5 Reasons we Love Shea Butter
Shea Butter is one of the most wonderful natural ways of moisturising and hydrating both the skin and hair. It has been used for centuries in skincare, particularly across the Western region of Africa (in which its origins lie).
It is rich and luxurious to use, with a subtle ‘chocolatey’ aroma. As summer comes to an end, it is the perfect time to use a rich moisturiser, such as Shea Butter, to help hydrate skin after being exposed to the sun.
Here are just some of the many reasons why we love this gorgeous ingredient:
(1) It is abundant in vitamins & minerals
Shea Butter is rich in Rich in vitamins E, A and F as well as essential fatty acids. This abundance of vitamins makes it wonderfully nourishing, helping to leave our skin feeling healthy and hydrated.
(2) It can help smooth blemishes & lines
Shea Butter is rich in antioxidants, making it a great ingredient to help aid the skin in its regeneration process. It has often been used in skincare to help reduce signs of stretch marks and scars. You can try using Shea Butter along with Jojoba oil to gently massage over the skin.
(3) It makes a great lip balm
As the colder weather draws in, our lips are likely to suffer. Shea Butter is great to use as part of a natural lip balm to nourish and protect the lips during winter.
Try melting down 2 parts Shea Butter along with 1 part Beeswax pellets (to thicken the mixture), then add 10-15 drops of essential oil (Peppermint, Lime, Lemon or Orange oils work wonderfully in lip balms). Pour mixture into some small empty pots and enjoy an all-natural, luscious lip balm (these would make a great bespoke gifts as well).
(4) It helps promote healthy, manageable hair
Shea Butter is a natural hair conditioner. Often found in many ready to use conditioners - including our own AA Skincare Rose & Pomegranate Conditioner – it has intense moisturising properties, particularly beneficial to those with dry, curly or frizzy hair. It isalso great to use on hair that is often exposed to heat.
(5) It makes a great natural moisturiser
As the summer months end, it is important for us to take good care of our skin, particularly after spending long spells in the sunshine. Shea Butter acts as an intensive moisturiser, helping hydrate and lock in moisture in even the driest patches of skin (perfect for use on knees and elbows).
We have a gorgeous range of whipped, ready to use Shea Butters here at Amphora. You can find a plain version or pre blended butters with pure essential oil blends such as our bestselling combination ‘Frankincense & Rose’. We also stock plain Shea Butter as part of our Base Preparations range which is ideal for use in creating your own homemade products.
Head over to our shop to view the full range:
'Yogaromas' Essential Oils For Your Yoga Practice
Essential Oils for your Yoga Practice
There’s no doubt that aromatherapy and yoga compliment one another beautifully. Each offer us a useful way to practice mindfulness and relaxation, helping us reduce stress levels and deal with the challenges that life can pose. Here are some of our top tips on how to incorporate essential oils into your yoga practice.
Eucalyptus to help you breathe deep
When you own your breath, nobody can steal your place – author unknown
The focus on breathing is a really central part of yoga; centering your awareness on your breath helps to energize the body and reduce tension levels, allowing you to focus your full attention on your practice.
Using invigorating and decongesting oils such as Eucalyptus or Peppermint can be a wonderful way to incorporate aromatherapy into your practice.
Try diluting a few drops into a carrier oil such as grapeseed and gently massaging over the chest before your session to help you breathe deep and relax the mind.
Frankincense to calm a busy mind.
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath – Amit Ray, Om Chanting & Meditation.
Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and help the mind focus on the present moment. We all know how hard it is to stop our thoughts from racing, especially after a busy day, but we can at least calm these thoughts with help from relaxing essential oils.
Frankincense has been used in spiritual practices for centuries. It is renowned for being grounding oil that can help us focus on the present moment.
Before your session, try diluting with a carrier oil and apply to wrist and temples to enjoy the relaxing scent of Frankincense throughout your practice.
You can also diffuse it in a vaporiser - try blending with other grounding and calming oils such as Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang or Lavender.
Lemon Essential Oil to clean your mat!
Create your all natural yoga mat spray with pure essential oils. Simply fill an empty atomizer bottle with distilled water (100ml size is ideal) and add 20-30 drops of essential oil.
