Friday, December 15, 2006

Winter time souping

Cold clear winter weather is something I have always enjoyed. The sun sitting low in the horizon makes colors on our local mountains something special. It also is one of my favorite times to schuss the slopes on my snowboard. During this time of year, I also often get the urge to make soup. One of my favorites; a good nutritional balancing food, that provides an ideal energy boost while out hiking skiing or even just doing the holiday shopping, is Roast Red Pepper soup.

Red peppers have been show to have a myriad of health benefits; are a great source of antioxidants, help reduce the risk of heart disease, eliminate free radicals, help respiratory systems, and are one of the few foods that contain lycopene. See the following online article for more information:

My recipe for Roast Red Pepper soup follows
2-4 tbspn olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrots
Salt & pepper
1-2 tspn chopped garlic (you can add more if you like garlic but don’t go beyond 1/2 a clove – as another option try roasting the garlic instead of chopping before adding to add a different sweetness – in that case half to even one whole clove wont be too much.
6 large red bell peppers, roasted, cleaned and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock (you can use whatever stock you prefer – best of course is to make your own but there are a variety of very nice stock on the market but keep in mind this is the base of the soup so be sure its good quality stock)
pinch of honey or sugar (optional)
1/2 lemon for juice

To roast your peppers first cut in half and clean out the seeds cut out the stem and any inedible parts, then half the peppers again.

Place on a baking sheet and rub with a light coat of olive oil. Add a bit of salt over the cut and oiled peppers. Place in preheated 400-450 degree oven. Roast until tender (35-45 min approx). It is okay if the skin gets a little blackened on some pieces.

Add 2-4 tbspn oil to deep saucepan or cooking pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Saut̩ for about 2-3 minutes, the onions should start to go opaque. Stir in the garlic and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to saut̩ for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Using a hand-held blender, or by transferring into a traditional blender in small amounts at a time, puree the soup until smooth Рmake sure you thoroughly puree or you may find a stray piece of carrot or such not a bad thing just not what we are after. After cooled to edible temperature add in salt and pepper to taste. Also squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon Рit helps to brighten the flavor. If you find your peppers were not as ripe or sweet as you like add just a pinch of honey or sugar to taste as well. Stir then enjoy Рyou will find it a hearty but lightly sweet and bright soup that really opens up the olfactory senses and gives good fuel to the body.

I often serve with sprigs of uncut chive so that people can cut and add if they wish or with lightly pan toasted bread that has been pre-brushed with olive oil that can be dipped in or just eaten with.

Interestingly I also find while I like it fresh off the stove I really enjoy this soup after it has been frozen and reheated. It reduces some of the soup but intensifies the flavor. I do find when reconstituting it I often need to add some water or it gets to a thickness I don’t prefer.

Happy souping and schussing!
Joel Strimling
Associate Dean of Student Services

Monday, December 04, 2006

Decorating For the Holidays With Aromatherapy

We’ve been spending the weekend stringing lights on the house, garlands on the fireplace mantle, hanging stockings “by the chimney with care” and otherwise making the house look festive for the holidays. Another important aspect of creating a warm and inviting ambiance in the home is scent. There are many scents we associate with the winter holidays; anise always reminds me of the anise cookies my mom would bake this time of year, and of course the scents of orange and clove bring back memories of making pomanders as a child. There are many wonderful ways to incorporate Aromatherapy into your holiday decorations; here are a few of my favorites…

Scented Pine Cones
We place a decorated basket of pinecones (harvested during summer camping trips) by the fireplace. To give them more of a “piney” scent, I place a drop of pine essential oil on each pinecone (up to ten drops). The scent lasts for several days, and I add a few more drops of essential oil each week (or right before company comes over) to freshen the scent. In addition to its refreshing aroma, Pine (Pinus sylvestris) is an immune system stimulant and has been shown to be effective against the bacteria that cause pneumonia. Its disinfecting and cleansing properties also have emotional and spiritual benefits, helping to cleanse unwanted or negative thoughts from the mind, making room for the positive.

