Tag Archives: frankincense

Therapeutic Effects of Essential Oils in the Burseraceae Family

Therapeutic Effects of Essential Oils in the Burseraceae Family Header

The Burseraceae are also known as the torchwood family and the incense tree family. This family includes both trees and shrubs and is native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They produce resin in virtually all plant tissue and have a distinctive smooth, yet flaking, aromatic bark.

Most have been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine and religious ceremonies, most often as incense hence their being referred to as the incense tree family.


The trees are usually cut to allow the resin to ooze out and harden. These tears are gathered, sorted and either steam distilled to produce an essential oil or solvent extracted to produce an absolute.

Essential oils from the Burseraceae family include elemi (Canarium luzonicum), frankincense (Boswellia sacra), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), opopanax (Commiphora guidottii) and palo santo (Bursera graveolens).

This plant family has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, tonic, cytophylactic and expectorant qualities in common. Useful for bronchitis and coughs, healing wounds and ulcers and reducing scar tissue. They are soothing and comforting to the soul and encourage us to find our own inner strength.

Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)

Elemi has been referred to as the poor man’s frankincense as she shares many of frankincense’s properties.
Elemi is a large tropical evergreen tree that can reach up to 30 metres with large white or yellow flowers and green fruits which produce edible nuts. It exudes a pale yellowish resin when the tree sprouts leaves; the resin solidifies on contact with the air and stops flowing when the last leaf falls.

Therapeutic Effects
Heals wounds, gangrene and abscesses. Respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and sinusitis especially where there is a lot of phlegm. Excellent for skin care especially for mature skin and is said to reduce wrinkles.

Emotional and Subtle Effects
She is a balancing, strengthening and centring oil. She brings the body, mind and soul into alignment. Useful for stress that has led to exhaustion as she is both stimulating and a tonic. In meditation she induces a deep calm without drowsiness.

Non-irritating, non-toxic and non-sensitising. Elemi is often adulterated with a-phellandrene and limonene. Elemi has also been found as an adulterant in many oils including black pepper, lemon and angelica seed.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), (B. frereana), (B. neglecta), (B. rivae), (B. papyrifera), (B. sacra), (B. serrata).

Frankincense resin

Frankincense is a small tree that grows to a height of 7 metres. It has abundant narrow leaves and white or pale pink flowers.
Frankincense is also known as olibanum. There is little difference in the properties of the 7 species listed above but their aromas vary. The oleo-gum-resin is tapped from an incision made on the trunk of the tree which exudes a milky white liquid that hardens into drops of resin known as tears.

Therapeutic Effects
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 Subtle Effects
Frankincense has been burnt in temples and used in religious ceremonies for centuries and continues to be used even today for that purpose.
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 and your inner guidance to be heard. Helps restore a sense of equilibrium when feeling anxious or confused.
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.

Non-irritating, non-sensitising. Possible skin sensitization if oil is old or oxidized.

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) (C. molmol)

myrrh resin

A small stunted tree with scanty leaves and small white flowers. The 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.

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

Emotional and Subtle Effects
Use for people who feel stuck in their lives and want to move forward emotionally and spiritually. Helps balance the upper and lower chakras. Useful for overthinking, worry, confusion, mental distraction, loss and rejection. Emotional, mental and spiritual wounding.

Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic. Best not to use during pregnancy and lactation as she may be fetotoxic due to her ß-elemene and furanodiene content.

Opopanax (Commiphora guidottii)

Opopanax is a viscous exudate obtained by breaking the twigs of a tall tropical tree that grows wild in Somalia and Ethiopia. It solidifies to brown lumps of a warm-balsamic and sweet, honey-like fragrance. A resinoid is prepared by solvent extraction, and steam distillation of the resin gives an essential oil.

Therapeutic Effects
Wound healing, respiratory tract infections with phlegm and mucus.

Emotional and Subtle Effects
Helps heal emotional, mental and spiritual wounding.

Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic. Moderate risk of skin sensitising. Hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin, children under 2 years of age.

Palo santo (Bursera graveolens)

Palo Santo wood and resin

Grows in dry, tropical forests reaching a height of 4 to10 metres. It is densely branched with a smooth, non-peeling bark that is purple tinged but appears to be pale or silvery gray due to a covering of lichens.
The tree or limb must die a natural death and remain in the forest for 4 to 10 years to decay in order to produce a good quality essential oil. Cutting down the tree and leaving it to decay for the same amount of time will yield an oil of a poor quality.

