Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Foods that are TOXIC for Pets

It is most likely that anyone who owns a pet, considers them to be quite special, including them as part of the family. We treat them like our children, eager to please them, spend a lot of money on them; talk to them like they understand everything we say; some will dress their pets up; and purchase holiday and birthday gifts for them. For dog owners especially, we take them with us when we go out – even attending family gatherings.

As we do for our children, we also want to give our furry little family members treats as well, showing them how special they are to us.

I must confess, I am guilty on most counts. But, like our children, our pets need boundaries and limitations. While sharing an occasional morsel of food with your cat or dog is fine, it is important to be wary that some of the foods we consume can be dangerous and even toxic to our pets. Due to your pet's differing metabolism, some foods may cause mild digestive upsets, while others can cause severe illness, and death.

The following food items and substances should not be fed to dogs or cats – intentionally or unintentionally.

Alcohol - Beverages or foods containing alcohol (cooking products or fermented foods) should be off limits to pets regardless of alcohol content. Even small amounts of hard liquor can potentially kill a small dog or cat. Signs and symptoms of toxicity may be delayed, if a dog or cat has eaten before being exposed to alcohol.

If your dog or cat has any of the following symptoms, take them to a veterinarian or animal emergency center immediately. Most cases of alcohol poisoning in dogs and cats can be successfully treated if treatment is started early enough.

Some dental care products for dogs and cats actually contain 25% or more straight grain alcohol (ethyl alcohol), causing damage over time. It is good practice to read labels to ensure purchase of an all-natural oral care product (0% Grain [Ethyl] Alcohol).

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:
-lack of coordination
-lethargic / drowsiness
-slow breathing rate
-excessive urination

Avocado - Avocado leaves, bark, skin, and pit are known to be harmful to animals. The leaves contain a fungicidal toxin (persin), which can cause colic in horses in sufficient quantity and, without veterinary treatment, death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound. The Guatemalan variety, commonly found in stores, appears to be the most problematic, while other varieties can have different degrees of toxic potential.

Though avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel is eaten. Ingesting the pit can lead to obstruction in the intestinal tract, which is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care.

Avocado meal or oil is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit, which is generally not expected to pose a hazard to dogs and cats.

Signs of poisoning include:
-gastrointestinal irritation
-respiratory distress
-fluid accumulation around heart tissues

Bones - It might seem natural to give a dog a bone. However, it could be a potentially dangerous choking hazard, or the bones could splinter and obstruct or lacerate the digestive system.

Raw meat and raw eggs can contain Salmonella and E. coli bacteria which is harmful to pets, and an enzyme in raw eggs called avidin decreases the absorption of vitamin B, which can lead to skin and coat problems. Cooked and uncooked fat trimmed from meat can cause pancreatitis.

Caffeine - There are plenty of caffeine products available in our homes, such as coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, and diet supplements. Ingesting moderate amounts of caffeine can easily cause death in small dogs or cats.

Signs of poisoning include:
-elevated heart rate
-elevated blood pressure
-abnormal heart rhythms
-tremors / seizures
-elevated body temperature

Chocolate - Chocolate poisoning (also known as theobromine poisoning) is an overdose reaction to the theobromine levels found in chocolate, tea, cola beverages, as well as some other foods.

Serious poisoning happens more frequently in domestic animals, which metabolize theobromine much more slowly than humans, and can easily consume enough chocolate to cause poisoning. If a large number of chocolate is consumed, another serious danger is posed by the fat and sugar, which can sometimes trigger life-threatening pancreatitis several days later. The toxic dose for cats is even lower than for dogs. However, cats are less prone to eating chocolate since they are unable to taste sweetness. The most common victims of theobromine poisoning are dogs, for which it can be fatal. In dogs, the biological half-life of theobromine is 17.5 hours; in severe cases, clinical symptoms of theobromine poisoning can persist for up to 72 hours.

One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially lethal dose in dogs. For example, 0.4 ounces of baker's chocolate would be enough to produce mild symptoms in a 20-pound dog.

Signs of poisoning include:
-increased urination
-elevated heart rate
-epileptic seizures
-internal bleeding
-heart attacks

Dairy - While dairy products are not poisonous to dogs and cats, they are difficult to digest. Cow's milk has much more lactose and casein than many dogs and cats can digest. They don't possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose). Lactose is a sugar, that draws water into the intestine, causing diarrhea and other digestive upset.

Fatty Foods (Fast Food) - Foods that are high in fat can cause diarrhea and digestive upset. Inflammation of the pancreas can develop after ingesting foods high in fat content. Certain smaller breeds tend to be more susceptible than other breeds.

Grapes/Raisins - Specifically for dogs, the consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health risk. Their toxicity can cause dogs to develop the sudden development of kidney failure with a lack of urine production that may be fatal.

Macadamia - Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in macadamia toxicosis, which is marked by weakness and hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion. Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain.

Medication - Pet poisonings caused by ingesting human medications (both over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal) are common, accounting for nearly 50% of calls received by pet poison hotlines, and can be very serious.

It is important to note that while some medications may be safe for children, they may not be safe for animals. Pets metabolize medications differently from people.

Medications should never be administered to a pet without consulting a veterinarian, and should always be kept safely out of reach and never stored near your pet’s medications.

Vitamins for humans are formulated to meet the requirements of the human body. Chances are, if you gave your dog or cat a human vitamin daily, you would be overdosing them. Some vitamins, like synthetic vitamin D, can be quite toxic in too large a dose. As well, some vitamins contain artificial sweeteners, that are also toxic to pets.

