Sunflower Oil – My “Go-To” Carrier Oil

The incredible sunflower

The incredible sunflower –

Sunflower – Helianthus annuus

I love this flower and I love this oil!

Just to clarify, sunflower oil is NOT an essential oil, but a cold pressed oil we call a “carrier oil’ in aromatherapy – as it carries the essential oils in an oil blend for the body or face.

Lets start by looking at the flower.

* It’s a beautiful yellow colour – the colour of the sun.

* It’s shape could almost be considered like to sun too.

* It contains within the flower head, a fundamental pattern of nature called the GOLDEN RATIO or PHI RATIO.

A sunflower is a representation of the golden ratio

A sunflower is a representation of the golden ratio

The Golden Ratio is a bit exciting as it exists all throughout nature and the cosmos. I can’t help but be drawn into the flower and into the secrets of life. Among many names the golden ratio is also called the divine ratio, and it has been used by artists, scientist and architects as an expression of perfection – as a mirror of our universe.

The golden ratio is approximately equal to 1.618. Basically the head of the sunflower contains many smaller flower heads. As each cell or floret is created, the next floret is made after turning on an angle. The entire pattern is then formed and it mesmerising!

The golden ratio

The golden ratio

Brilliant isnt it?

So the sunflower is a little piece of the cosmos! And it they seem to have such great personality. Have you ever driven through France and seen fields of sunflowers? They have so much gorgeous energy.

They also follow the sun to absorb as much energy as possible. ‘Heliotropism’ is the sunflowers ability to track the sun’s movements… slowly moving the face of it’s flower toward the sun to receive the full impact of the sun’s rays. The leaves of the sunflower also track the sun turning slowly through the day to keep their broad surface to face the rays.

Fields in France

Fields in France – lavender and sunflowers

And now the oil.

High in omega-6 and omega-9, vitamins A, D, E, it also contains a high amount of vitamin E too. So basically it’s good to eat and it’s great as an emollient and skin moistuirser.

I use sunflower oil in all my treatments as it has a light to medium consistency with little scent. You can buy refined or filtered sunflower oil which is quite pale and has little or no scent. Pure sunflower oil is much richer and deeper in colour – an orangey/yellow – and has a mild scent. Therapeutically, unrefined sunflower oil will contain more vitamins and active ingredients but you may prefer a less scented version.

sunflower oil

sunflower oil

This a great oil to use on the body and the face. You can also use sunflower oil as a hair moisturiser.

Add your essential oils to this happy, sunny carrier oil to create a beautiful, soft skin treatment.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Fragrant Oils vs Essential Oils – What’s the Diff?

bubblegum scent can come in a fragrant oil but not an essential oil

bubblegum scent can come in a fragrant oil but not an essential oil

Oils ain’t oils!

Fragrant oils are completely synthetic and are made in a lab.

They do not come from any real plant.

They are not distilled from anything natural.

They do not have any therapeutic benefit on the body but they may trigger memories and emotions like any scent can do.

They shouldn’t really be used in massage and in skincare. (NB. All perfume is synthetic and any skincare that mentions “fragrance” or “parfum” probably has synthetic scent. Essential oils can be listed as “parfum” too so companies can protect their recipes).

They should be labelled “Fragrant Oil” or “Fragrance”.

They do not have any life force or energy.

You can find the scent of popcorn in a fragrant oil.

You can find the scent of popcorn in a fragrant oil.

Fragrant oils that you may find – and that you think could be essential oils are not –

Coconut

Gardenia

Magnolia

Fig

Musk

and there are loads more.

flowering rosemary

flowering rosemary – a real essential oil

Essential oils come from a natural plant source and are distilled with water and steam (mostly). They have therapeutic benefits and can be used on the body in massage and skincare.

They emit energy or vibration, and this is an added benefit when used in the healing modalities.

They are part of our history, and along with the actual plant materials, were the original medicines thousands of years ago.

They effect the body and the brain (which in turn effects the body) and can produce positive feelings and trigger emotional responses. (NB. All kinds of scent can trigger these responses).

