Beat Hay Fever This Spring with Essential Oils

It’s that time of the year again in the southern hemisphere where the sun is coming out and flowers are beginning to bloom. Although spring is a season of rejuvenation and warmth, it can be a nightmare for up to 10% of the world’s population who are affected by allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as hay fever. In Australia alone it affects 1 in 5 people and is particularly prevalent in people who suffer from asthma. Pollen from trees, grass and weeds is spread through the wind, birds and bees, which can cause allergic rhinitis. Classic symptoms involve a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and scratchy throats which typically leads to poor sleep quality.

Some people have turned to essential oils in order to relieve the frustrating symptoms of hay fever, and notably they use peppermint oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil and lavender oil.

Peppermint oil: Assists in clearing nasal congestion and can help treat headaches.

Lavender oil: A part from providing a soothing effect, lavender serves as a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine to reduce symptoms of hay fever.

Lemon oil: Helps strengthen the immune system and reduces respiratory conditions. Also drains the lymphatic system and may inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Eucalyptus and Tea Tree oil: Clears sinuses and airways to assist in relieving respiratory conditions. Tea tree oil can overcome airborne pathogens that are the cause of allergies, and it also contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Visit www.in-a-box.com.au for all of these hay fever-combatting products!

The best way to achieve relief from hay fever is using these oils in conjunction with an aroma diffuser, otherwise known as diffusing the oil. Have it diffusing during the day in the living room and at night in the bedroom to provide around-the-clock relief. It will guarantee a better night’s sleep for sure!

References:

http://www.organicauthority.com/health/essential-oils-to-relieve-hayfever-allergies.html

http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/pollen-allergy

https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-allergies/

Essential Oil of the Week: Clove Bud

Clove bud originates from the clove tree which is native to Southeast Asia. Clove bud essential oil is one of the most popular oils due to its antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal properties. It is particularly known for its oral benefits ever since the ancient Greeks and Romans used clove bud to alleviate tooth aches and bad breath. Here are some more handy facts about the noted abilities of clove bud:

  • Eliminate mould: Its antibacterial and antimould qualities assist in the removal of mould.
  • Reduce nausea: It is often used to reduce nausea, vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy.
  • Infections: Its antiseptic properties render it as an effective agent in the treatment of wounds, cuts, athlete’s foot, infections and bruises.
  • Dental care: Although it is not recommended that pure clove oil should be induced or applied topically, or any pure essential oil for that matter, rinsing your mouth with clove oil that is excessively diluted in water may help reduce tooth pain, gum pain, cavities and bad breath.
  • Decrease stress: Clove oil is considered an aphrodisiac which helps to overcoming stress.
  • Insect repellant: The strong scent of clove bud assists in warding away insects.
  • Blood circulation: Massage your skin and muscles using clove oil diluted in a carrier oil to improve blood circulation.

Essentials In-A-Box sells a 15ml pure Clove Bud essential oil for AU$17.95. 

 

 

References:

www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-clove-oil.html

www.articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/clove-bud-oil.aspx

www.naturallivingideas.com/clove-oil-benefits-uses/

www.backdoorsurvival.com/20-ways-to-benefit-from-clove-essential-oil/

Essential Oil of the week: Rose Geranium

The sweet tones of Rose Geranium not only deliver a beautiful scent, but may also provide a number of health benefits. The geranium plant itself is native to South Africa, and was originally used to heal wounds and burns. The plant was brought to Europe in the 17th century to become a popular ingredient in perfumes, as it still remains to this day.

