Saturday, October 12, 2019

“What’s Wrong with Marge?”

While displaying a selection of Nature’s Gift oils at the recent Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) conference, I felt a touch on my shoulder. The customer’s face was concerned, and her tone was gentle.

“Marge, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

I smiled inside because I thought I knew what was coming.  “Do you have Parkinson’s disease?”  (I was right!)   I replied “No, it’s not that”.

Now, this customer was not the first to approach me with the same question. (Some of you have heard of my personal rule of thumb: ask a question three times…then we need to blog about it!)

 So here it is…I have benign familial tremor, also called
essential tremor.

As we chatted, I passed the customer’s credit card to the ladies who accompany me to conferences. My hand tremors make it hard for me to swipe a card through the Square reader, so I appreciate their help completing transactions.  As I passed the customer’s card back to her, she had another question: “Can nothing be done to help you?”

I thought for a moment. Essential tremor tends to run in families (as it does in mine) but the exact cause is unknown. My older brother’s tremor is totally under control with a medication that does nothing for me….some meds have helped slightly, but not much. The worst part for me is what’s called a “core tremor”. It affects my voice severely and makes my head shake as well as my hands.  It’s frustrating, since I REALLY love doing Facebook live videos...but the tremor makes my voice almost indecipherable.

Anyway, back to the customer’s question.  “Can nothing be done to help?”  All of a sudden my reply just popped out: “Sometimes, there’s just NOT an oil for that!” (and we laughed.)

“Sometimes, there’s just NOT an oil for that!”


At the wonderful AIA conference, we learned (among many things) about the supportive role essential oils play in wound care, lymphedema, and cancer treatment.  But something many speakers said deeply resonated with me: “Even if you can’t help with physical symptoms, with aromatherapy, you can ALWAYS support the emotional ones.”  My teacher from Jane Buckle’s CCAP course has always said something similar: “When in doubt, treat for stress.”

Where aromatherapy SHINES for my essential tremor is the support it gives fighting fatigue, stress, sleeplessness and worry, for these things always make my tremors worse. The AIA conference ran from 8 AM-6 PM daily…then afterwards, there were dinners, meetings, and gala events. Every night I fell into bed exhausted! In the "oh too early mornings," a little bleary-eyed, I turned to a favorite blend I inhale when my energy starts flagging: 
Focus, a blend of Basil, which is the best mental stimulant I know of, Clove Bud, Lemon, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, and Vetiver for grounding. Another wonderful discovery at our booth was inhaling our new Rosemary ct Cineole CO2. What a wonderful morning aroma!

When it’s critical for me to be sharp and focused, I prefer Fog Cutter, a blend of sparkling Grapefruit with a coniferous base of Cypress, which seems to clear the mental fog and energize me to get up and moving. Years ago I named it my SuperWoman blend.

My signature blend for anxiety, Reunité, is made with rare
Neroli, grounding Vetiver, uplifting Bitter Orange, and touches of Sandalwood, Petitgrain, and Frankincense. It’s a personal blend I wore for years in situations which were apt to induce anxiety or panic attacks. Its calming essence allowed me to breeze through situations which used to overwhelm me.

Many conference attendees who stopped by our exhibit mentioned they were having trouble sleeping because of not being in their own beds, plus their brains had trouble ‘shutting down’ after a long stimulating day. For those nights when your mind simply won’t hush and let you relax into sleep, I suggest 
Sleep Ease, a blend of Lavandin Super (according to Dr. Jane Buckle, more relaxing than Lavandula angustifolia),  Sweet Marjoram, Green Mandarine (our most relaxing Citrus oil) and Roman Chamomile.


Mary Monteiro, a Canadian aromatherapist and owner of Breathe Naturals, shared with me a blend she’s used for essential tremor. (I am reminded once more of the generous spirits we meet in this profession I love.  Mary did *not* have to reach out and share her blend with me. Bless her generous heart!)

Mary uses a 5% dilution, in 10 mls of Hempseed oil and 20 mls of Jojoba.