Therapeutic Effects
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, antiviral, diuretic, reduces fever, sedative, headaches, wound healing, joint and muscle aches and pains, sprains and respiratory symptoms, coughing, bronchitis, asthma, colds.

Emotional and Subtle Effects
Grounding, calming, anxiety, depression, emotional stress or trauma, panic attacks, clears negative energy. The Incas and shamans in Central and South America used and continue to use it, as part of their sacred healing rituals to heal, remove or cast spells, and gaze into the future.

Possible skin sensitization if oil is old or oxidized.

Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd edition Volume 1.The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Davis, P, Aromatherapy, An A-Z. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Fischer-Rizzi, S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Kerr, J, Frankincense Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.2 (1997)
Kerr, J, Myrrh Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.23 (2002)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Price L, Frankincense. The Aromatherapist, Vol 4, No 4 (1997)
Smith I, Elemi. In Essence Vol.7 No.3 (2008)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

5 Sacred Essential Oils

5 sacred essential oils header

There are many essential oils but only a few that have been considered sacred. By that I mean oils or incenses that have been used in churches, mosques and temples for spiritual purposes. Some are used to bring calm to the people praying, others as an offering to the Gods so that he/she/they may hear and respond to their prayers. Others are used to put the person into a meditative state. Many are useful in our own spiritual work to purify the space and for meditative work.

The following 5 oils can be considered sacred.

Agarwood (Aquilaria agallocha)
AgarwoodAgarwood also known as Oud is very expensive whether as incense, wood, chips or essential oil. She has been burned as incense for centuries by many religious groups including Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Muslims during prayer and meditation to help people achieve a higher level of consciousness, euphoria, calm and a deep inner peace. She was also used in Ancient Egypt to embalm bodies during the mummification process.

The oil is harvested from the resinous wood caused by a fungus infection that changes the colour of the wood from a light brown to almost black. The tree is endangered in the wild but there are now plantations growing the trees and infecting them with the fungus.

As the oil is so expensive one or two drops can be added to 10 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and used as an anointing oil. Another way can be to add 4 drops to a personal inhaler and inhale a few times before and perhaps during your meditation session.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense is an oil that has been used since ancient times and is one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the 3 Wise Men at his birth. Rather than an essential oil it is more likely an infused oil or resin was used.

In ancient times frankincense incense was burnt to honour the Sun gods – Ra in Egypt, Apollo in Greece and Bael in Babylonia.

Frankincense resinToday frankincense incense is used during ceremonies in Christian, Islamic and other faiths to purify, venerate, bless and sanctify those participating in the mass or ceremony. As in times past frankincense incense is seen as a symbol carrying the prayers and hopes of the people to God – a link between heaven and earth.

Frankincense deepens and slows the breath inducing a state of focused contemplation and tranquillity allowing you to communicate with God, a higher wisdom or your own inner guidance. She is calming and uplifting purifying both the atmosphere and aura.

Frankincense therefore can be used to enhance your meditative practice, offer spiritual support and/or promote a spiritual awakening.

Frankincense essential oil can be used in a diffuser or as an anointing oil while the resin can be burnt as an incense.

Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Juniper berriesMany people may not think of juniper as a sacred oil but she has been used in religious and spiritual ceremonies for hundreds of years because of her cleansing and protective properties.

Juniper branches, leaves and berries were burned in ancient Sumeria and Babylon to ward off evil spirits, purify the body, mind and spirit and protect from illness.

Tibetans and Native Americans also burn juniper incense to drive off evil spirits causing illness and disease, to cleanse and purify the atmosphere and as a source of protection on a physical, spiritual and energetic level.

Juniper is a strong tree and has been seen as a symbol of of strength, fertility and longevity for centuries. Use her strength and guidance either in a diffuser, personal inhaler or anointing blend to assist you in facing personal challenges with strength, courage, wisdom and determination.

Clear the negative energies from a room after an argument or where there has been a lot of negativity by spraying or diffusing juniper. Clear your aura after visiting a shopping centre or crowded place by placing a drop or two of juniper in your palms and running them through your aura.

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
Palo Santo woodPalo Santo means holy or sacred wood and was used by the Incas and Shamans to purify and cleanse the spirit from negative or stagnant energies to ensure good luck. South Americans smudge their homes to remove any negative energy.

Palo Santo is unusual in that only wood that has lain on the ground for 4 to 10 years after dying a natural death will produce a high quality essential oil. For some this is seen as a representation of death and rebirth or vitality emerging from decay. It can also be seen as bringing something to its natural conclusion so that you can begin anew.

