Mind, moods and aromas: A glimpse at the mood properties of essential oils

Have your ever noticed why things happen the way they happen during an aromatherapy session? Ever wondered why we are drawn to things that are smelly (in a positive or negative way) rather than things that are bland in scent? Mind can be influenced by the smell or scent of something as the olfactory nerves have a close relationship with the limbic system of the brain. Hippocampus, fornic, singulate cyrus, thalamus, mamillary bodies, amygdala and olfactory bulb are parts of the limbic system which influence the brain and controls various important parts/functions of the body.

The smell brain: Before the limbic system was discovered, this part of the brain was referred to us the “the smell brain” It is this smell brain which brings about mood changes in a person. When inhaling an essential oil, olfactory sensations immediately work on the brain and cause it to set off a series of changes in the emotional plane. Let’s take a look at the mood properties of popular essential oils and which oil can be used for changing or bringing about a particular mood:

1. Alertness: To become alert, you can inhale blends with Basil, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Peppermint and Rosemary. These oils invigorate the brain and make even a dullard hyperactive and mentally agile.

2. Concentration: The power of focus is extremely necessary for success and to achieve this, use the following oils – Lemon, Basil, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Frankincense, Chamomile Roman etc.

3. Confidence: Some children can lack confidence due to peer pressure or parental pressure. To help such children with low self-esteem and self-confidence, add Cypress, Fennel, Ginger, Grapefruit, Orange, Jasmine and Pine to your bath water or essential oil blends.

4. Creativity: Creativity is a will o’ the wisp and cannot be easily achieved. To improve your creativity or usher in creative thoughts, use Bergamot, Lemon, Frankincense, Neroli, Jasmine, Cloves and Rose oils.

5. Peace: To lead a peaceful life or to calm yourself during stressful situations, use Chamomile Roman, Neroli, Juniper, Melissa, Yarrow and Frankincense oil blends in your bath water or inhalations.

6. Happiness: Happiness is the most elusive thing in the world. One moment you have it, another moment, it is not there. To bring about happiness into your life, use Orange, Rose, Jasmine, Ginger, Cinnamon, Geranium and Cloves.

7. Rest and relaxation: To rejuvenate yourself and bring about complete sense of relaxation after a long tiresome routine or hard day at office, use Lavender, Geranium, Clary Sage, Neroli and Sandalwood oils.

8. Self-esteem: To build your self-esteem and face the world with confidence, use Jasmine, Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and other oils. You can also work on your self-image with Orange, Lavender, Melissa, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Bay, Pine and Nutmeg oils.

Labor of love: 7 ways to use aromatherapy for pregnant women

Labor pain is said to be the most severe pain in the world and every woman who passes through labor, wants to make it as pleasant and less-stressful as possible. Pregnant women love to surround  themselves with comfy things and pampering items that relax and soothe their labor and evoke a sense of familiarity in the birthing place or hospital in which they go through childbirth. Aromatherapy can do wonders to a pregnant mother as it can calm and rest the body and mind with its variety of aromas and herbs.

Aromatherapy for pregnant women – Things to note: Though aromatherapy can be replace drugs or act as relaxants during childbirth, they can be harmful sometimes. This is because some essential oils have strong scents which affect the senses of women and cause stressful conditions like menstruation, painful labor, contractions of uterus, miscarriage etc. To avoid such troubles, stay away from strong scents that you do not like before labor. Even the aromas that you like before labor can turn resentful during labor. So, consult with your doctor or an expert aromatherapist before inhaling or using any essential oil during childbirth. Especially, you need to stay away from a few essential oils like Basil, Clary Sage, Cedarwood, Cypress, Fennel, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Origanum, Peppermint, Rosemary and Thyme. Similarly avoid herbs like rue, golden seal, mistletoe, poke root, wormwood, sage, calendula, cotton root, male fern etc. NEVER ingest any of the essential oils.

Essential oils to choose from: You can choose essential oils that are mild in aroma and yet have a therapeutic effect on your mind and body. You can choose essential oils that are pain relievers, anxiety-relievers, anti-depressants, fear-eliminators, relaxants, oils with calming effects and body soothing properties. Below are some oils to choose from for use during labor:

1. For pain relief: Pain can be very stressful during labor. A woman’s blood pressure and stress levels increase when the pain intensifies. To alleviate painful and depressing labor, you can use Geranium, Rosemary, Chamomile or Lavender. These oils have pain-relaxing properties that can reduce pain and relax the body.

