Important information for Base Formula Blog users

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

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Natural salts for natural wellbeing

Natural-Salts

There are many therapeutic salts on the market now – and it can get a little confusing when deciding which one to use! Here at Base Formula we sell 3 different natural, unadulterated salts; Epsom Salt, Pink Himalayan Rock Salt and Dead Sea Salt.

At this time of year many of us are still focusing on detoxing after the festive season. Salts can help, not only by stimulating our bodies to get rid of unwanted congestion, but also by sloughing off those dead Winter skin cells. They can also come to you aid by easing the aches and pains resulting from increased exercise levels – perhaps from that New Year’s resolution of joining the gym!! But which type of salt should you use for these different issues and how should you use them?

To help you chose the best salt for you, we’ve pulled together some useful information on the properties of each of our salts and how they can be used therapeutically to enhance your health and wellbeing. So, read on and answer those questions, and more – whilst accessing some great new ideas, recipes and resources to maximise your ability to benefit from another of Nature’s wonderful “cure alls”…

Epsom Salts

As with all our salts – the clue of their origin is in the name! Our natural Epsom Salts are named after a bitter saline Spring that bubbles up from deep under-ground in Epsom, Surrey, in the UK. There are lots of traditional folk lore remedies associated with these salts, particularly in relation to promoting relaxation and relieving aching joints. Unlike the other two salts, Epsom Salt isn’t actually a salt at all, but is composed of Magnesium and Sulphate.
Helping to ease stress and tension can easily be connected with bathing in Magnesium rich mineral baths – helping to promote deep physical relaxation whilst easing mental agitation.

Aromatherapy recipes using Epsom Salts

To ease stress and tension:

Add 2 cups Epsom Salts to 500ml boiling water and dissolve. Add 5 drops Lavender essential oil, 2 Roman Chamomile and 2 Neroli then pour into a hot bath and soak.

To help relieve joint pain (arthritis):

Add 2 cups Epsom Salts to boiling water as above and add 2 drops German Chamomile essential oil, 4 Marjoram and 8 Lavender, and as to bath as above.

To help clean gardening cuts, abrasions and scratches:

Mix Epsom Salts and water as above, but add 3 drops Tea Tree essential oil, 6 Sandalwood and 6 Lavender.

Speaking of gardening….Epsom Salts are fabulous for lots of gardening issues:

  • To help prevent Leaf Curl – if leaves begin to curl dissolve 1-2 tbsp in 1 gallon water and apply regularly – it can be due to magnesium deficiency!
  • To help deter slugs – they are sharp and acidic and slugs will avoid them
  • To help green foliage get greener (again) – yellowing foliage can be due to magnesium deficiency
  • To help settle plants after moving – magnesium rich water can help plants recover from the shock of moving them

Pink Himalayan Rock Salts

From the Himalayas – one of the greatest differences between Himalayan Pink Salt and others – is its purity.
It is said to be one of the purest salts available, and for many hundreds of years was reserved for use by Royalty only.
It is harvested from ancient 250 million year old sea beds – before the Himalayas themselves were formed! The fact that these areas have lain undisturbed under layers of lava, ice and snow have enabled the salts to remain pure and untainted from impurities in general and modern day pollution in particular. Its pink colour is natural too – coming from the natural levels of iron oxide in the ground.

To maintain its literal and metaphorical /energetic purity, it is still selected, harvested, sorted and crushed by hand. It is also sun dried – and thus has no contact with modern day mechanised processes.

Himalayan Pink Rock Salts are so pure and have so many therapeutic properties that they are the only salts often used without essential oils or base oils. Their properties being so powerful they can be seen to require little intervention, bar the addition of waters, which vary according to the type of use required. They also have a huge range of minerals and rare trace elements that can be hard to access in a normal Western diet.

Our Himalayan Pink Salts are “culinary grade” and so can be dissolved and taken internally (see our website for ‘Sole’ recipe) for a variety of different conditions, but mainly for their action in helping to neutralise acidity and assist with regulating healthy ph levels. They can also help reduce inflammation and soothe, hydrate and nourish the skin.

Aromatherapy recipes using Himalayan Pink Salt

To detoxify:

Make and take ‘Sole’ to help detoxify and re-balance your body each morning before you eat or drink anything.

