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Jul 05 2012   Whether your summer travel plans include time on the beach, camping with the kids, hiking with your sweetie, or a long car trip, all of summer’s heat and humidity can leave you feeling… well… yucky.  In addition to sweat and grime, you’re dealing with sticky suntan lotion, stinky smoke from your grill, and residue from all of that bug spray you keep having to slather on! So, how do you take full advantage of your summer holiday and still feel clean and fresh? By tapping into the power of aromatherapy! Forget about all of the complicated travel tips.  Instead, with the right blend of essential oils, you can feel cool and refreshed — even on the hottest of days!  Before you head out on that next summer trip, be sure to follow these 5 tips:

1. Invigorate yourself with mint

Spearmint and Peppermint essential oils both have natural cooling properties, so these essential oils will make you feel fresh and alert. Whether you’ve just finished a long hike or spent the day in the car, all you have to do is add 5 drops of oil with a bowl of ice water and use a towel to rub it on your skin. You’ll instantly feel cool, calm, and collected. And, if you’re planning on being out in the hot sun for a prolonged period, infuse a towel with either of these oils and wrap it around your neck. All you need to do is get a bowl full of ice water, add 5 drops of oil, and stir. Then, just give your towel a good dunking, wring out the excess water, and you’re good to go! Combine that mint-infused towel with plenty of fluids to drink, and you’ve got an instant prevention tool against things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke!

2. Clean off with Lavender

 

If all of that heat and humidity leaves you feeling sticky and gross, you’re not alone. Luckily, Lavender essential oil can help! It’s got antibacterial properties, so you’ll be able to get rid of any germs you’ve picked up during your summer travels. You can actually make your own antibacterial wipes with some water, some oil, and a towel. Just add 5 drops of Lavender to a bowl of ice water, stick your towel in, wring out the excess water, and you can clean off your hands, face, or neck. Plus, you’ll get a nice cool down in the process! To keep clean on the go, infuse some towels ahead of time, and stick them in a plastic bag. That way, you’ll have an antibacterial wipe anytime you need it! And unlike those antibacterial gels and wipes you see in the store, lavender actually smells good! It has a clean floral scent, instead of that toxic chemical smell that you get from most other antibacterial products. No matter how sticky or grimy you feel, lavender will make you feel much better!

3. Get some sunburn relief with a moisturizing blend 

 

  A summer sunburn can leave you looking and feeling absolutely awful. Not only is it terrible for the long-term health of your skin, but the pain and discomfort from a sunburn can ruin your entire summer holiday! Luckily, aromatherapy fans can get some relief with the right blend of essential oils. Start with 1 ounce of Jojoba Oil. Since it’s a great moisturizer, it will keep your skin from drying out — meaning you won’t have to deal with as much itching and peeling as you normally would with a sunburn. Then, add 5 drops of cooling  Blue Chamomile essential oil, so that your sunburn won’t burn quite as badly. And, finally, top it all off with 10 drops of Lavender. Since they have anti-inflammatory properties, Lavender and Blue Chamomile can prevent the aches and pains that come with sleeping or even sitting with a bad sunburn. This blend won’t just make you feel better; it will also make you smell better! Instead of dousing your skin in traditional sunburn remedy creams and sprays — and smelling like a medicine cabinet — this blend can leave you smelling fresh and floral!

4. Use essential oils to tame your tummy

If you’ve accidentally downed some foreign water during your summer travels, drank too much of the spiked punch at your friend’s barbecue, or eaten too many summertime treats, it can leave your stomach feeling downright awful. Luckily, when you rub essential oils like CardamomGinger, and Fennel essential oils over your stomach, it can help relieve stomach cramps and spasms associated with diarrhea, food poisoning, and other tummy troubles. Combine 5 drops of each essential oil with 1 oz Carrier Oil and massage your abdomen with circular movements. Just remember to drink plenty of fluids to prevent your stomach issues from turning into dehydration. If plain water doesn’t sound good to you, check out my recipe for Ginger-infused iced tea!

