HOW TO PURCHASE ESSENTIAL OILS

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Essential oils are liquids which are extracted from plants through steam distillation, CO2 extraction or cold pressing. The supply chain is a complex web that crisscrosses the globe with players originating in any and all regions where individual native plants are grown.  Essential oils have a long human history of use in perfumery, aromatherapy and as natural remedies.  In recent years they have enjoyed a rapid and expansive resurgence due to increased awareness on the part of many consumers seeking to reduce or eliminate synthetic chemicals and reliance on pharmaceuticals in their day to day lives.

An internet search of essential oil retailers quickly unveils a crowded and confusing marketplace. The purpose of this article to lift that veil and assist with making an informed and educated choice when purchasing.

Before setting out to buy a consumer needs to keep this in mind at all times.  There are NO STANDARDS, NO FDA REGULATIONS, NO LAWS OR GOVERNING BODIES that regulate the production or sale of essential oils in the United States.  That means there are NO manufacturing standards, there is NO established grading system, there is NO purity testing required. The only thing that are in place are an FDA regulation that disallows retailers from claiming essential oils can treat or cure illness and weakly enforced Federal Trade Commission regulations that oversee the labeling and marketing of them for homeopathic use.  Unfortunately, essential oils have uses beyond homeopathic medicine so it is easy for retailers to muddy the waters through marketing.  Be cautious when you see any of the following:

  • Terms like therapeutic grade
  • Claims of approvals by some governing or official sounding body
  • Claims that products meet and/or exceed guidelines established by some governing or official sounding body
  • Claims such as Certified Pure therapeutic grade or implied FDA approval
  • Any commercial seals or trademarks. A trademark is nothing more than a symbol a company has created to depict their company or product.  Trademark laws do not require that this symbol be representative of the product.  Some essential oil vendors have created very official looking marks.

All of the above are absolutely meaningless yet common attention getters designed to imply quality that may or may not be there.  The most commonly used is the descriptive term  ‘therapeutic grade.’  Clever marketing has lead to the misconception on the part of consumers that there actually is a therapeutic grade of essential oils, and then there are ‘all the rest’, when in reality no grading system exists at all.  All of the above examples are invented terms and methods used by marketers.

This is not to say that retailers that employ these methods do not sell quality essential oils.  They may, but do not rely on marketing claims alone to make a purchasing decision.   A reputable retailer should readily provide the following information:

Country of plant origin, extraction process used, and either a distillation or expiration date. To determine essential oil authenticity, each oil should be identified with the plant’s scientific or botanical name, and in appropriate cases, the chemotype. Only some plants will have a chemotype.  A chemotype is when the same plant will have a different chemical profile based on where it is grown.

A reputable essential oil business will carry oils tested with at least two tests, usually run simultaneously, the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests, or GC/MS.  These tests assure purity.  GC/MS can recognize synthetics in an essential oil as they have certain petroleum or nitrogen based signatures containing compounds that would then require further investigation. The GC/MS can detect “nature identical” isolated constituents such as Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Eugenol, or Limonene.  A GC/MS test produces the widest range of testing a single analysis can perform on an essential oil. This technology can measure the precise chemical makeup in a substance with their exact percentages. Performing this test on essential oils is crucial to scientifically prove if contaminants, synthetics, diluents, or any other adulterant is present. Responsible essential oil vendors will run these tests on oils they receive from a distiller. If the vendor you are looking at does not provide batch-specific GC/MS reports on their website, they should provide them on request.

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Rediscovering Hinds Honey and Almond Cream

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This past summer while walking our dog along an old footpath that straddles our farm and a nearby village, I discovered a small antique bottle protruding from the earth.  I noticed the words, “Hinds Honey and Almond Cream” embossed on its weathered face.  Inwardly I smiled at the happenstance of my finding such a treasure.  I never realized a honey cream had been mass marketed in the United States so long ago.  I set about doing some online research and was surprised at what I learned.

The A. S. Hinds Co. was a family business started in 1875 in Portland, Maine.  It was famous for various creams for the face, hands, and skin.  They were bought out in 1907 by Lehn & Fink, maker of Lysol. The honey almond cream product was still available in 1948.

Hinds Honey and Almond Cream was formulated and marketed by Aurelius Stone Hinds. He moved to Portland in 1862 and worked in a drugstore, which he bought in 1870. He worked on the formulation of the cream for a number of years, and began selling it from the drugstore in the latter part of the 1870’s. It was such a huge success that he put it into commercial production, first in Portland, and at some point distribution was shifted to a company in New Jersey.  There was a Hinds Honey & Almond Cream radio program on CBS, starring George Burns and Gracie Allen from 1939 to 1940 on CBS radio.  The products were very common and widely used well into the 1940’s.  Below are a few ads from the company.