2. For depression: Pregnancy and postpartum depression can be treated with oils like Geranium and Neroli. Both the oils have anti-depressant properties which helps with anxiety, fear and apprehension tension during labor. Geranium also helps with breathing by improving circulation.

3. For feminine health:
Uterus contractions can be very painful and depressing during labor. Rose oil can be used as an uterine tonic to support labor and alleviate the traumas women undergo during it.

4. For relaxation: There are several essential oils to achieve relaxation and mental balance. Some of them are Lavender, Bergamot, Rosemary, Geranium and Chamomile.

5. For emotional upliftment: Women can become really depressed during labor. To steer clear of labor blues, use a strong scented oil like Ylang Ylang. Since this is a strong scent, you need to try and check if you are comfortable with it several months before labor. It is a great option for lowering blood pressure and hence can help with labor. You can also use Jasmine for its uplifting properties.

How to use oils? Ok, let’s assume you have chosen your oils and are ready to use them. Now the question is, how would you use an essential oil? Below are two ways:

6. Spritzer method: Make a spritzer by combining two drops of your essential oil/s with four ounces of water. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle and shake well. Then, store the container in the refrigerator until labor day and use it in the following ways:

  • Spritz into your bath water and soak in it on your labor day
  • Spritz on your handkerchief and keep it with yourself all the day
  • Spray a little bit into the birthing room to freshen the air around you during labor
  • Make your feet clean and fresh by spritzing on it. You will feel good about it during labor

7. Bowl method: Fill a small bowl with hot water and add your essential oils into it. Place it somewhere in your birthing room or other place where you can both inhale it and from where it can be easily removed.

Killer or carcinogen? The truth about essential oils as anti-cancer agents

With aroma medicine being accepted more than ever, research is on to explore the various healing benefits of essential oils. Though it has been tested and proved that essential oils have significant effects as antivirals, antibacterials, anti-fungals and anti-depressants, recent research shows that they have specific anti-cancer properties too. This article will explore the truth about essential oils as anti-cancer agents for future.

Essential oils as carcinogens: Before we analyze the role of essential oils as anti-cancer agents, we need to first understand that not all essential oils are good for health and as in every other case, there are a few exceptions too. Some essential oils are said to be carcinogens, or stimulators of cancerous growths. This is basically because of one or two carcinogenic components present in such oils. Hence prolonged use of such oils can mean increased possibility of cancer. There are a few carcinogenic oils and there are other oils to be avoided if you have a particular type of cancer or so. Calamus oil and Sassafras oil, because of their high content of asorone and safrole, are highly carcinogenic. The methyl chavicol in Basil oil can be carcinogenic if used in large amounts. It is best to select  a Basil oil with the highest Linalool content and of course, lowest methyl chavicol content.

You need to avoid a few essential oils if you have cancer. These include Aniseed, Basil, Bay, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Nutmeg, Star anise, Ho leaf, Laurel, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass and Verbena. If you have skin cancer, avoid using Bergamot and other sun-sensitive oils.

Essential oils as anti-cancer agents: Research has revealed that many useful essential oils have an annihilating effect on cancer cell line. Some of these oils are:

Frankincense oil: A study in the journal of BioMed Central Journal of Complementary Alternative Medicine in March 2009 revealed, “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability.” The study opined that the oil can be used to induce bladder cancer death and is an inexpensive way to eradicate cancer without harming the healthy cells in the same organ. Since Frankincense is a natural compound, there will no side effects like in chemotherapy.

Lemongrass oil: Lemongrass oil has been extensively researched for its anti-cancer properties. A study published in Chemico-Biological Interactions identifies that Colon cancer and Neuron cancer lines can be reduced with Lemongrass oil. The study indicated that Lemongrass oil induces natural cancer cell death through a process called the apoptotic process.

Sweet Linalool: Linalool is a sweet, relaxing aromatic found in many essential oils. It has been found out that Linalool can completely eradicate the HepG2 line of liver cancer cells when used in very low concentrations. Apart from its anti-cancer effects, Linalool also has anxiety-alleviating and sleep-inducing properties.

