May Chang

 Litsea cubeba foliage and flowers. Photo taken on Anma Mountain (鞍馬山), Da Xue Shan Forest Recreation Area (大雪山森林遊樂區), Tzuyu Village, Hoping HsiangTaichung CountyTaiwan, with a Nikon D200 digital camera.

May Chang (Litsea cubeba)

May chang (Litsea cubeba), often referred to “mountain pepper” for the fruit’s resemblance to a pepper, is a kind of citrus that grows in China. It has a bright, lemony aroma and, like other citrus oils, offers uplifting and cleansing benefits. It is a wonderful addition to the collection of any essential oil user.

This shrub is native to China and areas of Southeast Asia. The essential oil is extracted through distillation from the small fruits that are grown on tress featuring white or pale yellow flowers. The flowers have a lemony aroma similar to the aroma of the essential oil.

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Bright, lemony, and energizing, it is most commonly known for its usefulness in dealing with skin problems. This oil has uplifting properties, and it has a strong effect on promoting mental and physical well-being.

Blends Well With: Bergamot, Citronella, Clove Bud, Geranium Egyptian, Ginger Root CO2, Grapefruit Pink, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram Sweet, Orange Sweet, Petitgrain and Rosemary 1,8-Cineole.

Benefits of May Chang Essential Oil

  • In massage treatments, May Chang can act as a digestive and liver tonic, particularly useful in abdominal massage.
  • May Chang can also help to clear the head and refresh the mind and spirit, soothing and restoring frayed nerves.
  • When used in a diffuser, this oil has uplifting qualities. It is known for lowering blood pressure and relieving stress without causing drowsiness. It can also promote overall physical and mental well-being.
  • May Chang has natural insect repellent qualities. It can be blended into body lotion, shampoo, or liquid body wash to help repel mosquitoes. Adding a couple drops to a candle and placing it outdoors will help keep pests away.
  • This oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties making it popular for use in skin care products. It is useful for preventing the growth of bacteria that can cause acne. Some people use it to treat eczema and similar skin conditions.
  • As an astringent, it is used to eliminate excess skin oil and shrink enlarged pores. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help clear up skin irritation. Users should always dilute the oil before applying it to the skin. This skin tonic is said to leave skin feeling silky-smooth and refreshed.
  • This oil is known to have a stimulant action on the digestive system and can even help in case of poor appetite. The blend of May Chang oil and a carrier oil is perfect for massage over the stomach to improve digestive tract function.
  • Combined with a carrier oil on throat, chest, neck and back provides instant relief from respiratory infections. This essential oil even helps in quieting down coughs and improving cold too.

Cautions

To avoid the risk of various safety issues, we recommend a maximum dilution of 0.8% for topical applications. Possible drug interactions. 

Recipes

May Chang Toner 

Ingredients:
8 drops Aura Cacia May Chang Essential Oil
10 drops Aura Cacia Tea Tree Essential Oil
2 fluid ounces witch hazel
2-ounce Aura Cacia Amber Glass Mist Bottle 

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Directions:
In bottle, combine oils and witch hazel. Replace lid, shake until well blended, then mist face, avoiding eyes. 

References:

  1. https://www.planttherapy.com/may-chang-essential-oil
  2. https://www.epainassist.com/articles/uses-of-may-chang-essential-oil
  3. https://plantessentials.com.au/blogs/news/81438913-exploring-the-health-benefits-and-uses-of-may-chang-essential-oil
  4. https://lumitylife.co.uk/pages/oil-ingredient-may-chang
  5. https://www.tisserand.com/aromatherapy/may-chang-ethically-harvested-pure-essential-oil-9ml/
  6. https://www.aromaweb.eu/product/organic-may-chang-essential-oil-litsea-cubeba-10ml/

Lemon Balm

By Andrea_44 from Leamington, Ontario , Canada – Lemon Balm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54215765

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa, balm mint, or common balm that is an herbaceous and perennial plant of the mint family. The plant is used in herbal remedies, teas, perfumes, and as flavoring. It is also known as bee attractant because it is used to attract bees when creating a hive for honey production. Melissa is Greek for honey bee.

It is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.

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Many people believe it has calming effects, so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves’ disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.

This wonderful plant contains the flavonoids, quercitrin and rhamnocitrin; the 7-glucosides, apigenin, kaempferol, quercetin, and luteolin; phenolic acids and tannins; rosmarinic acid and glycosidically bound caffeic and chlorogenic acids; and the triterpenes, ursolic and oleanolic acids.

The leaf is full of quercetin, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced by the body to prevent allergies. People with allergies do not produce enough quercetin.

Research on Benefits of Lemon Balm

Anxiety: when taken in combination with other herbs can reduce anxiety symptoms.

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Colic in Breast-Fed Infants: when combined with fennel and German chamomile reduced crying time.

Dementia: supplementing lemon balm by mouth three times a day has proven to improve symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Herpes Simplex viral infections: lemon balm lip balm has proven effective at shorten healing time and reduce symptoms and recurring infections.

Insomnia: lemon balm supplementation twice daily has shown improvement in sleep in people with sleep disorders.

Stress: research shows that taking a single dose of lemon balm reduces anxiety, improves memory, and increases alertness. Has been proven to reduce child anxiety when visiting the dentist. Low doses are best, higher doses have been known to increase anxiety.

