Myrrh – A Healing Resin of Old

myrrh resin pic via www.pointsoflight.com

myrrh resin pic via http://www.pointsoflight.com

Myrrh. Whenever I say this oil in my head it sounds like merr-er-er. Just like Steve Martin’s character in the movie “The Man with Two Brains”, Dr Hfuhruhurr. I can’t help it. I’ve created a permanent synapse in my brain, that pronounces myrrh like Hfurhruhurr (except with an M). I don’t really use myrrh very much and maybe this is the reason.

I do however, use myrrh as an oil of abundance – a little goes a long way. Just like frankincense, myrrh is a resin in its natural state and then it’s steam distilled to produce an essential oil. In all bottles of myrrh that I’ve owned, before too long the cap is often stuck to the bottle with the dried oil – it wants to revert back to its original form. This never happens with frankincense which is quite a thin oil. Look how similar the trees are – they are from the same family, Burseraceae, but a different genus. Myrrh is from Commiphora, and frankincense is from the Boswellia genus.

myrrh tree pic via azarius.net

myrrh tree pic via azarius.net

frankincense tree pic via herbsocietyvic.org.au

frankincense tree pic via herbsocietyvic.org.au

Myrrh is native to parts of Africa and still revered as a great healer. We know of stories in the bible which tells us that this resin has been used for centuries. Like many of the older plants and oils, myrrh is also noted in ancient Egypt as an important ingredient in the holy incense kyphi, and the temples of Jerusalem in the incense of ketoret. I’ve just written about spikenard (see my article Spikenard – an Essential Oil with a Rich History and a Heady Scent), which appears in the same texts and was also an ingredient in these ceremonial incenses.

With its amazing qualities of healing and preservation you can see why the Egyptians used myrrh in embalming. If it’s hardening on the lid of my oil bottle then it’s working that way when embalming a body!

Egyptian mummy

Egyptian mummy

Myrrh is a great wound healer and works really well with gum disease and mouth ulcers. I would use myrrh in an oil blend with a client to add dimension to the scent and to address fears of lack, and a general feeling of being unsupported. I love myrrh to stimulate healing from past hurts and to help someone gain strength to continue in life.

A drop of oil can be essential

A drop of myrrh may be all you need

In aromatherapy today myrrh is used for –

* gum disease

* deep cracks n the heels

* chronic wounds that wont heal

* to reduce mucous in coughs and bronchitis

* as a meditative oil to connect to spirit

* to help with period pain and for use in childbirth

Embrace myrrh as an oil to support you in your connection to the divine. Be sparing with myrrh in your oil formulations as a little goes a long way.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Judgement – A Tarot Card Reading with Essential Oils

Judgement - XX in the Rider-Waite deck

Judgement – XX in the Rider-Waite deck

Number 20 in the major arcana is the Judgement card. There’s quite a few dead people and the Angel Gabriel heralding a message from God. I do like this card, and as with many of the tarot cards, at first glance it looks a bit creepy but has a positive message. This card is about truth and dharma, how you live your life. When the “judgement day” comes, and you are called to the pearly gates of heaven, can you say you have lived your life with purpose and in your own truth? Have you inspired others to reach their personal heights? Have you remained true to the laws of the universe? Have you been kind to others?

? sneakily borrowed from biodagar.com

? pic via biodagar.com

When this card comes to you in a reading it may be suggesting you need to re-focus your energy, get yourself back on track. It could be a call to move forward in your life and allow your real self to emerge. Shed your skin and don’t be afraid to embrace your higher purpose, your dharma, your spirituality.

This could be a time to try to see things from a new perspective, which could in turn lead to you making positive changes in your life.

angel gabriel blowing his horn - gabe aguilar pic via finaartamerica.com

angel gabriel blowing his horn – gabe aguilar pic via fineartamerica.com

Call on the Archangel Gabriel (the healer) to help you find your true purpose in life and use some essential oils with your very best intention.

1. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50 ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Release”

Allow yourself to shed the old –

Juniper        3 drops

Rosewood   3 drops

Lavender     2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“What is My Purpose in Life?”

Find your dharma –

Petitgrain                     3 drops

Cedarwood Virginian    2 drops

Cinnamon                    2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Healing”

Gabriel will help you emerge as a healed soul –

Rose 3%         12 drops  *see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba

Nutmeg           2 drops

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Anoint yourself with pure essential oils

Anoint yourself with pure essential oils

2. 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!

“Back on Track”

Re-focus to what really matters to you –

Basil              1 drop

Orange          2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Movin’ On”

Keep going!

Rosemary     1 drop

May Chang   2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Transformation!”

