Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aromatherapy in Childbirth

In labor with our twins...(July 24, 2003)
The bath
Essential oils
Coconut water
3 midwives
1 doula
2 excited sons (ages 7 and 4)
1 supportive husband
4 hour homebirth

"Aromatherapy is easier to administer and costs very little. It changes the whole atmosphere of the birth room. It is not just the mother who can be more relaxed, but the staff caring for her feel calmer and happier too.
Aromatherapy is not a magic charm. But it is one way in which a midwife can communicate warmth, sensitivity and friendship in an institutional and medical environment" .
by Sheila KitzingerThe Independent, Health Page 21 Oct 1999

Maggie Tisserand recommends; clary sage compress to the lower abdomen.
Apply warm, replace when cooled.

Nursing Times - March 2, 1994, Vol. 90, No. 9, "Using Aromatherapy in Childbirth"

Summary: A study of 500 women in the delivery suite. Essential oils used: Lavender, Clary Sage, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Frankincense, Jasmine, Rose, Lemon and Mandarin.
Methods of Application:

(1) *Spray of 100 cc water with 2 drops e.o on face sheet, pillow, or bean bag or
(2) 4-6 drops oil in bath or 2-3 drops of oil in footbath or
(3) Inhalation or
(4) Massage with 2 drops in 50 cc of almond oil.
Results: Overall satisfaction with the "aroma" -helped eliminate the hospital smell which decreased anxiety.
Lavender - reduce maternal anxiety, pain relief, lighten mood, calm contractions if woman needed rest (Early in Labor)
Peppermint- Nausea & Vomiting
Clary sage - Increase Contractions

74% of women used no other form of pain relief

My Favorite Essential Oils for Labor

Clary Sage– relieves tension, helps to increase speed of contractions, helps with after pains and expulsion of placenta
Jasmine– helps with milk supply, excellent for perineal massage mixed with carrier oil, dulls uterine pain
Lavender– all purpose calming and pain relief oil
Myrrh, Frankincense, & Spikenard– Ancient oils to help aid in childbirth. Emotional clearing and fear reduction
Neroli– Relaxes, reduces fear, insomnia, tension and anxiety
Rose– Uplifting, soothing, grounding, creates a sense of euphoria
Peppermint– Uplifting, awakening, anti nausea
Basil– Grounding, awareness, mental focus
Citrus Oils– mood lifters, energy, helps to restore gentle breathing
(my favorite citrus at births is Pink Grapefruit)
Miracle Menthol Salve-helps with back labor tremendously, helps with nausea and breathing

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Healing Waters

If you read my blog, you know how I love baths. Baths are where I get my greatest ideas. It is where I have my greatest peace and my most amazing thoughts. There is something that always bothers me about the bath though. Here in Las Vegas, it is that the water in which we bathe is chemically laden. I ALWAYS add salt to my bath to counteract the negative things in it. By salt, I mean sea salt or Himalayan salt. These kinds of salt counteract the negative effects of water by absorbing and eliminating the chemicals, bacteria and nastiness in the water. They also are great for the skin, and for aches and pains. Upon learning more about coral calcium this last week, I had an epiphany. Coral calcium and Sea/Himalayan salt together in the bath!

Why coral calcium you ask? Well, because...

Coral Calcium has many wonderful properties. I am talking about above sea coral calcium. I will not go into detail about why this is important now, just know it is. It is obviously good for our hair, skin and nails. But it is also good for EVERY cell in our bodies. It also keeps our muscles, nerves and circulation of blood going strong. It keeps our bones strong and solid. What does it do for the water? It absorbs and cleanses the lead, mercury and other chemicals we have in our water.

So, I blended up a batch of Himalayan sea salt, coral calcium and of course some essential oils. (I used lavender, bergamot and coriander- some of my favorite bath blessings!) I was so excited to enter my bath that night, as I poured a heaping cup into the steaming water. (Yes, I like my bath's hot.) The experience was heaven! Have you ever been in a mineral pool or hot springs? You know the buoyancy and softness you feel? Well, I created that in my own bath! I'd had a massage that day to loosen up a tight shoulder that was a result of a bout with shingles, and this bath cradled me like a bassinet of flowing water! I felt so rested and relaxed after this bath, that I made up an extra large batch of my treasure, so as to never be without it.

If you are not a 'bath person" by nature, give it a try! We deserve to take a luxurious rest in one of nature's best creations. Bless yourself with the gift of just being, not having to do or say anything, and letting the bliss that is water be a part of our lives.

*Above ground coral calcium and Himalayan salts found at Herbally Grounded, Las Vegas, NV.

Monday, July 9, 2007

If I did not have the proof, I wouldn't believe it. I have Carcolepsy. It is a form of Narcolepsy, but only related to being in the car.
Narcolepsy is by definition:
-The main characteristic of narcolepsy is overwhelming excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), even after adequate night time sleep. A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime naps may occur with or without warning and may be physically irresistible. These naps can occur several times a day. They are typically refreshing, but only for a few hours. Drowsiness may persist for prolonged periods of time. - (Wikipedia)

