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The Aroma of Health: first experiences with aromatherapy

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Cort, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Oh, Victoria,

    I have another question for you! I keep my olive oil in the fridge and run it under hot water to liquify some when I want to eat.

    I was wondering if what I'm doing might actually make it go rancid quicker or otherwise harm the oil.

    Also, what do you think of safflower oil for topical use? I ask because it's cheap and, I think, odourless. Any thoughts on topical coconut oil?

    Ok, I'm abusing the privilege!

    Thanks for sharing the stuff in your head. :D
    Koan
     
  2. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Koan,

    I keep my olive oil in the dark cupboard, but only if it's a smallish bottle.
    When I make up home-made french dressing for my green salad, I put the jar in the fridge (& then have to run it under a hot tap to liquify it again(.

    I've never used safflower oil in a massage oil, but why not?

    (note: I used to have 3 kinds of olive oils, safflower oil, almond oil & at once stage apricot kernal oil as well. But that was about 20 years ago when I had money to spare. I've gone off the taste of virgin olive oil in my salad dressing & just buy a plain classic olive oil. In fact, I always buy Bertolli's Classic olive oil for salads now).

    When you convert to the more expensive organic fresh produce, you need to cut costs elsewhere. I'd rather have the organic meat, fruit/veg & just one kind of olive oil in the cupboard.

    When I get home, I'll look up my Aromatherapy lecture notes & list what I've got.

    Not a big fan of coconut oil (despite recent health claims).

    Grapeseed oil is supposed to be the cheapest & lightest, but I like the idea of something nutritious for your skin (as in almond, apricot kernel or avocado oil). Actually avocado is a bit rich - maybe a small amount of avocado oil in with almond oil or something. No harm in mixing some carrier oils together. I suppose you could experiment & see what smells ok or works ok.

    I think the important thing is to make small batches & use quickly - don't keep it for months.:)

    Victoria
     
  3. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    an essential oils healing anecdote

    a friend had gotten what I think was a spider bite. Took me a few days to think and in the meantime the bite had develop to a big open scar over 1/2 inch in diameter, and is it necrotising?? when the skin immediately around it is harder + there is a ring?? + some swelling . Finally, duh, I suggested a topical dose of tea tree with lavender (Find the smell of lavender ameliorates the somewhat too pungent for me tea tree smell + guess that there may be some beneficial interactions). Next day - swelling down, ring gone and scar healing _ less than 1/2 size

    i'm going to dream of tea tree oil healing ME/CFS!!!!!
     
  4. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Koan,

    a list from my Shirley Price book (in no partticular order) - too tired tonight to type too much since I ate dinner at the unthinkable hour of 9.00pm - far too late for my fragile digestive tract....

    So

    Sweet Almond Oil - can be used as 100% base carrier oil
    Apricot kernel Oil - can be used as 100% base oil
    Avocado Pear oil - use as an addition to a base oil. say 10%
    Borage seed oil - use a 10% solution (never heard of this oil, although I've grown borage as a plant, Koan)
    Carrot oil - use a 10% dilution - do not use undiluted on skin (Koan, I used to use a few drops of this in a healing cream).
    Corn oil - can be used 100%
    Evening primrose oil - use a 10% dilution
    Grapeseed oil - can be used 100%
    Hazelnut oil - can be used 100%
    Jojoba oil - use a 10% dilution
    Olive oil - use a 10% dilution
    Peanut oil - can be used 100%
    Safflower oil - can be used 100%
    Sesame oil - use a 10% dilution (gosh, this would smell)
    Soy bean oil - can be used 100%
    Sunflower oil - can be used 100%
    Wheatgerm oil - use a 10% dilution

    This is all straight out of a book - haven't tried most of them myself.

    So looks like plenty of options out of the one book, but she doesn't mention coconut oil.

    Victoria
     
  5. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Essential Oils

    Victoria,
    This is so fun...I LOVE essential oils, and all the carrier oils and herbs etc.
    I will cut back on my Lavender to 5 drops. Oh, and yes, I always add the essential oils when I am getting into the tub...full tub.

