When to use whole parts verses essential oils

When to Use Whole Parts Verses Essential Oils

By Coco Pile


There are a variety of ways to use plants for health promotion and body care. You have the option of using the plant’s whole parts, such as the leaves, roots, flowers, and berries; or you can use plant extractions such as essential oils and absolutes.

When considering making herbal remedies or products for ingestion, such as tinctures, teas, or honey infusions, it is safest to use whole plant parts. In lavender’s case, you would most likely use the flowers. This practice is more beneficial because the infusion will be more balanced, and offer a wider spectrum of compounds. Using the whole plant may take more time to process and be less powerful as essentials oils but they still have a medicinal affect and a more stable shelf life. Whole parts are also used for oil infusions for this same reason.

Ingesting herbs is typically done for its stronger influence on the body, so taking proper precautions to practice botanical medicine safely is necessary. Our bodies manage thousands of chemical reactions every second of every day to maintain internal balance. If you were to add too much of anything into your body, you would disrupt the balance of the chemical environment and could potentially really hurt yourself. This is the main reason by consuming essential oils or absolutes are contraindicated for ingestion.

The concentration of herbal constituents in essential oils is drastically more potent than its whole parts. For example, it takes 100 pounds of lavender flowers to make one pound of lavender essential oil.  That is why essential oils are safest to be used as additives to enhance your recipe. If you wanted to make a cream, salve, oil, etc. for topical uses, you would want to use the proper dilution ratio of 3% essential oils for your product. This is approximately 15-18 drops of essential oil per ounce of whatever medium you are adding the essential oils to.

It is extremely important to note that more is not better when it comes to using essential oils. Although Lavender essential oils are known to be safe in topical application without a carrier, there are incidents where people have adverse side effects. Essential oils do have greater potential to hurt you because of their high concentrations, so use them wisely and start small. Rule of thumb when using essential oils is to always dilute them in a carrier (vegetable or nut oil, salts, or butters) before using them on your body.

As always, when in doubt, ask for help. There are countless botanical resources out there to educate you on how to use plants safely with the greatest success!

Practical Uses of Lavender

Practical Uses of Lavender

By Coco Pile


One of the best ways that you can benefit from lavender is simply having it around and smelling its fLittle lavenderragrance.
People around the world recognize the significance lavender’s aroma. That is why it is one of the most popular perfumes for self-care products at home like soaps, cleaners and skin care products. By merely inhaling lavender’s sof
t yet bold aroma, your body’s nervous system is gently sedated to promote balance from excessive stimulation. It has been used historically to improve mental well-being by calming the nervous system in behavior patterns of anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and depression.

Not only is Lavender calming to the mind, but it is also calming for the skin and soft tissues. That is why lavender is commonlLavender Infusion!y used as an analgesic, or anti-pain ingredient, in body care products. Responsibly harvested lavender can have high concentrations of the ester functional group, or anti-inflammatory compounds. Using lavender infused oil or carriers with lavender essential oil over
muscles and joints can relieve aching pain and soreness. Whole parts, extractions, or topical products with proper essential oil concentrations can be used on skin to reduce irritation or inflammation of the skin. One great herbal product to have at home is a lavender spray. A few spritz over burns will ease the pain, cool the heat, and promote rapid healing of the tissue.

Lavender is also effective at easing digestive pains. Its gentle tonifying effects in combination with its strong anti-inflammatory properties are great for topical application over the abdomen.

It doesn’t end there! Lavender is known for its benefits for circulation, glucose regulation, insect bite relief and repulsion, skin rejuvenation, and its strong antiseptic properties. There are endless herbal creations that you can make with lavender to improve your health and wellness.

Have fun discovering what lavender can do for you!!!

Best Place to Source Lavender

Best Place to Source Lavender

By Coco Pile

 


Lavender Infusion!Although lavender typically prefers mediterranean climates for its regularity in available water and moderate temperature changes, it can still be found in extreme climates like Colorado. Unfortunately, no two climates are created equally. Influencing factors such as access to water, nutrients, foot traffic, pollution, altitude, climate, predators, etc. all affect the way the plants look and what constituents they create. This is why there is so many species of the “same” plant and why sourcing your herbs appropriately can make or break an herbal recipe.

The most renowned region in the world to source your lavender from is France.  This is due to the fact that the harvest fields in France have a climate that doesn’t get too cold to disturb the ester compound formulation. They also have the advantage of altitude, which allows them to distill lavender at lower temperatures. Because of these factors, the Lavandula Angustifolia essential oil from France has the highest constituent content of esters compared to majority of other Lavender farmers/plants around the world.  For those of you who are not familiar with functional groups, esters are compounds that have an anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal effect on the body. The esters also contribute to the potency of the plant’s aroma. Making French Lavender one of the greatest sources for perfumes and medicines.

Lavender is extensively cultivated around the world for varies reasons depending on the climate and the farmer’s intentions. It is not uncommon for lavender farms and distilleries to add synthetic constituents to their crops and essential oils to boost their medicinal value. Be cautious when purchasing your lavender to make sure it is pure, organic, and unaltered. These adaptations may cause undocumented side effects and/or change the way your lavender acts in the recipe or on your body.

Lavender: History to Current Research

Lavender: History to Current Research

By Courtney Danielsen


 

Lavender - Up Close and Personal

Getting to know herbs on multiple levels is part of the fun and love that is herbalism. So for this blog we are exploring some history and current studies of wonderful lavender. Lavender is part of the Lamiaceae family more commonly known as the mint family which includes the obvious peppermint and spearmint but also sage, rosemary and basil. The most common type of lavender used today is Lavandula augustifolia and it is native to the Mediterranean. The word Lavandula comes from the Latin word lavare meaning to wash so many of the historic uses have to do with cleansing and scenting the body. The use of lavender goes all the way back to the Egyptians who used it in the mummification process as well as in bathing and perfuming. The Greeks and Romans used lavender for bathing as well as in their cooking. Soon they started realizing that these beautiful fragrant little flowers also had medicinal benefits. During the plague it was believed to protect you from infection. What it was actually doing was working as an insect repellant preventing the lice (which carried the plague) on rats from coming near. More recently in 1910 the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who is considered the father of Aromatherapy, had an accident where he badly burned his hand. Gattefosse quickly dipped his hand into a nearby tub of lavender essential oil and discovered that it eased the pain. The burn healed quickly and with very little scarring. This little accident set Gattefosse off on an exploration of essential oils and their benefits.
Today we know of the many therapeutic actions of lavender including working as an analgesic (pain relieving), antidepressant, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative (helps with gas), nervine (helps with nervous system including sleep issues), and as a vulnerary (wound healing). Lavender is well known for healing burns including soothing sunburns and is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin.

LavenderSome of the current research into the benefits of lavender includes its effects on sleep and anxiety in coronary ICU patients, and looking into lavender as a treatment for migraine headaches. In 2015 the British Association of Critical Care Nurses did a study with 60 coronary ICU patients to see how lavender would affect their sleep quality and levels of anxiety. They found a statistically significant difference in the group that received the lavender and they concluded that it helped the patients with sleep quality and reduced their anxiety. In another study, published in the journal of European Neurology in 2012, 47 patients who were diagnosed with migraine headaches were studied. The group using an inhalation of lavender essential oil had statistically significant relief of their headache pain as compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that lavender essential may be useful in the management of migraine headaches.
This is only a taste of all that lavender does and I hope it has given you inspiration to explore more!