How to use Essential Oils from Trees to Support our Respiratory System and in Skin Care.

One of the many things I love about essential oils is how the effect on our body is connected to the plant itself and that plants action in life. Trees produce oxygen by their mode of respiration which supports us with our respiration, so, it seems natural for the essential oil to support conditions that affect our respiratory system, like colds and coughs. When you breath in essential oils you can feel it in your body immediately, and this is particularly prominent with tree oils such as eucalyptus and pine. You can feel them cleaning and clearing as they pass from the tip of your nose deep down into your lungs. I feel my chest expand, even my posture changes and I will naturally be more open and stand taller – just like a tree.

Eucalyptus trees.

Everything is connected so it goes beyond the respiratory system, but it’s a good example of feeling for yourself in your body, how the oils can support.

Frankincense & myrrh have a less fierce action on the respiratory system, much more calming, helping to bring a gentleness back to your breath. They are a great support for conditions such as asthma, panic attacks, stress, anxiety and for use in meditation.

Click here for links to free gentle breath meditation audios, they are quick, simple and a very practical support for real life.

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Image care of Unimed Living

Frankincense is a great oil to scent the room with when you’re taking a moment to breath gently. Myrrh has a much subtler smell so doesn’t work that well in a burner, I prefer to massage this into my wrists to support connection with myself. Click here to read my blog on using myrrh in this way.

Frankincense and myrrh are also examples of how essential oils can act on our bodies in the same way they do so as a tree in life. The essential oil comes from the resin that is produced by the tree when the bark is cut or injured. The resin is a sticky, thick, goo that covers the affected area and then hardens to seal and protect the damaged site, it’s a bit like the way humans form a scab to protect their bodies when the skin is broken.

Frankincense resin.

Can you see why frankincense and myrrh are used in skin care? The resin is healing the tree and the oil that is produced from the resin is used for it’s healing properties on our skin. Frankincense is one of the most popular ingredients in many skin care products. Myrrh is particularly affective in helping festering and difficult to heal wounds, especially in the mouth -it’s useful for mouth ulcers and popular in oral care for this reason (see my blog on gargling with myrrh for more details).  I also like to use myrrh on dry, hard, cracked skin, it’s the base of my blend for scars and usually appears in the skin care products I make -it has recently been working wonders for a client with bed sores.

Benzoin is similar to frankincense and myrrh, it is a tree that produces a resin that is made into an essential oil. It is very protective to the skin but has a very pleasing vanilla like scent that makes it particularly comforting to use for stress and anxiousness as well as in skin care.

I find that even the character of trees confirms how they work on the body. Large, tall strong trees like pines and firs and huge eucalyptus trees with tonnes of leaves are very expansive to the respiratory system, powerfully cleansing and clearing. Whereas the more delicate small trees like frankincense and myrrh work in a more gentle way, supporting reconnecting when you feel out of sorts. Both are very powerful but different in action, a reflection of ourselves as humans; we all have different strengths and qualities that offer support in different ways.

Boswellia carteri tree
Boswellia carteri – the tree that produces frankincense essential oil from its resin.

You could not compare the delicacy of a flower that may last a few days or weeks to the strength of a huge oak that could live for generations. One is not better than another, for each brings a natural beauty that is needed. In this same way, we can appreciate each other for our natural qualities, we all have something to bring to this world of value and it is a true gift for humanity when we share ourselves in full.

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions.

A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).

To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.

I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.

Basil (sweet basil) ~ Supports digestive problems, another great oil for a tummy balm blend.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength. 

Basil essential oil

Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.

Caution ~ possible irritant to some in high dose.

Cardamom ~ Gently soothing tummy aches and nausea, supports appetite and is refreshing and comforting. A great oil for children, for travel sickness or for morning sickness.

Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.

Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.

Chamomile

Chamomile (roman) ~ Gentle, soothing and calming, great for very delicate skin, and skin conditions. Relieves itching, and allergies.  See my blog on Chamomile for Skin Conditons  for more details. A great oil for children.

Caution ~ Potential sensitivity to those with ragweed allergy.

Clove ~ Very powerful pain reliever, especially where there is nerve pain. Useful for toothaches and for warming and releasing aches and pains.

Caution ~ Maximum blend strength 1%. Sensitisation possible. Caution with hyper sensitive, diseased or damaged skin. Not suitable for children under 2 years.

Eucalyptus (globulus) ~ Powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains.

Eucalyptus radiata ~ this species of eucalyptus is more gentle than the globulus, so I would use it with children, elderly, or if someone feels the globulus is too fierce.

Frankincense ~ A fantastic skin oil, very good for dry and mature types. Also good for calming and focusing on breathing so very useful in a burner to scent the room and to help calm anxiety.

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Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women.

geranium essential oil

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. See my blog on Lavender Essential First Aid  for more details.

Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.

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Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.

Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.

Lemon essential oil

Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children.

Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds.  Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.

Myrrh

Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.

Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm.

Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin.

Leonardo da vinci flower study

Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.

Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.

herbs

Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.

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.

yarrow essential oils

Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. I will be launching my own range of essential oils very soon, in the meantime you can contact me to purchase: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

How to Gargle with Myrrh Essential Oil

Gargling with an essential oil is useful for helping various oral health issues, but it’s important that the essential oil is diluted in olive oil (or another base oil) before being added to the water as the essential oil doesn’t dilute in the water itself and is too concentrated to be in direct contact with the delicate lining of your mouth.

There are two recipes here, one is for acute oral health conditions, where you would use a higher dilution for a period of a few days while the condition clears, for example: sore throats; coughs; chest infections; mouth ulcers; laryngitis; gum disease; halitosis and oral thrush.

If you want to use the gargle as part of your day to day mouth care routine, then use the lower dilution recipe, this would be suitable to use after cleaning your teeth for general mouth health & fresh breath.

Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for intense treatment:

All you need is a trusty egg cup (or any little container to hold enough water for a mouth full),

  • two drops of myrrh essential oil (or lavender essential oil – or one of each)
  • half a tea spoon of olive oil (3ml)
  • some water (enough for a mouthful),

Instructions:

Add two drops of myrrh to the olive oil and blend evenly. Fill the egg cup or small container with water, and add the mix of olive & essential oil, then take the water into your mouth, and gargle for as long as you can.  Do not swallow.

Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for general every day use:

Use the following recipe for a natural mouth wash after cleaning your teeth:

  • one drop of myrrh or lavender essential oil – use peppermint essential oil for an extra fresh feeling.
  • one tea spoon of olive oil (6ml)
  • some water (enough for a mouthful).
Click here to buy Myrrh Essential Oil
Click here to buy Lavender Essential Oil.
Click here to buy Peppermint Essential Oil.

How to use Myrrh Essential Oil – Connection and Massage

Myrrh essential oil is a great oil for supporting connection with self, its subtle aroma encourages a level of stillness to allow an appreciation of the scent. Gently massaged around your wrists brings focus to this delicate area of the body. The oil is made from a resin produced by the Commiphora myrrha tree; when the bark of this tree is damaged or cut the resin is released to seal the wound and this action is mimicked by the essential oil which is used in deep and difficult wound care.

leonardo-da-vinci-paintings-and-drawings-hands-of-mona-lisa-1503

I wanted to share my recent experience of using myrrh essential oil in a cream or an oil and massaging it into my wrists. My wrists feel very delicate and precious, and it becomes natural to do this massage very tenderly and to really take the time to feel my wrists.

My wrists seems to be a piece of my body that in the past I hadn’t given much focus to. A friend of mine, Chris James, made a point of getting people to feel their wrists during one of his workshops (his workshops are an amazing way to really connect with your self).  He literally kept saying ‘Feel Your Wrists’ throughout the entire weekend.  It resonated with me and I started to notice many points through out my daily life that my wrists were being used.  Right now as I type on my key board for example, and when I’m driving in my car, these were initially two very obvious moments that were easy to bring attention to my wrists during the day.  As I began to notice them more, I actually realised how rough and careless I could be with them, the way I picked things up, closed doors or dried them in a hurry and I became aware of aches and discomfort. When I noticed this, I’d consciously take a moment to let go of any tension and let my wrists go floppy. Now, if I’m in  my car and stuck in traffic or at lights, then I often turn my wrists over as gently as I can and then back again or I notice if I’m holding the steering wheel with tension, and let my hold become more relaxed. When I’m at work I have a ‘wrist guard’  and a ‘mouse guard’ which is a foam pad to support my wrists as I’m typing, it lets my hands drop down, which feels more supportive to me.  I have recently incorporated a specific stretch for my wrists and hands during my morning exercises, all very simple ways to support my wrists.

It still took some time before I actually sat down to do a massage though, as there was something uncomfortable about massaging my wrists, it feels like such a tender, sensitive part of my body.  I knew I was avoiding it, so I began with just holding or feeling my wrists and then just massaging them without any cream or oil if they ached.

Eventually I decided I wanted to give my wrists that extra bit of care and attention and I began by mixing a couple of drops of myrrh essential oil into a pot of cream (see my blog on how many drops to use in a blend).  Myrrh is a particularly viscous oil and it takes  a really long time for a drop to fall from the bottle* so this process encouraged me to be present and if I noticed I was impatient, then I’d know I really needed to slow down and let the drop fall naturally.  The massage itself only takes a few moments, and I generally apply a little cream in anti-clockwise circles, when I’m in bed in the evening.  Sometimes they feel tender, sore or achey, and I  just notice this, and except that I have been using them a little too harshly and this awareness generally leads to naturally becoming more gentle when I use them.

