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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ease Menopause Symptoms with Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Menopause can be a physical, psychological and emotionally challenging time for many women. They will spend half of their adult lives in menopause, according to statistics which show the average life expectancy of women at 79.5 years nowadays.

By 2050 women will probably live to be at least 95 years old. A new generation of health-conscious women today is looking forward to a new phase of life with physical, spiritual and personal growth.

Most women think of menopause as the point when they cease to menstruate. They do not link irritability, anxiety, memory lapses, or mood swings to hormonal imbalance caused by this process of biological change. About 75% of all women experience some temporary symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, increase in level of cholesterol, decreased libido which may last for years; long term ones may include vaginal dryness and urinary problems. To know more about menopause, you can visit

Fortunately, these unpleasant complaints or symptoms can be prevented, reduced and relieved by making some changes to daily lifestyles with the right diet, nutrition supplements, regular exercise and adopting some complementary therapies such as yoga, tai chi, spa therapy or holistic aromatherapy, which all help to achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle with natural medicine. They also offer a safer alternative compared to Hormone Replacement Therapy. They also help to reduce the risk of future age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes. For a list of detailed menopause symptoms please visit

Aromatherapy, which has been well used for over 2000 years, is the practice of using distilled essences obtained from the leaf, stem, flower, fruit peel, bark or root of a tree. As the aromatic molecules from essential oils disperse in the air they:

#carry pleasant fragrances to your nose

#come in contact with the olfactory receptor cells in the nasal cavity

#transmit the information to the olfactory bulb which is a structure just above the nose.

#cause a response in the limbic system of the brain which works in conjunction with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus region to regulate the hormonal activities

#trigger the production of hormones that govern appetite, body temperature, insulin production, overall metabolism, stress levels, sex drive and conscious thought and reactions.

Essential Oils can have a positive effect on all these functions through the sense of smell which happens to be the most complex and sensitive of all the five senses. The sense of smell is over 10,000 times more sensitive than your sense of taste and researchers have shown how aroma causes a brain reaction by activating the hypothalamus gland, the pituitary gland and the body's hormones as well as stimulating the emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is particularly effective for stress, anxiety and psychosomatic induced problems, muscular and rheumatic pains, digestive disorders and women's problems such as PMS, menopausal problems and postnatal depression. It is a natural and non-invasive therapy designed to help a person enhance the body's natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.

Essential Oils are very concentrated and their properties potent as they contain molecules small enough to enter your skin; except for oils of lavender and tea tree, essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil, usually a vegetable oil such as sweet almond or jojoba, to avoid irritation before applying on the skin. Essential oils can be used in a vaporizer, sprays, bath, hot or cold compress, perfume or for topical body application or massage.

Some recommended essential oils to help menopausal women are:

# Bergamot uplifts mood and reduces anxiety and depression.

# Clary Sage eases hot flashes and night sweats and PMS.

# Chamomile has calming effect, ease tension, anxiety and headaches.

# Frankincense helps psychosomatic problems and anxiety.

# Geranium is a hormone balancer and reduces stress.

# Jasmine is euphoric and eases tension and anxiety.

# Juniper regulates period and relieves water retention.

# Lavender is sedative and aids sleep.

# Rose is a womb tonic and provides relief from pre menopause to post menopause.

# Sandalwood stimulates the development of sex hormones and promotes vaginal secretions.

# Ylang Ylang is aphrodisiac and relaxes the nervous system.

Copyright 2005
Elena Leong is a certified aromatherapist by International Federation of Aromatherapy (IFA) and the founder of - a website on menopause information and its associated symptoms and problems which can be prevented or reduced by some natural Chinese herbal supplement, complementary therapy and other treatment options to ease and enjoy menopause transition.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Flowers for the Chakras

A fun and interesting article about flowers, colors, and the chakras:

How do you connect chakras, the energy centres of the body in Eastern tradition, and flowers, pretty, ephemeral, bright, cheerful manifestations of nature?

By way of color energy balancing techniques, meditation, and a simple way of making yourself feel better and reenergized even if you don't really believe in any of the above.

There are seven main chakras (as well as several others) in a line from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and one more newly recognised chakra just above the head which I believe is important. Each one is associated with various areas of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When the energy flow in one becomes blocked it can result in certain symptoms and vice versa. By keeping the chakras open and the energy flowing, we can maximise our body's ability to keep well and
heal itself.

One way of stimulating energy flow is by a simple visualisation. Each chakra has a colour of the spectrum linked to it. Focus on that colour and imagine that colour light pouring into the chakra and saturating it in pure coloured light, then visualise the chakra as a spinning disc of colour. Take 2 or 3 deep breaths as you do so. You can also repeat a mantra or affirmation to intensify the positive energy you are creating. Work through each chakra (see below for summary) in turn from Root to Crown to rebalance your whole energy level.

So what about the flowers? Whatever you use to visualise the colour would work, paint swatches, coloured stones or crystals, an image in your minds eye, but beautiful photographs of flowers saturated in the pure colour of each chakra can bring some extra flower energy into your life as well.

Flowers raise the vibrational energy around them, which is why they have long been associated with celebrations, brought as presents to new mothers, sick people, loved ones. Weddings and funerals are lavish with them. We are rarely aware of the
spiritual connection these days, we just know that flowers cheer people up and make them feel glad. So flower photos as visualisation aids make sense and are beautiful to have around. has a whole section devoted to chakra
flower photos.

There are books written about the chakras going into far more detail than there is space for here, as it is a deep and complex subject, with infinite, individual interpretations, but here is a basic, brief summary of the chakras and their associated areas and colours.

1. Root - Red
Situated at the base of the spine. Emotional grounding and ones roots. The excretory and reproductive systems and the immune system.
Mantra "I am in touch with the earth, my roots"

2. Sacral - Orange
A hands breadth down from the belly button. Sexuality, creativity, financial issues, honour and ethics, one
to one relationships. Genital and urinary systems, bladder and prostate.
Mantra "I am a creative, sexual being"

3. Solar Plexus - Yellow
Over the solar plexus at the bottom of the rib cage. Self-esteem, self-confidence and how you see yourself.
Digestive system, worries and fears, the stress of responsibility.
Mantra "I believe in myself"

4. Heart - Green
Over the heart. Love, forgiveness, unconditional love. Relationships.
Circulatory and immune systems. Heart and lungs. Loneliness.
Mantra "I can give and receive love"

5. Throat - Blue
Centre of the throat Communication, self-expression and will power.
Thyroid problems, sore throats, addictions (due to lack of will).

Mantra "I speak my truth"

6. Brow - Indigo
Centre of forehead Intuition, intellect and mind, inner vision.
Brain and nervous system, eye problems. Mantra "I see clearly"

7. Crown - Violet
Top of head. Spiritual awakening, search for meaning. Our relationship to
our spirit and God. Central nervous system, overwhelming fatigue.
Mantra "I believe"

8. Soul star - White/crystal
Directly above the crown, about two hand's breadths from the head.
Awareness of ones soul and its connection to the conscious self. Gives perspective on life and ability to see seemingly random positive or negative events as part of the soul's journey.
Mantra "I transcend"

This is a personal, simplified interpretation of the chakras. Use it as a stepping stone to finding out more for yourself.

Copyright Kit Heathcock 2005

About The Author: Sometime flower photographer, keen observer of the resonances of life and fulltime mother. Born in the UK
but now living on a farm in the southern hemisphere. Contributor to the creation and maintenance of one of the homes of chakra flower art.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Patchouli Oil - The Counterculture Scent

Patchouli's History and Uses

Ah, Patchouli oil (See Ananda's Patchouli Oil here) - people seem to love it or hate it. This well know essential oil has a somewhat deserved reputation as the scent of the Hippy generation (according to one source, it's use began as a mask for the odor of a particularly cherished herb), though it's traditional use dates back hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Today, Patchouli oil has a well-deserved reputation in aromatherapy, with it's deep, musky, and sweet odor, and Earth and Fire balancing energy. It is an exotic aroma that can forever leave an imprint on the olfactory memory.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a perennial herb native to Southeast Asia, growing wild in Sumatra and Java at elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet - though it's cultivation is more pervasive in lower tropical jungles. This bushy plant grows to the height of 3 feet, having a strong stem and soft, hairy leaves. For essential oil production, the plant is cut two or three times per year, with the best quality oil derived from leaves harvested in the wet season. The leaves are hand picked, bundled or baled, and allowed to partially dry in the shade and ferment for a few days before the oil is extracted via steam distillation (Patchouli oil is now becoming available as a CO2 extract in limited quantities). The fermentation process softens the plant's cell walls, easing the extraction of the oil.

The relative ease of it's cultivation, and it's high oil yield keeps the price of true Patchouli essential oils relatively low. It is important to note however, Patchouli is one of the few essential oils that improve with age (others being Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Vetiver), and that a properly aged Patchouli oil is much more desirable than a fresh one. Over time, the oil looses a harshness that many find distasteful, and adds a sweet top note. As it ages, the oil turns from light yellow to a deep amber, with the aroma becoming smoother and more rich. Principal constituents of the oil include: Patchoulol (25-35%), Alpha-Bulnesene (12-20%), Alpha-Guaiene + Seychellene (15-25%), and Alpha-Patchoulene (5-9%).

Perhaps first due to it's power as a moth repellent, the aroma of Patchouli was pervasive in cloth and clothing exported from India in the 19th century. The scent became an indicator of true 'Oriental' fabric, so much so that English and French garment makers were obliged to scent their imitation products with Patchouli to ensure their acceptance in the domestic marketplace. Beyond its use for preventing holes from being eaten in one's cloting, Patchouli oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in Malaysia, China and Japan. Primarily indicated for skin conditions, Patchouli may be of benefit in cases of dermatitis, eczema, acne, dry chapped skin, and other irritating conditions, along with dandruff and oily scalp conditions. As a cell rejuvenator, it may help in healing wounds and reducing the appearance of scars. It is considered an excellent remedy for insect and snake bites, and has been used as a fumigant and rubbing oil to prevent the spread of fevers and to strengthen the immune system.

Aromatherapy and Perfumery Uses of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli oil is considered an excellent base note and fixative in perfumery, being a component in many famous perfumes. As a fixative, it slows the evaporation of other, more volatile oils so that their aroma may be released over a longer period of time. A little patchouli can be used in natural perfume blends, adding that special deep and earthy aroma. It mixes well with many essential oils, with almost all common oils being mentioned across a variety of sources - these include Vetiver, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Myrrh, Jasmine, Rose, Citrus oils, Clary Sage, Lemongrass, Geranium and Ginger.

In Aromatherapy, Patchouli is considered a great balancer, relaxing yet stimulating, particularly relevant for conditions of weak immunity where overwork and anxiety have left the individual in a susceptible state. It is said to bring the three principal forces at work within the body - the Creative at the navel, the Heart center, and transcendental wisdom a the crown - into harmony.

Patchouli oil may also relieve the strain of those with excessive mental activity who may feel 'out of touch' with their body and sensuality. It has been considered a relaxing aphrodisiac, and can be helpful for those with impotence, frigidity, and sexual anxiety that are products of mental anguish. Patchouli combines this aphrodisiac effect with an antidepressant one, uplifting the mind with it's sweet, warm, spicy scent.

As if this were not enough, Patchouli is thought to be a bringer of prosperity and abundance. Perhaps by allowing one to open to these possibilities energetically, the oil is used in ceremonies and prayers by those in need of financial or other type of infusion in their lives. One may simply close their eyes, imagine the abundance they need, and inhale the oil's aroma for a few seconds.

For a few simple blends, try:

3 parts Patchouli and 1 part Rosemary Cineol. This is a wonderfully uplifting blend combining the deep earthiness of Patchouli with the invigorating aroma of Rosemary. This can certainly be worn as a perfume, or used in a diffuser.

When the going gets tedious, try brightening with 3 parts Coriander, 2 parts Patchouli and 1 part Bergamot. This may uplift the spirits and remind one of the joy to be found in life.

For the sensually insecure, try 1 part Geranium, 1 part Patchouli and 1 part Bergamot. A beautiful yet simple blend for getting comfortable in one's own skin.

It may take a little education, but many who claim to have a dislike for Patchouli may truly enjoy it when finally getting to sample a properly aged or beautifully blended oil.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Amrita Aromatherapy Nebulizer Diffusers

Ananda Apothecary is now carrying Amrita's Nebulizing Diffusers - Amrita is the leading brand in these diffusers, and at the forefront of diffuser technology. This is liturature courtesy of Amrita:

The Ultimate Natural Experience of Essential Oils

Immediately create an uplifting, fragrant atmosphere - Diffuse the full spectrum of Nature's gifts in all their freshness without the residues, oxidation and fractionation produced by potpourri and ceramic diffusers - thus giving much fuller effects.

- Function flawlessly through its revolutionary design
- Ionize the oils enhancing their biological effects
- Operate quietly
- Aromatic Diffusion

Amrita Aromatherapy's Nebulizing Diffusers are the only diffusers designed to give you essential oils in their own uncompromised clarity. For this reason, thousands of aromatherapy practitioners and connoisseurs of the finest essential oils have made it their first choice.
The nebulizer diffuses aroma on a refreshing current of air as it passes through an intricately engineered, glass chamber. Nebulization ionizes and naturally suspends very fine oil molecules in the air, making the essential oil more bio-available. Because the oil particles are so fine they do not condense and remain in suspension in the air for a longer period. This reduces consumption of essential oils.

No heat is used in the nebulizer diffusion process. Heat causes the rapid evaporation of the more volatile components of the oil resulting in a loss of the fullness of the natural aroma and its healing effect. The unpleasant smell of the heated oil residues is another problem with potpourri heaters or burners. Diffusion on an air stream provides maximum and consistent enjoyment of every nuance in each oil.

There are some diffuser models on the market that use a metal injector. They use a tube to draw the oil from the oil bottle itself. There is a short term benefit to this in that changing oils is just a matter of changing bottles. However, the tubing, metal injector, and other surfaces contact oils which are then introduced into the new oil bottle. Moreover, the metal injector is susceptible to irreversible clogging. Our nebulizing diffuser protects your oils, and reduces the amount of oil used.

The Hand Blown Advantage

The precision glass nebulizer is a uniquely calibrated injector that evenly releases fine essences into the air. The small diameter and curved shape of the outlet reduce the noise level and prevent dust and other particles from contaminating the essential oils. In addition, the glass construction of the diffuser prevents the chemical changes that result when oil contacts metal parts.

A Model to Suit Your Needs

The Amrita aroma diffusers feature a hand-blown glass nebulizer and are available in one of four designs. Each model offers different diffusion capabilities. All models are compact and will fit anywhere.

See all our aromatherapy diffusers and burners here.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bach Rescue Remedy Cream

Ananda now offers Bach's Rescue Remedy formulation in a cream intended for use on damaged or irritated skin. This soothing formula contains the same five flower essences in the original Rescue Remedy: Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose, and Clematis, with the addition of Crab Apple (for its cleansing qualities).

Rescue Remedy was originally developed by Dr. Edward Bach, the pioneering homeopath and creator of flower essence thereapy. This combination of five essences reduces stress in traumatic situations. The intention of Rescue Remedy cream is to do the same in a localized fashon for the skin - to work on an energetic level to promote a healing state for traumatized tissues. Its suggested use is on small abrasions and cuts (after thorough cleansing), rashes, and dry, chapped, or irritated skin. It is extremely safe, and may be a useful addition to the family home medicine chest. If you have any questions about its use, or flower essence therapy in general, let us know. We'd be happy to help!

Ananda carries the 50 gram tube - the slightly larger size - for better value. We do have samples available - please include a note with any order and we'll send you some!

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