Steam distilled from the fresh aerial parts of the Melissa plant, USDA Certified Organic Melissa Essential Oil is revered amongst oil users. This high-quality Organic Melissa Essential Oil is 100% pure and undiluted with absolutely no additives or fillers.

When you open a bottle of Organic Melissa your senses will be taken over by the fresh, lemony scent that is uplifting and calming during times of gloom and extreme worry. Only a small amount is necessary to enjoy its incredible therapeutic properties.

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Organic Melissa can help ease occasional digestive upset, help calm the mind in order to fall asleep more peacefully and relieve tension in the head or neck.

Add 1 drop of Organic Melissa Essential Oil to your Aroma Diffuser, personal inhaler, or diffuser necklace to create a peaceful atmosphere that can help reduce worry or calm the mind during times of emotional gloom.

Dilute at a maximum of 1% with your favorite carrier oil and rub on the abdomen in a clockwise motion when occasional digestive upset occurs.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_balm
  2. https://www.planttherapy.com/melissa-organic-essential-oil?v=1902&gclid=Cj0KCQiAzKnjBRDPARIsAKxfTRAHe1B7Fsi_m8cKZ7ZpxC_0wwFZF69A8ujeenAU95lwmB75tdeLt0EaAk3fEALw_wcB
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-437/lemon-balm
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/melissa-officinalis
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871149/
  6. https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MEOF2
  7. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Melissa+officinalis
  8. https://www.medicinenet.com/lemon_balm_melissa_officinalis-oral/article.htm
  9. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/7860456/
  10. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7144806_Lemon_balm_Melissa_officinalis_L_an_evidence-based_systematic_review_by_the_Natural_Standard_Research_Collaboration
  11. https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=32565#null
  12. http://www.fao.org/3/X5043E/x5043E0i.htm

Spike Lavender

Spike Lavender oil (Lavandula spica & latifolia)

There are three basic types of Lavender available.

The first is Spike Lavender (Lavandula spicata). This wild character smells a bit like its name would lead you to believe…rough and spiky. It is full of camphoraceous notes and is not likely to soothe or relax you.

The second are the True Lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis). This type of Lavender can be further divided into what the French call Fine or Population lavenders, and the Clonal Lavenders.

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  1. A Clonal Lavender is a True Lavender that has been bred for certain characteristics (most usually a sweet bouquet) and which is propagated by taking cuttings from the parent plant, as opposed to by seed.
  2. The Population Lavenders are the original Lavenders of Provence and because they are grown from seed, each plant will have a unique genetic make up and this can be seen in the variance in the appearance of the plants in the field. This variance also gives the essential oil a rich complex bouquet, and a correspondingly rich therapeutic potential. Population Lavenders require cool air to thrive, so they are only found at high elevations.

The third and final group are the Lavandins. Lavadins are types of Lavender produced by interbreeding the True Lavenders with the Spike Lavenders. There are many different strains of Lavadin, of which Abrialis, Super and Grosso are perhaps the most common. The reason that so much of the ‘lavender’ sold these days comes from strains of Lavandin plants is because these hybrid plants grow vigorously to a large size, they resist disease, and they have large flower spikes that yield a lot of oil – making the essential oil inexpensive.

Lavandula spica (spicata)

A beautiful dwarf form of English Lavender. Very Fragrant, intense blue flowers are held on short erect stems during spring summer. The flowers are held above a neat, compact, silver-grey mound of camphor scented foliage just 25cm across. Great cut flowers and dries beautifully.  Lovely small specimen for pots or makes a very tidy border edging plant. Enjoys full sun in well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Tolerates dry periods. Frost hardy once established.

Spike Lavender is differentiated by its minty, herbal scent. This aroma is helpful for supporting the respiratory system as well as local circulation. Spike Lavender is also more stimulating and active on the skin than Lavender Angustifolia.

Spike lavender is wonderfully cooling when hot flashes hit. Not nearly as harsh as peppermint and yet cools the entire system when applied in diluted form onto the skin. Assists in balancing hormones associated with body temperature and regulation.

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Blends well with:  Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Black Spruce, Cedar Atlas, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Globulus, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Silver Fir, Frankincense, Hyssop Decumbens, Inula, Lavender, Oregano, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Peppermint, Wild Scotch Pine, Rosemary Cineol, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Wintergreen.

Safety Information: Do not apply directly on young children. Do not ingest.

Maximum Adult Dilution: 19%; 114 drops per ounce of carrier

Recommended Dilution: 1-5%; 6 – 30 drops per ounce of carrier

Lavandula latifolia

Known as broadleaved lavender, spike lavender or Portuguese lavender, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean region, from central Portugal to northern Italy (Liguria) through Spain and southern France. Hybridization can occur in the wild with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). The scent of Lavandula latifolia is stronger, with more camphor, and more pungent than Lavandula angustifolia scent. For this reason the two varieties are grown in separate fields.

Aromatically, Spike Lavender Oil tends to blend well with the same families of essential oils that traditional Lavender Oil does including other floral, mint and coniferous oils. Rosemary Essential Oil, depending on the chemotype, also tends to have a large percentage of camphor. If you particularly like the aroma of Rosemary Oil, you should find the aroma of Spike Lavender Essential Oil appealing.