    I got a few books out last night, thinking about oils with anti-viral properties. I did find a statement that there are several with antiviral properties, but I wasn't able to identify which ones...UGHH Do you know?

    I would like to use some of the oils with anti-inflamatory properties again.

    I used to go to a holistic clinic years ago and we used a lot of aromatherapy oils...but I have moved away. I would love your guidance, as I remember those times as being times I felt much better, just doing good things for myself.
    Thanks
     
  6. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Thanks so much, Victoria!

    What a lot of great info re oils and all else!

    I think coconut oil is a traditional beauty "product" in places where coconuts grow. Lots of people online swear its wonderful for hair and skin. I like the fact that it has a nice aroma already. If I try it, I'll let you know how it is. That will all depend on price. I'll try it if it's really cheap. Then it will be an amazing discovery!

    I'm embarassed to report that I heard about safflower oil on Dr Oz. (Shhhhh, tell none!) A dermatologist was touting it. May try if very inexpensive.

    Again, many thanks for your expertise!

    I'll be back for more, I'm sure!

    :D
    Koan

    ETA When I can afford it, I take a plant based Omega blend that contains Borage: Udo's Choice.
     
  7. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Coconut Oil, and others

    Koan,
    Coconut oil in the organic groceries can be rather expensive, or at least I think so. I buy mine from a company called Lavender Lane. www.lavenderlane.com. 888-593-4400 I get my shea butter, Mango butter (yum,yummy) and coconut as well as lots of other "carrier oils" from them because they sell in very small quantities...to large quantities. Pricing is the cheapest I have found. The founder had MCS and FM and so states she was very particular about her products. I have never had a problem with any of them...other than trying not to but EVERYTHING!

    Koan and Victoria (and all)...in addition to essential oils, could we share some bath and body product recipes, info for those of us who have trouble affording and safely using commercial bath and body products?

    Victoria...please keep sharing info on essential oils...maybe anti-inflamatory ones???? And if you know of any anti-viral ones.
    Thanks...this feels so good.

    Loved your post on container gardening....I am going to try to grow herbs in containers in the spring...if we don't have the energy for big gardens anymore, I love the idea of containers on my deck!
     
  8. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Yes, me too. Anti-viral and anti-inflammatory would be great to know.
     
  9. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Glad your enjoyed it, Marion,
    Hopefully around Christmas it will look really lovely. Added some Allysum around the edges & some lemon thyme & purple sage on Saturday.

    Will see if someone with a camera can take a photo at Christmas & post it. No doubt it's nothing much compared to members with large gardens, but of course in the inner city, anything green is beautiful.

    Victoria :)
     
  10. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hi Everyone,

    I was actually thinking about getting the coconut oil from an Indian grocery nearby. I don't have MCS and I'm willing to try it out if it's inexpensive. I actually tried a little olive oil today and, surprisingly, quite liked the smell but I'm hungry all the time :D

    I must find that thread on container gardening because I want to grow herbs inside, too. I want to grow holy basil and some others but I have very low light and don't want to use grow lights so that may be out of the question. I wonder if there are shade grown herbs.

    I really want some focaccia!

    :p

    koan
     
  11. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    I have hunted out an old herbal remedy book which has tips from previous centuries, and am looking up anti-viral herbs. I will report them as I find them.
     
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Koan,

    I pored over my herbals before buying seedlings to replace those that Burglar Bill stole some weeks ago, looking specifically for shade loving herbs, as I knew this lot would get even less sun than the previous lot....

    There's not that many shade loving herbs, as most herbs like about 5 hours sun.

    But if you jump over to my thread on my balcony garden you'll see a few in that long 2nd post of mine (of what I bought for my balcony garden).

    - Certainly lemon balm & mint are great for the shade.
    - nasturtium (even though my herbal says sun, it also grows in the shade).

    Just about to leave work, but hang on a minute.......

    I've still got my old shopping list in my bag..........................

    So here was my list BEFORE I went to the nursery - in other words this is a shade lover's list. I already knew I was going to buy the usual oregano, thyme, rosemary etc.


    Woodruff
    Sweet woodruff (I seem to have written it twice on my list - could be an FM moment here)
    Bergamot
    Lemon balm (very hardy)
    Mint family
    Chervil
    Catnip (both sun & shade)
    Nasturtium (both sun & shade)
    Violets (& Heartsease)
    Salad Burnett (I wrote a whole post for June on this herb last night - check it out on the other thread)
    Yarrow (tolerates light shade)
    Ladies Mantle (I love the fringed leaves on this one - it's so beautiful after it has rained - the rain droplets remain on the leaves like little drops of magic pearls for some time after the rain ceases. It's not necessarily easy to find in an ordinary plant nursery in my area, though). I highly recommend growing this purely & simply for the magic after a rain shower. I used to look at the droplets as the sun hit them & they sparkled for ages.
    Lily of the Valley (dappled shade)
    Forget me not (yes, it is a herb)

    And surprisingly Aloe Vera. I had planted a small aloe vera in a sunny, dry spot thinking it was a drought tolerant herb & it keeled over, but my Mother said that Aloe Vera actually does better in semi shade.

    My Mother is the succulent expert (apart from her vegie patch & flowers).
    Last summer she converted most of her flowers to succulents (with our drought here in Australia).

    My Mother has a "green thumb" and a brilliant gardener. All I know about, is a few herbs, but I do know the basics of sun,water, correct soil & TLC for any plant.

    The above list seems to be all I've written down for things to grow in the shade.

    If you would like to know more about any one on the list above (& I didn't write about it on my balcony garden thread, let me know & I'll look up the details when I get home).

    Lemon Balm & Bergamot grown about 2-3 foot high.
    Yarrow (which keeps insects away) grows about 3 foot high.

    Most of the rest grow about 6-8 inches high.

    Most herbs need a sheltered spot with well-drained soil. Because most of mine are in pots, I give them a little diluted organic sea weed fertilizer every now & then.

    You really do need a sunny shelf if you're going to grow them inside (or at least somewhere with plenty of light).

    Anyway, let me know if you want more info (& can't be bothered looking up the internet - I have a feeling I did a search on "shade loving herbs" on the internet, and ended up going straight back to the herbals on my shelf. It was easier and the photos in my herbals were much better than the internet.

    Victoria
     
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Here's a broad list (straight out of my article on Aromatherapy)

    The long list below, I just cut & pasted from my (2nd) draft of my Aromatherapy article. The first draft didn't name specific oils - in fact, it was really just an overview of what Aromatherapy is & how to use it.

    The list is a bit long, but until we finalise the article, this might help a few of you who have been asking me about anti-viral (TI TREE is the only essential oil which is anti-viral/bacterial & fungal ie works on all 3 infections).

    I suppose Chamomile (Roman & German chamomile) would have to be the best anti-inflammatory essential oil. Lavender would come a close second.

    And Myrrh (which I admit I had to look up in my lecture notes), is good if there is inflammation from a wound which is slow to heal. Myrrh is a resin & the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation and is the same reddish-brown as the actual resin.

    And so, in COMMON NAME order, here are some essential oils which I thought might be helpful for CFS/FM and some of the associated symptoms. I think uplifting oils are pretty important when you have a lengthy chronic illness.

    NOTE: All essential oils have a multitude of properties. The properties listed below are just some of them. Some of these essential oil have balancing or normalising effects. So they can "work both ways".

    Hope this helps some of you (& sorry, the list is so long).:eek:

    Ocymum basilicum Sweet, Common BASIL is considered an excellent cephalic, second only to rosemary in its clarifying effect on the brain, so it is good for mental fatigue generally. A tonic & stimulating oil, but if used to excess has the opposite effect. Good for tired, overworked muscles, but take care, it could irritate people with sensitive skins & should not to be used during pregnancy.

    Styrax benzoin BENZOIN (actually a resin, not an oil & has to be melted by putting in a bowl over hot water, before use) warming, soothing & stimulating, it combines well with Rose and is good for the sad & lonely, depressed or anxious like the chronically ill who are isolated from the healthy community who are thriving & generally enjoying life.

    Citrus bergamia BERGAMOT is almost the most uplifting oil. It regulates the appetite good for dyspepsia or painful digestion, being anti-spasmodic. Also good for loss of appetite.
    But be warned, it does increase the skins sensitivity to the UV radiation of the sun (ie photosensitizing).

    Anthemis nobilis Roman CHAMOMILE (or Matricaria chamomilla German Chamomile) calming & soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti allergic, anti-spasmodic, immune stimulant & analgesic better for dull aches & pains digestive cramps, colitis, stomach ulcers.

    Salvia Sclarea CLARY SAGE good for circulatory disorders, skin fungus, good for anxiety & depression, tonic to the nervous system.

    Eucalyptus globulus (Australia) - EUCALYPTUS (which I use for both its pain relieving properties as well as cleaning & disinfecting) is a very strong bactericide, parasiticide, insect repellent, general antiseptic, antirheumatic, febrifuge, stimulant, antineuralgic & works on eradicating intestinal parasites. Used on dressing aids for burns (which I have never tried because lavender oil is so perfect for burns) where it aids the formation of new tissue. It eradicates lice & a whole host of other uses.

    Foeniculum vulgare - FENNEL Detoxifying oils such as Fennel are helpful in clearing the body of toxins which have accumulated over a long period of time. (also intestinal parasites). Fennel, like many essential oils has a balancing & normalising effect.

    Juniperus communis - JUNIPER another detoxifying oil which is helpful in clearing the body of toxins. Internally, it is useful for general & organal lassitude (or sluggish digestion) and loss of appetite. Diuretic, anti-rheumatic, soporific & anti-inflammatory.

    Lavendula officinalis LAVENDER (my favourite) is calming, sedating, anti-spasmodic (better for sharp aches & pains), bactericide, tonic/restorative/cardiotonic, anti migraine, hypotensive, together with many more properties. A good all round essential oil, not too expensive, & blends with most other oils. It rarely causes an allergic reaction & in very small dilute doses can be used for babies & the elderly.

    Citrus limonum - LEMON strong bactericide & antiseptic, activates the white corpuscles in the defence of the organism, cooling, refreshing, tonic for the nervous & sympathetic nervous system. Combats excess gastric acidity, rectifies mineral deficiencies & an alkalising agent. Good for epidemics & infectious diseases, arthritis, gout & gallstones. I have used a hot lemon drink many times for clearing the pain & inflammation of an inflamed gall bladder. Good for hepatic & pancreatic deficiencies.

    Adropogan or Cymbopagan citratus LEMONGRASS powerful tonic & stimulating effect,stomachic, gastric stimulant, colitis, antiseptic. Regulator of the parasympathetic system. Can be irritating on the skin if not diluted enough. Use only two to three drops in baths (and preferably dilute in milk or vodka before adding to the bath water in case of skin sensitivity).

    Iriganum marjorana - MARJORAM - anti-spasmodic, calmative, increase the tone of the parasympathetic nerves, dulls the senses & can cause drowsiness, insomnia, migraines, general physical and nervous debility, mental instability.

    Melissa officinalis MELISSA (lemon balm) the overriding property of Melissa is that of soothing & calming the body & mind. Melissa has a beautiful citrus smell and, as with other oils containing citral & citronellal should be treated with respect and used in low, diluted doses to avoid skin irritation. The mental & emotional actions of Melissa are also uplifting, important in chronic & debilitating health conditions.

    Citrus vulgaris - NEROLI diminishes cardiac contractions/palpitations, dulls nervous sensibility, sedative, lightly hypnotic, chronic diarrhea, nervous dyspepsia, insomnia

    Pinus sylvestris - PINE the strong antiseptic qualities of pine can be used as a disinfectant and a general revitalising tonic for its stimulating & oxygenative qualities, aids the lymphatic system to cleanse wastes. Pine blends well with lemon. Influenza, infections in general, intestinal pains & excessive sweating of the feet.

    Rosa Damascena ROSE OTTO very, very expensive (like about $400-$500 for just a few ml in a tiny bottle, but if you're really very, very wealthy, you might like to indulge in a drop or two of rose oil in a massage blend) & often cleverly adulterated. Very concentrated & only a small amount is needed. Solid at room temperature, it needs to be warmed to produce a thick oil. It is very powerful indeed. Neurotonic, stringent, hormonal regulator, cell regenerator, stimulant, uplifting, potent antidepressant, good for emotional grief & shock, sadness (in fact its effect on the mental/emotional level is most important). Rosewater is a much more affordable way of enjoying its perfume & healing properties. The finest & most costly oil is the Bulgarian attar of roses.

    Rosmarinus officinalis - ROSEMARY general debility, physical & mental strain, glandular disorders, disorders of the liver, colitis, excess of cholesterol in the blood, rheumatism, gout, migraine, disorders of the nervous system, vertigo, fainting, muscular pains & stiffness, general fatigue.

    Santalum album (Indian) or Santalum spicatum (Australia) - SANDALWOOD antiseptic, tonic & aphrodisiac, chronic bronchitis, obstinate diarrhea, lymphatic and venous, calms the nervous system, grounding of nervous types, anxiety, depression & excellent for dry skin

    Thymus vulgaris - THYME stimulates the production of white corpuscles, so strengthening the bodys resistance to invading organisms. Antiseptic & bactericide, parasiticide. Particularly good for people who are fatigued, depressed or lethargic & stimulates the appetite. Helps to strengthen & stimulate the brain and improve memory. Good for insomnia (in its balancing effect) One of the best remedies for sore throats. (I often cook white fish fillets in the oven on a bed of lemon thyme, a small amount of olive oil & the juice of half a lemon surprisingly delicious considering thyme has a woody taste).

    Melaleuca alternifolia (Australia) TI TREE Has a long history of use by the Aboriginal People of Australia. An unusual oil in that it is active against all three categories of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is a very powerful immuno-stimulant, so when the body is threatened by any of these organisms Ti-Tree increases its ability to respond. Cardiac fatigue, nervous depression, stimulates local circulation, Chronic Fatigue syndrome, general fatigue. Used either side of spine a week before an operation protects against anaesthetic toxicity (so they say). Once again, care is needed in contact with the skin.

    Conanga odorata YLANG YLANG tachycardia, intestinal infections, sedative & calming, antiseptic, anti-depressant, harmonizing, anti-spasmodic.

    And just for the sheer pleasure of that fresh citrus aroma wafting through your house Citrus reticulata - MANDARIN, (which is actually a digestive stimulant, anti-spasmodic, insomnia, general physical & nervous debility or mental instability, sedative, calming, uplifting and moderates the sympathetic nervous system I just love it!

    Enjoy!
    Victoria :)
     
  14. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Thanks much, Victoria!

    What a wealth of information! Looks like I will have to abandon any dreams of growing herbs I may have as I do not have a sunny window. My apt. building is quite close to the one next door and my windows face it.

    Neighbours did plant herbs out back this past summer and the one before that. Many did very well - several types of basil, French lavendar, lots of mint, chives... even though there is only dappled sun for only part of the day.

    BUT, other tenants take their big dogs out there and let them pee wherever they want. So, since nobody wanted to risk eating Pit Bull Pesto, we mostly just admired it where it grew.

    Maybe I should grow mushrooms :D

    Thanks again!
    Koan
     
  15. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Pit Bull Pesto

    Koan.....

    Pit Bull Pesto....tooo funny....but not really;
    How about a small, brightly colored painted sign designating the herb garden..with a statement that people eat these herbs.

    That would work if you have considerate neighbors....which I hope you do.

    I have a BEAR, yes BEAR (with pix to prove it) that sits on my small Lavender plot....which doesn't really get enough sun, so the plants are smallish. He better not pee on my plants!!!! It's bad enough he squishes them!

    My Echinachea does well in semi-shade. Mostly shade.

    And Victoria, I didn't know Lavender had anti-inflamatory properties. So that means it is especially good in the bath. I have been using my Lavender in my bath for three night in a row, and today is the firt day in a long time that I have not taken pain medicine....could it be the Lavender that is helping???
     
  16. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    A bear! A bear that sits on your lavender plot! That could be scary or charming or scarily charming!

    Somehow, I don't imagine bears in NC, don't know why not. I guess it's because from where I am you must go north to find bears. I just assume all the bears are north!

    Unfortunately, the kind of neighbours who pay attention to signs are the kind of neighbours who do not let their dogs pee on the herbs in the well marked flower beds. They are also the kind of neighbours who pick up poop, so you don't get it all over your shoe first thing in the morning, and who don't leave broken bottles out back. We have a little of everything in my colourful building.

    Anyway, post pix! Please post pix! Please oh please post pix!!!

    :p
    Koan
     
  17. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Don't see why not, Marion,

    Lavender is so good with so many symptoms. Anyone using it for the first time is bound to get a good result. And it's much cheaper than chamomile to buy. The price of Roman chamomile is slightly different to German chamomile & has a slightly different therapeutic effect.

    I guess cost is a major factor (as well as availability).

    Ti Tree is also really good for infections & easy to find over here, but I wonder whether you can get this essential oil easily in the US, UK & Canada? :confused:

    Also, I don't know the brand names over there. French lavender essential oil is very popular too.

    I found this winter, that using Lavender the whole winter (every night) seemed to build up in it's effect.

    I know I "rave on" about Lavender, but it really is relaxing & calming. Because I am clumsy (or I thought I was, but maybe it's FM fatigue all these years), I have a habit of burning myself relatively often.

    Both the stove & the hot water bottle. I also have a habit of doing the ironing (steam iron) standing in my nightie & push the steam button on the iron & keep burning my stomach. Yes, I know it's stupid. You'd think I'd know better after all these years, but I still do it over & over again, burn myself, that is.

    Therefore I really need the Lavender oil for burns as much as anything else. That's why I buy a big 50ml bottle - it's indispensible in my life.

    Victoria :)

    PS And like Koan, I'd love to see a picture of your bear sitting on your Lavender too!
     
  18. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Bear/Lavender

    Koan...will get my Hubby to help me post the bear photos (I am clueless)....our area has over 10,000 bears, and many, many encounters so it is a bit of a problem. All over the news this summer!

    Anybody know what is the best way to use Eucalyptus....I have a terrible cold that will not go away...
     
  19. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Ylang Ylang

    Victoria, You mentioned that Ylang Ylang is good for tachycardia. I have been plagued with tachycardia since the beginning of my CFS. The cardiologist has me on beta blockers...which help some. My heart rate is still in the high 80's.(Resting!) Do you have a suggestion as to how I could use Ylang Ylang to help the tachycardia...sure would be nice if it helped enough to get me off of beta blockers...or even as an adjunct to them would be nice.

    I am taking so many meds I feel like a chem lab...I hope Dr Lapp will help with that next week when I see him.

    The Lavender (5 drops) is helping me fall asleep. I love using it. I have been able cut bask a bit on my seroquel for sleep. I have been waking up at about 2am with horrid burning pain in my shoulders, hips and leg bones. Have to take 800mg of ibuprofen to get back to sleep. Any essential oils to help with pain?

    I hope your garden is growing well...The bear was eating my comfry herb yesterday. The deer eat it also...I need a fence around my herbs!
     
  20. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    English lavender is noted as being the best.
     

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