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

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

 

 

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

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Good Ingredients to Know: Sea Buckthorn Oil

IMG_0525Sea buckthorn berry oil (Hippophae rhamnoide) is a rich red coloured substance loaded with anti-oxidants which are known to combat the skin’s aging process. Studies also indicate that it has a positive impact on the granulation process (a natural skin healing process) associated with dermal damage caused by burns, eczema, ultra-violet light injury, ulcers, cuts and wounds. This healing effect is due to the high content of beta-carotene (pro-vitamin-A), vitamin c and omega fatty acids. As a result, this rich powerhouse nutrient is becoming an attractive ingredient in skin care products.

From a topical perspective there are no known precautions, however due to it’s rich colour it may stain clothing and temporarily discolour the skin.

SeaBuckthornDue to the fact that it is an expensive extract, it is imperative to note where in the order of ingredients it occurs. When it occurs low down on the list, the benefits may be minimal. A maximum of 5% per volume in our opinion will provide optimal results anything less than 2% is simply a waste of money. From a do-it-yourself (DIY) perspective it is more economical to simply purchase a pure CO2 extract* and add it directly to a medium of your choice keeping in mind not to exceed the 5% per volume additive proportion.

*CO2 extraction is also known as supercritical extraction and is the more favourable method when it comes to producing plant extracts since there are no solvents used, no thermal stress and no exposure to oxygen. This process is the most environmentally friendly method which preserves the natural qualities of the plant extract.

References:

Chatelaine Magazine, The amazing health benefits of sea buckthorn

Dr. Andrew Weil, Better skin with sea buckthorn oil

Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil vs Seed Oil: Do you know the difference?

Safety and healing efficacy of Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) seed oil on burn wounds in rats.

Management of burn wounds with Hippophae rhamnoides 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

 

 

Men have skin too!

Men have skin too and we love it when they radiate.  

Nearly every article that appears online about the benefits of dry brushing and skin exfoliation target women and how they ought to radiate. There are far more benefits to exfoliation than sheer radiance. Check out the list below that we borrowed from Pure Green Magazine about the benefits of Dry-Skin Brushing.

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Hand-Crafted Soaps & Natural Body Brushes Available at Bespoke Aromatics

BENEFITS OF DRY SKIN-BRUSHING

  • Helps to shed dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal.
  • Increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas.
  • Helps to tighten the skin because it increases the flow of blood. Increasing the circulation to the skin can also help lessen the appearance of cellulite, as cellulite is toxic material that accumulates in your body’s fat cells as they are unable to be eliminated.
  • Stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified. After several days of dry brushing, you may notice the gelatinous mucoid material in your stools.
  • Helps with muscle tone and more even distribution of fat deposits.
  • Rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.
  • Aids the skin in nutrient absorption by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.
  • Individuals who sit at a computer screen all day long will especially benefit from skin brushing. People who have inactive lifestyles or jobs usually experience stiff and sore necks and shoulders that reach even into their arms and down their spines and into their lower backs.
  • Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated.

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
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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 …

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Cosmetic Toxins: Yuck !

Cosmetic
Screen Shot from Video (Credit www.safecosmetics.org)

Watch and listen to this video (posted below) – it fabulously explains how bombarded we are by toxic ingredients in personal products.

The Story of Cosmetics, released on July 21st, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced with Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film by The Story of Stuff Project reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives. The film concludes with a call for viewers to support legislation aimed at ensuring the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
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Holistic Living: Connection between inflammation and histamine levels

Three of the most common health issues that my clientele have shared with me over the last two decades are: 1) how terribly they suffer from environmental allergies; 2) how they have developed early on-set arthritis and 3) just how horrible their symptoms are during menopause.  There are a number of factors that contribute to these thee common complaints just as there are a number of complimentary health modalities and life style changes that one can incorporate into their wellness regime.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-11-04-05-pm

One supplement that I highly  recommend is Quercetin, (in particular the Natural Factors brand which also contains tumeric extract, grapeseed extract and QCo10 (sorry I don’t have enough time to write an entire post about the benefits,  but here is a link to an amazing blog called The Menopausal Histamine Connection.  Check it out it – what a great resource!

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Holistic Living: Melancholy Smile

Sadness is an important facet of human nature – and furthermore no matter how sad one might be, the smell of flowers always turns a frown upside down.

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