Blog Posts by Katrina Scampini | Plant Therapy | - Page 3 of 23

The Plant Therapy website uses cookies for a variety of reasons. By accessing or using the Plant Therapy website you agree to the use of cookies. You can read our cookie policy here.

Your cart is currently empty.

Essential Oils Blog

All posts by Plant Therapy

Top, Middle, Base Notes & How They Go Together

Woman mixing liquid with essential oil bottles and other natural ingredientsSomewhere in your essential oil journey, you’ve probably come across the term “notes” when checking out some of your favorite oil’s characteristics. “Notes” might bring to mind fancy high-end perfumes, but there’s no reason to feel intimidated by the term. The thing is, each essential oil has a note, and that note helps determine how the oil will play with others. So if you’ve ever wondered how you can use these notes to help create your own blended masterpieces, this blog is perfect for you! We’ll go over the different notes and ways you can use this information to make your own special blends.

So first things first: why bother learning about notes? You’ve blended essential oils together without knowing about them before; will understanding notes really make a difference?

Honestly, it’s pretty easy to haphazardly blend oils without giving it too much thought. Sometimes it turns out great, while other times it’s a very serious series of unfortunate events. While I am all about learning through trial and error, I also think it’s important to have a basic understanding of other blending techniques as well. The more you know, the more confidence you gain when blending. Hopefully, this confidence translates into beautiful, unique blends that you love and want to show off to the world!

So, let’s talk notes.

What is a “top note”?

grapefruit essential oilYour first impression of a fragrance will often be dependent upon the blend’s top note. This aroma springs out above the other notes when you take your first whiff. They tend to be fresh and uplifting, often citrus-type aromas that are highly volatile. They evaporate the quickest but leave a lasting characteristic on the blend as a whole.

Some examples of top notes include:

What is a “middle note”?

Black Pepper Essential Oil by Plant TherapyThe bread and butter of a blend rely on the essential oils with middle notes. It’s what balances the blend by trying to seamlessly meld all the other oils together like a family. Fittingly, middle notes are also often referred to as heart notes. These aromas help give body and fullness to a blend. A middle note will not evaporate as quickly as a top note (taking anywhere from one to four hours), but these notes also aren’t as recognizable as a top note. While a top note may be easy to identify, middle notes are not always evident right away but are often fragrances that are warm and soft.

Some examples of middle notes include:

What is a “base note?”

Vanilla Oleoresin from Plant Therapy on pink backgroundYou can think of the base note as the foundation of a blend. It’s grounding and leaves a lasting impression. That’s because the base note is the slowest to evaporate and sometimes isn’t even discernable for the first few hours as the top and middle notes take center stage. Usually intense and heady aromas, base notes have a relaxing characteristic that is common of “heavier” essential oils.

Some examples of base notes include:

So how do you start blending notes?

First, think about what you want to create. Are you trying to create something that simply smells lovely or is there a specific emotion or place you want to evoke? If there are certain aromas you’re drawn to, think about those as well. Maybe you like zesty, energetic blends or maybe you want something that will help keep you focused and grounded during a yoga practice. Either way, starting with a plan always helps.

What tools will you need?

Using fragrance strips is a great way to learn how the smell of certain oils change over time as they evaporate. They will help you perform organoleptic tests on the oils you’ve chosen. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as the word “organoleptic” makes it seem like it must be. Really, just think of it as mindfully smelling! Fragrance strips are a great help when you want to try smell combinations without actually mixing the oils together. For instance, you could put a drop of Lemon on one strip, a drop of Rose Absolute on another, and maybe a drop of Vetiver on a third. Then, hold them like a fan in your hand and gently waft them toward you. Doing this will give you a kind of feel for how those oils go together to help you determine if that’s even the direction you’re trying to go or not.

A woman holding the Essential Oil Journal and Organizer from Plant Therapy

Next, don’t forget the pen and paper Our Essential Oil Organizer and Journal would be perfect for this! Take notes on anything that may help you personally make your blend. These could be thoughts or emotions that come from certain combinations. It could also be a list of oils you’ve used in blends, what works or what doesn’t, how many drops you want to use of each—whatever helps you the most in your creative process!

Start blending notes!

A drop of essential oil surrounded by orange peelsOnce you have your intention figured out and have your tools prepared, it’s time to start really thinking about the oils you want to use. Remember, your top note is going to be front and center when the blend is complete, so think about which oil you want to represent your blend. It’s like the first paragraph of a novel—you want it to bring the reader (or in this case…smeller?) in for more!

Next, think about the body of your blend with the middle notes. What is your blend? What are you trying to accomplish? If you’re trying to make an aroma reminiscent of a blooming meadow after a spring rain, what middle notes can you think of that help that idea come to life? Probably something floral, like Palmarosa or Chamomile. Maybe add something coniferous, like Fir Needle, to capture the evergreens that may flank your imaginary meadow. Or Juniper Berry, to give a nice herbaceous, soft smell.

Now what kind of base notes could help hold everything together? Vetiver’s deep, rich, earthy smell could wonderfully represent that smell of soft, dewey ground. Or maybe Cedarwood’s dry, smokey aroma is what you’re looking for.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, blending is a creative process.

Everything you need to know about carrier oilsRemember that it okay to take breaks from you blend if you’re feeling stuck. Take a step outside for some fresh air and come back to it with a clear head. Allowing the oils to “rest” on their fragrance strip will also alert you to how their fragrances change over time and how long your specific oils will last.

So how many top, middle, and base notes should you use? There are no hard and fast rules for this since your oils depend on what you are trying to create. The sky’s the limit! If you come up with something you love, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. Or, head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group to share it with so many others!

