Anise Seed the Woman’s Oil and Why Men Should Know About It

February 13th, 2015 by Meg Shehad

anisedrawingThere are many anise scented oils. These include anise seed, star anise, anise mint maceration, anise raven, fennel, tarragon, and some basils. The chemical that is scented like anise is called anethole. Anise seed oil can be up to 90% anethole. Anethole is thought to stimulate estrogen. Interesting fact is that Anatolia (anethole is derived for this word) is the peninsula of land that today constitutes the Asian portion of Turkey. Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia was, from the beginnings of civilization, a crossroads for numerous peoples migrating or conquering from either continent. Anatolia is considered the home of the Goddess. Isn’t is amazing that anethole found in all licorice or anise scented oils helps support the female reproduction system. Women with cancers that are estrogen stimulated like some breast cancers must avoid anise oils. While a lactating mother will enjoy using anise, as it stimulates her milk flow. Here at Gritman, we have formulated a blend that is called Got Milk for lactating mothers.

For many women it is a love it or hate it oil. When any one has this reaction to an oil. I tell them it means you need that oil. When you love it, it means that you are on good terms with your goddess nature. If you hate it, you are not on good terms with your goddess nature. Here is the thing that all men need to  know. If a woman loves the scent of anise, it can be a powerful oil of arousal. Men often complain that it takes too much to arouse their female partner. If they use anise, arousing them will be much more simple. Drop a few drops on her pillow or diffuse into the room. A relaxing bath with anise  can also speed the process of seduction. Women tend to enjoy sex more when the anise scent is present. What if she doesn’t like anise? Then of course you will not want to use it. Jasmine or Damiana would be a better choice.

Since menstrual disorders, PMS, and menopausal problems are known to be caused generally by an underproduction of estrogen and an overproduction of progesterone,  introducing anise oil would help balance the system and improve health. Progesterone levels surge directly before the menses, and then drop dramatically, with a rise in estrogen levels during the bleeding cycle. For women having difficulty with starting their period, anise supports the menstrual flow. Now because of this anise oils should be avoided during pregnancy because the high levels of progesterone at this time help the baby to grow well. With the birth of the child, anise is used to support the breast feeding mother.

Endometriosis may also have an estrogen based trigger, so it is important to remove anise from these women. Although there is no study that I can find that reports anise supports estrogen production in the body, there is too much discussion from chemists and biologists that anise does seem to induce estrogen responses. When I see this kind of information, I feel it is best to err on the side of caution until we get more definitive proof.

Here is another fact. Anise scented oils can help a men who are going through male menopause. Although men do not loose their hormonal production as quickly as women, men can and do feel the effects of diminished testosterone. As women can find anise arousing so can men. As women can get support to their sexual reproductive organs so can men.

Spiritual signature of anise seed is about supporting you to see the pain or the things you do not like. It wants you to know that you are not alone and support is there for you. There is also evidence that anise oil is a natural pain killer. It will help in reducing pain in individuals struggling with rheumatism, arthritis as well as joint pain. Anise oil detoxes as will as enhancing blood circulation. The antispasmodic qualities of anise oil can be useful for reducing pain within the muscles and pains brought on by spasms. Anise reduces pain in the body both physically and energetically.

There is some research done on Fennel oil which also has anethole in it. The research wanted to see if anethole would help improve thrombosis or blood clots within blood vessels. The research was named  “Protective effect of Foeniculum vulgare essential oil as well as anethole in the experimental model of thrombosis” by Tognolini M, Ballabeni V, Bertoni S, Bruni R, Impicciatore M, Barocelli E. They discovered that both Fennel essential oil as well as anethole (100 mg kg(-1) oral administration) offered substantial safety toward ethanol induced gastric lesions in rats. They concluded that anethole was  antithrombotic as well as being clot destabilizing with vasorelaxant action.

This study brings up an important issue, that of ingesting oils. Anise has long been known for its digestive support. This relates to the herbal qualities of the seeds. The essential oil of Anise is almost totally anethole, an ether. Ethers are big phenols and just as phenols are difficult digest so are ethers. Herbally they support digestion while the essential oil is difficult to digest. The liver can become taxed breaking down the anethole so that it becomes water soluble. I appreciate the results of this study, but as a qualified aromatherapist I can not support the ingestion of this oil. It would be better to ingest the seeds themselves.

