Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Famous places you can find Shirley Price Aromatherapy Oils - Africa and Asia

Find out more about Serena hotels

City hotels, resorts, safaris and tented camps

I first came across the Serena group of 5 star hotels on a visit to the Amboseli Lodge a safari camp in Kenya.  A ranger took us for an unforgetable tour including being eyeballed by a Rhino who fortunately for us have poor vision!  I and my colleagues were in our twenties and working for KPMG who were retained by Sudan's central bank to assist deal with the IMF and World Bank.  These were gruelling trips working long hours but we had a great sense of commitment.  The work we did and the training we gave helped keep alive Sudans grant aid its principal source of foreign currency for food, energy and pharmaceuticals at a very difficult time.  For years afterward I received a card from the Banks deputy governor and the friendships we formed turned out to be lifelong.

Sp's africa and pakistan sales are coordinated by Mohamed Lalji. Find out more

As an economist I have always been fascinated by economic development.  Like aromatherapy oils the Luxury hotels play an important part in bringing peace, prosperity and tranquility particularly to beautiful but troubled parts of the world. 

The Serena group in a notable commitment to the Afghan people have three luxury hotels planned.  The five-star Serena Hotel Kabul opened in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2005, and others are currently planned for the Afghan cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat. On January 14th 2008, The Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan was the target of insurgent attacks, including suicide bombers, machine gunners and grenadiers.  I dont talk about politics much though I do serve the Conservative Party as my father did in the UK.  I must confess my concern at the lack of respect for the UN system in the west rather than its celebration. What I have found personally is that as an agricultural visitor all over the world talking to farmers I am always welcome whatever the politics.  Never have I felt at risk.  There is an english saying that you really get to know someone during an exchange of blows.  Let us hope it is true and that peace comes to Afghanistan. 


Monday, 28 June 2010

Differant countries, differant oils

Every province and country has its own particular essential oils.  England with its normally abundant rainfall is very good for growing herbs and there does exist distilling expertise to match particularly in essential oils used for flavourings.  China is particularly favoured for certain kinds of essential oil production.  In fact certain lavenders for example from Jilin province can give french produced lavender a run for its money.  This is because Jilin lies on the same lines of latitude as Southern France and so receives similar sunshine.  Sharing a border with North Korea  certainly makes for interesting times.  Sourcing oil from China has become much more consistent in the last 10 years with good science and growing expertise.  Yunnan in the far South West is home to many interesting oils and Yunnans relative  proximity to Northern Laos, Vietnam and Burma is interesting for essential oil sourcing.  Drought affects the farmers here as elsewhere and Yunnan has experienced a lengthy period of drought this year.


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Daily revision - how essential oils are obtained

The Essential oils

The essential oils are derived from many plants and particularly the higher plants which have evolved essential oils partly as a defence against insects and disease.

The term Essential oil is any of a large class of volatile odoriferous oils of botanical origin that impart to plants odor and often other characteristic properties, that are obtained from various parts of the plant (as flowers, leaves, roots, fruits, berries, seeds, food parts, bark, etc.) by steam and/or water distillation, expression or extraction, that are mixtures of compounds (as terpenoids, aldehydes, alcohols, esters, etc.), and that are used often in the form of essences in cosmetics, flavorings, fragrances, perfumes, aromatherapy and pharmaceutical preparations

Rose Otto, Frankincense and Myrhh are obtained by hydrodistillation

Most essential oils are obtained by steam distillation of the plant matter

Vegetable oils and essential oils obtained from fruit rinds like lemon are crushed or pressed.

Floral oils like Rose, Neroli and Jasmine are made as absolutes.


A first step in the production of absolutes. The concretes are obtained by different processes. For example, the flowers, leaves, roots etc. are subjected to extraction by solvents which dissolve the waxes and essential oil containing the odorous principles from the flowers, leaves, roots etc. The solvents are then eliminated by evaporation under reduced pressure so that the heat does not effect the product so obtained, which is called an concrete or simply a concrete. The concrete of the flowers, leaves, roots etc. so treated has the appearance of a more or less solid wax. It is insoluble in water and virtually insoluble in alcohol.


