Essential Oil Spotlight: Cinnamon

Cinnamon essential oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is steam-distilled from the bark of the tree. It contains antibacterial, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-infectious (intestinal, urinary), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic (light), antiviral, astringent, immune-stimulant, purifying, sexual-stimulant, and warming properties. It also enhances the action and activity of other oils.

Cinnamon essential oil is commonly used for airborne bacteria, bacterial infections, bites/stings, breathing, diabetes, diverticulitis, fungal infections, immune system (stimulates), infection, libido (low), mold, pancreas support, physical fatigue, pneumonia, typhoid, vaginal infection, vaginitis, viral infections, and warming the body.

Historically, this most ancient of spices was included in just about every prescription issued in ancient China. It was regarded as a tranquilizer, tonic, and stomachic and as being good for depression and a weak heart.

This oil may be beneficial for circulation, colds, coughs, digestion, exhaustion, flu, infections, rheumatism, and warts. Cinnamon oil fights viral and infectious diseases, and testing has yet to find a virus, bacteria, or fungus that can survive in its presence.

Applications of Cinnamon Essential Oil and Safety Data

Cinnamon essential oil is one of the strongest essential oils, and care should be taken when using it.
Topical Application: Before applying cinnamon oil topically, make sure to dilute it 1:3 (1 drop essential oil to at least 3 drops carrier oil). Please note that repeated use of cinnamon essential oil can result in extreme contact sensitization, so make sure to dilute well, avoid when pregnant, and frequently give your body a break in between uses.
Aromatic Application: When diffusing cinnamon essential oil, be careful to not inhale directly from the diffuser, as it may irritate the nasal membranes.
Internal Application: Cinnamon essential oil can be used in cooking, but make sure to start with only a toothpick and add more if needed.

5 Ways To Use Cinnamon Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try this blend in your diffuser to increase your mental alertness:

2. Use in a Romantic Massage Oil
Because cinnamon essential oil is known to be an aphrodisiac and is a warming oil, it makes a great addition to a romantic massage oil. Here is a great recipe to help you and your spouse enjoy an intimate massage together:

Romantic Massage Oil:
5 drops ylang ylang
1 drop cinnamon
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil.

3. Add to a Breath-Freshening Spray
Try adding 2–3 drops each of cinnamon and orange essential oil to this Essential Oil Breath Spray recipe.

4. Add to Cooking Recipes
Cinnamon essential oil is great to add to any of your favorite recipes. We had a difficult time picking from our recipes that use cinnamon essential oil, but here are some of our favorites:

5. Protect Your Plants with This Gardening Spray
Keep birds and bugs from eating your plants with this garden spray.

Protective Gardening Spray

  • Servings: Yield=1 gallon (about 4 liters)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. To a small glass bowl, add the emulsifier, essential oils, and dish soap in order; gently stir after adding each ingredient. Pour a little (up to 1 cup or 250 ml) water into the bowl, and stir to combine.
  2. Pour mixture into a gallon-sized (4-liter) water jug (mostly full of water). Place the cap on, and carefully shake to combine. Pour mixture into your 16 oz. glass spray bottles.
  3. To use, spray the tops and bottoms of the plant leaves. It is best to spray on a cloudy day or in the evening so the sun and cinnamon essential oil combination doesn’t burn the plants. Apply every couple weeks or as needed. Wait 2–3 days after spraying to harvest any food.

To learn more about cinnamon essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, pp. 48–49; 329–30.

Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 2

As mentioned in the the first part of this article, “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1,” we took a poll to see what your biggest health challenges are. We discussed ways to use essential oils for helping you stay motivated and while exercising in the first part and are ready to discuss the other health challenges below.

