Blog Posts by Katrina Scampini | Plant Therapy | - Page 2 of 23

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Essential Oils Blog

All posts by Plant Therapy

Essential Oils and Pets

Our pets are our family and we want what’s best for them. But if you love using your essential oils, you might start wondering if it’s safe for your dog, cat, horse, turtle, parrot, boa constrictor—whoever you share your home (and heart!) with. This blog is the first in a series where we will dive into more detail. We aim to provide you with the education and confidence you need to make the safest choices for your entire family.

So, are essential oils safe for pets?

There is no hard “yes” or “no” to answer this. There are so many factors to consider first. The species of your pet, the oils you are using, the amount of oil you use, and how you are using them all contribute to the final answer.

Lizards, snakes, and fish, OH MY!

essential oils should be avoided around lizards

First, it’s important to consider that there is a lack of scientific information and clinical studies about the health impact of many essential oils on most pets. This is especially true regarding reptilian and aquatic pets. Because of this, we currently discourage diffusion around these animals, as well as topical application. While we recognize that there are plenty of personal accounts of success on this front from bloggers galore, please consult with your veterinarian before attempting to use aromatherapy with your leopard gecko, corn snake, guppies, and everything in between.

Our feathered friends…

essential oils can cause health issues for birds

If you have a beautiful bird in the home, we also do not recommend diffusion near the bird or applying oils topically to birds. While credible information on birds and essential oils are scarce, we do know that birds are incredibly sensitive to household cleaners, such as air fresheners and scented candles. So sensitive in fact that these products have been known to cause serious health issues and even kill birds. This is primarily due to their sensitive respiratory system that can negatively respond to inhaled toxins. As with reptiles and fish, there is a terrifying amount of unsubstantiated information online that encourages these animals to have direct, sometimes undiluted, contact with essential oils. We encourage everyone to talk with a veterinarian before attempting aromatherapy on their birds.

Frisky felines!

essential oils around cats can be dangerous

For our friendly feline pets, essential oils can be a potentially toxic mix. Unsafe use can lead to respiratory distress and liver failure, whether inhaled or applied topically. This is because cats lack certain enzymes that provide the ability to properly metabolize all the different compounds in essential oils. And unlike the caged bird or terrarium restricted reptiles, our cats generally have complete, unfettered roam of the home. They are often allowed to go wherever they please, or at least they sure think that.

But this is what makes them especially susceptible to the dangers of aromatherapy. They can knock over diffusers, rummage through our passive diffusion methods (think EOs on cotton balls, reed diffusers, and potpourri), and even try to get all cozy and cute on us right after we just slathered our skin with our favorite diluted essential oil lotion. This can expose them to undiluted oils (like if they knock over a full diffuser and step in the water/oil combination) or topical application (like when they do that adorable whole body rub all over our hands and face) if we have just applied oils topically to ourselves.

Don’t worry… good news is coming!

However, the upside is that there is currently an interest in both the aromatherapy and veterinary communities to make serious inquiries into the relationship cats have with essential oils. Our current stance at Plant Therapy is to discuss this topic with your veterinarian. We will discuss this further in another blog, don’t worry!

So, if you have lizards, fish, snakes, birds, or cats, you might feel super bummed out. Can you even use your essential oils at all?? Of course you can! There are plenty of ways to continue your aromatherapy journey AND provide a safe environment for your pets. For instance, diffusing in a well-ventilated room that is cut off from these pets is okay.

Better yet, if you have a two story home you can diffuse on the level your pets are not on. You can also still enjoy all your oils topically, just make sure that you do not handle your pets immediately afterward or wash your hands after application. In the shower or bath, feel free to use your favorite essential oils. And don’t forget about your handy aromatherapy inhaler!     

Man’s best friend…

essential oils can support a dog's health when used responsibly

What about your partner-in-crime? Your best friend? Your fur baby? Dogs can benefit immensely from aromatherapy when it is done safely. However, it is incredibly important to keep in mind how very powerful a dog’s sense of smell is. We do not recommend using a nebulizing diffuser around dogs since its output is undiluted and they produce a very strong aroma.

Dilution recommendations for dogs:

  • 25 lbs or less: 0.25% – 0.5%
  • 25 lbs to 50 lbs: 0.50% – 0.75%
  • Dogs more than 50 lbs: 0.75% – 1%

Please begin with the lowest dilution recommendation and increase as necessary for specific concerns. We encourage you to introduce essential oils slowly to your dog and work on creating a positive association with the oils you want to use. We will go into more details about essential oils and dogs in our next blog about animals and aromatherapy.

Your riding buddy…

Essential oils can benefit the health of horses when used responsibily

For those of you who are lucky enough to have an equestrian beauty roaming your pasture, rest assured that horses also can enjoy the benefits that proper use of essential oils can provide. From emotional issues, such as trauma, to physical ailments that could use a boost of immune support, aromatherapy can help. Horses, like dogs, also have a great sense of smell that can be easily overwhelmed by essential oils. For this reason, we recommend a dilution of 1% – 2% for horses. Introduce essential oils gradually and in a positive manner to help create a good association. Don’t worry—we will provide more information on aromatherapy and horses very soon to help answer all questions and concerns!

Plant Therapy’s Pup & Pony line was created to provide a safe, natural, and effective method for supporting our beloved four-legged friends on their journey to emotional and physical well-being. We understand and have fully experienced the therapeutic properties of essential oils with humans. And now, after undergoing extensive research, we are excited to extend the same benefits to our animal companions in a safe and efficacious manner.

