Natural Helping Hands

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I provide holistic guidance in all areas of natural wellness, stress management through holistic coaching and biofeedback, hair mineral analysis, youth services in massage and health coaching, infant/baby massage instruction, herbal education, and survival education for outdoor and everyday life.  I create an open window and a stepping stone on your path to better wellness awareness.

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        IIN graduate in Health Coaching    Science and art of Herbology
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“Essential Medicine”
by Barbara Griggs

To Anglo-Saxon ears, aromatherapy does not sound like serious medicine. Its connotations have been largely in the realms of cosmetic treatment, of skincare for the happy few, of luxurious psycho-physical pampering, all aspects which have certainly not been neglected in France. But the remarkable medicinal powers of aromatherapy, particularly in cases of stubborn chronic disease or of infections resistant to any antibiotics, have slowly converted even diehard modern French doctors into enthusiastic advocates of this natural medicine.

Essential oils are odoriferous, highly volatile substances, found in all the aromatic plants which we use in cooking or for medicine, or grow for pleasure. They are formed in the chloroplast of the leaves and transported all around the plant to be found concentrated in the leaves or the flowers, the peel of the fruit, the bark, the roots, the bulbs, and even the resin, as in the case of pine. These oils are highly complex chemically, containing alcohols, terpenes, phenols, aldehydes, ketones. And aromatic does not necessarily mean sweet-smelling: garlic is among the most potent of these mysterious substances.

Oils obtained by pressure methods have been use in every civilization of which we have records. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, all used sweet smelling oils for a variety of purposes cosmetic, aphrodisiac, therapeutic, purposes as well as for embalming their dead. But although these oils have long been noted for their antiseptic and protective powers, it was not until the nineteenth century that chemists first looked at them closely, and began testing them against the bacilli which were the medical discovery of the day. In 1887 a French chemist called Chamberland tested some of these aromatic oils – oregano among them against the terrible anthrax bacillus. He found them amazingly effective. Other chemists, their interests aroused, turned with new enthusiasm to this medicine of antiquity. They found that the antiseptic action of some of these essential oils was even more potent than the most powerful disinfectant then known – carbolic acid or phenol.

In his book, The Practice of Aromatherapy, Valnet mentions some of the astonishing results claimed to have been obtained with these essential oils and pub
fished in dozens of scientific papers. The aqueous solution of thyme at five per cent strength kills the typhus and dysentery bacillus in two minutes, the colon bacillus in two to eight minutes and the tuberculosis bacillus in thirty to sixty minutes. The essence of lemon has been shown to neutralize the meningococcus in fifteen minutes, the pneumococcus in one to three hours; a few drops of lemon juice will rid an oyster of ninety-five of its micro-organisms in just fifteen minutes. “Essential oils are especially valuable as antiseptics,” Valnet pointed out, “because their aggression towards microbial germs is matched by their total harmlessness to tissue.”

Infectious diseases had always been the most intractable of medical problems until the advent, first of the sulphonamide drugs in the mid-thirties, and then of antibiotics. The discovery of these “magic bullets” effectively halted work on essential oils, as on medicinal plants generally. But France has a long and stubborn tradition of plant medicine, and many French doctors continued to treat patients with plant extracts and to investigate these essential oils. By the early seventies, when the public was rapidly becoming disenchanted with magic bullets, Valnet had formed a small group of disciples around him.

They called themselves the Societe Francaise de Phyotherapie et de L’Aromatherapie, and held their first Congress in 1976. Their numbers have grown steadily ever since. Medicine has always been a fertile field for dissension, and French aromatherapy has proven no exception. Valnet resigned from the Society three years later; one of his original disciples, Dr. Paul Belaiche, broke away to found another, rival school. One of his disciples, Dr. Roger Moatti, in turn formed yet another organization.

Many hundreds of French doctors now style themselves phytotherapeute, or aromatherapeute. They have highly successful practices and a steady stream of patients, while a growing number of doctors, medical students and nurses are signing up for the various courses now offered. Up until recently, plant medicine had always been seen as slow, gentle and useful primarily with long-standing chronic conditions, which proved particularly resistant to drugs. But the most spectacular success of French aromatherapy has been exactly in the field where it was once thought that only powerful modem drugs could perform namely acute infections. Antibiotics have proved not to be the magic bullet that was hoped. Increasingly, there are problems of the bacillus becoming resistant (sometimes even to massive doses); of side-effects to general health; and of immune resistance. As a result of their use, cross-infection has become one of the most dreaded problems in modern hospitals.

Aromatic oils have not so far encountered anything like the same resistance problems, and they are often dazzlingly successful where orthodox medicine has failed. Paul Belaiche once received a new patient who told him she had consulted forty-one different doctors for a case of cystitis which had steadily worsened over three years despite endless courses of this or that antibiotic, until agonizing attacks were coming fortnightly or more and could be triggered simply by a couple of sips of white wine. Dr. Belaiche treated her with douches and suppositories of the essential oils of oregano, summer savory, and thyme – the most powerful antiseptics of aromatherapy – together with herbal infusions to strengthen her nervous and urinary systems. By the end of the month, the infection had completely cleared.

As well as their remarkable bactericidal and antiviral powers, essential oils have a wide range of therapeutic activity. Some are anti-spasmodic; lavender calms an excited nervous system, oil of cypress will help control a racking cough. Some are stimulants; pine, geranium, basil, rosemary have a dynamic effect on the adrenal cortex. Many of them have astonishing healing powers, stimulating new cell growth and revitalizing cellular activity in a way which not only accounts for their high reputation in skin, but ought to make them the treatment of choice for bums, infected wounds, and all kinds of skin lesions.

