What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is….

A form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering mind, mood, cognitive function, or physical health. Aromatherapy does not cure conditions, but helps the body to find a natural way to cure itself and improve immune response.

When we think about plants we understand they have their own physiology, their own immune response, their own defense against invaders. These are the plants essential oils. They are ‘essential’ for the plants survival and function in its environment.

When we use steam or fat to extract those ‘essential’ properties we are getting a concentrated volatile compound. The volatility of essential oils makes them easily evaporate at room temperature. They disperse or diffuse into the air and are inhaled.

This is where the ‘Aroma’ part of Aromatherapy came in. Due to the fact that these volatile oils are often aromatic (carrying an aroma) means that we smell the compounds as they enter our nostrils. This also means that those chemical compounds have a direct connection to the brain through the olfactory bulb. Every smell we experience affects all of the systems in the body through the large olfactory bulb and it’s close communication with the brain and gut.

Through this direct connection to the brain and gut Aromatherapy can help the brain and body function more effectively through nourishment and support. The chemical compounds in essential oils are all natural, not man-made or synthesized, meaning they are readily utilized by the body because they are so similar to our own chemical compounds. Thus they are easily utilized in healing and maintaining health.

Instead of doing something for the body, interrupting normal functions, or forcing unnatural reactions, like pharmaceuticals, Aromatherapy provides nutrients not found in a multivitamin or even a balanced diet. Many aromatic plants are not edible so the only way to obtain their beneficial properties is through Aromatherapeutic application.

Aromatherapeutic Applications

In the Air – by spraying an Everclear alcohol based blend or diffusing undiluted oils. You can achieve the same benefits of an over-the-counter medication with simple and safe aromatic diffusion. Alcohol based sprays emulsify the oils for complete dispersion into the air and onto the body or surface.

On Surfaces – an Everclear alcohol based blend can be used to clean and sanitize surfaces without poisonous man-made chemicals. Using aromatherapy sprays to clean hard surfaces, mirrors, and windows reduces your exposure to the toxic chemicals found in commercial cleansers. Using a natural cleaner on pet cages and toys also improves your pets health.

On the Skin – dilution into a carrier oil and applying to the skin or soaking in the bath. The skin is an amazing organ that processes everything it absorbs. When essential oils are applied to the skin they are readily absorbed and rapidly transported to the blood stream and through the body to directly affect all organs and systems naturally through nourishment.

In the Mouth – dilution with Everclear alcohol, vegetable oil or powder and brushing and/or rinsing. Using an alcohol emulsifier like Everclear, completely disperses the essential oil molecules. When the oil molecules are safely broken down or emulsified and then diluted with water you can then rise your mouth without risking an acid type burn on the mucous membranes of the mouth. The nutrients in essential oils are great for healing and disinfecting our teeth, gums, and tongue.

Never for internal use! No matter what any rep of any company tells you! No matter how organic or ‘pure’ the products are, essential oils can damage delicate mucous membranes when taken internally. Herbal teas are much safer for internal treatments.

Blending Your Own Products

Always remember dilute, dilute, dilute!

Essential oils are highly concentrated and not to mention expensive. So why waste them by using them undiluted? Why risk your health by using them undiluted? Of course diffusion is the exception, simply because the air dilutes the essential oils. See the dilution chart below to safely blend your own products.


Afraid to blend your own? Don’t have the time? Don’t want to purchase all the necessary supplies? Well no problem! Let Mother Jai do it for you! Shop our products or send an email below for a custom blend.

Pennyroyal Oil

Pennyroyal flower

Pennyroyal oil (Mentha pulegium)

Despite serious safety concerns, pennyroyal is used for the common cold, pneumonia, fatigue, ending a pregnancy (abortion), and as an insect repellant.

In manufacturing, pennyroyal oil is used as a dog and cat flea repellent, and as a fragrance for detergents, perfumes, and soaps.

Origin of Pennyroyal Oil

Pennyroyal is a perennial herb that grows up to 50cm (20 in) tall with smooth roundish stalks and aromatic, gray-green oval leaves. Lilac flowers are produced in distinct whorls in late summer and autumn. The plant has a fibrous creeping root.

It is a herbal remedy of ancient repute, and was used to purify the blood, for digestive and menstrual problems and feverish colds. It also has a deserved reputation as an insect repellent.