Spike Lavender Essential Oil possesses usage applications similar to that of traditional Lavender Oil. However, it’s greater percentage of the constituent camphor gives it stronger analgesic and expectorant properties. It is a better choice to ease headaches or use as an expectorant in the diffuser. Diluted for topical use, it can be used to help ease aches, pains or the discomfort associated with arthritis. It is also reported to be effective in repelling insects.

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Due to its camphor content of up to 25%, Spike Lavender Essential Oil should be used with care. Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young do not specify any contraindications for Spike Lavender Essential Oil, but state that it may be mildly neurotoxic. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 329.]

Properties : Nervous system regulation, calming, sedative, anti-depressive, powerful antispasmodic, muscle relaxer, hypotensive, general and pulmonary antiseptic, heart tonic and tonic, cardiac nerves contrastimulant, skin repair, skin regeneration (external use), anti-inflammatory, analgesic

Indications : Infectious, cicatricial or allergic skin ailments, acne, couperosis, psoriasis, pruritus, eczema, wounds, burns, insect bites, razor burn, eschars, ulcers, stretch marks, insomnias, sleeping disorders, spasms, irritability, anxiety, depressive state, stress, cramps, contractures and muscular spasms, hypertension, palpitation, tachycardia, nervous disorders, asthma, digestive spasms, nausea, migraine, rheumatisms

Energetic and Emotional Effect: Solar plexus action. Lavender calms irritations associated with power confrontations and interpersonal relationships. It also calms anxious people and anger in general.

For congestion: Massage around the ear and lymphatic nodes with a few drops, pure or diluted in vegetable oil.

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To calm anxiety and stress episodes: Apply five or six drops on the solar plexus (diaphragm) and massage while breathing slowly and profoundly.

To ease sleep: Mix one drop of essential oil in two table spoons of maple syrup. In your mixer, blend 500ml of plain yogurt

References:

  1. https://www.seedscape.net.au/shop/hardy-perennial/lavandula-spicata-muffets-children/
  2. https://www.essentialoils.gr/en/essential-oil-singles/208-lavender-spike-essential-oil-bio-lavandula-latifolia-cineolifera-florihana.html
  3. https://dengarden.com/gardening/Best-French-English-Lavenders-Lavender-lavendar-grow-in-Zone-5-ontario-flowers-herbs
  4. https://bodybliss.com/blog/a-lesson-in-lavender-june-20th-/
  5. http://veriditasbotanicals.com/products/essential-oils/lavender-spike/
  6. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/spike-lavender-oil.asp
  7. https://everything-lavender.com/spike-lavender.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26441063
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949814000799
  10. https://www.iso.org/standard/55964.html
  11. http://eol.org/pages/590824/details
  12. https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lavandula_latifolia
  13. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/371559-Lavandula-latifolia
  14. https://aliksir.com/en/lavender-spike-lavandula-latifolia-essential-oil.html

Lavender Oil

Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia/officinalis)

Lavender is perhaps the most well-known of the essential oils and for good reason. Lavender essential oil is renowned for its many beneficial properties, including promoting calm, relaxation, and being a nervous tension reliever. It can also be added to a carrier oil to help reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles and help soothe alterations in skin integrity, such as during sun exposure or a minor cooking burn.

Early and modern aromatherapy texts advocate for lavender’s use as an antibacterial essential oil. The leaves and stems of the plant were used to prepare decoctions against digestive system diseases and rheumatism, and lavender was valued for its cosmetic purposes. The Romans used lavender oil for bathing, cooking and purifying the air. And in the Bible, lavender oil was among the aromatics used for anointing and healing.

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You will find Lavender essential oil in many of Mother Jai’s products.

The proven health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, prevent acne, enhance blood circulation, and treat respiratory problems. Lavender oil is used extensively in aromatherapy and works as a natural sleep aid. Its potent antibacterial nature makes it a wonderful household cleanser and deodorant.

Lavender essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant (Lavandula angustifolia), primarily through steam distillation. Lavender flowers are known for their calming fragrance and have been used for making potpourri for centuries. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”. This is because lavender flowers and lavender essential oil have been used since ancient times by the Romans, Persians, Greeks, and Egyptians as a bath additive and perfume.

Lavender essential oil is a pure oil and differs from certain commercial lavender oils which may be diluted and are often sold as perfumes. Lavender perfume and body sprays are popular due to their fresh and floral scent. On the other hand, pure lavender essential oil is frequently used in various forms including as an aromatherapy oil, in gels, infusions, lotions, soaps, baby products, and candles. It is also used to make tea, lemonades, syrups, aromatic beverages, and in baked dishes.

Lavender (scientific name Lavandula angustifolia) is commonly contaminated with related species, including Lavandula hybrida, which is a cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, from which lavandin oil is obtained.

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PARTS USED: Flowering tops

EXTRACTION METHOD: Water-steam distilled

NOTE CLASSIFICATION: Middle

AROMA: Sweet, floral, herbaceous

BLENDS WELL WITH: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Cedar Atlas, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Grapefruit, Juniper Berry, Cistus / Labdanum, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mandarin, Sweet Marjoram, Oakmoss Absolute, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Ravensara aromatica, Rose, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Thyme, and Vetivert.

Major Constituents of Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil: Linalyl acetate, Linalool, (Z)-B-Ocimene, Lavandulyl acetate, Terpinene-4-ol, B-Caryophyllene, (E)-B-Farnesene, (E)-B-Ocimene, 3-Octanyl acetate, etc. See Essential Oil Safety for constituent breakdown for oils distilled from Lavender angustifolia grown in other regions.

