Pink Grapefruit essential oil

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Pink Grapefruit essential oil

My essential oil collection is expanding again – on the cheap! I don’t need more, but it’s true that I’m using a lot more in the oil burner now that I’m working from home all the time. Sliver of silver linings from the pandemic, eh? o.O

Still, it’s nice to have my ‘home office’ filled with soothing scents, or things to help me focus, or – as with this one – something nice and energising. But it finally dawned on me that I don’t need to go for ‘quality’ quite so much if all I’m doing with the oil is using it in the burner, not on skin. Caution is still needed, though – you don’t want to be breathing anything toxic! But, it can lower the cost if you want to try out a few new scents.

Pink grapefruit has long been a favourite of mine in skin products. It’s that bit sweeter than regular grapefruit, and with this new attitude, I was able to track down a bottle of the oil!

Whereas I feel the need to use the sharper grapefruit in a blend, this pink grapefruit works very well on its own, with a tangy sweet scent that is energising and mood boosting. Pink grapefruit is also said to help with weight loss (acting as an appetite suppressant), with lifting depression, and can boost self-esteem.

Pink grapefruit is said to blend well with bergamot, black pepper, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, ginger, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, neroli, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, sage, tangerine, thyme, and ylang ylang, among others – pretty much everything, then?! 🙂

Blends tried:

Suggested blends:

  • …are really hard to find, as it generally gives you just grapefruit. All suggestions welcome, otherwise I suggest you could use the grapefruit blends.

I can be anything I want… for 5 minutes a day!

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I had a moment yesterday when I saw someone’s Twitter bio, and the (slightly paraphrased) line:

Writer, for the five minutes a day when I’m not distracted by the internet.

I mean… oooh. I’ve not really been writing, ergo I’m not really a writer… right? I’m pondering this year’s Nano (tbh the socially distanced, wfh (write from home) version will probably suit me much better!) or not.

And then bam: not just ‘write for five minutes a day’ but ‘Be a Writer for five minutes a day’. Power increase five hundred!!

hands writing in notebook

I’ve also been finding the motivational “Journey not destination” kind of things highly resonant this week. Maybe I can let go of the idea of writing a (good) book, and just scribble for the fun of it. For the shine of Being A Writer for those few moments 🙂

Clary Sage essential oil

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Clary Sage essential oil

Clary sage is a Mediterranean herb, not the same as the more familiar sage used in cooking, and far less strong in scent. It’s a slightly herbal woodsy kind of a smell.

Benefits attributed to clary sage include reducing stress, possibly aiding depression, helping menopausal or menstrual symptoms. A calming oil, it’s often used to increase relaxation before sleep. My favourite comment is probably Tisserand’s “Restorative when feeling overwhelmed, irritable or suffering from mood swings”. It’s also good for hair care.

Clary sage blends well with bergamot, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, rose, sandalwood, vetiver.

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • clary sage and lavender in a relaxing bath
  • clary sage, lavender and cedarwood for sleep
  • 2 clary sage, 1 spearmint, 1 lemon
  • clary sage, lavender, geranium
  • clary sage, geranium, rose
  • 2 grapefruit, 1 patchouli, 1 clary sage
  • clary sage, grapefruit, lime – ‘mood shaker’
  • clary sage, grapefruit, tangerine

Mandarin essential oil

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Mandarin essential oil

My favourite essential oils are probably the citruses, and you could make a case for it being orange given the number of variations I’ve collected! Orange, sweet orange, tangerine AND mandarin! I just need some clementine now 😉 Can I even tell the difference – is there even a difference? Yes, but it’s subtle, particularly between tangerine and mandarin, where often even the fruits are mixed up.

Some online research suggests that mandarin is most similar to sweet orange, but more intense. I probably agree, given it smells sweeter than orange but less so than the tangerine, but that might be a brand difference – certainly, I’ve read that mandarin is the sweetest. Or as suggested: bittersweet at first, growing sweeter on evaporation.

There are apparently 3 kinds of mandarin oil: green, yellow, or red, depending on the ripeness of the fruit used. As far as I’m aware, most commercially available oils are likely to come from the red.

As a citrus, mandarin is unsurprisingly a cheery scent. It’s uplifting but also soothing. It is said to help minimise stretch marks, if used (diluted) on skin, and also digestion, although my own use would be to ‘ease mental fatigue and lift the spirits’. Apparently it’s often used to modify other citrus flavours in food and drink.