5. Fight off bugs with our own BUZZ OFF  Natural Bug Spray

Buzz Off has Eucalyptus Citriadora. This essential oil is actually approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep bugs at bay. Like those traditional bug sprays, BUZZ OFF can keep you from swatting and scratching. But unlike traditional bug sprays, it’s gentle enough to use on even the youngest members of your family. Plus, it smells much better than all of those chemical-laden bug sprays! Ready to make the most out of your summer holiday? You can find all of the essential oils listed here — and so much more — by logging onto www.aromandina.com!   © 2012, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.    
Apr 23 2012   Many of my students and clients ask me about the origins and background of aromatherapy.  Is it new? How long has it been around us? Who discovered it? I thought this summary of the history of aromatherapy  can give you a better idea on how old aromatherapy is and how long humanity has been using nature’s aromatic plants. Aromatherapy is derived from two words: Aroma – meaning fragrance or smell and Therapy – meaning treatment. Aromatic plants were  used by the most ancient civilizations, we could say that aromatherapy is at least 6000 years old. An Egyptian  medical papyrus considered to date back to around 1555 BC contains remedies for all types of illnesses and the methods of application are similar to the ones used in Aromatherapy and Herbal medicine today.   The Egyptians used a method known as infusion  to extract the oils from aromatic plants and incense was probably one of the earliest ways of using aromatics. Frankincense was burned at sunrise as an offering to the sun god, Ra, while myrrh was offered to the moon. The Egyptians were experts at embalming using aromatics to help preserve flesh. The Egyptians used to be massaged with fragrant oils after bathing. The Greeks continued the use of aromatic oils and used them medicinally and cosmetically. A Greek physician, Pedacius Dioscorides, wrote  Materia Media, a book about herbal medicine and for at least 1200 years it was used as the Western world’s standard medical reference. Many of the remedies he mentions are still in use today in Aromatherapy. The Bible has several mentions to the use of aromatic substances, both in the Old and New Testaments:
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
The Romans took much of their medical knowledge from the Greeks and went on to use and improve the ability of aromatics. Rome became the bathing capital of the world. After bathing the Romans would be oiled and massaged. The Romans started to import new aromatic products from East India and Arabia through the opening up of trade routes. During the crusades the knowledge of aromatic oils and perfumes spread to the Far East and Arabia. It was a physician called Avicenna who lived from A.D 980 to AD 1037 who is understood to have first used the process known as distillation to distil essence of rose. It probably took many years to perfect the process . The Arabs also discovered how to distil alcohol around the same time making it possible to produce perfumes without a heavy oily base. There is a strong possibility that the ancient Chinese civilizations were using some form of aromatics at the same time as the Egyptians. Shen Nung’s Herbal book is the oldest surviving medical book in China.  It is dated about 2700 BC and contains information on over 300 plants.  The Chinese used aromatic herbs and burned aromatic woods and incense to show respect to God. Traditional Indian medicine known as Ayurveda has been practiced for more than 3000 years and it incorporates aromatic massage as one of its main aspects. The invasions of South America by the conquistadores brought about the discovery of more medicinal plants and aromatic oils. The Aztecs were well known for their plant remedies and the Spanish were amazed at the wealth of medicinal plants found in Montezuma’s botanical gardens. The North American Indians also used aromatic oils and produced their own herbal remedies. It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists in Europe and Great Britain began researching the effects of essential oils on bacteria in humans. A French chemist, René  Maurice Gattefossé, began his research into the healing powers of essential oils after burning his hand in his laboratory and applying lavender oil.  He was impressed by how quickly the burn healed. In 1937 he published the book Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales, a book about the anti-microbial effects of the oils and coined the word Aromatherapy. He went on to set up a business producing oils for use in fragrances and cosmetics. Around the same time another Frenchman, Albert Couvreur, published a book on the medicinal uses of essential oils. A French medical doctor, Jean Valnet, discovered Gattefosse’s research and began experimenting with essential oils.  He realized the enormous potential of essential oils when he used them in treating wounds during the war.  In 1964 he published his first book  The Practice of Aromatherapy: A Classic Compendium of Plant Medicines and Their Healing Properties Around the same time, Margaret Maury, a French biochemist developed a unique method of applying these oils to the skin with massage. Micheline Arcier, now living in London, studied and worked with Maury and Valnet and their combined techniques created a form of Aromatherapy now used all over the world.    

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