As you can see Anise Oil can be important to the health and well being of men and women if used safely. Anise seed has a very pleasant aphrodisiac effect. We all need a little more anise and pleasure in our life.



A Summer Cold – What To Do?

September 18th, 2014 by Meg Shehad

Out of the blue we find ourselves having symptoms of a cold and it is hot summer. With all the tools we here at Gritman to help avoid this kind of thing, you would imagine we would be on top of this. We get busy and think we can just move through it as our noses become inflamed and our throats begin to feel sore. Then our six year old here seems to be symptom free which makes us think this is no big deal, but the adults are getting hit big time with this thing. What to do?

The first thing that we do is take tea tree. One drop every hour for 24 hours or until feeling better. This will tend to get most sore throats. The next thing we do is take an Immune Boosting bath. It can be the blend Immune Booster or any of the phenolic oils.

Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Cinnamon, Cassia Bark, Clove, Allspice, Birch, Wintergreen, Cayenne, Garlic, Onion ( do not take these oils internally)

These oils are the spicy hot oils that one must use a carrier or the skin will burn. These oils will rev up the immune system as well as nervous system and why they are also considered anti-depressants.  How many drops do you put in the bath? We can put a lot. 30-60 drops especially if we are feeling bad. The water is as hot as we can stand. You may need a fixed or fatty oil like olive oil to stop any stinging. Hydrate, hydrate, as you are even sweating while in the bath. If you used a fatty oil, be careful getting out of the tub and make sure that your tub can tolerate oils. Any plastic coated tub will be damaged by the oils. Any imperfections in your marble tub can be discolored over time with the use of oils.

Once out of the tub we wrap ourselves in towels, climb on the bed, wrap up in blankets, and sweat. Sweating is a wonderful thing to do especially after an essential oil bath. This is often all you need to do to break the cold or flu cycle. We may have been late in getting this process started, but it seemed to be working and then this thing just did not want to go away.

Now what do you do? Do not stop the baths. Changing the oils you are using is good. Stay hydrated and cut back on your work load. Take it easy. Colds can get your nose inflamed and mucus starts. The classic runny nose. Now it is time to start smelling or diffusing

Ginger, Eucalyptus, PeppermintTexas Cedarwood.

Most people choose Eucalyptus 80/85 but for children or elderly this is a bad choice. For any one with impaired lung function, the 80/85 may be too strong. Our Eucalyptus of choice is the Gully Gum. There is cineole, the eucalyptus smelling chemical, plus lots of terpenes which are good antivirals in the Gully Gum. It is a great over all choice.

The nose thing seems to be settling down, but now it seems to be going into the lungs. This stuff really seems to want to linger. Now what do you do? I was not about to let it get into my lungs, so I started smelling Texas Cedarwood, but it just wasn’t doing the job and I switched to Cedar Leaf Thuja. I smell the bottles, but you can diffuse into the air also. Lou made the mistake of just smelling it a little. I smelled the Cedar Leaf for almost an hour until I felt my lungs clear. I was mostly free of it settling in my lungs. There was some mucus but I continued with the Cedar Leaf and Texas Cedarwood and no infection and now it is gone. There was a lingering cough. Usually I use Spike Lavender rubbed on the throat and this stops a cough but not this time. We found that Peppermint taken internally and allowed to roll down the throat stopped the cough within a few minutes.  The sore throat tried to come back again and I continued with the tea tree.

The other thing that I noticed with this virus was that my eyes began to emit mucus and my eyes seemed clued to my face upon waking. Now what to do? Essential oils are not safe for the eyes. I started using Foraha. Foraha is both essential oil and fixed oil. It is amazing with viral and bacterial infections. I did not want to get infected eyes, so I started putting the Foraha around the eyes. Care must be taken not to get the Foraha into the eyes as it will sting. If it does get into the eyes, lightly blot with a tissue. I did this for a few days. Then started using rose creme around the eyes to keep the area moist and pain free. Eyes started to get better. While Lou did not, one of his eyes is swollen and we are having to deal with the infection. I have been able to stay at work and continue although slow at times.

Sometimes we can get these nasty colds, but with persistence, we can stay relatively healthy and active. Sometimes our old and true oils will not work as well as they use to, so not to worry. There are many many more oils out there and one of them will work. The more aggressive we are with the treatment; the better the results will be. Here is to health and well being.


