An Oily Spotlight: Vetiver

Many varieties of essential oils were unfamiliar to me when I first began implementing them into my day to day life.  Vetiver was one of those oils that I was totally unversed in, but I was drawn to it – perhaps it was the name that was initially intriguing.  It sounded somewhat exotic.  This led me to research this oil further. 

 As it turns out, Vetiver is not a widely-known oil, even though its use dates back centuries.  It is actually a grass, somewhat similar to lemongrass, and the thick, matted root base is what is steam distilled for the oil. The aroma isn’t one that most people fall in love with at first.  It has a very earthy, nutty scent with a hint of citrus in the background.  And when I say earthy, I mean some people say it smells like dirt. Now I don’t want to mislead you, because over time I have actually come to find the scent quite pleasing, but it is definitely a musky masculine scent.  It is also an extremely thick oil, so it could be challenging to get the drops to come out of the bottle.  You can roll the bottle between your hands to warm it up a bit, which could help, but I find it more expedient to remove the orifice reducer and use a glass medicine dropper to dispense the oil.  Vetiver has a very grounding quality and is used as a base note in some high end perfumes like Chanel No. 5 and White Shoulders, as its contrasting scent brings out the sweet essence of the other ingredients in the perfume.vetiver

 Vetiver’s attributes are way more versatile than simply being utilized as a base note in perfume.  It’s said to affect the nervous system, endocrine system, skin and emotions. It’s found to be very balancing emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  The health benefits of Vetiver essential oil can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory, nervine, and sedative properties.  As a nervine, it can heal the damage done to nerves from shock, fear, and stress. Vetiver can also act as a sedative that’s effective in reducing anxiety, anger, restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, high levels of stress, and panic.  From a hormonal perspective, this oil can cool hot flashes and subdue the mood swings associated with menopause and PMS.  Loaded with antioxidants and hydrating qualities, Vetiver essential oil is wonderful for the skin, whether you’re addressing puffiness, age spots, sun damage, scars or the typical signs of aging by adding it to your carrier oil or moisturizer of choice.

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There was an impressive two-year case study, between 1999 – 2001 by Dr. Terry Friedman, that found Vetiver essential oil effective in treating ADHD and ADD in children.  In Dr. Friedman’s study, the children inhaled Lavender, Cedarwood and Vetiver essential oils, one at a time for 30 days each, 3 times a day and as needed.  The inhalation of the oils proved to settle the children’s brain wave patterns and improved their school performance as well as their behavior.  Lavender increased their performance by 53 percent, Cedarwood by 83 percent and Vetiver by 100 percent!  This oil is certainly one to consider if you are trying to help your child with focus.  But one of the most interesting developments has been an increasing awareness about how essential oils, Vetiver in particular, can help individuals with autism.  Application of this oil in a carrier oil to the back of the neck and/or the bottoms of the feet seems to mitigate anger, irritability and neurotic behavior, and helps to quiet an overactive mind. This is a promising prospect for parents, and more research in this area is definitely needed.

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Essential oils have infinite healing properties and using them daily provides so many benefits to our health, physically and emotionally.  If you start to think of essential oils in the same way you think of food, you come to realize that it is an ongoing process.  You don’t just eat once and never eat again.  Your body needs nutritional support every day.  The same is so with essential oils, as you can use them daily for overall wellness support.  Vetiver is an excellent oil to add to your essential oil wellness kit.

 

An Oily Approach: What’s Your Frequency?

You may not know you even have one, a frequency that is.  Frequency is the measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between any two points.  At least that’s the scientific definition. What’s important for us to know is that every object on this planet, still or alive, has an electrical frequency that can be measured. This measurement counts the number of occurrences of repeating current flow per second and is measured in units called Hertz (Hz).  This measurement is defined in multiplying units like KHz, MHz, GHz, etc., but when we’re referring to a living organism like ourselves, the proper unit is MHz (Megahertz).  So maybe you’re thinking, ok fine, but why should I care?

