Natural Health
Better living through nature


6 Ways Your Skin Reflects Your Stress

Stress is never a good thing. Apart from generating a lot of unnecessary negativity in your mind, it also brings with it a ton of side effects that can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life — from your work and relationships to your skin! Yes, you read that right! The stress you're dealing with can find many unpleasant ways to reflect on your skin. After all, the skin is the largest sense organ in the body. Any turmoil in your mind is bound to cause a physical reaction. Here are six ways your stress impacts your skin.

How stress reflects our skin
Photo by Pexels

Acne

Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol directly causes a jump in the creation of sebum, which makes your skin oilier. And we all know how oily skin is more vulnerable to acne. You might have noticed sudden breakouts on your skin before your exams — that's clearly connected to the stress you were feeling in that situation.

But, stress is not the only factor contributing to acne. Sometimes, acne can also be a result of the habits you indulge in under pressure. For example, drinking too much coffee, eating unhealthy junk food, or ignoring your daily skin care routine can all eventually become reasons that lead to an acne flare-up.

Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes

Losing sleep over a stressful situation is common. Many of us have spent sleepless nights before an important event — like a job interview, an exam, or a public speech. Sleep deprivation reveals itself through dark circles and puffy eyes. Stress affects the body's salt balance, which causes the eyes to hold water and swell up. Stress also causes the delicate capillaries around your eyes to leak blood, which spreads under the skin. On getting oxidized, it turns purple, giving you that sleep-deprived look.

Remember to take care of yourself. Eat healthily, sleep well, and consult a medical professional to manage the stress. In the meantime, cold compresses can help clear the puffiness.

Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Chronic stress can lead to high cortisol levels, causing fine lines and wrinkles to appear. Cortisol breaks down collagen and hampers the skin's ability to build collagen and elastin naturally in the long run. Wrinkles are a direct result of the loss of these fibers that prevent the skin from premature sagging. Stress also disrupts your anti-aging skin care routine because when you're distracted by whatever's making you anxious, it's easy to forget to care for the skin.

Delayed Wound Healing

Chronic stress weakens the epidermis. This has a negative impact on the skin's ability to act as a barrier. The resultant water loss hampers the skin's ability to heal wounds. Specific research in this area has found that even minimally invasive injuries take much longer to heal during periods of stress as compared to wounds sustained under non-stressful situations. The immune system is integral to wound healing, and stress affects its normal functioning. Cortisol is quite sensitive to stress. A higher cortisol level interrupts healing activities, such as the creation of pro-inflammatory cytokines at the site of the wound.

Thinner, More Sensitive Skin

An abnormally high level of cortisol makes your skin thinner. It breaks down dermal proteins, making your skin appear paper-thin, causing it to bruise and tear easily. But it is important to remember that there may be other reasons your skin is displaying these symptoms. It could be due to aging or serious conditions like Cushing's Syndrome. If you feel that's what you might be experiencing, do consult with your doctor for a diagnosis.

Stress Rashes

Under stress, your body releases surplus chemicals, such as neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. These chemicals affect your body’s response to several functions. The results of this can range from inflammation to sensitive skin and other unpleasant skin situations. You can deal with mild and moderate rashes using cold compresses and over-the-counter medication. However, you may need to consult a dermatologist if the flare-ups are more frequent or severe. Stress also aggravates existing skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis.

While these are all unpleasant displays of stress, the good news is that they are manageable. You can prevent them if you can learn to manage your stress positively. You can beat stress by trying out a variety of relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, and deep breathing. Also, consult with a dermatologist, who can help you treat any existing skin problems.

Everyone goes through some pressure at some point in their lives. But it's important to take care of yourself and not let the stress get to you — or your skin.

 

4 Natural Remedies for Winter Wellness

Winter time frigid temperatures and wind bring sniffly noses, congestion, sore throat, and chapped lips and skin. Natural remedies made without synthetic scents or petroleum ingredients are such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. These recipes are super easy to make and so appreciated by everyone who uses them.

honey, lemon, and ginger
Photo by Pixabay

All Natural Vapor Rub

An all natural alternative to petroleum based vapor rubs! Works a charm to relieve stuffy noses, congestion, and headaches.