To learn more about blending, head over to these blogs:

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

How to Blend Hydrosols

plant therapy hydrosols

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Hydrosols are one of the most versatile and easy-to-use products that any budding aromatherapy enthusiast can enjoy! I hope you know what I’m talking about. But if you don’t, make sure to check out these blogs to learn more about these wonderfully light and refreshing aromatic waters:

But if you have them and love them already, I’m about to introduce a new idea that just might blow your mind! It’s so simple, you’ll be amazed you didn’t think about it long before.

Have you ever considered….blending them?!

That’s right. Just like how you can take your most favorite essential oils and marry them together for a new fantastic aroma full of amazing benefits, you can do the same with your hydrosols!

And, like with essential oils, the possibilities are practically endless. The combinations, the outcomes, the aromas, and functions—you name it.  

So how do you blend hydrosols?

Woman's hand writing in her notebook

Honestly, whatever way you want. Let’s say you love misting your pillow with Lavender Hydrosol before going to bed, but are ready to change it up a bit. Try adding a bit of Chamomile Hydrosol and see how you like it. They both have incredibly relaxing properties and sweet floral aromas, but the mixture of them together creates a brand new aroma to fall asleep to.

A personal favorite hydrosol blend of mine helps control breakouts and skin blemishes.  It’s an easy-peasy mix of 2 ounces of Tea Tree Hydrosol with 1 ounce of Rose Hydrosol. Just spritz on your face in the evening after washing it like regular. I like to follow it up with a dab of Jojoba Carrier Oil as a moisturizer, but the hydrosol blend is actually pretty moisturizing on its own so you may not even feel like using a cream or oil afterward.

Woman's hand holding a measuring cup filled with liquid

Another popular hydrosol blend for the face is our DIY Dry Skin Toner. It combines Rose, Lavender, and Helichrysum hydrosols to help quench thirsty skin and give your whole face a refreshing cleanse!

For some extra anti-itchy skin power, try blending Helichrysum, Lavender, and Peppermint hydrosols together. You can blend them equally (for instance, an ounce each), or pick your favorite as the primary hydrosol and add the others sparingly. An example would be starting with Helichrysum Hydrosol, which is wonderful for itchy skin but has an aroma that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Try adding a teaspoon of Lavender Hydrosol and see how it affects the overall smell, then continue to add more until you reach an aroma that is easier for you than Helichrysum alone. It’s always best to start with small amounts and gradually add more to your liking, just like when blending oils.

Woman spraying product on her hair

Always remember to label your creations with their ingredients and store them in the fridge!

So are you ready to try your hand at blending hydrosols? You can even make some masterpieces with your kiddos, since hydrosols are gentle enough even for babies. That means you won’t have to worry about little hands coming into contact with anything undiluted and harmful. Let your imagination run wild and make sure to tell us some awesome creations in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for even more inspiration. 

Essential Oils and How They Support Green, Non-Toxic Living

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Our beautiful planet Earth is a living, breathing, precious environment. I’m sure we can all agree that whatever little individual steps we can each take to keep her safe and healthy is worth doing. Everyday things we can do, like recycle, carpool to work, turn off lights when you’re not using them (and so much more!), all contribute to a happier, healthier planet. And using essential oils—can that help, too? You betcha! Let’s take a quick look at a few ways essential oils help support green, non-toxic living.

But first, if you don’t know much about Plant Therapy’s commitment to sustainability, make sure to head on over to this blog, which explains our company’s practices when it comes to environmental ethics and accountability. 

Using EOs reduces the use of toxic cleaners.

Woman cleaning her kitchen cupboards

Cleaning and essential oils go together like peanut butter and jelly! There are so many ways to incorporate essential oils into your cleaning habits. You’re probably already doing it without even realizing it! Are you diffusing instead of spraying aerosols to freshen the air in your home? Have you tried our simple all-purpose spray and will never go back? The fact is, you can replace just about every store-bought chemical-laden cleaning product you have with some essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda. This helps reduce the amount of harsh chemicals you are using throughout your home, which not only benefits your family but is great for our environment as well!

Not sure where to start? Check out our blog Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils: A Complete Guide. It’s packed with wonderful recipes for everything from cleaning your carpets to polishing your furniture using the amazing powers of essential oils!

Using EOs reduces waste.

Reed diffuser being used in home

If you start regularly using DIY cleaning recipes for your home, you’re probably going to notice something else: a little less trash. Think about how many times in the last year you’ve run out of your cleaning products. Disinfectants, toilet cleaners, bottles of glass spray…and just tossed all those bottles in the trash. Well, making your own cleaning products leads to having to buy less at the store. As you get more comfortable with your green cleaning, you’ll find yourself relying less and less on what the cleaning section at your grocery store offers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll completely rid yourself of garbage. But even just one less plastic bottle finding its way to a landfill makes a difference. Using glass spray bottles that you can continuously reuse with your homemade cleaners is just one more little change you can make to support a “greener” lifestyle!

Using EOs outdoors is friendlier on the outdoor environment around you.

Child having spray applied outdoors

It’s almost gardening season! Time to bust out the gloves, spade, and pruning shears and turn your backyard into your own personal oasis. But doesn’t that also mean it’s time to bring out the bug spray and pest repellents so that you and your beautiful plants don’t get eaten alive? Well thankfully, this is another spot where essential oils can make a world of difference when it comes to using natural ingredients to get the job done.

