Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Essential Oils 101: The Benefits

Hello! It's the week we've all been waiting for. We've discussed the basics of essential oils, the various types of oils and the production process. Now, it's time to learn about the awesome benefits of using these oils.

Essential oils have physical and emotional benefits. The essential molecules of the oils help our bodies fight infection and disease, support hormonal/inter cellular processes, repair our bodies and help us 'run' better. Because of their unique properties, essential oils are not only vital to plant life; they contribute to the well-being of  humans. This is why essential oils were medicinally utilized throughout history to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Physically - Nearly all essential oils are:
  • Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antiseptic, etc.
  • Many have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antioxidant - Working against free radicals
  • Process through the body easily
  • Adaptogenic towards homeostasis (ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors to avoid being damaged)
  • Immune stimulants
  • Hormone supporting and balancing
  • Oxygenating to the blood (i.e. enables the blood to carry more oxygen)
  • Can pass the blood brain barrier for brain benefits - Can pass through cell walls too!
  • Many are anti-tumor
  • Detoxifying - that is able to break down toxins in the body
  • Beneficial to ALL systems
  • Complimentary and supportive to alternative health therapies (i.e. reflexology, chiropractic, acupuncture/acupressure, nutritional therapy)
  • Positively supporting to emotions
  • Many are grounding
  • Many (especially floral and citrus essential oils) provide relief to depression, anxiety, anger and agitation
  • Supports intuitive thinking
  • Are able to uniquely touch and support the subconscious
  • Aid to clear and resolve negative emotional memories
  • Aid to help release, forgive, accept, move-on, etc.
So why should you use Essential Oils?
  • Essential Oils compliment a Whole Foods/Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw Food Diet
  • Essential Oils offer very powerful solutions to support and recover your health
  • Essential Oils support Physical AND Emotional health
  • Essential Oils are an effective and economical option to take health care back into your own hands
Join Young Living Essential Oils today! Simply follow these steps:
2) Click on the 'Sign-Up' Link
3) Use Member Number - 1349625

This is just a brief overview of the amazing benefits of Essential Oils. Although this mini blog series is finished, I cannot wait to share more about Essential Oils in the future. What are you waiting for? Get started today!

All the best,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Essential Oils 101: The Production Process

Hello! Thank you for joining in on week 3 of the essential oils (EO's) blog series! This week we're going to be discussing how the oils are produced. It's a very detailed process so let's get started. 

First, let's start with a perfect seed that experts have identified as the correct species. A properly defined botanical definition includes the Latin name of the genus, followed by a species, then by a particular chemo-type or variety of that species if such varieties exist. The botanical definition looks like: "Genus Species Chemo-Type".

Genus: The genus is the collection of species. General members of species that have strong relation to each other - many similar characteristics - classified at this basic level. For example, humans are 'homo' in genus terms.

Species: The species refer to the individual organism under a subdivision of genus (sub-genus). This separates each living organism classified under the same genus and given its own unique species name. For example, humans are the species names 'sapiens'.

Chemotypes: Subdivision of species if other types exists

Let's look at a plant example:
Genus: Mentha (Genus of a flowering plant)
Species: Piperita (Cross between wintermint and spearmint)
Common Names: Peppermint, mint, menta, menth, etc.

Next, let's look at the three plant oil classifications (Non-Seed Oils): Food, Fragrance and Therapeutic/Medicinal Grade.

  • It is estimated that 95% of all the oils produced are food and fragrance grade.
  • There are hundreds of natural chemical constituents that make up medicinal grade oil; the vast majority lack healing ability.
Food Grade Oils: The industry removes chemicals from plants that are responsible for the flavor. For example, mint cinnamon, wintergreen, etc. They fractionate, synthesize and then add these chemicals to flavor gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. all while labeling the product as natural.

Fragrance Grade Oils: The perfume industry removes these constituents and uses them in their lotions, perfumes, make-up, etc. They will use extraction and fractionation techniques to pull important components outs. This includes creating new molecules not found in nature. 

High Quality Medicinal Grade Essential Oils: The following steps are specific to the production of a medicinal and therapeutic grade essential oils.

1. Plant these seeds without any chemicals: Organic, Organic, Organic!
What organic should mean for consumer products is that there are no synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and no GMO's (genetically modified organisms) involved in the process at any stage from the agricultural level to the finished product.

2. Harvest the plant at the peak of oil producing capability
Picked and Harvested to Ensure Optimal Therapeutic Profiles: The timing of the harvest is one of the most important factors in the production of High Quality Medicinal Grade EO's. If a plant is harvested at the wrong time of the season, or even at the incorrect time of the day, the result is a substandard essential oil. In some cases, changing harvest time by even a few hours can make a huge difference. For example, German chamomile harvested in the morning will produce oil with far azulene (the healing property) than chamomile harvested late in the afternoon.

