Latin Name: cymbopogon winterianus Forms Available: essential oil
Citronella Oil is extracted from a resilient grass native to Sri Lanka and Java. It is a very aromatic perennial that grows approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in height.
With its slightly sweet, powerful and lemony scent, Citronella is often used in combination with Cedarwood to produce pleasant-smelling patio candles and torches. Its most useful quality seems to be as an insect repellant and may also help pets get rid of fleas. The University of Maryland Medical Center study on ‘Insect bites and stings’ talks about a study where “citronella candles reduced the number of female mosquitoes caught in traps by 35%; linalool candles reduced female mosquitoes by 65%; and geraniol candles reduced female mosquitoes by 82%”. Citronella essential oil has citronellal, linalool and geraniol content in it, thus making it the most effective insect repellent on earth.
Also known to clear the mind, it may be useful against headaches and migraines. Its deodorant and stimulating properties always refresh sweaty tired feet, activating the whole body. Blends well with citrus oils, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Used as an insecticide and antidepressant. Also known to clear the mind so may be useful against headaches and migraines. Its deodorant and stimulating properties always refresh sweaty tired feet, activating the whole body.
Other Uses: Promotes eloquence and prosperity, drawing friends and business.
Thought for the day:
I’m thankful to be breathing, on this side of the grass. Whatever comes, comes. -Ron Perlman
Latin Name: theobroma cacao Forms Available: butter
Cocoa butter is the fat which is obtained by hydraulic pressing of cocoa nib or cocoa mass obtained from the cocoa beans. It could be filtered or centrifuged. This is an all natural process and no solvents are used. It is used in balms lotions, creams, and soaps because of cocoa butter’s softening and skin-healing properties. Most lip balms and massage butters require cocoa butter for firmness. It’s the perfect oil for massaging daily into fast-growing pregnant bellies to prevent stretch marks from developing.
In soapmaking, cocoa butter should be used along with more easily absorbed unsaturated oils such as olive, jojoba, castor, or avocado. A soap made with too high a percentage of cocoa butter will be hard and prone to cracking. Limit cocoa butter to around 15% of your total fats and oils. Use it to counterbalance the stickiness of certain fats such as shea butter.
Aromatherapy & Health Uses: The perfect oil for massaging daily into fast-growing pregnant bellies to prevent stretch marks from developing.
Thought for the day:
Seeds and nuts are indispensable for cardiovascular health. The protective properties of nuts against coronary heart disease were first recognized in the early 1990s, and a strong body of literature has followed, confirming these original findings. -Joel Fuhrman.
Coconut oil is obtained from copra, the dried “meat” of coconut. Distillers separate the copra from the hull of the coconut. It is dried, crushed, and then expressed to remove the oil.
This coconut becomes liquid at 76 degrees. When cold, it becomes solid or semi-solid. This oil has a thick texture with no taste and no odor. A percentage of coconut oil in cosmetics is moisturizing; too much of it can be drying. Its saturated nature resists rancidity and makes a very hard soap, while at the same time producing a fluffy lather.
Coconut Oil contains beneficial lauric acid, which may be of particular benefit for immune-suppressed individuals. It is more heat stable than other plant based oils and does not create trans fatty acids when cooked at higher temperatures. Use for all higher heat applications, including stir frying – Maximum temperature of 375F or 190C. Excellent for baking, can be substituted for butter in most recipes. Use in blender drinks to add fuel and energy in the morning.
Forms Available: essential oil, ground, whole, leaf, flower, bud
Clove Bud Essential Oil is derived from the slender evergreen that grows up to 12 meters in height (approximately 36 feet). At the start of the rainy season, long buds appear that change color over time and are beaten from the trees and dried. These are the cloves sold that are sold commercially. The word ‘clove’ comes from the Latin word clavus, meaning nail, because the shaft and head of the clove bud resembled an ancient nail. Cloves were among the most precious of spices of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, and were worth more than their weight in gold. They continue to be used in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, western herbalism, and in dentistry.
Cloves have a strong spiciness that flavors foods and prevents nausea. The flowers are used to soothe aching eyes. Clove oil, from the distillation of leaves and flower buds, is an antiseptic numbing agent for toothache and indigestion. It is added to cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes.
Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Nausea; Flatulence; Asthma; Bronchitis; Arthritis; Rheumatism; Toothache; Diarrhea; Infections; as an Analgesic and Antiseptic; Insect Repellent. Key Qualities: Tonic; Stimulating; Revitalizing; Aphrodisiac; Warming; Comforting; Purifying; Active.