Commercial pet foods already have vitamins added, and companies are not required to list the amounts added to their foods. Therefore, any vitamin your pet ingests is extra and can cause toxicity (overload).

Mushrooms - Of the several thousand species of mushrooms, only a small percentage is considered toxic. Some may result in severe clinical signs (even death). Accurate mushroom identification can be difficult, with the assumption that all mushroom ingestions in pets should be considered toxic.

Signs of poisoning include:
-excess thirst or urination
-diarrhea / black-tarry stool
-abdominal pain
-lack of coordination
-tremors / seizures
-organ failure

Onions/Garlic - The small amount of garlic sometimes found in dog treats is unlikely to be harmful to dogs. However, if cats or dogs ingest onions, garlic, or leeks, of greater than 0.5% of their body weight (a 30 lb dog ingesting about 2.5 ounces of onion or garlic) it can be potentially toxic. Ingesting large numbers of garlic pills or powder may also cause poisoning, causing red blood cell destruction and result in anemia.

Walnuts - Walnuts can cause gastric intestinal upset or even an obstruction. Moldy walnuts can contain toxic chemical products produced by fungi, which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener) - Xylitol a common sugar-substitute used in chewing gum, nicotine gum and breath mints, is a life-threatening toxin, causing a drop in blood sugar, as well as liver damage.

According to the ASPCA, the number of cases of xylitol poisoning in dogs has significantly increased since 2002.

Chewing gum and breath mints typically contain up to 1.0 gram (1,000 milligrams = 1 gram) of xylitol per piece of gum or mint. Animals that have ingested foods containing xylitol (greater than 100 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight) have shown to have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can be life-threatening, resulting in a loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as little as 30 minutes. Therefore, a 10 pound dog would only have to eat one piece of gum.

Xylitol has plaque fighting properties which can be found in pet mouth wash and oral rinse, in non-toxic amounts.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Carrier Oils Guide - Aromatherapy ❧

Carrier oils, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used in aromatherapy to dilute essential oils and absolutes before being applied, carrying the essential onto the skin. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils don't contain a concentrated aroma. Carrier oils don't evaporate like essential oils, which are more volatile. The carrier oils used should be as natural and unadulterated as possible.

There is a range of different carrier oils, each with various therapeutic properties. Choosing an oil will depend on the area being massaged, the presenting conditions and the clients sensitivity and requirements. For massage, viscosity is a major consideration (for example, grapeseed oil is typically very thin, while olive oil is much thicker). Sunflower, sweet almond and grapeseed oils have viscosities midway between these extremes. Carrier oils can be easily blended to combine their properties of viscosity, acceptability, lubrication, absorption, aroma and so forth.

High quality oils sold for culinary use are often eminently suitable for massage use, and are economical (those obtained by cold pressing are preferred). All carrier oils should be kept cool, and away from strong light, to slow the process of a substance becoming rancid. Rancid oils should be avoided. Refrigerating oils helps preserve their freshness but some oils should not be refrigerated (e.g. avocado). Very cold oils may appear cloudy, but regain their clear state on returning to room temperature.

True carrier oils are generally cold-pressed or macerated vegetable oils taken from the following - (sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil are very popular carrier oils):

SWEET ALMOND OIL - Almonds are a rich source of oil, with values ranging between 36 to 60% of kernel dry mass. One analysis indicates almonds contain 44% oils, of which 62% is monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 29% is linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 9% is saturated fatty acid.

The fixed oil, is prepared from either sweet or bitter almonds and is a glyceryl oleate, with a slight odor and a nutty taste. It is almost insoluble in alcohol, but readily soluble in chloroform or ether. Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernel of sweet almonds.

The oil is good for application to the skin as an emollient, and has been traditionally used to lubricate the skin during a massage session.

APRICOT OIL - Apricot oil or apricot kernel oil is pressed from the kernels of the apricot. Apricot kernels have an oil content of 40-50%. The oil is similar to almond oil and peach oil, both of which are also extracted from the kernels of the respective fruit. Apricot oil and almond oil, are used similarly in cosmetics to soften skin. The oil is chiefly composed of oleic acid and linoleic acid, both of which are unsaturated fats. The seed cake is also used separately to extract an essential oil, which contains Amygdalin - a colorless crystalline glucoside.

Apricot kernel is good for all skin types. It is very rich and nourishing, particularly in vitamin A, and softening fine lines to restore a healthy glow.

AVOCADO OIL - An edible oil pressed from the fruit of the avocado. As a food oil, it is used as an ingredient and as a cooking oil. It is also used for lubrication and in cosmetics, where it is valued for its supposed regenerative and moisturizing properties. Can be used as a massage oil - soft, soothing and doesn't leave any greasy residue.

Avocado oil functions well as a carrier oil for other flavors. It is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, also enhancing the absorption of carotenoids and other nutrients.

Avocado oil was originally extracted for cosmetic use because of its very high skin penetration and rapid absorption. Traditionally extracted with solvents at high temperatures, the avocado flesh is dried to remove as much water as possible (≈65% water) for cosmetics. For application in skin care products, the oil is usually refined, bleached, and deodorized, resulting in an odorless yellow oil. Like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed avocado oil is unrefined and so retains the flavor and color characteristics of the fruit flesh.

BORAGE SEED OIL - Borage, an annual herb, also known as a starflower, is commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds. Borage seed oil has one of the highest amounts of γ-linolenic acid (GLA) of seed oils—higher than blackcurrant seed oil or evening primrose oil, to which it is considered similar.

