How to Take Care of your Clothes with Essential Oils.

A change of season means a change of wardrobe, what ever side of the planet you’re on you are bound to be experiencing the change in seasons, whether it’s time to pack away your warm jumpers and winter coats or say goodbye to summer dresses and cool T-shirts, essential oils are a sweet smelling and practical way to look after your clothes.

IMG_5390

If you’ve ever experienced an attack of moths on your favourite cashmere jumper then you will be sure to take extra care when you store your knitwear and silks away for several months. Here are a few tips to help protect your clothes and ensure they reappear in one piece, smelling fresh when you unpack next Spring/Autumn…

It’s advisable to give everything a wash before you pack them up and as a side note, if you haven’t worn them all season, consider getting rid of them, there are so many benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe! I add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my washing powder for a little touch of freshness and since lavender oil deters moths it is a great smelling start to the process.

I then take several lavender filled bags or pillows that contain dried lavender flowers, if the scent has faded I add a few drops of lavender oil to freshen them up. I also sprinkle a few drops of cedar wood essential oil as this is another oil that deters moths, (cedar wood oil is dark brown in colour, so you may want to avoid staining the material on the lavender bags, in that case just add a few drops to tissues). Tuck the lavender bags evenly among the clothes in their suitcase or storage bag and close securely.

I don’t think anyone likes the smell of mothballs and even if you’ve never had moths this is still a worthwhile ritual as it keeps your clothes fresh and smelling lovely when you bring them out next season…

If you don’t have any lavender bags you can sprinkle the oils onto tissues and place them in the storage bags. Alternatively, you can purchase some from BySally or Mayfield Lavender.

 

These ones are way too pretty for me to pack away so I generally keep them in my draws, with my bed linen or on hangers in my wardrobe so I can appreciate them daily.

Since lavender has so many other amazing properties including supporting a restful night sleep, I also hang a lavender bag on my bedpost, or under my pillow so that I breathe in the scent as I lay down to sleep.

Click here to read more on how to use lavender oil to support sleep and how to scent your car naturally.

Lav bags group 1 small

For tips on de-cluttering your life check out ‘Simplicity in Living‘.

Healing Eye Pillows by Feather Light Productions

Feather Light Healing Eye Pillow Red FlowersFeather Light Healing Eye Pillow Pink Blossom

These beautiful silk healing eye pillows, scented with quality essential oils, are now available to buy from Essential Oils & You’s new Shop – this blog will share a little of how they can be used…

I’m choosing to sell these because they are truly exquisite, deeply supportive and made with such love and care, you can really sense the integrity that has gone into making them.

There are two designs to choose from: red flowers or pink blossom, the silk cover is removable, so you can hand wash it if need be, with soft black silk on the underside that feels gorgeous on your skin.

Inside the silk cover is an inner bag containing flax seeds which feel light across your eyes, yet mould around the contours of your face so it sits snug and blocks any light out as you rest. This makes it useful for headaches, migraines and for helping to get to sleep if you’re disturbed by light.

In cooler seasons I recommend warming the eye pillow on top of a radiator or ideally in a towel warmer if you have such a thing.  It is very supportive for restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress. For symptoms such as aching joints, period pains and back ache you can place the eye pillow on the appropriate body parts.

I like to place one over my eyes each night as I go to sleep, or if I feel stress, tension or tired, I lay with one across my eyes and one on my heart for 5-10 minutes to refresh myself.

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow

These pillows are also a great accessory for therapists to use in various modalities such as massage.

Click here for details on how to purchase them from the website shop or contact me directly by email: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

Yarrow Essential Oil and How to make a Balm

Yarrow - painted by Elena Light
Yarrow – painted by Elena Light

Many people are unaware that yarrow, Achillea millifolium, a common plant growing abundantly in British country side, actually produces a very powerful, useful and rather beautiful essential oil.

FullSizeRender-32

It’s an oil that stands out when you see its striking, ink blue colour, which is very unusual for an essential oil. The plant itself is made up of an umbrella of little white flowers, sometimes pink, but during the production process, a naturally occurring chemical component in the plant called chamazulene, turns bright blue.

yarrow flower and blue essential oil

Most essential oils come in tinted glass bottles as they are sensitive to light, so it’s rare to see such amazing colours as in the below photo.

IMG_2100
Bright blue yarrow essential oil.

Chamazulene is also the particular part that makes yarrow so useful as it is anti-inflammatory in effect and therefore useful for any condition where inflammation is present, for example:

Arthritis, allergies, bumps, bruises, breaks, gout, strains & sprains.

Even conditions such as period pain and back ache can be helped by using yarrow because of the presence of inflammation.

Yarrow & Lavender Balm Recipe – for pain and inflammation.

A balm is a very practical method of application for areas of inflammation. I would recommend applying this simple balm, made with yarrow and lavender essential oil, twice daily. Massage in very gentle anti-clockwise circles to the affected area, if the area is too tender to touch, or is an open wound then apply the balm as close to the site as is comfortable.

