Monthly Archives: August 2016

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

Bergamot

Bergamot lightens the shadows of the mind, bringing illumination and laughter.
Valerie Ann Worwood

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia

Aroma: Sweet, fruity and refreshing

Colour: Light yellow with a hint of green

Bergamot treePlant: The bergamot tree grows up to 12 metres high but is kept to 4 or 5 metres for easy picking. It has deep green leaves and small white fragrant flowers. The fruit ripening from green to a lemon yellow colour is the size of a small orange and slightly spherical with a sour bitter taste.

Main Growing Areas: Italy, Ivory Coast.

Major Constituents: Limonene, linalyl acetate, linalool, bergaptene, alpha and beta pinenes
The alcohol and ester content can vary significantly due to the weather, the time of harvest and the handling of the fruit. All this will affect the aroma of the essential oil.

black-teaInteresting snippets: Used to flavour Earl Grey Tea and as a major ingredient in eau-de-cologne.
The essential oil has a long use in Italian folk medicine as a remedy for fever and worms.
Bergamot was once used to help treat malaria.

Part of Plant used /Extraction: Cold expression of the peel of the almost ripe fruit

Therapeutic actions: Skin problems including acne, cold sores, chicken pox, shingles and eczema. Also helpful for respiratory and digestive issues including flu, sore throat, laryngitis and bronchitis, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, indigestion and loss of appetite. Vaginal and urinary infections – use in douche or hip bath.

Emotional and Spiritual: Tension, irritability, frustration, depression, grief and sadness. Uplifting.

Robbi Zeck writes that there are blessings in discomfort if you choose to examine why your spirit is flat, sad or depressed. During these times of dark reflection bergamot will heal and cheer your soul, encouraging you to continue to explore your deeper innermost feelings.

Gabriel Mojay writes that bergamot oil encourages the release of pent-up feelings – feelings that can lead not only to depression, but also to insomnia, anxiety and sudden mood swings. It also helps us to relax and “let go”.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Bergamot

CHEERFULNESS
Bergamot promotes cheerfulness and soothes feelings of anger and frustration.
Feeling flat and tired? Lost your spark and enthusiasm for life? Use the essence of Bergamot to access your deeper levels and cheer your heart and soul, lift depression and help gain confidence and motivation. Release repressed emotions that are blocking your vital force and stopping you from being all that you want to be. Allow your mind to wander to a place where “cheerfulness” lives, where you can think lively thoughts and feel refreshed. Create a productive and caring environment.

Safety: Due to the furocoumarins, bergamot is photosensitive and can cause serious skin burns or a condition known as berloque dermatitis. (An irregular darkening of the skin which can last several years). Avoid direct exposure to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours after applying the diluted oil to the skin. This rule doesn’t apply to soaps and shampoos or any products that are immediately washed off the skin. You can also buy Bergaptene free essential oil which has no photosensitivity issues.

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)
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)
Kerr, J, Bergamot Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.11 (1999)
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)

Cherry Blossom Memories

Cherry blossom memories

On Friday I went to Auburn Botanic Gardens to view the cherry blossoms. They have a festival on over two weekends where they have sumo wrestling, taiko drums, ikebana presentations, etc, but I wanted to view the blossoms when there were less people.

It was a bright sunny morning and relatively warm for winter with just a hint of a breeze. Taking photos and walking under the arcade of blossoms brought back memories of when I lived and worked in Tokyo during cherry blossom time.

Cherry Blossom arcade I remember the first time I saw them. My landlord at the time took myself and two others to Ueno Park – a very large park in Tokyo – at night to view the cherry blossoms. They were beautiful in the moonlight but I also remember the overwhelming smell of beer as the park cleaners gathered together and removed what seemed like hundreds of beer cans.

Torii

In Japan during cherry blossom time people have picnics under the trees. Office workers used to, and I assume still do, send someone junior out to hold a space for the others to come later. Many people and groups party under the cherry blossom trees hence all the beer cans.

Cherry blossom branches

In Japan the television stations and newspapers have a map announcing when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom starting in Okinawa and moving all the way up to Hokkaido. People know when their local cherry trees will be in bloom and plan their viewing and parties accordingly.

