Posts Tagged ‘Essential oil’



Jurgen Reichling, a German professor at the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, was one of the speakers at Botanica this past Fall. He presented on the antiviral effect of pure essential oils on HSV-1(Herpes Labialis, caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus-Type 1); commonly known as cold sores. The essential oil of Thyme(Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol) was at the top of the list, inactivating the virus within 10 minutes of contact. Next, in the power line up, were the citrus essential oils, followed by Pine. He shared the following formula:

  • Thyme(Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol)
  • Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus)

The above essential oils were combined at a 6% dilution in a gel base, applied five times per day to the affected area. The results of the study showed clearing of the blister(s) outbreak in an average of 9 days vs. the typical 12.5 day period, if left untreated.

An interesting note highlighted was that the complete essential oil was more active than the individual main components. The synergistic effect of the whole essential oil had more activity and action on the virus. Are you surprised? I’m not! I think Mother Nature knew what she was doing. :o )

More snippets coming your way.

Next up: Pharmacological Activities of Essential Oils

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,


Photo Credit: American Meadows

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Do you know the best thing about joining in on educational functions? The awesome opportunity to hang with old friends and a chance to make new connections as well.
Botanica Friends
I have always loved being a part of a group, sharing like interests. In the past that has meant vegetarian societies, meditation sangats and community visitor associations. In this instance @ Botanica 2012, was all about plant medicine lovers! You can imagine there was no shortage of compassionate, forward thinking, intuitive folks present. All traits, that in my experience, are generally found in complementary care givers.

So, by day we were graced by one impressive speaker after another and by night, the fun continued as we met up with other conference attendees to compare notes, share case studies and business know how. Such a fabulous combination!

The next speaker was Ann Harmon, a distiller from the Pacific North West and owner of Morning Myst Botanicals. I have long appreciated the quality of her hydrolats and after meeting her in person, see why the caliber is so high. Her confidence and love of plants was alluring. She talked about the importance of using organic plant material when distilling, as pesticides and herbicides are water-soluble. I was lucky to not only hear her general lecture, but take the 3 1/2 hour workshop post conference. We enjoyed a wonderful slide presentation of the copper stills in action and played with hydrolats of Lemon Thyme, Helichrysum, Holy Basil, Yarrow and more. Instructions on how to home distill (on the stove-top) were introduced…which I am eager to try! Liz Fulcher, a friend and colleague, recently blogged about these healing waters. Click to check out her informative writings.

Botanica Friends 2

Enjoying the Dublin Gala with dear friends from my home town.

Other perks of the event were a wide array of vendors with goods that ranged from distiller direct essential oils, to natural skin care to published author works on the subject of backyard remedies. Old favorites included Aromahead Institute highlighting their Aromatherapy Scholars program. This 400 hour certification is available in person and online and is second to none in comprehensive, holistic essential oil education. Aromatics International flew in from their home base of Montana and exhibited a wide range of GC/MS(Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) essential oils that ranged from Gingergrass to Vintage Patchouli. A new-found supplier was Tunupa, a family owned operation from Brazil. Not only were they charming, the line up of exotic essential oils and carriers from their native country was enough to make any aromatherapist giddy. My top two must haves:

Baru(Dipteryx alata)-from the minute I tried the sample, I knew this liquid carrier was something very special. It immediately penetrated the skin and felt so nourishing (unlike anything that I have tried before). It is also known for:

  • High Omega 6, Omega 9 and Vitamins A, B’s and E.
  • Helpful for rheumatism, arthritis and eczema conditions
  • Skin Nourishing


Brazilian Cherry(Eugenia uniflora)-I love wood, especially Cherry. So my curiosity was peaked when I saw this single. Unique in fragrance and known for the following properties:

  • Emollient
  • Astringent
  • Restorative (especially for hair)
  • Highly antioxidant potential

The story of Botanica continues with more posts, speaker snippets and insider tips. Stay tuned.