Since essential oils are concentrates from plants already well endowed with therapeutic qualities, they are highly potent. In overdose they can be dangerously toxic, producing giddiness, stupor, narcosis, even epileptic fits. Some aromatherapists believe that they should never be taken internally. When prescribed for internal use, they are always taken in the tiniest doses. Modern research suggests that one of their most impressive actions – their power to stimulate white cell formation and promote their scavenging ability – occurs equally efficiently whether they are taken internally, absorbed cutaneously or by simply inhaling.

To an age which has seen the horrendous damage glue-sniffing can do, it will come as no surprise to learn that essential oils can exert a powerful pharmacological effect when gently inhaled or sniffed from a handkerchief. When applied to the skin they are also rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Aromatherapist Shelley Price takes advantage of this fact to add her oils for hay fever or sinus problems to the skin care creams she makes up for clients. Increasingly, essential oils arc used in skin care products. Among the latest of these are Weleda’s Skin and Beauty Therapy products, containing such oils as chamomile and calendula, famous for their healing and anti-inflammatory properties, and geranium and lavender, which stimulate local circulation.

Used in ways like these, essential oils can be appealing and useful items in your medicine chest replacing tranquilizers, aspirins, salves, steroids, even antibiotics and antihistamines. They are not cheap, but are economical. Just half a dozen drops added to a little sweet almond oil produces a luxuriously sensual and therapeutic bath, filling the whole bath room with fragrance.

We may not have fully trained physicians who are practicing aromatherapists in this country, but following the pioneer work of Marguerite Maury, Britain now has its own well-established tradition of lay aromatherapists. One of the most dedicated is Robert Tisserand, whose book The Art of Aromatherapy, has been standard reference work since it was published in 1977. He has been a fascinated student of essential oils for many years now. (At the age of two, he clambered onto his mother’s dressing table and drank the remains of her favorite Paris perfume…) He has used them extensively in his practice as healer, and today he runs full-time professional courses, as well as one-day seminars for members of the general public.

He points out that the choice between one aromatic oil and another can often be dictated by personal preference: “I’ve found on the whole that the one you like and react to is the one that works best for you.” But personal preferences apart, he has found that clary sage, for instance, is a marvelous anti-depressant, with a euphoric quality to it. Rosewood has a similar action. Adding two drops of each to a warm (but not hot) bath will give flagging and jaded spirits a better lift than a glass of champagne, he says. Two other wonderful mental stimulants are basil (it really reaches the parts other oils don’t reach: when you smell it, it goes straight to the head) and rosemary (sniff it to revive a poor memory and flagging mental faculties). When he was writing The Art of Aromatherapy. Robert Tisserand always kept a bottle of basil oil on his desk.

An oil he would like to see in every domestic first-aid kit is lavender- the true lavender, rather than the cheaper Spike lavender. It’s marvelous for insect bites and stings, applied neat (directly to the skin), and it’s amazing relief for any kind of burn. The burnt part should be immersed in cold water at once and a few drops of lavender oil then added. It will then stop hurting and start healing. For bad cases of sunburn, Tisserand suggests a tepid bath with adozen drops of oil of lavender added to it; or swathing the affected parts in a sheet or hand towel wrung out in cold water to which ten to twenty drops of lavender oil have been added.

Tisserand and his wife Maggie have three small children, and they have been fascinated time and again by the healing powers of their oils. “If a child has had a bad night, too little sleep, worries, nightmares – just pop him into a warm morning bath with a little clary sage in it,” suggests Maggie. When other women reach for their tranquilizers she steps into a warm bath to which she has added a few drops of marjoram or orange blossom oil.

Has it struck you how familiar many of the most potent and useful of these oils are – thyme, rose, sage, lavender, oregano, lemon, garlic, jasmine – for example? These are both commonly grown in English country gardens and the most widely used and popular of the culinary herbs. Throughout history, housewives the world over have anticipated the findings of modern aromatherapy research by using them freely in cookery, particularly in hot Mediterranean and tropical countries where putrefaction was a real problem before the invention of the refrigerator.

You may not enjoy the luxury of being able to stroll in your own garden and sniff at jasmine and roses and lavender fragrant in the sunshine, but you can still practice preventive aromatherapy by filling kitchen window-sills with pots of these marvelous plants, by using garlic and thyme, rosemary, sage and basil lavishly in the preparation of fish, meat, and salads. The warmer aromatic spices, such as black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne and cumin – far from being the threat to health and digestion that some misguided food fanatics have branded them – are in reality excellent friends to the digestive tract and the entire system.

How delightful that what is so agreeable should agree so well with us.

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"I am convinced more than ever, that AG needs to be treated like a histamine and not an allergy. WE need to get to the core of things, core of the gut, core of the mineral deficiencies, and keep oxygen in the white blood cells (where histamines are) very high (with oxygen nutrition. I am saying this because I believe this can be cured and it can go away. I believe the key to those with severe reactions, is the emotional side (I had to do major therapy for the fear, and I have combatted that one a couple years ago and it made a huge effect on the “allergy like craziness”), AND the issues each individual has preexisting. I believe this is like any illness: if we are unhealthy in any way, our risk for higher reactions and issues from the AG will occur. I believe when the histamines are dealt with, the side effects of AG can be much more manageable. "
#alphagal #crazyallergies #holisticmud #healthlivegive #naturalhelpinghands #naturalhelp

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