Base Formula & British School of Aromatherapy
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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.

romanceHistorically, numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine, and February 14 is celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day in various Christian denominations.  Valentine’s Day customs relating to romance developed in England during the 18th century when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Valentine’s Day has now evolved into an occasion in which lovers express their love for each other by sending cards and gifts such as flowers or chocolate!

Rather than focus solely on Valentine’s Day, which is, after all, just one day of the year, I thought it would be more useful to look at ways in which essential oils may be used to promote healthy and positive relationships between couples throughout the year.

Many factors can affect relationships such as lack of confidence caused, maybe, by poor self-image or self-esteem, or stress caused by work, money or health issues.  While aromatherapy cannot necessarily resolve all of these problems, it can certainly help couples cope with them on a day to day basis.  For example, an aromatic massage can help to relieve tension and anxiety, and there are many workshops available for couples to learn how to provide non-sexual massage on each other that helps relax both mind and body.  A soothing blend comprising of two drops of Clary Sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea), four drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and one drop of Sandalwood (Santalum album) in 14ml of Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca) provides a relaxing blend, which when applied with a combination of soothing effleurage and petrissage movements can help reduce worry and encourage closeness between the couple.

Lack of communication is often cited as a factor in the break-down of relationships.  The use of gentle massage combined with aromatic aromatherapy oils can sometimes be all that is needed to help couples to communicate and express their feelings positively rather than bottling up negative thoughts and letting resentment over-flow.  A suitable blend for opening up channels of communication is one drop of Neroli essential oil (Citrus aurantium amara), four drops of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolen) and two drops of Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha).

For those suffering from poor body image, perhaps due to illness or other problems, Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is reputed to give a sense of confidence and an inner sense of beauty.  A couple of drops can easily be added to a suitable carrier and used during bathing or for massage.  One of my most favourite essential oils is Rose Otto (Rosa damascena).  Whilst Rose Otto is more expensive than Rose Absolute, it is my preferred oil due to the extraction process used – steam distillation opposed to solvent extraction.  Rose Otto has such a beautiful aroma, that inhaling it can definitely inspire feelings of confidence and self-worth.  I would recommend adding this particular essential oil to base creams or lotions and applying it both morning and night.

We are all so busy throughout the year, juggling lots of different roles, that it is hardly surprising that ‘life’ gets in the way of making time for the special person in our lives.  By using oils to bridge the gap, whether by having an ‘aromantic’ bath ready for your partner on their return from the office, or making time to give each other a luxurious massage once a month, the oils will help keep your romance alive!

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Macro shot of wild camomiles over whiteGerman Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a common annual herb that has been the bedrock of our traditional medicine chest for many centuries.

The essential oil is steam distilled from the plant’s daisy-like flowers, and has a deep, inky-blue colour – which is derived from the constituent element ‘chamazulene’ which is formed during the distillation process. Chamazulene gives German Chamomile its powerful anti-inflammatory properties – making it one of the best essential oils (alongside Yarrow) for treating inflammation. The oil also has valuable antispasmodic, analgesic, antiseptic and anti-allergenic properties and a calming influence on nervous related disorders such as anxiety, nervous tension and headaches.

German Chamomile can be used effectively in compresses as well as in massage oils and creams, and can be even more effective when combined with drinking Chamomile tea (the tea is as soothing for raw nerves as the essential oil is for inflamed muscles, joints and skin!)

Always think of German Chamomile essential oil when dealing with dry/inflamed skin that is sensitive – as well as painful, inflamed joints.

Aromatherapy recipes using German Chamomile

Facial oil for dry, sun damaged skin
50ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 8ml Jojoba, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 2 drops German Chamomile essential oil, 2 Neroli, 2 Rose and 10 Lavender. Mix well and apply at night.

Click here for more German Chamomile skincare recipes for eczema and dermatitis.

Massage gel for inflamed joints (i.e. arthritis):
100ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Marjoram, 4 German Chamomile and 2 Peppermint. Massage in regularly.

Puffy sore eye lids (following crying or chronic exhaustion)
Make a cup of Chamomile tea. Take the tea bags out and lightly squeeze out the excess liquid. Place them on closed eyelids for 10 minutes. Preferably drink the tea too!