It is indeed a wonder why such a poisonous plant or oil has been in use as a folk medicine from ancient times. Although it is also true that most of the medicines (particularly in homeopathy) are based on poisons collected from plants and animals. It is the accuracy in the number of doses, frequency of administration, and diagnosis of a disease that their use as a medicine depends upon.

Other Names: Mentha pulegium, commonly (European) pennyroyal, also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass.

Extraction: Pennyroyal oil is extracted from the fresh herb or slightly dried herb by steam distillation.

Chemical composition: The main chemical components of pennyroyal oil are pulegone, menthone, iso-menthone and neomenthone.

Blends well with: citronella, geranium, lavandin, rosemary, and sage.

By Raffi Kojian – http://Gardenology.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12734737

Uses for Pennyroyal Essential Oil

The health benefits of pennyroyal essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, antirheumatic, antiarthritic, antiseptic, astringent, cordial, decongestant, depurative, digestive, emmenagogue, insecticide and stomachic substance.

Abortifacient: pennyroyal’s use as an emmenagogue and abortifacient is from ancient times. However, its action as an abortifacient was linked to its toxicity. The amount required for abortion also endangered the pregnant woman’s life.

Antimicrobial & Antibacterial: The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of pennyroyal oil are the results of its toxicity. Even in trace quantities (mere parts per million) this poisonous oil is deadly to microscopic living beings (microbes). Even a few milliliters can cause death to a human. It kills microbes and bacteria and protects us from the infections caused by them. It also exhibits antifungal activity.

Antirheumatic & Antiarthritic: Being a depurative, it promotes the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby eliminating the biggest cause of rheumatism. Anesthetic effect on the nerves also helps withstand the pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Its cordial or warming effect heats up the affected area and gives a more comfortable feeling. Finally, its stimulating effect on blood circulation increases blood flow to important organ systems, bringing warmth to the affected places.

Antiseptic: Wounds and internal organs, particularly the urinary tract, urethra, kidneys, and uterus may become septic due to infection by the germs. The highly poisonous nature of the pennyroyal oil makes it an antiseptic since it kills the germs or bacteria that cause sepsis. However, this oil should be used in very mild doses, as it is highly poisonous and an irritant.

Astringent: Traditionally, this oil is used as a gum strengthener, which is probably due to its astringent properties. This makes the gums contract and tighten their grip on the teeth. The effects of its astringency can also be felt on other parts of the body since it induces muscle contraction, pulls up loose hanging skin, gives the face a lift, strengthens hair roots, and helps stop hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels.

Cordial: Due to its stimulating property, the essential oil of Penny Royal increases blood circulation, which in turn warms up the whole body, thus behaving as a cordial. This warming effect gives relief from feelings of cold that often result from a fever.

Decongestant: The toxicity of this oil makes it an antiviral and fights infections in the lungs. This also loosens the phlegm and catarrh deposition in the lungs and the respiratory tracts, as well as promoting their expectoration. This way, it behaves as a decongestant for the lungs and respiratory tracts.

Depurative: There are certain reports that say that this oil can be used as a depurative, that is, a blood purifier. Certain components of this oil may help neutralize the toxins in the blood. Since it promotes blood circulation, it also helps proper mixing of fresh oxygen with the blood. In this way, it can purify the blood and keep the organs and cells properly oxygenated. An animal study found that pennyroyal essential oil increased hemoglobin, white and red blood cells, but did not have any effect on other blood indices. The increase in white blood cells indicates that it can strengthen the immune system.

Digestive: In an animal study published in 2018, it was found that pennyroyal essential oil improved performance, organ weight, serum lipids and intestinal morphology. It increased nutrient absorption in the intestines. Pennyroyal is been in used in folk medicine to facilitate digestion. This property is also reportedly present in its essential oil and it promotes digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices.

Emmenagogue: Pennyroyal essential oil is sometimes used in herbal medicine as an emmenagogue. It is believed to open blocked and delayed menstruation cycles. The resultant stimulation of certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone makes the cycle more regular.

Insecticide: this oil is toxic to humans and to other animals, it is toxic to insects as well. It is a very efficient insect killer and is highly effective if used in fumigants, sprays, and vaporizers. Insects also try to stay away from this oil. This oil is highly praised and reputed as an insect repellant. An experiment undertaken to study the acaricidal effects of different herb essential oils found that the pennyroyal derivative was the most effective.

