It’s Spring Cleaning Time!

Essential Oils for Home Cleaning

Here in Utah, the first day of spring isn’t quite full yet of all the gardening we’d like to do, but it is full of the promise that soon enough we’ll be out there once again, digging in the dirt! In the meantime, we’re opening the windows, letting the fresh air in, and doing some spring cleaning.

Look to your pantry to naturally clean your clothes and your home. Adding essential oils contributes antibacterial properties to your homemade cleaning agents and gives that oh-so-fresh-and-clean scent. This basic blend of oils is antibacterial and it smells divine!

Once you’ve made up a batch of the Antibacterial Essential Oil Blend, add it to the other recipes included for cleaners or create your own. Once you start creating your own cleaning products, you’ll discover just how easy it is to make cleaners that are truly clean.

Happy Cleaning! 

Antibacterial
Essential Oil Blend 

Ingredients 
40 drops clove oil
35 drops lemon oil
30 drops cinnamon oil
25 drops eucalyptus oil
20 drops rosemary oil
15 drops lavender oil
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops peppermint oil

Instructions: Combine all oils in a light-proof bottle.

Foaming All-Purpose Paste Cleaner 

Ingredients 
baking soda
liquid castile soap
the antibacterial essential oil blend

Instructions 
Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and your favorite liquid castile soap. Adjust the ratio to your liking. Add a few drops of the essential oil blend. The baking soda is abrasive, so take care when cleaning delicate surfaces.
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Foaming All-Purpose Spray Cleaner 

Ingredients 
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon borax
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
1 cup vinegar
20 drops antibacterial essential oil blend

Instructions 
Heat water and borax, and stir until borax is dissolved. Stir in liquid castile soap, vinegar, and antibacterial essential oil blend. Store in a spray bottle. To use, spray and wipe clean. The vinegar smell will dissipate shortly.

 

 

We made it through another winter!! It’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer, flowers are starting to bloom, and you’ll start to see butterflies and bees buzzing around.

I don’t know about you, but Spring is without a doubt my favorite season! I love all the bright colors, warmer weather, and all the wonderful smells Spring brings.

To make Spring even better (I know, how is that even possible?!) we are introducing a NEW limited time blend!! Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on this one!!

In Essence; Spring Aromas

There’s something special about spring. Spring makes things new, it revitalizes your surroundings. The sun warms the earth, seeds begin to sprout and flowers bloom. It awakens the senses from a dormant state that winter engulfs. It is like a new beginning. It’s like the definition of hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best. It is as if starting anew.

Aromatherapy can help us harmonize ourselves with the movement of the incoming season. Let’s take a look at some regenerating essential oils that you can incorporate this Spring…

  1. Lavender Its name in Latin “lavare” means to wash or to clean. Lavender is harmonizing to the spirit and when inhaled, it can calm an agitated mind and lift the mood almost instantly. Reduces stress and overall tension while bringing luster and balance to the skin.
  2. Palmarosa also known as “Indian geranium oil” is such a delight! Its light, citrusy-grassy-rose aroma is warming to the body, relaxes tight muscles, lessens pain and reduces inflammation*. Its sweet perfume is healing, regenerating and uplifting to the mood.
  3. Bergamot “Sunshine in a bottle.” It allows us to “relax and let go” and gives a feeling of freshness, joy, and energy in cases of sadness and depression caused by fatigue and unreleased tensions and frustration.
  4. Geranium The oil of balance. Geranium balances overall and is a beautifying oil that can help us be more productive, reconnect with ourselves and “feel life” again. 
  5. Coriander It refreshing and spicy aroma is grounding and soothing. Diffuse in the air to give the room a little spruce.
  6. Lime Detoxifying and purifying, lime enhances circulation and is revitalizing. Its sharp aroma enhances energy and mental clarity.
  7. Scotch Pine The fresh aroma often reminds us of the hiking through the forest. It is purifying, warm and cleansing while helping keep us alert and mentally clear. Dilute with a carrier oil and massage to soothe sore muscles and joints after gardening or strenuous workouts.
  8. Roman Chamomile transition into spring with ease with this precious oil. It can help bring emotional stability in times of nervousness, restlessness, exhaustion, stress, tension, grief, and depression.
  9. Lemongrass Strengthening of the nervous system, anti-infectious, and eases muscular aches and pains, among many other things. It helps us concentrate when we need to think clearly and is uplifting and energizing.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Bergamot Oil

