I’m often asked to explain the difference between herbal oils and essential oils, and to recommend which is a better or more effective therapeutic choice. The answer is that there is no simple, straightforward answer. Herbal oils and essential oils can both provide tremendous health benefits when used properly and safely. As a matter of fact, healing herbal oils and therapeutic essential oils have both been used safely and effectively for thousands of years to treat various health concerns. However ... although they are both valuable remedies, they are two very different compounds with two very different methods of use.
Herbal oils contain many medicinal healing properties that are beneficial to our health and well being. Just Skin Food handcrafts our Organic Healing Herbal Oils in-house so that we can control the richness of these healing properties through various infusion methods. Organic olive oil is our preferred carrier because it has the longest shelf life of any oil, and we infuse it with only the finest organic plants and weeds through one of the following methods; digestion, cold, or heat infusion.
Proper infusion can take several weeks using each of these methods. Digestion infusion and cold infusion differ only in the type of herbs used. In digestion infusion, dried organic herbs are used. In cold infusion, fresh organic herbs are wilted for twelve hours, then chopped and infused. Heat infusion is exactly how it sounds – a heat source, such as the sun or a double boiler, is used to extract the medicinal properties from either fresh or dried organic herbs. Once the infusion is ready, one of two things occurs – either the herbs are removed, leaving just the infused oil behind or the herbs are left in the oil and continue to infuse, creating a stronger, more potent herbal oil.
At Just Skin Food, our Organic Healing Herbal Oils are also used in the crafting of many of our other products, most notably in our curative Healing Salves. Herbal oils can generally be utilized on a daily basis without any adverse reaction, are found in many herbal teas, salves and tinctures that we use regularly, and are safe for ingestion in therapeutic doses.
Now lets talk a bit about essential oils.
Essential oils are oils that are extracted directly from plants and weeds. Steam distillation is the most common method of expression and extraction of essential oils because of it’s cost effectiveness. In this process, the plant is exposed to steam, causing the essential oils in the plant to evaporate. Once cooled, the condensation of water vapor and oil separates, making it easy to extract only the essential oil and package it into the lovely smelling little bottles we all have stored somewhere on our shelves. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a little aromatherapy :)
Simple, right? Not so much...
You see, while essential oils have many beneficial properties (the ability to influence the brain through our sense of smell is tremendous!), they definitely require more caution with their use, especially around children, the elderly and our pets. Undiluted essential oils have incredible therapeutic powers but should only be used under the guidance of an herbalist/naturopath/homeopath who is familiar with each oil’s healing properties in relation to an individuals specific health needs. These oils are actually so potent that only one drop is required per every 2 - 3 ounces of carrier oil. It is also not recommended to use essential oils on a daily basis. When improperly used or ingested, they can cause a host of problems ranging from negative skin reactions and upset flora in your gut, to actual internal tissue damage.
As always, knowledge is power. Herbal oils are, for the most part, safer and easier to use but we shouldn't overlook the amazing therapeutic properties of appropriately administered essential oils. So stay informed ... and when in doubt, seek the advice of a professional.
Haaaaaaa.... Summers is here and yes so are all the bugs! Unfortunately, bugs can often be a nuisance and force you back inside where you are safe. Traditional DEET repellents are quite toxic but luckily there are some more natural and safe ingredients that can help keep bugs away when applied to the skin. Just Skin Food has three kinds of bug protection, that when used together help keep you safe.
Mosquito-b-Gone, as you already know, is comprised of a number of herbal ingredients like peppermint leaf, catnip mint, neem oil, lemongrass, lemon balm and eucalyptus. These ingredients all work together to keep your skin nourished while protecting you from bites.
But did you also know that yarrow, an herb plant that is very common and found almost everywhere in the wild, could be applied as an insect repellent? The leaves and the flowers both have powerful properties that not only repel bugs but also stop bleeding and disinfect. Yarrow also has antispasmodic qualities as well.
We have read that at some point in olde time past the U.S. Army found yarrow to be a highly effective insect repellent. If you find yourself with lots of yarrow plants in your backyard, here is an article that details more on yarrow and provides a simple recipe in making a yarrow tincture.
While yarrow is not an active ingredient in our repellent, it can be used in addition to our Mosquito-b-Gone Lotion Bar.
Just Skin Food has Organic Yarrow Infused Oil and Organic Yarrow Essential Oil ,which can be combined together and applied to the skin to repel bugs thanks to their scent. They are also useful if you happen to get bit and need some disinfecting relief, as yarrow is known as nature’s Neosporin. All of these products and ingredients are safe to use together and only increase the bug protection level that you are looking for.
Yarrow is an all around beneficial addition to your holistic medicine cabinet and it will ensure that you can fight off the bugs that are in your backyard all summer long.
For more information on OG yarrow essential oil, OG yarrow infused oil or our Mosquito-b-Gone Lotion Bar, you can visit the Just Skin Food Website. Our Mosquito-b-Gone and organic yarrow infused oil can also be found at some of these establishments.
In my last blog post you learned all about the differences between homeopathy and herbalism. I discussed a number of topics and product types including essential oils and infused oils. Many people believe that infused oils and essential oils are relatively the same thing. In reality, the way these products are made are very different.
Infused Medicinal Herbal Oil
An oil infusion is a mixture of medicinal herbs in a fixed oil menstruum- (A solvent, especially one used in extracting compounds from plant). Olive oil is usually the solvent of choice for most oil infusions because it has a much more stable monounsaturated chemical structure, which provides a good level of stability when at room temperature. Olive oil is far more preferred than say almond oil or flax seed oil. Jojoba oil is being used more recently but it carries a higher price point making it often undesirable.
The process of infusing herbs into an oil can be done in a couple of different manners. Dried herbs can be used, as can fresh herbs. Dried herbs are infused by way of the digestion method, the cold method or the hot infusion method. Each of these processes (which are all used in the process of making Just Skin Food products) let the herbs infuse long enough that the medicinal properties are captured. Cold infusion (or fresh herb infusion) allows the herb to wilt for about 12 hours and then they are chopped up. The heat is what is used in order to extract the medicinal properties of the item.
Double infusion can also take place, which means that after infusion is done the first time, it is done again in order to incorporate new herbs and make the infusion stronger. No matter what method is used for infusion, the herbs typically sit for a few weeks at a time for proper infusion. At that point the herb or plant is removed, leaving behind only the oil. There are times where the herb is left inside of the oil to continue to infuse, and the longer the infusion, the stronger and more potent the oil.
Herbal oils are beneficial because they require very little plant material to make while an essential oil consumes large amounts of plant material. Also, the infused oils that are created for medicinal purposes can be used to make other products such as salves in order to reap the benefits that way. This is not the case for many essential oils, which can be toxic if consumed and many essential oils also cause skin irritation when used topically.
An essential oil is quite different. This oil comes directly from the plant or herb that it is made out of and there is no carrier oil involved. This means the product is much more concentrated.
There are three basic methods by which essential oils are produced and they include steam distillation (the most common and most affordable), expression and also extraction. During the process of steam distillation the plant is exposed to steam. This heat causes the essential oil in the plant to evaporate. When the hot vapors are cooled, this results in condensation of water vapor and the oil. These two products do not mix together so they can be easily separated. A few drops of the concentrated oil is then supposed to be diluted into a carrier oil. It is always best to use essential oils with the help of a homeopath, naturopath or herbalist who can direct you on the right way to use a product. 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is like drinking 30 cups of peppermint tea. Caution must be taken.
Undiluted essential oils have an incredible healing ability when used properly and sparingly without causing any harm. We use them in some of our products as well since essential oils will reinforce therapeutic affects by adding more power to the finished product but never in any of our Infused Herbal Oils.
More information on organic infused oils and essential oils can be found on the Just Skin Food website. Currently nine different certified organic herbal oils are part of the Just Skin Food product line and they are all made with certified organic herbs as well as organic olive oil. Four organic essential oils are available as well.
Homeopathy as well as herbal remedies are both natural forms of medicine. They have common factors such as their use of herbal extracts but homeopathy uses herbs as well as many other natural sources for its practice of healing such as minerals and other animal products. While many people may believe these two practices are similar they actually have many differences including how alternative remedies are prepared and what types of products are available.
Homeopathic medicine is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It regulates the manufacturing and sale of homeopathic medicines. The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States was written into federal law in 1938 under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, making the manufacture and sale of homeopathic medicines legal in this country, and most are available without a prescription.
Preparation and Products
Homeopathy uses dilution methods to eliminate the toxicity of an herb and also to increase its benefits. Herbalism administers herbs directly to the patient often without dilution. Most commonly you will find homeopathic remedies to be in pellets, liquid tinctures or in ointment cream form. Some homeopathic liquid tinctures are added to herbal salves as well. Herbal remedies come as pill form, extracts, infused herbal oils, herbal salves, essential oils and teas in general.
Infused Oils and Essential Oils
Herbal infused oils are beneficial and can be used in the practice of homeopathy. Herbal salves are made of infused herbal oils and applied directly to the skin as skin is extremely absorbent and healing can be promoted in an affected area by way of these types of products. These infused herbal oils and salves can be used topically for a number of issues such as burns, rashes, injuries and also for pain. Infused herbal oils are very gentle whereas essential oils are a much more concentrated product that can actually be dangerous to use directly on the skin or to inhale directly without proper instruction or advisement.
Coming up in my next blog article you can read much deeper into the differences between infused herbal oils and essential oils including how their production methods are different. I will also talk about the benefits of infused herbal oils as well as the dangers of using essential oils improperly.
For more information on any of the topics discussed in this article including the use of herbal salves and infused herbal oils you can visit www.justskinfood.com. Nine certified organic herbal infused oils are available on the website as well as herbal salves, essential oils and many other products that will help aid you in the process of living a much healthier and happier lifestyle.
As the great English Physician Dr. Bach of "Bach Flower Essence" once said "Heal Thyself", yeah sure, but it's easier if someone else told me what to do.
So here goes....
With the Spring and the approaching Summer now in full swing, many have been getting Poison Ivy. Everywhere I turn I get asked "what can I do to stop the madness. It is either burning me, itching like crazy or I am just irritable".
Here are some great solutions for anyone who does lots of outdoor camping and gardening/weeding.
Keep the following list of homeopathic remedies, essential oils and salves handy and you’ll be prepared whenever someone asks you that they came in contact with this troublesome plant.
Pay special attention to the location of the rash, the type of pustules that form, and the general demeanor and preferences of the person when making your choice. As always, anything that seems peculiar is especially helpful in pointing to the correct remedy.
Homeopathic Remedies, Essential Oils and Salves:
You can find these remedies at your local health food store. If they do not have in stock ask them to order for you.
Anacardium 30c potency:
Think Anacardium for swelling and rashes that itch intensely and burn when they are scratched. While scratching makes the itching worse by causing the eruptions to becoming red and inflamed, rubbing actually brings some relief to the sufferer. The symptoms are usually worse on the left side and at night-time. Warm applications and a warm bed increase the agony, but interestingly, the person usually welcomes a warm drink. This is generally the 1st remedy to consider, but make certain it fits.
Croton Tiglium 30c potency:
The rash that calls for Crot-t blisters with inflammation and itching. Common areas of outbreak for this remedy include the scalp, the face in general, near the eyes, the genitals, buttocks, or lower limbs. Like the Anacardium patient, scratching aggravates and leads to burning and much pain. Also like Anacardium, the rash may be worse at night and on the left side of the body.
We can distinguish Crot-t from Anacardium by the presence of yellowish eruptions. In fact, Crot-t is known as the yellow remedy. The pustules can ooze yellowish matter, which then dries to form thick grayish/brownish scabs.
Light pressure ameliorates, but the person feels tight all over his body and mentally inflexible and rigid. Quite frankly, he cannot bear the rash.
Graphites 30c potency:
Honey-like symptoms point us to the remedy Graphites. When the rash is scratched, the resulting discharge is sticky and yellowish. It may also burn. The torso and limbs are most often affected and they become crusty-looking. Relief comes from such rough rubbing and scratching that the sufferer actually tears her skin. Being wrapped up may improve the situation as well because the person is generally chilly and feels thick and dull.
Rhus tox 30c potency:
Unlike Anacardium, hot showers actually bring relief to the person needing Rhus tox. Outbreaks may be on the face, around the eyes, the genitals, and on the palms in particular. Vesicles may line up along a scratch and the skin itself may actually look angry. Similarly, the individual is irritable and his mind is restless. Resting is of no help; movement and dry, warm air ameliorates. Aggravations include a warm bed, nighttime, and scratching.
Sulphur 30c potency:
When scratching causes the pustules to bleed yet brings relief to the individual, look to Sulphur. There may be a yellowish or white discharge after scratching, and what remains of the pustule will be crusty and dry. This remedy will be indicated when the person feels better in the warmth of his bed as well as from taking a bath and washing up. Generally, Sulphur symptoms are left-sided and afflict the scalp. Facial swelling may be present. The person requiring this remedy may be irritable and though the warmth of the bed is comforting, he may be restless at night and have difficulty sleeping.
Administer the chosen remedy in the 30th potency three to four times a day, reducing the frequency as symptoms improve. If a lower potency like 12X or 6X is all you have on hand, you can use it, but you may have to administer more frequently. If you don’t see even the tiniest bit of improvement after the second or third dose, try the remedy that seems to be the next most likely choice.
If you’re one of those people who always seems to get a rash if you’re anywhere near a poison ivy plant, I’ve seen excellent results with the following protocol.Use four doses of Rhus tox 30c potency in one day at the onset of the season to help minimize the intensity of the exposure. This is done one day a week for a month. So 4 doses in one day once a week for a month.
Use peppermint essential oil to cool the area and lavender to calm the inflammation.
In addition, many have found that these other essential oils have helped the itch and stopped the spread of the rash: clover oil, lemongrass oil and eucalyptus oil.
My Therapeutic Skin Salve helps with poison ivy rash from spreading. It helps with the itching and it calms the redness.
Always wash the area first with soapy water before applying the salve or essential oils.