The Salvation Plant

Flowers of Salvia Oficinalis Plant

3 Science-Based Benefits Everyone Should Know About

The Plant: There are a several forms of sage that are cultivated for their use as a culinary or medicine herb. This blog is about the most common one is the common sage: Salvia officinalis. Sage’s botanical name, Salvia, mean the “Salvation Plant”, name given for a good reason, as you will discover in the next few paragraphs.

Sage blossoms bring a smile on my face every time I see them in my little front yard. And Oh dear do they smell heavenly wonderful. If I close my eyes I can even remember their scent. Do you find this odd?

But let’s get back to why do I write this blog? Yes! Yes, you guessed: it’s sage season Melbourne! So I am here to remind YOU to enjoy the benefits of this wonder-magic plant. I just made-up this word and hope the reader is not too offended.

So my advice to you, whether you have a green thumb or not, go buy some seedlings of the common sage and plant it in your front yard or back yard. It is useful and it adds beauty to your garden as it can grow in beautiful shrub. And I can assure you: the possum friend will not eat it!

Benefits: In the following I will provide you with the most common and scientifically-backed benefits that I also have tested.

#1 Sage as Cholesterol Balancing Agent

This plant is packed with loads of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help our health system restore without any nasty secondary effects. Most importantly, its bioactive components, antioxidants (Jakovljevic et al, 2019), in the form of polyphenols have been researched extensively by many reputable Laboratories. Turns out that drinking only a cup of sage tea twice daily for about 2-4 weeks is able to balance the cholesterol: increasing the levels of the “good” one (HDL) while lowering the levels of the “bad” guy (LDL) (Sa et al, 2009).

#2 Sage as Remedy for Hot Flushes in Menopausal Women

Hormonal balance is out of whack when experiencing hot flushes. The fridge is never cold enough and daily hot flushes are not something one wishes to experience. Good news is that drinking sage tea daily for a period of two months has positive effects, reducing the intensity and frequency of hot flushes (Bommer, et al, 2011). The tea can be made from either fresh flowers or dried plant.

#3 Sage as Mental Acuity Improver

Essential oil from Sage (Perry et al, 2003), can help alleviate symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease. It improves digestion and it also helps improve brain neuropathways. Most notably, after 6 weeks of being exposed to the oil of sage. In the referenced study the volunteers were given 2 drops of the oil. Since this involves the ingestion of an essential oil, it is best to consider using the sage plant fresh or dried in food or consumed as beverage.

The plant, Salvia officinalis and its oil has no known toxicity and has no contraindications. My preferred way to use it is to drink an infusion during the day. In order to get the wonderful benefits sage has on offer I also like grinding it and use it as a salt enhancer.

Guess what tea am I sipping while writing this blog?

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Bommere et al, Adv. Ther., 2011,28(6):490-500, First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133/

Jakovljevic M. et al, Plants (Basel Switzerland), 2019:,8(3) Bioactive Profile of Various Salvia officinalis L. Preparations, . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30845696

Sa et al, Int J Mol Sci. 2009:10(9):3937-50, Sage tea drinking improves lipid profile and antioxidant defences in humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19865527

Perry et al, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003:75(3):651-659, Salvia for dementia therapy, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895683/

Secrets of a Sticky Weed

Spring is here and with it Weeeeeeds!

They are everywhere.

I hate them! I love them! I hate them I …..use their secrets holistically!

You guessed, I have again the Herbalist Hat on.

Today I choose one weed that used to bother me a lot in the past.

It turned out that it was the weed that my body needed the most in the process of recovering from some serious autoimmune illnesses I have been blessed with.

This plant, Cleavers (Galium aparine), is known under many different names including sticky weed, Velcro plant or goose grass. It grows everywhere in my garden and I cannot say it is my favourite. Every time I collect it, inevitably I also get a little skin irritation.

The plant is edible, leaves, stems as well as the fruits, mostly cooked. Due to its clinging nature (Auld B.A. and Medd, 1987) it is less palatable when attempting to eat it raw.

This sticky plant harbours many secrets. The ancient Greeks used the stems in the form of a coarse colander to strain milk. In Anatolia the plant is known these days as the Yogurt plant, because of an enzyme that curdles the milk. Similar uses of the plant are in practice in Sweden as well.

Benefits. Current research on Cleavers and its use for human consumption is sparse. However, the very many chemical constituents, including but not limited to monotropein, asperuloside, tannins, flavonoids or polyphenolic acids (Deliorman et al, 2001) demonstrate that the plant pharmacological properties are yet to be demonstrated by the modern science. Therefore the secrets this plant possess are about to be unveiled by modern science.