GLA comprises around 24% of the oil, inhibiting leukotriene synthesis to providing therapy in rheumatologic illness. Borage seed oil has been used to treat skin disorders, reducing inflammation and help to cure eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and neuro-dermatitis, giving relief to dehydrated and ultra-sensitive skin, as well as keeping the skin moist and wrinkle free. It has also been used for rheumatoid arthritis, stress, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alcoholism, pain and swelling (inflammation), and for preventing heart disease and stroke.

Borage oil may be unsafe during pregnancy because preliminary studies suggest borage oil may cause premature labor. Seizures have been reported as a complication of ingestion of borage oil in doses of 1,500 to 3,000 mg daily.

CANOLA OIL (Rapeseed) - Canola is an edible oil produced from a cultivar of rapeseed or field mustard/turnip rape. Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Finally, the Canola oil is refined using water precipitation and acid, "bleaching" with clay, and deodorizing using steam distillation.

Consumption of the oil is common and, unlike rapeseed, does not cause harm in humans and livestock. It is also used as a source of biodiesel. About 43% of a seed is oil; the remainder is a rapeseed meal that is used as animal feed.

Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods, having a reputation as a healthy oil, creating high demand in markets around the world, making it overall the third-most widely consumed vegetable oil.

The oil has many non-food uses and, like soybean oil, is often used interchangeably with non-renewable petroleum-based oils in products, including industrial lubricants, biofuels, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks depending on the market price. Canola oil is also recommended for use as a fertility-preserving vaginal lubrication.

CASTOR OIL - Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the castor plant, a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odor when first ingested.

Castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.

In the food industry, food grade castor oil is used in food additives—flavorings, candy (e.g., chocolate), as a mold inhibitor, and in packaging.

Castor oil is recognized as generally safe and effective for over-the-counter use as a laxative. Consuming castor oil to treat constipation is not considered safe in pregnancies that are not at full term, since it may cause contractions of the womb.

Castor oil, or a castor oil derivative, is added to many modern drugs, as an antifungal agent; a mitotic inhibitor used in cancer chemotherapy; an immuno-suppressant drug widely used in connection with organ transplant to reduce the activity of the patient's immune system; an HIV protease inhibitor; an immuno-suppressive drug, a topical treatment for skin ulcers, and to maintain the acidity of the vagina.

Dehydration of castor oil gives linoleic acids, which does have drying properties. Virtually odorless and tasteless, it is used therapeutically to help support and soften healthy skin and hair.

EMU OIL - Emu oil is derived from tissue harvested from certain subspecies of the emu, a flightless bird indigenous to Australia.

Unadulterated emu oil can vary widely in color and viscosity anywhere from an off-white creamy texture to a thin yellow liquid, depending on the diet of the emu and the refining method(s) used. It is composed of approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The components are oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid) and roughly 20% linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and 1-2% linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), making it a powerful skin and hair moisturizer..

Emu oil has been promoted as a dietary supplement with the claim it can treat a variety of ailments, including cancer and arthritis. However, little is known about its risks and benefits.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL - A genus of about 145 species of herbaceous flowering plants native to the Americas, commonly called evening primrose, suncups, and sundrops.

Evening primroses were originally assigned to the genus Onagra, meaning "food of onager" (Asiatic wild ass). Its origin is uncertain, but is believed to be derived from the Greek words onos theras, meaning "donkey catcher", or oinos theras, meaning "wine seeker". In addition, the Latin oenothera means "a plant whose juices may cause sleep".

There is very little evidence for any effectiveness of primrose oil to be useful in preventing or treating any other health conditions, such as cancer, eczema, or symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Neither does orally administered primrose oil seem to have any effect in shortening the length of pregnancy or labour.

Evening primrose is used to enhance women's well-being and may be helpful for many symptoms of PMS and menopause, helps manage arthritis, improves hair, nails, and skin.

GRAPE SEED OIL - Grape seed oil (also called grapeseed oil or grape oil) is pressed from the seeds of grapes, and is an abundant by-product of wine making.

Due to its clean, light taste, and high polyunsaturated fat content, grape seed oil may be used as an ingredient in salad dressings, mayonnaise and as a base for oil infusions of garlic, rosemary, or other herbs or spices. It is widely used in baked goods, pancakes, and waffles. It is sprayed on raisins to help them retain their flavor.

Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for controlling moisture of the skin. Light and thin, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils, and contains a balance of other skin-supporting compounds, including oleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids, which is esteemed for its emollient properties and suitable for all skin types. It is also used as a lubricant for shaving and as a growth and strengthening treatment for hair.

Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturates and low in saturated fat, providing some health benefit, in that it may increase HDL-C or "good cholesterol" levels and reduce LDL levels.

Grape seed oil contains components of an oily (oil, fat, wax) mixture rich in phenols and steroids. The cold-pressed grape seed oil contains very small amounts of antioxidants, and small amounts of vitamin E (safflower oil, cottonseed oil, or rice bran oil contain greater amounts).

JOJOBA OIL - Jojoba oil is produced from the seed of the Jojoba plant, a shrub which is native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight.
Unrefined jojoba oil appears as a clear golden liquid at room temperature with a slightly nutty odor. Refined jojoba oil is colorless and odorless. Jojoba oil is relatively shelf-stable when compared with other vegetable oils mainly because it does not contain triglycerides, unlike most other vegetable oils, such as grape seed oil and coconut oil. It has an oxidative stability index of approximately 60, which means that it is more shelf-stable than safflower oil, canola oil or, almond oil but less than castor oil and coconut oil.