To keep your outdoor area clear of those outdoor annoyances, there are plenty of essential oils you can diffuse or use topically. Citronella, Lime, Cedarwood, Peppermint, and Lavender, to name a few. Check out our Essential Oil Outdoor Wipes for an easy, natural solution to keep you and your family clear of annoyances while you’re outside. Or, to help get rid of weeds without soaking the ground in chemicals, try using Clove Essential Oil! Combine 20 drops of Clove, 20 ounces of vinegar, and a pinch of salt into a spray bottle. Shake it up before using and spray directly on the weeds you want to get rid of.

Using EOs can encourage an overall greater sense of awareness when it comes to the products you are using.

Essential oil bottle with orange slices and cinnamon sticks

Any small step we take toward greater awareness and appreciation of our amazing environment is always a positive thing. Maybe when you first started using essential oils, you didn’t know too much about them; you just knew they smelled great and all your friends were getting into them. Then, as your oily journey progressed, you may have begun to take the time to learn about the botanicals, their unique locations all over the world, and what exactly makes them so special.

As essential oil knowledge increases, so does our recognition of what kinds of products we use every single day around our house and even on our own bodies. Suddenly, spraying name-brand disinfectants over every surface in our house seems a little less desirable. And one seemingly insignificant mindset change about the chemicals you are using can lead to more and more changes down the road.

Just remember that every little change matters. When enough individuals all make little changes, big differences can happen. This is how essential oils can support green, non-toxic living!

Don’t forget to head on over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group. Get in touch with more like-minded essential oil enthusiasts to learn more ways to use your oils!

The Best Products for Aging Skin

Beauty is only skin deep. You know that, we know that, but still—there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look as good as you feel.  And while none of us can turn back the unstoppable hands of time, a lot of us still spend a whole lot of that time trying.

So to save you some time, we’ve compiled a run-down of some of the best products you can use for skin you want to help freshen up!

Older woman riding bike happily outdoors with pink roses in the backgroundFrankincense, Myrrh, & Elemi

In general, resin-based oils are great for reducing the appearance of scars and supporting healthy tissue regrowth [1]. Frankincense (all varieties), Myrrh, and Elemi have wonderful skin care benefits that include supporting aged and dry complexions, balancing sebum (the natural oil your body produces), and reducing the appearance of wrinkles [2]. This makes them each a great choice to help rejuvenate dull or mature skin!

To restore healthy, younger-looking skin, dilute Elemi, Frankincense, or Myrrh to 1% in your favorite carrier oil and apply to your face. Or, if you’re looking for a super powerful anti-aging blend, try 2 drops each of Elemi, Lavender, and Neroli to 4 teaspoons of our Younger Glo Carrier Oil Blend.

Geranium Egyptian

Geranium Egyptian Essential Oil Plant Therapy

Well-known for the ability to help tone skin and revitalize complexion, Geranium Egyptian is excellent for mature skin. Its skin-balancing properties are tough enough to help with blemishes, dryness, and the appearance of wrinkles, but gentle enough for thin and sensitive skin. It works to help balance the production of sebum, which is the natural oil that helps keep skin supple.

To help improve the overall skin complexion on your face, just take a teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil, face wash, or lotion and add one single drop of Geranium Egyptian. Apply a pea-sized amount it to a clean face in the evenings.

Learn more at 4 Ways to Use Geranium Egyptian.

Ylang Ylang Complete

Ylang Ylang Complete from Plant Therapy

This exotic, floral essential oil is known for its ability to help prevent the signs of aging and even help promote the development of healthy skin [3]. It has a sebum-balancing effect that is great for all skin types and has a long history of traditional use to nourish and rejuvenate skin [4].

A quick and easy way to enjoy the benefits of Ylang Ylang Complete for your skincare is to use it in a steam facial. To do this, add a single drop of Ylang Ylang into a bowl of hot, but not boiling, water and hover your face above the bowl for a few minutes. The skin-nourishing properties Ylang Ylang will infuse your skin, helping support a youthful complexion while also giving your skin a lovely sweet scent.

Learn more at Our Top 4 Ways to Use Ylang Ylang Complete

Woman's hand rubbing lotion on other handCarrot Seed

We can’t talk about essential oils that are great for mature skin without mentioning Carrot Seed. While the aroma is a bit less than desired (this isn’t something you’ll want to put solo in your diffuser!), it is a great option to help breathe life into dull skin. Carrot Seed is rich in carotenoids, which is wonderfully supportive of aging skin and overall skin tone [5].

If you’re not excited about wearing the Carrot Seed scent on your face, try blending it with essential oils that are able to tone it down a bit, like Ylang Ylang! Our Fountain of Youth Face Serum combines both of those essential oils, along with Frankincense Frereana, for a serum that rejuvenates and moisturizes mature skin.

Rose Absolute

For dehydrated, dull, mature skin, Rose is the way to go! Rose Absolute is wonderful to soothe and moisturize all skin types. It can soothe inflammation by constricting capillaries, which make it ideal for dealing with thread veins (commonly referred to as “spider veins”). For facial and neck applications, make sure to dilute to 1% in a carrier oil. One drop of Rose Absolute and two drops of Frankincense Frereana with 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of a carrier makes an excellent supportive and fragrant serum for the face and neck.

Learn more at Our Top 4 Ways to Use Rose Absolute

Avocado Carrier Oil

Avocado Carrier Oil contains vitamins A, B, D, E, and beta carotene. This penetrating monounsaturated oil is a bit thicker than most carrier oils and is often added to other carriers rather than used alone. Only a small amount of Avocado Oil is needed to enrich the vitamin content of other carriers and is excellent for mature, dry, and sun-damaged skin.

Camellia Seed Carrier Oil

To help protect skin from free radical damage while nourishing mature skin, Camellia Seed is a great place to start! It absorbs quickly into the skin and is rich in antioxidants that help to revitalize and rejuvenate skin.