Given the lack of substantiated evidence I will mention only the very well-known applications of Galium aparine (Maud, 1971), as outlined below:

  • Slimming effect: possible due to the asperuloside component, known to increase metabolic rate in mammals;
  • Supports the lymphatic system
    • Promotes lymphatic drainage;
    • Breaks up lymphatic congestion (enlarged lymph nodes) especially in the pelvis,
    • Acts in general as a lymphatic tonic;
  • Diuretic;
  • Choleretic: it stimulates the flow of the bile;
  • Can be used as a coffee substitute: dried and roasted fruits of the cleavers;
  • Its medicinal effects are great if used in soups;
  • Cosmetic benefits
    • Hair tonic : rinsing the hair with cleavers tea infusion;
    • Facial rejuvenation and anti-wrinkles action.

The plant has no known toxicity and has no contraindications.

Best ways to use the plant is to drink a stronger infusion during the day.

Harvesting the plant: should be performed while the plant is in the growing stage with its bright green foliage.

How to use it: Teas and facial cleanser

#1 Diuretic Cleavers Infusion Tea

  • 3 table spoon of dried plant
  • 500 ml boiling water ;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;
  • Strain and drink throughout the day.

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow. It has a gentle purgative action due to a chemical in the plant called asperuloside. It also aids the bile. Drink small quantities during the day.

# 2 Natural Facial Cleanser

Cleavers makes an excellent facial cleanser and wash. The chemical components in the form of acids, polyphenolic, tannic and citric acids help tightening the skin. Excellent against those wrinkles and sags we all want to get rid of as the skins matures due to aging.

  • 1/3 cup of dried Galium aparine
  • 500 ml boiling water
  • Let the plant steep for a good hour
  • Wash the face as you would any other facial cleanser.
  • To be effective it has to be used several times a week.

So what are we all waiting for? Let’s gather Galium aparine before going to seeds and enjoy a detox cuppa!

What a great secret gift we have with this sticky weed.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Auld B.A. and Medd, R. W., Weeds – an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia, 1987, (2nd Ed), Melbourne, Inkata Press. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9658129?selectedversion=NBD4476220

Deliorman D. et al, Pharmaceutical Biology, 2001:39(3):234-235, Iridoids from Galium aparine. https://doi.org/10.1076/phbi.39.3.234.5928

Grieve, Maud , 1971. “Clivers”. A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folklore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses, Volume 1. Dover Publications. p. 206. ISBN 9780486227986

The Violets Season

Welcome back my dear reader! My love for nature and its wonders is growing to such a speed that I have forgot to post my monthly blog in July and August is almost gone.. He! He!

So coming back to plants, there are so many that I have progressively started to love and introduce in my daily use. Today, my focus is on one of my favourite weed from my garden: the sweet violet (Viola Odorata). It’s in season at the moment and delights the eye as well as the smell.

But little did we know that the sweet violets, flowers and leaves, are edible as well as have medicinal properties. Their extravagant perfume has been appreciated by many in the past history. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte was attracted by the soothing sweet aroma that makes one smile. He was known to his supporters the Corporal Violet.

A snippet about Napoleon’s love for violets: Violets are native to the Mediterranean, including Napoleon’s home island of Corsica. Therefore he would have been very familiar with the adorable happy little hardy flowers. Perhaps he may as well have picked violet bouquets for his mother as a boy. What we know for sure from history books is that the sweet scent of violets was the favourite fragrance of his first wife, Josephine. Not only she wore violets on her wedding day but every year, on the anniversary of their marriage, Napoleon sent her a bouquet of violets. Napoleon would wear a perfume specially made for him with violet base. (Kane, 2015)

According to the “doctrine of Signatures” herbs will have the shape, color, texture of the organ/system are good to use as remedy. In the case of the Viola, it resembles the heart shape; therefore it would mend an emotionally broken heart. Since time immemorial this humble, yet powerful plant has been used for many ailments. Current research on Viola demonstrated that its chemical constituents, in the form of alkaloids, salicylate, saponin, mucilage, or vitamin C are responsible for the acclaimed therapeutic applications (Chandra 2015) including:

  • Heart tonic both emotional as well as for physical pain;
  • Respiratory conditions;
  • Purification of the blood;
  • Treatment of skin bruises, acne or rashes.

So how can we use the plant to gain such powerful benefits?

I will share two of my favs:

A word of caution: this is a VERY powerful plant: one must use it with care in very small quantities: the saponin component from the plant may cause some stomach for some people.

#1 Violet Tea

  • Infuse 1 teaspoon of dried violet flowers in a 250 grams of warm water;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow and aid the liver in purifying the blood. Furthermore it helps expectorate mucus when respiratory problems are present. Additionally, if consumed before bed time, the aroma of the flowers calms the nervous system and helps the mind to quiet down for a restful sleep.

# 2 Violet Flower Fermented Cooling Drink

This one is a very old recipe I learned of from my grandmother.