Energy Clearing Your Animals with Essential Oils

January 16th, 2014 by Meg Shehad

Energy Clearing of a Horse Video

It is the end of the year and time to let go of the old and bring in the new. We often forget that our beloved pets need some help with releasing old emotional energy that they get from us humans and from just living their lives. Many animals get illness or just run into traffic when they become overburdened with energetic debris. We may know that they are doing this because they love us, but many do not know how to clear their animals. Dogs and horses response best to essential oils. Cats and birds need very special procedures. I am going to talk about dogs and horses today.

What is energy clearing? This is often hard for us to understand because we are dealing with what we cannot see. We all have an energy field around us. The Earth also has an energy field around it and is often described as a electromagnetic field. Humans, dogs, and horses also have electromagnetic fields. You cannot see it just like you cannot see air. We know it is there. Describe air. Hopefully you cannot see it, but you know it is there as you breathe it in and out. Energy is like air and is all around us even though we cannot see it.

If we clear this energy field and keep it healthy, we can increase the health and vibrancy of our dogs and horses. These animals are sensitive to energy and to their personal needs. It is important not to use any essential oil that they do not like. Dogs and horses know quickly if the essential oil will help them. There are exceptions and this is for traumatized or mentally damaged dogs and horses often found in rescues. They will need special handling. The oils can be very helpful for them, but they will probably not like the very oils that will help them the most.

Here is a list of oils that can be used in clearing. Choose the one you feel will be appropriate. Notice that energy clearing is also used with physical conditions.

Once you have selected the oil, drop a few drops onto your palms and rub together. Present the oils to the horse. If the horse moves his head towards the oils, it is giving its approval. If it moves its head away from the oil, it is not giving approval and you need to try a different oil. If the animal is having a hard time accepting the oil, suspect trauma of some kind that needs to be cleared.

Before clearing imagine a way of disposing of the energy debris that you will be clearing away. This can be hard for some because you can’t see it. You are just imagining and this can make some feel weird. I always tell people that this is when you need to pull out your little kid and allow yourself to just believe. Once you see this working, you will become a believer because you will see the evidence, but for now you just need to believe. Imagine!

Many people bring in angels or other energy beings and give the debris to them. Others like to imagine a trash can with fire in it. The debris is released into the trash can and it is burned up. Know that if you do not do this, the emotional debris is still in the space and will reattach.

Now the oil is selected, the animal has given approval, and a disposal site is imagined, you are ready to start. Begin at the head. For a horse you will have to go down one side of the body and then do the other side. With a dog usually you can get both both hands going down both sides of the body.  Slowly make your way through the animal’s energy. Do not touch the body of the animal . Stay about 3-6 inches away from the animal depending on their size. If you feel that you need to stop, do so. The head, the heart and the rear of the animal often need some time to clear. Wait until you feel you can go ahead and move on. Remember you are a kid and you are just pretending. Use your trash can and just dispose of the debris.  Once you are finished, clear the final debris into the trash can. With your imagination, allow it to disappear as you thank your animal, yourself, and your trash can for being there. I know it sounds silly but this is just good manners when it comes to energy clearing.

This process will allow physical treatments by you or your vet or other health care provider to be more effective. If you will be using essential oil treatment, you will not need to use as much oil. Remember this will save you money and greatly help the health of your horse.

Emotional clearing needs to be done before any form of medical or physical treatment is used. This will increase the effectiveness of the procedure. After the procedure is preformed, the emotional clearing is used once more.

Asthma – Out of Balance with Giving and Receiving.

December 10th, 2013 by Meg Shehad

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. We all love to give and receive presents. Many believe that our world is out of balance and we care more for receiving than giving. When the giving and receiving principle is out of balance within the body, it will show up in some form of discomfort. Asthma is one way for the body to show you that you are out balance.

There are two basic forms of Asthma. One is when the receiving principle or feeling like a burden is predominant or out of balance. The other is that the giving principle or feeling depleted is out of balance. Of course it is ridiculous to think that asthma is this simple as it is a very complex issue and one that medicine can only treat and not cure. There are often undiagnosed emotional issues. Even the medical model believes that asthma has emotional triggers of which they are unable to treat but ask you to avoid. This is where essential oils can be of great help. They move emotion and bring to balance.

With the receiving principle is out of balance, the body has a difficult time letting go of air. The lungs are unable to take in air because the lungs are holding onto the air or life giving sustenance. There is fear that there will be no more air. I will die. There is also the feeling that I am a burden and take and take from my world but unable to give back. I want to give but no one is taking. I want to love but no one wants my love. There is a fear of dying and that one is not wanted within the world. Anger and fear oils are helpful for clearing these issues. The body systems that need to be addressed are the liver and/or the digestive system and the kidneys.

