May Chang – A Princess or an Essential Oil?

Hello natural beauties! This oil has been popping up in my mind and in my oil collection lately so I thought it was about time (again), to have a closer look at May chang (Litsea cubeba), the sunny little oil that could.

 

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The flower of Litsea cubeba – pic via ec.europa.eu/europeaid/

 

May Chang   Litsea cubeba

This gorgeous, sparkly essential oil is made from the berries of the tree which is native to China and south-east Asia. I was first introduced to it when a friend brought some back from her holiday in Thailand about 20 years ago. It’s part of the Lauraceae family which also holds cinnamon and rosewood. May chang, and these oils too, have a subtle peppery note about them too.

It is a lemon scented oil and is high in neral and geranial which is are monoterpenoid structures within the oil. It is however, more than that. It smells like bubbly lemonade. It has a 3D effervescence about it, and that’s probably not possible – can you smell effervescence?. Well I reckon you can in this lovely oil.

Mainly used for fragrance in soaps, May chang does have therapeutic properties in Aromatherapy and other modalities. In traditional Chinese medicine according to Salvatore Battaglia:

 

“….May chang is used to treat dysmenorrhoea that is relieved with heat or pressure, stomach aches, lower back pain, chills headaches and muscular aches from external conditions.”

 

So from this we can see that is has a warming quality to it, which you would expect from the local name of ‘mountain pepper”.It’s also described as a great oil for respiratory issues like asthma is it also being used in heart research in China.

 

Litsea cubeba berry- pic via /www.bellabaci.com

 

I call it a happiness oil. Here’s an excerpt from my book

“Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils”

Chines

“If you search for May chang on the internet, you may come across images of a super-cute, young Chinese princess from the Chang clan in the Xing Dynasty. She is a fictional character in a Japanese manga series. Her quest is to seek the grand alchemist who will help her fine-tune her skills of making elixirs, master the art of chi to cure ailments, and bring her back to her clan back to its former glory by finding the secret to immortality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess may chang – pic via http://vsbattles.wikia.com/wiki/May_Chang

 

…. I use it to call in the energy of the sun into my heart and maintain a sense of purity, innocence and lightness…. It seems the creators of Princess May chang took into the account the uses of the oil and transferred its healing properties into very essence. Perhaps one of the secrets to a long life is happiness?”

 

If you haven’t tried this gorgeous sunny oil yet please do – and let me know how much you love it!

I Love Lemons!

I’ve always wondered about where this saying came from: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. In this article I’m on the hunt for its author, and ponder why the amazing lemon has such a bad wrap. It does give us nutrition, flavour, colour, and of course lemon essential oil!

 

Sunny lemons

Sunny lemons

 

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Well of course the easy answer is that the fruit is sour. So if life is sour to you, add sugar, reinvent the moment and prosper.

The phrase was initially coined by Christian anarchist writer Elbert Hubbard in a 1915 obituary he penned and published for dwarf actor Marshall P. Wilder.The obituary, entitled The King of Jesters, praises Wilder’s optimistic attitude and achievements in the face of his disabilities:

 

“He was a walking refutation of that dogmatic statement, Mens sana in corpore sano. His was a sound mind in an unsound body. He proved the eternal paradox of things. He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Wikipedia

lemon The phrase was adopted again in the 1940’s by a couple of authors and especially attributed to Dale Carnegie, in his revolutionary self-help book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, first printed in the UK in 1948.

Ok, so most people won’t eat a lemon like an orange (some do though), but its flavour is a must-have for the kitchen.

And then there’s the rind which is often overlooked, but when it’s used in a dish makes something unmistakably divine. This flavour comes from the essential oil tucked away in little pockets all through the tough skin. This essential oil can do so many wonderful things, and is a fresh happy scent that appeals to young and old alike.

Lemon essential oil is an uplifting oil with a sweet innocence about it, but don’t be fooled – it has a solid place in modern aromatherapy.

Some aromatherapists and scientific data claim lemon oil is good for:

  • stimulating the action of white blood cells
  • killing bacteria in the gut
  • soothing and lessening varicose veins
  • tonifying the circulatory system and aiding high blood pressure
  • helping the body shed excess fluids
  • decreasing cellulite
  • improving concentration
  • easing rheumatic pain & gout pain
  • stopping the flow of blood with cuts and abrasions

…… and the list continues.

lemon mandala

lemon mandala

 

And from my book “Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils”:

Lemon

 

refresh, reload

 

This gorgeous fruit and oil is a real winner for me. Even Martha Stewart commented on Oprah, that the one thing she really missed in prison, was lemons. They have a myriad of uses both with the juice, flesh and rind, but we will be focusing on the essential oil that comes from the rind. When I think lemon oil I think, “refresh”, “reload” like the refresh button on your computer. Aromatherapists use this oil for a variety of purposes, but to me it means start again. This oil is often used for cleaning so in that sense it helps clear the air, clear your energy and clear your perspective. It’s the oil of fresh starts.”

