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

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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, Rose, Neroli or Linden Blossom, save those precious oils for your natural body perfumes or roll-on blends.

There are plenty of aromatics that are affordable and natural when it comes to scenting your environment, and just a few drops of essential oils 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 like spicy notes such as cinnamon, clove and ginger they 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, but why they are coloured synthetic dyes is beyond me?

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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.

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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

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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

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What is an Essential Oil?

Egypt (1)

1. What is an Essential Oil?
Essential oils are distilled essences that are derived from a wide range of aromatic plants. These essences contain upward of 50 different naturally occurring components that work synergistically within the botanical matrix of the plant rendering the plant with the ability to protect itself from invasive disease, repel predators and attract pollinators. The term ’essential’ does not indicate that these substances are essential to humans, rather the term ’essential’ is derived from the word essence. While these substances are natural they are still considered volatile chemicals that require stringent respect. There are many references indicating that humans have used herbal and aromatic extracts and resins dating back to the Mesopotamia era. It is imperative to know that herbal extracts and resinous plant materials are completely different from distilled Essential Oils.

2. How are essential oils made?
Essential oils are predominately produced through a steam distillation process. Citrus essential oils are primarily produced through a cold pressed process. It takes several kilos of plant material and flower petals to yield a natural essential oil. Some plant material yields more essential oil than others which is why essential oil prices differ. When a particular plant does not yield much oil it’s natural odour molecules can be captured through a solvent process commonly referred to as absolute. The oldest known method for preserving plant odours is called enfleurage. For example gardenia petals would be soaked in a fat for several days and then the process is repeated until fat is saturated with the fragrance.

3. Are essential oils and the practice of aromatherapy regulated?
In Canada and the United States there are two professional organizations; respectively The Canadian Federation of Aromatherpists (CFA) and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), these organizations have strict guidelines that practitioners and businesses adhere to with respect to the proper dissemination of information and education surrounding the use of essential oils, absolutes and natural essences and including the distribution of such. Aromatherapy is currently an unregulated and unlicensed field both for the practice of aromatherapy as well as the manufacturing of aromatherapy products, generally speaking aromatherapy inspired products fall under the category of natural wellness products (as long as no medical claim is being made) otherwise they may be considered as cosmetics. As a whole the industry seeks to comply with current safety and standards of practice, and to stay informed about potential impending regulations with regards to the manufacturing of aromatherapy inspired products and items that contain essential oils.

4. Pure essential oil vs. a fragrant oil?
Essential oils are predominately distilled from leaves, stems, flowers, roots, seeds, bark or resinous substances that exude from trees such as sap. Natural cold pressed essential oils are extracted from the peel of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange. Fragrant oils are industry approved aromatic materials that are used predominately in soaps, detergents, cleaning products, body care products, cosmetics and perfumes. Fragrant oils are relatively inexpensive and are created with petrochemicals, commercial brand products that are fragrant also contain synthetic fixatives which allows the scent to last for several hours or an entire day. Advancements in the petrochemical industry over the last century have provided industries with the ability to create synthetic fragrance and produce aromatic chemicals (such as musk) or that simulate natural odours such as lilac or watermelon. These synthetic aromas are used extensively in the perfume industry and by companies that manufacture body care products, detergents and soaps. Pure essential oils are expensive and unstable constituents; for example a batch of fresh distilled lavender oil could contain between 25— 50% linalool (a terpene alcohol that occurs in hundreds of aromatics plants and flowers). However, from season to season and depending upon the geographical growing location the resulting amount of linalool in a particular batch of lavender will vary. Varying amounts of linalool is not conducive to quality control standards when a manufacturer is trying to achieve a consistent scent. Therefore synthetic linalool is used extensively as an inexpensive filler and adulterator.

5. Can essential oils be used internally?
Essential oils that are of a culinary nature are used in the food and beverage industry as flavour enhancers. These additives are formulated by food chemists who are bound by industry protocols, licensing and government regulations. Sometimes you may see the term GRAS status on a label, meaning that a substance is Generally Recognized as Safe by the EPA & FDA (Environmental Protection Agency & Federal Drug Administration). This does not indicate that an essential oil is safe to ingest as a medicine or from a nutritional perspective. Many companies are promoting the idea that it is safe to consume essential oils due to their naturalness and purity, with anecdotal marketing tag lines that entice purchasers into believing that essential oils can be used to cure, treat or render the human body from developing illnesses and disease. For example adding a few drops of a cold pressed citrus essential oil to your water or smoothie does not provide any vitamin c, nor does it provide any other nutritional benefits compared to eating and/or consuming the whole fruit. Some essential oils contain naturally occurring substances that cause mucous membrane, esophageal and stomaching lining irritation. Under the code of ethics stipulated by organizations such as the CFA & NAHA, essential oils should not be ingested for any reason. However some essential oils can be used in oral products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. As a flavour enhancer 1 drop of essential oil that is of a culinary nature should be well dissolved or blended in 1 teaspoon of olive oil or honey and then could be added to various foods and beverages.

