Essential Oils in Historical Context

The history of essential oils is inseparably entwined in the historical evolution of medicine, evidenced through references found in ancient medicinal texts, treatises, artwork, imagery and artefacts left by civilisations living over 5,000 years ago.

 

Applied in the form of fumigants, incense, cleansers, antiseptics, antibiotics, bactericides and preservatives, as well as psychosomatic, hedonistic perfumes, not only worn to adorn but also to punctuate and accentuate rite and ritual, to protect and to symbolise intention, essential oils have accompanied us, like guardians and companions, on our ever-evolving journey through time and life, playing a vital role in our survival.

 

Skills and knowledge of remedies, lifestyles and ancient systems of medicine have passed from one generation to another, many still relevant, referred to and practiced today, particularly in countries where the cost of modern medicine is prohibitively expensive; examples include Oriental, Ayurveda, Middle Eastern and Greek Tibb, Shamanic and local herbal medicine – the omniscient existence of a life force, Ch’I, Prana or élan vital, threading through the philosophy of all.  

 

Many modern herbal and complementary medicinal practices have evolved and developed from synthesis of these historically tested ancient healing systems, philosophies and practices and current knowledge and understanding of science, botany, biology and modern medicine. We bring forward the constant notion of ‘mind-body-spirit’, of the gross and subtle dynamics of existence, a seamless interplay between the internal and external environment, notions that prevailed until challenged by modern science.

 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, development of technology enabled focused scrutiny of microscopic entities. The body was increasingly viewed, detached from ‘spirit’, or ‘Being’, like a machine comprising separate parts; spirit could not be physiologically identified, therefore, was considered non-existent, or questionable, and mind and body were viewed as separate.

 

However, clearer understanding of anatomy and physiology, biology, botany, and organic chemistry has also served to separate out myth, superstition and misunderstanding, revealing the practical reality of the ‘way the world and universe works’. Many misguided notions surrounding health and cure, such as, leeching, ‘blood letting’, pleasing the ‘gods’, are subsequently dispelled in light of informed awareness. While others have been upheld, their value proven through consistent positive results that have stood the test of time

 


Scientific investigation, equipment and methodology does enable greater insight into the practical mechanism, integration, interplay, properties, components and chemistry of organic and inorganic matter, of the world around us and of the physical body, its healthy function, of viruses, germs, disease, reaffirming the significance of diet and lifestyle in terms of wellness and wellbeing and the supportive value of many ancient healing systems, such as, among others, acupuncture, herbalism, essential oils. The body is a territory which when appropriately nurtured and nourished (food, shelter, warmth, exercise, psycho-emotional attitude and community) is more resilient to attack or invasion, and in harmony 
(internal and external homeostasis).

 

 

Holistic health and wellbeing emerges to the foreground; the mind-body-spirit connection is acknowledged as significant. Bridging the pragmatic, nature-al and ethereal dynamics of life and existence, essential oils continue to be used for their protective (anti-microbial, anti-viral), restorative, rehabilitative, healing and hedonistic qualities, seamlessly providing physiological and psycho-emotional-spiritual support.

 

 

Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation

A recent study exploring the effect of mindfulness meditation and the psycho-emotional influence of essential oils found that, when combined, meditation and essential oils act synergistically to significantly reduce levels of anxiety. The essential oils applied (Satureja brevicalyx and Satueja boliviana – plants native to Peru) contain a high content of linalool, a phyto-chemical attributed with being ‘uplifting’, among other qualities. The authors indicate that other essential oils containing linalool may potentially produce a similar effect suggesting, as an example, a blend of Ho wood, geranium and peppermint (peppermint does not contain linalool but in combination these oils create a similar chemical ‘fingerprint’ to the Peruvian oils). (Soto-Vásquez & Alvarado-García 2017).

Odour detection draws the perceivers’ awareness to their breathing, to the moment.