Suzanne R Banks

Yep. I still love quoting myself. Thanks for indulging me. For wonderful essential oil recipes for lemon oil check out my article 10 Recipes with Lemon Essential Oil – Citrus limonum

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

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015

Must-Have Mid Season Essential Oils!

Time marches on and so do the seasons. I’m getting excited because all around my neighbourhood in Sydney I can see the jasmine blossoms building strength, until one day soon, their beautiful, scented little white flowers will tell me it’s getting warmer. Phew!

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Please check out my new book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

Barnes & Noble      Booktopia AU      Amazon UK

and many other stores worldwide as an ebook and paperback

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Jasmine in Sydney

Jasmine in Sydney

And if you’re in summer it’s probably peaking right now and you’re feeling warm and lovely and happy. There’s nothing like late summer on a beach in Mexico, or in a park in Europe savouring the long lingering summer light. I’m envious of all of you northerners right now.

Remember for us, everything happens in summer. Well there’s summer for starters, Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year and finishing of with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Then it’s winter.

Just winter.

So you’ll understand my excitement when I see the jasmine getting read to bloom.


 

I took this pic in Mexico last year

I took this pic in Mexico last year

Mid to Late Summer Essential Oils

Lavender

If you’ve had a bit of sun over the past couple of months lavender will help your skin heal and regenerate. The perfect after sun oil, lavender is also the perfect first aid kit in a bottle. Make sure you dilute it in the right proportions before you coat your body with this grounding, centering and calming oil.

Palmarosa

This mildly rose scented grass (like lemongrass) is great for skin renewal too, and allows you to be flexible and flowing in your attitudes. If you haven’t already warmed up this summer, palmarosa with help your mind unwind and open up to new adventures – there’s still plenty more spontaneity to be had this summer.

Peppermint

Lovely peppermint is a cooling oil, but take care if you are using it on your body as it can be sensitising. The best way to cool down with peppermint is to put a few drops into the shower and let the beautiful aroma surround and cool you. Breathe in deeply and enjoy your scented summer.


 

 

Brrrrrrr

Brrrrrrr

 

Mid to Late Winter Oils

Rosemary

Warm up and get the circulation going! Rosemary can help fatigued muscles feel better, and generally stimulate your mind so you can dream up the best spring and summer possible. It is also an oil of remembering to help us tune into our multi-dimensional existence, and to prepare us for the abundance of summer.

Juniper

Release excess fluid in your body and joints with juniper essential oil. It is a wonderful oil for releasing negativity, so if you tend to get a bit sad during winter because of lack of light, this is your oil. It’s fresh, clean scent can lighten the vibe of any house or space, including your mind.

Sandalwood

Whether you choose Mysore (Indian) sandalwood or Australian sandalwood, this spiritual oil can help you focus within. Take time this winter to meditate – the perfect accompaniment to a cold day or night. Winter is a time of planting ideas that can come to fruition over summer so don’t delay in creating your life.


Essential oils can help support you mentally, physically, emotionally and energetically if you allow them too. You can create a scented paradise for your self and your loved ones, creating life long memories and rituals.

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015

 

I Just Used Wintergreen On A Client …..

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I Just Used Wintergreen On A Client …..

Wintergreen - be cautious!

Wintergreen – be cautious!

 

Well it’s nothing new I often used wintergreen on clients. A couple of drops at the most. I’m an aromatherapist and I am trained, however it wasn’t an oil I learnt about at college. A couple of text books I have, say we mustn’t use wintergreeen, as it’s too strong and potentially toxic. I say to you, follow this advice, as in everyday life there are other oils you can use that don’t have the potency, and that are more tried and tested.

Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, comes from the family Ericaceae and the genus Gaulteria. The family Ericaceae generally refers to heath or heather and it has (according to Wikipedia), over 120 genera. This family also includes plants such as cranberry, blueberry, huckleberry, azalea, rhododendron. I’m not sure if any other plants in the genus lend themselves to producing essential oils, but I’d love to find out!

“Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry, checkerberry, boxberry, or American wintergreen) is a species of Gaultheria native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Alabama.[1] It is a member of the Ericaceae (heath family).”

 

Dwelley, Marilyn J. (1977). Summer & Fall Wildflowers of New England via Wikipedia

 

Eastern teaberry sounds nice!

