Argan Oil – “Liquid Gold”

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Argan Oil – “Liquid Gold”

The argan fruit - pic via theparakeetslounge.com

The argan fruit – pic via wsj.com  Johnny Greig

Argan oil has become increasingly popular in the west in the past few years. The tree is native to south-western Morocco where it happily exits in drought conditions and is perfect for semi-arid soil. The native tree, Argania spinosa also helps prevent soil erosion and even provides the perfect resting spot for goats. In 2007 UNESCO added this wonderful tree to the endangered species act, but since then Morocco has planted many more argan trees to cope with demand. A body was established in 2002 specifically to regenerate the “Arganerie”, which refers to the native populations of trees in Morocco. At this stage I can’t seem to find if the UNESCO ruling has been altered, but the positive effects of new plantations of argan trees has already been felt, especially in regards to employing women.

 

These tree dwelling goats love the argan tree

These tree-dwelling goats love the argan tree

 

The oil comes from the kernels in the fruit which are split open by hand, mainly by local women. It is labour intensive which is one of the reasons the oil is more expensive than other oils such sunflower, grapeseed and almond, for example.

Sometimes referred to as liquid gold, the oil is high in oleic acid, similar to olive oil. The kernels are roasted if the oil is intended for culinary use (again, in similar ways to oilve oil in the Mediterranean region), but is left natural when the oil is to be sold for cosmetic uses.

Argan oil is used in many hair care products  - pic via aloversanthology.com

Argan oil is used in many hair care products – pic via aloversanthology.com

Argan oil has really made an impact in hair care, but as with any cold pressed oil, it’s great for skincare too. I recently watched a YouTube instructional video by Aromatherapist Danielle Ryman. She makes her facial serum with almost all argan oil, only a few drops of rosehip oil and of course some essential oils. I also have a locally made face serum that contains, but is not limited to, argan oil. I haven’t used this oil straight on my face like I would with rosehip oil – but now I really want to!

You can almost see the oil in the flesh inside the kernel - pic via www.arganoil.fr

You can almost see the oil in the flesh inside the kernel

We must ensure that our demand helps build Morocco and not rape it of its natural resources. Maybe we are so desperate for new things, driven by our consumer attitudes, that we are always looking for the next best thing. Argan oil seems to fit the bill perfectly and various websites claims many properties. We must not forget that many carrier oils do the same thing, so as long as it’s sustainable, embrace this wonderful oil and try it in your new formulas. You could use this oil for –

* warm oil hair masks

* warm oil facial treatments

* face and body oil blends

* cuticle and nail treatments

and just about anything else you can think of.

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

copyright suzanne

10 Recipes with Palmarosa Essential Oil – Cymbopogon martinii

Palmarosa is a scented grass that belongs to the Poaceae family (grasses) and the genus Cymbopgon. It is closely related to lemongrass and citronella and when looking at a picture it’s hard to tell them apart. The essential oil has been known as Indian geranium oil and also Turkish geranium oil “because it was imported into Europe via Turkey and Bulgaria as an adulterant to Otto of Roses” – according to botanical.com “A Modern Herbal”.

It has a green rosey/geranium scent and in Aromatherapy today it is used –

* as a skin moisturiser, with cell regenerating properties. See my article Palmarosa – Soft Skin and Happiness for more info on this gorgeous oil

* to help improve mood (like many essential oils)

* and Salvatore Battaglia claims it may stimulate digestion

Palmarosa is more often used in perfumery and body products as cheaper additional rose/geranium scent.

Palmarosa for oil production pic via www.grammeproducts.com

Palmarosa for oil production pic via http://www.grammeproducts.com

I love using this oil in many kinds of recipes –

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 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”

“Flexibilty”

Flow with the universe –

Palmarosa    3 drops

Orange         3 drops

Ylang Ylang  2 drops

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

“Buzz Off”

An oil blend for outdoors to fend off little biters –

Palmarosa     3 drops

Citronella       2 drops

Lemongrass  2 drops

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

“Lunar”

Look to the sky for inspiration –

Palmarosa     3 drops

Patchouli       2 drops

Mandarin       2 drops

Basil              1 drop

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

“Tra-la-la”

Invite happiness in –

Palmarosa       2 drops

Rosewood       3 drops

Black Spruce   3 drops

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

Wrap it up! pic via hellobeautiful.com

Wrap it up! pic via hellobeautiful.com

2. Hair Mask

Warm 3 teaspoons of oil (either olive or jojoba) and add 7 to 8 drops of essential oil. Massage into your hair from the ends up. Wrap your hair in a towel (or some plastic wrap then a towel). Leave for 1 hour, or overnight, then wash and condition as usual. This is the same ratio for a body oil blend and for more info see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Flower Girl”

A moisturising mask for dry hair –

Palmarosa      3 drops

Lavender        3 drops

Peru Balsam   2 drops

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

“Balance”

For oilier hair –

Palmarosa                    2 drops

Cedarwood Virginian    2 drops

Lemon                         4 drops

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

A personal mist is easy to make! pic via ebay.com.au

A personal mist is easy to make! pic via ebay.com.au

3. Personal Aura Cleansing Mist & Room Mist

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

(depending on the packaging you have, you may need to use a little alcohol -like vodka- at the bottom of your bottle first, so the oils disperse into smaller drops to prevent clogging the atomiser top. I’ve found sometimes it works just with water, and sometimes it doesn’t – very annoying!)

“Resistance is Futile”

The Borg were right – don’t resist, go with the flow

Palmarosa      10 drops

Cinnamon        5 drops

Marjoram         5 drops

Lime                5 drops

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

“Attention!”

Wake up, pay attention to the signs –

Palmarosa        9 drops

Lemon Myrtle    8 drops

Bergamot          8 drops

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

“Gastronomique”

Stimulate your appetite –

Palmarosa      6 drops

Juniper           6 drops

Orange          12 drops

Cardamom       3 drops

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

“Swish”

Get ya swish on –

Palmarosa           7 drops

Spearmint          10 drops

Fennel                  3 drops

Rose Geranium     5 drops

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

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

copyright suzanne

 

 

 

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