[E. Schmidt, The Characteristics of Lavender Oils from Eastern Europe. (Perfumer & Flavorist 28, 2003), 48-60. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 326.]

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BENEFITS & USES OF LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL

Acne, allergies, anxiety, asthma, athlete’s foot, bruises, burns, chicken pox, colic, cuts, cystitis, depression, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, earache, flatulence, headache, hypertension, insect bites, insect repellent, itching, labor pains, migraine, oily skin, rheumatism, scabies, scars, sores, sprains, strains, stress, stretch marks, vertigo, whooping cough. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.]

Aids in Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion because it increases the mobility of food within the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile, thus aiding in the treatment of indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Air Freshener: The same way you use lavender oil as a perfume, you can use it around your home as a natural, toxic-free air freshener. Either spray lavender oil around your home or try diffusing it. To create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom before you fall asleep, try spraying the lavender oil and water mixture directly onto your bed sheets or pillow.

Anti-bacterial: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to a variety of diseases. Lavender has antibacterial and antiviral qualities that make it perfect for defending the body against rare diseases like TB, typhoid, and diphtheria, according to early research in the 20th century.

Antidepressant: Some research shows that lavender aromatherapy reduces depression after childbirth in some women.

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Antioxidant Protection: Free radicals, like toxins, chemicals and pollutants, are arguably the most dangerous and most common risk factor for every disease that affects Americans today. Free radicals are responsible for shutting down your immune system and can cause unbelievable damage to your body. Thankfully, lavender essential oil is a natural antioxidant that works to prevent and reverse disease

Bug Repellent: The smell of lavender essential oil is potent for many types of bugs like mosquitoes, midges, and moths. Apply some lavender oil on the exposed skin when outside to prevent these irritating bites. Furthermore, if you do happen to be bitten by one of those bugs, lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory qualities that will reduce the irritation and the pain associated with bug bites.

Chemical Free Lip Balm: Lavender oil is excellent for preventing sunburns on the lips and also healing chapped, dried lips. Try adding a couple of drops of oil to shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil or another “carrier oil” and then rubbing it into your lips for protection whenever you will be in the sun.

Colic Relief in Babies: through its pain relieving and anti-anxiety benefits, babies with colic experience calming relief when applied to the feet or diffused in the room. Results from one small study show that massaging a combination of lavender and almond oils onto the belly of infants for 5-15 minutes at the onset of colic reduces crying time by about 7 hours per week.

Complementary Cancer Therapy: A 2012 study published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines shows that aromatherapy, particularly using lavender oil, helps patients with cancer cope with stress, nausea, chronic pain and depression. Because lavender oil works to stimulate the immune system, boost mood, improve sleep and fight stress, it can be used as a therapeutic agent.

There is a significant research on the effects of lavender, in combination with other essential oils, as a way to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer in mice. This could be an indication of an increased chance of lavender battling carcinogenic effects and the presence of cancer.

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Massaging lavender oil into the back of your neck, chest, wrists and temples can induce relaxing and calming effects. If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain, or pain at the site of injections, apply 2–3 drops of lavender to the affected area.

Dementia Support: because lavender improves circulation and has strong antioxidant benefits the chances of developing dementia are reduced. It can also help to improve events and their longevity when patients have dementia. Some research shows that using lavender oil in a diffuser at night reduces agitation in people with dementia.

Diabetes Natural Treatment:  In a nutshell, lavender essential oil treatment protected the body from the following diabetes symptoms:

  • Increased blood glucose (the hallmark of diabetes)
  • Metabolic disorders (especially fat metabolism)
  • Weight gain
  • Liver and kidney antioxidant depletion
  • Liver and kidney dysfunction
  • Liver and kidney lipoperoxidation (when free radicals “steal” necessary fat molecules from cell membranes)

Ear Infections: Early research shows that administering ear drops containing lavender and other herbal extracts improves ear pain in people with ear infections. However, this herbal combination does not appear to be more effective than using a skin-numbing agent along with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Fall Prevention: There is some evidence that attaching a pad with lavender oil onto the neckline of clothing reduces the risk of falling by 43% in nursing home residents.

Flavor Booster: Lavender is a great flavor enhancer in things like grain-free muffins, teas and even salad dressings. Lavender oil is completely edible, but you will want to use a very small amount since the taste is very powerful. You’ll also want to purchase only a high-quality, 100 percent pure grade oil from a reputable company.

Heals Cuts & Burns: Widely known for its antimicrobial properties, for centuries lavender oil has been used to prevent various infections and combat bacterial and fungal disorders. Research shows that lavender oil speeds the healing of burns, cuts, scrapes and wounds — and a big part of this is because of its antimicrobial compounds.

A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated how lavender’s antimicrobial ability is enhanced when it’s blended with other essential oils, like clove, cinnamon and tea tree oil. Researchers found that a 1:1 ratio of these oils was found to be the most effective in fighting against Candida albicans and Staph aureus — two common causes of many fungal and bacterial infections that lead to respiratory pneumonia and skin funguses.

A 2016 study conducted on rats found that lavender oil promoted wound healing in the early phase by accelerating the formation of granulation tissue (tissue from the healing surface of the skin) and promoting collagen synthesis. The area of wounds treated with lavender oil was significantly decreased compared to the control group.

Healthy Skin & Hair: Most likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential oil mixed with a carrier oil (like coconut, sunflower, or grapeseed oil) has profound benefits on your skin. Using lavender oil topically can help to improve a number of skin conditions, from canker sores to allergic reactions, acne and age spots. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help to ease skin conditions and reverse signs of aging.

Studies also show that lavender oil, along with other essential oils like thyme, rosemary and cedarwood, can significantly improve alopecia areata and hair loss when massaged into the scalp daily.

Improves Blood Circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving the circulation of blood in the body. Researchers from the Department of Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, Chiba University in Japan suggests that aromatherapy using lavender oil has beneficial effects on coronary circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and is often used as a treatment for hypertension. This means that not only do the organs increase their levels of oxygenation, promoting muscle strength and health, but brain activity can have a noticeable boost, skin remains bright and flushed with blood, and the body is protected from the risks of heart attack and atherosclerosis often associated with poor blood circulation.

Early research shows that using an essential oil mixture of lavender, lemon, and ylang ylang as aromatherapy might reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number) but not diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) in people with high blood pressure.

Induces Sleep: Because of lavender oil’s sedative and calming properties, it works to improve sleep and treat insomnia. A 2015 study involving 158 mothers in their postpartum period were divided into the control or intervention group. The intervention group inhaled lavender oil before bed four times a week for eight weeks. The women using lavender oil displayed a significant improvement in sleep quality when compared to the control group.

Early research shows that using lavender oil in a vaporizer overnight, or on a gauze pad left beside the bed, might help some people with mild insomnia sleep better.

A mixture of lavender oil, Roman chamomile essential oil and magnesium oil is the best combination for improving sleep. Just rub this mixture into the back of your neck and wrists to induce a calm, peaceful feeling.

Lice Deterrent: it has been shown to be very effective on lice, lice eggs, and nits.

Mouth Sores: Research shows that applying 2 drops of lavender oil to the affected area three times daily can reduce canker sore swelling and pain and shorten the time it takes for canker sores to heal.

Natural Perfume: Do you want to smell good without using toxic perfumes? Lavender oil is a great scent for both women and men. You can either try adding pure oil directly to your skin, or you can dilute oil in water or with a carrier oil for a more subtle scent.

If you’d like to rub the oil right onto your skin, try adding 2–3 drops into your palms and then rubbing your hands together. Then rub the oil directly onto your skin or hair. You can also try using 2 drops of lavender oil added to a spray bottle with about ½ cup of water. Shake up the spray bottle and then spray whatever you’d like.

Neuroprotective Effect: A study published in Brain Research (February 2014) showed that lavender oil has the potential to reduce brain edema and improve functional ability in people affected by cerebral ischemia. While lavender has traditionally been used in many cosmetic and therapeutic applications due to medicinal properties, this study confirms that lavender oil has potent neuroprotective properties. Furthermore, the oil helps increase antioxidant capacity in the body and inhibits oxidative stress.

Promotes Wound Healing: Lavender essential oil is an excellent essential oil to have on hand as it helps treat minor cuts, bruises, and burns. According to a 2016 study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal, the essential oil boosts the synthesis of collagen and heals skin tissues. Just rub a few drops of lavender essential oil on the bruised area or on burns to increase blood circulation and healing. It can also be used to soothe skin irritations, razor bumps, and sunburn.

Relieves Headaches: It’s one of the best essential oils for headaches because it induces relaxation and relieves tension. It works as a sedative, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant and calming agent. According to a study published in European Neurology, people struggling with migraine headaches saw a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes.

Relieves Pain: Lavender essential oil is known as an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore and tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache, and lumbago.

Several studies have found that lavender oil helps as a natural painkiller. Simply rubbing lavender into the area of concern can reduce inflammation and pain intensity, helping to alleviate the symptoms of many health conditions.

Another study, published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that a combination of lavender, marjoram, peppermint and black pepper essential oils improved neck pain when applied to the affected area daily.

And yet another recent study proved that lavender oil, when massaged into the skin, can help to relieve dysmenorrhea, which is associated with menstrual pain and cramping in the lower abdomen. The results of this study suggest that lavender oil can be used as a natural remedy for PMS and menstrual cramps.

Relieves Stress & Anxiety:  In 2013, an evidence-based study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that supplementing with 80 milligram capsules of lavender essential oil alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression. Additionally, in the study there were no adverse side effects, drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms from using lavender oil.

The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology published a human study in 2014 that revealed that Silexan (otherwise known as lavender oil preparation) was more effective against generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than placebos and the prescription medicine paroxetine. After treatment, the study found zero instances of withdrawal symptoms or adverse side effects.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): One study shows that massaging the legs with lavender oil for 10 minutes twice weekly can reduce the severity of restless legs syndrome in people with kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis.

Stimulates Urine Flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders because of its stimulating effect on urine production. Furthermore, it helps in restoring hormonal balance and reducing cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces associated cramps with these and other disorders.

Stomach Discomfort: Many people find the scent of lavender to be soothing to the stomach. If you are feeling nauseous or know that you are going to be traveling in a car of plane and are prone to motion sickness, spray some lavender oil on your skin and clothes, or rub it into your temples, next and palms.