Say hello to Pup & Pony!

Pup & Pony collection from Plant Therapy

Take a look at our dog and horse friendly blends:

Confident K9: Confident K9 was formulated for dogs who struggle with being alone. It helps promote relaxation, support doggy confidence, and soothe worry. Whether it’s excessive barking, shaking, chewing on belongings or clawing at your front door, Confident K9 can help! While Confident K9 was created specifically with dogs in mind, it is also safe and effective for horses who may struggle with similar issues.

Happy Trails: Happy Trails was created to make traveling easier for your dogs and horses. Our four-legged friends can experience motion sickness during travel just like humans. This blend’s scent is soothing to your animal’s upset stomach, and also works to comfort your animals so they stay calm and worry-free.

Horse Whisperer: Just like humans, dogs and horses can develop fear and anxiety disorders after a traumatic experience. Trauma is especially common in rescue animals but also occurs during events we may not normally consider, such as forced weaning, continuous use of ill-fitting tack, etc. This blend helps to calm and comfort animals while supporting their emotional healing process. While Horse Whisperer was created specifically with horses in mind, it is also safe and effective for dogs who may struggle with similar issues.

Show Ready: Show Ready was created to keep your dogs and horses healthy. Dogs and horses become more susceptible to illness and disease during times of travel, stress, when being boarded for long periods of time, or when exposed to other ill or unfamiliar animals. This blend utilizes essential oils that will help to support the immune system and offer protection from illness.

Add all these products to your cart

Want to learn more about Pup & Pony? Well, you’re in luck! In this Plant Therapy Live video, recorded on April 12, 2019, Emilee Hughes (Certified Aromatherapist and the brains & beauty behind this new line!) and Retha Nesmith (Certified Aromatherapist and VP of Customer Experience) talk all about the blends, Paw Balm, and Paw Pal Diffuser, plus all kinds of customer questions! Watch below:

For questions regarding essential oils for horses, please contact our Customer Service Team at [email protected]. Your inquiry will be directed to our Certified Aromatherapists who have undergone specialized animal aromatherapy training. Over the next couple of weeks, we will introduce more in-depth information on animals and aromatherapy. Hopefully, subsequent blogs will answer any and all of your concerns!  

Learning lots from our animal series? We sure hope so! Make sure to head over to our Safe Essential Oils Recipe group on Facebook to share your experiences!

Information collected from the following sources:

Bell, K.L. (2002). Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals. Findhorn Press.

Morag, N. (2011).  Essential Oils for Animals: Your Complete Guide to Using Aromatherapy for Animal Health and Management. Off The Leash Press.

Morag, N. (2015). The Aromatic Dog: Essential Oils, Hydrosols, & Herbal Oils for Everyday Dog Care: a Practical Guide. Off The Leash Press.

Animal Aromatherapy Foundation Course with Kelly Azzaro

Practical Aromatherapy for Dogs Certification

Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy with Dr. Nancy Brandt

How to Use the Paw Pal Diffuser

plant therapy pup & pony paw pal diffuserI’m just going to speak for everyone here when I say: “Our Paw Pal Diffuser is SO. CUTE.” Is it the cutest passive diffusion option we’ve ever sold? Absolutely. The cutest in the whole world? Probably. Something you need in your life? No question!

So let’s take a look at what makes this adorable product such a great addition to your oily life (whether or not you have furry friends at home!).

Don’t let the paw pendent confuse you; this can totally be used for horses, too!

Horses in a stable

First things first—if you are going to use this diffuser for your dogs or horses, it is critical to take it slow. Don’t rush into forcing essential oils onto your pets. Make sure your pets are safe and feel comfortable with oils.

 

We encourage you to take some time learning about essential oils and animals with this blog about Essential Oils and Pets.

Creating a Positive Association

Just because you love a certain essential oil doesn’t mean your pet will. So take time to learn how your pet reacts to your chosen Pup & Pony blend by first applying the diluted blend to yourself for the first few days. Your pet will begin to associate the aroma with his or her most favorite person (you!) and during this time you’ll be able to gauge your pet’s response. If he or she approves of the blend, you can go forward with using the blend in your Paw Pal Diffuser!

How to Use for Dogs and Horses

plant therapy pup & pony paw pal diffuserDogs and horses have an incredible sense of smell and that is so important to remember when using essential oils with them. While many passive diffusion techniques, like aromatherapy necklaces, use a single undiluted drop on the felt pad or bead, this can be too overwhelming for your pet. Instead, dilute your chosen blend to 1-2% in a carrier oil. Then, add one drop of that to the included felt pad.   

The Paw Pal Diffuser has a convenient lobster clasp that allows you to clip it just about anywhere you need it to be. Have you and your pet have established a positive relationship with the blend being diffused? If so, you can clip the Paw Pal Diffuser onto the collar, bridle, kennel, or stable. You do not want to do this before knowing without a doubt that your pet benefits from the blend. This is especially important if you are clipping the diffuser to a place where your pet cannot remove themselves from the aroma if they do not like it.

No pets? No problem!

Ladies enjoying a car ride

Yes, the Paw Pal Diffuser is part of our Pup & Pony line. But we promise you don’t have to be either a pup or pony to love it! There are plenty of ways to use this adorable passive diffuser with no pets included…

In your Car

Passive diffusion and cars are like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect way to enjoy your favorite oils and blends without them becoming overwhelming. You can use the light scent to simply freshen the aroma of your vehicle or support a better driving atmosphere. Purposefully choose the oils to passively diffuse that can promote alertness, discourage motion sickness, or calm down those rowdy kids in the back seat.