Warm compress for Abscesses/Boils
Place hot water in a bowl and add 2 drops Tea Tree essential oil and 2 drops German Chamomile. Place a square of muslin in the water, then remove and squeeze out, before placing on the affected area. Repeat 3-4 times, blot dry and then apply 1 drop of neat Tea Tree oil.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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smallAloeVeraPlantRather than featuring a base oil this month we thought we’d focus on Aloe Vera, which is equally useful for skin and hair care and as a base for blending.

Another ancient traditional medicine, Aloe Vera originates from South and East Africa, but was introduced to the West Indies in the seventeenth century, where it has flourished and spread from ever since.

This succulent, easy to cultivate plant has no stems, but big, waxy, fleshy leaves. These contain sacs filled with Aloe Vera juice which can be used direct from the plant.

Aloe Vera is renowned for its soothing, moisturising, healing, anti-pruritic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and antioxidant properties. It is usually safe for all skin types, and is particularly useful for cooling and soothing hot, angry, inflamed skin conditions (including sunburn and acne). It can be applied direct to burns, bites, minor cuts and abrasions. It also helps to hydrate and improve the skin’s natural firmness and elasticity, to promote younger looking skin.

Recipes using Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Mousse (for dry / red skin that inflames easily)
Mix 40ml Aloe Vera & Rose Hydrating Gel with 5ml Jojoba and whisk vigorously until combined, finally adding 2 drops Rose essential oil, 2 German Chamomile and 6 drops Lavender. Stir well and apply as a face mask. Leave for 10 minutes and dab off any remaining gel.

Blemish Gel:
Mix 40ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel with 6 drops Tea Tree essential oil, 6 Lavender, 4 Cypress and 2 German Chamomile. Stir thoroughly. Dab on ideally when the area reddens, before spot erupts, and you can often prevent it from coming to the surface.

Sunburn Soothing Gel:
Mix 40ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 14 drops of Lavender, 4 Yarrow and 2 German Chamomile. Stir well and apply liberally and often.

Click here for additional Aloe Vera recipes for eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

Base Formula sells a variety of Aloe Vera Gels. Please visit our website for more information on our extensive range.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany people find that certain skin conditions become worse in the Winter time. This can be due to a number of factors – central heating dries the air and skin, we suffer from a lack of sunlight (and therefore Vitamin D), plus some of us tend to drink less water and eat considerably less fresh fruit and veg.

Inflammatory conditions in general are often caused or exacerbated by acidity in the system – the body’s natural pH balance being disrupted. Many practitioners of Natural Medicine believe that degenerative disease and premature ageing is caused by heightened levels of acidity. Many aspects of modern life contribute to this – i.e. stress, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, refined foods and lack of exercise.

As with all “dis-ease” in the system, skin conditions often require a multifaceted approach to resolve or reduce the issue – and there are certain elements that can be relevant to various inflammatory skin complaints. The key is to work with a holistic approach – looking at all the elements that may be playing their part:

Nutrition/deficiencies 

Different skin conditions – whether it’s Acne Rosacea, Psoriasis or Eczema – have similar nutritional issues. Essential Fatty Acids are often deficient (Omega Fish Oils and Evening Primrose may be the best options).  Zinc Citrate, Vitamin Bs, C and E are all important too. With Acne there is often an imbalance in the micro-flora in the gut (consider a quality Bio-Acidophilus supplement) and constipation that can worsen the condition. If your diet has been poor, or your alcohol/caffeine intake high – the herb Milk Thistle can help as a Liver Tonic. It is also important to increase fresh fruit and vegetables – especially leafy green veg, blueberries and kiwi fruits – which are rich in Vitamins and Bioflavonoids.

Allergies

Remember your skin is the largest organ of your body, so it can be reacting to what you are putting on it. Avoid skincare products containing alcohol, and try to chose products that are as pure as possible. Making up your own base products and adding appropriate carrier and essential oils could be a much more appropriate option for you. Try and test your deodorants, hair products, perfumes/aftershave, lotions and toothpaste too – anything you use regularly can cause a reaction. Look at your make up as well. The other classic is your washing powder and fabric conditioner. Dry cleaning chemicals can also cause issues.

Food intolerances

Food allergy testing or Applied Kinesiology can really help identify if anything you are ingesting is causing your skin to react. The classic intolerances are: dairy products, wheat/gluten, citrus fruits (especially orange juice), colourings, flavourings and preservatives found in refined foods. Refined sugars can really cause problems – as they add to inflammation in a variety of ways – promoting bacterial growth on the surface of the skin – and causing candida albicans proliferation in the gut. Applied Kinesiology is one of the best and most gentle non-invasive ways of identifying food allergies/intolerances, and in some cases can also correct them, or reduce the reaction. It is also worth noting that many people who have inflammation in relation to their skin or joints can find the Paleo diet very useful.

Stress

If your skin condition is, at least in part, related to stress, Aromatherapy can be a huge boon. Firstly, regular aromatherapy massage can have a powerful effect on reducing the response to stress, therefore helping reduce the physical tension. Secondly, as the impact of stress and tension is reduced, the acidity levels will reduce too – helping to reduce the inflammatory reaction. As a third bonus – certain essential oils can:

  • have an antiseptic, antibacterial action if some of the skin response is related to yeast, or if the inflammation has become infected.
  • have a directly cooling, calming, anti-inflammatory action.
  • stimulate the production of healthy skin cells.

In addition to this, certain highly nourishing and enriching vegetable base oils can be added to the massage blend to help feed the inflamed skin cells – some of which also have an anti-inflammatory action too.

Digestive issues

Many people ask why they should suddenly react to foods that they have eaten with no reaction all their lives. That’s precisely the point – certain foods are over-eaten in the Western world, and the body can build up a reaction over time. Often, increasing the variety in your diet can make a big difference. Identifying any foods causing the reactions is important, but if you are experiencing a lot of wind/bloating after you eat, and your immune system is low (particularly in relation to thrush and cystitis) then a strong pro-biotic supplement could be indicated. (You could be experiencing “Leaky Gut Syndrome”).

In addition, drinking peppermint/chamomile tea regularly can help – and if your whole system is inflamed, a Slippery Elm supplement, taken 20 minutes before you eat, may help line/calm the digestive tract.

Constipation can be linked to skin conditions, as the body is not detoxifying itself efficiently – toxins are therefore reabsorbed back into the system due to the slow transit. Aromatherapy can be particularly helpful here – both in the choice of “digestive” oils, but also by focusing on abdominal massage, and stress relief – stress can contribute to the likelihood of constipation. Always go to the loo as soon as you get the urge, as waiting can create problems. Also remember to chew your food to a pulp before you swallow it, and drink 2 litres of water daily.

Lifestyle issues

Smoking, a diet high in fried foods and chocolate, a lack of exercise – all these issues can exacerbate skin conditions. The key is identifying which are the contributory factors for you – which is why a holistic approach is essential. A medical approach is more likely to focus on a medicated solution only, and can create serious problems in some cases. Steroid creams are often prescribed which thin the skin over time, especially on the face where the skin is so sensitive. Some of the drugs prescribed for acne have extremely powerful side-effects. So a natural holistic approach is often a more positive long term solution. You are also then addressing the key fundamental reasons for the condition, rather than merely suppressing the symptoms. Remember a combined approach can also work well in some instances, it doesn’t have to be a choice between one approach or the other.

Please do remember however that some forms of medication can be the cause of certain skin conditions.

Aromatherapy Recipes

Safety note: As with all sensitive skin types we recommend a skin patch test before liberal application of the following blends.

Eczema Gel:
100ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 5ml Evening Primrose Oil, 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 6 Geranium and 4 German Chamomile. Mix well and apply regularly.

Psoriasis Mousse:
Take 20ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, add 5ml Jojoba and whisk well with a small hand whisk. As the oil is combined, add another 10ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 5ml Argan Oil, 2 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil, 2 Patchouli, 2 Neroli and 4 Yarrow. Mix well and apply regularly.

Dermatitis Cream:
100ml Organic Moisturising Cream, 20ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 5ml St John’s Wort Oil, 4 drops Tea Tree essential oil, 4 German Chamomile, 10 Lavender and 10 Bergamot. Mix well and apply regularly.

Bath Oil (for very dry skin):
Mix 100ml Luxury Bath Oil, 5ml Jojoba, 4 drops Rose essential oil, 4 Benzoin, 4 Frankincense, 10 Lavender and 10 Geranium. Use twice weekly.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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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

Blog Disclaimer

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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