Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit

Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit
Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils
By Gabriel Mojay
Copyright 1997 Gaia Books Limited

In 2016 I attended the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) conference and had the pleasure of meeting Gabriel Mojay. I was able to have my copy of this book signed by him.

During my 7 hours of flying time home I was able to read through most of the book. I have gone back and referenced it several times since then.

This book is broken down into three parts; the therapeutic foundations, the materia aromatica, and restoring balance.

The therapeutic foundations, introduces the reader to essential oils. He takes us on an aromatic journey of 4,000 year describing some of the ancient traditions. Leading us to our current use of essential oils and the various extraction methods. Since essential oils should never be used “neat” (undiluted) there is some information on carriers.

On pages 18-23 there are beautiful illustrations showing how to effectively utilize a massage blend on the full body.

Gabriel is trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and shares these concepts as they relate to aromatherapy in the remainder of this section. The book includes colorful charts and diagrams for Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements that help to describe these concepts.

The materia aromatica includes 40 essential oils. True to the title each of these focuses on the emotional healing. One thing that I enjoyed in this section was all the historical information he shares about the plant. As an example, from the fennel profile; “The Greeks were among the first to recognize its value as a gently diuretic slimming aid, naming the herb Marathron, from maraino, to ‘grow thin’.” (pg. 72)

Each essential oil also includes an illustration of the plant. Also, in the margin there are historical facts and an illustration to match.

In the final section, restoring balance, the focus is on balancing the mind, body and spirit. Although, I have been studying TCM for a few years this may be a challenging section for anyone that doesn’t have a basic understanding. As he states the mental concerns addressed may need attention from a trained physician, but the suggested blends and massage techniques can help. Personally, I feel these concepts are something we should be learning and paying attention too.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about aromatherapy. Although the TCM concepts may be something new they are valuable and worth exploring.

Please share your recommendations in the comments.

 

A profile of lemongrass essential oil

This article may contain affiliate links.

Lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus or Cymbopogon flexuosus) is one of my favorite oils and herbs. The fragrance is fresh, sweet and lemony. The oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the beautiful but slightly lethal grass (the edges are razor sharp).

 

Emotionally the lemon fragrance can help brighten your day. It can help you feel less sleepy. Lemongrass would be a good oil to diffuse before meditation to help clear your mind. Diluted in a carrier oil lemongrass can sooth achy joints and assist circulation.

 

Lemongrass also has an interesting ability to repel mosquitoes, but it attracts bees. Beekeepers have been known to use it as a “swarm trap”. I have used it as part of my bug repellent lotions with success.

 

In Florida a common issue with farm animals is a condition called thrush. Thrush is a fungal infection. The humidity and rain cause mud and doesn’t allow the hooves to dry. Like humans developing athlete’s foot from sweaty feet. Lemongrass has been my go to for this condition. The therapeutic properties include: antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. It also can help with inflammation and pain.

 

I am comfortable using this at a 0.5% dilution on large animals but would use more caution with smaller animals. It can be used to repel fleas and ticks, but at a low dilution.

 

The two most prominent chemicals in this are geranial and neral. These components combined are known as citral. Studies have found that citral can cause skin and mucous membrane irritation. It is recommended to use this oil at a 0.7% dilution (Tisserand and Young Pg. 334-335). Due to these precautions use caution with young children.

 

Overall lemongrass is a pleasant smelling essential oil that is best used through inhalation.

To learn more book a consultation or workshop here.

Book Review – Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals

By Kristen Leigh Bell

Findhorn Press 2002

 

When researching books on aromatherapy for animals and essential oil use it is hard to find reliable information. Many books do not have valid detailed information. They do not address safety and usually are specific to one animal.

 

As with most good aromatherapy books there is a brief history of modern aromatherapy. The author also shares her story of what drew her towards essential oils, and how it progressed to an interest of use with animals.

 

Section 2 provides a breakdown of essential oils (what they are), absolutes, hydrosols, and the other botanical ingredients that are commonly used. She does a good job of explaining the different forms of extraction as well as ways products are adulterated.