On your Keychain

Make your love for animals, aromatherapy, AND Plant Therapy known whenever you bust out your keychain. The Paw Pal Diffuser is a great addition to your collection of jangly keys, especially for all the dog-lovers out there! Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of always being able to enjoy a lightly scented purse, satchel, briefcase, or wherever you keep your keys handy.

In a Diaper Bag

One of the trademarks of being a new mom or dad—the diaper bag!  Always with you, always necessary, and always traumatic when it’s accidentally left behind. And while all parents wish their diaper bag was organized, clean, and inspection-ready, that’s not always the case. Milk slowly dripping from uncapped bottles, baby spoons coated with mashed up veggies, balled up undies suffering from untimely potty-training accidents….that’s a real diaper bag. So why not freshen it up a bit? Add your favorite KidSafe oil or blend to the Paw Pal Diffuser and simply clip inside the bag for a wonderful scent every time you open the bag!

On a Backpack

Perfect for all the little boys and girls with big, animal-loving hearts! The Paw Pal Diffuser can be clipped onto a backpack so your child can keep this shiny cute paw print with them all day long. Use it with their favorite KidSafe oil or blend so they can smell it whenever they want. Or add the diffuser with essential oils that can support them during the school day with issues such as focus (A+ Attention), hyperactivity (Calming the Child), and getting sick (Defender). Remember to first check with your child’s teacher or school administration before using essential oils at school.

So how are you going to use the Paw Pal Diffuser? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for more ideas and inspiration about our Pup & Pony products and everything essential-oil related!

How We Use Our Healing Balm

The original organic healing balm plant therapy

Our Healing Balm is The Bomb. (Like, literally, it’s now part of our Balm Squad!)

It’s nourishing, so soft and silky, and the perfect PT product to save your skin! Dry? Say goodbye. Itchy and flaky? Gone. Irritated? Not anymore.

We don’t like to brag….but…when you have something as amazing as the Original Organic Healing Balm, it’s hard not to! Our PT family is full of healing balm lovers and we want to share that love with you guys. Here’s some of the reason we think it’s a must-have and how we use it ourselves.

Mykeah Kranzler, Director of Marketing

child with cream on her itchy armI could go on and on about our healing balm! It was one of the first products I used from Plant Therapy when I joined, and I think I went through my first jar in a month! I use it on my hands, my feet, my elbows…it truly nourishes and moisturizes like nothing else. But more than that, it has been so good for my 6-year-old daughter and her issues with Eczema.  She struggles with flare-ups on her arms and legs, and the only thing that gives her relief is Healing Balm. It has significantly reduced her skin issues and that has been so amazing.

Mykeah is the creative genius behind all the fun we have here in the PT Marketing Department!

Jamie Chaffin, Marketing Project Manager

The original organic healing balm plant therapyIf you have the bad habit of picking at your cuticles like I do, then Healing Balm is your hero!

You might not have heard of Jamie, but trust me she keeps the Marketing Department here at Plant Therapy running smoothly!

Jessica Cobb, Content Manager & Certified Aromatherapist

A woman holding the ends of her hairHealing Balm, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Taming frizzy hair: Rub a little Organic Healing Balm between your hands and smooth over your hair to prevent flyaways! The Balm soaks into your hair without leaving it feeling greasy and keeps frizz tamed all day. (I even got our Marketing Project Manager, Jamie Chaffin, started on doing this!)
  2. For Eczema: My youngest has very sensitive skin and serious issues with Eczema in this dry climate! Organic Healing Balm (and Better Than Kisses from our Balm Squad) are basically all I ever use on his skin. It really helps clear up his “itchy spots” and he loves that he can put it on all by himself!
  3. Cuticle repair: Jamie mentioned this above, but if you pick your cuticles (like me), our Organic Healing Balm is the BEST product to help them heal and soothe dryness.
  4. As a facial moisturizer: I replaced my very, very expensive Philosophy facial serum with straight-up Healing Balm. My skin approves of this swap.

There are so many more! But I think my awesome co-workers have got it covered.

Retha Nesmith, VP of Customer Experience & Certified Aromatherapist

The healing balm is perfect for kid owiesI use it for diaper rash, eczema, dry skin, and when my kiddos have owies 🙂

I mean…do we even need to introduce Retha? We all love her! She’s the face and voice of the PT brand!

Danny Loughmiller, Marketing Associate/Video Production

Itchy feet on shoesHealing Balm is so versatile! A little goes a long way. We use it for dry cracked feet, overworked hands, and sore toddler bottoms. It is a great base for Respir Aid and Sniffle Stopper during the cold season. We put a dab of Healing Balm in our hand and mix in 1-2 drops of Sniffle Stopper and apply it to our toddler’s chest when they are congested. It works great! We love it and it is a must in our home.

P.S. You may know Danny as being the man behind the camera during our Facebook Lives!

Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist & Content Writer

Women's feet soaking up the beach sun

Sunburns, sunburns, sunburns! There’s really nothing better for pasty white skin trying to make its debut after a dreary winter. It helps soothe the hot discomfort and my skin recovers so quickly! Plus, the Healing Balm doesn’t break my sensitive skin out so I can use it when my face gets too much sun without having to worry about a new zit taking up residence. And I definitely cannot say that about a ton of products!

You guys know Katrina…keep an eye out for her on our Facebook Live videos and be sure to tell her you read her blog posts!

