bain-marie or double boiler (this means a separate pan to put the butters in, on top of a pan of water, so that the oils are heated very gently by the steam from the water, rather than directly on the heat).
stirring spoon or chopstick,
lip balm pot or pots.
measure out the ingredients first,
melt the beeswax and oils in a bain-marie, add the shea butter once everything else is melted together so it doesn’t heat more than necessary.
add the essential oils & stir,
pour into a pot/pots and allow to set.
Secure the lid immediately to capture the volatile essential oils, and check after a while if any moisture collects in the lid, and wipe away with a tissue.
apply to lips whenever you feel to – useful for moisturising and protecting dry, sore lips, or for keeping them in good condition.
Tip: Dip your finger into the melting pot to test the consistency of the balm, it will cool and solidify very quickly so you can tell what the final product will be like. Add a little more beeswax to make a harder lip balm, and a little more liquid oil for a softer version.
Jam made with rose water, cherries and chia seeds: Inspired by the deliciously simple ‘jam’ made as part of our breakfasts at a Rose Retreat in Bulgaria last year. Our incredible chef Sarah and her partner Andreas spent a considerable amount time de-stoning fresh cherries that happen to be in season around the time of the rose retreat!
Recipe: I made this version with some frozen cherries I had in the freezer, simply add the following to a blender*:
a table spoon of chia seeds,
a cup of cherries,
a table spoon of rose water,
…whizz for a minute or two. Leave to ‘set’, or more accurately, let the chia seeds absorb the moisture in the cherries (fresh or frozen will have enough water content) for about an hour leaving a slightly gloopy, jammy texture – if it’s too runny for you, add a few more chia seeds.
Ingredients: You can purchase organic rose water suitable for using in foods from my web shop here: Organic Rose Water. Alternatively, you can add rose petals from your garden to the mix, make sure they have not been sprayed with any chemical insecticides or fungicides etc. Cherries from your local fruit supplier. Chia seeds from Healthy Supplies.
Health: Suitable to support people cutting down or removing sugar from their diet, or generally wanting to eat yummy, healthy food, since you only need fruit and chia seeds – regular jam is usually made with a great deal of sugar, but the fruit alone can taste sweet enough.
Shelf life: Can be kept in the fridge and will last a few days, (the huge amount of refined sugar is what allows for the long shelf life of regular jam, but since we have freezers now, we don’t need to preserve our foods to keep us alive through winter.
Tips: Use any fruit you like in place of the cherries and the rose water is not essential but certainly gives a floral twist. You could try blackberries when they are in season with a hint of lavender water. Be aware that different fruits will have different water content, and determine how runny or thick the jam becomes, so add more chia seeds for a thicker consistency.
You may like to add a little sweetener for taste such as maple syrup or honey.
*If you don’t have a blender just mash the fruit and mix with the chia seeds.
Rose Lovers: If you love roses, you may like to find out more about a Rose Retreat, which takes place in Bulgaria at the end of May, during the rose harvest. As well as visiting fields of scented roses, a rose essential oil distillery and mineral spa, our workshops and meals are all themed around roses… and will surely include rose cherry chia jam, rose scented panna cotta, rose harissa and rose petal teas & salads!
This is a treatment you can easily give yourself whenever you feel to. It can help with digestive problems such as IBS, bloating, constipation, general discomfort, loss of appetite and digestive anxiousness*.
You can use just olive oil, but if you would like essential oils to enhance the treatment then see the suggested blends below.
Lay down in a comfortable supported position. This is really important, you want to make sure you’re able to completely relax, it could be on your bed, sofa, a massage table or on the floor if you can support your body enough. Have a steady place ready for the oil to stand that you can reach and it’s not likely to be knocked over and wear clothes that can reveal your tummy area. You may need a towel under you incase the oil runs, blankets to keep you cosy and pillows or cushions to support your body (for your head or under knees).
Once you’re set, place one hand on your heart to help settle your body and use the other hand to massage the oil or ‘digestive blend’ around your tummy. Do this in small, gentle, anti-clockwise circles, initially just to apply the oil. Then you will follow the route of your digestive system, which goes clockwise, but make your massage movements anti-clockwise… begin at the stomach, just under your ribcage, then around the centre of your tummy covering the ‘small intestine’ area, gradually move down towards the start of the ‘ascending colon’, follow this up the right side of your body, then across the body as it becomes the ‘transverse colon’ and finally to the ‘descending colon’ down the left side of your body. You may feel to repeat, to focus on certain areas and to take a moment to rest once complete.
