Welcome to another of Organica J’s Top Ten Uses! Here I focus on 10 helpful uses for Sandalwood. This is an oil I use a lot in therapy and I have it in my Meditation Blend. I use an Australian Sandalwood (santalum spicatum), not the Indian Sandalwood, for ethical reasons. But its properties are very similar, I have always found it a incredible asset in my essential oil kit.
Sandalwood is a small evergreen tree. It is a parasitic tree – it needs to grow attached to other trees and shrubs. Sandalwood also takes a long time to mature, so needs to be harvested sustainably.
The oil is obtained mostly by steam distillation of the wood of the tree. It is quite a viscous brown liquid with a distinctive, gentle woody fragrance (in my opinion).
The oil has been used for centuries as a perfume and is available in many modern perfume products. It blends incredibly well with many other oils, such as lavender, sweet orange, rose geranium, mandarin, rose otto.
Here are what I would like to include as my top 10 uses for Sandalwood, as I have found in my aromatherapy practice. Remember always to dilute the oil in a suitable vegetable/carrier oil before any use on the body, and also that with aromatherapy less is always more with essential oils.
1. sedative, relaxing and calming 2. can relieve coughs, sore throats and sinus issues 3. helpful for eczema and psoriasis 4. moisturising for dry skin conditions but also good for oily skin 5. can be anti-inflammatory and helpful for varicose veins 6. may be helpful with fungal skin issues 7. can relieve scalp irritations and acne 8. to assist with your meditation practice
9. can be helpful for treating cystitis
10. may help with insomnia and sleep issues
If you feel that sandalwood essential oil would be a useful oil for you, you can buy it here. There is also available a full range of other aromatherapy essential oils, with information on their uses available in the essential oil category on the website. If you require further information on any oils, feel free to contact us by email or phone.
For using essential oils for specific or complex medical problems always contact a qualified aromatherapist or your GP.
Trouble sleeping is one of the most common things that clients contact me about, it is an incredibly widespread issue. There are many aromatherapy approaches and blends that can help ease it though and I have had great success working with this common problem.
If I am working with clients following a consultation then usually we will be exploring the root cause of the sleeping issue/insomnia and working on that at the same time.
Usually though, a full consultation is not possible, and most of my customers use either my Pulse Point Roller Balls Restful Evening, which is helpful for sleep. The Nervous Exhaustion which is de-stressing, and so can ease you into a better place to allow sleep. They are so easy to use and very portable for travel and in your bag at work too.
An alternative is the Restful Evening and Nervous Exhaustion in Bath & Body format, that can be used in the bath or after shower or as a massage oil. These products are ready blended for you just to use. I have no preservatives in these products, they are pure aromatherapy blends, always my first choice. I am delighted with the continuous positive feedback on these products.
However, you can blend your own bath and body oils or for using on your pulse points. I will share some of my favourite blends that I have used with clients for help with sleep.
The first oil that everyone thinks of with sleep is lavender. I have had over the years had quite a number of people saying ‘I don’t like lavender’. But the scent they are recalling actually isn’t the same as the true lavender, lavandula angustifolia from France, that is my first choice. This is due to the powerful, soft note that I feel that this lavender provides and is perfect for therapy.
Our own lavender in the UK is fabulous, but has (for me) a sharper note. There are a number of varieties of lavender out there, some are more suitable to other treatments, such as lavandula spica, which is excellent as an analgesic and expectorant properties. Another common one that you may see is Lavandin a blend between true lavender and lavandula spica.
If you don’t like the scent of lavender, my personal choice would be sweet orange oil. I use it so much in my therapy practice and products. It has been a favourite since I first used it in training. Very gentle and excellent for the very young to the much older generation too.
Roman chamomile is another definite for aiding sleep, but I would always blend it (as I have in the products mentioned above), it makes a very comfortable companion with lavender. If you don’t like too much sweetness in a blend, this is perfect.
Sandalwood is excellent for relaxation of the nerves. I use it in my Meditation blend, as it is ideal for this and it adds a soothing effect to any blend it is part of. I use an australian sandalwood, santalum spicatum for ethical reasons.
Two other favourites of mine for trouble sleeping are frankincense and neroli. An incredible combination together, bringing in the physical effects of relaxation, clearing the mind and nurture and self care, with a gentle uplift. Neroli is very much known as an aromatherapy treatment for insomnia, but frankincense is not so often put in that category. I have found it incredibly helpful. In most cases the client is coming with an extremely busy mind, full of constant thoughts dealing with a problem/stressful situation. Either right now or from something that happened in their past. So frankincense is fabulous to slow down the breath, calm the thoughts, and free the mind to allow healing/rest to begin.
I will also mention rose geranium here, that I use in my products for sleep, and in therapy with clients. It is a fabulous balancer of mood, hormones (and skin). I find a small amount in a blend is extremely helpful to encourage balance in the body and mind.
