Monthly Archives: December 2015

Myrrh (Commiphora molmol)

myrrh header

Myrrh is one of the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men. She has a long history of use both for wound healing and as a spiritual aid.

Family: Burseraceae

Aroma: Spicy, pungent, balsamic, resinous.

Colour: Light brown to reddish brown.

Myrrh treePlant: A small stunted tree with scanty leaves and small white flowers.

Main Growing Areas: Somalia, Ethiopia, the Middle East and northern India.

Major Constituents: Delta-elemene, alpha-copaene, beta-elemene, curzerene, furanoeudesma-1,3-diene, curzerenone.

Interesting snippets: The name myrrh comes from the Arabic murr meaning bitter.

Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians in religious ceremonies, embalming, fumigating, cosmetic preparations and perfumes.
Myrrh tearsThe trunk of the tree naturally exudes a pale yellowish oleoresin through the fissures in its bark which harden to semi-transparent reddish brown tears on exposure to air. The natives make incisions in the bark and collect the resin once it is dried and ship it off to various countries for distillation. The trees then require 6 months to two years to recover and if not given this time will wither and die.

Myrrh was given as a gift to Jesus at his birth and on his death a mixture of myrrh and aloes was applied to the linen his body was wrapped in.

Part of Plant used /Extraction: Resin by steam distillation. The resin can contain 25-45% resin, 40-60% gum and 3-8% essential oil.

Therapeutic actions: Wound healing, mouth ulcers, dry cracked skin, weepy eczema, tinea, coughs, bronchitis, painful periods.

Emotional and Spiritual: Use for people who feel stuck in their lives and want to move forward emotionally and spiritually. Helps balance the upper and lower chakras.

Gabriel Mojay writes that myrrh is able to instil deep tranquillity of mind and is one of the principal oils for overthinking, worry and mental distraction. Myrrh subtly helps to close the wounds of both loss and rejection.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Myrrh aromatherapy insight card                                                     Courtesy of J Jefferies & K. Osborn

Remove mundane thoughts and be inspired by what is possible. Tap into your dreams and visions to release a liberating strength and awareness. Be curious, seeing only possibility. Myrrh helps you be still and grounded while being inspired so that you can manifest your dreams.

Contemplations for the Soul:

Myrrh Contemplation for the Soul

Are you feeling overwhelmed, rejected, or have lost someone or something precious to you?
Are you stressed, confused, worried or lacking clarity?
Have you been wounded physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually?
Ask your family, friends and angels to support you through this difficult time.
Spend time in nature to bring you some inner calm, peace and tranquillity.
Although it may be difficult if you have been wounded, learn to trust both yourself and others again.
If you are feeling stressed look at all the possibilities and accept that there may be other answers that you are not yet aware of.

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)
Kerr, J, Myrrh Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.23 (2002)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)

7 Tips to Ease Christmas Stress

7 tips to ease Christmas stress header

Although most people find Christmas a happy and fun time it can also be a stressful time. The need to shop for presents, send cards and spend time with relatives and people we don’t particularly care for and eating and drinking too much can all result in stress.

Christmas can also be a bittersweet time if loved ones are no longer with us. There can also be conflict and misunderstanding when all the family gets together.

Christmas is not as much about opening presents as opening our hearts

Try the following 7 tips to lower your stress this Christmas.

1. Deep breathing
If you are feeling very anxious or stressed try some deep slow breathing, just focussing on your breath. If you can go outside and put your bare feet on the grass while you breathe that’s even better. You may also like to use an Aromastick to bring feelings of calm.

2. Take time out for yourself
Woman Lying in a Bathtub Holding a MugHave a relaxing bath or massage, listen to some of your favourite music, eat some chocolate or your favourite food and take the time to really taste and savour it. Do something you really like just for yourself.

3. Take some time out to meditate or listen to a relaxing visualisation.

4. Get plenty of sleep
Sleeping womanIt’s easy to burn the candle at both ends at this time of year but you’ll find you will cope better if you get plenty of sleep. Not enough sleep can make you tired, irritable and unable to cope with even minor upsets. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep try making a blend of 2 drops lavender, 2 drops geranium and 1 drop sandalwood in 10 mls of vegetable oil and rub into your chest, neck and shoulders about half an hour before going to bed. This should make enough for a few nights use.

5. Drink plenty of water.
Keep yourself well hydrated especially during these hot days of summer. If you are drinking alcohol remember to also drink some water in between drinks.

6. Ask for help.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help before everything gets too much for you and you start resenting others.

7. Scent your Christmas tree.
Christmas treeIf you have an artificial tree you may like to take a few cotton balls and add a few drops of spruce, pine, cinnamon or whatever aroma reminds you of Christmas and happy times and place them in hidden little corners of your tree to bring the scents of Christmas into your home. Alternatively you could add a few drops of a blend to your diffuser to keep things calm.



Reflexology and Essential Oils

Reflexology and Essential Oils
foot reflexologyReflexology is a very relaxing therapy that works on the various parts of the body through the feet, hands and ears.
Essential oils can also contribute to this relaxation by adding another dimension to the session.  They can be used in various ways.

Using an aroma diffuser or oil burner is one of the easiest ways to introduce essential oils into the reflexology treatment. Choose an oil that the person likes from the following list, all are relaxing. Place 3 or 4 drops into the diffuser or oil burner.
Geranium, lavender, mandarin, neroli, palmarosa, petitgrain, sandalwood.
You may also choose to diffuse one or two of the antibacterial oils during the cold and flu season.

