Linda at Litebeing Chronicles has a month long blogging challenge going on about delighting in our senses. Join in if you are a blogger and read (and watch) my post here.
Most of the time when I make perfume oils it’s all about the scent. (I have a couple of videos about making them, here and here.) This is different though, this one is all about the emotional benefits with my essential oil picks based solely on their traditionally recognized benefits for reducing anxiety and stress. I chose sunflower oil for the base because it hardly has any scent of its own so it carries the e.o. scents quite well. The essential oils I’m using are Neroli, known to decrease nervous tension and apprehension, so much so that Neroli blossoms used to frequently be placed in wedding bouquets, Clary Sage which is a happy scent, sometimes even described as euphoric and elation-promoting, and Lavender which is a relaxing scent. To make the blend, simply add the base oil (I use a funnel to reduce spillage) to the clean, empty bottle of choice. In the picture I have a clear, 1/3 oz. bottle, but I actually ended up using a dark amber bottle instead because dark-colored glass helps the essential oils stay fresh longer. In a 1/3 oz bottle I’d add about 12 drops of essential oils total, and in a 1/2 oz bottle size I’d add 15-18 drops total. For this blend none of the oils are exceptionally strong so I decided to add equal amounts to the base oil, so 4 drops of each oil went into the bottle. Always cap your blends right away and shake them, or better yet, roll them in your hands to mix the ingredients together. The blend is then ready to use but it will deepen and change a bit over a month’s time. Keep it out of direct light and heat for best results, and then use on pulse points to reduce nervousness and stress. Always remember to shake the bottle before using to make sure the essential oils are well mixed. This is so easy that even the most stressed out person can manage to do this without so much as a toddler sized tantrum or clenched jaw. Don’t forget to write down your personal blend formula for future reference, and also to label the bottle accordingly. I labeled mine ‘breathe’ so I remember to check on the quality of my breathing when I’m reaching for a stress-reducing scent. A mantra I learned a long time ago comes in handy at those moments: Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. The sweet spot is in-between the breath in and breath out which can only be recognized as the present. Let me know what your favorite stress-reducing techniques are. I’d love to hear them!
One of the easiest ways to use essential oils is to make up a spray that can be used on your body or in a room to freshen up and influence the atmosphere. You basically just need a spray bottle, distilled water, and whatever essential oils you want to use. I have a video about it also, or you can just follow along here:I also use a funnel to fill the spray bottles with distilled water, just to be on the safe side, and I always write down what I make in a notebook. And when I say ‘always’ I mean I always intend to write it down, though unfortunately, that doesn’t quite always happen.
It’s best to use dark-colored glass, generally found in brown or blue (I’d love charcoal colored glass bottles~ why doesn’t anyone make those?) but plastic or aluminum will do. If you use clear glass then be sure to store your goodies in a cool, dark place, they will last longer and smell sweeter for it.
That brown glass bottle as well as the aluminum one above hold 4 oz or 1/2 cup of distilled water and the blue glass container holds 6 oz or 3/4 cup. For the smaller containers I’ll add 20-40 drops of essential oils, depending on how strong they are. For the larger bottle, 30-50 drops will do it.
As for deciding which essential oils, it really depends entirely on what you want~ something that smells of flowers (Ylang Ylang and Jasmine?) Or forests (Cedarwood and Pine)? Something anxiety relieving (Lavender and Neroli)? Something to help you remember to write down your essential oil recipes (Rosemary)? There are endless possibilities so it really helps to get to the root of why you are making the spray. I generally have an uplifting daytime spray that I use all day long, and a calming nighttime spray I use before bedtime. That aluminum spray bottle if filled with Thieves oil and distilled water to use for antibacterial/antiviral uses which has been used all too often this wet winter season.
Even though I use the daytime spray more often, I have to put it in the smaller bottle because visually the dark blue bottle reminds me of night and the Lavender and Sandalwood that resides in it, while the brown bottle reminds me of my favorite daytime mixture which is Bergamot and Clary Sage. (Bergamot is in Earl Grey tea so I guess that explains the brown connection.) Together they produce an uplifting spray that is antidepressant and smells incredible good, lightly floral with a hint of citrus-y sunniness.
