Stop and Smell the Roses

Rosa damascena - the most used rose for oil production

Rosa damascena – the most used rose for oil production

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

Gertrude Stein, 1935

Some say Gertrude Stein is referring to the rose like this to express her feeling that things are what they are. According to Wikipedia: “In Stein’s view, the sentence expresses the fact that simply using the name of a thing already invokes the imagery and emotions associated with it,..”

So when you say rose do you invoke the scent, or the colour, or everything? It is the most romanticised flower in history and appears in many poems, prose and plays. It is often associated with love and intimate moments of the heart.

Do you take time to stop and smell the roses? What is life if we don’t connect to its beauty at every turn? The scent of a beautiful rose is a true gift of nature which invites us to convene with the oneness of the universe in the now!

Rosa centifolia - another rose used to make essential oil

Rosa centifolia – another rose used to make essential oil

I never buy a rose that doesn’t have a scent – to me that’s the most important part. Isn’t it a wonderful thing when you enter your house to be greeted by the natural perfume of roses? Essential oil of rose is made by either steam distillation or as an absolute (where the scent is extracted into a fat and then lifted by a solvent). I tend not to buy absolutes as there seems to be a heavy chemical intervention and I’d rather have my oils extracted in the simplest way.

Rose oil is a complex arrangement of hundreds of molecules, some of which have still not been identified. No wonder it is referred to as the “Queen of Oils”.  We know Cleopatra used roses in her beauty regime, and it is claimed she used rose petals in her boudoir to seduce Marc Anthony from the Roman Empire. The Romans used roses too, and the mention of roses appear in Christian, Buddhist and Confucian literature. Roses are seen in Asian motifs dating back to 3000 BC. It seems as though commercial production of rose oils and rose by products can be traced to Persia in the 10th century. The oil was referred to as “attar of roses” or “rose otto”, which is a term still used today.

Rosa gallica - a sub species named "James Mason"

Rosa gallica – a sub species named “James Mason”

So what can we use use rose oil for?

* use rose oil to help with any heat or infection in the body (you would put a few drops into some carrier oil and smooth it on the face and body –  a great treatment for any illness)

* use this rose body oil to help take the sting out of eczema and psoriasis

* a drop on the temple to relieve stress and tension and counteract a headache

* a great oil for attending to grief (use it a single drop on the heart chakra or in a personal mist or room mist)

* a drop added to your facial oil or cream will refine your skin and give you one of the most powerful aromatherapy treatments in the world. You will feel soft, unruffled, connected to the universe and ready to be the Queen of your world

* a few drops of rose oil in an oil burner will create a scented paradise of peace and calm so it’s great for upset children, the elderly and even pets (if you are using 3% in jojoba it’s not really suitable for an oil burner – you will need to buy the pure oil)

* a drop or two in the right place, as a perfume, will do amazing things for your self esteem as rose is the oil of self-love and nurturing

When buying rose oil you will mostly find it comes in a 3 % dilution in jojoba oil and this is simply because it is a premium oil and is very expensive. Even if you buy wholesale, pure rose oil can cost hundreds of dollars. It is precious!

Remember, treat yourself first then everyone will benefit!

 

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Deep, Cool, Grounding Vetiver

Hairy vetiver root

Hairy vetiver root

Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanoides) is steam distilled from the root or “rhizome” of the plant. As you can see from the pic above the rhizome is hairy and fine, exposing as much surface area as possible to the surrounding soil. This scent of vetiver is similar to damp soil, although this is a simplification. It is an essential oil that is used extensively in perfume as a “fixative”: bringing all the scents together and binding or fixing them into a cohesive blend. It is used in many scents for men due it’s strong, deep, smoky aroma- but having said that it is also used in women’s perfumes too.