Other Uses: Use for: Divination; Love; Lust; Banishing; Releasing; Inspiration; Wisdom. Burn for Wealth; Purification; to ward negative thoughts; or to stop others from gossiping about you.
Thought for the day:
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin
Latin Name: abies alba Alternative Name: birth tree, silver fir Forms Available: essential oil, leaf, bark, wood, seed, sap
Fir Needle oil is extracted from the needle like leaves of Silver fir tree, scientifically known as Abies Alba, also known as Birth Tree. A Druid sacred tree, the Silver Fir grows to a height of 180 feet. This was the original Christmas tree from central Europe, chosen for its long lasting, aromatic needles. The bark resin is distilled to make Strassburg turpentine. The buds and leaves are distilled to make the expectorant and antiseptic Silver Pine needle oil, which is used in cough drops and asthma inhalations, and to give pine scent to toiletries.
Latin Name: juniperus communis Alternative Name: enegro, gemeiner wachholder, geneva, gin berry, ginepro, gin plant. Forms Available: essential oil, berry, twig
Juniper – juniperus communis – A Druid sacred tree, Juniper is an evergreen tree or shrub with needle-like leaves in threes and berrylike cones that ripen to blue-black in their second or third year.
Primarily a diuretic, the berries help digestive problems, gastrointestinal inflammations, and rheumatism. The berries are taken as a tea -simmer two teaspoons per cup of water for ten minutes; take up to one cup four times a day, or taken as jam or syrup in water, mild, or herb tea. The dry berries can be chewed; three a day is sufficient.
Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Acne; Dermatitis; Eczema; Hair Loss; Hemorrhoids; Wounds; Tonic for Oily Complexions; Accumulation of Toxins. Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac; Purifying; Clearing; Depurative; Nerve Tonic; Reviving; Protective; Restorative.
Other Uses: Probably one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean Witches. Its berries were used with thyme in Druid and grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung in the house to attract love.
Thought for the day:
The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. – By Moliere
Latin Name: lavandula. lavendula officinalis Alternative Name: elf leaf, nard, nardus, spike. Forms Available: essential oil, absolute, bud, powder, flower
The Lavender plant grows to about one meter in height and produces long thin purple- blue flowers. The entire plant is covered with oil glands, which are in the star shaped hairs that cover the plant. Lavender has been used since ancient times, and the Romans added lavender to their bath water, hence the name from the Latin lavare, ‘to wash’.
Indigenous to the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean areas, Lavender is also grown throughout the world including the United States, Australia, Southern Europe, France, India and other parts of Asia.
Lavender and Lavender essential oil have roots deeply vested in the historic healing of human beings. For more than 2500 years, Lavender has been used for therapeutic, culinary and beauty benefits in the cosmetic and personal hygiene industry.
Lavender – lavandula spp. – There are 28 species of these aromatic, evergreen, shrubby, perennials, all with small, linear leaves and spikes of fragrant, usually purple or blue, two-lipped flowers. Aromatic oil glands cover all aerial parts of the plants but are most concentrated in the flowers. The flowers flavor jams, vinegar, sweets, cream, and Provençal stews, and are crystallized for decoration. Dried flowers add long-lasting fragrance to sachets and potpourri. Flower water is a skin toner useful for speeding cell renewal and is an antiseptic for acne. Flower tea treats anxiety, headaches, flatulence, nausea, dizziness, and halitosis.
The essential oil is a highly valued perfume and healer. It is antiseptic, mildly sedative, and painkilling. It is applied to insect bites, and treats burns, sore throats and headaches. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have consumed up to 10 cups of lavender water a day to relieve migraines.
The oil is used for intestinal gas, migraine, and dizziness. Being antiseptic, lavender is added to healing salves. A tea of the leaf allays nausea and vomiting. Use two teaspoons per cup of water and steep for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup four times a day. Steep lavender blossoms in white wine and strain to make a natural antidepressant beverage. Lavender and rose petal vinagar is applied to the temples and brow to ease headache. Lavender oil is added to footbaths, eases toothaches and sprains, and is used as a rub for hysteria and palsy.
Other Uses: Lavender is strewn into bonfires at Midsummer as an offering to the Gods and Goddesses. An ingredient of love spells, its scent is said to attract men. Lavender in the home brings peace, joy and healing. The essential oil is included in health and love.
Thought for the day:
Come forth into the light of things, let Nature be your teacher. -by William Wordsworth
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that geraniol be limited to 5.3%, which translates into 17.5% Geranium oil (about 105 drops per ounce of any other carrier oils) for leave-on products like ointments, creams, and lotions. There is no restriction for body washes, shampoos, soaps, and other wash-off products because the oil does not remain on the skin.
