Friday, June 26, 2009

help for the weary

i have encountered a young mother on facebook whose small daughter is hospitalized with an undiagnosed illness. i'd like to send a 'care package' to possibly alleviate some of the mental and physical stress and fatigue she must be feeling. Does anyone have suggestions? also, those of you who pray, or communicate with a higher power in whatever way best suits you, please remember this family. thank you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hydrosols are made for Summer

Beating the summer heat in the South can be quite a challenge with high temperatures & high humidity & this summer (so far) is no exception. Here in Tennessee, we've had record breaking temps in recent weeks & summer has just begun. Yet you still have to take care of your home & your pets & go about your daily life while learning to cope with the effects of extreme heat.

Thank goodness for hydrosols! Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without them. My current favorites are Peppermint & Frankincense. After mowing, yard work, or an extended stay outside, I've found Frankincense to have the most immediate cooling effect when spritzed on my face & the back of my neck. It works better than splashing cool water or using a cold rag. Peppermint hydrosol spritzed into a chilled glass of cold water & sipped lifts my spirits & also provides relief. Peppermint is also great for itchy bug bites or generally cooling arms & the neck.

Another favorite, especially this time of year is our German Chamomile Hydrosol which I find soothing for sunburned skin, & both Tea Tree & Lavender Hydrosols are always good to have around for their many uses. It is funny how having hydrosols within my reach can have such an uplifting effect each summer.

One other tip for cooling down is a few drops of Tea Tree Essential oil in a cool bath. I have a huge clawfoot tub & over the weekend ran a bath with a few drops of Tea Tree & some of our Himalayan Pink Bath Salts, after a long hot walk with my dogs. The combination was heavenly & really aided the cooling process. I am thinking next time I will try our REVIVE! Synergy for this purpose, just not too close to bedtime because the Peppermint in it might be too stimulating for sleep.

Don't forget Marge's book giveaway on our Facebook page. Just become a fan of our page & post a comment before Friday. One person who comments will receive Marge's book "Essential Oils & Aromatics."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Aromatherapy for weight loss?

Seen in a recent New York Times article:

"About a year and a half ago, Bryan Raudenbush, an associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W. Va., asked 40 people to sniff peppermint every two hours for five days. For another five days he gave them a placebo. During the week they sniffed peppermint, they consumed 1,800 fewer calories."

I've read many studies that various "food based" essential oils can help with appetite reduction and calorie control but this is the first study that I've seen backing it up.

I'm thinking this would be a wonderful use for one of our Deluxe Personal Inhalers. Add the above mentioned peppermint oil, or Spearmint? or Vanilla? I've seen all recommended. I've also seen Pink Grapefruit frequently recommended as a diet aid, but personally I think that it works by increasing your energy level, hence burning more calories.

Anyone have any experience to share on that?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Giving Back

Sometimes we are given the opportunity to give back part of what we've been given.

Not long ago we were contacted by a woman in Maryland. Her hospital had received a grant from the Susan G. Komen Center, for a wellness/recovery program from women undergoing treatment for, or recovering from Breast Cancer. When I saw the words "For Mind, Body and Spirit" on the flyer, I knew that we had to have a part in it. She wrote asking for quotations, wanting to give each participant 5 mls of Lavender Oil, with a very limited budget. I knew if I quoted our wholesale pricing, we would be underpriced. (I saw the list of the companies she had asked to quote.)

But we REALLY wanted to be a part of this. So, rather than try to submit a "winning quote" we simply decided to donate the oils. This week, the last of 65 bottles of our Organic Bulgarian Lavender left for Maryland.

We are truly excited to be a part of this wonderfully supportive program.

Here's part of a press release we are drafting to send to some of the local papers, in hopes that someday such supportive programs will be available to the women of Middle Tennessee:

Nature's Gift was pleased to donate pure, organic clinical grade Lavender Oil as a part of the Self Care Kit given each participant. "We have seen our essential oils used in numerous research studies and case histories, among them various studies dealing with cancer treatments and the side effects of such treatments. It is a delight to be able to make the oils available in a "real life" rather than a research situation. We wait for the day that such support programs are available here in Middle Tennessee" said Marge Clark, founder and President of Nature's Gift.

