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The Base Formula Blog

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.

paleoOver the last 25 years in working as a natural health practitioner, I’ve developed a passionate interest in nutrition. It seems to me that many of us STILL engage in cycles that lead to premature ageing and a rapid deterioration in our health and wellbeing as we age – as if it’s just unavoidable.

It appears that most of us just consider that this process is something that we have to accept as inevitable. Many doctors still respond to patients who complain of different symptoms of chronic tiredness and aches and pains with comments like “well what do you expect at your age?”.  I’m absolutely sure that this is mainly an expression of those who practice under the pressure of enormous patient lists and high stress levels, rather than those who believe it to be true. After all – there are increasing numbers of health-care professionals who access Natural Medicine for themselves and their families. There is also an increase in surgeries offering an “Integrated Approach” – where Natural and Orthodox practitioners work side by side. Now that’s progress.

So the main reason for this article. On my constant quest for a way of eating that can work for most of us – that is straight forwards and easily explained, I’ve discovered something that really works. This is especially relevant to those who want to lose weight easily, but sustainably. I recently heard that around 90% of those who attend Weight Watchers classes are repeat users of the service. Whether this is true or not (and I suspect it may be) I do witness many people on a constant cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Many gain more fat each time they come back as the weight loss is too rapid – so muscle as well as fat is lost.

What we need is a holistic approach where the theory is accessible, makes sense and is easily followed, with exercise and lifestyle advice included. It ideally needs to elevate energy and vitality as well as aiding weight loss – so people start glowing with health and an increased sense of wellbeing.

Over the years I’ve been in practice, I’ve tried many things. The Hay Diet (food combining for health), the Blood Type Diet, leaving out dairy produce, then wheat, trying vegetarianism, and even a short spell as a vegan (if only for a week!!). I’ve done so predominantly for the desire to achieve optimum health and vitality. I have been very ill in the past and I intend to avoid being so again!

Over the last few years however, I’ve noticed a little roll of fat developing around my middle, some stiffness in my joints upon rising in the morning, and a reduction in energy levels. I believe there’s always something to help everyone – it’s just identifying the right course of action that’s the key!

So here’s the thing. I ve discovered something that REALLY works – quickly, easily and far more dramatically than anything else I’ve ever tried. A while ago I was recommended the recently published book “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf.  I’d heard murmurings regarding the “Hunter Gatherer” diet before – but this book explains the premise of the idea simply and very humorously. He suggests trying out his recommendations for 30 days and seeing for yourself if what he says is true. For me (and a vast number of other people, judging by the book sales), the results have been rather extraordinary.

The idea is surrounding results that have been obtained using forensic archaeology, and comparing Paleolithic Man (around for 120 thousand years) to the first agrarians (farmers) – Neolithic man – around for about 10 thousand years. It is the Neolithic man’s diet on which our modern Western diet is based.

The markers in the studies compared Paleo man’s health with the Neolithics, using 4 main comparisons: height and muscle mass, bone deformity, dental health and infant mortality. The hunter gatherers results won “hands down”. They were taller and more muscular, they had virtually no nutrition induced bone deformity, no dental caries and a very low infant mortality rate.

So, the concept is to avoid all grains, gluten and dairy, and include high levels of the right fats, low sugars, seasonal vegetables, fish, shellfish, meat, nuts, seeds and fruit. I’m still reading the book and hooting with laughter at the way he explains what we do wrong in the typical Western diet and lifestyle – and how we can put it right.

Here’s the thing. I gave the 30 days a go, whilst reading the book. In the first week my energy levels soared and the “middle age spread” receded. “Good grief”, I thought- that was quick! In the second week my eye sight improved, the “ring of fat around my middle” had almost gone – and I had two little bouts of the snuffles- as if my body was detoxing a bit. Or a lot – either way – it didn’t last long. By the third week my waist was fully back on track – my wrist watch was loose and my complexion shining with a plumped up glow. I’m able to do some writing in the evening again – which I’d stopped doing a few years ago due to mental fog and general tiredness.

Wow. So, to recap. My energy levels are 200% better than they’ve been in ages. I’ve lost excess weight and what I presume was some fluid retention, and my shape continues to “tighten and tone up”. My concentration levels have improved, I have no joint stiffness first thing in the morning or any time – unless I’ve physically thrashed myself on a gardening project!

