The Aromatic Thymes – August
Summer is coming to a close and many of us are heading back to the routine of work or school. Don’t forget to make the oils part of your day, easing the transition and boosting your immune system for the approaching flu season – (More on that in the November issue) The more you use the oils, the more they have a chance to cleanse your body and improve oxygenation of the tissues.
Oil of the Month: Cedarwood
Aromatherapy Tip of the Month: Quick Energy Lift
Resource Guide: -NAHA
Latest Aromatherapy Research: Hair Loss
Book Review: ” 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy”
by David and Carol Schiller
Recipe of the month -Essential Oil Moth Balls
Latin Name: Cedrus atlantica
Source of Oil: Bark and sawdust
Primary cultivation: Morocco
Odour: Woody, Sweet
Properties: Antiseptic (urinary, lungs), antiseborrheic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, insecticide, sedative (nervous), stimulant (circulatory).
Strongest characteristic: Respiratory aid, soothing
Contraindications: (Situation in which oil should not be used) Some people suggest avoiding during pregnancy. People with sensitive skin should be cautious, as it can cause local irritation.
Blends well with: Frankincense, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Lavender
It is likely that Cedarwood oil was the first essential oil to be extracted from a plant, and was used by the Egyptians in the mummification process because of its ability to preserve and also to repel insects. They valued it highly as an ingredient in cosmetics and as an insect repellent.
They used the wood to make jewellery, furniture and ships and it was always used to make their coffins. They valued cedarwood so highly that the Lebanon area (which produced Cedrus Libani, used for making furniture, almost out of existence now) was incorporated into the Egyptian Empire in order to ensure a regular supply.
There are several varieties of Cedar, but the most widely used in Aromatherapy is that of Cedrus Atlantica.
Cedarwood tends to be more useful for long-standing health concerns, rather than acute ones. It has the curious feature of acting as a sedative to the nervous system, while being a stimulant to the circulatory system. Cedarwood contains the highest concentration of sesquiterpenes, which have the ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier and oxygenate the brain directly upon inhalation by way of the nasal passages and the olfactory nerves.
Joints: Because of it’s ability to stimulate the circulatory system, cedarwood is often used for arthritis and rheumatism. In these cases, you might want to mix it with other oils designed to address different aspects, like lavender for the pain, chamomile for soothing inflammation etc. One idea would be to make a salve that you can rub on the affected area as needed.
Respiratory: The North American Indians used cedarwood for respiratory infections, in particular catarrh. It’s expectorant and mildly drying properties draw out excess phlegm. It is an effective addition to a steam inhalation for coughs and chest infections of all kinds.
Skin: The astringent and antiseptic properties are helpful to oily skin conditions. It can help acne and also aids in clearing scabs and pus. Combined with lavender and sandalwood, cedarwood is useful for chronic conditions including dermatitis and psoriasis. For this use, you might dilute it to a 3% dilution with Aloe Vera. It is a good hair tonic, effective against dandruff, alopecia and seborrhoea – see this months research section below.. Skin softening properties could be enhanced when mixed with Frankincense and Cypress. It is often added to an insect repellant blend, for example with citronella.
Urinary/Reproductive System: Cedarwood exerts a gently, antiseptic effect on the urinary system, making it a useful oil in cases of cystitis and kidney infections, particularly where there is a burning pain. The oil can be used in compresses, baths or as a local massage oil. It has also been used when menstruation is delayed. A warm compress over the abdomen is best for this, perhaps combined with clary sage.
Nervous System: Cedarwood has a soothing effect on the nervous system and, because of this, is useful for all manner of stress-related conditions, such as anxiety and nervousness. Place a few drops in the diffuser to unwind after a busy day. Terry Friedmann, MD found in clinical tests that this essential oil was able to successfully treat ADD and ADHD (attention deficit disorders) in children.
Aromatherapy Tip of the Month
Quick Energy Lift
When you’re feeling tired and need a quick energy boost, try placing 1 drop rosemary between your palms and rug vigorously together. Cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply three times. If you need to clear out the mental fog, try the same thing with a drop of Basil or Peppermint. Repeat as often as needed.