The participants in the program are being advised that essential oils are a powerful plant based ancient healing modality. Lavender is an extremely versatile and safe oil that can be used to enhance sleep and relaxation, decrease stress, to soothe skin after radiation or other trauma, and to ease pain. They will be taught various methods of using this most popular and useful essential oil.

“A diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer impacts not only the physical body but the emotional and spiritual being. Our Komen Breast Cancer Wellness Program allows us to deliver free support services and programs that care for the whole person,” said Robin Luxon, Vice President, Clinical Services, Upper Chesapeake Health. . The program will involve a “Caring for Me” support program, exercise programs, support services including aromatherapy for mind, body and spirit during active treatment and recovery, support groups, nutritional services, and genetic counseling.

The new “Caring for Me” program includes an individual consultation with a board certified holistic care physician. Participants will receive a customized treatment plan covering diet, exercise, counseling, energy healing, environmental and personal care products, appropriate use of supplements, and stress reduction. Weekly Yoga and Tai Chi classes will be offered along with C.A.R.E.S. (Cancer Activity and Rehabilitative Exercise for Survivors), an 8-week individual exercise program facilitated by a trained physical therapist. Women living with breast cancer who are in active treatment or recovery can take advantage of individual massage therapy, acupuncture, or Reiki treatments. A bi-monthly healing touch support group offers biofield therapy to restore harmony and balance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Genetically Engineered TREES?

Not something I had thought of before.

But a newsletter from the Organic Consumers Association crossed my desk today, and one of their highlighted articles referred to an NPR story:

Web Program of the Week: NPR Reports on Controversy Surrounding Genetically Engineered Trees

Their quote of the week is from Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project "Scientists at Duke University in North Carolina have created pollen models that show tree pollen traveling from a forest in North Carolina for over 1,000 kilometers northward into eastern Canada. Scientists researching sterility in trees have admitted that 100 percent guaranteed sterility in GE trees is impossible. This evidence implies that if GE trees are released into the environment, widespread and irreversible contamination of native forests cannot be prevented."

So... raise a field (forest?) of genetically modified trees and they WILL seed themselves across North America. Okay. hmmm.

Reading onward:

"A Quarter Million Experimental "Frankentrees" to Be Grown in U.S

The USDA is currently taking public comments on whether or not the company ArborGen should be allowed to conduct 29 field trials of genetically engineered "cold tolerant" eucalyptus trees in the U.S.

[My comment... there is probably a very good reason why Nature designed the Eucalyptus species to be intolerant of subfreezing temperatures. After all, I live in the land of kudzu. Important plants are NOT always benign.]

This massive experiment, which is on the verge of being green-lighted, will literally be using nature as the laboratory to test more than 260,000 frankentrees. Scientists across the U.S. are voicing concerns over this proposal including:

-The USDA failed to do an Environmental Impact Statement to assess potential negative issues related to the proposed field trials.
-The spread of the these plants into the wild through seeds and plant matter is highly likely, and the impacts on native ecosystems from this invader are unknown
.-One of the experimental GE tree varieties is a known host for cryptococcus gatti, a fatal fungal pathogen whose spores cause meningitis in people and animals.

Comments are being accepted by the USDA until July 6, 2009.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. (Docket ID is APHIS-2008-0059)*

Postal Mail/Commercial delivery: Please send two copies of your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0059, Regualtory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0059.

For more information on this topic, please visit the Organic Consumers website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Aromatherapy for Natural Head Ache Relief

Many types of headaches are amenable to natural headache relief methods. Since the causes vary, the aromatherapy remedy will also vary.

Sinus Headaches:

We have found that a combination of several different essential oils works best to ease the pain of a sinus headache, and ease the congestion that causes the pain. Listed in order of importance:
  • Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus radiata, if available, since it is most useful for sinus ailments; however Euc. Globulous or Smithii will do if that is all that's available.
  • Peppermint: Clearing, decongesting.
  • Lavender or Lavandin: for pain relief, relaxation, and antibacterial properties.
  • Sweet Basil: for mental clarity, to prevent "brain fog", as well as a decongestant.