Wintergreen - pic via naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com

Wintergreen – pic via naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com

The oil of wintergreen smells like a lot of sports rubs and liniments, very menthol-like. You can understand why it would be used in a product for sore muscles, when you look at the traditional uses of the oil –

Traditionally this oil has been used for –

* joint pain and inflammation

* muscle and tendon pain

* headaches

* bad circulation

and many other issues, that you could take aspirin for – pain and inflammation.

The reason it is thought of as toxic is that it is extremely high in Methyl salicylate, which when absorbed by the body turns into salicylate, basically aspirin. But a very, very high dose of aspirin from a very small amount of wintergreen oil. Check out this article, which states:

“The sudden death of a 17-year-old Staten Island high school track star was caused by the accidental overuse of an over-the-counter remedy routinely used by millions of Americans to treat sore muscles and joints, the New York City medical examiner ruled after a two-month investigation.”

 

This happened in 2007, and while rare, please take note that just because something says it’s “natural” or has “natural ingredients, doesn’t always mean its safe.

From Kohler's Medizinal Plfanzen a book now in the public domain

From Kohler’s Medizinal Plfanzen a book now in the public domain

So basically it’s a anti-inflammatory, high in aspirin, and can cause people to react with asthma and other aspirin overdose issues.

Use lavender or German chamomile instead.

OK?

And FYI my blend was equal parts of lavender, juniper and lemon with a couple of drops of wintergreen. It was stunning. I’m going to text my client now to see how she’s feeling.

Look after yourself people!

 

copryright SR Banks 2014

 

 

De-Stress

Please check out my new book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

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Chapter 9

De-stress

Another look in between the covers of my book

 

De-stress from distress and be happier

De-stress from distress and be happier

 

Stress in the 2ist century, in Western life, is pretty much the cause all kind of disease.

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

George Burns,  Actor

There you go – stop worrying and stressing.

Live longer, and prosper.

Live long and prosper, the Vulcan goodbye

Live long and prosper, the Vulcan greeting

By simply using essential oils in any matter, you will give your brain and chance to refocus and change the current vibe.

* Just open a bottle of oil and have a big sniff. Your brain is in charge of your body so by re-calibrating your thought patterns you have a better chance of having a healthier stress-free body too.

* Put a few drops of an oil in the bottom of the shower before and/or after work, or a stressful day, to help you come down off your high cortisone levels. Once again, give you brain and body a wake-up call to release tension on a daily basis

* Chronic stress can lead to chronic (and acute) disease and we often find out too late. Stress and worry won’t help change your situation so you’ll have to change it from the inside out.

* Have a massage or make your own body oil to completely rejuvenate your body and cleanse your aura

What oils are great to use to minimise stress?

Roman chamomile - pic via 3morganic.com

Roman chamomile – pic via 3morganic.com

 

The Chamomiles – Roman and German

Both these oils often come in a 3 % blend as they are more expensive than most essential oils. See my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba.  Use these oils straight from the bottle like a perfume, but if you find them as a 100% pure oil just use them in the same ratios as you would with other oils.

Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is soft, syrupy and sweet and is a great oil for cramping and tension.

German chamomile has a dark blue colour and is deeply herbaceous smelling. This oil is good for heat and inflammation.

Marjoram - pic via www.101herbs.com

Marjoram – pic via http://www.101herbs.com

 

Marjoram

Marjoram is second to lavender for me. I use this oil frequently as it has such wonderful properties. Not only is it a great oil for stress and anxiety, it is a must-have for muscle soreness. It has a strong scent but manages to blend so well with all the other oils and it is an ancient herb that has lasted through the ages.

This oil also helps induce sleep, is great for treating grief, and helps calm an overactive mind. It is the oil of relief.

To find out which other essential oils can help you de-stress, click on one of the links below.

Amazon USA      Amazon AU      Amazon UK

Thanks everyone.

copryright SR Banks

 

 

10 Recipes with Marjoram Essential Oil – Oreganum marjorana

Marjoram - pic via www.podgardening.co.nz

Marjoram – pic via http://www.podgardening.co.nz

Marjoram is an essential oil I use frequently with clients as it has a beautiful scent and some wonderful qualities. It hails from the Lamiacae family (along with many other herbs), the genus Oreganum and the species marjorana. It has a much more pleasant scent than oregano and therefore has more uses in aromatherapy.

In aromatherapy today marjoram is used for –

* aching and sore muscles

* general body pain and as a warming tonic

* to help someone deal with grief and as a sedative for distraught emotions

* to help with falling asleep

* to counteract stress and generally for calming and soothing

* to reduce coughing

Let’s try out 10 recipes –

An essential oil steam in the shower will do wonders for your mind and energy levels - pic via completehealthcircle.com

An essential oil steam in the shower will do wonders for your mind and energy levels – pic via completehealthcircle.com

1. Put A few Drops Of Oil into the bottom of the Shower

This works in a similar way to just taking a whiff straight from the bottle, but if you’ve got an extra minute, it will give you a completely different experience. Your whole body will be immersed in an essential oil steam. Just cover the drain with a cloth or your foot for a couple of minutes and breathe in the medicinal goodness.

