Argan Oil: Health Benefits for Your Skin, Heart, & Beyond

Nicknamed “liquid gold,” argan oil is renowned for its exemplary therapeutic and cosmetic properties. The oil comes from Morocco, but people around the world have traded it for its health benefits as early as the 6th century.

Argan oil can bring a lovely glow to your skin and hair, but it also may offer benefits inside your body — like your heart, liver, and blood, to name a few.

From balancing blood sugar and cholesterol to covering up the appearance of scars and acne, the range of benefits attributed to argan oil is as impressive as it is broad.

What Is Argan Oil?

Argan oil comes from the tender kernels inside the fruit of the slow-growing argan tree (Argania Spinosa). When argan oil began its boom in popularity, all-female collectives in southwest Morocco began making the oil.

The women gather together, harvest the fruits, smash the hard shells on stones, pick out the tender kernels inside, and press the fruit kernels to retrieve the oil. Finally, the argan oil is sold as is or turned into creams and other products.

Planting and tending argan trees also have environmental benefits: it helps reduce both climate change and desertification — a process where land becomes an unusable desert. The main argan forest in southwest Morocco is now an official biosphere reserve.

Unfortunately, the boom in argan oil’s popularity has led to aggressive harvesting techniques that injure the sensitive trees. Many larger companies have also eliminated the cooperatives, which play an important role in empowering women in a patriarchal society.

If you want to support a sustainably harvested, female-empowering product, look for Fair Trade Argan oil, especially one that is stamped with the UCFA (Union des Coopératives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie) seal to ensure women are receiving a fair price for their knowledge and work.

Top 6 Benefits of Using Argan Oil

Argan oil is not just for beauty. Modern scientific research has uncovered many of argan oil’s other promising benefits. Argan’s natural oils may soothe inflammation, nourish skin and body, speed up wound healing, and provide a barrier against harmful organisms.

In Northern Africa, it’s popular to drizzle roasted argan oil over bread and use it in cooking. Rich in vitamins A and E, fatty acids, and antioxidants, this amazing oil has benefits when taken internally or used topically. Dietary argan oil may be at least partially responsible for the fact that people who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet tend to have less heart disease; Morocco lies along the Mediterranean Sea.

Below are the top health benefits that argan oil offers.

1. Improves the Appearance of Acne & Scars

Did you know that it’s argan oil’s omega-6 and omega-9 content that reduces redness, swelling, and helps acne-prone skin?

People with acne may feel like putting oil on their skin could make it worse. The truth is, oils vary substantially from one another — and some, including argan oil, help reduce the appearance of acne.

You know that olive oil differs from motor oil, of course, but even plant-derived oils have many differences. For example, olive and coconut oil are moisturizing, while grapeseed and castor oils can decrease oiliness on the face. Argan oil falls right in between, providing moisture and protecting the skin with a barrier that deters the harmful organisms that contribute to acne breakouts.

Argan oil’s high omega-6 and omega-9 content also help reduce redness and swelling. Those with acne-prone skin are usually deficient in linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, which argan oil contains.

Fatty acids may speed up the healing of acne-related scarring and minimize signs of premature aging, such as crow’s feet and age spots. Argan oil’s comedogenic index of zero means it will never clog the skin’s pores or cause breakouts.

2. Promotes Elasticity & Skin Hydration

Argan oil’s high levels of vitamins A and E and its fatty acids deeply nourish skin. Applying argan oil improves your skin’s ability to retain water — also known as hydration — which helps with elasticity. Both hydration and elasticity make your skin look more youthful and healthy.

Argan oil can provide a barrier between your skin and dirt, germs, and toxins.

Argan oil may also boost your skin cells’ ability to regenerate. Applied topically, it can even reduce the greasy appearance of oily skin.

Researchers also discovered that skin exposed to argan oil experienced changes at a cellular level, allowing it to act as a barrier to dirt, germs, and free radicals.

3. Boosts Heart Health

Some people use argan oil for its additional health benefits — notably for the heart. Studies show that consuming food-grade argan oil works just as well as extra virgin olive oil at promoting good cholesterol (HDL) levels, normalizing bad cholesterol (LDL), and balancing triglyceride levels in the blood.

Argan oil consumption also boosted antioxidant levels circulating in people’s bloodstream — which makes sense since the oil contains high levels. Antioxidants fight against free radical damage in your cells, minimizing oxidative stress. This liquid gold also promotes normal blood pressure.

Cholesterol is a major predictor of heart disease, as are high blood pressure and triglycerides. Promoting normal levels of these indicators helps keep your heart healthy.

4. Supports Liver Health

Consuming argan oil supports liver health and may even protect against invasion by harmful organisms and toxins.

Research shows that argan oil helps liver genes stay active, which allows damaged livers to recover.

One study looked into how argan oil helped laboratory mice with damaged livers recover more quickly. The oil worked at the cellular and genetic level, influencing which genes “express” or turn on. Specifically, it helped liver genes stay active, thus promoting better liver health.

Argan oil also helps normalize insulin resistance, which plays a role in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

5. Promotes Normal Insulin & Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin resistance is a condition where your cells do not absorb the hormone insulin well. Insulin helps regulate your blood sugar levels, so if your cells become insulin-resistance, blood sugar rises, causing all sorts of metabolism problems.

Studies suggest that taking argan oil internally not only helped both healthy and diabetic laboratory animals maintain normal blood sugar levels, but it also helped balance insulin resistance.

These properties are likely why the local people in Morocco prize the oil, according to the researchers.

6. Protects Against Cell Proliferation

Thanks to its high antioxidant levels, argan oil helps protect skin from free radicals and UV radiation.

Argan oil contains high levels of tocopherols, a form of vitamin E, as well as oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Taken internally, it helps the body at a cellular level, even decreasing the risk of excess cell proliferation that can lead to serious diseases.

In various studies, argan oil has helped with skin, colon, bladder, and prostate conditions.

Popular Argan Oil Uses

When applied topically, argan oil has important cosmetic benefits for the skin and hair. It is a sought-after natural remedy with healing, anti-aging, and antibacterial properties.

Natural Skin Care

Below are some of the benefits your skin will reap from this powerhouse oil, as well as some simple ways to use it.

Improve the Appearance of Stretch Marks

Thanks to its high vitamin A and E content, argan oil keeps your skin well-hydrated and improves its strength and elasticity, which in turn helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

How to Use: After showering and exfoliating your skin, gently rub a few drops onto areas like the hips, thighs, and stomach — the areas most prone to developing stretch marks. Massage the oil into your skin twice a day, including once before bedtime.

Moisturize & Improve Skin Elasticity

Whether you have oily, combination, or dry skin, you can use pure argan oil as an all-over face and body moisturizer. You can even apply 100 percent pure argan oil directly on your face, lips, and around your eyes. For best results, massage it onto your body right after showering or bathing, paying special attention to any dry patches.

How to Use: Add a few drops of argan oil to a carrier oil, like organic olive, coconut, or other seed oil — this helps a little goes a long way. You can also soothe razor bumps and ingrown hairs after shaving by applying the oil directly over the affected area.

Reduce the Appearance of Acne

Argan oil is non-greasy and won’t clog pores, so it’s a great natural way to add moisture and provide balance to inflamed, acne-affected skin.

How to Use: Cleanse your skin and pat it dry. Put a few drops of pure oil into your palm and, using your fingers, lightly dab it directly onto problem areas. Repeat twice daily.

Protect & Soften Hair

This nourishing, non-greasy oil increases the shine and overall healthy appearance of hair while repairing split ends and smoothing flyaways.

By coating the hair shaft, argan oil reduces drying and damage and makes hair less prone to breakage. Argan oil can also help to seal in hair dyes, increasing the length of time needed between colorings. It may even promote faster hair growth.

How to Use: Add five drops into your normal shampoo or conditioner, massage it into your hair, and rinse it out with warm water. For a deep conditioning boost, coat your hair with 10 drops from root to tip and leave it on overnight with a shower cap over it. This will allow deep penetration into your hair and alleviate frizziness or dryness. In the morning, rinse it out with warm water and style as usual.

Moisturize Nail Cuticles

Ward off painful hangnails and other issues associated with poor nail health by applying a few drops of argan oil on your fingernails and toenails. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities make it an excellent moisturizer and conditioner for both the nail bed and cuticles.

How to Use: To do a cuticle treatment, first, remove all nail polish and rinse your hands and feet thoroughly. Rub a drop of the oil onto each one of your nails and massage it into the cuticles in a circular motion. Leave it on to absorb.

Relieves Tired Feet

Argan oil can soothe dry, cracked skin on your feet and heels. This hydrating moisturizer is full of antioxidants that can prevent further dryness, soften calluses, and make rough feet soft and smooth again.

How to Use: Slather your feet with as many drops as needed to fully cover the area, and put on a pair of socks for at least 30 minutes (but preferably overnight). After removing the socks, use a warm washcloth to remove any excess oil from your soles.

Precautions & Side Effects

Ensure the argan oil you use is not only fresh but also certified organic. This will ensure you avoid chemicals in your beauty products, such as pesticides. Its odor should smell light, fresh, and nutty. Store it in a dark bottle because exposure to light will cause it to oxidize, or decay.

Fairtrade-certified argan oil ensures that the product you purchase goes to help support women artisans in Morocco in an environmentally sustainable and female-empowering manner. Be aware that poor quality argan oil may contain harmful solvents from chemical extraction techniques. Most beauty products that are not 100 percent pure argan oil use this solvent-extraction method, so buyer beware.

For topical application, look for cold-pressed, responsibly-sourced, additive-free argan oil. If you take argan oil internally, only use food-grade oils. People have used argan as food and applied it to the skin for centuries in Morocco, and according to experts, there are few side effects.

Rarely, people experience sensitivity from skin application; if you break out in a rash, discontinue use. Some people also experience an upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea. When taking an argan oil oral supplement, some people experience confusion, excitement, agitation, or difficulty sleeping. If you experience any of these reactions, see your healthcare provider right away.

Points to Remember

Dubbed “liquid gold,” argan oil is one of the most prized beauty and health potions in the world. Moroccans have used it for centuries as a topical therapy to beautify and improve the appearance of skin, acne, hair loss, psoriasis, and eczema.

Argan oil is the secret to healthy, moisturized hair, and you’ll find it in many popular skin and hair products. Make sure to be aware that most beauty products use solvent extraction. If you want the benefits of this product without chemicals, buy 100 percent pure argan oil and add it to your shampoo or directly to your skin.

When taken internally, argan oil may help balance cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. It has valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For best results, make sure to purchase only argan oil that is cold-pressed, additive-free, and organic.

To make sure you purchase responsibly harvested argan that supports female collectives, rather than aggressive harvesting techniques, look for fair-trade-certified products.

Your Guide to Vegan Skin Care

Today it’s easier than ever to choose a lifestyle that aligns with your health goals and ethical choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you avoid meat and fish and opt instead for plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet takes things a step further, eschewing all products associated with animals, including animal-derived ingredients like milk, eggs, and honey.

For homemade natural beauty recipes, which often use dairy as a base for creams and lotions, finding a non-animal option may seem tricky But we actually have quite a few plant-derived substances from which to choose, whether it’s agave, natural plant oils like olive or grape seed, or nut milk. These types of ingredients can help you maintain beautiful skin and healthy, shiny hair – without having to compromise your values. Here are a few all-natural, all- vegan recipes to get you started.

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Shea Butter Body Lotion

From the African shea tree {Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii}, shea butter is an ivory-colored natural fat used much like cocoa butter, with a mild, almost musty fragrance. In cosmetics, it acts as a moisturizer and emollient and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all types of skin conditions, from scars to chapped lips, and it’s helpful in treating acne because it’s easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky residue. It also provides mild UV protection from the sun {but should never serve as a replacement for your sunscreen}. You can find it in natural food stores in the skincare section.

1/2 cup distilled water

1/8 tsp borax powder

1/4 cup shea butter

1/2 cup almond oil

Bring water to a boil. Place borax powder in a clean, heat-proof bowl, and pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, combine oil and shea butter and gently heat the mixture until melted, stirring to mix. Transfer this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on low, slowly adding the hot water solution in a slow, steady stream. Then blend on high until well-mixed. You should have a milky-white lotion. Pour the mixture into a clean container to cool.

To Use Massage into skin. Yields: 6 ounces.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Several plant oils and waxes work great as substitutes for beeswax or lanolin to soothe dry, cracked lips. The shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil in this recipe provides lips with natural shine and protection against the element.

1/2 tsp castor oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1/2 tsp cocoa butter

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil for flavor {optional}

In a heat-resistant bowl or small saucepan, combine all ingredients and gently heat until melted. {This may be done in the microwave, but be careful not to boil the mixture.} Stir well and pour into a small container. Let cool completely.

To Use Spread on your lips with a clean fingertip. Yield: .75 ounce.

Coconut Oil Body Polish

This scrub is perfect for skin that needs some exfoliation, but also a bit of TLC. The raw sugar exfoliates the skin while the coconut oil helps deeply condition it. After using this treatment, your skin should feel softer and smoother.

1 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

2-3 drops essential oil {lavender, rosemary, peppermint} optional

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture into your skin. {Be careful: the oil can make the tub slippery.} Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 8 ounces.