Deodorising oils such as Lemon, Lime, Lemongrass and Camphor work wonderfully. Enjoy the refreshing and uplifting aromas of the essential oils each time you finish your session.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog; we hope you've found it useful. Don't forget to keep up to date with our Facebook & Twitter pages for regular free tips, advice and competitions.
School’s out for summer!! Aromatherapy blends to help you survive the school holidays.
School’s out for summer!! It’s a great chance to spend time with the kids and take a break from the usual routine (it is certainly a time welcomed by teachers across the country).
Summer holidays can also pose a challenge for parents, left with the task of entertaining children on a daily basis and keeping everything calm between squabbling siblings. What’s more, it can be difficult to keep the kids in a reasonable routine to ensure sleeping patterns aren’t knocked too far out of sync.
Relaxing blends for bedtime and bickering
Six weeks of free time and a change in routine is exciting for children who can find it hard to unwind at bedtime. Essential oils can be a lovely way to relax children before bedtime – and help parents de-stress and keep calm too.
All of these oils and blends can be used in added to a vapouriser, a bath or diluted to 1% with a carrier oil and massaged onto the skin.
You can’t go wrong with the most renowned of all essential oils. There have been countless studies looking into how it can offer gentle relief from stress, anxiety and promote a good night’s sleep. Lavender is a gentle oil and generally a good one to use with children around.
Another very gentle oil that can help you to unwind and relax (there’s a reason people love to drink it in tea form before bedtime). It’s extensively used across a wide range of natural bath and body products due to its calming properties both on the mind and the skin.
Renowned as being a ‘happy’ oil due to its fresh, sweet and bright aroma; it could help calm any bedtime tantrums. It is a gentle oil to burn around the children and its pleasing scent is loved by most. It also blends beautifully with most other oils.
Oils for bumps, bruises and bites.
The summer holidays can mean time spent outdoors - playing in the garden, picnics, walks and family days out. Playing outside can lead to bumps, bruises and insect bites, so it’s good to keep a natural remedy first aid kit at hand.
Arnica has been used throughout history to help calm inflammation from minor bruises, sprains and bumps. It is particularly renowned for helping reduce signs of bruising, when applied twice daily to the affected skin. Simply massage over the affected area either in an oil or gel form.
The high content of Allantoin in Comfrey, has made it a popular choice over time to help calm the skin and it is through to promote a faster healing time for bruises and sprained muscles. It can be applied to the skin in an infused oil or as part of an aromatherapy cream.
Tea Tree is one of the most versatile of all essential oils. Often used in skincare to help prevent breakouts of acne, it can also be useful to use on insect bites.
Please be aware that TeaTree is a very potent oil and, as with all essential oils, it must be diluted before applying to the skin.
For a ready to use preparation, you can try using it in a water based gel to help cool and reduce signs of redness around the affected area (be careful not to apply to broken skin).
Thank you for reading, and stay up to date with all the free aromatherapy tips, advice and competitions across our social media pages.
3 Essential oils to help with Muscle Recovery
3 Essential oils to help with Muscle Recovery
July certainly seems to be a very sport centred month. Summer is in full swing, the Tour de France is underway and many of us are celebrating the success of the Wimbledon championships!
Many of us may feel inspired at this time of year to get out and about whether on our bikes, on the tennis courts or simply making the most of the sunshine with a stroll in the park.
It’s important to ensure we’re taking care to stretch after exercising, allow ourselves rest days and keep well hydrated if exercising out in the heat.
What’s more, we can help our muscles to recover naturally with the use of essential oils. You can enjoy an aromatherapy bath or dilute with a carrier oil and massage over any effected areas post workout.
Here are our top 3 essential oils for using post workout!
Sweet Marjoram oil has long been used in massage for its warming and soothing effects which help to offer muscular pain relief. Marjoram is also a very relaxing oil, often used to help people with mild insomnia and reduce stress levels. Add a few drops to an evening bath to help soothe the joints and aid a good night’s sleep before a sports event you may be taking part in.
Top Tip: Try adding 3 drops Marjoram, 5 drops Lavender and a cup of Epsom Salts to a warm bath.