For sinus rinsing:

If you are prone to sinus infections, try buying a “Neti Pot” or plastic nasal flush bottle and add 1 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt to 60ml hot water. Let the crystals dissolve, add 1 drop Tea Tree essential oil and flush the sinuses as directed am and pm.

Dead Sea Salts

The waters from the Dead Seas have again been renowned for many thousands of years. These waters are totally unique, having 27% various salts rather than 3% concentration found in normal seas. Another rich balance of natural minerals – these salts are comprised of Magnesium, Potassium, Iodine, Sulphur Calcium, Sodium Chloride and Bromides. Due to their composition, Dead Sea Salts are particularly useful for their effects on skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, as well as joint and muscular aches and pains.

Aromatherapy recipes using Dead Sea Salt

Soothing and enriching body scrub:

Add 1 cup Dead Sea Salt to ½ cup with 50% Jojoba and 50% Grapeseed Oil. Massage into the skin with a circular motion and then shower off. If the skin is inflamed you can add 2 drops German Chamomile essential oil and 4 Lavender.

Sooth & smooth bath blend:

Dissolve 2 cups Dead Sea Salt into 500ml boiling water. Combine 15ml Bath & Shower Gel with 2 drops Benzoin essential oil, 2 German Chamomile, 4 Geranium and 4 Lavender and add to the bath with the salt solution.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Base oil of the month – Peanut

Peanut Oil (Arachis hypogeae), often sold in the UK as “Groundnut oil”, is known by a variety of names throughout the world, including Goober, Pinder, Earthnut and Ground Pea oil. It is extracted from compression of the peanut kernels, and is used extensively in South-East Asian cuisine.

Peanut Oil has a high burning and smoking point, and is light yellow in colour, with a neutral taste (if using a refined variety – mildly nutty if not!). It is also highly prized medicinally.

As an aromatherapy base or carrier oil, Peanut Oil is rich in Essential Fatty Acids; containing approximately 50% Oleic Acid (Omega 9), 25% Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) and 1% Alpha Linoleic Acid (Omega 3). It is also rich in Vitamins E, A and D. Many commercial lotions contain Peanut Oil for its moisturising properties (often labelled as Arachis oil) – particularly products for nappy rash and sore, cracked nipples.

The high Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acid content makes Peanut Oil an excellent addition to face creams – especially for dry/mature skin with scars, sun damage or blemishes.

Safety note: Do not use Peanut Oil on the skin if allergic to Peanuts!

Aromatherapy recipes using Peanut Oil:

Natural Dandruff Treatment:

Take 30ml Peanut Oil and mix in 1 tsp Lemon juice, 6 drops Tea Tree essential oil and 6 drops Lime essential oil. Mix well and massage into a damp scalp. Leave on for 2 hours with a shower cap or towel wrapped around the head to keep in the warmth. Wash and condition as normal (with SLS free Shampoo)

Rich Face Cream for mature/scarred/blemished skin:

Combine 60ml Organic Moisturising Cream, 10ml Peanut Oil, 15 drops Lavender essential oil, 12 Geranium, 6 Patchouli, 4 Benzoin and 4 Rose.

Nourishing Body Oil:

Blend 80ml Peanut Oil, 10ml Argan Oil, 10ml Jojoba and 20ml Evening Primrose Oil with 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Bergamot, 10 Geranium, 8 Frankincense and 6 Neroli.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Blog Disclaimer

Posted in Base oil of the month, Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , ,

Essential oil of the month – Cajeput

Cajeput-Essential-Oil

Cajeput essential oil (Melaleuca leucadendron) is steam distilled from a tall tree that grows vigorously in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Australia. It is an evergreen tree with pointed leaves and whitish, thin papery bark that peels off in strips. In the Philippines “Kajuputi” means “White Wood” – the colour of the timber.

Cajeput belongs to the same botanical family as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree and is known for its antiseptic, stimulating, decongestant properties.

Cajeput essential oil is a pale yellow oil with a wonderfully warm, camphorous, slightly peppery aroma. It has a stimulating, slightly cooling, head clearing effect when inhaled.

Blends well with citrus and resinous essential oils in low dilutions.

Safety note: Cajeput is a mild irritant so should not be used by those with sensitive skins or in the bath.