I actually love doing this before I go to sleep at night and would love to be able to continue laying there until I fall asleep but I have to get up to wash the oil off my hands, especially if I’ve used an essential oil blend.
*The massage is a support, not a longterm cure for symptoms, but it can help relieve and clear in the moment. You should consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
Here are some blend suggestions, they are also available to purchase as a ‘Bespoke Blend’ designed for your personal situation:
Please note that these oils are organic, high quality and with a good shelf life, but my range will slowly reduce to focus on the more precious oils that I have been sourcing and that seem to be more popular with my clients.
During refreshment breaks at my events, I like to serve tea and snacks made with scented botanical ingredients. For ‘Plant to Perfume‘ workshops at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, I have a friend make ‘nut balls’ flavoured with my orange essential oil, here is the really simple recipe if you would like to make them:
Last month a cabinet of heavy perfume bottles tipped onto my head and left me with two cuts on my forehead.
The following pictures show the stages of the wounds healing during the first week, until the scab fell off the lower cut (which happened naturally over night, I did not pick it*):
I’ve been making bespoke blends with essential oils for clients for many years to help them take care of their scars after a variety of operations including mastectomy, caesarean & broken bones. The experience of caring for my own scar has given me a deeper appreciation for the preciousness of what I offer & how supportive it can be.
I felt quite tearful & vulnerable just after it happened, especially when I looked at the cuts on my face. I went away for 4 days straight after it happened so I swiftly made my usual blend (recipe below) to take care of it – knowing I was able to do this with effective quality ingredients made me feel better – I use rosehip oil, calendula macerated in olive oil and essential oils of myrrh, lavender, chamomile and rose.
Initially I only dabbed it very gently around the wound as it was sore and did so twice a day. At this stage it is important not to apply it directly onto the wound, as it prevents it drying out & the scab from forming but since the oils absorb into the skin, it is still effective.
When the scab fell off and I could see that the skin had closed completely underneath, I continued to apply twice a day directly onto the scar and spent more time gently massaging it in as it was not so sore.
After the first week I made a balm which is easier to apply than an oil blend – made with the same ingredients, just with added butter & wax to make it a solid consistency.
These pictures are taken from the 2nd to 4th week after the incident:
What I noticed is how much the redness faded and how the skin was raised around the scar and has flattened out now.
I didn’t appreciate that much had changed each day until I put the pictures together, I had a few thoughts that it wasn’t doing much and a few moments where I only just remembered to apply, but the pictures show a gradual improvement and that’s after only one month. It really makes a difference to be consistent with your care and you can continue to care for a scar for as long as you want, years even and also begin to care for old scars and still see an improvement.
The images below show the scars healing between 2 and 3 months, they are closer up than the previous images and I actually have wrinkles more prominent than the scars. I will continue to use the scar care balm as each time I compare previous pictures, I can see an obvious continuation in improvement, but I also notice that I’m less dedicated to applying the balm twice daily as they don’t show so much now, but again, the when I see the difference, I’m inspired to keep going…
If you would like to try a scar care balm, for any type of scar including mastectomy, caesarean, old injuries, even acne scars, please get in touch Laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk or use the recipes below to make your own.
There is plenty of research to support that massage itself helps scars to heal, so the combination of ingredients in the blend and the act of massage helps the scar to heal as best as possible, although everyone will do so in their own way and time. It’s important not to make it about the end result, but supporting yourself as best you can through what can be a very vulnerable time… I also made an effort to support my body to heal from the inside too, I took Vitamin C powder each day and avoided all unhealthy inflammatory foods.
Scar Care – 20ml Oil Blend Recipe (5% max strength blend used first week)
rosehip oil, 10ml
calendula macerated in olive oil, 10ml
myrrh essential oil (not suitable in pregnancy), 10 drops
lavender essential oil, 7 drops
chamomile essential oil, 2 drops
rose otto essential oil, 1 drop
Scar Care – Balm Blend Recipe (3% blend for continued use)
rosehip oil, 20ml
calendula macerated in olive oil, 24ml
beeswax (or alternative if vegan), 3g
myrrh essential oil (not suitable in pregnancy), 20 drops
Essential oils are a very effective treatment for cold sores, also know as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or oral herpes. They can help with the healing process, ease the symptoms, including pain, inflammation and soreness, and even help to prevent blisters forming if used as soon as warning signs are noticed, such as tingling sensations.
I make a very soft balm to apply to the affected area, as it can be painful, sore and blistered, so you don’t want to apply anything that needs rubbing in. This is soft enough to just dab around the area, if the skin is broken or damaged, then applying around the area is just as effective and will not stop it from drying out.