Clary Sage        8 drops
Lavender        7 drops
Sweet Marjoram    10 drops
Copaiba Balsam    3 drops
Vetiver            2 drops

She applies this blend topically to the back of her neck and lower head; sometimes she does use an inhaler, but finds the topical application more effective.

Topical use would not work for me; I’m sensitized to components in the top three oils. Not deterred, we set out to make an aromastick/personal inhaler.  Cutting the Lavender way back, we also used equal parts of steam distilled Sweet Marjoram and Sweet Marjoram CO2. 

The aroma is lovely; I think it helps some.  While the blend doesn’t make the tremor go away, it helps moderate it a bit.  Pleased with the results, I asked Jim to make up several inhalers for me (for home, car, and office) so I would always have one handy. 

So….now you know “what’s wrong with Marge”!  Living with this condition is often frustrating. Sometimes I handle it with grace, and other times...well, not so much!  Traveling to and from conferences can make my condition flare…not sleeping in my own comfy bed, hours explaining 30 years of passion for essential oils, and my brain being a “thirsty little sponge” soaking up lots of new and exciting research…it can all add up.  While there might not be an oil for everything, my beloved essential oils soothe and protect, support and encourage me. Can anyone ask for more than that?  I think not.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Things I Learned - Buddha Wood CO2

I was first introduced to Buddha Wood CO2 in another CO2 course perhaps two years ago, and was taught that its primary benefit was as an insecticide/repellant, primarily against the travelers' bane - bed-bugs.   And so I described it.

Earlier this month I learned so much more about it, in Madeleine Kerkhof's CO2s for Clinical CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy,  and frankly was a bit concerned that the three-day course would be a repeat of what I had already learned. I was SO wrong, and as time allows I will be updating our product descriptions with new information and sharing what I've learned here.
Aromatherapy course, in Washington D.C.   Now, I have (and make available) Madeleine's book,

But let's start with Buddha Wood. Aromatically, it's a lovely wood oil, deeper and a bit darker than most Sandalwoods.  A must for any wood lover. And of course there is that bedbug thing.

Emotional uses:

Did I ever dream that Buddha Wood would be useful emotionally?  No!
Madeleine taught us that Buddha Wood (Ermephila mitchelli) is useful for:
  • Stress, tensions, frustration, anger, agitation, hyperactivity and general feelings of restlessness
  • Sleep Issues
  • Meditation and mindfulness or relaxation exercises
  • Existential questions and transitions
She especially stressed its use for transitions, and for sleep issues.  (I made a note to try with Petitgrain Bigarade which is one of the oils I use when my mind is racing and not letting me sleep.)

She also mentioned Copaiba Balsam essential oil as a substitute or complement for Buddha Wood for these issues, and for family trauma.

Later in class she mentioned that Buddha Wood CO2 is one of her favorite oils for stress and for sleep problems.  (I would assume those caused by stress!)

 Skincare uses:

Madeleine taught us that Buddha Wood is very useful for topical wound care, perhaps as a substitute for Myrrh, with similar actions. She uses it for:
  • irritated skin, inflammation, bed sores
  • chapped rough and cracked skin, scars and burns
  • Diaper Rash and moisture lesions
  • and...    back to where I started...   as an insect repellant! 
Later in class she mentioned Buddha Wood CO2 as one of her favorite additives to blends for red, irritated skin, and for wounds and scars.

At one time during the class, Madeleine divided us into teams, and paired us with people from across the room, not the friends we were sitting with. We were to give our partner an issue that we were struggling with, and, with the CO2s available, they were to create an inhaler or a topical application.

Mine was my tendency to wake up after sleeping perhaps 3 hours, and have my mind racing with tomorrow and next week's "to do lists."  I find Petitgrain Bigarade, from Italy, wonderfully helpful for that, but don't want to rely on the same oil all the time.