Ingredients

  • One cup clean sweet violets (viola odorata);
  • 3 Litres of water preferably boiled and cooled;
  • 5 table spoon of honey;
  • The juice from one lemon or a table spook of Apple cider vinegar;

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a 4 litre wide open jar and let it rest/ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days.
  • Decant and distribute the syrup in flip-top bottles and place the bottles in a safe place to ferment further for up to five days or drink immediately. CAUTION: fermentation will happen more quickly in warmer temperatures. Carefully ensure that all bottles are checked for the carbonation level and release the carbon dioxide during this time. Store the bottles in a cool place.

This drink is wonderful to clear heat and detoxify.

What a great gift we have with this little purple flower.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Chandra, et al. Curent research in Chemistry,2015, 7:44-52, Phytochemical and Ethnomedicinal Uses of Family Violaceae, https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=crc.2015.44.52

Kane, 2015, The Return of Corporal Violet https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/the-return-of-corporal-violet/

The Orange Season

Time Tested Solutions for a Healthier Living

I am not a big fan of cold, but I am a big fan of citrus fruits. And now, when the temperatures are dropping into teens the citruses in all their splendour abundance are my go to fruits for many reasons. A not too distant research (Morand et al., 2011), advocated that a component found in oranges, (called hesperidin) may increase the blood flow throughout the body. Interestingly, a little later, another study (Takumi et al., 2012) demonstrated that just eating a few oranges before going out into the cold can make our fingers and toes a little warmer. It makes me wonder, how come the nature knows when to provide these blessed fruits for our benefits?

But did you know that while we all enjoy the juice and the fruit itself, it is the skin peel that brings more health benefits? More often than not it gets thrown out so that the worms in the worm farm benefit.

Soo… you guessed, this blog is more about that orange peel fresh or dry. I’m going to share few ways to use it outlining their beneficial aspects.

#1 Orange Peels Non-toxic Cleaner – Concentrate

There are some specific chemical components, (terpenes, saponins, phenols) in orange peels that make them appealing as natural, non-toxic cleaner. They can be easily extracted using vinegar. Here is how:

  • Take 2 cups orange peels (lemon or lime works too);
  • Fill a jar with 2-3 cups white vinegar;
  • Seal tightly and let it set in a cool dark places for about three weeks;
  • Decant using a sieve into another bottle;

This is the CONCENTRATE cleaner. Therefore it must be diluted before use (50/50 is my preferred. You can dilute more if u want).

Surfaces that this cleaner works as tested by BIBI:

  • Porcelain, fiberglass;
  • Bathroom tiles;
  • Shower glass door – excellent soap scum remover;
  • Toilet cleaner.

Note: I did not use it on other surfaces.

# 2 Orange Flavoured Salt with Awesome Health Benefits

If the oranges are grown organically, their peels are very useful in cooking with exceptional health benefits (Rafiq et al, 2018).

The chemical components that make the peels clean the surfaces in the house, are also responsible for cleaning the body inside out. So hold your horses and do not be surprised because consuming the peels can benefit the body in the following ways:

  • 2a) Weight loss management
    • Orange flavoured tea: Make a tea from fresh or dried orange peels (1 teaspoon + 300 ml boiled water, let infuse for 10 minutes, decant and do not let the peels into the tea as it makes it too bitter. It will add a nice twist of flavour to the green or black tea.
    • Orange flavoured salt: Grind dried orange peel and mix with herbs (thyme, rosemary are my best friends) and your choice of salt.
    • Immunity booster ,Prevention of heart health disorders
      • Use 5 to 9 grams of ground orange peels in serve of yogurt, smoothie or home-made protein bar.

# 3 Orange Infused Oil

In an air-tight jar (0.5 L) add strips of dried orange peel. Cover with olive oil and let it infuse for at least a week in a dark place away from the sunlight. Not only this will make an awesome salad dressing but it will also add a blissful glowing if used on your skin. So what are you waiting for? Start the winter season with some great ways to keep your house, yourself and your skin healthy and glowing.

This oil is perfect for a self-massage: one you can do every day to sooth stress but more importantly to re-energise your body by stimulating the lymph thus helping the body do its own healing. Best time to do it is just before having the bath in the evening.

For more recipes or information on how to aromatically keep your house, yourself and your skin healthy and glowing click contact us.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.]

References

Morand et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011, 93(1):73-80.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21068346

Takumi, et al, Food Funct. 2012;3(4):389-98.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22307524

Rafiq et al, 2018, J Saudi Soc. Agric Sci 17(4) 351-358.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X16300960

Time Tested Cold Relievers

Grandma’s Aromatic Cold Cure

Last night’s cold temperature reminded me of a bitter experience I had in my early youth. I was commuting to my job by bus in another town about 12 km distance away. The temperature reached minus 23 degrees Celsius. After several stops, the buss wouldn’t start. Ouch! We were caught between the two towns: with phenomenal view of majestic frozen mountains on both sides of the road. The driver suggested that we better start walking. So we did. We had walked about 4 km to get to the first house in the town where my job was. When the journey came to an end, my nostrils and left eye were almost frozen. Imagine the rest…..

