Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health

Hope you’ve been enjoying all the insight and wisdom that’s being shared on these Tele-Summit calls. This evening is our 4th call in the series: “Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health.” I’ll be the resident expert for today’s session and I’ll be talking about something very important –-the hidden health threats to your baby from the personal care and beauty products you use! Some of the things I’ll cover on tonight’s session:

  • Startling new research about ingredients in mass-produced personal care products that may pre-dispose your baby to obesity (among other serious health problems!)

  • The top 10 ingredients you MUST avoid to keep you and your baby safe and how you can find out if the products you’re using right now may contain them

  • Using Mother Nature’s Rx: Essential Oils to safely address some of the most common pregnancy-related complaints

Much of what I’ll be sharing on tonight’s call applies to you whether you are pregnant or not, but becomes even more important when you are or planning to be. There’s no better time than now to take inventory of the products you currently use and toss the ones that are bad for you. Come join me and learn how to become a more conscious consumer so you can stop exposing your baby to hidden threats from toxic exposure while learning how to identify and choose safer, more effective natural alternatives.

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. Don’t miss this very important call!

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE!

Got a Blank Space Where My Mind Should Be: Can Aromatherapy Cure Memory Loss?

Some people are fond of saying that our memory is the first thing to go as we age. The conventional wisdom is that as we age, our memory inevitably gets worse. We just have to accept things like not remembering where we parked the car or forgetting a new person’s name within seconds of meeting them, as unavoidable signs of aging.

While most people will experience a decline in memory as they get older, there are some simple, natural things you can do give your brain a little “tune up” from time to time when you need some help remembering things. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that aromatherapy can stimulate positive significant change in all of the functions of the brain, from increasing mental focus to making people more likely to remember things.

One study conducted by the University of Northumbria in the UK observed the effects that different scents had on memory and mood. The study found that subjects who inhaled a peppermint aroma performed better on memory tests than subjects who inhaled a ylang ylang aroma, while those who were given the ylang ylang reported being calmer than the group that had received the peppermint. That’s because peppermint is one of the most well known aromatic stimulants. Now we know that in addition to its cooling, analgesic, and digestive properties, it can be used to improve mental performance too!

An earlier study conducted by the same University in 2003 used a different set of essential oils in order to measure their impact on memory and concentration. In this initial study, scientists had subjects work in rooms that were filled with either rosemary or lavender aromas. While both scents made subjects think longer about their answers to their memory test, those under the influence of lavender got more answers wrong. By contrast, those who were in the room filled with rosemary gave significantly more detailed and higher quality responses to their memory test questions.

This research clearly reveals some of the interesting and important benefits of using aromatherapy to aid in the area of memory and concentration, but even more astounding are the results of a recent study in Japan that measured the effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Japanese study examined the curative effects of aromatherapy on the behavior and cognitive function of 28 elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The subjects received aromatherapy treatments twice a day for a full month. Rosemary and lemon essential oils were used in the morning treatments while lavender and orange essential oils were used in the evening treatments. They were given three different tests to evaluate how well they functioned both before and after the thirty day period. At the end of the month-long study, patients “showed significant improvement in personal orientation related to cognitive function,” and no side effects associated with the use of aromatherapy were noted.

Impressive as these results are, they are not as surprising as they may seem. The link between scent and memory is well-known, and has been for centuries. The parts of the brain that are associated with memory and feeling are all part of the limbic system, as is the olfactory bulb (the area of the brain that processes scent). Because of it’s position in the brain, the olfactory bulb has easy access to the hippocampus, which is responsible for creating long-term memories, and the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain.

What researchers concluded from these studies is that aromatherapy stimulates the creation of new cells in the memory center of the brain. The creation of these new cells improves the higher functions of the brain, such as memory recall and abstract thinking.

So how can you use aromatherapy to benefit your own mind? There are a number of different scents you can use to boost your brainpower, and a variety of ways to use them. Your best choice would be the essential oils used in these studies that generated the greatest results like peppermint, rosemary, and lemon. The best time to use them is right before you need to focus on something, like at the start of your work day, or right before you do something that you want to remember well, like the beginning of a study session or lesson or even at the start of a movie if you have trouble remembering scenes.

