Geranium

Multicolor Geraniums

Rose Geranium flower & oil (Pelargonium graveolens)

Pelargonium graveolens, Rose Geranium, is an uncommon Pelargonium species native to the Cape Provinces and the Northern Provinces of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is in the subgenus Pelargonium along with Pelargonium crispum, Pelargonium tomentosum and Pelargonium capitatum.

You will find Geranium essential oil in Mother Jai’s Aroma Sprays, Toners, & Bath Oils.

There are many cultivars of P. graveolens and they have a wide variety of scents, including rose, citrus, mint and cinnamon as well as various fruits. Cultivars and hybrids include:

  • P. ‘Graveolens’ (or Pelargonium graveolens hort.) – A rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Possibly a hybrid between P. graveolens and P. radens or P. capitatum. This cultivar is often incorrectly labeled as Pelargonium graveolens (the species). The main difference between the species and this cultivar is the dissection of the leaf. The species had about 5 lobes but the cultivar has about 10.
  • P. ‘Citrosum’ – A lemony, citronella-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’. It is meant to repel mosquitos and rumour has it that it was made by genetically bonding genes from the citronella grass but this is highly unlikely.
  • P. ‘Cinnamon Rose’ – A cinnamon-scented variety of P. graveolens.
  • P. ‘Dr Westerlund’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’.[citation needed]
  • P. ‘Graveolens Bontrosai’ – A genetically challenged form of P. graveolens. The leaves are smaller and curl back on themselves and the flowers often don’t open fully. Known as P. ‘Colocho’ in the US.
  • P. ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’. The leaves are grey – green in colour and beautifully contrast of scented pelargonium varieties.
  • P. ‘Lady Plymouth’ – A minty lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. A very popular variety with a definite mint scent. Possibly a P. radens hybrid.
  • P. ‘Lara Starshine’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ but with more lemony scented leaves and reddish pink flowers. Bred by Australian Plantsman Cliff Blackman.
  • P. ‘Lucaeflora’ – A rose-scented variety of P. graveolens, much more similar to the species that most other cultivars and varieties of P. graveolens.
  • P. × melissinum – The lemon balm pelargonium (lemon balm – Melissa officinalis). This is a hybrid between P. crispum and P. graveolens.
  • P. ‘Mint Rose’ – A minty rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’ but without the variegation of the leaves and lemony undertones.
  • P. ‘Secret Love’ – An unusual eucalyptus-scented variety of P. graveolens with pretty pale pink flowers.
  • P. ‘Van Leeni’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ and P. ‘Dr Westerland’.
Rose Geranium

Composition of Geranium Oil

Geranium oil contains about 67 compounds. The main components of geranium oil are citronellol (26.7 percent) and geraniol (13.4 percent). Other major constituents include:

  • Nerol (8.7 percent)
  • Citronellyl formate (7.1 percent)
  • Isomenthone (6.3 percent)
  • Linalool (5.2 percent)
https://www.planttherapy.com/geranium-egyptian-organic-essential-oil?v=1595

Functions

The most interesting health benefits of geranium include its ability to lower stress levels, reduce inflammation, relieve menstrual pain, strengthen the immune system, ease digestion and improve kidney, skin and hair health. It has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties which help heal wounds faster.

Pelargonium graveolens is a geranium extract used in cosmetics and personal care products as a fragrance ingredient. It is cultivated in large numbers in South Africa, and known for its rose-like scent, although it is also used for other smells it imparts, including citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. It is sometimes known as rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium, according to Wikipedia. It is considered a less expensive alternative to other rose oils, and is often used in aromatherapy formulas as well.

Pelargonium graveolens has other skin care properties as well and is known to create a balance between oily and dry skin by balancing the production of sebum; this balance assists in boosting and improving the elasticity of the skin. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, releasing excess water that may be retained in the tissue. This may not only prevent cellulite but can also relieve swelling. Pelargonium graveolens also has therapeutic abilities that can calm irritated skin, clear acne, and heal bruises, burns, cuts and eczema, due to its astringent, antiseptic, tonic, antibiotic and anti-infectious properties.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Uses of Geranium Oil

In aromatherapy, geranium oil is used to help treat acne, sore throats, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is popular among women due to its rosy smell and its beneficial effect on menstruation and menopause.4 The essential oil can also aid in uplifting mood, lessening fatigue and promoting emotional wellness.

Geranium oil also functions to assist in pain reduction and inflammation. Its antiseptic properties can help speed up the healing of wounds and treat a variety of skin problems, such as burns, frostbite, fungal infections, athlete’s foot and eczema. Hemorrhoids can also be potentially treated with the use of geranium oil.

Frequent travelers can use geranium oil as a natural insect repellent. Topical application can also help heal insect bites and stop itching. It may also be used as a massage oil to help relieve aching muscles and stress. Other uses of geranium oil include:

  • Food — Geranium oil can be added to baked goods, frozen dairy, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and candies.
  • Perfumery — Geranium oil has been used to create an artificial rose scent in fragrances and cosmetics.
Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Benefits of Geranium Oil (OrganicFacts.net & Mercola.com)

Geranium essential oil provides numerous health benefits due its uses as an astringent, hemostatic, cicatrisant, diuretic and many others. Below are just some of the ways this essential oil serves both your physical and emotional health:

  • It causes your gums, muscles, intestines, skin, blood vessels and tissues to contract due to its astringent properties. It assists in preventing skin problems like sagging and wrinkling and helps give your muscles a toned appearance.
  • It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It can aid in inhibiting the bacterial strains Brevibacterium linens and Yersinia enterolitica, as well as the fungal species Aspergillus niger. It can also help prevent bacterial infections.
  • It can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots by helping improve blood circulation just below the surface of the skin and helping promote an equal distribution of melanin.
  • It can help speed up the healing of wounds by triggering blood clotting. This also helps in stopping toxins from reaching your bloodstream through open wounds.
  • It assists in detoxification by increasing the rate of urination. This process of elimination does not only remove toxins from your body, but also aids in your digestive function and helps inhibit the excess gas in your intestines.
  • It can serve as a deodorant due to its fragrant scent. It can also help prevent body odor due to its antibacterial action.
  • The impact of geranium on the nervous system is well known and the plant has been used in this way for generations. If you brew the leaves of its plant, you can produce a tasty tea that has soothing properties, derived from its organic compounds that positively impact the endocrine system and help to balance hormones that cause stress and anxiety. A quick cup of tea when you’re stressed can quickly relieve unpleasant moods and a cluttered mind.
  • Although quite similar to its anti-inflammatory properties, the analgesic ability of geranium has made it a popular traditional remedy for headaches and other injuries. If you suffer from chronic pain or migraines, research has shown that its tea can release endorphins and relieve pain quite rapidly. This effect is relatively mild, and shouldn’t be relied on for permanent pain relief.
  • Geranium relieves symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis, and nose infections because it is a powerful antiviral.
  • Geranium, being a styptic, has the ability to stop hemorrhage as it slows down blood flow by contracting the arteries and veins. It also has hemostatic properties which cause the blood to clot. This helps heal wounds faster.
  • If you’re suffering from cramping, bloating, or a generally upset stomach, drinking a cup of geranium tea can be one of the easiest and most painless remedies. The beneficial organic compounds can quickly soothe inflammation and eliminate bacteria that may be causing the discomfort, and get your gastrointestinal system back to normal!
  • Geranium is excellent for treating a range of women’s health issues from hot flashes and distress during menopause and menstrual cramps. It works two-fold, as a tonic and an antidepressant. It has been traditionally used to stabilize hormonal levels during menopause through its action on the adrenal cortex.
  • If you are looking for a natural skin cleanser and tonic, opt for geranium essential oil. It can be used directly on the skin or added to your bathwater. It helps tighten and tone the skin and keeps it blemish-free.
  • Geranium promotes hair growth because it regulates the secretion of sebum on the scalp. The essential oil can be added to either, carrier oils or shampoo. This helps give the hair a smooth sheen and a lovely, mild rose aroma.
Rose Geranium

