Sweet orange and Clove bud oil

Orange with cloves

I’m getting into the festive season by putting Sweet orange (citrus sinensis) combined with Clove bud oil (syzygium aromaticum) into my oil burner. Add a drop of each to a teaspoon of water, light the candle and breathe. 

You may have come across Clove bud oil if you’ve had toothache as it is high in eugenol, a chemical that numbs the nerves. It can also be found in food. If using Clove bud oil in a massage, do not combine with other oils high in eugenol such as Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and Cinnamon (leaf and bark) as these oils should always be used in small amounts due to their chemical make up. Also, I would never recommend ingesting any essential oil, consult a qualified aromatherapist or your doctor before use.

Yet Clove bud oil is highly effective and although recommended to be used with caution, there is research about how successful it is for dealing with pain and bacteria. It is anti inflammatory and an analgesic, good for musculoskeletal pain such as arthritis. It is an immunostimulant so can be used after a period of illness, or you are feeling physically debilitated.

It is a relaxing, warm oil and can create a peaceful atmosphere with it’s rich, spicy but sweet aroma, and hints of woody, fruity notes which is why I’m recommending it in a oil burner or diffuser (2/3 drops of Clove, 4 drops of Orange). Combined with the fresh, uplifting scent of Sweet orange, let these oils fill your room with festive ambience.

Avoid in pregnancy, those who are taking immunosuppressant medication. Can cause skin irritation.

Bathe in forest Pine

I’m starting Advent with the festive healing scent of Pine (Pinus sylvestris), or Scots Pine as it is known, which has a fresh, woody, resinous – somewhat harsh – aroma. The oil is extracted from the needles of this diamond shaped tree, making it a Christmas tree favourite. It is also the national tree of Scotland.

Like most essential oils, Pine has medicinal qualities. It is rich in monoterpenes making it an excellent expectorant, both anti-viral and bactericidal, therefore good for respiratory congestion such as asthma and bronchitis. It can also have a clearing effect for the common cold. It has wound-healing properties for inflamed skin such as eczema and is an anti-inflammatory for muscular aches and pains, and arthritis. Put 1-2 drops in a burner at this time of year to clear the air and get you into festive mood.

The scent will remind you being in a pine forest because it is the evaporation of the essential oils from the pine needles that creates the scent when you are in a forest environment. For those who are spending more time indoors, when you burn this oil, it will create that space – a healing space – where you can imagine yourself taking a slow, mindful walk through a pine forest and you can experience the sensory power of a forest bath.     

Do not use in pregnancy. It is a very stimulation oil so not recommended for high blood pressure or those with sensitive skin. Consult a doctor or qualified aromatherapist if you have any concerns.

How Aromatherapy can help rehabilitate survivors from Corvid-19

This interview from Science Weekly about Corvid-19 discusses how scientists and health professionals are trying to understand the virus and how best to treat it for those who have survived but are still experiencing chronic symptoms such as coughs, colds, muscle pain, lung, heart and kidney issues, and general exhaustion. What has become clear in these very uncertain times is that the virus is diverse and affects different people in different ways. Understanding how to treat the virus is understanding the variety of symptoms people are experiencing, and the effects it has, or has had, upon our bodies and minds.

Last week NHS England launched a “revolutionary on-demand recovery service” which offers rehabilitation treatments for those who have had Covid-19 but still have problems with breathing, muscular pain, coughs, as well as experiencing mental health problems or other complications. As an Aromatherapist listening to this, I believe that some of the symptoms of Corvid-19 – and the focus here is on chronic (long term) – can be treated using Complementary Therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, reflexology as well as physiotherapy and bio-medicine.

Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, coughs, physical and mental exhaustion, low immunity are treatable using aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage. Indeed, promoting well-being, helping with stress relief and creating an environment for relaxation are very much at the heart of all Complementary Therapies, and although the focus for health professionals treating patients who’ve had Covid-19 may be specific parts of the body such as lungs, kidneys, heart, blood; working on the idea of also treating the whole person, which is a holistic approach, will also help treat specific areas. The reason I say this is because essential oils are multifaceted.

