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8 healthy habits to naturally calm your nerves before an exam and improve your results

It seems like only yesterday that I was coming up to the end of year 12 and was preparing for my own HSC exams. I don’t stress easily, in fact, I’ve been accused of being too nonchalant about things. However, there was so much pressure on my HSC exams, it was perhaps one of the most stressful times that I recall, and I was on remote Scottish islands in mid-March 2020 when borders began closing and we had to find our way back to Australia, so that’s saying something! Those same border closures lead to lockdowns and severe disruptions for students this year. I can only imagine how much more stressful it will be with Coronavirus disrupting usual learning routines, creating disconnects in social environments, and putting even more anxiety on students.

Since finishing my HSC exams back in 2006 and (fortunately) beating out my UAI requirements, I’ve gone to complete two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree and various industry certification exams. In that time, I’ve learned a few things about preparing for exams. The thing is, they never get any less stressful. However, there are things you can do to reduce that stress and to improve your exam performance.

To help, I’ve put together this guide, based on my own experience and research on natural habits that will help to calm your nerves before exams and improve your results.

HEALTHY HABIT 1

Study in advance rather than cramming

Exams and studying are stressful, it’s tempting to cram the night before, in all honesty, that’s what I used to do. But, if you get organised it makes a massive difference! Do plenty of study in advance so you can get proper sleep while you are studying and especially avoid that late night/all night cram before each exam. I’ll be the first to admit, cramming was my go-to study method for years, and honestly, there is value to having everything you need stuffed into your short-term memory, but it isn’t the best way.

Being organised in advance will help reduce your stress and anxiety simply due to the mental knowledge you have. You know how much preparation you have done. You know how much you know about the subjects being tested, and you know you are prepared. That goes a long way to reducing stress and anxiety. Not to mention, knowing what you know means you can relax before an exam. You might still choose to review your notes while you wait to start the exam, but it’s not a last-ditch effort to make sure you know it, because you already know you know it.

HEALTHY HABIT 2:

avoiding alcohol and sugary beverages

For many students, the last year of school becomes a time of parties and alcohol, but excessive consumption of alcohol has been shown to damage memory recall of both short and long term memory (reference). Ongoing excessive consumption of alcohol can damage the part of the brain that is vital for memory function, the hippocampus (reference). While finishing off your HSC is a time of celebration, maybe save the alcohol until after your exams, and definitely not the night before an exam! No one wants to go into an exam hungover.

It isn’t just alcohol though. 

Excessive sugar consumption has been shown to lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume (reference). This isn’t just soft drink’s though, it’s also energy drinks. Energy drinks tend to be chock full of sugars, so while they might give you a boost of energy, the sugar is damaging your memory. Instead of relying on these drinks to get you through exams, use other methods of improving your energy, like sleep, exercise, and aromatherapy. 

Reducing your sugar intake is also good for your overall health and wellbeing, which in turn can actually improve your energy and general mental state too.

Instead, drink lots of water and if you want to change it up, flavour it naturally with a slice of lemon, orange, or some berries.

HEALTHY HABIT 3:

regular sleep

Getting good quality, regular sleep is important, both during your study time and in the nights leading up to each exam.

Our brains consolidate memories during our sleep, and in doing so, they are strengthening our synapses, making it easier to remember the things we learn each day (reference). If we don’t get enough sleep each night, then we are missing out on that memory consolidation.

It’s also important to remember to sleep well the night before an exam. Yes, I know, you want to get in every last little bit of cramming, but if you don’t sleep much, or at all, it can leave you feeling rotten on the day of the exam. This won’t help you to remember things and won’t help your confidence either.

Another side effect of missing out on sleep is increased anxiety and irritability which is not great in an exam. This is exacerbated with energy drinks and caffeine. The best solution is to get plenty of sleep.

If you have trouble winding down and sleeping during this stressful time, have a look at our blog post on how to get better sleep naturally.

HEALTHY HABIT 4:

regular EXERCISE

A number of studies have been conducted into the effects of exercise on cognitive function and memory. The results show that even just 15 minutes worth of exercise on a stationary bike is enough to improve your cognitive ability and recall (reference).