• 1 oz melted beeswax
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, warmed
• 1 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
• 1 teaspoon camphor essential oil
• 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
• 20 drops rosemary essential oil
• 20 drops lavender essential oil

Melt the beeswax in a saucepan and stir in the olive oil. Take off the heat and stir in the essential oils. Pour into a Pyrex measuring cup, then into jars. The vapor rub can be applied under the nose, on the chest, behind the ears to relieve congestion and promote free breathing. Rub on at the base of the skull and on the temples to relieve headaches. Make sure to keep the vapor rub away from the eyes. For easy clean up, wipe out the saucepan immediately after pouring into the measuring cup with paper towels, then clean with dish soap.

Lemon Ginger Cough and Sore Throat Relief

Loaded with Vitamin C, antivirals, warming relief, and it’s tasty to boot!

• 1 large organic lemon, quartered and thinly sliced, rind included
• 3-4 inches of fresh ginger, grated
• 1 pint of honey

Place lemon and ginger in a pint jar and fill with honey. Let steep for 2 weeks. Can be strained or left as is. Add to hot water, tea or just take it by the spoonful. Keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months. Kids love this in fizzy water. That’s called a shrub!

woman applying chapstick
Photo by Pixabay

Shea Butter Extreme Lip Therapy

Super moisturizing—perfect for winter-chapped lips!

• 3 oz. unrefined shea butter
• 2 oz. cocoa butter
• 1 oz avocado, sesame, or olive oil
• 1 oz beeswax
• 20 drops peppermint essential oil
• 10 drops spearmint essential oil
• 10 drops tangerine essential oil

Melt beeswax in a saucepan, stir in shea and cocoa butters and avocado oil until melted. Take off heat and add essential oils. Pour into a Pyrex measuring cup and into lip balm tubes, little pots, or metal tins.

Whipped Body Butter

Slather the whipped body butter all over your body and you can almost hear your skin say, “Aaaahhhhh!” Such sweet relief from dry, chapped skin.

• 10 oz. unrefined shea butter
• 3.5 oz. medicinal oil, avocado, sesame, almond oils, etc. of choice
• 1 oz. cocoa butter
• 1.5 oz. beeswax
• 1 tsp essential oil of choice (optional)

Melt the beeswax in a saucepan, adding the cocoa butter when the beeswax is fully melted. When the cocoa butter is melted, take the pan off the heat, and add to the shea, medicinal oil, rosemary extract, and essential oils of choice in your mixer bowl. Whip for a few minutes, taking care to stop the mixer and scrape the bowl several times to make sure all the ingredients are fully mixed. Spoon into a ziplock baggie, seal, clip off one corner, and squeeze into jars.

Optional essential oil blends:

Energizing: 3/4 tsp grapefruit, 1/4 tsp ginger

Relaxing: 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp orange or neroli, 10 drops sandalwood

Peaceful Easy Feeling: 1/2 tsp frankincense, 1/4 tsp geranium, 1/4 tsp orange

Good Karma: 1/2 tsp clove, 1/4 tsp lavender, 1/4 tsp clary sage

A word about essential oils. Make sure that what is bought and used are pure essential oils, not synthetic “perfumes.” Synthetics are made from petroleum ingredients which can cause cancer and hormone disruption. Do your homework and buy from reputable sources

Enjoy and have a super winter!

Strategies For Purchasing CBD Products

As a holistic nutritionist and longtime consumer of CBD products, I am of course alert to the CBD products that I purchase. CBD, in itself, is a natural compound, but I look for the other ingredients that may be unnatural. I have tried many different brands and I have been lucky for the most part even when I was first buying without the knowledge that I have now. My reasoning was that It would be counterproductive to buy clean, organic food and not set the same standards for my supplements. I never had a problem with the bitterness of unflavored CBD, and that is what I mostly use. I understand that there are those (especially children) that will only take it if it tastes good. There can be a big trade-off when making supplements more “tasty.” Oftentimes companies will add dyes and corn syrup to an otherwise healthy product. This is all for the sake of taste, texture, and appearance.