In aromatherapy it is therapeutically used for many things, and is also used the bind a formula together. I would use 1 drop of vetiver in a formula to make this possible. The most important thing to remember about vetiver is that the scent is so strong, less is more! One drop is enough in a small oil blend for your body.

less IS more via zazzle.com

less IS more via zazzle.com

I would chose one or two drops of vetiver to treat a client who is unsure, confused, overwhelmed and spends too much time in their head. It is often referred to as a “grounding” oil as it has the ability to draw energy into the ground. Patchouli works in a similar way too. Hysteria, especially in kids, can be stopped immediately with a drop of vetiver oil. You could do this by placing a drop in your hands, rub them together, and smooth all over the energetic body – ensuring your child gets to smell the oil. It’s the scent of the oil, traveling through the nasal epithelium and into the brain, that makes this possible. With aromatherapy, the scent is of the oil has one of the most powerful effects, and using them in a mist is a lovely way to do it.

use a drop of vetiver on a screaming child

use a drop of vetiver on a screaming child

Here are a few recipes using vetiver oil:

Chill Baby

for a mist that will help anyone chill out – in a 50ml mist bottle

orange    15 drops

lavender    8 drops

vetiver       2 drops

I’m Freaking Out (I need to Get Myself Together)

for a body oil blend to nourish your skin and help you calm down – in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil add

rosewood      2 drops

mandarin        4 drops

vetiver             1 drop

Oh No I Think I’m Sunburnt!

for a body oil blend to cool your skin  – in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil add

rose in jojoba   12 drops

vetiver               1 drops

Vetiver is sometimes referred to as “The Oil of Tranquility”, especially in India where it is commonly used, and produced. If you just remember this little phrase you will automatically know what to use vetiver oil for. It can also be used in hair care and skincare as a moisturiser for dry skin, and you can use any essential oil as an antiseptic.

The last time I was in Bali a shop was selling the root, and the scent was absolutely divine. I have read that the root is dampened and hung in windows to cool everyone down. The mild scent of the root is just a hint of what the power of the oil smells like.The essential oil is strong so use sparingly!

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Peru Balsam – I LOVE you!

Myroxylon balsamum - Peru or Tolu Balsam (pic sneakily borrowed Fragrantica)

Myroxylon balsamum – Peru or Tolu Balsam (pic sneakily borrowed Fragrantica)

I placed an order with one of my suppliers the other day and was upset to find they will no longer stock peru balsam essential oil. The customer service operator said there has been a lot of negative publicity lately about the oil as a skin irritant, and that it was used more in perfumery. Yeah! That’s why I want it! I want it for the scent. So I’ll be looking for this stunning oil from somewhere else and hope I can find a lovely one.

This beautiful oil, is like a combination of benzoin and vanilla. (Benzoin tincture is the red liquid used for cuts and abrasions and other skin issues that need an anti-bacterial wash. It was often in the first aid kit for wound healing, and has been used for hundreds of years. It was also called Friars Balsam and is also a resin like Peru Balsam, but comes from the Styrax family. It is also used in perfumery and comes from Indonesia and other parts of Asia).

Peru Balsam is sweet and soft and has warming stimulating properties reportedly to be a great treatment for skin conditions. I suppose over-use of the oil can lead to the opposite effect – skin irritations.  I have never seen any negative results from using this oil and actually love to use it as a perfume. It’s fantastic for vapourising to act as a soothing agent to stress, and add some sweetness and healing energy into the room. It is like a balm for the soul and when you take a deep whiff, it’s almost like you can smell a protective honeycomb, multi-dimensional energy field.

peru balsam resin

peru balsam resin

So apparently it’s not used in Aromatherapy as much as it is used in perfumery. It hails from Central and South America and although it isn’t native to Peru, it was shipped to Europe from Lima in Peru in the 1600’s for perfumery, medicine and food flavouring.

In my practice I use Peru Balsam when I feel nurturing and protection is required. It goes well with orange and in fact this blend is a favourite of one of my clients. I use this on myself as a perfume straight from the bottle and also blend it with other oils for a body oil blend.