Stomachic: Used in extremely low doses, this oil can cure stomach problems and can settle the stomach. It cures infections in the stomach, helps maintain the acid-base balance in the stomach by stimulating secretion of acids and bile into the stomach, and soothes inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract.

Word of Caution

This oil is highly poisonous to humans and other animals. Ingestion in even small doses can cause death. It is a strong abortifacient as well, and should, therefore, be strictly avoided during pregnancy. It is not used in aromatherapy, as inhalation in small quantities can seriously damage the lungs, the respiratory tracts, and the liver. Utilized in extremely high dilutions to treat ailments topically is recommended only with the support of a certified Aromatherapist. Furthermore, although several medicinal properties of this oil have been discussed above, most of them are reported to have been in use traditionally and their authenticity is not guaranteed.

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Pennyroyal oil is UNSAFE. It can cause serious liver and kidney damage, as well as nervous system damage. Other side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, burning of the throat, fever, confusion, restlessness, seizures, dizziness, vision and hearing problems, high blood pressure, lung failure, and death.

When applied to the skin: Pennyroyal oil is UNSAFE when applied to the skin undiluted. 0.05% maximum dilutions are recommended.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take pennyroyal by mouth or apply it to your skin when pregnant or breast-feeding. There is some evidence that pennyroyal oil can cause abortions by causing the uterus to contract. But the dose needed in order to cause an abortion could kill the mother or cause life-long kidney and liver damage.

Children: It is UNSAFE to give children pennyroyal by mouth. Infants have developed serious liver and nervous system injuries, or even death, after taking pennyroyal.

Kidney disease: The oil in pennyroyal can damage the kidney and make existing kidney disease worse.

Liver disease: The oil in pennyroyal can cause liver damage and might make existing liver disease worse.

Pennyroyal tea.

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Patchouli Oil

Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=875908

Patchouli oil (Pogostemom cablin)

Patchouli oil’s aroma can be an acquired taste. Not everyone loves the smell of ‘deodorized hippie’, as my Grandmother once said. Even though it can be overpowering, this oil is not something you should avoid. The benefits greatly outweigh the smell, especially when it is diluted and blended with other oils.

Patchouli essential oil is steam distilled from the dried leaves of the plant. It has a deep, earthy and woodsy scent. The oil is thick and dark brown in color.

Major Constituents of Indonesian Patchouli Oil: Patchouli Alcohol, a-Bulnesene, a-Guaiene, Seychellen, Gamma-Patchoulene, a-Patchoulene, β-patchoulene, α-bulnesene, seychellene, norpatchoulenol, pogostone, eugenol and pogostol.

Blending: Patchouli essential oil blends well with essential oils of bergamot, clary sage, geranium, lavender, and myrrh.

By Itineranttrader – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6029650

Patchouli Essential Oil Uses: Acne, Athlete’s Foot, Candida, Chapped Skin, Dandruff, Depression, Dermatitis, Eczema, Fatigue, Fever, Frigidity, Hair Care, Infection, Inflammation, Insect Repellent, Mature Skin, Oily Skin and Stress.

Patchouli essential oil can be a great alternative if you are allergic to lavender or chamomile essential oils.

In traditional medicinal practices, it is used to treat colds, headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, insect and snake bites. In aromatherapy, patchouli oil is used to relieve depression, stress, calm nerves, control appetite and to improve sexual interest.

Modern studies have revealed several biological activities such as antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antithrombotic, aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antimutagenic, antiemetic, digestive, fibrinolytic and cytotoxic activities.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Pogostemon cablin is a medicinal herb commonly used for treating gastrointestinal symptoms, including colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, dyspepsia, and poor appetite.

Benefits of Using Patchouli Essential Oil

Anticancer: In 2013, researchers performed an in vitro study to investigate whether patchouli oil affects an increase and infection of human colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer cells and define its potential molecular mechanisms. The data found that patchouli oil suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis, which means that the cells were no longer a threat. In addition, the patchouli oil reduced enzyme activity — the reactions that cancer can have on the body. These surprising and optimistic findings suggest that patchouli oil exerts an anti-cancer activity by decreasing cell growth and increasing apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells.