My "Lab Partner" was Ken Miller, someone I have met and sat in class with several times, but have never worked directly with.  Ken created a "Back to Sleep" inhaler for me, which is absolutely lovely, and *very* effective:

Back to Sleep

3 drops Sweet Marjoram CO2  (I know that is wonderful for sleep issues)
3 drops Myrrh CO2  (that was a surprise, and not one I would have reached for)
3 drops Buddha Wood CO2  (see above... stress, tension)
1 drop LemonBalm CO2 Total, which, unfortunately, no producer I trust is producing any more. If they do, of course we will order some.  In the meantime, I think a single drop of Melissa distilled, 10% dilution would be a good substitute.  The CO2 seems much milder and softer than the distilled oil, and I think a whole drop of distilled Melissa would overwhelm the other oils in the blend.

Pleasant Dreams!

(Ken is a well trained clinician who does remote consultations.   You may reach him at Whole Aromatherapies.)


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Solstice Best Sellers:

Because we are always surprised - the best selling essential oils during our Solstice sale:
  • Tied for 9th, 10th and 11th place:  Midwestern Peppermint, Himalayan Cedarwood and Holy Basil
  • Tied for 8th, 7th,6th, 5th and 4th place: Tea Tree, Australian Sandalwood 10%,  Organic Hungarian Peppermint,  Kunzea, and Fragonia
  • Third place:  Taiwan Incense Cedarwood
  • Second Place:  Siam Wood
  • First place, best selling during the sale: Ravintsara.
Now, why was everyone buying Ravintsara on Friday?  Has someone been talking about what a powerful antiviral it is where I missed the conversation?

It's a good oil, a potent oil. It has always been a steady seller that we want to keep in stock, but never in 20 years has it lead the list.

Always we have had our organic citrus oils near the top of the list.  Not this time.

Our clients never fail to surprise us!

Monday, February 25, 2019

How to achieve success:


 This article came through my inbox and I thought it important enough to share.

7 Things You Must Give to Others if You Want to Achieve Success - by Chris Widener

A major part of the process of achieving success and living the kind of life that you dream of is to give. Many people think that to get what you want you have to take it. There is a universal truth though that the true path to get what you want is to give. When you give, you get. What you sow, you shall reap. If this is true, then what is it we must give? I'll show you the way... 

1.    Give Others Your Honesty. 

The world we live in has a simple rule that most follow: Lie when you have to. Unfortunately, this may make some people wealthy but it make us humans poor. To achieve success is to become wealthy not only in money, but in character. To be successful, truly successful, is to be able to attain your goals and keep your character at the same time!

"Honesty is the most single most important factor having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation, or product." Ed McMahon 

Mister McMahon is right, though others will tell you otherwise. Some people will say, "You have to bend the truth to get ahead." Not true. Some of the most successful people who have ever lived were honest people.

How about you? Are you honest in all things? The problem with little lies is they become big ones. Lies spin out of control. You get caught in one lie and you lie to get out of it etc.

In all things and at all times, give others your honesty.

2.    Give Others Your Respect. 

Most of the time we give people respect based on what they have done or what they have accomplished. We gauge whether or not they are "worthy" of it based on what we know of what they have achieved or who they know or are related to.

But I believe we should have a higher standard: We respect people not for what they have done or for who they are related to or for what they can do for us. Instead, we respect people for simply being.

What would happen in our world, in our company, and yes, even in our families if we started with respect for everyone else rather than making them earn it? I think we would see that most people would live up to the respect that we give them!

3.    Give Others Your Vulnerability. 

We are taught to "be strong." And yes, we should be strong. But we have also embraced something that I think keeps us from having the kind of life that we long for. It is an idea that keeps us from experiencing the kind of relationships that would bring deep meaning to us. It is the idea of vulnerability.

"But Chris, make yourself vulnerable and people will step all over you!" It is true that this will happen. But I have also seen that most people will be drawn to you. They will help you. They will open up to you. You see, we are all broken people inside. We all have secrets. Yet everyone plays the poser. When one let's down their veil, others soon follow - and we all win.

4.    Give Others Your Care. 

Too many people are running around this old earth not caring about others. The days of "Look Out for Number One" and "Winning Through Intimidation" are over! Let's bring about a new day when we can care about others AND succeed!