A wonderful oil to use both before and after a workout. The refreshing scent of Eucalyptus can help open the airways, allowing you to take better control of your breathing during exercise. Post work out, it works wonders being massaged over the muscles to help them recover and soothe inflammation.
Top Tip: Blend 10 drops Eucalyptus and 10 drops of Peppermint in 100ml of 1 part distilled water and 1 part Witch Hazel for a workout spray to take with you to the gym.
(3) Black Pepper
Black Pepper is a powerful oil! Only a small amount of this oil is needed. It is well known for its warming effects which help promote circulation in the body. His can help soothe any aches and pains, whilst helping improve the recovery time.
Top Tip: Try blending with Grapefruit essential oil for an energizing scent that can be used both prior to and after a workout. Always dilute with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
Thank you for reading. Keep up to date with our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more free tips, advice and competitions.
Aromatherapy in the Home
Aromatherapy in the Home
Its Aromatherapy Awareness week, so we’re celebrating the many uses of essential oils and how they can benefit our everyday lives.
A great way to make use of essential oils at home is through incorporating them into household chores. They’re a great way of helping spruce up the place by helping you create a warm, welcoming and clean space to live in. Not only this, but incorporating them into your household regime can help make it more enjoyable for you whilst you clean!
Here are just four tips and ideas for how you can do just this.
(1) Add a few drops of Bergamot essential oil to your hoover bag before vacuuming. Once the machine warms up, the aroma will be released into the air, helping the rooms smell fresh and rid the place of unwanted odours. For more ideas, have a look at one of our previous blogs:
(2) Add Lime Essential oil to your multi-surface cleaner to help add shine! For more tips and advice on this, check out one of our previous blog posts:
(3) Keep away pesky insects in the house. Try adding Cedarwood essential oil to cotton balls and placing them in your clothes drawers to help repel moths. This is also a lovely way to fragrance the bedroom.
(4) Keep your garden tools in tip top condition by soaking them in a bucket of warm water, vinegar and 5-10 drops of Lemon oil. For more gardening tips, have a look one of our previous blog posts:
Thank you for reading!
Keep up to date with our Facebook and Twitter pages for more tips, advice and competitions!
4 Essential Oils for Summer time
4 Essential Oils for Summer time
Summer has officially arrived. June is a wonderful month for enjoying the longest days of the year and making the most of the beautiful sunshine.
We’ve picked some of our favourite oils to use during the warmer months. Essential oils can prove really useful in the summer - from helping repel insects, soothing sunburn to helping energise you on those extra hot and muggy days.
If you need cooling down this summer, Peppermint oil may offer the quick refresh you’re looking for. One of the most invigorating oils; its fresh and cooling scent can help clear the mind and refresh the senses. It is a powerful oil, so only use a small amount.
Try adding 10-15 drops in 100ml of distilled water for a cooling body spray (make sure you avoid the eyes)
A great addition to the first aid kit if you’re out on a day trip or off on holiday this year. Lavender is an all-rounder; useful for helping soothe all sorts of skin irritations, from insect bites to sunburn. It can also help you relax – useful for nervous flyers travelling abroad this summer.
Our Lavender roll on is a really handy way of getting the benefits of this wonderful oil. It is diluted in grapeseed oil, so ready to use on the skin.
Geranium can be found in natural mosquito repellents and is often used to help repel insects in the warmer months. It’s a lovely uplifting blend and its sweet and floral aroma is certainly one to be enjoyed during the summer months.
Try diffusing – 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Geranium and 1 drop of Patchouli for a floral, summertime blend.
Bright and cheerful, this sweet citrus oil is a lovely aroma to enjoy during the summer. Grapefruit is also renowned for being an energising oil; this can be helpful on those seriously hot, muggy days which can make us feel tired and lethargic (or if you’ve just got back from a festival, it can help give you a pick me up).
Try adding a few drops to the bottom of your shower and allow its uplifting and refreshing aroma to help wake you up in the morning.
Aromatherapy for stress relief - 3 Essential oils for Calming the Mind
Aromatherapy for stress relief
3 essential oils for calming the mind
Aromatherapy is often used to help reduce stress levels and to help us practice mindfulness.