Find out about this dynamic relationship, and much more, in my book ‘Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation’ (publisher: Inner Traditions USA), available here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com

https://www.innertraditions.com/essential-oils-for-mindfulness-and-meditation.html

 

Bespoke Aromatherapy Massage at the Town Mill, Lyme Regis DT7 3PU

Relax. Revive. Rejuvenate.

 

Deeply relaxing massage treatment, applying pure organic essential oils.

 

Session duration: 90 minutes (includes consultation and oil selection)  £60  

 

Caring for carers 25% discount rate: £45 (Are you a full time carer? Then this offer applies to you.  Replenish, restore, recuperate…..)

 

Contact me:

Email   heather@aromantique.co.uk

Telephone   07419 777 451

Visit my website for more details   www.aromantique.co.uk

Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation

I am delighted to announce that my book, ‘Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation: Relax Replenish Rejuvenate’, will be published November 2018 by Inner Traditions Bear & Co (Rochester, Vermont, USA).  You will be able to pre-order your copy from mid January 2018, when their 2018 Catalogue is released.

 

 

Visiting Somerset Lavender Farm

The air richly infused with the fragrant scent of lavender, I walked into the greeting garden, beyond which stretched several neat linear rows of small purple bushes extended to the tree-lined distant edge of the adjoining field. On one side of the field, in beautiful contrast, a stunning array of sunflowers stood proudly as if watching over the purple sea. I had found lavender heaven; the view I gazed appeared to reflect a scene in a French-like painting, rustic, earthy, the ambiance ageless and romantic, sweetly scented and suspended in time.

 

Somerset Lavender is a small fifty-acre third-generation family-run farm, situated in the rural area of Faukland near Radstock. Once dairy farmers, Francis and Judith Green transformed the farm, converting from livestock to arable in 2004, focusing entirely on the growth and production of lavender, dedicating two five-acre fields solely for this purpose. Visitors are invited to walk amongst the lavender in the fields so they may fully experience and appreciate them (and observe the spectacle of numerous nectar collecting bees).

 
I arrived at the farm, armed with my camera, hoping to catch the last remnants of the floral blossom before the lavender flowering season ended. ‘Time and tide’ certainly ‘wait for no man’; being ‘too busy’ a passport to nowhere – the land of lost moments and illusive opportunities……  I skidded through the gate of opportunity just before it closed, the lavender blooms waning, their vibrant colours dwindling.  But still the odour was rich, the scene beautiful and, as it transpired, there was an unexpected bonus…the flowering heads and stems of the first row of lavender bushes had just been harvested ready for distillation.

 
When I explained my reason for visiting the farm, to my delight, Francis kindly invited me into the distillery, which is housed within a large barn. The recently harvested first crop of lavender lay strewn loosely across the floor, left to dry slightly before being immersed into the distillation vat. Francis described the distillation process to me and demonstrated how the equipment worked.

 

 

He then picked up a pitchfork and began loading the lavender into a stainless steel vat and I was able to photograph the process in action.  He filled, then pressed the fresh dried lavender flower heads and stalks down into the large steel vat, then filled it some more and did the same again, repeating the process until the vat was packed full. After this, he told me, water is added to the vat. The distillation apparatus was already in action with a vat that had been filled earlier.

 

A gas-fired burner heats the water in the vat for half an hour until it reaches boiling point and begins to convert to steam. The extreme heat, force and pressure of the steam ruptures the plant cells, bursting the cell walls and releasing essential oils and other volatile chemicals as the steam rises and pushes through the plant material. Reaching the top of the vat, the steam syphon’s through a pipe to another adjoining vat, which contains coiled tubing filled with cold water that rapidly cools the essential oil-infused steam, causing it to condense into water again. The condensed water is funnelled through a tube from the base of the second vat into a glass container.