I am terrible at exercising. In all honesty, I would probably be a hermit that disappears into my own little virtual world, if I could. However, I can’t, and regular exercise has been shown to improve the growth and development of neurons in your brain (reference).

At the same time as improving your mental capability, exercise is also helping to improve your physical fitness. Two birds, one stone, even if you do have to do something you don’t like.

I’ll admit, even though I struggle to get motivated to exercise, I do feel much better afterwards and most of my best ideas happen when I go out for a walk!

HEALTHY HABIT 5:

regular, short breaks

While it can be tempting to cram in as much ‘learning’ as possible for as long as possible, it’s important to stop and take regular short breaks where you’re not actually taking in or processing any information. This gives your mind and body an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate, and it gives your brain a chance to process everything you’ve just taken in.First identified over 100 years ago, subsequent research has found that taking 10-15 minute breaks between topics of study can help with memory retention. Just make sure you spend that time either thinking about what you learned, going for a walk, or meditating, and not things that will occupy your mind with other thoughts, like TV, games, or chores.

Where possible, I like to break my study time into 15-20 minute chunks with a 10-minute break in between.

HEALTHY HABIT 6:

AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy is the use of aromas and natural compounds found in essential oils for health and wellbeing. Certain essential oils have been found to improve focus and memory retention while others can reduce tension and anxiety.

Choose an essential oil or blend of essential oils to use while you study that will help you to focus and retain what you are learning, and then use one that will help you to relax in your downtime. If you have trouble sleeping, consider using a blend of oils that will help you to sleep, either in a diffuser or in the form of a pillow mist, sprayed on your pillow before you go to bed.

Aromatherapy for concentration and memory retention

Rosemary and lavender essential oils have been found to help with the retention of image memory, however, while rosemary has also been found to help with number memory, lavender is detrimental to it (reference). This could perhaps in part be a side effect of the calming properties of lavender compared to the stimulating properties of rosemary (reference). Using lavender during your break time, though, can help to release stress and improve concentration when you go back to your studies (reference).

Peppermint essential oil, like lavender, can serve multiple purposes. You see, peppermint stimulates and relaxes at the same time. Peppermint essential oil has been found to help calm nerves, reduce fatigue and improve oxygen delivery to the brain (reference), all great things while you are studying! By the way, peppermint tea can help with this too!

Lemon essential oil has been shown to improve cognitive function (reference) and improve memory (reference). While the studies into lemon essential oils are largely around patients suffering from illnesses that affect memory, the demonstrated positive effects make it a worthwhile inclusion in your study arsenal!

Then there is basil. Basil essential oil contains a compound called linalool which has been found to reduce memory loss, particularly during times of insufficient sleep (reference). You wouldn’t be missing out on sleep during exam periods by any chance, would you? I know you are making sure to get lots of sleep as we talked about earlier, but regardless, choosing an essential oil blend that has basil in it, or simply using basil essential oil on its own, can be helpful during exam time to reduce memory loss, especially if you are short on sleep.

Our 100% pure essential oil blend, Wakey Wakey is designed to help perk you up, either at the start of a day, or when you are feeling tired partway through the day. Wakey Wakey is also a great choice for exam time. This special blend of basil, cypress (increases concentration), lime, peppermint, and rosemary has been designed specifically to help improve your focus, boost your energy and improve your memory retention, exactly what you need while you are studying.

Aromatherapy for Relaxation

To help you relax in between studying and in your downtime between exams choose essential oils that are known for their calming and relaxing properties. We mentioned lavender earlier, as it is known to help calm the nerves and reduce stress, but there are other essential oils you can choose. Consider chamomile, patchouli, frankincense (linked to improved spatial memory and reduced anxiety), ylang-ylang (a natural relaxant that helps improve focus), vetiver (reduces stress), and sandalwood (promotes mental clarity) too.

We have two blends that are specifically focused on helping you relax, and you will find ingredients in both of these that are designed to help bring calm and harmony to the mind and body.

Peace Essential Oil Blend: Peace isn’t a ‘restful’ aroma, but rather a spicy blend of lavender, bergamot, cypress, sweet orange and vetiver. Peace helps to clear your mind and bring it to a state of calm. I personally like to have this one diffusing while I work, especially when I have a lot going on.