Here are a couple of recipes;

Sweet Unicorn Dreams

25 drops in a vapuouriser to sweeten the air, de-stress and to help avoid bad dreams

Peru Balsam 12 drops

Orange          9 drops

Marjoram       4 drops

Skin of Silk

8 drops in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil for a body oil

Peru Balsam    4 drops

Lavender          3 drops

Patchouli          1 drop

Knight in Shining Armour

25 drops in a 50ml mist bottle topped up with water for use as a space cleansing and protection mist

Peru Balsam  10 drops

Lime                8 drops

Rosewood       6 drops

Vetiver             1 drop

I don’t think we need to be afraid of the potentially sensitising nature of this oil, but perhaps use caution and don’t use it with kids. The old adage “everything in moderation” works well for us here as it does in everyday life.

Remember to treat yourself first and then everyone will benefit!

Are there any Aromatherapists out there who use Peru Balsam, and also those who don’t? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, don’t be shy.

Hydrosols vs Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?

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Hydrosols vs Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?

A lovely selection of rosewater

A lovely selection of rosewater

Recently one of my wholesale suppliers sent an email lamenting about the short shelf life of hydrosols and how difficult it is to maintain great standards for their customers.

I would have to agree. I absolutely love hydrosols but their scent doesn’t last long and it’s always disappointing when you open up a bulk container to find it has “turned”. The scent goes a bit dull and brownish and it simply isn’t right. So what’s the difference between hydrosols and floral waters?

Hydrosols

Hydrosols are the water left over from the steam and water distillation of a plant or flower. They contain many water-soluble constituents from the plant and therefore have a different make-up to the essential oil they come from. Hydrosols also have the beautiful scent of the plant, but at a more softer, rounder level. They contain minerals, cellulose and aromatic compounds. According to Wikipedia they “contain essential oil compounds as well as organic acids..…. and will include many of the water-soluble plant pigments and flavonoids.”

Hydrosols will be harder to find in a retail environment, mostly everything will be a floral water- either the essential oil infused into the water, or the plant boiled or infused in water. If you can buy a true hydrosol its definitely worth a try.

Hydrosols can be used in skin care and as a therapuetic treatment. I remember taking a weekend class with an Indian Ayurvedic doctor and rosewater was used for an eye bath to soothe the infection and used when any kind of heat or inflammation was present. Rose water has been used in Ayurveda as a treatment for centuries and is also used by woman in their skin care regimes.

If it’s a real hydrosol it can be amazing when its fresh. If it’s not a real hydrosol it could be a floral water.

Floral Waters

The most well-known would be rose-water, orange blossom (neroli) water and pine (kewra) water. Check out this article for some fabulous Oregon scented alcohols.

Pine water (essence)

Pine water (essence)

A simple hand made rose water sneakily holistichealthherbalist.com

A simple hand made rose water – pic sneakily holistichealthherbalist.com

Hydrosols could be called floral waters (because they are), but this usually refers to a water that has been scented with essential oils. The best floral waters use a process that breaks essential oils into tiny droplets and forces them into de-ionised water. In this process no extra chemicals are used and the scent is true to the essential oil. The scent will also last longer and floral waters can still be used for everything that a hydrosol is used for.

If you go into a middle eastern or Indian shop and find a bottle of rose-water, for example, it probably wont be a hydrosol. It will be a floral water made in another way. That’s not to say they aren’t fabulous but always check the label to find if there are any chemical preservatives or nasty ingredients.

You can use your stunning floral water in these ways:

  • Misting your face before moisturising to soften and hydrate
  • Misting your body after the sun
  • Use in place of a facial toner for a more gentle clarifying and cooling treatment
  • particularly lovely for misting kids to help cool them down
  • add to a cocktail for a delicious scented drink
  • add a splash to a glass of water
  • use in cooking with sweets and salad dressings

I’m sure you can think of many more so don’t hesitate to use hydrosols and floral waters in your daily regime.

copyright suzanne

10 Great Reasons to use Essential Oils

There’s a 10 in there somewhere

1. They are from a natural source and have a distinctive scent

Essential oils come from a natural source and you can detect a deepness in their scent that can never be replicated.

2. Essential Oils can set a Mood

When you use essential oil in your home or space, their chemical structures positively effect your emotions and those who enter you’re scented zone. This doesn’t happen with GLADE or other chemical, synthetic fragrances.