Bergamot “Sunshine in a Bottle” (Citrus bergamia)

Sunshine in a bottle”, as many Aromatherapists can relate when we refer to Bergamot. Just a drop or two can elevate the mood and bring smiles almost instantly. The oil of Bergamot we carry is extracted through cold pressing the peel of the Bergamot fruit and is grown in the Ivory Coast. It is named after the Italian city of Bergamo in Lombardy, where the oil was originally sold.

Bergamot Essential Oil is a balancing oil that can be used to lift the spirit in times of depression, melancholy, stress or tension; while also calming anxiety, nervousness, stress, and fear. It is considered in Aromatherapy as a relaxant and sedative.* As a matter of fact, it is one of the most studied essential oils for helping with anxiety and its effects can be enhanced with other essential oils.

It gives a feeling of freshness, joy, and energy in cases of sadness and depression caused by fatigue and unreleased tensions and frustrations.  Bergamot helps us to “relax and let go” especially when we have pent-up feelings. It reminds us that life is good for promoting optimism and lifting off our shoulders physical and emotional tension.
It also stimulates hormone secretion and thus helps maintain proper rates of metabolism.

Interesting facts: Bergamot is a hybrid of the bitter orange and lemon.  It was and still is a primary ingredient in one of the first ‘eau de cologne’ formulas, and continues to this day to be found in a number of ‘high end’ perfumes and colognes. Earl Grey Tea is lightly flavored with a hint of Bergamot.

Feeling stressed? Take the time to inhale the sweet, exotic citrus aroma of Bergamot. Here are more ways you can use it…

Bergamot Blends well with:
Lavender, Basil, Clary Sage, Cedarwood,  Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Peppermint, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Ho Wood and all citrus oils such as orange and tangerine.

Bergamot is found in the following Eternity Blends: HappinessAnxietyClear MindConfidence, and Stress Relief.

“Rays of Sunshine”- Make this synergy by adding the following in a 5ml Amber bottle:
2 tsp Bergamot
1 tsp  Sweet OrangeTangerineClementine or Blood Orange (your choice)
½ tsp Geranium

How to use this Synergy:

  • Add a few drops to your diffuser to brighten up the room.
  • Make a room spray: Add up to 80 drops of the synergy first to a 4oz aluminum bottle with atomizer. Add witch hazel. Mix. Then add purified water.
  • Make a massage oil to lift away stress and tension. Mix 10-12 drops + 1oz carrier oil in an amber glass bottle.
  • Add a drop or 2 to a tissue and inhale when in need of a quick “pick me up”.

 

** Caution: Citrus essential oils and the sun do not get along. Do not use photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun.

Spring Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for the Season of “Wood”

Spring Aromatherapy: Did you know you can use aromatherapy to tame the seasonal imbalances of Spring?

Classical Chinese Medicine recognizes five steps in the transformation of matter (Yin) into energy (Yang) and energy back into matter. Yin and Yang are primordial forces that together form the basis of everything that exists and their ceaseless transformation from one into the other is what creates and destroys everything around us, including our health. This process of transformation is reflected in the cycles that we see all around us, including the cycle of birth, growth, and death as well as the cycle of the changing seasons.


These five phases correspond with the five seasons: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
 Each season relates to a specific element, specific bodily organs, specific emotions and other factors that are briefly described, in part, in the accompanying infographic. According to this traditional system, each season presents characteristic challenges to our health and psychospiritual well-being and an understanding of seasonal challenges can help us maintain states of well-being throughout the year.Classical Chinese Medicine recognizes five steps in the transformation of matter (Yin) into energy (Yang) and energy back into matter. Yin and Yang are primordial forces that together form the basis of everything that exists and their ceaseless transformation from one into the other is what creates and destroys everything around us, including our health. This process of transformation is reflected in the cycles that we see all around us, including the cycle of birth, growth, and death as well as the cycle of the changing seasons.