After Hours Essential Oil Blend: Like Peace, After Hours has a spicy note to it and has been crafted to soothe and uplift after a long day. The tantalising blend of bergamot, cinnamon leaf, clover, lavender, lemon, and rose geranium will help you to unwind after a study session.

Unwind Essential Oil Blend:Designed to help your body to relax and unwind after a stressful day. This can be a good choice to use earlier in the evening. Note, Unwind does not have lavender in it if you are specifically looking for a blend with lavender.

Aromatherapy for Sleep

When it comes to sleep, lavender is a great choice, in fact, we have a pillow mist specifically crafted around lavender to help you sleep, Lavender Dreams, but there are other options too. Our Sweet Dreams essential oil blend is formulated specifically to help you drift off to sleep, and our Calm Mind pillow mist will help to settle the restless mind so you can sleep easier.

Sweet Dreams Essential Oil Blend: This essential oil blend is formulated precisely for the purpose of helping you to relax into the warm embrace of sleep. This is one of my personal favourite essential oil blends! Also available as a pillow mist.

Aromatherapy for concentration and memory retention

Rosemary and lavender essential oils have been found to help with the retention of image memory, however, while rosemary has also been found to help with number memory, lavender is detrimental to it (reference). This could perhaps in part be a side effect of the calming properties of lavender compared to the stimulating properties of rosemary (reference). Using lavender during your break time, though, can help to release stress and improve concentration when you go back to your studies (reference).

HEALTHY HABIT 7:

EATing WELL

What you put into your body goes a long way towards what you get out of it. Choosing healthy food makes a big difference. A diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory can help improve your memory! This means lots of fruit, vegetables and teas, particularly herbal teas. This kind of diet has been found to lower the risk of cognitive decline (reference) and studies on the intake of foods like blueberries and strawberries that are particularly high in antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins makes a big difference to memory retention (reference)!

Curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric, has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. Curcumin reduces inflammation to the brain and lowers the amount of amyloid plaque accumulating on your brain neurons (reference). Why is this important? These plaques lead to cell and tissue death that cause memory loss. Maybe not such a big deal while you are younger, but every little bit helps, especially as you prepare to enter the next stage of your life, be it tertiary education or the workforce.

Now, I know, sometimes you just need some comfort food during stressful times, I’ve been there (frequently), but eating well doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Chocolate can also be rich in flavonoids! The darker the chocolate (and the lower the sugar), the better! 

Studies have shown that people who consume dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, have better memory recall than people who consume white chocolate, which has no flavonoids (reference). Look for 70% cacao mass or higher!

I love chocolate!

HEALTHY HABIT 8:

Listening to classical music while studying

Many studies have been conducted into the effects of music on learning, and while the debate continues, one thing is clear: Classical music helps you learn.

Labelled the Mozart effect, classical music won’t make you smarter as some have suggested, but, like everything else on this list, it can help you to focus and recall what you learn.

Personally, I find it makes a huge difference to my focus when I am studying, and I definitely remember things better. I’ll be completely honest with you, for a long time, I wasn’t convinced, I thought all music was distracting. However, as my master’s degree was nearing completion, I found I had increasing difficulty staying focused while studying. 

I decided to try listening to classical music and soon discovered that it did help. Initially, I thought it was just because it reduced the prominence of distractions. I am easily distracted anyway, but let’s be honest, distractions are extremely easy to come by while you are studying. Even a car driving past or a bird singing can be a study distraction! Classical music reduced that. Soon I realised that classical music was not only reducing the distractions, but my mind was wandering less and I was remembering things better too.

I highly recommend giving it a try!

Bringing it all together

There are so many ways that you can calm your nerves before an exam and improve your overall performance during stressful exam periods. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some things are going to work for you and some things won’t. The only way to know for sure is to give them a try.

For me, I spent a long time convinced that cramming the day before and the morning of an exam worked the best. It wasn’t until I started researching and experimenting with different techniques and longer-term habits that I discovered that planning my study out in advance, listening to classical music, using aromatherapy, exercising regularly, and eating better actually made a big difference.

