I feel so blessed to be a regular contributor to this blog. I've learned so much more about writing, editing and most importantly, the plants which have stepped forward to "star" in the articles. I'm deeply grateful to the Herbstalk team and to each of you for your ongoing support, your questions and your readership!
This month, I thought I would translate that thanks into a gift: Patrice's 2015 Holiday Spritzer. So forge ahead, Gentle Reader!
It's always fun to bring the plants into our celebrations, and this time of year we generally have many opportunities to do so with friends, colleagues and loved ones. Using essential oils in an spritzer is a great way to set the mood for any gathering. Essential oils are the heart of the plant, made several times stronger through the distillation process. It's always a good idea to approach these powerful plant allies with the respect they deserve, so first...
Some Best Practices:
* Always use high quality essential oils. It is important to use oils that are sourced and stored appropriately. I recommend you do your own research, but I like the oils provided by Boston's own Aromatherapy International, www.aromausa.com and Floracopeia, www.floracopeia.com.
* Never use essential oils undiluted. Add them to bath salts, distilled water or high quality carrier oils.
* Carrier oils include avocado, jojoba, apricot kernel and sweet almond oils. Be mindful of people with nut allergies who may have trouble with certain carrier oils.
* Use an emulsifier when your carrier is distilled water, as oil and water do not mix. You don't want the oils floating on top of the water. Vodka is a good emulsifier.
* Keep essential oils away from children and pets
* Essential oils should only be used externally
* Always use metal or glass when working with essential oils
* A good rule of thumb is to use a 2.5% mix of essential oils/carrier. That's about 15 drops of essential oil to every ounce of product. If you are making two ounces of something, use 30 drops, three ounces use 45, four ounces use about 60, etc.
* Blends generally have a 6 month shelf life. The potency of a blend may deteriorate over time as the carrier itself degrades
Now for the Fun: Making a Spritzer
To make a 4 ounce aromatherapy spritzer you will need a 4 ounce bottle with spray dispenser, distilled water, alcohol so the oil and water emulsify (I recommend vodka), and essential oils. You will use approximately 48 - 60 drops of essential oil per four ounce bottle of spritzer, depending on how strong you want the scent. Add oils to a clean dispensing bottle. I always like to add the oils first. Add approximately 1/2 ounce of vodka to emulsify. Fill rest of bottle with distilled water. Shake and spray.
Patrice's 2015 Holiday Spritzer recipe
The intention for this blend was to set the stage so that when guests arrived they would feel warm, welcome and that there was a hint of the forest greeting them. Myrtle is very rejuvenating, and blends very well with fir, pine, spruce or thuja. It also calms and brings warmth. Thuja or White Cedar is one of my favorite oils. It is very calming to the Central Nervous System while aiding in conscious thought. I find Spearmint to be refreshing and gently uplifting without the edge of Peppermint. Peppermint is a great oil to help you meet a tight deadline. Spearmint's energy is more gentle. I like to use it when I'm trying to set a more laid-back, refreshing, welcoming mood. Vanilla is one of the most easily recognized scents in the world: warm, welcoming and lovely!
Essential Oil # of drops per 4 ounce spray bottle:
***** Shhh! Top secret emulsifier: 1.5 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Ok, I have to confess I have NO idea how that vanilla extract is going to play out in the blend over time, but who am I to argue with Divine Inspiration? The idea to use the vanilla extract as an emulsifier came to me in that hazy time between sleep and wakefulness, and usually that's a good sign that it will work. I've tested it, and it smells heavenly! Warm, enticing with lovely forest notes as a counter-balance. My gift to you this holiday season.
Thanks for supporting Herbstalk and for reading our blog. Wishing you all a beautiful, joy-filled season and a very blessed New Year! Save the date for the next Herbstalk event, June 4-5, 2016!
With Gratitude and Love,