Sandalwood oil: Sandalwood oil is a great agent for preventing skin cancer tumor development. The alpha-santalol in Sandalwood oil is a remarkable for reducing skin tumor formations. This has been proved in a study published in the Journal of Anticancer Research  in January 2008.

Spice oils: Spice oils like Thyme and Oregano are also effective in preventing cancer. They do this by protecting the breakage of human DNA strands when exposed to highly oxidative stress. Some oils, instead of being direct anti-cancer agents, prevent tumor growth by supporting the immune system.

Stop acne outbreaks: 3 remedies to treat pimples with essential oils

Acne is not hazardous but embarrassing. You may not develop any sort of physical illness from acne, but you will definitely look awkward with it. Acne breakouts can make life hell for teenagers, adults and all those who are victims to it. Though there are many cures to acne, not all of them are perfect. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of essential oils to help you deal with acne.

What causes acne? Before we proceed to look into the remedies, we need to understand what causes acne outbreaks. The problem is basically to do with clogged skin pores. When your skin pores and follicles are blocked by dust or other facts, oil secretion fails and this leads to formation of blemishes, skin eruptions and pimples on the skin. Many people with oily skin are more liable to frequent acne outbreaks as they have excess oil on their skin surface. Teenagers and menstruating women are victims to acne on account of hormonal changes.

Essential oils for acne treatment: Essential oils treat acne by working on the problems underlying acne eruptions. Essential oils treat stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalance and other physiological disruptions that cause acne. When the oils soothe the body and keep it at a relaxed state, pimples disappear or are alleviated. De-stressing is also an important function of these essential oils remedies. Commercial acne treatments understand the role of essential oils in hormonal balance, elimination of wastes etc. This is why most of the commercial therapies have eucalyptus oil as the primary ingredient in them. Such an ingredient not just reduces oil secretion but also kills the bacteria that induce acne formation.

To prepare your own homemade acne remedy, you need to have a little knowledge in the use of essential oils. Compress a salt and essential oil and use it as a remedy. If you have intense oil problems, use the blemish treatment given below:

1. For oily skin: Oily skin should be handled with care as the skin tends to be provoked easily. Meaning, any unusual or harmful ingredients can spoil your skin and aggravate your skin eruptions. To avoid this, use skin-drying and antiseptic essential oils like Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Juniper Berry, Lavender, Lemongrass, Sandalwood and Tea Tree oil. Use any of these oils and dilute in a base of witch-hazel and aloe vera gel. Since witch hazel contains alcohol, it has a drying effect on your body. On the other hand, aloe vera is a great gel for healing and hence can cleanse your pores and heal the eruptions in your skin.

2. Facial Toner: You can use your essential oils and prepare your own skincare concoctions. To make a facial toner for your oily skin, combine all the following ingredients in a glass bottle: 12 drops of Lemongrass oil, 6 drops of Juniper Berry oil, 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil, 1 oz of witch hazel lotion and 1 oz of aloe vera gel. Mix the ingredients and blend with vinegar (if you think witch hazel is too drying). You can use the mixture as a paste at least once a day to retain the overall natural acid balance.

3. Intensive Blemish: You may need an intensive blemish treatment if your skin is too oily. You can prepare such a thing at your home with the following ingredients – 12 drops of Tea Tree oil, ½ tbsp of Oregon grape root and Vitamin E. Make a paste with the herb powder and essential oils. Add water for easy paste formation and apply on the blemished or affected area. After 20 minutes of drying, rinse of the paste with clear water. Dry with towel completely to remove any remaining paste. If you cannot find Vitamin E anywhere, cut open a tablet and squeeze out the oil. Vitamin E rejuvenates your skin and heals any kind of scar or sores.

What is it to play the older guy? 4 essential oil blends for parents

Playing the older guy or parent in the house is extremely difficult. This is more so if you are dealing with teens at home. From your rosy, young baby, your boy or girl transforms into a privacy-seeking, adolescent with peculiar behavior and temper tantrums. As a parent, you maybe faced with dichotomies and may yourself be confused on how to deal with your teen. You may feel that you need to restrict your child but at the same time want him or her to grow independent. If you are a parent trying to cope with your boy or girl, understand that it takes time for your child to learn things and the best way for you is to accept them as they are.

