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It’s almost time to kickoff of summer vacations! Whether you’re planning to travel by plane, train, or automobile this summer, bring these 5 herbs and oils along with you to keep you healthy and happy.
Regretting that last stop at Taco Bell? Chamomile tea can be a great digestive aid when dashboard dining disagrees with you. Chamomile is also a powerful antihistamine; if you’re suffering from allergies or other irritation from unfamiliar foods or surroundings, chamomile tea can help reduce these symptoms. Chamomile tea is widely available and can be purchased at most grocery stores.
Rosemary has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it a great herb to use while traveling. Use rosemary essential oil, or a blend containing the essential oil, and apply it to the neck and hands to protect you from airborne bacteria and viruses. Add a several drops of oil, or even a few fresh rosemary sprigs to a bath to help lift travelers fatigue and jet lag. You may also consider adding rosemary to your food and beverages in the days leading up to your trip to build-up your immune system and protect your health.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is energizing and gives your body a powerful boost of antioxidants. Also containing antiviral and antibacterial properties green tea supports the immune system and helps to prevent illness. Green tea is one of my favorite on-the-go skin care remedies because it’s so easy to come by, and it works so well. I keep a tea bag in my travel case and in the event of dark circles, inflammation, or a full-on breakout I make a green tea compress and apply it to my face.
I always have to ride in the front seat of the car, because I get carsick so easily. Peppermint is a great herb for the neusea-prone traveler. Order a peppermint tea before hitting the road to help keep nausea at bay. Peppermint candies and gum can also be beneficial. A couple drops of peppermint essential oil or an oil blend on a tissue, can be inhaled as needed to combat nausea and refresh the senses.
One of the most convenient essences for all of your travel needs. If you’re an anxious back-seat driver or nervous flyer, lavender calms the nervous system and helps you to relax. It also contains antibacterial properties and is generally liked by most people, so it’s a great essential oil to use when flying or traveling in confined spaces. Lavender is also great for skin care so add a couple drops to your green tea compress for additional benefits.
Wherever your travels take you, remember to be in the moment, be grateful for the opportunity, and be well.
For thousands of years women have relied on our herbal sisters for emotional and physical support during pregnancy. During this fundamental time, caring for the mind, body, and soul is of utmost importance. The herbs and essences I’ve included in this article can help support your emotional and spiritual needs during this exceptional time of growth, and help you to nourish your growing body as well. :)
In my opinion, there is no better essence to relieve anxiety, and promote peace and self-love than lavender. The sweet and refreshing essene of lavender is one of my favorites for relieving self-doubt and depression, and promoting confidence, acceptance, peace, and positivity.
How to use it
~Smell the flowers: lavender is not only aromatically appealing, it is visually appealing as well. If you grow lavender, sit with the plant and smell the fresh blooms. Gently rub your fingers along the stem, leaves, and to the top of the blossom; close your eyes and smell your hands. Cut a few sprigs in the morning and put them in a vase (you can do this with dried flowers too!). Display them in a space that you frequent, and remind yourself how blessed you are for being in this moment.
~Inhalation: simply inhale the essences directly from the bottle of essential oil, or add 3-5 drops to a cotton ball, or use a diffuser necklace. Take several deep breaths, pausing in between to enjoy the benefits of this beautiful essence.
~Topical Application: Lavender is the only essential oil I will work with undiluted (FYI - it’s a great spot treatment for acne). Apply 1-2 drops to your wrists, rub together, and inhale as needed throughout the day. Lavender is also excellent treatment for repairing damaged skin. Use an ointment containing lavender essential oil, like the Blooming Belly Blend or powdered lavender like in the Basic Sugar Scrub to nourish your blooming belly.
This is my favorite essence for promoting confidence during pregnancy, especially the early weeks of pregnancy when we often find ourselves living in a world of nerves, anxiety, and fear. For me, ylang-ylang helped to quiet the ‘What If…?!’ and ‘What Was That?!’ voices in my head. It helped me let go of fear and doubt, and embrace confidence in myself and my body’s ability to do what it was designed to do.