This really is a book and a concept worth looking into – whether you are healthy or unwell, young or more mature in years, overweight or pretty average. Just try the 30 day challenge for yourself and see how easy it is.

Honestly – this is definitely worth trying. The 30 days went in a flash and I feel fabulous! So, why not give it a go – you must at least be a little curious?

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

New years resolutionsMany of us make New Year’s resolutions – resolving to lose weight, quit smoking, get fit, reduce alcohol, learn something new etc. Research shows, however, that only one in ten will actually achieve their goal and psychologists suggest that we are more likely to succeed if we apply the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal to our resolutions. Whilst this is very good advice, I personally think that essential oils can also have a valuable role to play by altering our mind set from one of negativity to one of positivity, thereby making it easier for us to make the right choices and helping us keep our resolutions.

Let me explain what I mean… inhaling aromas of essential oils causes receptors within the olfactory system (the sensory system for the sense of smell) to send signals to the part of the brain known as the limbic brain. This part of the brain deals with both our emotions and memory. So, for example, smelling Cinnamon and Orange reminds me of Christmas, thus making me feel happy, while Frankincense reminds me of meditation, inducing feelings of calmness and peace. Sometimes, we can feel rather apathetic towards our goals and it can be a challenge to stay motivated. Some aromatherapy essential oils are known for their positive effect on our emotions. For example, certain oils can reduce apathy resulting in increased motivation which helps us stay on target, whilst other oils can stimulate us, which can be useful for instance when learning something new.

The table below provides a comprehensive list of essential oils that can be used to help change negative states of mind into more helpful positive states.

EmotionTop notesMiddle notesBase notes
ApathyPetitgrain

Geranium
Melissa
Rosemary
Jasmine
Mental exhaustion (fatigue)Palmarosa
Ravensara
Rosemary
Rosewood
Spearmint
Vetivert
Negative thoughtsBergamot
Clary Sage
Lavender
ProcrastinationCajuput
Grapefruit
Sandalwood
Self-criticalFrankincense
Sandalwood
Ylang Ylang
TensionBergamot
Clary Sage
Grapefruit
Sweet Orange
Petitgrain
Roman Chamomile
Geranium
Melissa
Rosewood
Benzoin
Frankincense
Neroli
Rose Otto
Sandalwood
Ylang Ylang
UndisciplinedBasilFrankincense

The oils can be used discretely throughout the day. For example, you may wish to simply pop a couple of drops onto a tissue or handkerchief, smelling as and when required, or you may choose to use an oil burner instead following, of course, manufacturers instructions. Please remember to check the oils selected are not contra-indicated for use though.

So, what is stopping you? Apply SMART goals to your New Year’s resolutions today, and remember to use essential oils to help you on your way. Make sure that this is the year that you achieve your goals!

Good luck!

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

Additional reading:-
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthychristmas/Pages/NewYearresolutions.aspx

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gery hairQ: I would really like some advice on caring for grey or silver hair. It is very different from my old hair color and I have a lot of difficulty finding any information about it. Many women are opting to not color their grey and I can’t imagine that I am the only one with questions. Right now I am buying expensive hair products but am sure that there are ways to mix my own?

A: Thank you for your interesting query!! As you quite rightly point out many women are allowing their natural grey locks to shine through these days. Think of the glamorous Annie Lennox, Helen Mirren or Jamie Lee Curtis. It can look absolutely fabulous, but just needs a little extra care.

Depending on levels of nutrition, grey hair can have a tendency towards being dry, frizzy and brittle, so it needs a little specialist care.

Conventional hair products include those to clarify and brighten grey hair – but can be expensive and laden with chemicals. There are certain tips however that can enhance the condition and manageability of your hair naturally. The key is to boost its condition and give it a deeply nourishing hair mask a few times a month.