I have been like this since childhood. It was especially prominent when I was 18 and took a trip with my family to Hawaii. My dad rented a van and drove us around to many great places, but sadly, I remember more about the softness and color of the van's interior than my view of the massive sugar cane fields. I try, I really try to stay awake. On family trips, my husband always drives. I have great plans for family sing-alongs and to get started on a really good book, only to be awakened by my own snoring before we even hit the freeway entrance. Interestingly, my children seem to have this same problem, and I still have to time outings, even for my older kids so that they will stay awake. It's as if the car is a big cushy cradle lulling us to sleep with it's rhythmic motion. I have used all manner of alertness aids that are legal and not damaging to my body. I use my oils, which really does help, and I also resort to pinching myself hard, which helps a little too. I even tried caffeinated sodas once, only to experience a hyperactive gibber-fest and then crash into an all time delirium of sleepiness.
I just returned from a road trip without my husband. Me and the 4 kids ventured to the beach to visit my sister, and I was armed and ready. On the way there the fantasy of fresh air, less than 100 degree scorching weather and the soft lapping of waves at my feet ironically kept me awake. On the way home was another story. After staying up too late talking with my sister and trying top solve the puzzle we call parenting, I did not get enough sleep. Thirty minutes into the trip, and after leaving the cool coast weather, I was wondering how I could pull over and take a quick nap in 112 degree heat.
I said a prayer, and the thought came to me to use my Pick Me Up Spray (duh!) and the new herbal formula from Herbally Grounded called- Focus. I hadn't tried it yet and my travel bottle was brand new and waiting for me to drink it... in it's entirety. So, I sprayed the spray, took the Focus, and in about 5 minutes felt as if I could (without hesitation) address the UN confidently. I was alert and completely revived. I noticed things I never notice, I was able to get off the freeway, and get back on without totally being confused about which direction I was headed. I was clear, I was in the now, I could have read a book!!!! Too bad I was driving! The moral of the story is this... don't leave home without these two things. You will be sad and tired, and you will miss out on all that there is to be seen. PMU and Focus will forever be my constant travel companions.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I love summer. Barbecue's, Beaches, Family Reunions, etc.. Along with all those great things come some hazards and annoying things to deal with. May I suggest preparing a summertime kit. It will amaze you how much you will use it, if it is already available. You may not realize what a true life-saver it is. After experiencing sun posing in 2005, when my fruitless attempts (making this the 15th year of fruitless attempts) to tan my Luck o' the Irish skin, landed me with what looked like lips straight from a Medspa, I was so glad to have on hand my natural remedies. Last year when my whole family was eaten by a rabid pack of mosquito's at a family reunion, my kids were the only ones with barely a bite. Everyone knows Aunt Jo-Jo has a virtual first aid hut of remedies, and I am glad to share them!

I buy a sturdy rectangular Rubbermaid container with a top. I have smaller more portable items inside, but all my goodies travel in one of these. Somewhat like this one:

This is the Big Mama kit I have on hand.
I of course have the basic band aids, gauze, etc..
If you have purchased the Essential Wellness Kit, than you already have most of what you need. I make or buy the items listed below(recipes will be at end of post)
Aloe Vera- I love Aloe Life AV. It is preservative free and is fantastic! I like to mix it with Lavender EO.
Skeeter Spray- available at HG or you can make your own
1 bottle of Lavender EO or Lavender Roller- the cure all
Chill herbal Tincture and Happy Juice if you have the grouchies
Cayenne capsules-stops bleeding
Out and About spray or other natural antibacterial hand spray
Cleansing Roller- if nothing else, stick this in your bag
Plantain and Comfrey Salve- rashes, irritations, burns, slivers, etc..
Angel Oil- use for everything..motion sickness, upset tummy, first aid, etc..

All the above have so many uses it is hard to name them all. Just know that you are covered for scrapes, cruises, cuts, bites, irritations, sunburn, fatigue, overexertion, excess time spent with the family at the reunion, etc..

1/2 teaspoon citronella essential oil
1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
4 ounces distilled witch hazel
Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray bottle.
Shake well. Spray onto exposed skin, avoiding eyes and mucous membranes.
Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed.
Recipe courtesy of Laurel Vukovic.August 2004Herbs for Health

2 ounces carrier oil or vodka
1/4 teaspoon each citronella and eucalyptus essential oils
1/8 teaspoon each cedar and rose geranium essential oils
Combine ingredients and apply mixture directly to all exposed skin. Keep oil away from your eyes and mouth, and be careful not to rub your eyes right away after applying the repellent with your fingers.
Source: Keville, Kathi. Herbs for Health and Healing. Rodale, 1996.March/April 2004Herbs for Health

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Let the Allergies Begin....

As a child I suffered so badly from seasonal allergies that I couldn't even play outside during the most beautiful time of the year. I had the whole shabang- itchy throat, eyes, sniffles, itchy skin, ears, etc. For about 10 years, Afrin nasal spray became my best friend. When I was 23, I lost my sense of smell and taste due to a ginormous amount of nasal polyps caused by the years of nasal spray abuse. Growing up holistically, we tried everything under the sun, including the sun to solve my problems. Things would work, but only for a short time.

Oddly, after my polyp removal surgery, I have not been bothered by allergies again. Sadly my mother who still live in Pollenville, suffers every year. I have not found a concrete, 100% remedy for allergies. BUT, I continue to try and have found some things that seem to at least lessen the symptoms. I am actually working on an evil looking apple cider vinegar infusion as we speak, and hope that it will be the magic tonic to cure the world of all allergies, hunger, strife and disease. Awww, come on, there is nothing wrong with high hopes, right? So, here is a compilation of ideas. Look at the list, intuitively pick what resonates with you. THEN, create your shopping list!