Jojoba oil is found as an additive in many cosmetic products. In particular, such products commonly containing jojoba are lotions and moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. The pure oil itself may be used on skin to moisturize and rejuvenate, hair (to moisturize the hair follicles and may reduce the amount of hair tangles), or cuticles.

Jojoba oil is a fungicide, and can be used for controlling mildew. Like olestra, jojoba oil is edible but non-caloric and non-digestible, meaning the oil will pass through the intestines unchanged.

OLIVE OIL - Olive oil is a fat obtained from the olive fruit, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives and is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. Olive oil is used throughout the world and is often associated with Mediterranean countries.

There are many different olive varieties or olives, each with a particular flavor, texture, and shelf life that make them more or less suitable for different applications such as direct consumption on bread or in salads, indirect consumption in domestic cooking or catering.

Olive oil has a long history of being used as a home remedy for skincare. Egyptians used it alongside beeswax as a cleanser, moisturizer, and antibacterial agent. In ancient Greece, the substance was used during massage, to prevent sports injuries, relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid build-up.

Squalene, which is in olive oil, may contribute to relief of seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. A mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil inhibits the growth of respiratory infection and fungus (yeast), with the same mixture reducing the discomfort of hemorrhoids and anal fissures in adults.

Olive oil consumption is thought to affect heart health and blood cholesterol levels. It has been suggested that long-term consumption of small quantities of olive oil may be responsible for the low incidence of heart disease associated with a Mediterranean diet.

SESAME OIL - Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine. The oil from the nutrient-rich seed is popular in alternative medicine, from traditional massages and treatments to the modern day.

There are many variations in the color: cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden, and East Asian sesame oils are commonly a dark brown color. This dark color and flavor are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has a different flavor than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw, rather than toasted, seeds.

Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily and is used in India for oil massage, is believed to rid the body of heat due to its viscous nature upon rubbing. It is also used for hair and scalp massage. It is also used in many cosmetic applications, as a carrier oil used in the manufacture of Ayurvedic medications.

Sesame oil may be used as a solvent in injected drugs or intravenous drip solutions, and a cosmetics carrier oil. The oil also has synergy with some insecticides. Low grade oil is used locally in soaps, paints, lubricants, and illuminants.

As with numerous seed and nut foods, sesame oil may produce an allergic reaction, although incidence is rare (approximately 0.1%), however reports of sesame allergies are growing in developed countries.

SUNFLOWER OIL - Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from sunflower seeds. It is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.

Sunflower oil is a monounsaturated / polyunsaturated mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The expressed oil is of light amber color with a mild and pleasant flavor; refined oil is pale yellow. The oil contains appreciable quantities of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other hydrocarbons.

Sunflower oil is high in the essential vitamin E and low in saturated fat. The two most common types of sunflower oil are linoleic and high oleic. Linoleic sunflower oil is a common cooking oil that has high levels of polyunsaturated fat, with a clean taste and low levels of trans fat. High oleic sunflower oils are classified as having monounsaturated levels of 80% and above.

In traditional practices, sunflower oil has been used in a process called oil pulling in which oil is swished in the mouth to improve oral health.

Carrier Oils Guide - Nut Oils ❧

See also:         << Carrier Oils Guide - Aromatherapy ❧ >>


Peanuts are legumes, not "true" nuts, but they share with true nuts the risk of causing allergic reactions, even in minute amounts. Pure peanut and nut-derived oils are not usually allergenic, (as they do not typically contain the proteinaceous part of the plant), but avoiding them may be safer, as serious peanut and nut allergy is widespread, oil purity cannot be guaranteed and other hypoallergenic oils are easily substituted.

COCOA BUTTER - Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is a pale-yellow, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean, which are fermented, roasted, and then separated from their hulls. Cocoa butter has a cocoa flavor and aroma, used to make chocolate, as well as some ointments, toiletries, and pharmaceuticals. As a non-toxic solid at room temperature that melts at body temperature, is considered an ideal base for medicinal suppositories. Cocoa butter contains a high proportion of saturated fats, derived from stearic and palmitic acids. Cocoa butter, unlike cocoa solids, has no more than trace amounts of caffeine.

Cocoa butter is a major ingredient in practically all types of chocolates, dominating consumption of cocoa butter, making it become increasingly expensive. Substitutes have been designed to use as alternatives. Cocoa Butter Substitute – coconut oil or palm oil; Cocoa butter Replacer – soybean oil, rapeseed oil and cottonseed oil; Cocoa Butter Equivalent – shea butter, illipe, sal nut, palm, mango kernel fat, palm oils.

Some food manufacturers substitute less expensive materials such as vegetable oils and fats (fillers and over-sized packaging) in place of cocoa butter. Adulterated cocoa butter is indicated by its lighter color and its diminished fluorescence upon ultraviolet illumination. Unlike cocoa butter, adulterated fat tends to smear.

Cocoa butter is one of the most stable fats known. Coupled with natural antioxidants, prevents it from going rancid, giving it a storage life of two to five years. The velvety texture, pleasant fragrance and emollient properties of cocoa butter have made it a popular ingredient in products for the skin, such as soaps and lotions.

The moisturizing abilities of cocoa butter are frequently recommended for prevention of stretch marks in pregnant women, treatment of chapped or burned skin and lips, and as a daily moisturizer to prevent dry, itchy skin. Cocoa butter's moisturizing properties are also said to be effective for treating mouth sores.