If you have any of these essential oils on hand, you can mix 70-75 drops of one (or a blend) of the oils with 3 oz (or 80 ML) of purified water inside of a spray mister bottle (a 3% dilution). Shake the bottle to make sure the oils are evenly mixed then spray in the air and inhale deeply whenever you need to. For faster and more direct results you can inhale the essential oil or blend (undiluted) directly from the bottle. If you are blending oils be sure to place the oils into a dark glass bottle, and don’t overdo or over-use this method as it can sometimes result in the opposite effect of the intended or desired result.

Some of these scents can be obtained directly from the natural ingredients themselves only in a much less concentrated form. For example, you can grow fresh mint in your garden, kitchen, or on your desk and use it to make tea or crush some leaves to release their scent. Or you can throw the peel and rinds of some oranges, lemons, and/or limes into your garbage disposer and run it for a few seconds to grind the fruit and release it’s natural scent.

Copyright 2009-2012 Dropwise Essentials

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Donya Fahmy, is a green business owner and the creator of Dropwise Essentials’ spa-quality aromatherapy body products that help you safely relieve stress, increase vitality, improve confidence, or simply manage your emotional state any time or place without popping a pill. For more free tips and valuable information visit www.dropwise.com and subscribe to the Dropwise Health & Beauty News Ezine or blog feed.

5 Aromatherapy Tips to Quickly Erase Back to School Stress

In spite of its long, hot, and lazy days, the last weeks of August can often usher in a surprising amount of stress as Back to School fever starts to gain momentum in many households across the nation. Whether you’re a parent with small children or teenagers, or an adult engaged in some form of higher learning or vocational training yourself, you are all prone to the effects of the abrupt changes this transition brings to the now familiar rhythms and routines of summer.

Many parents –especially stay-at-home moms and dads– often look forward to their kids’ return to school as it frees them from the additional demands for attention and entertainment brought on by idle vacation time. But even they are not immune to the fallout that comes from shifting sleep and work schedules, the stress of arranging transportation and new after-school activities, and addressing general anxieties often associated with going back to school.

So what can you do right now to help you and your kids make the back to school transition as seamless as possible? Here are a couple of pointers and tips on how to make the best of the situation while incorporating the powerful stress relief and mood enhancing benefits of aromatherapy along the way.

  1. Recognize that no matter what you do, it’s a time of transition and there will be a period where things are a little bumpy and tempers may flare. Accept this simple fact and be prepared to diffuse tension, anxiety, or crankiness whenever it rears its ugly head.
    Aromatherapy tip for tension and crankiness: invest in an electric oil diffuser or two –preferably a nebulizing or fan-based model– and use it regularly in family rooms like the living room, den and/or kitchen. Diffuse citrus essential oils like orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, lemongrass and tangerine or a blend to create a cheerful, mood-uplifting environment to help combat crankiness. Alternately, try a blend of lavender, clary sage, chamomile and rose geranium or palmarosa with a touch of cedarwood to melt away tension and anxiety.

  3. Plan ahead as much as possible, During the summer months it’s easy to fall out of the rigid routines that define life during the school year so get back on a regular schedule a few weeks before school starts. Create nightly rituals starting immediately after dinner that promote relaxation and getting ready for bed. After dinner activities should be free of electronics and the mental stimulation they induce. Engage instead in some restorative yoga poses, deep breathing, and reading for pleasure.
    Aromatherapy tip for a good night’s sleep: Draw a “sleepy time” bath using about 8-10 drops of lavender, chamomile, marjoram and/or clary sage essential oils with a touch of orange or lemon, in a ½ to ¾ cup of Epsom salts. This blend will help you or your kids wind down and set yourselves up for a night of restful sleep. Alternately, add a few drops to a teaspoon of carrier oil (like olive, safflower, coconut or jojoba) and gently massage it into their backs.