To learn more about carrier oils, check out our in-depth look at each one we carry at A Deep Dive Into Carrier Oils.

essential oils can benefit dry skin

Younger Glo Carrier Oil Blend

This aptly named carrier oil blend was designed especially for everyone who wants to support skin showing signs of aging. This blend contains the powerful oils of Sesame Seed, Organic Sunflower, Camellia Seed, Rosehip, Organic Argan, and vitamin E. It helps to gradually reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while supporting a gorgeous glow!

Near Perfection Carrier Oil Blend

Another wonderfully supportive carrier oil blend, Near Perfection, helps make your skin just that—near perfection! You’ll love its blend of Almond, Jojoba, Avocado, Tamanu, and vitamin E. It helps to reduce the appearance of marks and imperfections on the skin. And helps soften, condition, and balance dry, aging skin.

Apply these carrier oil blends on at 100% strength or add skin-loving essential oils to it to add a bit of power!

Woman riding her bike outside looking at her phone

Need more inspiration and information on what products to turn to for aging skin? Head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group!

Sources:

[1] Elemi Essential Oil Spotlight. Retrieved from http://info.aromahead.com/elemi-essential-oil

[2]. Orchard, A., & van Vuuren, S. (2017). Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2017, 4517971. http://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4517971

[3] Leelapornpisid, P., Wickette, R., Chansakaow, S., & Wongwattananukul, N. (2015). Potential of native Thai aromatic plant extracts in antiwrinkle body creams. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26665978

[4] Mojay, G. (2005). Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: A guide to restoring emotional and mental balance through essential oils. London: Gaia. Pg. 128.

[5] Juturu, V., Bowman, J. P., & Deshpande, J. (2016). Overall skin tone and skin-lightening-improving effects with oral supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 9, 325-332. doi:10.2147/CCID.S115519

Our Top 4 Ways to Use Black Pepper

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Black Pepper Essential Oil by Plant TherapyWhen you think of the words “black pepper” what comes to mind? Was it a bottle of essential oil? Probably not! More likely, your mind wandered over to that humble spice that’s always unassumingly made its home in your kitchen cupboard. Nowadays, having black pepper in your spice rack seems like a no-brainer, right? But actually, it took thousands upon thousands of years for black pepper to become the common household spice it is today.

Black pepper plant

Historical records going as far back as Ancient Greece tell us it was valued highly enough to be used as currency. In India and Indonesia, the pepper was used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for its warming and revitalizing properties [1]. Ancient traders in Southern Arabia amassed tremendous wealth built primarily off of pepper trading. They would cultivate dire warnings about dragons guarding “pepper pits” to scare off anyone thinking they could take part in this lucrative trade.

Black pepper also helped inspire the completion of ancient trade routes, such as the Silk Road. It even inadvertently led to the discovery of the Americas, as it was one of the spices Christopher Columbus sought to find new trade routes for [2]. All this for that delicious ground up peppercorn that many of us take for granted. We sprinkle it on all our foods that need a little extra zing to taste good.

Black Pepper Essential Oil by Plant Therapy

Well, it’s from that same pepper our beloved Black Pepper Essential Oil comes from!

While this essential oil might not be on your radar just yet, it will hopefully become as invaluable to you as the go-to spice in your cupboard. The essential oils are steam distilled from the peppercorn of the vigorous, woody climbing pepper vine (Piper nigrum) after they are sun-dried. It’s spicy, warm, and woody aroma will be instantly familiar to anyone who uses fresh peppercorns while cooking. This stimulating oil not only adds a bit of pep to essential oil blends but also has some very practical therapeutic uses that can help you make the most out of each day.

Soothes aches and discomfort.

Woman holding her lower back on a running track

Hands down, the quality most often associated with Black Pepper Essential Oil is its incredible warming capabilities. It helps soothe muscular discomfort by providing localized warmth that helps relax inflamed or spastic muscles. So whether your legs are cramping up after a long run or your neck is feeling sore from sitting at a desk all day, applying Black Pepper topically is a great way to increase circulation to a specific area and help relax tensed up muscles [3]. It may also be helpful in relieving uncomfortable symptoms of joint pain, like those often associated with rheumatoid arthritis [4].

Use Black Pepper in a warm bath to help relieve feelings of discomfort and stiffness. Try adding 3 drops of Black Pepper, 2 drops of Juniper Berry, and 4 drops of Lavender to one tablespoon of unscented body wash and add to a running bath. For some added support, mix in half a cup of Epsom salt and you’re going to be feeling great in no time!

Helps settle a sour stomach.

Woman crouching in stomach pain

A stomach in distress can mean all kinds of things. Maybe it’s just gas, or cramping, bloating, or unhappy bowels…but whatever it is, we want it gone. Black Pepper is known to help with a wide variety of gastrointestinal issues and can help improve the overall digestion process [5]. It does this by stimulating the digestive system, helping to reduce spasms in the intestines and uterus, while also easing symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, and nausea [4].

We recommend topical application of Black Pepper to help dissolve your stomach upset—please do not ingest Black Pepper Essential Oil! Instead, add 3 drops to a teaspoon of carrier oil or lotion. Then, gently massage onto your stomach in a clockwise manner. You should notice relief soon after. Your intestines will relax, release tension, and begin to get everything moving along in the right direction! Blending a drop or two of Ginger Root CO2 or Dill Weed with Black Pepper will also provide wonderful support, just make sure to dilute accordingly.

Supports that resolution to quit smoking!

