Tag Archives: essential oils

Two Loves: Argan Oil and Abe’s Natural Market

18 Jul

Obviously, we are fans of Argan oil and its benefits. It is a star ingredient in several of our products. So, we were happy to see when it got some star treatment on Abe’s Market online magazine: “5×5: 5 Reasons to Love Argan Oil.”  http://bit.ly/W8p8qN.

And we were very proud to have one of our serums chosen to be featured.  Thanks Abe’s!

Head over to Abe’s for all your natural products and pick up some Yum Scrub Organics while you are there. 🙂  http://www.abesmarket.com/.  Also, in coming months check out their online magazine as we contribute to it with skincare articles.

DSC_0602_4_2Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:

Yum Scrub http://bit.ly/1jKksLG

Abe’s Market bit.ly/1rueto2

 

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“Ouch, It Stung Me!” Treating Bee & Other Stings With Lavender and Tea Tree Oil

12 Sep

Today, I got first hand experience on the healing benefits of essential oil for a sting.  Early this morning, while outside watering the herbs and other plants, I was stung on my finger by a yellow jacket.  By the way, bees and yellow jackets are more likely to bite in spring and very early fall.  This is when they are more on “edge.”

Immediately, I rubbed some lavender (true lavender) and tea tree essential oil on the sting and the surrounding area including the back of my finger and top of my hand.  I used a combination, but you could use one or the other.  Both are analgesics, so they help with the pain.  Lavender also has antihistamine properties. 

Within minutes of applying the lavender and tea tree oils, the pain from the sting was barely noticeable along with the bite mark.  Within an hour the redness and swelling had disappeared.  Since it was still a little tender to the touch, I applied some more essential oil.

While I didn’t have a stinger, the stinger is the first thing you want to remove before applying any essential oil.  To remove the stinger used a straight edge, such as the edge of a credit card.  Scrape it across the stinger.  Using tweezers to remove a stinger, could release more venom.

Besides lavender and tea tree, these other essential oils also aid insect bites and stings:

  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa)
  • Manuka
  • Niaouli
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

Besides essential oils, insect bites and bee stings can be relieved with a paste of baking soda and water.  Ice also helps with swelling and pain; apply at ten-minute intervals. Antihistamines can also help the itch and swelling.  Other known remedies for bee stings are apple cider vinegar, meat tenderizer made into a paste with water, and a very old fashion and basic treatment for stings is mud….yeah…dirt and water.  Hey, if you’re out in nature and dirt is all that’s around, it’s worth a try.

Severe allergic reactions to wasp, bee, and the like stings are not very common.  However, severe allergic reactions–trouble breathing, swallowing, severe pain, and/or extreme swelling at the site or surrounding areas needs medical attention right away.

You can read more information about bites and stings on the University of Maryland Medical Center website: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/insect-bites-000095.htm

The Essential – Essential Oils

22 Aug

If you are looking to include more organic/natural solutions for personal and home use, we suggest stocking your cabinet with a few basic essential oils. Lavender, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils are good ones to begin using.

If you’ve ever sniffed an essential oil, you know what a strong scent they have.  This scent is a result of the naturally occurring chemical compounds that are in a more condensed form than you get from the plant or herb.  These same chemical compounds are also what make essential oils effective for personal and home use.  Actually many man-made medicines get their start with botanicals.

Aspirin came about because of willow bark.  Willow bark had been used since ancient times in many cultures for pain and fever.  In more recent history, Tamoxifen used to treat breast cancer is a result of the Pacific Yew tree.  And Israeli doctors are investigating cinnamon as a prevention and cure for Alzheimer’s, and hospitals in France and Israel are investigating the use of cinnamon oil to fight hard to kill bacteria.  Lavender sprayed in Alzheimer ‘s units has shown to calm patients.  And a combination of essential oils showed promising results for hair loss. 

Our suggestions for the use of essential oils will not cure cancer or Alzehimer’s, but may help with some typical personal and household problems.

LAVENDER
Buy true lavender; the biological name is “lavandula angustifolia.”  Spike lavender though related is not the same and Lavandin is a cross between true lavender and spike lavender.  Lavender is a very gentle oil in that it can often be applied neat (undiluted) on the skin and most people have not trouble with lavender.  Be prudent in the amount of essential oils you use because too much can cause a headache or be a stimulant when you want to relax.