Anger Oils:

Cinnamon Bark,  Cinnamon Leaf, Cassia Bark, Ajowan,  Peru Balsam, Sassafras, and Onion and Garlic but the last two need to be used under the supervision of a Spiritually Certified Aromatherapist as they release rage.

Fear Oils:

Hops, Copaiba Balsam, Gurjum, Exotic Basil

Use these oils within a bath, massage, or diffusion. Be careful as working with these oils can trigger an asthma attack for those that are sensitive.

Goldenrod herb and maceration will help the kidneys. The anger oils will help clear the liver.

When the giving or depletion part of the cycle is out of balance,  the body is unable to receive air into the lungs. Here there is a feeling of giving but not getting back. The air goes out but no air seems to be returning. The lungs are inflamed trapping air in and not allowing it to go out.The environment may be a harsh one or there is a sense of not enough love or nurturing. The feeling of not being loved or cherished is at issue. There is a sense of not enough. There is not enough love for me. The body feels depleted not able to sustain itself. The body system that needs support is the adrenals. Asthma because of exertion or exercise fits here.

Love oils are actually the same anger oils listed before. Once the anger is released, love is able to come into the body. So anger oils work for both receiving and giving love. All flower oils are love oils.

Rose, Neroli, Jasmine, and Ylang Ylang are powerful love oils.

Adrenal Oils:

Black Spruce, Black Pine, Lavender, and Passion Flower. Any oil that calms and relaxes or revives is good for the adrenals.

Silver Fir Needle is the premier oil for balancing giving and receiving. Here at Gritman we consider it to be the ideal Christmas oil. Even if you do not have asthma, almost all of us are not truly balanced within giving and receiving. There is so much sadness about being inadequate in one way or another. The lungs hold sadness and grief. Many of us can benefit by smelling benzoin absolute. Benzoin is a resin that when extracted to form an absolute removes sadness and grief from the lungs. It cannot be used in bath therapy as it is totally not water soluble and will collect on the side of the tub and be completely stuck. Smelling or using in perfume blends is the best way to use Benzoin. Silver Fir Needle is ideal for diffusion within the environment, massage or bath therapy.

Breathe Well and Happy Holidays from the Gritman Family!


The Baby is Here. What Oils Can I Use NOW?

November 20th, 2013 by Meg Shehad

Ave as a baby

Gritman really enjoys working with mothers and babies. Usually the same rules that apply to babies will also apply to the Elderly. Smaller quantities work better. The blends found in aromatherapy books will need to be reduced by half. More carrier will be used with less essential oil. Do not put oils under their nose or in their eyes. Peppermint which can be helpful with colic rubbed on the stomach does not work well right under the baby’s nose. The epiglottis can spasm and the baby will go into a breathing crisis. Always put oils in a carrier. This applies even to lavender. The skin of babies is fragile and is more sensitive than adult skin. Be gentle and use only a little.

Angelica Root is an oil of transition and is especially appropriate for greeting newborns and helping elders to pass. Diffusing in the space is good at the birth and for a few days thereafter. It can also be used in massage for the baby and the mother to help with the transition.

For baths, use only natural soap like Lou’s Soap. Babies can be given massages especially after bath time to keep their skin moist. New Born Baby Massage is a great blend to help babies adjust to the their new world. Fractionated Coconut Oil is a much better product to put on baby’s skin than baby oil that  is a petroleum product and not good for baby or adult skin.

For changing diapers, soak cloth wipes in Rosalina or a blend of Lavender and Tea Tree to wipe bottoms. If you are using disposal wipes you can use a Rosalina Water Spray. This will prevent most rashes. If a rash does appear, use Self Heal Creme or Nappy Rash. After the bottom is wiped, Rosalina Baby Powder can be used to add extra protection. When you are out, use Diaper Rash Stick. The stick is small and takes up little room but  protects the baby from rash in no time.

For sleeping, the classic blend is lavender and roman chamomile. Gritman sells Lavender and Roman Chamomile sticks. Rub on the bottom of the feet and this will quiet a fussy baby and also help them to go to sleep. The feet are a wonderful place to apply oils especially in the very young.