Therapeutic properties of Cajeput essential oil:

  • Analgesic – to help ease aches and pains, neuralgia, stiff muscles, sore joints and the aches and pains associated with colds and flu.
  • Antimicrobial & Antiseptic – particularly in relation to respiratory and urinary tract infections, colds and flu.
  • Antispasmodic – specifically in relation to muscular aches and pains and rheumatism.
  • Expectorant – helps rid the body of excess congestion – in relation to coughs, colds and other respiratory infections.
  • Febrifuge – helps to bring down high temperatures.
  • Insecticidal – useful when added to an aromatherapy vaporiser to keep insects at bay.

Aromatherapy recipes using Cajeput essential oil:

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Blog Disclaimer

Posted in Essential Oils of the Month, Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , ,

Aromatherapy and Chronic Fatigue / ME

Chronic-Fatigue

Winter is the time of year when we’re all at our most tired. However, for some people this exhaustion is permanent; those with the debilitating condition Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). So, after a busy festive period, and in the depths of Winter, what better time of year than to focus on how essential oils can help combat fatigue and exhaustion, and some of the other symptoms that go with that!

The ME Association describes that one of the main symptoms of CFS/ME is severe fatigue and malaise following any kind of activity – physical, mental or emotional. The CFS/ME patient may also experience symptoms such as muscle pain, brain fog, impaired immunity (sore throats, etc), sleep disturbances and low mood, and these can be exacerbated by stress. So, while the post-festive period is exhausting for the best of us, people with this condition often find themselves completely ‘burnt out’. Often, their symptoms only become apparent 24-48 hours after exerting themselves; because of this, sufferers can sometimes look fairly well when they are out doing something, but it is afterwards when they feel the effects of having pushed themselves too far. It is therefore a difficult condition for people to understand, and as well as leaving sufferers exhausted, it can leave them feeling quite isolated.

I am one of these sufferers. I know the symptoms too well, but I also know how focusing on my wellbeing has really helped me to improve – particularly through the use of essential oils.

So which aromatherapy oils can help? I have pulled together a range of tips that will be helpful, whether you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), or are generally suffering with any of the symptoms below.

Exhaustion and Fatigue

While some might advise trying hugely stimulating essential oils to re-energise, such as Rosemary or Lemon, we don’t want to over-stimulate with CFS/ME because it can have the opposite effect. Whilst Rosemary and Lemon essential oils have their place for certain symptoms, the body is already over-stressed in CFS/ME. Instead of trying to stimulate further, we need to calm it so that it can relax and rebalance itself.

Helping the feeling of being ‘run-down,’ Petitgrain is good in fatigue blends because it helps revitalise the body, yet it is still relaxing. Try mixing this with Geranium and Lavender for an exhaustion-busting blend. Alternatively, try Cypress or Bergamot, as this is a great combination for calming the nervous system. One theory for CFS/ME sufferers is that the body is always in a state of stress, with the autonomic nervous system being constantly in an imbalanced state of overdrive, so any essential oils that work on balancing the nervous system will be helpful in calming the body in order for it to re-energise.

Try 3 drops of any mix of the above 3 oils in an aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner, daily, to see if this has an effect on your wellbeing and energy levels. My favourite blend for this is Petitgrain, Geranium and Bergamot.

Muscular Pain

For muscular pain, you could try creating an oil blend to gently self-massage. Alternatively, you could try a compress made from dipping a flannel in hot or cold water that has a few drops of each essential oil in (depending on whether you need heat to relax your muscles or cool for inflammation).

Sweet Marjoram, Cypress and Lavender are great muscle-easers and relaxants, along with Black Pepper and Peppermint, so you can play around with any 3 of these essential oils when mixing your massage blend. Grapefruit has a lovely citrus scent which helps sweeten the blend, and it also helps with fatigue, boosting immunity and ridding the body of toxins, as well as being uplifting – a great aromatherapy oil for CFS/ME.

Try 10ml Grapeseed or Sweet Almond carrier oil mixed with 2 drops of each of Sweet Marjoram, Black Pepper and Grapefruit for a real tension-busting massage oil.

