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!