The 17 Best Uses for Geranium Essential Oil, A-Z (TheTruthAboutCancer.com)

#1. Adrenal Health – Geranium has been used for centuries for its ability to support the adrenal glands. It acts as a tonic for the paired adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. In so doing, geranium may help those suffering from chronic exhaustion and fatigue.

#2. Allergies – A June 2016 Japanese study found that geranium essential oil had an inhibitory effect on cultured mast cells. These are immune cells involved with triggering allergic reactions, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune dysfunction. Geranium also inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cell signaling protein known as a cytokine, involved in systemic inflammation. TNF is also involved in the regulation of immune cells.

#3. Anxiety, Depression, Nervous Tension – The aroma of geranium is very calming to the nervous system. It helps to relieve nervous tension, melt away anger and aggression, balances emotions, lifts the spirit, and promotes feelings of peace and well-being.

#4. Blood Sugar Problems – Geranium is held in high esteem in Tunisia and is much studied there for its ability to decrease blood glucose levels. Animal studies reported in 2012  revealed that serum glucose levels were significantly decreased in diabetic rats and much more effective than glibenclamide, an antidiabetic drug. Hopefully studies will continue and humans will be included!

Rose Geranium

#5. Brain Clarity & Concentration – Geranium helps to improve cognitive function and improves concentration. It is even being studied for its ability to prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

#6. Cancer – Geranium has long been used by natural healers for its anti-tumoral properties. One 2002 study found that geraniol had anti-proliferative effects (proliferation is the ability of cancer cells to spread) and, when combined with the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil, had twice the cancer-killing action of  5-fluorouracil alone in cultured colon cancer cells. Several of the researchers in that study released a subsequent study in 2004 showing this combination also worked in mice. Researchers observed a 53% reduction in tumor size using the combination of 5-fluorouracil and geraniol.

A Chinese study reported in 2012 stated that the combination of geranium and several traditional Chinese herbs greatly assisted breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. The geranium/herb combination was found to delay or slow the associated reduction of leukocytes (white blood cells involved in immune function) for women receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Research released in May 2016 revealed that citronellol can be used in an interesting way. Researchers combined citronellol with the anti-cancer drug cabazitaxel, a taxane used to fight prostate cancer. The combination (called a conjugate self-assembled nanoparticle, or CSNP) improved the drug’s ability to accumulate at the site of a tumor. Researchers said this method was an effective antitumoral, in vitro (test tube).

Rose Geranium

#7. Candida – Because of its strong anti-fungal properties, geranium has been investigated for candida sufferers. Research reported in 2008 found that of three essential oils studied, geranium was the most effective in combination with Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug, against 11 strains of candida. Geranium helps the antifungal drugs work better and they appear to have a synergistic effect. Another study reported in 2008 on mice found that geranium oil suppressed candida cell growth in the vagina.

#8. Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex) – Due to its anti-viral qualities, geranium essential oil is excellent for helping to heal cold sores. It will reduce the pain and size of a cold sore quickly.

#9. Golden Staph and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) – A research study reported in 2012 demonstrated that geranium has excellent antimicrobial properties against Staphylococcus aureus (“golden staph”) and even methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Indeed, the author’s own mother-in-law was diagnosed with MRSA several years ago. Geranium essential oil was one of several essential oils used topically (on the skin), instead of the antibiotic drugs given to her by the doctor. It completely healed the MRSA in what her doctor called “record time.”

#10. Hair and Scalp Health – Geranium has been used traditionally for decades for hair regrowth. It is known to nourish and tone the scalp. Geranium works on the sebaceous (oil) glands of the scalp, regulating the secretion of sebum. This helps to balance both dry and oily scalps, resulting in smooth and silky hair.

#11. Hemorrhoids – The astringent properties of geranium can help to shrink and heal swollen tissue, and ease the pain of hemorrhoids.

Rose Geranium

#12. Inflammatory Conditions – Geranium, and geraniol in particular, has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. 2014 research indicated geraniol increased interleukin-10 production, which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Because inflammation is involved in many disease processes, from arthritis to hemorrhoids to cancer, geranium essential oil is very useful indeed.

#13. Insect Repellent – Bugs don’t like geranium! It is an excellent insect deterrent. Going hiking? Take your geranium essential oil along. 2013 research found that the phytochemical 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol in geranium was just as effective as DEET against ticks.

Even dust mites don’t like geranium. 2008 research found that geraniol and beta-citronellol out-performed DEET and benzyl benzoate (two common chemically-derived mite and lice deterrents, both with side effects) for controlling dust mites. The beta-citronellol component makes geranium very effective for repelling mosquitoes as well. Several research papers investigating effective botanical insecticides have explored this and other essential oils for their ability to kill mosquito larvae.

#14. Shingles – Research released in 2003 found that application of geranium oil was helpful for relieving nerve pain caused by shingles (herpes zoster). Being a good anti-viral, geranium also helps to speed the healing of shingles.

Rose Geranium

#15. Skin Health, Scars, and Regeneration – Due to its potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties, geranium has been used for centuries in skin tonics, lotions, moisturizers, and balms for such conditions as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, oily skin, and acne. It is balancing to the skin’s production of oil and superb for fading scars.

#16. Urinary Tract Infections – 2011 research examined the effect of geranium oil combined with ciprofloxacin, a commonly used drug for treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Researchers found that the oil/drug combo worked synergistically to effectively kill the bacteria causing UTIs.

#17. Wound Healing – Geranium is a natural styptic − it helps to stop the flow of blood. Geranium also speeds wound healing by triggering blood clotting. This process, together with its natural antiseptic action, keeps harmful bacteria from reaching the bloodstream via open wounds and cuts.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Safety Measures/Side Effects

Pelargonium graveolens is considered a safe and natural ingredient that is repeatedly listed as non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitizing. The Cosmetics Database finds it to be 99% safe and lists data gaps as the only concern.