Brain Fog

Other challenges for CFS/ME sufferers are poor concentration and memory. There are some great cephalic (mind clearing) essential oils for this. Try diffusing 2 drops of Basil and Rosemary, with 4 drops of Lemon, to aid concentration or memory. However – this is quite a stimulating blend, so don’t overdo it. If it is too much, substitute Rosemary for Lavender as this is more calming but still cephalic. Diffuse this aromatherapy blend for half an hour in the morning (perhaps whilst sipping warm water with a slice of real lemon!) to get your body going, but then move to a more relaxing blend later in the day / evening. This helps remind your body of how it should be working; how a balanced mind and body should react – i.e. waking up in the morning and winding down in the evening.

Impaired Immunity

Generally, immunity is worse when run-down, so in an illness which centres on exhaustion, low immunity is a real challenge. Essential oils can really help with this – there are loads of immunity boosting options. Some of the best options for building immunity are Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender, and some of the best ones for warding off germs are Eucalyptus and Lemongrass. If you aren’t keen on the smell of Tea Tree, try Ravensara as it has a nicer aroma.

The most effective for me personally is diffusing 5 drops of Sweet Orange daily, perhaps as one of your oils for your morning or evening blends, to help build immunity – and, if you feel a cold coming, pop some Eucalyptus on a cotton pad in an inhaler stick and take it with you wherever you go!

Sleep Disturbance

If sleep issues are another challenge, try making a Sleep Spritz to keep by your bed. In a spray bottle, add 100ml of Chamomile Hydrolat with 5 drops of each of Chamomile, Lavender and Ylang Ylang or Mandarin essential oils, depending on whether you prefer floral or citrus smells. If you would prefer something a bit woodier, try Sandalwood in the blend. This spritz can be sprayed on your face or on a tissue to be placed inside your pillow to aid sleep. For a ready-made solution try our Sweet Dreams Spritz with Lavender, Chamomile, Frankincense and Cedarwood.

Low Mood

If you’re feeling low with all the above symptoms, why not make a pulse point oil? To boost your mood add 10ml of Grapeseed or Sweet Almond oil into a rollette bottle with 1 drop of each of any of the following oils:

Use the rollete on the pulse points on your wrist throughout the day. Alternatively, see which oils you like and diffuse them during the daytime. LemonLime and Sweet Orange is a cheery daytime blend that can help to lift your spirits!

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety play a big part in unbalancing the nervous system. During times of stress, diffuse a soothing blend of Bergamot, Mandarin and Lavender. Other essential oils like Clary Sage and Chamomile are great too. Rose Otto is an extremely de-stressing oil and I find this works really well for me when I am feeling on edge. You might like to make a pulse point rollette for this also.

Top Tips for CFS/ME Sufferers

Gradual Effect

CFS/ME sufferers can be quite sensitive to different stimulus, so it is important to remember to build up exposure to essential oils gradually, as well as testing the oils for sensitivity. Try just one drop of each oil in a blend to start with before building up to the quantities above. The reason being, that we don’t want to over-stimulate the body, but naturally balance it with the therapeutic effects the oils can offer – we don’t want to shock the body, we want a gradual effect.

Detox

Once used to essential oils, it may also be worth considering including oils like Juniperberry and Fennel in your morning or daytime blends, in low doses, to try and cleanse the body of the toxins that are causing such negative symptoms. This is because these are very good detoxing oils. However, take caution with extreme or too-regular use of these oils in CFS/ME sufferers as too much ‘detox’ can simply release too many toxins into the system and often the body can struggle to cope with this overload.

Personalise It

Overall, there are many essential oils to support with symptoms suffered with conditions that include fatigue-related symptoms – whether CFS, ME, Fibromyalgia, general exhaustion or anything with similar symptoms – so remember to mix it up and try new blends to see what works for you.

Whether suffering a fatigue related condition or not, essential oils can help you recover from the often exhausting (but fun!) festive season – just remember to enjoy the process along the way! Smell the oils to see which ones you like before creating a blend, as the ones you like tend to be the ones your body needs; they are clever old things, our bodies – even if they are exhausted! So – for those sufferers of CFS/ME who are giving up on their bodies because they feel they have let them down – let essential oils restore your faith in your body’s ability to know what it needs to heal itself. It worked for me!