Yule Tide Diffuser Blend
This is a warm, inviting, spicy scent for the holidays. It contains Cinnamon, Clove, and Nutmeg, which are “warming” oils to the body and spirit, and have very powerful antiviral properties as well. Sweet Orange is uplifting, and helps dispel the stress of the holidays that we can allow to overwhelm us at times. Frankincense and Myrrh give the blend a spiritual, meditative quality, and help us to stay grounded in the midst of the busy holiday season.
10 drops Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
8 drops Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
8 drops Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
5 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
10 drops Frankincense (Boswelia carterii)
5 drops Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Put in diffuser, or add to 4 oz. distilled water for a room spray (shake well before spraying; do not spray on wood surfaces)

Fir Sachet for Artificial Trees
Although we currently purchase a real (sustainably farmed) tree each year, many families are opting for artificial trees in order to save the earth’s resources. For those with artificial trees, you can still enjoy the scent of the “real thing” by hanging these fir sachets from the branches of your artificial tree. Fir is grounding, increases intuition, and helps bring clarity to mind and spirit. Hang the sachets on the back of the tree or inside near the trunk if you don’t want them to be visible. For those who are creative and crafty, the muslin bags can be dyed, painted, and decorated to blend in with the other ornaments.
Muslin tea bags
Flax seed or white rice (use white rice for crafts, brown rice for food)
Fir Needle (Abies canadensis) essential oil
In a small bowl, blend two to three tablespoons of flax seed or rice with 15 to 20 drops Fir oil. Scoop the mixture into the muslin bags and pull the drawstrings closed. Hang on a tree branch. When the scent begins to fade, you can freshen the blend by pouring the flaxseed/rice out, and adding more essential oil and returning the mixture to the bag.

Candles add a special warmth and “glow” to the home. However, the synthetic fragrances in most commercial candles can contribute to headaches, asthma, and other health problems. You can use unscented candles and add your own favorite essential oils. Remember that essential oils are flammable; never add essential oils to a burning candle. To safely add essential oils to an unscented candle, burn the candle until there is a pool of wax, and then blow it out. Add the essential oils (up to 10 drops) to the melted wax and allow the wax to harden. Trim the wick to ½ inch, then relight the candle and enjoy.

For Kids:
Cinnamon Ornaments
Children love taking part in the decorating, and these are fun and easy to make, and will give off a wonderful spicy aroma. One year the cinnamon ornaments we made were inadvertently packed away with the rest of the ornaments; when I opened the box the following year, they still smelled strongly of cinnamon!
¾ cup applesauce
1 jar (4.12 oz) ground cinnamon
Mix until a stiff dough is formed (One to two drops Cinnamon essential oil can be added to increase the scent). Roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make stars, bells, trees, or “gingerbread” men. Use a pencil to make a hole at the top for ribbon. Place on drying rack to air dry for several days, turning daily. When dry, place ribbon through the hole and hang on your tree. Makes six to twelve ornaments.

Visit the Apothecary Shoppe to purchase pure, Aromatherapy quality essential oils, diffusers, and spray bottles.

From our home to yours, we wish you all a Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Saturnalia (and if you are like us, more than one of the above).

Deborah Halvorson, Dip. Aroma, RA

Thursday, November 16, 2006

ACHS 3rd Annual Holiday Open House

The ACHS 3rd Annual Holiday Open House on November 8th was a huge success! Current and prospective students and graduates as well as holistic health enthusiasts gathered for an afternoon of holiday gift-making presentations, tour of the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden, and charming video presentation of the ACHS 2007 Study Abroad in Greece program.

Below, ACHS Dean of Admissions Tracey Miller demonstrates preparation of the Winter Blahs Bath Salts, taken from the ACHS Aromatic Gifts Recipe Book. Click here to download your own copy of this great recipe booklet for making your own aromatic holiday gifts!

For special savings on all of your holistic health holiday shopping, visit us online at!

The Apothecary Shoppe College Store - your source for organic supplies and tools for wellness, stocking a full range of therapeutic grade essentials oils, herbs, and hard-to-find reference books!

ACHS offers personal interest and career training programs in holistic health. Click here for the College Calendar of upcoming classes.