  • If your grey hair shows signs of turning yellow, this is caused by pollutants, especially smoking. You may need professional assistance to restore your natural hue, following this, try using a bicarb rinse a few times a month. Take 500ml of warm water, add 1 heaped tsp of bicarbonate of soda and rinse thoroughly through your hair before conditioning as normal. At the very least this will help prevent a build up of shampoo residue.
  • To help control frizz, warm up Extra Virgin Coconut Butter and massage approximately ½ tsp – depending on how much hair you have – into your hair brush bristles or directly into your hair (especially the ends). This will help create a conditioning shine and reduce fly away hair.
  • If your scalp is dry, it may effect your hair condition too. Twice a month mash up a ripe Avocado with 1 tsp of Olive Oil. Mix together well and add 4 drops Geranium essential oil, 2 Benzoin and 2 Ylang Ylang. Massage into the scalp and hair shafts. Wear a shower cap to trap warmth and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash hair normally.
  • For a general boost to your hair condition – mix 1 egg yolk, 200ml warm water, 1 tsp Olive Oil, 3 drops Rosemary and 3 drops Geranium. Mix well, massage in and leave for 10 minutes, before rinsing thoroughly.
  • Nutrition that is key to the general health of your hair includes the full complex of B Vitamins, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Vitamins C and E, Iron, Zinc, Copper (a deficiency of which can lead to premature greying) and Essential Fatty Acids.
  • If you are experiencing hair thinning/loss – especially if you have gone prematurely grey through shock/stress, I strongly recommend BioCare’s Hair & Nail Complex.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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avocadoThis rich, dark green base oil is wonderful “skin food”, and makes an excellent addition to any facial oil – at a 5-10% dilution – for dry, sun damaged or ageing skin types. It is extracted from the flesh of the fruit, and is too sticky to use undiluted, but has a wonderful emollient action when diluted with another carrier oil.

Avocado Oil is rich in nutrients and smooth to apply – feeding the skin with chlorophyll, vitamins A and D, and linoleic acid, which helps to bring back strength and elasticity to the skin cell walls.

It can be added to face masks and hair conditioners to create a rich conditioning boost for any dry or sun damaged issues.

Aromatherapy blends using Avocado oil:-

Rich scalp mask for dry/itchy scalps (dandruff):
5ml Extra Virgin Coconut Butter (warmed), 5ml Avocado Oil, 10ml Hair Conditioner, 2 drops Benzoin essential oil and 4 Geranium. Mix well and massage into scalp. Pop on a shower cap and leave for 15–20 minutes. Rinse off and wash hair as normal (ideally with an SLS Free Shampoo).

Facial oil for dry, prematurely aged skin:
20ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 5ml Avocado Oil, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 2 drops Neroli, 2 Benzoin, 4 Frankincense and 6 Geranium. Shake well and apply at night 2 to 3 times per week.

Rich moisturising cream for dry heels/knees/elbows:
50ml Moisturising Cream, 5ml Avocado Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 6 drops Patchouli, 4 Benzoin and 10 Lavender. Mix well and apply regularly.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

Blog Disclaimer

geranium2There are over 250 different species of geranium, some of which are scented and some not. The best essential oil is produced from the species that originates from the island of “Réunion” in the Indian Ocean. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant using steam distillation. The oil is found in minute sacs at the end of tiny little hairs on the leaves – which is why – if you brush past a geranium plant – the scent is so pronounced.

Geranium essential oil has a clean, green, slightly rose like, fruity yet herbaceous odour.

It is a great oil to choose for the New Year – as it is one of the most useful essential oils to help detoxify the lymphatic system. It is also useful for balancing the emotions, hormones and the condition of the skin.

Its uplifting, antidepressant qualities are helpful for nervous anxiety and mood swings.

Its affinity with the female hormonal system makes it an excellent choice for menstrual problems such as PMT and symptoms associated with the menopause.

It is beneficial for both dry and oily skin types as it helps to regulate the skin’s natural oil, sebum. It also has anti-inflammatory, healing properties which are beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema.

In addition to the above, Geranium has traditionally been used as an insect repellent, and as an antiseptic anti-fungal agent, particularly in relation to the skin. It is a popular ingredient in perfumes and fragrances and is also useful in treating cellulite and oedema.

Aromatherapy blends using Geranium essential oil:-

Aromatherapy bath for mood swings and post natal depression: 
15ml Moisturising Bath Milk, 5 drops Geranium, 5 Bergamot, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose. Add to bath once water has run and swirl around to disperse.

Massage oil for dry/combination skin and hormonal imbalance:
25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml St John’s Wort Oil, 5 drops Lavender essential oil, 4 Geranium, 3 Clary Sage and 2 Rose.

Aromatherapy gel for eczema:
50ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 5ml Avocado Oil, 8 drops Geranium essential oil, 4 Yarrow and 2 German Chamomile. Mix well and apply regularly.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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2015 new years illustration with christmas ballAs we welcome in another New Year I thought I’d pull together a range of topical tips, quotes and facts that can help us to achieve our goals in relation to health and happiness for 2015. I have found this list useful not just for my own personal growth and health, but also for friends, family and the clients that I see in my clinic. At the end of the day, we are all ‘work in progress’ and we never stop learning. Some of these pointers will be simple and practical, and some will be of a more emotional, philosophical or spiritual nature. Either way, I hope you find some or all of them helpful and enriching in some way or another.

1.  Thought is energy. Your mind is like a magnet to iron filings. Train yourself to think positive, even when life is challenging. That way you help yourself to attract in the changes, by not focusing on more of what you don’t want, but elevating your ability to draw in the positive. Nothing is completely negative if you learn from it. Every difficulty gives you that nugget of gold if you look for it.

2.  Easy access ‘super foods’ – organic where possible: avocado, brazil nuts, blueberries, goji berries, hemp seeds (almost all seeds are good), spinach (almost anything green in fact is rich in chlorophyll which builds the blood), kiwi fruit.

3.  Do you often feel like a victim of your situation, or experience regular emotional distress/anxiety? Read (or preferably listen to the audio version of) Ekhart Tolles “A New Earth”. This is one of the most holistically emotional coherent books I’ve ever read. It will help empower you to make tremendous shifts in your understanding of yourself, your life and your relationships. If you want to become more aware and fill your life with clarity and perception, this is a real gift.

4.  Must have remedies/supplements:

  • Elagen – pure, powerful standardised Siberian Ginseng. A massive stamina, energy and immunity booster. Also an adaptogen – so helps your body adapt to stress.
  • Sambucol – A great immunity boosting tonic made from concentrated elderberries – rich in anti-oxidants – especially useful for children with coughs and colds.
  • BioCare Vitamin C Powder – Low acid Magnesium Ascorbate – easy to digest – easy to take – a powerful immunity booster and general body tonic.
  • BioCare Probiotics – BioCare offer a great range which have a fabulous effect on digestion and immunity.
  • Bio Health “Valdrian” – Valerian Root – a traditional herbal remedy which is excellent to help ease anxiety/sleeping issues.
  • Bach Flower Rescue Remedy – Useful to help alleviate shock, anxiety, stress and a bemused state of mind.
  • Arnica Cream/Pills which helps to ease shock/bruising.

5.  Must have essential oils:

  • Anxiety/Stress: Neroli, Rose, Lavender, Geranium, Melissa, Bergamot, Chamomile.
  • Tension/Discomfort: Rosemary, Marjoram, Lavender, Black Pepper, Pine, Black Spruce, Plai.
  • Relaxation/Sleep: Lavender, Frankincense, Chamomile, Sweet Orange, Marjoram.
  • Detoxing: Fennel, Cypress, Juniper, Geranium, Lemon, Lime.
  • Energy/Mental Clarity/Concentration: Peppermint, Spearmint, Rosemary, Ginger, Camphor, Eucalyptus.
  • Immunity Boosters: Tea Tree, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Plai, Ginger, Lemon, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Myrrh.

6.  Most versatile essential oils: Tea Tree and Lavender. A full first aid kit at your disposal!

7.  Must have diet/weight loss/nutritional book: The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf.

8.  My favourite quote: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its strength” Anon.

9.  Most versatile Base Formula products:

  • Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel: Can be used to make up aromatherapy treatment gels, added to facial masks, or used as daily moisturising base.
  • Organic Moisturising Cream: Can be used for personalised cream bases for clients (and yourself), and made up as Christmas / birthday presents with essential oils for individual preferences.
  • SLS Free Shampoo: Difficult to find SLS Free shampoos are particularly indicated for babies, children and those with sensitive skins/allergies.
  • Dead Sea Salt: Highly therapeutic and relaxing– can be personalised with essential oils for clients, family and friends – again – difficult to buy unadulterated. Use in foot baths, body scrubs (fine variety) as well as aromatherapy baths.

10. Most useful natural antibiotic: Colloidal Silver by www.colloidalsilver.com – very pure and reasonably priced.

11.  Most under-recognised deficiency – Iodine: Take Nascent Iodine – www.GoodHealthNaturally.com

12.  Another Fabulous quote: “Some things in life are bad for you but nothing kills you faster than no fun at all”. Heard it on BBC Radio 4 the other day but I have no idea who said it!

13.  SLS Free Toothpaste: Many people believe that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate – a popular foaming agent – is a carcinogen. I believe it’s best avoided, but unfortunately it’s found in most toothpastes and personal hygiene products! Aloe Dent do a range of toothpastes that are free of SLS. As we absorb a proportion of what we put in our mouths sublingually – this seems a very sensible investment to me! Don’t forget that Base Formula also sell SLS free Bath & Shower Gel and Shampoo which you can use to make your own tailored-made toiletries.

14.  Mouthwashes: If you knew what chemical cocktails were contained in the average mouthwashes you would never touch them again! Yet we are bombarded by the adverts on TV. If you want to gargle try using warm salted water with 1 drop Peppermint essential oil, 2 Tea Tree and 3 Myrrh. If you want to buy an “over the counter” preparation I highly recommend the “Tooth & Gum Tonic” by the Dental Herb Company. Full of good natural ingredients and it tastes great.

15.  Ralph Waldo Emmerson quote on kindness: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself”.

16.  One of the most regularly quoted health issues is dehydration: Drink 1.5 litres daily – tea, coffee and coke don’t count! Dehydration can cause headaches, constipation, tiredness, digestive issues, poor concentration, skin conditions, weight issues, bad breathe, joint issues.

17.  Need an exercise routine that helps you relax? Tai Chi and Qi Gong will help improve your levels of fitness and muscle tone whilst helping instil inner peace and calm – this is due to the way it activates meridian pathways.

18.  Difficulty in concentrating/dry skin/hormal imbalance? You are probably deficient in essential fatty acids! Try increasing your intake of nuts (not peanuts – they are legumes), seeds, oily fish and avocado.

19.  The second most common health issue? Lack of sleep! When we analyse the health of those who are constantly tired, have back/neck tension, headaches and anxiety/depression – we often find the same thing. They are not getting enough good quality sleep! If you suffer from the above and get 6 hours a night on average, try increasing it to 7-8 hours, even if it’s only 4 times a week. You might be surprised at the results. Sometimes we need a proper ‘wind down’ period before we go to bed, other times we need to invest in some ear plugs. Either way – most of us need more than 6 hours sleep a night to feel our best.

20.  Top tip just for YOU! The reality is that most of us do a little too much. As the stress levels go up – so often – does the tension in our body. So make yourself a promise – book yourself some ‘time out” once a month, and get yourself an aromatherapy massage. If it’s booked in your diary in advance then you’ve made sure your health and wellbeing is a priority. It’s a treat and a treatment in one. Just the job!

I hope you have found the above information useful. Remember that we at Base Formula are here to help and are only an email away if you need any additional ‘natural health’ advice.

Wishing you all an exceptional New Year, full to brimming with health, happiness and expansive new learning curves. Here’s to 2015!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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carrier oilsAs many of us are aware, fixed and macerated oils and waxes can be used as bases for essential oils. A fixed oil is a compound of glycerol and a fatty acid and, because of oxidation, has a tendency to go off quite quickly. These oils tend to be a yellowish colour, although there are exceptions to the rule, such as Avocado (Persea gratissima), known for its brilliant, bright green colour. Fixed oils, unlike volatile essential oils, do not evaporate. Macerated oils are vegetable oils to which plant materials have been added and include Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Carrot (Daucus carota) and many others. Oils comprising of esters, rather than triacylglycerols, are known as waxes.

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and rather than use some of the more unusual base oils, we tend to stick with those we are familiar with – Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus) springs to mind! I think this a shame, because we have access to some fabulous oils, all of which possess their own very unique properties. In this article I want to focus on examples of those that have analgesic properties, and encourage you to consider using them, especially when preparing aromatherapy blends for muscular aches and pains, arthritic and rheumatic conditions.

Waxes:

Jojoba (Simmondsia sinensis) is a golden coloured liquid wax that is extracted from the seeds of the plant. It is a good choice for the aromatherapy kit, as it does not oxidise easily and, therefore, has a longer shelf life than fixed oils. Externally the oil can be beneficial for arthritis and rheumatism. Please note, however, that Jojoba can cause allergic reactions.

Fixed Oils:

Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum indicum) comes from the East Indies, although it is now grown worldwide; it is an annual with flowers that are white with a hint of red, blue or yellow. The best grade oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant by cold pressing and filtering, although poorer quality oils are obtained by other methods. This oil can be combined with other carrier oils at around 25% and is noted for its beneficial effects for rheumatic conditions. It is worth noting, however, that Sesame Seed Oil may cause hypersensitivity in some people.

Macerated Oils:

Arnica (Arnica montana) grows in the European mountains. The dried flower heads can be used in a diluted tincture or compress as a healing application for sprains and bruises where the skin is unbroken. This oil is also useful for rheumatic joints, aches and pains after excessive use as in sports and other strenuous activities. Do not take internally, as it’s a powerful poison.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) grows in Britain, Europe and Asia. Externally it is an astringent and can be used for bruises, swellings, sprains and aching joints. While Comfrey has been banned in the UK in oral products, it appears to be safe when applied to unbroken skin in small amounts. It is worth noting however that poisonous chemicals present in Comfrey can pass through the skin, and can still be absorbed if your skin is broken or if large amounts are administered.

Lime Blossom Oil (Tilia europaea). The blossoms from this beautiful tree are used in the production of a tea. A small percentage of the blossom is macerated, usually with a Sunflower Oil to produce an oil which is relaxing and soothing for rheumatic pain. There are no known contra-indications to this oil although Price (1999) suggests that some experts believe it should be avoided by individuals with an existing cardiac disorder.

I hope this has article has inspired you to choose some of the more unusual carrier oils at your disposal (most of which are available from Base Formula). I would be interested to know how you get on.

Good bye for now folks and all of the very best for Christmas and the New Year!

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

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christmas oilsWhile working in the office I am inhaling the delightful blended aroma of one drop of Cinnamon essential oil, one drop of Nutmeg, and four drops of Sweet Orange; it smells divine! With Christmas just around the corner, this got me thinking about the wide array of essential oils that can be used over the festive period to create a Christmassy ambiance. Although subjective, there are many essential oils that can be used in the lead up to and during the Christmas season including: Mandarin, Sweet Orange, and Tangerine, all of which are, of course, citrus oils. Then there are the spicy oils, for example, Ginger and Nutmeg, and the resinous oils such as Frankincense and Myrrh.

Although it is certainly easier and quicker to purchase a synthetic room fragrance, I believe there is nothing more satisfying than creating your own 100% natural blend. Using pure and true essential oils gives you the confidence of knowing that you won’t end up with a headache or a feeling of nausea, as can sometimes happen with artificial products, and that you, family members or cherished family pets are less likely to experience sensitivity or allergic reactions to your carefully home-made blends in comparison to shop-bought products.

Of course, there are some general guidelines worth observing when making your own Christmas aromatherapy blends. For example: Cinnamon and Ginger can be overpowering and, if used in high quantities, may cause irritation to mucus membranes. Nutmeg should also be used with care because, according to some experts, it may cause hallucinations. I would suggest, therefore, only using couple of drops of these essential oils in combination with more gentle ones such as Mandarin, Sweet Orange, or Tangerine. Whilst citrus oils can also be successfully blended with Frankincense, I think this is such a beautiful oil, that it can be used on its own to provide a much needed peaceful ambiance during, what can be, a frenetic time of year.

So, how can you make the most of these aromatherapy oils over the Christmas season? Well, one of the easiest ways is to choose three essential oils and put a total of six drops into a diffuser or oil burner. If you don’t have either of these items you could consider using an old fondue dish or cotton wool buds which can then be placed on radiators throughout your home. The heat from the radiators helps to release the aromatic scent from the cotton wool buds, and they are definitely easier to use and less messy than oil burners. Another method is to sprinkle your Christmas tree, whether real or artificial, with Pine essential oil, or collect and sprinkle pine cones with this fresh smelling oil. When opening pressies there is nothing more lovely for the recipient to experience a waft of aromatic Christmassy oil; it’s a really personal touch and it just takes a moment to scent the wrapping paper with oils such as Sweet Orange or Mandarin prior to wrapping the presents.

I’ve provided below a list of my favourite oils at this time of year, which I hope you’ll find helpful.

Christine’s favourite Christmas Essential Oils

Citrus:

Coniferous:

Resinous:

Spicy:

  • Cardamon
  • Cinnamon (Use with care: severe dermal irritant and sensitiser)
  • Clove Bud (Use with care: potential skin irritant and sensitiser)
  • Ginger (May cause sensitisation in some individuals)
  • Nutmeg (Avoid in pregnancy. Use with care, can cause hallucinations)

Well, that’s me for this month – I’m off to make some more Christmassy blends!

Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Christmas and healthy, happy New Year.

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

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red carrotRed Carrot is a relatively new base oil in modern day aromatherapy, but yet again we find that the ancients were way ahead of us! It was discovered by the Indians and Ancient Greeks – the word carrot coming from the Greek word “caroton”, and it was held in high esteem for its medicinal properties.

As the lovely warm red colour indicates, Red Carrot Oil is really rich in antioxidants that are so important in preventing free radical damage. It is also rich in beta carotene, vitamins A and E, and pro-vitamin A. It is known as “liquid gold” in beauty therapy circles, and has a range of properties, including its capacity to help revitalise skin that has been damaged by sun and harsh environments, that reflects poor nutrition and skin that has aged prematurely (in combination with a change in diet). It can be added to creams and lotions, used in face masks and facial oils, and is also prized for its sun protection factors.

Note: due to the deep colour of this oil it may discolour the skin if used undiluted. We recommend diluting it with another carrier oil such as Sweet Almond or Apricot Kernel at 10%.

Recipes using Red Carrot Oil

Facial Oil:

For dry, damaged or prematurely aged skin. Combine 40ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 5ml Argan Oil and 5ml Red Carrot Oil with 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 2 Rose, 3 Frankincense and 3 Benzoin. Shake well before use. Apply 20 minutes before bed and dab off any excess oil with a facial tissue before retiring or you may find you stain your pillow cases yellow!

Body Lotion:

Mix 100ml Organic Moisturising Lotion, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 5ml warmed Extra Virgin Coconut Butter, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 20 drops Geranium essential oil, 10 Sweet Orange, 10 Bergamot and 5 Patchouli. Shake well before applying. Perfect to use as a rich Winter body lotion. Note: if you’re off on a Winter holiday do not use before sunbathing due to the phototoxic nature of the citrus oils!

Face Mask:

To give your complexion that extra boost before a big night out – or a good “feed” once a week – try adding 2ml Red Carrot Oil to your usual blend. I like to mash ½ avocado, add ½ teaspoon runny honey and 1 heaped dessert spoonful of White Kaolin Clay. I then stir in 2ml Red Carrot Oil and 2 drops each of Neroli, Rose and Benzoin. Apply to face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes before splashing off with cold water.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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cinnamonCinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is an aromatic, evergreen tree that predominantly grows in India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. The medicinal properties of this unmistakable spice have been known for thousands of years – and it is now commonly used as a food flavouring, digestive and circulatory tonic and an immunity booster.

The essential oil distilled from the aromatic bark isn’t used in aromatherapy as it is too irritating for the skin and mucus membranes. The leaves however offer a yellow/brown oil that has a similar warm, spicy, fragrance with few of the irritant properties of the bark.

SAFETY NOTE: Although the essential oil produced from the leaves is non-toxic, it can still be an irritant and a mild sensitizer for some – so it is best used very sparingly. Do not use topically for those with sensitive skins and never use topically at a dilution of more than 3%.

Cinnamon Leaf essential oil has 5 main roles:

As a circulatory stimulant

It is useful in massage for those who feel the cold and who suffer with poor peripheral circulation. Try 30ml Sweet Almond Oil with 1 drop Cinnamon, 2 Rosemary, 2 Lemon and 8 Lavender.

As a digestive aid

For those who suffer from sluggish digestion/constipation, use in full body massage paying particular attention to the clockwise rotation over the abdominal area. Try 30ml Grapeseed Oil, 1 drop Cinnamon essential oil, 4 Sweet Orange, 1 Palmarosa and 2 Lime.

For pain relief

To help ease aches and pains associated with rheumatism or muscle stiffness after exercise, massage with 25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml Neem Oil, 1 drop Cinnamon, 1 Black Pepper, 2 Roman Chamomile, 4 Marjoram and 6 Lavender.

As an immunity booster

To lift mood and boost up immunity and to neutralise airbourne microbes, vaporise 2 drops Cinnamon, 2 Clove and 4 Lemon Eucalyptus.

For nervous debility and stress

For stress related exhaustion, try massage with 25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml St John’s Wort, 1 drop Cinnamon, 2 Lemon, 4 Ylang Ylang and 3 Lime.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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