A profile of lemongrass essential oil

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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.

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.

Don Quixote – a donkey case study

Don Quixote - the donkey

When I first started visiting Celestial Farms (a non-profit rescue farm) back in 2014, I fell in love with this dwarf donkey, Don Quixote. As far as the farm knows he was surrender by his owners. Unfortunately his hooves were severely overgrown showing that he was not well taken care of. He also shied away from attention and didn’t enjoy being touched.


overgrown hooves

One of the major challenges facing the farm was finding a farrier that was willing to work on trimming his hooves. He has become more friendly, but still does not like his legs touched at all. You are almost guaranteed to be dodging a kick if you try. After many tries a few farriers have finally started to trimming his hooves, but imagine how it feels when you cut a toe nail too short. After each trim Don Q was experiencing a pain similar to this. To help with this we added MSM (nutritional supplement) to his diet.


I created a blend to massage on his hooves that included the carrier oils; jojoba, tamanu oil and St. John’s wort. I also included the essential oils helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium), Roman chamomile (Chamaelum nobile) and ginger (Zingiber officinale). The carrier oils were used to help with moisturizing the hoof and help protect it from any infections. The essential oils were utilized for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.


Don Quixote leg shape

Don will always have issues, but we continue to work with a farrier to try and properly shape his hooves. The above blend is generally used for a week after a trimming to help reduce soreness. The other long term effect has been damage to the leg and shoulder area because of his stride being wrong. He will always walk with a limp, but he is much more friendly and always loves it when guests bring treats.


To learn more about animal aromatherapy book a workshop or consultation.

French Aromatherapy – Book Review

French Aromatherapy


By Jen O’Sullivan

Copyright 2016 Create Space Publishing

The cover of this book is pleasing to the eye. The title is geared toward people in the aromatherapy community. I asked a friend what she might think a book titled “French Aromatherapy” would be about and she replied “a romance”. Although the subtitle does clear up the books purpose. The author’s synopsis on the back speaks to her excitement in using essential oils, but also indicates that she will be touching on a controversial subject.

The beginning two sections are a brief introduction of the author and a quick introduction of Latin binomials. For those that are new to essential oils, generally an oil will be referred to with a common name Lavender and a Latin binomial in italics Lavendula angustifolia which indicates the plant genus and species. She utilizes this chapter to indicate all of the essential oils she may reference so that readers will be able to see this information without having to type out the Latin binomials throughout the book.

Chapter one had me a little confused as to where she was going. It is an introduction to essential oils, but she speaks a lot about the human/plant relationship. She references an article that is about the deforestation of the planet. And is concerned about people being willing to eat fast food, but questioning the need to use a plant based product. There is a paragraph that gives a brief idea of truly what an essential oils is. The author then goes into the size of essential oil molecules and her idea of how they function in the body. The chapter concludes with her recommendation of utilizing a device that will provide biofeedback or bioimpedance to better understand the health of your body.

Chapter two she does address a controversy that is occurring in the aromatherapy community. She states that there are three different schools or models of teaching aromatherapy the Anglo-Saxon (English), French, and German. As someone that has been immersed in the aromatherapy community for several years I have heard the controversy. I have only ever heard about the “French” method and English. German was a new concept and really of no importance. Briefly, supposedly the French method teaches and encourages internal use and the other two discourage it. I found it interesting that to defend her thoughts in one paragraph she states that people will say you can’t drink essential oils in water because oil and water don’t mix. Then in the next paragraph she is encouraging the reader to drink essential oils in water, but don’t use “hot” oils because oil and water don’t mix. I find it sad that she claims there is a “…ever-present “war” going on in the essential oil industry…”. I am sure that not a single person/aromatherapist in the industry wants to be at “war”!

The chapter that had me the most concerned for novice readers was chapter five. In this chapter she states that people cannot be allergic to essential oils. “It may be better to adopt the term ‘allergen-like response’ rather than ‘allergen’ or ‘allergic reaction’ based on the science behind how allergens are created.” To ensure that I understood the word allergy correctly I dug out my dictionaries. Webster’s defines an allergy as 1. altered bodily reactivity to an antigen in response to a first exposure (bee sting). To better understand though I also got out my Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (pg.72). Allergy – An immune response to a foreign antigen that results in inflammation and organ dysfunction (it continues on). The definition of an allergen: any substance that causes a hypersensitivity reaction. It may or may not be a protein. Among common allergens are inhalants (dusts, pollens, fungi, smoke, perfumes, odors of plastics)… This chapter although has some interesting information was very alarming.

Chapters six through eight provide the authors different recommended recipes. Chapter six is for inhalation, mainly through the use of a diffuser. Chapter seven covers topical recipes such as lotions, bath salts, and roll ons. Chapter eight covers the recommendations for internal use. Throughout these chapters she rarely mentions anything that you should be concerned about (safety) when using essential oils. According to her nearly 4 million essential oil users have used them without incident (according to her “common knowledge based only on Young Living member number to date as of May 2016” pg 32 references).

The author does state within the final chapter (Chapter 10) that she is a Young Living advocate. She supports the multi-level marketing (MLM) model and believes that her company has the safest oils for ingestion. I personally have never ingested essential oils, but do know people that do and have had success with this practice. If we are going to utilize the “French” school of thought it is my understanding in France essential oils are considered a medicine sold in a pharmacy. This is in violation of the FDA’s classification of them as a cosmetic.

In summary this book is not one that I would recommend to a novice essential oil user (not an experienced one either).