain. Great for a medicine cabinet, backpack or travel kit!
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil has been studied for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties. The main components of this oil are d-limonene and B-caryophyllene. Using a 1% dilution in your blends will keep this spicy oil within safety guidelines.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) essential oil—another great oil for inflammation due to a-pinene.
Spike lavender (Lavendula latifolia) doesn’t smell quite like lavender angustifolia, thanks to the camphor-like properties of this oil. The 1,8-cineole is the analgesic and anti-inflammatory component of this oil. Safety concerns with epileptics, pregnant women and children are to be noted here.


Keep trauma oil in mind when blending for all of the first aid needs of your family.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Rom 12:13
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Flowers of the Bible

How fitting that the last blog post in this series on flowers of the Bible falls on the first day of Spring. Yay! The winter where I live in Pennsylvania had little snow and a little ice. It was very disappointing to someone who loves the snow. Update: we did have 3 more inches of the wet white stuff last week.

My original list of flowers from one source is anemone, crocus, cyclamen, hyacinth, iris, scarlet turk’s cap lily, Madonna lily and narcissus.

Image by Nimrod Oren from Pixabay

The Jerusalem Perspective dated Sept. – Dec. 1994 page 18, the article “Lilies of the field”, by Gloria E.M. Suess. The article Gloria wrote in 1994 stated that “the lilies referred to in Mt 6:28 and Lu 12:27 are NOT Madonna lilies. They do not grow near the sea of Galilee.”

The article went on to state that the actual Biblical flowers “of the field” were any of the following:

Scarlet crowfoot (Ranunculus asiaticus)
Corn poppy (Papaver subpyriforme)
Mountain tulip (Tulipa montana)
Crown anemone (Anemone coronatia)
Sword lily- gladiolus (Gladiolus atroviolaceus) or (Gladiolus italicus)
Dog chamomile

Some of the Scripture referring to flowers:

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus.”

Isa 35:1

My beloved has gone down to his garden,
To the beds of spices,
To browse in the gardens,
And to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine;
He browses among the lilies.

SS 6:2-3


“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you-you of little faith!”

Lu 12:27-28  

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.”

Mt 6:28-29

Hopefully now it won’t snow anymore and I can get out to the garden and plant my peas, spinach, and radishes.
Happy planting and God bless,
Crystal.

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Herbs of the Bible

Image by Eszter Miller from Pixabay

The previous post was about bitter herbs of the Bible. This is post is about Herbs of the Bible. They include dill, marjoram, and mint among others. I wanted to take the time during Lent to learn where these herbs are referenced in Scripture.

Dill


According to Duke’s Medicinal Herbs of the Bible, dill is named shiveth or in Arabic sabth and was grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Today we use dill liberally in pickles whether they are fermented or in vinegar.
Dill was a tithing herb used by ancients for flavoring and in medicine.
References to dill in Scripture—
Mt 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you Hypocrites? You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.”
Lk 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs,”

Coriander

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Zohary did not believe that the coriander we use today was the coriander spoken of in the Bible, because the plant does not grow in the desert.
References to coriander in Scripture—
Nu 11:7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.
Ex 16:31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made of honey.

Fennel/caraway

The plant translated “caraway” in the NIV, “fitches” in the KJV and “dill” in JND is actually a plant known as black cummin, Nigella sativa, and no relation to the well known herb, cummin. In some notes, cumin is listed as a tithing herb. It is native to the Mediterranean region since the days of Isaiah.

Fennel is not listed in Duke’s Medicinal Herbs of the Bible 3rd version. In the NIV version of the American Woman’s Bible, the section on herbs of the bible has fennel listed. I am thinking that the fennel was supposed to be caraway. From that text, “The aromatic hot-tasking herbal seeds were an Eastern substitute for black pepper. The spicy oil from the seeds increased the appetite and saliva flow.” Caraway and fennel are of the same family, can sort of be used interchangeably but not always. Caraway is more earthy, and when heated to bring out the flavor, spicier.

References in Scripture—

Isa 28:25-27  “When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? 

Marjoram/hyssop

While researching for this blog, I read that Marjoram known to the Israelites as sheep’s sorrel. That is not true. Sheep’s sorrel is (Rumex acetosella). It is accepted that this species (Organum syriacum) is indeed the hyssop mentioned in the Bible. Hyssop was used to purify the Alter in the Temple, to purify lepers, etc.

Our forefathers were familiar with it as an herb and as food, as a ritual plant and as a medicinal plant. Besides being the most common herb, Marjoram (hyssop) was also used during antiquity as a disinfectant: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (Psalms 51: 7). It was used for disinfecting the Alter, as well as anyone who touched a leper. The expression “from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall” (1 Kings 5: 13) caused many to erroneously think that the hyssop is the smallest of plants, and mosses were called hyssop in the past. However, this is actually a reference to the name of the smallest tree, and hyssop is considered a tree for this purpose, since its stems from previous seasons are indeed lignified. The Torah mentions different aspects of uses for hyssop: on Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12: 22), in purifying the leper (Leviticus 14: 4), in the burning of the red heifer (Numbers 19: 6), and for sprinkling on a dead person (Numbers 19: 18).1

References in Scripture—
Ex 12:21-22 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin.
Nu 19:6,18 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent, and all the furnishings and the people who were there.
1Ki 4:33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.
Ps 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

Mint

Probably horsemint, used for cooking, medicine and worship It was often strewn in synagogues to reduce bad odors.
Reference in Scripture—
Mt 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you Hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.”
Lk 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs,”

Aloes

While John 19 describes ancient burial practices, it is far more than that. Here we have two men who boldly identified themselves with what would be viewed as a failed leader. At one time they may have feared man, but not now. Their lives were inalterably changed by Jesus. As a final act of devotion, they boldly request the battered body of Jesus and tenderly prepare it for burial.
The plant called aloe here is unique in the Scripture. It is not the aloe mentioned in Psalm 45:8 and elsewhere in the Old Testament which is probably derived from an Asian tree. The New Testament aloe is Aloe barbadense, an interesting plant no longer known from nature. Aloe is a low growing perennial with thick, fleshy leaves filled with a gelatinous material that was used as an embalming fluid in Egypt. Today, the extract of aloe is used as a balm for burns and as a skin ointment.
The amount of aloes would be more than adequate for embalming. With no fragrance of its own, mixed with the myrrh aloe would enhance and retain fragrance. 2

Horseradish


Page 72 (Duke) “it seems to be the most important Passover herb and is mentioned in the Torah. Uses for the roots and young leaves, eaten as spice, pickle, potherb or salad ingredient. Sliced roots cooked and eaten like turnips.

