VidyEssence

Essential oil 101: Safety First, part 1 (quality and dosage)

Posted by in aromatherapy, Essential oil, Health

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When I started using essential oils and educating others on the subject, these questions would come often: What, when, how and how much? There is not one simple answer as there are many variables in play but here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you want to feel safe about essential oil use.

Quality is first about purity!

When it comes to safety there are numerous factors one has to keep in mind. The first one has to do with quality. Knowing how to find the highest quality oils can be a real game changer is you are concerned with toxicity levels.

 

Synthetic:

There are many different quality of essential oils found on the market today and most of the essential oils we find are synthetically made. Like a wine connoisseur one expert nose knows when an oil is synthetic. So if using these essential oils you will surely have a fragrance to it but do not look for the health benefit there. In fact, you are better off using nothing than using these. I suggest everyone avoid ALL products with the ingredient “fragrance” on the label. This should be your first no-no on your list. I will dive more into this subject at some point but to let’s get back on track here.

Synthetic fragrance ingredients (this term often involves at least 14 ingredients disguised as a ‘’secret formula’’) is similar to a synthetic fragrant essential oil. Synthetic fragrance oils are primarily made from petrochemicals and attempt to duplicate the smell of a specific plant. By dismantling the unique chemical compound of an essential oil, chemists re-assemble a “Frankenstein” fragrance. A 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences reports that 95 percent of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and synthesizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. Enough to make you look for healthier alternatives, right?

 

Pure and/or natural:

Did you know that these two words are deceptive in nature because they are not regulated by any industries? Any manufacturer can use these words without having to prove anything when it comes to ingredients lists, traceability etc. This applies to essential oils too. If you cannot read the label with confidence stay away!

 

Food grade essential oil:

Have you ever thought about this? Some people are afraid to use essential oils internally and they do not know they use them all the time in food already made for them….Interesting fact isn’t it? Some essential oils are approved as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) so they can be used in food. I am not sure though if this does mean you are dealing with natural or organic quality here.

 

Organic:

When you are buying organic essential oil you are getting higher quality as there are certain standards to meet when a company is certified organic. The only thing that cannot be sure is whether you are dealing with heavy metal and pesticide residue. Organic practices garanty a process not an end result. This was not a concern for me in the past until I understood that. We need to remember that because essential oils are able to cross the blood brain barrier, there is more concern when you think about substances that can harm you such as these mentioned above. This is where now Organic is not a high enough standard for me anymore.

 

Therapeutic grade essential oils:

These are what you can find as in the purest form of all. Still,  there there is no industry standard yet, but companies voluntarily added some great rigidity to their standards to assure us we have a product of the highest quality. When you have a battery of test like this, it is reassuring:

  • Organoleptic testing
  • Microbial testing
  • Gas chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Chirality testing
  • Isotopic analysis
  • Heavy metal testing

 

When you know what what you are applying on your skin contains no GMOs, no pesticides, no heavy metals nor chemical residues, it feels good. As a mother, I do not want to expose my children to contaminants; I want to avoid them! When something is able to penetrate the cell’s membrane I only want what is best!

 

 

Dosage

With essential oils a little goes a long way. The potency compared to herbs is about 50-70% more so you can understand that you do not need to ingest or apply a quarter of a bottle to experience some results.  A few drops is enough! Isn’t it wonderful?

 

When we look at dosage we need to think about  dosage per use as well as maximum dosage per day. Dosage will vary depending if you are an adult or a child. There are also some extra precautions to take with pregnancy, breastfeeding, babies and toddlers. This will be addressed in an upcoming post.

Last but not least it also depends on the modality used. Topical, or aromatic? Internal or oral use? In terms of internal use not all agree, but I would suggest you to first assess how you feel about internal use and also to follow the manufacturer’s information on the label. Most essential oils are not pure. They are diluted to make them more economical. Hence the reason why you see so many brands warning you not to use internally! Some of these carrier oils are nasty! Beware! Companies are not forced by law to disclose all their ingredients so you never know what you get if you buy oils diluted in a carrier.

So how do you know what is best? This chart is a replica from what I have learned at an essential oil convention.

 

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You can also learn more by reading this article.

There is always a chance of fear when trying something new for the first time but dealing with essential oil is less complicated than it seems. And the benefits outweigh it all! If you have any questions or subject you are wanting to know more about let me know at mj@vidyessence.com Next week we will be covering potency in more depth, the benefit of dilutions and some ratios.

 

 

 

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Essential oil 101:   Different type of uses

Posted by in Essential oil, Health, Self-Care

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Essential oil 101:   Different type of uses

When it comes to using essential oils it is important to know that there is more to it than what we are used to hearing about when referring to aromatherapy. There are four distinct ways to incorporate essential oils in your life:

Aromatically:

Our sense of smell influences many physical pathways including the stimulations of hormones and other metabolic processes. Diffusing essentials oils can purify air of unwanted odors and environmental threats.

Use aromatically to :

  • Uplift mood
  • Open airways
  • Cleanse the environment

 

Topically:

Essential oils are easily absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin for internal benefit throughout the body within 30 seconds of application

Apply directly to skin for systemic and localized effects:

  • Massage and as a relief of occasional muscular pain after exercise
  • Immediate comfort such as soothing occasional  digestive upset, or reducing tension in the head and neck.
  • Support healthy immune system function

 

Internally:

Some essential oils can be used as dietary supplements to support a variety of health conditions. Internal use refers to taking essential oils in a capsule or a softgel form.

  • Digestive system
  • Liver
  • Urinary tract
  • Immune system support

 

Orally:

Oral use refers to essential oils taken in water or other liquid, or under the tongue. According to a well known essential oil company, oral use is not recommended for children. Mine have taken  essential oils orally since the age of 6 years old in small amounts with no negative incidence. As a parent, I suggest you do your research and make your own judgment about what feels safe for your family.

  • Support the digestive tract in its function
  • Promote oral health
  • Alleviate mild throat discomfort due to seasonal or environmental threats.

Remember that some essential oils should not be taken orally or internally and dilution is needed  for people with sensitive skin, children and when dealing with what is considered hot oils.  More on safety and essential oils in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

 

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One reason why working hard is not THE recipe to success and fulfillment

Posted by in Health, Life' spurpose, Self-Care

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Before telling you what the secret ingredient is, we need to define the end results we are working on: success and fulfillment. I don’t perceive success as being rich and famous even though one can aspire to this. I see it more as this simple definition: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  Maya Angelou has a definition along those lines too: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” This definition answers the questions who, what and how.

To me fulfillment can be part of success. It is the part that is more internal. Success might be viewed more as what people perceive or see, even though this is not what I see as success. Fulfilment is defined as: “Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.”

Have you ever heard people talking about working hard? It seems like this rhetoric is often present when it comes to succeeding. Others says it is not about working hard but rather working smart. And when working smart is mentioned, mostly is it about time management. This is where you learn to create processes so you don’t waste your time being busy on the wrong tasks. I think working smart and hard are both needed to  become successful. We won’t argue here.

Other than working hard, and smart, there is one crucial ingredient that needs to be present to make the success and fulfillment recipe taste oh so good. This one is the one that matters to me most. Why? Because I went through the process of working hard, and sometimes smart, and finding neither success nor fulfillment.  I cannot stress enough how I love helping others avoid this same life experience which partly cost me my health. I wish I knew now what I had to learn the hard way.

It doesn’t matter how hard and smart you work; you won’t feel successful unless you are working on the right thing. Yes, this may sound simple, but it is not always the case. I consider myself intelligent and I fell into the trap of wanting success at the wrong place and for the wrong reasons.

However we define success, we need not to hide our deepest fear when looking for it. When we are not facing our fears, they become part of the equation. This is when we  tend to make decisions that are not in our best interest. We talked about this before; it is either fear or love. So if fear is there, love is not. To truly succeed one must do something well that one loves.

For the longest time, I have known what I want out of my life. I have this calling inside and as I grow more and experience life, it gets clearer and more specific. Even so, I did many different things before really starting to act upon this life purpose of mine. Part of me thinks I wasted precious time and part of me also accepts that everything happens for a reason and without all the other experiences I would not be exactly who I am today. There is a fine line between fatality and acceptance. I choose the latter.

I was born in a middle class family and maybe I should say lower middle class. It never felt we are missing out on anything but but my parents worked hard to put bread and butter on the table. When both of them lost their jobs the same year, at an age where they were closer to retirement than anything else, we had it hard. So I learned all too well not to overspend; this was survival.

Also having a parent who tended to see the glass half empty, I developed an aversion to failure. Because my mother was looking through her lens, she could only doubt I would succeed even though deep down she totally believed in me.

Failure was then defined as letting fear interfere into our dreams or aspirations. Not trying because we might fail was not an option. I developed a lot of character early on. Perseverance too. When  someone would think something was impossible for me to accomplish I set my mind to prove them wrong. I also did not want to end up like my parents, struggling financially to make ends meet. Hence, part of me focused a lot on being able to break the mold.

This is why I aspired to a six figure income but always tried making it doing something I did not fully like or embrace. It was as if I had to be on some specific career paths to earn an income; as if living the calling would not be able to get me there. This story repeated itself for almost a decade, and another one went by in between as I stayed at home with my children.

My last attempt occurred when I was finally able to legally work in the States. I went on and invested myself totally into a path that was really promising in terms of income but I did it so I could then use this income in order to build my dream. I also did it in a way that was mimicking what others had done to succeed. This was in complete defiance of my core values. I knew it and tried so many times to change the way I was working my business, in vain.

In retrospect of course it was not meant to succeed. Going back to Maya Angelou’s definition of success, I was all at the wrong place: not liking myself because I was not doing something I loved and not liking how I was doing it either. WRONG RECIPE!!! I have made multiple decisions for the wrong reasons and ended up neglecting my health and my family life in doing so.  Needless to say, I did not make the fortune I had envisioned. For me, doing the right thing and doing it the way I feel good about is  crucial.

When I realized that I was not fully in integrity at work because I was not aligned with my dreams or values, I started to really get introspective. There was no more joy in my life. Living a false reality lying to myself meant I was lying to others too. From the moment I realised I was not living in Joy, and the moment it all clicked, two years went by.

This is also when I came to this conclusion: All the money invested in business development would have been a really great start up amount to really live my life purpose and build my dream. So yes, I could have started right away with building my dream! “Build it and they will come” is the phrase I remember from the Field of dreams movie. Why didn’t I listen to it for my own life?

I had to go this deep into this lie to become so sure now about what is worth spending my resources on and what is not. The more I know what my path is and how I will set myself to walk on it, the more I set boundaries so nothing nor anyone will get in my way. This is now a matter of health, sanity and mere self realization.

The first and foremost ingredient to success is to know what you are here on this earth, in this life, to accomplish. Then you can work hard, smart and put all your passion in it. But unless you know your calling or purpose, all the effort in the world will not matter as you are walking someone else’s path, not yours.

I am learning a little bit more everyday what my calling is and how I am getting closer to it is by  doing one thing, taking at least one action everyday towards it. This is all I know. I do not set goals like I used to. I respect the path itself, not setting too hard of a timeline even though I have deadlines to get some actions items done. I have learned that I now need to experiment letting the calling call me on what matters each and everyday. When I meditate I ask the same question: ‘’What do I need to do to serve today?”

I let inspiration and serendipity be part of my life. Sometimes I get off course with what I had decided to do. I sometimes wonder if this is the right way to do it. This is the experimentation phase. At this moment in my life, I need to learn to let go of a set rules, of achievement, and just live the present moment and be content with it. This is part of my journey.
Living according to our value leads us to better Self-Care. And we need better Self-Care in order to achieve our life’s purpose. This is hard work and we need to refill our cups to give back every single day and serve more. Once we understand success is also defined by  living on purpose and that in order to sustain living on purpose, Self-Care is part of the equation as well, we are on the real path to success: liking ourselves, what we do and how we do it.

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