Tyler Hagan, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin

I use the healing balm in my house every day. One of my favorite ways to use our Organic Healing Balm is to moisturize and hydrate dry, cracked elbows. I also use it to ensure my little guy’s skin is nice and healthy from head to toe!

Want to hear more from Tyler? He’s the voice and face of Plant Therapy over on our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook Group!

So, how do YOU use the Original Organic Healing Balm? We would love to know! And make sure to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for more inspiration and information from our wonderful community!

What is an Emulsifier and Why Do I Need It?

We know you love making amazing DIYs for yourself, your family, and your friends. And we know that you come to us for trustworthy information and safe recipes. But sometimes, you might come across an ingredient you aren’t familiar with, and therefore want to learn more about.

Oftentimes, those ingredients are either a preservative or an emulsifier, both of which are necessary to keep some of your homemade goodies safe! We’ve discussed the role of preservatives here, but this blog is going to address emulsifiers. Hopefully, at the end of reading this article, you are going to feel more confident with the products you use and the wonderful recipes you make.

What’s an emulsifier and how does it work?

Oil and water in a tubeAs school children, we all learned the demonstrable fact that oil and water don’t mix. That applies to essential oils, which are aptly labeled as hydrophobic liquids. Blending an essential oil with water simply won’t work, no matter how vigorously you stir. Small, concentrated oil droplets will still float to the top, completely separated from the water.

This is a cause for concern when you have a DIY recipe that calls for essential oils and water (or water-based product, like a hydrosol). Using essential oils in this way can cause serious health concerns since the EO is basically sitting on the water “neat.” The EO needs to be diluted, which the water cannot do.

So next, you decide to mix your EOs with a carrier oil and then add it to the water. But again, the water and oil will separate. I mean, at least the carrier oil dilutes the essential oils, but overall your end result will be with oils sitting right on top of the water. And that’s not what you’re looking for in a good recipe.

Enter: emulsifiers. A key ingredient to seamless EO blending!

An emulsifier is something that binds oil and water-based components together. The fluids remain evenly distributed together because the molecules in the emulsifier will stick between the oil molecules and the water molecules to keep them bound together. How does it do this? Well, in short, the molecules in an emulsifier will have two portions; one portion is attracted to oils and the other is attracted to water. Those portions bind to what they are attracted to, ultimately creating an evenly distributed substance of both oil and water.

Why some DIY recipes call for an emulsifier and others don’t.

creams in jar

Not every DIY is going to need an emulsifier. For instance, if your recipe calls for just some essential oils to mix into a carrier oil, no emulsifier is necessary. The carrier will dilute the oil and there is no water-based product to cause separation. Same goes if you are blending essential oils into a lotion or butter.

However, there are tons of recipes you might be itching to try that include water. Sprays, whether for the skin, hair, linens, or air, often include a water-based product. Therefore, they need an emulsifier. This is especially true for any DIY that is going directly to the skin or scalp as you never want to run the risk of having topical contact with an undiluted essential oil. You can learn more about that here (dilution blog).

Commonly used emulsifiers for DIY junkies.

Bath bombs

There is a wide range of both natural and commercial emulsifiers on the market to choose from. By no means is this list an end-all-be-all, but here are some choices for you to consider for your next project:

  • Castile Soap
  • Emulsifying Wax NF
  • Sulfated Castor Oil (AKA Turkey Red Oil)
  • Alcohol:
    • If using alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% alcohol but should be the highest proof you can get. We typically recommend grain alcohol, such as Everclear, which is 95% alcohol if you get 190 proof. Alcohol’s evaporative qualities are unmatched, making it great for room and linen sprays, but it can be drying when used topically. To learn more, please follow this link: tisserandinstitute.org/effective-use-alcohol…/
  • Polysorbate 20
      • An excellent choice for water-based recipes, like sprays, body mists, air fresheners, and bug sprays. It is non-comedogenic. The “20” indicates the type of fatty acid used as the base, which in this case is called monolaurate.
  • Polysorbate 80:
        • Ideal when you need to emulsify heavier substances, such as carrier oils. It is also great for products like bath bombs that include Mica coloring, as it will help prevent staining in the tub and leave a less slippery surface. It is non-comedogenic. The “80” indicates that its fatty acid is monooleate.

Are carrier oils emulsifiers?

Bottle surrounded by seeds for oil

Carrier oils are fantastic for diluting essential oils but are not technically emulsifiers. To emulsify something means to have it blend smoothly with water molecules, which carrier oils cannot do. For instance, if you add EOs to Grapeseed Oil and water, there will still be droplets unable to blend completely in the water since the molecules in Grapeseed Oil do not bond to water molecules.

A similar concept applies to our Aloe Vera Jelly. While our AV Jelly already contains an emulsifier, it is not itself considered an emulsifier. As for Aloe Vera Gel, it is likely you will still need to add an emulsifier, but please check the ingredients or contact the gel’s manufacturer for more information. 

Lotion would be another example of a product with an emulsifier included, but it is not itself an emulsifier. So if you have a recipe that includes both a lotion and water-based product, we encourage you to use an emulsifier as well.

What should NOT be used as an emulsifier?

  • Water
  • Witch Hazel
  • Honey
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Baking Soda
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Vitamin E Oil

Last but not least, a few knowledge nuggets…

To decide what emulsifier is right for you, it may require some personal research. There are many emulsifiers available on the market and their ingredients will vary. You will have to make the determination if a certain product is the right choice for you and your family. Additionally, there is not an indisputable ratio for how much of a certain emulsifier to use. As Certified Aromatherapists, we are not formally taught formulation chemistry. You may have to reach out to a professional formulator for specific inquiries. However, commercial emulsifiers often include instructions on what “phase” to add to and at what ratio.