The practice of mindfulness is a combination of meditation, yoga, breathing techniques and bringing yourself into awareness of the present moment. It can be a valuable way of managing the increasing stress levels in everyday life.
The use of therapeutic oils during mediation can greatly enhance our experience. Our sense of smell and our emotions are intimately linked and each essential oil has its own effect on the mind, memories and emotion.
Frankincense can help steer our mind away from distractions clouding our everyday lives. Many of us find modern technologies can start to dictate our patterns of being, despite being out of synch with our natural rhythms.
Switch off your phones, laptops and televisions, take time to sit, breath and resonate yourself with the moment.
To set the scene, try the following blend in a diffuser:
Burning sage has long been a tradition prior to rituals and ceremonies. It is thought to cleanse the air, removing negative energies and restoring balance. Sage has a grounding effect, perfect for creating a calm atmosphere in which to relax, meditate and unwind. Used in a vaporizer it can help calm nerves and treat depression.
As well as helping you relax, meditation can increase your energy levels in day to day life. Enabling you to sleep better, clearing your mind of worries and anxieties and helping you to think more clearly.
For a blend when you feel your mind is in need of a lift:
Beautifully sweet, floral rose oil is well known for bringing feelings of joy and boosting emotional wellbeing. Can also help women dealing with hormonal stress, the scent has long been a useful aid to offer peace and comfort in times of trauma and is recognized as a symbol of love and purity.
This is another great way to practice mindfulness using aromatherapy. To help keep spirits high when symptoms of PMS may arise. It is vital for women during these times to tune your awareness into the present moment.
A harmonizing blend for women:
• 3 Drops Rose Otto – uplifting; often used to alleviate nervous tension and stress, help with grief and depression.
• 2 Drops Lavender – the ultimate calm; its ability to quiet the mind and offer feelings of emotional content make it a great oil for use in relaxation and meditation. It blends well with a variety of different oils.
• 1 Drops Ylang Ylang – slows down heart rate and breathing – an excellent oil to use in times of trauma and helps balance male and female energies.
• 1 Drop Geranium – a wonderfully cheerful scent, known for boosting the regulatory function of the hormone system. Another womanly, floral scent to help reclaim and balance your feminine side.
Thank you for reading and keep up to date with our Facebook and Twitter pages this week for more tips, advice and competitions to come!
Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week
Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week
6th – 12th June 2016
This week is Aromatherapy Awareness week (6 -12 June) - a chance to celebrate and promote awareness of the wonderful properties essential oils have to offer. Our sense of smell is so intrinsically linked to our emotions, it is not surprising essential oils can affect our mood and help to promote emotional wellbeing in our lives.
Although the term ‘Aromatherapy’ was only coined around 100 years ago, since our species evolved we have utilised the natural benefits of plants and oils. Essential oils are simply the ‘essence’ of the plant, enabling us to extract and utilise its natural properties more easily.
As Amphora Aromatics has been sourcing and supplying essential oils for over twenty-five years (we’re now one of the UK’s largest suppliers), this is an exciting time to celebrate aromatherapy and share some of our knowledge of and passion for essential oils.
The world of aromatherapy is ever growing, with treatments increasingly available. Alternative therapies are in great demand in our fast paced, often challenging modern lifestyles, as many of us seek ways of managing and reducing stress. Aromatherapy can offer a gentle, yet effective way to do this, through practicing mindfulness and relaxation.
How can essential oils help?
Essential oils can help us feel energized, relaxed, joyful - or even act as a natural aphrodisiac.
And it’s not just the psychological benefits essential oils have to offer. They can also help treat physical symptoms, such as muscle strains and aches as well as have amazing skincare and hair care benefits.
Essential oils incorporated into skincare can help to reduce acne and skin conditions such as psoriasis, as well as help to hydrate and rejuvenate mature skin types and dry skin. Aromatherapy massage is also a popular alternative treatment to help reduce pain associated with arthritis and muscular aches.
And, essential oils can be incorporated to your household cleaning regime, help out in the garden and make a great addition to a first aid or travel kit.