Essential oil blends for parents: Of course, as a parent, you can find many good books in the market on raising children. To apply the advice you get from those books, you would need patience and peace of mind. The below essential oil blends can provide just that in case you are too troubled to discuss your parenting problems with others. When you use aromatherapy on a daily basis, you gain balance and more insight into your teen’s problems. This would help you deal with issues in a compassionate and consoling manner instead of taking the stance of a tyrannical parent.

Prepare the below recipes in a 10 ml bottle. After pouring the essential oil blends, fill the bottle with base vegetable oils or carrier oils.

1. For balance and tranquility: Sometimes as a parent, you can lose patience with your kids. Though what your children do can be irritating and annoying, you need to maintain your calmness and peace of mind to see things in the right perspective. Add 6 drops of Sandalwood, 7 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of Marjoram with 2 drops of Rose otto. Apply the blend on your solar plexus or abdomen or pour about one third of the blend into your bath water. If you respond to the blend with a very positive effect, pour some on the palm of your hand and inhale deeply.

2. For assertiveness: This blend will help you stay grounded and assertive in your stance as a parent. Add 6 drops of Rosemary, 5 drops of Cypress, 6 drops of Cedarwood and 4 drops of Sandalwood. Massage the blend on to your solar plexus and lower back. You can also use the blend in your bath water or inhale it by rubbing on to the palm of your hands.

3. For communication: As a parent you need to be poised in your approach to your children. This blend will help you soothe your emotions like anger, resentment, guilt or frustration held within the body and mind. Add 4 drops of Lavender, 5 drops of Sage, 4 drops of Chamomile with vegetable or carrier oils. Massage your neck, throat and shoulders with the blend or pour into warm bath water or inhale by rubbing on to hands.

4. For emotional security: This blend is ideal for improving your sense of emotional security and comfort. Add 3 drops of Rose, 5 drops of Sandalwood, 5 drops of Orange and 4 drops of Pine and blend it with vegetable oils. Then, massage the blend on to solar plexus and abdomen. You can even add it to your bath water or inhale deeply.

When bathing is healing: 6 tips to make aromatherapy bath salts

Imagine the warmth of a nice bath. Imagine how it would be to soak yourself in healing waters that brush aside your dirt and  pain. Bathing can be a real healing experience when you use aromatherapy with hydrotherapy. A good bath made with essential oil bath salts is not just relaxing but motivating too. With knowledge about aromatherapy gaining ground, personalized aromatherapeutic healing has come into vogue. More people are engaged in preparing their own essential oils, bath salts and other aromatic cures. You can make bath salts with just a few ingredients at home. This article will elaborate on how to make bath salts using essential oils and salts.

How to make aromatherapy bath salts: Making bath salts is going to cause you just pennies. You need not spend too much on ingredients or equipments. You just need to mix the right things in the right proportions. This is because bath salts are basically made from two basic salts – Dead Sea salt and Epsom salts. Sea salts from the Dead Sea have long been revered as a remarkable healing salt. It is a therapeutic grade salt which has 26 essential minerals and moisturizing properties. It is used for rejuvenating the body and relaxing tensed muscles. Epsom salts, on the other hand, are used in the treatment of sore muscles, sprains, bruises etc. The magnesium sulfate in the salts reacts with lactic acid and reduces stiffness in muscles and joints. You will need to mix essential oils with the salts to prepare a curing bath salt.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make bath salts for use in aromatherapy:

1. Supplies required: You would need salts – Dead Sea or Epsom kind – depending on your purpose. If you want the properties of both the salts, use both in equal proportions. You will need baking soda, dried herbs, vegetable glycerin, food coloring materials and essential oils to make bath salts.

2. Choose your essential oils: Essential oils are very crucial in the making of bath salts. It is the oils which enhance the healing and aromatic properties of your salts. So, choose your essential oils with care. Here are a few tips with regard to essential oils: Lavender oil has calming and anti-microbial properties. Rose oil has romantic and soothing properties. Chamomile, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang are very relaxing. Eucalyptus oil can cure your respiratory problems while peppermint can uplift and invigorate your moody self. Ginger and Rosemary oils are very stimulating and relaxing. Use the oil which suits your purpose or which can address your ailment or condition.