IMG_2184

Ingredients ~ to make 100 ml pot:

  • 10g beeswax
  • 10g shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • yarrow essential oil – 40 drops (2ml)
  • lavender essential oil – 60 drops (3ml)
  • vitamin E (optional)

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

See my blog on ‘How to make a Massage or Body Balm’ for full recipe instructions.

Blue chamomile essential oil, Matricaria recutita (also known as German chamomile) also appears blue in colour, it contains the same anti-inflammatory agent chamazulene and would be suitable for all of the above inflammatory conditions. Click here to purchase this essential oil.

See my blog on Lavender & Chamomile for Hay fever for more details.

How to use Cooling Peppermint Essential Oil for Sun Burn and After Sun Care.

sun burn treatment after sun gelI once had a peppermint bath, ‘once’ being the appropriate word here: it was at a friends house and there was a bottle of bubble bath in her bathroom that had peppermint essential oil listed as an ingredient, happy to have found an essential oil bubble bath, I poured some in and lay down into the bubbles. A very strange sensation then came over me. My skin was cool and tingling, even though the water was hot. It felt really weird, a bit unpleasant and I haven’t used peppermint essential oil in a bath blend since.

However, this cooling effect of peppermint essential oil is extremely useful in many other circumstances, it’s refreshing in tooth pastes, and tingling in lip balms but it really stands out as an effective ingredient in aftersun lotion and for treating sun burn.

This is a simple recipe for a very effective, cooling gel for sun burn. It is blended with lavender, which is very effective for treating serious burns and pain relieving (it is actually used in hospital burns units), as well as German chamomile which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. These three essential oils blended in a base of aloe vera gel which is hydrating, soothing & helps heal wounds, make for a powerful treatment for sunburn.

After Sun & Sun Burn Gel (2.5% blend strength)

peppermint essential oil for sun burn and after sun

Ingredients:

50ml aloe vera gel

5 drops peppermint essential oil*

15 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops German/blue chamomile essential oil – you can leave this out if it’s just for after-sun, and replace it with Roman chamomile essential oil which is more gentle, the scent is more pleasing and less intense.

Instructions: mix them all together and apply to the affected area.

Cooling Foot Gel

That cooling sensation is also really welcome for tired & weary feet,  you can use the same recipe above as a cooling foot gel.

Refreshing Shower Gel

For a cool, refreshing shower, just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your shower gel – see my blog: Blending everyday products with Essential Oils for how many drops to use.

It’s also a great digestive essential oil but I will talk about that in another post… in the mean time enjoy the cooling effects of peppermint oil.

*Caution ~ Do not use peppermint essential oil if you have cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

You may also like to read A Pot of Fresh Mint Tea with the benefits of Essential Oils and Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions.

How to use Essential Oils on Holiday

essential oils on holidayInspired by the sprinkling of sunshine over the UK this week, it’s time to share some summertime essential oils, essential for taking on holiday.

Essential oils come in very small bottles so they are a practical addition to your luggage, even if you’re only taking cabin bags. However, it’s still worth considering which are the most useful ones to take with you, so this blog is to help you weedle it down to just a few essentials that will come in most handy.

The main issues or symptoms that are commonly experienced when travelling are: around the journey itself; skin care; insects and first aid, so here I have listed some specific symptoms, some appropriate essential oils and simple, practical ways to use them.

essential oils on holiday

TRAVEL

Travel sickness -cardamom, spearmint, chamomile (roman*)

Jetlag – peppermint, lavender

Anxiety (fear of flying) – neroli, lavender

How to use – make a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below) to roll across your wrists and tummy, or sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue to keep in a pocket or in your bag and gently breathe in as a preventative measure or at the time of feeling the symptoms.

SKIN CARE

After sun skin care – lavender, palmarosa, chamomile (roman*)

Sun burn – lavender, chamomile (german/blue*), peppermint

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel or add to your aftersun lotion, see my previous blog for Blending every day products – how many drops should I use?

INSECTS

Insect repellent – lemongrass, citronella, geranium, lavender or tea tree -use one or a combination of those you like the most.

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel, add to your aftersun lotion, (see my previous blog for How many drops should I use?) or make a blend in a rolette bottle (see how below). Some of these essential oils combined would double as a perfume – I like geranium, lavender & lemongrass.

Insect bites – chamomile (german/blue*), lavender

How to use – apply directly to the affected area or as a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below).

FIRST AID – Lavender

If you only take one essential oil on holiday make it lavender, it’s the most useful essential oil for most minor first aid situations.

It’s antiseptic, anti microbial & cleansing so ideal for first aid, it is particularly effective on burns, so great for skin care and after sun, it’s ‘insecticidal’ so will deter insects and is very relaxing and calming so it helps with easing travel sickness and tension.

It’s also nice to sprinkle a little in hotel rooms if they don’t smell lovely, especially on the pillow.