However, it may cause allergies and sensitivities in some people. If you’re looking for essential oils that offer the same therapeutic benefits as geranium oil does, your options include lavender oil, orange oil, lemon oil and jasmine oil. To be on the safe side, consult your physician before using any essential oils for medicinal purposes.

Geranium infused oil

How to Make Geranium Oil Infusion

Geranium essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the plant’s stems and leaves. When made from young, green leaves, geranium oil appears with a lemon scent. However, if extracted from older leaves that have changed their color, the oil will have a strong rose fragrance. While geranium oil is available in stores, it is possible to create a homemade oil infusion.

What You Need:

  • Geranium leaves
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Carrier oil like jojoba oil
  • Large jar with lid
  • Small jars or bottles with lids
  • Strainer
  • Cheesecloth

Procedure:

  • Remove the leaves from a geranium plant (more leaves mean more oil produced).
  • Remove pests, dirt and other debris from the leaves by washing them in cold water.
  • Dry the leaves by gently patting them with a cloth or paper towel.
  • Using the mortar and pestle, ground the leaves until they are completely mashed and pulpy. Leave the crushed leaves for a few hours.
  • Afterward, transfer the ground leaves to the large jar. Pour some of the carrier oil — just enough to cover the leaves. Then, seal the jar and place it in a cool, dry spot. Set aside for two weeks.
  • Once the two weeks are up, check the scent of the oil. You may add more ground leaves to make the scent stronger and set aside for another week. If the fragrance is too strong, just add some oil to dilute the finished product.
  • To store, pour the geranium oil into the small sterilized jars or bottles through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth. This will separate the crushed leaves from the oil. Once the oil has been transferred, seal the bottles/jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
Pink Geranium

Homemade Conditioner

This homemade conditioner recipe is awesome, for it helps to restore the hairs natural pH, thus rehydrating the hair. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Add 10 drops of geranium oil and see how it helps to condition your dry hair.

 Total Time: 2 minutes  Uses: 20–30

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oils
  • BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottle with dispenser

 Customize Your Conditioner:

  • Rosemary or sage essential oils for all types of hair
  • Lemon, bergamot or tea tree essential oils for oily hair
  • Lavender, sandalwood or geranium essential oils for dry hair or dandruff

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix ingredients together in eight-ounce spray bottle
  • Shake bottle before using and then spray hair
  • Leave in hair for five minutes, then rinse

Tips for Using Geranium Essential Oil

A) Massage geranium into the skin and muscles of the back, especially mid-back and just over the bottom of the rib cage (over area of the kidneys). Use an organic carrier oil like jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan to dilute if desired or if you have sensitive skin.

B) Drip 1-2 drops of oil into your hands and make a tent over your nose and mouth (avoid the eyes), breathe in deeply for a couple of minutes.

C) Using an ultrasonic cool mist diffuser, diffuse several drops of geranium into a room where you intend to sit for an hour or so.

D) Massage oil into the soles of the feet. They have the largest pores in the body and the oil will be in the bloodstream and working in just a few minutes. This method works especially well if digestion is impaired.

E) Gently massage oil into the sides of the neck, overlying the carotid arteries, diluting as described in A above if needed. Also massage into the back of the neck just under the base of the skull.

F) Geranium essential oil is generally regarded as safe for human consumption by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). To take orally, put 1 drop of oil in 3-4 ounces (about 100 ml) of liquid such as almond or rice milk. It can also be combined with 1 teaspoon of honey. Avoid for children under 5 years of age.

G) Massage geranium oil into the abdomen and lower back.

H) Rub a drop of geranium on the affected area, being careful to dilute if you have sensitive skin. If using as an insect repellent, rub geranium into exposed skin.

I) Add a drop or two of geranium oil to one teaspoon of jojoba oil and pat it on topically. Use a small amount of gauze if you wish to hold it in place.

J) Add a drop or two of geranium to your favorite organic personal care products like cleanser, body wash, moisturizer, toner, shampoo, or conditioner.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Important Precautions When Using Essential Oils

If you intend to use geranium essential oil medicinally, please do your homework and work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who is well versed in essential oil usage.

  • Be aware that quality of essential oils varies widely. Find out whether or not your essential oil supplier uses organic growing methods, and knows how to properly distill the oils. Always buy your oils from a trusted source because if they are not organically grown or properly distilled they may be adulterated with toxic chemicals that will not help to heal you… and may indeed cause harm.
  • Do not apply essential oils anywhere near eyes, ears, or sensitive regions of the body.
  • If you have sensitive skin, be sure to dilute essential oils first. If you are unsure, do a patch test on a small area of skin just inside the elbow. You may want to dilute essential oils with an organic carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan.
  • Be cautious when using essential oils with children and in pregnancy. Always dilute essential oils for children. Some oils need to be avoided during pregnancy. When in doubt, work with an experienced expert in essential oils.
  • It is not recommended to use any essential oil by itself as a sole treatment for cancer, or for any other health issues mentioned above. When used in combination with other treatments, both conventional and alternative, essential oils can be very effective in assisting the healing process.

References:

  1. https://kollectionk.com/blogs/news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-skin-care-oils
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_graveolens
  3. https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/pelargonium-graveolens
  4. https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PEGR11
  5. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/geranium-oil.aspx
  6. http://www.reherb.eu/en/content/pelargonium-graveolens
  7. https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pelargonium+graveolens
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312398/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641007/
  10. http://ageless.co.za/rose_scented_geranium.htm
  11. http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/JMPR/article-full-text-pdf/054149D15942
  12. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/med-aro/factsheets/GERANIUM.html
  13. https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/geranium-essential-oil/
  14. http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/33014/1/IJTK%2014(4)%20558-563.pdf
  15. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/rose-geranium.htm
  16. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283051914_An_overview_on_phytopharmacology_of_Pelargonium_graveolens_L
  17. https://draxe.com/10-geranium-oils-benefits-healthy-skin-much/
  18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793238/
  19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25514231
  20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18670079
  21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23401038
  22. http://www.acanceresearch.com/cancer-research/pelargonium-graveolens-rose-geranium–a-novel-therapeutic-agent-for-antibacterial-antioxidant-antifungal-and-diabetics.pdf
  23. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-153-rose%20geranium%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=153&activeingredientname=rose%20geranium%20oil
  24. http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1974-34-3-aromatic-pelargoniums.pdf
  25. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20013071662
  26. https://www.hchs.edu/sites/default/files/files/Geranium%20article.pdf
  27. http://japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/1200_pdf.pdf
  28. https://www.naturalbynature.co.uk/organic-geranium
  29. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/geranium
  30. https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/products/all-about-geranium-oil.html
  31. http://www.essencejournal.com/pdf/2014/vol2issue2/PartA/2-2-8-979.pdf
  32. http://www.doctorsbeyondmedicine.com/listing/candida-geranium-oil
  33. http://www.globalsciencebooks.info/Online/GSBOnline/images/2010/MAPSB_4(SI1)/MAPSB_4(SI1)77-79o.pdf
  34. https://www.rxlist.com/rose_geranium_oil/supplements.htm
  35. https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-30
  36. http://www.worldresearchlibrary.org/up_proc/pdf/420-147558255618-21.pdf
  37. http://ijm.tums.ac.ir/index.php/ijm/article/download/681.pdf/451
  38. http://www.worldresearchlibrary.org/up_proc/pdf/420-147558255618-21.pdf
  39. http://www.theresearchpedia.com/health/aromatherapy/health-benefits-of-geranium-essential-oil

Nasal Breathing for Health

Nasal Breathing is Essential to Good Health

Breathing through the nose is essential to much more than just a sense of smell. The nose is a miraculous filter lined with tiny hairs called cilia. The cilia have many functions: they filter, humidify and warm or cool the air (depending on the temperature) before it enters the lungs. It is estimated that cilia protect our bodies against about 20 billion particles of foreign matter every day!