Dublin Girls

From left to right: A Microbiologist from Poland, Me, an Essential Oil Importer from Long Island & an Aromatherapy Educator from Slovenia having fun post class.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,

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Check out my guest blog today on Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s

Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace…

There is something really beautiful and profound in simplicity. In today’s world where more is generally perceived as better, it’s nice to pare down to basics, go deeper and establish a relationship with each essential oil. Taking the time to ‘get to know’ your essential oils will not only give you more aromatically pleasing blends, but an opportunity to create successful healing remedies as well.

Six essential oils that can transform how you deal with ailments both emotionally and physically are Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, Roman Chamomile, and Eucalyptus.

Click here to read the complete post, comments and awesome recipes.


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Memory and clarity are desirables when it comes to the mind. Many factors including age, hereditary, stress, poor health and diet play a role in how keen our mental sharpness is. However, essential oils can improve the ability to focus and concentrate. Among the top stimulating choices are Peppermint, Basil, Rosemary and Lemon.Image
Yesterday, I went on a road trip to Lyons, NY. Home of H.G. Hotchkiss, “The Peppermint King”. Established in 1839, this family run operation grew, harvested, distilled, bottled and distributed the essential oil of Peppermint. Their essential oils won 17 Prize Medals at World Expositions, the first being in 1851 in London. It was delightful to peep in and imagine the hustling and bustling of this operation over 173 years ago.

The Bottle Filling Area

“Touching garden mint, as the very smell of it alone recovereth and refresheth the spirits.” -Pliny AD 77


Peppermint(Mentha x piperita)

Ok, back to our line up. Focus! Focus!

  • Peppermint(Mentha x piperita) is reached for when ‘digesting’ information is required. It has a stimulating effect when learning. It is uplifting, refreshing and enhances creativity.
  • Basil(Ocimum basilicum ct linalool) is a strong cerebral stimulant, fortifying and good for clearing the mind(cephalic), as well as relieving intellectual fatigue.
  • Rosemary(Rosmarinus officinalis) is probably one of the most widely chosen essential oils when focus and memory are needed. It strengthens the mind, promotes concentration and enhances presence. Even when you rub fresh rosemary leaves between your fingers, the piercing aroma released instantly brings attention and clarity. Rosemary is especially helpful when confusion and/or pressure is present.
  • Lemon(Citrus limon) “One of the most clarifying oils for the Intellect(Yi) is Lemon- Light and refreshing in nature, it is indicated for the heavy-headed and congested individual whose concentration is “muzzy” and dull. It helps, in addition, to maximize learning and memory-especially of details and numerous facts.”-Mojay

The alliance of the above essential oils prove to be a synergistic combination enhancing the effectiveness. They can be mixed in equal parts and diffused or a couple of drops of the master blend can be placed on a cotton ball and kept near during concentration or when clarity and memory are needed. Safety Note: Not for children under 5, pregnant women or if you have epilepsy or high blood pressure in your health history.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,

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I’m just coming back from a jam-packed weekend full of Robert Tisserand goodness.  Aromatherapy Research & Essential Oil Constituents, was a seminar offered by this international authority, in Ithaca, NY.

Since the 1960’s, Robert has been digging deeper into the world of essential oils, the history behind the science, and above all, provides a remarkable contribution in evidence based essential oil safety data.

Tea Tree-Native to Australia. The essential oil with the most published research.

After learning from other key players in the field, Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, Rhiannon Harris, and Andrea Butje; Robert offered a new, in-depth layer to my perspective.  Page after page of research backed case studies from all over the world were presented covering everything from skin ulcers, to brain cancer.  It’s remarkable trying to absorb the widespread effects of the healing benefits these nectars of nature offer.  It was also encouraging to witness top researchers, and main-stream medical doctors taking note of the validity of aromatherapy in both preventative, and treatment based medicine.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) were among the top 2 essential oils most widely looked at in the trials we reviewed.

Both pharmacologically created, and naturally occurring linalool, eugenol, carvacrol, and thymol constituents were analyzed on their effects on neurological disorders, bacteria resistant strains, type 2 diabetes, skin disorders, memory, and more.

