Coconut Oil: What’s the Fuss?

coconut

Consuming Coconut Oil might be better than animal fat – but it’s still a high calorie fat, until more research is conducted, especially looking at the impact on heart disease risk, it may be better to limit your consumption.

From a skin nourishing perspective we like coconut oil because it has a long shelf life and it is considered an occlusive agent providing a physical barrier to reduce water evaporation from the skin.

In order to fully enjoy the odorous benefits of essential oils I prefer to use fractionated coconut oil because it remains liquid at cooler temperatures allowing us to create pourable massage oils and it doesn’t go rancid.

A few useful links:

Fractionated Coconut Oil
Why all the Fuss?
Is it good or bad for your skin?

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

Do essential oils go rancid?

carrieroilWhen you purchase various vegetable oils (which are primarily cold pressed) for cooking and consuming, you will discover that over a period of time of 3-9 months, depending upon the type of oil it will begin to turn rancid and develop an off odour. Different vegetable oils vary in their shelf life.  Storing vegetable oils in dark glass containers at slightly cooler temperatures (rather than in a cupboard above your stove) will help to maintain their freshness. It is recommended that some vegetable oils be kept in the refrigerator – but it is dependent upon the type.

Essential oils are primarily distilled from aromatic plant materials and typically do not go rancid in the same respect as vegetable oils.  Over time essential oils will lose their freshness and crisp odour. When essential oils become oxidized they are more likely to cause dermal irritation – specifically citrus oils.

eoMany essential oils begin to breakdown or become oxidized when they come into contact with air (oxygen) – therefore never leave bottles opened.  Specifically cold pressed citrus oils contain high levels of limonene which begins to oxidize at the very moment that it is exposed to oxygen.  To extend the shelf life of a citrus oil beyond 6 months store them in the refrigerator.

Essential oils are often termed as volatile (meaning to evaporate) because they contain naturally occurring alcohols. Top note oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus contain high levels of alcohols so they tend to evaporate more quickly than those that contain less alcohol. Generally speaking top note oils should last 6 – 12 months (some say longer). Middle note oils such as lavender and geranium should last even longer 1 – 2 years.  Base note oils such as cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood tend to be more viscous, are darker in colour and have lower alcohol levels resulting in a longer shelf life (possibly 2 – 4 years).

Storing essential oils in dark glass containers and not exposing them to drastic temperature fluctuations and away from direct sunlight will help to preserve your oils.  If you invest in a large bottle of an essential oil such as 1 – 2 oz (30-60 ml) then over time the oil should be decanted into a smaller bottle to reduce the ratio of air-to-oil in the bottle. Replacing the orifice reducer (dropper cap) periodically can also help to maintain an essential oil.

All essential oils should be blended into a carrier oil (natural vegetable oil) in order to use them on your skin. It is the carrier oil that goes rancid (often within 3 months) – a rancid carrier oil smells like old cooking oil. In order to render your aromatic body oil concoctions from going rancid and reduce the risk of allergens (such as almond oil) consider using fractionated coconut oil.

Using essential oils is akin to cooking – it is advised that you blend and use your concoctions immediately or at least use them within a week or two. You wouldn’t make a fresh batch of soup and store the leftovers in containers on a windowsill – would you?

Some useful links:

Eat by Date

Keep your essential oils cool

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils

IMG_3553Many essential oils possess anti-microbial properties, due to the naturally occurring constituents that result from the distillation process.

However this does not mean that humans should consume essential oils in order to treat or prevent bacterial infections.

Essential oils are extremely strong substances and they need to be used with caution, with respect to inhalation and topical skin use.

If an adult were to receive an entire body massage with a massage oil and that individual does not have a medical condition nor is taking a medication, the massage oil blend should not exceed six (6-10%) percent of added essential oils in a base oil such as coconut.