Easy Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos have become a popular alternative to regular “wet” shampoos, proving especially helpful after a workout during the day or when traveling. But spray-on dry shampoos can contain a wealth of questionable ingredients, when, in fact, all you really need is one tablespoon of either baking soda, cornstarch, or rice powder. That’s it…

To Use: Simply massage the powder directly onto your scalp and through your hair. You may want to lean over a sink as you apply the powder. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, and then, using a clean, dry brush, vigorously brush your hair, using long strokes, to remove all of the powder.

Reading the Labels

Our skin is our largest organ, and what you use on it does affect your overall health. One advantage of making your own cosmetic products and treatments is that it puts you in control of the ingredients you use and apply to your skin. Of course, you don’t always have time to make all of your skincare products from scratch. So, knowing how to accurately read the labels of store-bought products becomes important.

To start, the term “natural” on the label is meaningless – there’s no authority that monitors this claim. Therefore, you really need to take an eagle eye to the back of the product. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage: if the first ingredient is water, that means water is the most prominent ingredient. You may see a product that boasts a desirable ingredient on the front label, only to find that it’s the last ingredient listed.

Some ingredients such as “sodium chloride” may sound scary {at least to those who’ve long forgotten their chemistry lessons}, but are, in fact, completely natural {sodium chloride is table salt}. Manufacturers often use scientific or Latin names for basic ingredients, but a quick search online can reveal the common name and whether it’s an ingredient you want to put on your skin.

Vegans may not realize that some of their favorite products actually contain ingredients they wish to avoid. Here’s a quick list of animal-derived substances.

  • Aspic: an industry alternative to gelatin; made from clarified meat or fish
  • Casein: a protein derived from milk
  • Cod liver oil: found in lubricating creams and lotions
  • Collagen: taken from the bones and connective tissues of animals; used in cosmetics to help skin retain water and keep it supple
  • Elastin: similar use as collagen; derived from the neck ligaments and aorta of cows
  • Gelatin/Gelatine: for smooth skin and to add gloss to hair; obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs
  • Keratin: used for hair and as an anti-aging skin care ingredient; obtained from sheep wool or from the skin, hooves, and horns of animals
  • Lactose: a sugar derived from milk
  • Propolis: used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties to treat breakouts and protect skin; created by bees in the construction of their hives
  • Royal Jelly: an anti-aging ingredient; comes from secretions of the throat gland of the honeybee
  • Shellac: found in hair lacquer; obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect, Tachardia lacca
  • Vitamin D3: found in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics; made from fish-liver oil
  • Whey: a byproduct of cheese making
  • Cochineal dye or carminic acid: adds red color; comes from the cochineal insect
  • Ambergris: adds scent and/or color; derived from whales

Garden Fresh Vegan Cologne

This fragrance uses fresh vegetable and herb leaves to create a light, summer-garden scent. Try it as an after-bath or after-shave splash – or anytime you need an aromatic boost.

4 Tbls fresh tomato leaves, chopped

1 Tbls fresh lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil leaves

1 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 cup witch hazel

Place all of the fresh leaves and lemon zest inside a clean jar or bottle. Pour the witch hazel over; shake gently. Cover the bottle top and let it sit in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Strain the liquid and discard any solids. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean bottle.

To Use: Apply as you would any cologne product. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day if kept in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 ounces.

Avocado Facial Mask

Fresh avocados are a classic facial mask ingredient full of natural fats and protein to help stimulate your skin’s own natural production of oil, helping to smooth out rough, dry skin. All skin types can benefit from an avocado facial. Make sure to save the pit; you can grind it up and use it in body scrub recipes, and if you live somewhere warm, you can plant it to have your own little avocado tree.

1/2 fresh avocado, mashed

1 Tbls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

To Use: Spread the mask on a clean face and neck and let sit for 15 minutes. {Take this moment to relax!} Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Yield: 3 ounces, enough for one treatment.

Vegan Substitutions

Need to find a substitute for an ingredient in one of your beauty recipes? Several plant substances serve as effective replacements for some common ingredients derived from animals.

  • Beeswax: Heavy plant waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, and oils like coconut can stand in for beeswax, which is used to thicken creams, lotions, and lip balms and help protect your skin. Cocoa and shea butters also work well.
  • Dairy: Today, you can find a wide variety of plant and nut milks to replace animal dairy called for in beauty recipes.
  • Egg white: This part of the egg provides astringent and cleansing qualities for oily skin types, but cucumber, chamomile tea, and aloe vera gel will work similarly.
  • Egg yolks: Full of lecithin, egg yolks help with dry skin conditions, but you can replace them with soy lecithin or use a rich oil such as coconut and olive instead.
  • Honey: In place of honey to cleanse and moisturize your skin look to molasses, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Lanolin: Found in sheep’s wool, lanolin can be replaced with rich plant oils such as soy, almond, and avocado.

 

Rose Hips and Rose Hip Tea

The rose hips or fruits of different species of the rose plant have always had a significant place in natural medicine, as they are very rich in vitamin C content. The color of these rose hips varies from dark red to bright scarlet and their shapes differ too. While some of the rose hips may be ovoid in appearance, there are others that are pear-shaped. Basically, the rose hips are collected from the variety of the rose plant called the dog rose or Rosa canina. However, herbalists prefer the larger rose hips of the Japanese rose called R. rugosa. Even other varieties of the rose plant, including R. acicularis as well as R. cinnamon, are also valued greatly. Incidentally, all these different varieties of rose plants belong to the Rosaceae family.
As mentioned earlier, the rose hips or the fruits of the different varieties of the rose plants enclose the high quantity of vitamin C and hence are of great value to the practitioners of herbal medicine. In fact, the rose hips are used to prepare teas, purees, extracts, marmalades, and even soups and all these are consumed as nourishment’s as they contain lots of vitamin C. Extracts from the rose hips are generally included in several natural vitamin mixtures like tablets, capsules, syrups and many other similar things. Interestingly, manufacturers of most such vitamin amalgams are always careful about never mentioning the proportion of vitamin obtained from rose hips and from artificial ascorbic acid. The rose hips are known to possess properties that help in preventing as well as healing scurvy (a disease caused by vitamin deficiency). In addition, the rose hips also have gentle laxative and diuretic effects which help in the movement of bowels and increasing the urine outflow from the body respectively.
Chemical analysis of the rose hips has shown that they contain 0.5 to 1.7 percent vitamin C. However, the real content of vitamin C in the commercially available dried rose fruits varies depending on the accurate botanical source of the plant from which the rose hips have been acquired. For instance, the quantity of vitamin C present in these commercially available dried rose hips is influenced by factors like the place where the rose plant was grown, the time of harvesting the rose hips, the manner in which the fruits were dried, where and how the dehydrated rose hips were stored and other things like these. It has been often found that many commercial varieties of the rose plant material contain little or no traces of vitamin C at all. Even though we may take it for granted that the commercial varieties of the rose hips available in the market possess approximately one percent of vitamin C on an average and the entire vitamin is available in the end product, at least, one proposal does not seem to be convincing. As the present cost of vitamin C acquired from the rose hips is at least 25 times more than the artificial product, it is not feasible for the manufacturers to add enough of the natural substance in their products.
In addition to substantial proportions of vitamin C, the rose hips possess several other chemical amalgams which comprise 11 percent of pectin and three percent of a blend of malic and citric acids. Researchers are of the view that the presence of malic acid and citric acid contributes to the rose hips’ laxative and diuretic effects. As a consequence, physicians frequently recommend the use of rose hips or preparations with it to treat constipation and urinary problems.
Over the centuries, gardeners across the globe have admired and loved the rose flowers that are undoubtedly elegant as well as aromatic. At the same time, the gardeners have also held the hips or the fruits of the rose plant in high esteem for its numerous medicinal benefits. The rose hips vary from oval to round to pear-shaped in appearance and they appear either in the latter part of summer or during the fall. Interestingly, in reality, the rose hips are not fruits, but receptacles or containers that enclose the actual fruits of the rose plant. The actual rose fruit is known as ‘seeds’ or ‘achenes’.
Long ago, people thought the rose hips to be sacred. This is corroborated by the fact that during the Middle Ages, the rosary of the Catholics was made from rose hips and hence they were called rosary. These rosaries were used to count the prayers as they were also being said. Even today, the beads of the rosary used by the Catholics resemble the rose hips and as the fruits of different species of the rose plant, these modern-day beads are also smooth and elongated in appearance.
Here is an important point to note. Compared to the hybrids, it is generally easier to take care of the different original species of the rose plant. In addition, the original species of the rose also generate more tender and fleshy hips that are best for consumption. If you intend to use the rose for culinary as well as decorative purposes, you should go for the original species of the rose and cultivate them in your garden. On the other hand, if you fancy the climbing variety of the rose and also want them to fruit generously, never ever trim or prune the plants soon after their blossoming season in summer.
It may be mentioned here that if not harvested, the rose hips generally remain on the plant all through the early part of the winter or till the birds, rabbits, and field rodents have either eaten them up or stored them somewhere for future use. Owing to the high intensity of ascorbic acid present in them, the rose hips stimulating tart taste that is very much fruit-like. In fact, fresh rose hips enclose as much as 60 times the quantity of vitamin C contained in the oranges and the rugosa roses. The rugosa rose bears comparatively large round shaped fruits and are known to contain rich proportions of vitamin C.
In addition to being a beautiful and aromatic flower, the rose is also beneficial as remedies for several disorders. The leaves, as well as the petals of the rose plant, provide a comforting effect and if ingested as a tea, can diminish body temperature during high fevers. The tea prepared with rose petals and leaves is also effective in cleansing toxins and heat from the body, particularly when they give rise to rashes on the skin and inflammatory (swelling and irritation) problems. Several researched have shown that the rose also possesses properties that increase the body’s immunity and helps to restrict all kinds of infections from becoming larger problems. This is possible owing to the rose’s cleansing or purification properties.
An infusion prepared with rose petals may be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. At the same time, the infusion is effective in treating sore throats, runny nose as well as congested bronchial tracts. On the other hand, infusion or syrup prepared with rose hips is beneficial in reinforcing the lungs to combat all kinds of infections and is especially useful for those who suffer from chest problems. At the same time, roses are also effective in combating infections in the digestive system and restoring the normal and essential bacteria in the intestines. The petals and seeds of the rose have a diuretic effect and are beneficial in relieving excessive fluids from the urinary bladder. This way, they also help in getting rid of the waste and toxic substances in the body through the kidneys. Hence, the rose is also considered to be an effective cleanser and purifier.
Like the rose hips, the petals of the rose flowers also have numerous remedial uses. For instance, the rose petals are effective in relieving congestion in the female reproductive system. In addition, the rose petals may also be used to treat the excessive accumulation of fluid in the urinary tract and thereby alleviate pains and, in women, heavy periods. Physicians also recommend the use of rose petals to treat erratic menstrual periods, infertility as well as to perk up sexual desire in individuals.
An infusion prepared from the rose petals acts as a useful astringent and is effective for treating diarrhea, enteritis, and dysentery. It may be noted here that tea prepared from rose petals may be used as a laxative to clear bowel movement. At the same time, the rose petal tea is also an effective medication for the liver and enhances the flow of bile, invigorates as well as purifies the liver and the gallbladder. It also helps in alleviating problems related to lethargic liver like headaches and constipation.
Rose hips, as well as the petals of the rose flowers, possess inspiring as well as reconditioning effects on the nervous system. They are also capable of alleviating the problems of insomnia, do away with depression, drive out fatigue and also offer comfort in conditions such as tetchiness.
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Applications

Different parts of the rose plant are useful for different purposes and hence they have different applications. The rose hips or fruits of the rose plant, flowers, and even the petals are beneficial in some way or the other and used by people as a tincture, syrup, essential oil, cream, lotion, rosewater, massage oil, gargle, and decoction.
Rose hips – R. canina:
 The rose hips (R.canina) or the fruits of the plant are used as tincture as well as syrup to treat different ailments.
TINCTURE: The tincture prepared from rose hips (R. canina) are ingested as an astringent (a medicine the draws affected tissues closer) to treat diarrhea, alleviate colic or stomach pains and is also blended with cough medicines.
SYRUP: The syrup prepared from the rose hips (R. canina) is used to provide flavor to other medicines, mostly the bitter and bland ones. The syrup is also blended in cough mixtures or may be ingested as a rich source of vitamin C.
Rose hips – R. laevigata:
 Medications prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) are normally ingested to treat stomach disorders. They may be applied as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) may be blended with other herbs like dang shen, bai zhu and shan Yao and ingested to treat insistent diarrhea that is accompanied with stomach flaw.
Essential oil – R. centifolia / R. Damascena:
 The essential oil (R. centifolia / R. damascene) extracted from the rose hips or the fruits of the rose plant are basically beneficial to treat skin and stomach conditions. This oil is normally used externally and applied as a cream, lotion, oil and massage oil.
CREAM: A few drops of the oil extracted from rose hips may be added to creams to heal parched or irritating skin.
LOTION: One ml of the tincture prepared with another herb lady’s mantle may be blended with 10 ml of rosewater to treat itching in the vagina. Use the same blend to prepare a cream by following a standard base. Blend the rosewater with the equivalent proportion of purified witch hazel and use it as a comforting and moisturizing lotion to treat skin that is inclined to be affected by pimples or acne.
OIL: Bathe with water containing two drops of the oil extracted from the rose hips to get relief from depression or melancholy, grief, and/ or insomnia.
MASSAGE OIL: To avail relief from anxiety and fatigue add approximately two ml of rose oil to 20 ml of almond or wheat germ oil and massage the same on the forehead and other parts of the body. The same blend may be used to alleviate lethargic digestion.
 Flowers – R. rugosa:
 The rose flowers (R. rugosa) is helpful for treating menstrual and liver disorders and may be ingested as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose flowers (R. rugosa) may be blended with another herb motherwort and ingested for treating heavy menstruation. On the other hand, when the decoction is blended with herbs like Bai Shao Yao and Xiang fu, it provides an effective medication for liver dysfunction.
 Petals – R. gallica:
 The petals of the rose flower (R. gallica) are beneficial in treating menstruation and stomach disorders. A tincture prepared with them may be used as a gargle for throat infections.
TINCTURE: Ingesting approximately three ml of a tincture prepared with rose petals thrice daily is helpful in treating diarrhea as well as sluggish absorption of food. When the same tincture is blended with other herbs like the lady’s mantle, white dead-nettle or shepherd’s purse, the medication is effectual for treating erratic or intense menstruation.
GARGLE: When the tincture prepared with rose petals is diluted with warm water, it may be used as a gargle to heal aching throats. The tincture may also be blended with another herb sage for a similar application.