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Some common forms of CBD. Photo by Steven Ashton

With the popularity of CBD products on the rise, it’s no wonder there is confusion over which ones to purchase. A Google search of “CBD oil” returns a vast amount of purveyors and local businesses selling CBD products. CBD is unregulated at this time, but that does not mean that there are not top quality products available. The really good ones don’t need to be regulated, they know what they are selling, they are transparent, and they have extremely high standards. One of the companies that I source from has been producing CBD products for over 10 years.

I won’t go into the other details of CBD since there are many great and informative articles in this blog, but I will say that there is still much to be learned about CBD. It has been an illegal substance for so long that it has been very difficult to do the proper research to gather more data. All of that is rapidly changing and there is significant scientific evidence of the positive properties of CBD usage. There is no shortage of positive testimonials on the wonders of CBD therapy, it may not work the same for everybody. Results from long term usage are not known and most people turn to CBD’s pain-reducing properties out of desperation, which is what I did.

How does one know whether they are getting the best product for their money? There are certain things to look for and that is what this article will attempt to explain. It is really quite simple. We first look at the company. Are they legitimate? Are there customer reviews? Are they transparent in their product description? Do they provide detailed lab reports? What are the other ingredients?  CBD comes in several popular types or delivery methods including tincture, isolate( sometimes called concentrate or crystals), balms and cremes, gummies, and pet treats.

Look for the lab reports (COA-certificate of analysis) and read them. I can’t stress this enough. Make sure the concentration matches up to the label of the product you are purchasing. Some companies will show a generic lab report that is old and probably does not even associate with that particular batch. Some manufacturers have a QR code on the packaging that will take you directly to the lab results for that particular product. Look at the impurities and toxins tested for. The end product does not necessarily need to say “organic” to be pure.

 QRCodeCBDCOA1
Easy way to see lab results. Photo by Steven Ashton

Cold Co2 Extraction

Since extreme heat tends to modify and/or oxidize, it is best to look for CBD products that have been extracted using the mild heat and CO2 for this process. I apply this same logic to the oils that I use in cooking. I prefer the cold or expeller pressed over industrial oils that use high heat in the extraction process.

Other ingredients

Pay attention to the flavoring agents and carrier oils used, especially the fruity ones. CBD oil is bitter by itself and many manufacturers use a flavoring to partially mask the bitterness. Stay away from the cheap industrial seed oils (canola, safflower, sunflower) used as a carrier. The best oils are MCT, coconut, olive oil, vegetable glycerin (usually made from palm or coconut oil).

Treats like gummies and candy sounding names require more scrutiny as they usually contain dyes and unnatural sweeteners. Look for organic and non-GMO ingredients. The source hemp should be organic. The best hemp is no longer of only German origin; clean, organic hemp is also grown in many places in the U.S. with more farms coming online regularly.

Full spectrum CBD oil is usually the best and most effective. Although isolate is pure CBD, the recommended dosing is greater. The reason for this is because the isolate doesn't contain the phytocannabinoids. These plant-based compounds, when combined together provide the most therapeutic effects. Just be aware that isolate is the absolute purest form of CBD and no other helpful plant compounds. Isolate powder is most useful when added to foods or beverages and does not have the bitterness that tinctures have.

It is suggested that CBD be taken as a tincture sublingually or topically as opposed to ingesting. Doing so avoids the destructive digestive process and the liver does not have to process.

About THC

The lab report will show this. The standard is less than .3 percent, some actually will show as 0 percent on their lab analysis.

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Check the sample date to make sure it matches your product. Photo by Steven Ashton

There is also a large and growing market for CDB for pets. The standards for CDB products for humans also pertain to pets. CBD can provide relief from pain, anxiety, and many age-related disorders often seen in older dogs and cats.

As always, follow recommended dosing instructions on the labels. Always start with the minimal dosage. Not everyone responds the same to CBD and the endocannabinoid systems are all different among us. Stay abreast on the latest CBD research and findings by signing up for my email list.

For more information on shopping for CBD products, comment at the bottom of this post or email me directly.

