Ravishing Rosemary

Hello friends! Today I want to talk about Rosemary (Rosemarinus officianlis), a very helpful herb. Of course, you’ve probably come across Rosemary in a garden or on a plate – it makes a delicious cooking herb! But according to the Aromatic Wisdom Institute, Rosemary is good for more than chicken.

Did you know that Rosemary, like Thyme, has several different variations (chemotypes)? There are three major chemotypes: camphor1,8 cineoleand verbenone. Each variation has slightly different properties, making it important to know what you are getting into!

Camphor helps to improve circulation, while 1,8 cineole is good for the respiratory system. Verbenone also helps clear the airways of mucous, but it also regenerates the skin, making it great for skincare.

Rosemary is great for the scalp. You can add the oil to shampoo or use a hydrosol to refresh the scalp and treat dandruff and hair loss. The camphor chemotype makes a great remedy for sore and tired muscles when mixed with a carrier and massaged into the skin.

Rosemary stimulates the mind and brings energy. It also helps with clarity and strength of the mind. The herb is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic. It helps with gas, congestion, and fever, and it has a warming effect on the body.

We use Rosemary in our joint and muscle lotion blend. It’s awesome for sore muscles and arthritic joints. It also helps with more superficial skin issues, like bruises and scrapes.

So what do you think? Have you learned something about Rosemary you never knew before? We want to hear from you!

Peppy Mint

When we’re out and about selling our products at festivals and the Farmer’s Market, one oil our customers ask for is Peppermint. Not only does Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) have a refreshing scent; it also offers a variety of health benefits (as explained by Liz Fulcher of the Aromatic Wisdom Institute).

Peppermint contains a lot of menthol, which is helpful for spasms, cramps, and gas. It aids digestion and soothes nausea and headaches. It can be great to repel insects; we make a peppermint and water spray for ants in the kitchen and it kills them on contact!

Peppermint relieves pain and inflammation and is antibacterial and antifungal. It’s also cooling, making it helpful for fever. It is an expectorant and decongestant.

Peppermint also reduces fatigue and awakens the mind. It can boost a sense of confidence and creativity.

A word of caution, however: due to its strength, peppermint can be irritating, especially to the skin and mucous membranes. It should not be used for children under five, because it can be brain damaging if applied near the face. It should also be avoided by people with blood clotting disorders due to its high menthol content.

Peppermint makes a great ingredient in room sprays to freshen the air! It’s also wonderful in a foot bath or lotion for tired, sore feet (it can be a little irritating for a full bath, however; so avoid that).

I hope this little overview of peppermint has been helpful for you! Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Do You Have the Thyme? (Part 2)

In Thursday’s post I talked about the different types of thyme, more specifically the linelol chemotype. As I said then, there are six different types of thyme, and I wanted to focus on two major ones – the ones I am most likely to use as I practice aromatherapy. (Today’s information comes from the Aromatic Wisdom Institute.)

Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol has many of the same properties as linelol. It fights infection and boosts the immune system. However, unlike linelol, thymol is more irritating to the skin and mucous membranes, therefore, it is not safe to use for children.

Thymol helps with pain and is antifungal and antiviral. It is also an effective antioxidant. One interesting and helpful property of thymol is due to the very thing that makes it unsuitable for more sensitive bodies: it’s irritative nature can improve circulation wherever applied, making it good for pain and swelling.

Thymol is great for the sinuses. I use it in my Snore No More blend, which is extremely effective to open respiratory passages and banish snoring!

On a more emotional note, thymol is great to support strength, courage, and motivation, and can help booster confidence.

Thymol should not be used on children, on the mucous membranes, or for people with kidney disease. It is important to make sure you use the right kind of thyme for your particular application. They can all be similar, but they have many differences too.

So the question is not do you have the thyme? But rather, do you have the right kind of thyme? 😉

Have you ever used thyme? What have you discovered that you never knew before? Have a great weekend!

Health Expo!

Yesterday was our first day at the Cranberry Mall Health Expo! We did well and got to visit with a lot of great people – old friends and new friends! It was an exciting day……I got to talk with people about their health concerns. I did some demonstrations and a little instruction. I heard peoples stories. Hannah and I even got  job offers from an exclusive Lodge/ Spa!!! That was all amazing and energizing. But right before I left the mall for the day, I met a man who has recently lost his wife to suicide. She struggled with depression and reactions to household cleaners and anti-biotics. She ended up having such severe, constant pain in her head, she couldn’t go on. Now, he is left behind, being an advocate for the issues that she dealt with. He asked me if I had any thing to make his pain go away………..( I am crying right now, are you?) I talked with him, I told him about some of the oils I have that I have found to be supportive for depression and grief. But then I reached out and invited him to come to church with us on Sunday- “I lift my eyes up to the mountains from where my help comes from, my help comes from The Lord who made heaven and earth.” Ps 121

What a privilege I had to meet all of these people!

Mom at Mall

We’ll be here again today, from 10-2. Come visit us in the Cranberry Mall! Our table is in front of the Shoe Dept. We have so many helpful and fun products to share and we’d like to see you there!

Have you been to the Health Expo? Are you planning to visit? What are you hoping to see there?