Another combination I like to use for day use is Rosemary and Orange, which is the combination I use in my diffuser every morning to get my mind jump-started and influence my mood to be a bit sunnier despite the early hour. Rosemary is the classic brain herb especially benefiting memory, while all citrus oils are great mood enhancers and are stimulating thus perfect for morning. They do increase photo-sensitivity so that is something to be aware of when using them. I’ve written before about how cool that actually is because of the whole sun-D-seasonal affected disorder connection, so I won’t repeat myself but it’s worth reflecting on how brilliant nature really is.
Here’s what I made today (and I actually did remember to write these in my notebook already~ thank you Rosemary!)
4 oz distilled water
20 drops bergamot
20 drops clary sage
And Night Spray:
6 oz distilled water
30 drops lavender
10 drops sandalwood
I should note that many people put alcohol such as vodka in their sprays in an effort to keep the scent around longer. I do not do this because I find the alcohol scent lingers longer than the essential oils and that is not a smell I personally enjoy, but there are plenty of recipes online if you want to experiment with adding alcohol to your sprays.
Have fun experimenting and here’s a link to aura cacia’s recipe page which has all kinds of inspiration on it should you find yourself in a creative mood. And lastly, don’t forget to label what you make~ all it takes is a bit of paper and tape to keep straight what’s for day and what’s for night. And do shake your mixtures to blend them well. Valerie Worwood who has written many best-selling aromatherapy books including The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy says to rub your palms together with the bottle between your hands for best blending.
Sorry about that weird picture with my hands looking way too large to be human, but it’s a hard thing to describe so I had my son take this pic of me doing it and this is the best we got. Enjoy your herbal crafting!
This morning I was reminded of how herbs as essential oils are just part of my family’s everyday life, making it better, healthier, sweeter smelling, and even a little sillier. Before getting out of bed, I heard my oldest son sniffle a couple of times. The boys went skiing yesterday so I wasn’t overly concerned, but I did put some Thieves oil into my little diffuser instead of my usual morning wake-me-up blend. Thieves oil has a great story to it, though whether it is more history or mythology is anyone’s guess. I like to think the story had to start somewhere, so why not in an actual event? The story has several variations, but basically they all say something along the lines of this: During the Middle Ages there were four thieves in France who used to rob the graves (or the houses) of those who had died of the Plague and managed to not get ill themselves. When they were eventually caught, they were given a lighter punishment in return for telling how they did it. The four thieves admitted they used herbs (most likely soaked in vinegar at that time) to keep themselves from getting the disease. They knew how to do this because among them were perfumers and spice traders who at the time understood the anti-biotic and anti-viral properties of their goods. Their blend has passed down to us through all these centuries, though the actual recipes vary depending on who’s making it. Usually the blends include: clove, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon and rosemary, and then different makers add in their own special favorites. You can find it as Thieves Oil, Four Thieves Oil, Bandits Oil, and I’m sure other names as well.
The boys and I use it almost everyday. I have added Thieves Oil to almond oil (10 drops per ounce of base oil) and put it in a glass roller bottle so we can easily apply it. I like to rub my whole neck with it but the boys are pickier. Since it was at first difficult to convince them to start rubbing themselves with this perfume-like substance I resorted to telling them they had my permission to write swear words on themselves with this oil. They found that to be hilarious and even now, after months of this, my youngest still takes the oil from me with mischievous glee and waits for me to pull a face of shock and horror as he writes something spectacularly naughty on his arm. Whatever works.
You can make your own as there are plenty of recipes online, or just buy it already blended at any Whole Foods or herbal shop. I’m using Uncle Harry’s Four Bandits Anti-germ blend right now and realized after I bought it that the company is based right here in Redmond, WA, where I live! Now that’s pretty cool.