Posts Tagged ‘essential oils’

Naho Maruyama, a graduate of the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was one of the presenters at Botanica 2012. Her lecture was on the effects of essential oils on the cell walls of fungus. Her rating of the anti-microbial activity of the essential oil components (with greatest effect listed first) is:

  1. Phenols
  2. Aldehydes
  3. Alcohols
  4. Ketones
  5. Esters
  6. Ethers
  7. Hydrocarbons

And, in terms of complete essential oils, her line up is as follows: Palmarosa, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Melissa and Thyme ct. thymol.
One of the clinical case studies presented was on the treatment of Tinea ungunium, fungal infection of the nails(toe nails).

They applied the following formula 2 times per day:

  • Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)-25 drops
  • Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)-10 drops
  • Palmarosa(Cymbopogon martini var. motia)-10 drops
  • Honey-10 grams
  • Carrier Oil-30 grams

Warming the foot(say in a warm water foot bath) was found to be useful in influencing saturation and increasing absorption. The above, with regular sterilization of shoes, showed a clearing in 9 months.

It was noted that not only are essential oils receiving strong attention for the pharmacological activities on bacteria, viruses and fungus but on the indirect effects as well; anti-inflammatory responses and immune enhancement being examples.

During Botanica, it was awesome to see the amount of time, effort, research and results dedicated to the clinical applications of essential oils in other parts of the world. This presenter from Japan was no exception.

Up Next: Natural Microbicides

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,

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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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Wanted to share a recent article written by Julie Sherwood, staff writer from the Messenger Post, that included our interview:

Naples’ entrepreneur Kc Rossi is growing her plant-based business called Heart Blossom Essentials, LLC that promotes wellness with pure-essential oils.

“I am a lover of joy, all things natural and optimistic living,” says Rossi of herself. The peace and pleasure she has found through her vegetarian lifestyle that includes daily meditation, plant-based medicine, yoga and positive psychology is something she is sharing through her business, she said.

Here is what Rossi had to say about her life as it relates to Heart Blossom Essentials-

Tell us when and why you started the business
I started Heart Blossom Essentials September 2010 really out of my sheer love for the plant world. Experiencing the amazing results from natural remedies and seeing that toxic household chemicals could be replaced with simple, eco-friendly ingredients gave me motivation to share the goodness.

Tell us a little about your background
In 1994, I received my first certification in Aromatherapy from the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. Since then, I have expanded my studies in the field of clinical aromatherapy with the premier educators in the field; including Rhiannon Harris, Andrea Butje, Robert Tisserand and Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt. I am Nationally Certified through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists. I have a thirst for knowledge and believe in constant, never-ending improvement in all aspects of life. My latest adventure is taking me to Dublin, Ireland this September to attend the International Botanical Conference, a gathering of worldwide herb and essential-oil authorities.

Click here to view the whole article.

Next post: My Botanica 2012 experience in Dublin, Ireland! Stay tuned. :o )

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With the fast pace, pressure and demands of our modern lifestyle, stress is no stranger to many. Effects of tension can manifest in a variety of ways both physically and emotionally. One symptom that is on the rise is teeth clenching and grinding (medically known as bruxism). It is amazing how common this disturbing and many times painful habit is. Over the last couple of years, I have experienced first hand the frustrating and what seemed unavoidable repercussions of this act, including several chipped teeth, 4 fractured molars and jaw/head pain. The standard recommendation is to wear a mouth guard while sleeping. You can be fitted for a custom one by your dentist or pick up a generic one at the pharmacy. This seems like a surface “fix” and who wants to sleep with a mouth full of rigid plastic for the rest of their life? Not me!

So I began to incorporate daily practices in effort to soothe the root cause. They are:
Body Mechanics:

Becoming aware of body mechanics-furrowed foreheads, raised shoulders, clenched jaw, squinted eyes, held breath. The act of tuning in to specific body parts, checking their position and manually re-adjusting can be a great relief. The simple consciousness of “checking in” and breathing into the targeted area, allowing release, can be a profound first step in letting go of tension and stress. Many times we are unaware that we are even holding tension in our body. A night-time practice of relaxing the jaw and mouth area is especially helpful. Positioning the tongue upward with the teeth apart and the lips closed, gently moving the jaw up and down and side to side, and massaging the jaw and sides of the face and head are good habits to begin sleep.

