Essential oils that help your brain

The hippocampus regulates the function of memory.

The hippocampus regulates the function of memory.

So much of our daily lives and quality of life relies on the health of our mental faculties. And yet we are plagued on one end by mental fatigue, poor concentration and burn-out and on the other with long-term degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Dementia. Good news is that we can do something about it. Scientific research suggests there are a number of essential oils that can benefit our cognitive abilities and help us to maintain healthy brains. One lecturer in early childhood and special education studies, Professor Barbara Wilmes, has even gone as far as to suggest that educators should be using essential oils to boost learning in our classrooms. [1]

Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris)

One of the primary structural components of the brain is a fat known as DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). DHA belongs to the Omega 3 group of fatty acids and is largely derived from fish oils. So yes, keep using the fish oil. Of the Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA are the most important to our brain and overall health. Did you know that Thyme essential oil has been shown in research to dramatically slow down the degeneration of DHA in the brain?

In a study carried out in 2000, laboratory rats were fed a daily dose of thyme oil (42.5 mg/K of body weight over the course of their lifetime (around 28 months). When the data was analyzed it was found that DHA levels in the 28 month old rat brains was the same as that of 7 month old rats. Putting this in human terms, it would be the equivalent of an 80 year old having the brain chemistry of a 20 year old. [2]

Read more…

Using essential oils in cooking

Cooking with essential oilsEssential oils belong as much in a kitchen as they do in the medicine chest, first-aid kit, diffuser or bed-side table; and there are numerous essential oils that are well suited for your day to day cooking.

Benefits.
If you are like me you’re probably quite concerned at the quality (or lack of it) of the food that comes before us. And of course there’s the health risks in so much of the ingredients that are used in our foods. Well provided you’re using pure and unadulterated therapeutic grade quality essential oils, you can reduce the risks and enhance the quality and taste of your meals (and beverages).

For starters, essential oils used in your food can kill unwanted microbes, increase the natural enzymatic secretions in your G.I. tract, and allow for more energy and oxygen uptake by your cells.

What about fresh and dried herbs? Surely they’re as good as essential oils.

Read more…

Happy holidays!!!

We’ve been off air since November, but certainly not idle. Here are some topics we covered in Wellbeing magazine’s blog that may be of interest to you:

The wonders of peppermint oil  We look at some of the amazing uses for Peppermint oil.

The benefits of citrus essential oils The citrus oils – grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange and tangerine – are pretty potent. They contain a compound – Limonene – that is showing much promise against tumors.

Essential oils for the summer Ok, probably of more use to those of you in the southern hemisphere, but for those of you who are, there are some great tips.

We wish you all the very best for the festive season. We will be back in the New Year

Take care

Cheers

Anthony

Travelling in India with essential oils

 I was asked just recently what essential oils and essential oil products I took with us to our trip to India last year. So this post is bit of a run-down on what we took and why.
Bear in mind we didn’t need to use all these things.

Food and snacks:

  • Balance complete
  • Ningxia red sachets
  • Wolfberry crisp bars

Being a little unsure of what to expect with regards to food, we brought some food and snacks with us. As it turned out, we had no problems food wise. However the following things came in handy for breakfasts and snacks when out and about. Balance complete is a delicious meal replacement powder, that is high in fiber, protein, good fats, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. I combined this with Ningxia Red juice, which we brought in small sachets, and local coconut water. Coconut water is a nutritious beverage in its own right (see my post The benefits of coconut water). The wolfberry crisp bars came in handy on the long drives we occasionally had travelling through India.

Read the rest of this entry

Dried wolfberries. Delicious but also nutritious. Photo from wstefano, Wikimedia Commons

In our last post, I included some testimonials showing how different people had benefited from drinking Ningxia Red. Gary Young, has also incorporated the wolfberry into numerous nutritional supplements and meal replacement formulae.

Ningxia wolfberries are also found in these other nutritional products:

Balance Complete™ Vanilla Cream Meal  Replacement

This is quite yummy. I have it for breakfast in the mornings (alternate it with powermeal – see below). You can make some great shakes with it. We typically add fruit like apples, bananas, strawberries and blueberries (when in season) as well as Ningxia Red juice and some coconut milk. Occasionally I will add an egg to it as well. It keeps me going till about lunch-time. If you find you’re still feeling hungry, add an extra scoop or add an egg. Balance Complete is high in fiber and protein, along with good fats, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  It’s designed to be a powerful energizer, immune system booster and cleanser.
Along with the high antioxidant benefits from Ningxia wolfberry powder you’re getting these healthy ingredients:
brown rice bran, barley grass, aloe vera, cinnamon powder and a whey protein blend.