For trouble sleeping, you can make up these blends (multiply equally for larger quantities). Use as two/three drops on a tissue by your pillow at night, or on a tissue by you as you relax in the evening. To use on the body always blend with a carrier oil. For the above blends use a 5ml spoon of carrier oil, such as sunflower, sweet almond, jojoba. Or for a richer (more moisturising) blend rosehip, evening primrose oil. Remember if you multiply the essential oil blend also multiply the carrier oil equally at the same time.
I hope that this information on essential oils for sleep issues has been helpful for you. If you have a complex medical history/medications always check with your GP before using essential oils, or ask a qualified aromatherapist.
Essential oils for tummy issues. I have had a couple of clients with some minor tummy issues recently and I would like to look at these here. Along with the possible essential oils and blends that can be helpful to alleviate the problem.
Indigestion is a common problem, it can be caused by food that is not properly digested, or also through stress and anxiety. Any indigestion that gives you concern or persists over a longer period should always be checked by your GP.
The most well known oil for indigestion is peppermint, a good quality organic peppermint tea can be very helpful. You can use a blend of peppermint and carrier/vegetable oil gently applied in a clockwise direction on the abdomen and rib cage to relieve the pain. Use only 1 drop of peppermint essential oil in 10ml of the carrier oil.
For stress/anxiety causes, I would recommend still using the peppermint tea, but for essential oil blend to use as a pulse point application during the day or on the front of chest overnight would be: neroli 2 drops, frankincense 3 drops and roman chamomile 1 drop – again in 10ml of vegetable/carrier oil. This will help you to de-stress and calm, to prevent the indigestion from source.
For nausea and travel sickness you can use the blend above too. I am not too keen on take off and landing in an aircraft and always carry a tissue with a couple of drops of peppermint oilon a tissue for inhalation at these times. I have used this treatment for myself for so many years. So that when I forgot the peppermint on a recent holiday, I just thought about the peppermint on the tissue, and it had the same calming effect. My brain was so used to me using peppermint in that circumstances, it has become entirely used to it.
A possible essential oil blend for nausea and travel sickness would be: roman chamomile 1 drop, peppermint 2 drop, lemon 2 drops in 10ml carrier/vegetable oil such as sunflower. Gently and slowly rub the stomach area in a clockwise direction with the blend.
Use this application method also for constipation, but a suggested essential oil blend for this condition would be: black pepper 2 drops, sweet marjoram oil 2 drops and 2 drops rosemary – again in 10ml vegetable/carrier oil.
For painful period cramps use the same application, with a suggested blend: lavender3 drops, sweet marjoram 1 drop, clary sage 1 drop in 10ml of vegetable/carrier oil.
Alternative to this gentle massage, you may prefer to use a cold or warm compress with the oils on it. Simply place across the stomach area and renewed as needed, this can also be extremely soothing.
I hope that this information on essential oils for tummy issues has been helpful for you. If you have a complex medical history/medications always check with your GP before using essential oils, or ask a qualified aromatherapist.
I recently did The Allergy Show at the SEC in Glasgow and had a lot of people looking at the essential oils and asking questions about oils that they had bought and advice on what to look for when buying them. So I thought it would be helpful to give some information on this at this subject here.
We will examine what to look for when buying essential oils to ensure that you are getting the best therapeutic quality.
1. Essential oils should be in a dark coloured glass bottle to protect from light. 2. There should be a dropper to dispense the oils safely. 3. If you see the words fragrance oil or similar, it is probably a synthetic blend not a pure essential oil and so will have no therapeutic value. Look for ‘essential oil’ on the label. 4. Price is another likely indicator of quality, if all the oils in the shop or online are the same price, again they are unlikely to be of therapeutic grade. Due to the hugely diverse nature of: method of extraction; availability/success of harvest; the quantity of the plant required to make an essential oil, prices will be widely different. Sweet orange– easily obtained and extracted by expression, is more economic, whereas rose needs around 4,000kg of petals to obtain1 kg of oil, and so is at the upper end of the price scale. 5. The latin name of the plant (and any chemotypes, if relevant) should appear on the label on the bottle, this is important as there are many different varieties of some oils, eglavender& eucalyptus, that have varying therapeutic uses and safety considerations. 6. Check the best before date – citrus oils (and some others) have shorter shelf lives, while base note oils such as patchoulihave longer lives. Some oils degrade after a time eg black pepper, and change their use therapeutically . So it is always best to buy in small amounts.
7. If you are recommended to use the essential oils for internal use, ensure that the person selling them has completed a full course on essential oils for internal use and is insured for this (and/or is working directly with your GP/Clinician). This is an entirely different qualification and is usually not included in aromatherapy training here in the UK.
These are general suggestions, there are more detailed information which affects quality such as; the country of origin, the colour and texture of the essential oils. When buying for my business to supply you, I am very particular, dealing with only a few trusted suppliers. I also like to know how the oils are produced, ie that they come from an ethical supplier and of course I require an organic certification to stock them within my businsss.