Antidepressant: the impact that inhaling patchouli oil has on our hormones, it encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine; these hormones ease feelings of anger, anxiety and anxiousness.

Anti-inflammatory: Patchouli oil has antiphlogistic properties, which means that it has the power to soothe inflammation in the body. With inflammation at the root of most disease, patchouli oil can address internal inflammation and such conditions as arthritis and gout, and deal with external inflammation that can be present in skin infections or irritations.

Antiseptic: it protects cuts or sores on the skin from becoming infected. It also kills fungus, so it can help if you are battling athlete’s foot or another fungal infection. Simply rub 2–3 drops of diluted patchouli oil on the infected area or make yourself a warm bath with 5–10 drops of this infection preventing oil.

Deodorant: it can be used to mask body odor naturally. It also kills germs and fights fungus, so it’s makes a great natural home deodorizer for any infected area.

Digestive Tonic: helps to tone your liver, stomach and intestines. This increases your ability to decompose food and absorb nutrients properly, so it impacts your digestive system. Because of these metabolic benefits, patchouli oil will give you more energy and help your body to function properly.

Diuretic: increases the frequency of urination, and this can be beneficial to your health in several ways: You are removing excess salt, water and uric acid, which is good for your gallbladder, kidneys and liver.

Hormone Support: has the power to stimulate hormones and increase your libido or sex drive. It can be considered as one of the natural remedies for impotency and erectile dysfunction. Used as an aphrodisiac for years, patchouli oil boosts your testosterone and estrogen levels, and this can have a huge impact on your intimate relationships.

Insomnia: as a sedative, it helps to treat insomnia; it helps to put your mind and body at ease and allows you to rest peacefully.

Repellent: it will repel mosquitoes, fleas, ants, lice, moths and flies. You can use patchouli oil outside while you are gardening or dining in the backyard, or you can use it inside — especially if you are battling bed bugs or lice; try adding patchouli oil to your laundry detergent or burn five drops of the oil in an oil burner.

Skin Care: regenerates new skin cells, and this keeps the skin looking young, healthy and vibrant. It is also great for all skin types — dry, cracked skin and oily or acne-prone skin; you will see the healing and germ-fighting benefits of this oil either way. Because of its quick-healing properties, patchouli oil minimizes the look of scars or marks that are left from acne, wounds, measles, pox or boils. You can even heal bug bites with this powerful essential oil.

Recipes

Homemade Bug Spray

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup witch hazel

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

40 drops of patchouli essential oil

Glass spray bottle

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients in 8-ounce spray bottle.

Spray over all portions of the body but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth.

Homemade Anti-Aging Serum

INGREDIENTS:

½ tablespoon jojoba oil

½ tablespoon evening primrose Oil

½ tablespoon pomegranate oil

15 drops vitamin E

20 drops lavender oil or frankincense oil

10 drops carrot seed oil

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together into a dark glass bottle. Use every morning and night on face, neck and chest.

Homemade Men’s Cologne

INGREDIENTS:

5 drops cedarwood essential oil

3 drops bergamot essential oil

2 drops sandalwood essential oil

8 ounces (300ml) 70 percent alcohol or vodka

Glass roll on tube or glass cologne spray bottle

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and store in a bottle.

Dab on as needed.

Risks of Using Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli oil does not often elicit irritation or an allergic response when applied to the skin. But you should still be careful when initially applying it in case a reaction occurs. Never apply undiluted patchouli essential oil to the skin.

Because patchouli oil can affect blood clotting, the following people should avoid using patchouli oil:

  • those taking blood-thinning medication
  • individuals who have recently had or will be undergoing major surgery.
  • those with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia

As always, it’s important to remember that essential oils are very concentrated and should be properly diluted before using on the skin or for aromatherapy. Never eat or drink any essential oil without first consulting a qualified medical professional.

Passionflower

Passionflower leaf dried (Passiflora incarnata L.)

With a name like passionflower, it can only be something kind, gentle and calming from nature. While that doesn’t hold true for all sweet names, it does hold true for the passionflower, a wildflower of striking beauty that produces a fleshy fruit. There are many passion flower benefits — it may help reduce and possibly eliminate insomnia, anxiety, inflammation from skin irritations and burns, menopause, ADHD and even more serious conditions such as seizures, high blood pressure and asthma, just to name a few.