Rose bowl

  • 4 cups bone-dry rose petals
  • 2 cups dried rose leaves
  • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups dried lavender buds
  • 1/3 cup orrisroot powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup ground cloves
  • 2 ground tonka beans
  • 6 drops oil of roses
  • 3 drops oil of lavender
Combine all the dry ingredients, mix well, and add the oils, a drop at a time, mixing as you work. Seal into a jar, and cure for 6 weeks in a dry, dark, warm place that is well ventilated. Shake the jar daily. When cured, turn the potpourri into a decorative container with a tightly stoppered lid. Open only when the potpourri is in use.
rose hip tea

Rose Hip Tea

It’s amazing what I find on my walks around my neighborhood. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where blackberry bushes are literally everywhere and fruit trees grow on almost every street. We’re talking figs, various varieties of plums, apples, and pears. Gorgeous curbside gardens overflowing with kale, chard, and tomatoes are the norm. Artichokes are growing on street corners. Seriously, people, I live in a city that’s full of incredible food! And the best part is that gardeners are willing to share it! It’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. Just the other day, I came home with at least eight pounds worth of fruit just picked from some neighbors’ trees. I’m a lucky girl.

On one of my walks yesterday, I came across a gorgeous wild rose bush that was bursting with these gorgeous ruby orbs. They’re called rose hips, and while they may not be the first to come to mind when you think of edible fruits, they certainly are a fruit that’s worth looking for. Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the rose blossoms after their petals have fallen off. Cool, right? Heck, I’d take a bouquet of rose hips over their flowered counterpart any day!

So why should we be eating rose hips? Well, upon doing a little research, I discovered that these little red fruits are incredibly nutritious. Apparently, just a single teaspoon of rose hip pulp provides more Vitamin C than an orange, making it an excellent immune system booster. Rose hips are also incredibly high in beta carotene (thanks to their incredible reddish-orange color). Beta carotene is essential for maintaining gorgeous skin and healthy cells. It’s astonishing how high the antioxidant content of rose hips is! I even read that rose hips are clinically proven to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Those are some powerful fruits, I tell ya.

Rose hips can be eaten fresh (after the seeds have been scooped out) or they can be dried and stored for later use. I’ve seen recipes for rose hip jams, syrups, and tinctures. In fact, there is even a traditional Swedish rose hip soup that is quite popular during the cold winter months to help fend off colds and flu. Here, I chose to make a simple rose hip tea to really enjoy their health benefits. Depending on the variety of rose, the hips will vary slightly in appearance and flavor. The rose hips I found were from a rugosa rose bush, which is known for having the biggest, most vibrantly colored rose hips. Overall, they have a mildly tart taste and remind me a bit of the flavor of cherry tomatoes.

There are a few ways to make rose hip tea. I chose to steep the rose hips in a teapot of boiling water for about 20-30 minutes, but you can also simmer them on the stove in water for the same amount of time until they break up and form a pulp. Either way works, just strain the pulp before drinking the tea. And of course, you can eat the pulp, as well!

Fresh Rose Hip Tea (makes 2 cups)

10-12 fresh rose hips, seeds removed
2 cups boiling water
1. Put the rose hips in a teapot or French press. Pour boiling water over them, cover, and let steep for your desired amount of time. (See note above).
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or push the plunger of the French press.  I pressed on the rose hips to release more of their goodness. Sweeten the tea with honey, if desired. And eat the rose hips, if you’d like an extra boost of Vitamin C!

About Essence by Ashley November

I believe there is only one way to beautiful, nature’s way. I have believed this for years and still do. Constantly seeking out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and bring you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality. And while I’m doing this, I always strive to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it. I don’t do it this way because it’s fashionable. I do it because, to me, it’s the only way.

Floral-Bath-Salts-Tutorial

Just like the skin cells on your face, the cells on your body regularly shed to reveal new, healthier skin underneath. That turnover process slows as we get older; to give it a nudge, reach for a body scrub.

A scrub works in a few ways: As you massage it over your body, the exfoliating granules help to slough off dead skin, and the rubbing action itself boosts circulation and helps drain your lymph nodes, by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface. Plus, after all, that deep cleansing work in the shower, your post-wash moisturizer will be better able to soothe and hydrate your skin.

But another important benefit of using a scrub is how good it can feel at the moment. Being mindful of the refreshing texture against your skin and captivating scent that fills the shower allows you to enjoy the treatment as it’s happening—an experience that can lift your mood and affect your outlook as you continue your day or evening.

Types of Body Scrubs

Typically, a body scrub has larger exfoliating particles than a facial scrub as the skin on your body isn’t as delicate. Common ingredients in store-bought scrubs are salt, sugar, and crushed nut shells, and some include chemically exfoliates, like alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, which can help smooth and firm skin, and salicylic acid, which can help improve the appearance of blemishes or redness. You can make your own buffing scrub with ingredients like olive oil, honey, raw sugar, ground cloves, oatmeal, and even ground coffee. Adding your favorite essential oils to the mixture transforms your shower into an aromatherapy session.

Try this homemade scrub:

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white or brown sugar
½ cup ground oatmeal (or coffee grounds for a more invigorating scrub)
1-3 drops essential oil (try lavender, almond, citrus or peppermint oils)

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a mason jar or other airtight container. Use just a quarter-sized amount at a time, storing the scrub in a dry place for up to three weeks.

If you’d rather stick with a smooth shower gel, using a loofah or exfoliating cloth can provide the cleansing scrub your skin needs. Experiment with various products and tools to find a scrub and technique that feels the best on your skin.

How to Use a Body Scrub

If your skin is healthy and firm, you can use a shower scrub up to three times a week. But if you have sensitive or thin skin, limit a good buffing to once a week.

Hold off on running the water in the shower and spend a few minutes using your hands or scrubbing tool to rub your scrub in circular motions onto dry skin for full and longer-lasting coverage. Turn on the water and rinse, using your hands to help remove any remaining granules. If you’re short on time, massage the scrub all over your body and rinse during your normal shower routine.

Be careful not to over scrub. Though your body skin is heartier than the skin on your face, it is susceptible to irritation. Always moisturize after you’ve dried off for smooth, nourished skin.

Do you use a self-tanner? Try a non-oily body scrub before applying any tanning lotion to guarantee an even application. By removing the dead skin cells, you’ll avoid splotches and dark spots, especially around your knees and elbows. Body scrubs are also great for removing self-tanner from your body.

When Not to Use a Body Scrub

If you have a sunburn or are experiencing a rash or other skin condition, give the body scrub a rest. Some of the ingredients—and the actual rubbing—could further irritate your skin. You’ll also want to skip it after shaving if your scrub contains salt or any chemical ingredients.

What Are Carrier Oils? Benefits and Uses

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Plant Therapy Carrier Oils

WHAT ARE CARRIER OILS?

Carrier Oils have been used since the time of ancient Greece and Rome when aromatic oils were used in massages, baths, cosmetics, and medicinal applications. In the 1950s, Marguerite Maury, the first person to use individually prescribed combinations of essential oils for the individual’s desired therapeutic benefits, began diluting essential oils in a vegetable Carrier Oil and massaging them into the skin by using a Tibetan technique that applies pressure along the spine.

“Carrier Oil” is a term generally used in the contexts of aromatherapy and cosmetic recipes for natural skin and hair care.  It refers to base oils that dilute essential oils before topical application, as the latter is much too potent to apply directly to the skin.

Despite also being referred to as vegetable oils, not all Carrier Oils are derived from vegetables; many are pressed from seeds, nuts, or kernels. Carrier Oils have also earned the moniker “fixed oils,” due to the fact that they remain fixed on the skin. This means that, unlike essential oils, they do not quickly evaporate from the skin’s surface or have the strong, natural scent of plants, which makes them ideal for controlling essential oil concentration and reducing the strength of an essential oil’s aroma without altering its therapeutic properties.

A Carrier Oil is a vital aspect of an aromatherapy massage or a natural cosmetic such as a bath oil, body oil, cream, lip balm, lotion, or other moisturizer, as it can affect the usefulness of the massage and the color, scent, therapeutic properties, and shelf life of the final product, respectively. By providing the lubrication required for a massage, the light, and non-sticky Carrier Oils effectively allow the hands to glide easily over the skin while penetrating the skin and carrying the essential oils into the body. Carrier Oils can also prevent the potential irritation, sensitization, redness, or burning that can be caused by the undiluted use of Essential Oils, Absolutes, and CO2 Extracts.

COMPOSITION OF CARRIER OILS

Each Carrier Oil is comprised of different components that demonstrate distinct characteristics, such as color, viscosity, and penetration speed while offering variable combinations of therapeutic properties; thus, they have valuable effects even when used on their own. Carrier Oils generally contain components such as fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that improve the look and feel of skin and hair by adding moisture, soothing irritation, and reducing the effects of dryness. The choice of a Carrier Oil is dependent on the desired result.

Though not all the constituents listed below apply to all Carrier Oil varieties, these are the main constituents in most varieties:

MINERALS are known to:

  • Brighten dull complexions
  • Protect against environmental stressors
  • Balance oil production while remaining gentle on sensitive skin
  • Encourage exfoliation
  • Firm and tighten skin for a smoother appearance
  • Maintain skin’s moisture level

VITAMINS are known to:

  • Maintain and repair vital skin tissue
  • Control acne
  • Reduce lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrate skin to promote a healthy glow
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Even out skin tone

STEROLINS are known to:

  • Reduce age spots
  • Repair sun damaged skin
  • Minimize the appearance of scars
  • Moisturize and soften skin and hair

OLEIC ACIDS are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACIDS are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce the chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

VITAMIN E is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant activity, which delays the appearance of the symptoms of aging such as wrinkles
  • Repair and improve the appearance of damaged tissue

LECITHIN is known to:

  • Soften and soothe the skin and hair
  • Keep dry, brittle skin and hair hydrated, thus restoring the moisture and luster
  • Increase circulation and thereby enhance the health and strength of the hair and skin

PHYTOSTEROLS are known to:

  • Boost collagen production
  • Relieve skin of sun damage
  • Promote the growth of newer, firmer skin
  • Boost immunity
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and other unwanted blemishes

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are known to:

  • Produce and maintain the skin’s natural oil barrier
  • Hydrate skin to promote a supple, youthful appearance
  • Nourish cells and eliminate bodily toxins
  • Protect the skin by creating an antimicrobial barrier against harsh environmental elements
  • Moisturize skin to prevent the premature signs of aging
  • Reduce water loss through the skin’s surface
  • Enhance the texture and softness of skin and hair

SELENIUM is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant activity
  • Slow the appearance of wrinkles
  • Facilitate the healing of burns, wounds, and other uncomfortable skin conditions

MEDIUM-CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES are known to:

  • Eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Offer intense moisture
  • Condition the hair and eliminate dandruff
  • Boost hair growth

PALMITOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Delay the appearance of premature aging
  • Moisturize and tighten the skin
  • Promote the growth of shiny hair
  • Enhance the brightness of the complexion
  • Boost the growth of healthy-looking nails
  • Enhance skin elasticity to prevent symptoms of premature aging, such as wrinkles

EXTRACTING CARRIER OILS

Although true Carrier Oils are obtained mostly from nuts and seeds, there are a few exceptions to this –  Coconut Oil, for example, is extracted from its ‘copra,’ which is the white inner flesh, and Jojoba Oil, which is actually a liquid wax, is extracted from a shrub that has leathery leaves. To obtain oils from nuts and seeds, they undergo one of the following processes: Cold Pressing, Expeller Pressing, Oil Maceration, and Solvent Extraction.

cold_pressing


COLD PRESSING is a chemical-free process that involves placing the nuts or seeds in a horizontal press that has an ‘expeller,’ which is a rotating screw. The screw drives the nuts and seeds through a barrel-shaped hollow and compresses them until the high pressure squeezes out the oil, which seeps out through the opening, while the ‘meal,’ or the debris, remains inside the barrel. The oil is then filtered, resulting in the finished product. Due to the absence of solvent residues in Cold Pressing, the outcome is cleaner, purer oils that are higher in natural colors and scents.