COCONUT OIL - Coconut oil or Copra oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts, harvested from the coconut palm. Before electrical lighting, coconut oil was the primary oil used for illumination in India.

It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to turning rancid, lasting up to two years without spoiling.

Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises total blood cholesterol levels by increasing both the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying, and is a common flavor in many South Asian dishes. With a sweet to nutty flavor, it has become popular in baked goods, pastries, and sautés, and is used by movie theatre chains to pop popcorn.

Coconut oil can be used as a skin moisturizer, helping with dry skin and reduces protein loss when used in hair. Coconut oil is an important base ingredient for the manufacture of soap. Soap made with coconut oil tends to be hard, although it retains more water than soaps made with other oils, therefore increasing yields. It is more soluble in hard water and salt water than other soaps allowing it to lather more easily. A basic coconut oil soap is clear when melted and a bright white when hardened.

A repellent made from coconut oil may be effective to prevent infestation of sand fleas from penetrating the skin.

HAZELNUT OIL - Hazelnut oil comes from the nut of the hazel, also known as cobnut or filbert nut. A cob is spherical to oval, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice as long as it is round. The kernel of the seed is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. Hazelnut oil is pressed from hazelnuts is used as a cooking oil for its strong flavor.

Hazelnuts are used in confectionery to make praline, and used in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles.

Hazelnuts have a significant place in terms of nutrition and health because of the composition of fats (primarily oleic acid), protein, carbohydrates, vitamins (vitamin E), minerals, dietary fibre, phytosterol (beta-sitosterol), and antioxidant phenolics such as flavan-3-ols.

Because of its high vitamin E content, hazelnut oil is slow to go rancid, as the antioxidant protection of the vitamin E preserves it. Those who ate more than an ounce a day of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds had up a 30 percent reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

Hazelnut oil contains significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, rich in protein and unsaturated fat.

Hazelnut oil's astringent properties help absorb oils and shrink pores, while anti-bacterial components fight skin bacteria, helping to reduce blackheads and pimples. Its natural astringent properties help calm over-active oil glands while toning and moisturizing the skin.

MACADAMIA OIL - Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia. Macadamia grow as small to large evergreen trees 6–39 feet tall, with leaves arranged in whorls of three to six, elliptical in shape. The flowers are white, pink or purple, long and slender (10–15 mm in length). The fruit is a very hard and woody, containing one or two seeds.

The seeds are a valuable food crop. Compared with other common edible seeds such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein. They have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats and contain approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to monounsaturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Macadamia oil is prized for containing omega-7, which makes it a botanical alternative to mink oil. This relatively high content of palmitoleic acid and macadamia's high oxidative stability, make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially for skincare.

Only three of the species, are of commercial importance and can be eaten raw. The remainder possess poisonous inedible seeds. The toxicity is due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides, which can be removed by prolonged leaching.

Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in macadamia toxicosis, which is marked by weakness and hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion. Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain. In high doses of toxin, opiate medication may be required for symptom relief until the toxic effects diminish. Full recovery is usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Macadamias can cause severe allergic reactions in humans, as do many other seeds. These reactions can vary from a slight swelling of the lips, to an itchy throat or in extreme cases, anaphylaxis. Caution should be used when around children or adults, or persons with known allergies to tree nuts. A skin test can provide information about allergies.

PEANUT OIL - Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a mild-tasting vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil is available in refined, unrefined, cold-pressed, and roasted varieties, the latter with a strong peanut flavor and aroma, similar to sesame oil.

At the 1900 Paris Exhibition, the Otto Company, demonstrated that peanut oil could be used as a source of fuel for the diesel engine; this was one of the earliest demonstrations of biodiesel technology.

It is often used in Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine for general cooking and added flavor. Its major component fatty acids are oleic acid (46.8% as olein), linoleic acid (33.4% as linolein), and palmitic acid (10.0% as palmitin). Antioxidants such as vitamin E are sometimes added to improve the shelf life of the oil.

Peanut oil, as with other vegetable oils, can be used to make soap and is safe for use as a massage oil.

Most highly refined peanut oils remove the peanut allergens and have been shown to be safe for the vast majority of individuals with peanut allergies. However, cold-pressed peanut oils may not remove the allergens and thus could be highly dangerous to people with peanut allergy. Since the degree of processing for any particular product is often unclear, it is best to avoid use.

PECAN OIL - Pecan oil is an edible pressed oil extracted from the pecan nut. Neutral in flavor, it takes on the flavor of whatever seasoning is being used with it. Pecan oil contains 9.5% saturated fat, which is less than in olive oil (13.5%), peanut oil (16.90%) or corn oil (12.70%).

Pecan oil is considered a healthy oil as it is rich in monounsaturated fats, specifically oleic acid, (52.0) and low in saturated fats, as well as linoleic acid (36.6%), small amounts of palmitic (7.1%), stearic (2.2%) and linolenic acids (1.5%). The overall balance of fatty acids in the oil may reduce LDL cholesterol (also known as "bad" cholesterol) and the risk of heart disease.

Pecan oil is a light weight oil and is usually pale yellow in color. Generally pecan oil does not contain preservatives or additives, is much lighter than olive oil, making it well suited for everyday cooking. The mild nutty flavor gives this oil the unique ability to enhance the flavor of ingredients, making it a popular component of salad dressings and dips. Pecan oil is a good substitute for butter and other cooking oils, making it suitable for baking. It is recommended that the oil be refrigerated after opening to increase shelf life and reduce rancidity.