I moved to another part of Tokyo a few years later. It was always a pleasure to walk to the subway there in springtime when the cherry blossoms were in bloom because of the beauty of the trees and the gentle dropping of the petals in the breeze. The path was often pink where the petals had dropped to the ground. It seemed like I was walking in pink snow at times.

The blossoms are ephemeral. A strong breeze or heavy rain will empty the branches of these beautiful blossoms very quickly.

Cherry blossoms

Auburn Botanic Gardens is worth a visit to see the Japanese gardens and the other gardens including the Australian Rainforest and scented gardens. The rose garden is also beautiful when the roses are in bloom. You may see a peacock or other wildlife while you are there.

Geese

 

Bush Turkey
Peacock

Tea House

BridgeBillabong

Feeling Down – These Tips May Help

Feeling Down - These Tips May Help

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness,
Charles Spurgeon

There can be times in your life when you feel a little down. It maybe midwinter and spring seems a long time coming. You may feel disappointed at not receiving something you wanted or stress may be getting you down. You may be worried about some event in your immediate future in which case the following quote by Epictetus may be helpful to remember.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

Sometimes you may not even know the reason for feeling the way you do. You are not depressed simply feeling a little lost or blue and want to feel better.

The remedy may be as simple as going outside and planting your bare feet on the earth or grass, having a piece of chocolate, feeling gratitude for what you have or spending some time with your family or friends.

Essential oils can also be helpful for uplifting your mood and restoring your sense of happiness.

Essential Oils to Uplift include
*Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) uplifting helps to cheer your heart and soul

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) helpful if you have lost your enthusiasm and passion for life

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) helpful if changes in your life have got you down

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) if you are feeling down due to too much work and not enough play

*Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) uplifting helps to clear negativity and feelings of disappointment

Juniper (Juniperus communis) clears negativity and eases fears and worry

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) to nurture and calm yourself

*Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) uplifting, eases stress and brings a sense of calm

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) brings a sense of joy and a remainder to make time for play

Marjoram (Marjorama hortensis) helps to ease anxiety and stop those thoughts going round in circles in your mind

Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) brings a sense of light heartedness

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) to renew your enthusiasm and creativity

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) uplifts and reenergises

The oils marked with an * are phototoxic and should not be used on the skin if you are planning to spend time in the sun. They are fine to use in a vaporiser or in the bath where they will be washed off.

diffuser The easiest way to use these oils is to make a blend of 2 or 3 oils and place 6-8 drops in a vaporiser or diffuser and allow the aroma to disperse through the air. You can also make or buy your own personal inhaler to take with you wherever you go.

Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)

Grapefruit

“There is a lot more juice in a grapefruit than meets the eye.”
Anonymous

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: C. racemosa, C. maxima var. racemosa

Aroma: Sweet, fresh, citrusy

Colour: Yellow with a hint of green

Grapefruit tree and fruitPlant: A large tree growing to 30 metres with glossy dark green leaves and large fragrant flowers. The fruit is usually yellow but may vary in colour depending on the cultivar.

Main Growing Areas: California, Israel and Australia

Major Constituents: Limonene, nootkatone, octanal and decanal

Interesting snippets: Grapefruit probably originated in Barbados from a natural cross between pummelo (Citrus maxima) and sweet orange (Citrus sinesis).

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Cold pressed from rind. The essential oil is usually produced as a by-product of fruit juice extraction.

Therapeutic actions: Constipation, nausea, fluid retention, cellulite

Emotional and Spiritual: Mentally refreshing and energising, stress, nervous exhaustion, depression, mental and spiritual clarity, helps to achieve harmony and balance calms mind chatter

Robbi Zeck writes that when you are feeling drained, strung out and depressed, Grapefruit provides a new zest for life. With its light, fruity aroma it gives wings to feelings of heaviness, uplifts sagging spirits and radiates optimism. Learn from your obstacles and cultivate the ability to remain open to the moment. Life is essentially refreshingly sweet and Grapefruit brings the gift of appreciation. Live your life consciously every moment and take full advantage of every single day.