Due to the friction that is created, some heat is produced during this process, despite its name; however, this heat causes little damage to the oil. The hardness of the nuts or the seeds being pressed determines the temperature of this produced heat. The harder the nuts or seeds, the higher the required pressure to extract their oils, which results in higher friction and thus higher heat.

Expeller_Pressing_01

EXPELLER PRESSING is a mechanical processing method of extraction that is similar to Cold Pressing in that it involves the use of a hydraulic press that generates heat. It is important to note that all Cold Pressed Oils are Expeller Pressed, but that all Expeller Pressed oils are not unavoidably Cold Pressed. Oils that have undergone only Expeller Pressing have not been processed to maintain low heat levels and this can potentially damage an oil’s delicate nutrients. If the temperature rises above 120 ᵒC (250 ᵒF) it is no longer considered to be Cold Pressed and is rather called Expeller Pressed.

Expeller Pressing is more commonly identified by the abbreviation RDB, which stands for “Refined, Deodorized, and Bleached. Expeller Pressed oils are typically RDB, which stands for “Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized.” This refinement process helps to remove impurities, improve the color or texture, or stabilize the shelf life, making these oils suitable and economical for use as cosmetic bases.

Refining involves introducing the oil to a weak base solution to turn the free fatty acids into soap. It is centrifuged and washed with water until the pure oil remains.

Bleaching involves removing or improving the oil’s color and clarity by passing it through an earth or clay and filtering the oil. Deodorizing removes unpleasant or strong odors by vaporizing the oil and vacuuming its volatile aromatic substances.

Another refinement process is Winterization, which involves cooling a Carrier Oil and filtering it to remove the solid crystallized portions in order to achieve a lighter, clearer oil.

OIL MACERATION is used for botanicals that do not hold a sufficient amount of oil to be obtained through the pressing methods. One of the advantages of this method is that the resulting oils retain the pleasant fragrances of the botanical matter used, and these scents can be imparted to skincare products.

A Macerated Oil is a vegetable oil that is used in the same manner as a solvent or a base oil in order to extract the fat-soluble properties of other botanical materials and become infused with their therapeutic properties. For this reason, a Macerated Oil is sometimes referred to as an Infused Oil. The most commonly used base oils are Olive or Sunflower Oils.

When infusing herbs, dried botanicals are used in order to prevent the risk of microbiological infection from wet botanicals. First, the plant material is bruised and soaked in the base oil for a set extent of time. Sometimes low heat is applied to the base oil to facilitate infusion. The plant material is then filtered to eliminate any traces of plant matter, resulting in the final product that will contain the therapeutic properties of both the vegetable oil and the infused botanical material. The same base oil can sometimes continue to be infused several more times with additional plant material.

Refined oils are ideal for use in natural cosmetics, as oils with dark colors and strong odors can negatively impact a finished cosmetic product.


SOLVENT EXTRACTION is a method that is applied to Carrier Oils in the same way it is applied to essential oils. It involves soaking the botanical material in a solvent such as Ethanol, Petroleum Ether, Hexane, or Methanol. The cell membranes of the plant matter are ruptured and its oils are synthesized with the solvent. The solvent is then filtered out and the resulting oil is bottled. A low concentration of solvent residues can remain in the oil, thus preventing it from being 100% pure.


CARRIER OIL CONTRAINDICATIONS

Peanuts fall into the category of legumes and are, therefore, not considered to be “true” nuts; however, like true nuts, they continue to share in the potential to cause allergic reactions, regardless of their concentration. Because nut oils generally do not contain the proteinaceous part of the plant, which would cause the allergic response, they are usually not allergenic, but it is highly recommended that Peanut and nut-derived oils be avoided by those with nut allergies, as an oil’s purity cannot be guaranteed. Instead, these oils can be substituted with other hypoallergenic oils.


QUALITY OF CARRIER OILS

A high-quality Carrier Oil will be as natural and as unadulterated as possible and it will ideally be Cold Pressed. Organic Carrier Oils are most commonly perceived to be of the highest quality, but even these will eventually go rancid over time. The quality of an oil can be determined by the following factors: Aroma, Method of Extraction, Consistency, and Rate of absorptionNatural Fatty Acids, and Tocopherols, and Shelf Life, among other characteristics.

AROMA Typically, Carrier Oils are either odorless or they have mild, distinctive aromas that are faintly nutty, sweet, and/or characteristic of the nut or seed from which they are derived.

METHOD OF EXTRACTION The ideal Carrier Oil for use in natural products is a Cold Pressed (Raw), Organic, Unrefined, Extra Virgin oil. Carrier Oils that are truly “raw” will not have been heated more than 45 ᵒC (110 ᵒF). Carrier Oils that are unrefined will have been filtered to eliminate dust or small particles without compromising the oil’s nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids. Extra Virgin Carrier Oils will have only been pressed one time.

CONSISTENCY AND ABSORPTION The consistency of various Carrier Oils can be either thick or thin. The choice of either viscosity is a matter of personal preference. The intention behind using the oil will also be a determining factor in preference for consistency. For example, a light oil with fast absorption and an absence of a greasy residue would be a high-quality oil for oily skin or hair, as it would penetrate the skin quickly without clogging pores. On the other hand, a rich, deeply moisturizing oil is of better quality for treating severely dry and damaged skin or hair.

NATURAL FATTY ACIDS AND TOCOPHEROLS Carrier Oils contain beneficial and restorative fatty acids that lend the oils their nourishing and moisturizing properties. These are the constituents that offer regenerative and stimulating properties to promote the look and feel of younger, fresher, and healthier hair and skin. Tocopherols such as natural Vitamin E act as natural preservatives. Some Carrier Oils have a high nutrient content but are too rich to use on their own or their odors are too overpowering. In these situations, they can be diluted in other Carrier Oils (e.g. Richer oils can be combined with lighter, odorless oils). To customize and create the ideal Carrier Oil, several can be blended to also change or combine their therapeutic properties before application.

SHELF LIFE Carrier Oils that are high in unsaturated fatty acid content will generally have a shorter shelf life and can last up to 6 months, whereas oils with a longer shelf life can last 1-2 years. To maintain an oil’s quality and maximize its shelf life, it should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Carrier Oils with natural antioxidant properties, such as those with high Vitamin E or Lauric Acid content, have longer shelf lives, as these constituents either prevent oxidation or slow down the process. Other Carrier Oils can be combined with these anti-oxidant Carrier Oils to have their shelf lives extended.

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Plant Therapy Carrier Oils

STORING CARRIER OILS

Many rules for storing essential oils also apply to storing Carrier Oils. Specifically, they should be stored in cool, dark places away from strong and direct light, especially sunlight. Although refrigeration is acceptable for most oils and although it helps preserve freshness there are some oils, such as Avocado, that should not be refrigerated, as this can negatively affect some of the oil’s significant, delicate constituents. After refrigeration, some oils may appear to be solid or cloudy, but their clarity will be restored once they return to room temperature.

Some Carrier Oils become rancid rapidly, but their shelf lives can be extended by adding 1% of Vitamin E (Natural) Oil, which acts as a preservative. This is an especially good idea when using Borage, Evening Primrose, Flaxseed, and Rose Hip Carrier Oils, among others.


TYPES OF CARRIER OILS

Carrier Oils can be categorized by their solidity: Hard and Soft

HARD OILS are solid at room temperature. To use them, they must be melted into a liquid state. Hard oils add firmness to a finished product, and without a sufficient amount of a hard oil, a product such as a soap bar will feel soft or sticky. The most popular hard oils are Palm and Coconut.

SOFT OILS are liquid at room temperature. They add nourishing and moisturizing properties to a finished product. Without a sufficient amount of a soft oil, a product such as a soap bar will be brittle and will begin to crack. The most popular soft oils are Olive, Canola, Rice bran, and Sweet Almond.

When formulating a natural product and substituting one oil for another, most hard oils can replace other hard oils and the same goes for soft oils replacing other soft oils. To choose a substitute oil, consider the texture and the contribution of the oil that is being replaced: What does it contribute to the recipe in terms of firmness, moisture, or even lather? Proceed to select a replacement oil with similar properties and this will ensure that the original recipe retains its potential in the resulting product. On the other hand, if the intention is to soften the original recipe, a hard oil can be replaced with a soft oil.


CARRIER OIL PRICES

Carrier Oil prices depend on the types of plants from which they are derived, whether the plants are endemic or exotic, their botanical names, their therapeutic values, whether they undergo organic processing, the quantity being purchased, and the supplier it is purchased from.


CARRIER OILS USES & BENEFITS

Although seemingly counterintuitive, it is necessary for essential oils to be diluted in order to work effectively, and this is why Carrier Oils are required. Applying essential oils “neat,” that is without dilution, can lead to skin sensitization or allergic reactions caused by the concentration of essential oils, rapid evaporation of the beneficial yet volatile essential oils from the skin’s surface due to the absence of an oil to help them penetrate deeper into the skin, and the inability of essential oils to be spread across a wider area of skin. While there are a few exceptions to the fact that essential oils will harm the body if applied neat, it is best to dilute them with a Carrier Oil before use, otherwise, the resulting bodily harm will make waste of the essential oil, the effort, and the money spent. Aside from enhancing skin’s absorption of essential oils, Carrier Oils offer therapeutic properties through their beneficial components, including nourishing constituents that our bodies cannot produce on their own, such as essential fatty acids.


CARRIER OILS GUIDE

OIL TYPE/MAIN CONSTITUENT BENEFITS CARRIER OILS
THIS TYPE OF OIL…

Nut Oils

IS REPUTED TO (BE)

  • Extremely emollient and soothing for sensitive, dry, inflamed and sore skin
  • Efficient in face mask treatments for acne-prone skin
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Maintain skin tightness and elasticity
LOOK FOR

  • Almond
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia
  • Walnut
Seed Oils
  • Condition skin to rejuvenate complexion, especially in mature or prematurely aging skin
  • Repair damage caused by dryness
  • Soothe itching and discomfort caused by burns
  • Reduce appearance of scarring
  • Baobab
  • Black Currant
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
Fruit Oils
  • Gentle and nourishing
  • Light in texture to moisturize without leaving a greasy residue
  • Reduce the appearance of aging skin
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Cleansing and softening
  • Exhibits anti-oxidant properties
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Grape Seed
  • Peach Kernel
  • Olive
Essential Fatty Acid Oils
  • Hydrate and soothe itchy, dry, inflamed, and acne-prone skin
  • Anti-inflammatory, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-septic
  • Balance essential fatty acid deficiency and skin’s oil production
  • Balance hormones
  • Demonstrate reparative and astringent properties that facilitate wound healing
  • Argan
  • Babassu
  • Calendula

CARRIER OIL ABSORPTION RATES

ABSORPTION RATE FINISH ON SKIN CARRIER OILS
VERY FAST THESE OILS ARE

    • Considered to be drying, because they are quickly absorbed by skin and do not leave a greasy residue
  • High in polyunsaturated fats
LOOK FOR

  • Hazelnut (CP)
  • Rosehip (Extra Virgin, CP)
FAST
  • These light oils are quickly absorbed by skin but leave a smooth, silky finish. Skin will feel moisturized rather than greasy
  • Apricot Kernel (CP)
  • Camellia Seed (CP)
  • Grape Seed
  • Meadowfoam
  • Safflower
  • Canola
  • Fractionated Coconut
  • Mango Butter
  • Prickly Pear
AVERAGE
  • These oils leave a silky feeling on the skin
  • Hemp Seed (Unrefined, CP)
  • Jojoba (CP)
  • Argan
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Babassu
  • Raspberry Seed
  • Sesame
SLOW
  • These oils could feel gummy or waxy before they warm up to body temperature. They tend to leave skin with a slight oily residue
  • Carrot (Macerated, CP)
  • Pomegranate (Refined, CP)
  • Sea Buckthorn (CO2)
  • Black Currant Seed
  • Tamanu (Madagascar, CP)
  • Avocado (Refined, CP)
  • Castor
  • Shea Butter
  • Oat
  • Flax Seed (CP)
  • Sweet Almond (Sweet Virgin, CP)
  • Kuikui Nut (CP)
  • Olive (Extra Virgin, CP)
  • Sunflower (CP)
VERY SLOW
    • These oils may need to have gentle heat applied to them before use. They tend to feel heavy on the skin and leave a thick, oily, and moisturizing barrier on the skin but are absorbed by the skin eventually
  • Higher in saturated fats and have a longer shelf life than those that dry quickly
  • Evening Primrose (CP)
  • Neem (CP)
  • Palm (Refined, CP)
  • Borage (Unrefined, CP)
  • Coconut (Refined, CP)
  • Macadamia Nut (CP)

*These rates are general and may vary between suppliers, as the speed of absorption depends on the method of extraction.

CARRIER OIL DIFFUSERS

When diffusing essential oils in most nebulizers and electric diffusers, Carrier Oils are not required; however, they can be incorporated into reed diffusers in place of a water and alcohol base to lessen the otherwise potentially overpowering aroma of an essential oil.