Do You Have the Thyme? (Part 1)

When you think of thyme, you might think of yummy dishes seasoned with this pungent herb. However, thyme is also an effective remedy. There are six types of thyme, making the essential oil one of the most varying oils in aromatherapy. I will be focusing on two specific chemotypes: Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol, and Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol. Both have specific properties that affect how they should be used.

Today I will be looking at the linelol chemotype. (My information comes from the Aromatic Wisdom Institute’s data on thyme.)

Thyme linelol is very gentle, making it helpful for children who need a gentle and effective immune system boost. It is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal. It helps to relax muscles, making it useful for spasms and cramps, and calms the nervous system, encouraging feelings of courage, willpower, and confidence.

Linelol, because of its gentleness, is safer to use on the skin than other types of thyme (although of course, it should still be properly diluted).

Of course, due to the different types of thyme, it’s important to remember that simply using a bottle of essential oil marked “thyme” does not mean you are using the right kind! Pay attention to the chemotype. They may all have similarities, but they can affect the body in incredibly different ways too! Linelol, which we looked at today, has different properties than thymol, which we’ll look at tomorrow. And both of them have different properties than the other four!

Check back tomorrow to hear about thyme thymol! (If you have the “thyme” 😉

Have you ever used thyme linelol? Did you know about all the different kinds of thyme? We want to hear from you!

Monkey!

As a child, my favorite book series was Curious George (ok, it still is;-). When I was 5 years old, I had to have surgery and stay  at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh for a few days. I remember walking down the hall to the play room and picking up a Curious George book to read. Just like George would do, I investigated everything in that room and ended up accidentally pulling down the curtains in the play house! I was so afraid someone (the man with the yellow hat) was going to find me out and scold me for being a bad little monkey, so I scurried back to my hospital bed and pulled the covers up to my chin and pretended that I was sleeping!

At home, my mom called me “a monkey” because I would climb every thing to get what I needed. Who needed a step stool? I could climb the fronts of the kitchen cabinets or the shelves of the linen closet as well as pick things up with my toes!!

I had to LAUGH OUT LOUD when reading research for this post regarding monkeys!…… “Monkeys are funny animals. They are full of curiosity and adventure. They are also mischievous and intelligent ( I’ll take the last one;-).

Monkeys love to eat fruit, and can be clever in how they get it. They like to show their emotions and feelings. They help nurse others when they have been wounded. They like to hold hands and are very affectionate.” There you have it! I have to admit ….I am a bit like a monkey!!!

Are you curious ( about Honest Aromas)? Are you adventurous? Come to The Cranberry Mall Health Expo Thursday (***Correction on the hours) 11-9, and Friday 9-2 to find out more about us!

All About Hydrosols

As promised, today I’m going to share with you about the wonderful world of hydrosols! My information comes from the Aromatic Wisdom Institute’s Liz Fulcher.

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Hydrosols (also known as hydrolats) are an area of aromatherapy that are separate from, but related to essential oils. Often when people think of aromatherapy, essential oils are the first thing that comes to mind. This is an incorrect assumption. Essential oils are just a facet of aromatherapy. There are many ways to use plants as medicine, as in tea for example. Essential oils are the most potent way, and hydrosols are a safer yet still incredibly effective way.

Hydrosols are created in an extensive process in which plant solids are injected with pressurized steam. This forces the beneficial oils of the plant to be released. The steam and oil are cooled, causing the steam to condense into water. The oils then separate from the water, and the water is collected as a hydrosol.

Now, if the process is done to collect the water at the end, a hydrosol is produced. If the process is done to collect the oils at the end, an essential oil is produced. However, the process should never be done to collect both at the same time, producing one substance and then gathering the other as a “leftover”. Ethical, quality-concerned companies will either make a hydrosol or an essential oil through a single distillation process, never trying to “double duty” by making both in a single process. To do so would effect the quality of the substance in question.

Because a hydrosol is water-based, it is water soluble. It does not need any dilution and can be used anywhere on the body. Unlike essential oils, they are completely safe to use on pets, on young children, and on the elderly. They are especially helpful for skin issues such as fungus, cuts and bruises, acne, or irritation.

Because of the different chemistry in the way it is created, a hydrosol can have different properties than an essential oil from the same plant. There are similarities, of course, but differences in therapeutic properties, application and dosage, safety, and even smell can occur. That’s why it is important to be fully educated on the properties of your hydrosol or essential oil! Simply knowing the plant name alone does not cut it!

Due to their diluted nature, hydrosols are very versatile as they can be used anywhere on the body (as long as the properties of the specific substance are known). Some helpful hydrosols include:

– Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), for eyes. The hydrosol can be used as an eyewash for tired eyes, or as a cool compress to reduce inflammation in swollen or itchy eyes. Cornflower is also great for mature skin that needs extra moisturizing.

-Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) calms and cools the body. It’s great for soothing sunburn and is extremely helpful for children and pets.

-Rose (Rosa damascena). Rose hydrosol is commonly known as rosewater. It is great to use as a skin toner and it helps the skin stay moisturized. It helps with emotional balance and its soft, romantic scent is wonderful to use as a perfume or room spray!

I hope this post has been informative and helped to spark your interest in the wonderful world of hydrosols. They are truly an amazing and versatile area of aromatherapy. I love them for their effectiveness and safety. Try one sometime – I’m sure you’ll love it too!

Have you ever used a hydrosol? What have you learned about them that you never knew before? We want to hear from you!