We’d love you to join us this week to celebrate everything aromatherapy has to offer. Keep up to date with our social media pages and we’ll be running special giveaways and competitions, as well as running special offers on our website.
Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week!
5 Essential Oils to Help Tackle Arthritis Pain
May is National Arthritis Awareness month. It is thought nearly 10 million people each year in the UK will seek help from their GP concerning arthritis related conditions. It can effect anyone regardless of age and gender.
The symptoms vary based upon different types of arthritis; inflammatory arthritis is likely to cause more swelling of the joints which causes pain and discomfort. Other symptoms which occur can include fatigue, weight loss and early morning stiffness of the joints.
It’s important for us to understand more about the condition which affects so many of us and try to get to grips with various ways in which to treat it.
Aromatherapy massage is often prescribed as a gentle, alternative therapy to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Massage can help stimulate circulation, ease sore muscles and help us to feel relaxed; promoting emotional wellbeing and reducing stress.
We’ve highlighted just five of the many essential oils that could be helpful for those that suffer from this condition.
(1) Marjoram – sweet and herbaceous. Marjoram is a really relaxing oil to use and is thought to be beneficial for easing stiff and painful joints. It is also thought to be helpful in relieving muscle spasms and bruises. Top Tip: Marjoram’s gentle calming effects make it a great addition to a relaxing bath – add 2 drops Marjoram and 3 drops Lavender.
(2) Eucalyptus – great for helping improve circulation, Eucalyptus has been historically been used to help soothe inflammation and muscle spasms with its warming effect. Often recommended for those suffering from aches, pains and stiff muscles. Top Tip: Blend 2-3 drops with 5ml of carrier oil and massage gently over any areas which may be stiff and painful.
(3) Frankincense - the active components in Frankincense - Boswellic acids are thought to be helpful in soothing sore and inflamed joints. Top Tip: Use in a compress – fill a small bowl with warm water and add 3-5 drops of Frankincense oil. Soak a washcloth, wring it out and wrap around the affected area.
(4) Juniperberry – detoxifying and purifying. Juniperberry has often been recommended to help relieve nerve pain, joint and muscle spasms. Top Tip: Enjoy a detoxifying bath with 4 drops Juniperberry, 3 drops Grapefruit, 2 drops Cedarwood.
(5) Rosemary – one of the most stimulating oils. This can help it to promote good circulation in our bodies. It is often used in aromatherapy massage to help reduce pain and stiffness with its warming effects. Top Tip: Blend 2 drops Rosemary, 2 drops Peppermint with 5ml Carrier oil. Massage in circular motions over affected joints to enjoy the warming and penetrating effects.
Thank you for reading and remember to keep up to date with our Facebook & Twitter pages for more tips, advice and competitions!
Aromatherapy in the Garden!
Green Fingers and Gorgeous Smells!
There have been some beautiful spring days so far (touch wood!), and it’s been the perfect opportunity to get out and about in the garden! Gardening can offer us so much; it’s such a great feeling being able to grow and produce your own food, share it with friends and family, plus it’s a great form of exercise and the perfect excuse to spend time outside and enjoy this gorgeous weather!
Did you know there are all sorts of ways that you can incorporate essential oils into your gardening routine to help support a healthy garden (and healthy gardener!)? The exciting thing about gardening is that there is always more to learn and all sorts of useful tips and techniques to share!
in this blog, we’ll be giving you some ideas on how to incorporate essential oils into your gardener’s world to offer various natural remedies to keep both yourself and your garden in tip top condition!
(1) Natural Pest deterrent
It’s never fun finding that all your hard work, effort and tender loving care you put into your plants and vegetables ends up in the bellies of those greedy slugs!
If you want to find a non-toxic and humane way of deterring the pests, there are all sorts of natural alternatives to steer the hungry critters away from your beautiful plants!
There are many essential oils that are renowned for deterring insects. It is useful for bearing in mind however, that different aromas will effect various bugs in different ways. Just because lemon-grass and citronella repel mosquitos, it may not be the same for slugs, snails and cockroaches.
Here is a brief guide on which aromas deter some of the main culprits for munching on your vegetables!
You can use the same method of adding 6-8 drops of essential oil per gallon of water and pouring into the soil.