Take the time to show people you care. Listen to them. Empathize with them. Love them. Now, I don't mean that you have to go around hugging everyone - that probably wouldn't fly in corporate America anyway - but we can take some time to step back from business and be human! And I have found that when we do so, our business succeeds as well!

5.    Give Others Your Passion. 

There is nothing this world needs more than passionate people. And people need passionate people. Living in this day and age can be tiring. The hustle and bustle of it all can wear you down and tire you out. Give your passion to others and fire them up.

Don't just be humdrum - be excited. Give people all the energy you can muster up. And you will find that energy reciprocal. They will get energized and passionate. This in turn will fire you up more when you are already charged and get you going altogether when you don't feel like moving at all!

6    Give Others Your Experience. 

We all have areas that we excel in and they are usually areas that we have experience in. One of the things we can do to make our lives more meaningful and be of utmost help to others is to show them the way through the experiences we have.

Sometimes it will be what they should do: Shortcuts to take, people to meet etc. Sometimes it will be what they should not do: Shortcuts not to take and people toasty away from! Whatever it is, we can be of service to others by giving them our experience and ultimately it will make us all better!

7.    Give Others Your Help. 

All in all, what we want to do is to help others. Zig Ziglar says that if we will "help others get what they want, we will in turn get what we want." If we want to be successful, we should consider ourselves servants of other people. What can we do to help them and make them better? This is the true path to greatness and success, not only in business but in life!

If you want to live the life you have always dreamed of ask yourself if you:

Give Others Your Honesty
Give Others Your Respect.
Give Others Your Vulnerability.
Give Others Your Care.
Give Others Your Passion.
Give Others Your Experience.
Give Others Your Help. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Widener is widely recognized as one of the top speakers in the world today. He has spoken all over the world in places like Germany, Spain, Russia, China, Egypt, Singapore, Australia and of course, all over the United States and Canada. To get more information about Chris, visit his website at http://www.ChrisWidener.com


Monday, February 11, 2019

Which Vetiver?


 A guest blog from our friend Charlie Banks, who has the best gift for describing our oils that I know. 

A Guide to Nature’s Gift Vetiver Oils

I remember the first time I smelled Marge’s Indian & Haitian Vetiver. I was only a couple of years into my aromatherapy journey and had only experienced one other Vetiver oil that to my nose smelled pretty bad. It was like wet camp fire ashes. I now know that one was distilled improperly. Vetiver typically smells woodsy, grassy, resinous, slightly sweet and sometimes slightly smoky if distilled the right way.  I asked for samples of both of them even though I knew from the description I would connect better with the Indian variety. Even though this was true, the Haitian still serves a purpose for me. As do the Ruh Khus and the newly imported Indonesian. When Marge and her team bring in multiples of one species it can be overwhelming. These four may all be Vetiver, but when you experience them beyond the bottle, and let them tell you their story you’ll find the one that connects with your intention perfectly. Get samples of them all. You might be surprised at what speaks to you!

The Vetiver from Haiti is the perfect single note fragrance.
Vetiver Roots
Right out of the bottle it has somewhat of a sweet, astringent, grassy punch. It’s much lighter and sweeter than the other vetiver oils. While experimenting with this one I’ve found that is much better experienced on the skin. Diluted (always take safety and your personal dilution limits into consideration when making a personal perfume!) in fractionated coconut oil it smells like a very dimensional perfume all on its own. As it dries down on the skin it remains light, but deeper woody notes become present. It will also take on different characteristics depending on your own body chemistry. On me it tends to be more woodsy, resinous, and balsamic. Very clean smelling.  On one of my friends it smells much sweeter and almost powdery. As Marge suggests, I prefer not to blend with this one. It uses more in a blend, and its uniqueness of being light and sweet is lost among the other oils in a blend. Emotionally it’s very uplifting, and not too sedating to use during the day. I find it brings balance and peace.

