Monday, June 30, 2008

More Research Citations

Boy, if someone is writing a term paper, this blog is for them!

Came across another list of aromatherapy research citations at the University of Miami Touch Research Institute. The majority of the cite is dedicated to research into the effectiveness of Massage Therapy, but this one page is specifically aimed at AT, sometimes comparing aromatherapy massage with "plain massage" sometimes using the oils by inhalation only.

Where is that young man who said that using the word "Clinical" was an exaggeration?

I love it when the scientists prove what we already know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Workshop in Atlanta

One of our biggest "commercial" clients is the Natural Foods Warehouse in the Atlanta area. Dannie Lane is responsible for their Aromatherapy department, which now stocks over 40 Nature's Gift essential oils.

He happened to email that he is giving a workshop on Saturday... covered will be:

History of Aromatherapy- the good, the bad and the “where did that come from”. The (now) 44 essential oils we have here from Anise to ylang ylang. What they can be used for: bath and body care, Infections, colds, flu, emotional, mental and spiritual. How to use them: Salts, massage, sprays, diffuser Etc. Children, Elderly and Pets: the more sensitive among us, pets are people too (well not so much). Safety Issues: what not to do, what to look out for, quality of oils and the hype that is out there.

Sounds interesting...and if my weekend weren't booked and overbooked I'd be tempted to drive on down. If you are in the Atlanta area, it might be a nice way to spend a day.

(I'm sure Dannie must have given me the time...but I can't find it the store for the hours!)

Natural Foods Warehouse
6000 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30022

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aromatherapy Research

The previous discussion, about whether or not essential oils should be called "clinical" brought to mind a website that I discovered earlier this evening. The University of Minnesota has a site devoted to "Taking Charge of Your Health." A good read. I zeroed in on the section pertaining to Complimentary Therapies... especially, of course, Aromatherapy. (No, I didn't ace the "activity" on matching essential oils and therapeutic results...I'm MORTIFIED!)

What especially drew my attention was the "What does the research say about Essential Oils."

Pages of published research covering the anti-microbial effects of essential oils, the effectiveness of EO's for pain relief, psychological effects, toxicity and sensitization, and a rather miscellaneous grouping of other studies.

I love it when serendipity happens! Just when I needed some research cites to reply to Colin's comments - there they are!

Clinical Aromatherapy on TV

A friend just sent me this link, to a story on the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate, with the following question "Hi Marge - the bottles of oils in this video look a lot like yours - yes?"

Yes indeed!!! We've been involved in the Clinical Aromatherapy program at Harris Methodist since it started, and are really delighted to see such positive coverage in the local press.

(I love the contrast made between "recreational" oils, available in department stores, and the "clinical" oils used at the hospital.) Just wish they had shown our brand name in the picture! (and wish I could figure out how to save one frame of the video so I could add the picture of our Lavender oil they used to this post!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good ? for your skin, deadly to the environment.

I came across the article in this link recently and it has stuck in my mind.

Basically the article talks of many corporations (examples given are Olay, Dove, Clean and Clear) offering exfoliants using plastic micropellets, " tiny particles of polyethylene that scrub the dirt from your face and then wash straight down the drain and into watersheds and, eventually, oceans."

""As this debris occupies the same size range as sand grains and planktonic organisms, it is available to a wide range of invertebrates near the base of the food chain," says Mark Browne, a scientist at the Centre for Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities at the University of Sydney who has studied the consequences of microscopic plastic in marine habitats. And unlike other types of plastic that just happen to end up in the ocean, these beads are almost predestined to reach the sea."

And we continue to foul our own nest!

Some examples of less harmful (but effective and natural) exfoliants remain salt (wonderful for body scrubs), sugar, both white and brown, Jojoba Beads (which look and feel like plastic, but are not!) Paula Begoun, the beauty products critic recommends using baking soda as a facial exfoliant. Since baking soda is alkali, and would disrupt the skin's acid mantle even briefly, I would follow that with rose hydrosol, or another hydrosol as a toner, since all the hydrosols are mildly acidic.

Personally I can't help wondering what is wrong with a good old fashioned wash cloth or face cloth? seems to work for me!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nature's Babies

Here at Nature's Gift, I think I speak for all of us
in saying that we take pleasure in sharing with the rest of the world the wonderful gifts that Mother Nature provides, in the form of healing (and great-smelling) plant extracts, and the products we create with them. Well, this past month we received a lovely gift from Mother Nature! In the delight of Spring Fever, we decorated the outside of our new digs with hanging plants. Geraniums, Petunias, and Fuschia.

Soon after we got satisfied with how lovely and happy our building was looking, it seems the house wrens were suitably appreciative as well. They took up housekeeping in our Fuschia plant. I think by the time we discovered our feathered friends' new abode, there were already little blue eggs in the nest!

...And then there were little fuzzy babes. They grew quickly!