  5. Carve out a space that will be an oasis of calm, quiet, and undistracted focus where either you or your kids can study. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just clean, uncluttered, efficient and comfortable.
    Aromatherapy tip for improved focus and concentration when studying: For smaller spaces, try a Scent Ball electric plug-in diffuser. These are lightweight and plug into any outlet where gentle warming releases the scent of the essential oils you drop onto the cotton pad that slides into it. For better focus and mental clarity try essential oils of rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon perhaps with a hint of cinnamon leaf or cinnamon bark. Use sparingly and avoid using them too close to bedtime as they may over-stimulate.

  7. Work through your own anxiety. Kids have an uncanny way of tuning into their parents’ emotions –especially anxiety. The more relaxed you are and the more you can model a laid-back and relaxed approach to the whole experience for them, the more relaxed they will be.
    Aromatherapy tip for relaxation: One great way to help diffuse tensions and to remain relaxed is to invest in a diffuser for the car. The Car Scenter electric aromatherapy diffuser is a lightweight diffuser that plugs into your car lighter chamber where it draws heat to release the scent of whatever essential oils you place on the cotton pad that slides into it.
    Use it with citrus essential oils or try a combination of mint and vanilla, or cinnamon and orange essential oils, whenever you are in the car together –whether shopping for school supplies, or riding to and from school. Vanilla helps improve confidence and dissolve pent up anger and frustration. Don’t use sedating oils like chamomile or clary sage while driving!

  9. Arm yourself and your kids with tools to help deal with stressful situations and anxiety that might come up during the course of the day while at school.
    Aromatherapy tip for maintaining composure: Pack aromatic favors like lavender sachets, a small bottle of calming aromatherapy spray, citrus-scented lip balms, essential oil-based towelettes, or a small bottle of aromatic lotion in their school bag or jacket pocket. Pack extras they can keep in their school locker. The idea is to provide something small and usable they (or you) can quickly and easily reach for to feel better fast if fear, anxiety, or sadness come up.

Copyright 2011 Dropwise Essentials

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Donya Fahmy, is a green business owner and the creator of Dropwise Essentials’ spa-quality aromatherapy body products that help you safely relieve stress, increase vitality, improve confidence, or simply manage your emotional state any time or place without popping a pill. For more free tips and valuable information visit www.dropwise.com and subscribe to the Dropwise Health & Beauty News Ezine or blog feed.

Aromatherapy Tips for Using Essential Oils to Cure Insomnia

Now that you know which essential oils are best for helping you get to sleep and stay asleep, the next question is what’s the best way to use these oils? Well there are a couple of ways you can do this. As with any type of aromatherapy, the two primary ways to use essential oils are via direct inhalation and topical application (usually massage).

When it comes to using aromatherapy for stress and sleeplessness, the most effective way to use the essential oils is via inhalation using some kind of diffuser. Place 5-15 drops of your preferred essential oil or “sleep” blend in a diffuser and run it in your bedroom for 15 minutes before retiring. If you have a nebulizing diffuser with a built-in timer you can set it to run for 5 minutes every hour through the night but the drawback of this type of diffuser is it can be noisy which is not conducive to helping you get to sleep!

Another type of diffuser is the fan-based type like our SpaScenter Diffuser, which is a low-noise unit with variable settings that can be hooked up to a timer. Or for a totally silent diffuser, you can use a low-heat plug-in like our ScentBall Plug-in Diffuser that can be safely left on all night.

You can also add a few drops of an essential oil or your “sleep” blend to a cup of Epsom salts or baking soda and add to a hot bath before bed. In the absence of an aromatherapy massage, a hot bath with Epsom Salts is recommended because it relieves muscle tension that can otherwise lead to a lot of tossing and turning during the night. With the essential oils added to the mix you can get the same inhalation benefit you’d get from a diffuser without the hassle and potential noise of running one through out the night.

Of course, if you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night then having a diffuser running intermittently throughout the night is probably your best bet. If you don’t have a diffuser then a really easy alternative is to place a drop or two on a handkerchief or cotton pad that you place under your pillow, or dilute approximately 15 drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil (either jojoba, olive, safflower, coconut, or even canola will work) and rub a small amount onto your chest where you’ll be able to inhale and smell the blend. Before applying essential oils to your skin, be sure to conduct a patch test first to make sure you’re not allergic to any of them.