It is also used as a massage oil and in aromatherapy applications.

Pecan oil can sometimes be hard to find in local grocery stores because it is considered a specialty oil; however, it can be purchased online through a number of websites.

WALNUT OIL - Walnut oil is extracted from English walnuts, also known as Persian walnuts. Each 100.0g of oil provides about 63.3g polyunsaturated fatty acids, 22.8g monounsaturated fats, and 9.1g saturated fats. It contains no cholesterol. It is about 22.2% monounsaturated oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, 52.9% linoleic acid, an essential polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, and 10.4% alpha linolenic acid, which supplies the body with needed omega-3 fatty acids, another form of polyunsaturated fatty acid essential to human nutrition.

Walnut oil is light-colored and delicate in flavor and scent, with a nutty quality. Chefs sometimes use walnut oil for pan frying, but is usually avoided for high temperature cooking (heating tends to reduce the flavor and nutrition value, also rapidly destroying the antioxidants), producing a slight bitterness. Walnut oil is most valuable in cold dishes such as salad dressings.

Walnut oil was one of the most important oils used by Renaissance painters, with its short drying time and lack of yellow tint, making it a good oil paint base thinner and brush cleaner.

Some woodworkers favor walnut oil as a finish for implements that will come in contact with food, such as cutting boards and wooden bowls because of its edibility. The oil is typically combined with beeswax (1/3 oil to 2/3 beeswax).

It is also used as a massage oil and in aromatherapy applications.

Walnut oil can sometimes be hard to find in local grocery stores because it is considered a specialty oil; however, it can be purchased online through a number of websites.

Index Blog Website Fast

Friday, 26 June 2015

Carrot Seed Oil ❧

Carrot seed oil is the essential oil extract of the seed from the carrot plant Daucus carota (more commonly known as wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, or Queen Anne's lace). Pressed carrot seed oil is extracted by cold-pressing the seeds of the carrot plant, with properties quite different from those of the essential oil. The oil is yellow or amber-colored to pale orange-brown in appearance, with a sweet, woody, earthy smell.

The distilled oil, rather than the extract, is used to add aroma to perfumes and food. Carrot seed oil contains carotene pigment and carotol, which acts as an antifungal, herbicidal and insecticidal agent.

Carrot seed oil, one of the most underappreciated oils, is known to have antiseptic and carminative properties, protect cell and encourage cell growth, cleanse waste products and toxins from the body, cleanse the body of intestinal worms and parasites, as a diuretic, and provoke menstruation.

Carrot seed oil has many natural healing properties, which have been used by ancient Chinese, Greeks and Indians. It has been used to add into spicy foods and sauces in Asian cuisines; mixed with other oils to infuse a woody scent in oriental perfumes; used as a massage or bath oil to ease muscle pain; as a lotion to effectively tan and moisturize the skin (must contain a lot of fat and density); and is proven to treat inflammation of the intestine and to expel worms.

Carrot seed oil blends well with essential oils, such as bergamot, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, cedarwood, and geranium oils.

Aging Skin - Use topically by applying a few drops of the carrot seed oil, mixed with a carrier oil (coconut, olive, sunflower, or hempseed oil) on the affected area to nourish, tighten and rejuvenate skin. It visibly improves skin tone, elasticity, and general skin health, slowing the progression of visible wrinkles. Carrot seed oil also assists in removing toxin and water build up in the skin giving it a fresher more firmer appearance.

Carrot seed oil has high active antioxidant properties, protecting cells from harmful free-radicals. Free-radicals are produced by a wide range of environmental pollutants, including UVR, which attack healthy cell walls and react with polyunsaturated fats resulting in premature aging.

Also useful for the treatment of dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis that revitalizes dry skin.

Anxiety - Used in vapor therapy, carrot seed oil provides relief from stress, boosts the liver, the digestive and respiratory systems.

Arthritis & Rheumatism - It is helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, edema and the accumulation of toxins in muscles and joints.

Cold & Flu - It has a beneficial effect on bronchitis and influenza, strengthening mucus membranes in the nose, throat and lungs. As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, carrot seed oil can assist in boosting the respiratory tract.

Digestion - Enhances digestive functions and helps stimulate appetite. Dilute one to three drops of carrot seed oil in 4 oz. of water or 1 teaspoon of honey to take advantage of its healing properties for respiratory and digestive issues. Eases hiccups, colic, and flatulence.

Gall Bladder/Liver - Improves liver and gall bladder disorder, particularly hepatitis, colitis, and inflammation of the small intestine.

Hair - Carrot seed oil applied into the scalp will encourage healthy hair growth, and when rubbed into the ends of the hair, will help to repair split ends.

Jaundice - Carrot seed oil has a detoxifying effect on the liver and helps to fight jaundice, while at the same time cleaning the digestive system and the body as a whole.

Kidney Stones - Treats kidney stones.

Lactation (Increasing) - Helps women in breast milk production after childbirth.

Lymph System - Stimulates the lymph system.

Menstruation – As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, carrot seed oil can alleviate pain due to menstruation. It also helps the pituitary gland to regulate the production of thyroxine and the release of ova.

Muscle Pain - As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, carrot seed oil can assist with muscle pains. There is also evidence that it assists circulation and aids muscular tension.

Respiratory - Diluting three to four drops of carrot seed oil in water and taking it orally, at least three times a day, to take advantage of its healing properties for respiratory and digestive issues.

