Friday, March 28, 2008

Nexus Interview

My old online friend Liz Tams is Co-editor of Nature's Nexus, a wonderful gathering place of perfumers, and those interested in a more natural or aromatic lifestyle. Read the interview HERE. (I had to edit this article because since I posted it last Friday, Ruth moved the interview to her 'interviews' collection, and featured my new book on the front page instead!) Bless her dear heart!

I love the Nature's Nexus forum... Conversations about natural perfumery, natural beauty products, alternative/complementary health modalities, green living, and more. All geared toward those of us trying to practice a more sustainable or natural lifestyle.

(The forum will require logging in and getting a password before you can participate. Ruth and Liz will never use your information for any spam or nagging or anything like that. They just like to know who's coming to visit.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Natural Easter Eggs

Hard to believe it's Easter Weekend already. I saw a neat article about natural Easter Egg dyes in P. Allen Smith's newsletter this week.

That brought back memories... his article mentions using red onion skins boiled in water to create a red dye. I remember neighbors who wrapped the raw eggs in red onion skins, tied them on with thread, and boiled the eggs in their onion skin wrapping. Lovely marbled effects.

If you draw a design on the eggshell before dying with some paraffin or white candle wax, the natural dyes won't stick, and you'll have a white on color design.

I'm sitting here this evening admiring the full moon and (for a change) a starry sky, and thinking how many events come together this week. The Spring equinox, the Easter celebration, and the daffodils blooming in my yard.

Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Research Results

Have you ever used Google Scholar to search for information? Me neither, until this week.

We decided to find some positive studies... and coincidently my friend Liz Tams put up a Google Scholar url (which I had never heard of.) Among the positive results:

Aromatherapy as a safe and effective treatment for the management of agitation in severe dementia: the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Melissa. (This report has had some press coverage.)

(The famous Alopecia study)
Conclusions The results show aromatherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. Treatment with these essential oils was significantly more effective than treatment with the carrier oil alone (P=.008 for the primary outcome measure). We also successfully applied an evidence-based method to an alternative therapy.

Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) in men and women. All subjects reported higher vigor the morning after Thus, lavender serves as a mild sedative and has practical applications as a novel, nonphotic method for promoting deep sleep in young men and women and for producing gender-dependent sleep effects.

Nursing Times study on the emotional effects of Lavender on post cardiotomy patients. (I need to write and ask Jane which species was used, and the different results!)

Jane Buckle presents the results of a randomised, double-blind trial of two essential oils of two different species of lavender, topically applied on post-cardiotomy patients. The emotional and behavioural stress levels of 28 patients were evaluated pre- and post-treatment on two consecutive days. The therapeutic effects of the two lavenders appeared to be different: one was almost twice as effective as the other, thereby disproving the hypothesis that aromatherapy, using topical application of essential oils, is effective purely because of touch, massage or placebo.

Acupuncture, aromatherapy, and meditation may be useful for nausea/vomiting, for mild relaxation, and for pain/anxiety, respectively

Use of peppermint essential oil in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome;

Results: Eight randomized, controlled trials were located. Collectively they indicate that peppermint oil could be efficacious for symptom relief in IBS. A metaanalysis of five placebo-controlled, double blind trials seems to support this notion. In view of the methodological flaws associated with most studies, no definitive judgment about efficacy can be given.the role of Aromatherapy in helping control chronic pain.

The use of Aromatherapy in dealing with AIDS

The use of Lavender oil (diffused) to calm agitation in patients with dementia.

Lavender oil administered in an aroma stream shows modest efficacy in the treatment of agitated behaviour in patients with severe dementia.

The response of hospice cancer patients to lavender

Antifungal activity of Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil was found to be able to inhibit growth of all clinical fungal isolates.

The effect of Basil oil on MRSA

The effects of various essential oils against candida. (surprisingly enough, in vitro, Sandalwood oil appears more effective than Tea Tree!)

Review of the Biological activities of Lavender Oil (methodology and lack of proper identification of the oils used hampers the clarity of results.)

