All posts filed under: Essential Living

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Basics of Essential Oils Part 2: Topical

In the last issue of Modewest, we explored the healing properties of essential oils on the body and mind from the simple act of smelling them—the aromatic benefits of essential oils. In this issue, we’ll look at how essential oils can soothe muscle aches and pains, reduce skin irritations and sores and provide other healing benefits through topical application. What are essential oils? Essential oils are aromatic chemical compounds that are extracted from different parts of plants and trees, from the flowers, leaves, stems, barks, seeds and roots. Essential oils are chemicals, yes. But it’s important to understand that everything in nature is made of chemicals. There are good and bad chemicals. Some chemicals harm us, impede growth, destroy cells and ruin our health, such as Sodium Laurel Sulphates (SLSs), often found in cheap cleaning products, soaps and shampoos. And then there are good chemicals, such as essential oils. They do not cause us harm when used in the correct way, and they can even heal us. Most essential oils are extracted by steam distillation …

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Basics of Essential Oils Part 1: Aromatic

Essential oils are unique in that their efficacy begins at the aromatic level. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, an essential oil need not be ingested, nor even applied like a medical cream, to affect your body to heal. The simple act of smelling an essential oil begins its work to heal the area of your body that requires attention. Penetrating the brain barrier The aromatic compounds in pure essential oils rise up the nasal cavity and are first detected by olfactory cells that are part of the olfactory epithelium. The olfactory cells are nerve cells with extended cilia (hair-like structures) which have receptors that bind to specific odour molecules. When a receptor binds to an odour molecule, the olfactory cell sends the signal through the cribriform plate (bone barrier between the nasal cavity and brain) to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb in turn sends impulses to five different structures in the brain. Each of these five structures has a different response to the impulse, and a specific function to undertake. • The amygdala stores and releases emotions …

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Melissa: Sovereign for the Brain

In 1699, English herbalist John Evelyn described Melissa—or lemon balm—as “sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory, and powerfully chasing away melancholy.” Robyn Simon, of Pure Oils International in Katoomba, says this three hundred year old quote is still the most accurate description she has ever read of Melissa Officinalis—but what is it, and what has it got to do with our busy modern lifestyles? Melissa oil—the essential oil distilled from the Melissa Officinalis plant—is one of the most expensive oils, but one that offers a powerful and natural way to manage a problem all of us suffer at one time or another—stress. Running a small business or being a sole trader can be as stressful as it is rewarding, and stress can reduce our ability to concentrate, stymie our creativity and make us sick—and that’s not good when business relies on your performance. In fact, 2008 research by Medicare Private found that stress costs Australian businesses over $10 billion a year. The research also noted that individuals are best placed to notice the ‘early …