Essential oils are beautiful to smell and have a “roundness” and “warmth”, unlike fragrant oils which seem to me to be “thin” and “cold” (like perfume).

They have been written and talked about for many years because of their amazing power!

The spidery, seductive Ylang Ylang flower

The spidery, seductive Ylang Ylang flower is a real essential oil

I love essential oils.

I dislike fragrant oils and perfume.

I’m biased.

You are free to use whatever you like, however if you are practicing being more mindful in your daily life perhaps reconsider buying a Fig and Green Tea scented candle (probably using parafin wax), and buy a natural beeswax candle which has a natural, mild honey-like scent, and vapourise REAL essential oils.

You WILL notice the difference. You will be inspired, and connected to the earth and natural medicine.

pink grapefruit

pink grapefruit – it is a real essential oil

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Nutmeg – A Spice Oil of Mysticism and Intrigue!

Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans

Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans

Just look at this gorgeous pod of deliciousness!

The red, almost brain-like cover is what mace is made from. The nutmeg we know and love, and use in cooking is hidden underneath. Isn’t nature wonderful? The colours are divine and the nutmeg seed is protected by layers of cellular material. This seed is part of the whole pod which is actually the fruit of this evergreen tree.

The nutmeg tree

The nutmeg tree

Like many spices and spice oils, nutmeg has a rich history spanning, in the very least hundreds of years, and probably even more. Originating from the Banda Islands, north of Timor and west of Papua New Guinea, the trade of this wonderful spice is traced as far back as the middle ages in Europe. You can imagine how long before this the islanders would have used this amazing plant.

In the 1600’s the Dutch East India Company ruled the spice trade and the beautiful islands. They staged a nasty takeover of the islands to absolutely rule and control the supply of nutmeg to the world. When the Brits took over they transplanted many of these nutmeg trees to other islands under British rule and because of this Grenada actually produces 20% of the world’s nutmeg supply. They even have an illustration of the nutmeg on their flag.

The flag of Grenada

The flag of Grenada

Our modern history is quite brutal really. Thank goodness we are now in a time of rapid evolution – the best time to employ essential oils to get us all to the next level of peace and harmony.

The essential oil of nutmeg is steam distilled from the seed and it is high in a-pinene (alpha pinene, b-pinene (beta pinene) and sabinine (also in black pepper oil); with many other constituents including camphene. We know that camphene (and other types of camphor molecules) are warming and stimulating constituents – and so is the oil of nutmeg.

The traditional uses of nutmeg include:

* to ease the symptoms of colds and flu

* as a tonic to warm the body

* as a treatment for all things digestive – to stimulate appetite, to treat nausea and vomiting and to generally stimulate the digestive fire

* as an anti-inflammatory agent especially in the treatment of arthritis and swelling of the joints

* to warm aching muscles and joints

The nutmeg spice is known as an hallucinogen due to a chemical constituent called elemecin, which Wikipedia claims is similar to the properties of mescaline. According to Salvatore Battaglia (an aromatherapist and author of a great book called “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy”), this is lost in the distillation process and is not present in the oil.

Isn’t it interesting that the red mace covering of the seed looks like a brain – and that the seed can effect the brain, inspiring whacky mind visions!

nutmeg

nutmeg

I use this oil as a connection to spirit – as an awakening oil of the mind and the higher chakras. I find nutmeg oil to be expansive on all levels of our existence – the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. And just the fact that it’s called “myristica”, I always think of this oil as an agent of attaining our mystical existence, and accessing our mystical guides. I use this oil when I need to connect to universal intelligence.

Try these recipes:

1. Pure Pulse Point Perfume

In a little dish mix these oils and anoint your pulse points or chakras – 3 drops of essential oils and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil – always patch test first!

“Sweet Release”

Allow divine guidance to enter your world

Nutmeg        2 drops * patch test first as nutmeg could be sensitising to the skin

Orange         1 drop

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2. Scent Your Space

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil

“Intergalactic Love”

Reach out into the universe with love

Nutmeg        10 drops

Rosewood     8 drops

Mandarin       6 drops

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Remember to use your intention when you are blending, it will add to the creation process and also be an exercise in using your intuition.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013