Cold Sore Balm Recipe – 30g
Beeswax, 2g – to protect.
Shea butter, 3g – for creaminess.
Olive oil 25g – (if you have calendula or rosehip oil, these would be beneficial as they also support the skin to heal, you can replace or blend these, but keep the total amount of oil 25g).
Melissa (lemon balm) 1 drop – for anti viral properties.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 1 drop – for pain relief and general skin healing.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) 1 drop – for healing skin (very good for hard to heal wounds).
Chamomile (Roman) 1 drop – soothing, calming and anti-inflammatory.
Instructions: Melt the beeswax and shea butter in a bain-marie, add the olive oil while still on the heat and ensure all ingredients are melted. Pour into a pot and add essential oils, stir with a chop stick and leave until it sets before lid application. Click here for full instructions on how to make a balm.
Important note: Do not to contaminate the balm when you use it, if you dip your finger into the pot and apply it to the cold sore, then do not put it back into the pot as your finger has been in contact with the virus! This is called double dipping : )
TOP TIP: Cold sores often appear when someone is stressed, so it’s worth observing what happens leading up to its appearance, for example, were you tired, doing too much, eating certain foods that don’t support the body? Is it possible the cold sore is a signal from your body, asking you to slow down & make more loving choices to support yourself? Simple changes to your self care routine can make a difference.
When I trained 10 years ago, I was taught that it was generally accepted to be safe to use lavender and tea tree essential oils undiluted on the skin. A drop applied neat to a specific area such as a spot, cut, burn, insect bite or a graze was considered appropriate as an anti-septic, to ease pain & inflammation and help the area to heal more effectively and efficiently. It’s something that I’ve practised myself and also advised clients to do so, but after investigating essential oil safety more deeply recently, my view on this has now changed.
The safe use of essential oils is a hot topic in the world of professional aromatherapy right now because there is a huge amount of unsafe use promoted on the internet, mainly by MLM (multi-level marketing) companies, especially with regards to using oils internally and undiluted on the skin, with severe outcomes.
You should never use essential oils internally without professional support from someone experienced in using oils in this way – it is worth noting that it would be quite rare that it would be recommended, and should definitely not be used for boosting general health.
You should never use essential oils undiluted internally; drinking a few drops of essential oil in a glass of water would expose the delicate lining of your digestive system to a neat oil, (since essential oils do not mix with water) it could burn and cause serious damage.
If you consider how much plant material is needed to make such a tiny bottle of oil, you get an idea of how concentrated it is; 250 pounds of lavender for just 1 pound of lavender oil, 1200 rose flowers for just 20 drops of rose oil.
I had never had a ‘reaction’ to an essential oil (apart from a few I’ve disliked the scent of), but a few months ago during a course making an alcohol perfume, my skin responded in this way (see image below) after dropping an essential oil mixed with alcohol on it, it passed after about 20 minutes and may have been due to the alcohol. I have handled essential oils pretty much every day for 10 years without problems but this goes to show that you can never be sure and should always be careful.
If you do happen to get an essential oil on your skin and have a ‘reaction (which could include burning, itching, a rash or hives) then you can apply olive oil or another base product to the area as this will help to dilute it. Even if you have used lavender neat on your skin without any initial reactions or irritation it could still cause ‘sensitisation’. which can occur after over use of a product.
What does sensitisation mean?
it’s an immune response to using an oil regularly over a period of time,
symptoms could include a rash, hives, blisters, sores, burning, cracked skin & shortness of breath,
it could mean that you can never use that oil again.
If, like me, you use lavender for a myriad of reasons, it would be a real shame to one day find you can’t use it all, so it’s wise to take precautions.
Using essential oils is not a case of the more you use the better the effect, so you do not miss out by diluting the oil, in fact it is usually more beneficial to be used in a carrier product.
Advantages of diluting essential oils:
base oils are nourishing to the skin,
you use a lot less oil which reduces the demand which means less impact on the environment,
you use less and therefore spend less.
I now have a bottle of ready to use lavender essential oil blended in olive oil in the house for all those moments when I need it. If you want to make a ready to use blend you can either add 5 drops to 10ml of base oil (or 2 drops in 10ml for children & sensitive skin), or if you have a different sized container, click here to refer to the blending chart to check how many drops to use.
Do not dilute essential oil when using in a diffuser or burner, in an inhaler stick, if you sprinkle lavender on your pillow at night, or use it in your ironing water. None of these are going directly on your skin and using a base oil would stain sheets or damage diffusers.
