Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy

Your One Stop Aromatherapy Shop since 1997

Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC Newsletter Vol 94


In this issue:
Aromatherapy Tips

Physical Ailment

Influenza and Colds

by Penny Keay

These are the buzz words this time of year. Already, we are hearing about 'flu' shots and getting prepared.

Most folks that are interested in aromatherapy are more interested in natural remedies for these ailments.

Most people want to use some type of prevention or a preventative approach. Always start with the most basic prevention.

Number 1 is for you and your family to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face and eyes especially when you are near people that are ill.

Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 are to Eat nourishing foods, drink lots of good old plain water, get plenty of rest and exercise daily, outdoors if possible.

Avoiding ill people if at all possible and if not, use essential oils to help you keep your immune system strong to help fight off those nasty germs.

Upon looking up information in our reference books for this topic several authors recommend diffusing Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata if you have been exposed or feel as though you may be afflicted with the first signs of a cold or flu.

Taking a hot shower and letting the steamy essential oil filled air help give you the added relief you need before things get worse.

You may also want to diffuse a little Ravensara, Niaouli and/or Bay laurel, according to Kurt Schnaubelt in his book Medical Aromatherapy, as these oils are also known to help with viral conditions.

Other essential oils found to have antiviral properties as found in several of our reference resources include (not listed in any particular order):

Black Pepper, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove bud, Cypress, Eucalyptus globulus, Hyssop, Lavender, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Bay laurel, Niaouli, Tea Tree, Sandalwood, Thyme - linalool, Pine needle, and Sweet Marjoram.

Our personal preference is using our Pure Cleansing blend or our Four Robbers blend.

Pure Cleansing blend is a blend of Eucalyptus globulus, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf and Thyme - linalool.

Four Robbers blend has Clove bud, Lemon, Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus globulus, Rosemary as its main list of essential oils.

These have helped us fend off the flu, colds and other symptoms many many times over during the past few years.

We can't say we never had or get the flu or colds. If we feel like we were getting ill after being exposed to those around us that were, we would begin using our essential oils and typically only felt a little ill for a day or so.

Unlike those around us that were out sick (down in bed) for several days to a week. This happened several times while we were out in the working world.

Al worked both in a hospital for several years and then up until last Christmas for a very large university. I worked the reception desk of a very busy Veterinary Clinic.

Did we get sick? Nope!! Just felt a little under the weather a couple of times.

Like we said, we would diffuse our Purifying blend or our Thieves blend every day and/ or make a little bottom of the foot rub using one of these blends mixed with a little carrier oil.

This blend was applied to the bottom of our feet at bed time (socks worn through the night as carrier oils can stain the carpeting or make hard floors very slippery!)

These blends of essential oils are our first defense against the flu. You might want to think about having these handy too.

There are several essential oils that may be helpful and give you comforting relief if you or your family should be inflicted by the flu or a cold.

One of the ways essential oils may help is to by giving you a little relief of the unpleasant symptoms of the common cold and flu.

Congestion, chills, muscle aches, pains including headaches, sore throats, and fevers.

Once you have any of the above symptoms you should be able to find essential oils that will help you feel more comfortable and speed you along at recovery.

Please visit our Health and Beauty index and our Past Newsletters. They will cover several of these ailments in more detail and will include several essential oils and recipes that may be of help.

Always scary, would be an epidemic of a very fast moving virus. The best advice here is to avoid those that have become ill. Hopefully they will stay home and away from the public eye.

Use essential oils, diffusing them in the air in your home during a flu or cold outbreak is also a very good idea.

Once you have symptoms, treat them as desired and selectively with essential oils.

Do not overuse essential oils. Stop using essential oils once you are well.

Typically, using them, should shorten the duration of your illness if you have a fairly strong immune system to begin with.

To help with that, see the next article.

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More Info

Immune building

by Penny Keay

This is related to fending off the daily bombardment we all experience from all those germs.

When you have a strong immune system, you are less likely to get ill or if you do get caught off guard your body will be able to easily defend itself.