During my HSC and my first bachelor’s degree, I drank a lot of energy drinks (especially my first degree), but I’ve since discovered that eating right, sleeping, and exercising give me more energy and are better choices for my health and overall mental state. There is honestly nothing better than going into an exam with mental clarity and virtually no anxiety, except for finishing an exam and knowing that you knew the answers to every question!

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Is hand sanitiser starting to dry out and crack your skin?

Is hand sanitiser drying out your skin? Here's the solution.

How are your hands?

With all that is going on in the world at the moment, we are all being more cautious with our hygiene. Hand sanitiser is getting used more frequently than ever. The problem is, alcohol-based hand sanitiser has a side effect when used extensively:

Dry, flaky, itchy, cracked skin

Matt's dry, cracked knuckles and hand.

Our web designer, Matt, sent us the photo above of his hand after using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser regularly for the last few weeks. Ouch!

But what’s the solution?

We have to be cautious with our hygiene, but frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser dries out the skin. Taking the time to wash our hands with warm water and a soap that not only cleans your hands but moisturises them at the same time can help counteract that dryness. Our hemp soaps contain hemp seed oilolive oil and shea butter, three key ingredients that hydrate the skin and help to prevent dry, flaky skin.

So, make sure that you use warm water and a moisturising soap whenever you wash your hands. Try to keep hand sanitisers for use while you are out and use your moisturising soap to keep your hands clean while you are at home. If you prefer liquid soap to hard soap, try our Hemp Body Wash for sensitive skin or one of our liquid hand and body soaps as an alternative.

What else can you do?

Make sure to use a good quality moisturiser on your hands regularly. Men, this is especially true for you. I know, most men don’t even think about using a moisturiser, but using one on your hands will help prevent dryness caused by hand sanitiser.

If your hands are already cracking, like Matt’s, make sure to use a moisturiser that is designed to help your skin repair itself while being gentle on exposed areas. Our Sativa Repair cream is designed for hands and feet that are cracking and painful. The Kigelia and Tamanu ingredients help your skin to recover while also providing you with an extra line of defence due to their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Have a question?

Get in touch with us today via email, phone or send us a message on Facebook.

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Is hand sanitiser drying out your skin? Here's the solution.
Is hand sanitiser drying out your skin? Here's the solution.
Is hand sanitiser drying out your skin? Try a moisturising soap.
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What essential oils are best for skincare, hair care and wellbeing?

Aromatherapy

What oils are best for skincare, hair and wellbeing?

You’re binge-watching those movies depicting ancient kingdoms and wonder if women really had such flawless skin in real life. It turns out that depiction of princesses is actually, at least in part, accurate. Taking care of your skin started a very long time ago. The vast difference between the products used in ancient kingdoms, and those used today is the origin. Hundreds and thousands of years ago, people didn’t have access to the synthetic ingredients we find in most skin-care products today, so they used the materials available to them, and yes, these ancient skincare regimes were organic.

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used olive oil, moringa oil and a variety of plant-based oils. Many other ancient tribes have left traces of evidence that they used rudimentary essential oils as a moisturiser for both their skin and hair. With the exception of some very dangerous ingredients that we now stay well clear of (like lead), all-natural skin-care products used for millennia have continued to be the best options. It wasn’t all that long ago that we discovered the connection between lead in skincare with issues like hormonal imbalances, neurotoxicity, reduced fertility, and other problems. The dangers of many synthetic products continue to become more apparent and some synthetic ingredients can be very damaging to your skin.

For thousands of years, oils have also been used for wellbeing. Diffusing essential oils for aromatherapy is an ancient practice, dating back at least 6000 years. Some organic essential oils can be beneficial to unwind and destress your mind and body while others can help ease upset stomachs, reduce headache pain and provide other health benefits beyond the simple pleasure of their fragrance.

In this article, we will talk about essential oils. These oils are plant extracts derived from flowers, leaves, bark or seeds. Some provide benefits that stand-alone, while some are blended together to achieve the desired outcome on one’s well being or skin. Essential oils can have many uses, we will categorise them based on suggested usage – skin, hair and personal welfare.