Hands breaking a cigarette

If you’ve read anything about using essential oils to help curb the habit, you’ve probably seen at least a few mentions of Black Pepper. That’s because Black Pepper Essential Oil has helped some people tremendously when it comes to their resolve to quit smoking. It has properties that support easing the tense and anxious feelings you can get when suffering from nicotine withdrawal, which consequently helps reduce cravings for cigarettes over time. Inhaling Black Pepper also stimulates respiratory tract sensations, which plays an important role in alleviating smoking-withdrawal symptoms [4].

Give Black Pepper the chance to take the edge off of your nerves! Use it in your convenient aromatherapy inhaler. This is a quick and convenient way for you to have it on hand. That way, you can reach for it as often as you need! This is a great opportunity to blend it with another stress relieving oil, such as Lavender, for some instant relief and calm. Or, check out our Curb the Urge Inhaler Blend for a powerful blend of essential oils that can help reduce feelings of irritability associated with withdrawal.

Aids the immune system when seasonal illness strikes.

Finally, this spicy essential oil is a great choice to bust out when you’re feeling under the weather. It helps strengthen the immune system, allowing you to get better faster [4]! Diffuse alongside essential oils like Eucalyptus Globulus, Bergamot, Tea Tree, and Lemon to help create a healthy and clean atmosphere in your home.

Black pepper drupes on a white background

Add Black Pepper to your cart

Want more ideas on ways to use your Black Pepper Essential Oil? Head on over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for information and inspiration!

Sources:

[1]  Harding, J. (2008). The essential oils handbook: all the oils you will ever need for health, vitality and well-being. London: Watkins Media Ltd. pgs. 176-177

[2]. Butler, S. (2013). Off the Spice Rack: The Story of Pepper. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/news/off-the-spice-rack-the-story-of-pepper

[3] Ou, M., Lee, Y., Li, C., & Wu, S. (2014). The effectiveness of essential oils for patients with neck pain: a randomized controlled study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192562

[4] Purchon, N., & Cantele, L. (2014). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition. (Novato, CA: New World Library. Pg. 40-41.

[5] Mehmood, M. & Gilani, A. (2010). Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of black pepper and piperine in gastrointestinal disorders. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20828313

Behind the Scenes with Hello Spring

You know what time it is—Springtime! And we all know what happens in Springtime. No, it’s not Easter, it’s not Spring Break, it’s…

Say it with me: Plant Therapy SPRING BLENDS!

Plant Therapy Hello Spring Spring BlendsThat’s right; it’s that time of year again! Time for us to bring to you some of the most springy-fresh scents on the planet.

Our Hello Spring Set includes three gorgeous essential oil blends that are sure to evoke all of the best parts of the season. And to make it even more special this year, we’ve given our spring set a complete makeover. Now you can enjoy these unique spring aromas in designs that are as beautiful as the aromas themselves.

But have you ever wondered how exactly these blends come together? Where does the inspiration come from?

How do we decide how to “bottle” spring?

Flowers in the sunshineWell, making sure everything is just right for our customers is always a top priority that involves tons of amazing, hard-working people.

Our own Emilee Hughes, Certified Aromatherapist and member of Plant Therapy’s Product Development Team, says that the inspiration for these blends comes from the sights, sounds, and smells of spring itself.   

“If you look at Morning Sunshine, we really just wanted our customers to have that feeling of the first morning of spring, where you start feeling warm from the inside out and you smell those beautiful blossoms,” she gushed.

Then it’s on to the Design and Graphics Department, who have the difficult task of taking that aroma and translating it into beautiful imagery.

One of our talented graphic designers, Jayme Montoya, says she is so happy with the outcome of the final pieces and hopes that customers are just as excited.

“We’re seeing a trend in design right now of using a lot of texture,” said Jayme, “so I really wanted to play off of that…and use watercolor to give it a nice, light, airy, and organic feel.” 

Plant Therapy Spring blendsThis three-set of springy essential oil blends includes two customer favorites plus one brand-new blend. It conveys all the different moods and scents of spring!

Fresh Meadow

Our new Fresh Meadow Blend aims to capture the essence of this beautiful time of the year.

This amazing blend of Orange Essence, Amyris, Bergamot, Ginger Root Steam Distilled, and Jasmine Absolute creates a scent that’s as complex and cheerful as spring itself. The citrusy and sweet scent, with its touch of spiciness, helps calm your senses and promotes uplifting feelings of joy. Enjoy the way Fresh Meadow can put a spring in your step and encourage positivity!

Island Sunset

Island Sunset has a sweet, tropical, woodsy aroma that can elicit an island feel wherever you are.

This blend was created with oils that will help you escape to a calming atmosphere no matter what climate you live in. Cedarwood Himalayan and Copaiba Oleoresin offer a calming and revitalizing woodsy aroma. Orange Blood and Peru Balsam bring a tropical sweetness that uplifts the senses. Even if you’re not enjoying a tropical island vacation right now, Island Sunset can transport you there with the relaxing smells of the tropics, helping you feel at ease.

Morning Sunshine

Everyone wants to start their mornings off right and Morning Sunshine can help with that! It’s great for easing the mind by helping reduce worry, alleviate tension, and promote focus.

Morning Sunshine has a sweet, citrusy aroma that is bright and uplifting—like a ray of sunshine to start your day! The oils used to create this blend are wonderful for boosting your mood and keeping your spirits up. The brightening Grapefruit Pink helps to lift mental fatigue while Lemon Steam Distilled promotes cheerfulness. Rhododendron soothes nervous tension and Lavender Fine has a calming effect. Altogether these oils work together for a pleasant morning wake-up call.

Add Hello Spring to your cart

Essential oil bottles next to chamomile and lavender flowersWe hope you love the new look and feel of our Hello Spring Set as much as we do!  Make sure to head over to our Facebook Safe Essential Oil Recipes group for more oily fun.