The Absolute is obtained by extracting the concretes with solvent, usually hexane, then eliminating the solvent at reduced pressure. The product so obtained often has the consistency of honey and may not be entirely soluble in alcohol. There is some hexane left behind, which should be less than 1 Part Per Million. There are other type of extraction methods in use today that involve the use of butane gas (boiling point -0.5øC). the absolute so obtained tends to be light in color and true to type, but in some cases it may not be entirely soluble in alcohol.


A very old process is that of the "pomades". There were two ways of carrying it out:

(1) The process of maceration in the hot state, which consisted of melting an odorless fat and allowing the flowers to be macerated in it, the fat or oil being kept at a medium temperature for the fat to be liquid, without excessive heating. The fat absorbs the perfume. In the past, forms of alcoholate were prepared, by extracting these pomades with alcohol in the cold state. Pomade washings (lavage de pommade) were obtained, which showed their concentration according to the number they bore. Then extractions of these pomades with alcohol were carried out to obtain concentrated solutions and the alcohol was evaporated, in order to produce the absolute essential oils ex pomade.

(2) The process of maceration in the cold state, or enfleurage. In this process, fat or oil is also used. It involves coating the glass plates of glazed wooden frames with a fat or oil. Inside these frames (termed cadre or chassis), on the part coated with fat, are placed the flowers. The frames are stacked on one another so as to obtain a hermetic seal and they are allowed to stand for 24 hours, so that the effluvia liberated dissolve in the fat or oil. The flowers that have given up their perfume are removed and replaced by fresh ones. This operation is repeated until the fat is saturated with perfume. The perfumed fats are treated with alcohol, and by increasing these extraction operations, followed by chilling and filtration, an alcoholic solution is obtained, which is subsequently concentrated by evaporation to yield the absolute enfleurage essential oil.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Weight loss - the 5 most filling foods

We can use aromatherapy to curb the appetite but we still have to eat.  Which foods are more filling?

At its simplest, the satiety index, is a measure of how long a particular food will stop you from feeling hungry. It was first developed by Dr Susanne Holt back in 1995. Holt and her colleagues fed volunteers 240 calorie portions of a wide variety of different foods in an attempt to discover which would be the most filling. The top 5 are:
1. Potatoes

2. Fish

3. Porridge/Oats/Oatmeal

4. Apples and Oranges

5. Wholewheat Pasta

Fibre.  Unlike protein, fibre promotes satiety by slowing the rate at which the food is actually digested. It also triggers stretch receptors in the stomach which automatically sends a signal to the brain to stop eating. 

Bulk.  At 9 Kcal per gram fat is the most energy dense nutrient we can eat. Just one tablespoon of clotted cream has almost four times more calories than a whole cup of popcorn and yet it takes up far less space in the stomach making it incredibly easy to over consume. Fat greatly enhances the taste of a food too, another reason why we find it so easy to over consume.

Chewing.  Chewing promotes satiety, partly because it slows down eating but also because it encourages the release of enzymes that register fullness in the brain.



Sp's Beeswax comes from Laos where it is produced alongside Benzoin.  It is used in lip balm and for home cosmetics and candles which make excellent gifts.

Bees in the news Here in the UK Bees are being fitted with tiny radio ID tags to monitor their movements as part of research into whether pesticides could be giving the insects brain disorders, scientists have revealed.

The study is examining concerns that pesticides could be damaging bees' abilities to gather food, navigate and even perform their famous "waggle dance" through which they tell other bees where nectar can be found.

The research is part of a raft of studies which will look at declines in pollinators including bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths, amid fears over the impact of their falling numbers.