What does this mean exactly? Well, if a client approached me and said they were tired, run down and had a constant cold, one oil I would recommended using is a citrus oil such as Lemon (Citrus limon). Lemon is known to help boost the immune system so is excellent for symptoms of flu and colds such as catarrh, fever, congestion. It can also be used to treat asthma and bronchitis. This is because Lemon has chemical properties that are antiviral, bactericidal – good for fighting infections. However, Lemon is also good for stimulating the circulatory system, it can lower high blood pressure, slow external bleeding such as nosebleeds; it is detoxifying and a diuretic. Furthermore, it has a positive effect upon the nervous system; it is calming, clarifying, uplifting. I would recommend it for skin problems such as acne, oily skin, boils and warts. It’s fungicidal so can treat thrush. It is anti-inflammatory and therefore good in a massage for musculoskeletal pain. All in all, Lemon is a great tonic for both the mind and body.

Therefore, essential oils contain many different and diverse chemical components with many different indicators and when used for one particular treatment, they also help other symptoms too. Sometimes those symptoms may not be outlined by the client in consultation. But as most symptoms are interrelated, treatment for one, is treatment for all. For example, a client may not be sleeping due to stress at work and they may also have sore neck and shoulders due to working at a computer for long periods. After consultation they may opt for an aromatherapy massage after which they report feeling more relaxed which results in them sleeping better; because they sleep better they are less tired have more energy for exercise, spending time doing something they enjoy; they may be more rested so are eating better as they have more energy to home-cook, and generally, they report feeling better all-round in terms of health and well-being. Understanding which part of the treatment ‘worked’ could be impossible, but one thing this is for sure, the client reports feeling less congested, well rested and generally ‘better’.

My proposal would be for NHS England to embrace Complementary Therapies for treating the long term effects of Covid-19 and become part of the package of care for those suffering with chronic symptoms.

Here are some oils combinations and how you can use them to address particular symptoms relating to Covid-19:

Coughs: Thyme, Peppermint and Cedarwood

Sinusitis: Lemon, Tea tree and Lavender

Catarrh/mucous: Lemon, Lavender and Ginger

1 drop of each in an oil burner (or 2 drops of each in a diffuser), or 1 drop of each on your pillow at night. Make sure you turn the pillow over so the oils do not touch the skin.

2 drops of each in a warm bath before bed. Mix with some bath salts or carrier oil such as sunflower or grapeseed.  

Muscular problems and tension: Grapefruit, Black pepper, Benzoin

2 drops of each in 15 ml of carrier oil (Grapeseed, Sunflower, Coconut) and massage into tired muscles.

2 drops of each in a warm bath before bed. Mix with some bath salts or carrier oil such as sunflower or grapeseed.  

Emotional exhaustion: Bergamot, Lavender, Sandalwood

2 drops of each in a warm bath before bed. Mix with some bath salts or carrier oil such as sunflower or grapeseed.  

Fatigue: Basil, Sweet orange, Rosemary

Add 3 drops of each into a rollerball mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or sunflower oil. Use as often as you need to.

Insomnia: Bergamot, Chamomile, Sandalwood

1 drop of each on your pillow before bed

2 drops of each in a warm bath before bed. Mix with some bath salts or carrier oil such as sunflower or grapeseed.  

Safety: do not use direct onto the skin, do not ingest, keep away from children, store bought oils in a cool dark place, buy from a reputable supplier (ATA approved), check with a qualified aromatherapist or your GP before treatment if you have any health issues or have questions or concerns.

A humble herb with a big personality!

I was exploring the garden after the rain as is full of surprises; raindrops clinging to stems, snails galore and summer fruits gleaming, freshly washed and ready to pick. I noticed the Thyme nestled against Sage and Mint in a pot near my back door, it had flowered and it got me thinking of the essential oil – Thymus vulgaris. This oil is extracted from the flowers and leaves, and can have a powerful, medicated herbaceous odour or a soft, sweet, woody aroma depending upon which variety you use. There are many different types of Thyme – red, white, sweet, Moroccan, wild – and they have different chemical compositions. I’m focussing here on Red Thyme (Thymus vulagris thymoliferum) which is rich in PHENOL making it a powerful antiseptic and pain killer.  Folk tradition sees Thyme being used by ancient Egyptians during the embalming process and in ancient Greece against infectious diseases. In fact, the Greek word Thymos means ‘to perfume’ and it has traditionally been used to preserve meat. Thyme is a good painkiller, it can be used for tooth ache, gum infections as well as musco-skeletal conditions such as arthritis and sports injuries.  Thyme is also described as ‘wound healing’ and can be used for most skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, insect bites, acne and burns. Having said that, it can cause skin irritation so should be used with care and diluted properly; if you have concerns, consult a qualified Aromatherapist before use. It is a stimulating oil, it gets things moving in your body, boosting your immune system, increasing blood flow so great for poor circulation, raising your blood pressure. It is an expectorant, mucolytic, and decongestant so good to use if you have asthma, bronchitis, coughs, sore throats. Who knew such a humble herb had such a big personality! It blends beautifully with citrus oils such as Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin as well as Rosemary, Lavender, Tea tree, Marjoram, Juniper.  It should not be used in pregnancy, and avoided if you have sensitive skin, low blood pressure or taking immunosuppressants.  

Every house should have one….

Every house should have a bottle of Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). With its distinctive, antiseptic aroma, extracted from the leaves of the tree, it can be applied neat to treat and prevent ALL infections including bacteria, viruses and fungi and, according to one study, MRSA and the treatment of flu. What is unique about Tea tree is that it can stop the spread of virulent organisms such as Staph infections which cause skin irritations like impetigo, styes, conjunctivitis and athletes foot. It can also stop the spread of Candida albican, commonly known as thrush. It can treat insect bites and verrucae. Put one drop of Tea tree onto a cotton bud and apply to the affected area. If you do not want to apply neat, mix 1 drop with 5 mls of blending cream or aloe gel and apply to the area (at least once a day). If you are suffering from athletes foot, put up to 8 drops into a bowl of warm water and bathe your feet. Make sure you thoroughly dry your feet afterwards. It will ease itching and offer welcome relief. I always have a bottle to hand, it is inexpensive and can be bought from most pharmacies and health food shops. Make sure when you purchase Tea tree, the Latin botanical name (Melaleuca alternifolia) is displayed, which will ensure that it is from the plant and is not diluted with another oil. Do not use during pregnancy, if you are taking immunosupressant medication or have sensitive skin.

Happy Summer Solstice!

The lily is ‘the flower of light’.

For the lily to blossom, it must grow through muddy waters. It grows up towards the light and then opens like a heart. Out of this struggle is exceptional beauty and, in Eastern philosophy, the flowering of human potential and consciousness. Here is a lily in my pond. Still a bud but ready to bloom. Happy Summer Solstice to all.

Energising Lime

I woke up today and the house felt stuffy. I had a feeling for Lime (Citrus aurantifolia). This is an oil I have just recently discovered and I love its sharp, tangy, sweet, fruity aroma. Lime belongs to the Rutaceae family alongside oils such as Lemon, Grapefruit and Orange. They contain Limonene which gives them their distinctive flavour. Lime is good for relieving musculoskeletal tension, it aids digestion such as cramps and spasms. It also supports the circulatory system as it is bactericidal and antiviral. And, it promotes a sense of well-being, helping with anxiety and stress. Citrus fruits are grown in sunny climates so these oils help lift our spirits. It blends well with oils such as Sandalwood, Ginger, Lemongrass, Frankincense and Patchouli. But today I’ve put 2 drops in my oil burner along with a drop of Sweet Orange, a drop of Lemon and one drop of Eucalyptus globulus (odour eater) to freshen up my space and give me some well needed energy.

Aromatherapy Awareness Week

Some essential oils are classified as hypertensive (stimulating) or hypotensive (relaxing) and therefore when absorbed into the body can affect our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. For example, Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is a hypertensive oil. It has a clean, refreshing, camphoraceous aroma containing oxides which stimulate the nervous, digestive and reproductive system. It is cephalic which means it’s good for your head; it stimulates memory, helpful for mental fatigue, headaches and lethargy. One drop in your palm (rub together and breathe in) before an exam can be clarifying. It is not recommended for those with high blood pressure. On flip side, Ylang ylang (Canaga odorata) – a sweet, heavy oil, is hypotensive. Containing sesquiterpenes it is calming, balancing and relaxing. It regulates the flow of adrenaline therefore reduces blood pressure. If you are feeling stressed, frustrated, angry or panicky, 1-2 drops of this oil in an oil burner or on your pillow at night will smooth and balance your hormones. These oils go beautifully together. Combine 1 drop of each in a burner and get the best of both worlds. Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week!

NHS Natural Health School

“Our mission is to develop a new generation of expert complementary therapists for the future.”
It’s Aromatherapy Awareness week and today I’m recommending the NHS Natural Health School based in Harrogate where I completed my training as an Aromatherapist this year. This quote above is their mission statement and they still have places for courses starting in September including Massage, Reflexology and Aromatherapy plus a host of other courses for practising therapists.
Check out the school here: https://nhsnaturalhealthschool.co.uk/