  • Uses
    • Burns/Sunburns.  Burn yourself taking a pot off the stove or something out of the oven, reach for the lavender.  Modern aromatherapy got its start from lavender and a burn.  French chemist/perfumer Rene-Maurice Gattefosse applied lavender after a severe burn, and as the saing goes, “the rest is history.” For small and less severe burns apply neat (undiluted).  For larger areas, dilute with a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray.
    • Sleep/Insomnia.  Lavender has relaxing and sedative properties that make it a great aid for sleep problems.  There are several ways to use it for sleep. 
      • Add a few drops to a warm bath.  Because a bath can also stimulate, take your bath an hour or so before going to bed.
      • Apply two drops to a small cloth and put between your pillow and pillowcase.  The scent will be there all night.  This is especially good if you wake during the night and can’t go back to sleep.  Do not use too much or you will be restless instead.
      • Make a spritzer with lavender oil and water and spray in your bedroom before going to bed.  To keep it fresh, don’t make more than a few days worth.
      • Inhaling lavender is calming and relaxing. 
    • PMS.  Lavender is known for relieving premenstrual symptoms.  Dilute a couple of drops in a carrier oil (almond, grapeseed, coconut, jojoba, olive, etc.) and rub on your stomach and lower back.
    • Insect bite and repellant.  For insect bites, apply neat and rub into the bite.  You may also combine it with the same amount of tea tree oil and apply.  To use as a repellant, apply neat to ankles, neck, and wrist.  You could also make a spray with 10-12 drops of lavender (again can combine with tea tree) with a cup of water.
    • Facial mister.  Do you sometimes feel your face needs a “wake me up” or feels dehydrated, and you can’t apply moisturizer?  Make a lavender face spray.  Use about 6 -7 drops of lavender in ½ cup of mineral water. Shake or mix.  Pour the spritzer in a one or two ounce spray bottle.  Whole Foods and Michael’s Craft store sale the bottles.  Store the remaining spray in the refrigerator. People with problem or oily skin can also use this.  Lavender is also good for acne, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, and other skin conditions.

TEA TREE OIL
The aboriginal people of Australia have been using tea tree for thousands of years.  While the name has tea in it, tea tree oil does not come from the tea plant.  Tea tree is one of the most effective essential oils because it has properties that fight against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  As with almost all essential oils, you do not want to ingest tea tree essential oil.

  • Uses
    • Sore throat.  Add a drop of tea tree oil to ¼ cup water and gargle.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Earache/Swimmer’s ear.  Warm to the touch 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil, almond oil, or sesame oil.  Add one drop of tea tree oil to the warmed oil.  Using a dropper or small spoon drop oil into the ear, keep ear tilted for a few minutes or place a cotton ball in the ear.  Repeat as necessary.  Seek medical attention for sever pain, bleeding, or pain accompanied with a fever.
    • Cold or Flu.  Inhale the vapors by placing 2 – 3 drops in hot water and placing a towel over your head.  Be careful not to burn yourself. Or add a drop or two to a warm water vaporizer.  You can also make a warm compress to place on the chest.  Take a couple drops of tea tree oil and mix in warm water.  Soak a small washcloth in the mixture; wring it out, and place on chest.
    • Mouthwash.  Dilute one drop of tea tree oil in ¼ cup water; gargle and swish.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Dandruff.  Either add a few drops to your shampoo and/or conditioner.  You can also make a final rinse with a couple drops of tea tree in some water.  Be sure to gently massage into scalp.
    • Disinfectant.  Spray the air during flu and cold season with tea tree and distilled water to disinfect the air.  Don’t make more than you will use in a few days to keep it fresh.
    • Mold.  Use either directly depending on the size of the area or dilute with some water.

PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
Peppermint essential oil is very strong smell and the smell lasts a long time.  So, use just a small amount.  Peppermint has also been around a long time; remnants of peppermint have been found in Egyptian tombs from 1000 B.C.E.  Don’t put peppermint oil directly on the skin.  

  • Uses
    • Bugs and Insects.   Peppermint essential oil works great on bugs.  A dilution of peppermint essential oil and water, or with a small amount of alcohol is will keep many of the creepy crawlers from invading your space.  In a 16 oz. spray bottle, drop about 6 drops of peppermint oil, add water and shake.  Spray around the outside perimeter of your house.  You can also spray around the inside perimeter.  Remember since the scent is strong and long lasting do one level at a time, beginning with the basement. 
    • Migraine Headaches.  Combine 3- 4 drops peppermint and 1 drop of lavender essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil (almond, jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil, etc.) and rub into temples. Make ahead so it’s ready when you need it. Repeat as necessary.
    • Achy Tired Feet.  At the end of an exhausting and perhaps your day isn’t finished, this is a great pick-me-up that sends some special love to your overworked feet.   Fill a tub or basin some very warm water to – just enough to cover the feet; add two – three drops of peppermint oil.  You can also add a couple drops of lavender to the mix.  Soak the feet, or to make them really feel good, get a stiff body brush and brush the soles and around the toes.  Soak for a few more minutes.  You may want to rinse the feet in cool water at the very end.
    • Bad Breath.  Add a drop of peppermint oil to ¼ cup water.  Rinse and gargle.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Nausea/Indigestion.  Just a whiff of peppermint oil helps to settle a stomach. You can also place a drop in a tablespoon of wild honey to settle indigestion or upset stomach.

This is just a start to the uses for the essential oils listed above, and there are hundreds of essential oils that offer benefits other than for perfume or scent.  Just remember essential oils are very potent so a little goes along way.

This information is for entertaining purposes only and not for diagnosing or treatment of any conditions.

References:
“Aromatherapy,” Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, A Teaching Hospital of Harvard Medical Center. Online: http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/ConditionsAZ.aspx?ChunkID=37427 .  Retrieved 19 August 2011.