The mouth is not designed to function in breathing that way. Plus, breathing through your mouth regularly dries out and irritates every membrane in the mouth, throat and lungs. Causing damage to teeth, tongue and gums which are essential for healthy food consumption.

Many of us feel stressed out, overworked, and overstimulated during our daily lives, which leaves us in a chronic state of fight or flight response. Breathing in and out through the nose helps us take fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Also, the lower lung is rich with the parasympathetic nerve receptors associated with calming the body and mind, whereas the upper lungs, which are stimulated by chest and mouth breathing, prompt us to hyperventilate and trigger sympathetic nerve receptors, which result in the fight or flight reaction. Thus, continuing and compounding the stress reaction.

Here are a few more of the benefits of nasal breathing:

  • The lungs extract oxygen from the air during exhalation, in addition to inhalation. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs. And because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do though the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in.
  • When there is proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange during respiration, the blood will maintain a balanced pH. If carbon dioxide is lost too quickly, as in mouth breathing, oxygen absorption is decreased, which can result in dizziness or even fainting.
  • Air that we inhale through the nose passes through the nasal mucosa, which stimulates the reflex nerves that control breathing. Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes regular breathing difficult, which can lead to snoring, breath irregularities and sleep apnea.
  • Breathing through the nose forces us to slow down until proper breath is trained; therefore, proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress.  It also helps prevent us from overexerting ourselves during a workout.
  • Our nostrils and sinuses filter and warm/cool air as it enters our bodies.
  • Our sinuses produce nitric oxide, which, when carried into the body through the breath, combats harmful bacteria and viruses in our bodies, regulates blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
  • Mouth breathing accelerates water loss, contributing to dehydration.
  • Mouth breathing leads to dry mouth which is the leading cause of tooth decay, gingivitis and bone loss in the jaw. Fluoride does not correct these issues.
  • The nose houses olfactory bulbs, which are direct extensions of part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for many functions in our bodies, particularly those that are automatic, such as heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite and sleep cycles. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion.
  • Research is showing strong links between mouth breathing and asthma. The more you breathe with your mouth open the more inflammation builds in the lungs, causing constriction of the bronchioles. The body is getting too much oxygen and is trying to slow down oxygen intake. It makes the individual feel short of breath until oxygen/carbon dioxide levels are restored in the blood.
  • The increased oxygen we get through nasal breath increases energy and vitality.

Training Yourself to Breathe Through Your Nose

Now that we have learned how bad mouth breathing is for our health in our post on Mouth Breathing, we know that nasal or nostril breathing is essential to develop.

Here are some simple ways to establish nasal breathing:

  1. Begin by clearing your nose by blowing it, getting some steam or with a nasal wash. If you’re a mouth breather clearing out the cobwebs is essential to get the sinuses open and working again.
  2. Then take a few minutes to practice keeping your mouth closed and slowly breathe in and out through your nose. Notice the way the sinuses feel with proper use.
  3. Next, simply remind yourself to close your mouth throughout the day. Set a reminder on your phone or put post-its by mirrors. Anything you will see or hear that will make you think about breathing though your nose.
  4. The more you stick with it, the more it becomes habit, just like any other practice.

There are products and ideas out there online that can help you with your specific situation. Many people find it beneficial to tape their lips shut to assist in the learning process. Either way you will find that you feel calmer and more relaxed even without changing your world completely. Nasal breathing is essential to whole body health and it is too bad many of us have forgotten this.

Clary Sage

Clary Sage oil (Salvia sclarea)

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Extraction Method: Steam Distilled
  • Plant Part: Leaves and flowering tops.
  • Strength of Aroma: Medium

Aromatic Scent: Clary Sage essential oil has an earthy, fruity and floral aroma that is both nutty and herbaceous. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Euphoric’.

Blends Well With: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Geranium, Jasmine Absolute, Lavender, Neroli, Orange, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang.

The chief components of clary sage essential oil are sclareol, alpha-terpineol, geraniol, linalyl acetate, linalool, caryophyllene, neryl acetate, and germacrene-D.

The health benefits of clary sage essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antidepressant, anticonvulsive, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue, euphoric, hypotensive, nervine, sedative, stomachic, and a uterine substance.

Purported Oral Uses and Benefits

In folk medicine, salvia sclarea extract is used as a general health tonic. It is purported to help treat mental fatigue, depression, anxiety, kidney disease, tension and migraines as well as to prevent and treat muscle spasms. It is also used to promote oral health and treat sore throats, bad breath and toothaches. Due to its estrogenic properties, it is used to restore hormonal balance, and to relieve symptoms of both premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Herbs2000.com states that salvia sclarea is beneficial for the treatment of a variety of digestive problems, such as upset stomach, gas, and both chronic and acute indigestion.

Health Benefits

Fights Depression: Clary sage oil can boost self-esteem, confidence, hope, and mental strength, thereby efficiently fighting depression. This can be very helpful for forms of depression due to failure in career or personal life, insecurity, loneliness, stagnation, the death of a friend or loved one, and many other reasons. Clary sage oil also relieves anxiety. As an antidepressant, it can be systematically administered to patients suffering from acute depression who are undergoing rehabilitation.

Works as Stress Reliever: Clary sage serves as an antidepressant and as one of the best natural remedies for anxiety; it boosts confidence and mental strength while alleviating feelings of anxiety and failure. It also has euphoric properties, leaving you with a feeling of joy and ease. A 2010 study conducted in South Korea found that clary sage oil could be developed as a therapeutic agent for patients with depression. For the study, antidepressant properties were measured in rats with a forced swimming test; clary oil had the strongest anti-stressor effect.

Reduces Convulsions: It calms down and reduces convulsions, whether they are epileptic or from some other nervous disorder or mental condition. Clary sage essential oil brings peace of mind and acts as a sedative for tense nerves.

Relieves Spasms: Clary sage oil is useful in the treatment of spasms and related ailments such as muscle cramps, spasmodic cough, stomachache, headache, and spasmodic cholera. It relaxes the nerve impulses and doesn’t allow uncontrollable spasms to occur.

Prevents Bacterial Infections: This type of essential oil kills bacteria and fungi, curbs growth and spread of bacterial infections, and also protects against new infections. Studies show that clary sage essential oil is particularly beneficial in curing bacterial infections affecting the colon, intestines, urinary tract, and excretory system. It is equally effective in inhibiting the bacteria from entering our body through water or food.

Prevents Infections: Wounds will not become septic, nor will they be infected with tetanus germs if clary sage oil is topically applied to them. The antiseptic qualities can protect the body during surgical recovery and in all types of wounds that are typically hot spots for infections.

Stimulates Sexual Desires: This is one of the most well-known properties of clary sage oil. It is an aphrodisiac, which means a substance or stimulus that boosts libido and feelings of sexual desire. It is very effective in treating frigidity, psychological problems resulting in loss of libido, and even impotency. Studies have shown it to be equally effective for both, males and females. It affects the hormones and increases testosterone levels, which can increase performance and interest in sexual activities.

Prevents Hair Loss: If you think that your gums are weakening their hold on your teeth, sooner or later, they will start falling out. Speak to a dentist, but it is never a bad idea to use clary sage oil because it has astringent properties. It does not only strengthen your gums but also strengthens and tones the skin, muscles, and hair follicles, preventing hair loss and making you look and feel younger. It functions as an antioxidant in this way by tightening up the skin that might be sagging due to the activity of free radicals present in the body.

Skin Care: More specifically, there is an ester present in clary sage essential oil called linalyl acetate, which reduces skin inflammation and heals rashes. Furthermore, it balances and regulates the production of natural oils in the skin, reducing both oily and dry skin and making your skin look young and beautiful. It is recommended to be used directly or mixed with a carrier agent like almond oil to facilitate maximum absorption and effect.

Reduces Flatulence: Clary sage oil, owing to its carminative properties, can eliminate gas as quickly as a needle empties a balloon! That is, it will eliminate excess gas in your body through flatulence, which will reduce the sensation of being bloated. You might find it funny, but gas can actually be fatal when it pushes upwards and hits the delicate organs inside your chest cavity, so a downward movement is always the safest way to expel them. This essential oil also inhibits the formation of gas in the first place.

Regulates Menstruation: If you are having troubles with irregular, obstructed or painful menses, you can try clary sage oil before you spend a fortune on specialized treatment from a gynecologist. There is no need to worry since it has no adverse side effects. It simply stimulates the opening of obstructed menses and makes them regular, while easing the pain. It also cures dizziness and mental irritation during menses as well as in cases of Post Menopause Syndrome (PMS). Furthermore, it can help to reduce the symptoms and negative effects associated with menstruation like cramping, bloating, mood swings, and cravings for food by balancing the hormones that run rampant during this time for women.

Reduces Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones. Cholesterol travels in the lipids (fatty acids) of the bloodstream, which is also called plaque, and can build up in the walls of the arteries. This decreases the flow of blood to vital areas of the body, and if the plaque continues to build, it significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of clary sage oil are cardio-protective and help lower cholesterol naturally. Clary sage oil also decreases emotional stress and improves circulation — two very important factors for reducing cholesterol and supporting your cardiovascular system.

Relieves Depression: Clary sage oil can induce a feeling of immense joy, confidence, pleasure, and high spirits and fill you with the desire to live your life to the fullest. This is why it is frequently used to cure depression, chronic stress, and anxiety.

Relieves Insomnia: People suffering from insomnia can find relief with clary sage oil. It is a natural sedative and will give you the calm and peaceful feeling that is necessary in order to fall asleep. When you can’t sleep, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. Insomnia affects not only your energy level and mood, but also your health, work performance and quality of life. Two major causes of insomnia are stress and hormonal changes. An all-natural essential oil like clary sage can cure insomnia without drugs by alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety, and by balancing hormone levels.

Lowers Blood Pressure: Clary sage oil is very effective in reducing blood pressure by relaxing the veins and arteries, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and brain hemorrhaging. By reducing blood pressure, it widens the blood vessels and allows for increased circulation, resulting in increased oxygenation to the muscles and organ system, boosting your overall metabolic performance.

Increases Circulation: Clary sage opens the blood vessels and allows for increased blood circulation; it also naturally lowers blood pressure by relaxing the brain and arteries. This boosts the performance of the metabolic system by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets into the muscles and supporting organ function. A study done at the Department of Basic Nursing Science in the Republic of Korea measured clary sage oil’s ability to lower blood pressure in women with urinary incontinence or involuntary urination. Thirty-four women participated in the study, and they were given either clary sage oil, lavender oil or almond oil (for the control group); then they were measured after inhalation of these odors for 60 minutes.

Acts as a Nervine: Clary sage essential oil is good for your nerves. It sedates nervous convulsions and other disorders such as nervousness, vertigo, anxiety, and hysteria.

Lowers Inflammation: Do you need to calm down? Do you want to concentrate? Or do you simply want to relax and have a good night’s sleep? Clary sage oil can help you with all of these. It reduces inflammations and has an undeniably calming effect. People suffering from chronic stress or anxiety disorders find great comfort by using clary sage essential oil.

Reduces Stomach Disorders: This oil also maintains the health of the stomach and regulates secretion of digestive juices. In this way, it prevents stomach disorders and helps to stimulate efficient absorption of nutrients, digestion of food, and regulation of bowel movements. It also helps in the healing of ulcers. By regulating bowel movements, it can also protect the integrity of your colon and reduce the chances of serious gastrointestinal conditions, including colorectal cancer.

Eliminates Bad Odor: Buying synthetic deodorants is not only expensive but they also negatively impact the environment. Their pleasant smell effect only lasts for a short time. Moreover, sometimes they produce skin irritation and allergies. Clary sage oil can be a far better choice as a deodorant, because, in diluted form, it serves as an efficient deodorant without any side effects. It is natural, so it doesn’t impact the environment, and its effects can last for a long time.

Promotes Digestion: Clary sage essential oil promotes digestion and relieves symptoms of indigestion. It boosts the secretion of gastric juices and bile, thereby speeding up digestion and easing the process, which relieves cramping, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.

Improves Uterus Health: Clary sage oil helps to maintain good health of the uterus. It prevents some of the most common uterine problems that women have after menopause, including uterine tumors, bleeding, and pain. Furthermore, it regulates hormones like estrogen and ensures a long-term health of the uterus, thereby reducing the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer.

Fights Leukemia: A promising study conducted at the Department of Immunology, Hellenic Anticancer Institute in Athens, Greece, examined the role that sclareol, a chemical compound found in clary sage oil, plays in fighting leukemia. The results showed that sclareol is able to kill cell lines through the process of apoptosis. Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death; research involving the role of apoptosis has increased substantially since the early 1990s. An insufficient amount of apoptosis results in uncontrolled cell proliferation, such as cancer.