Bacteria and germs are not always the enemy. We all have a certain about of bacteria on our skin and in our digestive systems.

They are necessary for us to survive. They are the friendly bacteria.

Our body needs them to help us digest our foods, for our body to assimilate the nutrients in our foods. Most bacteria on the skin are harmless.

Of course, we all get exposed to some really nasty germs too.

We have been asked many times about taking essential oils internally to help build the immune system. Well, frankly, ingesting essential oils is not ever recommended.

Essential oils are strong concentrated chemicals and ingesting them, is usually not beneficial, but can be very damaging to the lining of your esophagus and stomach. Not to mention they can be fatal in large quantities (and not so large too).

The most beneficial way for you to get the most from your essential oils is by smelling them. Hence, the term Aromatherapy.

When you inhale, breath in, or diffuse into the air essential oils, they go directly to the lungs. There they are quickly absorbed into the blood stream as they cross the airway/capillary system.

From there the molecules of essential oils are transported throughout the body and into each and every cell.

Since it only takes a few minutes for blood to circulate throughout the whole body, the essential oils you have just inhaled will be throughout your entire body within a few minutes.

When you ingest oils, not only will your stomach acids destroy much of the essential oil, but the oil can also damage your stomach and intestinal linings.

Ingesting oils could take as long as 30 minutes to an hour to attempt to help, that is if they are not destroyed first.

Also since they are strong, any essential oil constituents that do survive may actually, destroy some of the beneficial bacteria, etc found in our intestines.

So please do not ingest essential oils. This includes placing essential oils in gelatin capsules.

This is very dangerous. Essential oils should only be ingested IF prescribed by a Physician and only a Physician!!

What about gargling? Mouth rinses?

This on the other hand is almost as beneficial as inhaling. The mucous membranes in your mouth will quickly absorb essential oils into the blood stream also.

When you are using an essential oil in a mouth wash or gargle, you will not swallow the mixture, just swish it around and spit it out.

Also you will never ever use more than a drop or 2 per ounce of water for this type of rinse. Sometimes it may be only one drop in 8 ounces of water!

Again, even though a mouth rinse may be beneficial for mouth sores and sore throats, it should not be an everyday occurrence as we have stated before, inhalation is the preferred method of using essential oils.

What about massage oils? Won't they help?

Yes, using essential oils in a massage blend or rub is very helpful. The essential oils will be absorbed slowly and over a several hours period of time. I like to say it is our 'time released' method of aromatherapy.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and essential oils can easily penetrate the layers of the skin and be absorbed into the blood stream.

When we add them to carrier oils and lotions, they absorb more slowly and safely.

With a few exceptions, essential oils should always be diluted into a carrier oil or lotion before being applied to the skin.

Some oils can cause a sensitive skin reaction, which should pass quickly once removed. Some oils contain very strong chemicals constituents and if used undiluted can actually cause damage.

Now onto essential oils that may actually help build the immune system.

The first group of essential oils are thought to increase the activity in different parts of your immune system.

They included in this group is Bay laurel, Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus globulus, Frankincense, Oregano and Sage.

This group of essential oils for the most part are fairly strong and are suggested to be used when you have been exposed to viruses or other disease producing organisms.

This next group are actually the oils that may help your body build up your immune system. They keep your white blood cells in production according to Kathi Kevilles' book Aromatherapy for Dummies.

Included are Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine needle Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Thyme - linalool and Vetiver.

Kathi states that these essential oils work with the body to fight infection and to help it heal itself.

When dealing with a lot of stress the top immune stimulating essential oils according to Valerie Ann Worwood are Geranium, Rosemary, Lavender and Tea Tree.

These oils are wonderful and gentle enough for daily use. Diffusing these or blends incorporating these oils will be a pleasant way to help you help yourself.

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Aromatherapy Tips


by Penny Keay

Some of the frequently asked questions we get each week are about blending essential oils.

Here are a few helpful suggestions about blending.

When blending your essential oils remember to measure carefully. Most of the time you will be measuring drops of essential oils.

