Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)

Sweet marjoram header

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Synonyms: Marjorana hortensis. Do not confuse with Spanish marjoram (Thymus mastichina) or oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Aroma: Strong, fresh, herbaceous, sweet and slightly woody

Colour: Pale yellow

Marjoram 7Plant: Bushy perennial plant that grows up to 60 cms high with a hairy stem, dark green oval leaves and clusters of small white flowers.

Main Growing Areas: Southern Europe, France, Egypt

Major Constituents: terpinene-4-ol, para-cymene, alpha-terpineol, linalool, linalyl acetate.
Interesting snippets: Origanum comes from the Greek words oros and ganos meaning joy of the mountains.

The ancient Egyptians used sweet marjoram as a funeral herb and in their perfumes and medicines.

In Ancient Greece sweet marjoram was a funeral herb planted on graves to bring peace to the departed. The flowers were also used to crown young married couples as a symbol of love and honour.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Dried or fresh flowering tops and leaves by steam distillation. The yield varies between 1 and 2%.

Therapeutic actions: Muscular and nervous spasms, muscular stiffness. Sprains and strains, constipation, colic, wind, indigestion. Menstrual cramps, nervous cough

Emotional and Spiritual: Anxiety, nervousness, agitation, nervous depression and obsessions. Assists the acceptance of deep loss but don’t overuse as she can deaden the emotions.

Gabriel Mojay writes that sweet marjoram helps to calm obsessive thinking, ease emotional craving and promote the capacity for inner self-nurturing when a person feels lonely, unsupported, and that ‘no one cares’.

Robbi Zeck writes that when too much work, stress and emotional upheaval sweeps you along the torrent of life the mind and nervous system can become overwrought. Marjoram’s warm herbal aroma will strengthen your nervous system, rebuild your reserve, fortify your spirit and reduce obsessive thinking.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that sweet marjoram’s warmth carries with it the fire and sparks of the cosmos, with which we can make a connection to our own internal fire.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Marjoram

ANXIETY
Stop obsessive thinking and remove that negative groove from your brain. Feeling that no one cares or understands you. Creating anxiety for the sake of it does not achieve positive results. See anxiety for what it is and release it, you are free to do what you want. Marjoram will support you through the toughest and most anxious time but remember to accept help when it is offered. Marjoram oil will preserve your energies for times when depletion can occur. Be the idealist and banish anxiety from your life.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I ask for help and support and accept it with gratitude when it is offered.

Marjoram

Contemplations for the Soul:

Marjoram FCHC

Are you feeling stressed, worried and can’t concentrate due to your obsessive thinking?
Do you feel that no one cares about you or your problems?
Are you going through a challenging time and feeling emotionally overwhelmed?
It’s time to break the cycle and realize that obsessing and worrying over something will not change the outcome.
Whenever obsessive thoughts threaten to derail you remember you have done your best.
Sometimes the thought that no one cares is not true and people are more than willing to help.
When friends offer to help accept it and ask for help when you need it.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr J, Marjoram Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.26 (2003)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Worwood V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

 

 

 

Essential Oils for Grief and Loss

Essential Oils for Grief and Loss

We all go tGriefhrough periods of grief and loss in our lives. When thinking about grief and loss you may equate it with the death of a partner, parent, child, close friend, relative or even a beloved family pet but there are many events in your life where you experience loss. Some examples include the loss of a job or career, the loss of your home due to fire or being unable to pay the mortgage or because the owner of your rented house or apartment wanted to tear it down, renovate or sell it. You may go through a relationship breakup or divorce. You may face a loss of identity due to the amputation of a limb or your children growing up and leaving home. You may also grieve the loss of a dream that can never come true, for example finding out that you can never conceive a much longed for child.

With loss you lose hope or what is familiar and must embark on a new life in the unknown. It can take time to grieve for what you have lost especially if it was someone, thing or place that was deeply loved. Losing your sense of self can also take time to process and heal as you mourn the loss of a limb, breast, being a mother, father or carer or even leaving behind a life of drugs and/or alcohol for an addiction free life can result in your questioning who am I now or what do I do now?

All life is transition and change and it is how you deal with these losses that shape your life. Some you can pass through very quickly but others will take more time to process. Each person experiences loss and grief in their own way and must be given the time and space to express themselves.

