Neroli

Neroli ~ Citrus aurantium L. and/or Citrus bigardia L. possesses GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).  Neroli oil contains more than 70 different natural occurring chemicals, however the constituents that are responsible for its lovely scent are primarily:
linalyl acetate (43-68.5%)
linalool (23.8-54.3%)
geraniol (2.8 – 5.9%), and
limonene (traces up to 10.2%). Percentage levels vary from batch to batch, due growing conditions, geographical location and species.
The essential oil of Neroli is derived by the steam distillation of orange and/or bitter orange tree blossoms. Neroli is one of the most expensive essential oils on the market (approximately $8,000 Cdn. per litre) because it takes about 100 kilos of blooms to create just 1 litre of neroli oil.

In contrast, just 1 litre of distilled Petitgrain (orange or lemon LEAF oil) is approximately $160 Cdn. per litre, this is due to the fact that the orange leaf yields much more oil than the blossom. When you smell Neroli and Petitgrain side-by-side it is quite clear that they have similar aromatic notes with Neroli being very sweet and floral, while Petitgrain has more sharp, and tenacious green notes.

Neroli oil is highly valued by perfumers for its sweet and middle floral notes, with a slight smokey green pepper undertone. Skin care alchemists declare that Neroli helps to combat dry, irritated and sensitive skin and it may help improve the skin’s elasticity which in-turn may slow down the occurrence of thread veins and prevent scaring.

True Neroli oil is prized by Aromatherapists as being one of the most important oils in their collection, as the scent of Neroli can produce feelings of euphoria and lower respiration, thereby helping to reduce stress and help to quell anxiety.

Two of the chemicals that occur naturally in Neroli and Petitgrain (and in approximately 200 other different species of aromatics plants) are Linalool and linalyl acetate. Research indicates that when the scent of linalool and linalyl acetate are lightly vaporized they have relaxing and positive effects on the central nervous system, helping to quiet the mind and lower respiration and may be useful from a pain management perspective.

In a laboratory setting, the application of Neroli oil was found to have antibacterial action against several species of bacteria while it’s vapour was less effective.  Neroli oil application proved effective with many forms of fungi.

Given the fact that Neroli possesses anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties it does not indicate that the oil be used as an alternative to treat bacterial infections in humans.  Based on the fact that Neroli possesses anti-microbial properties, some ‘essential oil sales folks’ may entice or suggest that people buy Neroli oil and add it to their home-made cleaning products.  In my opinion this is sheer nonsense and an un-ethical sales pitch. Don’t waste your money or your Neroli. There are plenty of other essential oils that contain constituents that are anti-microbial and are more affordable for your do-it-your-self natural cleaning products. 

Petitgrain ~ Citrus aurantium L., Citrus reticulata, possesses GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).  The primary chemical constituents in Petitgrain are:
linalyl acetate (46-71%)
linalool (12.3-27%)
geraniol (1.4-4%)
limonene (1-8%)
a-Terpineol (2-8%), and
Geranyl acetate (1.9-3.4%).
As previously mentioned Petitgrain oil is derived via steam distillation of leaves and twigs primarily from the lemon and orange tree.  The odour of Petitgrain oil is comprised of nearly 400 different components.  Dermal sensitization and phototoxicity is rare with Petitgrain oil unless it has been adulterated with cold pressed citrus oils.  In a laboratory setting, the application of Petitgrain oil was found to exhibit relatively good action against several species of bacteria and fungi, however its vapour was less effective.

Given the fact that Petitgrain oil possesses anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties it does not indicate that the oil be used as an alternative to treat bacterial infections in humans.  Since Petitgrain is a very affordable essential oil it would make more sense to add a little Petitgrain oil and not Neroli oil to your homemade natural cleaning products.

Linalyl acetate also possess promising anti-inflammatory properties.  Linalyl acetate often occurs in conjunction with linalool in many essential oils but it must be understood, that while essential oils possess these valuable properties it does not mean that essential oils should be used in leu of conventional therapies.

Most of the empirical research (scientific) involving essential oils has been conducted in laboratory settings in vitro (controlled environment outside of a living organism) often on skin tissue or ileum (smooth muscle intestine samples) excised from laboratory animals.

Neroli in it’s pure or neat form could cause cutaneous irritation therefore it is imperative to dilute neroli in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil.  Typically safe dilutions of all essential oils should be maintained at less than 6-10% per volume, however harsh essential oils (those essential oils that are known to be severe dermal irritants) should be maintained a lower dilutions such as 1-2% per volume.

Because Neroli is so darn expensive it would be a waste of money to use it in wash off products or to diffuse it in an electric aromatic diffuser.  To truly benefit from the relaxing effects of Neroli consider blending 20 drops of neroli in 10 ml bottle of fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil and use it to perfume your wrists and palms of your hands, and then cup the aroma around your nose in order to benefit from it’s odour – this is what ‘Aroma’-therapy is all about.

Neroli is a very delicate aroma – blending it with other essential oils takes some skill and understanding because some will compliment and others will compete. At Bespoke Aromatics – I personally create custom blended natural perfumes with pure essential oils – drop in for a whiff sometime – and ask about my Neroli Solifore perfume.

Petitgrain oil is an excellent fragrant choice that could be used to naturally scent unscented mediums such as carrier oils, lotions, creams, deodorants, soaps, shampoos and shower gels.  In the palm of your hand with a dollop of your choice (lotion, carrier oil, soap) add 2-3 drops of petitgrain and enjoy.

References:

Lis-Balchin, M., Dr. (1995) The Chemistry & Bioactivity of Essential Oils.

Lis-Balchin, M., Dr. (2006) Aromatherapy Science, A Guide for HealthCare Professionals.

Tisserand, Robert & Young, Rodney. (2014) Essential Oil Safety, A Guide to Health Care Professionals, 2nd Edition.

Online Research Resources:

Anticonvulsant activity of Citrus aurantium blossom essential oil neroli: involvment of the GABAergic system.

Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units.

Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art.

Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils

Lavandula angustifolia Mill. Oil and Its Active Constituent Linalyl Acetate Alleviate Pain and Urinary Residual Sense after Colorectal Cancer Surgery: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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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

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Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing!

Men have skin too and we love it when they radiate as well!

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

IMG_0027
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.

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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?

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
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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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History: To Bathe

bath
L. Alma Tadema, victorian artist

Bathing = … ‘the washing of the body, or immersion of the body in water, practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes’

Star Anise (Illicium vermum) Essential Oil has an aroma similar to black licorice.  From a topical aromatherapeutic perspective it may be helpful with musculosketal aches and pains related to sports injury and rheumatism.  Through nasal inhalation it may help to ease bronchitis and nasal congestion related to the common cold.

Dead Sea salt is renowned for it’s therapeutic benefits for thousands of years due to the high content of magnesium along with other beneficial minerals.  Studies indicate that Dead Sea salts have remarkable improvements with respect to the itching and scaliness associated with psoriasis.

Our Mediterranean Dead Sea Salts have Zen-BathSaltsbeen aromatically enhanced with Star Anise essential oil along with cedarwood, sweet orange and lavender.

If you’re a bath lover – we have several varieties of natural bath salts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
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Sources:
Bathing. (2015, June 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Dead Sea Salt, Benefits. SaltWorks, America’s Sea Salt Company.

Natural Body Care: Monoi Oil

MonoiAt Bespoke Aromatics we have created 4 Exquisite 100% Natural Body Oil Blends that will nourish and soften your skin and tantalize your senses.

Monoi Oil – Coconut Oil which has been infused with Tahitian Gardenia Flowers

Shorea Robusta Seed Oil – known as Sal Butter is an edible oil that is indigenous to India and has wonderful skin soothing properties.

Rose Wax – Floral waxes are derived from the solid materials after the flower petal scent is alcohol extracted and chilled.  These waxes are used in solid perfumes and added to skin care products to soften, moisturize and soothe the skin.

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
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