Almost all recipes are given by numbers of drops that are added. Many recipes are proportional - meaning that if a recipe calls for 5 drops of this oil, 3 drops of that oil, you can always mix 5 ml of this oil and 3 ml of that oil.

If you are trying to mix your essential oils with a water based product or in water. You may need to first mix it with an Emulsifier. This will help the essential oils to blend with your water based products.

When mixing essential oils with carrier oils to be used for massage you should never make a stronger blend than 2-3%.

How to figure out how much is in a 2% or 3% solution?

First think of things in drops. If you have 100 drops of something you would have a 2 percent solution if 2 drops were an essential oil and 98 drops were a carrier oil.

or 2 ml of essential oil and 98 ml of the carrier oil.

Of course, neither of these may help you as most people have teaspoons or tablespoons to measure with for their carrier oils or shampoo, etc.

Looking at the first example. 2 drops of Essential oil - that is easy. But the 98 drops of carrier oil that is not so easy, but you can do a little more math and convert the drops into teaspoons.

Since there are about 20 drops per ml and 5 ml per teaspoon you can easily figure it out. 98 divided by 20 is approximated 5. So you have 5 ml or 1 teaspoon (or 98-100 drops of carrier oil).

A 2% solution would be 2 drops essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. 3% would be 3 drops per teaspoon.

If you have any problem figuring out percentages for blending, don't hesitate to write.

Some essential oils prefer to be mixed with different carrier oils. So if you see your essential oils not mixing with particular carrier oil, you will have to experiment with another carrier oil.

Or you may need to use less essential oil.

Some essential oils and absolutes will become 'saturated' into a carrier oil. When this occurs you can not get any more essential oil or absolute to mix in with the carrier oil.

You will see it initially being in solution, but if you let it set for a day or two, you will either see the absolute sitting on the bottom, or the essential oil sitting on the top of your carrier oil.

Actually, this can happen with any unscented base product used. Shampoos, conditioners, and lotions are all prone to having the essential oil separate out.

Simply shake, or stir your bottle of product to mix the essential oils back into the product before using. Actually, shaking your blends a little before using is a good thing to do.

There are a few essential oils when blended together that will not mix or they actually will cause a chemical reaction and become a solid chunk of 'goo' in the bottom of your bowl, bottle or jar. Fortunately, this is rare.

Do not let anything stop you from being creative. Essential oils are oils composed of several different chemical constituents.

When mixed together you will sometimes see them get cloudy, then add another essential oil and the mixture will become clear. Sometimes the blend will cause sediment to form.

This is normal when you mix certain essential oils together. Please note we are not chemists, but we have observed these reactions when blending different oils or when making up our blends.

Next: Store your custom blends of essential oils in amber bottles and then use a drop or two without having to mix each time you want to enjoy your favorite blend.

When mixing massage or bath blends we suggest you mix the essential oils together first before you add the carrier oil. Then let the mixture "age" or blend for several days before using.

Remember also that pure essential oils will disintegrate rubber and certain types of plastic materials.

Never leave your bottles stopped with rubber bulbed caps. In just a few days the rubber will be a terrible blob of black goo!

To blend essential oils with carrier oils you can mix them in PET plastic bottles or Glass bottles.

PET plastic bottles will not deteriorate with essentials oils, other types of plastic bottles may.

All in all, have fun being creative. If you have more questions concerning blending, just send us an e-mail.

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Around the House and Garden

Homemade Holiday Gifts

by Penny Keay

Or what I like to call "Gifts from the Heart"!

As the holidays keep becoming more and more commercialized many folks try to find ways to bring back the common sense of gift giving.

True gift giving, as far as I'm concerned, is not how much you spend on an item but the 'heartfelt' joy in what you are giving.

When they are made by the gift giver, all the more special.

When you create a simple, yet personal gift for someone, it usually will not go unnoticed, but welcomed with much enjoyment.

When making homemade gifts with aromatherapy in mind, you can make something very simple and yet helpful and maybe even healthful.

As you make your holiday gifts, try thinking about the person you are making it for, it puts that extra little part of love into the gift. You can think about them all the way to the wrapping part.