3. Oils can support your life journey

Your spirit will be uplifted when you use essential oils to conjure change in your life. This is not about the emotions, it’s about acknowledging your soul with heavenly scents from nature.

4. Essential oils are great for First Aid

Essential oils are great for first aid. Lavender is #1 and Tea Tree is #2. When in doubt use lavender as it has anti-inflammatory and cell regenerating properties. Tea Tree is more

sneakily borrowed from jigzone.com

sneakily borrowed from jigzone.com

anti-bacterial.

 

 

5. Use them in your cleaning/cleansing regime

Add essential oils to your cleaning products to leave your home beautifully, naturally scented while removing bacteria and inviting new beginnings.

6. Use oils for a great sleep

Induce and enhance sleep with chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and even orange. The best way to do this is to vapourise the oils in the bedroom. This is great for calming kids down in the evening.

7. They can nurture your skin

Add a drop or two to your moisturiser to stimulate cell growth and leave a wonderful, natural calm energy.

8. Essential oil will make you the envy of your friends

Everyone will notice when you wear essential oils as a perfume or body oil. They have far reaching effects, they are quite magical and a little goes a long way.

9. Essential oils have a medicinal history

When you use an essential oil you are connecting to the history of the plant through the ages. Most oils and the plants they come from, are the original medicines. Using these plants as medicines, early man was connected to Earth as a life giver.

sneakily borrowed from scientificillustration.tumblr.com

10. Essential oils can help you create

Essential oils will help you tap into your creative force by working through your brain and affecting how you see the world. They use their subtle power to weave your subconscious mind into your everyday life. The results can be amazing!

Attention All mothers – Have a Massage!

To all my beautiful mothers out there – look after yourself – have a massage! Relieve stress and relax your muscles, unwind and release all those thoughts – thank yourself for the impressive job you’re doing bringing up the next generation of leaders.

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and many other stores worldwide as an ebook and paperback

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Give yourself a moment away from the tasks at hand

Give yourself a moment away from the tasks at hand

 

I gave an old friend an aromatherapy treatment today. When I do a treatment I like to take my time, have a chat, and relax into it.

I always formulate a special oil blend for each client.  I choose oils based on the answers to various questions. I want to know what’s happening for them on the day, as far as their general health is concerned. I ask about their body and how it’s feeling, their emotions, what’s happening in their life and click into their vibration. It doesn’t have to be a long process and in fact can just take a minute or two with the right questions.

My friend and I used to work together in a restaurant in the nineties called The Wharf Restaurant. It was at the end of the pier that The Sydney Theatre Company calls home. All of us that worked there still remain friends, even though we may only see each other from time to time. We call ourselves “Wharfies”. And actually another Wharfie paid for the massage today for my friend – isn’t that lovely?

My Wharfie today studied massage and herbs when I studied aromatherapy so we are connected through natural therapies too. She is a mum of two beautiful children and rarely takes time out for herself. As I was doing the treatment I thought about mothers everywhere who do so much for their families, and who often place themselves last. Some of these women are single mothers, some have male partners and some have female partners, so the situation is different for everyone.  However, often the one thing mothers have in common is lack of personal time, and nurturing. They nurture everyone else, rarely themselves.

get your energy singing and dancing -

get your energy singing and dancing pic via healingthemindandbody.com

 

A massage is a wonderful thing for a mother. Simply the time alone can be just as good as having the treatment. Allowing and receiving nurturing is extremely important to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body and the etheric body. Finding a balance between giving and receiving is necessary in all aspects of life. It’s the yin and yang, hot and cold, up and down, light and dark. We need both to show us delicate design of the universe. Adding essential oils to the mix amplifies the treatment and creates an aromatic moment that is sheer bliss.

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

 

When I make the individualised formula for my client, I add my intention to the mix. Intention will gently steer the oil blend to work in harmony with me, and the body on the massage table. And of course the physical stress release of a massage is amazing and rejuvenating!

Mothers – have a massage.