How to use
~Inhalation: This essence is a bit strong directly from the bottle, and it can be overpowering. I prefer 2-3 drops on a cotton ball, mixed with an aromatherapy blend, or add 4-6 drops to a diffuser. Inhale deeply and allow the rich essence to coat your whole being with a sense of protection, safety, and take comfort in knowing that you are strong enough to face anything this journey brings you to.
~Topical application: Add 3-5 drops to a few tablespoons of pure almond or grapeseed oil and apply to the wrists to promote confidence, peace, balance, and harmony. If you’re getting a prenatal massage, ask if they have ylang-ylang for aromatherapy at the beginning of the massage. You’ll find that you are able to relax so much more! You can also bring your Blooming Belly Blend with you and ask that they use it as aromatherapy at the beginning, and as your massage oil throughout the massage.
If you suffer from morning sickness this may be your new best friend. Peppermint can relieve nausea, but also helps you to feel refreshed, and energized. This herb is great for a midday pick-me-up, or a post-morning sickness rejuvenator.
How to use:
~Herbal tea: Peppermint gum and candies are widely available, but you may not want sugar or other ingredients. Instead, venture to the tea isle and pickup some peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is also great for promoting digestion. Drink a cup after lunch to help keep heartburn and gas away.
~Inhalation: inhale the essence directly from a bottle of pure essential oil, or add 2-3 drops to a cotton ball; this is also a great essence for a diffuser necklace. If you’re using peppermint in a room diffuser, start with 1-2 drops – this is a very strong essence!
~Topical application: add 3-5 drops to almond or grapeseed oil, or a few drops of an aromatherapy blend and apply to wrists for nausea, or to the temples for headaches and exhaustion.
If you're looking for a way to relax at the end of the day, this is your herb! Chamomile is one of the easiest herbs to utilize during pregnancy, as it’s so easily attainable. Chamomile relaxes the nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety; it's also beneficial for aiding digestion, and reducing inflammation and redness of the skin.
How to use:
~Herbal tea: A cup of chamomile tea after dinner can help you unwind, promotes proper digestion, and prepares you for a restful night.
~Inhalation: inhale the essence directly from a bottle of pure essential oil, or add 3-5 drops to a cotton ball. If you’re using a diffuser, start with 5-7 drops. You can also add about 5 drops to warm bath water to create a soothing soak.
~Topical application: Add 3-5 drops to a few tablespoons of pure almond or grapeseed oil and apply to the wrists, neck and chest. Chamomile is also great for reducing inflammation and treating the skin as it stretches. Basic uses chamomile infused jojoba oil to nourish the skin in the Blooming Belly Blend, and the Basic Sugar Scrub which helps to exfoliate and promote skin cell regeneration (a great treat for the blooming belly!).
Rose, the beautiful symbol of love, is there a more perfect flower to include in this list? The blooming belly also symbolizes love; the love between two people, the love between mother and child, and a woman’s love for herself. Roses are magnificent for pregnancy as they not only evoke feelings of peace and love, but they nourish the skin of the blooming belly as well.
How to use:
~Smell the flowers: much like lavender, roses are as visually appealing as they are aromatically. If you have the option, bring some fresh, garden-picked roses into the home and enjoy this gift you have given yourself every time you walk into the room.
~Inhalation: Rose essential oil, rose water, rose absolute– whichever way you have to enjoy the essence of rose, do it! You will notice a wave of comfort and peace come over you with each inhale. Call on this essence in moments of fear and doubt, anxiety or depression, or whenever you want to feel beautiful and feminine.
~Topical application: Roses not only help us feel beautiful, they also nourish the skin to help it look beautiful as well. Using an ointment or blend that contains rose will help to prevent stretch marks, relieve itching and inflammation, and nourish the skin.
Soothing Blooming Belly Soak:
Baths are a beautiful way to treat the mind, body, and soul, especially when pregnant (just be sure to have some someone help you get out!). These are some of my favorite ingredients to soak in. Whether you use all of them or just one of them, you'll find that they help to protect and nourish the skin, and help you to feel beautiful, loved, and at peace. Light some candles, listen to some relaxing music, and take this opportunity to create a lovely experience for yourself, and in turn, for your baby.