Ok .. Ok I admit, I was way out of my thermal comfort back then.

Anyway, if you are living in Melbourne, you know that one cannot have this sort of experience. So why did I feel it was so cold?

Aha! You guessed: is all about personal thermal comfort. Meaning whatever I am comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes 14 degrees Celsius are just fine while other times not. That is because the thermal comfort is a subjective evaluation of what thousands of thermal skin sensors communicate to the nervous and endocrine system. Interestingly, the thermal skin sensors are distributed unequally on the body, with more sensors in the exposed regions of the body: feet, ankles, hands, wrists, neck, face and head. Therefore, having one or more of these regions exposed to the outdoor weather is linked to how cold/hot the body feels.

But would feeling cold make you getting the cold?

Feeling cold and catching a cold are not necessarily directly related. Even though colds and other respiratory illnesses are more prevalent in the colder months, it does not mean that they are caused by it. More likely, we get them because we might be tired, under emotional stress or lacking some essential minerals and vitamins. Colds are caused by a group of viruses referred to as rhinoviruses.

Best way to stay healthy this cold season is to keep the hands clean and avoid touching the nose, eyes or the face with unwashed hands. If the unavoidable happened and the cold signs (runny nose, scratchy throat, and nonstop sneezing) are developing, relax and read on. Grandma’s recipes are at hand.

Important to remember that the remedies provided here rarely cause adverse effects: some can inhibit viruses while other can alleviate cold symptoms. It is up to you to choose and educate yourself about what works best for you.

I share here three of my best ways to unbug yourself: the easy way: on your pocket as well as on your body.

#1 Decongestant Aromatic Herbal Bath

This is my absolute favourite and is an old fashioned remedy for colds. You can either brew a strong tea using the herbs below or use their essential oils (about 2 drops of each) to the bath.

In a large 5 l pot bring to boil water with:

  • 2 cups eucalyptus leaves
  • ½ cup of thyme leaves
  • 1 cup of rosemary leaves
  • 1cup of peppermint leaves

Cover and let it rest for about 5 min. Strain out the herbs and pour the solution in the bath making sure that the water is not too hot (about 40degrees Celsius ).

#2 Boost the Immune System with the Humble Chicken Soup

Slow cook a chicken soup with my secret ingredient.

Recipe

  • 1 medium chicken
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ celeriac root
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 8 – 10 black peppercorns
  • 2cm fresh ginger
  • Secret ingredient: shiitake mushrooms (lentinus edodes).

Since ancient times, (as early as AD60 by Pedacius Dioscorides, Roman surgeon under Nero) the chicken soup was considered the ultimate cold and flu fighter and a tested way to boost your own immune system. Today’s deep science understandings enable us to also know why. The trick with it is to cook the chicken as slow as possible in a slow cooker. By cooking for longer time at relatively low temperature, the soup has multiple benefits as listed in Table 1.

Table 1. The chicken soup: more than just another hot liquid.

Effect Reason
Mild-
antiinflammatory
Increases mucus flow (Saketkhoo, et al 1978)
antioxidants Carrots, onions (Suileria et al 2015)
Prevents dehydration Parsnip- important source of potassium
Metabolism enhancer Black pepper
Blocks the attachment and internalisation of human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) Ginger is an effective element against virus (HRSV) infections (Chang et al., 2003) –
less dietary glycotoxins
Cooking the foods using intense heat, causes the sugars to bind with proteins (e.a. collagen and elastin fibers) to form glycotoxins. The visual evidence of this termo-chemical reaction is the browning observed in food cooked above 110 degrees Celsius. The cookies and cake in the oven, the chicken on the grill, and the potatoes in the frying pan are all browning as a result of dietary glycotoxins.
Antiviral properties garlic’s sulfur-potentially has a role here (Cochrane Library 2014)
Tonic to the immune system Shiitake mushrooms possess substances called polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system by increasing the body’s production of antiviral substance interferon.(Gunawardena, et al, 2014)


Feel free to add any other herbs. Experimenting is key in cooking!

#3 Aromatic Herbal Remedies and Inhalations

A plethora of teas are available in health shops and pharmacy. My current choice of herbal remedies is based on taste as well as scientific evidence. The following combination provides a nice, fresh and sweet taste that is pleasant either hot or cold.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

This herb’s essential oil is used as nasal decongestant and inhalants. It affects the bronchial smooth muscle cells (Meamarbashy et al, 2014) as well as it can be used in combating nausea even in pregnancy (Gordon & Love, 2018). In fact, the essential oil can be used in a diluted form on the temples to reduce headaches (making sure that the eyes are well protected).

