• Jewelweed

Hi! My name is Zoe Blackman. I’m a Certified Aromatherapist, and I am so excited to be connecting with the Jewelweed family. I was originally drawn to Jewelweed because they carry my absolute favorite brand of oils: Aromatics International, among other amazing aromatherapy products. It can be difficult to figure out who to trust when it comes to information about aromatherapy, as there can be a lot of misguided information out there. As a certified Aromatherapist, I use and trust the company, Aromatics International, as they supply customers with a report that shows all of the molecules contained in the oil you are purchasing. In addition, they supply you with accurate shelf life information, safety data on each oil, and their oils are 100% natural with no markup. Education on essential oils is crucial to their use, because essential oils are natural but also are extremely concentrated–making them a highly potent substance. I often see misinformation on the internet that can end up being harmful.

When figuring out who to trust, it’s important to understand the terminology used to discuss essential oils. Brands love to throw around terms like “therapeutic grade,” “food grade,” and “organic.” “Therapeutic grade” and “food grade” are completely made-up marketing terms. Starting with multi-level marketing companies (like DoTerra and Young Living), these terms became a way to try and convince people that their oils are worth the added expense (which is really just built in commission for their sellers). Essential oils by their nature are therapeutic, so this distinction is wholly unnecessary, and a marker of suspicious marketing.

A question I often receive is whether you should spend the extra money to purchase organic certified oils. My answer is two fold:

1. I would say about 90% of oils have been steam distilled. Since steam distillation requires high heat, any pesticides or chemicals used to grow these plants will burn off and die through this process.

2. The only oils that are not extracted using high heat are citrus oils. Oil is taken from the peel of fruits through the cold press process. If it feels like a better fit to purchase organic in this case, go for it!

Once you decide what brand to buy, you can start building your essential oil collection. There are so many oil options it can become somewhat overwhelming. I want to share the simplest way to determine which essential oil you should use for the betterment of your health and well-being: focus on the plant part. It’s an easy technique to get a general idea of what various oils can be used for. I will be going into more depth explaining the uses of different oils in my Essential Oil class. This class will be offered through Jewelweed on October 12th! In the meantime, here are some cheats by plant part:

  • Seeds are protective of their contents and are creators, the beginning. This signifies that seeds are, energetically, good for strong new beginnings, are of a protective nature, and aid in growth.

  • Roots are grounding, conduct nutrients, and are the arteries of the plant. Energetically, root oils will feel grounding, which can help calm our emotions and anxieties, creating stability and balance.

  • Oils made from wood/bark are generally grounding, centering, and good for the skeletal system of our bodies. You can remember this by knowing the trunk/branches are the skeletal system of a tree.

  • Resin is produced from the trunk of a tree when the bark is cut open. Knowing this can help us remember that resin oils are generally good for healing wounds. They can be great for skin issues as well as emotional and mental disease. Mentally, resin oils tend to be meditative and calming.

  • Leaves are like the lungs of plants. They “breathe” in carbon dioxide and “breathe” out oxygen. Interestingly enough, there are no coincidences in nature, and leaf oils are known to help humans with our respiratory systems. For example, Eucalyptus oil is used often as a decongestant.

  • Essential oils created from flowers are some of my all time favorite oils. Everyone who uses oils knows that lavender is extremely calming and healing. The best way to generalize flowers is to remember that flowers are often given to people as support. When someone is sick, sad, being congratulated, or celebrating a birthday, we often gift them flowers.

  • Lastly, we have oils extracted from fruit. We get these oils mostly from the peel of the fruit. These oils tend to be cleansing, uplifting, and are great for healing on a physical and emotional level.

I wanted to close this out with a few extra tips that I find helpful. I’ve worked in essential oil retail and customer service and have spoken to many people with many different circumstances. One thing I always make sure people know is that essential oils are extremely concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Since they are liquid, it’s common that they can run into undesirable areas or pour out a little faster than expected. Many people reach for a cloth or water to clean up this mess. Since we are dealing with the consistency of oil, this doesn’t usually work. When dealing with too much oil, or even irritation from a little bit of oil, remember that oil cleans oil. My suggestion is to have plain coconut oil on hand and use that to clean up the mess. Always remember, a little bit goes a long way!

My second reminder is that essential oils expire. It’s important to be aware of the distillation date as well as the shelf life of each oil you purchase. Aromatics International has these dates listed on their bottles and website. The staff at Jewelweed are so knowledgeable and constantly learning, so they are an amazing resource when purchasing oils! Also, keep your oils in a dark, cool place with the bottles tightly shut to preserve them and stop them oxidizing so you get their full life and quality from them.

I’m so happy to be working in aromatherapy and love educating. Please feel free to reach out to Jewelweed with any questions and make sure you check out my upcoming class!

  • Jewelweed

The elderberries are ripe! I spent much of the day harvesting and medicine making. Elderberry syrup is my go to for colds, coughs, and the flu. When my son was little and suffered from frequent illness and asthma, elderberry was one of the plants we worked with to build his immune system and heal his respiratory system. Read the full story here.

We head for the Elderberry Syrup at the first sign of a scratchy throat. It works wonders!

Here is my recipe (even though I am not much of a recipe gal). I change my recipe almost every time I make it! 6 cups fresh elderberries (stems & green berries mostly removed)* or 3 cups dried elderberries** 6 cups water (chlorine free) 2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon chips or 2 cinnamon sticks 6 whole cloves 3 heaping tablespoon star anise 4 whole cardamom pods 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 6 tablespoon rose hips 1 tablespoon fresh grated or dried ginger 1 cup fresh local honey 

*100% positive plant ID is required for wildcrafting! You want the black (Sambucus canadensis) or blue (Sambucus cerulea).