Finally, I would like to note that information is rapidly changing in the world of aromatherapy as more tests and clinical studies are done. If additional or contradicting instructions become available, we will be sure to update this blog to reflect the most current reports.

Our team of Certified Aromatherapists is ready to answer all your questions! Reach out to them at [email protected] or check out our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook.

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Our 4 Ways to use Allspice Essential Oil

Allspice essential oil from plant therapy

If you love the warm, comforting aroma of spices, then Allspice will be right up your alley! But I’m sure you could have probably guessed that from the name alone. Also called Pimento Berries and Jamaica Pepper, Allspice is native to the Caribbean and Central America.

Allspice Essential Oil is steam distilled from the berries of an evergreen tree with fragrant bark, twigs, leaves, and white flowers. The berries are harvested when they turn green, dried in the sun for a week or two, then crushed and distilled [1]. What results is a pale liquid with a sweet and spicy scent, reminiscent of clove and cinnamon.

Allspice tree leaves

Let’s take a look at our top four ways you can get the most out of this spicy selection!

Aches and Pains

woman experiencing aches and pains in bed

Most notably, this essential oil is extremely warming and helps reduce discomfort. If you’re looking for an oil to include in a blend addressing muscle aches or stiff joints, Allspice might just be the perfect addition! It is known to quickly stimulate circulation and increase blood flow to the areas it is applied topically [2].

To help with occasional muscle aches and pains such as after a strenuous workout, add 1 drop each of Allspice, Clove, and Peppermint to two tablespoons of carrier oil and gently massage onto the areas of concern. These are powerful oils, so we recommend using them on small, specific areas of the body, rather than all over. You can also use Allspice alone, but please adhere to our maximum dilution recommendation of 0.3%.

Digestive Upset

Like many spicy oils, Allspice can be a wonderful aid when your stomach isn’t feeling quite right. Whether you’re experiencing nausea, cramps, gas, or indigestion, reach for Allspice. It can be helpful when dealing with a wide range of stomach issues. Its carminative properties help to relax spasms in the intestinal tract [2], which helps everything move along smoothly!

We recommend that you use it topically for this concern. Keeping the very low dilution recommendation in mind, you’ll only need a single drop of Allspice to a tablespoon of your favorite carrier oil. Simply massage it in a clockwise fashion on your stomach to encourage some relief. Or add 1 drop of Allspice and 2 drops of Ginger Root CO2 to a tablespoon of carrier oil and apply in a similar way.

Protect Against Seasonal Illness

Allspice is wonderful to diffuse when you’re experiencing some under-the-weather symptoms. It helps support the body’s natural immune system, encouraging a stronger, healthier you! Whether you’re suffering from coughs, chills, or the muscle aches often associated with sickness, Allspice offers assistance [1].

When you’re in need of an immune boost, try this diffuser blend: Add 1 drop each of Allspice and Cinnamon Leaf, with 3 drops of Sweet Orange to help support the body’s natural immune system.

Year-Round Holiday Atmosphere

Woman relaxing at home

Take a whiff out of a bottle of Allspice and you might be instantly thrown back into the holiday season! This essential oil is popularly used throughout that time of year and can bring about those warm fuzzy feeling associated with memorable family events and opening presents by the fireplace!

To evoke this kind of environment, diffuse or use in passive diffusion (link to allspice video).

Some more info about Allspice:

Allspice essential oil from plant therapy

If you have any questions about Allspice Essential Oil, make sure to reach out to our awesome team of aromatherapists at [email protected]

Add Allspice to your cart

Sources:

[1] Worwood, V. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 613-614

[2] Purchon, N., & Cantele, L. (2014). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. (Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 97-98

The Power of Blending Essential Oil Blends

Plant Therapy Spring blendsHave you ever looked at your essential oil collection and thought, I need more? Then you checked your bank account and thought, well…I guess need was a strong word.

Believe me, we’ve all been there. You could be scanning through your repertoire of maybe dozens of essential oils, but still just can’t seem to settle on the one to use. You want something new. Something unique. Sure, you could blend together your single essential oils and make a new creation, but sometimes that’s a swing and miss, especially when you’re first getting your feet wet in the massive EO world. 

Sometimes ain’t nobody got time for that.

carrier oilsSo how about using a blend? You love your blends. But…it’s still nothing new. So let’s make it new. Let’s be resourceful. Let’s blend our blends together!

Keep in mind, that while we’re going through this process we’re talking about diffusing your oils, only. Combining multiple blends for topical use has the potential to raise dilution rates above safe levels, so we don’t recommend combining blends if you’re using them anywhere on the skin.

Wait, what?

Essential oil bottle with honey and lavender

If the idea of blending blends sounds kind of crazy to you, believe me, initially, I thought the same. Most of our blends contain around (“around” is the key word here) five different essential oils. Adding another blend could add another five, resulting in a very complex blend indeed.

But this is one of those instances where you really shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it, especially if you’re not looking specifically for therapeutic properties, but for the scent alone. 

First off, the aroma combinations you can make are practically limitless. Second, you’re changing your overall experience with both of those blends.

Let’s take a look at what you can do with some of our sleep blends…

Plant Therapy Essential Oils Sleep Tight Sleep SetsLove the mind-relaxing benefits of Calming the Child? Love the sleepy feeling you get with Sleep Tight?

Try a couple drops of each in your diffuser and enjoy the marriage of the two blends.