Skin Disorders - Heals abscesses, boils, and other skin disorders such as ulcers. It also revitalizes and tones the skin, helping in cases of dermatitis, eczema and rashes. It helps damaged skin like burns, wounds, cuts, scars.

Skin Bronzer - Carrot seed oil acts as a natural tanning enhancer, producing a visibly golden tan and protecting skin against the damaging effects of UVR. Carrot seed oil, used in combination with topical sunscreens, provides more optimal protection against skin cancer and photoaging than chemical sunscreens. For maximum positive effects, look for carrot seed oil products that do not contain mineral oil and that have a deep golden colour upon application to the skin.


Carrot seed oil is not toxic and said to have few side effects when used properly.

Carrot seed oil overdose may cause vomiting and convulsions. To prevent undesirable health results, one should seek a doctor’s or natural holistic practitioner's advice before orally taking any type of essential oil.

As with other essential oils, carrot seed oil should not be taken by individuals with a history of epilepsy (may trigger overstimulation) or during pregnancy (may cause bleeding).

Performing a skin test before use is recommended. Carrot seed oil may cause hypersensitive reactions, sun sensitivity and occupational dermatitis. Put a drop of carrot seed oil on a small portion of your skin and wait 24 hours.  If any sign of skin irritation occurs, discontinue its use.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Aromatherapy Benefits & Uses ❧

Essentials oils used as a form of alternative medicine or as a complementary therapy, for treatment or prevention of disease; for the purpose of altering one's mood, cognitive, psychological or physical wellbeing.

Essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual and ritualistic purposes goes back to a number of ancient civilizations, including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and medicines.


Aromatherapy ❦ ❧

Aromatherapy is used for the treatment or prevention of disease by use of essential oils. It can be offered as form of alternative medicine or as a complementary therapy. Some of it uses include pain relief and anxiety reduction, enhancing energy and short-term memory, relaxation, hair loss prevention, and reducing eczema-induced itching.

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant oils and plant materials (essential oils), and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one's mood, cognitive, psychological or overall physical wellbeing. Utilizing blends of therapeutic essential oils can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.

The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to a number of ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and medicines.

Undiluted essential oils suitable for aromatherapy are termed 'therapeutic grade'. The market for essential oils is dominated by the food, perfume, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, giving aroma-therapists little choice but to buy the best of whatever oils are available.

Popular uses:

Tea tree oil has demonstrated anti-microbial effects.
Lemon oil (in vapor form) is said to be uplifting and to relieve stress, enhancing one's mood, and help with relaxation.
Peppermint oil is often used to deter ants, by applying a few drops on their trail.
Lavender, jasmine, chamomile and peppermint are used for anti-stress, anti-anxiety and as anti-depressants.
Sage oil has been suggested to boost short-term memory performance and as a dietary supplement.

Aromatherapy application includes:

Diffusion: for environmental fragrancing or aerial disinfection.
Inhalation: for respiratory disinfection, decongestion, expectoration as well as psychological effects.
Topical applications: for general massage, baths, compresses and therapeutic skin care.

Some of the materials used include:

Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through steam distillation (eg, eucalyptus oil) or expression (eg, grapefruit oil). However, the term is also occasionally used to describe fragrant oils extracted from plant material by any solvent extraction. This material includes incense diffusers.
Absolutes: Fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues through solvent or  fluid extraction (eg, rose absolute). The term is also used to describe oils extracted from fragrant butters, concretes (a near solid wax-like substance called a concrete that is left after the solvent has been removed), and enfleurage pommades (oldest and most expensive extraction process of flowers) using ethanol.
Carrier oils: Typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that dilute essential oils for use on the skin (eg, sweet almond oil).
Herbal Distillates/Hydrosols: The water based by-products of the distillation process (eg, rose water). There are many herbs that make herbal distillates (a liquid product condensed from vapor) and have culinary uses, medicinal uses and skin care uses. Common herbal distillates are chamomile, rose, and lemon balm.
Infusions: Water based extracts of various plant material (eg, infusion of chamomile).
Antimicrobial: Various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes. Many terpene-based fragrant oils and sulfuric compounds from plants in the genus "Allium" are phytoncides (exterminated by the plant).
Vaporizer (Volatized)/Raw Herbs: Typically higher oil content plant based materials dried, crushed, and heated to extract and inhale the aromatic oil vapors in a direct inhalation modality.

Safety Concerns:

Essential oils are normally diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil, for topical application because essential oils are highly concentrated, causing skin irritation.

Many essential oils have chemical components that are sensitizers (meaning that they may, after a number of uses, cause reactions on the skin).

When exposed to sunlight, reactions may occur with citrus peel oils such as lemon or lime.

Some of the chemical allergies could even be caused by pesticides, if the original plants are cultivated.

Some oils can be toxic to domestic animals, particularly with cats.

Two common oils, lavender and tea tree, have been implicated in causing gynaecomastia (an abnormal breast tissue growth in prepubescent boys). The report is, however, based on observations of only three boys, two of which were significantly above average weight for their age, thus already prone to gynaecomastia).

As with any bioactive substance, an essential oil that may be safe for the general public could still pose hazards for pregnant and lactating women.

Some very common oils like eucalyptus are extremely toxic when taken internally (licensed aromatherapy professionals do not recommend self-prescription due the highly toxic nature of some essential oils).

Doses as low as one teaspoon have been reported to cause clinically significant symptoms and severe poisoning can occur after ingestion of 4 to 5 ml.

A few reported cases of toxic reactions like liver damage and seizures have occurred after ingestion of sage, hyssop, thuja, and cedar.