WHERE TO BUY CARRIER OILS

Carrier Oils can be purchased just about anywhere – at health food stores, grocery stores, online through the website of a preferred vendor, and directly from essential oil companies. When purchasing, it is a good idea to consider the purpose of using the oil and the oil grade required for the intended purpose. Reputable companies that distribute quality Carrier Oils are highly recommended.

IN ESSENCE…

    • “Carrier Oil” is a term given to base oils that dilute essential oils before topical application, as the latter is much too potent to apply directly to the skin.
    • Despite also being referred to as vegetable oils, not all Carrier Oils are derived from vegetables; many are pressed from seeds, nuts, or kernels.
    • Carrier Oils are also referred to as “fixed oils,” due to the fact that they do not quickly evaporate from the skin’s surface and remain “fixed” on the skin.
    • A Carrier Oil is a vital aspect of an aromatherapy massage or a natural cosmetic, as it can affect the benefits and usefulness of the essential oils and the color, scent, therapeutic properties, and shelf life of the final product, respectively.
  • Each Carrier Oil is comprised of different components that exhibit distinct characteristics, such as color, viscosity, and penetration speed while offering therapeutic properties.

 

 

 

Discover the Health Benefits of the ‘Christmas Tree’

The Pine tree is easily recognized as the “Christmas Tree,” but it is also commonly cultivated for its wood, which is rich in resin and is thus ideal for use as fuel, as well as for making a pitch, tar, and turpentine, substances that are traditionally used in construction and painting.

In folk tales, the height of the Pine tree has led to its symbolic reputation as a tree that loves the sunlight and is always growing taller in order to catch the beams. This is a belief that is shared throughout many cultures, which also refer to it as “The Master of Light” and “The Torch Tree.” Accordingly, in the region of Corsica, it is burned as a spiritual offering so that it can emit a source of light. In some Native American tribes, the tree is called “The Watchman of the Sky.”

In history, the Pine tree’s needles were used as filling for mattresses, as they were believed to have the ability to protect against fleas and lice. In ancient Egypt, pine kernels, better known as Pine Nuts, were used in culinary applications. The needles were also chewed to protect against scurvy. In ancient Greece, Pine was believed to have been used by physicians like Hippocrates to address respiratory ailments. For other applications, the tree’s bark was also used for its believed ability to reduce symptoms of colds, to calm inflammation and headaches, to soothe sores and infections, and to ease respiratory discomforts.

Today, Pine Oil continues to be used for similar therapeutic benefits. It has also become a popular aroma in cosmetics, toiletries, soaps, and detergents. This article highlights the various other benefits, properties, and safe uses of Pine Essential Oil.

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PINE OIL BENEFITS

It is believed to have cleansing, stimulating, uplifting, and invigorating effects. When diffused, its purifying and clarifying properties are known to positively impact the mood by clearing the mind of stresses, energizing the body to help eliminate fatigue, enhancing concentration, and promoting a positive outlook. These qualities also make it beneficial for spiritual practices, such as meditation.

Used topically, such as in cosmetics, the antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of Pine Essential Oil are known to help soothe skin conditions characterized by itchiness, inflammation, and dryness, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. These properties combined with its ability to help control excessive perspiration may help prevent fungal infections, such as Athlete’s Foot. It is also known to effectively protect minor abrasions, such as cuts, scrapes, and bites, from developing infections. Its antioxidant properties make Pine Oil ideal for use in natural formulations intended to slow the appearance of signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. Furthermore, its circulation-stimulating property promotes a warming effect.

When applied to the hair, Pine Essential Oil is reputed to exhibit an antimicrobial property that cleanses to remove bacteria as well as a build-up of excess oil, dead skin, and dirt. This helps prevent inflammation, itchiness, and infection, which in turn enhances the hair’s natural smoothness and shine. It contributes moisture to eliminate and protect against dandruff, and it nourishes to maintain the health of the scalp and strands. Pine Essential Oil is also one of the oils known to protect against lice.

Used medicinally, Pine Essential Oil is reputed to exhibit antimicrobial properties that support immune function by eliminating harmful bacteria, both airborne and on the skin’s surface. By clearing the respiratory tract of phlegm and soothing other symptoms of colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma, and the flu, its expectorant and decongestant properties promote easier breathing and facilitate the healing of infections.

Used in massage applications, Pine Oil is known to soothe muscles and joints that may be afflicted with arthritis and rheumatism or other conditions characterized by inflammation, soreness, aches, and pain. By stimulating and enhancing circulation, it helps facilitate the healing of scratches, cuts, wounds, burns, and even scabies, as it promotes the regeneration of new skin and helps reduce pain. It is also reputed to help relieve muscle fatigue. Additionally, its diuretic properties help promote the body’s detoxification by encouraging the expulsion of pollutants and contaminants, such as excess water, urate crystals, salts, and fats. This helps maintain the health and function of the urinary tract and the kidneys. This effect also helps regulate body weight.

Pine Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Oxidant, Deodorant, Energizing, Cleansing, Moisturizing, Refreshing, Soothing, Circulation-Stimulating, Smoothing
  • ODOROUS: Calming, Clarifying, Deodorant, Energizing, Focus-Enhancing, Freshening, Insecticidal, Invigorating, Uplifting
  • MEDICINAL: Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Anti-Fungal, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial, Analgesic, Decongestant, Detoxifying, Diuretic, Energizing, Expectorant, Soothing, Stimulating, Immune-Enhancing

PINE OIL USES

By diffusing Pine Oil, whether on its own or in a blend, indoor environments benefit from the elimination of stale odors and harmful airborne bacteria, such as those that cause colds and the flu. To deodorize and freshen a room with the crisp, fresh, warm, and comforting aroma of Pine Essential Oil, add 2-3 drops to a diffuser of choice and allow the diffuser to run for no more than 1 hour. This helps to reduce or clear nasal/sinus congestion. Alternatively, it may be blended with other essential oils that have woody, resinous, herbaceous, and citrusy aromas. In particular, Pine Oil blends well with the oils of Bergamot, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Niaouli, Neroli, Peppermint, Ravensara, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Spikenard, Tea Tree, and Thyme.

To create a Pine Oil room spray, simply dilute Pine Oil in a glass spray bottle filled with water. This can be sprayed around the house, in the car, or in any other indoor environment in which a considerable amount of time is spent. These simple diffuser methods are reputed to help purify indoor environments, promote mental alertness, clarity, and positivity, and to enhance energy as well as productivity. This makes Pine Oil ideal for diffusion during tasks that require increased focus and awareness, such as work or school projects, religious or spiritual practices and driving. Diffusing Pine Oil also helps soothe coughing, whether it is linked to a cold or to excessive smoking. It is also believed to ease symptoms of hangovers.

Massage blends enriched with Pine Essential Oil are also reputed to have the same effects on the mind, helping to promote clarity, ease mental stresses, strengthen attentiveness, and improve memory. For a simple massage blend, dilute 4 drops of Pine Oil in 30 ml (1 oz.) of a body lotion or a carrier oil, then massage it into areas affected with tightness or soreness caused by physical exertion, such as exercise or outdoor activities. This is gentle enough for use on sensitive skin and is believed to soothe aching muscles as well as minor skin ailments, such as itching, pimples, eczema, psoriasis, sores, scabies. In addition, it is also reputed to soothe gout, arthritis, injuries, exhaustion, inflammation, and congestion. To use this recipe as a natural vapor rub blend that promotes easier breathing and soothes a sore throat, massage it into the neck, chest, and upper back to help reduce congestion and comfort the respiratory tract.

For a hydrating, cleansing, clarifying, and soothing facial serum, dilute 1-3 drops of Pine Essential Oil in 1 teaspoon of a lightweight carrier oil, such as Almond or Jojoba. This blend is reputed to have purifying, smoothing, and firming qualities. Its antioxidant properties are reputed to result in skin that feels smoother, suppler, balanced, and younger, while its analgesic properties are reputed to reduce pain and swelling.

For a balancing and detoxifying bath blend that is also reputed to enhance energy as well as metabolic function and speed, dilute 5-10 drops of Pine Essential Oil in 30 ml (1 oz.) of a carrier oil and add it to a bathtub filled with warm water. This helps to eliminate infection-causing bacteria and viruses that may be on the skin.

To enhance the health of the hair and the scalp by eliminating fungus-causing bacteria and by soothing itchiness, simply dilute 10-12 drops of Pine Oil in ½ cup of a regular shampoo that has minimal or no scent. This simple shampoo blend is believed to help get rid of lice.

A GUIDE TO PINE OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

PINE ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Pinus sylvestris

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from needles and twigs

Country of Origin: Bulgaria

Believed to:

  • Appear either colorless or pale yellow
  • Exude a strong, fresh aroma reminiscent of a forest
  • Blend well with Citronella, Clary Sage, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lavender, Myrrh, Rosemary, Spikenard, and Tea Tree
  • Have an uplifting, cleansing, and clearing effect on the body and mind, making it ideal for use in meditation and other spiritual applications
  • Eliminate fatigue and enhance concentration
  • Boost energy and uplift negative moods
  • Promote easier breathing by clearing the respiratory tract of congestion-causing mucus
  • Ease sore muscles and joints as well as headaches
  • Be ideal for addition to natural formulations that require the use of organic ingredients

 

PINE SCOTCH ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Pinus sylvestris

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from needles and twigs

Country of Origin: Hungary

Believed to:

  • Appear either colorless or pale yellow
  • Exude a woody, evergreen scent similar to natural turpentine
  • Blend well with Citronella, Clary Sage, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lavender, Myrrh, Rosemary, Spikenard, and Tea Tree
  • Have an uplifting, cleansing, and clearing effect on the body and mind, making it ideal for use in meditation and other spiritual applications
  • Eliminate fatigue and enhance concentration
  • Boost energy and uplift negative moods
  • Promote easier breathing by clearing the respiratory tract of congestion-causing mucus
  • Ease sore muscles and joints as well as headaches

PINE SCOTCH OIL SIDE EFFECTS

Pine Essential Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Pine Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, hypertension, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Pine Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Pine Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Pine Oil include mild irritation of the respiratory tract.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Pine Essential Oil is derived from the needles of the Pine Tree, commonly recognized as the traditional Christmas tree.
    • The scent of Pine Essential Oil is known for having a clarifying, uplifting, and invigorating effect.
    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Pine Essential Oil positively impacts the mood by clearing the mind of stresses, energizing the body to help eliminate fatigue, enhancing concentration, and promoting a positive outlook.
    • Used topically, Pine Essential Oil is reputed to soothe itchiness, inflammation, and dryness, control excessive perspiration, prevent fungal infections, protect minor abrasions from developing infections, slow the appearance of signs of aging, and enhance circulation.
    • When applied to the hair, Pine Essential Oil is reputed to cleanse, enhance the hair’s natural smoothness and shine, contribute moisture, and protect against dandruff as well as lice.
    • Used medicinally, Pine Essential Oil is reputed to support immune function, clear the respiratory tract, address symptoms of colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma, and the flu, and facilitate the healing of infections.
  • Used in massage applications, Pine Essential Oil is known to soothe inflammation, soreness, aches, pain, and gout; to stimulate and enhance circulation; to facilitate the healing of scratches, cuts, wounds, and burns; to promote the regeneration of new skin; to reduce pain; to relieve muscle fatigue; to promote the body’s detoxification; to maintain the health and function of the urinary tract and the kidneys; and to regulate body weight.

Oregano Essential Oil: For Colds and Respiratory System

Organic Oregano Essential Oil is derived from the Origanum Compactum plant, a species native to Morocco where it is more commonly known as Zaatar – a valued domestic plant with a strong, spicy, tangy aroma and a multiplicity of therapeutic benefits. There are approximately 3 to 4 dozen species of the perennial Oregano herb, which is also sometimes referred to as Wild Marjoram due to its relation to the herb Marjoram. The name Oregano, however, is derived from the Greek term origanon, which means “acrid herb.” When the word is further dissected, the etymology given is that the word compounds the Ancient Greek terms “oros” meaning “mountain” and “ganos” meaning “joy.” When combined, they mean “mountain brightness” or “joy of the mountains.”

Both the herb and the essential oil of Oregano have been used since Ancient times for medicinal purposes. Greek physicians including Hippocrates and Maimonides prescribed it for its antiseptic, disinfecting, and immune-boosting properties as well as for the general health benefits it promoted. Due to its antibacterial properties, it was used to not only preserve food but also to treat wounds and skin infections. Its curative benefits were recommended for digestive issues, headaches, insect bites, and for the relief of common colds. For its cathartic effects, it was also used as a laxative.

The Greek myth surrounding Oregano tells the story of the goddess Aphrodite creating Oregano to be a symbol of happiness meant to make mankind’s life happier. Accordingly, ancient Greek bridal couples had crowns of Oregano placed on their heads due to the belief that it worked as a powerful deterrent to evil spirits. The herb was also placed on the tombs of departed loved ones for the belief that it brought them peace.

When the Romans conquered Greece, they enjoyed the flavor of Oregano and began spreading its cultivation throughout Europe and North Africa, in which regions the herb was used as a flavoring for meats, fish, and even wine. Its use continued into the Middle Ages, at which time it was one of the few food flavorings available. Its medicinal application also continued and people would chew the leaves with the hope of relieving indigestion, toothaches, and inflammation, and to suppress coughs. Eventually, Oregano also landed in China at this time, most likely through the Spice Route that extended from the Middle East. Chinese doctors, too, began prescribing the herb for the relief of itchy skin, jaundice, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. In England, Oregano began to be used as an additive to tobacco snuff and as a perfume in sachets.

