Tutorial: Making Essential Oil Sprays

If you want to make a fragrant spray from essential oils to be used as: a body mist, linen spray, room spray, dog pillow spray, insect repellent spray or surface cleaning spray it is imperative that you use an emulsifying agent.

The amount of essential oils used in a spray should typically not exceed 4 to 6%.  To do the math consider the size of your bottle:  If you are making a spray in a 120 ml bottle for formula would be as follows:

120 ml x 4% (120 x .04) = 4.8 ml

Therefore in a 120 ml bottle you would add 4.8 mls of essential oil.

4.8 ml is approximately near to 5 ml (1 teaspoon) or is approximately equivalent to 100 drops.  Essential oils do not breakdown in water, or in witch hazel – so it is imperative that you also use a natural alcohol such as Vodka and it is extremely imperative that you also use an emulsifying agent.

I typically match the volume of vodka and emulsifier to the volume of essential oils.  Therefore in a 120 ml bottle I would also add 1 teaspoon of Vodka and 1 teaspoon of emulsifier.

If you are looking for aromatherapy supplies – visit us at Bespoke Aromatics.

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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I have used essential oils for more than 25 years, and yes I sell them, but …

Essential Oils… the do’s and don’ts

The use of Essential Oils with in the context of Aromatherapy is a modality that falls under the umbrella of Complimentary Health.

There is much to be said about providing the right environment for the human body to heal and many ways to protect one-self from developing or acquiring disease, this is where complimentary health modalities come into play and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

In my opinion it would be negligent to solely use complimentary treatments to treat serious medical conditions. While raising my family and for my own health and wellness I have always adopted a balance between allopathic health treatments and complimentary health modalities.

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Throughout my years of experience as a natural health product advisor via ownership of health food stores and my personal use of natural health products, be it; vitamins, herbal supplements, herbal teas, homeopathic tinctures and essential oils – there are five points that I have always stressed to my clients:

  1. If you have a new or worsening condition visit your doctor for tests and diagnosis.
  2. Learn and understand fully what the condition entails; signs and symptoms, underlying cause, how to treat, make a list of questions to take to your doctor.
  3. Take all prescribed medication as indicated by your doctor.
  4. Research fully all natural solutions and complementary modalities that may help to lesson your symptoms and reduce harm. Then ask your doctor and pharmacist if there are any natural remedy interactions that may interfere with your prescribed medication.
  5. Once you have become an expert on your particular condition – work towards finding a healthy balance between your allopathic health treatment and complimentary health modalities.

Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Essential Oils are aromatic essences that are extracted from plants. They are complicated substances – and yes they contain substances that when isolated are used in food flavourings and in pharmaceuticals, but in their whole form they also contain other substances that might be harmful, so I don’t promote using essential oils internally, unless you are using oils that have GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) meaning they are essential oils that can be used for culinary or flavour purposes.

Other useful and recent posts include:

All About Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Lavender: is it the be-all and end-all and what on earth is linalool?
Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils
Frankincense: Let’s put this in perspective!

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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All About Essential Oils & Aromatherapy

1. What is an Essential Oil?

Esseoential 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 theability 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 perspectivethat 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: 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”. (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.

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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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.  At that price it is not economically viable for candle and soap manufacturers to use pure essential oil of Neroli in their products and so they often use synthetic knock-offs.

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. 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.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

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