Experts said three of the UK's 25 bumblebee species had gone extinct, while half had suffered declines of up to 70%. Three quarters of butterfly species were declining, while there was little "robust science" on what was happening to other insect pollinators such as hoverflies, the researchers said.

It is estimated insect pollinators contribute £440 million to the UK economy through their role in fertilising crops, with produce such as strawberries dependent on being properly pollinated by insects to produce good-quality fruit. Other research being funded as part of the £10 million initiative include a study into pollinators in cities, the impacts of disease on pollinating insects and the effects of modern agriculture on bees.

Research is also being conducted into whether the decline in wildflowers such as red clover and bird's foot trefoil is the result of falling numbers of insects to pollinate them. Professor Andrew Watkinson, director of the Living with Environmental Change programme under which the projects are being funded, said: "We've seen well-documented changes in our birds, our flowers and also in some of our insects. "Now there is growing concern insect pollinators are in decline."

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Rose Window of York

With the family to York this weekend for the annual cycle show. When our students come over I say to them if they want to see the real England then take the train from London to York. The city still has its old quarter with cobbled streets.

1700 years ago York with its strategic location on the River Ouse was the headquarters of Rome's famous sixth legion. It was here that one of the most important figures in western civilisation Constantine was crowned emperor in the year 306. Constantine transformed the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium into a new imperial residence, Constantinople, todays Istanbul which would remain the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over one thousand years and so preserve greek culture into the modern era.

York is home to historic railway engines.  This amazing engine was made in 1907 for the Great Western railway.

York is home to the first translation of the bible into English by Coverdale

As you know I try to work Roses into my blog wherever I can. Pictured is the twelth century Rose window in York Cathedral. See more about western Rose windows.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Aromatherapy for the emotions

Female emotional chemistry has always been more complex (and explosive!) than the male.  Hermiaone declares that Ron Weasley 'has the emotional range of a teaspoon' in Harry Potter.  It seems she was right

Researchers say a U.S. study could help explain the differences in the way men and women control their emotions. Women have higher rates of depression,post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety problems than men. However no one has yet been able to pinpoint a biological reason for the difference. The study focused on a stress hormone called corticotropinreleasing factor (CRF) which helps control the body's reaction to stress. CRF is known to play a role in human psychiatric conditions. Study leader Dr Rita Valentino, of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said: 'This is an animal study carried out on rats and we cannot say that the biological mechanism is the same in people. But researchers already know that CRF regulation is disrupted in stress-related psychiatric disorders, so this research may be relevant to the underlying human biology. This may help to explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders.'

Find out more

Members of the fairer sex are more sensitive to a key stress hormone - with even small amounts sending their emotions into a whirl.. Men, in contrast, are relatively immune to even high amounts of the chemical. The new research focused on a hormone that organises stress responses in mammals. It found females were more responsive to it.

We have all experienced anger, hatred, desire, jealousy and other such emotions many times throughout our lives. We often feel justified in our anger.  When these natural emotions take root they are described as afflictive emotions.  It is perhaps the object of all religion to help us as individuals recognise and control our emotions for what we feel affects our actions and those around us.
Aromatherapy for the emotions
Find out more