Always remember not to overdo it with essential oils – a little goes a long way. Too much can have the opposite effect of the intended result. Refer to our Guidelines for Using Essential Oils for more on this.

The Psychology of Scent: Remarkable Research Findings!

Here’s a brief summary of the most interesting findings from the dozens and dozens of studies conducted by these and other institutions on the effects of olfaction (smell) on a variety of human behaviors including learning, memorization and buying patterns:

  1. Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago discovered that people will judge a product a better value when bought from a shop where there is a pleasant aroma.
  2. In another study by Dr. Hirsch, he found that when a mixed floral aroma was suffused throughout a room of calculus students, they increased their speed of learning by 230%.
  3. One study conducted at the Las Vegas Hilton revealed that a certain aroma that was diffused around the slot machines in the casino resulted in an increase in the length of time gamblers spent at the machines as well as a 45% increase in the amount of cash they spent.
  4. Psychology professor Robert A. Baron at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY found that people in pleasantly scented rooms carry out their work with more confidence, more efficiency, and with greater willingness to resolve conflict. Clerical workers in one of his studies set higher performance goals for themselves while working in scented offices.
  5. At the Worcester Hospital in Hereford, England, a 6-month trial showed that vaporizing lavender through the air caused patients to sleep in a more natural pattern and made them less aggressive during the day. Over the 6 months, some patients were weaned off their tranquilizers simply by substituting lavender in the atmosphere, which has a calming effect on the brain.
  6. In Japan, the fragrance company Takasago (now a subsidiary of Avon) has shown that data entry errors fell by 20% when lavender was diffused in the atmosphere, by 33% with jasmine, and 54% with lemon. Furthermore, by changing the aromas around periodically, workers sensitivity to smell and their efficiency could be maintained.
  7. When students at Warwick University in England were told they performed poorly on a simple test they had taken while smelling a particular odor, they became depressed the next time they smelled that odor. Those who had been told they were successful had the opposite reaction: their self-confidence was boosted.
  8. A study at Wheeling Jesuit University, in Wheeling, West Virginia, found that subjects who inhaled the scent of peppermint while running for 15 minutes felt less fatigued, more energized, and more positive about their performance than those who didn’t inhale the scent. They were also more likely to run faster during those fifteen minutes.
  9. According to a report in the journal Chemical Senses, women out-performed men when asked to identify a given smell from a group of four scents 10, 30 or 60 seconds after sniffing the original scent.
  10. Sex and scent are so closely intertwined that as much as 25% of people who lose their sense of smell, also lose their ability to become sexually aroused.

The implications of these findings are astonishing. There have even been studies that suggest that adding certain scents to food can aid in weight loss, and sniffing lavender can significantly increase slow-wave sleep – the deepest, most restorative stage of sleep.

While scientists continue to try to understand all the elements at play in olfaction and how scents that exist in nature differ from those made from synthetic chemicals, knowing what we now know about what the nose knows, how will you re-evaluate and tend to your relationship with this vital organ?

The Secret Language of Scents: How You’re Influenced by The Smells All Around

Most people are totally unaware of the impact that smells can have on their mood, ability to learn, stamina, perception of themselves and others, and ultimately, their behavior and motivation. In fact, when given a choice between losing a big toe or their sense of smell, people are far more ambivalent than they are when given a choice between losing a big toe or their sense of sight!

Our sense of smell is the strongest of all human senses and the closest sense linked to memory and emotion. Every day we encounter aromas (pleasant and unpleasant) that have a powerful influence on our emotions, moods, and behavior. Until the 1990s, very little was known about the sense of smell or even the human brain, but now science recognizes that the sense of smell is a major key to understanding who we are as individuals and as human beings.