Losing Weight

About 17.5% of those who took the poll said they struggle with losing weight; so if you’re one of those people, just know you are not alone! One problem with struggling to lose weight is that it can be due to a large number of factors—diet (eating the wrong foods or wrong amounts), lack of exercise (or doing the wrong types of exercise), too much stress, lack of sleep, insufficient water consumption, food intolerances, low metabolism, abnormal thyroid function, insulin levels, hormone imbalance, poor gut health, and toxic buildup in the body can all contribute to excess weight or trouble losing it. Losing weight often happens when you are able to change your lifestyle for the better (rather than going on a fad diet or any get-slim-quick plan). This is tough to do, and the struggle is real. The best advice we have is to start small—pick 1 or 2 things you can do differently, and try to make them a habit over a month. Once they become a habit, pick 1 or 2 more things to adjust in your lifestyle.

Often, the biggest help in losing weight is to increase your metabolism. Here are a few tips for increasing your metabolism:

  • Eat enough food. The amount of food you eat should be enough to keep you satisfied. Be careful not to eat so much that you feel full or so little that you are left hungry. Pay attention to how you feel while you are eating, and stop when you feel satisfied. It’s okay to save your food for later when you need a snack or simply throw it away (the starving kid in a third-world country really isn’t benefited if you don’t waste your food!).
  • Focus on mornings. The first thing you should do in the morning is drink 1–2 glasses of water. This helps your body wake up and get moving. You should also make sure to eat a good, healthy breakfast—don’t skip this meal! Your body has been fasting all night long and needs energy to keep your metabolism up, so don’t deprive yourself.
  • Eat the right foods. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to make sure you include foods with fiber, protein, iron, and nutrients found in vegetables and fruits in your diet every day. See the Eating Healthy section below for more ideas.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to flush out toxins as well as to keep your organs doing their proper functions. See the Drinking Water section below.
  • Use essential oils. Some essential oils that can help boost metabolism include clove, Grounding Blend, oregano, grapefruit, Metabolic Blend, and lemon. You can diffuse any of these oils throughout the day, or add grapefruit, lemon, or Metabolic Blend to your drinking water. If adding oils to your water, make sure to use a glass or metal cup or water bottle.

Eating Healthy

About 13% of our pollers said they struggle with eating healthy. If you’re not in the habit of making good diet choices, making a change like this can be a big process. If you are concerned about your diet, make a list of your top 3 things you want to change the most. Then make a goal that helps put you on that path. Start small (like eating a healthy breakfast) and try to make progress over the course of a month, and then add something else to it (like prepping healthy snacks once a week).

Also, try experimenting with cooking with essential oils! It’s fun to do and may help inspire you to cook healthier dishes. Take a look at our Essential Oil Cooking Recipes and our tips to help you adapt your favorite recipes (Cooking with Essential Oils – FAQs and Tips).

Here is some advice from one of our readers:

“I find that eating healthy, well balanced meals can be something that people struggle with when starting. The call of comfort foods can be very strong, and the will to ignore can be too much at times. By growing our food and only buying organic goods, we are already halfway there. Being part of the whole cycle of food production helps us to respect food and in turn respect what it does for our bodies. Having a really healthy start to the day can help to keep you on track as you have a nice feeling of well being. Try a glass of hot water and lemon to start the day and help your liver to wake up. Next treat yourself to a lovely big bowl of porridge topped with fresh fruit, seeds, and honey. This will keep you feeling content until lunchtime at least.” —Wen Morton

Drinking Water

About 13% of readers said drinking enough water is a challenge for them. So how much water should you be drinking? To figure this out, simply take your weight (in pounds), and divide it by 2. The number you get is the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink per day. To aid in weight loss, however, your body will benefit from more than the bare minimum. Multiply your weight by 2/3 (or .67) to get the amount of water you should consume if weight loss is one of your aims. So, for example, if you weigh 200 lbs., then you should be drinking a minimum of 100 oz. (and ideally 134 oz.) of water each day.

Here are a few of our tips for reaching your minimum water intake every day:

  • In the morning, fill up a large jug or several water bottles with the amount of water you need to drink during the day. You can write on the bottles a line with the time stating when the water should be at that level (for instance, having a line for 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM). Or you can designate blocks of times for individual water bottles (such as morning, afternoon, and evening water bottles). Even if you only have 1 water bottle, just know how many times you need to empty it during the day to reach your goal.
  • Set reminders on your phone to drink water. Sometimes we just forget and need a little reminder!
  • Keep a glass of water in the bathroom, and set a goal to drink a glass every time you use the bathroom.
  • Flavor your water. If part of your problem is that water tastes bland to you, try adding something to liven it up a little. Here’s what one of our readers says:

    “I put lemon or lime in my water. It tastes better and has added health benefits!” —Abbie

    You can use fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, or essential oils for healthy water flavorings. Here are some of our favorite flavor combinations:

    • Strawberry Lemon: Fresh strawberry slices with a drop of lemon essential oil.
    • Apple Cinnamon: Apple slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil.
    • Cucumber Lime: Cucumber slices with a drop of lime essential oil.
    • Lemon Rosemary: A sprig of rosemary with a drop of lemon essential oil.
    • Citrus Twist: A mix of citrus fruits or citrus essential oils.
    • Cinnamon Orange: A stick of cinnamon with a drop of orange essential oil, orange slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil, or a drop of Protective Blend.

    Remember to use a glass or metal water bottle if you’re using essential oils in your water, and always shake before drinking.

Overcoming Depression

Almost 10% of our respondents find depression to be their biggest health challenge. This is a sobering topic and particularly difficult to overcome. According to Modern Essentials, “While much is still being discovered about the complex psychological and physiological processes involved in emotions, researchers have discovered that emotions involve many different systems in the body, including the brain, the sensory system, the endocrine/hormonal system, the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and the release or inhibition of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) in the the brain. Recent research has also begun to uncover compelling evidence that various essential oils and their components have the ability to affect each one of these systems, making the use of essential oils an intriguing tool for helping to balance emotions in the human body” (8th Edition, p. 267).
Some essential oils that may help with depression include lemon, frankincense, Encouraging Blend, Uplifting Blend, Focus Blend, Comforting Blend, lavender, bergamot, petitgrain, Joyful Blend, Grounding Blend, Reassuring Blend, and Invigorating Blend. Try diffusing one or more of these essential oils (a diffuser necklace works particularly well for keeping the scent next to you) or rubbing some on your neck and wrists as perfume (a roll-on bottle is really helpful for this).

“Find something every day to be grateful for.” —Dawndee Blickenstaff

Here are a few posts we have written about this subject:

Breaking Addictions

About 6% of our pollers are trying to break an addiction of some kind. As you work on overcoming your addictions, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Modern Essentials suggests diffusing grapefruit oil using an aromatherapy diffuser to help calm and soothe withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few articles we’ve recently published about this subject:
How to Use Complementary Therapies within Your Addiction Treatment
Essential Oils and the Road to Addiction Recovery

Sleeping

About 5% of our pollers said they struggle with getting enough sleep. Many essential oils are known for their calming abilities and can help a person relax before going to bed. Some of these essential oils include lavender, Restful Blend, spikenard, Roman chamomile, and marjoram. Try mixing 5–10 drops essential oil with 1/4 cup (50 g) of epsom salt, and add to a warm bath before bedtime. You can also try making a linen spray with 5–10 drops essential oil and 1 oz. (25 ml) of water in a small spray bottle. Spray on pillows and sheets before tucking in for the night.
Here are some other posts we’ve written on the subject:
See Modern Essentials: Essential Oils for Sleep
Essential Oils for a Better Night’s Sleep

Whatever your health challenge is, don’t give up! If needed, keep your goals small and simple, but continue making progress to a healthier lifestyle. You are given these challenges for a reason, and through the process of overcoming your challenges, you are shaping your character and becoming an example to others around you. Keep trying, and eventually your efforts will turn into results.

Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition.