Or, if you have Sleep Aid but aren’t particularly a fan of the way it smells, try blending it with some Sweet Dreams, which is more light and floral, helping to lighten up the deeper notes of Sleep Aid.

You can also take this idea and apply it to your aromatherapy inhalers, too!

So what are you waiting for? Brand new aroma experiences await! And if you come up with some amazing mixes, let us know in the comments. Or show off your pièce de résistance to tens of thousands of oily fans at our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook.

Woman's hand holding a measuring cup filled with liquidHappy blending!

The Best Products for Itchy Skin

When you have an itch, nothing else matters. That itch must be scratched. Immediately. Sure, you can try to will yourself away from the inevitable, but you’re pretty much setting yourself up for a few minutes of itchy torture.

The original organic healing balm plant therapyWhether your itch is from a bug bite, skin allergies, very dry skin, medication, or so many other reasons, that persistent feeling can start to interfere with your quality of life. If that sounds dramatic, just think about the last time you got a cluster of mosquito bites on your ankle. Suddenly everything you’re doing is accompanied by that annoying, nagging feeling to reach down and scratch. Sitting in on a meeting? Itchy. Making dinner for the family? Itchy. Sleeping? You may be too far in dreamland to realize it, but you’re still itchy! Sometimes even waking up to a worse issue since you’ve been unknowingly scratching in your sleep.

So what can be done?

Woman's hand rubbing lotion on other handWell, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications designed to help stop the itch, but if you’re looking into more natural remedies, aromatherapy is a great option. Let’s get right to it and talk about some of the best products Plant Therapy offers that can offer you some relief from that dreaded itchy feeling.

Helichrysum Hydrosol

When your skin is feeling uncomfortable, reach for a hydrosol. This gentle and natural product is a great first place to turn to when you are itchy. They’re cooling (since they are stored in the fridge), great for all ages and skin types, and require no mixing, measuring, or guesswork. Just spray it on!

Helichrysum Hydrosol is especially great to help reduce the itch. Spray it on the area or add some of the hydrosol to a cotton round and apply to the skin. Hydrosols can even be used on babies, making it the perfect choice when your little one is suffering from a bug bite or rash.

The Original Organic Healing Balm

The original organic healing balm plant therapy

We just can’t talk about this product enough! Like hydrosols, it is gentle enough for babies, but tough enough to tackle a wide range of skin issues, including itchiness. It’s moisturizing, while also leaving behind a bit of a barrier to help protect the skin. You can use it alone or use it to dilute essential oils if you find you need a bit more strength to deal with the itch.

Learn more about our amazing Healing Balm (and the rest of the Balm Squad!) here.

Apricot and Sunflower Carrier Oils

Before I dive into Apricot and Sunflower carriers specifically, I would like to mention this caveat. As with just about everything else having to do with aromatherapy, we all have our own unique interactions with certain products. While the two carrier oils mentioned are fantastic for itchy skin, they are surely not the only ones. In fact, if you’ve experienced success with other carriers, let us know in the comments! Your suggestions may be just what someone else needs.

Itchy feet on shoes

However, especially if you’re new to carrier oils, both Apricot and Sunflower are great places to start when trying to alleviate itchy skin. Apricot is particularly rich in vitamin A, which is known to encourage healthy cell production. How does that help itchy skin? Well, it strengthens your bodies natural barriers and protects your skin from harmful irritants that attack the surface. It’s a great choice when your itchiness is a consequence of bites, poison oak or ivy, or other unwanted environmental irritants.

Sunflower Carrier Oil is not only rich in vitamin A, but also vitamins B, D, and E. Plus, it also contains lecithin, which helps to restore skin’s moisture, and unsaturated fatty acids. This makes it a wonderful nourisher and soother for the skin.

Check out A Deep Dive into Carrier Oils if you’re interested in learning more about them!

Olive Lotion

child with cream on her itchy arm

Wonderful for irritated, itchy skin, our Olive Lotion is enriched with the benefits of Apricot, Olive, Grapeseed, and Coconut oils. Not only is it nourishing, but it makes a perfect lotion to blend with essential oils since it is unscented. And what essential oils should you use when battling the itch? Here are a few suggestions of EOs with some awesome itch-relieving power!

Aloe Jellies

Aloe Vera in a clear glass on a wooden tableSoothing, cooling and incredibly hydrating, Aloe Jellies are a hidden gem. Try applying Lavender Aloe Jelly to your skin right after a shower, especially right after shaving, to help soothe and hydrate irritated legs.

Don’t forget the roll-ons!

Not every situation is ideal for busting out the lotion or carrier oils, then dropping in the EOs. Sometimes, you just want a quick answer for an itchy problem! In those cases, we have some pre-diluted roll-ons that are perfect. They are already safely diluted and ready to use as-is, meaning less effort from you. They’re also small enough to take with you in your purse or toss in a backpack so you’ll always have them handy. Try these suggestions for some relief:

Hopefully, after reading this you can walk away with some great idea on how to help itchy skin. Don’t forget that you are always welcome to reach out to our team of aromatherapists at [email protected] for more information. Or, become a member of our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group, which is always packed with great information and awesome oily lovers!

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Time to go to your Happy Place!

Happy place essential oil blend from plant therapy

Has anyone ever told you, “Go to your happy place”? Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the demands of your job. Maybe you walked into a room and were suddenly overcome with anxiety. Or maybe you’re staying enclosed in your bubble, feeling too uneasy to venture outside of your comfort zone. No matter what the reason, finding your “happy place” is pretty much instruction to calm your mind, slow your breathing, and intentionally focus on something that gives you genuinely positive feelings.  This can help encourage some much-needed feelings of calmness and tranquility.