For more information about upcoming on-campus events at the College, visit us online here for the ACHS Community Wellness Calendar.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Over twenty budding herbalists gathered for Herb Day celebrations at the Portland, Oregon campus of the Australasian College of Health Sciences on October 13th. It was a crisp, sunny fall day and the herb identification walks in the ACHS Botanical garden on Hood Avenue and alongside the Willamette River were informative and enjoyable. The riverside walk revealed a wealth of wild botanicals, including red clover, plantain, wild carrot and dandelion. ACHS instructor, herbalist and Ayurvedic specialist Gia vonKarl demonstrated how to prepare a cough syrup. Gia formulated a blend just for Herb Day and attendees took home a sample. The formula and preparation instructions with all the herbs and additional ingredients are available as a kit from the College Store the Apothecary Shoppe. Other lectures and demonstrations included - How to Prepare a Tincture, The Top Ten Herbs You Need to Know, and a slide show of the Summer School in Greece. Free downloadable PDF's of the lectures are available by emailing We all had a lot of fun making new friends and celebrating our joy and interest in herbs and herbal medicine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Listen to President Dorene Petersen on Voice of America

Click here and download the Mp3 file to listen to ACHS President, Dorene Petersen discuss Alternative Medicine on Voice of America on October 11th. If the link does not work try copying and pasting this url into your browser -

Friday, October 06, 2006

Labelling Cosmetic Products

Many ACHS students and graduates prepare cosmetic products (including body lotions, shampoos, and soaps) using natural ingredients. You may prepare these for your own use, for friends and family, or for resale.

General Labeling Requirements
If you sell your products, you must comply with FDA regulations. These are set out online at:

The following is the general information from that site at but we strongly recommend that you read the full handbook.
Read this link ensure that you understand the difference between a cosmetic or a drug.

All cosmetics, whether they are sold on a retail basis to consumers or marketed exclusively for salon or workplace use, are subject to the FD&C Act. This law and regulations enacted under its authority require the cosmetic label to state the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor; an accurate statement of the quantity of contents; and any appropriate directions for safe use and/or warning statements. This information must comply with additional regulatory requirements. It must be prominent and appear in the proper location on the label.
Regulations enacted under the FPLA require ingredients to be listed on the labels of cosmetics sold on a retail basis to consumers -- even if the label states "For professional use only." Consumers can use the ingredient declaration to identify ingredients they wish to avoid. Ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance, that is, with the ingredient present in the greatest amount listed at the beginning and those present in the smallest amounts listed at the end.
Special rules apply to the ingredient declaration on products that are both cosmetics and over-the-counter drugs. An example of such a product is an anti-dandruff shampoo: A shampoo is a cosmetic, while an anti-dandruff treatment is a drug. Regulations enacted in 1999 require such combination products to have the drug ingredients listed separately as "Active Ingredients," in alphabetical order, followed by the cosmetic ingredients, which are listed as "Inactive Ingredients" in descending order of predominance.

In addition to the immediate label, FDA regulates all cosmetic product "labeling." The definition of labeling includes all written, printed, or graphic matter that appears on the product, its containers, or its wrappers, as well as any such matter that accompanies the product. Typically, materials such as promotional literature, product catalogs, and flyers fit this definition of labeling. FDA also has considered promotional statements appearing on Internet sites to constitute labeling, especially on those sites where the promoted product can be purchased. However, unfair or deceptive advertising that appears in magazines, in newspapers, or on television generally falls under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission.
You are required to list "appropriate directions for use and/or warning statements" on your "label". How, you might ask, can you list these on a small label? After all, each essential oil or herbal formula may have several specific contraindications.
The answer lies in what the FDA considers to be "labeling". You will see that labeling includes flyers and, in most cases, websites. The most efficient way to include all the warnings relevant to your product is to asterix the items in question on the ingredients list, and include under the list, after the asterix, a reference to the directions for use and warnings information on the product flyer. On your product flyer, you can list your information easily. For your protection, you should include all warnings and contraindications for the ingredients in your product, even if you are using only a very small amount. This way, the consumer can decide whether they want to risk a reaction, not you!