 

For Skin

Good things come gradually – this is an age-old secret. Achieving healthy and vibrant skin comes from your daily care routine. Let’s uncover the hidden gem of the ancients, organic oils. As various oils are used for different types of skin, let’s take a look at which oils are best to use on certain skin conditions. Look for these essential oils in the products you use for your skin care routine, or, if appropriate, consider trying them in a diluted form directly on your skin. Always consult with your dermatologist first and never use undiluted essential oils.

Essential oils for dry skin. 

Oils can provide relief as part of your moisturising routine for dry skin. Especially during extreme conditions like summer heat and winter wind. Some essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties to help your skin heal and reduce redness. Essential oils that are good for dry skin include lavender, chamomile and sandalwood. These oils may be best known for their ability to help you relax and sleep, but they are also natural hydrators that increase moisture and reduce inflammation.

Essential oils for oily skin

Some skin types produce excessive oil (known as sebum) through overactive sebaceous glands, especially in humid climates and hot weather. Hormonal imbalances can also cause your sebaceous glands to work overtime. A number of essential oils can assist in balancing out sebum produced to reduce the oily feeling on your skin: clary sage, rosemary, frankincense, geranium and neroli. Perhaps the most famous due to it’s Biblical references, frankincense is a tree resin from the dry mountainous regions of India, Africa and the Middle East. It has a spicy, woody aroma and can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled with a diffuser.

Essential oils for skin conditions

There are various skin conditions that essential oils can assist with, including skin rashes, acne, and age spots.  If you have acne-prone skin – lemon, lemongrass, cinnamon and tea tree oils might help remove excess oils while reducing skin microbes and inflammation. Lemon is known for its astringent antiseptic properties.

Some oils are known to alleviate itchiness and help battle atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis. The following oils have pain-relieving properties and can assist your skin health – peppermint, wintergreen, eucalyptus and patchouli. These oils have an analgesic effect and can help to cool down hot rashes.

Some tips on incorporating essential oils into your skincare routine.

  • Start by washing and gently exfoliating the skin.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to your moisturiser
  • Apply your essential oil infused moisturiser to your skin using a sweeping upward motion.
  • You can also blend 2-3 drops of essential oil with your foundation while applying makeup.

 

For Hair

Using essential oils in your hair care routine is starting to regain popularity, but like skincare, it isn’t a new idea. Essential oils are easy to use in your routine and can improve the health of your hair and scalp. Some essential oils can also increase hair growth, strength and shine. Essential oils can be directly applied and brushed onto your hair or mixed into your shampoo or conditioner. You can also choose a shampoo and conditioner that have the desired essential oils infused.

Look for these essential oils depending on your hair type:

  • Lavender – Lavender oil can speed up hair growth – it has properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.
  • Peppermint – Peppermint oil can cause a cold, tingling feeling when it increases circulation to the area it’s applied to. It can help promote hair growth during the anagen (or growing) phase.
  • Rosemary – If you want to improve both hair thickness and hair growth, rosemary oil is a great choice thanks to its ability to enhance cellular generation.
  • Cedarwood – It has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can treat different conditions that may contribute to dandruff and hair loss.
  • Lemongrass – Dandruff can be a common ailment, and having a healthy, flake-free scalp is an important part of hair health. Lemongrass oil is an effective dandruff treatment.
  • Thyme – Thyme can help promote hair growth by both stimulating the scalp and actively preventing hair loss.
  • Clary Sage – Clary sage oil contains the same linalyl acetate that helps make lavender oil so effective in increasing hair growth. It can improve hair strength, in addition to boosting hair growth, making hair more difficult to break.
  • Tea Tree – Tea tree oil has powerful cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. When used topically, it can help unplug blocked hair follicles and increase hair growth.
  • Ylang-ylang – Ylang-ylang oil is ideal for those with dry scalps, as it can stimulate sebum production. As lack of enough oil and sebum causes hair to become dry and brittle, ylang-ylang can improve hair texture and reduce hair breakage.

 

For wellbeing

The aromas of essential oils are also good for your health and wellbeing. Diffusing oil in a diffuser, or other ways, has a range of benefits for both the body and soul. 

Essential Blends – Some essential oils compliment each other and increase their effects. Our blended essential oils are perfect for use in your office, living room and bedroom. All Arianrhod Aromatics 100% essential oils have multiple uses – in the bath, the shower, in potpourri by your bedside or, for the blends intended to help you sleep, within your linen for a restful night’s sleep. Totally relaxing – use some blends before bedtime for a wonderful, restful sleep or wake-up with a refreshed mind using Wakey Wakey. 