-Wash hair every night to prevent pollen from sleeping with you.
-Wash bed linens often in natural detergent- good sources for this are Trader Joe's, Herbally Grounded, Make your own, etc...
-Use a high quality essential oil diffuser. I Love, love, love the ultrasonic diffusers that are sold at Herbally Grounded. Best ever!
-Keep doors and windows closed

Other ideas:

Use a Neti Pot and rinse sinus' with sea salt and warm water. Doesn't hurt to put adrop of Lavender or Tea Tree in there as well. When I had my one and only sinus infection, the neti was a life saver.
Jala neti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Herbs & Oils:

-Allergy Formula from Herbally Grounded
-Las Vegas Mix (Homeopathic) by Dolisos ( available at HG)

-Breathe Easy Essential Wellness Oil by Desert Rose- rub over bridge of nose at bedtime or as needed

-Peppermint/Chapparal tea sweetened with agave

-Garlic, garlic, fresh garlic (new post to come all about garlic)

-Inhaling Rosemary and Lemon Essential oils

I am never one to discount the importance of a good positive affirmation. Hre is one to try, or create your own:

"My body is whole, healthy, and perfectly content. I can breathe with ease and am grateful for every breath."

Remember, "As a man thinketh, so is he."- Poverbs 23:7

Picture yourself well!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sweet Spring

Ahh, sweet spring. It reminds me of a favorite poem by Robert Frost:

A Prayer in Spring

OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,

And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,

To which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends he will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

The roses are in bloom, the sun is shining sweetly, which is extra special because the summer sun here in Las Vegas burns so intensely. The birds and bees are busy, the roly poly's have awakened from their winter nap. The scents of Jasmine, Alyssum, fresh cut grass and rose petals fill the air. I gently removed the petals of two large roses for my bath last night, and thanked the bush for it's gift. I try and wait until just before the petals would naturally fall, before I remove them. It may sound strange, but I do not want to take them until they are ready to go. This time of year, our Heavenly Father, nature and the earth give back to us in such a beautiful way. Please take the time to appreciate it.
Considering it takes 3000 + pds. of rose petals to make one pound of essential oil, rose oil is treat, an indulgence and sometimes a necessity. Opening a bottle is like opening spring and letting the sweet freshness escape and float like visible music notes to a fertile ground where they can blossom and grow forever. Roses are the queens of the flowers. They are fragile, yet unbelievably hearty and possess a deeper strength than just paper thin petals. They have attitude, which is apparent in the fusion of the delicate flower and sharp, strong thorns. Their varieties are vast, and even I, a rose lover since birth, have a hard time choosing which color or variety is most beautiful. The pomaceous fruit of the rose, the rose hips are higher in vitamin C, than any other flower. Even after the beauty of the bloomed rose is gone, the rose is still functional and giving with the remaining rose hip, which can be eaten, ground up and dried and steeped as an herbal infusion. The rose to me, is a gift that keeps on giving. Upon the sadness of a beautiful bloom losing it's petals, the bush quickly has other blooming for our viewing pleasure. Whoever said to "stop and smell the roses, " sure knew what they were talking about.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hot Hair Oil to the rescue!

I remember spending way too much money on a tiny tube of a name brand Hot Hair Oil in High School. Who would have thought you can make your own? It is quite simple, more cost effective, and hands down more natural and better for your hair.

Here are the ingredients of the "name brand" hot oil. As you can see, interspersed with very few good ingredients, the rest are chemicals!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocotrimonium Chloride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Acetamide MEA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEI-1750, Polyquaternium-10, Quaternium-84, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein/Vegetable Amino Acids/Lysine Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phytantriol, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Oleth-20, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).

I think it scares hair into being shiny with that group of preservatives!

The benefit to a hot oil hair treatment is that it deeply moisturizes where other things cannot. Hair is essentially dead, but it can be fortified from the outside in. Good quality oils can also strengthen hair, and help remove split ends. The oil is also fantastic at removing build up from hair products. Here are a few recipes to try.

Keep the oil in a 4-6 oz, squeeze bottle.

You can heat the oil slightly in your palm, or put it in the shower and let it warm before you apply. Do not put it in the microwave, as this kills the live enzymes in the oils and can also cause burns, etc.. You can also warm it in a warm water bath, while still in it's container. Just applying it and leaving it on for about 30-60 min. is also great. Follow up with a good shampoo and conditioner. I like to apply the oil liberally all over my hair, and then wrap it in saran wrap. This seals the oils in and drives them deeper into the hair and scalp. In all honesty, it is really fun to liberate yourself by wearing saran wrap on your head for an hour or two. Try it, you'll like it!

Basic Recipe
4 oz. coconut oil
25 drops of lavender EO
Mix well.

Restoring and Awakening
4 oz. grapeseed oil
20 drops rosemaryEO
10 drops tea trea EO
10 drops lavender EO
Leaves a nice tingle!

4 oz. olive oil
10 drops pink grapefruit EO
10 drops Spearmint EO
5 drops Lemon EO

Scalp Cleaner

4 oz carrier oil of choice
15 drops Tea Tree
10 drops Orange
5 drops Cypress

Carrier oil= a fatty base oil such as olive, grapeseed, coconut, almond, apricot, coconut, etc.

EO=Essential Oil

Here's to Happy Hair!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Q & A- Morning Sickness

Could suggest some Essential Oils / Herbs for morning sickness and pregnancy health in general?
-Kellie in Las Vegas

Hi Kellie-

Having experienced morning/all day sickness with all of my pregnancies, this is an excellent question.
I always try and reassure pregnant mamas that having some sort of nausea is a good sign of pregnancy. In my experience, it is rare to have morning sickness and miscarry. My mom told always told me that it is a sign that your body is adjusting to the pregnancy and the baby is growing. Scientifically, this is also proven. An interesting article on the subject can be found here: Morning Sickness Protects Mother and Child. That said, it can be a very miserable experience for some who experience severe nausea called Hyperemesis gravidarum- (see-Hyperemesis gravidarum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), which is like riding on a bad roller coaster over and over and is unrelenting. This can be a scary and hard to cope with this type of nausea, Here are some things that can help mild to severe "pregnancy nausea":

Prenatal Preparation: Balance those hormones. Did I say balance your hormones? You are right!