Passionflower is a plant in which the parts of the plant above the ground are used, in different forms, to provide natural healing purposes and food flavoring. You may have heard of passionflower tea or passionflower extract — and it’s also found as infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures.

It’s common to see passionflower combined with other calming herbs such as valerian root and lemon balm, chamomile, hops, kava and skullcap.

A perennial, climbing vine, passionflower is typically grown in Europe but is native to the southeastern parts of America. Common names are maypop, apricot vine, passion vine and passiflore.

Benefits of Passionflower

Passionflower is used for stress reduction, calming without sedation, and overcoming insomnia when combined with other calming herbs such as valerian and lemon balm.

May Help Reduce the Effects of Menopause, Including Hot Flashes & Depression: Menopause is associated with feeling of anxiety and depression, which is often caused by low levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a chemical in the brain. Hormone therapy that relies on modern medicine can create a lot of unwanted side effects. Studies have been conducted that show that passionflower can treat menopausal symptoms such as vasomotor signs (hot flashes and night sweats), insomnia, depression, anger, headaches, and may be a great alternative to conventional hormone therapy.

Women are seeking natural remedies more and more, and passionflower may help by increasing the levels of GABA. When the levels of GABA are increased, it helps to decrease the activity of some of those depression-inducing brain cells. The alkaloids in passionflower may prevent the production of monoamine oxidase, which is exactly what anti-depressant medication tries to do. Studies have shown that it may reduce depression, a common problem for women in menopause.

Another study showed that passionflower may reduce those annoying hot flashes! The study conducted used various herbal remedies, and the results showed that anise, licorice, black cohosh, red clover, evening primrose, flaxseed, St. John’s wort, valerian and passion flower may alleviate hot flashes in those that are menopausal as well as those that are premenopausal.

Lower Blood Pressure: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry conducted a research study dosing with 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight using passionflower skin extract. The study found that blood pressure levels were significantly reduced, likely due to the GABA-promoting properties of the extract.

Additional studies that have been published indicating passionflower fruit pulp as a remedy for reducing systolic blood pressure by administering 8 milligrams of passionflower for a period of 5 days. The results indicated that passionflower extract increased levels of an antioxidant enzyme and decreased levels of oxidized lipids that can cause damage from the accumulation of toxins and waste products in the body.

Reduce Anxiety: Passionflower may be helpful in reducing anxiety and has long been known as a folk remedy. It’s believed that certain compounds found in passionflower may interact with some receptors in the brain provoking relaxation. Because passion increases GABA, the activity of some brain cells that may be causing anxiety is lowered and makes you feel more relaxed. Studies suggest that passionflower extracts may even have mild anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure benefits.

A study was performed for four weeks on 36 out-patients that were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The results indicated that passionflower extract was an effective treatment for managing the anxiety and did not negatively affect job performance unlike the synthetic therapy.

Studies suggest that passionflower may reduce anxiety in patients undergoing surgery. Another study found that passionflower had similar affects as an anti-anxiety medication in reducing general anxiety. The properties in passionflower are thought to promote calming effects by increasing the levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces the activity of some neurons that cause anxiety.

Addresses ADHD Symptoms: ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) seems to be an ongoing concern for many parents, and sadly, conventional drugs such as Adderall can cause many unwanted side effects. ADHD is a disorder of the brain which manifests in symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that interfere with a child’s development or daily activities.

The good news is that a survey showed parents opting for alternative ADHD treatments more and more, with nutritional therapies being at the top of the remedy list. Herbs such as Roman chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and passionflower have been noted as possible treatments, though it’s always important to check with your physician first since some may cause allergic reactions. Tests were conducted using the Conner’s parent ratings to see if essential oils could be effective. The results indicate that ADHD symptoms did improve after the use of essential oils.

Improves Your Sleep: Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body, and we all love a good night’s sleep! Studies were conducted of patients who had problems sleeping. The study, focusing on patients with bipolar disorder, tested various natural herbal medicines to include passionflower, and the results showed an improvement in sleep, maybe by reducing anxiety.

Reduces Inflammation: Passionflower may reduce disease-causing inflammation. Analysis were conducted of the phytonutrient and antioxidant contents of the wild passion fruit species, specifically P. tenuifila, and P. setacea. The researchers paid most attention to the seeds and the explants from seedlings as well as the adult version. The high level of phenolic compounds showed the powerful antioxidant activity of the extract of the passionflower plant.