Gabriel Mojay writes that grapefruit is particularly suited to those individuals who, tense and under pressure, resort to food as a means of dealing with difficult emotions. Essentially cleansing, clarifying and refreshing, it works to rid the ‘heavy’ feelings that accompany those of angry disappointment, allowing us to perceive and accept more realistic goals.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Grapefruit

OPTIMISM
Renew that zest for life. Stop feeling disappointed and wrung out. Focus on life’s positives, looking after yourself better and nurturing yourself emotionally. Grapefruit removes heavy, negative emotions that can feed our addictions when expectations are not met. An emotional purifier, grapefruit releases self-doubt and frustration, get out of that mood and have some childlike fun again. Be optimistic and move from the state of poverty consciousness to prosperity consciousness.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I appreciate all that I have and the abundance that flows to me each day.

Grapefruit FCHC

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic. Possibly mildly photosensitive.

Note Grapefruit essential oil deteriorates quickly on exposure to air, daylight or moisture. Keep in the refrigerator to prolong her shelf life to a maximum of 12 months.

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)
Eidson D, Vibrational Healing, Frog Books (2000)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr J, Grapefruit Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.21 (2002)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Perfectionism – What Fear is Driving You?

Perfectionism - What Fear is Driving You

At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous.
It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure.                                                                            Fear of success.                                                                                                                                                                                   Michael Law

The above quote from Michael Law sums up what is at the heart of perfectionism. It’s about fear in all its forms. Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough or knowing enough, fear of doing it wrong or being wrong can be added to the above list.

Dressed to perfectionThe perfectionist fears what others may think of them if they don’t get it right and expends a lot of energy trying to be perfect. In some cases they may not even know the person or people they are trying to impress. For example they may have to dress perfectly, have not a hair out of place and make up just so before they can run out the door for a quick trip to the shops.

AnxietyThe perfectionist is always judging themselves as not being good enough and may have high standards for themselves and for others. Standards that are impossible for themselves and others to live up to. They then feel let down by others and themselves when those standards are not met. They may become angry, frustrated, critical and blame others and perhaps feel depressed and guilty that they can’t live up to these self-imposed impossible standards. They may lash out at others and then feel guilty. Their moods may drive others away leaving them feeling alone and perhaps abandoned.

Perfectionism can also be about control. Controlling how others feel about them and in some cases controlling others. Wanting others to do something perfectly can be a form of control. Always wanting to do something yourself and not allowing others to try can be a form of control. For example, showing someone how to do something at work and then taking over again because they don’t do it to your exacting standards.

Perfectionism can also be a form of procrastination. You may give up and not even start because you feel that you will never get it perfect. You may start but never complete the project because you need to keep on trying to find or do the one thing that will make it perfect in your eyes when for everyone else the project is finished or fine as it is.

controlling thoughtsYou may push yourself and try to over achieve in your quest for perfection ignoring your own needs and those of your family and friends. You focus on what’s wrong and the negative aspects rather than what’s right. You spend time on perfecting a project at the expense of your relationship with your family, friends and your health. When all you can see is the negative it’s time to change your perspective and see what’s good in your world. It can also be time to get another’s perspective on what’s great about your life or project.

Perfectionism is about your ideas of how things should be and your beliefs surrounding them. Is there a should in your life that you can let go of? Can you lower your expectations a bit? What would happen if you did?

perfection questionHow has being a perfectionist benefited you? There is always a benefit. Take the time to carefully consider the benefits and if the time and energy you are putting into being a perfectionist or doing something perfectly is worth it.

Finally consider this. It is often our perceived imperfections that people love. What do people love about you? If you don’t know, ask.

Essential Oils
Use one or a blend of the following essential oils in a vaporiser, massage or anointing oil to help you with your issues surrounding perfectionism.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)  – to help you bring a little more balance into your life especially if you are feeling stressed due to a work life imbalance
German chamomile ( Matricaria recutita) – to help you let go of your high expectations, acknowledge your limitations and ask for help and support when you need it
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) – to help you with your high expectations of yourself and others and the feelings of guilt, frustration and blame surrounding them when they are not met. If you comfort eat grapefruit can be helpful.
Juniper (Juniperus communis) – to help clear the negative thinking surrounding fear of failure
Teatree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – to help you see another perspective