I would suggest-

Evening Primrose Oil

-Balance Tincture
-Extra Greens
-Green Stevia

Hormone balancing essential oils:
Clary sage, fennel,geranium, ylang- ylang (pronounced e-long, e-long, thank you Jeanne Rose!), grapefruit and lavender.


Essential Wellness Blends from
-PMS Support
-Beautiful Dreamer
- Pregnancy Mood Support
-Pick Me Up Spray- contains peppermint, spearmint and a bunch of citrus oils

If you are already pregnant, you can still balance your hormones using the herbs and using pregnancy mood support essential wellness oil or the above single oils. Spearmintor peppermint oil diluted and rubbed around the belly button and inhaled helps with nausea in the first trimester. I also apply the essential oils to my feet and pulse points. I kept a cotton ball with peppermint eo on it in my pocket at all times!

Other things that help:

-Ipecacuanha Homeopathic- this helped a lot with my twins
-Young coconut water- I drank literally gallons of this during pregnancy
How to use young coconuts for your vibrant health!- this site has the best pics of how to use it! You can find these by the case locally in Las Vegas at Chinatown Market, Whole Foods, Albertson's, and Wild Oats.
-Small frequent meals consisting of 50% raw foods
-Little dairy and no fried foods
-Red Raspberry Tea or pregnancy tea with spearmint- I like it cold with some agave nectar. Helps balance hormones and aid in nausea.
-Bananas- helps with low potassium levels and evens out blood sugar. Low blood sugar means more nausea.
-Lemon Drops
- Green Stevia- Blood sugar balancer
-All things Ginger- chews, ginger soother drink, etc... I LOVE the Ginger People- Welcome to The Ginger People - Home of the World's Best Quality Ginger t

Here's to a happy pregnant belly!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Question of the Week- Colds, Congestion and All Things Mucosa

Cecilia L. from Las Vegas asks:

How would you recommend using EO's in treating an 18th month old with a bad cold involving fever, runny/stuffy nose, and mucus build up so bad that he can't sleep because he can't breathe? (poor little one doesn't know how to blow his nose yet).

Oh Cecilia, your breaking my heart! (I couldn't resist-sorry!)

Having just come through a crazy bout of bronchial/cold issues and many of these symptoms with my 3 yr. old son, I can address this question with much firsthand experience.

Here are things I have done. Sometimes I do not use all that is listed. It depends on the severity and lengths of the illness. The best line of defense is catching it early, being aggressive with the things you are using at the onset, nipping it in the bud, and eliminating the virus/illness from setting up camp in the body. I would suggest intuitively choosing those things that speak to you and using those. All of the things listed, I believe, should be in every home. It really sets you up for being prepared for any sickness that comes our way.


No dairy
Clear fluid
Young coconut juice from the coconut (rich in electrolytes and minerals)
Young coconut meat
homemade soups
Emergen-C drinks
Herbal tea sweetened with honey or agave nectar-I love peppermint and alfalfa or Cold Care from Traditional Medicinals

Holistic Hot Toddy from Sylvia Harber-
1/2 can OJ concentrate (I prefer trader Joe's)
1 Cup water

Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. Honey
Dash of cayenne pepper-less for a small child
Put above ingredients in saucepan. Stir continually until hot not boiling. Drink warm. For adults, it is best to drink as warm as possible. Helps decrease and break up mucus. Also soothes throat and stomach.

*Miracle Menthol Salve-rubbed on chest and down spine (he would beg for this. The light massage and feel/smell of the salve seemed to calm him immensely)- you could also use essential oils such as eucalyptus, spearmint, peppermint, lavender, etc..
*Immunity Essential Wellness Oil-rubbed on feet and inhaled
*Breathe Easy Essential Wellness Oil-carefully placed over the bridge of his nose
*Essential Oils diffused in the room(ex. Lemon, Clove with any citrus oils, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Cypress, Ravensara)
* Bliss Essential Wellness Oil or Lavender, Mandarin, Roman Chamomile, Coriander, etc.. for calming a child. It is so hard when they are little and don't understand why they can't breathe through their nose.

**Kid Viral or Infection Fighter tincture- helps decrease infection, virus', etc..
**Chill tincture-soothes mucus membranes, clears throat, etc.
Lobelia tincture- soothes throat, eases coughs, strengthens lungs, bronchials, etc.
**Colloidal Silver Lozenges or Slippery Elm Lozenges

For Fevers-*Cool Down Essential Wellness Oil or peppermint essential oil diluted in a carrier oil-rubbed on the feet works wonders. It helps bring down the temperature naturally for comfort, and still allows the body to burn the fever at it's own pace.
-Avoid astragalus when a fever is present. It tends to not allow the fever to decrease.