How to Use Passionflower

There are several ways to take passionflower. Most common are infusions, teas, liquid extracts, and tinctures in capsules. Take a trip to your local health food store and see what options they have. You may want to try an infusion or tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Then strain and sip.

You can also try adding passionflower to your bath water for relaxation. The typical dose of passionflower is about 1 to 2 grams, finely chopped. You can make a tea is by steeping a teaspoon of dried herb in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes and you can have two or three cups throughout the day.

If you are taking it to help with sleep, make sure to drink at least an hour before going to bed. Check out my passionflower tea recipe below for added relaxation and to help stop anxiety.

Recipes

Passionflower & Chamomile Anxiety Reliever Tea

1–1/2 teaspoons dried chamomile

1–1/2 teaspoons dried passionflower

1 teaspoon local honey (optional)

I cup of water

Hot Flash Eliminator Passion Rose Tea

1/2 teaspoon dried chamomile

1/2 teaspoon dried passionflower

1/2 teaspoon dried St. John’s Wort

1/2 teaspoon dried valerian root

1 teaspoon local honey (optional)

1 cup of water

Prepare either tea by using a saucepan. Bring the water to a low boil then turn off the stove. Add the herbs to the water. You can use a muslin bag or tea infuser. Cover with a lid right away so that the oils from the flowers do not evaporate. Allow it to steep for about 10–12 minutes. Remove from the stove, strain if needed, and pour yourself a cup. Then add some local, organic honey if desired. Try this at any time when you may feel anxious or at night before bed.

Oral Dosage

Tea: passionflower tea an hour before bedtime is commonly used in improving sleep quality. The typical dose is 0.25 to two grams of dried herb steeped in 150 ml of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.

Fluid extract: 0.5-1 ml, three times a day (1:1 in 25% alcohol)

Tincture: 0.5-2 ml, three times a day (1:8 in 45% alcohol)

Risks and Side Effects

At one time passionflower was approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but in 1978, it was taken off the market due to safety and lack of testing. While studies indicate many positive uses for passionflower, always check with your doctor before taking any new herb in any form.

If you experience nausea, vomiting, drowsiness or any other odd symptoms, even if after a few days, please seek the help of a physician. Do not take if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have medical problems. It may not be suitable for children under 6 months of age.

Herb / Drug interactions:

The NMCD concludes passionflower is “possibly safe” when taken for less than two months as medicine or tea. However, since passionflower has sedating properties, users should exercise caution when taking with alcohol or sedative medications. These include benzodiazepines and tricyclic anti-depressants, anticonvulsants, and barbiturates. Other side effects of taking passionflower orally include dizziness, confusion, ataxia (involuntary muscle movement and loss of coordination), and sedation.

Passionflower may cause dangerous side effects when taken with blood-thinner medications and an older class of antidepressant medication called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOs).

Because passionflower may help lower blood pressure, caution is advised when using this herb with antihypertensive medications.

Palmarosa Oil

Cymbopogon martinii – Palmarosa grass at full Flower blooming stage.This photo at Sesha farms www.sfpalmarosaoil.com during the month of December

Palmarosa Oil (Cymbopogon martini)

Cymbopogon martinii is a species of grass in the genus Cymbopogon (lemongrasses) native to India and Indochina, but widely cultivated in many places for its aromatic oil. It is best known by the common name palmarosa (palm rose) as it smells sweet and rose-like. Other common names include Indian geranium, gingergrass, rosha, and rosha grass.

Origin of Palmarosa Oil

It is a wild growing, herbaceous green and straw-colored grass, with long slender stems, terminal flowering tops and fragrant grassy leaves. It is harvested before the flowers appear and the highest yield is obtained when the grass is fully dried – about one week after it has been cut.

There are two varieties of grass from which the oil can be extracted – motia and sofia. We find the sofia chemotype to be far more active and pleasant smelling – and for this reason the oil sold by us is from this chemotype.

Extraction of this essential oil is done by steam distillation of dried grass which is harvested before flowering. The chief constituents of this oil are geraniol, geranyl acetate, dipentene, linalool, limonene, and myrcene. This oil smells like rose oil, which is how it got the name, palma rosa.

It is often used as an ingredient of soaps, perfumes and cosmetics, and is also used in the flavoring of tobacco.