Resources and further reading on CBD:

CBD Oil: The Basics

This video/slide presentation goes into great detail: Phytocannabinoids in Clinical Care

The Medicinal Uses of CDB Oil

WikiLeaf: CBD Isolate

Natural Remedies for Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome, or Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological disorder that causes people to have uncomfortable sensations in their legs. Someone with this disorder may feel tingling or crawling feelings in their legs. They may feel they have to move their legs constantly, especially when getting relaxed or trying to fall asleep. This is a problem because it often interferes with the ability to get quality sleep. Most people with restless leg syndrome deal with chronic fatigue and tiredness; they can’t ever seem to have enough energy. Restless leg syndrome can lead to depression in some people as well, due to the lack of sleep.

restless leg syndrome bare legs

Changing Your Habits

One of the best natural remedies for treating restless leg syndrome is changing your habits. If you are smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming a lot of caffeine, this could be causing your symptoms to get worse. If you start to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine and quit smoking, this could help to reduce your symptoms. If you need help limiting your intake of alcohol, you can get treatment for that as well.

Tight Clothing

While not much research is available to prove that tight clothing aggravates symptoms of restless leg syndrome, it may be something to consider. There have been some patients who have stated that wearing tight clothing to bed makes their symptoms worse. When they wear loose fitting clothing, it reduces some of their symptoms. This may be something you want to test out to see if it makes any difference for you.

Sleep Schedule

If you have restless leg syndrome, it is recommended that you get into the best sleep schedule you can. People who have a difficult time sleeping need to have good sleep routines. Without those routines, you may be losing even more sleep. You should try to get in bed and get up at the same time every day. The room you sleep in should be dark, quiet, and cool. There shouldn’t be any electronic distractions. Creating better sleep habits may not reduce symptoms that much, however, it could help you get more and higher quality sleep. If you are having difficult getting into a regular sleep schedule you can always consult your family doctor.

Exercise Routines

If you have mild to moderate restless leg syndrome it might be helpful to create and stick to an exercise routine. Exercise could help you feel better if you have this disorder. Some restless leg syndrome patients who exercise regularly say they have a reduction in symptoms and they sleep better. Not only that, but exercising regularly, can put you into a better state of mind, which can help you feel better throughout the day and feel less tired. Yoga, stretching, and walking are all some examples of what to put in your exercise routine.

If you have restless leg syndrome, these are some of the natural remedies that might help reduce the symptoms. If they don’t all help reduce your symptoms, they may possibly help you sleep better. Talk to your doctor and see if these are things that might help treat your restless leg syndrome.

5 Must-Have Herbs for Winter

The light may have returned according to the calendar, but lingering cold and dreary weather can make the dark part of the year seem like it’s going to last forever. Coupled with the fact that most of us spend the majority of our days inside is the unavoidable exposure to a variety of pathogens silently hitching a ride on surfaces, the air molecules we breathe in and on each other. It’s inevitable -- sooner or later, the sniffles will strike. Armed with a few herbal helpers, you can help your immune system to ward off these invading germs or, in the event that a cold or flu does get its viral foot in the door, reduce your symptoms and recovery time.

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Photo: iStock/Maren Winter

Elderberry

Enough good things cannot be said about these delicious purple-black drupes in terms of assisting the immune system. Harvested from the European elder (Sambucus nigra), a deciduous woodland tree in the moschatel family, elderberries have been used for centuries to make jams, jellies, tarts and pies, syrups, cordials and wines, and have a long history of use in preventing and treating flu. Compounds in the fruit thwart a type of protein called hemagglutinin that lines the surface of influenza cells. This viral protein attacks healthy cells in the body with spear-like projections that it uses to penetrate and inject its enzymes, which allows the virus to replicate throughout the body. Elderberry prevents this activity by neutralizing those enzymes. It’s effective against several strains of influenza including H7 hemagglutinin, a variety that causes the flu patient to also suffer conjunctivitis.

Elderberry also has antibacterial properties. The extract of the fruit has been shown to counter Streptococcus pyogenes and group C and G Streptococci. It is also effective against Branhamella catarrhalis, a strain of bacteria that often leads to upper respiratory tract infection.