Spring Cleaning with Our Deodorizing Blend

Spring is upon us! It’s time to open the windows, shake out the dust accumulating in the corners, and make your house look and smell fantastic. Trust us, you’ll feel a million times better when your home has a crisp, fresh aroma that’s as clean as the new spring air.

Try using our Deodorizing blend to help zap stinky odors from your home. You’ll love how this blend’s bright, slightly herbaceous and fruity aroma creates a clean and welcoming atmosphere for you and your whole family.

Add Deodorizing Blend to your cart

Hand cleaning a counter using a spray bottle

DIY Deodorizing Carpet Cleaning Powder

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Put 1 cup of baking soda into a container.
  2. Add 10-15 drops of Deodorizing.
  3. Add another cup of baking soda and 10-15 more drops of Deodorizer.
  4. Shake well, sprinkle on carpets and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes before vacuuming.

Cupboard full of stinky shoes

DIY Deodorizing Sachet

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. In a bowl, mix Epsom salt, baking soda, and Deodorizing.
  2. Scoop desired amount into a sachet and tie or seal shut.
  3. Place sachet anywhere that could use some freshening up, such as shoes and gym bags.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite sure what a sachet is. You can buy them online or at many local craft stores. You can also read our blog on No Sew Sachets to make your very own!

Want more ideas on how to use natural ingredients to freshen up your home? Check out our Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils: A Complete Guide.

And don’t forget to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for even more spring cleaning inspiration from thousands of active oily enthusiasts.

The Natural Products (and Tips) You NEED for Dry Skin!

If you’re suffering from a bout of dry skin but don’t know what to use to make it better, we’re here to help! Cold winter weather hasn’t let up quite yet but that doesn’t mean you have to go on with uncomfortably tight or irritated skin. Let’s take a look at some of Plant Therapy’s best products for skin that’s in desperate need of some nourishment and moisture!  

Start with hydrosols.

plant therapy hydrosols

Hydro-what? Don’t worry! If you aren’t sure about what hydrosols are, we have a blog that can help answer your burning questions: What is a Hydrosol?

For dry skin that may be rough or irritated, try using Lavender, Chamomile, Helichrysum, or Rose hydrosols. Not only do these smell fantastic and have incredibly calming properties, but you’re going to love how easy and convenient they are to use. Either spray directly onto your skin or dampen a cotton round with the hydrosol before applying it to the skin. No mixing, no measuring, no mess. Just beautiful skin!

Try this Dry Skin Toner, which uses only gentle hydrosols for irritated skin:

Blend together 2 ounces of Rose Hydrosol, 1 ounce of Lavender Hydrosol, and 1 ounce of Helichrysum Hydrosol in a 4-ounce spray bottle. Spritz anywhere you know your skin needs some hydration and enjoy! Please keep in mind that this mixture, like all hydrosols, should be stored in the fridge.

Interested in learning more ways to use these amazing products? Check out Our Top 10 Ways to Use Hydrosols! 

Carrier oils help provide immediate relief to dry skin.

Sometimes the name “carrier oil” can be a bit deceiving. These amazing products do so much more than carry essential oils to your skin. In fact, they are extremely enjoyable to use by themselves and provide awesome benefits to your skin. And if dry skin is plaguing you, you’re definitely going to want to get your hands on some!

So how do you use carrier oils on dry skin? It really couldn’t be easier! Simply take about a teaspoon of your chosen carrier and use clean fingertips to gently massage it into your skin.

Organic Argan Carrier Oil:

Dry skin is no match for Argan. This nutty carrier oil is rich in vitamin E, linoleic acid, and fatty acids. It’s wonderfully hydrating for dry skin; beauty experts swear by this vitamin-rich oil to help make complexions glow while also reducing the appearance of fine lines.

Avocado Carrier Oil:

This deeply penetrating monounsaturated oil contains vitamins A, B, D, E, and beta carotene, making it very nourishing and moisturizing. Avocado has a much thicker consistency than many other carriers, and is often used in small amounts (about 5-10%) with other carrier oils to enrich them with its vitamin contents. This carrier is wonderful for very dry skin that is in dire need of some immediate moisture. It is also known to support sun-damaged skin.

Try Avocado in this DIY Dry Skin Essential Oil Oatmeal Mask to support soft and supple skin, even when the winter weather is trying to dry it out!

Almond Carrier Oil:

This all-around helpful carrier oil has a multitude of uses, but supporting dry skin is where it shines! It has excellent emollient properties that help to soften and recondition skin, plus it penetrates the skin quickly, providing quick relief to dry, irritated areas. Please keep in mind that this carrier, along with the aforementioned Argan, is made from a tree nut. Anyone with a nut allergy should consult with their medical practitioner before coming into contact with it.

To learn more about amazing carrier oils, check out A Deep Dive into Carrier Oils: Everything You Need to Know.

Some essential oils are great for dry skin, too!

Essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols can help with dry skin

If you want to add a little more power to your carrier oils, let’s take a quick look at some of the best essential oils for dry skin.

Helichrysum Italicum is wonderful for your skin’s overall health. Not just dryness, but also skin that is inflamed, itchy, and blemished. Use it on your face in a 1% dilution, and a maximum of 5% on other areas of the body.  Learn more in The Top 5 Benefits of Helichrysum.

Frankincense Frereana is a fantastic go-to for all kinds of skin concerns. It supports dry skin while also helping to smooth the appearance of wrinkles and scars. Add a single drop to a teaspoon of carrier oil and gently apply to your face. For other dry areas of concern, we recommend a 3% maximum dilution.