Composition of Palmarosa Oil

The main chemical components of palmarosa oil are myrcene, linalool, geraniol, geranyl acetate, dipentene and limonene.

In general terms, Palmarosa Essential Oil contains approximately 70-80% monoterpenes, 10-15% esters and around 5% aldehydes. It does not contain the abundance of citral (aldehyde) that Lemongrass Essential Oil and Citronella Essential Oil possesses.

Palmarosa oil is an antifungal that fights against Aspergillus niger (commonly known as black mold), Chaetomium globosum (also known as moldy soil), and Penicillium funiculosum, which is a plant pathogen.

The essential oil of this plant, which contains the chemical compound geraniol, is valued for its scent and for traditional medicinal and household uses. Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective insect repellent when applied to stored grain and beans, an antihelmintic against nematodes, and an antifungal and mosquito repellent.

Benefits of Using Palmarosa

Palmarosa oil calms the mind, yet has an uplifting effect, while clearing muddled thinking. It is used to counter physical and nervous exhaustion, stress-related problems and nervousness.

It is most useful during convalescence and cools the body of fever, while aiding the digestive system, helping to clear intestinal infection, digestive atonia and anorexia nervosa. It is effective in relieving sore, stiff muscles.

Palmarosa oil moisturizes the skin, while balancing the hydration levels and stimulating cell regeneration. It balances production of sebum, to keep the skin supple and elastic and is valuable for use with acne, dermatitis, preventing scarring, rejuvenating and regenerating the skin, as well as fighting minor skin infections, sore tired feet and athlete’s foot.

Palmarosa Essential Oil Uses

Sinusitis & Excess Mucus:  anti-inflammatory effects reduce inflammation caused by infection and irritation. Mucolytic benefits thin mucus and help clear membranes.

Cystitis & Urinary Tract Infection: antibiotic or antimicrobial effects reduce infection and anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce inflammation and increase water and toxin removal.

Gastrointestinal Disorders: it assists in improving intestinal flow and nourishes intestinal flora. It also helps to thin and remove mucus buildup that happens in the intestines with inflammatory foods. Its carminative benefits calm the digestive tract and assist in the expulsion of gas.

Wounds & Scarring: through cytophylactic action it assists in wound healing and tissue regrowth.

Acne: through antiseborrheic actions it helps to reduce oil production of the skin cells. Antibacterial actions reduce skin infection. Anti-inflammatory benefits reduce redness and irritation of skin.

Fungal Infection: its antifungal and antimicrobial benefits reduce fungal growth on the skin and throughout the body.

Restlessness & General Fatigue: Palmarosa has calmative effects that assist in calming the mind and nervous system and allowing the body to relax and heal. Its cephalic actions help to clear the mind and assist in focus.

Muscular Aches: through mild analgesic properties it assists in relieving muscular pain associated with overuse or injury.

Stress & Irritability: as a gentle sedative, relaxant and uplifting oil it helps to counteract the effects of stress on the body and to bring balance to moods.

Insect Bites & Stings: antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits reduce the pain and swelling associated with insect bites or stings.

How to Use Palmarosa Oil

Burners & Vaporizers: In vapor therapy, palmarosa oil can help during convalescence. It relieves fatigue, nervousness, exhaustion and stress, while having an uplifting effect on the mind and clearing muddled thoughts.

Blended massage oil or in the bath: In a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, palmarosa oil can be used on convalescent patients, to fight exhaustion, fatigue, nervousness, stress, bolstering the digestive system, while boosting the health of the skin.

Wash, lotions and creams and used neat (undiluted): Palmarosa oil can help clear up infections and prevent scarring when added to the water used to wash the wound. When included in creams and lotions, it has a moisturizing and hydrating effect on the skin, which is great to fight wrinkles. It also balances the natural secretion of sebum, which keeps the skin supple and elastic.

On cellular level, it helps with the formation of new tissue and for that reason is great for rejuvenating and regenerating the skin. It is most useful when fighting a dry skin and treat skin infections. Some people find that they have great results when applying palmarosa oil neat or undiluted to the affected area of athlete’s foot – but please keep in mind that we do not advocate the use of neat essential oils on the skin.

Precautions

Palmarosa oil has no known contra indications and is considered a non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing essential oil.