Absent-mindedness cedarwood, ginger, lemon

Alertness, lack of black pepper, peppermint, pine

Anger cedarwood, chammile, pettigrain

Apathy mandarin, rosemary, pine

Apprehension lavender, patchouli, ylang ylang

Bitterness bergamot, lemon, mandarin

Concentration, poor black pepper, rosemary

Confusion coriander, marjoram, niaouli

Courage, lack of black pepper, fennel, thyme

Crisis frankincense, rose, ylang ylang

Despondency ginger, orange, rose, ylang ylang

Excitement, excess of chamomile, fennel, lavender

Exhaustion coriander, rosemary, pine

Fear cedarwood, vetiver

Grief lime, rose

Grumpiness lavender, vetiver, may chang

Guilt rose, ylang ylang

Impatience chamomile, mandarin, ylang ylang

Indecisiveness coriander, lavender, lemon

Insecurity frankincense, lavender

Irritability chamomile, marjoram, lavender

Jealousy orange, rose

Listlessness chammile, coriander, palmarosa

Loneliness geranium, marjoram

Memory, poor coriander, marjoram, rosemary

Nervousness cedarwood, frankincense, thyme, may chang

Nightmares frankincense, lavender, thyme

Regret bergamot, frankincense, rose

Resentment geranium, lemon

Restlessness chamomile, myrhh

Sensitivity, excess of chamomile, vetiver

Sensitivity, lack of rosemary, patchouli, pettigrain

Shock clary sage, peppermint

Shyness bergamot, peppermint, ylang ylang

Sluggishness rosemary, may chang

Stubbornness chamomile, orange, ylang ylang

Tantrums chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender

Will, weakness of black pepper, pettigrain, pine

Withdrawn nature basil, bergamot, geranium

Worry chamomile, dill, frankincense, lavender


Friday, 11 June 2010

Aromatherapy in practice, Next? - major properties of essential oils, C is for .....chest enhancing?

The virtues or properties of essential oils

A is for?.......analgesic, anaphrodisiac, antibiotic, antidepressant, anti inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, B is for?........bactericide, bacteriostatic, bechic, C is for?.........cephalic, cholagogue, cytophylactic, deodorant, detoxifying, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicidal, hepatic, hypertensive, hypnotic, hyptotensive, immuno-stimulant, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant, sudorific, tonic, uterine, vasoconstrictor, vasodilator, vulnerary

To bring this worthy list to life lets consider the client attending the aromatherapists clinic or spa seeking advice on increase or reduce their chest size or breast tone.  Of course one could simply add more fatty food to the diet like whole milk but what if the client tended to add weight to the hips rather than the bust.  And what of the client who is on a rigourous exercise regime and loses fat to the breasts rapidly and is uncomfortable with their appearance?

An important aromatherapy principle is the minimisation of cosmetic use.  Can the client not be comfortable with their natural body form without using essential oils and herbal extracts?

Sustained use of essential oils may alter hormone levels.  Estrogen mimicking essential oils include lavender and geranium, while grapefruit, ylang, rose, jasmin and neroli can be added to the list.

Outside essential oils there is some limited research and anecdotal evidence that addition of extract of pueraria mirifica can be used effectively and safely.

Read about gynecomastica

Read about pueraria mirifica research

Essential oils generally

There are some base products to which essential oils and herbal extracts may be added according to individual preferences and responses.  The evidence is that use of essential oils will not result in permanent breast tissue however a noticeable change may be evident with sustained use of essential oils and herbal extracts.


Our rejuvenating Essentia pretty serum contains the basic estrogen mimicking essential oils including lavender and geranium, rose, frankincense and neroli.
Essentia pretty cleavage serum also contains the basic estrogen mimicking essential oils including rose, jasmin, grapefruit and geranium.
We can add extract of pueraria mirifica, lavender and ylang ylang to provide a stronger breast enhancing serum or as a cream.


For an aromatherapy massage oil for fuller & firmer breasts try this:

Breast Developer

9 Drops Geranium ( rich in Phyto-hormones)

16 Drops Ylang-Ylang

in a 50 ml base oil such as Sweet Almond
Rub this mix over the breasts morning and evening taking a few minutes to massage into the chest wall directly above the breasts. It may take some time to see results.
Don't use Jojoba oil for this as this oil is said to break down fatty deposits under the skin so would work to reduce bust size, mixing Jojoba Oil and Rose oil is good for reducing and firming the bust if you feel you are too large.
Recipe Source: Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

Distillation - The new season nears

Its getting close to that time of the year again.

Next week my birthday June 16th coincides with the peak of the rose harvest in Bulgaria.   From June and the distillation it takes until September as filtration and settlement proceeeds for Sp to receive the next batch of Rose Otto.  This we market for sale as an essential oil, as a blend mixed with argentine Jojoba (the ideal perfume base) or inclusion in Sp's Essentia skincare.

