Friday, May 4, 2018

CO2 Aromatics - Part 4

  Someone asked if I am not duplicating what they would find in Madeleine Kerkhof's new and much acclaimed book, CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy. The answer is, not at all. Madeleine is my teacher and my mentor, but if you will read her book you will see that she often references me.  The GIFT of her book is the much more expansive uses for each of the CO2s that she covers. She gives therapeutic uses from years of nursing experience and teaching, far more than we can share here.  The point of these blog articles are both to collect the information we have in one easily referenced place, and to intrigue you to learn more, by either purchasing her book, (referenced above) or to study directly with her.

Now, on to the aromatics:

Hops CO2

Humulus lupulus, CO2 extracted from blossoms in Germany.

I’ve seen Hops extract highly recommended for use in deodorants or for foot-care products. The
Hops Blossoms
lipophilic ingredients, humulones and lupulones, are highly antibacterial (primarily against gram positive bacteria) which are responsible for the deodorant activity. 

Please note that Hops Extract is proven effective at dilutions as low as 0.1 to 0.2% (that is 1/10th or 2/10ths of one percent), literally a single drop per ounce of base. This would be in an oil-based product. I am contemplating infusing a drop or two in some clay or arrowroot powder for a deodorant powder.
Please note that at cool room temperature this extract is quite thick, ranging from the texture of molasses to semi-solid. You will want to warm it gently before pouring it.

Juniper Berry CO2

Juniperus communis, organically produced, CO2 Select extracted from Juniper Berries in Germany. (Berries grown in Macedonia.)  

Juniper Berries
Softer and aromatically rounder this CO2 select is a wonderful alternative to the traditional Distilled Juniper Berry Oil.

It is in the energetic effects of Juniper Berry Oil that this select extract truly shines.  My mentor Madeleine Kerkhof says that it is extremely uplifting, with both an uplifting and grounding effect, simulataneously, as well as purifying and banishing emotional and spiritual negativity.  The ancient tradition of the use of Juniper to cleanse and repel negative energy spans rituals and cultures around the world.

Emotionally Juniper Berry Extract is said to aid with anxiety and fears, giving a feeling of safety and protection.  Madeleine Kerkhof recommends blending with White Sage essential oil or Sage CO2 for transitions.

Physical effects of Juniper Essential Oil
Physically, Juniper Berry Oil is a diuretic and is often included in anti-cellulite and detoxifying blends. It is an essential component of any detoxifying blend, said by many to help with recovery from too much rich food or drink.
Rosemary Caddy recommends Juniper Oil for treating gout, since, she says, it expels uric acid from the body. (Perhaps blended in St. John’s Wort Oil for its anti-inflammatory effect?)
Juniper is antimicrobial for a wide range of bacteria (airborne, staph, strep, etc.) and can be used for respiratory complaints (inhalation).  Juniper Oil is said to help recover from hangovers. (I remember reading this in a Valerie Worwood book 25 years ago!.)  It may be helpful with arthritis and rheumatism.

Skin Care Uses of Juniper Oil
In skin care it is said to aid in balancing oily skin and hair (thinking it would make a lovely blend with Geranium, perhaps a man’s blend?).
A facial steam with juniper oil is a wonderful aid to balancing oily skin or to soften blackheads.

Energetic Uses of Juniper Essential Oil

Energetically, Juniper is said to clean the atmosphere of a room, clearing negativity from rooms or from people. (Similar to the cleansing effects of white sage.) There are those who recommend its use meditation for centering and drawing loving energy.
WARNINGS:Robert Tisserand advises that Commission E Monographs indicates that it may cause kidney damage or irritation.  Robert found no evidence to support this, nor the pregnancy/fetal dangers.  Regulatory guidelines still say that it may cause damage to kidneys.

BLENDS WITH: Cypress, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Fennel, Rosemary.

Lavender CO2

Lavandula angustifolia, CO2 extract, organically grown and extracted in Bulgaria.

The process of CO2 Extraction gives an oil closer aromatically to the fresh Lavender blossom than
Lavender buds
any steam-distilled oil can. When ordering our last batch of CO2’s from our Bulgarian producer, I requested a sample of his Lavender Select extraction. And I fell in love.