Those of us in the Northern hemisphere are now beginning into the season of Spring. This is when our hot, bright, active Yang energies are beginning to rise and our cool, dark, passive Yin energies are starting to lessen. This is the season of pushing, rising, expanding energy and exuberant new growth. Now we are called on to shake off the sleepiness of our winter hibernation and hit the ground running. It’s important to take advantage of Spring’s opportunities for new growth but equally important to avoid overdoing it. This is where Spring Aromatherapy can be quite beneficial.

In Classical Chinese Medicine, Spring is considered a challenging time because the sudden surge of Qi can cause or aggravate imbalances and blockages.  My Chinese acupuncturist, who is the third generation of his family to practice Chinese Medicine, describes Spring as “a very dangerous time” because not only are all living beings experiencing the surge of Qi, the climatic influences are also unstable and the characteristic winds and temperature fluctuations of the season demand flexibility and adjustment at all levels of body, mind, and spirit. Spring is a time when any constitutional weaknesses may be especially aggravated by both the weather and the dietary and lifestyle choices you make. It’s wise in Spring to accommodate to windy conditions and fluctuating temperatures by maintaining appropriate attire and eating a well-balanced diet that is appropriate for your constitutional type. Inappropriate diet, over-work, and substance abuse of any kind are especially likely to have negative health consequences during Spring. Ironically, the typically drunken Spring break festivities that many college students engage in typify some of the worst things you could do at this time of year in terms of nurturing your health and wellbeing for the coming cycle.

The element associated with Spring is Wood. The organs for this element are the Liver and gallbladder. In Chinese Medicine, these organ systems are said to be responsible for circulating Qi, storing and directing the blood, harmonizing digestion, directing body movement, and ensuring the flow or release of substances and emotions at the proper time. These functions have far-reaching effects in the body and common physical symptoms of disharmony in these organs include spasm, constriction and pain (especially in muscles), digestive problems, menstrual issues, headaches, sleep disturbance, allergies and skin problems.

The core emotion associated with the Wood element is anger and the aspect of Spirit that especially comes into play in this season is the Hun, or so-called Ethereal Soul. The Hun represents that part of the soul that survives the death of the body and that connects us to the collective unconscious. It governs dreams and visions and imbues us with a sense of purpose and “direction” in life, as well as cognitive and emotional movement and adaptability. In Spring, we may be more vulnerable to anger and irritability and to feeling that we lack purpose. Just as living in harmony with the energies of the season can help prevent physical symptoms, it can also help reduce or prevent some of these emotional and spiritual conflicts.

Each element is also associated with specific herbs and essential oils that are said to belong to that element and are believed to help maintain and restore balance in that element.

Essential oils that have been said by practitioners of this ancient system to belong to the Wood element include the following:

  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Helichrysum
  • Lime
  • Peppermint
  • Petitgrain
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Spearmint
  • Yarrow

Essential oils of other elements that may also be helpful during Spring include these:

  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Myrtle
  • Niaouli
  • Orange (sweet)
  • Rose Otto
  • Spikenard

As you move into the Spring season, use this time to nurture your dreams and visions in order to connect with your purpose in life. A dream group, led by an experienced dreamwork facilitator, can be a great avenue for exploring what your dreams are trying to tell you. As long as you don’t have any medical contraindications, this is a great time to take a gentle yoga or Tai Chi class, as these practices will help you avoid or release blockages and keep your body moving, supple and flexible. Pay attention to and honor your body’s normal cycles (especially in terms of the cycles of wakefulness/work and sleep/rest). As you become more active after winter’s relative rest, ensure adequate intake of fluids to support the proper elimination of stored toxins and wastes. The tradition of “Spring house cleaning” is based on the fact that getting rid of the clutter that has accumulated over the winter, opening things up, and getting better organized will clear the way for growth and help you manifest your dreams and visions in a practical way. Just as it is in the rest of nature, Spring is our time for resurrection and rebirth at all levels of body, mind, and spirit – allow the awakening in nature to inspire you to make the most of it.