Frankincense/Myrrh

Frankincense, a gum resin used in ceremonies, symbolizing holiness.

Reference in Scripture–
Ex 30:34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices-gum resin, onycha and galbanum-and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred.”
Mt 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Myrrh, a gum resin, and a symbol of Christ’s future suffering.

Reference in Scripture–

Mt 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Ps 45:8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia;

SS 3:6 Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense, made from all the spices of the merchant?

SS 4:14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices.

Crystal

  1. Lytton John Musselman, Old Dominion University Bible Plants Site, Hyssop, www.odu.edu/lmusselman/plant/bible.
  2. Lytton John Musselman, Old Dominion University Bible Plants Site, Aloe, www.odu.edu/lmusselman/plant/bible.
  3. James A. Duke, Peggy Ann K. Duke, Duke’s Handbook of Medicinal Plants of the Bible, CRC Press, 2008, pg. 27.

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Bitter herbs of the Bible

“that same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs”

Ex 12:8

Image by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay

Throughout the Bible the term bitter herbs caught my eye…what kind of bitter herbs? I was curious to know more. Ancient Mesopotamia, which includes Iraq, eastern Syria and southeastern Turkey today and ancient Egypt have totally different species of plants. Researchers have tried to list the medicinal plants of the Bible, which has many discrepancies due to species, language and time.

Zochar Amar, professor in the Department of Land of Israel Studies has done extensive research on valid plant names, narrowing the list down to 75 medicinal plant names. His work is still ongoing due to the language barrier between Hebrew and Aramaic terminology of plants.

“This article cites problems of working with identification and misunderstandings in the original Hebrew version. The old translators of the Bible, e.g., King James version (1611) and others, were not familiar with the original Hebrew, nor with the flora of the Holy Land. So, sometimes they mentioned names from their local floras; this might have been done deliberately to make plants more familiar to their own readers.” (1)

Danfi, A. Bock, B. 2019. Medicinal plants of the Bible–revisited. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethomedicine.

From McClintock & Strong, “Biblical Cyclopedia”. “Bitter herb-occurs two places in scripture: Ex 12:8. For Moses commanded the Jews to eat the lamb of Passover with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The second Passover in the wilderness of Sinai Nu 9:11. It is far more probable that scripture denotes whatever bitter herbs were obtainable in the place where the Passover was eaten. The first directions were in Egypt and the second in Palestine which would have different “bitter herbs”.

“but they are to do it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

Nu 9:11

5 types of bitter herbs

  • 1. Wild lettuce
  • 2. Endives
  • 3. Garden endive, some say horehound, others tansy, others tops of horseradish, others thistle.
  • 4. Nettle, but some say chamomile.
  • 5. Coriander, others say dandelion.

If we look at the list of 5 bitter herbs above: Wild lettuce, endive, garden endive, nettle and coriander, how were they eaten? We know fresh nettles sting, so it is highly doubtful that they were eaten fresh. Same is to be said for thistle, and chicory.

chicory, called the “liver’s friend” by the Egyptians and consumed in large amounts. It was thought to purify the blood and liver.

From the NKJV American Women’s Bible: the list of bitter herbs were Chicory, dandelion, endive, lettuce, sorrel, and watercress.

In the scripture all the bitter herbs listed with the exception of watercress, are referenced in Ex 12:8, Nu 9:11 as bitter herbs. Endive, a bitter tasting tall, leafy plant, is also referenced in Ge 2:5 as a plant. Endive is related to chicory and used as salad greens.

Dandelion leaves were used as a vegetable and the root was used for making medicine. Lettuce was a weedy, bitter-tasting plant with yellow flower heads. Sorrel, known to the Israelites as sheeps’ sorrel, has a sharp, bitter taste that combined well with other greens to improve their flavor.

Watercress was used for ‘salads’ and for medicinal purposes. It was high in vitamins and iron. Dt 32:2 as ‘new grass’.

“Let my teaching fall like rain

and my words descend like dew,

like showers on new grass,

like abundant rain on tender plants.

Dt 32:2

Image by 아름 김 from Pixabay

So, as you can see, there are many differences of opinion, points of view and just plain differences in types of information on bitter herbs, herbs, medicinal herbs and flowers of the Bible.

Next blog is on Herbs of the Bible, be sure to check it out.

Crystal.

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Uplifting essential oils for a funky mood

Around 75%–90% of doctor visits in the United States are in some way related to stress.”
(According to the American Institute of Stress)

Image by Elf-Moondance from Pixabay

The statistic above is frightening, meaning that we are all stressed enough to visit the doctor about it. How we manage stress can be modulated with the use of essential oils. It’s one less reason to go to the doctor.

Like in the previous blog on sleep which can be read at www.justessentialstoday.com/sleep, oils for mood are similar but not exact. Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is similar due to the relaxing qualities, but Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is not because it is uplifting.