Other Benefits: Clary sage essential oil can be used to battle addiction (particularly drugs) and can stimulate a change in mentality towards a positive way of approaching life. Furthermore, it is anti-inflammatory in nature and can treat backaches and joint pain. In terms of skincare, it can help to regulate excess sebum production and prevent acne from forming. It also eases labor and reduces labor pains.

Uses at Home

For menstrual pain, combine Clary Sage with Geranium, Marjoram and Carrot Seed. Add to your favorite carrier oil and use as a daily moisturizer or diffuse into the air for its mood-enhancing properties. For topical application dilute to 2-4%.

Combination therapy with at least Clary Sage and Lavender appears to be effective in reducing menstrual pain.

For stress relief and aromatherapy, diffuse or inhale 2–3 drops of clary sage essential oil.

To improve mood and joint pain, add 3–5 drops of clary sage oil to warm bath water. Try adding clary sage oil to my Homemade Healing Bath Salts to boost your mood and bust feelings of stress.

For eye care, add 2–3 drops of clary sage oil to a clean and warm wash cloth; press cloth over both eyes for 10 minutes.

For cramp and pain relief, create a massage oil by diluting 5 drops of clary sage oil with 5 drops of a carrier oil (like jojoba or coconut oil) and apply it to needed areas.

For skin care, create a mix of clary sage oil and a carrier oil (like coconut or jojoba) at a 1:1 ratio. Apply the mixture directly to your face, neck and body.

To ease digestion, massage the abdomen with equal parts clary sage oil and a carrier oil, or use a hot compress with 3–5 drops of clary sage oil soaked into it.

To enhance healing prayer or meditation, mix 6 drops of clary sage oil with 2 drops of frankincense, white fir or orange oils. Add the mixture to a diffuser or oil burner.

To naturally relieve asthma symptoms, mix 4 drops of clary sage oil with lavender oil and massage the blend on the chest or back.

For hair health, massage equal parts clary sage oil and rosemary oil into your scalp while showering.

Considerations

Salvia sclarea is generally recognized as safe, and there are no reported side effects. Despite its safety, pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid the herb. Due to the effect that salvia sclarea has on estrogen, people with estrogen-related disorders such as breast cysts and uterine fibroids, should avoid long-term use of this herb. It should be noted that the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database warns that there is currently insufficient research to determine the efficacy of salvia sclarea for its purported uses.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Use clary sage oil with caution during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester or when using it in the abdomen; clary sage can cause uterine contractions that may be dangerous. Clary sage oil is not for infants or toddlers.

There have been claims that clary sage oil brightens eyes, improves vision and protects loss of vision due to premature or normal aging; however, there is not enough research to suggest that essential oils be used in the eyes just yet. It may not be safe and should be discussed with your ophthalmologist first.

Avoid using clary sage oil during or after alcohol use; reports indicate that this may lead to vivid dreams and trouble sleeping. When using clary sage oil topically, make sure to test yourself for skin sensitivity. Apply the oil to a small area first to make sure you won’t have a negative reaction.

Chloral hydrate and hexobarbitone interact with clary sage oil; they cause sleepiness and drowsiness, and clary sage seems to increase the effects of these medications.

Word of Caution: It can enhance the intoxicating effects of alcohol and other narcotics since it is a relaxant and a sedative by nature. Heavy dosage can also cause headaches. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid using it since there has not been enough research done on the transference of effects through breast milk to children.

References:

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Citronella

Citronella oil (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella oil is extracted from Cymbopogon nardus (also known as Andropogon nardus) and is of the Graminae (Poaceae) family. It is also known as Sri Lanka or Lenabatu citronella. The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles and incense, perfumery, cosmetic, and flavoring industries throughout the world. Citronella oil is also a plant-based insect repellent and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.

Oil properties: Citronella oil has a slightly sweet, lemony smell. It blends well with bergamot, geranium, lemon, orange, lavender and pine.

Extraction citronella oil: Citronella oil is extracted by the steam distillation of finely chopped fresh, dried or part-dried grass.

Chemical composition: The main chemical components of citronella oil are citronellic acid, borneol, citronellol, geraniol, nerol, citral, citronellal, camphene, dipentene and limonene. Major constituents of the oil were geraniol (35.7% of total volatiles), trans-citral (22.7%), cis-citral (14.2%), geranyl acetate (9.7%), citronellal (5.8%) and citronellol (4.6%). The antifungal assay using the vapor-agar contact method showed that the crude essential oil markedly suppressed the growth of several species of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Eurotium at a dose of 250 mg/L in air. Citronellal and linalool completely inhibited the growth of all tested fungal strains at a dose of 112 mg/L. Their minimum inhibitory doses ranged from 14 to 56 mg/L. The α- and β- pinenes showed an inhibitory activity against some fungi, whereas the other 8 volatile compounds lacked this property.

Precautions: Citronella oil may irritate sensitive skin and cause dermatitis in certain individuals.

Therapeutic properties: The health benefits of Citronella Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, insect repellent, stomachic, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge substance. Citronella oil has strong antifungal properties, and is effective in calming barking dogs.

  • Citronella oil’s most useful quality is that of it being an insect repellent. It is best used in a spray, a diffuser or on a cotton ball amongst linen. It is also useful in ridding cats and dogs of fleas.
  • Furthermore, citronella oil helps to clear the mind and has a general toning and tonic effect on the body. It is helpful with colds, flu and minor infections, and has deodorizing qualities.
  • Citronella has been proven as an effective antimicrobial for aquatic animals, thus naturally supporting our aquaculture needs. Essential oil of C. nardus demonstrated its potential as alternative to commercial antibacterial agent.

Origin of citronella oil: It is extracted from a hardy grass, native to Sri Lanka and Java. This aromatic perennial grows about 1meter (3 feet) high and is a popular ingredient in wax candles, as an insect repellant, and is also widely used in perfumes, soaps, skin lotions and deodorants. The essential oil of citronella is extracted from two varieties of citronella. The first one is the Ceylon variety, whose scientific name is Cymbopogon nardus and the second one is Java variety, called Cymbopogon winterianus in botanical terminology. In both cases, the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh plant.

Benefits Of Citronella Essential Oil

Inhibits Bacterial Growth: Components like methyl isoeugenol and a few others that are found in this essential oil are responsible for this property. They kill bacteria and inhibit any further bacterial growth in the body. This is particularly helpful in treating infections in wounds, as well as in the colon, urethra, urinary bladder, stomach, intestines, urinary tracts, prostate, and kidneys.

Fights Depression: This oil fights depression and gives relief from anxiety, sadness, and negative feelings. It induces a fresh, happy feeling and hope.

Relaxant and Stress Reducer: Commonly used to control emotions in aromatherapy, it can help relax your mind and contribute to reduced stress reactions and better sleep for people who can’t sleep. Try diffusing citronella oil in your home, massaging it into skin or spraying it onto your bed sheets.

Eliminates Infections: The antiseptic properties of this essential oil fight infections in wounds, as well as the urinary tracts, urethra, prostate, and kidneys, while simultaneously protecting them from being sepsis.