3. Choose your herbs: You can make aromatherapy blends if you mix two or more oils or add herbs to oils. Use mortar and pestle to finely ground your herbs and mix them with essential oils. Fine-ground herbs save you from plumbing problems and also, blend well with oils. You can probably blend lavender and clary sage for a relaxing effect or ginger and sweet orange  for a soothing effect. Mixing eucalyptus and rosemary can have a stimulating effect on your body.

4. Take safety measures:
Remember that essential oils are not child’s play. Some essential oils can be very harmful on your skin. To avoid trouble store them in glass jars out of reach of children and pets.

5. Mix all the ingredients:
The basic recipe comprises of 1 cup of salts, 1 cup of baking soda, 2 tbsps of vegetable glycerin, 2 tbsps of dried ground herbs and 20-30 drops of essential oils (for every 2 cup of the ingredients) and 4 drops of coloring materials. To start, mix all your salts in a bowl and add glycerin. Then, add essential oils and mash everything together with fork. Once this is done, add food coloring and end your preparation. Store your salt in the a glass jar away from heat and moisture.

6. How to use your salt: It is enough if you use 2 tbsps of salt in running water. Using bath salts once a day is sufficient to address your need.

Dog-tired always? Try aromatherapy for chronic fatigue syndrome

Do you sleep over at work? Do you feel sapped and drained of all your energy? Do you look dull and dog-tired always? If your answer to the above questions is an yes, then maybe you need to check yourself for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS. Many people often underestimate the syndrome, thinking it is something akin to the regular fatigue we have every day. No. CFS is different from regular, day-to-day tiredness. It is severe and chronic and can paralyze your life terribly if you are not wary of its presence.

What exactly is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Chronic fatigue can happen to anyone, irrespective of their age or race or sex. It is an illness marked by chronic lack of energy with complaints of persistent, unexplained bouts of fatigue. Sometimes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome occurs with various combinations of joint and muscle pain, depression, low-grade fever, lack of concentration, throat or headache. Most of the time, CFS patients experience irritability, burn-outs and swollen lymph nodes. The problem with chronic fatigue is that you cannot diagnose it that easily. Doctors diagnose CFS only by eliminating other diseases from the suspected illnesses list. It is said that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is caused by a virus or immune system’s malfunctioning due to chronic physical or emotional stress.

Cure for CFS Syndrome: There is relatively no definite cure for CFS. Doctors treat patients by suggesting medications for muscle and joint pain, physical illnesses, headaches and psychiatric help for depression. Stress reduction, combined with exercises, massage therapy and rest has proven effective in treating Chronic Fatigue in patients. Another easy cure is aromatherapy. The science of smell can bring about any change in a CFS patient. Following a holistic approach, aromatherapy aids recovery by using an array of soothing and relaxing essential oils.

Essential Oils for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: There are a number of essential oils which can treat patients and support in the healing process of CFS. Though not many know aromatherapy’s value, it has been proved to be successful than herbs in alleviating the pain of the syndrome. Specifically, essential oils like Chamomile, Peppermint, Rosewood, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Geranium etc. can be helpful in relaxing the body and easing out pain from the joints and muscles. Not only are these oils easy to reduce pains, they also help in lifting a patient’s moods and improve his sleep quality.

Practical Essential Oil Therapy: When you use essential oils, you should be careful that they are of the food grade type. Get the ingredients ready – Lavender oil, Petitgrain oil, Frankincense and others. Use 3 drops of lavender oil, 2 drops of petitgrain oil and 1 drop of frankincense. It would ideal if you mix the oils in your bath water as bathing would give instant relief from pressure. Allow the bath water to be lukewarm and then add the mixture of essential oils to your bath water. Never spill the bath water in your eyes as the oils will sting or cause irritation. After mixing your bath water with oils, slowly place your feet into them and step into your bath tub. Rest in the water for about 10-20 minutes. After the bath, drain your water and refill it. You can use this mixture once a day, for about 3 to 4 days for over a three week period.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is also called Myalgic Encephalomyelits or ME.