Read other people’s testimonials

Read the rest of this entry

At the Young Living convention in Brisbane, last year (Oct 13-15th 2011), I attended the lectures of Dr Peter Minke.
Dr Peter Minke, a survivor of cancer, is a prominent advocate of healthy lifestyles and an avid user of therapeutic grade essential oils. Married with four children, Dr Minke explained why essential oils should form an integral part of every family’s first aid.
For Peter Minke, therapeutic grade essential oils fulfill all the requirements for a first aid tool. These are that they should be:
  • safe
  • easily available
  • easy to carry
  • easy to apply
  • easy to regulate the amount used
  • durable with long shelf life
  • fast acting
He outlined 6 key principles in the use of therapeutic grade essential oils as first aid tools for the family.
Principle 1: Expect therapeutic results from therapeutic grade essential oils. 
Dr Minke says don’t waste your time (and risk your health) with recreational fragrances. Only therapeutic grade essential oils will give you therapeutic effects. There are thousands of peer reviewed studies and journal articles documenting the effects of therapeutic grade essential oils. There are some things to consider regarding the safe use of essential oils:
  • Essential oils and water don’t mix. If you find that an oil is too hot on the skin, don’t use water. If it burns put vegetable oil on it first. This will draw up the essential oil. Then you can use soap and water.
  • Babies and menthol don’t mix. Don’t use peppermint or wintergreen with children under 3. One in 10,000 are sensitive to menthol. It can anesthetise the respiratory system.
  • Some oils are photo-sensitive (mostly citrus), so don’t put them on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
  • In first aid speed matters. With bumps and burns each passing moment allows for more swelling, inflammation and tissue damage. Likewise with bleeding, stings and bites, panic and extreme stress – work quickly.
Principle 2: Use what you have.
Some examples:
When Dr Minke’s 4 year old child had a fall and bumped his forehead – he used the blend Valor*
Another example was where he got 15 ant bites on his foot and it swelled up – he put the blend Purification* on it quickly.
Or if he got overheated out in the sun – Peppermint oil on his ear.
His wife became anxious during labor – she inhaled Lavender oil and it brought her blood pressure down.
A nose bleed on his son – he put Cypress oil on his arm.
If you see the kids are starting to get sick, start giving them Thieves* oil blend or Immupower* blend.
For babies some oils are harsh. Oils such as LemonMyrtle and Frankincense are gentle. Dilute them with V6 if there is any sensitivity.
Principle 3: Be a super sleuth
  • Watch for signs of change – better or worse
  • Expect immediate results.
  • Change the programme if it’s not working.
  • And bring the oils with you when you’re waiting in or on your way to the emergency room.
Early intervention is best.
Principle 4: Body Weight Equivalent
Use less on a baby. 1 drop on a 10 lb baby is like 20 drops on a 200 lb adult (2.2 lb to the kilogram).
Dr Minke’s favourite oils for infants include: Valor*LemonMyrtleLavender and Frankincense.
Diaper bag essentials: Valor*CypressPurification* and Thieves
Home essentials: FrankincenseLavenderLemonPeppermintMyrtleImmupower* and Deep Relief* roll-on.
Principle 5: Frequency, Intensity and Duration
How much oil to use? Enough oil often enough for long enough to make a difference. Watch for signs of improvement or change.
Dr Minke uses about 1-3 drops of oil for a small child (0-5 years of age)
Principle 6: Be prepared.
Last but not least, you can’t use oils if you don’t have any oils.
Till Next time
Cheers
Anthony
(* Blends: Deep Relief roll-on (made of Peppermint, Wintergreen, Copaiba and Palo Santo essential oils); Immupower (made up of  Hyssop, mountain savory, cistus, ravensara, frankincense, oregano, clove, cumin and idaho tansy essential oils); Purification (made up of Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca, lavandin and myrtle); and Valor (made up of spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense in a base of almond oil).
About Dr Peter Minke:

Peter Minke received his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Texas A&M University in 1992, graduating Magna Cum Laude with University Honors. Dr. Minke went on to complete a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Biology in 1998.