Check out “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1” to read about our essential oil (and general) tips for staying motivated and exercising.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Spikenard

Spikenard essential oil (Nardostachys jatamansi) gets its name from the spike-shaped rhizomes (or “spikes”) of the plant that the oil is distilled from. Highly prized in the Middle East during the time of Christ, spikenard is referred to several times in the Bible. Spikenard was also used in the preparation of nardinum, a scented oil of great renown during ancient times. Prized in early Egypt, it was used in a preparation called kyphi with other oils like saffron, juniper, myrrh, cassia, and cinnamon.

Spikenard is commonly used for aging skin, insomnia, nervousness, perfume, and rashes. The oil is known for helping in the treatment of allergic skin reactions, and according to Victoria Edwards, “The oil redresses the skin’s physiological balance and causes permanent regeneration.”

It may also help with allergies, candida, flatulent indigestion, insomnia, menstrual difficulties, migraines, nausea, neurological diseases, rashes, staph infections, stress, tachycardia, tension, and wounds that will not heal.

This essential oil contains the following properties: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, deodorant, relaxing, and skin tonic.

Spikenard has an earthy, animal-like fragrance. It is balancing, soothing, and harmonizing.

Spikenard can be applied neat (without dilution) on adults when used topically on area of concern or to reflex points. It can also be diffused or inhaled directly.

at_spikenard

5 Ways to Use Spikenard Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try these oil blends in your diffuser:
2. Roll on for Sleep
Spikenard essential oil is also beneficial in helping with insomnia because of its relaxing properties. Here is a good recipe to put in a roll-on bottle to rub on the bottoms of your feet at night when you need a little help falling asleep:

Insomnia Blend:
1 drop Roman chamomile
2 drops lavender
2 drops marjoram
2 drops orange
1 drop tangerine
1 drop ylang ylang
1 drop spikenard
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on for short-term use or a 10 ml roll-on for daily use. Fill the roll-on the rest of the way with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.

All-Natural Deodorant3. Add to Deodorant
Try putting spikenard in your all-natural deodorant. You could even make your own by using this recipe and replace the oils with this blend:
5 drops orange
3 drops juniper berry
2 drops spikenard

4. Add to a Warm Bath
Here is a bath blend that will remind you of being deep in the woodlands:

Relax in the Woodlands Bath:
1 drop spikenard
1 drop vetiver
5 drops cedarwood
10 drops white fir
4 drops cypress
1 cup (240 g) epsom salt
Mix oils in epsom salt, and add 1/4 cup of the mixture to your warm bathwater.

5. Use in a Massage
According to Patricia Davis, spikenard “is a wonderful oil for anybody who is tense or anxious, and has the ability to help people let go of old pain or emotional blocks that they are holding inside. Aromatherapists who work with chakra energy or auric massage would find this a very appropriate oil” (Aromatherapy: An A–Z, p. 301). Try using this blend that includes spikenard for a relaxing massage:

Relaxing Massage Blend:
3 drops neroli
3 drops petitgrain
3 drops marjoram
1 drop spikenard
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil)

To learn more about spikenard essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 110.
Aromatherapy: An A–Z by Patricia Davis.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Petitgrain

Petitgrain essential oil (Citrus aurantium) is obtained from the bitter orange tree. It is distilled from leaves and sometimes the tips of young twigs, but in earlier centuries it was extracted from unripe oranges, picked when they were still green and no bigger than a cherry, hence the French term petit grain, meaning “small grain.” This was uneconomic because in the effort to produce petitgrain essential oil, the crops of mature oranges were reduced drastically. So rather than producing oil from the unripe fruit, producers started distilling oil from the leaves of the tree and kept the oil’s original name. Because of its very pleasing scent, petitgrain has been used extensively in high-quality perfumes and cosmetics.

Petitgrain essential oil contains antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, deodorant, and stimulant (for digestive and nervous systems) properties.

It is commonly used for depression, focus, greasy/oily hair, stress, and uplifting one’s mood. This oil may also help with acne, dyspepsia, fatigue, flatulence, greasy hair, insomnia, and excessive perspiration.