Partners – buy your love a massage as a gift to return the nurturing you receive.

Remember, treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

“Aunty, Something is Biting My Legs” – 10 Things NOT To Do When Using Essential Oils

Yes essential oils are natural so that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution when using them. If you haven’t had much practice follow these guidelines to help you gain a better understanding of what NOT to do.

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Buy my 100% natural and organic botanical perfumes, and paperback book here: suzannerbanks.com.au

Digital downloads of my book Revelation! Reveal your Destiny with Essentials Oils:

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peppermint candy canes use real peppermint oil - which is mixed into a food safe flavouring

peppermint candy canes use real peppermint oil – which is mixed into a food safe flavouring

 

1. Don’t drink them

Many essential oils smell so beautiful and can sometimes taste great too, like peppermint oil & lemon oil, but please don’t drink them because you could suffer hideous consequences. If you do find a food recipe that uses essential oils – just use your intuition and add a little caution. Some companies like DO Terra advise putting a couple of drops into water and drinking it – but please don’t! Oil and water don’t mix and it could burn your oesophagus on the way down.

 


 

2. Don’t over expose yourself

Too much sniffing or smelling a particular  oil could cause a headache. I have suffered from a few bad headaches because I’ve overdosed when making aromatherapy products. Take it easy and use your intuition about what is the best for you. It is however, an easy way to get a change of focus, open the bottle of oil and take a whiff.

 


 

3. Don’t put neat essential oils all over your body

A few drops of oil as a perfume, or energetic anointing of the chakras and meridians is fine for some people but not for others – depending on how sensitive you are. However don’t cover your body in the pure stuff as your skin will burn. The oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil first.

 


 

It's all in the eyes!

It’s all in the eyes!

 

4. Don’t get them in your eyes

Sounds dumb but it’s easy to do. You mix a blend, get some on your fingers, then touch your eye……. I’ve seen people recommending that you put a few drops of lavender into your mascara! DON”T.

 


 

5. Don’t get them in your nether regions

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

 


 

 

Be careful when adding essential oils to your bath

Be careful when adding essential oils to your bath

 

6. Don’t put too much in a bath – especially for kids

Essential oils need to be mixed into an emulsifying agent to be able to mixed with water. Everyday things like milk, salt and vodka work to a certain extent but aren’t great. You can buy an emulsifier from the chemist if you like but why not use coconut cream? When oils are added to hot water they can really affect the skin, and kids will often say something is hurting them. My nephew once said “Aunty, something is biting my legs”. The only way to soothe the sting is to get them out of the bath, smooth a carrier oil (almond, olive, sunflower or anything in the cupboard) all over them to dilute the essential oils on the skin, and the burn will subside.

So when it comes to kids and babies DON”T add oils to the bath.

 


 

Morris the King 1994 - 2011

Morris the King 1994 – 2011

7. Don’t use oils directly on a pet’s skin

Essential oils are fantastic to use with pets but not directly on their skin. You could vapourise oils in the room to calm them down, make a mist with water and gently mist around your pet, or around their space, or on their bed. A little goes a long way.

 


 

8. Don’t try and cure anything

The best way to use oils is to support you in everyday life. While essential oils can do wonderful things like ease sore muscles, help with headaches, increase wound healing and nourish your skin, try to avoid assuming they will cure a disease or disorder. For example, many oils are wonderful for relieving stress and tension and helping with depression, but they wont “cure” a diagnosed condition. Do you get the difference?

 


 

Keep out of reach from children

Keep out of reach from children

9. Don’t let little kids get a hold of them

See #1 – Don’t drink them!

See#4 – Don’t get them in your eyes

 


sweet love

sweet love

 

10. Don’t use essential oils with condoms

Making a sexy gorgeous blend for a romantic evening is fabulous. Using them all over the body is divine. But don’t use essential oils in a blend as lube for condoms, as they’re too strong and can easily destroy the material – latex, polyurethane, and others. And you could both end up with an irritation – see #5.

 

Be cautious and use your intuition and intention. See my article about intention.

copryright SR Banks