Accidental ingestion may happen when oils are not kept out of reach of children.

Oils that are ingested and applied to the skin can potentially have negative interactions with conventional medicine, (eg: topical use of oils like sweet birch and wintergreen may cause hemorrhaging in users taking the anticoagulant warfarin).


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Cannabis Flower Oil ❧

Cannabis Flower
Cannabis flower essential oil is a volatile oil that is a mixture of volatile compounds, which has a fragrance that is sweet, earthy and floral. The pale yellow to light green liquid, is used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and candles, as well as a flavoring in foods–primarily candy and beverages.

As a naturally growing herb, Cannabis and hemp have been used for thousands of years. However, its reputation as a drug in many parts of the world have complicated the relationship in certain parts of the world.

Manufactured primarily in France and Switzerland, from both low and high varieties of Cannabis, cannabis flower oil (also known as hemp essential oil) is obtained by steam distillation from the flowers and upper leaves of the Cannabis plant. It should not be confused with hemp oil, which is a vegetable oil that is expelled from pressing the seeds of low-THC (the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis) varieties of hemp.

Cannabis flower buds
Cannabis sativa appears naturally in many tropical and humid parts of the world. It has been documented by archaeological finds in prehistoric societies in Euro-Asia and Africa. The oldest written record of usage is the Greek historian Herodotus's reference to the central Eurasian Scythians (c. 440 BCE) taking cannabis steam baths. Classical Greeks and Romans were using cannabis and in the Middle East, its use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. Cannabis spread to the western hemisphere in 1545 where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber, and in North America, in the form of hemp, was grown for use in rope, clothing and paper.


Cannabis oil contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids which are key components in maintaining healthy skin. The linolenic acid present has anti-inflammatory properties that are necessary to treat acne. The oil produced is said to resemble the protein found in human blood plasma.

The cannabis flower essential oil may be used in enhancing treatment of certain ailments ranging from insomnia and women’s hormonal imbalances to respiratory tract issues, which includes hay fever, asthma, and sinusitis.

The essential oil from the cannabis flower may also be used to improve emotional problems (creating a tranquil and peaceful feeling), relieving stress and boosting energy, thereby enhancing confidence and increasing one's well-being.

It can also be useful as an insect repellant. This essential oil has insect repelling properties that can effectively drive away insects and bugs. It can be applied topically on the skin to ward off insects like mosquitoes.

The oil of the cannabis flower is good at killing plant fungi. It can be mixed with water and then used as spray to protect indoor and outdoor plants.

Although this list clearly shows that cannabis essential oils can be an effective remedy for many common health conditions, it is still a potent chemical substance extracted from a plant with psychotropic substances. Therefore, one should always take precautions when using essential oils. Before adding any new elements into your health regimen, it is advisable to speak to a professional about mixing essential oils with any present medications.

Acne - Due to its light consistency, cannabis essential oils are great for acne-prone skin. Using hemp essential oil as the carrier oil, add a few drops of neem oil, to heal and restore dark spots left from acne. You may also wish to add a bit of my lavender oil. Use this as a moisturizer, which prevents any hormonal acne by prevention of clogging pores. It also has a low SPF that I helps protect from the sun. If you burn easily, you will still need to apply a sunscreen.

Anti-Aging - The powerful components of cannabis essential oil are also used to protect the skin, and can be consumed both internally and applied externally. It assists removal of dead skin and faster re-growth, giving a healthy glow, while preventing wrinkles and signs of aging. It also protects against eczema and psoriasis.

If you have particularly oily skin, this weekly regimen, will decrease excess oils. Make a cleanser with one part hemp oil, one part tea tree oil, a few drops of lavender oil, and jojoba oil.

Anxiety and Stress - The natural compounds found in cannabis essential oil, work well for releasing pleasure hormones and relaxing the mind, reducing stress and inducing a sense of calm and relaxation. Use the same recipe(s) above, or add the essential oils to a nebulizer, diffusing the aroma throughout the room.

Appetite Booster - Cannabis essential oils can stimulate the digestive system and regulate appetite by inducing hunger. This is helpful for people who want to gain weight quickly, particularly after an extended illness.

Glaucoma - Cannabis essential oils have been linked to a reduction in glaucoma and a prevention of macular degeneration. Eye health is one of the major reasons why people turn to cannabis essential oils as they age.

Headaches and Migraines - Topically applying some cannabis essential oil at the temples or the spot of intensity for a migraine or headache can be an effective way to get relief.

Heart Health - The volatile oils in cannabis essential oil can help to improve heart health by balancing out the negative oils in your system. It can stimulate antioxidant processes as well, scraping off excess cholesterol and maximizing the health of the cardiovascular system.

Insomnia - For people who suffer from insomnia, anxiety during night time hours, or simply just want to get a restful night of undisturbed sleep, cannabis essential oil work wonders. It reduces heart rate and clears the head, inducing a lower energy level, relaxing body and mind.

Pain Reliever - Cannabis essential oil works well as a pain reliever, particularly for people with inflammation, chronic pain, as well as emergency pain relief. It also regulates female hormone balancing (symptoms of PMS to reduce painful cramps and lessening emotional distress), and works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and alleviate muscular stiffness and spasms.

Respiratory Problems - Beneficial for respiratory tract /infections such as asthma, hay fever, and sinusitis.

Skin Reactions - For eczema, psoriasis, and rashes, simply dab unrefined, cannabis or hemp oil on the affected area throughout the day. If your skin condition spreads or is not healing, check in with your doctor to ensure that is not a more severe problem.