Relieves Spasms: It relieves spasms of the muscles, respiratory system, and nervous system. It also helps to cure menstrual spasms and gives relief from symptoms such as cramps and coughs. When it comes to dealing with cramps, swelling and pain, citronella can help improve blood flow that lowers muscle spasms and tenderness. Try massaging citronella oil mixed with a carrier into sore muscles or onto the abdomen when dealing with PMS cramps.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Citronella essential oil sedates inflammation, particularly those situations which pertain to the liver, stomach, intestines and other parts of the digestive system. The inflammations caused as side effects of drugs, excessive use of alcohol or narcotics, hard & spicy food, any disease, or any toxic element getting into the body can also be alleviated using this oil.

Removes Bad Odor: The crisp, rich citrus or lemon-like aroma of this oil drives away body odor and is used in deodorants and body sprays, although in very small quantities, since in heavy doses it may create skin irritations. It can also be mixed with the bath water to have a refreshing bath.

Eliminates Toxins: The diaphoretic properties of this essential oil increase sweating and promote the removal of toxins and other unwanted materials like excess water, fat, and salts from the body. This makes the body feel lighter, keeps the skin healthy and also reduces fever. This also protects you from certain infections.

Stimulates Urination: The increase in the frequency and quantity of urination due to this property of citronella essential oil has many benefits. It disposes of waste substances and toxins from the body, including uric acid, excess bile, acids, and salts, as well as water and fats. This helps reduce weight, eliminate infections in the urinary system, free the body from toxins, reduce chances of renal calculi, rheumatism, and arthritis, improve digestion, and keep the heart healthy.

Reduces Fever: While the diaphoretic property of this oil increases perspiration, its anti-inflammatory property reduces inflammation, while the antimicrobial property fights infections. The combined effects of these three properties fight fever and reduce body temperature.

Inhibits Fungal Growth: This oil kills fungus and inhibits fungal growth. This is very useful in countering fungal infections in the ear, nose and throat region. Contracting fungal infections in the ears are very common and can be very serious. It eliminates fungal infections in other parts of the body as well and helps cure fungal dysentery.

Insect Repellant: This is one of the most commonly used properties of this essential oil, as it kills and keeps away insects. It has been found particularly effective on a species of mosquito, called Aedes aegypti whose bite causes the dreaded yellow fever. This is also effective on lice, body and head louse, and fleas.

Prevents Stomach Disorders: The use of this oil clears the stomach from infections and other problems and helps it function properly.

Natural Skin Care Remedy: Aside from keeping away bug bites, research shows citronella can also help heal dermatitis, naturally treat eczema, slow skin aging, heal bug bite scars and treat some fungal infections on the skin. It enhances penetration of skin and speeds up wound healing, which might be beneficial for remedying acne, getting rid of warts, treating boils and healing age spots. It can also help skin appear youthful and smoother and even block damage done from sun exposure. Add a very small amount to coconut oil and massage it into the face, or try adding one to two drops to your shower or facial wash. As an easy-to-make home remedy for acne, try dabbing one drop of pure citronella essential oil on blemishes three times a day, but make sure you use a sterile cotton swab.

Pet Controller: Although it might sound strange, citronella oil is effective in calming barking dogs and can even be used on furniture to help keep your pets off. As a bonus, when you spray citronella on your furniture or linens, it keeps them free from bacteria, pests and odors. Add several drops to a spray bottle along with water, shake it up, and spray it throughout your home and on household items.

Natural Shampoo and Conditioner: One of the most popular uses for citronella oil is cleansing and conditioning the hair and scalp. It can help eliminate excess oil and greasiness of hair while also fighting dandruff and adding shine. Many people find it adds volume to hair, detangles knots and helps protect hair color from sun damage. Add several drops to your shampoo or conditioner, or try making your own homemade recipe using a cleansing oil like coconut oil, which also benefits hair.

Homemade Citronella Oil Bug Spray Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops mixed essential oils (citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree or rosemary)
  • glass spray bottle

DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients in eight-ounce spray bottle. Spray over all portions of the body, but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth.

References:

  1. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/citronella.htm
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citronella_oil
  3. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bjce/v28n2/19.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696851/
  5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1fe6/87211ff91490329db0ac82e55941e787e1ed.pdf
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238783168_Chemical_Composition_and_Antifungal_Activity_of_Essential_Oil_from_Cymbopogon_nardus_Citronella_Grass
  7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-citronella-essential-oil.html
  8. https://draxe.com/citronella-oil/
  9. https://www.planttherapy.com/search?Store_Code=PT&q=citronella

Bergamot

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

Other Names: Aceite de Bergamota, Bergamot, Bergamot Orange, Bergamota, Bergamotier, Bergamoto, Bergamotte, Bergamotto Bigarade Orange, Citrus Bergamia, Citrus aurantium var. bergamia, Huile de Bergamote, Oleum Bergamotte.

HERBAL MISCELLANY: Despite the fact that the bergamot fruit is inedible, the oil has many culinary and house hold uses. It is the characteristic flavor of Earl Grey tea, and is used as a fragrance for pipe tobaccos.

Bergamot Essential Oil –

Common Method of Extraction: Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled (less frequently)

Plant Part Typically Used: Citrus Rind (Peel)

Oil Color: Green/Golden

Aromatic Description: Fresh, orange/lemon/citrusy, slightly floral.

Bergamot Oil Uses: Acne, abscesses, anxiety, boils, cold sores, cystitis, depression, halitosis, itching, loss of appetite, oily skin, psoriasis, stress.

Major Constituents: (+)-Limonene, Linalyl acetate, Linalool, Sabinene, Gamma-Terpinene, Bergapten

BLENDS WELL WITH: Chamomile, citrus oils, coriander, cypress, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon balm, neroli, nutmeg, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, violet, ylang ylang

Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit. Oil taken from the peel of the fruit is used to make medicine. Some people treat a skin condition called psoriasis by applying bergamot oil directly to the skin and then shining long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light on the affected area. Bergamot oil is also applied to the skin (used topically) for a tumor caused by a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides) and for pigment loss (vitiligo). It is also used as an insecticide to protect the body against lice and other parasites. Bergamot oil is sometimes inhaled (used as aromatherapy) to reduce anxiety during radiation treatment. In foods, bergamot oil is widely used as a citrus flavoring agent, especially in gelatins and puddings. In manufacturing, bergamot oil is used in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and suntan oils.

Healing with Bergamot

  • releases emotional pain
  • works as a powerful antidepressant
  • relieves joint and muscle pain
  • aids digestive system
  • soothes skin irritations
  • works as a sedative
  • cleanses oily skin
  • kills germs and bacteria
  • relieves stress
  • reduces cough

Analgesic: Bergamot essential oil reduces the feeling of pain in the body. Actually, it stimulates secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain. Therefore, it is very helpful in case of headaches, sprains, muscle aches or any other symptoms or ailments which require a heavy dosage of analgesic pills. This means that you can avoid the dangerous side effects of many over the counter pain medicines, which often have adverse side effects and can damage your liver and kidneys, as well as cause blood thinning and insomnia.