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The study of frequencies brings up an important question regarding the foods we eat, the air we breathe and what we absorb.  Let me give you a little background first.  In the early 90’s a man named Bruce Tainio built the first frequency monitor in the world. With this monitor, Tainio determined that the average frequency of a healthy human is between 62-68 MHz.  When the frequency drops below that, the immune system is compromised.  So, in theory, if you are able to keep your body’s frequency above 62 MHz, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting sick.  But what happens when we eat denatured canned or processed foods, breathe in pollutants, absorb toxins into our skin and lungs by using chemical cleaning products, hair products and beauty products?  Introducing all of these substances, which happen to have very low frequencies, into our bodies begins to lower our healthy frequency, thus making us susceptible to disease. In fact, in one particular study, doctors took two young, healthy men whose frequency was measured at 66 MHz.  They gave one man a cup of coffee to simply hold and his frequency dropped to 58 MHz in just 3 seconds.  The second man actually drank the coffee and his frequency dropped to 52 MHz in 3 seconds.

Fortunately, nature provided us with something we can use to help raise our frequency, and that something is essential oils.  Clinical research shows that therapeutic grade essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man. When we use them they can create an internal environment in which disease, bacteria, viruses, fungus, etc., cannot live. But it is important to note that they must be 100% therapeutic grade essential oils, with no chemical solvents or preservatives.  That is the primary reason why I use Young Living essential oils only.  I actually tested this theory on my own via muscle testing. I would have an individual hold a bottle of Young Living Lavender oil, for example, in their non-dominant hand and outstretch the opposite arm.  I push down on the outstretched arm while they resist my push.  I would then have them hold a bottle of a different brand of Lavender oil and repeat the test. Every time, without fail, their arm remains steady and strong when holding the Young Living oil and their arm goes completely weak when they are holding the other brand.  I’ve tried this with several different brands.  Now mind you, that’s just by holding the bottle; so imagine what happens when we inhale, ingest or absorb a 100% pure oil versus one that is not so pure. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Here are a few examples of the frequencies of some of the Young Living Essential Oils:

  • 580 MHz Idaho Blue Spruce
  • 320 MHz Rose
  • 181 MHz Helichrysum
  • 150 MHz Thieves
  • 147 MHz Frankincense
  • 118 MHz Lavender
  • 112 MHz PanAway
  • 102 MHz Acceptance
  • 78 MHz Peppermint
  • 75 MHz R.C.

Daily use of essential oils can help us maintain a high frequency, thus a stronger immune system.  The beauty of essential oils is that they are extremely versatile, so they have a wide range of application.  They also work for the need that is present in our body.  If there is no need present in the body, there is minimal reaction and no harm done.  While oils are not accumulative in the body, their frequency and effect is cumulative.  Essential oils are powerful tools indeed.

 

AN OILY SPOTLIGHT: COPAIBA

2 + 2 = 8.  What?  The idea of synergy is an important concept in aromatherapy.  When you consider the plants from which we extract essential oils, you come to realize that the plant contains a myriad of compounds that work in synergy to protect the plant, and carry out all the processes necessary for homeostasis.  Remember that term from science class?  Homeostasis; the process whereby the internal environment of an organism is balanced and stable.  But let’s get back to our equation for the moment.   Within a given essential oil, a synergy occurs between the major and minor components found in that oil, and since these components act together, this significantly increases the therapeutic value that oil has.   In other words, the sum is greater than the parts or 2 + 2 = 8.  This synergy also exists between essential oils and our cells.  In simple terms, essential oils have intelligence to know the location in our body they are needed and act as adaptogens, meaning they will do what our body needs them to do.  They can assist the body by stimulating immune response, elevating mood, balancing hormones, acting as an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant and detoxifier.

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The oily spotlight this month is on Copaiba.  This essential oil is derived from the balsamic resin of the copaiba tree, known scientifically as copaifera officinalis.  These trees are most commonly found in the rain forests of South America.  The extraction is similar to how we tap maple syrup from maple trees.  This resin is then gently steam distilled in order to keep all the healthy plant compounds in the oil.  Copaiba is a sustainable essential oil as well, since it can be harvested without harming the tree or the forest.  As one of the 11 oils included in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit, Copaiba has a mild, subtle scent and taste. Don’t let that fool you though, as this powerhouse oil is multi-functional and has incredible healing properties. These healing properties are in part due to the extremely high levels of beta caryophyllene contained in Copaiba.  Beta caryophyllene is a well-known plant chemical which has been studied for its ability to modulate the body’s response to irritation and inflammation.  In fact, studies show that Copaiba has greater anti-inflammatory action than Ibuprofen or even Cortisone, only there are no side effects!  This oil also has the ability to amplify the effects of other oils too.  We call this a magnifier.  Definitely one of my “go to” oils for its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and stimulant effects.  The chemical constituents in Copaiba have been found to be effective in the following ways:inflammation-pic

