What comes to mind when you think of a natural perfume? For those from the flower power generation, it may be the sweet smelling scent of patchouli. Or maybe it's the fresh, green scent of a Provencal lavender field?
Natural perfumes are becoming ever increasingly more sophisticated, so as the nights begin to get lighter, what better way to celebrate National Fragrance Day on March 21st than by discovering a mood enhancing new scent?
In 2016, Weleda launched the Jardin de Vie range, a collection of organic fragrances designed to "stimulate harmonious emotions in the person wearing the fragrance". By returning to the origin of perfumery and using pure essential oils rather than synthetic chemicals, the fragrances may have an aromatherapeutic effect, having a positive effect on mood as well as pleasing the nose.
Organic perfumes are also free of phthalates, a group of hormone disrupting chemicals linked to diabetes, infertility and cancer. Those with sensitive skin may find that they are better able to tolerate natural scents. Plus, they're better for the environment too!
Interested? Let's take a closer look....
Agrume, based on the Sea Buckthorn body care range, is
"a fresh, vital composition with the fruity fragrance of grapefruit and mandarin and rich notes of sandalwood"
It's designed to stimulate the following attributes: carefree, cheerful, energy, vitality, joie de vivre.
Rose, based on the Rose skin care range, is
"a floral composition with the gently flowery fragrance of rose and geranium and the opulent notes of ylang ylang blossoms"
Spritz to promote sensuality, deep joy, self confidence, balance.
Grenade, based on the Pomegranate skin care range, is
"a sensual, feminine composition with the fruity fragrance of orange and davana and an oriental note of vanilla"
Wear to stimulate the following: inspiration, sensuality, timeless beauty, authenticity, luxury.
Onagre, based on the Evening Primrose skin care range, is
"floral notes of magnolia with the freshness of cardamom. Warm sandalwood notes leave a delicate and powdery scent on the skin"
It's designed to enhance the following attributes: serenity, elegance, sophistication, zest for life.
The stylish fragrances are small enough to be carried in a handbag so you can spritz away throughout the day.
Priced at a very reasonable £19.95, the scents are best worn layered over Weleda's super hydrating body lotions.
Weleda Jardin de Vie fragrances make the perfect Mother's Day gift and birthday present for the eco-friendly mummy. Or why not treat yourself?
As a working mum of two children under the age of three, I struggle to find the time to take care of myself. Don't get me wrong, I wash every day (the reason for mentioning this will soon become apparent!), do a bit of yoga when the kids are in bed and get the occasional massage, but there is a distinct lack of 'me time' in my life right now.
So when I was invited to Weleda head office to hear about a stress relieving activity that can easily be squidged into the busiest of days, I was keen to find out more ....
Last week, Weleda launched a mindfulness colouring book as part of their 2016 Christmas gift range. The beautiful book features the intricate designs of talented artist Lizzie Hobbs, who spent a year researching lead plants and key ingredients in Weleda's extensive range of organic, biodynamic health and beauty products.
The book is made up of twelve pages to colour in, with each page telling the story of a particular ingredient; for example, Jasmine is an Indian flower that releases its intoxicating scent at night, so the henna-like pattern comprises of a striking mandala with stars, hawk-moths and peacocks. In contrast, Calendula has a strong heritage in English herbal medicine, so the flower is set against a backdrop pattern of medieval floor tiles and Tudor timberwork.
Mindfulness colouring books have been around for a while now, but what is mindfulness, exactly, and why does colouring help us to achieve it?
Or to put it simply, use your senses to experience the present moment fully. By doing this, we learn to switch off from the mental chatter that dominates the stressed mind. Any simple, repetitive activity focuses the attention and calms the mind. Colouring makes mindfulness easy and accessible.
"Filling a page with carefully and thoughtfully chosen colour, feeling the pencil in your hand, hearing the sounds it makes when it runs along the page, concentrating on your breathing and feeling the sensations of bringing the illustration to life."
Weleda's Mindfulness Wash Gift set, priced at a purse-friendly £17.95, partners the colouring book with five luxury body washes. The premise is simple; choose a body wash (my favourite is pomegranate, closely followed by rose) and start or end your day with a mindfulness meditation in the shower!
Having tried the two activities for nearly a week now, I have been thrilled at how better able I have been at coping with the demands of a busy, stressful life. The most common complaint I hear amongst friends is that there are not enough hours in the day. Time seems to fly by whilst our to-do lists only get longer. The simple act of mindful colouring and the enjoyable mindfulness shower meditation really help me to slow down and clear my head.
Mindfulness is associated with a whole host of benefits, including stress reduction, better memory, improved concentration, increased immune function and relationship satisfaction. Why wouldn't you want in?!
So if you know of anyone who could use a short cut to stress relief, consider treating them to a wonderful gift that will cleanse their mind as well as their body this Christmas!