Emerge as a new person –

Spikenard     1 drop

Lime              2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

 

 

 

Spikenard – an Essential Oil with a Rich History and a Heady Scent

Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansi pic via www.medievalcookery.com

Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansi pic via http://www.medievalcookery.com

In a recent article I included spikenard in one of my recipes – see The Hierophant – A Tarot Card Reading with Essential Oils. It is commonly called spikenard, nard and the Indian name jatamansi (which is what I call it in my mind).

When I posted the link on my Facebook page one of my friends read the article (thanks Jason), and wanted to know more about this oil. My brief comments went something like this:

It’s an oil of the bible and the story is that Mary used this to bathe Jesus feet, and it was said to cost as much as a year’s wages. It has history in other religions and appears connected to the first and second Temples of Jerusalem. Used in Ayurveda it’s great for healing and a deep connection to spirit.

So that is a quick look at the oil and I thought I’d elaborate because it’s so amazing. This is a strong oil and belongs to the same family as Valerian, Valerianaceae. I must say I’ve never used Valerian oil in my practice, as even the scent of Valerian tea is super strong and if you’ve ever taken an herbal sleep formula with Valerian, you can smell it as soon as you open the bottle!

So spikenard has the same deep, base, intensity that valerian has, and also the vetiver root (even though vetiver is more like a grass). As with vetiver oil, the rhizomes of the spikenard plant hold the essential oil. It’s sweet, heavy and almost syrupy as it flares out of the bottle. One or two drops is enough in any formula to invoke the meta-physical properties of the oil, and to bring an oil blend together and give it substance.

spikenard flower - pic via www.rkessentialoil.com

spikenard flower – pic via http://www.rkessentialoil.com

As with many essential oils, the plants have been used for centuries for both healing and  religious and spiritual ceremonies. We are relying on ancient texts to illuminate us on the uses of these plants and also the scholars who translate them. It is always fascinating to me that thousands of years ago great healers knew what the plants were good for even though they had no scientific means of measuring their components. So is this intuition, trial and error, or a combo of both? However we look at it, it is a gift from the universe and our modern medicine would be nowhere today without this ancient knowledge.

There is so much to write about here I’ll just touch on the most interesting references to this oil. Said to have been used in the Temple of Solomon, the First Temple of Jerusalem (circa 800 BC)  and the Second temple (circa 530 BC onward to about 70 BC), in the incense called Ketoret mentioned n the Hebrew Bible and other texts. Ketoret is also very similar to the Egyptian incense called kyphi too which was recorded in the Pyramid texts dating back to 2300BC. Also talked about in the Bible, as mentioned above, this plant was used in Greek and Roman healing and ceremonies, and even used in medieval cookery. And as jatamansi, it’s been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years too, especially for grounding Vata, helping digestion and and as a heart tonic.

spikenard - pic via www.aroma-pure.com

spikenard – pic via http://www.aroma-pure.com

Ok so what is spikenard used for in modern Aromatherapy?

* as a calming tonic for someone freaking out (as is valerian and vetiver)

* to induce sleep

* to act as a calming digestive tonic

* as a wound healing oil by acting as a anti-bacterial agent and also an anti-inflammatory

* as an oil for meditation to induce a soothing, calming energy to connect to higher consciousness

* as a base oil to bring an oil blend together

* to stimulate hormone production

* for mature and dry skins

When you use this oil, use it sparingly like you would do with Vetiver. The secrets of the universe are encoded in every drop of oil!

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

The Chariot – A Tarot Card Reading with Essential Oils

The Chariot - #7 in the Rider-Waite tarot deck

The Chariot – #7 in the Rider-Waite tarot deck

 

I. Love. This. Card.

Power!

Strength!

Will!

Destiny!

And sphinxes!

I love it when this card comes up in a reading because it’s about going out into the big wide world and creating your life. It could be about getting a new job and diving into it wholeheartedly. The card could be asking you to make decisions about how you want to be in the world – how do you see yourself functioning? Do you want to be successful (whatever that means to you), do you want to use your creative genius to drive you life or maybe you need

to garner the energy to move forward in your life?

The Sphinx - pic via toptravellists.com

The Sphinx – pic via toptravellists.com

The twin sphinxes – I’m not sure about them but I interpret this very strong image as being a representation of polarities – positive and negative, black and white. To go out into the world and be confident and successful we do need a good sense of ourselves and be able to balance our positive and negative sides.

This is a card about action and desire. Dream it. Do it! Use your mind and brainpower to create your life the way you’ve always imagined it to be. If this is a new way of doing things for you then it requires an unwavering confidence in yourself – and sometimes that’s hard. Fake it til you make it! With the energy of the Chariot card you will make it by acknowledging all the different sides of yourself and moving forward anyway.

