Herbal medicine is an ancient and traditional practice, used in many Eastern and Western countries. In many cultures it is part of main stream living and it is the preferred source of alleviating and preventing dis-ease. For many years the medicinal properties of plants have been documented and used worldwide.
Antioxidants are vital to help combat the damaging effects of free radicals and protect our skin and bodies cells. Free radical damage is caused by the effects of the suns harmful rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, unhealthy diets, medications and other external environmental factors. We consume antioxidants through certain foods but our skin also needs extra protection via topical applications as the skin is often the last to receive the benefits of antioxidants consumed orally.
In today's society we tend to live stressful lifestyles with little time for ourselves. Stress can be a catalyst to many discomforts to our physical being. Aromatherapy can help relieve many common physical ailments as well as help us maintain emotional stability. Here are some suggested ways of introducing essential oils to our everyday life.
Fragrance compounds in perfumes will degrade or break down if improperly stored in the presence of:
Perfume oils usually contain tens to hundreds of ingredients and these are typically organized in a perfume for the specific role they will play. These ingredients can be roughly grouped into four groups:
The Fragrance wheel is a relatively new classification method that is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry. The method was created in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a consultant in the perfume industry, who designed his own scheme of fragrance classification. The new scheme was created in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming scheme, as well as to show the relationships between each individual classes.
Firstly a word of caution - there are some imitation aromatherapy products on the market which may contain one or two oils. Even the "scientific community" demands that we try to limit the product to one oil in clinical trials as most still have the belief that one active should do the job. While these may have some limited effect, for the complete action we recommend careful selection of a blend of many oils - the results are outstanding.
The Chemistry of Essential Oils
When identifying which naturally occurring chemicals essential oils are made up from it is important to note that there are over 30,000 known aromatic molecules which just as many that are as yet unidentified. An essential oil can be made of between 100 and 300 components. Each has its own aroma and potential therapeutic action. The main classifications are shown in the following chart.
A Definition of an Essential Oil:
An essential oil is a powerful, concentrated substance that is extracted from certain species of flowers, fruits, grasses, leaves, roots and trees. It is "the heart and soul of the plant. It is the essence that deters bugs from eating the plant. It is the fragrant aromatic heart of the plant that attracts bees and pollinating insects. It is the chemical components contained in the tiny plant cells that are liberated during the extraction process". Aromatherapy for the Beauty Therapist by Valerie Ann Worwood
This month, New Directions unveiled a breakthrough - the world's very first 100% certified organic Aloe Vera Gel. It seemed only natural to work on an organic version of this product, as not only is it one of the biggest selling of the range, but a contender in the botanical health and beauty realm that has well and truly broken free from any niche constraints. In fact, it has never been in such constraints; the benefits and validity of the Aloe Vera plant have long been recognised on the broadest social levels. I remember my grandmother (by no means a classic follower of alternative treatments and therapies, or even natural remedies) collecting Aloe Vera leaves from her garden, to sooth my sunburn when I'd stayed out in the sun for longer than little Aaron was supposed to. Like Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, it is an ingredient that has been found tried and true (and hence, part of our culture) for as long as most of us can remember - and long before we were even born. The Greek scientists had declared the plant to be the universal panacea; the Egyptians declared it “The Plant of Immortality”; and the Native Americans knew it as “The Wand of Heaven”. That's a fairly impressive history! But what is the secret of Aloe Vera, and for what problems can it be helpful?