Mandarin blends well with benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, neroli, orange, patchouli, vetiver, ylang ylang – I mean, that’s pretty much everything, right!? LOL!

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • 3 drops lavender, 2 mandarin, 1 lime (or equal parts) – calming, anti-stress
  • 2 mandarin, 1 clary sage
  • 2 mandarin, 1 frankincense
  • mandarin, frankincense, lavender
  • mandarin, frankincense, vetiver
  • mandarin, rose
  • 3 mandarin, 2 lemongrass, 1 vetiver
  • mandarin, rosewood, may chang

Pandemics are exhausting, cut yourself some slack

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“To live in a pandemic means to have fewer moments of auto pilot where our brain can properly rest while we still go about our day.” (Sarah Noll Wilson)

Okay, so this blog turned into aromatherapy central over the past while, but that was never the entire point! I could/should write more about learning/coding, I guess. Creativity – although that’s not reared its head in a while (but I have all this time … hahah!). Actually, I am doing a tiny Camp Nano goal to try to get back in the habit…

But, more to the point, I also intended to note random articles I read elsewhere, and why they caught my attention. Like this one, unrolled from the author’s Twitter feed.

There is something unprecedentedly global about the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before, it seems, have so many faced the same thing at the same time. World Wars, celebrity births/deaths/marriages, the release of the final Skywalker Saga or Infinity Wars movie… yeah, okay, but not to this scale. And devastation. And fear, and, and and…

For all that this is so global, the individual pandemic narratives vary widely. I’m doing okay, on one level: I’m an introvert, I like being on my own, I still have work. I am very very grateful for a whole pile of things. But I totally understand that some people need more social contact, or to escape living conditions that were never meant to be 24/7-365.

“To live in a pandemic means to live with the constant hum of a threat. Somedays the hum might be so quiet it will lull you into thinking things are “normal” and other moments it will roar back reminding you that while you might be done with it, it isn’t done with us.”

I worry about the narrative now that it’s under control, that humankind is on top of things, because I don’t think we are anywhere near that. We just want ‘normal’ back desperately. And that’s not surprising.

Ms Wilson’s article resonated with me a lot.

“During the first month of the pandemic there was a collective experience of disruption, disorientation, uncertainty, and chaos. People shared how overwhelmed they felt … People were exhausted … There was decision fatigue, Zoom fatigue, novelty fatigue, loneliness, economic hardship, and a general sense of grieving of the life we once knew.”
It’s tough, I get it. I am far from immune for it, however well other bits are going.
“To live in a pandemic means to live with the constant hum of a threat … To live in a pandemic means facing uncertainty every day … These questions happen so fast that we don’t even realize our brain exploring the world of “what ifs”. Like an app that is running on our phone, it slowly drains our batteries and we find ourselves laying awake at 2 am wondering why we can’t sleep or remember what day it was.”

I apologise for just lifting half this article as quotes, but it was just so “Yes!! This!” for me.

Not having any sense of what happens next is not how we ‘homo superior’ types like to live our lives, and yet here we are, brought to it by something so tiny it’s not visible to the naked eye. How dare it?! But, outrage doesn’t help. Wearing a mask probably will – hey, it’s worth the attempt. Because this isn’t over by a long shot, and the new normal isn’t obvious yet.

We’ll get through this. Probably. Individually, globally. But just because we want it to be over already doesn’t mean it’s done, yet. And that’s why it’s still stressful – all of the fears we’ve already lived with for 100+ days , compounded by “Well, they say we can go to the pub, is it safe to go to the pub? Am I being too cautious? Should I, will I, wont I??” – and that’s just the pub, it is so irrelevant it hurts to talk about it so fiercely, argh!

So. Cut yourself some slack. Keep breathing. Stay safe, be kind to yourself and others. As the late, great Douglas Adams put it, “Don’t Panic!”. But, y’know, panic enough not to do anything stoopid for no good reason. This, too, shall end – just, take a breath and ride the wave and be patient for a little longer still.

Eucalyptus essential oil

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Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus is a strong scent and so rarely makes it into my oil burner. If I was going to use it, it’d probably be very cautiously in a steam inhalation when I was utterly congested with the cold!

Today I decided to try out a ‘wake me up’ blend after a rubbish night’s sleep. Mixed with some sharp citruses, it really does – but still, with just one drop – likely to be clearing out your sinuses while it’s at it! I’ve been sneezing a fair bit, just to warn you!

