There are some precautions that must be followed when using essential oils:
• Oils should be stored out of reach of children.
• Do not take essential oils internally unless under the strict supervision of an aromatic medicine professional.
• Keep essential oils away from the eyes. If you do accidently get oil in your eyes, splash immediately with tepid water and seek medical advice if discomfort persists.
• Discontinue the use of essential oils immediately if you suffer an allergic reaction.
The following can be used as a guide to the possible contra-indications that may occur when using essential oils:
Many aromatherapists consider it sensible to avoid the use of the following oils during pregnancy – basil, clary sage, cypress, hyssop, juniper, sweet marjoram, myrrh, nutmeg, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, thyme.
Many aromatherapists consider it sensible to avoid the use of the following oils by anyone with hypertension – hyssop, rosemary, thyme, sage.
The following oils may cause the skin to burn if exposed to strong ultra-violet light from sunlight or a sun bed – bergamot, cold pressed lime, bitter orange, lemon.
The following oils may cause skin irritation to people with sensitive skin. (Sensitivity varies from person to person and from oil to oil) – basil, lemon, cinnamon bark, clove bud, lemongrass, thyme and tea tree.
We interviewed one of our resident aromatherapists, Manuela, about her experiences with essential oils, how aromatherapy has changed over the years and how the everyday person can integrate aromatherapy into their life.
When did you start with aromatherapy? What drew you to it?
At the time I fell in love with aromatherapy I was the trainer for another company which was also aromatherapy based. My previous background was pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and sales, training and management, and I felt I needed to seriously study aromatherapy to complete my full understanding of the product and the culture. It was the beginning of much study within the Remedial therapies realm, but also a personal development expedition. Once you begin the journey of discovery of essential oils and how they affect the mind, body and soul you can never go back to a time when everyday life rituals and solutions to everyday issues don’t involve essential oils in some way. The attraction for me was that once you understand the individual essential oils and how they affect the body and mind, you can solve so many issues without resorting to nasty drugs and chemicals, whilst loving the experience along the way. Aromatherapy is a feel good solution to life’s woes, in every sense of the concept.
I love that the academic knowledge base that exists for aromatherapy practices are time tried and proven and generally testing is not necessary as the effects have been proven over and over again and with humanity being the way it is if something doesn’t work it doesn’t not get passed on. Evidence based medicine (modern accepted standards) also incorporates historical empirical results and practices.
There is an almost seamless overlap between the natural health modalities models that becomes apparent with further study into each modality (Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western herbal medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Chakra therapy, Crystal therapy, colour therapy, Light therapy, etc..) and raises a sense of awareness that each model is not different or separate, but simply described in their own way. I loved this discovery and you will too, but I will leave that up to you. The pieces of the puzzle will become apparent along the journey.
What are your favourite essential oils and what do you use them for?
Needless to say, I have many. However, I love the aroma of vetiver, bergamot and peppermint eucalyptus as individual oils; they make me take a deep breath and smile all the way to the core. I feel that that is the one essential thing essential oils should do for you, and everyone should have a couple of go to essential oils that do just that, because when this happens your brain releases feel good hormones! We all need that on demand.
Since you started in the aromatherapy industry, what kinds of changes have you seen?
Lots! When I started studying aromatherapy back in the mid-1990s, which is so last century. Aromatherapy was booming, and aromatherapy classes were full to the brim! I went on to teach aromatherapy at university level for nine years and in that time the Health training packages changed to exclude aromatherapy in Natural Health Degrees which reduced the number of Natural Health Science students exposed to this modality of health care. Having said that, health care facilities and mainstream hospitals today use essential oils diffused in the wards more than ever before, I know because I see the orders coming in, so we must be getting somewhere in mainstream medicine acceptation on a practical level. However, there are not as many aromatherapists being trained today, unfortunately. Clinical Aromatherapy treatment practice is in danger of decline as less fully trained aromatherapists enter the industry. However, there are more products out in retail land claiming aromatherapy status, regardless of whether they are pure essential oils or not, which makes the word ‘aromatherapy’ more of a household word but may not be attached to real aromatherapy.
On a different note, real Aromatherapy has also gone down the Certified Organic road which is brilliant! Meaning that not only do we have pure essential oils available to us in the industry but we also have the Certified Organic quality oils. Making the quality of the tools we use so much more pure and effective.
Another ubiquitous change which is a major concern to me and to most trained Aromatherapist is the MLM buzz which promotes ingestion of essential oils. Any fully trained, even part trained Aromatherapist would never suggest essential oil ingestion for safety purposes. I will leave this one right there as it would go on for pages on end…
For someone who has never used aromatherapy before, where do you advise they start?
For a newbie aromatherapist, I would suggest that they begin with a few single oils that they absolutely love the aroma of, this is very important to train your brain to begin with. The oils you select will have aromas very specific to you and you need at that time and based on your previous experiences of those aromas. You will only like aromas that have a positive effect on how you feel. Forget for now the aromas you don’t like and don’t make you sing.