Oregano Essential Oil is best known today for its ability to treat fungal infections, such as those of the feet and nails, and for its ability to prevent cold symptoms from worsening. With dilution, this oil can be used topically in cosmetic applications or it can be used in aromatherapy.

BENEFITS OF OREGANO OIL

Oregano Essential Oil’s chemical composition consists of the following constituents: Carvacrol, Thymol, p-Cymene, and γ-Terpinene.

Carvacrol and Thymol are responsible for the essential oil’s powerful antifungal and antibacterial activity. They inhibit harmful bacteria that can potentially cause illness and infection. The oil can be an anti-inflammatory painkiller, a cough treatment, a remedy for nail fungus, and it can also soothe psoriasis.

Used in cosmetics, Oregano Oil is known to have antioxidant activity that fights the look of aging, which results in skin that looks clear and smooth. As such, it can treat acne and brighten the complexion. Applied in massage, Oregano Essential Oil’s anti-inflammatory activity can soothe redness, irritation, bites, and discomforts associated with arthritis and injury.

When used in aromatherapy, Oregano Essential Oil can boost the immune system and improve the efficiency of the respiratory tract by loosening up and eliminating a buildup of mucus and phlegm. It can also soothe throat irritation to suppress coughing fits. The calming and relaxing effects of this sedative oil make it an effective sleep aid when diffused in the bedroom.

    • COSMETIC: anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-aging, stimulant, emmenagogue.
    • ODOROUS: expectorant, sedative, stimulant, anti-tussive
  • MEDICINAL: anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-tussive, expectorant, stimulant.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY OREGANO OIL

Oregano is a perennial herb, though, in some colder climates where it often does not survive the winter, it grows as an annual plant. Though it adjusts well in various environments and soil types ranging from sandy or loamy soils to clay, it prefers well-drained soil that is fairly dry or moist and thrives in a warm, dry climate with full sun, as it will not grow in shade. It also flourishes in a pH range that is between mildly acidic and strongly alkaline. It can be found growing in the grasses of plains and low mountain areas, bushes, forests, and even in chalky, gravelly soils.

At the end of the Oregano growing season, there is a much higher concentration of volatile compounds and thus a higher oil yield; however, the chemical composition and aroma of the essential oil can be impacted by the plant’s environmental factors. They include the plant’s vegetative period and nutrition, geography, climate, temperature, humidity, soil type, day length, altitude, amount of available water, and season.

When the fresh botanical material is collected for the process of extraction, it undergoes warm-air convection drying. This alters the herb’s quantity, weight, and volatile compounds. Long drying times using high heat have a greater negative effect on oil quality.

HOW IS OREGANO OIL EXTRACTED?

Oregano Essential Oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the Oregano herb, which are covered with glandular trichomes that cover the aerial parts of the plant. Trichomes are the plant’s defense mechanism and, as well as the possibility of being glandular, they can also be hair-like. Trichomes that are glandular contain the volatile essential oils and may also release an adhesive substance that captures insects. They may also contain toxic constituents that are shed when the gland is ruptured.

Approximately 200 lbs. of Oregano herb are required to produce 2 lbs. of the essential oil. The oil is a thin, dark liquid with a powerful aroma that can be described as spicy and similar to that of Camphor.

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USES OF OREGANO OIL

The uses of Oregano Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils or gels, sanitizing gels or sprays, skin creams, soaps, and shampoos.

Used in aromatherapy, Oregano Oil’s fragrance is inhaled and scent receptors in the brain’s emotional powerhouse process the smell as calming, allowing the brain and body to relax. Similarly, a few drops smoothed onto a pillow may promote the faster onset of sleep. Diffusing Oregano Oil can reduce symptoms of cold and cough when inhaled deeply due to its expectorant properties. Individuals suffering from nasal congestion due to a cough and cold may find that mucus buildup is loosening and is dispelled much easier when blowing the nose. Flu and general sickness symptoms may diminish when Oregano Oil is inhaled. For women suffering from irregular menstrual cycles, the emmenagogue properties of Oregano Oil can help balance moods, as it is believed to also balance hormonal shifts. By placing a couple of drops in a steaming bowl of hot water and leaning over it for a few minutes to inhale the aromatic vapors with a towel draped over the head and the bowl, Oregano Oil can be used to clear up a sinus infection. Alternatively, 1-2 drops of Oregano Essential Oil can be added to a clean, dry handkerchief and the aroma can be inhaled.

Used topically, Oregano Oil can improve skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, and fungal infections, as it eliminates yeast, bacteria, and fungi. Its anti-inflammatory properties can neutralize the pain, itchiness, and general discomforts of insect stings and bites. Muscle aches, joint pains, and rashes may be relieved by diluting Oregano Oil with a carrier oil such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, or Grapeseed to make a massage oil that can be used on the lower back or on the stomach to promote digestion. Use on the broken skin should be avoided, as the oil may cause irritation.

Oregano Oil diluted with any other hair oil of personal preference can be gently rubbed into the scalp. Diluting Oregano Essential Oil with a carrier oil such as Coconut Oil makes a moisturizing leave-in conditioner that can be used on the scalp after washing and conditioning the hair. Blending Oregano Essential Oil with shampoo can also work effectively to remove dandruff.

For a natural yet powerful antiseptic home cleaning agent, Oregano Oil can be blended with Lemon Essential Oil and shaken inside a spray bottle before being put to use as a surface cleaner. When sprayed along the wall bases and inside dark corners of a home, it can effectively keep away ants and cockroaches. By mixing the oil with water and spraying it in humid areas around the home, such as the shower, it can prevent fungus and mold from developing.

A GUIDE TO OREGANO OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

OREGANO VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Oregano Organic Essential Oil

Origanum Compactum

Found in:

  • Morocco
Believed to:

  • soothe stress and improve moods
  • boost immunity
  • relieve irritating skin conditions
  • clear the respiratory tract
Oregano Essential Oil (Conventional)

NDA Name: Origanum (Origanum Vulgare) Essential Oil

Origanum vulgare

Found in:

  • Spain
Believed to:

  • treat wounds and skin infections
  • soothe insect bites
  • relieve common colds
  • brighten the complexion

 


 

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR OREGANO OIL

Oregano Essential Oil is for external use only. It should only be used in dilution, as it may cause skin irritation when applied directly. It should never be used around the eyes, inner nose, or any sensitive areas of skin. A skin test is recommended prior to use. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive.

As is the case with all essential oils, it is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Oregano Essential Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant women are strongly advised against using Oregano Essential Oil, due to its emmenagogue properties, which may induce menstruation that can be hazardous for the fetus. Pregnant and nursing women, who insist on using it are advised to first seek the medical guidance of a physician. Its use should be avoided by those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, cancer, liver damage, epilepsy, and any other medical concern. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children.

*Those who have allergies to Basil, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, and Sage could potentially have allergic reactions to Oregano as well.

IN ESSENCE…

    • The name Oregano is derived from the Ancient Greek terms “oros” and “ganos.” Together, they mean “joy of the mountains.”

 

Both the herb and the essential oil of Oregano have been used for medicinal purposes since the time of Greek physicians Hippocrates and Maimonides, who prescribed it to their patients for their respiratory and digestive ailments.

    • Carvacrol and Thymol are the two key chemical constituents that are responsible for the essential oil’s reputation as being a powerful antifungal and antibacterial oil.
    • Oregano Essential Oil’s chemical composition consists of constituents that also exhibit antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anesthetic behavior – to name a few of its numerous beneficial health properties.
  • Diluted Oregano Oil relieves a cough and cold symptoms when inhaled, disinfects surfaces when used as an antiseptic cleaning agent, and soothes topical discomforts such as inflammation and itchiness when used in cosmetics like moisturizers and shampoos.

ALL ABOUT OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT

Derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract has a long history as a vital and potent ancient Mediterranean preparation with healthful qualities that support, protect, and enhance immunity. As conveyed by Greek mythology, the Olive tree was believed to be the goddess Athena’s gift to humanity. It was reputed to have enthralled Zeus, who was delighted by its nourishing, remedial, and wound-healing properties as well as its effectiveness as a source of fuel for lamps; hence, the Olive tree came to be the revered symbol of the city of Athens. Accordingly, anyone found to be connected to the destruction of these trees would potentially become subject to execution or banishment from the city.

For thousands of years since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, Olive leaves and their extracts have been used extensively in Mediterranean folk medicine as a panacea for the treatment of numerous health conditions. Compresses and infusions enriched with Olive leaves were used to address pain, infections, fevers, high blood sugar levels, and even anxiety. In the 1800s, various parts of the Olive tree began to be used, albeit largely in liquid form, for medicinal applications, such as for the treatment of infections associated with malaria. In the 1900s, the leaves were found to contain an active and unique compound called Oleuropein, which was then isolated from the leaves by scientists, who discovered that it had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This unique constituent was also discovered to prevent the growth of parasites, fungi, and harmful bacteria and to have the ability to stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, enhance cognitive function, and regulate blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. Later, it was learned that Oleuropein also contained Elenolic Acid, which was revealed to contribute an antibacterial property. All of these qualities make Olive leaves beneficial for medicinal applications. In 1995, Olive Leaf Extract began to be used clinically to treat and examine some individuals receiving medical care.

Today, some Olive leaf extracts continue to be taken as a safe natural dietary supplement to enhance immunity by addressing harmful bacteria and infections associated with colds, the flu, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, shingles, hepatitis B, and herpes, to name a few viruses. It is also used to ease symptoms of chronic fatigue, fever, hay fever, dengue, constipation, diarrhea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, malaria, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and tuberculosis. They are reputed to be beneficial for soothing infections of the gums, ears, and urinary tract as well as infections that result from surgeries. They are often used to ease hypertension, to support and improve the health and function of the digestive system, to work as an antiseptic remedy for faster wound healing, to protect against nerve damage, and to benefit those who have suffered from strokes.

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT BENEFITS

Used cosmetically on the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It can slow the appearance of the signs of aging, nourish and purify, calm irritation, repair damage, and eliminate harmful bacteria from developing infections, making it beneficial for soothing conditions such as dermatitis. It is known to reduce redness, to hydrate, to stimulate the growth of new skin, and to enhance circulation. In turn, the complexion appears to be detoxified, healthy, and rejuvenated.

Whether it is applied to the hair or the skin/scalp, it is reputed to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation by slowing the production of melanin and by preventing skin tissue from breaking down.

Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which hinder further development of viruses that are known to be responsible for causing the flu, common colds, and infections of the respiratory tract. It is believed to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, as it helps to reduce swelling and has a positive impact on bone health, thus it is valuable for soothing symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. Olive Leaf Extract is believed to improve circulation, address intestinal spasms, enhance cognitive function to prevent cognitive decline, and to promote heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. With detoxifying properties, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to function as a natural diuretic and laxative. The anti-hypertensive properties of Olive Leaf Extract benefit those who suffer from hypertension, as it helps to reduce blood pressure and thus reduces the risk of heart-related conditions and discomforts. It is also believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Photo-Protective
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Astringent, Cardiotonic, Hypoglycemic, Hypolipidemic, Hypotensive, Immuno-Stimulant, Immune-Boosting, Inflamomodulatory, Lipotropic, Vasodilator, Photo-Protective

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT USES

Used in cosmetic or topical applications, Olive Leaf Extract cleanses the pores, absorbs excess oil, and facilitates the clearing up of acne breakouts by helping to dry them out and by eliminating acne-causing bacteria. In doing so, it also prevents future acne breakouts. For a facial cleanser soap bar that also helps repair skin damage, prevents the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration, and soothes other skin discomforts, begin by cutting 680 g (24 oz.) of White Melt and Pour Base and melting it in a heat-safe container in 20-30 second bursts of heat. Once the soap base has melted, stir in 2 tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract. Next, whisk in 4 tsp. Multani Mitti (Fullers Earth) Clay until all the large chunks have been broken up. Next, stir in 60 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil and 40 drops Rosemary Essential Oil until they are thoroughly combined. When the soap base mixture reaches a temperature between 49-52 ᵒC (120-125 ᵒF), pour the blend into 6-bar half-cylinder silicone molds or into molds of personal preference. To eliminate any air bubbles, spray the tops of the filled molds with Isopropyl Alcohol. After the soap bars have been allowed to dry and harden, they can be used on the face like a regular face wash. Simply work a soap bar into a lather and gently massage the lather into the skin to promote clearer skin and to soothe uncomfortable symptoms of acne. This soap bar may also be used on the body.

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Used in hair, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to discourage hair loss and to promote hair growth. For a natural hair care product that can enhance the health of the scalp, simply add a small amount of Olive Leaf Extract to a regular shampoo or conditioner, cap and shake the bottle well, then apply the blend to the hair and scalp as usual. The addition of Olive Leaf Extract is reputed to repair damaged hair, promote luster, preserve hair color, condition, cleanse, strengthen, and smooth the strands, and thereby enhance the growth of healthier hair.