The use of Holy Basil in treating acne:

The use of Spanish Sage in treating dementia

The use of essential oil containing mouthwash in controlling plaque and gingivitis (along with brushing and flossing, of course)(the abstract doesn't state which essential oils, unfortunately)

This is just a start..what was found by entering "essential oil research" in Google Scholar.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Help for nursing moms

Maybe it's because I have two new grandbabies, and both their moms are nursing, but I was drawn to this article.

Basically, for sore or cracked nipples, the article says Iranian women traditionally have spritzed their nipples with peppermint hydrosol after nursing, to soothe and cool.

(The article says "peppermint water" but stresses the use of distilled water to dissolve peppermint oil. It doesn't give any proportions. Much safer, in my opinion, to use the pure steam distilled hydrosol.) Remember to wash with warm water before nursing again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bad Science - Faulty Research

A friend just sent me a link to a research study that has been publicized in a lot of the media lately...even on the Today Show.

I read it, and the story made me angry. Some quotes below, then my immediate reaction:

Researchers taped cotton balls laced with either lemon oil, lavender oil or distilled water below the volunteers noses for the duration of the tests.

The researchers tested volunteers ability to heal by using a standard test where tape is applied and removed repeatedly on a specific skin site. The scientists also tested volunteers reaction to pain by immersing their feet in 32-degree F water.
While lemon oil showed a clear mood enhancement, lavender oil did not, the researchers said. Neither smell had any positive impact on any of the biochemical markers for stress, pain control or wound healing.

This is probably the most comprehensive study ever done in this area, but the human body is infinitely complex, explained Malarkey. If an individual patient uses these oils and feels better, theres no way we can prove it doesn't improve that person's health.

But we still failed to find any quantitative indication that these oils provide any physiological effect for people in general.

The wound healing experiments measured how fast the skin could repair itself, Glaser said. Keep in mind that a lot of things have to take place for that healing process to succeed. We measured a lot of complex physiological interactions instead of just a single marker, and still we saw no positive effect, he said.


I love it when they use an oil inappropriately, and then use the fact that this test didn't work to generalize that aromatherapy as a whole has no effect.They did find that lemon oil, by inhalation, "clearly enhanced the mood of the subjects." Of course. All citrus oils do.

Had the lavender been applied topically, in proper dilution, they would have seen wound healing results.

I question whether there is any substance that will help deliberately irritated skin heal more quickly simply by inhalation. In our essential oil arsenal, we have a wide range of products that would, if applied properly, have hastened healing.

More to the point would have been a test of a specific essential oil, anecdotally recommended for a specific condition. This would be a valid research project.

But the pharmaceutical companies might not like the results.

In my parents' generation, a "bunch of Malarkey" was (according to Webster) "insincere or foolish talk." I think the media is pushing a whole bunch of malarkey!"

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Get to know yourself with the help of The Blossoming Heart

(Christi wrote this Thursday or Friday, but we were so busy with the leap year sale there was no time to post it earlier.)

What do your Favorite Essential Oils say about you?

This morning as I was flipping through the new edition of Robbi Zeck’s “The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing & Transformation,” book, I had an “aha” moment while looking up my three favorite oils of all time: Patchouli, Rosewood, & East Indian Sandalwood. I was struck by the eerie spiritual similarities to my favorite oils.

According to Zeck, Patchouli represents peacefulness, & “awakens within the soul a deep yearning for the comforting presence of peace, bringing spiritual insights to all realms.” Rosewood represents receptiveness, & “…accesses the eternal intuitiveness that rests deeply within the trunk of your own wise wood.” East Indian Sandalwood represents reflection &, “…offers a higher perspective from which to view your life.” Wow! Who knew?

These oils are a daily part of my life, so it makes sense that there is some purpose & meaning in WHY I am so drawn to them collectively.

What about you? Which oils do you crave or simply cannot live without?

You may discover a common thread in your essential oils of preference. Know yourself through “The Blossoming Heart.”