Let’s focus on some common oils

Most citrus oils are antidepressant in nature, who doesn’t love the smell of oranges?! Sweet orange is uplifting, calming and sedative. It is safe for children and adults alike. The only safety concerns are because of using an old oil that can produce skin sensitivity because of oxidation. Citrus oils only have a shelf life of 2 years, so check the dates of distillation. (That blog was covered back in August, check it out www.justessentialstoday.com/checking).

Grapefruit and lemon essential oils are phototoxic, so sweet orange is a great substitute when outside.

Other oils to use would be lavender and Rose (Rosa damascena). Lavender is in so many health and beauty and laundry products. It is classic for helping to relax before going to bed thanks to linalool and linalyl acetate. Rose is a wonderful floral oil and is great for stabilizing mood. An affordable substitute for Rose is Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens).

I love burning Frankincense resin (Boswellia cartierii). So, the oil is one of my go-to oils in my box. I like making a stock blend, then using it in an inhaler, diffuser or blending in a lotion.

Rose has a very strong floral aroma, so 1 drop in a blend is all that is needed.

Simple lotion

4 drops Sweet orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)

1 drop Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena)

30 ml unscented cream or lotion

The lotion above is a 1% dilution, safe for children. I had my granddaughter help with this blend, and it met her approval.

Inhaler, diffuser or spray ideas:

Diffuse a couple of drops of lavender and orange essential oils 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.

Orange and grapefruit are uplifting in diffuser or inhaler.

Lavender, orange and frankincense can be blended for anxiety.

Room spray

In 2 oz. (60 ml) distilled water

10 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

5 drops ylang ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina)

2 drops frankincense (Boswellia cartierii)

To use: Shake and spray around the room.

I hope that using these oils uplifts the mood of you or those that you love,
Happy blending,
Crystal.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
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Essential oils and herbs-how to get to sleep.

The research says that young adults need approximately 8 hours of sleep.

Physiologically, adolescents and young adults tend to have a delayed circadian preference and are “night owls”. Existing evidence does suggest an association between sleep and GPA. Students who obtained more sleep (long sleepers, ≥9 hours) had higher GPAs than short sleepers (≤6 hours): GPAs were 3.24 vs 2.74 on average. More evidence exists to support an influence of sleep patterns rather than sleep duration on GPA. (1)

Using herbs and essential oils as a central nervous system sedative means that the herb or oil has the ability to help you relax and, in this case, fall asleep.

The lengthy list of central nervous system sedatives in essential oils include:
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides), German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Opopanax (Commiphora guidotti), and Patchouli (Pogostremom cablin). The components that are relaxing in Lavender are linalool and linalyl acetate. Vetiver, opopanax and patchouli are grounding and have an earthy aroma. Studies found that german chamomile has CNS relaxing qualities, the aroma is herbal and fruity.

Some ways to use essential oils for sleep.

I love diffusing lavender for 30 minutes before bedtime or using a linen spray to help nod off to sleep. Vetiver, patchouli, opopanax, frankincense, myrrh, and nutmeg oils are all grounding. Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) can also work in blends.

Sweet orange contains d-limonene that has a calming and anxiety relieving effect which makes it a great oil for a children’s blend. You don’t have to stick with Lavender as a sleep aid when using essential oils.

Change it up by trying a blend of lavender, ylang ylang and vetiver in a carrier oil. Or if patchouli is too strong, try blending with cedarwood and opoponax in a carrier oil. Any of these blends makes a good inhaler to keep by your nightstand.

Everyone has preferences to what essential oils they like and dislike, for instance, I would much rather drink a cup of chamomile tea than use German chamomile essential oil in a blend. To me the oil overpowers blends and is offensive, and that is the beauty of aromatherapy, there are so many different oils to choose from!

I love chamomile tea.

Chamomile tea, lavender, and patchouli sachets, along with valerian also work in the herb side. Valerian has that unique smell that some find offensive, so it is nice to blend with a better smelling herb. Skullcap and passionflower are nice additions to tea blends.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

1. Hershner, S. D., & Chervin, R. D. (2014). Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students. Nature and science of sleep, 6, 73–84. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S62907.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

PSALM 136:1
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It’s tea time!

Image by dungthuyvunguyen from Pixabay

I started this post after reading an article concerning the vitamins soluble in water. Did that make a difference in my tea? Should I be concerned? After hopefully trying to find studies on the subject, I found that there wasn’t much written about the subject. Americans have minimal issues concerning the lack of vitamins B and C in the diet. We aren’t deficient in these vitamins. While we know that cooking methods in vegetables matter, it barely effects our tea.

Water is the best solvent for herbs. Hot or cold? 1 minute or 20? What is the best way to brew, steep or make tea to get the most nutrients from the herbs that you are using?

White tea– steep 1 minute. Green tea–steep 2 minutes. Black tea– steep 4 minutes. Chamomile tea — steep no longer than 2 minutes or it is bitter. Do you look on the back of your tea box, bag, or can? The Lemon ginger tea that I am drinking says to steep 3-5 minutes at 190 to 210 degrees. It all seems confusing. Should it be so confusing?

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

I put peppermint or mint in everything I make. I don’t like the taste of many herbs, which is why I started studying aromatherapy. If I couldn’t stand a tea, how was I going to get my family to drink it? Heck, my grandkids won’t even taste honey!

So, when I brew something, if I don’t like the individual components or in this case, herbs. They don’t go in the blend.

Brewing tea ideas

Sore throat tea:

Sage (1 teaspoon dried) and ginger root (1/4 teaspoon dried).

Sweeten with a little honey if needed.
Bring water to a boil, simmer ginger for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add sage and steep for 15 minutes.

Strain and sweeten if desired.

Tummy tea:

Equal parts peppermint, lemon balm and chamomile.
For one serving, use 1 teaspoon each for 8 ounces of water.
Steep 3-4 minutes.

Sleepy time tea:

Equal parts chamomile, skullcap, lemon balm and burdock.
For one serving: use 2-3 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of water.
Cover with boiling water and steep for up to 15 minutes.