To create a shampoo blend from scratch, begin by combining the following ingredients in a clean, empty shampoo bottle or a foaming soap dispenser: ¼ cup of distilled water, ¼ cup Liquid Castile Soap, ¼ cup Coconut Milk, and ½ tsp. Olive Leaf Extract. 20 drops of any essential oil may also be added. Suggested oils include Lavender, Orange, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Next, cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. This natural shampoo blend can be stored in the shower and used for up to 1 month. Shake the bottle well before each use and aim to apply only as much as 1 tsp. to the hair and scalp.

Used in medicinal applications, Olive Leaf Extract is known to eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. To make an anti-fungal foot bath, begin by diluting 3-5 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in a foot tub filled with 4-8 L (1-2 gallons) of warm water. Simply soak the feet in this solution for 15-30 minutes to protect the feet from fungal infections.

A GUIDE TO OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT & ITS BENEFITS

OLIVE LEAF BOTANICAL EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Olea europaea

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been used for thousands of years by Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures for a wide variety of health problems
  • Contain nearly 100 phytochemicals and essential nutrients, which are known to assist in soothing dry and stressed skin when added to skin care preparations
  • Be best known for its antioxidant properties
  • Be ideal for use in formulations for personal care products, soaps, creams, lotions, facial products and tinctures
  • Be best used in a ratio of 2.5 g per 100 ml of liquid, when formulating tinctures

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT SIDE EFFECTS

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Olive Leaf Botanical Extract without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, skin disorders, bleeding disorders, hormone-related ailments, and conditions of the heart, liver, or kidney. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Those with allergies to plants of the Oleaceae family as well as those who are taking medication for diabetes or for blood pressure should avoid using Olive Leaf Extract.

Prior to using Olive Leaf Botanical Extract, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in 1 tsp. distilled water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Olive Leaf Extract must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Olive Leaf Botanical Extract include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, migraine, sadness, coughing, asthma, rhinitis, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, swelling in the mouth/throat, pharyngeal edema, abdominal pain, joint aches, diarrhea, hives, rashes, severe itching, hypoglycemia, erythema multiforme, and vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree.
    • Applied to the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It slows the appearance of the signs of aging, nourishes and purifies the skin, calms irritation, repairs damage, reduces redness, hydrates, stimulates the growth of new cells, and enhances circulation.
    • Applied to the hair, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract contributes moisture and shine while working to smooth out the strands. It is reputed to address alopecia and to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation.
    • Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to help reduce swelling and to soothe symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. It is believed to improve circulation, addresses intestinal spasms, enhances cognitive function, and promote heart health.
  • Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. It functions as a natural diuretic and laxative, benefits those who suffer from hypertension, and is believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Nature’s Most Precious Gift: Beeswax

Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees that use it to develop their honeycombs. Beeswax is comprised largely of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and esters. The wax is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated or exposed to human body temperature. Because Beeswax does not spoil, become rancid, or otherwise expire, it can continue to be reheated and reused.

Like the varying colors of honey, the color of the wax depends on the age of the bees, the flowers from which they gather the nectar, the region of flower growth, and the purity of the honey. Beeswax ranges in color from almost white to black, although it is typically a shade along the yellow spectrum, appearing to be bright yellow, butterscotch yellow, or light amber. These colors are due to the pollen, resin, and gum content in the originating honey. These elements are also responsible for contributing to the agreeable scent of both the honey and the wax.

While Beeswax is commonly known for its light-bearing ability and for this being a source of heat, historically, it has also been valuable for its versatile applications, which include culinary uses, such as food flavoring and food storage. For example, it continues to be used to coat or glaze cheeses in order to create an air-tight seal to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Used on some types of fruits, Beeswax prevents the loss of water while protecting them from gathering dust and from being scratched, bruised, or bitten by insects.

2000 years ago, in China, the significance and potency of Beeswax were discovered and chronicled in one of the country’s most eminent medical books, known as The Shennong Book of Herbs. The record highlighted the positive effects that Beeswax was reputed to have on the circulatory system, energy levels, and wound healing. It was also reported to have an anti-aging effect on the appearance of the complexion.

There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and AbsoluteYellow Beeswax is the natural, unrefined, and raw wax derived directly from the honeycomb. White Beeswax is the result of Yellow Beeswax undergoing a filtering/purifying/bleaching process. This is the type that is used in cosmetic formulations, food preparation, and pharmaceutical products, such as ointments, soft-gel capsules, and in the coating for medicinal tablets. Beeswax Absolute is the result of treating Yellow Beeswax with Alcohol.

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BEESWAX BENEFITS

Used in aromatherapy, the smokeless and lengthy burn time of Beeswax makes it a valuable ingredient in aromatherapy candles. Beeswax candles are also reputed to exude the aroma of honey – which can range from sweet, fresh, or floral to warm, robust, savory, or spicy – and they are also reputed to help facilitate the elimination of airborne pollutants, such as bacteria, dust, allergens, and odors. When pure and natural essential oils essential oils are added during the production phase of natural homemade candles, the resultant products are known to have enhanced fragrances. Furthermore, they are believed to promote overall physical and mental well-being by invigorating the body with increased energy, reducing stress, strengthening focus, helping decrease physical pain, and regulating blood pressure.

Used cosmetically, such as in lip products, moisturizers, and eye makeup, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. Without clogging the pores and preventing the skin from being able to breathe, Beeswax creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier to protect it against environmental pollutants as well as the harsh effects of the elements. Its exfoliating and reparative properties combined with its vitamin content helps promote the skin’s regeneration and rejuvenation by helping diminish the appearance of the signs of aging, including spots, wrinkles, and skin damage. Used in natural product formulations, Beeswax offers its scent, which may be characterized as mild, warm, sensual, floral, woody, rich, “oriental,” or a combination of these descriptions, depending on the preferred Beeswax. Refreshing, restorative, and gentle enough for use on even the most sensitive skin, Beeswax is known to soothe itchiness and irritation, to nourish, and to soften dry, cracked, broken areas, making it ideal for use in lip balms. Used in hair, Beeswax contributes shine that promotes the hair’s luster, making it valuable for use in hair products that promote the look of sleekness, such as pomades.

Its regenerative quality and anti-inflammatory property work in conjunction to help decrease the irritation, redness, and inflammation characteristic of acne, while its antiseptic effect further facilitates the healing process. Beeswax has a similar effect on skin afflicted with eczema and psoriasis, soothing the itchiness and working to prevent further irritation or infection. By promoting the growth of newer skin and by contributing softness, Beeswax leaves the complexion looking renewed. When applied to stretch marks, whether they are caused by a fluctuation in weight or by pregnancy, Beeswax is known to help diminish the appearance of these often-unwanted marks, when used in combination with carrier oils and butters.

Used medicinally, Beeswax makes an ideal ingredient in salves meant for treating scrapes, minor cuts, minor wounds, and burns, among other abrasions. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects help to prevent harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin, which is especially common in dry climates and which makes it valuable for use during the drier times of the year. By providing the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants, including harsh and extreme weather conditions that can cause roughness and dryness, Beeswax moisturizes the skin to restore its natural radiance and smoothness. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Beeswax also benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or other discomforts, such as eczema and rosacea.

Beeswax is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to exhibit:

  • COSMETIC: Hydrating, Softening, Smoothing, Non-Comedogenic, Protective, Smoothing, Regenerative, Strengthening, Conditioning, Soothing, Collagen-Enhancing.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Allergenic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, Protective, Regenerative, Strengthening.

BEESWAX USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, Beeswax candles exhibit air-purifying properties. Unlike paraffin candles, they help decrease the number of airborne contaminants, such as bacteria, pet dander, and dust. To make a natural aromatherapy Beeswax candle that scents the air with its warm fragrance, cleanses indoor environments, and promotes easier breathing, begin by pouring .45 kg (1 lb.) Pure Filtered Beeswax into an empty coffee can or a metal jug that can be designated for working with wax, which can be difficult to remove from tools. Next, create a double boiler by placing the chosen vessel into a pot filled with water. The water level should not be so high that it spills into the jug. Next, bring the water to a gentle boil, allowing it to simmer as the Beeswax melts inside the jug. In the meantime, cut a 60-ply Cotton Braid Wick #4 into 3 or 4 pieces that are each 15 cm (6 inches) in length. When the Beeswax has melted entirely, remove the jug from the heat and, with a stick or a spoon, gently stir in ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil until it is thoroughly combined with the wax. Pour 1 cm (0.5 inch/1 ml) of this wax and oil blend into 3 240 ml (8 oz.) lidded mason jars, then place the jug back into the hot water to ensure that the wax remains liquid. Place one wick in the center of the small amount of wax inside each jar and hold the wick there for 5-10 minutes to prevent it from moving while the wax hardens around it. To keep the wick vertical and to prevent it from curling, wrap it around a stick until the wick is pulled tight and upright, then place the stick across the top of the jar. When the small amount of wax has dried inside each jar, pour the remainder of the wax from the jug into each jar, leaving at least 3 cm (1 inch) of space between the surface of the wax and the openings of the jars. Leave the jars open and set them aside to allow them to cool overnight. Once the wax has completely dried and hardened, the wicks can each be trimmed ½ an inch. When using the candles, it is recommended that they remain lit for a minimum of 2.5 hours until their surfaces have melted entirely. If the flames flicker or begin to smoke, simply put them out, trim the wicks slightly, then light them again. Trimming the wicks too short will result in small flames that will cause the candles to “tunnel,” however, even tunneled candles can be melted again to create new candles once their wicks have been removed.

Used in skincare, Beeswax hydrates, soothes, repairs, and fortifies the skin. For a Beeswax-enriched lotion bar, begin by combining the following ingredients in a 950 ml (35 oz.) glass mason jar: 1 cup Beeswax, 1 cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, or a combination of butters). Next, place the jar in a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water, then place the saucepan on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Constantly stir the contents of the jar with a stick until all the ingredients have melted. Once the mixture has turned into a smooth blend, remove the double boiler from the heat. As it cools, gently but thoroughly stir in any essential oils of personal preference and 1 tsp. Vitamin E Liquid. Pour the blend into soap molds and allow them to harden before taking them out. Depending on the size of the mold, this recipe may yield approximately 12 lotion bars.

To make a moisturizing and smoothing lip balm that relieves dryness, roughness, and cracking, begin by combining 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 2 Tbsp. Shea Butter, and 2 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil in a glass bowl or jar to create a double boiler inside a pot. Stir all the ingredients together constantly until they have melted. Once the mixture achieves a smooth and even blend, remove the double boiler from the heat, keeping the bowl or jar submerged in the hot water to maintain its fluidity. As the blend begins to cool, stir in a maximum of 30 drops Peppermint Essential Oil or any other essential oil of personal preference. Next, with the help of a medicine dropper, fill each lip balm tube with the blend. This step must be done quickly to prevent the mixture from hardening before the transfer takes place. Set the uncapped, filled tubes aside and allow them to cool and harden completely before capping them.

To make a natural, Beeswax-infused deodorant bar with a probiotic effect, first combine the following ingredients in a glass jar: ½ cup + 1 tsp. Beeswax, ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and ½ cup of a body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa, Shea, Mango, or a combination of all three). Place the jar in a pot filled with 1 inch of water to create a double boiler. On the stove, bring the pot of water to a boil until the jar ingredients are thoroughly melted. Once they form a smooth and even blend, remove the pot from the heat. To the jar blend, add 1 Tsp. Vitamin E Liquid, 3 Tbsp. Baking Soda, ½ cup Organic Arrowroot Powder, 2-3 probiotics capsules that do not require refrigeration, and 20 drops of an essential oil of personal preference. Suggested oils include Frankincense, Lavender, or a citrus oil. Gently stir all the ingredients together until they have been thoroughly combined. Next, pour the liquid blend into a mold of personal choice. If the chosen mold is a stick deodorant container, the mixture must be allowed to harden for 15-20 minutes before being poured into the tube. When the mixture has cooled to a consistency resembling that of peanut butter, use a spoon to scoop it and fill the tube, pressing it down to ensure it is firmly packed. Set the filled tube aside and allow it to cool and harden completely before using it or capping it.

Used in hair products, Beeswax locks in moisture smooth down fly-aways, promotes easier styling, and encourages the growth of new hair. Without leaving a greasy residue, it maintains a firm hold on hairstyles but is easy to wash out. To make a conditioning, softening, shine-enhancing pomade, begin by melting 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles in a double boiler. Once they have liquefied, stir in 3 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil until thoroughly incorporated into the wax. Remove the double boiler from the heat, then add in 2 tsp. Bentonite Clay and 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, stirring the mixture continuously to facilitate its cooling. Next, transfer the blend into a container of personal preference. Suggested containers include small glass mason jars.

For a calming, clarifying, and balancing bedtime salve that is reputed to encourage the onset of quality sleep, begin by thoroughly combining the following oils in a small jar or bowl: 80 drops each of Ginger Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, and Grapefruit Essential Oil and 40 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil. This essential oil blend will be incorporated into the salve, which can be made by first combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a double boiler. Stir this mixture regularly until all the ingredients have thoroughly melted. In the 10-15 minutes that it takes for the wax mixture to melt, collect 4 separate 30 ml (4 oz.) mason jars and pour 90 drops of the aforementioned essential oil blend into each jar. Once the wax mixture has achieved a smooth and even consistency, pour it into each of the jars and allow it to cool. Once the mixture has set inside each jar, cap the jars. To use this salve at bedtime, massage a small amount into the bottoms of both feet before going to sleep. To prevent the salve from getting on bedding, cover the feet with socks. This salve has an approximate shelf life of 8 months and is believed to provide a warming sensation, promote relaxation and easier breathing, reduce feelings of stress, regulate blood pressure, and balance the hormones.