For more details on how to use lavender essential oil, see my previous blog on ‘Lavender, Essential First Aid’ .

rolette bottle

Rolette Bottles – here’s how to prepare a rolette bottle:

Using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical as you can keep it in a pocket or handbag and it is easy to use. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

Instructions

Fill the bottle with a base oil eg. olive oil, then drop appropriate essential oils directly into the bottle, if you have a 10ml bottle, then you will need between 2 and 10 drops of essential oil, see my previous blog for more details on How many drops should I use? Fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

chamomile & blends

Holiday tip: Rather than take bottles of essential oils you could prepare the blends that you are likely to need in rolette bottles and take these with you instead.

* Chamomile roman or blue/german – There are two types of chamomile essential oil: roman chamomile is more gentle, and german/blue chamomile, which is deep blue in colour, is more powerfully anti-inflammatory in action. I have recommended the german/blue chamomile for sunburn and insect bites, but the roman chamomile is also suitable in each instance.

Click here to order bespoke blends of essential oils ready made for your holiday requirements.

Travel Tips: here’s a blog to help you in general with how to pack your suitcase: ‘Travel Suitcase – What to Pack?

How to Use Lavender Essential Oil to Help Sleep Problems

Lavender essential oil is often used to help with sleep problems, it has a very clearing effect in general which is useful as quite often people struggle to sleep because they are stressed, tense or their mind is racing, and lavender can help to clear and ease these symptoms.

There are some great ways to use lavender as part of a wind down routine before bed, to support the body in preparing for a restful night.

  • You could simply use lavender oil in a burner to scent your bedroom before you get into bed;
  • taking a bath with lavender oil in the evening is a great way to really relax your body and let go of any tension held from your day;
  • it can be as simple as sprinkling a few drops of essential oil onto your pillow at night or on a tissue placed under your pillow.

It’s more about the way you do it, rather than what you actually do -so having a bath isn’t going to be better than a drop on your pillow, it’s all about the quality.  The preparation for bedtime before your head hits the pillow, will support the body greatly, compared to an evening of distraction (TV, computer, etc.), and waiting until you feel really tired and then getting into bed and hoping you’ll sleep because you’re so dog tired.

Bringing lavender into your evening rhythm can be much more effective at easing the stress of the day, and a busy mind.  It’s worth experimenting to see how you like to use it:

  • it maybe that you use it in a face cream that you apply in the evening and this is the way you really love to use it,
  • or you might have a lavender bag that you hang by your bed, and you sprinkle a drop on each night so you can enjoy the scent.

It’s important that it is something for you, rather than something you ‘do’ to try and make you sleep ‘better’… if you’re intention becomes about supporting yourself, rather than to fix the sleeping issue, it can be so much more effective, especially in the long term.

Lavender Scented Bedding

The cleansing action of lavender makes it very appropriate to use in washing powder and fabric conditioner.  Just add a few drops (5-10) of lavender essential oil with the fabric conditioner to the washing machine (you can also add it to the washing powder/liquid if you prefer) and your wash will come out smelling heavenly.  It’s such a simple touch but actually brings plenty of health benefits as well as the lovely smell, because lavender essential oil has an anti-microbial action, your lovely smelling bed sheets and clothes will also be fighting off germs as you wear them.

You could also add lavender floral water into the iron rather than just water when ironing bed sheets, this is such a treat when you get into bed and your whole body feels lovely under the sheets. Make sure you don’t use the essential oil in the ironing water, as the oil may leave a stain on your clothes. Floral water has had the essential oil filtered out so it won’t leave any marks.

Make sure you use a good quality essential oil and not just a perfumed synthetic oil.  You can still enjoy benefits and effects from the perfumed smell, but a good quality essential oil will be more beneficial, (a synthetic version will not have anti-bacterial properties) and the natural scent will probably smell much nicer.

Click here to buy Lavender Essential Oil.

For more uses for lavender essential oil see Lavender, Essential First Aid.

How to use Lavender and Chamomile Essential Oils for Hay fever

white lavender
I had a lovely email from a friend last week who was inspired by a previous blog (‘Lavender, Essential First Aid) to use lavender essential oil when suffering symptoms of hay fever.  I asked if I could post it here since it was so timely for me, as I’m sure it will be for others, so thank you Catherine Jones for sharing your experience.
‘I felt to share how lavender oil is helping me right now, as it has taken me by surprise.  I have hay fever, and so have very itchy eyes, an itchy & runny nose, and my face is generally congested and reactive all over. I don’t have any drugs yet, and last night I felt to try dabbing some cool wet cotton wool on my eyes to calm them down. I added a drop or so of lavender oil, and it made such a difference. I used it a few hours ago, pretty much all over my face, but paying attention to the area around my eyes, and across my cheeks, and down the gall bladder lines from nose to chin. It was amazing. I often use lavender in things, but it had never occurred to me that it might ease an allergy. Right now I am not sneezing, nor itching, and I am breathing freely. ‘
Chamomile
Her message inspired me, as I was experiencing similar symptoms at the time, and I have since tried the same technique using roman chamomile essential oil, as it is specifically good for allergies and particulary soothing and calming.  For more details on chamomile essential oil see ‘Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions’.