**If you do not have time to process the elderberries the day you pick them you can pop them in the freezer and work with them when you're ready. You can also substitute 3 cups dried elderberries for the fresh. 

  1. Add elderberries & water to large stock pot.

  2. Squish the berries with the flat bottom of a cup.

  3. Add all other herbs, mix and bring to soft boil.

  4. Turn down to simmer and reduce by half (it took my mixture about 1.5 hours).

  5. Turn off heat and let cool until it reaches a temperature you can handle.

  6. Use a funnel and cheese cloth to filter the mixture into a juice jar. Be sure to squeeze out the elderberries (and compost the pulp)! 

  7. Return to the pan and add honey. Stir until dissolved. No need to turn the heat on in this step. Add 1 cup honey. Honey is a preservative, makes it sweet, and contains an abundance of healing properties, too. Then, freeze the syrup in little ice cubes for future use. 

To serve eat frozen, add to hot water, or just let one ice cube melt and enjoy! 

The syrup lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge. If you would like it to last longer add 1/2 cup brandy as a preservative. It will last 1 month in the fridge. Dose about 1 tablespoon per day as a tonic increased to 3 times per day when needed. This syrup is delicious but a word of caution...do not drink to much as part of elderberries properties is in high doses it can be a purgative. So can cause diarrhea and/or vomiting. Both of which I learned the hard way. 

*This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor but instead a mother who raised her children using herbal remedies. 

Rituals are one of the most effective and powerful tools available to all of us!

Morning Rituals are the first things we do each day, which can take hours or a mere few minutes. They are designed to give us the boost we need mentally and physically and help us feel connected emotionally and spiritually.

You might be thinking that there isn’t time for a Morning Ritual, but the truth is you might already have a ritual going.

Even the most basic morning self-care routine can be done in only a few extra minutes of conscious thought.

Your morning ritual gives you a chance to center yourself and embrace the day instead of starting with activities that increase stress. Following through with your morning ritual, even just devoting 10 minutes can start your day off on the right foot.

The idea is to avoid reaching for your phone, looking at email, or getting on social media. Yes, I know it’s difficult, but try it even for one day and see how you feel.

What do you want your morning ritual to look like?

The beauty of a morning ritual is that it’s completely up to you and what feels good. There are a lot of options to create a morning ritual that will work perfectly for your lifestyle.

First, think of your morning as the first few hours of your day. Your morning ritual can last 10 minutes or 3 hours. It also doesn’t mean you have to wake up early. Although the sunrise is beautiful.

Choose one or two items from each category to try on for a morning ritual. If the activity doesn’t resonate, try something else until you have a Morning Ritual that is a perfect fit.

Take Care of Your Body

  • Do Yoga or Stretch - wake up your bones and muscles

  • Do a self-massage - massaging your hands and feet with a bit of oil is divine.

  • Exercise - Morning workout, anyone?

  • Plan your lunch - Save yourself from last-minute unhealthy food choices

  • Drink a glass of warm water (or with lemon) - get hydrated, flush toxins, increase metabolism, and fill up on water.

  • Drink coffee or tea - This is a familiar morning ritual, especially if approached consciously.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast - whole foods will keep you full until lunch.

  • Scrape your tongue - get rid of bad breath and remove bacteria.

  • Try oil pulling - swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes, ideally before brushing.

Take Care of Your Mind

  • Cross off yesterday’s to-do list - Those couple of things will free up space in your mind.

  • Journal or Morning pages - Journaling creates clarity and comfort, and helps you organize your mind.

  • Meditate - focus on being present, letting thoughts come and go with ease

  • Visualization - mold your future, repair your past, or simply be more present.

  • Read a book - learning something new increases your brain capacity

  • Listen to a podcast - spark new thoughts

  • Listen to an audiobook - combine a couple of morning ritual events, like an audio book and a walk.

  • Learn one new word - Here’s one MELLIFLUOUS - A sound that is sweet and smooth.

  • Work on a crossword puzzle - give your brain a workout

  • Write down 10 new ideas - Feeling stuck? This is a good one.

  • Write Out Your Top 3 for the Day - Having only 3 tasks to accomplish reduces stress

Take Care of your Emotions

  • Practice Gratitude

  • Drink Cacao - opens your heart

  • Do a breathing exercise.

  • Write your own poem or read a poem that resonates with you - Try Rumi!

  • Ask yourself an important question.

What do I want to be focusing on?

What can I do better than yesterday?

What can I let go of?

  • Listen to Uplifting Music

  • Smile at yourself in the mirror - it’s silly but uplifting

  • Have a good cry - don’t hold back. A good cry releases emotions stuck in your body.

  • Laugh out loud - laughter really is the best medicine.

  • Pound your pillow to release stress and pent-up emotions

  • Go for a walk - good for body, mind, heart, and (in nature), spirit

Take Care of your Spirit

  • Say a Metta Prayer - Blessings on yourself and others brings you into the present moment with gratitude.

  • Connect with your Intuition - What does your intuition feel like?

  • Draw a tarot or oracle card - What do the cards say about today?

  • Create and visit your altar - spending time listening is so beautiful

  • Say affirmations - You do enough! You are enough!

  • Read your favorite Spiritual book - create that mind, spirit connection

  • Find a “Sit Spot” - sitting on purpose (in your backyard) and observe nature around you connects you with all life.

Which new pieces of a Morning Ritual are you excited about trying? Tell us in the comments below. Find massage oils, books, and more for your Morning Ritual at Jewelweed