How do you know if the company you are purchasing your essential oils from practices ethical and sustainable harvesting of plant material? - especially when it comes from critically endangered or protected plant species such as Rosewood, Spikenard, Sandalwood, Palo Santo, Agarwood, and even one of the most commonly used essential oils, Frankincense. These plant species are critically endangered due to having been drastically over-harvested or harvested illegally for many years.
Let's talk about each of these essential oils and how they should be harvested. Always look for this information provided on the essential oil company that you are purchasing from. If this information is not present, I would either do research on the brand to ensure their practices are ethical or avoid them altogether if you cannot verify such information. This is a known issue in the aromatherapy world so this information should be easy to come by.
Rosewood trees are native to Brazil and are critically endangered due to developmental clear cutting and other unethical harvesting methods. The wood should be harvested sustainably from trees that are intentionally planted in forests. The tree tops should be trimmed similarly to the way in which you would prune an overgrown bush or tree in your garden. This will ensure that the trees are kept alive and healthy.
Palo Santo is protected by the government of Ecuador and a permit is required to harvest the oil from dead trees or fallen branches from dead trees, that have been lying on the ground for at least two years. It is important that when you purchase this precious oil that the company whom you are purchasing from is educated in sustainable and ethical practices and deals with brokers and distributors who harvest the plant material legally and ethically.
Spikenard is hard to cultivate since it grows naturally in rocky soil at very high elevations in Nepal. It has been critically endangered since the mid-1990s. Permits are needed to buy and trade spikenard root for essential oils and is heavily regulated by the Nepalese government.
Agarwood should be sustainably produced from the heartwood of two different species of evergreen trees. The essential oils is usually produced from a wild, private tropical forest plantation in Thailand. They ensure that their agarwood is sustainably and ethically produced and follows local government regulations.
Sandalwood is endangered because of illegal smuggling and over-harvesting of wild-growing trees in India. The depopulation has occurred over many decades causing the industry to collapse in India. It is primarily cultivated in Australia these days.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii -- as opposed to other types of Frankincense) has been over-harvested in Somalia and other parts of North Africa. Due to the popularity of this essential oil, it will inevitably be moving up the list of endangered species.
When critically endangered plants or ones that are teetering on the edge of being over-harvested without regard for ethics and sustainability, the supplies will either run low or cease to exist. Additionally, governmental regulations may be mandated to protect these plant species from extinctions. This will also drive market prices through the roof. Today, a 5ml bottle of Sandalwood can run upwards of $100 and Agarwood runs closer to $200 for a 5ml bottle. The others remain reasonably priced considering their scarcity.
This is where using your essential oils in a sustainable manner and not overusing them comes in to play. Don't just assume to throw 10-15 drops of 3-5 different essential oils in a roller and call it day. Understand proper dilution ratios, you will only need 1-2 drops of Rose oil as opposed to 20, which would be an expensive waste. If you are using these particular essential oils on a regular basis please do so with intention knowing that every drop is precious and not to be wasted.
I noticed that since I am getting older that the skin on my neck was starting to feel rough and was feeling loose. But, never fear - There, in fact, is an oil for that! I did some research and made a neck firming serum, which I have been using for about a month now. I've noticed that in that time, my skin is starting to feel smoother and firmer.
Here is the recipe:
Geranium oil can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots on the skin. It can also prevent the skin from sagging too or can be used to firm the skin over time. I use it in a few different DIY body care. It has a strong perfumey scent, but in this case mixes well with Cypress and Frankincense.
Frankincense oil promotes cellular health and is essential for the skin as it also helps to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. Overall Frankincense is great for calming and soothing the skin and is very gentle. I pretty much use it in all of my skin care products for these reasons.
Sweet Almond Oil is perfect for any skin type especially if you have sensitive skin, acne, eczema, dry, irritated, or oily skin; Almond Oil provides a plethora of hydrating benefits without agitating sensitive skin. Not only is it a perfect moisturizer, but Almond Oil also helps to restore the skins natural protective barrier. It moisturizes your skin and is versatile, so it works in many beauty recipes. It is high in vitamins A and E which nourishes your skin. Do not use sweet almond oil if you have a nut allergy. Sweet Almond Oil has a comedogenic rating of 2*.
*Comedogenic ratings as it pertains to carrier oils and essential oils is a determination of whether or not certain oils with a rating of 0-5 will cause your skin to breakout because of clogged pores.
Sending out a huge thank you to everyone who participated in my online class on Facebook for Mood Boosting Essential Oils. The content will be available for another week in case you didn't get to take a peak yet.
As promised, here are the recipes for each
Mood Boosting Rollers:
There are days where I feel so totally grateful and thankful to have such a wonderful and supportive essential oils community. My 1 1/2 year old niece has been having really extreme diaper rash and my brother said that nothing they tried work. Of course I was like, wait "we have an oil for that!"
Last week I consulted with the moms in the essential oils community group to see what works best on that type of rash and received some excellent information. So I whipped up some coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils and then sent them a care package, which arrived a few days later.
On Wednesday. I asked my brother how it was working and he said that "it seems to have stopped the rash from getting worse. Today it's look better like the marks are fading." My poor niece was in such agony from the pain of sores that were bleeding, but things are looking on the up and up for her. I'm so happy that I was able to help them out. I checked back on Friday and he said that the rash was " pretty much gone."
Here are the ingredients:
I get asked a lot of questions about what to use for dark circles and lines under and around the eyes. I made a serum over the fall that has worked really well for me. I put it on at night usually after using my night cream first.
I've previously tried numerous eye creams and concealers and nothing worked for me and I was wasting a lot of money. That's when I decided to try out using essential oils with Vitamin E and Sweet Almond Oil. I spent a lot of time complaining about how bad my under eyes looked until I realized that I hadn't complained about it in quite some time.
At the beginning of my journey, I took a selfie as a reference point in October. Apologies for the inconsistent lighting, but I wasn't wearing makeup in the images below. In March, I decided to take an updated selfie with no makeup and was truly surprised by how different my under eyes looked and then took another reference shot last week for comparison. Mind you, I am almost 42 years old, so I am counting this as a win!
Benefits of Essential Oils on the Skin:
Owner, Restorative Aromatics and NAHA Certified Aromatherapist Level One. This blog focuses on aromatherapy education and other essential oil related topics.