 

Section 3 is a breakdown of the aromatics that are explored. She only explores about 50 essential oils, but these are the ones that are generally considered safe for use with animals. There are details on a few hydrosols, which have gained popularity since publication.

 

Sections 4 through 7 explores the uses of aromatherapy with animals. Four and five are the largest exploring dogs and cats respectively. Six and seven provide a brief glimpse for use with small animals and large animals.

 

The remainder of the book is a variety of resources for both further education as well as the resources for the information provided throughout the book. Due to the age of this book not all the resources are valid any more.

 

Overall this book does provide a lot of good information. It is short at 200 pages so easy to read or use as a reference. The author put a lot of thought and research into all the information. Based on what I have learned and the publication date some of the information is outdated. Also, as a side note this author discontinued working with animals shortly after the publication of this book in 2002.

 

If you are interested in more information please feel free to contact me.

 

 

A profile of oregano essential oil

There are over 30 different species of oregano. In the herbal world oregano and marjoram are interchangeable. When it comes to essential oils less than 10 varieties of oregano are utilized with Origanum vulgare being the most commonly found variety for sale. The oil is created by steam distilling the leaves and flower upper portion of the plant. It has a strong camphoraceous, spicy, herbaceous fragrance.

Many trained aromatherapist will turn to this oil to assist with respiratory discomforts. Properly diluted the oil can improve circulation and reduce pain.   The essential oil is high in phenols, specifically carvacrol. Some of the therapeutic benefits of phenols include antibacterial, antifungal, antitoxic and disinfectant. In The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing author Margaret Ann Lembo breaks down some of the positive emotional and mental uses of this oil. She mentions it helping with mental imbalances and possibly alleviating some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. “With its strong medicinal aroma, oregano helps shake out feelings of weakness and hopelessness.” (pg. 161)

Oregano is considered a hot oil and lends its therapeutic benefits to the respiratory and digestive system. It is beneficial for loosening mucus in respiratory concerns, but if not used properly can also damage mucus membranes. The essential oil does have a variety of safety precautions including avoidance during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The recommended topical use is 1.1% (Tisserand and Young pg. 375-376) due to the possibility of skin irritation. Ensuring that oregano is properly diluted in a good carrier oil and combined with skin nourishing oils will help with successful use.

Much of my work at a farm animal rescue has been with smaller animals; rabbits and chickens. Since oregano is a strong oil that can cause mucus membrane damage I don’t feel that it would be safe with these small sensitive animals. As I mentioned in my article about use with chickens a cleaning spray could be created to clean out an area after illness. I prefer to use the whole plant as a combination of greens for a treat. This provides the animals with similar therapeutic benefits and without the safety concerns.

The Heart of Aromatherapy

The Heart of Aromatherapy

An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils

By Andrea Butje

Copyright 2017 Hay House Publishing

 

I must admit I pre-ordered this book and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I am a graduate from Aromahead Institute so knew that this book would be worth adding to my library. The author Andrea Butje has a way of making complex information fun and easy to understand. That teaching style comes through in this book.

 

The book is filled with over 100 recipes to support your mind, body and spirit. The beginning of the book offers Andrea’s approach to essential oil use. She tends to be on the conservative side using low dilutions of everything. There are detailed explanations of how essential oils are created and a breakdown of the safety considerations. There is a short-detailed section describing the various carriers, carrier oils and butters which are used in the recipes.

 

My favorite part of this book is the essential oil profiles. The author brings the oils to life giving each a personality. One example would be “opopanax the archaeologist” in which she describes the grounding capabilities of this essential oil. At the end of each profile she does let the reader know of any safety considerations. This is something that I believe all responsible essential oil users, authors and educators should provide.

 

Another aspect that I enjoyed were all the authors personal stories. She has been fortunate to

travel the world visiting many distillers. These stories allow the reader a glimpse into the efforts that small farmers take to provide us with these precious plant gifts.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in essential oils. It is one that any level of user can utilize to safely explore essential oils.