Nutritional support is a big help. I have found excellent results incorporating a product called CALM(a calcium/magnesium supplement). Other stress busting vitamins are a good vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C and Zinc. Also, staying hydrated has been shown to decrease teeth grinding, as well as cutting back on alcohol, caffeine and refined, processed foods.
Flower Essences:

Flower Essences are a safe and natural addition when addressing the emotional side of bruxism. According to Louise Hay, the under lying issues can be pointed to anger, resentment and feelings of powerlessness. Willow, Cherry Plum and Bach’s Rescue Remedy are helpful when dealing with the above.

Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine, advocates sounds for healing. I personally have found great results using this method every evening prior to bed or when I am feeling facial tightness. It works amazing! Dr. Deepak Chopra  says, “Take a deep breath and make the sound while exhaling. Each sound may be repeated from one to three times. This should be done daily for optimum results.” The sounds for relaxing the jaw, helpful for clenching, migraine and tension headaches are YA, YOU, YAI. You can run through all of them a couple of times using the mentioned method.

Relaxation Techniques:

Incorporating daily Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga and/or Brisk Waking cannot be underestimated when putting together a healthy and relaxing routine. Lower blood pressure, increased body/mind awareness, stress reduction and centeredness have all been reported by adding one of the above for as little as 20 minutes per day.


Essential oils have a profound effect on the nervous system. They heal on a holistic level, touching all aspects of the root cause; mental, emotional and physical. An effective blend(2 % dilution for daily use) is as follows:
Organic Jojoba: 1 oz.
Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia): 5 drops
Vetiver(Vetiveria zizanoides): 2 drops
Ylang Ylang(Cananga odorata): 2 drops
Marjoram(Origanum marjorana): 2 drops

Place in a cobalt or amber 1 oz. glass bottle. Gently massage around jaw line, neck and behind the ears. Apply once per evening, prior to sleep. Safe for children above 2 years of age. Avoid if low blood pressure is present.

I am a big believer of taking baby steps when incorporating new and different practices into your lifestyle. Start with one or two of the above suggestions. When you are feeling comfortable and established with the new routine, review the list again and add one or two more and so on. Before you know it, your clenching and grinding will be a thing of the past. Now that’s something to smile about!

Until next time,
Breathe joy…

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After settling into winter, and the hustle & bustle of the holidays is over, I am ready to forge ahead into the New Year with gusto.  Kicking it off with trade show travel for Angelic Gourmet, my first stop was the Philadelphia Gift Show.  Of course we were there exhibiting our handmade confections, but as a side perk I got to see all the latest, and greatest products & packaging.


With thousands of lines, from hundreds of national manufacturers, I was most enticed by Sallye Ander Soap, a long time favorite.  The company only uses pure essential oils, and all natural bases in their handcrafted soap, and boasts to create “The World’s Best Soap”.  Just the mere fragrance when you pass by their 20 foot booth is enough to turn your head, and lift your spirits.  Plus, it always amazes me just how pleasant plant people are!  Maybe it’s all the inhaling of essential oils, or just the deep overall respect for nature, and ecology.  Either way, it is like a magnetic pull to betterment, and a sweet comfort to be around.


Another high quality, all natural manufacturer(and personal show buddy) is Honey House Naturals.  Known for their Bee Bar, a solid lotion made with shea butter, royal jelly + other natural anti-oxidants. The perfect lube to seal in moisture, and protect from the elements. It’s no wonder it has a slew of devout followers, since 1994.

Well, here’s to a fresh & smooth start to 2012.

Next Stop: Atlanta

Until then…

Breathe Joy,



PS: One thing I won’t leave home without–

All Natural Hand Sanitizer

Purify Me!  A waterless hand sanitizer made with organic aloe vera gel & therapeutic essential oils.  Alcohol free, non-sticky, long lasting, and delicious smelling! A *must have* for all your traveling!

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Today, modern-day spiritual uses of essential oils correlate with the chakra centers of the body, color(both what the flower reflects and the vibrational quality), and other electromagnetic energy properties. Spiritual PhtyoEssencing is one example. Dr. Bruce Bertowsky states:

Each individual’s unique pattern of physical and emotional imbalance is a “snapshot” of what may be referred as the “idea” of the disease which emanates from a person’s soul level and inhibits the full bonding of the spirit with the physical body. The goal in Spirit- ual PhytoEssencing is to identify the pattern of deep psycho-spiritual themes which have a disharmonizing impact on the soul level. Subsequently, a combination of essential oils which correlates with these themes is formulated to act as a mirror-image of this “central disturbance,” and so, serves as a customized response to the bioenergetic fingerprint of a deeply ingrained pattern of imbalance. Harmonizing the bioenergy currents of the psycho-spiritual plane facilitates an altered state characterized by heightened awareness, receptivity, flexibility, objectivity and the illumination of life-choices. True healing can proceed only in this altered state.