Grief expresses itself in many different ways including but not limited to anxiety, fear, sadness, despondency, tears, guilt, anger, frustration, numbness, remorse, blame, regret, withdrawal, worthlessness, stress and depression.  You may do things that seem out of character for you. You may lose your appetite or eat continually trying to fill the void of what has been lost. You may sleep too much or be unable to get to or stay asleep. You may lose your hair or notice skin changes due to stress and anxiety. In Chinese medicine grief is considered to be the province of the lungs and so six months to a year after the loss you may suffer from lung related issues like flu, bronchitis or pneumonia.

If the loss was sudden and unexpected you may be in “what if..?” mode or regret the things you might have said or done or not said or done if you had known what was about to happen.

The following essential oils can help ease you through the grieving process allowing you to move on with your life. It is important when choosing which oils you will work with to keep in mind that aromas can be associated with a particular memory and to perhaps not choose a blend that you will use in the future which could be associated with your present loss and its painful memories especially in the case of the death of a loved one.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) joy
Bergamot helps to soothe your feelings of anger, frustration and blame. She helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel and bring a sense of joy back into your life. Don’t apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 24 hours as bergamot is phototoxic.

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) courage
Cedarwood gives you the courage and strength to hold firm in the midst of crisis and know that you will get through this.

Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) peace
Roman Chamomile helps you to feel at peace with the way you are feeling and soothes your feelings of being abandoned by the one you loved.

Cinnamon (Cinnamon zeylanicum) warmth
Cinnamon helps to dispel the numbness and isolation you may be feeling. She is emotionally warming and can help you regain your passion and purpose for life.

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) transition
Cypress is calming at times of transition and when difficult changes need to be made. She helps you to move on in your life.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) calm and centre
Frankincense helps to calm and centre you when your mind seems to be overwhelmed with thoughts of what must be done or should have been done. She slows and deepens your breath so you can think more clearly. She can help you break free of the past.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) balance
Geranium helps to even out the emotional roller-coaster you seem to be on. She brings a feeling of calm strength, security and balance and soothes feelings of anger, frustration and irritability.

Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) optimism
Grapefruit helps dispel the anger, frustration, blame and depression. She brings a sense of optimism that you will get through this time of loss.

Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua) safe
Kunzea helps to release the shock and pain of your loss and to know you are safe.

Lavender (Lavandula angustafolia) nurture and forgiveness
Lavender reminds you to take time to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually during this time. She allows you to forgive yourself for things left unsaid or undone.

Lemon (Citrus limonum) clarity
Lemon helps clear your mind so that you can think clearly. Often at this time you will be feeling confused or unable to think clearly. She will also help uplift you mentally and emotionally. Don’t apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 24 hours as lemon is phototoxic.

Linden blossom (Tilia vulgaris) love and respect
Linden blossom brings love and oneness to your heart and a respect for others and yourself especially when others seem not to care.

Marjoram (Marjoram hortensis) comfort
Marjoram can bring a sense of comfort and stop those anxious and what if thoughts that seem to be going on in your mind on a non-stop loop. She can help you accept your loss.

Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) healing
Myrrh brings a sense of inner stillness and peace that helps to ease your sorrow and grief and your feelings of loss and rejection.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) reassurance
Neroli helps to bring a sense that things will get better. She eases emotional exhaustion and helps bring unexpressed anger and feelings of denial to the surface.

Rose (Rosa damascena) compassion
Rose allows you to have compassion for the situation, person or yourself and to let go with love.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) stillness
Sandalwood can help you cut your ties with the past and move through your feelings of loss and isolation. She can bring a sense of clarity and moments of stillness.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoide) grounding
Vetiver helps to ground you offering you support and strength during this time of loss.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) tranquillity
Ylang Ylang helps calm feelings of anger and frustration and brings a sense of tranquillity. She has a very strong aroma so only a very little is needed.

HOW TO USE THE OILS
Look through the list and choose one to three oils that seem to resonate with how you are feeling. Either use the oils singly or in a blend in any of the following.