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Posted in Aromatherapy A-Z of health conditions, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , ,

The Beauty Detective – Natural Health – January 2016

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Sleep: are you getting enough? – Natural Health – January 2016

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Enjoy the healing properties of our festive favourites

FestiveFavourites

Christmas is only a few days away now, so what better to focus on than my favourite Christmas essential oils? My last blog for 2015 highlights which essential oils are festively fragranced, and how they can help support us through the season’s challenges!

Remembering the Christmassy scent…

We know that essential oils work with our nervous system, to help bring about balance in the body, but what can sometimes (ironically) be forgotten is that they simultaneously work with what we call the ‘limbic’ system. This is the part of the brain which houses our emotions, and is where most of our memories are formed. It is for this reason that we Aromatherapists like to discuss with our clients that the use of essential oils can trigger emotional healing responses – because scents can very much be linked to certain memories. This is why specific essential oil scents can remind us of Christmas! When we think of Christmas, this is why we associate oils such as Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon, Clove, Pine, Nutmeg, Sweet Orange, Mandarin, Tangerine and Lemon.

…and not forgetting their healing properties

Whilst you may be aware of these scents and their link to Christmas, it might not be as apparent as to what their healing properties are, so here is how each aromatherapy oil can help balance your body – especially at Christmas time.

Frankincense – woody/spicy

  • Calming during stress – useful for Christmas stress!
  • Anti-depressant – uplifting during winter darkness
  • Slows and deepens breathing – aids respiration
  • Rejuvenates, balances and heals the skin – especially mature skin (great in a facial oil)
  • Stimulates immunity – good for warding off winter bugs

Myrrh – woody/spicy

  • Emotionally balancing and comforting – during a stressful season
  • Helps overcome digestive problems – useful for combating excess Christmas food!
  • Supportive in meditative practice – good for grounding at a busy time
  • Helps with respiratory issues – particularly colds, catarrh, coughs (useful for winter bugs)
  • Helps heal wounds

Cinnamon – exotic/spicy

  • Warming during the cold season
  • Uplifting and invigorating for exhaustion – energising during the busiest season of the year
  • Good for muscular and joint pain – useful in Winter as these are aggravated by the cold

Pine – sweet/woody

  • Relieves mental fatigue and nervous exhaustion
  • Encourages self-confidence
  • Aids tolerance and forgiveness (especially useful during Christmas shopping or with irritating relatives!)
  • Helps coughs, colds and bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma
  • Also aids kidneys and detoxing
  • Useful for muscular pains and over-exertion

Nutmeg – woody/spicy/sweet

  • Uplifting – a nerve tonic
  • Focuses the mind
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Aids circulation – very warming in cold weather

Sweet Orange – sweet/fruity

  • Great immunity booster for Winter
  • Great tonic and skin balancer – aids toxin removal
  • Relaxing, comforting and uplifting

Mandarin – warm/citrussy

  • Hypnotic and sedative in times of insomnia – especially useful and safe for helping excited children sleep on Christmas night!
  • Relaxing and calming, yet strengthening
  • Digestive support – in times of digestive upset

Tangerine – sweet/fruity

  • Uplifting and soothing for the nervous system
  • Sedative – relaxes an over-active mind

Lemon – fresh/sweet

  • Aids stress-related fatigue
  • Cleansing – ‘spring cleans’ the mind
  • Uplifting for depression
  • Enhances memory function
  • 1 drop mixed in 5ml carrier oil is great for oily/acne prone skin
  • Helps build immunity

Christmas blending tips

So we know what they are and what they do – and we can select based on the properties our bodies need – but how well do the scents blend together? Well, most of the Christmas essential oils blend well together, so it’s all about selecting the ones your body needs, but also choosing the ones your body is drawn to at the time. Smell them together – play around with the scents on a tissue or cotton pad to see how nice the blend smells when you mix the oils together. Ultimately, let your nose decide which ones you need. Once you’ve decided, you can then:

  • Diffuse them – diffuse up to 3 different oils blended together, in either an electric diffuser or a candle burner
  • Use them in the bath – unless you have very sensitive skin, you can add a few drops to a glass of full fat milk and add this to your bath for a wonderful aromatherapy self- treatment
  • Mix them with salts – try adding 15 drops to a bowl of Himalayan Pink Salt to fragrance a room
  • Make a winter massage blend – mix 10ml of carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil with 1 drop each of 3 essential oils – perhaps try making a warming massage oil to combat the winter chill
  • Make Christmas gifts – Given their healing properties, which essential oils might your friends be in need of this season? Create individual blends for friends (taking care to read the safety notes for use of the oils with certain health conditions like skin sensitivity). Try popping your massage blend into a rollete bottle and label it as a ‘pulse-point’gift! Or, just create a festive blend that they diffuse or use in the bath. You could even add your blend to Dead Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt for personalised bath salts.