* Desert Rose Organics product available at Herbally Grounded or
**Available at Herbally Grounded or Herbally

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Product of the Month-Out n' About Spray

One of the first things I made to use with my children (after soap) was antibacterial hand spray. I am a germaphobe by nature, and wanted something that was good for the skin and still made the world magically clean! I refused to use the hand sanitizers on the market that were just becoming popular because of the huge amounts of alcohol and preservatives they had in them. They also dried out my hands horribly. So I formulated my blend out of some well known antibacterial essential oils, put it in a spray bottle and have been happy ever since. My kids know that after the park, grocery store, etc., they hold their hands out and get a spray. They love the smell, and I love the effect.
The "Out 'n About spray has become my closest friend. It accompanied us to Disneyland, where the year before we had left the magic kingdom with some nasty pink eye. It accompanies me to the grocery store, when I happen to pick up a leaky piece of meat and find no bathroom in site (or possibly that raw meat juice on my hands is the better choice between entering a grocery store bathroom), and also works on the cart, as I don't have enough arms to carry in a bulky shopping cart cover. I spray where my kids sit and anywhere they will touch. It is sprayed on the backs and arm rests of chairs at the movie, much to my husbands chagrin. He now accepts my germaphobia and likes to watch me scramble to see if I can spray his seat before he quickly sits down. It also doubles as a first aid spray, air purifier, and for over all wellness.
Essential oils by nature are more antibacterial than anything chemical or natural, so using them in our environment is both safe and effective. It makes me feel happy when I have my spray, and distraught when I don't. It also came in handy one time when a little girl barfed up her breakfast in the hallway at church. Everyone was grateful for the sweet smell of eucalyptus, tea tree and lemon that day! Out n' About Spray can be purchased locally at Herbally Grounded or by e-mailing

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lavender Blue, Dilly, Dilly

I love Lavender. It is the most common, well liked essential oil. I know why. It is good for everything, and I mean everything. From burns, cuts, bruises, pain, relaxation, bruises, bumps, scrapes, to bites, skin issues, anxiety, depression, sunburns, overexertion, etc..
Lavender, I love you!

Here are a few of my lavender stories. I love anecdotes, so if you have any on lavender or other oils, please let me know.

I have a bad habit of burning myself. The oven, my 450 degree flat iron, the sun, and glue guns. My husband has banned me from using the latter after near fatalities. :)

Usually, I burn, I blister, I am in pain, it hurts, but not since I started using Lavender on a regular basis about 12 years ago. When you burn your skin, all of the moisture is sucked out of your skin. To accommodate and protect the skin, a blister forms full of fluid. If you are a "picker" like me, you sterilize a straight pin and lance that sucker yourself. If you are squeamish, you take a day off work, & enter into a self proclaimed bed rest. Blisters hurt!

Once I was carefully removing a cookie sheet of cookies from the oven. I haphazardly let my finger slip off the hot pad and literally grabbed the pan bare fingered. Oh, I was in pain. I am not a pain person. In fact my husband has nicknamed me "egg shell", because I am easily hurt by seemingly small things. Of course this does not apply to childbirth, where I have been able to give birth naturally, for 3 out of our 4 children, the latter 2 being twins. Some how a blister derails me, but biggie! ;) So, back to the burn. I quickly applied lavender neat on the burn. 'Neat" means straight on, no dilution. There are only two oils deemed safe to apply "neat" and those are lavender and tea tree. I of course have others I will use that way, when it is needed. The lavender literally took away the pain immediately. I applied it every 15 minutes as this was about the time the searing hot pain would return. I did this for a 24 hour waking period, and noticed there was no blister. There was also barely any tenderness, redness or pain. It was then I learned about how essential oils can carry oxygen molecules along with them to the wounded area. Some may dispute that, but I have had too many occurrences tell me I am right on. After this incident, I hardly ever left the house without lavender.

Another incident I had involved ill fitting walking shoes. I had forgot that my shoe size gets 1/2 size bigger each time I am pregnant. Trying to get back into shape after my twins, I slipped on my old Nike's. Ignoring the pain on the back of my heal, I had walked a few miles before I felt a sharp knife-like cut. I took off my shoe and had rubbed my heal raw with about a 2 inch blister about to form. I had to walk home shoeless and close to tears. By the time I got in the door, I was wanting a morphine drip. By the time I wobbled into the kitchen, I would have OK'd amputation. Yes, it was that bad! I grabbed my trusty lavender and literally poured it on the closed wound. Yes, not exercising any caution, but it was an emergency. Immediately, once again the pain was dulled so completely, that I could not believe it. I kept reapplying all day, and though still a bit sore as it healed, it was not bothersome. Needless to say the Nike's went into the donation pile.

I have seen lavender work for my children so well, that I made them all their own lavender rollers (available for purchase) my 3.5 yr old only daughter, likes to ask for permission and anoint whoever may have the teeniest scratch or "owie". Of course when one of her older brothers comes in crying from outside after some bike or scooter mishap, she is the Florence Nightingale of the family and makes it all better. She has the precision of a juggler and the nurturing hands of a woman far older than she is. Yes, I will say it, she is adorable. She sometimes feigns imaginary "owies" so that she can apply the "Labindr".

I would like to close with a story where I did not use lavender. I seared the side of my neck with my flat iron while trying to figure out how to work the darn thing. It looked like a lovely hickey and being a married woman, I wondered what type of conclusions this would draw. In the depth of those thoughts, I forgot lavender. I forgot for a day. I don't know why, because it hurt. A blister appeared and the pain got worse. The blister popped (surprisingly a straight pin sterilized over a lone match flew out of nowhere and hit it- and yes, my mother always told me not to pop blisters) and a hard shell took it's place. It would get irritated and flake and started to scar over. By now I had the lavender, but I had not caught it as quickly as I should have. Luckily there was no scar eventually, and I attribute that to a lavender helichrysum blend I put together.