Pregnant or nursing mothers, the elderly, children under the age of 12 years, those with a medical condition, those persons taking medication or receiving treatment such as chemotherapy, persons with respiratory conditions or those who have allergies or skin sensitivities should use milder dilutions at one (1%) to two (2%). Some essential oils should be completely avoided by persons who fall into any of the above scenarios and it is imperative to consult with your physician.

Essential oils are commonly being used in cold water vapour machines known as ultrasonic misters.  Many folks are turning to this method in order to naturally scent their homes and personal spaces. Since many essential oils contain naturally occurring substances that have antimicrobial properties it is believed that this practice may help to improve air quality. According to Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young (2014):

A few drops of essential oil in a burner, vaporizer or in a steam inhalation is virtually risk-free.  However, prolonged inhalation (more than about 30 minutes) of concentrated essential oil vapors (eg., steam inhalation, or direct from a bottle) can lead to headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy.  In certain instances more serious symptoms might be experienced, such incoherence and double vision.

For children 5 years old or less, direct inhalation should be avoided.

At Bespoke Aromatics we carry over 100 different varieties of pure essential oils and we teach classes about how to use essential oils safely and effectively.

Many of our customers ask us if we make our essential oils, and often folks tell as that ‘such and such’ a company or that ‘this person I know’ makes their own essential oils.  In order to make an essential oil, expensive and complicated machinery is required.  Essential oils are most often extracted or distilled on-site at the location where the plant material is grown and harvested. Oh for sure there are many companies, manufacturers, aromatherapists, practitioners and even back-yard do-it-yourselfers who blend essentials into various concoctions and mediums but this does not equate to ‘making’ an essential oil.  Nearly all of the essential oils on the market are purchased in bulk (25 kg +) from just a handful of multi-national distributors of essential oils and raw material handlers.  Then the essential oils are re-bottled into smaller bottles and are re-labeled and branded.

It doesn’t take rocket-science to create a synergistic blend of essential oils that help to combat environmental germs, and you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money (or be ‘thieves’) to create your own blend.  At Bespoke we carry all the individual essential oils to create your own ‘thieves blend’ : Lemon, Eucalyptus radiata, Rosemary, Cinnamon Bark and Clove Bud.

There is substantial research pointing to the fact that many essential oils have anti-microbial properties. Below we provide a list of valuable online resources:

Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.

Antimicrobial activities of eucalyptus leaf extracts and flavonoids from Eucalyptus maculata.

Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination.

In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils.

Aromatherapy: Guidelines For Using Essential Oils And Herbs

Other Sources:

Lis-Balchin, M. (1995). Aroma science: The chemistry and bioactivity of essential oils. United Kingdom: Amberwood Publishing.

Tisserand, R., Young, R., Williamson, E. M., Balacs, T., & Tisser, R. (2013). Essential oil safety: A guide for health care professionals (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

 

 

What exactly is ‘AromaTherapy’ ?

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

Internal Use of Essential Oils: NO !

IMG_1846Folks are always asking

Do you make all your own essential oils?
Where are your oils from?
Are you essential oils pure therapeutic grade?
Can I take them internally?

 

No we do not make essential oils, we buy essential oils from ethical suppliers who buy directly from farms and producers within the country of origin where the plants are grown, harvested and often distilled or extracted on site.

There is no governing or licensing body that certifies that a particular brand of essential oils are of a ‘Pure Therapeutic Grade’.  Please refer to one of my earlier posts.

Professional Aromatherapists in North America who adhere to professional standards (as stipulated by their college or member association) do not promote the use of essential oils for ingestion or for internal use.

The internet is full of chatter making reference to using essential oils internally and that certain essential oils will cure a disease (specifically cancer).  Please take the time to peruse the following links which may help you to debunk some of the myths and develop a better understanding of how to use essential oils safely.