As well as a decongestant, eucalyptus is also used for aches and pains, as an insect repellent, for enhancing concentration, and possibly calming nerves. It’s noted as being uplifting. There is some suggestion that the scent might lower the perception of pain after surgery, but not sure it’d be my first thing to try in that scenario!

Blends well with chamomile, cedarwood, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, peppermint, pine, rosemary

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender
  • eucalyptus, lemongrass, lemon
  • peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary – headache relief
  • eucalyptus, bergamot, orange
  • eucalyptus, grapefruit, ylang ylang
  • eucalyptus, lime, frankincense

Lemongrass essential oil

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Lemongrass essential oil

A strong citrus with undertones of herb, lemongrass might be more familiar from Asian cooking. It’s not one that gets used often in my collection, but that was half the point of these posts – look at what I have, use more of them! It can feel quite powerful, so use sparingly.

Like most citruses, lemongrass is uplifting and energising. It has cleansing properties, and is a naturally bug repellent. It may help with headaches and migraine, digestion, and mental clarity.

Blends well with geranium, ginger, grapefruit, peppermint, pine, rosemary, tea tree, thyme.

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • grapefruit, lemongrass – ‘wake up’
  • lemongrass, lavender, peppermint
  • rosemary, lemongrass, lavender, spearmint
  • lemongrass, sandalwood – contemplative
  • lemongrass, clary sage, patchouli – meditate
  • lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender

Pine essential oil

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Pine essential oil

Pine is a rarely used oil out of my collection, mainly around Christmas time to get that tree scent. It’s a clean, refreshing scent, often found in air fresheners and household cleaners – which if not used carefully, it will end up reminding me of.

Pine can be used to help clear your head and nose – you can use it in a steam inhalation. It’s described as reviving, stimulating and invigorating, helping to relieve fatigue, increase alertness, and lift moods.

There is a difference between pine needle oil and pine oil from twigs/buds, not always made clear in the description until you look closely. There are also things like ‘fir oil’ which will be used in much the same way.

Blends well with cedarwood, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, and rosemary.

Blends I’ve tried:

  • pine, bergamot, grapefruit, lime – based on a blend called ‘stay sane’ which tickled me 🙂 Adds a bit of depth to the citruses, narrowly avoiding that ‘household cleaner’ smell

Suggested blends include:

  • Christmas blend: orange, pine, cinnamon
  • Winter blend: pine, peppermint, cinnamon
  • 2 tangerine, 1 ginger, 1 pine
  • 2 bergamot, 1 cedarwood, 1 pine for an outdoorsy scent
  • bergamot, frankincense, pine

Rose essential oil

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Rose essential oil

I’m not a huge fan of floral scents, but I am a bit of a completionist with things like my essential oils collection, so of course there’s some rose oil. Well, some blended rose oil – it’s cheaper, still smells nice, and works fine for my purposes. I’m not sure if it’s the rose or the sweet almond base that reminds me strongly of every spa I’ve been to.

Rose is balancing and uplifting, said to help with decreasing anxiety and stress. It has been credited with increasing confidence and a sense of well-being. It’s also associated with putting people ‘in the mood’ 😉 so use with a little care lol! When used in e.g. face creams (which I don’t; I’m oil burner only with this stuff), it has moisturising properties.

Blends well with bergamot, chamomile, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, neroli, patchouli, vetiver, ylang ylang.

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • lavender, geranium, rose – ‘restful’
  • rose, geranium, vetiver
  • orange, lavender, ylang ylang, rose
  • rose, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli

Black Pepper essential oil

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Black Pepper essential oil

My first experience with essentials oils was a blend of bergamot and black pepper, so both have always had a firm place in my heart.

Black pepper is a warming oil, used in massage for achy muscles and improving circulation. In the oil burner, it’s a spicy middle note that works well with a range of things. It is said to help increase alertness and stamina, reduce anxiety, and generally soothe the emotions. It is also suggested that inhaling the aroma of black pepper can help reduce cravings – I think they meant smoking, but wondering how it’d work on chocolate 😉

Blends well with cedarwood, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, may chang, orange, patchouli, peppermint, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ylang ylang

Blends I’ve tried:

Suggested blends include:

  • black pepper, orange, ylang ylang
  • 2 lavender, 1 peppermint, 1 lemon, 1 black pepper
  • bergamot, black pepper, clary sage