Vaporize 3 or 4 drops in a diffuser or oil burner to scent the room. A grapefruit and frankincense blend will work well here when you want to cleanse the room of heavy emotions and help you breathe deeper and easier.

Room or body mists. Add 50 mls of purified water or hydrosol to a 100ml coloured spray bottle then add 30 drops of your essential oil blend and fill the bottle with another 50 mls of water or hydrosol. Replace the top and shake the bottle before each use. You can use this to spray a room but be careful not to get on your furniture, spray on yourself or spray the area in front of you and walk through the mist to cleanse or heal your aura.

Inhalation. Put some cottonballs in a small bottle and add 3 drops of essential oil. Close the lid and take with you to sniff when you need the oils help. You can also place a couple of drops on a handkerchief to take with you or place under your pillow at night to help you sleep if you prefer. You can also use a personal inhaler.

Add 4 to 6 drops to some full fat milk and add to your bath. The milk allows the oils to disperse in the water rather than sit on top.

Make a massage blend using 4 to 5 drops in 10mls of vegetable oil to massage your tight neck and shoulders. A gentle hand massage may also be considered. You could also use the blend on your chest to help move the grief through your lungs and sleep at night.

In addition you may want to wear a rose quartz pendant. You could also place a small tumble stone in the vegetable oil you set aside to make your blend for a few hours so it can absorb the energies of the rose quartz. Rose quartz is well known as a stone of compassion and love that opens the heart chakra allowing deep inner healing so that you are able to let the person/ situation go with love.

An affirmation that might help at this time is “I am able to let go of this person/situation as I have compassion, love and respect for them/it and myself. I wish love and joy to both of us.”

Finally take time out to be with friends, go for walks and talk about your loss. Nourish yourself physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. If it is your partner, relative or friend who has experienced a loss simply be there to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on.

If you would like a personalised grief inhaler or massage blend feel free to send me an email to discuss your needs.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var.amara)

Neroli header

Neroli offers the gift of strength and courage that helps us to see life’s beauty.
Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: Orange flower, neroli bigarade.

Aroma: Bitter sweet floral

Colour: Pale yellow

Orange treePlant: An evergreen tree up to 10 metres high with glossy leaves and fragrant white flowers.

Main Growing Areas: Italy, Morocco, France, Egypt.

Major Constituents: a-pinene, a-terpinene, nerol, neryl acetate, farnesol, geraniol, linalool, nerolidol.

Interesting snippets:
Neroli is named after Anna Maria de La Trémoille, Princess of Nerola who in the 17th century used the oil to perfume her gloves, shawls, ribbons and stationery as well as in her bath.

In Sicily sprigs of orange tree are used to decorate images of the virgin Mary while in the past prostitutes in Madrid used neroli as their standard perfume.

In the south of France using orange blossoms in bridal wreaths or bouquets was associated with purity, virginity and fertility.

Neroli flowerPart of Plant used /Extraction: Blossoms of the bitter orange tree picked by hand on spring mornings. The best oil is obtained from blossoms where the bud is just beginning to open on a warm sunny day. The blossoms are then stored overnight and turned frequently to prevent heating and fermenting. Steam distillation of 1 kg of flowers produces 1 litre of orange flower water from which 1 gram of essential oil is obtained. The extraction process takes about 3 hours. Neroli is also available as an absolute.

Therapeutic actions: Relieves muscle spasms of the smooth muscles especially the small intestines and so may be useful in cases of chronic diarrhoea due to nervous tension.

Emotional and Spiritual: Emotional depression, stress, anxiety, and shock. Instils a sense of peace and aids in spiritual work. Promotes self-confidence and assists in reconnecting with one’s higher self.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi writes that for people who have become thin-skinned, neroli can strengthen their inner being and build a protective shield. When we are easily angered, the oil helps us shift our mood to a relaxed state that allows us to experience life with joy and calm.

Gabriel Mojay states that neroli may always be considered for deep emotional pain that robs us of hope and joy.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Neroli

(Courtesy of J.Jefferies & K. Osborn)

CHOICES
Neroli helps you to make choices in life, calming and soothing the mind giving reassurance and harmony to the soul.
Life is one grand bundle of choices that we make every second of the day. It is time for you to make some choices in life. Stop waiting for the right time to come, as it never does. Hindsight is wonderful but useless, you can only make a choice with the information that you have at any given time and we all have different information after the event. Grab onto life and take charge, make choices and move forward now. Trust your intuition, listen to your gut instincts. Honour your choices and take action. If you wait for the right time to do something perfect, you may miss out on what you are after.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I consider all my options and make a choice knowing I can always choose differently next time.