Some baby’s will experience sour stomach or colic. The baby will be fussy and difficult. Apply Soothing Baby Massage to the tummy to help relieve pain, or add a few drops to a warm tub and soak the baby for a few minutes. Soon you will have a happy baby again. Peppermint is an oil that can be used later when the child is bigger to help tummy aches and motion sickness, but peppermint is too strong for babies. Angelica Root that you used in the beginning few days can also be used in a carrier to help colic.

In a few months, baby may get a cold or have a runny nose. Baby Sniffles rubbed behind the ears and/or on the chest can help symptoms. The blend can also help protect from getting viruses. Rub onto baby’s back and arms before going into public or in an area where people are ill.

For new Mommy’s, they also have special needs. Comfrey maceration is ideal for rapid healing and comforting sensitive sore areas. Comfrey will strengthen connective tissue, reduce inflammation and pain, promote rapid skin repair, and pull toxins from the skin. Use where needed. Warm baths with comfrey and other herbs is wonderful way to relax. See if husband or massage therapist can use Muscle Relaxation in a massage.

Some women will experience hemorrhoids for the first time after giving birth. Hemorrhoid Ezzz will help shrink and soothe the hemorrhoids. Yarrow is an essential oil that is often used to heal hemorrhoids.

For breastfeeding mothers, they may want to encourage milk flow. Got Milk is a Gritman Blend that can be rubbed onto breasts but avoid the nipple. Exotic Basil and Dill are also two essential oils that can be used to promote milk production. Rub onto breast after feeding baby or at least an hour before feeding so that the scent does not irritate the baby’s nose. What you smell is what you taste, so let time pass before feeding the baby.

It is natural and normal to feel overwhelmed at the birth. Joy goes hand and hand with added responsibility. Mommies get the baby blues. Sometimes this leads to postpartum depression. Use New Beginnings to diffuse or massage, but if the depression continues, please seek medical advise. Sleep is very important and it may be more difficult since Mommy is now in a heightened alert to hear the baby. Use Postpartum Sleepy Time rubbed across the shoulders and neck to get the sleep that you need.

Essential Oils Are Safe for Babies and Mothers if You Know the Oils to Use

November 18th, 2013 by Meg Shehad


When Amy was pregnant with Ava, there was great concern expressed for the health of the fetus. At that time, there was the general belief that essential oils were dangerous for pregnancy and would cause abortions. Then there were worries that there might be birth abnormalities. I use to joke that people were concerned that Ava would be born with two heads. The truth is that Amy successfully worked at Gritman without incident until her delivery. Ava was born naturally at home and she was just perfect.

No oil is a true abortive, but many oils come with an abortive label. What some essential oils will do is cause uterine contractions. If you might miscarriage or have a high risk pregnancy, these oils need to be avoided. Chemically these oils are phenolic in nature. These include all anise or licorice scented oils plus hot spicy oils. The oils that are emmenagogues (increase menstrual flow) are also considered uterine contractors. These include:

Allspice                                  Anise                                 Anise Raven

Anise Star                              Basil                                  Cinnamon and Cassia Bark

Dill                                           Fennel                               Nutmeg

Oregano                                 Parsley                             Pennyroyal

Tarragon                                Thyme                              Wormwood

Some women have attempted to abort with these oils only to find themselves still pregnant but having serious liver damage because they swallowed these oils.

Many oils will carry labels that they are not safe for women and babies because they have not been formally tested. It is always good to err on the side of safety, so when in doubt, do not use it. Many doulas, midwives, and mothers use essential oils every day. It is from their experiences that we draw our knowledge. Everyone agrees that lavender and tea tree are safe for mothers and babies. Lavender is calming and soothing and helps one to sleep. Tea tree is more medicinal and can help the mother or baby with illness, rashes, bites, or other skin issues. Tea Tree and Lavender can be blended together to create a wonderful product that prevents or relieves diaper rash. There is an essential oil called Rosalina coming from a special Melaleuca tree that naturally combines lavender and tea tree.

First Trimester usually needs help with nausea, fatigue, and lack of sleep. Oils for nausea are ginger, lemon, and peppermint. There is some concern about peppermint but most are comfortable using this oil. Fatigue is helped with peppermint, rosemary, tangerine, and fir needle. Gritman has blended oils for fatigue called Energy Rise. Oils good for sleep are lavender, roman chamomile, and passion flower. There is also some concern about roman chamomile but most feel confident about its use.