Christmas essential oil pre-blends

If you’re not a qualified Aromatherapist, or don’t have many oils at home, it might be easier to consider using a pre-blended essential oil. Try our Christmas Spice, Festive Fruits or Holy Nights blends.

A personal favourite

My personal Christmassy winter-warmer is diffusing 3 drops Cinnamon and 5 drops Sweet Orange in a candle burner. You could throw in a non-Christmassy favourite like 1 drop of balancing Geranium too! Why not experiment?

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Posted in Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: ,

Top 10 tips for a Happy & Healthy Christmas

Healthy Christmas

So it’s here again, the time of year that children eagerly await, and us adults adore or dread – probably in equal measure! At the end of the day, if you are one of the latter, it might help to remember that this festive season can be whatever you choose it to be.

It doesn’t have to be highly commercialized, where you spend money you haven’t got on gifts no-one really wants to receive. It can be a time for thoughtfulness. For small acts of kindness, not just big extravagant ones. For example, working in soup kitchens to help people who really are “down on their luck”, then sharing good food and good company with people you love for the rest of the festive period.

It can be a time of peaceful contemplation, of spiritual repose, of sharing and caring. In short, Christmas can be whatever you choose it to be. When I hear people “humbugging”, I often hope they get to wake up and enjoy the peace that can be achieved by looking outside of themselves, and remembering that we all have a choice of where we allow our minds to go.

Almost all of us could create enough from what we have – and most importantly – from who we are – to bring joy and a sense of abundance, whatever our circumstances. Of course there are those of us who are really struggling – who really have virtually nothing – homeless, living in bed and breakfasts, nothing to give their children and loved ones. So isn’t it great there is an ultimate joy – at this time of year – in giving?

So here’s my “Top 10 Tips” for that “Happy, Healthy Christmas” that we all desire.  If your Christmas often leaves you feeling frazzled and bereft of Christmas cheer – read on, and digest at your leisure, before the season’s frivolities over take you!

Stress

Ok, so no matter how positive your mental attitude and approach to life, this is the time of year that might just get you gnashing your teeth and tensing your back, neck and shoulders, and taxing your ability to function productively. When the dinners only half cooked, Great Aunt Ethel brings 3 of her friends, the brussel sprouts boil over, and you step on the cat – you might like to access a little stress relief before, during or after the event!

Festive Scentsation
Create the perfect stress balm. Add 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 3 Frankincense and 4 Sweet Orange to 15ml Jojoba. Add to a small bottle – preferably with a “roll on” top, and massage into those pulse points regularly throughout the day or whenever the need arises.

Fruity Scentsation
Vaporise this aromatherapy blend throughout the space where your friends and family congregate, and you will soon notice its refreshing, uplifting action: 4 drops Mandarin, 4 Lime, 2 Frankincense and 2 Pine.

Seasonal Bath-time Bliss
Prepare this luxurious bath-time blend to sink into once all the festivities have been provided for. You have done your bit, everyone’s happy – so enjoy some time for you! Mix 80ml SLS Free Bath & Shower Gel, 3 drops Rose, 3 Jasmine, 6 Benzoin, 6 Frankincense and 20 Lavender – and relax!!!!!!

Headaches

So a headache has crept up on you in the middle of everything and you haven’t got time to stop! Here’s a useful check list:

  • Drink ½ litre water with 2-3 drops Bach Flower Rescue Remedy
  • Stretch out your neck and back – preferably in the fresh air
  • Place 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil onto a tissue and inhale deeply
  • Place 5 drops of Neroli Light (5% dilution) and 2 drops of Lavender onto your hand and massage into your temples and the back of your neck

Relaxation

At this time of year? Yes, it can be done! Buy yourself some Neroli Light essential oil and add liberally to your Bath & Shower Gel to start the day. Keep your thoughts positive and drink a great deal of water (mostly!!) and remember to build in your family “time out”. Getting booked up – saying yes to too many invitations – can lead to very little time for you to unwind by that fire and just “be you”. Remember to say “yes please” if anyone asks if you want any help – sitting down for a while – without feeling that you have to “do everything” is a vital relaxation skill. Remember also, to vaporise those “down-time” essential oils when you do get to “wind down” – try 3 drops Patchouli, 3 Frankincense, 4 Bergamot and 4 Geranium.