It was very interesting to note, in general, the greater efficacy when the complete essential oil was used in many of the comparisons when testing against their main constituents.  Brings to mind, Dr. Deepak Chopra’s teachings that we can remove the wisdom out of nature, but we will leave behind the infinite intelligence(when referring to isolating vitamins and minerals vs. consuming the whole food).  I deeply feel this with essential oils as well.  Their ‘built in’ synergy is a part of nature’s creation where, in my opinion, no person in a white lab coat can easily or completely replicate.

Lavender essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of their flowers.

Looking forward to continuing to share my enthusiasm as more layers are uncovered in the complex mosaic of aromatherapy.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…



If you are interested in complete information on essential oil components, please visit the Component Database by Aromahead Institute.

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With our summer temperatures getting up and over 100 degrees throughout the country, it’s only natural to look for ways to cool down and quench the inferno.

Blazing Heat

Couple of my fav’s:

Follow the Yogi’s~

Traditional ayurveda suggests consuming foods that bring down the body’s internal temperature.  Cool peppermint tea, grapes, cucumbers, watermelon and water from the young coconut are top on the list. Nature provides these in abundance during this season for a reason!

Mint Mist~

Peppermint Hydrosol(Mentha x piperita) is the ‘King of Cool’.  I like to store a mister in the refrigerator.  Spritzing throughout the day is divine & super refreshing.

Loving it Raw~

Keeping summer meals focused on foods with a high water content(raw) is another helpful hint to keeping light, free and breezy.  One of my all time loves is from Sarma Melngailis & Matthew Kenney’s book Raw Food Real World; Bunny Spice Shake.(reprinted with permission from author, Sarma Melngailis)

Always Ready for Bunny Spice!


1 cup carrot-ginger juice(run carrots through the juicer with a thumb-size knob of fresh ginger root)

1 cup almond milk

2 cups frozen diced banana

Pinch of ground cinnamon

In a blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth.

This shake is the bomb!  It is like swirled ice cream through a straw and has never failed to delight any of my guests.

A little side note:  If you are ever in the NYC area, Sarma’s restaurant, Pure Food and Wine is a hot spot for raw foodies.  My favorite item on the menu is the Mint Chocolate Sundae-fresh mint, raw cashew cream & gobs of raw cacao….truly a work of art!

Agua Purificada Por Favor~

Ahhhh....Refreshing! (Photo by Sandra Engler)

Stay hydrated with lots of fresh water and/or homemade herbal sun tea.  It’s fun, pretty and effective to float cucumber slivers, muddled mint and/or slices of citrus in your brew.  Keeping a full pitcher ready in the fridge is a surefire way to encourage imbibing.

Essential Oils That Know How to Chill~

Diffusing essential oils known for their cooling abilities is quick, easy, and another way to wipe the sweat off your brow in a flash.

Original Recipe~

Sweet Orange(Citrus sinensis): 27 drops

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia): 10 drops

Peppermint(Mentha x piperita): 8 drops

Palmarosa(Cymbopogon martini var. motia): 5 drops

Place the above quantities in a clean, dark glass bottle(15 ml with orifice reducer).  Add the appropriate number of drops from your created “stock blend” to your diffuser and turn on.(styles differ, see your manufacturer’s suggestion).

Of course loose, breathable clothing, avoiding direct mid-day sun, and a nice gust from multiple fans are obvious ways to beat the heat too.  And if all else fails, I go jump in the Lake!

My Favorite Spot for a Dip~Canandaigua Lake

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

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A Favorite Spot~Ausable Chasm, NY

Like flowing water traveling down a rocky stream, solely fueled by the power of nature, essential oils are inherently intuitive in their make up, and with their subtle forces gravitate toward what is in need of healing.  Above our own mental system of intent, once applied, they attend to the area calling for their name, and services.

Interestingly enough, I find music shares this quality, as well as notes, chords, and synergistic harmonies.

