Sleep & Aromatherapy Part 1 

Recently there has been some media buzz around a particular lotion that some have found to help with sleep.

I think this is great because this buzz brings media attention to the use of essential oils and holistic options for sleep challenges.

I have two main points to make about this lotion and the use of essential oils as ingredients for topical use.

One: 

I always strongly recommend reading the ingredient list of any pre-blended formulation before applying to skin.

I am referring here to all lotions, soaps, perfumes, bath bombs, talc etc..  Please know that if ‘fragrance’  or ‘parfum’ is listed on the ingredient list, neither is in any way a natural ingredient.  Not only that, but a fragrance/parfum potentially carries serious health & wellness issues with long term use (read e.g. Suzuki’s ‘Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid’).

You will have to decide for yourself and your loved ones, if you want to apply ingredients with the names ‘synthetic fluorphlogopite’, ‘titanium dioxide’, or synthetic dyes with the names ‘Red 28’, ‘Tin Oxide’, ‘Violet 2’ to your skin. Please know that there is increasing health concerns regarding the use of ‘methylparaben’, ‘propylparaben’ and ‘butylparaben’ as ingredients in cosmetics, bath products, toiletries, etc.  The concern centers around their effects as ‘endocrine disruptors’.  Research by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruptors is currently being conducted to further evaluate these effects.   The Globe and Mail recently wrote about the effect of parabens and poor semen quality.   Along with Suzuki’s ‘Dirty Dozen’, I also recommend reading Julie Gabriel’s ‘The Green Beauty Guide’ for a list of 100 common toxic ingredients found in everyday cosmetics (link redirects you to my amazon affiliate site).

Two: 

While it is true that ’geraniol’, ‘benzyl benzoate’, ‘benzyl cinnamate’, ‘coumarin’, ‘limonene’, and ‘linalool’  occur naturally in essential oils, these are also single, extracted chemical constituents of a whole essential oil.  Most essential oils contain 100+ chemical constituents. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), for example, has more than 100 chemical constituents, including linalool & linalyl acetate.  Those practicing as certified aromatherapists in the field of aromatherapy work with the whole essential oil.  We rely on the therapeutic properties & efficacy of the whole essential oil • a synergistic & holistic effect.

Using single, extracted constituents is the conventional practice of the perfume and cosmetic industries. Why? Cost and the search for a consistent aroma!  My concern as an aromatherapist is the quality of the essential oil (e.g. growing, harvesting & distillation conditions).  I understand, lavender for example, is an agricultural product and its aroma will vary from one growing year to the next. This is ok with me. But once you start talking about, referring to and using single extracted constituents, the provenance of the original, whole essential oil not only becomes suspect, but would be almost impossible to verify. That’s assuming, of course, that such single constituents are actually extracted from plant material and not chemically synthesized! If the latter, all bets are off!

While this lotion is being lauded as the next great sleep aid (but, in my opinion, without the necessary questions being asked about its constituent elements and manufacturing), some of its ingredients have already been shown to be highly problematic. A blend of essential oils, procured from an ethical & reliable source, in my opinion, will achieve better and safer therapeutic results; all this without the toxicity associated with some of the ingredients! Which of course brings us back to cost! The question that one must ask then is: Can we afford the cost of the potentially harmful results of long-term use of those added toxic chemicals?

Take-aways

• Read the ingredient list carefully before purchasing. If you are in a shop, take out your smart-phone and google it, or write down the ingredients and research them when you get home.

• If you are reading on a desktop or laptop, copy & paste the ingredient name into a new tab.  Find out what that unpronounceable ingredient is really all about.

• Do not confuse a lotion made with a number of single, extracted constituents derived from plants with holistic aromatherapy.

I have elsewhere written on this topic:  ‘Read the Ingredient List Before Buying’ and ‘Skin, Hair and Nail-Care Ingredients to Avoid’.

 

Disclaimer:

This information is for education purposes only & in no way is meant to serve as medical or professional advice.  We are not responsible for any products made in use of these oils or the outcome of any application thereof. As always, we recommend testing all blends. 

Sharing experiences with essential oils is an effective way of learning to utilize these powerful gifts from nature. With this knowledge we can take control of our personal health. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information on ljturtle.com is only provided for educational purposes, and further research should be done on each essential oil to be assured of its proper usage for each individual. Aromatherapy is not meant to be a replacement for care under a qualified health professional, but should be considered a complimentary modality.

Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care.  The above is the author’s opinion. 

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