Author: Amy

Contributions: Writing and Interviews

Check out links to articles I’ve written or been quoted in! Writing: Sonic Yoga Newsletter Contributions: Alignment & Aromatherapy Honoring the Body with Restful Action Aromatic Studies Blog Contributions: Sweet Fennel Juniper Berry Patchouli Copaiba Rose otto Scots Pine Ylang ylang Rosemary cineole Interviews: Rodale’s Organic Life: The Most Versatile Essential Oils Soulveda: A Whiff of Good Health  

Best Practices: Using and Cleaning Glassware

Glass is a valuable tool for anyone making, creating and concocting lotions and potions. It beats the pants out of plastic as it is non-reactive, safe, reusable and doesn’t degrade. The downside of glass? You need to clean it, and when you are using lipids and lipid-loving substances such as essential and fixed oils it can be a real drag as the fatty/lipid substances smear and smoosh and don’t really seem to come off. And you throw up your hands in despair thinking the only way to clean your lovely glassware is to use nasty solvents such as alcohol or harsh detergents. Fear not and read on!

The Mathematics Behind Balms & Salves

The impetus behind writing this post was my frustration in finding measurement guidelines (the mathematics) to make a balm or salve. Many recipes give specific measurements for a specific recipe and that’s it–no  guidelines, no “WHY.” What if I need a small quantity (e.g., 1 ounce) or a large quantity of an odd number (e.g., 23 ounces)? What if I have funky containers and need to know how much salve I need to make to fill those containers? Read on to learn more…

Aromatic Bath Fizzies: “How To” & “Why”

Over the summer I was working with a case-study who I knew needed to get back into the tub. This person used to take baths galore, but ceased to do so since moving to New York City (read: small bathroom and a not-so-ideal-sized bathtub). I needed to deliver a synergy of essential oils to her via the bath but did not want to bog her down with dilution instructions and cautions that might have kept her from using this beneficial modality (e.g., diluting in a lipophilic substance at x number of drops/dilution rate and why). So where did that leave us? Bath Bombs (a.k.a., Aromatic Bath Fizzies)*! The thought behind using essential oils via this delivery method is to: Ensure the safe delivery of essential oils to the bather Not make the bather worry about “doing things right” (stress is anathema to a relaxing bath) Make it a fun (fizzing!) and therapeutic bathing experience. So, I needed to do some research. How do I make these? What are the ingredients and why am I using them? What are the …

Getting to Know: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow, an herb in the Asteraceae family, has been used for wound healing/vulnerary purposes since ancient times. According to folklore, Achilles (the Grecian battle hero), carried the herb while on battle campaigns to treat battle wounds. This tough (it’s so tough that it grows in the incredibly damp, clay soil of my gardens!) herb can be found throughout the temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere. It is often seen in the “wild,” though it is commonly found cultivated in many gardens. Like many herbs, Yarrow is happiest when its roots are in well draining soil and otherwise “neglected” (e.g., left alone, not fertilized, in lean soil). Yarrow essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. How may yarrow be used in aromatherapy? (Remember: ALWAYS dilute EOs prior to using on the skin and NEVER take them internally.) Physical level: anti-inflammatory, astringent, cicatrisant, haemostatic, vulnerary, skin regenerative (just to name a few!) Combine with Helichrysum in a compress for treatment of wounds or skin issues such as bruises or eczema. It helps support the circulatory system (astringent and anti-inflammatory)–combine with Cypress in a salve or …

Mouth-rinse: Hydrosols and Xylitol

In conjunction with a toothpaste I made to help treat gum inflammation, it seemed wise to concoct a soothing mouth-rinse that could be used to: Clear any residual baking soda from the mouth. Address bleeding gums (post brushing & flossing). Freshen breath. For this, it seemed a gentle, cooling effect would be best, which is where hydrosols come into play. Which leads to a quick explanation of what a hydrosol (i.e., hydrolate, hydrolat, floral water) is from the highly regarded Suzanne Catty (in aromatherapy terms): “Hydrosols are the condensate water coproduced during the steam-or hydro-distillation of plant material for aromatherapeutic purposes.” Truth-be-told, I have used the Listerine brand  for years–mostly out of learned behavior and co-habiting: my father used Listerine and my husband does. [To be clear: I am not knocking the brand nor asking anyone not to use it–the point of this post is to share how incredibly simple alternatives exist using plant medicine and aromatherapy for oral care.] Following is the formula for the mouth-rinse (for an 8 ounce bottle): Peppermint hydrosol (Mentha x piperita) (1/2 cup): Anti-inflammatory and a mild antibacterial agent. Note: …

Getting to Know: Angelica archangelica

Here is a picture of the beautiful Angelica archangelica (commonly known as garden angelica) that was growing in my garden this summer. I saved the seeds from the umbels and plan on distilling them in a few weeks to keep the water (hydrosol) created from the distillation process. Both the root and the seed are used from this plant for aromatherapy purposes. The plant is a biennial, meaning that it flowers the second year and dies after. Root: Should be used with caution as the oil is phototoxic (avoid use when going into the sun). It is noted for a calming (even sedative) effect on the nervous system–making it great when used in an inhaler for those with anxiety. Seed: It “gets things moving” and is an overall stimulant for the digestive & lymph systems and aids in easing water retention (by promoting movement). Angelica seed would be wonderful addition in a belly rub cream to aid in digestion or on the legs in a cream/body butter/salve to promote circulation for those with edema. Both the root and seed oils have an affinity for …

Toothpaste: Baking Soda, Coconut Oil, Xylitol and Essential Oils

I had a routine dental check-up in late July of 2015 and received bad news–bleeding gums on my lower-right gum-line. As you can imagine this was depressing news. Granted I don’t floss as much as I should. Though I do gargle and brush, twice daily, with national brands of mouthwash and toothpaste. Obviously something had to change, like the products I was using. Over the years the benefits of nut & seed oils (e.g.,  for oil pulling), baking soda and xylitol have been known but I didn’t pay attention–it was definitely more convenient to go to a store and give a large corporation my money in exchange for oral care I trusted.  So I started reading about these ingredients online, in books and in magazines/journals. With all of the knowledge I was gaining I had to question–why not make my own toothpaste? And why not enhance that toothpaste with essential oils that are known for oral care? After two weeks of using my homemade toothpaste (and mouth rinse) my gums do not bleed when I floss. Following is the …