Second Trimester usually concerns itself with stretch marks. acid reflex, and swelling. Oils good for stretch marks are geranium, lavender, helichrysum, patchouli and ylang ylang.  These oils can be placed in fractionated coconut oil or other vegetable oils and rubbed onto the belly. Gritman created a cream called Belly Butter that is very effective. Oils good for acid reflex are ginger, lemon, or peppermint with a drop in 8oz of water. Gritman also has a vinegar called Acid Relief for Pregnancy that is also put into water. Oils for swelling include juniper, lemon, patchouli, and lemongrass. These oils can be added to Fractionated Coconut Oil and applied to swollen area.

Third Trimester usually concerns itself with need to sleep, headaches, and muscular pain. Lavender and Roman Chamomile is the classic formula for mothers and babies to put them to sleep. Lavender and Peppermint is the classic formula for headache control. Wintergreen, Peppermint and Ginger is a great combination for relieving muscular aches and pains. All these oils can be added to Fractionated Coconut Oil and rubbed into the appropriate place.

At the first signs of  labor, the mother needs to be calm and stay relaxed. Lavender and Geranium are a wonderful combination to diffuse into the space or rub across the shoulders and neck.  Gritman also has a blend called Calming Labor that can be used at this time. As the labor progresses and it is time to move the baby out of the body, the oils labelled abortive come into play now. They will begin to work with the contractions and make them very efficient so the labor will be shorter. Gritman has a blend called Labor Ezzz.

Tea Tree is applied as an analgesic and antiseptic if there is a tear or cut.

Angelica Root is diffused into the space to welcome the newborn.

Next week I will write more on now that the baby is here. What oils do I use?





The Blue Oils Are Back

October 30th, 2013 by Meg Shehad



Blue oils are beautiful. This is Yarrow. The blue is not natural to the plant and created in the distillation process. The sweet piece in lavender is also created while distilling and there are many other oils that benefit from distillation. Over the last few years, growing conditions have been terrible and the plant has not been able to provide the right ingredients for creating the deep blue. That is no longer true and that great blue color is back. Blue Tansy and Yarrow have just arrived at Gritman.

Blue Chamomile (also called German Chamomile), Blue Tansy (also called Moroccan Chamomile), Blue Cypress, Spikenard, Wormwood, and Yarrow are all blue oils. We just received Blue Tansy and it is fabulous. The fruity aromas is so much more pleasant than Blue Chamomile’s scent. When you look at Blue Tansy chemically, it seems to share properties with Blue Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. This makes it a great buy and its price has come down with this new shipment.  Roman Chamomile has a light blue color but this varies from year to year. Both Roman Chamomile and Blue Tansy are used in the beginning signs of asthma to stop the spasm and open the breathing.

All blue oils have chamazulene. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Blue takes the red out. Blue oils are cooling and effective with heat inflammation. Inflammation or swelling can cause pain, as the blue relieves the swelling, it relieves the pain, as in migraine headaches. Chamazulene stimulates formation of granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is generated in a healing wound to both break down damaged tissue and to help prevent infection. This is why blue oils can be present in acne blends and also used in healing wound healing.

Yarrow is often found in hemorrhoid formulas. The blue can help shrink the swollen vessels, so it is also used with varicose veins. Because of the blue, yarrow can be used with all kinds of skin issues especially itching and bruising. Yarrow also has ketones that allow it to prevent scars or diminish them. The ketones in Yarrow do not make this oil suitable for children and Blue Chamomile is suggested for pregnant women and infants. Blue oils can also take the sadness out and can be used to counter depression or stress. Yarrow is known for its antidepressant properties.

All blue oils will turn green. Some oils turn green quickly as in Spikenard. Most aromatherapists have only seen green spikenard and then of course there is the reconstituted spikenard made from patchouli that is a golden green that turns to an amber color. This is why it is important to know the color of your oils. You cannot be tricked with reconstituted spikenard if you know that it is a blue oil. Blue never turns amber. When a blue oil turns green, it does not mean that it is bad. It just means that it is not as potent an anti-inflammatory. When the green becomes black, the oil has lost its usefulness. You cannot stop the oil from changing color but you can slow it down. Refrigerating your blue oils will help slow the oxidation.