Alternatively, you can put drops of essential oil onto cotton wool and place them in small pots (perhaps old yoghurt pots) and create a barrier around your beloved vegetables. Strong smelling oils such as peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus will deter not only slugs and snails but help deter dogs and cats from er doing their business on your vegetable beds!
(2) Utilising symbiotic relationships between plants.
There are many plants which have fascinating symbiotic relationships; you can utilise this through growing certain plants next to each other to strengthen and encourage one another to grow ( for example, Basil grows well alongside a companion of tomatoes or peppers).
This companionship can work on various levels; taller plants for example offering shade to herbs and smaller vegetables that don’t require as much sunlight or beans and peas having the ability to fix nitrogen into the soil which in turn benefits other plants, making the soil more nutritious!
An alternative to planting companion vegetables together is to mimic their properties and chemical compounds through the use of pure essential oils!
This is really easy to do; simply fill up your watering can with warm water and add six (more or less as required) drops of essential oil to roughly two gallons of water (adjust ratios according to size and type of plant).
Here are a few ideas of how you can do this:
(3) Post gardening protection!
A flourishing vegetable garden and a perfectly kept lawn can come at a price. All that digging, weeding and lifting heavy sacks of compost – there’s no denying that gardening is an all over body workout! It’s a great form of enjoyable exercise, however it can sometimes be quite strenuous and leave your muscles feeling tired, sore and overworked.
Here at Amphora, we have a number of effective, ready to use remedies for muscle ease!
• We receive endless positive feedback from you lovely customers about our Muscle and Joint Gel. For those of you that haven’t tried it, it’s an all-round natural yet powerful treatment for achy joints and tired muscles. It contains a huge array of pure essential oils such as:
Eucalyptus, Black Pepper, Rosemary and Camphor.
• For a truly indulgent experience or for extra sore joints, you can finish off with nice warm bath containing one of our pre-blended bath oils such as our Athletic bath oil which contains a warming and soothing blend of Pine, Thyme, Eucalyptus and Rosemary in a base of Sweet Almond Oil to help you revive and recover after all that hard work!
(4) Essential oils for tool maintenance!
Taking care of your garden tools can mean they have a longer life; avoiding rust and other forms of damage. Regular maintenance will keep your tools in good condition, meaning they will not become difficult to use (putting more of a strain on you!).
Using Lemon essential oil can work wonders on any stubborn stains on your tools.
Lemon essential oil is an excellent all round, incredibly effective and non-toxic household cleaner. It can be used for everything from cleaning your car windscreen, to cleaning the kitchen floor and maintaining your garden tools in good condition.
It is a powerful deodoriser and has the ability to get rid of tough stains and bring shine back to your garden tools!
When combined with baking soda, you can create a thick paste to cover rusty spots on your tools. Simply apply, wait a few minutes and then wipe away.
Similarly, you can create a soak for your tools after a gardening session. Fill up a bucket with warm water, add a cup of vinegar and 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil. Allow to soak for thirty minutes (be careful not to over soak – vinegar is very effective at eroding away rust but it can also erode your tools if left in for too long!
(5) Natural Herbicides
Conventional, chemical laden herbicides may be effective at killing off weeds, but they are also toxic to your surroundings and living things that may come into contact with them (including yourselves and family members!).
There are a number of natural alternatives that you can experiment with including utilizing the powers of essential oils to help tame the weeds surrounding your vegetables!
One incredibly simple and one hundred per cent natural recipe is to use a combination of coconut and vegetable oil.
What makes coconut oil an effective herbicide is that it contains a large amount of fatty acids which when applied to a plant, impair their ability to photosynthesise, thus debilitating them to eliminate waste through transpiration.
Cinnamon, Clove and Lemon oils are also great to use as a natural herbicide. They also blend nicely together! You can try mixing in a large watering can:
Ensure you cover the neighbouring plants you don’t want to kill off with a piece of fabric before pouring your natural herbicide onto the weeds.
Spray the mixture directly onto the leaves of the plant (try to avoid the soil!).
Check the weeds in a few days’ time and see the results!
Thank you for reading and we hope you've been inspired to get out into the garden.
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