Supports Brain Function: Research also shows that lavender oil serves as a natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease! Studies conducted on rats show that inhaling lavender essential oil vapor can help to prevent brain oxidative stress and improve cognitive impairment.

Also, in 2012, the Swiss journal Molecules printed the results of a study that shockingly proved that lavender oil is a viable treatment option for neurological dysfunctions such as stroke. Researchers believe that lavender’s neuroprotective effects are due to its antioxidant properties.

Treats Acne: Pure lavender essential oil inhibits the bacteria that cause the initial acne infection, helps to regulate the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal manipulation and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal. Adding a small amount of lavender essential oil to other skin creams or ointments can greatly increase the potential for relief and healing.

Treats Eczema: Premium organic lavender oil is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. It is commonly used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns because it improves the formation of scar tissues. It is also added to chamomile to treat eczema.

Treats Respiratory Disorders: Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infection, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. It can be put in in an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser or alternatively, it can be topically applied to the skin of neck, chest, and back. It is also added to many vaporizers and inhalers that are commonly used for cold and cough. The stimulating nature of lavender essential oil can also loosen up the phlegm and relieve congestion associated with respiratory conditions, thus speeding up the recovery process and helping the body naturally eliminate phlegm and other unwanted material. The vapor of lavender essential oil also has antibacterial qualities which can battle respiratory tract infections.

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL SIDE EFFECTS & PRECAUTIONS

For most people, lavender oil benefits are all that you’ll experience and using lavender oil is completely safe; however, there has not been an extensive amount of scientific research done on lavender oil interactions with other medications, or for its use in pregnant women, so there are certain situations where you will want to use caution.

Medication Interactions: If you are already taking any prescription medication for sleep-related disorders or for depression, be cautious of the fact that lavender can increase the effectiveness of these medications. Even if you use an over-the-counter sleep aid or any type of sedatives (even cough or flu medicine), keep in mind that lavender makes many people sleepy and even somewhat drowsy, so it’s best to not combine lavender oil with other medications or sleep-related supplements. If you are planning on undergoing anesthesia in the near future, you will also want to avoid using lavender oil.

Pregnant Women: Lavender oil is generally considered safe for women who are pregnant and nursing. Because it can have a relaxing effect on muscles and can also affect hormone levels, use lavender with caution in your third trimester. It’s best to speak with your doctor about use of any essential oils when pregnant, since it has not been guaranteed that these are safe at this time.

Children: Lavender oil is considered generally safe for children to use, although there is some concern that lavender’s effect on hormone levels could be harmful for boys who have not yet gone through puberty. Although there isn’t strong evidence for lavender being a hormone disrupter (only 1–2 very small studies were ever completed), parents are told to use caution if using lavender oil frequently on young children.

Ingesting Lavender Oil: Studies have primarily looked at the effects of using lavender oil topically on the skin or through inhalation. There have been no negative symptoms found when three drops of oil are mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin. A 2013 evidence-based article, however, highlighted that lavender can be ingested at a large dose of 80 to 160 milligrams without adverse effects, except for minor gastrointestinal symptoms. To avoid gastrointestinal irritation, keep internal use to a minimum and be careful if you have a sensitive digestive system. There are no known food interactions of lavender oil at this time.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12112282/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880178/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23351960
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  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24373672
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23808618
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24456909
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22789792
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  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424179/
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  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443384/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/#B74
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26051566
  20. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2008.03.007
  21. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00023210-200620040-00001
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29955514
  23. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/740813/abs/
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192562
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325408/
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746639/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804257/
  28. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1103/abstract
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24384140
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  31. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender
  32. https://draxe.com/lavender-oil-benefits/

Hops Flower

Hops Flower (Humulus lupulus)

Also known as:  Houblon, Pliny the Elder, Lupulin

Parts Used:  Flowers (female), fruit (strobiles), leaves

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Systems/Organs affected:  brain, stomach, nervous system, heart, liver, digestive, respiratory, gall bladder, hormonal, pancreas, urinary

Properties:  febrifuge, nervine, anodyne, bitter tonic, sedative, hypnotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, lithotriptic, aperient, anaphrodisiac, stimulant, estrogenic, expectorant, anti-carcinogenic, galactogogue

Hops is a member of the Cannabaceae (Cannabis) family and a distant relative of marijuana.  That, in and of itself, is amazing.  It is a vigorous plant native to Europe but now cultivated all over the globe.  It has stout, hairy stems that allow it to climb up to 26 feet!  It is a dioecious perennial (meaning it has both male and female flowers) that has a dark, green, heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges.  The female hop flowers form strobiles (a kind of vining axis of bracts and stipules) that zigzag.  Each branch has a bract which bears a pair of stipules which holds another 4-6 bracts, each holding a flower.  When harvesting, the aerial portion of the plant is cut and the roots left in the ground to produce a new crop the following year.  The root stock can live to be up to 50 years old.  The best time to harvest in this region is between August and September when the flowers turn a rusty brown and have a yellowish powder on them.  Hops should be dried immediately and then refrigerated until used as the bitter components in the plant break down quickly (between 50-70% in 6 months).

You will find Hops Flowers in Mother Jai’s Relax & Sleep Tea

The Anglo-Saxons referred to hops as ‘hoppari’ which means ‘to climb’.  Humulus comes from the Slavic word ‘chmele’ which the Romans then changed to the Latin ‘lupulus’ which means ‘wolf’ or ‘small wolf’.  The Romans believe hops would strangle the plants they climbed, similar to how a wolf kills its prey.  Pliny consumed the young shoots in spring much like the country folk of England still do today; apparently it is much like asparagus and the young tops were bundled and brought to market to sell.

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Earlier practitioners stated that oil of hops would restore even a bald head to full hair.  Mesue the Younger (around 1000-1015), an Arabic practitioner, wrote that hops reduced fevers, purified the blood, purged yellow bile from the body and is responsible for 17 different anti-inflammatory effects.  Other Arab physicians also spoke of it being a digestive bitter.  In Ayurvedic medicine hops is used to alleviate headaches, nervous tension and indigestion.  King Wencelas IV incorporated hops into his coat of arms in recognition of its rejuvenating effects.  (He recommended taking a cold brew sludge bath).  Our Native Americans have long used hops for a host of conditions.  The Fox and Delaware tribes used it as a sleep agent and for relaxation (the Delaware also used it for toothaches and earaches).  The Cherokee used it as a sedative, analgesic, for kidney and bladder stone, as an anti-rheumatic and to help with uterine and breast-related issues.  The Dakota used it for gastrointestinal problems and for wound healing while the Navajo used it for colds and coughs.

Hops contains a powerful antioxidant called xanthohumol.  It has a very high scavenging rate against peroxyl radicals which are one of the most common reactive oxygen species in the body.  In vitro tests on this substance have found it to be anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative (prevents the spread of malignant cells into surrounding tissues), decreases plasma glucose and lipid levels, is antimutagenic, anti-carcinogenic and may be important in diabetes.

Hops contains isohumulones, another amazing compound found to reduce insulin resistance.  A randomized study of 20 volunteers with mild type 2 diabetes found their hemoglobin AIC’s and blood glucose levels significantly decreased after eight weeks on isohumulones (100 mg twice daily).  Another such study on 94 patients found a marked decrease in overall body fat after 12 weeks of supplementation (48 mg).  Other research indicates hops may be used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatism and osteoarthritis.  Xanthohumol is under study for its use against both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and the Linus Pauling Institute has shown recently that is is active against ovarian, breast and colon cancers (at least in a lab).  They believe it also may help to prevent prostate cancer. 

Uses & Effectiveness

Body odor. Early research suggests that applying a deodorant that contains hops and a specific zinc salt to the underarm can reduce body odor.

Insomnia. Some research suggests that taking a combination of hops extract plus valerian extract at bedtime helps some people fall asleep faster. It appears to take 28 days of treatment to see these benefits. However, a combination of valerian extract and hops extract seems to improve sleep quality similarly to bromazepam (Lexotanil) when taken for only 14 days. Sleep quality does not appear to be improved by taking a combination of hops, soya oil, soya lecithin, and Cannabis sativa (Cyclamax) for one month.

Menopausal symptoms. Early research suggests that taking hops extract daily does not improve menopausal symptoms after 8-12 weeks of treatment. However, it might improve the severity of hot flashes after 6 weeks of treatment.

Postmenopausal conditions. Some research suggests that applying 1-2 grams of a vaginal gel that contains hops, hyaluronic acid, liposomes, and vitamin E can reduce vaginal dryness, burning, itching, and rash in postmenopausal women.

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Leg ulcers. Early research suggests that applying a cream containing bladderwrack, English ivy, horse chestnut, gotu kola, butcher’s broom, horsetail, and hops (Idrastin), together with compression therapy, might help decrease pain and inflammation in people with leg ulcers and poor blood circulation in the legs.

Dosage and Administration

In tablets and capsules form the usual dosages of hops is 500mg. As an infusion, drink one cup in the evening to aid sleep.

Tincture, take 20 drops in a glass of water 3 times daily for anxiety or 10 drops with water up to 5 times daily for digestion.

Commercial preparations of hops can vary from product to product so the manufacturer’s directions should be followed whenever available.

WebMD states that hops are considered likely to be safe for most people.  However, they caution pregnant and nursing women against using it.  They also state if you are depressed, have hormone sensitive cancers (such as breast cancer or endometriosis) or are due for surgery to avoid hops as it can worsen depression and may cause too much sleepiness when combined with anesthesia.  Stop taking hops at least two weeks before any surgical procedure. 

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Hops also is contraindicated if you are taking the following medications:

      anti-anxiety drugs             anti-seizure medications          antihistamines

      muscle relaxants               antibiotics                               anti-fungal drugs

      antidepressants                 anti-psychotics                        sedatives

      tranquilizers                      narcotic pain medications        gastrointestinal drugs

Some people may experience an allergy to hops, which would manifest as itching, dizziness, swelling, rashes, dry cough, blood sugar fluctuations, respiratory issues, delayed thinking, etc.  As always consult a physician before starting any herbal product or regimen.

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Benefits of Hops Tea

Hops is a plant rich in nutrients, making each cup you drink a healthy and nutritious beverage.

It contains vitamins A, B-complex, and B3; minerals such as calcium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium and zinc. Hops also contains volatile oils, valerianic acid, tannins, flavonoids, estrogenic substances, resin, lupulone and humulene.

All these components are blended in yoru cup of tea to bring you the following benefits.

Calming Tea

Hops tea is best known for its positive effects of the nerves. A cup of this tea is said to calm nerves and reduce anxiety feelings. It is said to strengthen and tone the nervous system, helping to bring relief from nervous non-psychiatric disorders, such as hysteria.

It has also been used to promote restful sleep, calming the mind and thus fighting insomnia. Hops herbal tea should be helpful for those who tend to wake several times during the night and are light sleepers.

Tip: take a cup of this tea at night and then prepare a comfortable bed in a room that is neither too hot nor too cold and then avoid watching TV or any device and just let yourself relax. Some people even put pouches with hops under their pillow to induce sleep. Give it a try!

This calming tea may also help to soothe pain, reducing muscle spasms and painful cramps. Its sedative properties help to treat headaches and migraines relieving tension in the brain and nervous system.

It is said to help reduce sexual excitation, calming and balancing excessive sexual drive and reducing libido. Hops herbal tea may also help to inhibit cravings, helping smokers to remain calm while quitting their habit.

Digestive Aid

Taking hops tea may help improve your digestion. Its bitter properties help stimulate stomach juices and boost your metabolic rate. This could help you when you suffer from indigestion or heartburn. Its calming features also soothe digestive problems due to nerves and stress.

Hops tea may even help improve your appetite, relieving burping, soothing peptic ulcers and helping your stomach to remain calm as you enjoy your meals.

This herbal tea may also treat intestinal issues such as constipation, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, calming spasmodic action in the colon. It may get rid of the harmful elements and parasites that could be causing flatulence or even diarrhea.

Infection Fighter and Detox Tea

Hops tea may prove to be a great tea when you are suffering from a bladder infection. It is said to help relieve the pain caused by this infection. It may help fight the infection in the sense that it is said to help eliminate toxins in the body and get rid of harmful bacteria.

You may take this tea as a detoxifying agent, helping the body to eliminate wasteful elements, clearing away causes of inflammation. It is said to cleanse the blood, lowering levels of sugar in the blood, and it may also act as a diuretic reducing fluid retention.

Its bacterial action may also be useful when you need to soothe a sore throat or treat other chest problems. Its antioxidant properties may help boost your immune system, preventing these diseases from occurring as well as possibly fighting the onset of tumors.

Female Tonic Tea

Hops tea is ideal for women who are going through menopause. This female tonic may help calm nerves and mind, while at the same time relieving symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and insomnia. This herbal infusion contains the natural estrogens you may need at this time.

Tip: blend this herb with black cohosh for fighting these symptoms.

For nursing mothers, this tea is said to help boost the supply of breast milk. However, it is not advisable to take this tea while breastfeeding unless recommended by your doctor. Monitor your baby’s reactions carefully.

The presence of estrogens in this herbal infusion may also prove to be helpful for when who suffer from constant menstrual problems. If your checkup has not revealed any serious problems, then ask your doctor about drinking this tea to help soothe PMS and bring balance to your hormones.

External Use

Applied topically, hops tea may be good for your skin, keeping it healthy and clean. It may be used for its antiseptic action to clear and heal sores, wounds and other skin injuries.

Soak a towel in warm hops tea and apply to the inflamed area for a calming and healing action that could even help relieve pain associated with arthritis.

After a long day, soak your feet in a foot bath infused with hops to clear away any possible harmful agents while helping to rest our tired feet and improving the skin.

References:

  1. http://theherbhound.blogspot.com/2016/07/hops.html
  2. https://www.therighttea.com/hops-tea.html
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-856/hops
  4. https://healthyfocus.org/benefits-of-hops/
  5. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/surprising-benefits-of-hops-for-skin-hair-and-health/
  6. https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/allergy-asthma/health-benefits-of-hops/
  7. https://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/06/19/understanding-valerian-hops-how-valerian-and-hops-can-help-you-de-stress-relax-and-sleep-better/
  8. https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/hops-humulus-lupulus.html
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/humulus-lupulus
  10. https://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Hop-Pellets-Home-Brewing/dp/B000MGYRHE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674683&sr=8-3&keywords=hops
  11. https://www.amazon.com/Love-Hops-Practical-Bitterness-Elements/dp/1938469011/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674707&sr=8-4&keywords=hops
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  13. https://www.amazon.com/Hop-Growers-Handbook-Sustainable-Small-Scale/dp/1603585559/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674731&sr=8-10&keywords=hops
  14. https://www.amazon.com/100-HOPS-Develops-Rhizomes-MySeeds-Co/dp/B00KLIYW50/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674731&sr=8-11&keywords=hops
  15. https://www.amazon.com/Natures-Way-Flowers-310mg-Capsules/dp/B000Z8YK6C/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674810&sr=8-2&keywords=hops
  16. https://www.amazon.com/Hop-Variety-Handbook-Create-Better/dp/1475265050/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674845&sr=8-14&keywords=hops
  17. https://www.amazon.com/Starwest-Botanicals-STARWEST-BOTANICALS-Flowers/dp/B002DY3F8U/ref=sr_1_22_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674870&sr=8-22&keywords=hops
  18. https://www.amazon.com/Estro-Balance-Capsules-8-prenylnaringenin-Menopause/dp/B00OJFFVM4/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1469674924&sr=8-1&keywords=hops+8+PN
  19. https://www.drvitaminsolutions.com/Diabetes-Defense-with-Isohumulone/
  20. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213434415000134
  21. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/content/catalog/xanthohumol-hop-extract-supplement.html