Plans are in hand to call into our Rose Otto suppliers near Grasse in August to see how things are going.  We'll also be calling into old friends in the Lavender business who are esteemed as the best essential oil agents for aromatherapy and who grow in the far south near the pyranees. 

France at one time allowed herbal treatments to be prescribed free by doctors and from this time there is a wealth of research and expertise though much has been forgotten.  It is one of my points when challenged about the evidence for therapeutic properties of herbal medicine that much scientific research has been done particularly in Lyons and Paris but so much has been forgotten! What is preserved in Gattefosse and Valnets books is the tip of the iceberg.  Fortunately there is much current scientific interest in aromatherapy particularly in the USA.  Jane Buckles work in inspiring the training nearly 2000 US nurses in aromatherapy in the last decade is testimony to that.  Find out more

The South of France is also ideal triathlon country with plenty of room and opportunity cycling, swimming and running training for the active and also so peaceful for the less active so there is something for all the family to enjoy.

This is not to say that English Lavender doesnt have a lot going for it with more and more dedicated producers now England is getting more sunshine and English producers have great integrity.  However there is nothing to equal French Lavender for price and quality simply because of the latitude at which the Lavender is produced.  To see what I mean Lavender of equivalent quality is produced in the southern hemisphere in Tasmania at the same latitude. 

French Lavender has its problems with drought which England does not!! (At least until this year, 2010 looks to be the dryest for the UK since 1929). On the other hand for the high ester content which aromatherapists esteem Franch producers have obvious advantages simply because they are producing and more importantly distilling at comparitively high altitude.  Pictured is a classic 'officinalis' being charged and produced from the stalks and flowers. 

You can tell a lot about an essential oil agent by the way he pronounces the word 'officionalis'.  Try as he might a sentimental note will creep into his voice because it is an oil which is produced by all the family by dedicated producers with a real love of what they are doing.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Revise - Natural variation and evolution

Every now and then you have one of those eureka moments in science when everything you have been working on suddenly fits into place on a grand scale. 

We all coexist with micro organisms which are themselves programmed to change. I was preparing a paper for the weekend on natural variation in essential oils (the plants immune system) from season to season when suddenly the thought struck me that could not all evolution of differant species be but the unintended result not of natural selection but be a function of defensive natural variation at cellular level?  If we can measure this tendancy to variation can we make predictions of a useful kind for example when species creation will accelerate? 

Every human is unique, every living thing is unique but still recogniseably 'a whale' 'a rose' 'a human'.  As a defensive measure against attack by microorganisms all creatures are programmed to produce offspring slightly differant to themselves.  The higher and more complex the creature on the evolutionary pathway the more important this is.  Then something happens.  The species comes under attack from a micro-organism or is subject to the stresss of mass environmental change or opportunity.

Variation within species owes much to environmental opportunity but understanding of the the driver for creation of new species could simply be seen in terms of this natural process of defensive variation.  We know that at times new species are created at a great rate at times they are hardly ever created and are in decline like our own time.  What is it that triggers this radical creation of species?

Let me know if you are working on this idea or can point to a journal reference please.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Revise - Normalising Diet, Nutrition, Exercise

What is the clients normal diet, normal nutrition, normal exercise?

Little by little do we become negligent of our health and adopt an increasingly sedentary lifestyle?

Is this routine leading to a sedentary lifestyle and unwelcome changes in bodyshape?

A key factor is physical activity.

You dont have to do a tremendous amount of physical activity for it to be effective.  The important thing is to get out of your chair and begin to move more and more often.

The activity pathway illustrated in Ken Fox's writing displays the move from a sedentary lifestyle, through increasing activity too an active lifestyle of a fit and healthy person and how the body changes shape accordingly.

