Monthly Archives: June 2016

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis / Chamaemelum nobile)

Roman chamomile

I have written about German Chamomile previously.  Roman Chamomile is considered a safe oil to use on children and excellent for emotional issues.

Family: Asteraceae, Compositae

Synonyms: English chamomile, garden chamomile, true chamomile

Aroma: Sweet, hay-like, herbaceous scent with a hint of apples.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Roman chamomilePlant: Bushy feathery leaves on a 25cm long stem containing a single flower. The flowers are larger than those of German chamomile.

Main Growing Areas: Italy, France, England, USA.

Major Constituents: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, methallyl angelate.

Interesting snippets: Roman chamomile has a long history as a healing herb. It has been used by the Greeks, Romans and Moors.
In Tudor England it was known as the ‘plant’s physician’ as it was believed to encourage the good health of nearby plants.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Flower heads / steam distillation. 5kg of fresh flowers yields approximately 1kg of dried flowers. This yields about 1% oil when distilled.
Roman chamomile is an expensive oil because it is very labour intensive. The harvest season lasts about two and a half months with the flowers being harvested every two weeks. The percentage of oil obtained from each distillation is also very low. You can buy good quality Roman chamomile in a 3 to 5% dilution in jojoba. This makes the oil very affordable.

Therapeutic actions: Teething pain and colic in children. Menstrual pain, muscular aches and pains. Indigestion and nausea. Use in a blend to massage the abdomen / stomach.

Emotional and Spiritual: Nervous tension, stress, tension headaches, anxiety and insomnia. Considered a calming and relaxing oil. Helpful to settle children who have nightmares or insomnia. Try combining with lavender or mandarin.
Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull write that Roman chamomile gives us a calm acceptance of our own limitations.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I treat myself gently and lovingly especially when those around me don’t.

Roman chamomile FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Roman chamomile CFTS card

Are you feeling let down by someone or impatient like a child waiting for something to happen?
Are you feeling grumpy, discontented or frustrated about some issue in your life?
Perhaps you have let others walk all over you in an effort to win their love or approval.
It’s time to let go of the worry, tears, pain, hurt, resentment and anxiety that has been plaguing you.
Consider if it is worth keeping those people in your life who do not respect you and if not let them go.
Forgive and be gentle with yourself for being fooled by someone or something.
It’s time to trust again and ask for the help and support you need.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitizing although there have been rare cases of contact dermatitis.

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)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle energy techniques, Frog Books (2000)
Kerr J, Chamomile Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.6 (1998)

Essential Oils to Help You Relax

Essential oils to help you relax

Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well.
Judith Hanson Lasater

Sometimes we can find it hard to relax. There can be various reasons for this including being very stressed, studying for exams, tired and aching muscles, being anxious and not sleeping well. Essential oils can help you relax, ease tense muscles and get a good night’s sleep.

Essential Oils for Relaxation include

BERGAMOT (Citrus bergamia) helps you to release feelings of anger, sadness and frustration that may be keeping you feeling tense and unable to relax.

ROMAN CHAMOMILE (Anthemis nobilis) helps you release tension and relax. She is gentle enough to use on children who are finding it difficult to sleep.

Clary sageCLARY SAGE (Salvia sclarea) helps to bring clarity allowing you to relax when you are feeling nervous, burnt out or mentally fatigued.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus radiata) can help when you are feeling trapped by circumstances. She gives you space to breathe and reassess the situation.

FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia carterii) slows and deepens your breath giving you the space to relax.

GERANIUM (Pelargonium graveolens) helps to balance your emotions, ease frustration and calm the mind.

GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus paradisi) helps when you’re feeling drained, burnt out or frustrated. Like all citrus she uplifts and refreshes the mind.

LAVENDER (Lavendula angustifolia) is a first aid oil to help soothe your emotions and bring a feeling of relaxation.

LEMON (Citrus limonum) clarifies and uplifts your mind allowing you to think more calmly and rationally.
Lime fruit LIME
(Citrus aurantifolia) is another oil for releasing stress and helping you to keep calm.

MARJORAM (Marjorama hortensis) helps stop those thoughts that are on a continuous loop in your mind. Eases anxiety allowing you to relax.

PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martini) is useful when you feel restless, anxious and unable to sleep.

PATCHOULI (Pogostemon cablin) is a very grounding oil that brings a sense of peace.

Scott's PinePINE (Pinus sylvestris) can help you set boundaries if you are saying yes to everyone at the expense of yourself.

AUSTRALIAN SANDALWOOD (Santalum spicatum) very relaxing and meditative oil.

VETIVER (Vetiveria zizanoides) helps to centre and ground you when feeling mentally exhausted.

YLANG YLANG (Cananga odorata) helps bring a sense of peace and tranquillity when you are feeling angry, frustrated or unable to think clearly.

There are many different ways you can use essential oils.

Diffusers/Vaporisers
diffuser Using a diffuser or vaporiser is a good way to create a relaxing atmosphere. Use 6-8 drops of pure essential oils in your diffuser or vaporiser. Do not use oils diluted in vegetable oils here as the essential oils will not diffuse well and can leave a mess in your vaporiser.

Direct 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.

Adding a drop or two of lavender, marjoram or frankincense to a tissue and placing that in the pillowcase or next to your pillow can help bring a peaceful nights sleep.

Clarity InhalerPersonal Inhaler – Add 15 to 20 drops onto the cotton pad replace the cap. Remove the cap and hold below your nose and inhale deeply. Replace the cap after each use.

Bath
Woman Lying in a BathtubAdd 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.

Perfume
Make your own unique perfume by adding up to 7 drops of essential oil to 10mls of jojoba or a cold pressed vegetable oil.

Massage
relaxing aroma massageMassage is a very enjoyable way to relax. 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.

Spray Mist
Misters can be good for creating a relaxing atmosphere as well as relaxing yourself. Add 10-20 drops of essential oil to a 100 or 125ml bottle of distilled water, flower water or hydrosol. If you have some sobuliser mix the oils with that before mixing with the water, as the sobuliser will help the oils disperse throughout the water. If you don’t have any sobuliser make sure you shake the misting bottle well before spraying. Also take care not to get water or the mist on any furniture or furnishings that can be damaged or stained by the water or essential oils.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Geranium

Everything is handsome about the geranium not excepting its name.
Leigh Hunt

Geranium essential oil is a popular oil that is used in a lot of skin care products to give them a rosy smell. Although many people think that the oil comes from the red geraniums seen in hanging baskets and gardens she actually comes from another variety.

Family: Geraniaceae

Synonyms: Rose geranium

Aroma: Green, floral, sweet. Rosy sweet minty for geranium Bourbon from Réunion Island

Colour: Pale greenish yellow.

Geranium flower

Plant: A perennial shrub growing to around 1.5 metres. It has large green hairy fragrant pointed leaves which contain most of the essential oil glands. The flowers are small and pink and don’t produce any oil.

Main Growing Areas: China, Egypt, Réunion Island, France, Algeria, India and Australia

 Major Constituents: Linalool, citronellol, geraniol, citronellyl formate, geranyl formate, menthone

Interesting snippets: It has been said that the first geranium blossom grew from a hedge on which Mohammed had hung his shirt to dry after washing it in a stream.

The first plant was collected in South Africa in 1672 and introduced into England and Europe in 1700. Plants and cuttings were then sent wherever there were English and European colonists.

Geraniums grown on Réunion Island have a rosy aroma which occurs nowhere else.

Geranium leaves and flowerPart of Plant used /Extraction: Steam distilled from freshly harvested leaves. A complete distillation takes around 1½ hours.

Therapeutic actions: Helpful for eczema, psoriasis, skin abrasions and shingles. She acts as a balancing oil particularly in women when their hormones have become out of balance.

Emotional and Spiritual: Anxiety and emotional stress.
Geranium can bring a sense of renewal if you are beginning something or leaving something behind to begin again.

Gabriel Mojay writes, “Conveying a feeling of calm strength and security, geranium oil is beneficial for both chronic and acute anxiety, particularly where there is nervous exhaustion due to stress and overwork. Geranium oil is ideal for the workaholic perfectionist – for the person who has forgotten imagination, intuition and sensory experience.”