Diffuse Palo Santo before or during meditation to calm, uplift and ground your mind, stimulate your creativity and allow your inspiration to flow. She will also aid concentration and a sense of being protected from negative influences.

Sandalwood (Santalum album)
sandalwood chipsSandalwood has been used for religious purposes by many different religions around the world. In India the Hindus add sticks of sandalwood to the funeral pyre to help carry the soul into the afterlife. Muslims have a similar belief and anoint their dead with sandalwood and burn censors containing sandalwood and other ingredients at their feet to carry the soul up to heaven. Ancient Egyptians also imported the wood for use in embalming and ritual burning to venerate their gods.

In India powdered sandalwood is used for making caste marks. A paste of sandalwood powder is applied to the forehead at religious ceremonies by Hindus while the oil is used to anoint sacred statues.

Sandalwood is also seen as a symbol of vitality because it repels white ants and for this reason, sandalwood was once in great demand for the construction of furniture and temples. Temple doors were often carved from sandalwood. Sandalwood is still used today to make sacred objects, carvings and statues. I remember walking into a temple devoted to Kannon (Quan Yin) in Japan a few years ago and I could still smell the sandalwood emanating from the statue that had been carved a few years before that.

Sandalwood incense sticks are used in many Hindu and Buddhist temples to promote meditation and prayer by quietening the mind and inducing a sense of peacefulness.

In Indian homes incense sticks are used to free evil spirits and welcome the gods ensuring good luck and health for the inhabitants.

The essential oil can be diffused during your meditation, prayer or spiritual practice to calm your mind, bring clarity and focus. She is both grounding and uplifting helping you to connect to the Divine.

Sandalwood links the base to the crown chakra and has a protective energy. You may also like to make a chakra anointing oil using sandalwood and other sacred oils to balance your chakras.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils (2006)
Fischer-Rizzi, S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

7 Essential Oils for Christmas Calm


There are essential oils that we associate with Christmas and New Year that can help you to stay relaxed during this often busy and stressful time. They can be used in the diffuser, as a room spray, in a massage blend or add a couple drops to the inside of the toilet roll to scent your bathroom or toilet.

In addition to diffusing these oils remember to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated, and get plenty of sleep so you can cope better with both minor and major upsets. If you do find yourself getting stressed or upset take some time out to go outside or to another room and do some slow deep breathing. If you are able to go outside and spend a few minutes in nature and ground yourself all the better.

Do something you really like just for yourself. Have a relaxing bath or massage, listen to some of your favourite music or go for a walk along the beach. Finally just enjoy the season in whatever way you wish.

7 Essential Oils for Christmas
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) was one of the gifts given by the three wise men to the baby Jesus. She was at that time a very costly oil. She slows the breathing and induces feelings of calm and can help you to break free from the past, relax and access your inner guidance so that your true self can be seen.

Frankincense resin Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) was another oil given to the baby Jesus at his birth. She can help keep everyone calm. She clears emotional blockages, helps to close the wounds of loss and rejection and restores peace of mind. Both Frankincense and myrrh could be burnt as incense if you wished.

Pine (Pinus sylvestris) or Spruce (Picea mariana) can be used to bring in the scent of a Christmas tree. In addition both oils purify the air and clear negative energy from yourself and your environment. Add a few drops to pine cones if you have them.

Christmas tree

Mandarin or Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) can be used to bring a playful energy to the gathering. She is also useful to help overtired children relax and sleep.

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) although not traditionally a Christmas oil can be used to calm everyone down if arguments develop or children become overtired. She can also be used to nurture and nourish you emotionally.

Christmas Room Spray
Combine spruce pure essential oil 8 drops, sweet orange 5 drops and cinnamon or nutmeg 1 drop in 16 drops of oil to water dispersant or sobuliser and add to a spray bottle containing 50mls distilled water. Shake well. If you don’t have sobuliser make sure to shake the bottle well before each use. This is a good blend to spray to cleanse an area especially if there have been arguments.

3 Wise Men Diffuser Blend
Frankincense pure essential oil 2 drops, Myrrh 2 drops, Sweet orange or mandarin 3 drops in the diffuser.

3 wise men

Tropical Christmas Diffuser Blend
Lime pure essential oil 3 drops, Mandarin or tangerine 3 drops, Cinnamon 1 drop in the diffuser.