While we know that humans can distinguish between as many as 10,000 different aromas, there’s still much to learn about how the brain actually translates aroma molecules into smells and why we react differently to the same smells. What we do know is that through our sense of smell, aroma molecules set off a cascade of reactions involving proteins, enzymes, cell depolarization, and secondary messengers – all leading to an electrical impulse being sent to the brain.

The part of the brain most directly involved in olfaction (our ability to smell) is the limbic system, evolutionarily the oldest part of the brain (sometimes referred to as the “reptilian” brain). The limbic system controls emotions, memory and learning, imagination, intuition, and sexuality, as well as primitive drives and survival instincts. With olfaction these can all be evoked – even subconsciously.

Most of the research currently being done on smell is by people who want to bombard you with it for commercial reasons. In labs, subjects are exposed to fragrance and wired up to equipment that measure electrical skin response, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Pictures of the brain can be seen changing under the influence of aroma.
Research into the psychological effects of aroma now attracts major funding. There are 4 major research institutions: The Olfactory Research Fund (NYC), the Monell Chemical Senses Center (Philadelphia, PA), the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation Ltd (Chicago, IL) and the Olfaction Research Department of Warwick University (UK). There are also a number of private companies engaged in ongoing research for commercial purposes, most notable is International Flavor & Fragrances (IFF) which serves the perfume and food industries.

How conscious are you of the scents in the your environment and how they might be affecting your mood? Have you really considered how the scents you wear may be impacting others around you?

Gifts of Love for Couples to Celebrate Valentine’s Day: Staying In vs. Going Out?

Going out to a nice restaurant for Valentine’s is a great gift if you don’t have the opportunity to do this very often, or you’re feeling so cooped up that you need to get out of the house to enjoy yourself. On the other hand there are many ways you can celebrate this occasion by staying in.

Below are some ideas for ways couples can celebrate the day in a way that focuses on nurturing each other rather than succumbing to the old standby clichéd way of giving each other store bought gifts and (ho hum!) “dates.”

Why not try a variation on the old breakfast in bed? Rather than one of you making breakfast for the other, why not prepare a nice breakfast or brunch together then retreat to the bedroom to eat it in bed. Plan it all the night before and don’t make any other plans for the day. Just enjoy a lazy day at home sharing favorite moments from your relationship or what you adore about each other.

If you want to spice things up and do something to commemorate the occasion, swing for a set of satin or high thread-count organic cotton sheets and add some of the traditional accouterments –scented candles, dark chocolates to nibble on, a bottle of champagne (for mimosas) and roses or other flower petals strewn around the room. Try an aromatherapy massage followed by a hot bath with mineral salts. Or curl up together with lots of soft cushy pillows, some hot cocoa, and your favorite movie or a new one you’d both like to see.

If lazing around all day doesn’t suit your style then why not work on a project together that celebrates your love for one another? Consider creating a scrapbook or collage that chronicles the highlights of your relationship. Collect everything you think should be included: photos, ticket stubs, matchbooks, souvenirs and other meaningful memorabilia. Start from the beginning, group and arrange related items you want to include and as you add them into your book, write the narrative together. If you have different memories of an event or occasion then each one can write down their version – like an entry in a guestbook. The experience of putting this together helps you appreciate each other and your relationship and you can re-visit the scrapbook whenever you like (maybe make it an annual Valentine’s Day ritual) and update it with new insights or adventures you’ve shared and would like to record. Or you can create mini-scrapbooks that are specific to events (vacations or celebrations), or different periods in your relationship.

Another variation on this theme is creating a vision board for your future together. This can involve using photos you have or photos you collect from a variety of sources with images that symbolically represent things you want to do, places you want to go, goals you want to achieve, possessions you want to acquire (a new car, vacation home, RV, kitchen, swimming pool or Jacuzzi, etc.). Include graphical text headings from magazines or newspapers that communicate the substance of what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel when you get there. This can be a powerful bonding experience and an affirmation of your plans moving forward as a couple –one that energizes you rather than draining you. The other benefit is that you can do these activities regardless of the weather, which can be somewhat unpredictable at this time of the year.