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hindsstamp3     hindshoneyad5

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In my research, I discovered the original formula was very similar to the first cream I created, quit by coincidence.  It was a formula conceived in an era when commercial preservatives, emulsifiers and fragrances had not been invented.  I couldn’t help but ponder the many hours I spent creating something free of these substances in an era when everything contained them. I can only view finding this bottle, learning about Hinds cream and its success as an odyssey and come to one conclusion.

Serendipity.

 

Effective Psoriasis, Eczema and Dermatitis Remedy

There was a historical documentary last night about our ancestors in this great country, and the daily perils they endured in the wilderness. Ever wonder how they tamed the discomfort of skin inflammation or irritation? We know they dealt with the same chapped and exposed skin as we have.

Today, our world offers many choices, so many that it is difficult to sift through the options. Often, multiple medicinal interventions exist for a single ailment. How do we know if they are effective and safe?

Lets talk about healing. There is healing that ends with a cure, and its opposite of long-suffering, skin conditions, that seem to heal and then worsen. Many people live with chronic skin problems every day of their lives.

In today’s blog, we are discussing Psoriasis, Eczema and  Dermatitis (sensitive skin) conditions. This family of skin troubles lingers, flares, and then settles down to stay, and the cycle repeats. Sound like you or someone you care about?

Our APOTHECARY line is something  you should know about.

  • Our  P&E Beetanical Soothing Salve ( in retail establishments), aka P&E Nighttime
  • Our P&E Beetanical Sensitive Cream (in retail establishments), aka P&E Daytime 
  • Our  Beetanical Sensitive Skin Care Bar

All contain Stellaria media, commonly referred to as Chickweed.   

If you suffer from Psoriasis or Eczema, there is concern about the long term use of prescription  and OTC steroids. Sensitive skin is a similar skin problem, in so far as it  stems from an inflammatory response. Experiencing Sensitive Skin may seem less severe a condition, than its relatives, however, an individual still deals daily with its associated discomfort, discoloration and irritation. What’s the answer?

ChickweedChickweed is consider as a weed by most; not so at Meadowlake Farm. We know it as a powerful anti-inflammatory with non-steroid like properties. This little gem is a powerhouse of comfort and we blend it with our raw honey and other herbal choices, rosemary, calendula, and chamomile.

 Our customers return for these products repeatedly and thank us for making them. Why? They repurchase because they experience comfort and relief. Simply, they work.

 

 

 

The Benefits of Aloe Vera for Skin Care

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The Aloe Vera plant belongs to the Liliaceae family. It grows in dry climates such as those found in parts of Africa and India and has been used medicinally for centuries.  It is effective in treating a variety of skin conditions.

Sunburn

Aloe Vera acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture.  Its antioxidant properties, helps the skin heals quicker.

Moisturizer

Aloe locks in moisture so it`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion.

Acne 

Aloe Vera possesses wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.

Aging

Aloe leaves contain a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin’s natural firmness.

This spectacular ingredient serves as the aqueous base for the majority of our formulas.

Fabulous Homemade Tick Spray

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Homemade Tick Spray

Tick season is upon us and as predicted, it is the worst in years.  Not only are they disgusting to find on your pets or yourself (yuck), they can transmit serious, sometimes fatal diseases.  So what can you do?  You could use commercial products, but let’s face it, these are pesticides.  Do you really want to be feeding them to your pets and spraying them on yourself and your children?  Have no fear, a lot of research has been done on one widely available and highly effective essential oil that appears to stop ticks in their tracks.

It’s Rose Geranium Essential Oil. Below is a quick, simple recipe for a homemade spray. Mix the below ingredients and put in a spray bottle.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Witch Hazel
  • 40 drops Rose Geranium oil
  •  ⅓ cup water (boil first)

 To use:

  1. Spray on your clothes and/or your skin. Spray it on your dogs, cats (safe for cats) or horse to keep them tick free.
  2. Reapply when the smell starts to dissipate. Store out of sunlight. Keeps for 6 months.

 

Now go forth into the woods and fields in peace and good health!

 

 

Homemade citronella bug spray

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It’s spring time which means it’s insect time.  No worries, get some citronella oil and get outside!

 Citronella has been registered as a gentle, plant-based insect repellent in the United States since 1948. It has even been shown to repel dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are capable of spreading “dengue fever.” It’s also effective for helping to prevent body lice, head lice and flies.

According to some research, you need to reapply citronella oil about every 30–60 minutes for its bug-repelling effects to last. However, I find that one application lasts for hours.  You can combine several drops with coconut oil and spread it on your body like lotion, or add some to a spray bottle with water and cover your skin, hair and clothes. Applying pure citronella oil directly to the body is considered more effective for fighting bugs than citronella candles are.

Homemade citronella bug spray:

Instead of using conventional recipes and showering your body in harmful chemicals, try this homemade bug spray recipe. In addition to keeping away bugs, it also helps kill bacteria and nourish your skin. And unlike conventional brands, it smells amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  •  40 drops mixed essential oils (citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree or rosemary)  glass spray bottle

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients in eight-ounce spray bottle. Spray over all portions of the body, but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth.

Now get outside and get going!