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Pre and Post Surgery and essential oils

There is some clinical scientific evidence in favor of EO use in various phases of pre- and postoperative treatment.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Can I use essential oils before my surgery?

The most appropriate oils to treat pre-surgical anxiety are Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and there is a variety of literature that backs that up. One of the major components of lavender EO is linalool. Clinical evidence of the relaxing efficacy of lavender EO was obtained by Braden et al. ( R. Braden, S. Reichow, andM.A.Halm, “The use of the essential oil lavandin to reduce preoperative anxiety in surgical patients,”Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 348–355, 2009.) who enrolled 150 adult patients undergoing different types of surgery and then randomly assigned to either control (standard care), experimental (standard care plus EO lavandin, Lavandula hybrida), or sham (standard care plus jojoba oil) groups. Oils were sniffed and applied on the skin before surgery. Visual analog scales were used to assess anxiety on admission to preoperative suite and operating room transfer. It resulted in that the lavandin group showed significantly lower anxiety during operating room transfer.

Is there research about essential oils used during surgery?

It has been demonstrated that a blend of essential oils, lavender (Lavandula officinalis), roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), and neroli at a ratio of 6 : 2 : 0.5 can reduce anxiety, increase sleep, and stabilize the blood pressure of patients undergoing cardiac stent insertion.
(M. Y. Cho, E. S. Min, M. H. Hur, and M. S. Lee, “Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013,Article ID 381381, 6 pages, 2013.)

NOW I have a scar!!

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay

Indiana University scientists reported that skin tissue treated with the chemical compound, beta-carophyllene — which is found in lavender, rosemary and ylang ylang, as well as various herbs and spices such as black pepper — showed increased cell growth and cell migration critical to wound healing.

“The way gene expression changed also suggests not only improved wound healing but also the possibility of less scar formation and a more full recovery. It’s an example that essential oils work; however, it’s not through our sense of smell.”

Indiana University. (2019, December 18). Chemical compound found in essential oils improves wound healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 4, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191218153447.htm

So even though there is research and evidence based information, there is no essential oil salve that is a magic bullet for scar prevention. More studies need to be research concerning analgesic properties during surgery…gee, I wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig for that!

That sounds promising, right? But what about postsurgery?

The paper, cited below, suggests that nonpharmacological methods, known as complementary therapies, are safer and have fewer side effects than medications. Aromatherapy is one of the types of complementary medicine that has recently attracted the attention of many researchers. In this method, a variety of herbal oils and essential oils are used. Peppermint blocks the serotonin and dopamine receptors that are involved in nausea. The results of this study indicate the equal effectiveness of inhalation aromatherapy with 10% and 30% peppermint essential oils in reducing the severity of nausea in abdominal surgery patients. Due to the ease of use of inhalation aromatherapy,
this method is recommended in patients undergoing abdominal surgery.
(Ahmadi, Y., Rezaei, J., Rezaei, M., & Khatony, A. (2020). Comparison of the Effect of Inhalation Aromatherapy with 10% and 30% Peppermint Essential Oils on the Severity of Nausea in Abdominal Surgery Patients. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM), 1–7. https://doi- org.mylibrary.wilmu.edu/10.1155/2020/5897465:)

Safety concerns involving eugenol, thymol, and carvacrol documented ingestion of these oils. I do not participate in that type of aromatherapy.

I think we can all benefit from the use of essential oils like lavender and orange for anxiety before surgery. When the doctor says that it is ok to use a salve, balm or lotion on an incision, it probably wouldn’t hurt to use one with Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) in it.

I hope you enjoyed the heavy hand on the research this week, as always,

Happy blending,

Crystal

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Bathing-or not with essential oils

During my studies at Aromahead Institute, we made a bath blend that mixed the essential oils with jojoba oil, then added that blend to epsom salt. This blend worked well, with no safety issues.

Image by andrea candraja from Pixabay

Oil and water do not mix in the bath! So how do I use essential oils?

So knowing that, essential oils cannot be dumped into the bath! Essential oils are lipophilic-meaning they are attracted to the fat in your body. Ouch! According to Robert Tisserand, of Tisserand Institute, if you want to use essential oils in the bath — or dilute them in any water, to use for things like body mists and sprays — this is the product we recommend: Solubol.(1) Solubol can be purchased from reputable essential oil sellers.

To use Solubol in the bath, use a 1:4 ratio. That is for every one drop of essential oils, use 4 drops of Solubol before adding to the bath.

Then there are things people use to think they can add essential oils to the bath-milk, cornstarch, baking soda, epsom salt, witch hazel, glycerine and alcohol….

None of these work for the bath.