For example, my essential oil massage blend might say:
Ingredients: Organic sweet almond oil, organic lavender Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, organic clary sage Salvia sclarea* essential oil.
* This ingredient should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing. Additional restrictions may apply, please refer to the product brochure or before use. Keep out of reach of children.
At the website or in the product brochure, a simple list of contraindications for the ingredients will suffice. If you have more than one product, you may wish to include a chart listing all the essential oils you use in alphabetical order.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Aromatherapy Graduate's Success- Donna Caire

2005 was a very big year for me, and not just because of Hurricane Katrina! My big learning adventure began in January with a trip to the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico where I earned a Living Food Lifestyle, Total Well-being Education Certificate after 2 weeks of living on and learning how to prepare raw foods. In February, I went to Belize for a spiritual healing retreat with Rosita Arvigo, who apprenticed with Don Elijio Panti, a renowned Mayan Shaman. There I experienced the healing techniques of Mayan Abdominal Massage and decided to go to massage school so I could become a practioner and share this knowledge with the people in my community. But before massage school started, I went for 4 glorious week long Aromatherapy classes offered by Australasian College in Syros, Greece! There I learned about essential oils hands on and it was such a truly beautiful experience. We gathered our own plants, including thyme, rosemary, pine, and geranium, and brought them back to Dorene's charming home where Robert had set up his still and instructed us how to distill their oils. We were right there as the oil separated, experiencing the smells, visualizing the oil separating, and collecting them into our bottles to take home with us. The aromas and interaction with the plants permeated our being. We became intimate with the plants habitat, gathering them in the most incredible places: nunneries, abandoned estates, old watering and washing areas, on coastal pathways.....The island was a sea of smells and I still remember the syrup smell of immortelle that lingered the month I was there, even though the bloom was past its prime to harvest. Our days were filled with harvesting, distilling and learning, and our nights were filled with Greek language and culture lessons and nights out on the town. And, always, plenty, plenty of good, fresh food and spirits.

After 4 weeks of the most incredible interaction with the plants, their environment and their odors, I came back to the states and began my massage studies. In the midst of them, Hurricane Katrina blew threw and everything stalled, but I finally graduated in January, 2006. I picked up my aromatherapy studies again at that time, signing up for Aroma 201. I also began my certification training in The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Massage which I will complete in October. I opened my own studio in June of this year (2006) in my home in Abita Springs, Louisiana. I named it Regeneration Springs after the free flow artesian well that I have on my property. I have one of the few wells left in Abita Springs. At the turn of the century, there were plenty and they were known as the healing waters, and many people came here for cures.

Aroma 201 has been a valuable addition to my massage work. Abdominal massage addresses female and male difficulties, digestive and emotional issues, sacral congestion and low back troubles, and I can mix up my own oils to address each of these areas. The course comes with 40 essential oils to learn from and I felt that having a set number made it easier to learn the many aspects of essential oils: their habitat, how they are distilled, how they can be adulterated, research, organoleptic impressions, wonderful recipes for blends, etc. I now feel like I have a strong foundation for these 40 oils and for studying more oils, knowing how to approach them and to ascertain their quality, and how to make my own blends.

The picture above is of me in my home town. Check out my website at Thanks, Dorene for introducing and teaching me so much.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Adding essential oils to base oils is one method of preparing bath and massage oil blends. Essential oils can also be added directly to the bath water.
The quantities given below are for direct addition to the bath. If you blend with base oil, use approximately (depending on the essential oil) 60-drops to 3¼-oz of oil.
If lack of time is a factor in your life, then the direct application into the bath water is an easy, quick alternative.
• Run the bath water first;
• While the bath water is running, prepare everything you need for your bath so that you will be comfortable. Think about music, towels, a head pillow or folded towel, a glass of water or herbal tea, candles, and a do not disturb sign for your bathroom door;
• Add the essential oils only once the bath is full and the water is turned off, just before you are ready to step into the bath;
• Swirl the oils around in the bath with your hands to ensure dispersion; and then
• Enter the bath and soak for around 10 minutes.

If a full bath is not possible, a hand or footbath can be excellent.
Do not be tempted to add more than the stated amounts. Essential oils should never burn or irritate the skin. The heat and water of the bath can enhance absorption, so always err on the side of caution and use less than you think you need to, then add more drop by drop.

You may experience slight tingling with essential oils that contain menthol, such as peppermint, but this disappears quickly once you step out and dry off.

Citrus oils in particular can intensify their action on the skin when mixed with the heat of the bath water. Again, remember to use only the stated amount in the formula. You can study the safe and effective use of essential oils in a series of accredited online holistic aromatherapy programs at

Stimulating Morning Bath
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis oil: 5-drops
Peppermint Mentha piperita oil: 2-drops

Nervous Exhaustion Bath
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens oil: 4-drops
Basil Ocimum basilicum oil: 2-drops

Friday, August 11, 2006

ACHS Open House 2006

The Australasian College of Health Sciences held its 4th Annual Lavender Distillation and Open House on July 26. Many students, graduates, and friends visited the campus and participated in the festivities. The following blog about the Open House is from Mike Lenczewski, Nat 201 student. We'd love to hear from anyone else who attended, and if you have thoughts, experiences, or photos you'd like to share, we invite you to post them here.

Lavender Distillation
The following pictures show Dorene Petersen explaining the distillation process and show two different types of distillers. Distillation is a time consuming process that is more of an art than a process.

Copper Distiller and
Copper Alembic

Botanical Garden

The following are pictures of the botanical garden tour guided by Dorene Petersen. The close-up pictures are pictures I took while walking the garden.

Picking Lavender

We were able to pick fresh lavender for $5 a bunch. The picture is me picking some lavender. The amazing thing is that bees were everywhere, but seemed sedated and did not even bother anyone in the garden.

Lavender Wands

We were also given instructions on and shown how to make lavender wands by Dorene. This process involves weaving ribbon through the fresh picked Lavender to create the wand. This skill requires patience, but is very relaxing.

The day ended with the Greece slideshow. The whole day was very informative and entertaining.
The trip from Spokane, WA to Portland, OR is about 5-6 hours. I stayed in Portland from 7/25 - 7/27 for a much needed vacation. The folloing photos are of Multnomah Falls which is where I stopped on the way home to stretch and take my beagle (Bailey) for a walk. It was a nice end to a great mini-vacation.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A week in the life of an ACHS Aromatherapy Instructor

"A week in the life of an ACHS Aromatherapy Instructor"
We have had quite the week here. We had a fun camping trip over the 4th of July holiday weekend, however, within the first five minutes of our arrival at the campsite, Hazel (my 5-year old) managed to fall off a rock and cut her face pretty badly. Fortunately I had my Aromatherapy first aid kit handy, and with regular applications of tea tree oil and my infused calendula oil, her cut is healing quite nicely. And amazingly, even with three days of camping and playing in the dirt, it didn't become infected. The rest of our camping trip was fun and relaxing.
Unfortunately once we got home, in the midst of doing all the camping laundry, our washer died (and it's a Maytag!), and that night, Matt (my 7-year old) was up all night with the stomach flu. I mixed two of the strongest antivirals I know: clove and cinnamon essential oils, and put them in the diffuser. It smelled like Christmas in July here, but thankfully, no one else got sick. Since bad things are supposed to come in 3's, I assumed we were "home free" for a while. Lesson learned: Never assume!
Yesterday we had the invasion of the bees: a swarm of bees moved into our garage, for the second time in a month! By swarm I mean thousands; the first time the exterminator took away a hive with over a pound of honey (two days work for bees), and charged us $400.00. Yesterday they showed up again; in the morning I saw a couple of bees in the front yard and I didn't think too much about it, but two hours later our front yard and inside the garage were covered with a black cloud of bees. So I sent the kids to a friend's house and called the exterminator again. He showed up in his bee keeper/hazmat suit and took care of them in about half an hour (this time for free - thank goodness!). So, of course, what I wanted to know was "why me?". The bee guy said that it's because we've been leaving the garage door open (the kids are around for the summer and they leave it open so they can get their bikes, scooters, etc.) and the bees come in through the open door. But as to what is drawing them in the first place -- he hands me a box with my 5 pound block of bees wax that I use for making creams and lotions! I keep my supplies in a cabinet in the garage, and the bees smelled the bees wax and thought this was a great place to build a hive! Who knew?! Another lesson learned: Don't keep your bees wax where bees have access to it. Sheesh!
Then, Geoff, my oldest, who is in Jr. Lifeguard training, forgot to apply sunscreen yesterday and came home with a terrible sunburn. We've been applying my mixture of jojoba oil, aloe gel, and lavender essential oil, and this morning it looked great!
Thankfully, the Maytag repairman arrived today to fix the washer. Then we discovered that with everything else that was going on, I had forgotten to remove the load of laundry that I was doing on Tuesday when the washer broke. It is amazing how fast a load of wet laundry can grow mold in 90 degree weather. It is even more amazing how quickly tea tree essential oil can kill that mold!
How do people survive without essential oils?
I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend:) What else could happen, right?!"
Deborah Halvorson, BA, Cert Aroma, RA

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Study Abroad Travel Education Greece

Study Abroad Summer Session Greece
Nineteen students graduated from the ACHS study abroad 2006 Summer School. President Dorene Petersen, Master Distiller Robert Seidel, ACHS Registrar Heather Baley and a group of adventurous and dedicated ACHS students shared a wonderful, ten-day, aromatic educational experience on the Greek island of Syros. Classes and workshops included learning how to wildcraft aromatics for tinctures, infused oils and essential oil manufacture and complementary integrative medicine modalities such as iris analysis, reflexology and flower essence preparation. Set against a backdrop of clear azure blue waters with the fragrance of helichrysum and thyme in the air, classes and workshop were held at Villa Abela just 10 minutes by bus to the main town of Ermoupoli. Meals were based on the Mediterranean diet and students kept a wellness journal. Thymus capitatus, Salvia triloba, Rosmarinus officinalis and Perlargonium graveolens were harvested and distilled using a traditional steam still supplied by the Essential Oil Company. The 2007 study abroad ACHS Greece Summer School is limited to 20 students. If you would like more information contact ACHS Admissions.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ayurvedic Medicine for Spring

Spring time is almost upon us and a wonderful herb to grow in the garden is Basil (Ocimum sanctum) or otherwise called ‘Tulsi’ in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi appears in Hindi religious text and many stories are written about this wonderful plant. The name 'tulsi' connotes "the incomparable one" and is sacred to Vishnu and Krishna and is perhaps the most sacred plant in India. The quality of Holy Basil is said to be ‘sattvic’ or purity and opens the heart and mind, bestowing the energy of love and devotion. It is said to also strengthen faith, compassion and clarity as well as, giving protection of the divine by clearing the aura and strengthening the immune system. Besides being grown for medicinal purposes, it is kept in the house for it’s purifying influence where it absorbs positive ions, energizes negative ions and liberates ozone from the sun’s rays. It is usually found in a Hindu household and has a special place either in the courtyard or a
special place like an altar where Deities are worshipped. In the Christian tradition it is said to have grown around the place of the crucifixion and it also appears in Shiite
writings. There are other recognized types of Holy Basil and these are: Ocimum canum (Ram Tulsi or Kali Tulsi), Ocimum basilicum or bobai Tulsi, Ocimum kilmand, O. scharicum or camphor Tulsi, etc. The medicinal effect of all these varieties is very similar, if not the same. The energetic of Holy Basil is spicy and warm, making it an effective diaphoretic and febrifuge to help alleviate fevers, colds, sinus congestion, flus and most lung ailments. The particular meridians it targets are the
respiratory system, particularly the lungs and also stomach and digestive system, making it a powerful carminative and helps to alleviate stomach cramps, vomiting, indigestion,
intestinal catarrh, constipation, enteritis, whoophing cough, headaches and menstrual pains. Holy Basil removes excess Kapha from the lungs and nasal passages, which increases Prana – the intake of air and also clears the mind and memory by removing Vata from the colon and improving absorption. Other
therapeutic actions of Holy basil are nervine, antispasmodic, antibacterial and antiseptic.
It is also used for arthritis and rheumatic ailments.The aerial portions of Holy Basil are used but the seeds and whole plant is useful as well. The leaves contain a bright yellow volatile oil, which is useful against insects and bacteria. A variety of active constituents have been isolated from the leaves. The principal constituents of this oil are eugenol methyl ether, estragol with linalon and carvacrol, as well as ursolic acid, apigenin and luteolin. The oil is reported to possess anti-bacterial properties and acts as an insecticide. Ayurveda recognizes Tulsi as having several medicinal
properties have been attributed to this plant. Recent pharmacological studies have established the anabolic, hypoglycemic, smooth muscle relaxant, cardiac depressant, antifertility, adaptogenic and immunomodulator properties of this plant.
Holy Basil is used internally and can be taken as a beverage for promoting clarity of mind. For fungal infections on the skin, the fresh leaf juice is used externally. It can be used as a decoction, powder, tincture, extract and medicated ghee. Additionally, it can be cooked in food and sprinkled over a springtime salad fresh from the garden.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Aromatherapy Education

Australasian College of Health Sciences
A perfect way to approach to a spring cleanse is by adding a little aromatherapy to your regimen. Aromatherapy is a subtle yet powerful adjunct to any healing modality. According to Ayurveda, aromatherapy uses fragrances to promote the healing process, includes essential oils, flower essences and incense. It is effective for psychological (emotional) and psychic (spiritual) disorders. It also aids in meditation, disease prevention, health maintenance, longevity and rejuvenation. It is said to helps cleanse the chakras and channels. Traditionally,
aromatherapy is an important therapy in Ayurveda and is
mainly used for treating the mind. Recent research conducted in Europe and Soviet Union reveals that effects of odors on the psyche may be more important than scientists have suspected. Aromatic oils are usually applied externally unless diluted properly. Essentials oils can be placed on special areas on the skin, like between the eyebrows (crown chakra), the temples for headaches, root of the nose for sinus conditions or on the wrists, behind the ears and neck where they can be
easily smelled.

A great and pleasant way to approach a detoxification for spring using aromatherapy is by taking an aroma bath or soak. This can be done with either relaxing or stimulating essential oils and the effects of this type of therapy can be felt almost immediately. A combination of two natural factors is
responsible for the enhanced effect. First, the already high rate of penetration of an essential oil is further increased by the elevated temperatures of the bath water and by their hydrophobic nature. Although there are many different kinds of essential oils, there are primarily three different types: Flower aromas, spicy and pungent aromas and fruity sweet and sour fragrances. Their energetics are much like herbs in terms of heating, cooling or neutral. Flower fragrances like rose,
jasmine or gardenia are usually sweet or bitter in taste and cooling in energy. They calm the nervous system by decreasing irritability and anger. Spicy oils like clove, cinnamon or ginger are pungent in taste and heating in energy. Their action is more
stimulating and circulating and tends to clear the head. Fruit
fragrances like bergamot, lemon or grapefruit are neutral to cooling in energy and can uplift, relax or stimulate.
For a detoxifying effect, chamomile oil has been shown
neutralize the effect of toxins produced by bacteria. Both staphylococci and streptococci toxins are sensitive to chamomile oil in very small doses. Lavender and chamomile are a great combination for relaxation. Throw in some rose petals and relax to your heart’s content. For something a little more stimulating and refreshing, try rosemary and peppermint together in a morning bath, which will give you an invigorating effect throughout the day. A good method to add to this lovely ritual and to eliminate toxicity is by dry skin brushing before the actual bath. This procedure will remove the layers of dead cells, stimulate the pores, tone muscles, redistribute fatty deposits, break up cellulite and stimulate circulation. Be sure your brush is made of natural bristles. Adding Epsom salt in your bath helps to draw out impurities and relax the muscles.

During this spring season, try setting aside special times
during the week to pamper and detoxify you mind, body and spirit by adapting an aroma bath into you daily regimen.
You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can
make in your life. A great method and recipe is using
2-3 cups of Epsom salt per full bath. Add the essential
oils to the Epsom salt beforehand and mix well
using 3-4 drops of each oil, no more than
15 drops. Add directly into the water and
swirl the mixture around.