It shows you that getting out of the armchair on a regular basis and taking those few steps to the newspaper shop or taking the dog out for a walk does make a difference.  If you can achieve a regular routine of activity, even 10 minutes a day, then you will expend energy and the body will adjust back to a fitter and healthier normality increasing your happiness and effectiveness and that of those around you.

To give yourself a goal look at triathlon athletes who run, swim and cycle.  Not everyone can or wants to achieve this level of fitness but it serves as an ideal and in studying it you may hit on your ideal exercise routine.
Find out more Ken Fox

Browse inside

Holistic therapy can be very helpful in encouraging and enabling clients to visualise a healthier and happier routine and leave persistent common ailments behind which if left untreated can lead to illness.  By following nature it is possible to achieve significant improvements in personal health, wealth and happiness for yourself and those around you. 

Even mild stress and depression, to which everyne is prone, are particularly destructive of family and work relationships if not understood and allowed for by family and colleagues as we make allowances for those around us.

Aromatherapy can awaken the sense of tuch and smell stimulating memory and improving concentration.  The success of this may mean clients may be more to examine their normal routines and try out adjusting them in particular increasing the amount of standing activity which does assist eliminate toxins which otherwise accumulate in the body in fat tissue.

Of course client beliefs are their own and must be respected.  If a client wishes to change their general health for the better a number of mental exercises can be done in the course of a consultation.  For example

Input.  How would you demonstrate how little daily energy the body needs, particularly as we age?

Fasting is not just for religious people.  Could you demonstrate the effect of giving up comfort shopping and stimulants, turning off the tv or internet by agreeing an annual regular 'fast' of two weeks as a trial?  Try it yourself first!

Attitude to future illness.  How would you reassure the client that most people live long and healthy lives only becoming seriously ill in the last months of their life?

What activity suits them?  eg

If you are ill then diet, nutrition and exercise will not make you well.  Ilness should be taken to an MD.  Poor diet, nutrition and exercise routines becoming your routine are a big factor in weakening our defences against illness and prevention is much better than a cure.  Raising activity is about a gradual progression, increasing the amount of mental and physical exercise you do bit by bit over a period of months, even years.


Monday, 7 June 2010

Aromatherapy perfumes - Polo Dreams

This weekend I have been working away on our SHIRLEY PRICE perfumes.  Natural aromatherapy perfumes are ideal for christian and moslem customers alike.  Only a drop is needed to improve concentration, memory and confidence in the workplace.  To improve the skin we avoid alcohols used is traditional perfumes which dry the skin.

Instead we have as a base fine vegetable oils like jojoba, evening primrose and argan which are themselves when freshly made very good for looking after the skin particularly in hot countries like africa and asia.  We sell this base of oils under the NATURA by Essentia brand.  We utilise similar essential oils to those used in eau de colgne and traditional perfumes.  The results are stunning aromatherapy perfumes. 

For our day perfumes like VIRIDIS we also use essential oils known to reduce stressful feelings and reduce desire for customers who wish to wear a fine perfume in public but not attract unwelcome attention!!!
For men I have created POLO DREAMS.  This is a confidence giving and relaxing perfume.  Instead of alcohol and water the essential oils are held in a base of argentine jojoba, evening primrose and argan vegetable oils which add moisture and vitamins to the skin rather than dry it.  Again the emphasis is on essential oils known to improve memory and concentration for day use. 

The key base oil is jojoba fresh from the plantations of the worlds largest producer in the desert of North West Argentina.  SHIRLEY PRICE's reputation has been made by obtaining fresh plant oils direct from the manufacturers.  This is because many oils lose valuable properties after 18 months due to the oxidation of the vitamins and chemicals they contain.  When I met the general manager and his staff we immediately got on. 

Male skin is hardier than female skin so POLO DREAMS is available also in eau de cologne form to distributors order.  The POLO DREAMS bottle and package design is based on a photograph of I and my friends playing polo on the farm in argentina.