Sweet Orange

Top Notes~

The top note in an essential oil is known to evaporate fastest, being the first whiff we experience in a fragrance.  The chemical molecules are small and quickly dissipate when exposed to oxygen.  Some examples of top notes are Sweet Orange(Citrus sinensis), Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus), and Lime(Citrus aurantifolia).  Their effects are uplifting, fresh, bright, sharp, and penetrating.

Similarly, in music, the higher octave tends to create a light, airy and overall uplifted emotional sense.


Middle Notes~

Middle notes in essential oils evaporate slower, and are considered the core, or body notes.  This class of oils are known for balancing, and harmonizing the body, mind, and spirit.  Some examples are Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia), Sweet Marjoram(Origanum marjorana), and Geranium(Pelargonium graveolens). These soothing notes relate to the middle keys, and tend to feel very comfortable.  They are the heart of the piece, and offer unity, smoothness, and centering.

Vetiver Roots

Base Notes~

Essential oils that are considered base notes are grounding, deep, and somewhat mysterious. They evaporate the slowest, and are often used as fixatives in blends. Examples would be Vetiver(Vetiveria zizanoides), Patchouli(Pogostemom cablin), and Frankincense(Boswellia carterii).  Base notes, and low octaves are often used to set a heavy tone.  They are deep, rich, and the opposite in mood to the very bright, and brilliant top notes.

What’s a chord?

In music a chord is defined as, “a combination of three or more pitches sounded simultaneously.” You will see this is the same in essential oil blending.  A chord is when 3(or more) essential oils from the same category(top, middle or base) are used together, at this same time. Perfumers rely on chords when creating fantastic interwoven scents.  The more interesting the chord variations, the more alluring the piece… or perfume.

And then there comes Harmony…

Isn’t this what we all crave?  Where everything we encounter agrees, is in perfect order, works well together, and has a pleasing outcome?  Ahhhh… as is the case in melodic music & synergistic essential oil blends; the coming together of counterparts, the play, the emotional dance, the power to transform.

Click to Enjoy the Beauty in Bach 

Until next time…

Breathe Joy

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Busy at Play @ Aromahead Institute

I am just returning home from Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies, in Ithaca, NY.  It was a fabulous 3 day elective on the art of Aromatic Blending, where we dove deeper into the interplay between 100 essential oils from all over the world, and studied carrier bases which included African oils like Baobab Seed oil, Coconut oil, Kombo Butter, Kpanganon Butter and more. Such fun!!

In any event, I rented a room while I was away, and on the first morning I woke up to what I thought was my housemate snoring. After a few minutes, I realized it was a slow and consistent chirp from outside.  I kept my eyes closed, and just listened to the rhythm.  It was as if mother nature was breathing.  You could feel the inhale…a pause… and a slow released exhale.  What a lovely way to arise.

It got me thinking about breath and the plant part associated with air: the leaves.  Leaves are responsible for the intake of oxygen and nutrients for the plant(essentially the lungs at whole). During photosynthesis, sunlight, water and carbon dioxide are used to produce oxygen and energy through the leaf organ of the plant.  Leaf derived essential oils have an intimate relationship with contributing to the health of our lungs; clearing congestion being one positive attribute.

Examples of leaf derived essential oils are:

  • Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Peppermint(Menta x piperita)
  • Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Ravintsara(Cinnamomum camphora ct 1,8 cineole)

Radiant Eucalyptus

One of the most simple methods of application, especially effective for lung issues, is an aromatic steam inhalation.

Directions for an Aromatic Steam Inhalation:

Step 1: Pour boiling water in a glass or stainless steel bowl.

Step 2: Add 1(ONE) drop of any of the leaf essential oils mentioned above.

Step 3: Drape your head with a towel and lean over the steaming bowl(approximately a ruler’s length from the top of the bowl).  Closing your eyes, inhale deeply and enjoy the steam for 3-5 minutes, or as comfortable.

Use caution with the steam.  If it is too strong or hot, loosen(or remove) the towel drape. Useful up to 3 times per day when cold, congestion and/or sinus symptoms are present OR once a week for preventative maintenance.

Note: Not recommended for children under 5.  Consult your medical practitioner before using this application, if you have asthma.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

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