Below are some of our popular essential oil blends – my personal favourite is Sweet Dreams.

100% Pure Essential Oil Blend Peace – This 100% pure essential oil blend carries a spicy aroma you will find harmonising, calming and balancing as it contains bergamot, cypress, lavender, sweet orange and vetiver.

100% Pure Essential Oil Blend After Hours – You may like to use this wonderful oil after a long, hard day as this particular blend has a sensuously spicy scent to be welcoming, soothing and uplifting. Using aromatherapy principles, this blend was created to help you unwind and to help eliminate any airborne bugs you might have carried home with you.

100% Pure Essential Oil Blend Sweet Dreams – Totally relaxing! Use before bedtime for a wonderful, restful sleep. Breathe in this soothing aroma as you unwind. Welcome sleep within its aromatic environment. It is created for your bedtime with cinnamon leaf, clary sage, frankincense, mandarin and ylang-ylang.

100% Pure Essential Oil Blend Wakey Wakey – Need that extra energy when you have more to do but you don’t want to be drinking large quantities of caffeine or energy drinks? Wakey Wakey is designed for those times when you are studying or working late into the afternoon or evening. When a yawn or two comes while you are at your computer and you still have work to do. This creation has the answer for you. Walking outside is known to help stimulate your brain, so take a metaphorical walk in the forest when you need some extra energy from nature. Inhale this wonderful aroma for that extra boost you need at any time.

Don’t be overwhelmed

Now that you know some of the many uses of essential oils for body, hair and wellbeing. You might be overwhelmed by the many essential oils that are beneficial for you. If you aren’t sure, just get in touch with us. You can call, email or message us on Facebook with your questions and we’ll help you to pick out the right one for your needs. Once you begin to use essential oils, it won’t be long before you begin to notice their beneficial effects, both to your body and soul. 

At Arianrhod Aromatics, we wish you a healthy and peaceful life using organic products that have proven effective, both through history and modern research.

What is the difference between Hemp, CBD and THC?

What is the difference between Hemp, CBD and THC?

Cannabis sativa has become more popular nowadays than ever before. While the current generation usually thinks of this  plant as the primary source of the drug, “marijuana”, the cannabis plant is also a source of quality ingredients that can be used to create skincare products, rope, paper, clothing and much more. Unfortunately, because of the connection with  marijuana, many people are concerned that products made from the Cannabis Sativa plant may harm or, at the very least, cause drug-related side effects in those who use it. Most products derived from this plant don’t have any connection to the psychoactive components  found in the drug marijuana.

Cannabis Sativa is an annual herbaceous flowering plant indigenous to eastern Asia but now of cosmopolitan distribution due to widespread cultivation. It has been cultivated throughout recorded history, used as a source of fibre, seed oil, food, in recreation, for creating religious and spiritual moods, as a medicine and as a skin rejuvenator. Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use, which is literally hundredfold.

There are two different popular plant species of Cannabis Sativa selected depending on the desired  end product. One is Hemp, and the other is Marijuana. While both are of the same species of Cannabis, the two should not be referred to as the same. These two varieties differ in one significant way – hemp won’t get you high. Hemp is generally legal across Australia, the United States and many other countries, unlike Marijuana which is not legal in the majority of countries.

Image Source: https://carolinahemptours.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/hemp-vs-marijuana.jpg

Cannabis plants were actually prescribed by medical practitioners until it was criminalised during the 1930s by Harry J. Anslinger, head of US Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The story was generally sensationalized that laws have restricted the overall use of Cannabis. Researchers have now proved that Anslinger wrongly attributed 198 of the “Gore Files” stories to marijuana usage and the remaining “two cases could not be disproved, because no records existed concerning the crimes. Let us now look at the current information on the Cannabis plant.