Either inhale directly from a tissue, cotton ball, or, better yet, nasal inhaler, or dilute in carrier oil of your choice and massage onto sinus areas (ie, the ridge of bone beneath your eyes, and the ridges at your eyebrows. Be very careful NOT to get any in your eyes!

Many also find relief by use of a Neti Pot, using warmed salt water. (Please do not ever add essential oils to the Neti Pot. They will irritate the already irritated mucous membranes and cause a totally different kind of pain!)

Tension Headaches:

The premier oil for Tension Headaches is our old standby Lavender Essential Oil. Massage a drop into each temple, and one on the back of your neck. Doing other things, like a restful warm bath, lying down with a cold pack on your forehead will help, but often life doesn't allow the opportunity to tackle the stress directly. At least the Lavender will relieve this symptom of stress.

Other choices would be Roman Chamomile or Sweet Marjoram Essential Oils.Migraine Headaches:In "Living Well with Migraine Disease" author Teri Robert recommends a blend of diluted Peppermint and Lavender oils massaged lightly into the temples.

Other essential oils she recommends for Migraine headache are Chamomile (I would select Roman Chamomile rather than German), Clary Sage, Jasmine, Rosemary, and Melissa.

The first three on this list are all relaxants, while most Rosemary oils are stimulants. Melissa Essential Oil is best known as an anti-viral, but many sources say it is helpful for migraine relief.

We have had excellent feedback about the use of a 5% dilution of the Lavender and Peppermint.For a one ounce of carrier use 15 drops EACH of Peppermint oil and Lavender oil. (For our 10 ml roller bottles, you would use 5 drops of each essential oil, and fill with the carrier oil of your choice.)

I'd suggest applying to both my wrists, neck pulse points, a dab just under the nose and a dab at each temple, well away from the eyes.

Although I hesitate to recommend the neat (undiluted) or internal use of essential oils, my favorite French mentor swears by a single drop of Lavandin Super on a sugar cube to banish an existing Migraine. Please be very sure of the specific variety of Lavandin you are purchasing; there are several different Lavandin varieties available, and the others will not help in this case. My friend says that this is especially effective with Migraines that either stem from digestive difficulties or cause digestion problems. It seems to work first on the digestion, and then remove the Migraine.

Migraine Preventatives:I have had several clients state that diffusing Rosemary ch Cineole essential oil in an aroma lamp (or diffuser) during the night works to ward off migraine headaches. (This suggestion surprises me, since Rosemary is a stimulant, not something I would want to diffuse at bedtime, but I am not a migraine sufferer.)

Sniffing Peppermint straight from the bottle, or on a tissue or from an inhaler at the first sign of the “aura” seems to stop a lot of migraines in their tracks.

If a woman tends to get Migraines prior to getting her period, a blend of Clary Sage, Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Sweet Marjoram, diluted in carrier oil and massaged either into the neck and temples OR into the lower back and abdomen can help prevent hormone related migraines.


Different blends seem to work for different Migraine sufferers, so I'm giving a range of selections, some for massage, some for diffusion.

4 drops lavender
3 drops peppermint
2 drops eucalyptus globulous
2 drops cedarwood

Use in an aromalamp or diffuser. It seems important that the blend be diffused in the air. We don't recommend this for a massage blend.

Another diffuser blend, most effective for Hormonal related Migraines:

10 drops clary sage
12 drops lavendar
3 drops melissa

Migraine Relief Massage Blend:

Equal parts:Lavandin Super or Lavender angustifolia, rosemary cineole and peppermint essential oils, diluted in carrier oil and massaged into the head, neck and shoulders may prove helpful. It will also help with the nausea that often accompanies a severe headache.

Hope some of these prove helpful to you. You may find information about these, and other aromatherapy remedies online at

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More anti-MRSA essential oil research

Just came across a prerelease publication on PubMed of an article proving that specific essential oils are effective against hospital acquired infections, including MRSA. Strains of staph, strep and Candida were tested.