~1 dropper full of the Basic Blooming Belly Blend
~1-2 Tbps organic powdered milk (milk is an amazing moisturizer, especially for strained and/or dry skin)
~Optional: dried or flesh flowers: lavender, calendula, roses.
Wishing you peace, love, and joy during this incredible time. Be well, and enjoy!
Note: be sure you’re using pure essential oils or blends made with pure essential oils. Fragrance oils or perfumes may smell like the plant essence, but are made with synthetic ingredients and do not have the natural therapeutic qualities of the pure essential oil. The herbs and essential oils in this article are generally deemed as safe during pregnancy. If concerned about the use of essential oils during pregnancy, consult with your physician, midwife, or naturopathic doctor before use. When applying aromatherapy blends topically, first apply to a small area of skin to test dermal reaction.
We all experience it from time to time, and some of you may be struggling with it right now. Maybe it’s the end of a relationship or the loss of a loved one, for some it’s the seemingly hopeless situation of infertility or financial struggles, for others its a child that just started school and you can’t believe they’re growing up so fast. Whatever is causing your heart to ache, rest assured that the plants are here to help. This is a list of 5 essences that can provide the emotional support and spiritual healing you may need to embrace tomorrow and look forward to the exciting possibilities of the future.
Frankincense works wonders when it comes to matters of the heart. Known for healing emotional wounds, it can be very beneficial for someone mourning a loss, feeling betrayed, or enduring a struggle that feels to have no end. Frankincense is ideal for meditation and prayer; it has a unique ability to awaken the higher mind and connect you to the Divine. Inhale this essence prior to and during prayer or meditation to help you open up your mind and soul for healing.
Ylang ylang essential oil is one of the most soothing essences I’ve encountered. It has the ability to ease anxiety or nerves, while still uplifting and energizing. Most essences that relieve anxiety or nervous tension tend to have a sedative effect, but ylang ylang is energizing and invigorating. It promotes positivity, soothes anger and other negative emotions, and simply takes the edge off of nerve-wracking situations. Pair this essence with rosemary to promote mental clarity which can be beneficial when trying to sort through a seemingly hopeless situation. This blend is also beneficial when approaching a meeting or discussion you feel negative, nervous, or angry about.
Known as the flower of love, the essence of rose uplifts the spirit, calms nerves and anxiety about love, and promotes hopefulness and optimism about future love and emotional healing. When inhaling this essence, visualize yourself in a mutually satisfying emotional relationship. Smile, feel beautiful, be grateful, and know you are worthy of love.
Often used as a detox for the body, juniper essential oil also detoxifies the mind and soul as it eliminates negative energy and emotions. Furthermore it provides protection from outside anger and danger. Inhale this essence and visualize its energy traveling through your body, pushing out all negativity and purifying your soul.
A powerful scent matched only in its powerful affect on life and love. Jasmine promotes stability among the emotional center; it is very uplifting, eases depression, dispels worry and nervousness, and promotes confidence. It is a beautiful essence for moving past anxiety, loss, or uncertainty, and finding the peace and confidence you need to move past whatever may be holding you back, and flourish.
No matter what is causing your heartache, take a few moments for yourself everyday, preferably in the morning to set a positive tone for the day. Give yourself the gift of healing. Be kind to yourself, give yourself permission to grieve, give yourself permission to heal, and know that tomorrow is a new day and you will become a little bit stronger.
Sending you love, confidence, and peace.
View Robin's Healing Heart Blend
Nevermind an apple, a cup of green tea a day may in fact keep the doctor away. As I sit here enjoying the morning air and a cup of green tea, I felt inspired to share with you the many benefits of green tea. This post only includes a few of the amazing health benefits of green tea, but they alone are enough for me. Enjoy!
Keeps you healthy: green tea contains plant-based substances called polyphenols, which are known to contain antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties. Green tea is especially rich in a type of polyphenols that burn body fat and lower cholesterol. What does all that mean? Green tea helps you to protect yourself from heart disease, diabetes, and a wide variety of cancers including breast, colon, skin, ovarian, prostate, and oral cancers.