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that when the Spirit is hidden like a frightened child within, geranium offers its warm hand of comfort, opening our hearts and memories and healing the pain.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Geranium

Courtesy of J.Jefferies & K.Osborn

RE-BALANCING
Re-balancing the extremes of life, emotionally “up” one minute and “down” the next. Geranium is essential for the workaholic perfectionists in life. Geranium delivers balance and symmetry to all areas of life. Time to remove the should’s and do what you truly want to do. Balance your logical, analytical workaholic self with the emotional, spontaneous, fun person you used to be and want to be. All work and no play makes us all stressed in some way.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I strive for balance in body, mind and spirit

Geranium FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul Card:Geranium ContemplationAre you feeling stressed with too much work and no time for play and to enjoy yourself?
Do you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster up one minute and down the next with no time to take a breath between the highs and lows?
Are you able to give but not receive?
It’s time to regain some balance in your life.
Understand that both work and play are essential to the health of your body, mind and spirit.
If you are feeling stressed by your work make time today to take time out to play or enjoy yourself.
Do something that brings you joy.
Learn to both give and receive to bring more balance into your life.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising.

Sources:
Bowles E.J, The A-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, Geranium Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.20 (2001)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Smith I, Geranium. The Aromatherapist, Vol 8, No 2 (2001)
Worwood V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)

17 Ways to Lessen Work Stress

17 ways to lessen work stress

Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there”
Eckhart Tolle

When I worked in Japan in the late 80’s and early 90’s karoshi (death from overwork) was often talked about as many Japanese men would spend a lot of time at work, do overtime and then go out drinking with their boss and colleagues or go to language class. Most of this behaviour was due to peer pressure and cultural expectations.

nursesRecently I read in the newspaper that those working in health care, social services, shipping and construction are dying because of it. Many young Japanese women today are also victims of karoshi. When I speak of over work I’m not talking about a few hours overtime but up to 100 or 160 hours of overtime in the month before their death. Karoshi not only includes death from heart attack and stroke but also suicide from those who can no longer cope with the insane hours and stress placed upon them.

Here in Australia few people die from work stress but many are unhealthy and unhappy because of it.

It is not only stress from overwork that can kill you but studies have shown that failing to take your annual holidays puts you at a greater risk of dying of a heart attack. It’s also a good idea to take the weekend off from work. Turn off the phone, ipad, android or laptop and spend some time with your family and friends so you can go back to work feeling refreshed and better able to deal with whatever work throws your way.

The time to relax

Symptoms of work stress
symptoms of work stressWork stress may not end in death or suicide due to depression but there are many other symptoms that can indicate work stress is affecting your health. These include apathy, anxiety, loss of interest in work, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, headaches, migraines, tight, stiff neck and shoulders, drug and alcohol abuse, trouble concentrating, not being able to rest even when you do take time off, withdrawing from family and friends.

17 ways to lessen work stress
It may not be possible to stop work stress but you can help negate some of its effects by improving your physical and emotional well-being before stress and overwork threatens your health. Try to do at least 5 of the following regularly. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Prioritizing your work dayLearn to communicate better with your boss and co-workers.

Prioritize your work day and do the most important tasks first.

Whenever possible delegate tasks.

Exercise each day for e.g. walking, swimming, playing tennis, football, dancing.

Having a good laughSpend quality time with family and friends.

Spend time in meditation or visualising something that represents peace for you.

relaxing aroma massageHave a regular aroma massage – clients having monthly massages find they are better able to handle both work and life stresses.

Take a few deep, slow breaths when stress and anxiety threaten to overtake you.

Greeting the dayDo yoga or tai chi regularly.

Vaporize relaxing or uplifting essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, Roman chamomile, grapefruit, petitgrain, spruce, frankincense.

Watch comedy shows or read funny books and have a good belly laugh.

listening to musicListen to music.

Play with your children and animals.

Get enough sleep. Essential oils that can help you relax and get to sleep include lavender, Roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, neroli, valerian, sandalwood.

Healthy foodEat regular healthy meals. Don’t skip meals as this can leave you tired, anxious and irritable as well as being unable to concentrate.

Leave for work earlier in the morning to avoid traffic jams or crowded trains.

Take time away from work and use your weekends to refresh yourself.