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Lemon, Bergamot, Cedarwood virginiana, and Cypress

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lemon

I believe that many of my readers will be familiar with lemon in the context of food, both the juice and the zest are used in different applications. This compact evergreen tree is originally native to Asia. The tree began to spread throughout the world first by entering Southern Italy somewhere around the second century AD however they would not be widely grown for some time. Later, seeds would be brought to Egypt, Persia, and Iran around 700 AD and would eventually become a regular part of Islamic gardens. Around the 15th century, lemons would start to be cultivated widely in Genoa, Italy. Christopher Columbus brought seeds to the Americas on his journey’s and by the 19th century, they started being cultivated widely in Florida and California. While the peel and juice have well known uses it is less known that the leaves are also used to make tea and can be used when cooking meat or seafood. In aromatherapy the oil helps with relaxation and stress relief, increasing mental alertness, and possibly boosting immune function. Topically it helps with dandruff and dull or acne-prone skin. The oil is phototoxic however so either apply sunscreen or avoid direct sun exposure wherever you applied the diluted oil. Due to the number of MLM reps who recommend adding oils to your drinking water, I feel it is pertinent to state that ingesting essential oils can a cumulative effect of damaging your liver or other related organs in the body. Please do not ingest essential oils without professional guidance.

Uses:

Diffused;

Colds, voice loss, flu, depression, stress, fatigue, mental focus.

Topically;

Digestive problems, fatigue, infections, flu, obesity, rheumatism, depression, stress, general tonic, congested skin, cuts, boils, minor wounds.

Cautions:

Oil is phototoxic, do not apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight in the following 12 hours.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

essential oil benefits
bergamot

This may come as a surprise for some but bergamot is a species of orange. Production of the fruit (from which the oil is made from the peel) is mostly done in one region of Italy known as Reggio di Calabria. It takes roughly 100 oranges to produce 3 ounces of the oil. The quintessential flavours of Earl Grey and Lady teas require bergamot to give the citrus notes. In Italy, the fruit is also used to make marmalade. With adulteration of the oil being a frequent problem the Italian government introduced strict controls to ensure a pure product coming out of Italy. Many species of citrus have thorns on the branches, bergamot, however, is an exception to this and grows to a small-medium size with slight spreading of the branches. The fruit and foliage are strongly aromatic. In aromatherapy, the oil is good for reducing stress and colds and flu.

Uses:

Topically;

pain relief, digestion, deodorizing.

Diffused;

calming, depression, respiratory problems, colds and flu.

Cautions:

Oil is photo-toxic, do not expose skin to direct sunlight for 24hrs after use.

Use high dilution if applied topically.

Do not use on young children and pregnant women due to skin sensitizing properties.

This oil may contain Furocoumarin depending on processing method.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min and call emergency services, permanent loss of vision can occur.

If a pregnant woman or young child has gotten the oil on their skin call emergency services.

essential oil benefits
cedarwood virginiana

Despite the oil’s name it actually comes from a species of juniper. This little evergreen’s height is heavily determined by soil quality with a typical upper height of 66ft although some taller ones do exist. Native to Eastern North America it’s natural range goes from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to southeastern Canada and east of the Great Plains. West Virginia has the oldest known specimen at 940 years old. The seed cones mature in about 6-8 months from pollination, they are purple-blue when mature however a thick wax that protects them makes them appear to be sky blue. These trees are important for reclaiming damaged land because they are naturally one of the first species to repopulate such areas, this also helps bring back wildlife to an area because the seed cones are important winter food for birds who also help spread the seeds. Unfortunately, these trees are not good for grassland areas because they can destroy these habitats. However, they can be very good in city environments because they like high amounts of CO2 and don’t shed leaves or fruit while remaining a compact size. The aromatic wood is disliked by moths and rot-resistant, this makes it a good choice for fence posts and lining cedar chests. The wood can also be used to make excellent archery bows if prepared properly. Precolonial culture in western Illinois created timber circles out of the logs, these circles are also known as Woodhenge, one such circle is believed to have been constructed around 1000 CE and was a whopping 410ft in diameter with 48 poles around the perimeter and one at the center. Many first nations cultures still use the smoke from burning the wood to drive out evil spirits prior to conducting a ceremony. In aromatherapy, the oil can be used for massage to help with muscle aches and pains, or with bad acne. It is also good for clearing the sinuses and eases coughs.

Uses:

Diffused;

Respiratory complaints, insect repellent.

Topically;

Reduces oily skin, painful joints, phlegm, opens the lungs, encourages menstruation.

Cautions:

Keep at low concentrations to avoid irritating mucous membranes and/or skin.

Risk of miscarriage for pregnant women.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min and seek medical care immediately, permanent damage can occur.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

essential oil benefits
cypress

Mediterranean cypress is the iconic tree we see in pictures of Italy and the south of France. Famed for its longevity it is frequently used in garden settings even today. This evergreen coniferous tree is considered to be medium-sized at a height up to 115ft tall. The seed cones can take up to 2 years to reach full maturity. This tree has been cultivated well beyond its natural range for thousands of years, Iran has a 4,000-year-old specimen still growing today. The wood of this tree is durable and scented, the most famous example would be the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Throughout the Muslim world and Europe, it was considered a tree of mourning in antiquity because it wouldn’t regenerate if cut back too severely. The wood was used during cremations to fumigate the air and wreaths could be used to decorate statues of Pluto, ruler of the underworld. Multiple myths also explain the association with mourning. The poet Ovid recorded a myth about a young man named Cyparissus who loved a tame stag that gets killed by accident. In different versions, the young man is a lover to a particular god and either his lover or himself kills the stag. This event causes him to become consumed with grief and he ends up transformed into the tree. In aromatherapy, the oil is good for clearing the mind and lungs. It is also useful topically for a number of applications.

Uses:

Diffused;

Asthma, emphysema, coughs, bronchitis, calming.

Topically;

Arthritis, asthma, cellulite, cramps, diarrhea, sweaty feet, rheumatism, varicose veins, heavy menstruation, menopause, deodorant.

Cautions:

No specific cautions.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

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