Since lavender is one of the safest essential oils to use, all other essential oils should also be diluted before use on the skin, including in the bath.
The lead up to the end of the year can often feel a little fretful rather than festive, so here are some recommendations for essential oils to support you as the ‘silly season‘ takes over:
Orange & Clove for a warming, comforting scent that has a powerful cleansing & anti-microbial action, a perfect combination for using in a burner or diffuser* to scent your home and ward off winter bugs. You can get a similar effect by piercing cloves into the peel of an orange which releases their essential oils – as well as smelling delicious it will sanitise the atmosphere. Place them around your home, especially close to the fire as the heat will encourage more essential oils to be released.
Fir & Pine for supporting the immune system & respiratory conditions during vulnerable times. Use these Christmas tree oils on a tissue and inhale throughout the day, or blend them into a balm* to massage across your chest – you can use them in this way if you have come down with a cold, flu or virus and also if you want to avoid them.
Cardamom & Grapefruit to help soothe, digest & detox – these would be lovely made into a blend* if you happen to have over indulged over the Christmas period. Find a comfortable place to lay down, massage the ‘digestive blend’ around your tummy in gentle anti-clockwise circles, begin just under your ribcage and massage around the centre of your tummy covering the small intestine, gradually moving down towards the start of the ascending colon, follow this up the right side of your body, as it becomes the transverse colon across the body under the ribs and then onto the descending colon down the left side of your body. Finish with a few large anti-clockwise circles and take a moment to rest.
Frankincense & Myrrh – these two oils come with extremely precious qualities, they support moments to stop, breathe gently and come back to yourself – especially useful during times of stress and overwhelm. I like to use them in a roll-on perfume blend* to keep in my pocket and apply when ever I feel to.
You can use all of the recommended blends in a burner or diffuser* to scent your home, or dilute in a carrier oil to massage into your skin and add to a bath*.
Any oil you choose to use with the intention to truly nurture and take care of yourself will support on some level, so enjoy experimenting and feel free to get in touch if you would like assistance.
The key reason I use geranium essential oil is for its balancing effect on the endocrine system. When you consider how much the endocrine system and our hormones play a key role in every part of running our bodies, geranium oil becomes a useful tool to support health and wellbeing, especially with regards to a woman’s health and her cycle.
It’s important to actually see and feel how, as women, we are constantly in a cycle, whether it be our monthly menstrual cycle, which goes through various phases as shown in the video below by UnimedLiving, or our life cycle as a woman and the way we move from beginning our periods as a girl or young woman to menopause and beyond… I like to think of it as the way a rose begins to bud and bloom, continuing to open until each petal eventually falls. Even when all the petals have fallen the cycle is not over, it is then that rose hips begin to form, a stage as gorgeous as the flowering… Just as with women, when our monthly bleed ceases, there is much to appreciate and enjoy as a woman enters her elder years.
Geranium is an oil you can use to support you, your connection to your cycle and your body at any stage in life. The key is to use the oil to support the whole cycle, rather than as a quick fix when you feel tension (and all the other possible symptoms such as moods, exhaustion, hot flushes, period pain, bloating, breakouts, cravings etc.) – although it can still help at these more intense times, it would be more effective to make it a regular ritual.
make a balm to massage into your tummy or any part of your body each night.
make a bath blend – note: if you only take a bath once in a ‘blue moon’, it won’t really support your whole cycle, you could still do this when you feel like it, but bring something else in to your daily or weekly rhythm.
How ever you decide to use geranium oil, make sure it feels lovely, that you enjoy it and that it doesn’t become a chore. If you find a way that you really adore, you are more likely to make it a part of your natural rhythm. It’s worth noting that if you don’t enjoy the scent of geranium, then you could replace it with rose essential oil, which has a deeply nurturing quality; or lavender essential oil, which is very clearing (in fact, all three together would make a great blend). Alternatively, you could blend a small amount of geranium oil with other essential oils that make the scent more appealing. You could also look at making a blend of essential oils that can address other symptoms you may experience, such as period pain, back ache, nausea, hot flushes, tiredness, dizziness, etc.
The endocrine system is a very delicate, subtle system in the body, and although geranium oil has this balancing effect on it, once you find a way to bring essential oils into your day-to-day life, you will naturally be building more of a connection and awareness to your body. This connection and awareness is key as you then have an opportunity to respond in a more nurturing, loving way, something that can continue to grow and deepen as you move through your cycle.
For more support with women’s health wether it be how to prepare for your first period or support with going through menopause, there are some amazing articles on the following sites: