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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Spotlight on Sweet Marjoram

MARJORAM

Botanical Name (origanum majorana)

Marjoram, commonly known as sweet marjoram, is a green bushy plant native to the Mediterranean region but can be found in most herb gardens. It has a woody herbaceous aroma.

Sweet, warm and protective are the words that best describe sweet marjoram for me.

It is naturally anti-septic and contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol which has anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

In a recent clinical study into the chemical content, antibacterial and antioxidant properties of marjoram essential oil, it was concluded that the essential oils of marjoram may be an alternative source of natural antibacterial and antioxidant agents.*

I chose sweet marjoram as a companion to my “warrior” oils – ravintsara and niaouli in my Carry-on Travel oil.

HISTORICAL USES

Sweet marjoram has been used since Ancient Times as a culinary and medicinal herb,

17th century physician and herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper wrote of sweet marjoram,

Our common sweet marjoram is warming and comforting in cold diseases of the head and stomach sinews”.

The Ancient Greeks called it the ‘funeral’ herb and planted it on graves to bring spiritual peace to both the living and the dead. It was also seen to represent peace and harmony and was used to make wreaths.

WHEN I USE IT

Firstly, sweet marjoram oil is wonderful to ease abdominal cramps or trapped wind. Put 5 drops of the oil in a tablespoon of sweet almond, coconut or sunflower oil and massage gently in circular movements in a clockwise direction on the abdomen. Cover with a warm hot water bottle and relax. It really helps to soothe the cramps**

Good for period cramps too.

The same formula can be applied to aching joints but I would add lavender to the mix for extra anti-inflammatory effects and pain relief.

To aid relaxation and promote sleep, lavender and sweet marjoram work really well together. I put 3 drops of each oil into an egg cup of sunflower, jojoba or sweet almond oil and add to a pre-run warm bath or use as a bedtime massage oil**

I use sweet marjoram frequently when cooking due to its high anti-oxidant properties. It is a good addition when cooking pulses. Helps to ease the ‘wind factor’!

IN AROMATHERAPY

In Aromatherapy the oil is valued for its many therapeutic properties:

PHYSICAL

Anti-septic

Anti-bacterial

Muscle relaxant

Analgesic

Sedative

Anti- spasmodic

EMOTIONAL & ENERGETIC QUALITIES

Brings a sense of calm and peace.

It helps to aid mental and emotional fatigue or ‘overthinking’ by settling any nervous tension and anxiety. It is a comfort to the lonely or those suffering from grief.

SAFETY

Non-sensitising and non-irritating to the skin.

Do not use directly on the skin but blend with a carrier oil ( e.g. sweet almond, coconut, sunflower, jojoba etc..)

Not to be used when pregnant.

 

* Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28375110

**Not to be used when pregnant.

Spotlight on Powerful Ravintsara

RAVINTSARA  

Botanical Name (Cinnamonum Camphora Cineoliferum)

 

A key ingredient in my Carry-on Travel Oil is Ravintsara oil. A Native of Madagascar, this powerful oil is distilled from the leaves or this great rainforest tree. It has a fresh, medicinal aroma. I use it often and see it as the great protector.

I discovered Ravintsara oil 9 years ago when a friend brought me a bottle back from a trip to Madagascar. This mysterious island with its unique flora and fauna has always had a fascination for me and the oil itself was a revelation.

Just by smelling it you get the sense that the strong ‘punchy’ aroma is powerful. In its chemistry it contains an oxide called 1,8 cineole that is historically known to be anti-viral, anti- bacterial and an immune stimulant. This oxide is also found in more common oils such as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree.

HISTORICAL USE

Historically, it holds a place in traditional folk medicine in Madagascar. The ravintsara leaves were used to fight flu, headaches and infections.  Known by the Magasy people as “gold leaf” – The bark and leaves were burnt for their aroma or used as a tea to fight infections.

IN AROMATHERAPY

In Aromatherapy the oil is valued for its many therapeutic properties:

PHYSICAL

  • Anti-septic
  • Anti- viral
  • Anti – bacterial
  • De-congestant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Headache relief

EMOTIONAL & ENERGETIC QUALITIES

I call it The Warrior Oil – It is stimulating. It boosts energy and positivity. It makes you feel protected. Also helps to calm and soothe the nerves.

WHEN I USE IT

If you feel you are getting a cold, put 2 drops on a tissue – and breathe in during the day. You can also leave the oil infused tissue at your desk by your computer screen.

It is also a very good to kick start the day. Put a few drops on the floor of your shower before you step in. It will really wake you up!

When I am travelling, I bring Ravintsara and Bergamot oils. As soon as I check in to a hotel, I put hot water the hand basin, sprinkle 3 drops of each oil and leave it there for a few hours. Not only does it make the room smell divine, the aroma is giving you a natural support.

It can also be beneficial as a steam blend to aid sinus congestion, I put 3 drops of Lavender and 2 of Ravintsara into a bowl of hot water (not too hot!) Place a towel over your head and the bowl, close your eyes and breathe. Do this for a few minutes twice a day. It really clears the head and can help to relieve the sinus congestion. The lavender is also analgesic which can help ease the pain. I have done this when I want to stop sinus congestion developing into an infection. I find it really helpful.

For a room diffuser, I would put in 4-6 drops of oil. On its own the aroma can be too strong so I experiment with other oils to soften it, by adding a citrus oil like Bergamot or lemon, another woody oil like Juniper or a more grounding oil like Frankincense to balance the blend.

SAFETY

  • As an inhalation it is non–irritating and well tolerated by adults.
  • Can affect those with severe asthma condition.
  • Not to be used undiluted on the skin.
  • Not suitable for children under 5
  • It is stimulating so don’t use it at night.