So, the moral of the long winded story is that lavender works for all things. It is amazing and should be used. No one should be without it, and if you are skeptical like I was, try it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Valentine's Day

The love we give away
is the
only love we keep.

Everyone needs a little something special for Valentine's Day. Desert Rose Organics will be sponsoring the Random Acts of Kindness Valentine's Day Fundraiser. For every Valentine's Day gift kit purchased, another kit will be given through the Random of Acts of Kindness Club. This means that random people will be given these gifts. People we know, people we don't, a helpful sales person at the store, an overwhelmed mother walking to her car after shopping with screaming kids, a man pumping his gas after hard day of work. there are no limits to the giving! But, we need your help.

The aim is to lighten the load for others around us by giving unconditionally. By making a difference in someones life, we hope that they will be inspired to help others. Pay It Forward, so to speak.

I plan on blogging about the experience, and sharing about those who are chosen to receive.

About the Kits:
The kits are ready to give, packaged in a beautiful red organza bag. They are not gender or age specific. They could literally be given to anyone!

In the Kit:
Peppermint Cream (A DRO bestseller)- soothing to even the driest skin, uplifting and relieving Glossy Mint Lip Balm- a little bit of a tingle, and nourishing Shea butter shine
Lavender Fields Roller- portable and easy to use, for blemishes, first aid, headaches, & calming

The cost is $21 plus tax ($25 retail value)

Shipping: 2-3 day Priority Shipping is $4.05. If shipped to one address, the shipping fee is the same for up to 10 kits.

To Order: Please e-mail and put "Valentine's Day Order" in the heading. A paypal invoice will be sent to you. If you need more information, please contact us as well.

-All kits must be ordered by February 8th to assure Valentine's Day delivery.
-Paypal online payment only

San Valentino felice!

"Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind
to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others." -Barbara Bush

Monday, January 15, 2007

History of the Bath-Aromatic Bath Ideas

Ahhh baths. I could end this post here and be content. I love baths. I take a bath every night, as it is my reward for getting through the day. I look forward to baths like most people look forward to a hot fudge sundae after dinner. Of course, I am not talking about "fill the tub with water and get in" bath. I am talking about "creating an aromatic aromatherapy healing bath." Now doesn't that sound appealing? I love to just take a nice long soak, and I also like to take a nice long read. You can often find some of my books and magazines a little bit water logged.

Baths have deep roots in ancient history. Ancient aromatic baths were as much a part of the culture as eating. Common areas were often filled with large public baths. Royalty and those more affluent had huge area's of their homes dedicated to large baths. Precious essential oils, herbs, and milks were reserved for bathing and anointing the body. Fresh rose petals and other flowers were floated in the waters. It was an experience, not just a means of cleaning the body. It was symbolic of cleansing the spirit as well. The design of this aromatic bath was a renewal of sorts. To clean the entire soul. Because essential oil molecules are some of the tiniest to be found, and are so easily picked up by the olfactory system and carried to the emotion center of the brain (hypothalamus), the oils played a key role in this experience. They were primarily used for the skin, but mostly for the brain and spiritual senses. The herbs were chosen for their therapeutic effects on the body as well as overall cleansing powers.

Because the skin is the body's largest organ, a bath is a perfect way to nurture it all at once. It is believed that 60% of everything we put on our body is absorbed into the layers of skin, blood stream and organs. Everyday pollutants settle on our skin as well as anything synthetic we put on it.
Here are some ideas on creating your own healthy bath:

Salt- All salts are not created equal. Table salt is of no value to the skin as everything healthy has been stripped from it. The optimum salt for bathing is sea salt, preferable dead sea salt. I also love red Hawaiian sea salt, organic grey sea salt, and Himalayan pink. I keep a large pail of mixed salts by the bath. Every time we bathe we put a scoop in. If you have less than optimal public water, this helps counteract some of the grunge that is in our local water supplies.

As part of my business I used to sell bath salts. I still may again, but they are so easy to make I prefer to teach others. I like to put them in a canning jar and pour them in the bath. Making your own bath salts is a s simple as finding an EO that you love or making your own blend which I will blog about another time. You basically add your EO's to the salt and shake well. I like to grind up botanicals and herbs such as lavender, chamomile, plantain, red clover, etc.. and add to them. Not only do the botanicals make the salt look attractive, they have therapeutic benefits. I love this salt company: Click here: Sea Salt for Making Bath Salts
You can also get cool glass jars at Cost Plus and specialty stores.
Sea salt can be found locally at Herbally Grounded or at any Trader Joe's.

Essential Oils in the Bath
I love to sprinkle a few drops of EO's in my bath. There are some that should be diluted in a carrier oil first and then swished well in the water. These would include any of the citrus family. One of my favorite oils that I use once a month, that is known for it's hormonal effects is Clary Sage. It is my PMS oil. It calms me, smooths out the frayed edges of my soul and just puts me at ease. When pregnant with my twins, my Midwife would rub this on my belly, so it has a powerful memory attached to it. Many women seem to not like the smell, but I challenge them to smell it during their "moon time" of the month, and see if it speaks to them then. I don't add my EO's to my bath until I get in. Because they are volatile and disperse quickly into the air, I like to be right there to enjoy them. I sprinkle a few drops on the surface of the water and swish gently. You can also add them to a carrier oil, milk, or salts.

Here are some of my favorites:

-Rose EO is a special treat, as well as Jasmine for sleep.
-Rosemary lightens my mind and makes me more aware. I like to add that EO if I don't want to be sleepy to stay up and read, etc...
-Eucalyptus and Lemon is a favorite if I am feeling physically or emotionally congested.
-Bergamot is a lifesaver, and can ease sadness and the blues.

Botanicals and Herbs
As mentioned above, these are great to add to the salts. You can also us them alone. I don't like to have a messy botanical bath to clean up, so I add them to a muslin bag. I add the bag to the water, let it soak a bit and then squeeze it gently to release the benefits of whatever I put inside. I also like to add powdered goat's milk, coconut milk, whole milk and buttermilk as well. Cleopatra was known for her milk bath's and I certainly know why! Her recipe was simple- a few couples of whole milk added to the bath. You can also add whole oats to aid the skin and don't forget honey too!
I like to grind my herbs and botanicals up a little first. This releases the scent as well as the oils in the plant itself. You can make up a big batch, keep it in a jar or ziploc (I prefer glass over plastic). You can wash out and reuse your muslin bags and fill as needed. You can also add to sealable tea bags found at Herbally Grounded or craft stores. This way, you can just throw one in each time and throw it away when done.

I love taking out this time for myself. The house is quiet, everyone is asleep, and it feels like such a luxury. I get out feeling so rested and renewed. I encourage everyone to make their bath not just a task, but an experience. It need not be expensive, and you can keep it as simple as you want. It truly is worth the effort. You can begin simple, by just picking a rose in full bloom and scattering the petals in your bath.

Book Recommendation: The Healing Aromatherapy Bath by Margo Valentine Lazzara

This book has beautiful meditations and ideas

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Question of the Day-Children & Sleep

Amy J. of Las Vegas/Cedar City asks:

"Can you give me any suggestions to help establish a bedtime routine to help avoid the "wailing and gnashing of teeth" that I regularly experience?"

Hi Amy. I get this question a lot. Without going into a full description of how food and nutrition and TV contribute to this, I will state the basics:
1. No sugar or dairy for at least 3 hours before bedtime- sugar for obvious energy related reasons, and dairy because it is hard to digest. If our body is busy digesting, it cannot rest well in preparation for sleep. (Yeah, ye olde "drink a warm glass of milk before bed" tale doesn't fly with me!)
2. Optimally no one should eat for at least 2 hours before bed
3. No TV right before bed, or as they are going to sleep. It really does interrupt sleep cycles and creates permanent anchors that make it harder for them to go to bed without it. Just ask my dad, going on 55 years of the TV singing him to sleep! (Of course who wouldn't want to go to bed with the theme song from "Gunsmoke?")

Just like my mother and her mother, and I am sure Great-Grandma Ruia, I have created a bed time ritual. It is not always to the letter, as days are different, but I try to stay close.

This sometimes involve one or all of these:
-Sometimes a bath with some great calming essential oils thrown in.
-A story or a reading from a book we are currently reading together
-A visualization or meditation or just lying down and listening to calming music

EO's: Everyone lines up, feet ready, and I massage EO's on their feet. I sometimes use the Beautiful Dreamer blend, Bliss, or just Lavender and Lemon, Mandarin or another citrus besides orange. I also love Coriander for children at bed time-it is a sedative and helps with insomnia. Lemon is said to historically help with bad dreams and nightmares.
Roman Chamomile is wonderful as well for it's calming abilities. Rose essential oil sends me to a land of fairies and cloud pillows. It is anciently known for it's clearing out of negative energy and thoughts. Rose oil is one of the oldest known oils. The historical tales are abundant, and it was written about originally over 7000 years ago!
My oldest son prefers Jasmine. It speaks to him, and I hope it speaks sleep! He is getting to the age also, that he likes to apply the oils himself.

So, I rub their feet. This is a gentle way to reconnect with our children and give them some love and nurturing. Many times this is our favorite part of the day. It heals a difficult day, that may or may not have involved screaming. ;)
My children are almost 11, almost 8 and 3.5 year old twins, and they all enjoy it.

Herbs: Everyone gets a couple squirts of Chill herbal tincture.
Can be found here: Herbally Grounded :: Home
-Brush our teeth
-We say our family prayers
-Hug goodnight

Now this doesn't always assure that the house will be as quite as can be and the only sound will be our real live mouse,"Gus"squeaking away on his wheel. But,when it is followed the results are usually good ones.
Sometimes, I will let the older boys quietly read in their room. I will also put calming oils in the diffusers in their rooms and set them for an hour.

What I find key, and comes from a wise man I call Dad... is consistency. You could pat their heads and say goodnight, and if they knew that this meant bedtime, over time, this would be all it took for the most part. If I am consistent, and I do not waver, and they have been paid attention to, gotten love and their needs are met and we have established this routine, then it only benefits all of us and mama's sanity. For as you know, if I were to have a tattoo, it would say, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Of course the inner journalistic nymph in me would correct the ain't to isn't.. you get the picture.
Every child and family and situation is different. Because of my husbands schedule, 4 out of 7 nights I am the sole "go to bed soothsayer", and this what I have established that works for us. Pick one thing and try it, then pick another until you have created your own night time ritual.

Here are some interesting and valuable points on sleep I have researched and observed:
-Children need to know what time bed time is. This helps with everything! It also offers them security, wether they show it or not. Children like to know when things will be happening.
You can point at the clock and if they know, and you are consistent, then less arguing is bound to ensue. Of course the occasional stay up late or Friday Night Movie Night is perfectly fine, they will still know their boundaries.
-Every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth double what the hours are worth after midnight. (This continues to discourage me, and I try to jump in bed at 11:59, hoping it will count.)

- Every child needs sleep. Every parent needs quite time at night. This cannot be accomplished if there are no boundaries and bedtime is simply when everyone falls asleep. Granted different ages of children may dictate this, but there can still be consistency.