Used in medicinal applications, Beeswax not only facilitates healing but it also prevents bacterial infections from developing on the skin while also promoting the skin’s regeneration and thereby helping to diminish the appearance of scarring from abrasions. For a simple yet versatile salve that is known to soothe irritation while eliminating bacteria, begin by combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Grapeseed Carrier Oil in a double boiler, stirring the mixture regularly as it melts. While waiting for the mixture to melt entirely, fill 5 mason jars with a customized essential oil blend of personal preference, depending on the desired outcome. Some blend recipes are offered below. Next, fill the jars with the oil and wax mixture, leaving an inch of space between the top of the salve and the rims of the jars, then allow the salve to cool. Once it has hardened, tightly cap the jars.

For an allergy-relief blend with anti-histamine effects, combine Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils for a total of 30 drops. This combination is believed to soothe topical allergies characterized by itching and to soften the skin while eliminating bacteria.

For a pain-relieving blend, combine 30 drops Birch Essential Oil, 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, and 10 drops White Fir Essential Oil. This combination is believed to reduce inflammation and pain.

For a blend that is reputed to rejuvenate the complexion, combine 12 drops each of Cypress, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils. This combination is believed to exhibit regenerative and restorative qualities, thus promoting a more youthful appearance.

For a vapor rub blend that is known to help reduce a cough and cold symptoms, begin by combining and melting 2 level Tbsp. of Beeswax pastilles and ½ cup Almond Carrier Oil in a double boiler. Once the mixture has completely melted together, stir in 20 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, 10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, and 10 drops Clove Essential Oil. Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, pour the blend into any lidded container, tin, or jar. To use this vapor rub, simply scoop a small amount with the fingertips and massage it into the chest or the soles of the feet to decrease congestion and coughing.

A GUIDE TO BEESWAX VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BEESWAX BEADS (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been melted then filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Have been shaped into small pellets for easy use
  • Be 100% natural and refined through physical processes without the use of chemicals
  • Be ideal for use in formulations where a cream base or end product is fragrance-free and white in color, but to which color and fragrance can later be added
  • Be suitable for use in lotions, creams, balms, body butter, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations and to assist as an incomplete emulsifier or thickener
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes, when used in candle-making
  • Believed to be the preferred type of wax for aromatherapy-grade candles, due to its slower rate of burning
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BEADS (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Retain its natural fragrance
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes
  • Be ideal for use in lip balms and candle-making
  • Have a slow and smoke-free burn
  • Be made from 100% pure refined Beeswax
  • Have its fragrance negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Burn longer and cleaner (no drip) than ordinary paraffin candles
  • Have a smokeless flame
  • Have a higher melting point than other waxes, thus its flame gives off more light and heat
  • Be pure, 100% natural, and refined through physical processes without the use of any chemicals
  • Be melted and filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Come in convenient blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) each
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many products such as lotions, creams, balms, body butters, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations while functioning as a thickener
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have a natural but mild scent that makes it a good substitute for those with Fragrance Sensitivity and that allows for the addition of essential oils for fragrance
  • Burn longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Come in blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) each
  • Be Golden-Yellow in color
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many natural products including candles, soaps, natural wood polishes, and pastes, and sealing wax
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN ORGANIC

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Be completely natural and to come in large blocks of different sizes
  • Be 100% pure
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be processed under Organic conditions that meet the USDA Standards
  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Be primarily used to manufacture Aromatherapy and natural Beeswax candles
  • Act as a humectant, emollient, and emulsifying agent in formulations for lotions, creams, balms and body butters
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating
  • Be the ideal wax for those requiring unprocessed premium Beeswax

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN UNREFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes and without dripping
  • Be 100% pure
  • Be processed using technology that meets pharmacopeia standards for use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of products such as cosmetics, candles, and soaps
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BEESWAX

Beeswax is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Beeswax without the medical advice of a physician, as it is unclear whether any potential negative effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Beeswax, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of melted Beeswax to a small area of skin that is not sensitive and leaving it on the area for 15-20 minutes. Beeswax must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Beeswax include sensitization, redness, pain, itchiness, burning, contact dermatitis, shortness of breath, swelling/crusting/rash around the mouth/lips/tongue, rash, tiny bumps, and difficulty swallowing or speaking. Those with hay fever, rhinitis, and allergies to pollen, propolis, or honey should avoid the use of Beeswax.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees. It is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated.
    • Just like honey, Beeswax varies in color, depending on various factors related to the bees themselves as well as the flowers from which the honey is derived.
    • There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and Absolute. They vary in their processing methods, benefits, and uses.
    • Used in aromatherapy, Beeswax is known for its long, slow, clean, smoke-less burn. It not only exudes the aroma of honey but it also produces comparatively brighter flames, facilitates the elimination of airborne pollutants, and promotes the overall health of body and mind.
    • Used cosmetically, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. It exfoliates, repairs damage, promotes the skin’s regeneration, diminishes the appearance of the signs of aging, soothes itchiness and irritation, and creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier against environmental pollutants. Used in hair, Beeswax nourishes, conditions, and softens the strands while and promoting the hair’s luster.
  • Used medicinally, Beeswax helps soothe and facilitate the healing of abrasions. It prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin and it provides the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or skin ailments, such as eczema and rosacea.

Activated Charcoal: 15 Benefits & Uses for Health and Wellness

Activated charcoal is a hot topic in health and wellness these days, gaining recognition as a powerhouse agent for detoxification with a wide range of potential uses. We see activated charcoal in everything from facial masks and teeth whiteners to digestive remedies and even an exotic new food trend that uses its charcoal hue for an element of surprise (think jet-black ice cream).

Activated charcoal benefits are no secret. A staple in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, activated charcoal remains to this day a common emergency room antidote for cases of toxicity and poisoning in developed nations around the world. As for activated charcoal uses in daily life, this natural healing product is extremely versatile and generally considered safe. Yet activated charcoal should be handled with care (scroll down for an overview of activated charcoal side effects).

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or various other substances. For your natural medicine cabinet, we recommend purchasing activated charcoal that is organic and made from coconut shells.

Processed at very high temperatures, this unique charcoal is “activated” in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It is the porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (“adsorbing”) toxins and flushing them out of the body. This is the principle behind activated charcoal detox.

Unlike the charcoal briquettes you use to light your barbecue, activated charcoal is free of toxins and carcinogens and is generally safe to consume and apply topically. Never substitute regular charcoal for the activated charcoal used for health and wellness!

What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

With its purifying qualities, activated charcoal offers potential benefits including detoxification, alleviating gas and bloating digestive health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the effects of radiation, and anti-aging.

Detoxification

The most scientifically proven of all of the activated charcoal’s benefits, detoxification happens naturally with this powerful agent. Because activated charcoal’s porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract. In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning, toxic exposure and drug overdose.

Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for acute poisoning from a wide variety of drugs and poisons including acetaminophen, aspirin and tricyclic antidepressants. However, it is not useful for poisoning from lithium, iron, cyanide, potassium, and ethanol.

While some use activated charcoal as a hangover cure, there is currently no evidence to support this. More than one study has shown that activated charcoal is not effective at absorbing alcohol.

Alleviating Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal’s ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. A double-blind clinical trial found reduced gas and bloating in subjects that used activated charcoal compared to the placebo group. And in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority presented its scientific opinion in favor of using activated charcoal to reduce excess gas in the digestive system.

Digestive Health

When used for digestive cleansing, activated charcoal can promote overall digestive health. Considered a natural gut cleanser, activated charcoal can help lighten the body’s toxic load — potentially reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening immune System.

Lowering Cholesterol

Some researchers have found that activated charcoal can help people lower their cholesterol. Just as it does with toxins, activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. In a controlled study of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal was effective at lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Reducing the Effects of Radiation

Piggybacking on its powers of detoxification, activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal attaches to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins.

Anti-Aging

Through its ability to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has the potential to be a natural approach to healthy aging. With a reduced toxic load, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. In the same way, it may help to prevent cellular damage to our natural detox organs (the kidneys and liver) and also support adrenal gland health.

Activated Charcoal Uses

Activated charcoal use runs the gamut from gut-cleansing detox to purifying facials, teeth whitening, bug-bite care and more. Keep activated charcoal on hand for natural healing remedies like these.

Digestive Cleansing

The digestive tract is where a myriad of toxins can enter our bodies, from pesticides and heavy metals in food, to chemicals in water and exposure to mold. When you eliminate toxins with a digestive cleanse, you can feel lighter, stronger, and more energetic. While there are many different kinds of digestive cleanses, a simple approach is to eat whole, organic foods and avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Activated charcoal can supercharge your cleanse by assisting with the removal of toxins through the process of adsorption — that is, the toxins attach to the activated charcoal like metal to a magnet, and then pass safely out of the body with a bowel movement.

Recipe: To add activated charcoal to your cleanse, take 10 grams (either as a powder added to water or in pill form) 90 minutes before each meal for two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

First Aid for Poisons or Toxins

An antidote to certain types of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, drugs, or household chemicals, activated charcoal is handy to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is essential, however, to first contact 911 or a poison control center immediately. Depending on the type of poison, they may instruct you to administer activated charcoal at home before going to an emergency room.

Note: Having activated charcoal in your first-aid kit or medicine cabinet can help jump-start the recovery process but should never replace a healthcare professional.

Facial Mask

In the same way that activated charcoal draws toxins out of the digestive system, when applied topically, it can draw oils, dirt, bacteria and other impurities from the pores, leaving skin clean, clear and less prone to breakouts.

Recipe: Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Apply to face and neck with a cosmetic brush. Keep on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash off with your favorite natural cleanser.

Note that activated-charcoal powder is very messy when spilled! Avoid using it over hard-to-clean areas such as tile grout.

Acne Spot Treatment

Mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel, activated charcoal makes an effective acne spot treatment.

Recipe: Break open one capsule of activated charcoal in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, mix with a half-teaspoon of aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. Apply paste to acne. Let dry about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Teeth Whitening

It may seem counterintuitive to turn your teeth black in order to whiten them (don’t worry — the black washes off!), but many people have success using activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitener. Because activated charcoal is abrasive to the teeth, dab it on gently rather than using a toothbrush.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open two capsules of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix in just enough water to make a thick paste (less than 1 teaspoon). Dab paste onto teeth, let sit three minutes and rinse.

Flatulence Relief

Activated charcoal’s ability to alleviate gas and bloating is clinically proven. If certain foods trigger gas, activated charcoal is one way to keep flatulence at bay.

Tip: Take 1 gram of activated charcoal at least 30 minutes before you eat and 1 gram an hour after you eat.

Bug Bites

Activated charcoal can be a great remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings, as it can alleviate the itching and discomfort that they cause.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open one capsule of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix with a ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bug bite or bee sting.

Water Filtration

Just as it can remove impurities from the body, activated charcoal can also remove contaminants from water. Activated charcoal is a key component in many commercially available water filtration systems, and works in a similar way to the carbon filtration in the popular Brita water pitchers.

Activated charcoal in water filters may be effective at removing pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals. However, it is less effective at removing fluoride, viruses, bacteria, and hard-water minerals.

Air Purification

In the same spirit, activated carbon is also effective as a filter for air purification. Much like baking soda, commercially available charcoal bags can be placed in the refrigerator, car, pet areas, gym bags, and other places to freshen the air, neutralize odors, and combat mold.

Activated Charcoal Forms

Activated charcoal is available in pills, tablets, capsules, and loose powder for multipurpose use. In all forms, activated charcoal is odorless and neutral-tasting.

Pills & Tablets

Activated charcoal to reduce gas and bloating is often taken in pill or tablet form. Generally, two pills or tablets are recommended to be taken at least 30 minutes before eating gas-producing foods, and one hour after.

Capsules

Purchasing activated charcoal in capsule form is a handy way to use small amounts for recipes. Simply break open a capsule into a small bowl to release the powder, and mix it with water, coconut oil or another ingredient to make a paste for DIY healing.

Powder

A jar of fine, jet-black activated charcoal powder is handy for a variety of uses. In cases of poisoning or the ingestion of toxins, the activated charcoal powder is mixed with a liquid and given as a drink (or, in emergency rooms, administered through a tube from the mouth to the stomach).

For more common household use, the activated charcoal powder can be used in small amounts for teeth whitening and other remedies.

Are There Side Effects to Using Activated Charcoal?

It is important to remember that activated charcoal not only adsorbs to toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, too, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.

It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients. Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.

Keep in mind that activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. At least one study supports its use for cholestasis, which is a condition marked by the reduction or stoppage of bile flow, during pregnancy. Some pregnant women use it to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as well as diarrhea, though its effectiveness in such cases is not well documented. In some people, activated charcoal can cause side effects of vomiting and diarrhea — the very symptoms it may be used to relieve.