 

As the water in the container cools further, the essential oil begins to separate from the water and floats to the surface, where it accumulates. This distillation process usually continues for two to two-and-a-half hours. The essential oils are gradually syphoned off. The cooled distilled water that remains contains non-volatile plant residue and other non-volatile water-soluble or ‘water loving’ chemical components extracted from the plant material.  This water is either reused in the distillation vat and/or cooled and stored in sealed sterile bottles as lavender hydrosol or ‘perfumed water’ (this is also how witch hazel or rose water, among others, are produced).


Apparently, there are three types of essential distilled from the three species of lavender grown at the farm: English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), ‘French Lavender Stoechas’ and ‘Lavender Intermedia Hybrid’.  Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’, one type of essential oil sold at the farm, is produced from a seedless cultivar (propagated from softwood cuttings) grown for its intense, sweet odour (attributed to its higher content of linalyl acetate).

 

With its fields of lavender edged with sunflowers, distillery, café and shop selling an array of lavender plants, farm produced essential oils and products, Somerset Lavender Farm is definitely worth a visit; even if just to take in the beautiful odour and ambiance of the fields of lavender.

 

The Essential Beauty of Growing Old: natures gifts


Age is an inevitable process; our bodies are finite, life is transient. However, although there is some inevitable ‘slowing down’, aging does not necessarily herald debilitation. Aging is another of many ‘rights of passage’ encountered through life.  

Marguerite Maury (1895-1968) believed that in acknowledging age as a natural process, a friend and not an enemy, adapting and not giving up in the face of inevitable change, viewing age as ‘another country visited’ along the journey of life, we thus equip ourselves to enjoy it as a new, exciting untapped landscape, still holding adventure and possibility.  Such an attitude, she believed, staves off premature cellular deterioration, which lays the ground for disease and diminishing faculty, keeps us ‘alive’ and vibrant, and enables ability to adapt and deal with challenges.  She eloquently delves into the subject of aging in her book ‘The Secret of Life and Youth’ (1964):

Our main interest is not old age in itself, the accomplished fact… what we have to know is what causes it to take us by surprise… growing old is an eminently individual matter… there are as many ways of growing old as there are human beings… each aging according to his body, heredity, biological make up, mentality and, finally, evolution. (Maury 1961: 1989, p. 19)


Natures Gifts

 

Maury observed the interconnectedness between mind, emotion, body and nature and the dynamic role essential oils may play as regulators that are capable of maintaining, healing, restoring, balancing, and linking ethereal, spiritual and physical dimensions – sustaining the organisms dynamic vibrancy and vitality.  She was particularly interested in the similarity in composition of human and plant cells and their life cycles and restorative ability, especially in relation to human tissue, recognising “the innate kinship” between the cells of living organisms and their dynamic integrated relationship with each other:

Nature is sovereign: the plant is a living being with a specific energy potential. The use of this energy conforms to the law of nature… By inserting this energy force into our body, we can therefore expect an efficacious and selective action on its part. The body will thus have at its disposal a vital and living element. It will use its energy for its own ends. The great physician Ramon considered odoriferous matter as a vegetable hormone, the only one to be in a dynamic state.  (Maury, 1961/1989, p. 80 & 81)

In deed, essential oils do offer a vital natural connection between man’s external and internal environment, their virtues supporting and regulating physiological and psycho-emotional health, wellbeing and sense of spiritual awareness; perfect companions (along with meditation).  Applied appropriately, essential oils are safe and cost effective.  They are dynamic.  They complement the changing needs of the body and procure protective, restorative and rejuvenating qualities.


Frankincense, patchouli, cypress, carrot seed, rose are among many essential oils that offer valuable support wellness –  psycho-therapeutic, immunological to skin care.  

My forthcoming books (more details to follow soon) explain  the various dynamical qualities of essential oils and how they support wellness and wellbeing.

Meanwhile, please visit www.aromantique.co.uk for further in formation the application of essential oils, including their Safe Use and Application 

Essential Oils: Safe Use and Application

The basic elements that support health and wellbeing as we age.