Petitgrain essential oil can be applied neat (with no dilution) on adults when used topically on area of concern or reflex points. It can also be diffused or inhaled directly and is generally regarded as safe for internal use (often consumed in small amounts in capsules).

5 Ways To Use Petitgrain Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Petitgrain is a great oil to diffuse because it has the ability to uplift one’s mood and may help with stress, focus, and depression. Try these blends in your diffuser:

2. Roll on for Sleep
Petitgrain essential oil is also beneficial in helping with insomnia (especially when sleeplessness is caused because of loneliness or stress). Here is a good recipe to put in a roll-on bottle to rub on the bottoms of your feet at night when you need a little help falling asleep:

Sleepy Time with Petitgrain Roll-on Blend:
2 drops lavender
2 drops Roman chamomile
7 drops petitgrain
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on for short-term use or a 10 ml roll-on for daily use. Fill the roll-on the rest of the way with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.

All-Natural Deodorant3. Add to Deodorant
Try putting petitgrain in your all-natural deodorant. You could even make your own using this recipe and replace the oils with this blend:
4 drops lime
4 drops orange
2 drops clove
2 drops petitgrain

4. Add to a Warm Bath
Petitgrain is most known for its ability to help with depression and for supporting the nervous system. It is a good alternative to use in place of bergamot essential oil when needed over a long period of time or when the photosensitive nature of bergamot is a problem (petitgrain essential oil is not a photosensitizer). Try adding petitgrain essential oil to your baths! Just mix the oil with epsom salt before adding to warm bathwater. Here are a few recipes to try:

A Refreshing Calm:
5 drops petitgrain
5 drops ylang ylang
5 drops orange
1/4 cup (60 g) Epsom Salt
Relaxing with Petitgrain:
5 drops petitgrain
5 drops lavender
3 drops fennel
2 drops orange
1/4 cup (60 g) Epsom Salt
Good Morning, Sunshine:
4 drops rosemary
6 drops grapefruit
5 drops petitgrain
1/4 cup (60 g) Epsom Salt

Bath woman

5. Care for Greasy/Oily Skin and Hair
Petitgrain essential oil has many applications in skincare because it helps to reduce over-production of sebum and is a gentle but effective antiseptic. This makes it a good oil for acne or oily dandruff. Just put a few drops in the final rinse after shampooing greasy hair, or apply after washing your face.

To learn more about petitgrain essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 101.
Healing Oils: 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller & David Schiller
Aromatherapy: An A–Z by Patricia Davis
Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies by Franzesca Watson

See Modern Essentials: Essential Oils for Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to a lowered immune system and depression. In times of stress or illness, it can be difficult to get adequate sleep. Sleeping releases the chemical serotonin, which is necessary to keep the body and mind functioning in a healthy and normal way. Here are some essential oils that have a calming effect on the emotions and the body during those restless nights:

  • lavender
  • bergamot
  • ylang ylang
  • cedarwood
  • geranium
  • vetiver
  • juniper berry
  • frankincense
  • sandalwood
  • orange
  • rose
  • lemongrass
  • clary sage
  • marjoram

For aromatherapy, these oils can be used singly or in a blend. Diffuse them into the air, or inhale directly from the bottle. They are also effective when applied to your hands or a tissue and inhaled.

Always dilute as recommended before applying topically. A few drops on the back of the neck, temples, chest, shoulders, and back will help your body relax. The reflex points on your feet are a good place to apply the oils for optimum calming effects.

Another great way to apply essential oils is to create a massage oil by adding 1–2 drops of essential oil to 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) of fractionated coconut oil. Massage into areas where the body holds tension like the neck, shoulders, back, feet, and hands.

Another way to relieve tension is to take a warm bath just before bedtime. Add 1/4 cup of bath salts, 5 drops of geranium essential oil, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil to warm bathwater, and let it dissolve. The bath salts and essential oils will help to relax your muscles and calm your mind, making it easier to fall asleep at bedtime.

To learn more about how essential oils can help you relax and get restful sleep, see Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Source:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, pp. 238, 339.