How to Use:  The fruit must be cooked or dried before consumption to avoid toxicity. Use the fresh or dried berries to make jam, alone or in combination with other fruits like rosehips or goji berries for extra flavor and vitamin C. Add the dried berries to tea blends. (Note: A recipe for a simple syrup to use as a daily preventative and a remedial flu remedy appears at the conclusion of Part II of this blog.)

Ashwagandha

Also known as Indian ginseng, Indian winter cherry, asana, and a host of other common names, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an evergreen shrub in the nightshade family and a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. Its Hindu name means “horse smell,” a reference to the fact that the raw plant smells a bit like a sweaty horse. It’s species name is obtained from the Latin word that means “induce sleep,” a testament to the herb’s long history of use to ease stress and anxiety, as well as inflammation. It is said to help one resist disease by increasing strength and energy. As an added bonus,  ashwagandha is also reputed to enhance male performance considerably, if taken daily for a year.

The root contains a number of withanolides, a group of naturally occurring steroids. One in particular, Withaferin A, is currently receiving a good deal of attention as a potential cancer preventative and treatment. Both in vivo and in vitro studies have shown that these agents inhibit tumors by triggering apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

How to Use: Ashwagandha root is dried, chopped and infused in soups or broth, or prepared as tea. It is also tinctured. The powdered herb may be encapsulated as a dietary supplement.

Astragalus

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is a member of the pea family native to China. Also known as gum dragon, milk vetch and Huang Qi (yellow leader), it is one of the 50 fundamental herbs central to traditional Chinese medicine and has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory. It is considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it helps the immune system maintain homeostasis during periods of physical as well as emotional stress.

The root contains several flavonoids, such as quercetin and kaempferol, that demonstrate potent antioxidant activity. Some of these compounds also show strong antimicrobial effects against several bacterial strains, including Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus.

How to Use: Prepare the chopped root as an infusion or tincture. The powdered herb may be taken as a dietary supplement.

Eleuthero

Also known xas Siberian ginseng, devil's shrub, pepper brush and touch-me-not, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a small, woody shrub indigenous to China, Japan, Korea and Siberia, and is now naturalized in some parts of British Columbia and the United States. As a member of the Araliaceae family of plants, it is a botanical cousin to ginseng and is also considered an adaptogen. The herb has been used for thousands of years in traditional systems of healing to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatism and arthritis, and as a tonic and restorative.

Recent studies show that eleuthero root has a high antioxidant value and owes its properties to a class of polysaccharides collectively referred to as eleutherosides, among them coumarins and lignans. The root also contains several flavonoids, most notably quercetin, kaempferol and rutin.

How to Use: Infuse in water as tea or in alcohol as a tincture. The chopped root may also be added to soups and stews. The powdered root is taken as a dietary supplement in capsule form.

Maca

Maca (Lepidium meyenii), also known as Peruvian ginseng, is a member of the turnip family (its roots resemble miniature turnips) widely cultivated in the Andes Mountains of Peru as both food and medicine. Historically, it is used as a tonic herb to boost stamina, mood and cognitive function. Recent studies suggest that maca may also be of benefit in addressing benign hyperplasia and osteoporosis. One study showed that maca root helped to regulate blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).

In Peru, maca is an important economic crop and is commonly prepared as a root vegetable, either added to soups and stews or mashed and creamed with hot milk, vanilla and sugar to produce a popular porridge-like dish called mazamorra. The root is also ground and used as flour. Nutritionally speaking, maca root is packed with 19 amino acids, fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins.

How to Use:  It can be challenging to find the whole root but, if you succeed, prepare it as a tea or tincture. The powdered root, which has a mild malt-like flavor, can be added to cooked cereals and smoothies, or encapsulated as a dietary supplement.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

This kid-friendly syrup is wonderful served over pancakes or ice cream, or stirred into yogurt and cooked cereals. Make a double batch and share!

  • 1/2 cup organic dried elderberries
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 1 small cinnamon stick, teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 cup local raw honey

Combine the berries, water and spices, if using, in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer while pressing down on the berries with a ladle to release every drop of the juice. Let the reserved mixture cool for a minute, then stir in the honey. Pour into clean glass bottles, cap and label/ Keep refrigerated and use within three months. To use, take 1-3 tablespoons daily.