The ‘pause’ button in a woman’s life: 10 essential oils for menopausal troubles

Menopause is a significant stage in the lives of women. It is an end which signals a new beginning, accompanied by a series of emotional, physical, psychological and hormonal changes. The word menopause is derived from Greek and means “monthly halt”, meaning the end or halt of a monthly process (menstruation). Menopause can set off a lot of changes in women like hot flushes, depression, physical pain, irritability, fatigue and changes in skin, hair and sexual desire. Though there are medications to treat menopause, modern women find it increasingly difficult to cope with the issue. Aromatherapists opine that menopausal women’s troubles can be alleviated using essential oils.

Essential oils for menopause: Essential oils are used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions in women and menopause is no exception to this. The best thing about using essential oils to treat menopause is, it alleviates problems without side effects (often caused by oral consumption of drugs). Menopause is a phase marked by several conditions, of which the most prominent are depression, insomnia, hot flushes, lack of sexual desire, increased fatigue and a frail existence.

Depression is one of the most common of menopausal ailments. Not able to withstand the change, many women go into a state of serious depression. This leads to lack of concentration, failure to perform and very low self-esteem. Women start failing in their roles as mothers, wives and friends. They get frenzied and touchy in their interpersonal relationships, which in turn lead to several break-ups and social problems. Anxiety is also a common denominator in such cases. The following oils can be used to treat depression in women:

1. Frankincense oil:
A great anti-depressant which works extraordinarily well on any human being, leave alone a menopausal woman.

2. Basil oil: Basil is always a healing oil. It is not just an anti-depressant but also a mental healer which helps cure mental fatigue.

3. Sweet marjoram:
This oil can cure nervous depression, irritability and anxiety to a great extent.

Insomnia is another common condition in menopausal women and the following essential oils aid in treating sleep problems during menopause:

4. Lavender oil: The best of all sleep-inducing oils, lavender oil can soothe and calm the mind to sleep. It can also be very relaxing and reduce the physical and mental stress in women.

5. Clary Sage oil: Another great essential oil to treat nervousness and mental fatigue in women. This would alleviate the tendency to be irritable also.

6. Roman Chamomile:
Chamomile oils always work great in helping with insomnia and depression. Roman Chamomile is the best of the kind and helps reduce irritability too.

Hot flushes are another headache with menopause. They make women feel low and are irritating to the core. Essential oils which help alleviate this problem are:

7. Peppermint: This oil cools a woman’s body and reduces the sudden hot flushes that happen now and then.

8. Cypress oil: Women can benefit by taking Cypress oil. It helps avoid excessive sweating and minimizes hot flushes.

Sexual life takes a back seat when women are through menopausal stage. Menopausal women lose interest in sex, have painful intercourses or labored orgasms. Essential oils can be aphrodisiacs in uplifting the sexual lives of women during these days.

9. Ylang Ylang oil can be a great aphrodisiac that help alleviate painful sexual intercourses. It can also invigorates the sexual life of menopausal women.

10. Rosemary oil: Apart from being a beneficial oil for relaxation, rosemary also uplifts one’s mood and encourages sexual participation.

Exfoliate with essential oils: How to make a natural facial scrub at home

Skin is one of the least-cared for, but most exposed parts of the body. Whether you are a youngster or a middle-aged aging adult, you need to exfoliate your skin regularly to look young and fresh. But exfoliation is not that easy. Now, with the advent of modern technology, too many exfoliating products clog the market place and the customer often does not know which one to choose and which one to leave out. It is always better to choose a natural option to synthetic or company-manufactured options. This article will focus on how to exfoliate skin using a natural facial scrub.

Why exfoliate?
Before we proceed to make a recipe, we need to first understand why we need to exfoliate. Exfoliation is removing off dead skin on the surface to bring out the young, healthy skin to the top. You exfoliate if you find your skin dull, dry or flaky or old. Yes, exfoliation is a great anti-aging cure too. All you need to do to avoid aging of skin is to exfoliate regularly and keep the shine of your skin in top form. But there are certain issues to be faced while exfoliating. People with problem skin need to careful while engaging in skin exfoliation. This is because, instead of removing dead skin, exfoliation may irritate existing skin and end up aggravating your existing skin condition.