  • Positive attitude: toward self, others and the environment
  • Healthy diet: moderate, fresh and nutrient rich
  • Regular exercise: this does not have to be strenuous as long as it involves movement and respiration, oxygenating cells, shifting waste material, stimulating blood and lymph circulation and gently toning muscles, maintaining strength and integrity; improving mood and emotion
  • Relaxation: rest, fun and community
  • Sufficient income and social security:  safety, food, cloths, warmth, shelter, social activity and involvement

Sources: Godfrey, 2016; Glenville, 2015; Han et al., 2015; McReynolds and Rossen, 2004; Hess et al., 2014; Nillson et al., 2014; Vann, 2014

 

 

‘Essentially being’ in the moment

The aim of meditation is to hone and sustain conscious awareness of ‘being’ in the present moment.  I am always a whispered distance from the veil of my future and the shadows of my past, shades flickering in muted colours in my memory.  Yet focusing attention on what is happening, what I sensually experience, what I am consciously aware of, here and now as I bathe in the moment, leaves no space for abstract memories or projected anxiousness and anticipation (just as switching on the light instantly dispels darkness).  In truth, in reality, I only ever exist in the present moment, life only presents to me ‘here and now’; past regrets, traumas or disappointments, even memory of joy and pleasure, future fears, uncertainty, anxiety, anticipation, expectations, are disarmed, disempowered, at the very epicentre of ‘present moment’ awareness.  The stillest point of a seesaw is at its pivoting centre.

The stillest point of a seesaw is at its pivoting centre.

Odour detection is intrinsic to our survival and is powerfully associated with memory.  Breath is vital, sustains life force.  Breath was and is considered the portal of consciousness, the connection between the world and the Divine, between the soul and the manifest material universe, the bridge between the external world and the spirit within (consciousness).  Odour, through the ages, has been employed to stimulate awareness of this connection, of our ‘spiritual’ self.    Incense and essences contained with in herbs, leaves, roots, woods and resins (like frankincense and also myrrh, benzoin styrax, galbanum) were, and still are, burned during prayer and ritual – the smoke rising upward symbolic of the soul, of consciousness, rising toward ‘heaven’ or the ‘higher self’.

 

Essential oils diffused during mediation can also be employed to act as a reminder, to instil the memory of the experience felt during formal meditation (there and then) ‘here and now’, thus also subtly, paradoxically, reminding the recipient to hold their current sense of  ‘being’ in the moment. Certain essential oils, for example, frankincense and patchouli, regulate breathing, instilling a sense of peace and tranquility; rose and mandarin are gently stimulating and uplifting; rosemary is ‘wakening’, stimulating memory and alertness; lavender and geranium are both stimulating and calming and are thus balancing.  Frankincense resin is still burned and diffused during the ceremonies, rites and rituals of many religions to instil a sense of calm and ‘spiritual’ connection.

 

Essential oils may be diffused into the environment before (in preparation for meditation) or during (to support focus and wakeful relaxation) or may be applied post meditation (diffused or worn as a perfume) as a memory cue to draw attention to the breath, to act as a gentle reminder to hone consciousness awareness of ‘here and now’ (the doorway to inner possibility and potential, appreciation and wonder, positive affirmation).  And simply, but also significantly, for their own qualities: uplifting, stimulating, calming, ‘grounding’, ‘earthing’, among many others.

For more information about my forthcoming publication and the use of essential oils, and new premises, please visit:

www.aromantique.co.uk

facebook.com/aromantiquewellness

Heather Dawn Godfrey

 

Rose for the Mother, Mandarin for the Child, Frankincense for the Father…….

img_1928Rose Otto (absolute)

(Rosa x demascena Miller. Rosa x centifolia L)

 Originally native to the Orient and Middle East, rose is grown and cultivated throughout the world, producing numerous species and cultivars. Rose essential oil is extracted from the fresh flower petals of the demascena and centifolia species and produces a pale yellow to olive yellow viscous liquid or a deep orange to olive green viscous absolute. Rose is famous for its beautiful, sweet intense odour and is a popular perfume ingredient.

IMG_3799Blended in vegetable oil, cream or lotion, rose essential oil provides valuable skin care qualities, while it also quells panic attacks and anxiety, and uplifts mood and emotion, among many other valuable attributes.

 

img_4729Mandarin Green

(Citrus reticulate)

 Native to south-eastern Asia and the Philippines, this small evergreen, usually thorny tree, produces beautifully fragrant flowers that bear the brightly coloured deeply green, orange or red-orange mandarin fruits. The mid-to dark green essential oil is extracted from the peel of the mandarin green fruit. ‘Awakening’ or ‘bringing out’ the inner child, this oil uplifts mood and emotion, among many other valuable supporting qualities.

img_1468Blended in vegetable oil, cream or lotion this essential oil provides a wonderful skincare ingredient (however, mandarin essential oil must be stored in a fridge and only used when fresh as it is prone to rapid oxidization and may consequently become irritant).

 

IMG_2869
Frankincense (Olibanum)

(Boswellia carterii, Boswellia serrata)

Produced from the oleo resin that exudes from the wood of this small, tangle-branched tree, the pale amber, yellow to greenish tinted essential oil is renowned for its calming and “spiritual” connecting (earth to ‘heaven’) and uplifting qualities (hence it’s use in many religious and ceremonial rites and rituals).

img_4389Blended in vegetable oil, cream or lotion, this essential oil possesses remarkable skin care and healing qualities, as well as ability to combat respiratory tract conditions and infections, among many other remarkable qualities.

 

Why not visit www.aromantique.co.uk to find out more about the imminent publication of Aromantique’s essential oil book compilation, which describe the source, safe application and numerous values of essential oils, including Rose, Mandarin and Frankincense; a ‘must have’ companion for ‘everyday life’.

 

NB: Information provided here, or in any of the books which form part of the Aromantique book compilation, is not presented as an alternative or substitute for professional advice or healthcare. These books aim to provide a complementary preventative tool to support wellness and wellbeing.

www.aromantique.co.uk, heather@aromantique.co.uk, facebook.com/aromantiquewellness

ESSENTIAL OIL WORKSHOP SURVEY


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Essential oils are very popular. 

Most people know something about essential oils, buy and use them.  They form part of the ingredients of many ‘every day’ household products.  They are multi dynamical. There is so much to learn and know about their properties.  Where do you start? 

A really good place to begin is from the point of your own curiosity; what intrigues you, what do you want to know more about?  If you could chose the topic of a workshop, what would it be?

Why not let me know (heather@aromantique.co.uk /07419 777 451); perhaps this could inform the theme or content of the next series of workshops.

What workshop theme will be of interest to you?

Is there a particular aspect about the qualities or the application  of essential oils you would like to know more about?

Are you interested in gaining a professional essential qualification?

photo 2Are you a carer caring for someone else; would you like to know about the supportive qualities of essential oils? Do you work with children; which oils are appropriate, calming and aid concentration and memory retention?  Do you want to enhance your skin care routine; which oils will benefit your complexion type?  Do you want to uplift your mood; how do essential oils influence mood and emotion and which ones will benefit you the most?

I am qualified and able to deliver training from curious user to professional qualified practitioner.  If you are interested in learning more about essential oils please let me know, I would love to hear from you; your curiosity, interest and feedback will be very welcome and helpful.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Essence and Incense: Gifts for Kings, Kin and Mankind


IMG_4174
Three Wise Middle Eastern Kings brought gifts to the new born infant to protect him and honour his birth.  

Gold symbolises purity of spirit and encourages realisation of one’s potential.

IMG_2402

 

Frankincense deepens and calms breathing, instilling a sense of tranquility and inner connection, an invaluable aid to meditation and prayer

IMG_4389

 

 

Myrrh strengthens the sense of spirituality and enhances visualisation.

 

 

All three heal, protect and cleanse; frankincense and myrrh strengthen and support the immune system.

IMG_4568

 

 

Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii) essential oil

 

Heather Godfrey