This CO2 select extracted from FRESH Bulgarian lavender blossoms is without a doubt the most exquisite Lavender I have ever experienced. If you want to scent your room, your linens, yourself, with an absolutely beautiful, fresh floral lavender oil, this is the one for you. This CO2 extraction is truly an exquisite aromatic! We have offered Lavender CO2 extract in the past, and I bragged on its aroma, but this far surpasses our earlier offering, which was produced from the dried blossoms, rather than the fresh. Who knew there would be such a difference?
Use in normal aromatherapy dilutions.

 Lilac CO2 

Syringa Vulgaris, CO2 Total, organically produced from wild Lilacs in Bulgaria.

 When I was a child, my neighbor's 20 foot tall Lilac bush bloomed under my bedroom window.  The intoxicating aroma perfumed my dreams on early summer nights.
Several years ago we received a sample of this rare extract, and declined to import it. The aroma was just too weak.  But my friend and mentor Madeleine Kerkhof teaches its use, so I decided to try again.  What a difference! The undiluted (and very solid) Total Extract is still too mildly scented, but we warmed a wee bit, warmed 90% Organic Jojoba Oil (by weight, not volume) and ah! the difference. It is still softly and subtly scented, but definitely Lilac. It will never be an assertive aroma, never overwhelm the space you are in, but we find it lovely, subtle, and evocative.
A drop of the diluted extract on my wrist, and the warmth of my skin brings the aroma I remember from my childhood.
Madeleine recommends using the essence at only two or three %, and says that this lovely Lilac essence is "relaxing, soothing, and harmonizing.  It is said to promote love and optimism, to be sweetly relaxing."
I believe it is an instant nostalgia trip for those who grew up near lilac bushes. For me, it is a de-stressor. It is said to be helpful in blends for grief, for issues with unconditional love. I defy anyone to breathe this sweet essence and not smile.

Linden Blossom CO2 Select

Tilia cordata, extracted from certified organic blossoms, grown and produced in Bulgaria.  

What a delightful surprise.  In the past we have offered a Linden blossom Total extract that was extremely thick,  not at all pourable, but rather, spreadable.  Even when diluted in Jojoba it thickened upon standing.  A challenge to pour and bottle!

This delightfully aromatic select is liquid, pourable! Well worth the slight increase in price for the ease of use. Aromatically this is very different from the Linden Blossom absolute that we offered years ago. It has a floral note, but is much greener, as though leaves as well as blossoms had been extracted.

Wonderful, alone or in blends, for reducing tension. Robert Tisserand cites Linden Blossom in blends to detoxify and decongest the skin. Some authorities call this lovely essence "lime blossom," but it has no relation to the citrus family.  We recommend using in normal perfumery or aromatherapy dilutions.

 BLENDS WITH: Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Rose, Tuberose, Lemon, Orange, Mandarine, Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Clove, Ylangylang, Black Pepper, and Ginger.

 Marjoram, Sweet, CO2 

Origanum majorana, CO2 Select, extracted from dried leaves in Germany.

This CO2 extracted oil is much more vibrant and alive, aromatically, than our distilled oil. We have taken to using this in blending for both relaxation and for the antispasmodic action Sweet Marjoram is famed for.
Sweet Marjoram
True story from our website designer: “My grandmother used to make meat loaf with marjoram in it, and every time I see or smell the herb, I think of her and am immediately calmed.”

Grandma was onto something. Sweet Marjoram has a calming, sedative action— and this CO2 extract is much more relaxing than our distilled Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil because of its higher ester content. (The sensitive sabinene hydrates are preserved by CO2 extraction, making it more relaxing than the distilled essential oil.) Also, the scent of this extract is more vibrant and closer to the fresh herb.

Sweet Marjoram has been used to lower high blood pressure and to stimulate circulation. It warms the skin, where applied. Its powerful antispasmodic action can ease pains of arthritis, cramped muscles, and muscle spasms. Try blending with Clary Sage Essential Oil for relieving menstrual cramps; the result is almost magical! Considered an expectorant and a tonic for the respiratory system. Shown to be anti-infective, fungicidal, and bactericidal against a wide range of gram-positive bacteria. Its sedative action can be effective against some types of migraines.

I have seen this CO2 extract recommended for shortness of breath from any cause but perhaps most useful if anxiety is involved. May be used for sinus and respiratory infections, and nervous cough. It has been recommended in cases of croup and whooping cough. It may prove useful for palsy, for sciatica, and for nerve pain in the face or neck.

As a circulatory stimulant this CO2 extract might be useful for Raynaud’s Syndrome or in any case where you do not want to use one of the warming oils like Black Pepper or Ginger.
Educator and author Madeleine Kerkhof advises use of anti-oxidant and antibacterial Sweet Marjoram for any sort of skin infection.  She says add to bandaid/bandage, use to cover the wound.  i.e, add to the dressing, not directly to the wound itself.    She further suggests use for infected wounds, necrotic tissue (to help with the smell) ulcers and abcesses.    Madeleine recommends a blend of Lavender, Helichrysum, Geranium and Sweet Marjoram to add to wound dressings, to clear infections and speed healing.

WARNINGS: High doses may prove sedating if administered during the day. It may also function as a sexual inhibitor. Do not use on the skin or by direct inhalation during the first trimester of pregnancy, after that use at half normal dilution.
Uses and information cited from “Complimentary Nursing in End of Life Care” by Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes.

 Myrrh Select CO2

Commiphora myrrha (Commiphora abyssinica), resin wildcrafted in Somalia, CO2 Select extracted in Germany
Myrrh Resin
Softer and a bit sweeter than our distilled Myrrh, but with the same uses. Myrrh is an effective antifungal and antibacterial, and is recommended in blends to treat chapped or cracked skin. I’ve already incorporated it in a blend for a friend’s skin fungus (in a base of Aloe Vera Gel, blended with some Palma Rosa). Because it is higher in sesquiterpines than our distilled Myrrh Oil, I would expect the CO2 extract to be more calming and a bit better at relieving pain.

Madeleine Kerkhof, in CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy, recommends Myrrh CO2 rather than the distilled oil for emotional and spiritual uses.  She finds it extremely helpful in healing emotional and spiritual wounds, and as an aid to spiritual growth.  Its warming and protective effects can be helpful for anxiety, for easing emotional and spiritual blockages. (I am wondering how this would support Cistus essential oil for easing emotional blockages.) 

This Myrrh is truly a gift fit for a king.

Nutmeg CO2

Myristica fragrans, wildcrafted fruit from Germany, CO2 select,  extracted in Germany.
The ultimate nutmeg essence! I put a drop on a perfume strip and said “EGGNOG!” Far sweeter and more complex than any steam-distilled nutmeg essential oil this CO2 extraction must be used with care. Used in excess it over stimulates the brain and heart, can cause hallucinations and possibly convulsions. I have a tremendous respect for this lovely oil, to the extent that I do NOT allow my staff to “prebottle” more than about 10 bottles of it at a time. I don’t want them exposed to the fumes in excess.

However, having said that, the slightest drop of Nutmeg Oil, added to a blend, adds a sweet spicy aphrodisiac note. It’s a mental stimulant, not a relaxer, though. Physically, Nutmeg’s stimulating action is believed by some to aid in asthenia (loss of physical strength, debility). Some sources recommend its use as part of a blend for treating gout, rheumatism, arthritis, etc. I haven’t experimented with this use yet.  (For these uses, I would want to blend with Juniper.)

Emotionally it is invigorating and stimulating, while, at the same time, warm and welcoming.

Physically, it is said to be an excellent digestive stimulant for those who can not digest food, and a useful oil in treating nausea, vomiting, indigestion, etc. Nutmeg is also said to be an anti-inflammatory, and useful in treating arthritis. In a massage blend it is gently warming and that, coupled with its anti-inflammatory characteristics make it useful in treating sore joints and muscles.
This CO2 extraction contains no solvents, so adding a drop to 1/2 cup of honey for flavoring food would be exquisite. I suspect it’s going to be a key ingredient in my spiced tea this winter, and think a drop in a large pot of hot cider or mulled wine would be yummy.
Please use this oil with discretion. Please avoid during pregnancy and with children under 6.

BLENDS WITH: Nutmeg blends beautifully with the sweeter citrus oils, with other spices, Bay, Geranium, Petitgrain, and Ylangylang.