Following Our Natural Rhythm is a Sacred Ceremony

Spring Forward

This is a ritual we do either consciously or unconsciously. We are influenced by the constant cycles of the sun and moon, light and dark, warm and cold. In order to thrive our bodies have had to be intimately linked with these natural cycles and the seasons. Our bodies follow the seasons in ways that we know well. For example, as the days get longer our energy increases and we need less sleep. And here is an interesting fact ~ did you know that sunlight (natures full spectrum light) activates your endocrine system when it enters your eyes? And that your endocrine system is connected to your immune system and your nervous system? We need this light daily.

I love how Krystina Dryza writes about our connection to natures rhythms:

” Put simply, rhythm is fundamental to wellbeing. It is the keynote of nature. Not just a sign of life – it is life.

 

The cycles of nature guide our lives and their wisdom can be our wisdom too. We often forget that our body is part of the body of the universe and so when we reference, integrate and live the movements of the cosmos within our own selves, our lives too take on the same natural flow.

 

Seasonal, circadian, lunar and tidal forces influence our lives in profound ways – if only we can let them in and trust their intelligence. Nature isn’t to be conquered or controlled, only surrendered to. I work with these cycles not just as naturally occurring phenomena, but also as archetypal processes, metaphors, and symbolic influences.

Below is a brief description of the roles I believe each of these energies plays in our lives.

 

Seasonal: subdivisions of the year with noticeable changes in weather, ecology, and light, which invite acceptance and greater presence.
Circadian: physiology and behavior over a 24-hour period that encourages congruency and alignment.
Lunar: distinct phases of waxing and waning within an unchanging cycle that inspires reflection and appropriate phasing and pacing.
Tidal: the periodic rise and fall of large bodies of water, which promotes a state of effortlessness and flow. 

Remembering we are nature reconnects us to everything else. It returns us to our essence. Nature’s rhythms are the key to feeling in sync with life, but this isn’t a mental exercise. It’s not a frog-march intellectually. To familiarise ourselves with the flow of life . . . to feel the sea of energies . . . means allowing – not forcing. We ‘let’ things bubble up and happen in their own unique timing rather than forcibly ‘making’ them happen according to our personality’s schedule. To connect to something deeper than ideas and concepts – to the source that powers life – requires Presence.

 

When we’re flowing with the natural operating systems of this world, we’re traveling through life in a particular state of mind, energy, and manner. The quality of our experience of getting from A to B is infinitely enhanced when the path chosen is one that’s in harmony with life’s natural patterns and sequences of energy. To do this requires an awareness of the constantly changing equilibrium at play while allowing each idiosyncratic, poetic movement to guide us. [Sounds ‘mentally’ hard but when you’re ‘it’ in frequency, easy!] Only in this way can we confidently navigate the waters of life and witness the greater beauty that surrounds us.”

 

Spring is here and we are moving into her with all the energy of the young maiden; in love with the mystery of life, feeling magical, enthused, curious, open to trying new things, and knowing anything are possible and that all those endless possibilities are held within us. This is the time to explore your senses and delight in everything that spring has to give.

This week, as we move into the waxing, Gibbous Moon, also known as the time of the Maiden, gather her light and energy and stop.listen.feel. the unfolding of yourself.

A Herbal Ritual: Bath Therapy

When building your herbal apothecary, many people do not consider adding classic beauty products like floral toners, infused oils, bath salts, or luxurious lotions–but beauty care is an integral part of healing. Just as tinctures and teas can promote healthy digestion and relaxation,* herbal self-care rituals encourage whole body wellness and nourish the spirit. For example, golden calendula flowers infused in oils can promote a radiant complexion and the simple addition of lavender essential oil to baths can relax the spirit. And while these spa-like practices and products may seem more indulgent than necessary on the surface, we believe in the wisdom of age-old rituals when it comes to wellness.

Bathing is actually an ancient therapeutic practice called balneotherapy. Romans recognized the importance of water therapy and even provided public bathhouses for citizens. Ayurvedic healers use steams, baths, and cold water plunges to maintain health based on your constitution–also known as doshas—and promote circulation.* Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.

Herbs and oils have long been combined with bath therapy to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote supple skin.* These days, many bath products and cosmetics include harmful ingredients, like heavy metals and toxic carcinogens. Even worse, some commonly used products are also tested on animals. Verifying with The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics is a great way to ensure the quality of your favorite products, and we highly recommend checking labels to make sure they are made cruelty-free. While more and more companies are selling ethically made or sourced natural products, it’s often more satisfying to make products yourself. We’ve crafted two herbal bath recipes that are simple and soothing: our Spring Tea Bath Blend and our Flower-Powered Sea Salts.