Geranium is a hairy perennial shrub, often used in hedgerows, and will stand up to about one meter high (3 feet) with pointed leaves, serrated at the edges and with flowers that range from red to a pinkish white. Geranium plants originated in South Africa, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco and were introduced to European countries in the 17th century. The petals are used in gourmet jellies and confections, and the oil is widely used in scented topical applications.
Geranium Essential Oil is steam distilled from leaf. Sweet, heavy aroma, somewhat like rose with a minty overtone.
Geranium and its essential oil have been used in numerous alternative medicinal practices for healing wounds and fractures. It is said that the ancient Greeks used Geranium for treating skin problems. Egyptians used Geranium oil for enhancing the beauty and radiance of their skin.
This plant was grown around homes in the ancient times to keep away from evil spirits. Traditionally, Africans used Geranium oil in the treatment of cholera and tumors. Native American tribes in North America used Geranium tea prepared from the root powder to enhance the body’s immune power, and to treat ulcers and dysentery.
There are 250 natural species and thousands of cultivars and hybrid varieties of the Pelargonium plant family, in the genus Geraniaceae and the most popular ones are Egyptian Geranium, Reunion or the Geranium Bourbon and the Moroccan varieties. Most of the varieties have a similar structure of chemical constituents with Citronellol and Geraniol being the prevalent components.
Geranium Bourbon essential oil is certified with GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as Geranium oil is mild and tested safe on individuals on a normal prescribed usage level.
Using Geranium oil in a concentrated form or beyond the safe level of use might cause adverse skin reactions like mild irritation, sensitization (lower risk), rashes, allergy, irritation of the eyes and contact dermatitis. Geranium oil is non-phototoxic in nature.
The primary chemical constituents that are held responsible for the adverse skin reactions of Geranium oil are citronellal and geraniol, where citronellal is reported to exhibit mild irritant effect along with sporadic sensitization and skin irritation and Geraniol is claimed for skin sensitization.
The safe dermal usage level for this oil is 17.5% by IFRA (International Fragrance Association) and this safety report is based on the 30% Geraniol content, which has a maximum dermal limit of 5.3%.
Always blend Geranium essential oil in carrier oils like Olive oil, Jojoba oil or Coconut oil before using it topically. This is because organic and pure essential oils are extremely concentrated liquid substances that may impair the skin surface, when used in an undiluted form.
Essential oils are recommended only for external use and never ingest essential oils as it can cause serious health hazards. When administering Geranium oil orally in studies, acute dermal LD50 has been witnessed in rabbits. This may also cause possible drug interactions with antidiabetic medicines and the enzyme, CYP2B6 inhibiting effect of geraniol causes drug interaction metabolized by CYP2B6.
A recent study has witnessed this by testing alloxan-induced diabetic male rats with Geranium oil for about a month. The level of blood glucose was decreased by glibenclamide and the concentration of hepatic glycogen was significantly augmented.
As there are no evidenced reports on the safety of Geranium oil during pregnancy and lactating, it is safe to avoid this oil for it may have an impact on the hormonal fluctuations during these special moments. It is better to keep away Geranium oil from babies, either as a massage aid or for inhalation as it can harm their sensitive and tender skin.
Among its reputed aromatherapeutic properties are analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, cicatrisant, diuretic and insecticide. Calms anxiety, lifts the spirit, assists with depression. Useful for all conditions of the woman’s reproductive system as an inhalant and massage application, beneficial for PMS. May assist with menopausal problems such as vaginal dryness and heavy periods. Assists with breast inflammation. Helps clear the body of toxins and this may be helpful with addictions. Stimulates the lymphatic system which keeps infection at bay. Eases neuralgia. Indicated for all problems of the nervous system such as anxiety and nervous fatigue. The oil is a diuretic and a lymphatic stimulant which can help relieve congestion, fluid retention and swollen ankles. Useful for all skin conditions as it balances sebum. Good for oily skin. It’s an excellent remedy for burns, wounds and ulcers. Blends well with basil, bergamot, carrot seed, jasmine, lavender and rose.
Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Geranium Oil:
While there are no regulatory restrictions on the use of Scots Pine oil, the oxidation products of alpha-pinene and delta-3-carene can cause skin sensitization. Pine oil should be stored in dark bottles and cool locations to avoid oxidation. The use of antioxidants in formulations containing pine oil is also advised.