Essential Oils on Clients with Cancer

Interview with Robert Tisserand about using essential oils safely

Frankincense Essential Oil & Chemotherapy

Are essential oils safe? University of Minnesota

Want to learn more? Sign up for one of my classes.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

 

Live Love Smell & Learn

#LiveLoveSmell & Learn about Essential Oils
Workshops are starting soon
Visit our website for more details www.bespokearomatics.com 

Basic Aromachology Intro Workshop

Areas of discussion

Defining Aromatherapy and Aromachology. What are Essential Oils?
How are they made?
How to use Essential Oils Safely and Effectively
Debunking the Myths: Purity & Pricing
Reading between the Lines: The Lingo
We will cover 12 of the most useful Essential Oils
Formulation Mathematics
Logistics & Legal regarding the sale of your own handcrafted products.

 

IMG_0414

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

 

Cinnamon: A Tasty and Aromatic Treat

The aroma and flavour of cinnamon is one of the world’s most popular, and just a pinch added to your daily diet has tremendous health benefits.  Research indicates that it may help to control diabetes, improve brain function, and aid in weight loss.

Waffles&BakedApple
When One Belgian Waffle isn’t Enough.  Paired with baked apple wedges and Canadian maple syrup and sprinkled with Sri Lankan Cinnamon. Oh what a Treat!

From an aromatherapeutic and olfactory perspective the scent of cinnamon elicits feelings of warmth and wellness, like peppermint and ginger, the scent of cinnamon may help to ease the discomforts of nausea.

Essential oils should never be consumed or taken internally.  In aromatherapy or in preference ‘aromachology‘ all essential oils must be well diluted in a natural medium such as coconut oil. Well diluted, means at or less than a four percent (4%) solution per volume within a chosen medium.

Even more care is required when using cinnamon or clove essential oils as both of these oils can cause skin irritation.  I do not recommend using cinnamon or clove in any all-over-body preparation.  However one or two (1 or 2) drops blended with other essential oils in a jojoba oil base adds a spicy grounding warmth to natural perfumes.

The aroma of cinnamon may even be a useful retail marketing tool when used in air diffusion.

People smelling warm fragrances such as cinnamon feel that the room they are in is more crowded, and feel less powerful as a result,” the authors write. “This can lead them to compensate by buying items they feel are more prestigious.

Natural perfume blends can be a little more concentrated at ten to fifteen (10-15%) than the four percent (4%) mentioned above.  However, they should only be applied three to five times per day (3 to 5 times per day) in tiny spot applications to body pulse points*, and only after conducting a skin test on the inside of the arm); *temples, inside of wrists, behind the ears, behind the knees and cleavage. 

For a yummy warm wintery natural perfume, in a 10 ml empty bottle try a ten percent (10%) solution mixed with Jojoba Oil – which would equate to the following:

2 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil
2 drops of lemongrass essential oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
6 drops of vetiver essential oil
+ 9 mls of Jojoba Oil

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

Artificial Ingredients: The Yuck Factor

…the health effects of synthetic fragrance may be more than skin deep. When we breathe in an odor, the lungs and the skin take in the molecules carrying the scent. From these two major absorption pathways, those molecules can enter the bloodstream and find their way to other parts of the body, where they may pose harm. “Studies are showing that some key ingredients in fragrance mixes have harmful effects — on lab animals, and also on humans,” says Sutton. Some synthetic fragrance ingredients may exacerbate asthma, for instance, while others can cause a range of problems in the immune, reproductive, and central nervous systems.

Martha Stewart’s WholeLiving Blog is a valuable resource for replacing your artificial fragrances.

I just love smells, florals, sweet, tropical, fruity, earthy – bring em on!

But personally – when it comes to scenting my body and scenting my personal space I prefer to use essential oils and natural aromatics.

That being said it can get pretty darn expensive you if love the scent of Jasmine or Linden Blossom, save those precious oils for your natural body perfumes.

There are plenty of natural aromatics that are affordable and natural when it comes to scenting your environment, and just a few drops will do!

NaturalYesFirst and foremost it is imperative to know the difference between pure essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils. Other posts include:
What is an essential oil?
Aromatherapy: Essential oil Safety.
If you are scenting your home in order to eliminate food and cooking odours, simply simmer a few cinnamon sticks and some orange peels in a pot of water for 30 minutes after cooking.