Foot bath
Woman Soaking Her FeetWhile you are taking a client’s history or as a prelude to the treatment you may like to use essential oils in the footbath. Antibacterial or antifungal oils can be used if you wish. Note that if you don’t use a solubiliser, use full fat milk or bubble bath to mix the oils in before adding to the bath or else the essential oils will sit on top of the water. 2 or 3 drops of essential oil is enough for a footbath.
Antibacterial oils include eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, niaouli, pine, tea tree.
Antifungal oils include, geranium, lavender, lemon, marjoram, myrrh, teatree.

You can make your own cream or lotion to use on the feet during the session if you wish. To 10 grams of aqueous cream or lotion add up to 4 drops of your chosen oil or blend and mix in well. A mini mixer used for mixing drinks works well.
You may also choose to add a drop of essential oil to the reflex area being worked. Roman chamomile in 3% jojoba works well to calm the solar plexus or for digestive problems. Rose in 3% jojoba in the heart area can be used for grief or emotional issues. A drop of basil mixed with a drop or two of cold pressed vegetable oil can be applied to the toes to stimulate the brain or aid concentration.

Completing the treatment
You may wish to massage the client’s feet and legs as a way to finish. Again essential oils used in a cream or cold pressed oil can be a wonderful way to do this. In this case you may choose to use some stimulating oils to send them on their way. To make a blend use a total of 4 to 5 drops of essential oil in 10mls of cold pressed vegetable oil.
Stimulating oils include basil, jasmine, peppermint, rosemary.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Frankincense header

…and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts; gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10

3 wise men

Frankincense is an oil that is often associated with Christmas as she is  one of the gifts given by the three Magi to the baby Jesus. She also has had a long tradition of being used in religious ceremonies.

Family: Burseraceae

Synonyms: Olibanum

Aroma: Fresh, slightly camphorous

Colour: Pale to greenish yellow

Frankincense treePlant: Frankincense is a small tree that grows to a height of  7 metres. It has abundant narrow leaves and white or pale pink flowers.

Main Growing Areas: Somalia, southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and Northern India

Major Constituents: a-pinene, sabinene, limonene, myrcene, octanol, ocytl acetate

Interesting snippets: Frankincense has been burnt in temples and used in religious ceremonies for centuries and continues to be used even today for that purpose.

The Egyptians believed Frankincense was the sweat of the Gods, which had fallen to earth.
The earliest recorded use of Frankincense was found in an inscription on the tomb of Hatshepsut, a 15th century BC Egyptian queen.
Kohl, the eyeliner used in ancient Egypt was a powder made from ground charred Frankincense resin.

The name Frankincense is derived from the Old French franc meaning free, pure or abundant, and the Latin incensum meaning to kindle or to smoke.

It is theorised that the “burning bush” in the bible was a Frankincense tree whose evaporating essential oil ignited.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Resin. The resin is usually harvested in spring Frankincense resin and autumn. The bark is usually scraped or chipped away to expose a milky white resin, which is allowed to dry in the sun for 2 weeks or more. During this time the resin  forms yellowish tears, which are scraped off and collected in baskets and then shipped to France to be steam distilled. The tears contain 56% resin, 30% gum and 4-8% essential oil.

Therapeutic actions: Very good for respiratory conditions including bronchitis, laryngitis, coughs and congestion.
Skin care for mature, dry and sensitive skin. Excellent for wound healing.

Emotional and Spiritual: Slows down breathing and induces feelings of calm. Ideal for meditation as she helps to still the mind and cease mental chatter allowing the spirit to soar.
Helps restore a sense of equilibrium when feeling anxious or confused.

Gabriel Mojay writes that whenever you have allowed yourself to be weighed down by the past, or any form of over attachment frankincense can help you break free by encouraging tranquillity, insight and spiritual self discipline allowing the ego Self and transpersonal Self to work in unison.

Robbi Zeck writes that Frankincense cleanses the aura, is finely attuned to the subtle energies and paves the way to the higher self. It will cultivate positive inner guidance so that your true self can be seen.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that in cases of spiritual shock or loss, when the spirit can step out of the body, even for a brief moment, Frankincense can gently ease us back into our earthly home.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Frankincense Aromatherapy Insight card

The oil for protecting your space and you from worry overwhelm and anything or anyone that drains your energy. Frankincense links your past with your future, which relates to how you perceive and handle the present. You can be the wise person that you are by protecting yourself from life’s negative experiences. Feel protected and free.

Fragrant Change: I feel protected, calm and at peace with myself.

Frankincense Fragrant Change Healing card

Contemplations for the Soul:

Are you obsessing over something that happened in the past?
Are you worried about the future and something that may never happen?
Have you lost touch with your spiritual self?
Are you feeling overwhelmed, worried, stressed or anxious and need to put things in perspective?
Are you procrastinating because the outcome is uncertain?
Time to get clear and still your mind so that your inner guidance can be heard.
Sit quietly, slow your breathing and concentrate on something that brings you a sense of peace.
Slow your breathing even more.
Allow your inner guidance the chance to give you an answer.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising.

Sources: 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)
Kerr, J, Frankincense Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.2 (1997)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Price L, Frankincense. The Aromatherapist, Vol 4, No 4 (1997)
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)