I’ve been bringing focus to my wrists (as well as hands and finger tips) for some time now, and looking back over the last year, I can really appreciate how the more attention I have bought to this part of my body, the more gentle I have become with them.  It’s in the way I wash my hands, apply lotion afterwards, the way I close doors, chop vegetables, the way I open boxes or do the washing up. I feel the flow of this gentleness beyond my wrists, it’s up my forearms, across my shoulders and even in the way I use my whole body. I am more aware and more gentle than in the past and it continues to deepen. I can really appreciate how beautiful my wrists, hands and fingertips are and often enjoy moving them with grace and delicacy as if I’m dancing.

See my previous blog posts Taking care of your hands and Essential Oils in Hand & Nail care for more related reading.

Click here to buy Myrrh Essential Oil.

*Please note that myrrh essential oil oxidises very easily -this means that it reacts with oxygen, and it actually becomes very very sticky and stiff, so although you do need to be patient when dropping it from the bottle because it is thick, it is possible that it will oxidise and at some point will no longer drop from the bottle, in fact it can reach a point where you can’t get the lid off. Mine never usually lasts this long, but it would depend on how much it is exposed to the air, or if the bottle is close to empty then there is more air that it can react with.

How to Use Essential Oils in Hand and Nail Care

How to take care of your hands and nails with essential oils and carrier oils and make your own nurturing nail oil.

I had the most divine manicure and pedicure recently with Shami Duffy from ‘Beauty With Shami‘. I’ve only had two in my life, and the other was with my 6 year old niece, both left me smiling every time I looked at my nails, which is quite often with regards to the ones on my fingers, and so a constant reminder of the really gorgeous time spent together.

I had spoken with Shami about 3 months previously about using vegetable oils and essential oils on the nails as they can be very nourishing and support healthy nails.  It was very inspiring as I had never really considered using oils on my nails, although I had always recommended almond oil to people if they wanted to use something, I hadn’t actually used oils for that purpose myself. I always cut my nails down to the absolute minimum since I had had eczema in the past and wanted to avoid scratch damage, it was also recommended to keep them short when I was studying massage. So, when Shami mentioned how much more delicate you naturally became with longer nails, I decided to experiment and grow my nails a little.  I became much more aware when using my fingers in various ways, for example, shutting doors, lifting things, opening cans etc., and I became more delicate in the way I did these things, which really felt gorgeous.  If I was rough with my hands then it would be more obvious and show me I wasn’t being so delicate, I flipped my nails back a few times which really stopped me in my tracks.

Be delicate, tender and gentle with your hands.

During the treatment she used a gentle exfoliating cream, using palm grains, which are very fine, so there was no rough feeling on the skin.  My hands looked stunningly bright afterwards.  She then used a massage cream with arnica, lavender and chamomile in to massage my hands and feet, completely divine.  Next was a heat treatment which involved painting my hands and feet with a blend of melted beeswax and macadamia oil with a few drops of frankincense essential oil, which quickly solidified and was left on with some heated socks and mitts for intensive moisturising.  At this point I was so relaxed I was almost sleeping. When the masks were removed she painted my nails and I had the most amazing feeling hands and feet.

Nail oil

Just before I left, she applied a blend of macadamia oil with a few drops of rose essential oil, around the nails and on the skin just before the nails begin to grow. Applying it to this area supports healthy nail growth, as this is where the new nail is being formed.

It is very simple to make your own up and I use a ‘roller’ bottle to dispense the oil, which works in the same way as a roll on deodorant.  It comprises of a small glass bottle, a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette parts

They usually come in 10ml bottles, and the recipe below is for a 2.5% blend strength, but you can adjust the recipe if needed using the charts on my previous blog post ‘How many drops should I use?’:

Ingredients

5ml organic macadamia oil*

5ml organic almond oil*

2 drops of myrrh essential oil (helps to heal dry, hard and cracked skin)

2 drops of rose essential oil (deeply nurturing, nourishing and hydrating)

1 drop of orange essential oil (to give the scent a lift)

*If you can’t use nut oils due to allergies then I would suggest using organic apricot oil instead.

Instructions

Measure the quantities of base oil (macadamia and almond) and pour directly into the bottle, then drop essential oils directly into the bottle, fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Myrrh is quite thick and gloopy, so you may see the drop of oil sink to the bottom, so you will need to shake it well to ensure it has mixed through. Roll the oil just under the nails each day, and enjoy. Ensure you put a label on the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Ingredients to make your own nail oil blend are available to order from my webshop or Click here if you would like to order a ready made nurturing nail oil blend.

Beauty With Shami – Shami Duffy works in Frome, Somerset, and you can contact her using the following email address if you would like to book a session for your hands and feet: beautywithshami@gmail.com

It is a truly nurturing experience, and well worth making the trip, so if you’re not local then I can recommend staying  at The Lighthouse bed & breakfast in Tytherington, near Frome, Somerset: Tel: 01373 453585 Web: www.lighthouse-uk.com