If you're looking for a natural way to ease pregnancy-related health conditions, here's my list of all-important essential oils for mums-to-be:
Essential oils for pregnancy and childbirth
How to use aromatherapy oils for a healthy pregnancy
Here are some of the most common pregnancy-related ailments and how aromatherapy essential oils may help:
Backache/pelvic girdle pain - Many changes take place to the pelvic joints and ligaments during pregnancy and as a result, women may experience back and pelvic girdle pain. An anti-inflammatory and pain relieving blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils may ease the symptoms of pregnancy-related back pain and pelvic girdle pain/symphysis pubis dysfunction.
Constipation - Changes in bowel transit time can occur due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone, which has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscles of the intestines. Massaging the abdomen in a clockwise direction using ginger and chamomile essential oils diluted in a carrier oil may get things moving.
Haemorrhoids (piles) - Caused as a result of increased weight placing pressure on dilated veins and often linked to straining due to constipation, haemorrhoids, once formed, can be difficult to treat. A tried and tested natural remedy to shrink haemorrhoids is the astringent witch hazel. Combine one part in a bottle with three parts distilled water, geranium and lavender essential oils and apply using a cold compress or spray to soothe the area.
Heartburn - Pregnant women may experience heartburn, a burning pain in the chest caused by upwards pressure from the expanding bump. To ease this uncomfortable sensation, a blend of ginger and lavender essential oils diluted in a carrier oil can be applied to the abdomen and bra strap area of the back.
Morning sickness - Often one of the first signs of pregnancy, morning sickness is thought to be caused by hormonal changes that occur in early pregnancy. It can also affect women in the third trimester. Inhaling essential oils of either peppermint or ginger may alleviate nausea in mums-to-be.
Stretch marks - During pregnancy, stretch marks are formed on the abdomen and lower back as a result of skin stretching over the expanding bump. As always, prevention is better than cure, so keep skin supple by massaging your bump daily with skin-strengthening essential oils. A blend of geranium, frankincense and lavender in a sweet almond and wheatgerm carrier oil base works well.
Swollen hands and feet - Fluid retention, or oedema, is believed to occur in pregnancy as a result of rising levels of the hormone oestrogen. Arm and leg massage using essential oils of geranium, peppermint or ginger diluted in a carrier oil, using long strokes towards the heart is a fantastic way to reduce swelling.
How to use aromatherapy during labour
Calm - Create a peaceful atmosphere in the delivery room by vapourising essential oils or making a room spray. Geranium, frankincense, rose, jasmine and lavender are some of the best oils for this purpose.
Confidence - Essential oils of rose, jasmine and frankincense are thought to evoke feelings of inner strength and positivity during labour. Inhale a few drops from a tissue or apply a drop to your inner wrist as needed.
Insomnia/fatigue - Lavender can be used in early labour to help ease anxiety and to promote rest and relaxation. It is also beneficial for women experiencing a slow labour as it may calm contractions and give the exhausted mum-to-be a break.
Nausea/vomiting - Peppermint and ginger essential oils may relieve nausea in labour. Avoid peppermint oil if you are also using homeopathic remedies.
Pain relief - A blend of lavender, chamomile and jasmine diluted in carrier oil is wonderful to ease painful contractions and backache, which may be experienced if your baby is in a back-to-back position.
Weak contractions - Clary sage has been shown to have a similar effect as the Syntocinon drip and can be used to strengthen contractions during a slow labour. Inhale or apply diluted onto the abdomen and lower back.
How aromatherapy can help in the post natal period
Aromatherapy can aid in physical recovery from childbirth as well as help with the emotional rollercoaster that new mums find themselves on.
It goes without saying that new mums should seek advice from their GP, midwife or health visitor if there are any health concerns post labour, especially if infection is suspected.
If you feel that you may have post natal depression, your health visitor and GP can provide advice and support.
Aromatherapy and breast feeding - Essential oils can be very helpful if you choose to breastfeed. If you have problems with low milk production, geranium and clary sage (one or the other) diluted in carrier oil and massaged onto the breasts daily may increase breast milk. Always wipe off before feeding. Should you be unfortunate enough to experience mastitis, a warm compress of lavender and chamomile oils can ease pain and inflammation.
Aromatherapy for 'baby blues' - Low mood in the post natal period is very common, especially around day 3-5, thought to be due to fluctuating hormone levels. Mood enhancing aromatherapy oils for the post natal period include rose, jasmine, frankincense and geranium. Adding a combination of these oils to a warm bath (diluted in carrier oil or full fat milk) is a wonderful way to rebalance mind, body and soul. If you can't find the time, rub a diluted blend of oils onto your inner wrist and inhale throughout the day.
Perineum/haemorrhoid soothing oils - Use a combination of geranium and lavender essential oils, one part witch hazel and three parts distilled water in a spray bottle or cold compress to soothe and repair swollen and damaged perineal tissue. The antibacterial oils may also help prevent infection. This blend can also be used to provide relief when applied to haemorrhoids.
So there you have it; nine essential oils that will help you through the pre and post natal period. Which is your go to aromatherapy oil during pregnancy and why?
The advice in this article is generic; a full consultation with a qualified aromatherapist is recommended. To find a practitioner in your area, search the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) register - http://www.fht.org.uk/search-directory
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...