Unfolding Beauty

The story continues to electromagnetic wave frequencies, or megahertz(MHz). “Your brain emits 72-78 MHz. How many of you love a rose?  You get in the presence of a rose, or you smell a rose, and it feels really great?  A rose has 320 MHz coming out of it. It’s like you get a charge.  All flowers don’t do that to you do they? Some have more than others.  And those feelings you’re having are actual electrical frequencies that you can experience if you measure it.”- The PH Miracle

So, the electrical charging of the rose, with it’s longtime symbolism of love, forgiveness, the sacred and the sensual, may be more interconnected than what meets the eye(or the nose for that matter).

Below is a Kirlian Photograph of Rose petals by Robert Buelteman. Kirlian photography is “A photographic process that captures the auras or biofields of persons or objects within the photograph. The technique involves the photographing of subjects in the presence of a high-frequency, high-voltage, low-amperage-electrical field, which display glowing, multicolored emanations known as auras or bio-fields.”-The Mystica.com

Kirlian Photography of Rose Petals

From reviewing the above photo, it is noted that the electrical force radiating out of the petals glowing base can be interpreted as the roses innate fertile, aphrodisiac nature. The red energy bursting in the petals heart center could be related to how the essential oil of Rose is used to sooth and heal the heart and bring feelings of love and sweetness.

Based on the symbolism of color, pink with lavender is extremely feminine. As well as lavender being a good choice when targeting women where feelings of nostalgia or romance are desired.

Interesting the electromagnetic color fields of rose petals strongly represent femininity, nostalgia and romance; which have forever been qualities associated with roses.

“In a holistic model of reality, we as humans, are considered as not only a physical body. It is believed that we contain many energetic fields or aura bodies as well. These energetic bodies are usually our first line of defense when challenged by disease or trauma, as well as being first affected in joy and pleasure. In aromatherapy, the essential oils also have a vibrational quality to them. They, too, have energetic bodies, and it is on this energy frequency that the oils first affect us, long before the aroma enters the limbic system or the oils penetrate the skin.” -Suzanne Bovenizer. 

From the scientific to the sublime, essential oils, nestled in the bosom of the plant world, hold numerous layers of healing powers.  It continues on as scientists, scholars, shamans, mystics and lay people alike relish in the magnitude of universal blessings that are distilled in the microcosm of one little drop.

Sweet & Sublime

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…



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Salt Water that is!  

Me & A Very Large Stingray!

Salt is the common name given to Sodium Chloride(NaCl), a naturally occurring chemical compound.  One source of extraction is from underground deposits of sea water.  It is said that salt is essential to life and good health.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy the benefits of salt water is scuba diving.

The healing, warm waters of salt water destinations immediately transform me into another being…lighter, free and so “in the moment”.  It has the power to “dissolve” tension headaches, improve muscle fluidity and clear sinus passages.  In my experiences, the most jaw dropping view of salt-above & below sea level-was at Salt Pier, on the Island of Bonaire.  The first time I saw this panorama, I was in awe(for a good long time).  It was at dusk, the sky was a mystical pink, the Caribbean Sea was it’s natural brilliant turquoise and this landscape was contrasted by peaks of pure white pyramids of salt. It felt like a projector slide from another world; perhaps a shimmer from the astral plane.

Salt Pier, Bonaire

Angel Fish, taken 40 feet below

You don’t have to be ‘out of this world’ to enjoy the benefits of salt. A simple warm bath in the comfort of your home is the perfect arena to melt some troubles away, and begin transformation. Hydrotherapy, through daily bathing, has long been a healing ritual, dating as far back as 4500 B.C..

Therapeutic properties can vary greatly depending on where salt is harvested. A few varieties of salt include pink himalayan, grey, black, dead sea, dendritic, and sulfur. One of the prettiest, in my opinion, is the pink himalayan salt.

Some of Pink Himalayan Salt Benefits are:

  • Contains 84 trace minerals
  • High in energy rich iron(responsible for it’s luscious pink color)
  • Minerals exist in an easily absorbable form(colloidal)
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Soothes sore muscles
  • Helps normalize blood pressure
  • Controls water levels in the body
  • Encourages blood sugar health
  • Helpful for sinus conditions
  • Detoxifying

Fun Fact:

Epsom Salt is not really a salt at all.  It is a pure mineral compound of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen.  The combination is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, aiding the absorption of calcium, healthy bones & teeth, nervous system impulses, muscle relaxation and function, heart health and sleep comfort.

Edible Insight:

A total YUM is salted caramels.  Voges is known for their Blush Caramel-where a hint of Hawaiian Red Sea Salt is added to sweet caramel…a delectable taste sensation.