Orange Peel

Orange peel dried (Citrus reticulata)

Botanical Name: Pericarpium citri reticulata. Mandarine Oranges/Chen Pi – Citrus reticulata. Bitter Orange (aka Seville Oranges)/Zhi Shi – Citrus sinensis, Citrus aurantantium.

History/Folklore: All species help move Qi stagnation. Mandarin Orange Peel is a better anti-inflammatory, carminative and tonic. The Unripe Green Orange Peel is a cholagogue and carminative.  Bitter Orange Peel moves Qi stagnation, stimulates, expectorates and is a stomach digestive. Another species is tangerines with the Latin name, Citrus tangerina.

For hundreds of years, herbalists trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used mature mandarin orange peel, known as chen pi or ju pi in Chinese medicine, to improve digestion, relieve intestinal gas and bloating, and resolve phlegm. This peel acts primarily on the digestive and respiratory systems. We apply it in conditions involving a sense of distension and fullness in the chest and upper middle abdomen combined with loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, or coughs with copious phlegm.

You will find dried orange peel in Mother Jai’s Raspberry Tea. Shop below.

Immature mandarin orange peel, known as qing pi in Chinese medicine, acts primarily on the liver and stomach to promote digestion, relieve food retention and abdominal distension, and promote good liver function. Practitioners of Chinese herbology use this herb when the sense of distension and discomfort lies primarily under the rib cage rather than the central abdomen. 

The cut peel is traditionally used as a tea, and the powdered peel is used to add a sweet, fizzy flavor to drinks. Many cosmetics call for peel in either cut form or as a powder. Its light flavor makes it easy to add into tea blends, and the peel can also be incorporated into jams, jellies, stir-fry dishes and many other culinary creations.

Symbol of Fertility: Oranges can produce flowers and fruit at the same time so they have become a symbol of fertility.

Health benefits of Oranges

Oranges are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, filled with Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and low in calories. Consuming them more often may protect against heart disease, cancer and diabetes while also helping to improve memory, blood pressure, immune system and overall health. Listed below are few of the popular health benefits of oranges

Helps Prevent Cancer: oranges are wonderful sources of both Vitamin C and hesperidin. These two antioxidants are recognized to help prevent the formation of free radicals – which are known to cause cancer. Vitamin C content is particularly important because a lack of Vitamin C has been shown to help tumors survive. So if you want to help prevent cancer, make sure you eat an orange.

Control Your Diabetes: oranges are a great source of fiber! This can help lower your cholesterol which in turn helps make your diabetes easier to control. Additionally, researches have shown that if you’re a Type I diabetic, consuming a high-fiber diet helps lower your overall glucose levels. And for Type II diabetics, it can improve your blood sugars and insulin levels. Not only that, but getting so much fiber improves your digestion and helps you feel fuller longer. Meaning you’re less likely to attack the pantry for sugary and unhealthy snacks.

Heart Healthy: oranges are high in potassium. And an increase in potassium can help support heart health and decrease the risk of things like stroke and heart attacks. Potassium also decreases your risk of heart disease. Additionally, oranges help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure, which is great for your heart health and for preventing heart problems.

Better Skin: oranges are good for your skin, helping to protect from skin damage caused by the sun and pollution. They also reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. And, as mentioned earlier, Vitamin C helps increase collagen production, which is important for keeping your skin healthy and wrinkle-free.

Science Supports Citrus

Sweet and bitter orange peels have similar constituents. Modern research shows many benefits to these peels or their constituent phytochemicals.

The medicinal actions of  citrus peels come in part from their primary essential oil, d-limonene. D-limonene has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a solvent for cholesterol, which has led some physicians to use it to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones. D-limonene neutralizes gastric acid and supports normal peristalsis, making it useful for relief of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Research also indicates that d-limonene has cancer-preventive properties. 

Citrus peels also contain hesperidin, a flavonoid that reduces the proliferation of cancer cells and induces programmed cell death in human colon cancer cells. Korean researchers found that qing pi extract induces programmed cell death in human colon cancer cells.

A team of scientists from Taiwan investigated the effects of the four citrus herbs mentioned above on adipocyte (fat cell) differentiation. They found that mandarin orange peel (chen pi) markedly reduced production and accumulation of triglycerides (fats) in fat cells, with the highest dose tested reducing triglyceride production by nearly 50 percent.