Oregano CO2 Select

Origanum vulgare, Organically grown from leaves in Turkey, CO2 Select extracted in Germany
Oregano vulgare

With over 80% Carvacrol this CO2 extract will have all the germkilling power that you have come to expect from distilled Oregano.  We have had trouble sourcing a reliable Oregano vulgare, and although we personally prefer our Spanish Oregano, there are those who insist on only Oregano Vulgare. We are delighted to find this Select extraction.

We prefer to use this potent oil in an inhaler or simply to inhale from a tissue.
If you do plan on using topically, please limit to dilution to 0.25% or 0.5%.  But, honestly, please don’t.  Inhalation will get the components into your blood stream far faster than topical application.    Strong dilutions or neat usage can cause blistering and severe irritation.  Prolonged internal use will place a burden on the liver.

SAFETY: Embryotoxic, to be avoided by all methods of use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  Can prevent blood clotting, avoid when on blood thinners or when facing surgery. Avoid use with young children.

 Orris Root CO2

Iris Germanica CO2 Select extracted from organically grown Iris roots (Serbia), produced in
Iris blossom

The undiluted Select extract is a soft solid.  A warm water bath will quickly melt it though.
You will immediately sense something familiar about the aroma of Orris Root.  This root/rhizome of the Iris flower is a major component in many commercial Violet Leaf perfumes and is also used for flavoring and to scent soap.

Iris Rhisomes
Nature’s Gift is physically located in the state of Tennessee where the Iris (Iris germanica) happens to be the state flower, as these beauties are abundant here. Purple flowers emerge each Spring. The various shades of purple boast of vertical, visible, bright yellow and/or white portions. It is a regal flower of natural beauty standing proud and tall. Sometimes its appearance is compared to that of an orchid.

Interestingly, Orris originated in Europe but now grows all over the United States in various eco -systems. (Rainy Oregon, the South West, Louisiana)

This new-to-us CO2 Select Orris Root is literally extracted from the rhizome (root) of the flower. It hails from the Iridaceae family and Liliales order, which includes Tulips and Lilies.  The oil is a yellow to light brownish color and aromatically reminiscent of Violet, although less intense, slightly woody, and softly floral overall.

Orris Root is said to be antioxidant and antimutagenic.  Our Orris Root CO2 Select contains 3% Irones (stabilized with MCT oil), high content of myristic acid, and the essential oil, waxes, and fatty acids.  It is thick and solid in glass but warms fairly quickly to pour. (Marge held a sample vial in her warm hands and the solidity disappeared within a few minutes.)  If you've heard of or used Orris Butter, you will understand about the viscosity and it will require warming to liquefy.  As it warms up the aroma will intensify.
Its best and traditional use is in perfumery, to add a a subtle violet note to a blend, and as a fixative to increase longevity. It has been a classic French perfume since the middle ages.

Author and Educator Madeleine Kerkhof describes Orris Root Co2 as, “relaxing, calming, and comforting,” and says it is best used for perfumery and cosmetics, although she notes that some make a connection between Orris Root and femininity, as well as for spiritual use.  Her research indicates an awareness and use of the rhizome in herbal healing practices for hundreds of years. (Some would say ancient peoples had an awe and reverence for the Iris.) Madeleine recommends usage for adults at from 0.5 to 2%, with up to 3% for small localized areas (ie, pulse points.)

Essential Oil safety consultant, educator, and author Robert Tisserand describes both the Absolute and the Essential Oil as, “no known hazards and contraindications.”

(Marge’s note: for 20 years I have resisted offering Orris Root because I was taught it was a strong sensitizer. I can not find my references for that, but I would still be cautious about using, for example, on broken or irritated skin.)

We tested the undiluted CO2 compared to the 10% dilution, also offered.  In the first few seconds there was a dramatic difference in aroma, but once both warmed to skin temperature it was hard to distinquish the undiluted from the 10% dilution.  Both have extreme longevity on the skin,  and should make a wonderful floral anchor in a perfume blend.  Our experience? Like our Lilac CO2, Orris Root CO2 does beautifully in dilution, and needs the warmth of your skin to open up.  I would not diffuse this gentle beauty, or wear it in a piece of aromatherapy jewelry. I would reserve it for topical use, with proper dilution.

More to come. See Part 5 here.  Go back to Part 3  in this series here.

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