  • Pain management. This oil can bring relief from headache, arthritis, gout, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and fibromyalgia pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Can help in lowering and maintaining blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health due to its hypotensive properties.
  • Strengthens and tones the pelvic floor muscles that control urine flow. Urinary incontinence can be treated with regular use of Copaiba essential oil by massaging it on the lower abdomen.
  • Inflammation from painful insect bites and stings can be calmed considerably with Copaiba essential oil.
  • A wide range of respiratory infections and mucus build-up can be treated by usage of Copaiba oil. The expectorant properties in this oil can flush out the accumulated mucus and clear the nasal passages.
  • An excellent remedy for those people suffering from varicose and spider veins. Due to disruptions in blood circulation, the veins enlarge and blood pooling is caused. Massaging with Copaiba oil promotes better blood circulation, and improved drainage of accumulated blood.
  • The laxative properties of the oil can cure digestive issues like constipation and other stomach ailments and promote healthy functioning of the digestive system.
  • Regular application of Copaiba oil is known to stimulate collagen production and assist in repair and restore of damaged skin caused by acne or pimples.
  • Teething pain. I personally love this one and have applied this to my 11- month old grandson numerous times. 2 to 3 drops in a half teaspoon of coconut oil rubbed directly on the gums works like a charm to ease teething pain.

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Given the choice, I personally will always opt for a natural and holistic approach to restoring health and wellness.  My experience with essential oils is that they work in harmony with our body systems to restore the body to a state of healthy balance. With its plethora of uses, Copaiba essential oil has become an important part of my overall health regimen.

So yes, 2+2 = 8.

 

 

AN OILY APPROACH: C-SECTION RECOVERY WITH ESSENTIAL OILS

Therapeutic grade essential oils are an excellent natural support system for both new baby and mama.  I wish I had the opportunity to experience their benefits 20 plus years ago when I was having my babies. But now my babies are having babies, and together we’ve done a lot of research on the most effective oils to help speed the mother’s recovery and boost the baby’s immune system.  My oldest daughter gave birth two weeks ago.  This is her second child, and the first was delivered via emergency cesarean section, so she opted to have a cesarean section the second time around as well.  Our newest addition decided to arrive 3 weeks early, which preempted this post.  We were originally planning to post before his arrival, but as they say – life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans.

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Needless to say, the last few months have been spent researching and pooling our essential oils so she could be well prepared for the hospital and also once home for hormonal, pain, lactation support and whatever else comes up.  Here’s what we put together:

  • Gentle Baby: She’s been putting several drops on her belly throughout her pregnancy to promote skin elasticity and to also encourage bonding with the baby.  This extremely soothing essential oil blend contains Rosewood, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Lemon, Jasmine, Bergamot and Rose.  Another benefit of this blend is that it helps balance the emotions so don’t be deceived by the name because it’s not just for babies.
  • Stress Away : This was invaluable to calm any anxiety, both for her and her hubby.  Stress Away is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Ocatea, Lavender and Vanilla, which is not an essential oil but an essence.  Just a swipe to the back of the neck and inside the wrists did the trick.
  • Joy: This was diffused throughout pregnancy and beyond, as well as a drop over the heart center.  A lovely blend that not only promotes bonding, but love and an open heart as well.  Contained in this blend is Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Rosewood, Lemon, Mandarin, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose.
  • Helichrysum: This single oil was invaluable on the cesarean section incision to heal tissue trauma and stop minor bleeding.  A few drops directly on the incision from day one not only expedited healing but also relieved pain. You can continue with this for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Frankincense: I placed a drop in the palm of my hand and rubbed this on my newborn grandson’s feet within hours of birth as an immunity booster.  This oil affects emotional balance, the immune system, the nervous system and the skin.  My daughter also used it on the incision for healing
  • Lavender: Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, she is using it on the incision to reduce scarring and now that the stitches are dissolving, this helps with the itching.
  • Peppermint: While she did use this in her first trimester to help with nausea (just a whiff out of the bottle would keep that at bay) and heart burn (a drop on the chest and the burn was gone within minutes), it actually also helps to relieve the bladder after child birth.  A drop in the toilet promotes urination.
  • Cistus: Helps to contract and strengthen the uterus.  This works well regardless of method of delivery, but she found there was a significant difference in this recovery versus her first c-section.  Apply 1 to 2 drops on the lower abdomen once per day for 10 to 14 days after delivery.
  • Myrrh: This was applied directly on the baby’s umbilical cord, just a drop, for about 5 days to promote healing.
  • Deep Relief: Often during a C-section the body reacts to the anesthesia by shaking uncontrollably, which can be a common side effect.  Anyone that has experienced this knows the toll that it can take on your muscles.  Deep Relief is a roll on blend containing Peppermint, Lemon, Idaho Balsam Fir, Clove, Copaiba, Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Vetiver, and Palo Santo.  She applied this to her neck and shoulders to relieve muscle knots and tension.  This was also used during pregnancy for headache relief.
  • Fennel: This is to increase milk production. You can apply it two different ways, directly to the breast (avoiding the nipple area) or two drops under the tongue.  If you really can’t deal with the taste, you put the drops in a teaspoon of honey and ingest.  She noticed an increase in her milk supply within hours of application.  Word of caution, you should never use Fennel for more than 10 consecutive days.  I would advise 10 days on and 2 weeks off.
  • Melrose: If you’re planning on nursing or pumping you may experience milk duct clogs/mastitis. If you feel this occurring you can put a drop or two where you feel the clog and then apply a warm compress to drive the oil in.  You can repeat as often as needed.  Melrose is a blend containing Rosemary, Melaleuca, Clove, and Niaouli.
  • Geranium: Occasionally you may find once the umbilical cord falls off, there may be minor bleeding in the area.  A drop of Geranium will stop any bleeding.
  • Ningxia Red: I can’t say enough good things about this drink.  It is packed with antioxidants, improves cellular function, and gives energy support.  Simply put, it is a nutrient dense formula for overall health and wellness.  An ounce or two a day, whether you’re pregnant, young, or old, in other words it’s for everyone.

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There are so many more oils that can help support a woman during child birth, whether the delivery is via C-section or natural.  We’ve only highlighted those specific to my daughter’s recovery.  A great resource for pregnancy, birth, infants and young children is the book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern.  Our little man is doing great at two weeks old and mama has physically had a better recovery than she ever thought possible.

 

 

AN OILY SPOTLIGHT: HELICHRYSUM

A few months after using the various oils in my Young Living Premium Starter Kit, I was ready to purchase an oil not included in the original kit.  What to do… it was overwhelming to choose from so many.  I’m not really sure why I was drawn to this particular oil, but I decided to purchase Helichrysum essential oil.  I actually didn’t know much about this oil at the time, and I wasn’t even sure how it was pronounced. As it turns out, it can be pronounced one of two ways:  hel-i-kris-um or hel-i-kray-sum, no wonder I was confused. It definitely had a higher price point than many of the other oils, but I went with my intuition and made the purchase anyway.  Today Helichrysum is an oil I’d never want to be without.

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Let’s start with where it comes from.  Helichrysum can be found growing wild on the rocky hillsides of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  But the wild plants are becoming rapidly depleted as harvesters, who are paid by the kilo, are cutting out the wood of the plants for weight.  Fortunately Young Living has their own farm and distillery in Croatia and since Helichrysum grows natively in rock, crushed rock is hauled in and spread throughout the fields.  The plant itself is an evergreen that grows about 2 feet high and has daisy-like yellow blooms that basically look like yellow straw flowers when dried.  The leaves and flowers are put through a steam distillation process to extract the essential oil.  High quality oil is achieved if distillation occurs within 24 hours of harvesting, and the younger plants actually yield greater quantities of oil.  However, the overall essential oil yield is quite low, which is a contributing factor to its higher cost. In spite of the higher price point, the smallest amount is needed to make a treatment, which actually makes this oil affordable.  I can tell you that my original 5 milliliter bottle lasted over 2 years before I had to re-order.  Its aroma can be described as sweet and earthy.  Its scent is akin to fresh hay tinged with honey.

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Little did I know when I made my first purchase of this oil, what a stunning array of health benefits it had to offer.  I can honestly say it is one of the most useful oils to have in your arsenal. In fact, there have been numerous scientific studies in the last few decades that confirm what many cultures have known for centuries.  Helichrysum essential oil contains a blend of compounds, giving it antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, just to name a few.

So let’s talk about what that means to you in your daily life.  For one, it’s great for your skin and can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and is in fact used in many anti-aging skin products. More importantly it is very supportive in the healing of wounds, bruises, burns and scar tissue, as it stimulates blood circulation. But that’s not all.  This oil also acts as an anti-septic and anti-oxidant.  You can safely apply a few drops on cuts and open wounds to prevent infection and regenerate tissue. It can also be used help reduce pain of hemorrhoids.  Apply 3-4 drops with a cotton ball to the affected area, repeating as often as needed to ease pain and swelling.

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Here are some other ways I have found to use this oil effectively.  Add a few drops to hot water and inhale as a bronchial expectorant.  Gargle Helichrysum essential oil to help loosen phlegm. This oil works wonders on earaches, as it is also an analgesic.  Simply rub a drop or 2 along the outside of the ear from the front to the back on the mastoid bone (behind the ear), and along the bottom of the skull to the back of the head.  This same method can be applied for clogged ears, swimmers ear and tinnitus. It also works well for headaches (I always include it in my home made headache relief roll-on), and its anti-spasmodic properties aid in the relief of muscle, nerve and menstrual pain.  A few drops in a little bit of carrier oil massaged over the heart center can calm the nerves, balance the emotions and reduce blood pressure. Apply it on the gums if you’re suffering from swelling caused by an abscess, until you can get to your dentist. Diffuse to alleviate mental stress and anxiety.  And these are just some of the health benefits this oil has to offer.

As you can see, Helichrysum essential oil has a remarkably wide range of medicinal properties. This is a very versatile oil; one you should never be without!

 

An Oily Approach: Positive Effects of Negative Ions

Typically by this time of year, I’ve been running air conditioning in my home non-stop for about 3 months.  Did you ever have that feeling after running your air conditioner for a long period of time that you’re just dying to open a window and get some fresh air in the house?  I know I do, and there’s actually a scientific reason for that.  It’s called negative ions, and yes it’s the negative ones we’re craving.

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Ions are floating around us all the time and they have either a negative or positive charge.  Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. There’s a reason why we feel so good when we take a deep breath in the mountains, near waterfalls, and at the beach.  Once negative ions reach our bloodstream, they produce a biochemical reaction that increases our levels of serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.  Also when there is a high enough concentration, negative ions clear the air of mold spores, pollen, pet dander, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, dust and other hazardous airborne particles.

As for positive ions, they too are odorless, tasteless and invisible, but when we are exposed to an abundance of those ions we feel lethargic, depressed, achy and our immune systems is depleted.  Guess what emits an abundant amount of positive ions – you got it, your air conditioner!  So does your refrigerator, your computer, your printer, florescent lighting, your clothes dryer, your hair dryer, and your television, just to name a few.  So basically you are being bombarded with positive ions all day long.

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So how can we get more negative ions into our homes?  Well one way is to purchase a good negative ionizer.  I would recommend doing a bit of research as to which ones are most effective as they can be expensive.  The good news is that diffusing certain essential oils also produces negative ions.  Essential oils that increase negative ions are bergamot, cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange, and patchouli.  Plus your Young Living diffuser is an Ultrasonic diffuser.  Why is this important?  Because Ultrasonic diffusers use high frequencies to separate the essential oils into small particles, producing a micro-mist allowing the negative ions in the oils being diffused to be released.

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So next time you’re feeling like you need some negative ions to make you feel positive – get diffusing!