Carrot Seed nourishes and helps heal skin due to being rich in carotenoids. It is known to rejuvenate the look of dull, dry skin, balance the skin’s sebum, and also helps with the healing process when you’ve got a nasty sunburn. We recommend a dilution of 1% on the face and up to 3% for other areas of the body.

Lavender is a soothing and gentle skincare favorite, especially for skin that is irritated and dry. To help care for all-over dryness, add 9 drops of Lavender to half an ounce of Almond Carrier Oil and apply to your entire body (excluding the face, which we recommend a 1% dilution) or massage onto specific areas of concern. And don’t forget to check out our 10 Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oil blog for even more ways to use this amazing oil!

Don’t forget about our Organic Healing Balm!

The original organic healing balm plant therapy

We’ve taken our popular Organic Healing Balm and made it even better! Made with soothing natural ingredients, this wonderful balm moisturizes, relieves dry and irritated skin, and leaves skin feeling silky and soft. Use the Original, which does not include an essential oil blend, or try one of our newbies, featuring the blends of Silky Soft, Sniffle Stopper, and Better Than Kisses.

For more ideas about the best products to use for dry skin and tons of great tips, make sure to check out our blog 8 Practical Tips for Healthy, Glowing Winter Skin.

And don’t forget to visit our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for even more oily goodness!

Our Top 4 Ways to Use Vanilla Oleoresin

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Vanilla Oleoresin from Plant Therapy beside vanilla beans on table

Oh, vanilla.

It’s hard to think of any other smell that can conjure up such pleasant memories. Maybe it transports you back to a simpler time when you were a little kid in Grandma’s kitchen, impatiently waiting for those delicious cookies. Or maybe it strikes you as a more sensual scent that’s perfect for a romantic night out with your partner.

No matter where you fall on that pretty wide spectrum, most of us can agree that vanilla has a totally unique, distinct, and delicious aroma. It’s definitely worthwhile to take a closer look at this famous crop, how it gets bottled up, and some great ways to bring it into your life.

So where does vanilla come from? Well, the vanilla plant is a climbing vine with lovely greenish-yellow orchid flowers. One blossom produces one bean, or seed pod, which is where we get the oleoresin from. For this to even happen, the blossom must be pollinated when it opens, which is only once and for a mere few hours.

Vanilla flower with vanilla beans on a gray background

Vanilla is clearly a very labor-intensive crop. It takes about 3 to 4 years from the time vanilla is planted until it can be harvested. Then,  it takes an additional 3 to 6 months to cure the beans. There are only approximately 3,000 tons of vanilla produced each year, which mainly comes from vanilla fields in Madagascar [1, 2].

You may think “wow, 3,000 tons sounds like a lot”. But when you stop to consider how many beauty products, perfumes, cooking and baking recipes, and supplements include vanilla, you’ll see that this amount just is not a lot for the world to share. So if you are lucky enough to have a bottle of Vanilla Oleoresin, treat it lovingly! Not everyone gets to enjoy it.

Plant Therapy offers Vanilla Oleoresin. Why not Vanilla Essential Oil? Because that doesn’t exist. There are vanilla extracts, oleoresins, absolutes, infusions, and fragrance oils, but no pure vanilla essential oil. Unlike many of the other aromatic plants and fruits we enjoy, like lavender, peppermint, and lemon, vanilla beans do not release their aromatic molecules when steam distilled or cold pressed.

The dark, viscous liquid of Vanilla Oleoresin is produced using solvent extraction and offers that wonderfully warm and welcoming aroma so many of us have come to know and love. Now, let’s take a look at how to get the most out of your bottle!

Great for some much-deserved R & R!

Vanilla Oleoresin helps promote relaxation before sleep

When you want to settle your body and mind down before going to bed, Vanilla Oleoresin is the perfect nightstand companion! Its rich, warm aroma is incredibly relaxing and can help out when you’re feeling too much nervous tension or agitation to find peace in your bed [3]. It’s also a great choice for passive diffusion. Simply a drop on a cotton ball and placing it near your pillow.

Or, try our Bath Bomb recipe for a wonderfully relaxing bath experience to help you wind down after a long day.

Great to help feel calm and collected!

Vanilla beans next to an essential oil bottle filled with diffuser reeds

Sometimes we all could use a few moments to relax, gather our thoughts, find our smiles and go back to making the most out of our day. Vanilla Oleoresin has been found to encourage positive feelings while also helping to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety [3].

Try diffusing 2 drops of Vanilla Oleoresin, 2 drops of Sweet Orange, and 1 drop of Neroli to help relax your mind when stress is starting to take too much control. This would also make a fantastic blend for a personal aromatherapy inhaler.

Vanilla Oleoresin has been known to clog diffusers, though this does not typically apply to ultrasonic diffusers. However, to err on the side of caution, make sure to clean away the Vanilla after use! Please do not to let it sit in the diffuser.

Vanilla is wonderful to blend with other oils, due to its ability to soften and round out aromas. Try experimenting with citrusy, spicy, or woody aromas to find what combination you like best!

Perfect to help set the mood.

Vanilla Oleoresin is an aphrodisiac

The scent of Vanilla is a great way to set the scene for romance! It can help heighten the senses while calming the mind, helping you and your partner enjoy more intimate moments.

Try your hand at infusing one of your favorite carrier oils with some Vanilla Oleoresin for a romantic and sweetly scented massage oil. To do this, simply add a few drops to your chosen carrier oil and let it sit for a week or two. Then, decant the oleoresin and enjoy your lightly infused carrier oil!

Ready for an exotic “getaway” in your bedroom?  Diffuse 2 drops of Vanilla Oleoresin, 2 drops of Pink Grapefruit, and 1 drop of Sandalwood.