Here is a brief explanation according to Robert:

Cornstarch
Regular cornstarch is oil and moisture absorbent in its dry form, but it cannot “hold” the essential oil. Once it is added to bath water, any essential oil added to the water will float or cling to surfaces and skin.
Baking soda
Baking soda is fully water soluble but will not “hold” or disperse carrier or essential oils. The oils will float in the tub.
Epsom salt or regular salt
Salt is fully soluble in water and will dissolve once added to your bath. However, adding essential oils to salt and then stirring does not properly dilute or solubilizing the oils, even if the salts appear dry. Salt is not a carrier for essential oils. You can first dilute your essential oils with a vegetable oil and then add to salt to create a “wet” mixture. The salt will mostly stay incorporated with the carrier oil/essential oil, but only until added to a bath. Then, the oils will be released to float and cling to skin and surfaces.

Milk (animal or vegetable)
Animal milks are an emulsion of fat in water. Nut and plant milks are created as stable emulsions of oil (fat) in water. All milks are water soluble and are not suitable carriers, dispersants or solubilizers for essential oils, again, because water and oil don’t mix. While you may be able to create a temporary emulsion between essential oils and milk, particularly in high fat content animal milk, at a molecular level there is nothing holding the drops of each liquid together except for the mechanical action of vigorous whisking. Once in the bath the essential oils float on the surface, perhaps slightly more dispersed than if undiluted oils were added, but not much. You will still have virtually undiluted essential oils coming into contact with your skin.
Witch hazel
Witch Hazel Distillate is all water and completely water soluble. Witch Hazel with 14% alcohol is also completely water soluble. Remember, water and oil don’t mix! The alcohol proof and percentage is too low to be an effective solubilizer for essential oils.
Glycerin
Glycerin is completely water soluble. Essential oils are oil soluble. Glycerin is not an appropriate carrier for essential oils because oil and water don’t mix!
Alcohol
At least 160 proof alcohol is necessary for proper dispersion of essential oils with 190 proof being preferable. Everclear and perfumer’s alcohol fall into this category and the purchase of both is restricted in some areas. (You cannot dissolve essential oils in vodka.) So long as you first dissolve the essential oil in the alcohol, a certain percentage of water can be added with no separation. However when added to a bath, any solution of alcohol and essential oil floats on the surface with an oil slick appearance. The alcohol rapidly evaporates, leaving the essential oil virtually undiluted to attach to your skin.
Aloe vera
There are several types of Aloe Vera leaf extract – Gel, Jelly, Juice and Liquid. There is also a powder that is meant to be reconstituted in water. None of these are appropriate carriers for essential oils in the bath. Aloe Vera Jelly, which has added thickeners and preservatives, may be used as an essential oil base for direct application to the skin. However, if added to the bath, the essential oils will separate and float, as with other watery bases.(2) 1,2 Robert Tisserand, Safety in the Bath,

If you use jojoba, castile soap, shampoo or shower gel, blend 5-20 drops of essential oils into

1 Tablespoon of product. Avoid peppermint or any mints, cinnamon, oregano, thyme ct. thymol, savory, or any oil that is a potential skin irritant. We’ll get into chemical families in a future blog…..phenols, aldehydes–oh my.

Use lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, rose, geranium, sandalwood, oils that are not irritating to the skin. Sign up for my FREE PDF an “Introduction to Aromatherapy”.

As always, Happy Blending,

Crystal

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Essential oils and skin care safety

About that essential oil you just bought,

Can you rub it on your skin? Can you dump it in the bathtub? Take it in a capsule?

Image by Kristijan Puljek from Pixabay

THE STOP SIGN IS THAT BIG FOR A REASON!

NOT SO FAST!

All these methods require pre-work, nothing goes anywhere straight out of the bottle. There are exceptions to that rule, which we discussed: Lavender, Helichrysum, and Tea tree oils.

In July, I posted a blog on carrier oils. Hopefully, you added one or two new ones to your shelf.

So, How do I go about using an essential oil on my skin?

DILUTION CHART IN 1 OZ OIL

%Number of dropsUsed for
1 %5-6 drops essential oilfaces, children, pregnant, compromised immune system
2 %10-12 drops essential oilmassage oils and daily use
3 %15-18 drops essential oilspecific injury of muscle, tendon and bone
4 %20-24 drops essential oillocalized areas ie., Chest congestion
5 %25-30 drops essential oilacute pain
DILUTION OF ESSENTIAL OILS IN 1 OZ (30 ML) OF CARRIER OIL

By using the chart above, for a 1% dilution in 2 oz. of carrier oil, multiply 5 or 6 drops x 2 = 10-12 drops and so on. The most common dilution is 1 or 2%. Always be safe and start with less essential oils.

I have found that 10% dilution works well to help modulate pain. I have never had to use a 25% dilution even for a severe ankle sprain or back strain. That dilution would be 25% 125-150 drops of essential oil.

The best thing to do is start on the weak side of the dilution, 1%. If that dilution is not working then blend a 2% product. Also, for a 3% dilution for a specific injury, it is important to use that product for a short duration (10-14 days), then use a 2% dilution for a more daily use. Always discontinue use if the product causes redness, rash, or burning.

Never use water in an attempt to flush the oil off the skin, as this may increase discomfort.

Stop using the Essential Oil and apply a carrier oil to the affected area.

Having discussed the dilution for topical skin use, in a future blog, I will discuss bath safety.

The Aromatherapy course that I participated in did not advocate the internal use of essential oils, so I will not go into that here.

As always sign up for my Introduction to Aromatherapy FREE PDF.

Be safe in your blending,

Crystal

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ESSENTIAL OILS AND BACK TO SCHOOL

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

Is it hype?

Or fact?

The kids are anxious to see their friends, to have structure, to learn.  Safety has been on the minds of everyone-even the kids. Like the previous Covid post, this post is going to focus on oils that can help keep us safer when going back to school.

I talked about Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) and how they are airborne antimicrobials. So after handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing procedures are in place what else can we do to protect our families?

Let’s add some more simple oils in our arsenal.  We can use what we have and not have to keep buying different oils.  Maybe you received a kit for Christmas, a birthday, Mother’s Day….what was in there? Lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, orange, peppermint and maybe frankincense oils?  Look on the internet-some sets have Lemongrass, rosemary, spearmint, grapefruit, bergamot, lime, and patchouli. The list goes on and on.

There is so much you can do with a handful of oils-Penny Price stated in a NAHA Webinar that you only need to have 30 oils in your box

Learn them. Use them.

Out of the oils I mentioned which ones are antiviral based on evidence-based research?

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

I picked three-lemon, orange and peppermint.

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.  We will talk more about that in a later blog.

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.

Ok-I am fascinated by chemistry……back to orange oil.

ORANGE

Citrus Sinensis

Common name:  Sweet Orange Family:    Rutaceae

Medicinal part used:  Rind Aroma:  Fruity, similar to orange peel.

Constituents:  d-limonene

Therapeutic benefits:  Analgesics, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, sedative, liver support/protector, immunostimulant, digestive aid.

Safety:  Non-toxic, use a 1-2% dilution for bath oils or massage.  Use organic oils because the oils are cold-pressed.

Notes:  Safe for kids.  Not photo toxic.

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.  Refer back to the Fun in the Sun blog.  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.

Lastly,

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.

How to arm yourself with these oils?  Some suggestions are:

  • Add a drop or two of lemon and orange oils to a room diffuser, running it at 30 minute intervals.
  • Add a drop or two of any of the oils above in hand soap or hand sanitizer, shaking before use to disperse the oils.
  • A 1% dilution of orange oil in an unscented lotion or cream smells good and is safe to use for children over 5.
  • Use lemon and peppermint in cleaning products for a bright, fresh smell to the room

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

Happy Blending,

Crystal

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ANTIMICROBIAL ESSENTIAL OILS

CAN THEY HELP WITH COVID-19?

Herbies, aromatherapists and holistic medicine users have used teas and tinctures, blends and oils to promote a better immune system. It all starts with good hygiene–sigh…

I know… let me tell you why.

A few years ago, I went to a local herbalist for a class on Prevention of cold and flu with herbs.

The very first thing for prevention was: wash your hands, keep them away from your face.

Oh, What about herbs? They are antimicrobial right?

The second thing was “Rest and be less stressed….” “and the herbs?” I thought.

We did talk about elder, ashwaghanda, garlic, and the like, but that was the start of the class.

Let’s dive inSo, how do essential oils keep us safe NOW?

Or during any cold and flu season? Can they?

A new study on “Essential Oils as Antiviral Agents, Potential of Essential Oils to Treat SARS-CoV-2 Infection: An In-Silico Investigation”, by Joyce Kelly, et all. (2020). shows essential oils as antiviral agents, and the potential of essential oils to treat the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

How cool is all that?

Image by Kumara Niroshan from Pixabay

Tea tree is safe to diffuse add 3-4 drops to clear the air. The aroma is medicinal.

For a musty bathroom, use a spray of 3-4 drops of tea tree oil in distilled water.

SIBERIAN FIR (Abies siberica)

Smells like a Christmas tree…..use in the diffuser with or without tea tree oil to clear the air in the winter season…or now with Covid. I’m not saying that essential oils cure viruses.

As with all diffusers, check the instruction manual on how many drops to use for your own diffuser. diffuse safely around pets by providing them access to leave the room. They might not like the smell.

It is best to diffuse 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off throughout the day rather than leaving the diffuser constantly on. A diffuser with a timer is great for this.

There are many uses for both of these oils, and I wanted to touch on the anti-microbial properties.

Go to my shop page

for the download.

Happy blending,

Crystal

Orchard, A., & van Vuuren, S. (2017). Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 4517971. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4517971