Dr. Minke currently works as a bodywork and movement specialist as a certified Aston-Patterning® Practitioner and Licensed Massage Therapist. Peter has over 15 years of clinical experience in private practice, over 1100 hours of hands on training in advanced movement and bodywork, and has helped hundreds of people achieve better body movement patterns for improved quality of life and athletic performance. Peter’s background as a cancer survivor and wellness enthusiast has led him to advocate for health conscious lifestyle choices. Dr. Minke is an international trainer and speaker on numerous wellness topics including plant-based diet, non-toxic lifestyle, stress management, therapeutic use of essential oils, and cleansing.

Having lived overseas for eight of his first sixteen years, Peter’s experiences growing up have provided a view of the world as a global community. His family returned to the United States in 1985 to Houston, Texas. Peter now considers Bryan, Texas his home where he lives with his wife Amy and their four boys. Peter and Amy enjoy homeschooling and are dedicated to providing an at-home learning environment for their children. His two websites are:

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer

Interview on Beyond The Heart

Hi Folks, this is an interview I recently gave (October 8th 2011) for the web radio programme – Beyond the Heart- hosted by Jenetta Haim. I talk about how I got into essential oils as well as how and why essential oils work. Check it out at :

Beyond the Heart with Jenetta Haim Aromatherapy 10/08 by The Difference | Blog Talk Radio

Cheers

Anthony

Do you work in an environment that’s stressful, where you’re frequently dealing with upset or stressed out customers? Maybe like a bank or insurance company. Or perhaps you work in a clinic, where your clients are waiting anxiously, e.g. a dentist. And what about the staff or employees who work with you or for you? Would you be interested in improving their mood and performance? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions then you’ll be happy to know that essential oils can help you out here.

A number of scientific studies carried out over the years have shown that the aromas of essential oils can and do affect our mood and performance (see the papers listed at the end of this article). While one of these studies used an oil burner, we strongly recommend an oil diffuser for the best effect. 

How can aromas or smelling essential oils affect our mood you may ask? The sense of olfactory (smell) is hardwired into the brain. When you inhale a fragrance, the odor molecules attach themselves to receptor cells sites inside the nasal membrane. When stimulated by odor molecules, these nerve cells triggers electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits these impulses to the gustatory centre (where the sensation of taste is perceived), the amygdala (where emotional memories are stored), and other parts of the limbic centre in the brain. The limbic centre is connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormonal levels. This is one way in which essential oils can have physiological and psychological effects. [1]

So what oils are best?

If you are trying to improve work performance (your own and others), try diffusing Peppermint and Lemon oils in your office. If you find yourself flagging or getting a little sleepy in mid-afternoon (especially after a big lunch) try inhaling a little peppermint or putting a couple of drops in a glass of water ( TipInhaling a little peppermint can even come in handy when you’re driving and finding yourself getting sleepy behind the wheel ).  Lemon has been found to help reduce depression and stress when inhaled. [2]  Think of the possibilities here, if you work in a clinic or counselling practice; not to mention the busy customer service counter of a bank or insurance office.

Another oil that has been tested in a clinical environment is Lavender. In a study reported in the International Journal of Nursing Practice, 85% of respondents to a questionnaire said that there had been a positive improvement in the work environment following the use of Lavender oil burners (imagine if they had used diffusers). [3]. The Essential Oils Desk Reference also lists the following oils as beneficial in dealing with anger and agitation: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Rose, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang*.

 Some might ask is it ethical to change the mood of your customers or co-workers? Isn’t it like brain-washing? My answer to this is that I’ve been in many situations where I wished I had kept a cool head. Sometimes our emotions get in the way of rational discussions. Sure, there are times we need to be assertive, but not a lot is achieved by blowing our stack either. Essential oils can play a role in improving our workplaces. If you would like more information on the oils mentioned in the article please contact us. If you would like to buy any of them, please visit our website

Till Next time

Cheers

Anthony 

Research Papers:

Hirsch A R, Johnston L H. Odors and Learning. J. Neurol Orthop Med Surg. 1996; 17:119-126

Komori T, Fujiwara R, Tanida M, Nomura J. Application of fragrances to treatments for depression. Hihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi. 1995 Feb; 15(1):39-42

Komori T, Fujiwara R, Tanida M, Nomura J. Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states. Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995 May-Jun; 2(3): 174-80

Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and mood in healthy adults. Intern. J. Neuroscience. 2003; 113:15-38

Moss M, Hewitt S, Moss L, Wesnes K. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Intern. J. Neuroscience. 2008; 118:59-77

