Essential Oil of the Month: Mastrante For a Long Nights Sleep!

Mastrante (Lippia Alba) is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae, that is native to southern Texas in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Common names include bushy matgrass, bushy lippia, hierba negra, and pitiona or the Oaxaca lemon verbena. It is a multi-branched shrub flowers with white, pink, or light blue-purple corollas form on spikes. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental for its aromatic foliage and beautiful flowers.

Distillation:  Steam 

Part Used:  Leaves

Aroma:  earthy, spicy, fresh, anise seed or licorice like

The essential oil composition is unique to each plant, but may include piperitone, geranial, neral, caryophyllene, camphor, eucalyptol, limonene, carvone, germacrene, α-guaiene, β-ocimene, linalool, or myrcene.

Uses:  The plant is used medicinally for its somatic, sedative (not inducing sleep but increasing the length of sleep.) It also helps prevent ulcers, it is an antidepressant, has analgesic, stomachic, anti-spasmotic, digestive, anti-hemorrhoidal and anti-asthmatic properties. Different biological activities such as cytotoxic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

The leaves are used mainly as a flavouring in soups etc, and occasionally as a cooked vegetable. Helps to repel mosquitos. A pleasant tasting tea is make from the leaves.

It is very grounding to the body. Grounding oils tend to be calming and promote relaxation while providing clarity and energizing.

Blends well with: Anise, Bay, Black Pepper, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Pine, Rose


If you are pregnant, receiving cancer treatment, or have a weakened immune system the use of essential oils is not recommended!
While essential oil will not go rancid, carrier oils can. Store your carrier oils in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Disclaimer
While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

Essential oil of the Month: Ylang Ylang – The Aphrodisiac!

C. odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family Annonaceae. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow, greenish-yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil. The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning “wilderness”, alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning “rare”, suggestive of its exceptionally unique scent.It is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Comoros Islands.

Scent of ylang ylang: The fragrance is intensely sweet, heady, floral, and slightly spicy, with a narcissus or bananalike overtone.

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, help you to sleep, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. It is used to sharpen the senses and to temper depression, fear, anger, and jealousy. For Chakra work, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is said to help balance the Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras.  The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (such as Chanel No. 5).

Ylang Ylang I, II and III:  Ylang Ylang Extra Oil is typically distilled from the flower  via steam for a short duration of time before the essential oil is collected. After oil classified as Ylang Ylang Extra is collected, the distillation process then continues. After a period of time, the distillation process is stopped and the resulting oil is then again collected. That oil is then referred to as Ylang Ylang I. The process repeats, resulting in Ylang Ylang II and Ylang Ylang III. The duration between distillations and the details can vary between distillers. The distillations are generally referred to as fractions and are typically used within fragrancing and perfumery applications.

Blends well with:  Bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus lemon, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, litsea cubeba, mandarin, neroli, opopanax, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, peru balsam, petitgrain, rose, rosewood, sandalwood, tuberose, vetiver

 

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

Ylang-ylang’s essential oil makes up 29% of the Comoros’ annual export (1998).

Ylang-ylang is a common flavoring in Madagascar for ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Essential Oil should not be applied directly to the skin but in carrier oils, putting the oils directly on the skin is too harsh due to their concentrated form. Add a few drops of Celery Seed essential oil to the carrier oil.

If you are pregnant, receiving cancer treatment,or have a weakened immune system the use of essential oils is not recommended!

While essential oil will not go rancid, carrier oils can. Store your carrier oils in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Disclaimer

While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

Beauty is in the Sleep!

Sleep has a profound effect on our:

Appearance

Weight

Stress level

Mood

Memory & our well-being in general

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According to the National Sleep Foundation

Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders!

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There is no pill or treatment in the world that can help you relax, heal (mentally or physically), or affect your appearance as much as a good nights sleep!

—– A clinical trial commissioned by Estée Lauder and conducted by physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found that poor sleepers demonstrated increased signs of skin aging. In the study 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 – 49, with half of them falling into the poor quality sleep category. Researchers evaluated the women’s skin and conducted a variety of skin challenge tests including ones involving UV light exposure. The classification was made on the basis of average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality.

Dr. Elma Baron

This is a screenshot of a polysomnographic record (30 seconds) representing Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. EEG highlighted by red box. Eye movements highlighted by red line.

 

The Sleep Cycle

Characterized by two states—REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM.

Non-REM sleep has three stages, ranging from drowsiness to deep sleep.

  • Stage 1 – occurs mostly in the beginning of sleep, with slow eye movement. Alpha waves disappear and the theta wave appears. People aroused from this stage often believe that they have been fully awake.
  • Stage 2 – no eye movement occurs, and dreaming is very rare. The sleeper is easily awakened.
  • Stage 3 –  is deep sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS).  Dreaming is more common in this stage than in other stages of NREM sleep though not as common as in REM sleep. The content of SWS dreams tends to be disconnected, less vivid, and less memorable than those that occur during REM sleep. is made up of the deepest stage of NREM, and is often referred to as deep sleep.

REM sleep (classified into two categories: tonic and phasic) is where dreams occur, breathing and heart rate increase and become irregular, muscles relax and the eyes move back and forth. Criteria for REM sleep includes rapid eye movement, low muscle tone and a rapid, low-voltage EEG.

REM sleep typically occupies 20–25% of total sleep, about 90–120 minutes of a night’s sleep. REM sleep normally occurs close to morning. During a night of sleep, one usually experiences about four or five periods of REM sleep; they are quite short at the beginning of the night and longer toward the end. Many animals and some people tend to wake, or experience a period of very light sleep, for a short time immediately after a bout of REM. The relative amount of REM sleep varies considerably with age. A newborn baby spends more than 80% of total sleep time in REM. During REM, the activity of the brain’s neurons is quite similar to that during waking hours; for this reason, the REM-sleep stage may be called paradoxical sleep.

REM sleep is physiologically different from the other phases of sleep, which are collectively referred to as non-REM sleep (NREM sleep). Subjects’ vividly recalled dreams mostly occur during REM sleep.

Just a few of the  ways Sleep deprivation can effect the way you look:

  • Aching muscles
  • Periorbital puffiness, commonly known as “bags under eyes”
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Obesity –  people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. There is a link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite; less than six hours of sleep is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Erythema (redness)
  • Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) increased
  • Sallow skin
  • Fine lines
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Hyper-pigmentation
  • Decreased ability to heal especially from sun damage
  • Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
  • Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. When we’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones.

The National Sleep Foundation identifies several warning signs that a driver is dangerously fatigued, including:

rolling down the window

turning up the radio

trouble keeping eyes open

head-nodding

drifting out of the lane

daydreaming.

At particular risk are lone drivers between midnight and 6 am.

Age group Recommended amount of sleep
Infants 9-10 hours at night, plus 3 or more hours of naps
Toddlers 9-10 hours at night, plus 2-3 hours of naps
School-age children 9-11 hours
Adults 7-8 hours

Table Via Mayo Clinic

New Years Resolutions – Good Habits for 2013!

 

Hands.Pen.Paper.DupontCircle.WDC.17sep05 (Photo credit: ElvertBarnes)

The Coming New Year is a great time to put new good habits into practice!

  • Drink more water
  • Wear sunblock
  • Wear a hat
  • Exfoliate once to twice a week
  • Exercise, take a walk
  • Mediate
  • Yoga – get limber
  • Treat yourself to a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure (look good feel good!)
  • Start packing your own lunch
  • Sleep more, get better quality sleep
  • Drink less Alcohol!
  • Get more sleep
  • Quit Smoking!
  • Eat more fruits, veggies, and fiber
  • Try going organic

Have fun with it make a list of good habits you would like to start to do and make it happen!

Half a glass of water(Photo credit: Jeff Youngstrom)

 

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Our Attractiveness And Approachability

What if Sleeping Beauty’s secret was actually just that: to sleep? We know that lack of sleep affects our attention, our behavior and our health — but what about our physical appearance? Researchers from the Medical Institutet Karolinska in Stockholm, Sweden have shown in a recent study that lack of sleep not only affects our attractiveness but also our approachability.

According to that experiment, sleeping four hours a night — or not at all — wouldn’t make any difference. In both cases the individuals tested in the experiment appeared to others as equally exhausted. But beyond appearance, the study reveals that lack of sleep repels those you meet or socialize with.

In 2010, the same scientific team published the results of its first experiment, which has shown that even though we are not conscious about it we are generally able to detect if other people have been sleep deprived. At that time, the study established a link between perceived beauty and sleep deprivation. Other studies prior to that had already established a link between beauty and healthy living.

“Our first experiment has shown that people are perceived differently when they have been deprived of sleep, the second one shows that on top of that people just don’t want to socialize with sleep-deprived people,” Dr. John Axelsson explains to Le Huffington Post. So, if you don’t feel desirable or charming, or even if you feel ugly or socially excluded, don’t wait for the Prince, and have a good night of sleep.

Axelsson and his research team used nearly the same protocol in both experiments. For the first, they deprived the individuals of sleep for 31 hours before taking a picture and did the same thing with other people who had slept normally. The images were then presented to a third group of people, unrelated to the others, to assess how they perceived the individuals in the first two groups. The only difference: in the second, more recent experiment, instead of not sleeping at all, individuals of the first group slept four hours.

For more on sleep, click here.

Essential Oil Blends for Insomnia!

 

Essential Oils for Insomnia

There are essential oils to help us relax and have a restful night of sleep. These oils will help with sleep difficulties that are primarily stress based. For more serious problems, I suggest you consult a physician.

Most of us have heard about the relaxing and sleep inducing effects of Lavender Essential Oil. A few drops rubbed into the soles of the feet are often the road to dreamland! There are other oils to help as well.  A synergistic blend can be made as well!

Valarian Essential Oil, Marjoram Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essentail Oil (sparingly!), Clary Sage Essential Oil, and Neroli (Orange Blossom) Essential Oil all are useful for deep relaxation into sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                     

A fragrant and healing blend:

4 drops Lavender Essential Oil

2 drops Bergamot Essential Oil

2 drops Marjoram Essential Oil

1 drop Clary Sage Essental Oil

1 drop Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Combine in a 10 or 15 amber or cobalt blue glass bottle. Add a carrier oil to fill the bottle (Jojoba, for example). Cover and roll the bottle between your palms to combine. Apply top the soles of the feet, nape of neck, temples, soles of feet or chakra points about ½ hour before bedtime.

                                                                                                                                                                    

Spikenard, or Jatamansi Essential Oil promotes sleep and dreams. Use sparingly, as it is very powerful! Some people experience very vivid dreams. Best applied to the soles of the feet with a carrier oil.

                                                                                                                                                                     

Sleep-inducing Massage Oil

2 drops Lavender essential oil

2 drops Sweet Marjoram essential oil

1 drop Vetiver essential oil

Blend with 1tblsp (15ml) of Sweet Almond or Grapeseed oil or other carrier oil and give a gentle, soothing massage.


Sleepy Head Bath Blend

4 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

4 drops Clary Sage essential oil

2 drops Neroli essential oil

Add to a warm bath and disperse well – or blend with 1tblsp grapeseed oil or 1 tblsp unscented bubble bath and add to a warm bath. Soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes inhaling the vapours. Do not get bath water in your eyes as it will sting.

                                                                                                                                                                  

Do not take the essential oil internally.

Essential Oil should not be applied directly to the skin but in carrier oils, putting the oils directly on the skin is too harsh due to their concentrated form. Add a few drops of essential oil to the carrier oil.

If you are pregnant, receiving cancer treatment, or have a weakened immune system the use of essential oils is not recommended!

While essential oil will not go rancid, carrier oils can. Store your carrier oils in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Disclaimer

While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

Beauty Sleep!

English: Pillow Português: Travesseiro

English: Pillow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Want soft, clear, dewy skin? Get a good night’s sleep!

The skin fights off free radicals and inflammation during the night

by utilizing the power of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories;

bringing new meaning to beauty sleep!

 

Spring into Better Habits!

 

Hands.Pen.Paper.DupontCircle.WDC.17sep05

Hands.Pen.Paper.DupontCircle.WDC.17sep05 (Photo credit: ElvertBarnes)

Spring is a great time to put new good habits into practice!

  • Drink more water
  • Wear sunblock
  • Wear a hat
  • Exfoliate once to twice a week
  • Exercise, take a walk
  • Mediate
  • Yoga – get limber
  • Treat yourself to a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure (look good feel good!)
  • Start packing your own lunch
  • Sleep more, get better quality sleep
  • Drink less Alcohol!
  • Quit Smoking!
  • Eat more fruits, veggies, and fiber
  • Try going organic

Have fun with it make a list of good habits you would like to start to do and make it happen!

Half a glass of water

Half a glass of water (Photo credit: Jeff Youngstrom)

Beauty Sleep, Not Just A Saying!

When you don’t get enough sleep it affects you both physically and psychologically.

Sleep is still a bit of mystery, it is still not fully understood what all of sleeps functions are.

Here is what we do know:

  • Sleep is a vital to our health.

  • It helps our body heal itself; tissue growth, wound repair, and hormones are released (especially appetite regulating, growth and muscle developing hormones).

  • Your blood pressure drops, your muscles relax, and your immune system produces the white blood cells it needs.

  • An adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep.

  • When you don’t have enough sleep your complexion can become dull and you get dark under eye circles making you look haggard.

According to BMJ, a British medical journal,

“The study conducted by Axelsson et al has reaffirmed the existence of a correlation between sleep and good health and also; between attractiveness and health. There has been an undivided opinion of the practitioners of traditional systems of medicine (e.g. Ayurveda and Unani) that a certain ‘quantum’ of sleep is necessary for the normal balance among the physical, mental and social well-being of an individual. The adequate sleep is considered to have an association with looks (beauty), cognitive abilities; and longevity of the individual. The sleep deprivation will definitely have an adverse effect on the total health of an individual in the long term. Beauty cannot remain unaffected in case of sleep deprivation – be it short-termed or prolonged.” January 20, 2011

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