However, for the aged, skin exfoliation helps by increasing blood circulation and thereby, proper functioning of the skin and body. Generally, exfoliation can be done every 14 days. In cases of problem skin, you need to avoid frequent exfoliation.

Exfoliation and essential oils: What do essential oils got to do with skin exfoliation? Well, they do have a major role to play. The chief ingredient in a facial scrub is often an essential oil. Even commercial scrubs have essential oils in their ingredients list. This is because of the natural skin-healing properties of some essential oils. Owing to their herbal properties, essential oils are soft and tender on skin when used in the appropriate proportion. They not just invigorate the skin, but leave it glowing and healthy. This is why essential oils find a lot of usage in body massaging, hair anointing and bathing.

How to make natural, facial scrub: In a market looming large with commercial products, natural facial scrubs stand out of the crowd. Though not all advertised herbal products are 100% herbal, a homemade facial scrub is completely herbal and natural. Below is a recipe on how to make a natural, facial scrub:

Ingredients: Raw oats, honey, basil oil, tea tree oil, apple, cider, vinegar etc.

Crush 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls of raw oats in a grinder. Add pure honey and ¼  teaspoon of apple, cider, vinegar to the crushed dry oats. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth mixture. Add honey if needed and add basil oil (1 drop) to the mixture. If you have a problem skin, you can replace the basil oil with tea tree oil to promote aggressive healing.

How to use: When the paste-like facial scrub is ready, wash and towel-dry your face and apply the scrub on it. Use circular motions for application and let it rest for about 15 minutes. After the particular timeframe, wash with lots of tepid water and towel dry the face again. You will notice your face to be fresh and young than before.

The age past innocence: 5 ways to use aromatherapy for teens

Coping with the transition from childhood to adolescence is not an easy joke. Teens have to suffer through it, parents have to labor through it. Though a dynamic period, the phase is marked by a series of physical, emotional and psychological changes. Children start realizing they are no more children and learn to cope with the adult world. Apart from changes in the self, teens face emotional issues and conflicts raised due to expectations from parents, peers and society. This makes teens go through physical and emotional ailments like sleeplessness, fatigue, anxiety and depression. There are also weight and skin issues which affects a teen’s personality among his or her peers.

Dealing with all these teen issues, demands patience and proper therapy. Aromatherapy can be a great respite for parents and teens dealing with adolescence. This article seeks to offer the various ways in which aromatherapy can be used to address teens’ problems.

Aromatherapy for teens:
Teenagers, as a way of coping with their problems, try to shutdown from the outside world and recline into themselves. They often become angry, irritated, impatient, provocative, aggressive so much so that they resort to drugs and alcohol to cope with these problems. You can use aromatic blends made using essential oils to help teens cope with their adolescent issues. To create these aromatic blends, mix the essential oils in a 10 oz container of vegetable oil.

1. Communication:
Add 3 drops of Sage oil, 4 drops of Lavender, and 2 drops of German Chamomile with vegetable oil. To aid teens in communication, apply this aromatic blend on the neck and shoulders or add 20 drops of it in bath water. Better, ask your teen to rub it on to palm and inhale deeply.

2. Anti-depressant: Add 3 drops of Ylang Ylang, 4 drops of Orange, 4 drops of Grapefruit with vegetable oil base and massage on to your teen’s solar plexus. This is an invigorating blend which will help your teen open up to problems and develop a positive attitude.

3. Sleep Problems: If your teen is having insomnia problems, prepare a blend with 2 drops of Roman Chamomile, 4 drops of Petitgrain, and 4 drops of basil with vegetable base oil. Massage the blend on  to neck, shoulders, temples and forehead or pour 20 drops of it into warm bath water and make your teen soak for at least 15 minutes.

4. Anger suppressant: If your teen is impatient, angry or aggressive more than usual, add 4 drops of Marjoram, 1 drop of Rose and 1 drop of Jasmine otto with vegetable base oil and massage on the heart chakra, sacrum and solar plexus.

5. Escapism: Encourage your teen to perform confidently and face issues with faith and hope with this blend. Add 4 drops of cedarwood, 3 drops of cypress and 3 drops of rosemary with base oil and massage on to sacrum and solar plexus. If possible, ask your teen to pour a few drops on the hands and inhale deeply.