Black pepper - a great oil to represent The Chariot

Black pepper – a great oil to represent The Chariot

I have formed a strong connection with black pepper oil and The Chariot. It’s hard for me to think of one without the other. Here are some recipes to invoke the energy of The Chariot:

1. Open The Bottle and Take a Huge Whiff

Black pepper – warmth and courage

Ylang Ylang – love yourself and release resentment

Lavender – strength and solidarity

Rosemary – activate your mind

—————————————————————————————————————————————

get any cute little dish to mix your oils in

get any cute little dish to mix your oils in

2. 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!

“Forward, Ho!”

Have the courage to do it –

Black pepper  2 drops

Petitgrain        1 drop

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Run Don’t Walk”

Get cracking NOW –

Basil       1 drop

Lemon    2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Clear the Path”

Inhale and make way for new things –

Peppermint   1 drop

Orange          1 drop

Geranium      1 drop

————————————————————————————————————————————–

nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends

3. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Warm Up”

Get limber for your journey –

Black Pepper        3 drops

Jasmine 3%         9 drops * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Release”

Allow nervousness to float away –

Neroli 3%     15 – 20 drops * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba

—————————————————————————————————————————————

 

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Palmarosa – Soft Skin and Happiness

palmarosa pic via choicehealthmag.com

palmarosa pic via choicehealthmag.com

I’ve used this lovely oil with clients a few times in the past couple of weeks. It blends well with so many oils and adds a green, fresh and slightly rosey scent to a formula. This is a relative newcomer to aromatherapy and doesn’t really have a rich colourful history like the spice oils, but is a wonderful addition to a collection. This gorgeous grass originally hails from India and is sometimes known as East Indian geranium. It’s also grown in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Although I can’t really find out a lot about this lovely oil I assume, like lemongrass, it has been used in India as a part of their Ayurvedic lifestyle and natural way of treating disorders in the body.

Palamarosa (Cymbopogon martini) is a grass like lemongrass and citronella, and belongs to the same family – Graminae (or Poaceae). This is the family of ‘true grasses”. There’s also a gingergrass plant that creates an essential too, and that is quite close to palmarosa as it is a variation of the plant – Cymbopogon martini var. sofia. One of my suppliers offers gingergrass oil and although I don’t use it therapeutically is has a beautiful soft scent. Maybe I’ll do a story on that oil soon.

Back to palmarosa – which is an oil often used in cosmetics and soaps to enhance the scent and add an inexpensive rose scent to the product.

Rosa centifolia - another rose used to make essential oil

Rosa centifolia

I’ve always used palmarosa as a skin conditioning oil and one of it’s main components is geraniol so that may give you a hint too, as geranium is a great oil for the skin. However it’s interesting to note that geranium only contains about a third of the amount of geraniol than palmarosa! And while we are on the geraniol track, lemongrass has a high content of geranial – a different molecule with slightly different carbon bonds (with a similar function).

In aromatherapy today palmarosa is used for

* hydrating the skin and hair

* as a stimulant for skin cell growth therefore working well on scar tissue and the uneven appearance of skin

* as a tonic to the digestive system

* as an insect repellent – just like lemongrass and citronella

* I use it as an oil for happiness and for flexibility in the emotions and thoughts

Try these combo’s –

Scent your space

Scent your space

1. Scent Your Space

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

“Aperitif”

Get your house in the mood for a lovely dinner

Palmarosa      10 drops

Mandarin         8 drops

Juniper            7 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“I’m Going to be Flexible on this Issue”

Palmarosa      8 drops

Rosemary       5 drops

Geranium       5 drops

Siberian Fir     7 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

nourish your skin with oil blends

peru balper nourish your skin with oil blends

2. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Sweet and Soft”

Soften up your skin and add a little sweetness –

Palmarosa      3 drops

Peru Balsam   3 drops

Lavender       2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Gettin’ Vibed Up”

An oil blend to refresh and send you into the day with gusto –

Palmarosa     2 drops

Cinnamon     2 drops

Lemon          2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

The Hierophant – A Tarot Card Reading with Essential Oils

 

The Hierophant - V in the Rider-Waite Deck

The Hierophant – V in the Rider-Waite Deck

I must say when I was learning about the tarot I never really got a strong vibe for this card when it came up in a reading. Perhaps it was the religious imagery I didn’t like, even though the main figure seems quite kind and placid. The monks in the foreground are being blessed by the priest, holding a triple cross – religious overload! As with all tarot cards there are many symbols embedded in the image that spark reactions and hint to meanings of the card in general.

graduation - pic via celebrationandpartyblog.com

graduation – pic via celebrationandpartyblog.com

Anyway, The Hierophant is here to let us know that if we are studying, learning anything in any form, we now have the power to take it to the next level. It could also mean we need a deeper understanding of our spirituality and this could be the sign we need to take that step. This card also represents marriage ordained by the church and religious elders.