Lawless, Julie, “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oil.”  Rockport, MA. Element Books. 1997.


The Low Down On Mosquitoes…

25 Jul

Forget getting bit by Edward or Bill… the blood suckers that are more likely to feed on you are the more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes that reside on Earth.   And there are approximately 150 different species in the US.   Mosquitoes don’t take our blood as their food; it is actually the ladies who do the biting.   The female mosquito hunts out blood to make their eggs fertile and to nourish the eggs once they have been laid.  Mosquitoes, like many other insects, get their food from plant and flower nectars.   

But why do these needle-nosed insects seem to be more attracted to some and not to others?  Is it really because of how sweet your blood is?  Well, not really.   Mosquitoes use a variety of senses to search out their prey.   First, the amount of carbon dioxide we omit will attract the female, the more you put out, the more likely you are to get bit.  So this means that larger people and pregnant women (because they produce more CO2 then normal) are quicker targets.  Once the mosquito has found its host, there are still other factors that play into the decision on whether or not she will take your blood.   Scientists still can’t be exactly sure as to the reasons why, but studies have shown that higher levels of folic acid can make you more appealing to the mosquito.    Also, certain smells from perfumes, lotions, and soaps can attract/detract them as well.   Being more active also seems to make you more attractive to the insect; it’s the combination of sweat, along with the heavier breathing, which means you are putting out more CO2 than if you were just lounging around.

There are some preventative steps you can take before going out in this summer to minimize your bites.  First, try to wear long sleeves, pants, and have socks and shoes on.   Of course the fashion and the temperature can make wearing a lot of clothing just not possible or comfortable.   There are some great essential oils that work to deter mosquitoes, and many not only work well, but smell good too.   My personal favorite is using essential oil from lemon grass.  Lemongrass is what is found in citronella.   A little of this oil goes a long way, just rub down any clothes and skin.   Eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil can also work.   The CDC (Center for Disease Control) also recognizes that Oils of Lemon Eucalyptus are “bio-pesticide repellents”, which are derived from natural materials,” also works well and is the most common found in natural repellents.  Just be sure that the source of the Lemon Eucalyptus is from a natural source and not its synthetic counterpart (p-Mentane-3,8-diol).

Making your outdoor space less inviting to the mosquitoes will help them leave you alone too.  Be sure to not have any stagnant water.  Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs, so water that has been sitting, allows the insect to complete its life cycle.  Plants like basil, catnip, and lemon geraniums deter them.  Also, yellow lights are much less appealing than white light. [1]

Now, even if you have done all you can, there are times that the little buggers will be persistent and you can still be bit.   Her are a few suggestions on how to help stop the itch and heal the reaction you are having to the mosquito’s saliva.   First, as hard as it may be, avoid scratching the bite.  The bacteria under your fingernails can actually infect the bite.  To help heal the itch, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the affected area to help calm it.   Also, tee tree is known to have antibacterial properties and is not as harsh as rubbing alcohol.  Calendula is also a skin soother and anti inflammatory and can calm the infected area. [2]


[1]  “The Hazards of Deet,” Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia. Online: http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/spring03hazards.html

Other Reference:

“FAQ’s on Mosquitoes,” Rutgers University.  Online: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/mosfaq.htm

“Are You A Mosquito Magnet,” WebMD.  Online: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/are-you-mosquito-magnet?page=3

The Essentials of Essential Oils

4 Mar

Before peeling an orange and digging into its sweet juiciness, do you bring it to your nose first and inhale its wonderful uplifting smell?  Mmmmmmm!  If you haven’t, try it.  The scent and yummy feeling that comes with sniffing an orange is due in large part to its essential oils.  

Essential oils are the “essence” of a plant.  Extraction of volatile (scent and therapeutic) molecules from petals, stems, bark, and/or other parts of a plant is what makes it an essential oil. Some plants such as cypress or patchouli are generous in giving up their essence.  While others such as the rose, which takes almost 10,000 pounds of petals to get approximately one pound of essential oil, aren’t giving their essence away so freely.  By the way, 1/8 ounce of therapeutic grade organic rose essential oil can cost well over a $100.00. And just like a great bottle of wine some improve with age, such as patchouli.

Essential oils are not just dressed up in their fine scents for showing off; they work to.  In almost every culture across the globe and across thousands of years, plant oils have been used for everything from burns to sciatica.  Essential oils were so prized they were used as money and for bartering in many cultures.

Modern aromatherapy resulted from an accident.  After a severe burn to his hand French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, grabbed lavender essential oil and poured it on his hand.  He was surprised at how quickly the burn healed and how it prevented scarring.  Yum Scrub! Organics strongly believes in the benefits of essential oils and that’s why we add them to our products.

In addition, Yum Scrub! Organic essential oils are a cut above.  Our supplier sells only organic essential oils, using a distillation process.  Their oils are of the highest quality, and they also are in contact with the producers of the oils they don’t produce themselves.

Yum Scrub! Organics pays more for our essential oils, but we are committed to using the best ingredients that work.  And, we think our wonderful customers deserve the best!

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