Using Essential Oils To Relieve Stress

Using Essential Oils To Relieve Stress

Essential oils are an easy and pleasant way to help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

What Is Stress?
Stress is a state of mind, usually accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms. We all experience stress at some time in our lives. As we are all unique, what acts as a stressor to one person, may not cause any reaction in another.


Stress can be caused by work pressures, boredom, family issues, finances, school or university exams, the death of a loved one or something as simple as being caught in a traffic jam. Stress can lower your resistance and increase your susceptibility to illness, especially if it is allowed to continue for long periods of time. Stress can cause muscular pain, especially in the neck, back and shoulders, high blood pressure, chronic headaches, weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, loss of your sense of humour and mood swings.

symptoms of work stress

To avoid the many health issues associated with stress, it’s important to take appropriate action on a regular basis, to release stress physically and emotionally.

Using Essential Oils To Treat Stress
Essential oils are a safe and effective treatment to help you cope with stress. They help boost your mood, energise you and can help ease muscle tension and pain.

relaxing aroma massageMassaging with essential oils is one of the best ways to calm the mind and release muscular aches and pains. A monthly aromatherapy massage works wonders in keeping your stress under control.

If you suffer from headaches and don’t have time for a professional massage, self-massaging with essential oils, especially to the neck, shoulders and the scalp can be very helpful . Add 1 drop of essential oil to 2 mls of vegetable oil or 5 drops of essential oil to 10mls of vegetable oil.

Woman Lying in a Bathtub6-8 drops of essential oil can be used in a warm bath to help ease tired muscles and calm the mind. Run the bath, add the oils and swish the oils in the water. The oils will sit on top of the water. If you want to disperse the oils through the water, place the drops of essential oils in a cup of full cream milk and add to your bathwater.

Alternatively, after showering place 4-6 drops of essential oil on a face cloth or sponge and rub the cloth briskly over your body.

Allow your feet to soak in a foot spa to which 4-5 drops of essential oil have been added. Following up with a foot massage will help relieve your aching feet, as well as your stress.

diffuserPlacing 4-6 drops of essential oil into a diffuser can help calm or liven up your mood. Using essential oils such as lemon and orange can also help increase your appetite if stress has caused a loss of appetite.

Calm Breeze InhalerYou can place your favourite essential oil on a tissue to smell when needed or place 4 drops of your favourite essential oil on a cotton ball, insert in a small bottle with a tight fitting lid and open the bottle and inhale the fragrance, as and when you need. another option is to use a personal inhaler

Finally, you can wear your essential oil blend as a perfume. To create this blend, just follow the same steps as described above for massage.

Essential Oils to Relieve Stress
Although there are many oils that can be used to help with stress, the following oils are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis)
Chronic tension, insomnia, muscular aches and pains, headaches and nervous indigestion. She is also useful for calming irritable children and colicky infants. (Can be bought in a 3-5% blend in jojoba.)

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
To ease muscular aches and pains, helps to calm the mind and restore a positive outlook and vitality.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
To help with anxiety, slows down breathing, calming and centring the mind.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
For lethargy, chronic anxiety, eases frustration and irritability, nervous exhaustion due overwork and stress.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis)
Lavender is one of the most useful oils for stress. She calms and soothes the nerves, relieves tension both muscular and emotional. She helps with stress headaches and insomnia. Lavender is considered an aromatic rescue remedy helping to relax the body and mind and is useful for panic and anxiety attacks.

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)
Poor appetite, nauseous headaches, tension, insomnia, eases frustration, moodiness and irritability.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
Insomnia, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, calming and uplifting, poor appetite.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Enhances concentration and study, apathy, mental and physical fatigue, uplifts the spirit.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Poor concentration, anxiety, muscular stiffness and pain, can help bolster self-confidence and calm an overactive nervous system

Some Blends To Get You Started
Here are some blends to get you started. Enjoy making your own combinations using your favourite essential oils.

Lavender 2 drops, palmarosa 2 drops, geranium 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage or in a diffuser to vaporise.

Sore, stiff or tight muscles
Eucalyptus 3 drops, lavender 2 drops, rosemary 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage.

Tension headache
Lavender 2 drops, geranium 2 drops, sweet orange 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage. Massage neck, shoulders and temples with the blend. You can then massage the scalp without the blend if you wish.

Peppermint 2 drops, sweet orange 2 drops in 10mls vegetable oil massaged into the stomach area.

Peppermint 2 drops, eucalyptus 2 drops, rosemary 2 drops in a diffuser.

I am available to do aromatherapy massages on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Padstow. Phone or email for an appointment.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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)




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.

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.

Frankincense (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 (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.