Are you being challenged by an authority figure or feeling controlled by an institution? If so, The Hierophant will show up helping you to release your feelings of being blocked by others. Maybe this is a time to keep your continuing spiritual practice (going deeper within) and allow others – who appear to have authority – continue on their path. It may also indicate that this is a time not to rock the boat, but to abide by the rules and laws that govern us. It indicates the opposite to having free will and being totally creative.

pic via radioadelaidebreakfast.wordpress.com

pic via radioadelaidebreakfast.wordpress.com

It is a great card to meditate on now for those who are demanding marriage equality. We need balance with the relationship between the people, those in power, and our growing need for a deeper spiritual connection between us all. So I suppose this card is also about fairness and equality.

What essential oils could embody this card? The issues are fairness, marriage, deeper spirituality and the balance of power. Hmmmm.

 

Just use any mist bottle you can find

Just use any mist bottle you can find

1. Personal Aura Cleansing Mist & Room Mist

In a 50ml mist bottle filled with water add 25 drops of oil

“Will You Same Sex Marry Me”

Propose now, why wait?

Sandalwood Indian       8 drops

Petitgrain                       10 drops

Ylang Ylang                    4 drops

Rose Geranium           3 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“My Own Mantra”

Release the bonds of traditional religions and find a deeper spirituality –

Cypress                    10 drops

Orange                    10 drops

Cedarwood Atlas    5 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“I’ll Agree to Disagree”

Follow the rules this time to make it easier –

Lavender      8 drops

Ginger          8 drops

Lime              8 drops

Vetiver          1 drop

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Take a huge whiff to change your focus in seconds

Take a huge whiff to change your focus in seconds

 

2. Open The Bottle and Take a Huge Whiff

German Chamomile – instant relaxation

Palmarosa – being flexible with inflexible rules

Spikenard – a deep connection to spirituality

Juniper – release the old and unwanted

—————————————————————————————————————————————

 

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

 

 

 

Clove – A Healing Oil and Spice

Cloves - interesting little things pic via articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Cloves – interesting little things pic via articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Aw look at these cute little things! They are classified as “calyxes” and come from a larger pod from an evergreen tree hailing from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and probably India too and other tropical islands like Madagascar. Originally they were only found on the “spice islands”  The Maluku Islands or Moluccas, and were traded worldwide in the 1600’s and  1700’s by the Dutch East India Company. They are basically part of the flower and when we get the clove it has been dried. This tree belongs in the same family as eucalyptus another scented tree along with guava and feijoa too!

By now you would have caught on to the fact that spices have a rich interesting history and clove is no exception. The Greeks and Romans used the clove bud as did ancient Chinese medicine where they were used as a warming tonic, and a stress relief treatment also great for high blood pressure. Records even show the use of cloves in 3BC in China where they were chewed to freshen the breath. In Ayurveda cloves are used for swelling, nausea and to help prevent colds.

We all love a good story and Wikipedia claims

“… the clove trade is also mentioned by Ibn Battuta and even famous One Thousand and One Nights characters such Sinbad the Sailor is known to have bought and sold cloves.”

Go Sinbad!  Arrrrrrrrr the spice trade of the high seas!

So now we come to modern aromatherapy and the use of clove oil today. Even if you haven’t used it yourself, you may now of clove oil’s use in reducing dental pain. It has an analgesic effect and I often put some clove oil in a formula for a client if they are experiencing physical pain.

Clove buds on the tree pic via namastenutritionist.com

Clove buds on the tree pic via namastenutritionist.com

* It is great to reduce swelling and inflammation in arthritis and in muscles too.

* Vapourised to kill air-born germs to prevent the spread of viruses – due to its high content of eugenol which is a strong antiseptic. Eugenol is also found in cinnamon, allspice, bay, basic, rose, jasmine, and carnation plants and oils.

* As a warming tonic to the souls who is unhappy or depressed

* As a calming agent to the digestive system

Clove is one of those oils that you don’t want to overdo so be mindful when blending. Try these recipes –

sniffing bottle of oil

sniffing bottle of oil

1. Open The Bottle and Take a Huge Whiff

Clove – relax, unwind, calm nausea, warmth

2. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Soothe Me”

A formula for helping pain and swelling from arthritis –

Clove         2 drops

Lavender   2 drops

Fennel       2 drops

Marjoram   2 drops

————————————————————————————————————————————–

“Chill”

A chill out blend –

Clove                2 drops

Frankincense    3 drops

Orange             2 drops

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013