Simple Action~

Take 1 cup of Epsom salt(found at most grocery stores) and swirl into a warm bath.  Soak for 20 minutes.  Relax and Release.

Original Essential Oil Recipe~ Detoxification Bath Salts-

3 cups of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

1/4 cup of Hawaiian Red Sea Salt

Juniper Berry(Juniperus communis)-16 drops

Grapefruit(Citrus paradisi)-16 drops

Cypress(Cupressus sempervirens)- 12 drops

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)-6 drops

Mix the above ingredients.  It’s nice to store in a pretty glass jar & use a special scoop.  Stir before using.  Light a candle.  I invite you to take a moment for yourself and really create a healing space.  Use 1/4 cup per bath to cleanse, rejuvenate, detox and release. Soak for up to 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Breathtaking Bonaire Sunset

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

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With nice weather finally upon us in Upstate, New York, I have found myself utterly soaking up the surroundings.  While outside this evening, I was looking at all the wood that encompasses me on a daily basis.  My home is constructed of local Larch from a nearby Amish wood mill.  It is nestled among hundreds of Red Pine Trees, sowed in ‘plantation format’, with heights that tower up to 40 feet.  As coincidence may have it, both Larch and Pine belong to the same botanical family; the Pinaceae .  

The Pinaceae family includes many well-known conifers such as Atlas Cedar wood, Firs, Hemlock, Pines, Spruce, Larch, etc.  Key medicinal benefits of this botanical group include decongesting, anti-inflammatory, and immune stimulating.

“Pine has been described as a symbol of an uncompromising will to live, endurance, strength, and a free spirit that refuses to conform or live in servitude.  The oil awakens one’s spirit.” (Complete Aromatherapy Handbook-Fisher-Rizzi)

From a spiritual perspective-Pine has long been associated with protection, personal independence, creativity, the right to seclusion and restfulness in solitude.


From an edible insight-Pine Pollen has a long list of health supporting attributes including promoting vitality, stamina, hormone balancing, etc.  For more information on Pine Pollen, check out: http://www.rawforestfoods.com/pinepollen.html



Fun Fact: The Sugar Pine(Pinus lambertiana) is the tallest pine tree in the world.  Their height range from 50 feet to 200 feet.  Native to California, Nevada, Oregon and Mexico.

Essential Oil Recipe:

Breathe Easy~

This is a 2% dilution to aid in common cold prevention, decongestion relief and self-image clarity. The following essential oils all belong to the Pinaceae family.

Organic Sunflower Oil: 1 oz.

Larch(Larix laracina): 7 drops

Douglas Pine(Pseudotsuga menzies): 3 drops

Siberian Fir(Abies sibirica): 3 drops

May be applied over the neck and chest area 2 times per day.


To curiosity, education & enthusiasm.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

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One of my favorite little islands is Curacao; part of the “ABC”(Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) chain in the Caribbean, about 40 miles north of Venezuela.  It is a combination of both a bustling, cultural city and a humble undiscovered destination.

This past March was my fifth time to Curacao. You know how when you repeat something, it’s easy to get into a ”routine”… only gravitating to your favorite, familiar spots?  Well, this time I went with very different eyes.

Curacao Aloe Plantation

And with this increased curiosity for history and flora, I discovered a gem!

Off the beaten path, on a rocky dirt road(shared by donkey!), miles away from street signs and post markers was an aloe plantation.  Very low on the radar, a metal building was nestled back on the land with fields of spiky cactus-like plants surrounding it on all sides.

After reservation wondering, “Do you think we are allowed any further?”, we proceeded to park by a little house(what looked like the farm hands stay) and entered the shop.  Lo and behold, it was an operating storefront with a viewing window into the aloe process.

Lucky as it was to find this tucked away plantation, luckier still that they were processing the harvest that day, an occurrence that takes place only a handful of days per month.  Well, I was in my glory!  I eagerly looked through the glass window and was immediately stunned to see how simple the set up was.

It consisted of a truck, loaded with plastic crates, filled with huge leaves of aloe, an outside crew hosing down the pick, an inside team(all suited up with rain gear and gloves) scrubbing the aloe, rinsing again and slicing off the bottom 2 inches(this I found out was to let the “bitter” drain, for about 30 minutes before the next step).  Then, the aloe pieces were hosed down with water one more time and off to the slicer(a man with a huge machete), who proceeded to cut the sides of each leaf by hand, to send it off to be pressed in a stainless steel ‘juicer’.  Once this ‘liquid gold’ was extracted, it flowed to specially designed and patented holding tanks where the product was naturally preserved.

