Nov 13

Essential Oils: Exhilarating Eucalyptus

Essential Oils: Exhilarating EucalyptusAahh, Essential Oils and Exhilarating Eucalyptus.

It is a stream-distilled oil from the leaves of trees native to Australia. They are among the tallest trees in the world growing as high as 300 feet. There are hundreds of species of these trees but only a few have medicinal uses. The most commonly used for eucalyptus essential oil is Eucalyptus Globulus. It has a fresh penetrating scent much like camphor.

Eucalyptus essential oil is probably familiar to you from cough drops and the vaporizer that your mom used when you were congested with a cold.

Eucalyptus essential oil has many more uses than cough drops. The Aboriginal people of Australia have been using it for thousands of years. They used the dried leaves for healing sores, burns, snakebites, coughs, fevers and muscle aches and pains. There are not a lot of documented studies on it, but many people and even doctors will tell you it will help with cough and loosen respiratory congestion. I know an aroma therapist that uses it as a room spray to kill bacteria and viruses in the air when someone in her family is sick. It is known as an effective antiseptic and expectorant.

Eucalyptus essential oil is an anti-inflammatory and has a cooling effect on the skin. Some people use it for relief from sore throat, headaches, sinusitis, and sore muscles. It can be also used for herpes, skin infections, as an insect repellent as well as relief from insect bites. It may be helpful in improving the immune system.

For congestion you can put a few drops in a bowl of steaming hot water and gently inhale the steam from over the bowl. You can also use it in your bath but be sure to dilute it in another oil like olive or sweet almond before putting it your bath water.  and inhalation is said to promote a feeling of balance and well-being.

Most essential oil should be diluted before used on the skin or in a bath.

If you would like to try Alabu Eucalyptus Soap go ahead. I promise it is not like taking a bath with a cough drop! It is refreshing and I think you will like it.

Oct 13

Essential Oils: Powerful Patchouli

Essential oilsAh, essential oils and powerful patchouli! Patchouli is sometimes described as woodsy, sweet or musky, but to me patchouli smells like dirt! It is one of those things that people say you either love it or hate it. I have read that the fragrance of Patchouli is an acquired taste, and I have to say it is starting to grow on me.

Our Patchouli Essential Oils soap has always been one of our best sellers.

I think my constant exposure to it has helped me appreciate it more. But it has such wonderful benefits that I wanted to like it. Unlike other essential oils that loose their aroma over time, the odor of patchouli improves with age. Patchouli oil is made from the dried leaves of a small busy plant in the mint family. It grows in the warmer climates of Asia. It is a natural insecticide and in the 19th century the leaves were placed between shawls exported from India to England to protect them from moths. If the weavings did not have the signature Patchouli fragrance no one would buy them, as they did not believe they were truly made in India. Patchouli has been used for centuries in Asia for skin conditions and for dressings for wounds. It gained increased popularity in the 60’s as incense, that some used to cover the scent of smoking marijuana. The perfume industry is a heavy user of patchouli oil as a base note that helps anchor the other fragrances. In skin care it is prized for treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff. It is reputed to help regenerate mature skin.  It is known as an antiseptic, fungicide and is said to be an uplifting fragrance that helps with depression and anxiety. Today it is even listed on WebMD. It says that it is used for colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Maybe you should give our Alabu Patchouli Essential Oils soap a try, we think it will grow on you.

Oct 13

Essential Oils: Lavenders many uses

Essential Oils: Lavenders many usesThe first soap I ever made was lavender essential oil.   It was readily available at the health food store and I thought it would make a fresh clean smelling soap.  It turns out that the name lavender is derived from the Latin “to wash”.  People have known the value of lavender for over two thousand years, but not for just washing themselves.  It has been used for a wide range of practices ranging from anxiety to pain reliever.  It had been thought to have protective properties that would ward off the plague.

Today, studies have confirmed that lavender can induce a calming sedating effect when inhaled. It has also shown to improve circulation problems, mental balance, insomnia and depression.  It is also used as a pain reliever for certain conditions like sprains, bee stings and sunburn. Lavender can also be used as a mosquito repellent when applied to the skin.  Scientists are also studying the effects of its elements to calm the pain from cancer.

For centuries lavender has been used in pillows to help with a peaceful sleep and also mixed with chamomile as a sleep aid.  Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with lavender, may improve sleep quality, mood, concentration, and reduce anxiety.

Aroma therapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Lavender can be used to treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections, wounds, eczema, and acne. It is also used in a bath for joint and muscle pain. One study has shown that found that oxygen supplemented with lavender oil improves pain control after surgery.

Whether you love it or If you are not yet familiar with lavender, give our Lavender Delight soap a try, it is a soothing and relaxing blend of lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of sweet orange essential oils. Lavender essential oil aids sleep and relaxation. Try it out in a bath or shower before taking a nap or going to bed!

Oct 13

Rosemary Essential Oil for Improved Memory


I like to use Rosemary essential oil when I want to remember. I often bring some with me to meetings and workshops. It’s neat that you don’t have to apply it to your skin or ingest it. Aromatherapy is so interesting. It’s not hoodoo voodoo as some people (a certain husband who shall remain unnamed) think. There is real research behind its efficacy. As I (and a certain unnamed husband) get more shall we say, mature; we notice that at times our old noggin doesn’t seem to have the same mental recall that we did when we were younger. Ok we forget things as we get older, but rosemary essential oil can help. But first a story about how it got its name. In Spain they believed that Mary and her son Jesus took shelter beneath it as they fled to Egypt to escape King Herod. It was called Rose of Mary, eventually shortened to Rosemary. Cool right?

It is nothing new that rosemary has medicinal benefits. It contains salicylic acid, which is like aspirin. It was even mentioned by Shakespeare as an aid to memory. Until recently it was only thought of as folk remedy. But more and more research is proving that rosemary does indeed improve memory. It not only improves performance it also improves speed. The research is showing that inhaled rosemary essential oil constituents (the parts that make it up) actually can be measure in the blood of the subject. Researchers are doing more studies to see what this may mean for people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Here is another post on the subject of Rosemary for Memory

Did you know that Alabu makes a Rosemary soap? Some people (unnamed husband again?) are not familiar with the herb (except on a roast) thought it was strange fragrance for soap. Try some and tell us what you think.


Sep 13

Essential Oils: The Power of Tea Tree Oil

Essential Oils: Tea Tree

Essential Oils: Tea Tree

At Alabu we use the essential oil Tea tree for many different uses.

Tea Tree oil is not new, but many people have still not heard of it. In Australia, the Aboriginal people have used it for over one hundred years. But it was not until the 1920’s that the first report of tea tree oils antimicrobial properties was published.  Since then there have been a lot of studies regarding the effectiveness and uses for tea tree oil. Most of the research is being done in Australia, the main producer of tea tree oil.
If you are thinking of going out and buying any essential oils, make sure you are buying a good, quality oil that is packaged in a dark glass container.  Also keep in mind that there is no such thing as a therapeutic grade, it is a marketing term used to charge a higher price. Most essential oils will keep for at least one year, as long as you keep them away from sunlight and heat.  To get the longest shelf life out of your essential oil, store them in the fridge.  Health food stores carry brands that are perfectly acceptable.

I have already mentioned in a previous post that my son used it quite successfully to treat poison ivy, but it has many other uses. Here is more information from part of a lecture given by Robert Tisserand in October 2007 on the science and safety behind its use:

Soaps:    Soap containing tea tree oil has been shown to be very effective for skin blemishes, irritations and as a general antiseptic. Using the soap on a daily basis would be beneficial for acne, cuts, abrasions, foot conditions, fungal irritation and rashes.

Shampoo:     A shampoo containing tea tree oil helps in the control of dandruff, itchy scalp, ringworm, lice and seborrhea.

Antiseptic cream: a therapeutic cream containing about 5% tea tree oil helps heal sunburn, cuts, insect bites, rashes, athletes foot and a number of other skin irritations.

Acne control: Following the directions on the container, acne medication containing tea tree oil has been shown to be very effective at reducing the appearance and severity of acne.

Dental hygiene: Many dentists use tea tree oil as a mouthwash and to sterilize cavities prior to filling. Studies have shown that use of a mouthwash containing tea tree oil twice a day inhibits bacterial growth, reduces gum bleeding and helps control plaque.

Toothpaste:  With regular use a toothpaste containing tea tree oil can help reduce the symptoms and severity of gingivitis, halitosis, plaque buildup and pyorrhea.

Deodorant: Many deodorants contain aluminum and other ingredients that damage clothing and can irritate sensitive skin. A deodorant containing tea tree oil may help minimize the risk of bacterial buildup while its soothing qualities can help heal razor burn too.

Pet Products: Pet care products containing tea tree oil help to reduce itching and chafing skin, heal minor wounds and abrasions and promote a healthy coat. Applying a few drops of pure tea tree oil to ticks makes them back out of the animal’s skin while applying a few drops of pure oil to your pets bedding can control fleas.

For a lot more information on Tea Tree Oil, check out Australian Tea Tree Industry Association.

Want to try Alabu Tea Tree soap for yourself?

Potential Sensitivities:

Topical use of tea tree essential oil is safe for most people when diluted properly, but adverse reactions can occur. Disclaimer

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