Flower-Powered Sea Salts

A relaxing blend to calm your nerves and soothe sore muscles.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 5 jars

Materials:

  • 5 six-ounce jars
  • Labels
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil (or healthy oil of choice, like jojoba or sesame oil)
  • ½ cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup coarsely ground, Kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 4-6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of Moroccan blue chamomile oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by blending the dry ingredients together in the large bowl, then slowly pour in the almond and essential oils while stirring.
  2. Add the mixture to the jars, and label them with their ingredients and the date crafted.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons to each bath to enjoy a deep state of calm.

Spring Tea Bath

An aromatic herbal blend to support your lymphatic system and nourish your skin.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: Enough for five baths

Materials:

  • Five 5” x 7” sized muslin bags or cheesecloth
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Cooking twine or cotton string (if using cheesecloth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried red clover blossoms

Instructions:

  1. Pour flowers into a mixing bowl and blend them together.
  2. Fill each muslin bag with the flower mixture or use cheesecloth and twine to create a small pouch.
  3. Tie shut and use one bag per bath. The bag can be tied to the water spout for the hot water to run through, or simply placed in the tub to float like a tea bag in an infusion.

Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.

Keep in mind that healthy skin and healthy bodies are also fueled by whole foods, proper hydration, and regular sleep. For more natural beauty care tips, check out Stephanie Tourles’s Organic Body Care Recipes or Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbs for Natural Beauty.

Happy Spring Equinox!

What a winter we have had!  The best ever for this girl, filled with lots of snow-filled activities (like skiing on a frozen Utah Lake!) and cozy nights by a fire to keep the balance.  The little glimpses of spring that are beginning to unfurl here are a treat for these snow-filled eyes.  Seeing bare ground and little crocus flowers pushing through the dirt fuels my excitement to be outside planting and dreaming up our new garden space.  More beds for calendula, planters on the back of the building for hops to vertically explore, food production, more elderberries and blueberries, more grass was torn up for more medicinal herbs, and of course, fencing to keep the herds of voracious deer out.  I am dreaming of wildflower-covered prairies, western meadowlarks and bluebirds, and ways of infusing that beauty into our new products coming this summer.  It has been a very busy and productive winter.  Spring doesn’t appear to be slowing down.  I am super excited to share with you what we have been up to.  I hope the shift in seasons and the return to light finds you happy and healthy and dreaming up new beginnings.

Spring Cleaning Blend

As winter begins shifting towards spring and the days grow longer, the natural world slowly awakens to a lively buzz of excitement. Similarly, we find ourselves emerging from the quietude and slumber of wintertime to greet the invigorating spirit of spring. The cold, damp heaviness of winter can leave us feeling sluggish and melancholy, so it is important to surround ourselves with bright and uplifting energies this time of year. Here is a spring cleaning blend to support you during this transition and prepare your space for the changing of the seasons.

  • 3 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 1 drops Tulsi essential oil
  • 1 drops Rose Geranium essential oil

Rose Geranium: is the star of this blend! It helps us find balance in the midst of the changing seasons, allowing us to gracefully transition during this special time when night and day are equal. Its sweet floral scent is soothing and cheerful while its gentle, harmonizing effect will bring just the right dose of energy.

Bergamot: Like other citruses, brings a bit of sunshine to any blend. This solar note provides a subtle energy and mood boost, banishing any lingering gloom left over from winter’s stay. Bergamot also helps maintain focus and clarity, while encouraging positive choices.

Tulsi: increases vitality while also promoting relaxation. This addition to the blend inspires purification on both physical and emotional levels to provide a fresh start for the new season.

*Add a few drops of this blend to your diffuser or incorporate into some of your favorite homemade cleaning products to welcome spring into your life.

Note: Bergamot oil, like all citrus oils, can cause photosensitivity. Avoid topical use for 12 hours before sun exposure, unless it will be rinsed off.

*Recipe may be doubled when using in a diffuser for a stronger aroma.