Mom and baby outside happy

For adults, practicing this type of exercise might not be easy all the time, but it’s certainly doable. But what about children? If you’re a parent and have to witness occasional feelings of anxiety from your children, honestly, it can be heartbreaking. We want them to feel confident and be brave enough to reach for the stars! And sometimes, anxiety can get the best of them (and us).

With that in mind, we wanted to create something that helps bring those warm, fuzzy feelings back so your kiddo’s biggest concern is, well, just being a kid!

Kids playing outside looking happy

Introducing: Happy Place

To evoke that “happy place” feeling, we created a beautifully soothing blend of herbal, floral, and citrus essential oils. Together, they may help ease those discouraging feelings associated with anxiety, like agitation, restlessness, poor focus, and repetitive behaviors.

And yep, it smells wonderful! Kids and adults alike will love the uplifting benefits of Bergamot, the calming properties of Lavender and Roman Chamomile, along with the balancing properties of Frankincense Carteri, Patchouli, Vetiver, and Clary Sage.

So how do you use it?

happy place essential oil blendTo help create an atmosphere that evokes those happy, calm feelings, diffuse it! It will fill your home with a lovely aroma, while simultaneously easing feelings that can result from anxiety. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy in the living room or wonderful in an anxious child’s bedroom. You’ll need about 30 minutes of diffusion to enjoy the benefits.

If you need Happy Place on-the-go, add 12 drops to your personal aromatherapy inhaler. This is a great way for older kids to take some control over their own mental health as well. Teach them how to use it when they notice certain emotions coming around by taking a few nice, deep breaths from the inhaler. Its small size makes it easy to take around, whether it’s the classroom (make sure to ask the teacher first!) or that nerve-wracking very first sleepover.

Happy Place can also be used topically at a 2-4% dilution. For single use, add a few drops to a teaspoon of carrier oil or lotion, and rub together on your palms. You can take a big whiff for yourself, or apply it to your child’s wrists or clavicle (collarbone area).

And don’t worry; Happy Place is also available in an ultra-convenient roll-on!

Need a little help to find your happy place? We’ve created this adorable coloring sheet to jump start some happy place inspiration! Find it on our downloads page.

Add Happy Place to your cart!

Check out this sheet for more information…

Happy Place produce sheet from Plant Therapy

So, what do you think? Make sure to let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook to share your experience with Happy Place with a community of supportive members!

March Essential Oil of the Month: Damiana

Is it purely a coincidence that March’s Oil of the Month selection is a well-known aphrodisiac? After all, spring is the season for the birds and the bees, if you know what I mean. But Damiana is so much more than that! The exotic herb that produces this essential oil has a rich history that speaks to its importance throughout its native environments of Central and South America.

Damiana flower

Let’s uncap that little bottle of Damiana you got in your mailbox and learn more about it and how you can put it to work.

*Don’t have Damiana? Make sure to become an Oil of the Month member to get unique, monthly surprises to your door every month!

Background

The Damiana plant, particularly its leaves, has been used traditionally for both medicinal and culinary uses. Ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations recorded its use as an aphrodisiac, as well as for “giddiness and loss of balance.” In the last century, it has gained fame throughout the U.S. and Europe, not only because of its association with sexual function, but also for its support with headaches, digestive issues, and emotional tension [1].

How its made

Our Damiana, which is steam distilled from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the plant, comes from Mexico. The plant itself is a small perennial shrub that grows in a semiarid, high elevation climate (like mountains). It bears long, serrated, aromatic leaves and produces lovely bright yellow blooms from early to late summer. Today it is grown primarily in Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and parts of South America.

Benefits

Couple happy together outdoors

Hands-down Damiana’s claim to fame is as an aphrodisiac. More than a hundred years ago, a Spanish missionary reported that Mexican natives made a “love potion” from Damiana leaves and some sugar. They then drank it to enhance their lovemaking! More recently, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists Damiana as a support to those suffering from impotence because of its ability to aid underlying symptoms, such as emotional exhaustion, nervous tension, and depression [2]. There are even several patents awarded for its use in medications to enhance the sexual experience [3]. It can help calm and relax you, while simultaneously uplifting you and helping you focus. In turn, this helps get you in the right kind of mood for some romantic moments with your partner.

But what else is it good for? Well, if stomach issues are ailing you, Damiana can help!

Woman hunched over with stomach pain

When applied topically to the abdomen, it can help relieve bloating, cramping, and constipation. It does this by stimulating muscular contractions of the intestinal tract. To use it for tummy troubles, add a single drop to a teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil and massage onto your stomach in a clockwise manner.

Some things you need to know about Damiana….

Damiana Product Sheet from Plant Therapy

Is it KidSafe? No

Shelf Life: 2-3 years

Cautions: Should not be used while pregnant or nursing.

Blending

The aroma of Damiana has a sweet, fruity, floral aroma with earthy undertones, reminiscent of sweet hay and wood. Try your hand at blending with Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Pink Grapefruit, Sweet Orange, Rose Absolute and Otto, Australian Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang Complete and Extra.

Romantic Massage Blend

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy an intimate massage with your partner!

Don’t forget to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for more ideas and inspiration!

And as always, please feel free to reach out to our aromatherapists at [email protected] for any questions or more information!

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Sources:

[1]  Kumar, S., Madaan, R., & Sharma, A. (2008). Pharmacological evaluation of Bioactive Principle of Turnera aphrodisiaca. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 70(6), 740-4.

[2] British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. West Yorks: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1983. Throughwww.phytotherapies.org/monograph-detail.com.

[3] Worwood, V. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 583.

Our Top 4 Ways to Use Myrrh

Myrrh Essential Oil from Plant Therapy

You could ask just about anyone what they know about Myrrh, and they could probably give you a couple quick answers. Myrrh was famously presented to baby Jesus in the Bible after all and has prominent mentions throughout religious texts dating back to ancient times. While notoriety-wise, it may take a back seat to its famous relative, Frankincense, Myrrh also has an incredibly rich history that is supported by both textual and archeological evidence. It was consistently used for a wide variety of ailments and at one point in time was considered even more valuable than gold.

Time for a quick history lesson!

Don’t worry—I’ll try to make it brief. But really, Myrrh has a wonderfully complex and fascinating history with plant lore galore. The name “Myrrh” comes a derivation of the Arabic word murr, meaning “bitter.” It played a critical role in the religious and medical practices of Ancient Egyptians and Hebrews as a healing unguent, embalming and incense ingredient, funeral herb, and ceremonial wine [1]. Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who fundamentally changed medical practices during his life in 460-370 BC, was especially enthralled with the properties of Myrrh. He mentions it more than any other plant in his writings.

Myrrh trees in the desert

There are also great myths revolving around the tree. In one, the resin of Myrrh is said to be from the tears of falcon-headed Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky. It also has an origin story coming from Greek mythology’s Princess Myrrha. Beware that this story, like many myths of the age, has strong adult themes.

If you’d like to learn some more about Myrrh’s interesting history, make sure to check out this nice article from History.com.

Fast forward to NOW.

Today, many people around the world still show lots of love to Myrrh. The essential oil comes from a small, thorny tree native to the deserts of Oman, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Somalia [2]. The tree’s resinous gum oozes from cuts or fissures on the bark, then hardens to “tears” that farmers scrape off and send for steam distillation.

So let’s take a look at what you can do with your bottle of Myrrh. Or, if you don’t have this oil, maybe you’ll find yourself suddenly inspired to add it to your collection!

1. Mood & Meditation

Woman meditating sitting down

Myrrh has a wonderful, gently calming effect on the nervous system. Because of this, it supports issues such as overthinking, worrying, and mental distraction [3]. Myrrh offers peace and inner stillness and is excellent to use alone or in a blend supporting meditation. To ease worry and tension, try diffusing Myrrh. Or, add 2 drops of Myrrh, 4 drops of Palo Santo, 2 drops of Frankincense Carteri, 1 drop of Neroli, and 1 drop of Mandarin to your personal aromatherapy inhaler. This blend will help ease troubled thoughts and support a positive mindset.

Its traditional use as a funeral herb was due to the peace and ability to ease sorrow in the face of grief [3]. Also, some believe it can create a bridge between worlds and is therefore thought to be beneficial for anyone who is experiencing loss [4].

Myrrh has a very earthy, dry, amber-wood aroma. If that type of aroma isn’t your favorite, consider blending it with other essential oils, such as Bergamot, Frankincense Serrata, Geranium Egyptian, and Cypress.

2. Beautiful Skin

Myrrh resin with green leaf

In the past and the present, Myrrh has been relied on to support a wide variety of skin concerns. It has a slight cooling action that helps reduce inflammation on the skin. It can also provide support to uncomfortable issues such as boils and exceptionally dry skin. Its antifungal properties make it great to use on the feet in the face of fungal infections [4]. Add a single drop of both Myrrh and Tea Tree into a carrier oil and rub onto your feet to help keep them protected!

Myrrh is also wonderful for helping mature skin stay nourished and gorgeous. It helps to reduce the appearance of redness, wrinkles, and scars when added to a carrier oil or lotion to 1%.

3. Promotes Oral Health

Wooden toothbrushes for oral health

Traditionally employed to support mouth, gum, and throat infections, Myrrh is still thought to provide benefit to our overall oral health [2,3]. This is due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You’ll find it commonly listed as an ingredient for natural homemade toothpaste and mouthwashes. When used as a mouth rinse, it helps support healthy gums and freshen your breath. Simply add a couple of drops to two teaspoons of Fractionated Coconut Oil as an effective alternative to alcohol-based mouthwashes.

4. Soothes Inflammation

While we’ve already touched on how Myrrh’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with skin and oral care, that’s not all it’s good for! Sore joints and muscles can become incredibly uncomfortable when swollen or irritated. Myrrh can help. In an ounce of your favorite lotion, blend 6 drops of Black Pepper, 5 drops of Myrrh, 4 drops of German Chamomile, and 3 drops of Marjoram Sweet. Gently rub on your areas of concern to help reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and start feeling better!

A few more things to know about Myrrh…

Myrrh Essential Oil from Plant Therapy

Love Myrrh? Don’t forget to spread the word on our awesome Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook. With thousands of active essential oil enthusiasts, you’re going to love the community and inspiration!

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Sources:

[1] Worwood, V. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 631.

[2] Harding, J. (2008). The Essential Oils Handbook: All the Oils You Will Ever Need for Health, Vitality and Well-Being. Watkins Publishing. Pgs. 150-151.

[3]  Mojay, G. (2005). Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: A guide to restoring emotional and mental balance through essential oils. London: Gaia. Pgs. 98-99.

[4]  Purchon, N., & Cantele, L. (2014). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. (Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 85.

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