Digestion

Another check list if you are prone to uncomfortable bloating, burping or IBS symptoms:

  • Peppermint Tea – preferably fresh – before and certainly after a rich meal can really help
  • Vaporise 3 drops each of Peppermint, Spearmint, Lime and Fennel essential oils after the meal
  • Eat your meal slowly and chew really thoroughly – especially if you’re hosting the meal. You can tend to bolt it as you think about serving up the next course!
  • Get some Bendicks Bittermints in dark chocolate – they have a very high content of pure peppermint oil – a wonderful digestive aid
  • If you suffer from IBS, pop into a good health food shop. Buy some activated charcoal, some peppermint capsules and if it’s severe – some Slippery Elm capsules. The Slippery Elm should be taken 20 minutes before you eat to line your stomach and help prevent inflammation – the charcoal and peppermint capsules afterwards to help ease digestion following your meal. Depending on the level of bloating – or recent use of antibiotics, a good strong pro-biotic may help too, taken with breakfast.

Hangover

Not a great way to start the day for anyone – let alone those who are entertaining or have masses of festive fare to prepare! Try inhaling 2 drops each of Peppermint, Spearmint and Lime essential oils from a bowl of hot water. Drink fresh pineapple juice – rich in digestive supporting enzymes, have a decent breakfast – cooked – to help restore your energy, and take BioCare’s “Refresh Intensive” – to help restore the balance of electrolytes and nutrients important for energy and vitality.

Sore Feet

Too much shopping – or standing on your feet all day cooking? Make up this soothing foot balm in advance, and ideally ask an obliging family member to massage into your feet at the end of the day! Mix 120ml Moisturising Lotion, 30 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Lemon, 8 Tea Tree, 6 Spearmint and 2 Peppermint.

Keeping Bugs Away

It’s the time of year that you can least afford to succumb to the lurgy – so box clever and prevent those bugs from breaching your immunity. For Adults, take Elagen for several days leading up to that big day (pure standardised Siberian Ginseng) am and 1g BioCare’s Vitamin C Powder pm. Children do well on Sambucol – a tonic made from concentrated elderberries – at this busy time full of school plays and nights out. Vaporise anti-microbial essential oils too: Try 4 drops Pine, 4 Cedarwood, 2 Lemon and 2 Thyme. Or 4 drops Patchouli, 3 Tea Tree, 3 Lemon and 2 Plai!

The Perfect Festive Fragrance

Well OK, there’s no one “perfect” festive fragrance as it’s such an individual choice and will depend on your mood and inclination, however here’s a few fabulous options:

Calming Hyper Activity

Whether it’s children or adults buzzing with over-stimulation it’s important to allow a “wind down” period at the end of the day. Remember warm milky drinks and bananas are rich in tryptophan and can help induce sleepiness. Vaporise Sweet Orange, Lavender and Chamomile essential oils in bedrooms before bed, and turn off all electrical equipment – TVs, mobiles and computers – at least 30 minutes before “lights out”.  Massage a few drops of neat Lavender essential oil onto your chest and neck before bed – or soak in a bath with 15ml Bath & Shower Gel , 10 drops Lavender, 2 Roman Chamomile and 2 Benzoin.

Sleep

Long term sleep issues can respond well to nutrient supplements such as magnesium, a good quality Vitamin B Complex, and a blood sugar balancer such as Sucroguard from BioCare. If it’s just at this time of year –try and stop eating and drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to lessen dehydration caused by alcohol and socialising/singing etc! If your stress levels have been high, massage a few drops of Neroli Light with a few drops of neat Lavender into your neck and chest. If you’re just over-stimulated, read a book, allow yourself time to wind down, write in your new diary, do some gentle stretches, and focus on all you’ve achieved in the day, rather than the few things you’ve left undone. Thinking positive is more likely to help you relax and think peaceful, restful thoughts.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Base oil of the month – Papaya Seed

papaya-seed-oil

Papaya Seed Oil (Carica papaya) is a delightfully light, virtually odourless lemony / orange coloured base oil. It has one of the highest naturally occurring levels of Vitamin A and C, as well as highly stable levels of Omega 6 and 9 essential fatty acids.