The workers with their radiant, black faces and shining white smiles seemed as fascinated with us watching so intently, as we were with the amazing, systematic procedure.

At the plantation, a very small amount is kept for an in-house line of aloe infused items that range from sun care to natural soaps and beverages.  With their high reputation and no synthetics, additives, chemicals or pesticides used in their process, the majority of the yield is exported and utilized in pharmaceutical formulations.

A Few Aloe Facts:

  • Founded on the Island of Barbados by a botanist, Phillip MIller who officially named the plant Aloe Barbadensis Miller.
  • Takes five months for an aloe to mature to the point it can be harvested(at the plantation, they mindfully use only 2-3 bottom leaves, per harvest).
  • Not related to the cactus family–but the lily family.
  • There are 400+ types of aloe.
  • Historically listed on the top ten most medicinal plants in the world

A Few Aloe Healing Benefits:

  • Very popular to heal wounds.
  • Regenerates skin cells and aids in skin conditions, like eczema.
  • Speeds the healing process of burns.
  • Soothes insect bites.
  • Powerful anti-fungal-helpful in treating acne, athletes foot, mouth sores, etc.
  • Internally, aloe juice has been taken to improve digestive and elimination disorders, improve lung congestion and general body detoxification.

Aloe & Essential Oil Blend Recipes~

After Sun Care-this is a blend utilizing the healing qualities of aloe and 2% essential oils.  It can be applied liberally, when cooling relief is desired.  May be stored in a flip-top container or a fine mister.

Pure Aloe Vera Gel: 1 oz.

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)- 10 drops

Wound Care- this blend is at a 3% dilution for the aid in healing cuts, scrapes & burns. It can be applied directly on the wound, several times throughout the day.

Pure Aloe Vera Gel: 1 oz.

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)- 5 drops

Sandalwood(Santalum album)- 5 drops

Frankincense(Boswellia carterii)- 3 drops

German Chamomile(Matricaria recutita)-3 drops

My mind always associates Curacao with “Cure-a-Soul”. The Aloe Experience was just one more reason to love this intriguing corner of the world.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

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Who has ever been seduced by scent?  Awakened by the aroma of a fresh squeezed orange?  Pacified by a lingering waft of blooming lavender? 

The sense of smell, olfaction, is one of our most powerful senses.  Aromatherapy is a curative process using aroma.  More clearly, Aromatherapy is a healing modality utilizing the science of plant compounds called essential oils.  Essential oils are extracted from single botanical sources from all over the world by a variety of methods, of which, steam distillation is the most common. Various aromatic plant parts are used depending on the nature of the plant and the richest chemical properties, there in. Examples are:

  • Berries
  • Seeds
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Bark
  • Resin
  • Wood
  • Peel
  • Roots
  • Rhizomes

The ‘power of the plant’ has the ability to aid healing on a physical, mental, emotional and spirit level.  This gift of nature is truly our “holistic” medicine cabinet!  It has been documented that essential oils have been used throughout time, going as far back as 4500 BC.

The integrity of the essential oil is vital.  High standard Aromatherapy utilizes only the purest grade, unadulterated essential oils, batch tested for quality assurance and scientific data.

So how is the quality of an essential oil tested?

A leading edge technology called Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry(GC/MS) is used to test the purity of the essential oil and decipher the chemical components contained within. Understanding the chemistry of essential oils is crucial when effective, clinical results are desired.  Some components of essential oils are terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, oxides and ethers(More on the chemistry of essential oils in another post). Each natural chemical component is responsible for various healing actions.  Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antidepressant & anti-spasmodic, to name a few.

Sound Confusing?

It’s really not!  The power of scent is enjoyed by all, with or without the “background portfolio”.  For example, when smelling a rose can invoke a sense of serenity and the remembrance of a loved one’s ‘signature scent’, or the delicious smell of garlic & onions cooking can magically stimulate the appetite.

How does it all work?

Through the process of smelling, messages are transmitted to the limbic system of our brain.  The limbic system has a direct connection to our central nervous system, an intimate relationship with our emotional set up & memory, and plays a primary role in decision-making.  This unique pathway to the brain is one reason why psychological and physical benefits are experienced rather quickly.

Applications may include one or various combinations, as needed:

  • Inhalation(through facial steam, electric diffuser, inhalers, etc.)
  • Hydrotherapy(through baths/soaks)
  • Topical(lotion/oil/aloe base)
  • Compress(hot or cold)

Aromatherapy, in my opinion, is one of the most simple and enjoyable ways to enhance your life.  It has the ability to connect us with nature and to deeper levels within…. Truly a gift to share.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…



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