Eucalyptus, Tea tree, Thyme white, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Grapefruit, Clove Bud, Sandalwood, Peppermint, Kunzea and Sage oil were all tested with the agar diffusion test. Olive oil, Paraffin oil, Ethanol (70%), Povidone iodine, Chlorhexidine and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) served as controls.

"Large prevailing effective zones of inhibition were observed for Thyme white, Lemon, Lemongrass and Cinnamon oil. The other oils also showed considerable efficacy. Remarkably, almost all tested oils demonstrated efficacy against hospital-acquired isolates and reference strains, whereas Olive and Paraffin oil from the control group produced no inhibition. As proven in vitro, essential oils represent a cheap and effective antiseptic topical treatment option even for antibiotic-resistant strains as MRSA and antimycotic-resistant Candida species."

Of course they don't give the chemotype of Thyme, nor which Cinnamon oil was used, but once again, Essential oils are proven as effective as the more conventional prescription medications.

Citation from the Journal of Craniomaxilofacial Surgery, 2009 May 25

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

antimicrobial products - contaminated?

One of the semi-related professional newsletters I receive is CosmeticsDesign. Today's issue headlined the following:

FDA finds high levels of bacteria in antimicrobial skin care products

FDA has found high levels of disease-causing bacteria in Clarcon antimicrobial products during a recent inspection, leading to the recall of several skin sanitizers and skin protectants.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said analysis of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions.
The regulator said the findings are “particularly concerning” because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds, damaged skin, and protect against various infectious diseases.
The inspection also uncovered serious deviations from FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements.

I find that fascinating! For years I've been saying that soaps w/ added antibacterial chemicals are bad for us, and bad for the environment. But this is a new twist. How can an antibacterial product contain "high levels of bacteria"????

Liquid Castile Soap, with antibacterial essential oils like Lavender and Teatree, and antiviral oils like Ravintsara will do very nicely for me and mine, thank you!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Freebie Friday at Prairieland

Our friends at Prairieland Herbs are continuing the blog give-away on their own.

This week Maggie is giving away a Natural Laundry Gift Set... a $39 value... consists of a full pound of laundry soap, a dryer sachet, an 8 oz. bottle of body and linens mist, and a 1/3 oz bottle of essential oil.

I've been meaning to try homemade laundry soap, and never get around to making my own, so this is really tempting.

Please don't go to her blog and enter the contest to win... I really want to win this one. ;)

You can order the set on the "gifts" section of her website. (It's near the bottom of the page; scroll down.) What I *really* like is the fact that she offers a choice of natural fragrances.

Monday, June 1, 2009

More on Molluscum contagiosum

One of the things that prompted the earlier post at this time was an article published in International Journal of Aromatherapy, back in 2004, by Rhiannon Harris... a case study of aromatherapy treatment of Molluscum contagiosum. I just received permission to quote here... (the treatment detailed in the case study was based on successful results with earlier cases.)

Rhiannon used:

Essential oils:

  • Melissa Melissa officianalis 0.5 ml
  • Ravintsara Cinnamomum camphora ct 1,8 cineole 2.0 ml
  • Thymus vulgaris ct thymol 0.5 ml
  • Niaouli Melaleuca quinquenervia 2.0 ml

Fixed Oils:
  • Tamanu Calophyllum inophyllum 1.0 ml
  • St. John's Wort infused oil Hypericum perforatum 2.0 ml
  • Rose Hip Seed Oil Rosa Mosqueta 5.0 ml

The goals of the intervention were to exert a directly anti-viral effect, to promote skin healing, to reduce the risk of scarring, and to strengthen immune deficiencies.

The fixed oils chosen were known to assist with wound healing and skin regeneration.

The mixture was applied directly to the lesions three times a day, using a cotton swab soaked in the blend. By the second day, all lesions were reduced in size; by day five all lesions were completely resolved. No skin irritation was observed.

(If any signs of irritation had been observed, the mother had been instructed to add another 5 ml of St. John's Wort infused oil to the mixture, to dilute it further.)