For some simple sensuous essential oil blends you can to create the right ambiance for love try these combinations:

Lavender, Geranium, Clary Sage
Lavender, Sandalwood, Vanilla
Lime, Geranium, Cypress
Orange, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine
Grapefruit, Bergamot, Rosewood
Lime, Vetiver, Coriander

Combine 2-3 drops of each and add to an aromatherapy candle-based diffuser (in some water to prevent burning the olls) or to a tablespoon of jojoba or coconut oil for massage; or a cup of epsom salts or baking soda for a bath. Our Certified Organic Body Oils work great for massages too and they’re $5 off this month. You can buy them here.

For more ideas and recipes for using essential oils to create a mood for love, pick up a copy of Nitya Lacroix’s book The Art of Sensual Aromatherapy: A Lover’s Guide to Using Aromatic Oils & Essences.

Tip #7 for Beating the Holiday Blues: Surround yourself with uplifting and nurturing sounds and smells

Two of the fastest ways to raise your vibrational frequency (which is low when you’re sick or stressed out) are listening to music and using essential oils. Listen to music that you love or that soothes you as often as possible. As for essential oils, citrus oils are the most effective for alleviating depression and improving your mood, especially grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and lime (oils typically extracted from the rind of the fruit). More expensive but also effective are oils extracted from the orange blossoms, stems, and leaves of the citrus trees such as bergamot, petitgrain, and neroli.

Many of the smells associated with the holidays can be uplifting as well – the scent of a live Christmas tree or fresh cut wreath, the mulling spices from cider or the comforting smell of baked goods. All of these can be created with essential oils of pine, fir, juniper, cedarwood, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. If you need relief from stress or seek to create a sense of peace and calm try lavender, which blends well with cedarwood or any of the “tree” oils.

Put a few drops of any oil or blend of oils in a diffuser or potpourri burner or in a cup of Epsom salts and add to a nice hot bath. Make a lovely spritzer by adding 15 drops of any essential oil or combination of oils to one ounce of purified water, or try one our Aromatic Mister sprays.

Always keep a small bottle of aromatherapy product handy and pull it out and sniff it whenever you need a little booster. Rub a small amount into your palms, bring to your face and inhale deeply. Our Trial Size Lotions and Body Oils are perfect for this! Follow recommended safety guidelines if you’re working with straight essential oils. You can find some on our blog.

Aromatherapy for Travel: 4 Key Essential Oils to Tackle Travel Stress & Upsets

Summer’s here and for most people that means it’s vacation travel season. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, going on a long trip or a weekend getaway, no matter what time of the year it is, it helps to be prepared for some of the unexpected upsets and minor ailments that can sometimes mar a perfectly good vacation.

The biggest of these is probably the stress that simply comes with travel — delayed, canceled, or missed flights, lost luggage or misplaced documents, a flat tire or other major car trouble, motion sickness, jet lag, and various camping-related mishaps.

Then there are the more common culprits like colds and allergies, upset stomach or digestive stress, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, minor cuts and bruises, blistered feet, rashes or hives, chafing, and sun burn.

There are a number of surprisingly simple ways you can use essential oils, alone or combined with other plant-based ingredients, to address these problems head on and avoid the kind of misery that can make you wish you’d stayed home.

1. Colds, Allergies and Sinus Congestion
With plants, flowers, and grasses in full bloom, pollen is everywhere making summertime synonymous with allergies. Then there’s the congestion that accompanies minor colds you can pick up from air-borne bacteria on planes, trains, and buses, not to mention airports and climate-controlled hotels. To minimize the likelihood of picking up someone else’s cold, wash hands frequently with soap and keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer (preferably one made with essential oils) with you for when you can’t.

To ease congestion, Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil is your best option. It is the gentlest and safest of the various types of Eucalyptus available and can be applied frequently without irritation. For a more powerful decongestant, try our Breathe Ease Diffuser Blend (see our Guide to Diffuser Blends for ingredients and suggested uses). In extreme cases, a trace amount of Peppermint essential oil applied to the back of the roof of your mouth can bring fast and effective relief.

2. Upset Stomach or Digestive Stress
There are several essential oils that can assist with stomach upset and indigestion including Sweet Fennel, Ginger, Lemon, Peppermint, and Tea Tree. For relief from minor nausea and indigestion, place 1 drop of peppermint and 2 drops of sweet fennel in 24 oz of purified water. This also makes a cool, refreshing drink that you can use in place of plain drinking water. For stronger, faster relief of indigestion or nausea, add a drop of peppermint or ginger to a teaspoon of honey and place in a cup of hot water or herbal tea (Chamomile, Ginger, or Licorice Root tea will increase the effectiveness). For fast relief from diarrhea, add one drop of tea tree oil to a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea (or hot water if no tea is available but be prepared for the unpleasant taste). Repeat until discomfort subsides.

3. Headaches and/or Insomnia
Lavender essential oil is a remarkably effective antidote to minor headaches and accompanying muscle tension, and can provide a sense of calm when you have difficulty sleeping in a strange or uncomfortable place. For relief from migraine headaches try our Head Ache Blend, which combines lavender with peppermint (a cooling analgesic), marjoram (a sedative and muscle relaxant), basil, and chamomile, and comes already diluted in Jojoba oil for direct application to the affected areas (temples, forehead, brows and neck muscles). For insomnia, try our Sleep Ease Diffuser Blend, which combines lavender, tangerine, marjoram, spruce, and petitgrain.

With the exceptions of lavender and tea tree, undiluted essential oils should be used with a portable diffuser. If you’re camping or somewhere where you can’t use a diffuser, put a drop or two on a handkerchief or bandanna and wrap around your head or tuck under your pillow and breathe in the vapors. Don’t over-use.

4. Fatigue
Jet lag, stress, long drives, and extended sight seeing excursions (especially on foot) can lead to exhaustion and fatigue. The best way to deal with this is to pace yourself, try not to cram your schedule with more activities than you can realistically handle, eat a good amount of protein (preferably at breakfast), and always stay hydrated. Essential oils that can help are Eucalyptus (mental clarity) and Peppermint (stimulant) or try our Stay Alert Diffuser Blend, which includes both along with Rosemary, Cinnamon Leaf, Orange, and Cedar wood. Use this with a Car Scenter diffuser to help you stay awake during long drives. To relieve tired and achy feet, put a drop in a tepid foot bath, or several drops in a tablespoon of carrier oil for a stimulating foot massage.

5. Minor Cuts, Scrapes and Other Skin Eruptions
Minor wounds (i.e. splinters, hang nails, insect bites, blisters, cuts, scrapes and burns) need to be disinfected and treated immediately or they can lead to painful inflammation and a variety of uncomfortable skin eruptions. This is when Tea Tree oil can become a reliable and trusty friend! It kills bacteria, cleanses wounds, and promotes speedy healing. Like Lavender, it can be applied “neat” (directly) to the skin. Think of it as an invisible liquid band aid. Our Boo Boo Blend, which combines tea tree with lavender, geranium, and chamomile (anti-inflammatory) is an excellent choice as well. For sunburn relief combine 1 teaspoon of Lavender or Boo Boo blend with 4 oz of aloe vera juice and store in a spritzer bottle. Substitute 1 oz of peppermint hydrosol for the aloe juice to enhance the cooling effect. Shake well and spray liberally –as often as needed to reduce pain and speed healing.

To summarize, the four key essential oils you need in your travel kit are: Peppermint (headaches, fatigue, indigestion, and congestion), Eucalyptus (congestion and fatigue), Tea Tree (diarrhea, cuts and wounds, disinfectant), and Lavender (headaches, skin eruptions and burns, stress, muscle tension, insomnia).

Aromatherapy Travel Essentials Checklist: What Essential Oils & Accessories Do You Need to Keep Travel Stress & Upsets at Bay?

June marks the beginning of the summer vacation travel season. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, going on a long trip or a weekend getaway, no matter what time of the year it is, it helps to be prepared for some of the unexpected upsets and minor ailments that can ruin a perfectly good vacation.

Here’s a checklist of essential oils, herbal remedies, and accessories to put in your travel kit to help you tackle the stress inherent in travel as well as some of the common ailments that can come up while travelling:

___ 6 Essential Oils You Should Never Leave Home Without: Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, and Tea Tree.

___ 8 oz of Carrier Oil of choice, to dilute essential oils for topical application (i.e. Jojoba, Olive, Safflower, Sunflower or Coconut). I recommend organic Jojoba oil because it can double up as a sun tanning oil or moisturizer, absorbs quickly, and is not as messy as the others.

___ 8 oz of Witch Hazel Extract.  In addition to being an excellent natural skin toner, this herbal extract can reduce inflammation and pain from bruises, sore muscles, and insect bites. It can also be used as a carrier. Mix in Peppermint and Lemon (2% dilution) for cooling relief from insect bites, or Lavender and Rosemary for sore aching muscles.

___ 8 oz of Aloe Vera Gel or Juice. Can be used alone or with essential oils for fast cooling relief from sunburn or insect bites. Make sure you get an aloe product that is at least 97% aloe for maximum effectiveness.

___ Small Aromatherapy Soy Candle. Get one in a travel tin. Use it to help cleanse the air or create an ambience of tranquility in a hotel room or other location where you are staying. I recommend our 4 oz. Revitalize candle with it’s blend of Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Pine, and Juniper to help clear your mind as well as the air, wherever you are. Skip this if you’re travelling in exceptionally hot weather conditions unless you keep it sealed in a Ziploc bag.

___ Scent Ball or Car Scenter portable diffuser. If you’re staying somewhere with access to electricity then a Scent Ball diffuser is another easy, quiet, and non-messy way to cleanse the air in a room. If you’re going on a road trip then the Car Scenter diffuser will keep the car smelling fresh and can be used with a variety of essential oils or blends to help keep you focused on driving. For this I recommend our Stay Alert Diffuser Blend with its stimulating blend of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Orange, and Cinnamon Leaf. Make sure to bring enough refill pads for the trip!

___ 8 oz jar of Shea Butter. A wonderful emollient that’s great for those dry cracked elbows and ankles, or chafed thighs. It can also be used as a carrier and a moisturizer, and is great for massage –providing nice lubrication without leaving a greasy or oily residue. It melts in high temperatures, but will stiffen and should return to it’s normal texture as the temperature cools off. I recommend making an infusion of chickweed and calendula flowers and then you’ll have an excellent balm for itchy skin.

___ Aromatherapy Misters. I personally never travel without at least one in my carry-on and a couple in my suitcase.  You can make your own by combining 2ML (or ½ tsp) of essential oil (or blend) with 3 oz of purified water. Always shake well before spraying to ensure oils and water are properly mixed. If you prefer a ready-made mister, I recommend our Soothe blend for carry-on. It’s blend of Lavender, Geranium, Clary Sage and Chamomile essential oils can really help to calm and ground you when you’re dealing with travel stress. Inspiration (a citrus blend) or Refresh (a mint blend) can revive you after a long flight or drive and Revitalize is excellent for cleansing the air and clearing your head.

___ Assortment of Herbal Tea Bags. I recommend a combination of Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginger, and Licorice to assist with digestive upset or stress (1 drop of Tea Tree oil in a cup of hot tea can bring fast relief from Diarrhea). Herbal teas with Elderberry, Echinacea, Hibiscus, Rose Hips, and Goldenseal can provide support and relief for colds and bronchial distress.

___ Rescue Remedy. This Bach’s flower essence is a must have for any natural first aid or travel kit. Use it for instant relief in cases of acute anxiety or trauma. It really works!

Additional Supplies:

__ Cotton swabs and cotton cosmetic squares.
__ Handkerchiefs or bandannas
__ Measuring spoons (1 tsp and 1 tbsp)
__ A small marked measuring beaker or shot glass
__ Empty jars and bottles with spray tops and disc caps or flip tops, for mixing up concoctions as needed.
__ A small bottle of isopropyl alcohol for disinfecting or sterilizing your supplies.
__ Extra Ziploc bags