Better yet you can diffuse cinnamon and orange essential oil in a ceramic candle diffuser.  Just fill the dish with water and add 6 – 8 drops of Orange Essential Oil and 2 -3 drops of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil and light the tea candle below. (Note cinnamon essential oil and other spice oils should only be used for air diffusion and not used to scent body care products as they may causes skin sensitivity).

That being said if you love to wear a spicy perfume, cinnamon, clove and ginger can be combined with other essential oils in minute quantities, but it is always advisable to consult with a professional aromatherapist or natural perfumist for advice on the proportions.

Cool mist or ultrasonic diffusers are fabulous – not only do they provide humidity to the air, but you have the option of diffusing whatever essential oils or synergistic combinations that you love.

Oh sure those scented wax pellets smell fab – albeit synthetic, and why on earth do they need to be coloured with (no doubt) synthetic dyes?

Smell good without a toxic cloud. If you want a scented product, make sure it is scented with pure essential oils that were extracted through a cold-press process, not by using solvents. You can also visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to find safer fragrances and other personal-care products.

Rodale’s Organic Life, Toxic Perfume Chemicals linked to …

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Essential Oil Company

IMG_9717With so many essential oil companies tooting their horn – how does one know which brand is the best?

Once again – there really is no need for me to re-invent the wheel – because I certainly do not profess to be a writer. That being said, there are many great writers and researchers who write fabulous posts (who have literally done their homework) and so I simply nod and tip my hat – and provide links to articles that are darn good reads. The Perfect Essential Oil Company: This article discusses the purity issue, multi-level marketing, therapeutic grade.

At Bespoke Aromatics we carry a large selection of Pure Essential Oils many of which are organically produced.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

Aromatherapy: Essential Oil Safety

The popularity of essential oils has increased 100 fold since I began my studies in the early 90’s. Twenty five years ago the field of aromatherapy was beginning to emerge into the lives of everyday folks.  Back in the day I could have conducted workshops on a daily basis because there were very few of us who were qualified to work with essential oils, and there simply wasn’t enough hours in the day to tackle all the queries from the general public when I started selling essential oils.

Twenty years Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.30.10 PMforward with the advancement of the internet and the unlimited resources about anything and everything at our fingertips – it now appears that Everyone is an expert when it come to essential oils.

There is a great deal of anecdotal information on the internet pointing to the use of essential oils internally.  This concerns me terribly, because as we all know – good information becomes diluted and convoluted.  Please take the time to thoroughly familiarize yourself with Essential Oil Safety at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy or at The Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

Why do essential oils differ in prices?

Why do some essential oils cost so much?

Essenor-lav-euctial oils come from different parts of a plants, the; leaves, stems, flowers, roots, seeds, and resins. Different plants produce different volumes of essential oil.   For instance 1 kilo of lavender buds and stems yields more essential oil than 1 kilo of rose petals.  Market trends, the cost of labour, transportation, insurance and climate also contribute to the fluctuating prices of essential oils.

When purchasing essential oils it is imperative to buy from reputable suppliers who provide growing, extraction methods, safety and purity certificates.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

What is an Essential Oil?

Egypt (1)Essential oils are distilled or expressed aromatic extracts that are derived from a wide range of aromatic plants.  These aromatic extracts contain upwards of 50 different naturally occurring components that work synergistically within the botanical matrix of the plant, rendering it with the ability to protect, defend, attract and heal.  The use of aromatic extracts (not necessarily distilled essential oils) dates back thousands of years and is similar to using herbal extracts, tinctures and teas to ease the discomforts from various physiological and psychological afflictions.  Essential oils are however very potent and should never be used in their pure or neat form on the skin.

Essential oils are used in the food and beverage industry and those which are of a culinary nature can be used in minute amounts in food and beverage recipes, however they should always be blended or dissolved in a natural edible alcohol, vegetable oil or in honey.  Note:  2 drops of essential oil is equivalent to one (1) teaspoon of dried herb.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell