Sandalwood - scent for skin and soul

tibet-762430_1920.jpg

Sandalwood is an ancient scent that has been used in beauty and spiritual rituals for millenia. It's a key ingredient in Angelica & Peony's newly formulated Regenerating Serum, both for its rich, deeply comforting scent, and its traditional uses for skin radiance.

Sandalwood essential oil can be derived from a few species. Tisserand profiles East African (Osyris lanceolata), East Indian or White Sandalwood (Santalum album), New Caledonian (Santalum austrocaledonicum) and Western Australian (Santalum cygnorum).  (Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand) Deforestation and overharvesting have led the slow growing Santalum Album to be placed on the threatened species list, although cultivation attempts are underway. New Caledonian sandalwood has an almost identical chemical and scent profile and can be sourced from sustainable plantations and wildcrafting. This is the variety I use at Angelica & Peony.

Chemically, sandalwood is high in sesquiterpenols - these are large complex alcohol molecules that contribute to the characteristic scent of sandalwood. The large molecular size slows their absorption into the skin, and may be why sandalwood is so rarely irritating, even on sensitive skin (Aromadermatology, Bensouilah and Buck)

In acupuncture school, I remember being taught the crossover action of acupuncture points on the heart channel, usually associated with calming the spirit, for use in skin conditions, especially itching. Our teacher, Dr. Yue Ying Li, a noted TCM dermatologist, told us that itching always has a psychological component. Skin disruptions and disorders are frequently connected to and exacerbated by spiritual and emotional distress. Sandalwood has been traditionally used as a sedative and spirit-soothing scent, and this application has been held up by modern research. In research studies, skin healed measurably faster from trauma when sedative essential oils like sandalwood were inhaled (Aromadermatology, Bensouilah and Buck)

The pheromone androsterone smells like sandalwood, and the oil has long been held to have an aphrodisiac effect. Sandalwood opens us up to erotic and sensual feelings because of its grounding, calming nature that encourages self-acceptance and a sense of safety.

Feeling sexy and calm is a prescription for gorgeous skin! With specific skin healing, regenerating and anti-scarring and anti-viral powers, sandalwood is a pleasurable and powerful addition to skin care. But it's deeper medicine of calming, grounding and releasing fear are what makes it a truly magical addition to your self-care routine

Calming and Grounding Massage Oil (may have aphrodisiac effect!):

2 ounces organic sesame or sunflower oil

20 drops sandalwood oil

15 drops sweet orange oil

blend well and keep in a cool dark place. Can be warmed before use by immersing the bottle in warm water.

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #8: Sesame

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils! You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the eighth and final night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Sesame oil!

It's fitting that I close this series on 8 miraculous oils with sesame, as it was the very first oil I began to work with, almost eight years ago! I was a newly licensed acupuncturist in Los Angeles, working closely with my friend and colleague Yamin Chehin of Healing Cycles. She introduced me to an oil made by an Ayurvedic practitioner she knew, a blend of oils slow cooked in sesame oil to produce a fragrant, amazingly healing blend. I loved it, my patients loved it, and I thought..."I bet I could create something like this using the herbs I work with from the Chinese materia medica." The very first infused healing oils that became Angelica & Peony were born in the kitchen of my LA apartment!

In both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, sesame oil is deeply moisturizing. Like all seeds and nuts, sesame has an affinity for the jing or constitutional level, part of my thinking in using it for my gynecological herbal oils, Swimming Dragon and Tranquil Palace. In Ayurveda it is calming to the Vata dosha, due to its heavy, grounding nature. This robust oil is a wonderful choice for massage, and is the base oil in my Warming Menthol Balm. Its energetic temperature is neutral to warm, making it complementary to the warming action of the balm.

You can use sesame oil straight on your skin if dry or irritated, for a luxurious massage, and in the bath during wintertime.

Happy Hanukah and thank you for learning about eight miraculous oils with me! Read the whole series here, and may your holiday season be filled with light!

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #7: Wheat Germ Oil

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils! You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the seventh night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat Germ oil is an ultra-moisturizing, skin repairing powerhouse. It's packed with anti-oxidants, fatty acids and phytochemicals like carotenoids (vitamin A precursors), squalene, and ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is a "very effective anti-oxidant - more powerful than Vitamin E - that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, helps repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation." (source)

Wow right?! So why isn't wheat germ oil in every product? People who have wheat allergies should steer clear as it could trigger a reaction. It's also pretty comedogenic, so not suitable to folks susceptible to clogged pores. It has a short shelf life, so I keep it refrigerated until it is blended with other oils and essential oils that can offer it some preservative protection. Finally, wheat is extensively genetically modified, so my source (Mountain Rose Herbs) guarantees its wheat germ oil to be GMO free.

In Chinese medicine, wheat tonifies yin and qi and wheat germ oil's properties bear this out - moisturizing and repairing skin, but to be used sparingly by folks with damp and excess conditions.

Wheat germ oil is an ingredient in Angelica & Peony's Nourishing and Regenerating Facial Serums.

Happy Hanukah! Join me tomorrow for miraculous oil #8, sesame!

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #6: Evening Primrose

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils! You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the sixth night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Evening Primrose Oil.

Evening Primrose oil is somewhat of a rockstar in the world of oils. It's gained a lot of attention as a dietary supplement or herbal medicine, with both tradition and some studies recommending it for breast pain, hot flashes, premenstrual symptoms and endometriosis. It has high concentrations of gamma-linoleic acid, a fatty acid which is not found in that many sources. Midwives have traditionally used Evening Primrose oil both internally and topically to help soften the cervix and ease labor in women who are ready to give birth. Both the GLA and other fatty acids and antioxidants in Evening Primrose oil help it heal the skin when applied topically, repairing wounds and burns and benefiting skin conditions such as eczema  and psoriasis.

Evening Primrose oil is native to North America, and First Nations healers use it for water retention and fluid metabolism problems. The traditional and modern uses of the oil help me understand it in Chinese Medicine terms: it moves the blood, regulates the qi and benefits the breasts - for these reasons it's an ingredient in my two healing herbal oils for gynecological issues, Swimming Dragon and Tranquil Palace.

Happy Hanukah and tune in tomorrow for miracle oil #7, Wheat Germ!

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #5: Sunflower

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils! You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the fifth night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Sunflower oil!

Sunflower oil is from the seeds of the sunflower. It's used as a food by many people, (including me, I use it half and half with olive oil to make mayonnaise) but is a great choice for herbal body care. It has very high levels of vitamin e, as well as fatty acids and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation, itching and dryness. (source). It's most prominent component, linoleic acid, has been shown to reduce and heal acne! (source). It is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn't block pores. 

Sunflower oil is my main choice for infusing herbs for use in Angelica & Peony products. Unlike sesame oil (which we'll talk about in a few nights!), it has no odor or colour, so it is very versatile and allows the delicate scent of leafy herbs and especially flowers to come through. Infused with calendula blossoms, it's a key ingredient in Three-in-One Serum, Basic Balm and Ex Libris Balm, with ginger to make Ginger Menthol Balm, with goji berries to make lip butters, and with lavender, calendula and rose blossoms for my special LOVE Balm.

Happy Hanukah and join me tomorrow for the sixth night and the truly miraculous Evening Primrose oil!

 

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #4: Apricot Kernel Oil

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils!  You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the fourth night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Apricot Kernel Oil.

Apricot kernel oil is popular in body care products. It's easily absorbed by the skin, and contains components like oleic acid and B-sitosterol which act to reduce itching. B-sitosterol in particular acts as a natural version of the steroid cortisone to reduce itching, redness and inflammation (source)

Apricot kernels are frequently used in Traditional Chinese herbalism, especially in gynecology. Apricot kernels or tao ren are used to Move the Blood, relieving pain and benefiting circulation. Apricot kernel oil is a light, golden, virtually odorless oil, and is a key ingredient in Swimming Dragon and Tranquil Palace oils, and in Bear and Hare oils.

Happy Hanukah and tomorrow for the fifth night we'll be talking about sunflower oil.

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #2: Hazelnut

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils!  You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the second night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Hazelnut Oil!

Hazelnut oil is a very interesting oil for use on the skin. It is considered 'astringent' or dry and doesn't feel slippery - because of its high levels of catechins and tannins, phytochemicals that are also found in foods like chocolate, red wine, and green tea. It also has very high levels of vitamin e, which gives it a long shelf life and helps preserve other components when it is in a blend. The high vitamin e content also helps it soak into the skin quickly, so it moisturizes and softens without being greasy. 

In Chinese medicine, all nuts and seeds have an affinity for growth and regeneration. Hazelnuts in particular benefit the Lung and Liver system, and are 'moving' energetically and less prone to increasing Dampness - reflecting the astringent quality of the oil. This makes it a good choice for regenerating, repairing and healing of the skin.

Hazelnut oil is pale, almost clear, and doesn't have the distinctive nutty aroma of hazelnuts. It's an ingredient in two of Angelica & Peony's facial serums, Three-in-One and Regenerating.

Hurray for oils and Happy Hanukah! Tune in tomorrow for our Third Night Oil: Jojoba!

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Miraculous Oils #1: Rosehip Seed Oil

Happy Hanukah! I'm celebrating Hanukah, when one little jar of oil burned for 8 nights, by profiling my 8 favorite miracle oils!  You can read the whole series here (or subscribe to my blog to get them delivered!) For the first night of Hanukah, let's meet:

Rosehip Seed Oil!

Rosehip seed oil is extracted from rosehips - the fruit of roses. It can come from a variety of rose species, but the kind I use is from the dog rose, Rosa Canina, traditionally grown in Chile, and the variety which has been most studied.

Rosehip Seed oil has attracted a lot of attention in recent years as a number of clinical studies have borne out its traditional uses for wound and scar healing,  as well as reversing sun damage and wrinkles. This makes it a wonderful healing oil, not just for skin care, but for post surgical scarring and even burns following radiation treatment for cancer. (Source)

"Studies on photo-aging and scar repair show rosehip oil - used at as little as 6% of a formula - can reduce fine wrinkles causes by UV damage and reduce hyperpigmentation of scars... likely from all the free radical scavengers, anti-oxidants, tannins, and carotenoids" (Source)

Rosehip seed oil has a reddish orange colour, and a slightly tangy scent which conveys its very high vitamin C content. Rosehip seed oil won't clog pores, and isn't intensely moisturizing - we use it in skin care for its regenerative properties, rather than moisturizing, so even oily, combination or breakout prone folks can often use it to good effect.

Rosehip seed oil is an important ingredient in Regenerating Serum, Three-in-One Serum and Bear and Hare Oils.

Hurray for oils and happy Hanukah!

 

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Plant Profile: Calendula Blossoms

Calendula oil is an infused oil, not an essential oil. I make my own calendula oil for all my products by infusing organic calendula blossoms in organic sunflower oil. 

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required

Plant Profile: Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip oil is extracted from rosehips - the fruit of roses.

Subscribe to have new blogposts delivered to your email!

* indicates required