Indian Vetiver
The Indian Vetiver is what really made me gain great respect for this oil. Not because of it’s scent (which is amazing of course), but because of its versatility. This is the Vetiver you want to blend with. Deep, rich, woodsy, and resinous. A little bit goes a long way, and it ages beautifully. Over time it acquires a sweeter powdery dry down while still rich and earthy.  My favorite way to use it is with citrus oils, florals, conifers, and really any fleeting top notes. It keeps them around longer in blends and compliments them well. Alone it’s a wonderful vetiver, but I find it’s much more useful as a base note for blends. It won’t dominate a blend if used in small amounts. Most of the time I only need one drop maybe two if I’m blending with other strong oils. It also cuts the edge on some of the harder more intense smelling oils such as Eucalyptus globulus. For a real treat blend it with other oils that come from the same region. Kashmir Lavender, Tamil Sandalwood (Santalum album), Frankincense (Boswellia serrata), Indian Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli),  Golden Champa(Michelia champaca), Rhododendron anthopogon, and Palma Rosa(Cymbopogon martini) are some of my favorites. The energy that develops and comes with working with oils from the same region of the world can really add something beautiful to your blend.

Ruh Khus, green vetiver, or wild vetiver as it is known is a
Green Ruh Khus
special one for sure. Grassy, green, woodsy, and slightly sweet! Not as light as the Haitian, but not as deep as the Indian. It blends well with most things without dominating and is wonderful on its own as well. As it dries down it becomes more green and herbaceous with hints of wood and rose.  This vetiver really shines emotionally out of all of them. Its polite intensity is just enough and not too much to really relax and calm my over active, worry wart brain. If I’m in the mood to meditate with vetiver alone this is my go-to. Energetically, it speaks to me just a bit more than the Indian or the Haitian.  When meditating with any vetiver it tends to balance all my chakras, and with the help of a smoky quartz crystal it pulls wisdom and guidance down to my root chakra from my crown. The beautiful green color and energy of Ruh Khus put a unique focus on my heart chakra. I found it really helpful when meditating on forgiveness (self and others) alone or blended with things like Frankincense, rose, bergamot, geranium, or spikenard.

The new Indonesian Vetiver has topped the Indian as my personal favorite. The deepest, richest, and most luxurious of them all. It almost smells more like Patchouli than vetiver. The
Indonesian Vetiver
light green notes do not exist in this one. Deep woods, earth, minerals, and sweet smoky resin are words that come to mind when I smell this. Until smelling this one I’ve never understood people experiencing vetiver as an aphrodisiac. This vetiver is seductive, mysterious, tranquil, and nourishing to the soul. It makes me happy just to be around it. This is the vetiver I’ll pull when I want to relax in a warm bath after a long stressful day. This one is proving to be the most anti-inflammatory out of the bunch for me.  It’s more than enjoyable on its own, and great blended with other oils. It makes an incredible base for the more intense florals such as Jasmine, rose or YlangYlang. This one is for a true vetiver fan. It’s unmistakeable and won’t be hidden in blends.

With all of that being said, any of these vetiver oils would be a great choice to receive the many benefits vetiver has to offer, but each one has is own unique specialty and scent profile. Get samples of them before you choose. Experience them. Get them on your skin (safely diluted of course) and see which one feels and smells right for YOU. I really fell in love with vetiver a couple years ago after moving out of state for a new job. I had asked Marge what she would suggest for helping through this new beginning. She and Christi suggested vetiver, among other things, and ever since it has been a staple in my life for many different reasons. It grounds me, lightens my heart, and helps me release negativity and what no longer serves a purpose in my life. If you’ve had limited and possibly bad experiences with vetiver or you’re someone who feels they just don’t like it, I urge you to give it one more chance. Order samples of these four. It will surprise you when you least expect it to. 

While writing and editing this article I’ve been diffusing a blend that really captures some of Vetiver’s beauty and power. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do, and will find the Vetiver that speaks to your soul.

1 or 2 Vetiver (depending on personal taste)
1 Lemon
1 Bergamot.