The other day we did our daily check on the bird nursery... they had flown away! Good for them. We loved having them live with us, and we hope they have a beautiful life somewhere out there in the trees and the sky...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Our hearts go out to our neighbors in the north. We have a LOT of clients in Wisconsin, as well as the surrounding states, and the news of the flooding there is just devastating.
I'm remembering when heavy rains and tropical storms flooded part of our house, perhaps 10 or so years ago. The family room carpet was underwater. In addition to the commercial fans that go under the carpet to force drying, we pulled out our trusty nebulizing diffuser, and filled it with perhaps equal parts of Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) which would, probably, have prevented mold and mildew growth all by itself. But I don't like the medicinal aroma of teatree, and did not want it filling my house. To the tea tree I added some Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), another powerful anti-fungal with a bright lemony aroma. The combination of the two "cleared the air" beautifully. Once the fans finished removing all the water from the carpet and its padding, the room never smelled musty or mildewy. (Among other things, I'm allergic to molds and spores, so couldn't take a chance on any lingering in the family room...which is also my computer room/office.)

Perhaps something in this suggestion will help the folks trying to dry their homes up as the waters go down.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Psoriasis Suggestions

Recently received a copy of "Aromadermatology" by Janetta Bensouilah and Phillipa Buck. It is NOT an easy read; definitely not designed for the casual home reader.

It does have an interesting section on the cause, and suggested aromatherapy treatments for Psoriasis. The authors stress the emotional effects of this disfiguring skin disease, and attempt to address them, as well as the physical manifestations.

Among suggested essential oils are:
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
  • Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
  • Cistus (Cistus ladaniferus)
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  • Helichrysum italicuum
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Not mentioned in the book, probably because it is a relatively new product, and because I doubt there has been any research done, is Pomegranate Seed CO2 extract. We have several nurses who are using the Pomegranate CO2 on clients with psoriasis, and achieving amazing results, so this should definitely be added to the list.
The carrier oils recommended are Jojoba, Calaphyllum inophyllum (Tamanu or Foraha) and Calendula Infused Oil. Also mentioned are any of the GLA rich oils, specifically Borage Seed or Evening Primrose, as well as Avocado Oil.
They also suggest the use of hydrosols, either sprays or in cool compresses, for relief from itching, with Yarrow, Witch Hazel and Lavender being mentioned as of particular value. (I would want to try Calendula or Helichrysum, which the authors may not be familiar with.)
Research is sited showing that an aloe vera based cream was vastly more effective than a placebo in resolving plaques, so using Aloe Vera Gel as part of the base or carrier is definitely recommended.
Now we have seen other carrier oils recommended in treating psoriasis; they are listed in our "Psoriasis Sampler Set."
The authors also address the itching that often accompanies psoriasis. Their recommendations, as well as using the oils, aloe, hydrosols, etc. include:
  • Keep the skin cool. (Hydrosol spritzes could help with this.)
  • Baths or showers should be cool or lukewarm, never hot.
  • Limit the use of soaps and cleansers as much as possible.
  • Keep the skin moisturized; dry skin tends to itch more.
  • Always moisturize following bathing
  • Wear light clothing - cotton and silk- for coolness. Avoid scratchy wool and synthetic fibers.
Hope some of this is helpful!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rose de Mai (Rosa Centifolia)

My friend Sylvie, from Grasse, the world's perfume capitol, sometimes sends me photos. This last week she sent some of the famous "Rose de Mai"... Rosa centifolia, gathered from a friend's garden.

Most of you know I love all true Rose oils and absolutes, Bulgarian, Turkish, hydrodistilled or solvent extracted... centifolia or damascena; I'm not too proud to love them all. But the Rose de Mai is just SPECIAL... "Rosa centifolia"...the hundred petal rose.

I came across a wonderful description of the production of our Rose de Mai (yes, ours is also from Pegomas...the same Absolute Chanel uses!) at Jessica's 1000flowers blog.

Memo to me...I have to find some of the pictures Sylvie sent me of the Jasmine fields in Grasse, as well!

Hydrosol - Top Ten

At some point someone suggested that we do some "top ten" lists for the blog or the newsletter. Easiest data to analyze has been the Hydrosols we offer. Now, the following list is based purely on items sold via our shopping cart. It doesn't include the bulk orders that some folks enter, so the data is skewed. It only includes the 4 ounce atomizer bottles. This is the "top selling" hydrosol list from January until the end of May, 2008

Witch Hazel
Tea Tree
Roman Chamomile

I find that fascinating! The second best selling hydrosol is also the most expensive that we offer. Rose, one expects. I doubt there's anyone in the world who hasn't heard of "Rose Water." But the only reason for Helichrysum Hydrosol's popularity is its amazing effectiveness!

(If I were to have run the stats for just this week, our brand new Patchouli hydrosol would have headed the list. I'm arranging to bring in more from the producer as soon as she has time to distill it!)

And I wonder why Lavender Hydrosol isn't on the list? Perhaps because we offer two different ones, and that confuses people? Or because I am honest enough to state that Lavender Hydrosols don't smell as good as the essential oil. It was years before I found out the reason for the difference. Because the linalyl acetate normally found in the Essential Oil is not found in the hydrosol!

I suspect now that summer seems to be upon us that Peppermint Hydrosol will soar to the top of the list. With temperatures already in the high 90's here in Middle Tennessee I'm dreading what July and August will bring. I know of no more cooling refresher than a splash of Peppermint hydrosol in a glass of water, or a spritz of it as a body spray.