Antispasmodic: It relaxes nerves and muscles, thereby giving quick relief for cramps, convulsions, and painful muscle contractions. This can also be important for people with chronic coughing or respiratory conditions, as well as asthma, which is similar to a spasmodic reaction.

Antiseptic & Vulnerary: The same disinfectant and antibiotic properties of bergamot oil make it a good antiseptic agent. It not only promotes fast healing of wounds, cracks on the skin and heels, ulcers, eczema, and itching but also protects wounds from becoming septic and developing deadly tetanus. It not only treats and heals the effects of other infections but inhibits the formation of new ones.

Cicatrisant: This property of bergamot oil is the reason behind its extensive use in cosmetics and skin care products such as beauty soaps, creams, and lotions. Cicatrisant means a property or an agent which helps scars and other marks on the skin to disappear. It also makes the distribution of pigments and melanin uniform, resulting in the fading away of marks and an even, attractive skin tone. This essential oil is commonly used to eliminate the unsightly effects of acne, which can leave noticeable scars and marks on the affected areas for many years.

Digestive: As discussed above, bergamot essential oil activates and increases secretions of the digestive acids, enzymes, and bile and facilitates digestion. It also synchronizes and regulates the peristaltic motion of the intestines and in this way, it quickens the digestive process and reduces strain to the intestinal tract. In this way, bergamot essential oil can reduce constipation, make bowel movements regular, and prevent gastrointestinal complications like colorectal cancer and other uncomfortable or dangerous conditions.

Deodorant: This property of bergamot oil is popular among the younger generation who is always trying new deodorants, searching for something refreshing and natural. Bergamot essential oil is an excellent deodorant. Its refreshing aroma and disinfectant properties, which inhibit the growth of germs causing body-odor, make it an effective and attractive delivery system as a deodorant. Citrus smells are very powerful and can overcome or eliminate many other odors, which is why Bergamot oil is also used in room fresheners and sprays.

Febrifuge: A febrifuge is a substance or an agent that reduces fever and lowers body temperature. Bergamot is a good febrifuge for a number of reasons. First of all, as an antibiotic, it fights infections that arise from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa that cause fever, including influenza (virus), malaria (protozoa) and typhoid (typhus bacteria). Secondly, it stimulates the metabolic system and gland secretions, thereby providing a feeling of warmth and resulting in additional secretion (perspiration or sweat) from the Eccrine glands (sweat glands) and sebaceous (sebum) glands, thus reducing body temperature. This can also reduce the toxicity of the body through perspiration, and clean out the glands and pores of any foreign toxins that can result in a variety of skin conditions.

Relaxant & Sedative: The flavonoids present in Bergamot oil are very good relaxants as well. They soothe nerves and reduce nervous tension, anxiety, and stress, all of which can help cure or treat ailments associated with stress such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression. They can also stimulate the activity of certain hormones in the body, which induce feelings of relaxation and sedation, like dopamine and serotonin.

Vermifuge: It kills worms, and it is a subtle and fragrant choice for children who have contracted worms. It can also be applied on unhealthy, infected teeth or used as a mouthwash to kill oral germs and protect teeth from the development of cavities. Intestinal worms can result in malnourishment and other serious deficiencies including various forms of anemia, so eliminating these worms, particularly in growing children, is a very important application of bergamot essential oil.

Other Benefits: Bergamot essential oil is also a tonic, which means that it tones up the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, and nervous system, as well as skin and muscles. It is also anti-congestive and is used in vaporizers to relieve congestion and respiratory problems, particularly during coughs and colds. It works as an expectorant to loosen up phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts and helps the body to eliminate through natural avenues like sneezing and coughs, thereby reducing the total amount of material and eliminating some of the germs and toxins that caused the condition in the first place.

Medical Uses for Bergamot

  • Anxiety during radiation treatment. Developing evidence suggests that inhaling bergamot oil as aromatherapy does help reduce anxiety in people receiving radiation treatment.
  • Assists in alleviating symptoms and complications of bacterial infections – According to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bergamot oil can produce positive results against Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis bacteria that are resistant to the potent antibiotic vancomycin. These enterococcal species are a common source of a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections (UTI), bacteremia, endocarditis, and meningitis. Just add bergamot oil to your sitz bath or hip bath to help prevent the spread of bacterial infections from the urethra into the bladder.
  • Acts as a substitute for statins – A newly published research in the Journal of Natural Products revealed that citrus bergamot has statin-like principles and carries the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) moiety. Today, 1 in 4 Americans over age 45 now takes cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, typically for the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes. If you’ll ask me, not only is their benefit highly limited to those with a genetic condition, but these drugs come with an avalanche of potential side effects, too. Keep in mind: there are far better ways to prevent heart disease than taking statins or unnecessarily lowering your cholesterol, including eating right, exercising, and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
  • Psoriasis, when used along with UV light. Early research suggests that applying bergamot oil to the skin along with UV light is not more effective than UV light alone for reducing plaque psoriasis.
  • Treating a tumor under the skin due to a fungal infection (mycosis fungoides), when used along with ultra-violet (UV) light.
  • Speeds up the healing process for cold sores, mouth ulcers, and herpes – Bergamot oil has a similar antibacterial effect on shingles and chickenpox, which are also caused by the varicella zoster virus from herpes. Apply bergamot essential oil topically on affected area until condition improves.
  • Helps prevent and improve skin conditions from fungal infections – In a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Italian researchers have proven bergamot essential oil’s amazing antifungal properties when used as a topical remedy for infections brought by candida fungus strains.
  • Helps reduce anxiety and stress – Experts say that when used in aromatherapy preparations, bergamot oil can help lessen stress and anxiety levels of patients prior to surgery. It also helps relieve depression. Learn how aromatherapy can resolve your anxiety issues.
  • Protecting the body against lice and other worms or parasites.
  • Loss of the color pigment on the skin (vitiligo).

POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used on the skin (topically), because it can make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer. People who work with bergamot can develop skin problems including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun, and cancerous changes.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

  • Children: Bergamot oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth in large amounts. There have been serious side effects, including convulsion and death, in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use bergamot oil on your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE.
  • Diabetes: Bergamot might lower blood sugar levels. This could affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
  • Surgery: Bergamot might lower blood sugar. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during surgery. Stop using bergamot at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with BERGAMOT. Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Topical use of bergamot oil might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Using bergamot oil topically along with medication that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun. Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).

References:

  1. Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.
  2. B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1981-1987 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1989), 39-40.
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  5. P. Dugo, L. Mondello, A.R. Proteggente, et al., Oxygen Heterocyclic Compounds of Bergamot Essential Oils. (Rivista Italiana EPPOS 27, 1999), 31-41.
  6. SCCP, Opinion on Furocoumarins in Cosmetic Products. (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, 13-Dec.-2005), SCCP/0942/05.
  7. Sources cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 211.
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  15. Antimicrobial Chemotherapy June 2008, 61(6):1312-4
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