Other harvesting factors include the amount of dew on the leaves, the percentage of plants in bloom and the weather conditions during the two weeks prior to harvest.

3. Distill the plant oil material at low temperatures and pressure or cold-press for specific plants (typically citrus)
Long extraction times, with low pressure and temperature: Essential oils can be extracted from the plant by a variety of methods, including solvent extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, steam distillation and cold-pressed. Steam distillation is the most common and effective to maintain its properties and produce the highest quality essential oil.

  • The temperature and pressure during distillation: The fragile aromatic molecules of an essential oil are easily destroyed or altered by high temperatures and high pressure; causing harsher oil - less therapeutic because it is pH and energetic levels are imbalanced. Therefore, a high-quality distillation process will operate at low-temperature and low-pressure methods. For example, the distilling process for lavender should not exceed 245 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure should not exceed three pounds. Versus cypress, which should be distilled at 245 degrees Fahrenheit with a pressure set to five pounds.
  • The length of time taken for distillation: For lavender, the time required for distillation is about an hour and half. On the other hand, cypress requires 24 hours of distillation to extract all of its ingredients. If distillation is shortened by only two hours, 18 to 20 of the essential oils's chemical constituents will be missing.
  • Most essential oils are obtained by steam distillation but the heat of this process breaks down the acids in citrus fruits and diminished the citral-content of the fresh oils. As a result the citrus oils that are steam distilled often have a sharp, harsh, bittersweet aroma. It is a far less efficient method, yielding only about 1.5 pounds instead of about 25 pounds of oil for every ton of fresh fruit but the result is a light, subtle, fresh aroma reminiscent of the fresh peel.
4. Testing and Independent Testing: Employed experts and independent analysts test each batch for authenticity and purity.

5. The oil is placed in dark colored glass bottles to protect from polymerization. The oil molecules begin merging with each other causing a change in the natural chemistry of the oil. This negatively affects the absorption level and healing properties.

6. Finally, the bottle is labeled to show Genus and Species (not all companies do this).
Orange Essential Oil Example:

  • Cold Pressed
  • Has hundreds of components including: alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and terpenes
  • There are also compounds that have not been identified.
  • All of this contributes to the therapeutic action of the essential oil.
  • It takes thousands of oranges to make a single kilo of essential oil.
Phew, that's quite a bit of AWESOME information, isn't it? Essential Oils are great! Tune in next week to hear about the benefits of using them. Have an awesome week!

All the best,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Essential Oils 101: Types of Plant Oils

Welcome to week two of Essential Oils 101! This week I am sharing the types of plant oils. Plants have two oils: seed and essential. Let's get started.

Seed Oils, which are peanut, corn, almond, etc. are known as fatty oils. Here are some quick facts about seed oils:
  • Processed from seeds
  • Necessary foods for seeds to germinate/sprout
  • Not essential to the life processes of the plant
  • Large Molecules (long carbon chains)
  • Non-Aromatic and Non-Volatile
  • Do not circulate in plants or human body
  • Do not pass through tissues/cell walls
  • Greasy to touch
  • Can spoil or turn rancid
  • Not antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral or antiseptic
Therapeutic and Authentic Essential Oils (EO'S) stem from distilled flower, roots, leaves, twigs and bark. Here are some quick facts about EO's: 
  • Distilled from plant parts
  • Not involved in seed germination/early growth
  • Essential to plant life processes
  • Tiny molecules, which are aromatic and volatile
  • Built from rings and short chains
  • Circulate through the plant and in the human body
  • Can pass through cell membranes
  • Not greasy
  • Do not spoil or turn rancid
  • Stimulate nerves and help regenerate tissues
  • Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic anti-parasitic and antimicrobial
Next week, we'll discuss how the oils are produced and the following week we'll get into the amazing benefits! Have a wonderful week!

All the best,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Essential Oils 101

Hello! It has been an extremely busy few weeks and I have been major slacking on blogging. But I'm back and I'm back with something I'm very passionate about, Essential Oils! Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing information about various Essential Oils, how they are produced and the benefits of using them.

Before we get started, I want to note that the FDA has not evaluated this information. Please do not misconstrue these words as a guarantee or claim of absoluteness that essential oils will prevent or cure disease. Ailments can be very complex. Please consult professional advice and care for wisdom and insight as to the approach you should use to optimize your health.