References

Hannah M. Creager, Amrita Kumar, Hui Zeng,et al. "Infection and Replication of Influenza Virus at the Ocular Surface." J Virol. 2018 Apr 1; 92(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5972870/

Christian Krawitz, Mobarak Abu Mraheil, Michael Stein,et al. "Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses." BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011; 11: 16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056848/

Dushani L. Palliyaguru, Shivendra V. Singh, and Thomas W. Kensler1. "Withania somnifera: from prevention to treatment of cancer." Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jun; 60(6): 1342–1353. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4899165/

Viktor M. Bratkov, Aleksandar M. Shkondrov, Petranka K. Zdraveva, Ilina N. Krasteva. "Flavonoids from the Genus Astragalus: Phytochemistry and Biological Activity." Pharmacogn Rev. 2016 Jan-Jun; 10(19): 11–32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791984/

Carla Gonzales-Arimborgo, Irma Yupanqui, Elsa Montero, et al. "Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study." Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016 Sep; 9(3): 49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039502/

Daniel Załuski, Marta Olech, Agnieszka Galanty,et al. "Phytochemical Content and Pharma-Nutrition Study on Eleutherococcus senticosus Fruits Intractum." Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016; 2016: 9270691 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5098108/

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil: Amazing Flower Power With A Soft Touch

For over 2,000 years, the small, cheerful, daisy-like flowers of the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile, syn. Anthemis nobilis) herb have enjoyed a medicinal reputation in Europe and especially the Mediterranean region, and they are still in widespread use today, primarily as a digestive aid due to their rather innate bitterness. The plant is native to southern and western Europe and has naturalized in North America.

roman chamomile on wood tray
Photo by Mars Vilaubi

A familial relative of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita, syn. M. chamomilla), these two chamomiles share a similar appearance, apple-like fragrance when fresh, and many of the same properties and applications, even though the two herbs have a different chemistry. German chamomile essential oil is a deep inky blue (due to a higher chamazulene content providing more potent anti-inflammatory effects than  Roman) with a pungent tobacco-like, herbaceous, sweet, warm aroma.  Pale yellow-to-gold in color, Roman chamomile essential oil has an intensely sweet, fruity-floral, warm, apple-like herbaceous scent.  Both essential oils are produced by steam distillation of the small, daisy-like flower heads and the fragrance of each can easily dominate a formula, so keep that in mind when experimenting with recipes.

Owing to its gentleness, Roman chamomile essential oil, when used as directed, is a soothing and safe oil even for infants and young children.  I often use it alone or in combination with cardamom, lavender, or frankincense essential oil in formulas designed for bathing and massage to calm irritability and induce sound sleep, as well as in topical blends designed to ease painful symptoms of earache, colic, and teething.

Because of its cooling, deeply relaxing nature, Roman chamomile is a good choice for addressing hot flashes, stress-induced, inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or hives, and tension/migraine headaches.  Bouts of sciatica, neuralgia, lower back pain, menstrual cramps, and spasmodic muscle cramps respond favorably, as well.

roman chamomile in garden
Photo by Stephanie Tourles

Essential Properties In A Nutshell

Though German chamomile essential oil offers calming and soothing properties, in cases of anxiety, insomnia, mental strain, anger, fear, nervous tension, and other stress-related conditions such as the emotional swings of PMS and menopause, I prefer to use Roman chamomile essential oil for psychological or emotional concerns due to its even gentler nature, softer, more pleasing scent, and potent relaxing, nervine, and anti-anxiety properties.  It is also a comforting, cooling pain reliever; exceptional topical digestive agent; remarkable antispasmodic, with relaxant and sedative properties; specific for infants, the elderly, and those with sensitive skin in need of healing with a soft touch.

Safety Data & Usage Information:  Roman chamomile essential oil is considered nontoxic and generally nonirritating, but it may cause dermatitis in some individuals. Always dilute essential oils properly — according to age, health, medication intake, and skin condition — prior to application.  My book, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide, is a good reference, complete with safety guidelines and dilution charts.