You and your partner might not be able to take that tropical vacation of your dreams, but hopefully, this blend will help evoke that feeling of relaxation and romance!

Soothing on stomach discomfort.

Vanilla Oleoresin can support stomach discomfort

It seems like vanilla might be something that gives you a stomach ache, not one that helps you get over one! But actually, inhaling Vanilla Oleoresin or applying it topically can help a temperamental tummy find some comfort.

This is actually another great reason to try your hand at infusing one of your favorite carrier oils with some Vanilla Oleoresin. Or, use in your aromatherapy inhaler and sniff away whenever your digestive system needs a little support.

Add Vanilla Oleoresin to your cart

Do you love Vanilla and want to learn more? Read Vibrant Vanilla for more ideas on ways to use it, plus some pretty interesting history on this famous crop! And don’t forget to head over to our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for even more recipes, ideas, and inspiration!

Sources:

[1] CBSnews. (2017). Vanilla Bean Shortage in Madagascar drives up prices in the U.S.  CBS This Morning. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vanilla-bean-shortage-madagascar-drives-up-us-prices/

[2] Fieldhouse, Crystal, Ecology Skincare. ( 2017). What the Worldwide Vanilla Shortage means for Ecology Skincare. https://ecologyskincare.com/worldwide-vanilla-shortage-means-ecology-skincare/

[3]. Harding, J. (2008). The Essential Oils Handbook: All the Oils You Will Ever Need for Health, Vitality and Well-Being. Watkins Publishing. Pgs. 628-629

Can You Vape Essential Oils? No. Here’s Why:

By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist

Let’s talk about something a bit controversial today: vaping essential oils. It’s marketed as an appealing, convenient, and portable way to enjoy your favorite EOs. There are plenty of positive online reviews and individual success stories raving about this new craze. But is it safe? What are the short and long term consequences? Do we even know?

To inhale, or not to inhale, that is the question.

A selection of different vape pen varieties

Well, I’ve treaded through the murky underbelly of the Internet to gather as much information as I can about the subject. And trust me, there is no shortage of personal opinions, anecdotal stories, and extensive claims supporting both the positive and negative sides of the issue.

And here’s what I’ve discovered: there is simply no hard scientific research to back anything up. None. And while there are companies that do put a positive marketing spin on vaping EOs, time and time again, there was no research they could point to.

In fact, some places cited studies to support their company’s claims of safety, but when looking into this further, it turns out the studies are actually talking about inhaling oils through the nose. There is just no explanation for the passive consumer who doesn’t want to take the time and click the link and read the article. But don’t worry—that’s what I’m here for!

So what do we know?

woman's hand holding vape pen

We know how a vaporizing pen works. It has a heating element inside that activates with suction. Oils or waxes are heated to approximately 400℉, where it becomes a vapor. A person inhales through a mouthpiece and exhales out the nose or mouth. A quick disclaimer: Some pens heat up to higher or lower degrees, but about 400℉ is a good general estimate. On the high end of the spectrum, vape pens will have settings that allow you to heat all the way up to over 800℉.

Why is this important? Because another thing that we know is that vegetable glycerin, a common ingredient used in vaping cartridges, changes into a substance known as acrolein when exposed to heat over 536℉ [1]. Acrolein is a highly reactive substance that is very irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, stomach, and skin [2].

We also know that the chemical makeup of essential oils change when they’re heated.

Like vegetable glycerin, the change may not be an ideal compound for your overall health. But this is really the caveat because we simply do not know exactly what happens to every essential oil when it is heated to such a high degree.

It’s also important to consider that vape pens haven’t even been around that long. Definitely not long enough to have substantial long-term evidence from controlled trials or systematic reviews. Because of this, we do not know the full safety profile of vaping essential oils.

And I don’t know about you, but I am not comfortable with intentionally inhaling something into my lungs if I don’t know what it is.

Some companies tip-toe around this concern by saying it’s okay to use the vaporized essential oils as long as you’re not aggressively inhaling through your mouth by taking shallow draws from the pen, then exhaling through the nose. This helps ensure the essential oils do not go to your lungs and are instead passing through the body’s olfactory receptors. Other places even say not to inhale at all (which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I’m sure encompasses legal issues that may come up). But if you wanted to enjoy your essential oils with your olfactory receptors, doesn’t it seem safer to carry around your aromatherapy inhaler or diffuse at home?

Ready for the bottom line?

essential oil bottles with herbs

If you haven’t already guessed it, we do not recommend that anyone vape their essential oils. However, this is a fluid topic; hopefully, in the near future, we will have studies that can confirm or deny the safety of this practice. But until then, we suggest that everyone steer clear of loading their vape cartridge with Lavender. There are so many safer ways to enjoy it!

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please do so with a critical eye and a desire to find independent scientific information that is unaffiliated with a company trying to sell the idea that vaping essential oils is safe.

I realize this article may bring up concerns about vaping with CBD, which is also quickly becoming a popular topic of discussion. As of right now, Plant Therapy does not have an aromatherapist on staff with expertise in CBD usage; however, this may be an area we offer at a later time and will be better able to revisit this topic.

Want an inside look at what essential oil lovers have to say about vaping and essential oils? Become a member of our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes to chat with thousands of enthusiasts about the aromatherapy topics in a fun, friendly environment.

Sources:

[1] Dworniczak, M. (2016). Glycerine in e-liquid. Retrieved from https://nicotinepolicy.net/blogs/guest-blogs/23-miroslaw-dworniczak/144-glycerine

2] Public Health Statement Acrolein. (2007). Retrieved from the Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=554&tid=102

%d bloggers like this: