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2004 01: Aromatherapy Newsletter January 2004

President’s Letter

Happy New Year to all our Aroma friends.

It seems hard to believe that we”re already into 2004. 100 years ago, in 1904, my grandmother got married. I think of this and wonder is “ignorance bliss?” What would she have done if she had known that she would be bringing up a large family on a low income, with no welfare, no antibiotics, very few doctors, no electricity and would be living through two world wars? And yet she always appeared to be a cheerful and happy person.

I’m very glad I was born in this era of choices, and even though I don’t always make the right decisions, I am thankful for the ability to make them. However, I can’t help but wonder if all this choice is a good thing because sometimes it makes things more stressful. Long ago our life was predestined for us and we had little to decide on our own. It now appears we have created some of the stress related illnesses that kill. Science is now looking to the past to natural ingredients and remedies to help cure our “futuristic” ills. For instance, statistics show that more and more people are prone to panic attacks and tend to carry paper bags with them to treat hyperventilation. We suggest adding a cotton ball with a drop of lavender to it.

So here we stand, poised on the brink of a brand New Year. Now is the time to make changes to our own lives to help improve our health and our happiness – I know I will be doing just that.

In keeping with this month’s theme, I’ve been noticing that alternative methods of healing are enjoying increasing popularity. Today’s scientists are attempting to supply the demand for proof of what these natural products are capable of. I believe we need to fully understand aromatherapy in order to use it to its full potential but that’s a topic for another newsletter.

Thank you to those of you who emailed us with feedback and suggestions. I particularly liked the idea of colouring the newspaper for wrapping gifts (some Christmas papers and bows are not recyclable) and we tried out some versions of the games that were suggested to us at our staff Christmas Party with great results!

Please keep your thoughts and ideas coming. We love to hear from you and look forward to hearing more!

So here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all. Here’s hoping 2004 is your best “you” year ever!

Barb Greenwood
President & CEO

Bacteria, Viruses, Essential Oils and You

Within our bodies we have perhaps 100 trillion cells. Each of these cells has a nucleus to give it the energy it needs to complete the job it was created to do. Without a doubt we are amazing and complex machines. So much of what our bodies do for us happens without our conscious knowledge or thought.

Bacteria are single celled organisms that have no nucleus and are perhaps 1/100th the size of a human cell. They are completely independent organisms with the capacity to eat and reproduce. Under the right conditions bacteria can reproduce very quickly, conceivably dividing once every 20 or 30 minutes. With that thought in mind, you can see how quickly one singular bacterium could become millions in a very short period of time.

A virus is completely different in that it is not considered to be alive. It is a fragment of DNA in a protective coat. When it comes across a cell, it attaches itself to the cell wall and injects its DNA into the cell. The DNA uses what is present in the cell, turning it into a factory to reproduce new virus particles. Once the virus kills off the overtaken cell it bursts, releasing these deviant virus cells into the body to wreck further havoc.

Almost every essential oil used in aromatherapy is helpful to the immune system, either directly or indirectly (psychotherapeutic). Some of the more well known beneficial essential oils are listed below:

List taken from The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood.

Product Highlight – Hydrosols

The word hydrosol is derived from the Latin hydro, meaning “water”, and sol, meaning “solution”. According to Suzanne Catty a definition of hydrosols would be “The condensate water co-produced during the steam or hydro-distillation of plant material for aromatherapeutic purposes.” Hydrosols contain the water soluble components of the plant material making them a gentler version of the essential oil. Suzanne Catty states that “every litre of hydrosol contains between 0.05 and .2 millimetres of dissolved essential oil, depending on the water solubility of the plant’s components and the distillation parameters.” Hydrosols are on the acidic end of the pH scale, ranging from 2.9 to about 6.5 (compared to water at 7.0).

Some hydrosols smell nothing like the essential oil, while others smell very similar. It is important to note, however, that hydrosols never smell exactly like their essential oil counterpart. This is due to the fact that hydrosols do not contain the same molecular structure as the whole essential oil. Also there are the water soluble components that are not in the essential oil, only in the hydrosol that also affect the scent.

Hydrosols are wonderful in skincare, great for use with children and those with delicate or depressed immune systems. They do not replace essential oils but work synergistically with them. Hydrosols do not need to be mixed with anything, and can be sprayed directly onto the skin.

Oil Profile: Hyssop (Hyssop officianalis)

The Hyssop plant is native to the Mediterranean and generally grows two to three feet high. It is steam distilled from the flowering tops and leaves. It has a high ketone content which makes it an oil that is borderline as far as toxicity is concerned. It should be used with great caution.

Hyssop is known to help with chest infections where there is thick mucous. It may help to thin the phlegm. Hyssop may help to alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis and whooping cough. It may also help to stimulate the respiratory system and the heart.

Hyssop may have a healing effect on scars and both dermatitis and eczema may respond to this oil. Hyssop is also an oil which may have a tonic effect on the digestive system and it has been used to help relieve stomach cramps and stimulate the appetite.

Another use for Hyssop essential oil is to assist with bruises. Immediately after bruising has occurred, apply a cold compress containing Hyssop essential oil. To help with rheumatism, try a warm Hyssop compress instead.

CAUTION: This oil must never be used by those who suffer from epilepsy, as it may trigger an attack. It should also be avoided by those who are pregnant and those who have high blood pressure. It should also never be used on children under 2.

General Properties:

  • anti-rheumatic
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • decongestant
  • digestive
  • expectorant
  • sedative
  • stimulant

Aromatherapy Uses: May help to alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis, whooping cough, digestive problems, dermatitis, eczema and wounds. Hyssop is a well-known expectorant.

Ways to use: Diffuser, massage, bath, compress and lotion.

Orange (Citrus sinesis)

Part of staying healthy is maintaining a positive mental attitude. Orange essential oil is known to be a naturally uplifting oil (antidepressant). It is a warm, happy aroma that most people easily recognize and are buoyed by.

Did You Know?

Your brain has a smell “memory”? Odours once remembered are rarely, if ever, forgotten. Have you ever found yourself transported back in time after catching a whiff of some scent from your past?

The limbic system is the olfactory area in your brain, sometimes called the “old brain” or the “smell brain” as it is said to have developed from the ancient olfactory lobes of our Neanderthal cousins. The limbic system is concerned with our instinctive drives: emotion, intuition, memory, creativity, huger, thirst, sleep patterns, sex drive and more. Odour perception occurs mainly in the instinctive, right hemisphere of the brain, all but bypassing the cerebral cortex (or the “logical” brain).

Scent memories can be very powerful, bringing some people and events right back into the now. Indeed, scent memory appears to be one we don’t lose, even with the onset of Alzheimer’s. When patients cannot remember anything or anyone directly, scents can bring back childhood and youthful memories, stimulating the mind in ways nothing else can. It is a fascinating area of interest, one that deserves further, in-depth study.


Pro-Immune / Anti-Stress blend

Help to boost your immune system while calming and relaxing your body and mind (remember stress can make you sick!)

2.5 ml Lavender essential oil
1ml Ravintsara essential oil
1ml Tea Tree essential oil
0.5 ml Chamomile (R) essential oil

Combine all oils into a 5ml bottle seal tightly and invert many times to thoroughly blend. This blend can be used in a diffuser, bath or massage oil. Particularly effective at night.

Lymph Support Blend

Your lymph system helps to filter out organisms that cause disease, produces certain white blood cells and generates antibodies. These essential oils are said to help support the lymph system!

2ml Fennel essential oil
1ml Geranium essential oil
1ml Juniper essential oil
1ml Rosemary essential oil

Combine all oils into a 5ml bottle seal tightly and invert many times to thoroughly blend. This blend can be used in a diffuser, or mixed into an invigorating salt scrub for the shower. Due to the presence of Rosemary, which is known as a stimulant, this blend is best used during the day and not before bed.


For those who travel and enjoy bringing essential oils along, our cloth Essential Oil Travel Bag is a wonderful thing! This neat little bag contains holders for six 5ml or 10ml bottles, two 50ml bottles and two 100ml bottles. It”s soft sided, allowing it to easy fit inside your other luggage. The bottles are held in place with Velcro holders, to help avoid breakage and nasty leaks!

Our own Terminator blend was based on the original recipe of the Four Thieves! When we burn it in the office we find we are less likely to get ill. But if a particularly nasty bug does find its way to make us ill our bodies have the strength to fight back harder and get well faster.

Green Valley Aromatherapy Essentials

And for those of you who have always wondered about aromatherapy but have perhaps been putting off getting yourself a book on the topic, now is the time to treat yourself! Green Valley’s own book “Aromatherapy Essentials” offers a hands on approach to aromatherapy and contains information on a wide range of essential oils, hydrosols and carrier oils as well as cautions, first aid measures and explanations of extraction methods. Make 2004 the year you begin a healthy quest by learning more about essential oils and how to include them in your life!


“They say that you never know what you have until you lose it.
This is not true, you know what you have; losing it is what makes you appreciate it.”
– Anonymous

*This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.*

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