Nasal, C, et al. Functional imaging of effects of fragrances on the human brain after prolonged inhalation. Chemical Senses. 1994; 19(4): 359-64

Tysoe P. The effect on staff of essential oil burners in extended care settings. International Journal of Nursing Practice. 2000; 6:110-112

 Yim V W C, Ng A K Y, Tsang H, Leung A Y. A Review on the effects of aromatherapy for patients with depressive symptoms. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009; 15(4):187-195

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

Footnotes:  

 * A study carried out at the University of Northumbria found that Peppermint enhanced memory while Ylang Ylang impaired it, and that peppermint increased alertness while Ylang Ylang decreased it. Ylang Ylang though was shown to increase calmness. So maybe use Ylang Ylang in the area where your customers or patients are waiting, but Peppermint in the back office. 

[1] Chapter 2,  The Powerful Influence of Aromas on Both Mind and Body , Essential Oils Desk Reference, p12

[2] Komori, Fujiward, Tanida, Nomura, Yokoyama “Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states”. Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995 May-Jun;        2(3):174-80

[3]Tysoe P. The effect on staff of essential oil burners in extended care settings. International Journal of Nursing Practice. 2000 6:110-112

 

 

 

 

 

Essential oils for the Hair.

Last week we looked at how many of the products we use for our day to day grooming – shampoos, soaps, moisturisers, etc – are in fact harmful to our bodies and our environment. This is actually nothing new. Most people you talk to will agree that we are putting way too many chemicals into ourselves. But when it comes to doing something about it at the supermarket shelves, we tend to forget about all that.

So we ended last week’s post by stressing the need to do our research before spending those hard-earned dollars, and I included some useful tools towards that end.

This week, we look at how essential oils can be beneficial to our hair.

Some oils to Consider

Essential oils are great for nourishing, strengthening and cleansing both the hair follicles and the hair shafts. Essential oils are also effective in fighting fungal infections that may be at the root of things like dandruff.

If you have a dry scalp, then some oils you may want to consider are Cedarwood, sandalwood, geranium and patchouli. If it’s an oily scalp you have then peppermint, lavender and lemon oils could be handy. Read the rest of this entry

The doubts in many people’s minds over the vaccines and medicines being produced by the pharmaceuticals continues to grow. A lot of people just don’t realize how strong many antibiotics and vaccines actually are. In many cases, the cure can be more damaging than the illness.  Only just recently we saw health authorities in Australia warning doctors not to give the flu vaccine to children under 5 (so much for the idea that vaccines should only be given to the weakest in our society – children and the elderly), after a child fell critically ill and others developed serious adverse reactions after receiving the vaccination in Western Australia. [1]

Meanwhile in the U.S., health authorities recommended that doctors suspend the use of Rotarix, a vaccine used to treat children suffering from rotavirus (a diarrhea inducing infection), after the vaccine was found to be contaminated with DNA from a pig virus. [2] Surprise, Surprise. For more information on the latter, check out the video from the National Vaccine Information Center in the U.S. at the end of this post. You’ll also find a good article on the subject and an interview of Barbara Loe Fisher from NVIC on Dr Mercola’s site. To get access to the article, you’ll be asked to subscribe to Mercola’s newsletter. This is FREE, and believe me well worth it.

Building an ‘arsenal’ of essential oils

Coming back to the title of this post…Last week we discussed Thieves essential oil as a powerful but relatively safe preventative measure against many airborne infections. It’s also worth using if you have already contracted a cold or flu as it will help build your body’s immunity and help it to recover, WITHOUT damaging the good bacteria in your body. On a number of occasions I’ve taken Thieves oil internally, using a gelatin capsule, with anywhere between 4-8 drops of oil.

It is by no means the only essential oil effective against germs and viruses.

Immupower is another essential oil blend that will strengthen your immunity. It contains Cistus, Frankincense, Oregano, Idaho Tansy, Cumin, Clove, Hyssop, Ravensara and Mountain Savory. It can be diffused, directly inhaled or applied to cotton balls (4-8 drops) and placed on vents. It can also be applied topically around the navel, chest, temples, wrists, under the nose or on the Vita Flex points on the feet. When applying topically dilute it with olive oil, 4 drops of olive oil to 1 drop of Immupower.