Marjoram in the shower will help you unwind at the end of a very stressful day, or give you warming shower before bed on a cold night.

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Anoint yourself with pure essential oil blends

Anoint yourself with pure essential oil blends

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!

 “Planning My Day”

Start out nice and calm –

Marjoram     1 drop

Bergamot    2 drops

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“Kindness”

Marjoram    1 drop

Nutmeg       1 drop

Mandarin     1 drop

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“Warm Heart”

Marjoram    1 drop

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

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“Serenity Now”

Marjoram                    1 drop

Roman Chamomile     2 drops * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba

Lavender                     1 drop

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Classic oil burner with a twist pic via top3.com.au

Classic oil burner with a twist – pic via top3.com.au

 

3. Scent Your Space

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

“HEAD.ACHE”

Please go away –

Marjoram     8 drops

Lavender      8 drops

Peppermint  5 drops

Orange        4 drops

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“Chill Out Sunday Sessions”

Marjoram       6 drops

Petitgrain      10 drops

Peru Balsam   6 drops

Patchouli        3 drops

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Rub oil into your body - it's good!

Rub oil into your body – it’s good!

4. 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. It’s always best to patch test first, before you apply all over.

***** 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”

“Achey Breaky Body”

Marjoram     3 drops

Ginger         2 drops

Rosemary   2 drops

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“Pre Yoga”

Marjoram       3 drops

Lemongrass   3 drops

Black Pepper  1 drop

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“Apre Run”

Marjoram    3 drops

Rosewood  3 drops

Fennel         2 drops

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

copyright suzanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary Essential Oil – Get Fired Up!

Get fired up!

Get fired up!

Rosemary is a herb that is found all around the world in suburban gardens, dried in little bags and fresh at grocery stores. It’s a herb that has been used for medicine and in gastronomy for thousands of years and packs a powerful punch. Rosmarinus officianalis belongs to Lamiacae family (which has all the herbs in it) and the genus Rosmarinus.

I have written about this wonderful herb before when I attended a funeral and we were offered sprigs of rosemary to place on the coffin (Remember with Rosemary – Lest We Forget). Rosemary’s traditional use is that of remembering.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) Wikipedia

The fresh herb and of course the essential oil, is stimulating to the mind, and is warming and generally stimulating in its nature. It is high in 1-8 cineole (found in high amounts in Eucalyptus), and camphor and a-pinene (also found in many others oils including sage and thyme, citrus oils, eucalyptus and cedarwood).

Flowering rosemary in my client's garden

Flowering rosemary in my client’s garden

Rosemary was found in the tombs of Egypt, used by the Greeks and Romans as medicine and revered as a sacred herb. More modern herbalists and physicians from the middle ages have used rosemary to treat any sickness of the head – and in this way we could see rosemary as a “cephalic oil” – the same as basil, which I have just written about. It has been used as a treatment for the liver, muscle aches and pains and for colds and sinus.

In aromatherapy today rosemary is used –

* for muscular aches and pains

* for stimulating memory – to be used in study and for the elderly

* for warming the body and increasing circulation to extremities

* as a digestive tonic

* as a tonic for the spleen meridian organs (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen)

Rosemary botanical drawing - from Köhler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Rosemary botanical drawing – from Köhler’s Medizinal Pflanzen

As you can see the modern uses of rosemary are the same as the traditional uses of rosemary – stimulating and warming. It certainly is a strongly flavoured herb. Recently my friend, who has loads of rosemary bushes on his new property, stuck some in a bottle of gin and it didn’t take very long for the flavour to infuse.

I use rosemary frequently in my practice. Most clients have some type of muscle stiffness or soreness and rosemary is a real winner when it comes to relieving muscle tension. I’ll often use lavender, rosemary and marjoram together for a warming, pain relieving oil blend.

Rosemary oil is produced in a few countries around the world and this herb and oil has some very common chemotypes (again this is similar to basil and other herbs like marjoram too). Different chemotypes will have different scents and varying degrees of the common chemical constituents, depending on the soil, climate and other factors. Don’t get too confused, just dive in and use whatever rosemary oil you can find. It’s inexpensive and easily accessible!

Rosemary will stimulate your mindpic via goldenagersrock.com

Rosemary will stimulate your mind – pic via goldenagersrock.com