These are a few baseline things that you should find helpful when looking for a good quality, therapeutic essential oil, but I am delighted to help with any further or more detailed queries that you may have. Just email me at: jacqui @ organicaj.co.uk
Aromatherapy Support and Blends for an Ageing Skin
I get asked for advice for ageing skin regularly, so I would like to look here at some support and aromatherapy blends that can be helpful for you.
Aromatherapy is a fabulous way to tackle the effects of the challenges your skin is up against that can potentially cause an ageing effect, such as weather, pollutants, stressors or simply the passage of time.
I had a client on the phone today, who said that she had really noticed that her skin was so much more moisturised and soft after switching to use my range of organic soaps – they have organic ingredients and do not strip the skin of its natural oils, but rather moisturise further. A great base for then using other oils/creams to moisturise further.
The basic care of self is important of course – good nutrition, exercise, plenty of sleep, helps the skin to appear at its best. Pollutants such as smoking, synthetic chemicals in skincare and the environment, etc are best to be minimised coming into contact with where it is possible. Protecting the skin and face in extreme weather conditions, or avoiding, again where possible, is a good strategy.
Aromatherapy on its own or in combination with regular massage can be extremely helpful to protect the skin and feed the skin properly. Skin cell renewal can slow down with age and aromatherapy oils and massage can help minimise this.
My recommendation for carrier/base oils to use would be rosehip, evening primrose, sweet almond, wheatgerm and jojoba. I personally use rosehip and evening primrose oil in my skin care regime. I would recommend that all these oils can be used on their own as a carrier, but wheatgerm, I would use blended with perhaps sweet almond, as it is very viscose on its own.
Essential oils that I would suggest for skin regeneration and care would be carrot, frankincense, neroli, sandalwood, patchouli, sweet orange and lavender.
I have a favourite combination that I have used for many of my aromatherapy clients in various forms depending on their individual skin type, their medical info and their life/emotional situation. It is rosehip carrier oil with frankincense, neroli and carrot essential oil. A good blend would be 10ml rosehip with 2 drops frankincence, 2 drops neroli and 1 drop carrot essential oil. This would be great for body, for use on the face drop the quantities down to 1 drop of each essential oil in 10ml of rosehip carrier oil.
Some other different blends to choose from: sweet almond 5ml, evening primrose oil 5ml with 2 drops lavender, 2 drops sandalwood and 1 drop patchouli. Again dropping down to 1 drop of each for use on face with 10ml carrier blend.
Or jojoba 10ml with 2 drops sweet orange, 2 drops frankincense and 1 drop sandalwood. dropping to 1 drop of each for use on face.
Try out the different combinations to see what texture of carrier oil, and what scent of blended oils pleases you the best and feels best on your skin. Gentle massage the oils into the body/face when you have time this can be a real pamper opportunity for yourself.
If blending your own is not for you, then you can try our ready made Aromatherapy Bath & Body Blends blends without any preservatives, colours or synthetics. All they contain are organic carrier oils and essential oils.
It is difficult I know in todays busy life to take time to look after yourself, but your skin will thank you in years to come if you do. If you can find time to have regular massage (including a face massage) this will be so beneficial, not just for your skin, but for your complete health and wellbeing.
I rush around a lot, running my business, but try to make sure that my skin is aways looked after. It always feel good to keep skin moisturised and the feeling of putting good quality, nourishing oils on your face and body, I find extremely pleasurable.
For complex medical conditions always contact a qualified aromatherapist or your medical professional.
I have been asked by a few clients recently about the problem of cellulite. It is an issue that is seen almost exclusively in women. Cellulite starts with a build-up of toxins that the body reacts to with water retention to try to dilute the toxins. The connective tissue and the fat cells then harden and traps the water, which causes the ‘orange peel’ effect.
Aromatherapy can be helpful for cellulite. I would recommend simultaneously looking at diet/nutrition and exercise in combination with aromatherapy. Aromatherapy treatment is not an overnight answer (as nothing really is for this stubborn condition), but rather a longer term approach. It all depends how long the condition has been present and how severe it is. But aromatherapy can be very effective and it is a pleasant treatment to undertake
Using self massage, you would be working to encourage your lymphatic system to work better, and to balance hormones. You can use a loofah, brush or perhaps a massage glove on the area. Brush gently but firmly towards the heart.
It has been found that stress also can affect cellulite, by increasing the retention of toxins in the body . Aromatherapy of course, can be fabulous for relaxation. Using oils such as sweet orange, lavender, geranium, neroli can be great for combating stress and to help the body to release toxins.
When working with aromatherapy and cellulite – it is beneficial to not stick with one particular blend, but keep the blend changing for optimum effect.
As well as self massage, you could consider visiting a specialised lymphatic drainage massage practitioner, and perhaps in between those sessions, if stress is a factor see a qualified aromatherapist for an aromatherapy massage to aid relaxation.
Aromatherapy oils that are helpful for cellulite would be black pepper, geranium, grapefruit, lemon, lime, rosemary or juniper.
A couple of suggested blends are
10ml Evening Primrose Oil with black pepper 1 drop, grapefruit 3 drops,