Keeps you looking healthy: the anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of green tea can help kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin. When I notice a pimple threatening to make an appearance, I put a compress soaked in warm green tea (or use the tea bag after steeping and cooling) directly on the invader and let the tea go to work. Green tea is also great for reducing redness and fighting sun damaged and aging skin, which is why it’s one of the leading ingredients in the Basic Block.
Green tea also contains a small amount of caffeine and other natural stimulants. So tomorrow morning when you go for your coffee run, go green…tea!
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This winter has been especially harsh for my skin, and my 5-month-old son’s as well. We both have had dry patches from head to toe. Even though we moisturize every day, it was no match for the dryness of the winter weather. Finally, after nearly two months of experimenting, we found a combination of techniques that worked for us. After about a week of practicing these methods our dry skin patches were gone, and we’re both as soft as a baby's bum.
1. Use a Humidifier
During the summer there is more humidity in the air, keeping our skin hydrated. Ironically, during the winter the air tends to be dryer and often causes dry skin. A simple solution for preventing dry skin is to add a humidifier to your home. I put mine in my living room; it’s a big enough room where I can add essential oils and it won’t be too strong, plus it’s the room we spend most of our time in during the day. If someone is sick or needing more moisture than most, you can add it to their bedroom at night (be sure to follow the directions on your humidifier, clean it regularly, and consult a professional before using essential oils). Using the humidifier for aromatherapy is only an added bonus. The moisture that a humidifier adds to the air, and provides to our bodies internally and externally is beneficial all on its own.
2. Take a Milk Bath
It may sound odd at first, but milk is in fact a wonderful aid for the skin. History suggests that Cleopatra bathed in milk every day to achieve her radiant skin. The live proteins in milk digest dead skin cells, and leave your skin feeling soft and renewed. I put about ¼ cup of powdered milk into my bath and about 2 Tbs. in my son’s (he uses a smaller tub), and soak in it for about 10 minutes. Add essential oils or herbs for added benefits. We did this once a day and after the third night we were already seeing results. Apparently the saying is true, milk does a body good.
Your skin is often a reflection of your internal health. Another way to hydrate your skin is to drink plenty of water. The suggested water intake for an average adult is 8-12 cups per day. If you aren’t already drinking water frequently throughout the day, find something that motivates you to hydrate. I have found that if I flavor my water with lemon, orange, or cucumber slices, I want to drink it more often. And, this may be silly, but I like drinking my water out of a specialty glass or water bottle – that way I always know which glass is mine, and it makes it a little more of a personal experience.
Exfoliation is essential for repairing dry skin; however, removing dead skin cells should not be rough or painful. Using a washcloth or loofah, or a simple sugar scrub will be sufficient. Soak in a bath or shower for several minutes to moisten and soften the skin. I use a sugar scrub for myself and a washcloth or a sponge for my son. Gently massage the skin in a circular motion; resist the temptation to scrub dry spots vigorously, light pressure and gentle motion is all that is needed. Think of this as a treat for your skin, not a punishment. Use a moisturizer after bathing to protect your freshly exfoliated skin and to lock-in moisture.
To have soft skin there must be moisture in the air, in your body, and on your skin. Moisturizing is only part of the equation but it is a very important part. Adding moisture to the skin topically helps to lock-in moisture, and creates a barrier for the skin to protect it from dirt and toxins as well. Be sure to choose a moisturizer that does not have harsh chemicals or drying ingredients such as alcohol or parabens. Moisturizing your skin after bathing and before bed are easy ways to include the practice into your routine. I like to make moisturizing an experience; I use body oil made with plant oils (i.e. almond, grapeseed, or coconut), and essential oils that help me feel relaxed, confident, and beautiful. Make this your moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath, feel grateful for your health, and give nourishment to your body and mind.
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Have you ever smelled a scented candle in the fall? If so, can you imagine what it smells like? Think for a moment, and recall the scents of pumpkin spice, vanilla, apple pie, or orange clove. How do you feel? Do you feel excited, comforted, and nostalgic? Do you feel like you could smile?
Scent has a unique ability to quickly trigger emotional and even physical reactions. Simply imagining the aromas of cinnamon, clove, and vanilla can create an emotional response. Additionally, while you were imagining those scents and thinking happy thoughts, your body likely relaxed and your stress level decreased. Where the mind goes, the body follows; by making your mind feel happy, your body felt happy too.
How does it work?
Scents travel from your nose to your brain where they activate the limbic system – the part of the brain that manages emotions, memories, and behavior. When we inhale an aroma (or essence), it activates numerous psychological and even physiological responses. Aromatherapy occurs when specific essences are combined with the intention to treat a physical and/or psychological ailment. This chart is a great guide for how this works.
There are over 300 different essential oils, each of which has a different effect on the body and mind. Lavender, for example, relaxes the mind and eases anxiety, it also regenerates skin cells and help wounds heal, and even relieves pain. Eucalyptus is known for rejuvenating and awakening the mind, and also improves respiratory function, and eliminates bacteria. Rosemary is great for improving circulation, memory function, and relaxing the nervous system. Essential oils provide the ability to address the health of the whole being - one's holistic health. The art of aromatherapy is in the creation of custom blends designed to benefit an individual's holistic health.
How to Receive Aromatherapy
Inhalation is perhaps the easiest way to apply an aromatherapy blend. When you inhale an aroma, it travels through the nasal passage to the brain and triggers a response within seconds. Here are a few ways to inhale your aromatherapy blends:
Direct Inhalation: Simply apply the aromatherapy blend to your palms or on your wrist, bring your hands to your face, close your eyes, and take several deep breathes, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Steam Inhalation: Add several drops to a steaming pot or bowl of water, and either create a face steam or simply let the steam fill the room.
Topical Application: 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. If you apply your aromatherapy blend to your skin, the essential oils are absorbed through the skin, into the blood stream, and then transported throughout the body. Applying an aromatherapy blend to the body, including near the face where you can also inhale the scent, is a great way to receive the benefits.
Aromatherapy blends are best used daily to achieve desired effects. Use your blend in the morning and again before bed. Create a quiet, calm space, and take 6 deep breaths. Close your eyes and visualize the essences traveling to their destinations and going to work for you. Smile, breathe, and be still. Feel grateful for these botanical blessings, and thank yourself for taking the time to be well.
It’s almost the day of love, and for many people ‘setting the mood’ may be high on the priority list. You may have heard about certain foods being aphrodisiacs, but your sense of smell can do the job much more efficiently. Our sense of smell is the sense most closely related to our emotions. Creating the right mood can be as simple as adding the right scent to your body, clothing, or bedroom.
Rosemary, Ylang Ylang, Patchulli, Rose, or Jasmine essential oils are not only aphrodisiacs, but can also promote relaxation and confidence. Use massage oils containing one or more of these essential oils to give a sensual massage (like the Basic Body Oil, for example ;)). Warm the oil in your hands and gently massage the back, arms, legs, and hands to create a relaxing and sexually stimulating experience for your partner.
Put a few drops of one of the essential oils on a cotton ball and put in the drawer with your lingerie; you can also put the cotton ball in a baggie with your desired garments to concentrate the scent (do not apply the essential oils directly to your skin or garments).
Give the room a little aromatherapy by adding a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water, or a warm bath. Dilute a few drops of essential oil in water (or use the Basic Freshener) and spritz your sheets, clothing, and body to create a relaxing, luxurious, and stimulating atmosphere.
Add a few candles, the right music, and voila – you have the perfect evening for Cupid’s finest.
Getting ready for the holidays also means getting ready for holiday parties. I've always struggled with my skin, but I've found this treatment process to transform it from dry and irritated to soft and glowing. Enjoy the experience of using materials designed by nature, to restore and nurture your beautiful face.
Step 1: Exfoliate
A brown sugar scrub or a powdered grain scrub is a great way to exfoliate the delicate skin of the face gently and effectively. The scrubs remove dirt and excess oil from the surface of the skin, and prepare the face for treatment. Apply the scrub in a circular motion using your ring fingers; this will help you maintain the soft pressure suitable for delicate skin.
Step 2: Steam
Herbal steams are a great way to treat the face as they warm the skin, open pores, deliver healing herbal properties, and hydrate the skin. Tea tree, rose, lavender, chamomile, and calendula are great herbs to use in a steam.
Add the herbs and/or essential oils to 8 cups of boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the water from the heat source. Carefully lean over the bowl draping a towel over your head to direct the steam towards your face. Do not get too close to the water at first, once the towel is over your head the steam may be a little intense so you'll want to start about a foot away from the bowl, and you can get closer if you feel comfortable.
The herbs will treat the skin and the aromatherapy will treat your mind. Let the steam and the scent relax your body and mind… maybe even smile. Enjoy this moment.
Step 3: Mask
Cooling, moisturizing, and therapeutic, face masks are a lovely treat for the face. There are a plethora of ingredients you can use to make a mask that treats your skin and leaves it feeling soft, toned, and healthy. It doesn’t matter if yours skin is dry, oily, sensitive, or acne prone - there is a mask for you! Some of my favorite ingredients for face masks include are:
Clay: white clay is good for most skin types; red clay is great for oily or acne prone skin; green clay is great for dry skin.
Powdered herbs (grind dried herbs in coffee grinder until they’re a very fine powder).
Essential oils: lavender, frankincense, and ylang ylang have great restorative properties.
Apply the face mask while your skin is still warm from the steam. Use the ingredients you think will give your skin the nourishment it needs, spread the mixture on your face in a thin layer, avoiding the eyes, and let it dry for about 5-10 minutes; rinse with warm water. Mixture can also be added to a bath for a full-body treatment.
Step 4: Moisturize
The last step for any facial treatment – even if your just rinsing your face before bed - is to moisturize. Replenishing your skin with moisture is an essential part of any restorative process. It is important to use a moisturizer containing ingredients that will nourish your skin, not harm it. Avoid products with alcohol (especially if you have dry skin), mineral oil (which comes from petroleum), and parabens (any word listed in the ingredients ending in “paraben” for example: benzylparaben).
Oil can be a great moisturizer for many skin types. Sweet almond oil and grape seed oil are very light oils easily absorbed by the skin, and they work well for most skin types. Add a few drops of healing essential oils like those used in the steam for additional benefits.
Got milk? Legend suggests that Cleopatra bathed in milk to maintain her immaculate skin. Milk works wonders for dry skin and even helps fight wrinkles. You can simply add several cups of milk (whole milk works best) to a bath, soak a cloth in a bowl of milk and apply it directly to your face, or my favorite, use powdered milk and add it to your face mask.
Step 5: Feel Beautiful
All of the best skin treatments in the world can't restore a blemished perspective. The body follows the mind, so feel beautiful. Self-love and confidence make you more beautiful than anything you put on your face. Let your inner beauty shine and your skin will do the same.
Wishing you a beautiful holiday season!
While admiring the beautiful blooms of my Sage plant, I was inspired to share with you the benefits behind their beauty. Herbs that have purple and blue blossoms are peaceful plants; they are known to have sedative or relaxant properties. Lavender, Rosemary, and Russian Sage (like my plant, pictured above) are a few of the herbs with this signature.
You can utilize their aromatherapy by gently rubbing your fingers along the leaves of the plant; smell your hands and enjoy the wave of relaxation. As nervine herbs, the scent of these plants relaxes the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety.
Integrate their welfares into your diet by cutting a few stems, chop and add to a dish. Or make an herbal tea by steeping in hot water for 10 minutes. Many of our illnesses are caused by stress and can be aided by the addition of calming and relaxing herbs.
Finally, bring their tranquility to your family by trimming a few stems with blooms and displaying them in your home. The plants will delight the senses as their aromatherapy fills the room, and their beauty pleases the eye. Allow their presence in your home to be a reminder to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the day.