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger blends well with many other herbs. It is also very versatile as it can be used in fresh and dried form equally. Ginger can be boiled for tea, in soups or stir-fries with equal effect. As it is a warming plant, avoid using when high fever is present.

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice root is commonly used in alternative medicine to treat colds and sore throats. However, licorice does not only act upon the respiratory system(Gulati et al 2016). It can also be soothing to the gut and work as an effective liver cleanser and blood detoxifier when combined with other herbs. Licorice will sweeten the tea due glycyrrhizin, a compound that can be up to 50 times sweeter than sugar. This sweet compound inhibits tissue inflammation, reduces oxidative stress and has significant anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder it has been heralded as the “go to” herb when cold season hits in so many cultures around the Globe (Ancient Greeks, China, India). Use the tea for maximum a week only as to avoid overdosing on glycyrrhiza (50 times sweeter than sugar). More about licorice is summarised in the (American Botanical Council).

For more information on how to aromatically keep the cold at bay using diet, herbs and aromatic essential oils, contact us.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.]

References

Chang et al., 2003, J Ethnopharmacol., 9;145(1):146-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123794

Cochrane Library,2014, Garlic for the common (cold.https://www.cochrane.org/CD006206/ARI_garlic-common-cold)

Gordon and Love, 2018, Chapter 54:Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy Pages 542-549, in Integrative Medicine, 4th Edition. Ed. Rakel D Elsevier Inc. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/peppermint)

Gulati et al, 2016, Nutraceuticals in Respiratory Disorders, in Nutraceuticals: Efficacy, Safety and Toxicity, Ed Gupta, Elsevier Inc.

( https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/glycyrrhiza-glabra)

Gunawardena et al, 2014 Food Chem. 1;148:92-6. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262531)

Licorice Root – American Botanical Council http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Licoriceroot.html?ts=1559265640&signature=1d1115ec53db851b893ed9193a017150

Meamarbashy, 2014, Avicenna J Phytomed., 4(1): 72–78. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103722/)

Suileria et al, 2015, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.;55(1):50-66., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915405

Saketkhoo et al, 1978; Chest. 74(4):408-10.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/359266

Aromatherapy and Gastronomic Treats

Three Gentle Ways for a Life of Great Health

Because it is summer and the last couple of days were a bit hot here in Melbourne, I will dwell a little on the connection between Aromatherapy and Gastronomy. I encourage the exploration of gentle and safe available options using culinary essential oils. As always, this blog is for education only and I strongly encourage consultation with a therapist trained in the specific protocols related to the use of essential oils internally. Be safe first, everything else will follow naturally. If in doubt you are always welcome to contact BIBI Therapy with your enquiries.

Imagination is the only limitation when it comes to harnessing the essential oils benefits to not only enhance the culinary delights you might create, but also to have great health benefits. I will share three of my absolute favourite: Black pepper, Fennel and Juniper berries.

The oil How it works
Black Pepper Piper Nigrum This spice has been linked to gastronomic delight for millennia. Not only it enhances gastrointestinal functionality while boosting nutrients absorption but its rich phytochemistry provides physiological benefits in cognitive brain functioning. (Butt, M et al 2013). Constipation : Abdominal massage ( Buckle, 2003), stimulates the colon and gets the stagnant build up moving again (Turan and Ast, 2016);
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel was valued by ancient Chinese, Egyptians as well as Romans. The common denominator the belief that it conveyed longevity, courage and strength. Fennel seeds have also been used for hundreds of years as a digestive aid. Fennel essential oil has long been used as an appetite suppressant and is believed by some to help with weight loss. It is beneficial for the digestive system and is believed to be a tonic for fatigue. It is also one of the best detoxifying essential oils and is much used in lymphatic drainage massage. Irritable bowel syndrome(Portincasa et al, 2016): Abdominal massage with diluted oil or taken internally (1-2 drops) in a favourite smoothie Alcohol poisoning: Fennel can be taken internally in the form of tea decoction ; Additional information on safe use can be found following the link. Not to be taken in pregnancy or lactation.
Juniper berries Juniperus communis Known for its flavouring qualities of famous spirits designated as gins. The many chemical components existing in this balsamic pine scented oil make it very useful as antiseptic diuretic, tonic as well as bactericidal and strong fungicidal properties (Pepeljnjak et al, 2005). Can provide effective relief from bloating (Bouyahyaoui et al 2016)

My preferred way is to use them in a flavoured salt with wither the oils or the actual spices: Metabolism Enhancing Detoxifying Flavoured Salt

Here is how to make it: two drops from each of the essential oils (Black pepper, Fennel and Juniper) mixed with 100 g salt (Himalayan Pin, Celtic Gray, Sea salt etc). If you prefer grounding the actual spices you might like the following ratio: one table spoon Fennel seeds, one table spoon of Black pepper and juniper berries. De gustibus non disputandum est, along the line with in matter of taste there can be no disputes.