Papaya Seed Oil also contains the natural fruit enzyme “papain” – a highly effective ingredient to help stimulate skin elasticity, that is particularly indicated for mature /dry skin types. This oil also has high levels of oleic acid – similar to a good quality, cold pressed virgin olive oil. In addition to this, it is a remarkably stable oil – with a good long shelf life of approximately 2-3 years.

Aromatherapy recipes using Papaya Seed Oil:

Night-time Facial Oil for Dry, Mature or Scarred Skin
Blend 20ml Papaya Seed Oil, 10ml Jojoba, 10ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 2 Rose, 4 Geranium, 4 Benzoin and 8 Lavender. Massage into face and neck at night and leave on for 20 minutes. Wipe off any excess with a facial tissue.

Body Lotion for Poor Circulation & Cellulite
80ml Organic Moisturising Lotion, 20ml Papaya Seed Oil, 2 drops Black Pepper, 3 Clove, 3 Rosemary, 8 Juniper and 15 Geranium.

Hair Conditioner for Dry “Lack Lustre” Hair 
120ml Hair Conditioner, 20ml Papaya Seed Oil, 6 drops Patchouli, 6 Ylang Ylang and 10 Lavender. Use as normal, leaving conditioner on longer for very dry hair.

Scar Oil
If you have old acne or chicken pox scars, try this treatment oil on some scars, and not on others – then compare the difference! Mix 20ml Papaya Seed Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 10ml warmed Extra Virgin Coconut Butter, 15 drops Lavender, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose. Dab on and massage into affected areas nightly.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Essential oil of the month – Clove Bud

Clove-Bud-Essential-Oil

Clove Bud essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllata) is a wonderfully seasonal, aromatic oil, producing a slightly sweet, fruity, warming, spicy aroma – synonymous with the Christmas period. It has a pale yellow colour, and is a highly analgesic oil, which also has strong anti-bacterial properties.

The Clove plant – grown and harvested in Indonesia, produces 3 different forms of essential oil, Clove Leaf Oil, Clove Stem Oil, and the oil produced from the bud. All three are used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry as a source of eugenol. Clove Bud Oil is used in aromatherapy, as it has the lowest levels of eugenol, and is therefore considered safe.

For many centuries Clove Buds were chewed to help relieve toothache, and the oil is still used as a pain relieving remedy in dentistry today.

Safety note: Clove essential oil can be a mild irritant, and is not recommended for use in the bath or for those with sensitive skins.

Clove Oil has 4 main uses:

  • As an analgesic (for musculoskeletal pain/inflammation)
  • As a digestive
  • As a nerve tonic
  • As an immunity stimulant

Aromatherapy recipes using Clove Bud Essential Oil

Massage Lotion For Joint Pain
For pain such as that caused by osteo-arthritis mix 50ml Moisturising Lotion, 10ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 2 drops Clove Bud essential oil, 2 German Chamomile, 6 Clary Sage and 10 Lavender. Massage into joints regularly, especially after bath or shower.

Massage Oil For Bloating & Discomfort
Blend 30ml Grapeseed Oil, 2 drops Clove essential oil, 2 Palmarosa, 4 Sweet Orange and 4 Grapefruit. Massage in clockwise rotations around the abdomen after a rich meal.

Toothache
Place a drop of Clove essential oil onto a cotton bud and apply it to the affected tooth.

Vaporising Blend For The Nerves
To help inspire positive attitude and concentration vaporise 2 drops Clove Bud Oil, 2 Benzoin, 2 Rose and 4 Lime.

Easy Immunity Boosting Inhalation
To help boost energy and immunity after infection take a small glass pot with lid, place 3 balls of cotton wool inside. Drop in 2 drops Camphor essential oil, 3 Clove and 4 Bergamot. Inhale regularly, screwing on lid tightly in-between inhalations.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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