-Sleep factors into children's behaviors more than we know. A well rested child is a happier child. A well rested parent is a happier parent. Seems so simple! Shyeah!
P.S. Make dream pillows! (see below)

Bonne soirée!

Dream A Little Dream-Dream Pillows

Dream Pillows are a fantastic asset to your bed! I have heard about them for years, but never partook in their glory. I would often drop a few drops of EO on a cotton ball and put it near my pillow, and of course put on my sleep blend "Beautiful Dreamer" before bed, but the dream pillow seems to complete the whole aromatic sleeping experience.
I have studied a lot about cultures and their obsession with scent. From the very beginnings of time, to the Pharaoh's castle to the less affluent tribes, scent has played a part. In Ancient Egypt, women would make scent cones out of tree resin and essential oils. They would then wrap their hair around them, and as the sun would beat on their heads, the scent would be released and run down their chest and necks. Scent was reserved for special occasions in the lower tribes, and was used daily by the royalty. Baths were scented, hair, bodies, candles, table linens, and of course the bed. Back in a time where the bed was considered as monumental as the throne, scent played an important role. Often the bed was the most decorated of all furnishings. The bed would be carved out of precious wood, inlaid with jewels and gold and silver, draped with beautiful embroidered, tasseled and woven linens. Small packets of herbs would find themselves tucked under blankets, pillows, and tied to bed posts. Each herb and oil had a different use, purpose, chant, prayer or desire associated with it. So, when I heard of dream pillows, I automatically associated them with these ancient rituals.
Recently I made my own. Now, anyone who knows me knows that my poor mother who is a master seamstress tried diligently to pass on her skill. Sadly what came out of it was a massive amount of odd looking hair scrunchies and a pair of pants fit for a genie. (Not to mention a C- in Home EC.) However, I hope that what I lack in sewing prowess I have made up for in the kitchen. I like to cook, and enjoy good food for my family. I also like to concoct all sorts of body care products, which eventually turned in to my business. However, with dream pillows, it is a simple enough job that even I, who was not blessed with sewing skills could make quite a nice looking one. It is really quite simple. Pick out some fabric, scraps are fine. I like my pillows about the size of my palm or a small bean bag. Cut the fabric into two equal squares, sew inside outs together, leaving a small gap to insert the herbs, and flip outside in. Fill with herbs and oils, sew shut. Now you can see why I was not asked to be a commentator for the Saturday morning show "Sewing With Nancy", as my sewing dialect is neither understandable or easy to follow! So, I will post a link that does a much better job. How to make Dream Pillows - Crafts
I think I will include these with my Christmas gifts next year. I love how my pillow smells when I lie down. As scent is immediately transferred into memory, it is a simple yet powerful way to associate these smells with good sleep. It is truly a dreamy aromatic experience. My children will be my next test subjects. I hope the dream pillows will stay just that and not turn into flying objects that smell good. We shall see!
BOOK Recommendation: For more insight into the ritual of scent in ancient cultures as well as a very good story, I recommend the book Sarah by Marek Halter. I just finished it in 24 hours and it was fascinating!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lump Free Lemon Curd and Lemon Chicken

Hmmm... Lemon Chicken.

I made homemade lemon curd for Christmas. I attached a label and a recipe card for my favorite lemon chicken recipe. For mannny years I have tried to attempt lemon curd perfection. All I perfected was a lumpy lemony mess. FINALLY, I found a recipe that had a different method than any previous recipes. It was easier too! No more whisking the precious curd in a bowl, cradled in a luke warm water bath. No more scientific curd occurrences, or straining the lumpy curd through a strainer, etc... It was much like making cookies AND caramels mixed together!

I like to find odd things to add essential oils to and a few drops of lemon EO gave this an extra lovely fragrance as well as taste. As an aromatherapist I advocate being careful when ingesting EO's. However, this recipe is harmless with just a few drops and has some antibacterial properties to boot. Of course, suck on a lemon rind and you would be getting much more oil ingestion than just a few drops. I will post the picture of my cute lemon curd jars asap. Click Here for Lemon Curd Recipe: A Foolproof Way to Make Luscious, Light Lemon Curd I add 2 drops lemon essential oil in right before I pour it into clean jars. Lemon curd can also be used to put on top of scones, toast, biscuits, crackers, cookies, etc..

Lemon Chicken
Adapted by Jonelle Hughes from Rachel Ray

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast or chicken tenders, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp. each-sea salt & garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) prepared lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced or 20 blades fresh chives, finely chopped
    Directions: Coat the chunked chicken lightly in flour, seasoned with a little salt & garlic powder. Heat a large skillet or a wok-shaped nonstick pan over high heat. Stir fry chicken until golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and return pan to heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add a splash of vinegar to the pan and let it evaporate. Add stock or broth to the pan and scrape up any drippings with a whisk. Thin curd by stirring in a little hot water. Add curd to broth and whisk to combine. Add chicken back to the pan and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken sauce and finish cooking chicken pieces through. Remove the pan from heat, add the scallions or chives and zest, and toss chicken pieces well to combine zest and scallions or chives evenly throughout the sauce. Serve with Jasmine, Basmati or Brown rice.
    For an interesting variation add : cashews, toasted slivered almonds or chinese noodles

  • Welcome!

    Welcome to the Desert Rose Organics blog! I am excited to share my musings with others. I will be sharing my ideas, experiences, recipes and the like. I need my readers help. Please e-mail any questions you have to I will pick a few questions each month to feature. Thanks for everyone's support!