CAUTION!!! It is important to be aware that any of the oils described here are very powerful and should only be used in very small quantities. Avoid using them if pregnant or if you undergo chemotherapy as the components in these oils interact with the treatment; consult your natural therapist or doctor.

Wishing you a great green time this March 2019.

Precautions

  • The use of any oil should not replace any prescribed course of treatment. If you have a sensitive skin, make sure you conduct a patch test before you splash essential oils on your skin;
  • Always dilute the essential oils, ratio of 2-3 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice and
  • remember to check with a practitioner who specialises in aromatherapy before attempting to use any essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant, nursing or undertaking any special medication including homeopathic medication.

Sources

Buckle, J.,Clinical Aromatherapy. 2003; 20: 310, One of the simplest and most gentle ways to ease constipation is through abdominal massage using essential oils.

Turan and Ast, Gastroenterol Nurs., The Effect of Abdominal Massage on Constipation and Quality of Life; 2016; 39(1) 48-59.

Bouyahyaoui et al, Nat Prod Commun. Antimicrobial Activity and Chemical Analysis of the Essential Oil of Algerian Juniperus phoenicea. 2016: 11(4):519-522

Butt, MS et al Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Black pepper and health claims: a comprehensive treatise. 2013; 53(9): 875-886; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23768180

Pepeljnjak S, et al, Antimicrobial activity of juniper berry essential oil (Juniperus communis L., Cupressaceae). 2005; 55(4):417-422; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16375831

Portincasa P et al, J Gastrointestin. Liver Dis, Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, 2016; 25(2)151-157 ; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27308645

Grounded in LOVE with Essential Oils

Rose Petals Phase Mask and Face Mist

I love roses. Do you? If you received so many roses, and don’t know what to do with them read on.

Since I was a child, I learned to appreciate the rose petals beyond their fragile appearance and the exquisite smell. We used rose petals in flavouring the salt or the sugar, we made jam and used them in cooling drinks during the hot summer days. However, this blog is not about the culinary uses of roses. This is the subject of our Nutrition Therapy Blog to be launched soon. Today’s blog is about the Beautifying properties using Rose Petals and Rose Essential oil.

Specifically, I will outline a two of my favourite ways to use rose oil and rose petals for beauty’s sake. It needs to be noted that reference is only made to the Rose Damask type (Rosa damascena), from which the Rose essential oil is extracted.

Favourite # 1

Rose Petal Hydrosol

  • Can be made at home but requires a large amount of petals
  • It is best if it is purchased from a reputable supplier
  • Works wonders as a personal mist spray, similar to the one described in the previous blog
  • The aroma-therapeutic benefits include but are not limited to: excellent hydrating, energising and cooling properties, naturally fragrance that is soothing and helps the regeneration of the skin.
  • Can be emulsified to make your own moisturizer
  • Can be used as a skin toner
  • Can be used in cooking as a flavouring agent
  • Has antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that are confirmed by centuries of use and current research (Mahboubi, 2015)

Favourite #2

Rose Petal Phase Mask includes the use of essential oils. Essentially the mask would target the skin type.

Ingredients: A handful of fresh rose petals if available, else dried petals are always available 1 table spoon of raw honey 1 drop of Rose Essential oil 1 table spoon of White Kaolin Clay 2 table spoons Rose Floral water. The use of more or less water would result in the paste being thicker or thinner. The choice is yours.
Procedure If using fresh petals chop them finely then use a mortar and pestle to grind them well. Add the rest of the ingredients and apply it gently on the face using a fine brush. Rest for about 15 min or until the mask starts to dry but is not fully dried Remove gently with warm water. Enjoy.
BIBI Therapy of this as a Signature Facial Treatment, details Radiance Facial Treatment

For more information on how to formulate your own face mask using essential oils, contact us.

References

Mahboubi, 2015, J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Oct 30;6(1):10-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26870673

Super-Refreshing Natural Homemade Cooling Mist

Beat the Summer Heat in Style

It’s summer is hotter who knows to keep cooler? I know a way and it’s a spray I hope you’d like and make it straightway.

Well, so far the summer, here in Melbourne has hit us all with its beautiful hot air to the point that in some places even the electricity failed to keep up with the demand.

While having thermal comfort provided by an air conditioning environment is considered a privileged commodity in the 21st century; little do we really know about the diverse indoor air pollutants (e.g. toxins, microbes) that may cause tangible discomfort to our health (Samet and Spengler, 2003).

BIBI Therapy advocates a more holistic approach to keeping cool while achieving odour comfort as well. It is truly simple as well as it is beneficial to the skin microbiome.

The reader has the choice to opt whichever way is suitable for the given individual’s health situation.

My preferred cooling way is using a water/based sprits that I prepare using various herb hydrosols. Some of the advantages making your own mist spray are outlined below:

  • The use of the essential oils in the spray form directly on the skin, keep the sweaty skin free of bacteria and germs;
  • The Peppermint or spearmint oil helps invigorate you with the soft refreshing and cooling properties
  • It is safe to use directly on the skin for the entire family; avoid contact with the eye;
  • The aloe Vera keeps the skin hydrated and helps with any sun exposed regions;
  • It calms the redness and inflammation on acne prone skin
  • It can act as a pH balancer on the skin if it is sprayed on the face, avoiding eye region. Follow with rosehip oil to moisturise for better results.
  • Free from alcohol Palm oil, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or colour.

To make the mist just follow the instruction provided below:

Ingredients:Basic Liquid: Lavender hydrosol(10ml) with 100 ml water
Basic Essential Oils: Peppermint or Spearmint 10 drops, Lemongrass Oil 5 drops, Lavender oil 5 drops
Extra Essential Oils: 3 drops of Vetiver or Sandal wood for added perfume benefits
Sage – This will help reduce activity in the sweat glands, which is one of the main causes of body odour.
Aloe Vera Gel
Procedure:Combine the oil with Aloe Vera gel than add the hydrosol and water.
Shake well.
Storage:Store in a glass spritzer bottle to keep the aroma fresh and potent.
For extra cooling effects keep in the fridge.
Use within 2 to 3 weeks of preparation and store in the fridge.
Do not add alcohol as it is drying to the skin.

For more information on how to formulate your own face mist using essential oils, leave a comment below!

Precautions

If you have a sensitive skin, make sure you conduct a patch test before you splash essential oils under your armpit. Check with your family Doctor before attempting to use any essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant, nursing or undertaking any special medication including homeopathic medication.

Disclaimer

The information and reference guides provided by BIBI Therapy are intended solely for the general information. Please seek advice from a specialist or your health care provider if you require any advice on medications.

References

Samet and Spengler, Am. J. Public Health 2003, 93(9): 1489-1493

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447998/

Happy Gut, Happy Brain, Happy You

Essential Oils and Gut Health

You know the expression “the gut feeling” one? Did you know that we have three brains that enable us to make decisions? But do we know how take care of them? Which one is more important? Why? Are they connected? How? It turns out that Science has made the connection between digestive-system activity and cognition (thinking skills and memory), in other words there is clear link between The Mind and The Gut (Soosalu and Oka, 2012).

Let’s have a look how can one take care of one of the brains residing in the Gut. Yes, it’s scientifically demonstrated that our second brain is in the gut. Gut microbiota contains more than three million microbial genes, which is 150 times more than the human genome itself. In other words the 100 + trillion odd cells residing in the gut, forming the gut microbiota communicate in an extraordinary way with the Brain Central Nervous System

Heading on to the Holiday Season, we surely experience a great deal of feelings, be it because we enjoy some extra delicious foods or simply because we feel guilty/or not for doing so. The plethora of feelings varies from person to person. They may start in waves of anticipation and excitement for the season. Then just when you want to savor the moments they’re gone on the Ether. Feelings of weakness, stress, anxiety even depression knock on the Brain’s door. So what can you do? Well you can always resort to Aromatherapy as a sure way to lift up the spirits a bit.

That is to say we can use some essential oils to calm symptoms relating to the functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain, stomach upset. So fixing problems in the gut affects what’s happening in the brain. There is a growing body of research based evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends signals to the Central nervous system that ultimately affect the mood changes, demonstrating the relationship between gut microbiota, stress and anxiety.

So let’s see how can we keep the digestive system in top condition, while keeping the immune system alert and functioning using ancient Aromatherapy way. The table below outlines some of the essential oils than can be effective in facilitating the digestion of food. Using the oils for a massage or adding drops to skin and hair care products can be equally beneficial.

Table 1. Fragrant solutions to help keep digestion and the gut working in top condition. Not surprisingly, some oils are also very effective in emotional problems.

* — Caution: Avoid using this oil if pregnant. Do no use this oil if you undergo chemotherapy, components of this oil interact with the treatment; consult your doctor before using it.

OilBotanical NameEffect on the gut and how to useSource
Peppermint*Mentha x piperita
  • Relieves bloating, nausea and reliving symptoms in IBS (McKay et al, 2006);
  • Refreshing, stimulating and settling of digestive system
  • Inhalation or topical application of one drop on the stomach (wash hands well after use)
  • For safety use read more
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • when it comes to your digestive system, lavender protects against dysbiosis, the technical term for impaired microbiota. It has healing properties and is anti-inflammatory in nature
  • Inhalation and topical application Caution is advised when using lavender and drugs that induce sleepiness, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates or drugs to reduce blood pressure.
CuminCuminum cyminum
  • extremely effective in treating IBS: reduced bloating and pain (Agah, 2013);
  • can be used in favouring foods or topical application on the belly diluted 3%.
ThymeThymus vulgaris
  • Thyme suppresses pathogens in the small intestine;
  • Topical application of diluted oil only; use a carrier oil such as olive, coconut, almond or jojoba.
  • Thyme is my absolute favourite oil and herb; its uses exceed the digestion benefits.

So, are essential oils more than just a lovely scent? Absolutely! But while their benefits can be amazing, so can their side effects if they’re used incorrectly – just be sure to do your research first.

So this Christmas, keep the gut happy and you will be happy too.

Wishing you a great time of Peace and Light, Joy and Calm.

Precautions

If you choose to put on the oils mentioned above, please consider the following:

  • The use of any oil should not replace any prescribed course of treatment. If you have a sensitive skin, make sure you conduct a patch test before you splash essential oils on your skin;
  • Caution is advised when using lavender and drugs that induce sleepiness, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates or drugs to reduce blood pressure;
  • Always dilute the essential oils, ratio of 2-3 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice and
  • remember to check with a medical practitioner who specialises in aromatherapy before attempting to use any essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant, nursing or undertaking any special medication including homeopathic medication.

Sources

Agah et al, 2013, Cumin extract for symptoms control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a case series, Middle East J Dig Dis.2013, 5(4):217-22.

McKay DL, Blumberg JB. 2006, A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytotherapy Research. 2006,20(8):619-633.

Soosalu, G and Oka M, mBraining: Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff, mBIT International, PTthy, Ptd, 2012.

Aromatic Reflection Beyond the Perfume Scent

Do you have a Reflection Ritual? What is your reflection Ritual? This blog is about Reflection. Before the rush of the end of the Holy Season and the End of The Year, I invite you to take a moment and reflect on the Year we are about to bring to a close. Reflect on your well-being, your achievements or perhaps you wish to remove some of the roadblocks that life brought unexpectedly. It is a time of sharing time with yourself. I choose to share my reflection ritual in the hope that it would entice the reader to take the road of reflection, even if it is just for a moment.

Set up the scene: put on some nice music. My preferred music is a soft violin of the classical kind. The idea is to enchant the brain through sound. This creates specific reverberations in response to the frequencies we hear. There is a whole theory on this topic alone.

Prepare a nice cup of tea: drink it from the most expensive tea cup. Since this is a ritual, I only use the most expensive cups for this purpose. Prepare your favourite tea. My favourite tea is chamomile tea.

Set up the ambiance: light p some candles, or dim the light in the room. My preferred way is to light up a few unscented beeswax candles, turn off the light and relax. Clear my mind.

Immerse in the enchanting scent of a particular essential oil. These days is so easy to just put a few drops of essential in a diffuser and let the room be filled with magic. Depending on the reflection point I would use different oils. Table below shows a few reflection points and the oils used to help anchor and tune into the issue of choice. Now, this is a strong element because it touches the central part of the Aromatherapy. The scent of the oils helps us to aromatically anchor new neuropathways and beliefs, as we reflect. The scents influence the heart rate, how we feel about life experiences. Moreover, inhaling the aroma of a specific enable us to tune into the energetic field of the plant where this oil has been extracted. Thus we would emotionally resonate and vibrate at different frequency. This blog will not cover in details this topic, rather provides a way of tuning into reflection moments with the goal to re-frame emotional issues we might experience.

If you would like to get a personal consultation from me and learn how to use the essential oils to aromatically anchor you and enhance your emotional care, please contact me here. Let’s stay connected!

Until next blog, cherish you’re your own magnificence and allow your true beauty to soar and touch others, starting with the ones are closest to you.

Table 1. Scented solutions to enhance emotional care through focused reflection.

Oil Botanical Name Reflection points
Myrtle Myrtus communis Am I experiencing feelings of pain or struggle with unresolved matters?

What makes me shine or radiate beauty around me?

Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis Am I burdened or indifferent to the demands of life?

What makes me relaxed?

Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus Am I limiting myself in any way?

What fascinates me to embark on the unknown voyage of discovery?

Peppermint* Mentha piperita Am I lacking focus in my life’s journey?

What propels me forward, upward towards my glorious dream?

* — Caution: Avoid using this oil if you have a problem with estrogen dominance or any condition that would suffer from excess estrogen. Do no use this oil if you undergo chemotherapy, components of this oil interact with the treatment, consult your doctor before using it.

Precautions

If you choose to put on the oils mentioned above, please consider the following:

  • If you have a sensitive skin, make sure you conduct a patch test before you splash essential oils on your skin.
  • Always dilute the essential oils, ratio of 2-3 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice and
  • remember to check with a medical practitioner who specialises in aromatherapy before attempting to use any essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant, nursing or undertaking any special medication including homeopathic medication.