The following recipe highlights the therapeutic nature of Roman chamomile essential oil with regard to nurturing the skin.  It’s not only beneficial for babies’ delicate skin, but also for those of you with ultra-sensitive skin, no matter what your age.  This gentle oil will be your skin’s best friend.  It can also serve as a healing aid for new bruises, insect bites and stings, and environmental assaults such as sunburn, windburn, or dry, cracked, chapped skin. 

Pure and Gentle Herbal Baby Oil

With skin-soothing, calming herbal extracts and a subtle apple-floral aroma, this blend provides a conditioning, protective barrier that seals in valuable moisture while serving as an effective healing aid for minor irritations of a baby’s delicate skin.  Use as a full-body massage oil, bath oil, foot rub, or diaper rash preventive oil.

Essential Oils:

• 2 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil
• 2 drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile, syn. Anthemis nobilis) essential oil

Base:

• 1/4 cup calendula-infused oil or jojoba oil

Container: 

• 2-ounce plastic squeeze bottle or dark glass bottle with a pump or dropper top

To Make The Blend: Combine the lavender and Roman chamomile essential oils in the bottle, then add either the calendula or jojoba oil. Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.  Label the bottle and set it in a cool, dark location for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.

Store at room temperature, way from heat and light; use within 1 year (or 2 years if you used jojoba oil).

To Use: Shake well before each use.  Massage a small amount into baby’s skin as desired.  For use as a bath oil, add 1/2to 1 teaspoon to a small tub full of warm water and swish to blend with your hands before placing your child in the tub.  After bathing, pat baby’s skin dry, and follow with an application of this same oil or your favorite natural baby lotion.

Yield: 2 ounces (60 ml)

stephanie tourles book coverRecipe excerpted from “Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide,” (c2018 by Stephanie Tourles). Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

5 Essential Oils for Everyday Wellness

Essential oils are a complex mixture of natural occurring chemicals that have a multi-faceted role with in the plant. They are tiny volatile droplets found in the glands, glandular hairs, sacs or veins of leaves, stems, fruits, bark, roots, seeds and flowers of plants. They contain the essence or fragrant part of the plant.

These oils can benefit the body, mind and soul physically, emotionally, energetically, cellularly and spiritually. Essential oils enter the bloodstream through inhalation or penetration of the skin then circulate throughout the body until they are eliminated through perspiration and normal bodily functions.

every day essential oils

Five essential oils for everyday wellness are Eucalyptus, Lavender, Orange, Peppermint and Tea Tree.

Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) essential oil is steam distilled from fresh or partially dried leaves. Depending on the species its color can range from colorless to pale yellow to brown. Eucalyptus has a refreshing and camphorous scent and best known as a decongestant for colds. Eucalyptus essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.     

Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is steam distilled from flowering tops or stems. It is colorless or a pale yellow and has a sweet, floral, herbaceous refreshing aroma. Lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system and is a first choice for insomnia due to stress and anxiety. It also has many beneficial attributes for skins issues. Lavender essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.  

Orange (citrus sinensis) is cold pressed from the ripe outer peel of the fruit. The oil is a yellow-orange to a dark orange color liquid with a sweet, fresh citrus aroma. It’s considered to have a mildly sedative and antidepressant effect, along with beneficial attributes for soothing dry or acne prone skin. Orange essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating, but phototoxic.   

Peppermint (mentha piperita) essential oil is obtained by steam distillation and is a pale-yellow or pale-olive color with a fresh, strong grassy-mint aroma. Peppermint is one of the most effective essential oils for the digestive system. It is beneficial in relieving headaches and sinus congestion. Peppermint essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating but maybe sensitizing.        

Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is water or steam distilled from a small tree and is a pale-yellowish to almost clear color liquid with a warm, spicy odor. Tea tree is recommended for bronchitis, coughs and sinusitis. It is also used in the treatment of acne, athletes’ feet, bug bites and wounds. Tea Tree essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, maybe sensitizing to some individuals.  

Click here to receive a free downloadable chart that shows how to use these 5 essential oils at home or while traveling or camping.   

This information is for educational purposes only. Do Not Use Internally. Keep Out of Reach of Children.


Reference: Battaglia, S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy







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