Blue oils are an important part of every aromatherapists tool chest. They provide important anti-inflammatory, wound/skin healing, and antidepressant properties. With proper storage the blue will last long and you can enjoy the oil to the last drop.

toLabor Doula Training Workshop

October 21st, 2013 by Athena


We are proud to announce we are offering the space for toLabor Doula Training Workshop locally sponsored by Joli Ann Ammons and coordinated by Gina Forbes, December 6th-8th, 2013.

toLabor, is pleased to announce an  upcoming birth doula training workshop near Houston, TX on December 6-8, 2013. toLabor does training near Houston, TX  only one or two times per year, so this is a rare opportunity to join the most well-regarded, holistic doula training organizations in North America for an educational and inspirational weekend that will prepare you with information and training to start a lucrative doula business.

Birth doulas, also known as labor assistants, are professionals who support women and their families through labor andbirth. As more people become aware of the benefits of doulas, and as the Cesarean rate continues to climb, the demandfor professionals trained in labor support has skyrocketed. Research has shown that hiring a birth doula is one of thebest precautions against medically unnecessary cesareans and other interventions in childbirth, and can even shorten labor.

toLabor is unique among doula training organizations for offering workshops that are educational, informative, andempowering, with a focus on physiological birth as well as the emotional, mental, physical, hormonal, and spiritualaspects of labor and delivery, whether at home, in birth center, or in a hospital setting. Workshop participants leave well-equipped to start a birth doula business and to change the lives of their future clients by providing labor support and information on evidence-based practices and safe options and choices for childbirth. Read more about what you will learn in a toLabor birth doula training workshop here:

The training is relevant not only to people who want a career as a doula, but also for other professionals such as nurses,childbirth educators, massage therapists and anyone with an interestin birth or a birth-related career or business. It is also relevant for women who want to be informed about choices in childbirth regardless of background or experience.

Whether you want to earn an income as a professional, certified doula or just want to learn more about choices in childbirth, please consider attending the upcoming toLabor Birth Doula Workshop.

For more information, contact toLabor workshop coordinator Gina Forbes at or visit to register. We hope you will be able to join us for this transformative and educational weekend!

To contact Joli Ann Ammons:  281-686-2877

Gritman’s Recommendation on Aromatheapy Books

October 17th, 2013 by Meg Shehad

We get asked all the time: What is a good book to read about Aromatherapy?

If you are just beginning, we suggest that you read Aromatherapy Companion. It is by Victoria Edwards. She has a pleasant writing style and easy to read. She talks intelligently about complex subjects such as chemistry and perfume blending. There is never too much information so that you feel overwhelmed and the chapters are small enough so that you can read one at a sitting. Digest and go for more.

Jeanne Rose has a funny and delightful book on what do you do with the essential oils now that you have them! This book is called the Aromatherapy Book of Applications. It can appear at times to be a bit disorganized but this adds to the charm of the book. She gives hints and helps that you can find no where else.

A favorite of ours is the Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood. She organizes the book by body systems. She gives not only essential oil and aromatherapy advise but also herbals, homeopathics, and other useful information. Oils are always more powerful when used with other therapies. The pictures on using the oils in massage are totally beautiful and very instructive.

For parents the Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child is invaluable. Valerie Ann Wormwood gives the basic information every parent needs to know about the oils. Then she gives instructions on creating and using a basic care kit for children and family. The book is full of helpful hints on how to help children through all the stuff that can go wrong.

The Compete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Wormwood is full of formulas and ideas for all kinds of situations and problems. She even has a section on cooking with oils. I thought Amy was the only good source for cooking with the oils but Valerie has helpful hints too. There is even a section on animals and gardening. This is good if you are beginning and just wonder where to start. You can try out her formulas and change them so they become yours. It is a good way to begin.

We like working with oils on a spiritual level and there are really not many good references. The Gritman Guide of course speaks to the spiritual messages of the oils while Milli Austin’s The Healing Bath gives you insight on how the oils work spiritually. She explains the body as energy and how this functions. There are formulas for many different issues. The book focuses mainly on bath and massage but her principles can be used within any healing practice.

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell gives all kinds of insights into keeping our pets healthy. Essential oils tend to be too difficult for cats and birds to handle. She gives  insights into hydrosols and how they can be used for these pets. She even gives insights on working with fish. For those that love and want their pets healthy this is an invaluable reference.

For those wanting to read one of the first references on aromatherapy, The Practice of Aromatherapy by Jean Valnet is for you. He talks about each essential oil that he uses and how he uses it. Valnet is the person that connected emotional healing with the oils. Up until his work, oils were primarily used as antiseptics, but Valnet begins to see a multitude of uses for the oils.

Every aromatherapist makes some kind of beauty products. The Aromatherapy Handbook for Beauty, Hair, and Skin Care by Erich Keller is a great reference for instructions to make creams and ointments for the body. He lists a basic group of oils that should be used with the bodycare line. Within this he gives formulas that he have been successful for him.

The more you work with oils the more you find that you can do with them. The Herbal Home Remedy gives ideas for working with the herbs and oils to make all kinds of recipes. There are recipes for tinctures, teas. salves. tonics, and syrups. There are lots of home remedies in this book that can be used successfully by any aromatherapist.

Going directly to the plant for information is probably the most successful way of discovering how the plant’s medicine will work. Eliot Cowan  has written Plant Spirit Medicine to explain the process behind direct communication with plants. In writing the Gritman Guide to Essential Oils, I used a similar process to directly communicate. It is possible to communicate with plants. This book opens you to that world.

There are many other books and we have just sited a few of our favorites. Pull of a comfortable chair and begin.


Rosewood, Lavender and Clary Sage What’s the Connection?

September 9th, 2013 by Meg Shehad

We all know that essential oils come from nature and they are wonderful healing tools. Unfortunately, Nature does not always cooperate. In  recent years there has been weather or natural disaster events and plant material is not  available for processing. Then there are also political reasons why essential oils are not being distilled. Bad weather has made the lavender crop less prolific in the last few years causing shortages and diminishing quality. Rosewood comes from the rain forests of South America. They are no longer cutting down this forest as fast as they once were. They were making room for agricultural land.  Rosewood was  rather inexpensive when there were so many down trees. It takes many many years to grow new ones. Rosewood is becoming scare and therefore more expensive. Clary Sage growers stopped producing Clary Sage because the Chinese sold their Clary Sage below market value forcing the other growers out of the market. These farmers did not plant Clary Sage for this year and the Chinese did not  produce Clary Sage. Now there is a shortage of Clary Sage and the price goes up on what is left. It will take a full year for the growers to produce more. Rosewood, Lavender, and Clary Sage all have price increases due to weather or political events.

Do we need to find substitutes? Probably! I always tell my students that there are times when you need to know your oils so well that you can blend oils to get close to what you need. Rosewood is high in linalool with a slight rose scent. What other oils are high in linalool. Sweet Basil is but with the other spicy notes, this will not do. There is another oil that many do not know about that is called Ho Leaf. It has about the same linalool in it as Rosewood. It is less expensive and could be substituted. Geranium or Rose absolute could be added in small amounts to produce that slight rose scent, or the Ho Leaf could just be substituted.

Could you replace lavender with lavandin, the lavender hybrid? It is often grown to be used in place of lavender, although it is not as sweet because it does not have the same about of linalool ascetate as the better lavenders. What oils are high in linalool ascetate? Clary Sage is for one and it was what we were using to upgrade lavender. We called it Tazy Lavender, but now with the Clary Sage shortage is there another alternative? Orange Bergamot or Red Mandarin also have high levels of linalool ascetate. There is a citrus note but one that could be tolerated. Linalool ascetate in lavender is what makes it so good for relieving stress and sedation. Passion Flower Maceration is also good at stress relief and sedation and does not rely on linalool ascetate. Passion Flower could be added to lavender, but it would not improve its scent only its effectiveness. Aromatherapists have many tricks in their bag.

What if you cannot find Clary Sage later in the season? Clary Sage can be as high as 80% Linalool Ascetate, although this season’s is much lower.  Again I would look to Bergamot and Red Mandarin which are both high in Linalool Ascetate. You could add a little of the bergamot or red mandarin to boost the Clary Sage’s effects which are mostly to soothe, relax, and sedate, or just use bergamot or red mandarin in place of Clary Sage. Some people think that Clary Sage is an estrogenic oil and it will stimulate estrogen production in the body. I have not really seen this, but if you are looking for oils that stimulate estrogen try anise scented oils such as anise raven, anise seed, star anise, fennel, and tarragon.

As an aromatherapist I am always looking to see how I can provide the scent and healing that is required. Weather and political events only allow me to be creative. There are combination of other oils or other essential oils that can be used to replace the oils that have be weakened or not available. Rosewood, Lavender, and Clary Sage may not appear to be connected, but all of them can be replaced or recombined to provide us with the results we want.