Inner Defense Softgels, formulated to tackle the largest range of pathogenic organisms, this blend is made up of Thieves, Oregano and Thyme and comes encapsulated in a vegetable capsule. The Essential Oil Desk Reference recommends 1-2 capsules a day. [3]

Ningxia Red juice is a great companion to Inner Defense or any other essential oils. Its constituents include foods that have the highest antioxidants known to Man – blueberries, raspberries, pomegranates, apricots and top of the list, the Ningxia Wolfberries. It also contains Lemon an Orange essential oils. I could write an article or two just on this beverage alone, and we will come back to it in future, but for now let’s just say that it’s a good way to build one’s immunity up on a day to day basis. My own experience with it is that I feel it’s improved my health immeasurably over the past 6 years. Definitely a part of the ‘arsenal.’

RC and Raven. RC is a blend made up of Eucalyptus Globulus, Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Citriodora, Myrtle, Pine, Spruce, Marjoram, Lavender, Cypress and Peppermint. I mentioned RC and Eucalyptus Radiata in my post last week. Research has found RC to be the most potent oil blend against the MRSA bug (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). [4] Raven contains the oils Ravensara, Eucalyptus Radiata, Peppermint, Wintergreen and Lemon.

A friend of mine, Artemis, suggests that if you have a cold or flu, you should alternate between these two oils – “RC contains oils that are more antibacterial, whereas Raven contains oils that are more antiviral. However, I have never really noticed this. What I do notice is that RC decongests (so it’s great to use when we are all stuffed up), whereas Raven does the opposite. So if my nose is running profusely and won’t stop (the proverbial “dripping tap”), then Raven is the oil that I would use. I put it around my throat area, as it’s a little stronger to use on sensitive skin like the face. And normally I’d apply these oils several times a day as needed. I have also observed that I can put RC on just before I go to bed and it won’t affect my sleep, whereas Raven keeps me awake so one of the oils in it must be a stimulant ” (Most likely the peppermint and lemon – Anthony).[5]

Myrtle, is another great oil listed by Artemis for the cold and flu season, particularly those nasty coughs – “I first fell in love with Myrtle when I realized its benefits to coughing. I have used it on many people during coughing fits (or that nasty tickle in the throat that leads to hacking coughing at the tail end of a cold). In virtually everyone I’ve used it on, the coughing has stopped pretty much instantly, and they had minimal coughing for the next couple of hours.  When Noel’s son Robin was sick one day and we had no RC on hand, Noel gave him some Myrtle. He rubbed it on his chest, and voila! 4 hours later he was feeling well enough to return to work. It’s become one of Robin’s favourite oils. Then I tried Myrtle on a lady at one of my playshops, and she was experiencing wheezing in her chest. And voila! Wheezing stopped.” [6]

Purification is an oil blend I’ve mentioned in previous articles with reference to insect bites. But it’s also good for cleaning the air and keeping airborne pathogens away. Aside from diffusing it, I would try rubbing it on the soles of my feet. It contains Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavandin, Rosemary, Melaleuca and Myrtle. Some very powerful oils in this blend.

Peppermint and Lemon are two oils that are a ‘must have’ in the anti-cold/flu arsenal. Peppermint is great for when you get that headache. I just rub 2-3 drops around the base of neck. And for when I get that tickle and bit of phlegm in the back of my throat, (that to me signal the onset of a cold or flu) I put 3 drops of Peppermint oil and 3 drops of Lemon oil (and if I have Eucalyptus Radiata on hand, 3 drops of that as well) on a spoon and down the hatch. It sure gives you Zing, but for the germs it’s the equivalent of a knockout punch. {:-)

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are other oils which are also quite powerful against infections. Lemongrass, I’ve mentioned on a previous occasion as being effective against MRSA, while Rosemary is antiseptic, antifungal and antimicrobial. Eucalyptus Radiata, which I mentioned briefly, is anti-infectious, antiviral, antibacterial and an expectorant. I hope you’ve found this list useful for building your own ‘armory’. If you would like any more information on any of these, feel free to contact us.

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

 

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Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] Calls for calm amid flu jab scare, ABC News, Sat Apr 24th

[2] CNN, March 22 2010

[3] Essential Oils Desk Reference, 4th Edition, Essential Science Publishing, Sept 2007, p192

[4] Inhibition of Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccus Aureus (MRSA) by Essential Oils. Author: S.C. Chao,  D.G. Young, C.J. Oberg and K Nakaoka, Journal: Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 23 (444-449) (2008)

[5] Artemis’ oils bulletin: RC and other oils for the cold and flu season, 6th July 2008

[6] Ibid