Let's begin with a brief history lesson on plants. Plants play a vital role in the ecological balance of our planet and are therefore, linked to the well-being of people physically, emotionally and spiritually since the beginning of time. The plant kingdom continues to be the subject of an enormous amount of research and discovery.

Approximately 25% of prescription drugs in the U.S. are based on naturally occurring compounds from plants. Each year, millions of dollars are allocated to universities searching for new therapeutic agencies that lie undiscovered in the bark, roots, flower seeds and foliage of the jungle canopies, river bottoms, forests, hillsides and vast wilderness regions throughout the world. The following summarizes what is an Essential Oil.  

Essential Oils are concentrated, aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and seeds. The chemistry of essential oils is very complex. Each one may consist of hundreds of different and chemically unique compounds and yet are very safe to use. EO's are highly concentrated and far more potent than dried herbs. It often requires an entire plant or more to produce a single drop of essential oil. These oils differ from vegetable oils such as corn, peanut and olive oils. They are not greasy; they absorb through the skin, and are powerful antimicrobial agents.

Next week, we'll discuss the two types of plant oils: seed oils and essential oils. Have a great week!

All the best,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Here's to Hope

This week I have decided to share an article called "13 Examples of People Being Awesome After the Attack On The Boston Marathon." The article says it better than I ever could and I strongly encourage you to read it. Here are a few images from the article:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Deadspin website

Despite all that is happening, I believe there is far more good in this world than bad. The light will always outshine the darkness. Take a moment to reflect today and say a prayer for Boston and a prayer for hope.

All the best,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Time Out!

Time out! Hold up! Wait a minute! As you can see, that's what I did with the blog last week. I took a time out. Last week was a whirlwind and it never really seemed to slow down. Is that an excuse? Maybe but I think it's more so an important lesson we could all use. Sometimes we just need to take a time out from our crazy, hectic, over-committed lives

If you're like me, I'm sure you're thinking there is no way you could hit the pause button. You have kids, work, soccer games, laundry, grocery shopping, committee meetings, church events and list goes on and on and on. But the truth is taking time out for yourself is not only healthy, but can lead to a more productive you.

If you continue to run on empty, your fuse will become shorter. Your patience will wear thin and you'll be extremely irritable. So I encourage you to take a look at what is on your plate. This can be as simple as getting a piece of paper (or a paper plate!) and writing everything that is currently on your plate.

What on your plate surprised you? What would you like to add to your plate? What would you like to delete from your plate? Truly think about your goals, interests and the opportunities at hand. Once you identify the unnecessary things on your plate, you can begin to fill your plate with little things for you!

Your time out can be as simple as a relaxing yoga class, date night with your husband or an afternoon curled up with a good book. It can be a girls weekend with old friends, a lavish spa day or winery trip. Whatever it is, do it for you! You deserve it!

All the best,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where's My Happily Ever After?

Tips for Singles

Happy Wednesday! This week, I will be sharing tips for singles. Most of these tips come from an article by Joleen Watson at Imagine Hope Counseling. Let's dive right in single friends!

1) Before dating and working on a relationship, begin working on yourself.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I could ever give you is to know yourself before you try to get know someone else. You won't know what you're looking for in another person if you don't know what you're looking for in your own life. Figure out what makes you happy and what you want out of your life. Become confident in yourself in and you will exude confidence to everyone you meet.

When you've figured out what you want, here's some ways to find a potential partner:

2) Go to places of common interest.
Consider the things you like to do. Whether that be working out, going to the dog park or hitting up local wine tastings. Get involved in community groups tailored to your interest. And next time you're enjoying one of your favorite activities, look around and see who else is enjoying that activity too. Strike up a conversation, you already know you have something in common.

3) Networking - Ask friends, family, relatives, etc.
What better way to meet someone than through mutual friends? Ask your friends if they know of anyone interesting who is single. If it doesn't work out, no big deal! Perhaps you'll meet someone interesting through the person it didn't work out with.

4) Never turn down an invitation to something social.
Social events such as wedding and parties are a great way to meet other singles. Everyone is in good spirit and you're sure to have a great time!

5) Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about.
Yet another wonderful way to do something good and potentially meet someone while doing it. Many singles volunteer at local shelters, the Humane Society or Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Whether you meet someone or not, you'll leave feeling great!

6) Take a class.
It can be a spinning class, painting class or even a course at your local community college. You'll learn something new and potentially meet a great study partner!

I encourage you to try one of the above tips. If not to meet someone, for yourself. Whether you're single, dating or married, don't ever lose sight of you. You are great so share your awesomeness with others!

All the best,