Neroli

Contemplations for the Soul:

Neroli contemplation

Is there some decision you are putting off because you can’t decide what to do?
Are you getting stressed, exhausted and depressed by some difficult choice you must make?
Are you feeling resentful and angry at having to be the one to make the decision?
Every moment in life you are making decisions and choices so make a decision now.
Not sure which decision is the right one? Sit quietly and listen to your inner voice or go with your gut instinct.
You maybe stressing over what the consequences of your decision will be but remember there will be consequences whether you act or do nothing.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising

Sources: Kerr J, Neroli, Petitgrain, Bitter Orange Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.5 (1998)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant change Healing Cards (2015)
Fischer-Rizzi S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)

Essential Oils and Anxiety

Essential oils and anxiety

AnxietyAnxiety is a mild form of fear where we react to a perceived threat. Fear is a necessary aspect of our lives as it alerts us to real danger and gives us a sense of self-preservation.

On the other hand anxiety is a reaction to an emotional threat that we don’t want to face such as grief, anger, embarrassment, perceived failure or guilt. Anxiety is our reaction to these emotions we believe will cause us harm and can manifest as a lack of self-confidence, a sense of apprehension or a feeling of insecurity or emotional unease. Some short term anxiety is natural as in the case of exam nerves or going for a job interview. Anxiety is only an issue when it becomes chronic or escalates into an acute state such as panic attacks where there is no real physical danger in most cases.

For many people anxiety is a future-oriented mood state in which they imagine all the negative scenarios and how they will react to them. For many this is a coping mechanism to deal with upcoming difficult situations or events. We don’t usually feel anxious if we are envisioning a positive outcome.

Worry is carrying

Anxiety may manifest physically as an elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, upset stomach, diarrhoea, muscle tension, headaches, tiredness and difficulty falling or staying asleep.

STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH ANXIETY
Meditation is a no cost or low cost strategy that allows your body to relax, release the fear and anxiety and repair and heal itself. Meditation can be as simple as going outdoors, taking off your shoes and socks allowing your feet or body to rest on the grass, sand or other natural surface and breathing slowing and deeply for 5 or 10 minutes

Tap into your wise all-knowing self. Sit quietly and ask if this is a situation you really need to worry about or can you trust that all will be fine.

Nourish yourself by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, maintaining healthy relationships, spending time in nature or the outdoors and doing the things that bring you joy.

Essential oils help you to relax as they go straight to the limbic brain the centre of our basic emotions and calm it down. They ground and calm you bringing you back to your body. You can try meditating with essential oils, vaporising them, using them in the bath or as a spray mist in your aura or on your physical body.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY
Bowl of frankincense tearsFrankincense (Boswellia carterii) deepens and slows the breath calming and centring the mind. She is particularly useful when the mind is overwhelmed by thoughts of what can go wrong. Frankincense will help you to access your wise all- knowing self allowing insight into your anxiety.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a balancing oil useful for anxiety and panic attacks. Overachievers and perfectionists who worry about the outcome or not being good enough can benefit from this oil.

Jasmine flowers

Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis) calms the nerves, releases tension and uplifts the mind. Jasmine can be of particular benefit when anxiety alternates with depression.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis/angustifolia/vera) is an oil that is readily available and is known as an aromatic “Rescue Remedy”. She eases nervous tension and can help ally feelings of panic as well as calm any strong emotions that threaten to overwhelm the mind.

Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) calms the mind when thoughts are going round and round in circles. She offers a sense of self nurturing especially when you are thinking that nobody cares.

Neroli flowerNeroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) reminds us that we always have a choice. She helps us to face painful emotions such as guilt, shame, hurt and anger and to find peace of mind once we have done so.

Rose (Rosa damascena) can assist those who suffer from deep anxiety caused by insecurity and a fear of losing control. Rose helps to heal deep emotional wounding and despair.