6. How do essential oils work, and how do odours affect people?
There are numerous books on the subject of Aromatherapy and piles of references on the internet directing folks to use essential oils either topically or internally to treat, cure, or prevent various conditions. However, making such exaggerated and unjustifiable product claims is sheer negligence. Many of these anecdotal claims are being made by companies and individuals who have construed scientific information. There is however, empirical research indicating that pure essential oils contain constituents that are that are anti-microbial and possess insecticidal properties, some essential oils may provide topical relief related to musculoskeletal disorders, due to their cooling and/or warming properties, and some essential oils may benefit skin conditions. However, essential oils should never be used on the skin undiluted and it is imperative to know which essential oils should be used in lessor dilutions and realize that many can cause dermal irritation especially those that oxidize quickly. There is also verifiable science indicating that from a psychological perspective that an odour, be it natural or synthetic, be it pleasant or obnoxious – will light-up various centres of the brain and elicit positive or negative mood states.

7. Is one brand of essential oil better than another?
There is a lot of chatter purported by many businesses who indicate that their particular essential oils are classified as the purest or possess most therapeutic quality. One company in particular indicates that their oils are certified* which is a misleading statement. Most essential oil companies do not distil or manufacture their oils, rather most businesses buy in bulk from raw material distributors or have pre-arranged contracts with agricultural producers and farms.
Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®  These four words strung together followed by an encircled ‘R’ – simply means that this statement is a ‘paid for’ registered trade mark and is simply a clever marketing slogan which no other company is allowed to use. It gives the appearance of being approved by some kind of higher authority and it has been said that the company states it is a FDA approved to use this label. According to Elston (2009), “This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRAʼs essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade. DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is revealing) This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for”. (Jade, Shutes, The East-West School for Herbal & Aromatic Studies).

8. Can people be allergic to essential oils or synthetic fragrance oils?
Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s good for you! Many botanicals are poisonous, many people have environmental allergies, and many folks have very sensitive skin. If you know that you are sensitive to a particular plant then it is best that you avoid that particular essential oil, absolute or natural essence. Over the last one hundred years many folks have developed sensitivities to synthetic perfumes and to petrochemical derivatives in cosmetics. Best health practices indicate that adopting healthy lifestyle habits and reducing our exposure to toxic ingredients will benefit our planet and our bodies.

9.  Why do some companies charge more money for essential oils and why is rose oil more expensive than eucalyptus oil?
Those companies that sell essential oils through distributorship hierarchies are often more expensive due to the fact their profit margins are being shared.  Many essential oil companies (or brands) are sourced from the same suppliers who are ethical producers and farms which are located in the country to which the plant is native, or grown and harvested. It is important to realize that essential oils are agricultural commodities therefore from crop to crop, season to season, prices tend to fluctuate, also the price of an essential is related to the volume of oil that a particular plant yields.  For example eucalyptus leaves yield voluminous amounts of oil in comparison to rose petals which produce only a tiny amount of essential 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

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Essential Oils: Debunking the cost and the purity issue

At Bespoke Aromatics we work with essential oils which are obtained from plant materials that are grown, harvested and distilled often in the country to which they are native.  We buy our oils in bulk from an international distributor whom we have dealt with for 25 years, we also trust the purity, quality, and business ethics of the following companies.

Poya Organics

True Essence by Rae Dunphy Aromatics

Karooch Oils by Alypsis

Eden Botanicals

Many companies create strong marketing campaigns and set their prices much higher than other suppliers in order to validate the purity of their essential oils.

Excerpt From:  The Quality of Essential Oils, by Jade Shutes

CERTIFIED PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE: This is a relatively new trademark by a multi-level marketing company. It gives the appearance of being approved by some kind of higher authority and it has been said that the company states it is a FDA approved to use this label. According to Elston (2009), “This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRAʼs essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade. DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is revealing) This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for”.

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