Everyday tonic tea:

Peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, oat tops, dandelion root, schisandra berries, orange peel.
For one serving use 1 teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water.
Cover with boiling water and steep for up to 15 minutes.

Happy Blending,

Crystal.

“May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

PSALM 20:4
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Uses for eucalyptus besides colds…but that is nice too.

I read somewhere that there are over 700 species of eucalyptus in the Myrtaceae family.

Image by sandid from Pixabay


The chemotype Globulus (Common name- blue gum) is probably the best known and is a native of Australia.

Most species are in the Oxide chemical family with 1,8-cineole being the most prominent component. These oils are good for clearing the head when experiencing a sinus issue. The oil is a stimulant and works to perk one up when tired.
The species of globulus, smithii and radiata have the highest percentage of 1,8-cineole.

Species Percentage of 1,8-cineole
Eucalyptus globulus 65-84%
Eucalyptus smithii 77%
Eucalyptus radiata 60-64%
Eucalyptus macarthurii 28-29%
Eucalyptus dives 0.56%



The popular therapeutic benefits of these oils are for cold and flu relief: relief of congestion and as an expectorant.

Image by Jürgen Fälchle from Pixabay

Eucalyptus macarthurii (Common name-Wooly-butt gum) has 44% of the chemical component geranyl acetate. This component has analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal and choleretic modulating properties. What does that mean? This oil is good for blends other than for a cold. A muscle rub blend, foot cream, and as a digestion blend.

Other chemotypes of eucalyptus such as
Eucalyptus citriodora also called Lemon-scented gum, has no 1,8-cineole component. The citriodora chemotype has 66-86% of the chemical component citronellal. This oil is an aldehyde, used as a bug repellent, for its anti-inflammatory modulating affect, and to calm.
Eucalyptus dives (Common name-Blue peppermint gum) is great for moving mucus; use as a chest rub (diluted) or a steam. Other uses for Eucalyptus dives is to treat tired feet in a relaxing foot bath after a long day on your feet. The refreshing scent is also good for cleaning the house. Eucalyptus dives can help even and tone the skin, especially for those prone to blemishes.

Melbourne pharmacist, Joseph Bosisto established a distillery in 1854 to gather the oil of E. radiata. He exhibited his oil at seventeen exhibitions between 1854 and 1891. Pearson, Michael. “The Good Oil: Eucalyptus Oil Distilleries in Australia”, Australsian Historical Archaeology, 11, 1993.

Image by laomi lv from Pixabay

Eucalyptus is for more than just cold and flu season, and the lack of 1,8-cineole in the dives chemotype makes it great to use in households with younger children. Blend with lavender, cedarwood or orange for a blend to promote relaxation (lavender), clear breathing (cedarwood) or lift spirits (orange).

Use in an inhaler or diffuser following safety guidelines: Remember the eucalyptus chemotypes that are high in 1,8-cineole can suppress the Central Nervous System (CNS) and may impair breathing. Be safe in usage for children under 10 and those with asthma.


Download the FREE Introduction to Aromatherapy PDF with email sign up!

Happy blending,

Crystal

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Using essential oils in cold and flu season

It’s easy to use inhalers for a cold, read more to learn how.

Let’s start with making inhalers for healthy adults, using a total of 15-20 drops of essential oils.

For a cold, I love the conifers–pines, firs and spruces because most of them smell like a Christmas tree!

The therapeutic component of an essential oil is what makes it work. In conifers one of the components is a-pinene. A-pinene is antiviral and b-pinene is antibacterial, both are antispasmodic. Great for chest congestion when dealing with a cold or flu.

So, with that in mind, try this Three pine inhaler for adults:

5 drops Norway pine (Pinus resinosa) a-pinene @ 44%; b-pinene @ 34%
5 drops Pinon pine (Pinus edulis) a-pinene @ 37%; b-pinene @ 9%
5 drops White pine (Pinus strobus) a-pinene @ 27%; b-pinene @ 40%

  • To make an inhaler: place the cotton wick in a bowl. For an adult add 15-20 drops of essential oil to the bowl. (for children, use 7-8 drops.
  • Move the wick around with a clean tweezers to soak up the oil. Place the wick in the tube of the inhaler-the part with the holes. Put on the cap, snapping it tightly and put the tube in the case, twisting closed. Label the inhaler.

For children over 6 years of age, use 7-8 drops:

  • 3 drops of Norway pine (Pinus resinosa)
  • 2 drops of Pinion pine (Pinus edulis)
  • 2 drops of White pine (Pinus strobus)

You can substitute Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) for Norway pine; Conifers such as Black Spruce (Picea mariana) or Siberian fir (Abies siberica) for pines.

An Antiviral inhaler for a spasmodic cough–For adults:

  • 7 drops Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) a-pinene @ 40%; b-pinene @ 32%; camphene @ 3%
  • 4 drops of Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) terpinen-4-ol @ 41%; a-terpinene @ 10%; y-terpinene @ 21%
  • 5 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) a-pinene @ 54%; d-3-carene @ 23%
  • 2 drops Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) 1-8-cineole @ 23%; linalol @ 45%

For kids over 5 years of age (using 7-8 drops):
3 drops Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) a-pinene @ 40%; b-pinene @ 32%; camphene @ 3%
2 drops Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) terpinen-4-ol @ 41%; a-terpinene @ 10%; y-terpinene @ 21%
2 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) a-pinene @ 54%; d-3-carene @ 23%
1 drop Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) 1-8-cineole @ 23%; linalol @ 45%

What is a-terpinene? and what is cineole?
Camphene breaks down mucus. Terpinene-4-ol is antiviral, antibacterial and antispasmodic. A-terpinene and y-terpinene are antiviral and antispasmodic. d-3-carene breaks down mucus, 1-8-cineole is an airborne antimicrobial, an antiviral, and breaks down mucus. Lastly, linalol is an airborne antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and an immunostimulant.

To boost immunity for adults and children over 6:
5 drops Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) linalol @ 27%; linalyl acetate @ 45%
2 drops Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) 1-8-cineole @ 23%; linalol @ 45%
5 drops Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) d-limonene @ 96%
3 drops Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) geraniol @ 15 %

The addition of geranium blends nicely with the lavender, the geraniol component is an airborne antimicrobial and antibacterial. Knowing the therapeutic components helps determine what essential oil to use.

Happy blending,

Crystal

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It’s all costing money.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The annual insurance benefit selection. Picking a plan. Paying more for coverage. Paying more for doctor visits. Paying more for prescriptions. Paying more.

How do we all take care of ourselves and our families without breaking the bank?

The answer could be natural health care: Aromatherapy, herbalism, or other natural alternative paths.

It’s late, your child has an infected cut, maybe it’s a splinter that you can’t see. As parents, grandparents, and caregivers, we want to take care of our families. What works here? Maybe it is a splinter, grab the ichthammol or drawing salve and cover with a bandage. Maybe it’s an infected cut, make sure the area is clean, add a drop of tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil is a wonderful antimicrobial. A 2017 study has shown that tea tree can help with MRSA. So, if tea tree is that powerful, it can help with a tiny cut that is infected.

More simple examples for using essential oils are;

A headache…bring out the lavender essential oil dab a bit on the temples. Lavender has been shown to relax. For ease on the go, keep an inhaler of lavender in your bag. I’ve used a blend of lavender, peppermint and rosemary in a carrier oil to ease the pain of gout. How about a blend of frankincense, lavender, sweet basil, roman chamomile in jojoba to massage on the back of your neck after a long day at work?

Sweet orange essential oil, grapefruit, lemon, lime, the citrus oils that smell of sunshine! They naturally make us smile when we take in the aroma that their cold-pressed peels produce.

Eucalyptus with its 1,8-cineole or menthol in peppermint are in many over the counter cough and cold preparations. Is there a way that we can utilize them? A natural way to make our families or ourselves feel better?

With safety in mind always, it is important to research the dilution charts that I have posted previously.

visit www.justessentialstoday.com/dilution-and-essential-oils

Maybe you don’t want to use essential oils, how about herbs? For thousands of years people have been using plants to support their health. Indigenous people, our elders, maybe even you already use herbs in cooking. Who of you hasn’t used ginger for nausea?

Food, if not allergic, can be just as important as the medicine we take. We all know that excess sugar is bad, excess salt is bad, excess fat is bad. So, I’m not going to focus on that, but let’s be real here. If you make a few lifestyle changes, like I did, you will feel better. You will start to lose weight. Things that were tasty, well, might not be a craving for you anymore. Eating well is a lifelong process.

Sleep is important. It is the way that your body heals. If you don’t get enough sleep…you know.

And exercise. Yeah, we should all do that.

All these things are important in an aromatherapy consultation. If you are ready to take that journey, read about what is involved. Let us start your natural wellness journey together.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

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The carrier oil series–coconut oil

Image by Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay

You know when you open the jar—the aroma of the unrefined coconut oil is luscious.
It makes me want to put my hand in there and grab a piece…. smells delicious.

Where does coconut oil come from?

Coconut belongs to the family of the Cocos nucifera L. It is a tree that is cultivated for many uses cosmetic, nutritional and medicinal. There are many products that come from the coconut, and I am only concerned about the oil here today, which comes from the fruit of coconut and is cold-pressed.

Does coconut oil have therapeutic properties?

The oil has medicinal properties such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial. The oil is moisturizing sinking into the skin, reported to be good for eczema and psoriasis.

Shelf life: 2-4 years
Viscosity: Solid, melts at 76.
Comedogenic index of 4: high to clog pores.
Feel: Oily

Aroma: Coconut aroma in the unrefined oil.

What is fractionated coconut oil?

Fractionated coconut oil made from coconut oil. The coconut oil is heated to high temperature to remove the solid parts of the oil. The only thing is that fractionated coconut oil is odorless, tasteless, and never gets solid-even in the refrigerator.
Most butters and DIY blends have unrefined coconut oil. I have used it for lip balms, salves, and deodorants. The benefit is that the butter does not get grainy like unrefined shea butter does. Shea butter can start out being ok, then get grainy because it was not cooled down quickly enough.

One of my favorite carriers.

Happy blending,

Crystal.

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The carrier oil series–castor oil

Ricinus communis/

Palma christi

What is castor oil?

Castor oil comes from the Ricinus communis/Palma christi plant which is a treelet originally from Africa. The entire plant including the seeds are poisonous. It contains an irritant substance that poisons the blood. The oils is safe, because the poison remains in the seed.

Castor oil is cold pressed from castor beans, then heated to clarify. It has a thick viscosity with a greasy feel. The aroma is neutral, and the color is slightly yellow. The shelf life of castor oil is 5 years or less. I had some that looked moldy, and I know it wasn’t 5 years old. The oil had no off aroma or rancid smell, it just looked bad. Out in the trash it went.

What else is in castor oil?

Castor oil contains Ricinoleic (ris-uh-noh-lee-ik) acid 85-95% : linoleic acid 1-5%; Oleic acid: 2-6%, A-linolenic acid and undecylenic acids. The therapeutic properties of ricinoleic acid are: Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Ricinoleic acid is used in pigment, printing ink, and textile finishing. It is sometimes added to Turkey red oil and dry-cleaning soaps.

Castor oil is used in over 80% of lip products.

Uses of castor oil…

I have used castor oil in blends that need to sit on the skin-say to use on a wart for example. The castor oil blend sitting on top of the skin allows the essential oils to do their thing. After all, this oil needs to be on the skin, not absorbed into the skin.

The comedogenic index rates how the oils used will clog pores. Castor oil is a heavy oil that will sit on the skin and not be absorbed quickly. Which is really weird because the comedogenic rating is 1–which means it is low on the list to clog pores. Other articles state that castor oil should be mixed with other carrier oils for use on the skin. Make sure that the carrier you buy is hexane free. The emollient properties make it an excellent carrier for psoriasis and eczema. Castor oil is great for lip gloss products. In a study I read stated that castor oil is used in 81% of lipsticks.

Next blog will focus on yet another carrier in the series, stay tuned.

Happy blending,

Crystal.



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The carrier oil series, looking at jojoba

Jojoba (Simmondsia californica)

Jojoba oil is not an oil, but a wax.

Where does jojoba come from?

Jojoba oil is cold-pressed from the seed of the mature shrub. The shrubs are found in southern Arizona, southern California and northwest Mexico. Jojoba seeds contain from 40 to 60% of oil which is chemically classified as liquid wax because unlike most vegetable seed oils that are composed of triglycerides, jojoba oil consists of esters. Jojoba contains 97% mono-esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols (wax ester), a small fraction of triglyceride esters and docosanol (the active ingredient in OTC cold sore cream). It contains vitamin B, E and fatty acids.

The oil is odorless. The refined oil is clear and the unrefined oil is golden in color. The fact that jojoba is a wax, is great because it doesn’t go rancid like most carriers do.

What is jojoba good for?

Jojoba is good for all skin types because it resembles the natural oils of the skin (the sebum). Sebum dissolves in jojoba. The comedogenic index is 2-meaning it is moderately low tendency to clog pores and allows skin to breathe. Other oils that have a comedogenic index of 2 or less are: grapeseed, sweet almond and olive oil.

The emollient ability to protect and cleanse makes jojoba a good oil for everything from preventing diaper rash and wrinkle formation to using as a make-up remover. The high absorption rate allows jojoba to be used in many cosmetic preparations.

Used on the hair, it makes it shiny and silky and can be used for dry hair, to protect the scalp, with an addition of essential oils for a variety of needs.

What are the benefits of using jojoba?

Therapeutically it is antifungal, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory. It is a benefit to keep in mind when creating blends for certain situations. I use jojoba as the carrier in my roller ball blends. Remember that your blend will last as long as your shortest expiration dated oil. This could mean that you have a roller ball blend that is good for 6 months or one that is as long as a few years!

I hope you learned something about jojoba. Come back next time for information on another carrier oil.

Happy blending,

Crystal

“He fills my life with good things.”

Psalm 103:5

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Read this — before you put essential oils in the tub!

It got me started on my aromatherapy journey, overhearing customers in pharmacies stating that they can just pour essential oils in the bathtub! Or rub it on their skin!

Below are products you cannot safely use with essential oils in the bath:

also from Robert Tisserand’s website–“Safety in the Bath.”

They are: Cornstarch, baking soda, epsom or regular salt, milk, witch hazel, aloe, glycerine, and alcohol.

Oil and water don’t mix.

If you want to use essential oils in the bath use Solubol.

For every 1 Tablespoon of product (jojoba, castile soap, shampoo or shower gel) mix in 5-20 drops of essential oils. Avoid any oil that is irritating to the skin, like peppermint, oregano or cinnamon to name a few. Do your research!

Robert Tisserand’s website has charts that are excellent on this subject. Also, the 2nd Edition of Essential Oil Safety is a must have for any aromatherapist.

Sign up for my FREE PDF an “Introduction to Aromatherapy”.

As always, Happy Blending,
Crystal.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Skin safety and essential oils

About that essential oil you just bought…
Can you rub it on your skin?

Today let’s discuss essential oil safety.

In last weeks blog on dilution, you can see the percentages suggested for various ages, issues, and other concerns. There are guides to make a 30 ml. stock blend that can be used to make smaller roller bottles.

Start with the weakest dilution, such as 1%. If that dilution is not working after 2 weeks, then make a blend that is a 2% product. A 3% dilution is for a specific injury, such as a sprain or strain. It is important to use this dilution for a short duration (10-14 days), then go back to a 2% dilution for daily use. Remember, always start with the lowest percentage of essential oils in a blend. A little goes a long way to help modulate any concerns.
Discontinue use if the product causes redness, rash, or burning. If discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil blend. Apply a carrier oil to the affected area. Never use water to flush the oil off the skin, as this may increase discomfort.

There are a few oils that can be used neat, that means straight out of the bottle. Those oils are tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum).

Tea tree is an antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial oil. The scent is sharp and medicinal. Lavender blends well and tones down some of the sharp properties of tea tree.
A dab of tea tree oil can be used to clear up acne.
Lavender can be used neat applied to the temples for headache relief. Try adding a drop to a tissue, inhale to relieve anxiety. Lavender can also be used on the skin for blemishes.
Helichrysum has skin healing properties that are excellent for wound application, apply a drop on a cut.


Next week, I’ll discuss safety in the bath with essential oils.

As always, sign up for my email list for a FREE INTRODUCTION TO AROMATHERAPY PDF.

Happy Blending,

Crystal

He fills my life with good things.

Psalm 103:5
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Dilution and essential oils.

Dilution of essential oils is the most important thing to learn in aromatherapy.

It is aromatherapy 101 that teaches dilution.  Most of the time, that is an easy equation to figure out:

5-6 drops per 30 ml of carrier. That should be the end of my blog…but it is not.

When I started working with essential oils, I had a ton of questions….What about the oils that we must use in low dilution? Say a .07%? How do we figure that out?

Dilution of essential oils is sometimes tricky, what size bottle, jar or tin are we using? Did we double or halve the recipe?

I do not want to make 30 ml of anything, just a 10 ml rollerball…. how much essential oil is that?
Or a 5 ml bottle—I use those a lot.

Uses for essential oils are in the chart below, note the dilution rate for specific issues.

Easy to use dilution tables for various sizes of bottles.

DilutionUsed for
1%Face, children, pregnant women, immune compromised
2%



3%
Daily use, massage oils, larger area of body



Specific injury of muscle, tendon or bone
4%Local area such as chest congestion
5% or above Severe pain, muscle cramps, bruising
DilutionBottle sizeDrops of stock blend
1%5 ml1 drop
2%5 ml2 drops
3%5 ml3 drops
4%5 ml4 drops
5%5 ml5 drops
10%5 ml10 drops
Best to use a stock blend then add to a carrier oil

30 ml= approximately 2 Tablespoons (29.57 ml)

DilutionBottle SizeDrops of essential oil
.50%10 ml1 drop
1%10 ml2 drops
2%10 ml4 drops
3%10 ml6 drops
4%10 ml8 drops
5%10 ml10 drops
10%10 ml20 drops
DilutionBottle SizeDrops of essential oil
1%30 ml5-6 drops
2%30 ml10-12 drops
3%30 ml15-18 drops
4%30 ml20-24 drops
5%30 ml25-30 drops
30 ml= approximately 2 Tablespoons (29.57 ml)

Do your research on oils that have dermal restrictions, such as Phenols or Aldehydes.

Using these dilutions is important in helping to modulate various issues that may arise.
Whether it is a pulled muscle that needs a massage oil or a cough that just won’t go away. The dilution that you use will help get the results that you are looking for, all with safety in mind.

Happy blending,
Crystal

We fight too many battles that don’t matter. If a battle is not between you and your destiny, it’s a distraction. It’s the enemy trying to lure you off course when a new level is waiting for you. You have to learn to let things go.

Luke 6:29
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Olfaction made simple-using inhalers and diffusers in aromatherapy

How does the inhalation of essential oils work in the body?

What is the science behind how and why it works?

Aromatherapy is about our sense of smell or olfaction.  Human behavior is influenced by smell.  The smell of baking bread or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store.  The floral scents of roses and lavender, the citrus of oranges, lemons and limes, the smell of conifers and pines.

We breathe in the essential oils (which are molecules), our nose has cilia which transports these molecules up to our sensory nerves called the olfactory nerve. This olfactory nerve enters the skull, connects to the limbic system and the olfactory cortex.

Well, that’s great but I just want to use my diffuser!

Let’s talk about diffusers and inhalers.

The easiest way to start with aromatherapy and essential oils is to use an inhaler.

Purchasing inhalers is easy; your favorite essential oil supplier or Amazon sell them.  They are cheap, and you can reuse them for your own personal use. In the beginning of my aromatherapy journey, I started with these 3 inhalers: one with ginger, one with lavender, and one with peppermint.   I used antacids or acid reducing medications…you know that purple pill.  My use of OTC medications has all but ceased except on a rare occasion, then I will use a chewable antacid.  Peppermint is great for keeping alert while driving. One time I sprayed peppermint oil in my eye, but that story is for another day! The point is–we all start somewhere…and safety is important. 

Inhalers have 4 parts, the wick, the tube, the cover and the cap.

To make an inhaler:  place the cotton wick in a bowl.  For an adult add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the bowl. (for children, use 7-8 drops of kid safe oils: lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, etc).  Move the wick around with a clean tweezers to soak up the oil.  Place the wick in the tube of the inhaler-the part with the holes. Put on the cap, snapping it tightly and put the tube in the case, twisting closed. Label the inhaler: For example: Ginger for my belly, Peppermint to keep me awake; Lavender for relaxing and many more.

Like I said, I reuse my inhalers by disinfecting the inhaler parts, and use a new wick every so often.  I keep them in an essential oil bag in my purse when I travel. Yay TSA!

I just made an inhaler for a nagging headache of almost equal drops (total 12) of frankincense, sweet basil and spike lavender. Surely helped ease that!

What about a diffuser?

Using the diffuser is just as easy!  Read the manufacturer directions on how many drops to use in the diffuser as they come in all different sizes.

The Aromahead Institute ACP course, taught to diffuse 30 minutes with the diffuser on, then 30 minutes off for safety reasons.  For infants, it is recommended to diffuse and hour before having the child in the space, such as putting them to bed.  Always have an escape route for your pets, remember that they might not like or be sensitive to the smells you are diffusing!

Happy Blending,

Crystal.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3
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Checking the distillation dates of essential oils.

Why is it so important to check the distillation date from the manufacturer?

Is that date even listed?

Well, lesson learned. I recently was going through all my essential oils.

I have accumulated a lot from the aromatherapy certification program I had enrolled in. There was a supply list of all the oils to buy for the course, so I did!

After all, who does not want to get involved in the course and use the oils, smell the oils, make the blends, inhalers, and lotions?

All this brings me to the dating of the batches and the distillation date.

When you buy the oil, that is not the date when it expires. When it expires is the distillation date.


Some of my oils were 2 years old when I bought them!

One oil, fennel, was 3 years old!

No offense, but I have expired sweet marjoram, fennel, laurel leaf and only 4 months to use the orange oil. The orange oil is a favorite, but cleaning with fennel? Laurel leaf? Don’t think so…. ☹

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum) With a batch number as: ANS 102. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it on 10/13/2019. The shelf life is 5 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
  • Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamonum seylanicum) With a batch number as: CIL 105. This was distilled in 3/2018. I bought it in 4/2020. The shelf life is 4 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
  • Fennel sweet (Foeniculum vulgare) With a batch number as: FEN 105. This was distilled in 7/2016. I bought it in 10/12/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
  • Laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis) With a batch number as: LLF 111. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it in 7/14/2019. The shelf life is 3 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
  • Marjoram sweet (Origanum margorana) With a batch number as: SWM 113. This was distilled in 7/2017. I bought it in 7/19/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil has expired in July 2021.

So if you look at the chart, you will see that the distilled date is 2 to 3 years before the date I bought the oil. The total life span for my use could only be 1 year! and when you are buying oils for a course, that’s a lot of money and waste.

Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay


What if I don’t know when my oils expire? How do I tell how long they are good?

I did find out from the seller of my oils that most oils are distilled once a year–some even less. I guess that is the case and point with Anise or the fennel oil.

The list below helps judge, but beware that your distilled date could be years earlier.

1-2 years Most citrus oils; orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit.

3-4 years Conifer oils; pines, firs, spruces. Bergamot, black pepper, Citronella, cypress, eucalyptus, laurel leaf, juniper berry, geranium.

5-8 years Lavender, rose, carrot seed, helichrysum, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood.

I hope my mistakes help someone else. I listened to a NAHA webinar from Penny Price a while back.  she said: “Your box should have no more than 30 oils, learn to use them!”

Before clicking the BUY NOW button, check the DISTILLATION DATE!

It will save you aggravation.

What I am going to do with an outdated fennel and laurel leaf oil are beyond me. I thought that I had 2 years left on these oils. In fact, I thought I had 2 or three years left to use all these oils.

I am posting this as a precaution. It is so important that we safely and sustainably use essential oils. I feel that I have wasted precious product. This year my sweet marjoram and nutmeg expired in July. The orange oil will expire in September, with only 4 months of dating.

I think the company ought to put a disclaimer on the page that has short, dated oils.

Happy Blending,

Crystal

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What oils can I use to prepare for back to school?

Is there any way essential oils can protect from germs when going back to school? Is it hype? Or fact?

What is safe for children?

Hydrosols are a safe way to go, and trauma oil with no essential oils added are great for the little ones—infants and children under 5.  If you are unsure, these are also a great starting point for school-aged children.  Hydrosols are easy to find and great for topical skin use.

This post is going to focus on oils that can help keep us safer. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) and how they are airborne antimicrobials. I use roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) frequently in blends for adults and children.

Roman chamomile has an apple-like scent, not in an overpowering way. I like the oil for its antispasmodic and digestive therapeutic properties. I have a blend that I use for diarrhea. Roman chamomile has analgesic actions too.

Atlas cedarwood is an oil that I substitute in place of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) a lot. It is great for the cough and cold season. I have a couple of diffuser blends with cedarwood, for when they are sick, as an inhaler for allergies, or on a shower tab for congestion relief.

Orange (Citrus sinensis) – I love orange!  Who doesn’t? Kids love it.  Orange essential oils is not phototoxic, it is safe for use with children in blends.  Orange and lemon are in the Monoterpene chemical family.

Orange oil does not have the research to back the antiviral properties as much as the major component that is in the oil does.  That is d-limonene which is at a percentage of 96% in orange oil.  D-limonene activates white blood cells which are important for protecting against illness and disease. 

White blood cells are also called leukocytes. Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells, always at war flowing through your bloodstream to fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health.

Lemon (Citrus limon)  Is another citrus that most people recognize.  The difference between orange and lemon is that lemon essential oils is photo toxic.  Which means that using the oil then going outside in the sun is going to be a problem.  Keep the dilution under 2 % dilution to be safe. 

The chemical components in lemon oil are also d-limonene at 65%, y-terpinene at 10%, and b-pinene at 11%.  As with orange, lemon has the antiviral properties due to the d-limonene.  The b-pinene also has analgesic actions and the y-terpinene.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) Not in the citrus family, but the Lamiaceae family. Love the mints!  Peppermint is a monoterpenol, which is high in menthol and menthone.

Studies have shown that peppermint has antibacterial actions because of these chemical components.  Peppermint is said to also have an antiviral potential, helping to stimulate immune function.

Remember– to follow good hygiene  practices first to keep everyone healthy.

Many of you probably have favorite products with lavender.  From room sprays and diffuser blends to lotions and butters, lavender can cover a range of issues.  Lavender has so many uses and because it can be used neat or diluted it is great to carry in your bag.  From headaches and muscle aches to sore throats–dab lavender neat on a blemish, on the temple for a headache;  use a few drops of lavender in a carrier oil for a bedtime massage;  or use in a lotion base for a sore muscle blend.

Recipes for simple inhalers

An inhaler is a great way to use essential oils without any mess for grade school children.

My granddaughter loves and asks to make her own inhalers.

For boosting immunity (ages 6-12):     3 drops lavender, 3 drops sweet orange, 2 drops lemon in an inhaler.

For congestion in an inhaler:       3 drops cedarwood, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops tea tree.

For getting rid of germs:     3 drops cedarwood, 2 drops orange, 2 drops lemon and 1 drop lavender in an inhaler.

Making stock blends for any of these combinations is a timesaving way to have oils ready to use when needed.  All you have to do then is add a few drops to a diffuser when your family is sick.

Research and a few common oils can help protect everyone when returning to the classroom.

Be ready for the start of school.

Happy Blending, Crystal.

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Welcome to the new “Just essentials today” blog

“An elementary treatise” is dictionary.com’s definition of introduction; “an essay, commentary, review, composition or discussion” among many related words.

I have revamped my blog to talk about all things essential oils and herbs and incense, and so on….it is a journey.

Some of the topics I’ve covered in the past are:

     Summer and essential oils-how to stay safe in the sun.

     An introduction to carrier oils-it’s not just jojoba.

     Diabetes medication and essential oil use.

     Trauma oil and first aid.

Unfortunately, my website went away…everything. All posts, pages etc. So I get to start over. So maybe there will be a blog that you see again, I’ll get everything back sooner or later.

In the meantime, sign up for my email list to receive a newsletter about all things essential oils, herbal and what not.

Happy blending,

Crystal