A few ideas include:

Taking any unscented base product, Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion, etc.

Add the correct amount of an essential oil or synergy blend. Put your own special label on the bottles stating it was made especially for "(Fill in the blank)" by yours truly.

This is a simple yet inexpensive gift.

Of course you can assemble a few bottles of essential oils, a small diffuser in a gift box too.

How about making some bath salts?

We have a basic recipe as follows but scenting is very personal and many folks will make a special or "personally yours" type scent.

To make basic bath salt use:

1 1/2 cup dead sea salt
1 1/2 cup Epsom salt

(you can use any combination of various salts - there are many different types of sea salt - you can use any sea salt, dead or not!!)

To this add 15-35 drops of essential oil - any single note or any synergy blend depending on what you would like to have it do - calming, relaxing, energizing, etc.

Add the essential oils to 1 tablespoon of Fractionated coconut oil or other carrier oil - Sweet Almond or Sunflower are commonly used.

Add this to the salts and mix completely. Place in a glass jar, seal and let "age" or "ripen" for a few days. Stirring or mixing every day.

Add 1/2 to 1 cup to running bath water, mix well to be sure salt has dissolved.

If you wish to make a Salt scrub, use the basic recipe from above, but add enough carrier oil to completely cover the salt in your jar. (Don't add more essential oils though as you don't need more of those.)

Again, you will scoop a little on your fingers and rub over the body parts you want to exfoliate.

Rinse off and wash with a mild cleanser to remove excess oil.

Another popular scrub and softer and gentler on you face is a Brown Sugar scrub. This would also make a very nice personalized gift.

Use 2 cups brown sugar, add 1 cup of carrier oil - a nice blend such as coconut and almond is very nice.

Then add your favorite mixture of essential oils. Use up to 90 drops of essential oils or blends.

A nice Citrus - lavender blend of oils to use

30 drops Grapefruit
30 drops Lavender
20 drops Lemon
10 drops Orange

Add to the brown sugar - oil mixture. Again let "age" for a few days before using.

Scoop a little on your fingers and gently massage your entire face. Gentle wash off any excess oil with a mild cleanser.

Be sure the person receiving the gift understands this is not to be eaten!! So don't forget to include a card or tag with directions on how to use your gifts!

These are just a few suggestions. But you can make many others. Potpourris, Silk Flower arrangements, bath oils, perfumes, and the list is endless.

I'm not too crafty but many of you are. If you have some simple Holiday gift ideas please send them to me and we'll include them in the next issue of the Newsletter.

There should be plenty of time for others to make a few of your suggestions. Send them to me at with "Home made Holiday Gift ideas Recipes to Share" in the Subject.

Just think, your gift suggestion, may help someone give that special homemade gift that is "made especially from the heart"!!

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Recipes to try

Flu and Cold Body Massage

Thyme Linalool - 5 drops
Ravensara - 5 drops
2 teaspoons of Sweet almond

Blend well and massage the legs, arms, neck, chest and back.

This is for adults and children over 5 years.

Dilute further with carrier oil if used on younger children.

This is a fairly strong smelling massage blend.

So please if you are using this, you should be staying at home in bed not out in public.

Cold and Flu Bath

Lavender - 3 drops
Bergamot 3 drops
Tea Tree - 2 drops

Add all to a warm to hot bath.

Relax for 15-20 minutes.

Then dry off well and wrap yourself in a thick robe.

Go to bed early.

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Avery Nice Flu Bug Diffuser Blend

Eucalyptus globulus - 12 drops
Lavender 8 drops
Peppermint 4 drops
Rosemary 4 drops

Blend all in an amber bottle. Place several drops in a diffuser and diffuse as needed. This blend is good any time you have viruses around the home.

Stress Relieving Bath Salt

Sandalwood - 5 drops
Fennel - 3 drops
Melissa - 3 drops
Basil - 2 drops
Lavender - 2 drops

Add to a nice warm bath. Also add 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts to the tub while filling.

This will help to relieve tense muscle and make you feel even more relaxed.

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All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

© 2006, 2015, 2017 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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