Rose geranium has a following for being useful in more ways than one, and is commonly used by aromatherapists to treat stress. Its light, fragrant scent is also enjoyed to create an uplifting environment through dispersing the scent with an aromatherapy diffuser. Other believed benefits include:

  • Treatment of nose and throat infections – Its anti-viral and antibacterial properties help to fight off infections.
  • Depression – The vibrant scent directly affects mental functioning and mood.
  • Insomnia – Creates a soothing atmosphere through the fragrant smell of the oil.
  • Anti-ageing effects – Assists in promoting cell growth and rejuvenation, as well as preventing the sagging of skin and muscles.
  • Helps ease symptoms of menopause and menstruation
  • Increases urination- To dispose of toxins and bile from the body.
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s and dementia – Geranium oil contains microglial cells which release anti-inflammatories in the neural pathways which can initiate neural degeneration.

Essentials In-a-Box has a pure Rose Geranium essential oil in a 15ml bottle for AU$21.95, which is perfect to use in an aroma diffuser in order to experience its therapeutic benefits.

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*Note: We do not recommend that essential oils should be applied topically due to their high concentration.

References:

http://blog.scentedleaf.com/2010/07/rose-scented-pelargoniums-geraniums.html

http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/geranium-oil.aspx

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-geranium-essential-oil.html

Aromatherapy Around the World

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The use of plant extracts for healing purposes dates back more than 40,000 years ago and was the basis for modern aromatherapy, which has recently been gaining more momentum in the western world. However, the use of herbs and plants to treat emotional, mental and physical ailments has been widespread for thousands of years and there is evidence to demonstrate its use on almost every continent. Let’s take a trip around the world to see how some cultures have relied on aromatherapy!

Egypt

The ancient Egyptians began to experiment with aromatherapy in 3500 BC when they burned incense in order to send prayers to their gods. A thousand years later, they began to use plant extracts for the purpose of embalming bodies for mummification, and as important healing medicines to treat illness and disease.

India

The traditional form of Indian medicine is Ayurveda, and essential oils and incense have been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years. Aromatherapy has been incorporated into many different treatments for the purpose of aiding psychological and physical ailments, as Ayurveda practitioners believe that herbal ingredients can be used to prevent infections, to cleanse one’s environment and to rejuvenate the body.

China

Chinese medicine is the second oldest system of medicine and is still prevalent today despite the rise of pharmacology. Chinese practitioners would use sandalwood to treat cholera, and the earliest document on Chinese aromatherapy dates back to 2000 BC.

Europe

The ancient Greeks and Romans took the medicine practices of the Egyptians and expanded on their knowledge. Europeans would use plant extracts to purify the mind and soul as well as to treat physical diseases and illnesses, and the Romans exhibited this through their scented baths and body treatments. The Greek physician Hippocrates incorporated plant extracts into his treatments and even advised people to have an aromatic massage a day for general wellness. I think we could all agree with that.

Australia

The indigenous people of Australia relied heavily on native plant extracts such as tea tree and eucalyptus oil in order to treat a variety of ailments. The aboriginals have relied on some of the thousands of plant species native to Australia since approximately 40,000 years ago. They continue to be used today for antibacterial and antiviral purposes as their healing properties are still considered miraculous.

South America

The Aztecs would burn incense for religious purposes and used plant extracts for purification of the mind and soul, which was discovered by the conquistadors when they invaded in the 16th century.

 

References:

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/native_australian_essential_oils#ixzz4GQgac1Xl

http://whereandwhatintheworld.com/2013/08/aromatherapy-around-the-world.html

http://www.crystalinks.com/aromatherapy.html

http://www.quinessence.com/history_of_aromatherapy.htm

http://www.suzannebovenizer.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/history

 

Traditional & Natural Australian Remedies

Australia is home to some spectacular plant species and animals that are not found on any other continent in the world. The indigenous Australians had unrivaled knowledge of the land and the flora and fauna which grew from it. Their sophisticated understanding of the properties of particular plants and their uses were necessary for survival- particularly for medicinal purposes. Thousands of years later, people are still using natural medicines native to Australia in order to treat skin conditions, symptoms of colds and flu, viruses and infections. Most people would be familiar with quite a few of them.

Eucalyptus Oil

Gum Tree

Eucalyptus oil has been a notable treatment for the symptoms of coughs and colds for thousands of years. Aborigines would use the eucalyptus leaves to prevent infection in wounds and cuts, and people have been amazed by the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees are now grown all over the world for their medicinal purposes.

Tea tree Oil

Many aboriginal tribes along the east coast of Australia have utilised tea tree oil to remedy sore throats, to avoid infection in wounds and for anti-viral means. In more recent times, tea tree oil has been validated as antibacterial and as an antiseptic. Essentially, it has countless uses which is why it has been considered as a significantly important medicine since ancient times. Due to the intensity of the plant, it is not meant for ingestion and can only be applied topically.

Witchetty grub

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Witchetty grubs have been a traditional method to treat burns and wounds. A common use of the witchetty grub was to make it into a paste, spread it over the wound/burn and bandage it up for rapid repair. In addition, they have been eaten as food for the nutrition they provide.

Emu Bush

The genus of the plant is Eremophilia, and the leaves have been used by Aboriginal tribes in the Northern Territory to wash and cleanse sores and cuts. More research is being done in regards to its uses, but in Australia it is currently being considered to be applied during surgeries for the sterilisation of implants. This is due to the recent discovery of their antibacterial agents.

Emu Oil

Taken from the fats of emus, Emu Oil is a popular treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and may assist in the movement of joints and decreasing arthritis pain. This is due to the potential anti-inflammatory properties as it contains fatty acids, and hence emu oil is often applied to decrease muscle pain. Emu oil may also be used to remove lines and wrinkles due to the moisturising properties. Of course, some argue whether it is ethical to source emu oil for medicinal purposes.

Gumby Gumby

The Gumby Gumby plant is controversial because of the claims that it treats cancer despite the lack of scientific research to validate those statements, and the warning that it could cause intense side-effects such as burning. Aside from this supposed miraculous remedy, the indigenous people of Australia regularly used it in many traditional medicinal applications for the purpose of treating coughs, colds and eczema.

References:

http://www.gumbygumby.info/medicaluse.html

http://theconversation.com/indigenous-medicine-a-fusion-of-ritual-and-remedy-33142

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2011/02/top-10-aboriginal-bush-medicines/

http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-flora

http://www.uniquelyemu.com/whyemuoil.htm

http://sydney.edu.au/alumni/sam/october2013/tee-tree.shtml

A Brief History of Aromatherapy

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Although the term ‘aromatherapy’ was only coined in the 20th century, plant extracts have been used for medicinal, fragrant, spiritual and cosmetic purposes for thousands of years. To start from the beginning, there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians in 3500 BC used plant extracts from cedarwood, cinnamon, clove and myrrh for the purposes of embalming bodies, to use as ingredients in cosmetics and as perfume for men and women. The ancient Greeks took the Egyptians’ knowledge of plants and discovered that the extracts could be applied as an anti-inflammatory and to heal wounds, as discovered by Hippocrates who is acknowledged as the ‘Father of Medicine’. Consequently, the Romans gathered information from the Egyptians and Greeks to record the properties of approximately 500 plant species, including their individual medicinal benefits. Knowledge of plant properties continued to grow through-out the ages with the extraction of essential oils through distillation (first invented in Persia), and soon essential oils were recognised through-out most of the world.

Essential oils are still used for a variety of purposes, and more recently they have been identified as an aid to combat stress and anxiety. The power of scent is not something to be undermined, as our sense of smell is directly connected to the parts of the brain that process emotions and memory. This is why essential oils can have the ability to stimulate our moods and emotions, and even assist in improving concentration and sleep.

Specific types of essential oils contain properties that provide some benefit aside from providing a wonderful scent, like the eucalyptus oil which assists in nasal congestion and overcoming colds and flu. Lavender oil helps to relieve tension and is known as a relaxant. Peppermint oil increases mental awareness while lemon oil helps to achieve clarity of the mind. The list goes on. Because there are no negative effects associated with the inhalation and diffusion of essential oils, they have become a popular and natural method to emotionally, mentally and physically treat the mind and body. Some people apply essential oils directly on to their skin, but due to their purity and high concentration it can cause rashes and other skin problems. Hence it is always advised to dilute the oil with a carrier oil first before skin application, as no essential oil is safe to use on skin in its purest form.

So the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were on the right track when experimenting with plant extracts for medicinal purposes. Although pharmaceutical products later became the primary way of treating illness, wounds and disease, people continue to swear by the powerful medicinal properties of essential oils.

References:

http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/history.asp

http://www.quinessence.com/history_of_aromatherapy.htm

Beat the Winter Blues with Essential Oils

With the cold weather in full force, it’s no wonder that our mood starts to reflect the grey, dreary skies. The lack of sunlight and shorter days may have a draining effect on our mental health, which is why people describe having the ‘winter blues’. Although there is a lack of valid science to support this as a legitimate condition, millions of people around the world claim to be a victim of the season-dependent depressive state.

Whether you are experiencing a gloomy state due to the weather or other circumstances, the power of scent can have a significant impact on your mood and emotions. The olfactory system (organs relating to the sense of smell) is directly connected to our limbic structures that process emotions and memory. This is why particular scents may assist in bringing you out of your winter funk by stimulating your mood. Some particular scents, such as citrus, peppermint, jasmine and bergamot, can be particularly helpful in lifting your spirits and relaxing the nervous system.

Essentials In-A-Box has a select few 100% pure essential oil blends that can help overcome the winter blues.

The Vitality, Happiness and Uplifting oil blends (15ml each) all serve the purpose of combating a downtrodden, depressed state.

Vitality specifically targets any exhaustion and fatigue, combining the scents of Lavender, Sandalwood, Clove, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Pink Grapefruit, Marjoram, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Lime and Orange. The citrus oils assist in rejuvenation through their sharp, zesty scents.

Happiness helps to increase overall wellbeing and contentment with Bergamot, Vanilla, Lemon Myrtle, Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Marjoram and Jasmine. Jasmine is known for its antidepressant properties and its ability to conjure feelings of romance and happiness.

Uplifting assists in elevating your spirits using Petitgrain, Pine needle Oil, Bergamot, Lavender, Patchouli, Lime, Lemon and Black Pepper. Bergamot may help with achieving clarity of the mind to counteract depression. Lavender is famous for relieving stress and tension by calming the nervous system.

So don’t let the winter blues bring you down-liven up your environment through diffusing essential oils. There are no side effects of using pure essential oils, and scores of people swear by their healing effects. Never underestimate the power of scent and the effect it can have on our moods and emotions, and even if you’re a skeptic, there is absolutely no harm in trying. I would highly recommend using these three blends which contain the specific ingredients used to help relieve depression and anxiety. Find them at in-a-box.com.au.

 

High Tea for Pink Ribbon

The Essentials In-A-Box crew all gathered on a Sunday afternoon for a beautiful high tea in honour of the Pink Ribbon foundation. We made our way to Crown Melbourne and enjoyed a lovely afternoon of food, fashion, and raising much needed awareness and funds for the debilitating disease which is breast cancer.

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We were treated to a delicious array of savoury delights followed by scones and decadent cakes. We were entertained by a fantastic fashion show by Two Byrds on Union and listened to the sweet tunes of the Grace Notes Singers. We had a lovely time chatting and laughing together while divulging in the food and raffle goodies available to be won.

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The most significant part of the afternoon was hearing the heart-breaking but inspirational stories of breast cancer sufferers, reminding us to continue urging our loved ones and ourselves to attend regular check-ups for early detection of the disease. It is a disease that effects approximately 62,000 Australians and is diagnosed 42 times per day.[1] Although the majority of breast cancer sufferers are females, men also fall victim to the disease as it’s estimated that 150 men will be diagnosed this year. Basically, it’s crucial for both genders to have regular check-ups, because if it’s detected early then there is a higher chance of long-term success with treatments.

We all want to lead happy and healthy lives, and the first step is helping one another.

[1] https://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-statistics

When my Life became all about Hip Dysplasia

By Laura Zolis

A couple of months before Christmas last year, I started to experience pain in my hips. It was occurring more frequently and it would tend to happen after doing any form of physical activity. In the beginning, I thought I might have been overworking my body too hard. Maybe I was shaking my hips too hard on the d-floor or running around too much during the long shifts at my retail job. All I knew was that every time I did some exercise or went to work, I wouldn’t be able to move afterwards. Sometimes the pain would become so severe that I would remain in bed all day. I didn’t ever think that as a healthy 19 year-old girl, I would need major surgery anytime soon.

I was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia in late January this year, a couple of months after I went to the doctors about my hip problem. After various unsuccessful ultrasounds that displayed nothing, I undertook an MRI that presented me with the root of my sudden pain. Hip dysplasia is a developmental deformation or misalignment of the hip joint that is more common in females than in males. I had never heard of it before, but apparently it is a condition that is checked in babies because it arises during the birth stage. Unfortunately, until only recently they wouldn’t screen babies for this deformation otherwise it could have been rectified immediately if it had been discovered when I was born. One moment my family and I had never heard of this ‘hip dysplasia’ and the next moment our lives were surrounded by it.

Fortunately-and this is the extremely positive part- it can be fixed through a peri-acetabular osteotomy (PAO) surgery, leading to a full recovery. We were told that there was only one surgeon in the whole of Australia who could successfully conduct the surgery and who is a well-respected expert in the area. We were grateful that he resides in Melbourne, where we also live. After an informative and reassuring appointment with the surgeon, we determined that I would need a PAO on both hips which would be conducted on two separate occasion, and in the meantime needed to ensure that no further damage would occur to my bones and ligaments. I organised the surgery to be performed after my exams in July at the Avenue hospital, being six months after I was diagnosed with the condition.

Suddenly my life became all about doctor’s appointments, endless medical imaging and the reduction of all forms of exercise and outings. As an energetic and zealous 19 year old, this has been the most challenging part for me. It meant a lot of time away from university and social gatherings, and a lot of time lying in bed watching Netflix. This doesn’t seem so bad from an outside perspective, but for someone who used to always fill their time with friends, work, uni and other passions, it was a swift and significant change. I kept missing out on days at uni and struggled to keep up with my classes. Living in relentless pain did not help the situation in the slightest, and once I acknowledged how bad the situation became, I met with the surgeon and we negotiated a much closer date for surgery.

I had my first surgery on the 21st May. By this point I had been walking on crutches for the past two months and attending uni and work had become impossible. I was not in the slightest bit concerned about the actual surgery as I had complete faith in my surgeon’s knowledge and experience. Furthermore, I was just grateful that it could be fixed, as there is nothing more important than knowing that eventually I could resume my normal life.

The surgeon operated on the hip that had been causing me the most grief and explained to me that once it recovered, my other hip would be relieved of some pain. I remained at the hospital for a week and was lucky to be visited by friends and family everyday and had some lovely nurses taking care of me. However I was surprised by the pain I was in and my complete lack of mobility, which was worse than I imagined. I had to keep reminding myself that I had just been through major surgery, and recovery was going to be slow but I was guaranteed to get better. I was just impatient to improve immediately so I could go out and do the things I haven’t been able to do for months, but of course it was going to take time.

Four weeks down the track, I am seeing slight improvements on a daily basis. I have just become strong enough to leave the house to see friends, but I will continue on crutches for at least the next few weeks. I’m still on strong pain medication and limited in my mobility, however the worst of it is over! Now the next step is doing my physiotherapy each day (which takes an unprecedented amount of motivation) to become strong enough to walk without crutches. The following step in the long term will be the second surgery, which will be in about six months. Naturally I’m not quite prepared to start thinking about it now!