You will select aromas which make you feel good, this is ideal, you want to get excited when you smell it and it should make you smile and take a deep breath involuntarily. Don’t analyse your choices too much in the beginning, let your nose and brain do the choosing, and run with that. You should go home feeling so excited that you can hardly wait to get started.
Start with one essential oil, smell it while you read all about it. This will store that aroma in your brain with the information you are reading (the limbic system is the place which is responsible for memory, emotion, mood and learning). You can do this whilst smelling just the essential oil out of the bottle, or if you like the fuller experience diffuse the oil in a diffuser and have it going through the space you are in. Smelling it straight out of the bottle is stronger.
Then each time you smell that aroma you will remember all the information you read, truly!!! This can be applied to studying incredibly successfully.
Use a chosen oil for each subject you are studying, inhale it or diffuse it whilst you are working on that subject and when you have to retrieve the information you have just learned in the presence of that aroma, you can do this by smelling that essential oil. Try this in an exam situation it is magical. Use it whilst it is still legal.
To get you started I suggest trying these single oils, but remember that it is best if you love it!
To celebrate Australian Organic Awareness Month, Sal Battaglia discusses the importance of organic products in aromatherapy and the significance organic means for Perfect Potion products.
Living an Organic Lifestyle – by Sal Battaglia
Many people turn to organics for their health and wellbeing. Whether it is the food we eat, the products we inhale or the products we put on our skin – chemically processed products increase and enhance the risk of potentially harmful toxins entering body that increase the risk of creating potentially harmful free radicals that can be carcinogenic or pro-inflammatory.
Using organics is therefore such an important step in maintaining our health and wellbeing.
Just as important is the health and wellbeing of our planet. When we make the decision to use organics we are playing a vital role in supporting those farmers who utilize farming practices that will not pollute or harm the environment or wildlife. Organic farming is often done on a much smaller scale and essential oils produced from organically grown plants are often a little more expensive, however this does represent the true cost of growing high quality, chemical free products. Also what value do you put on your health and that of your family.
As an aromatherapist, I am also asked what is the difference between a conventional commercial essential oil and a organically produced essential oil. Well number one is the fact that most commercial conventional essential oils are chemically adulterated. This is unfortunately something that happens all too often in the essential oil industry and most essential oil traders turn a blind eye to it – providing all sorts of excuses such as improved pharmacology and better aroma by rectifying or adulterating the oil. What a load of goobly dooks!
I decided to have our organic lavender tested in Japan at a laboratory that uses Kirlian photography and GDV (Gas discharge voltage) technology to test the energetic qualities of the oil.
The proof is in the results. Our organic lavender oil not only had a stronger energetic qualities, it also had a much wider and active bandwidth. This clearly goes to show that when we produce an essential oil or be it food organically it has a stronger energetic quality or dare I say “lifeforce”.
Unfortunately contemporary science is not advanced enough to understand such concept of lifeforce, however in traditional healing systems such Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lifeforce is integral to promoting health and wellbeing.
I firmly believe that not only is the lifeforce of the plant is enhanced when the plant is grown organically, the lifeforce is destroyed when the plant is cultivated by conventional non-organic means.
So by supporting organics, we are securing a better and healthier future for ourselves, our children and our planet!
One of the many things I love about traditional Folk Medicine is that you can easily create your own natural remedies for less than the cost of a loaf of bread. Last week as we entered into the season of Spring, I was seeking to do something purifying and cleansing for my body. As I flicked through my herbal medicine study notes, I came across a great Folk Remedy, known as Medicinal Vinegar. I knew that our Perfect Potion Detox Herbal Tea Blend would be the star ingredient for making this.
Medicinal Vinegar Elixir
Vinegar effectively extracts the potent properties in dried herbs, therefore it essentially pulls out the goodness from the herbs into the vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar, offers many health benefits and can be helpful for maintaining normal blood sugar and cholesterol levels, is excellent for maintaining healthy skin and hair as well as aids in digestion and managing fatigue.
Fill the sterilised jar half way with the dried herbs. Pour the apple cider vinegar over the herbs until the jar is filled to the top. Cover tightly and allow to extract for 2 weeks in a cool, dark place. Be sure to shake the jar every couple of days.
After 2 weeks, strain the herbs through a cheesecloth. Decant the clear vinegar liquid into a sterilised glass bottle using a strainer or funnel. Cap tightly, label, and store for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place. As a general guide, take 1 tablespoon of the medicinal vinegar in a little warm water up to 5 times a day or when needed.
Both are 100% pure essential oils and both have the spicy, warming and invigorating scent of ginger. However, Ginger CO2 is extracted in such a way that it also contains gingerols and shogaol, compounds that contribute to the sharp, pungent smell and taste of fresh ginger. Care must be taken with these compounds as they can cause irritation, and should not be used in a diffuser or added directly to a bath. We love Ginger CO2 so we are putting together a collection of recipes to help you get the most from this wonderfully spicy essential oil…
Abundant Ginger Pulse Point
Combine the following ingredients into a glass roller bottle and transport yourself to a warm tropical beach with this invigorating blend.