Originally from around the Mediterranean basin, this evergreen tree can grow up to 25 – 30 feet and the bark is a reddish-brown that is deeply fissured with needle-like leaves that grow in pairs, and pear-shaped cones. Historically it has been used in steam baths and massage oils.
The essential oil of Pine Scotch is said to cause mild skin irritation, contact dermatitis, sensitization, allergic reactions and irritation of the mucous membrane. It has been certified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FEMA (Flavouring Extract Manufacturers’ Association). The chief chemical components responsible for the adverse skin impacts of Pine Scotch oil are α-pinene, delta-3-carene and limonene, mainly due to their autoxidation effects.
As Pine scotch oil has the tendency to irritate the lining of the mucous membrane during inhalation, it is good to avoid this oil if you have asthma, allergies in the respiratory passages and bronchial disorders.
Never use Pine scotch oil in an undiluted form and make certain that you always blend essential oils with gentle carrier oils like coconut oil and olive oil, as organic essential oils are very concentrated and may cause negative effects on the eyes, skin and the body. Stay safe by using diluted Pine scotch oil and avoid using it on allergies, damaged skin, eyes and inflammatory skin conditions.
It is better to avoid the use of Pine scotch oil if you are pregnant or nursing as there is insufficient information on the safe use of this oil during these sensitive times when the system experience enormous changes in the hormonal functions.
These possible skin issues are applicable only for leave-on products like creams and lotions and not for rinse-off products like soaps, shampoos and other bath preparations.
Maximum dermal use level: 0.7% to avoid phototoxicity
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that Lime oil be limited to 0.7% (about 4 drops per ounce of any other carrier oils) for leave-on products like ointments, creams, and lotions used on skin exposed to sunlight. There is no restriction for body washes, shampoos, soaps, and other wash-off products because the oil does not remain on the skin.
Lime is a small evergreen tree that produces a small, sour fruit very similar to Lemon. The fruits themselves are green in color with a fleshy interior. Historically, limes were used to prevent sailors from developing scurvy.
Lime is indigenous to Asia and is now cultivated in numerous countries like America, West Indies and Italy. This evergreen tree bears white flowers and glittering green fruits. India is the largest Lime oil producing country in the world and Lime was introduced into Europe initially by the Moors and was then spread slowly to America. Lime essential oil is extracted by cold press method from the peel of the fruit.
The leaves of the Lime tree were used in the prehistoric period for treating poisonous bites and swellings. Apart from its medicinal uses, Lime has been used in making pickles, sauces, desserts, jams, confections, sorbets, marmalades, beverages, squashes, perfumes, household cleaners, detergents, soaps, cosmetics and other beauty products.
Lime essential oil has a photosensitizing effect that can cause irritation of the skin, allergic reactions, burning sensation, phytophotodermatitis, hyperpigmentation (change of skin color, visible especially in people with white skin complexion) and certain other effects. The photosensitizing effect can last up to 12 hours after application.
The primary chemical constituent responsible for the photo-carcinogenic, skin sensitizing and other topical effects of the essential oil of Lime is Limonene and certain other furanocoumarins.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives reveals about a skin condition called as phytophotodermatitis, induced by Lime, where a 24-year old nurse came up with red demarcated tender patches and crusted vesicles after squeezing fresh limes and going out in sun on a bright day.
Phytophotodermatitis is defined as a nonimmunologic eruption of the skin that occurs after its contact with phototoxic components in certain plant varieties and is then exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation through visible sunlight.
Few other studies also witness the effects of photosensitization of Lime and Lime-based products containing psoralens, paving the way for burns, blisters, bullae, eruption, erythematous vesicles, rashes, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It is also been said that in certain severe cases, systemic toxicity come with the rashes, which includes nausea, vomiting and fever.
Lime oil has also been reported to promote tumors, when tested on rats where most of the papillomas were benign and few were malignant.
The safe dilution level of Lime oil is 0.7%, which is 4.2 drops per ounce of any carrier oils as per the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This safe dilution level applies only for leave-on products like lotions and creams and is not applicable for wash-away products like soaps, shampoos and other bathing products.
Lime oil has ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’status by FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). As per the European regulatory body, essential oils with furanocoumarins must be used in such a way that the level of bergapten should not go beyond 15ppm (parts per million) in ready to use cosmetic products after which the skin is subjected to exposure of direct sunlight and this does not apply for wash-off products. The level of bergapten should be 1 ppm in bronzing and sun protection products.
For your information, Furocoumarins are also used in healing practices on par with long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for treating vitiligo, psoriasis and mycosis fungoides.
Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Lime Oil: