Monthly Archives: August 2015

Rosemary And Creativity

rosemary and creativity header

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living.”
Madeleine L’Engle

Each essential oil has its own energetic signature. Rosemary is for both remembrance and creativity. The above quote by Madeleine L’Engle illustrates the creativity aspect of rosemary.

We are all born creative although some people think only of artists, writers, singers, sculptors and film makers as creative but everyone is creative. Each and every moment you are creating your life and you show your creativity in a multitude of ways. The meals you prepare, the way you raise your children, the career you have and the energy you put into it, the clothes you wear, the furniture you choose for your house or apartment, the garden you plant and the way you communicate with others.

Some people think or say they are not creative but they show their creativity in many other ways in addition to the above. It may be in the way you blend your oils, arrange flowers, soothe an angry person or help someone see the way to heal themselves. People may comment on your creativity or ability in a certain area but you may not see it because it seems so natural to you.

The other aspect of rosemary is remembering not only those who have died or otherwise left you, events from the past or facts but also your true self which may have gotten lost in your day to day living.

Rosemary can help you remember your creativity, who you really are and your purpose. So I would like to add to Madeline’s quote “Rosemary helps us to remember who we truly are and reminds us that creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living.”

You can use rosemary in a diffuser, an inhaler or as part of a massage or anointing blend.

Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)

Spike lavender header

Spike lavender although not as well-known as true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the first oil I reach for  in cases of respiratory and muscular issues.

Family: Lamiaceae, Labiatae.

Synonyms: Lavandula spica, Aspic lavender.

Aroma: Fresh, floral-camphoraceous, smells similar to rosemary.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Plant: Shrub grows from 30 to 80 cm tall. The flowers are pale violet on loose spikes at the top of tall, branchy stems that lean over somewhat.

Main Growing Areas: Spain, Italy,  France and  Portugal.

Major Constituents: 1.8 cineole, camphor, linalool.

Interesting snippets: Spike lavender grows at low altitudes whereas true lavender grows at high altitudes hence its high camphor content and aroma. Spike lavender is more stimulating than true lavender.
Spike lavender was used by the ancient Romans to scent their bath water.
The word Aspic comes from the Greek meaning “Egyptian cobra”. It’s possible that this name was chosen because the ancients used Spike lavender against the venom of the asp.

Part of Plant used/Extraction: Flowering tops. Steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: This is an excellent respiratory oil. Use it for bronchitis, laryngitis, headaches associated with catarrh and the onset of colds and flu with fatigue, chilliness, aches and pains. It is useful for  muscular spasms and cramps and sore overworked muscles as well as rheumatic pains and menstrual cramps. Relieves insect bites and stings. Helpful for shingles, chicken pox, wound healing and burns.

Emotional and Spiritual: Useful for nervous tension, anxiety and depression. It helps to ease frustration, irritability and moodiness in people who find it difficult to express themselves. Instils feelings of vitality and confidence while easing tension and anxiety in those with chronic fatigue.

Safety: Because of its camphor content it is perhaps wise not to use with epileptics whose seizures are not controlled by medication.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Guba R, The Really True, True Lavender Story. JAM Winter (2002)
Kerr J, Lavender Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.8 (1998)
Mailhebiau P, Portraits in Oils. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1995)
Mojay G, Spike Lavender Class notes

Four Ways to Use Essential Oils

There are many different ways you can use essential oils. Here are four of them.
Clarity InhalerDirect Inhalation – This is one of the easiest ways to experience essential oils. Simply open the bottle and sniff. You can also put one or two drops on a handkerchief or tissue. Alternatively put a few cotton balls into a small bottle such as a used essential oil or tablet bottle add 2 or 3 drops of essential oil, close the bottle. When you need to smell the essential oil simply open the bottle and sniff. The aroma will last a long time. This is useful for people with anxiety who may use a particular oil to calm them down. Or add up to 15 drops of your favourite blend to a personal inhaler.

Steam Inhalation – Fill a bowl with hot water; add 3 or 4 drops of essential oil. Place a towel over your head, close your eyes and with your head above the water breathe in the steam. Be careful to have the bowl on a flat surface. Also make sure there aren’t any young children nearby. This is very effective for treating colds and flu.

Add 6 to 8 drops to half a cup of full fat milk and then add that to the bath water and swish the water around before getting in. By adding the milk you help the oils disperse through the water instead of sitting on top. Be careful which oils you use. Oils like lavender, geranium, chamomile and ylang ylang are fine but you may regret adding ginger, nutmeg or any of the hot stimulating oils.

Woman having an aromatherapy massageMassage is a very enjoyable way to experience the essential oils. Use 10 to 12 drops in 25 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil. For sensitive skin 5 to 7 drops is enough. Massage is wonderful for relieving muscle aches and pains, stress, and nervous tension. It can also help to ease the muscle cramps of PMS.

Make your own unique perfume by adding up to 7 drops of essential oil to 10mls of jojoba or a cold pressed vegetable oil. Alternatively rose, jasmine or neroli essential oils in 2 or 3% jojoba can be applied straight to the skin.