Hemp, CBD and THC are often misinterpreted as the same things. To differentiate the three terms:
Hemp usually refers to derivatives of the hemp plant, sometimes called industrial hemp. This includes fibres used in textiles as well as CBD Oil and hempseed oil.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a substance from either the Hemp or Cannabis plant that has no psychoactive effects (though may include around 0.3% or less of THC). CBD is becoming increasingly popular because it can have a calming, relaxing effect without causing the user to get high.
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance found in  the Cannabis plant that contributes to the majority of  psychoactive effects associated with marijuana.

Hemp seeds are the primary source of  hempseed oil. Cold-pressing hemp seeds produces this oil and it is different to hemp oil, an oil made from other parts of the hemp plant. Hempseed oil has no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While CBD and THC are often found in medicinal or recreational Marijuana, these are not found in hempseed oils. CBD is an oil produced from other parts of the hemp plant. These two oils are often confused and mislabeled.

Hempseed oil is known for its skin health benefits. This oil has polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-3s and omega-6s w/c in a ratio of 3:1, considered to be the optimal nutrition ratio. Hempseed oil is also a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid. Some skin conditions that can be treated by hemp oil are: acne, eczema, psoriasis, and lichen planus. It can have antibacterial properties that help avoid virus, bacteria and fungal infections on your skin. Generally, hempseed oil helps to make your skin stronger and smoother. Along with essential fatty acids, hempseed oil contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can take it orally or apply it to your skin. The use of Hempseed oil is legal in Australia.

Hempseed oil absorbs quickly and doesn’t block the pores so will help the skin balance its normal oil production. Hempseed oil is also high in antioxidants, which are elements that prevent or slow cell damage. Because of this property, some people believe that the regular application of hempseed oil slows the ageing of the skin. Hempseed oil is made from the edible hemp seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid or (GLA). GLA is used in the body to regulate hormone levels, and so it can help to diminish hormone-related acne outbreaks. GLA  can also assist in bringing down the redness and irritation of acne outbreaks. Over time, it can help eliminate acne by keeping the skin healthy and hydrated. Among the substances derived from Cannabis, hempseed oil is 100% healthy with no adverse side-effects.

Image Source: https://medium.com/cbd-origin/hemp-vs-marijuana-the-difference-explained-a837c51aa8f7

CBD or cannabidiol can be extracted from either the hemp or marijuana plant. It’s THC content depends on what plant it was obtained, and how it was extracted. Unlike hemp oil, CBD is extracted from the plant and not from the seed. While hemp seeds do not contain any THC, the hemp plant does, so it is possible for CBD to contain THC as well. In jurisdiction where CBD is legal, it must contain less than 0.3% of THC, a level so low that it will have no psychoactive effect on most people.

CBD is used to help with various conditions such as seizures, general pain, mental disorders, migraine, depression, and many more. It has an excellent pain-relieving effect and can help with relaxation. Like hempseed oil, CBD may also reduce acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties so it is appearing in an ever-growing range of skin products. 

If CBD is extracted from a Marijuana plant it will contain a higher level of THC, which is not federally legal in the United States or Australia but is allowed in some jurisdiction. There is no legal requirement to list the THC content in CBD, but many manufacturers are now doing so in order to provide greater transparency into what you are using. CBD taken from hemp has almost no THC and, subsequently, no psychoactive effects, unlike CBD made from marijuana that can make you high or increase in appetite. Since there can be a lot of variation, it’s important to check the THC level, and if the product doesn’t list a percentage, perhaps ask why.

THC is the active ingredient in marijuana which can either be used for medicinal purposes in the treatment of patients or as a recreational activity. In September 2019, the Australian Capital Territory passed the legalisation possession and cultivation of Marijuana laws, mirroring the United States. Despite debate under federal law, this move by the ACT government hopes to lessen the stigma around drug use, encouraging people to seek help  

THC is the component that gives the high sensation associated with marijuana and is usually consumed by smoking it. It can also be available in the form of oils or capsules for medicinal use. THC may come in the form of cigarette, gel or as an ingredient in e-liquids of the growing popularity of vaping.

Legislation around THC, CBD and even hempseed oil is a bit of a quagmire in Australia with different laws between states, territories and federal governments. Hempseed oil is completely legal. However CBD oil may only be used if it is prescribed by a doctor and the government approved the supply that is purchased. THC has the same case with CBD. It is better to check with your local laws about products with CBD or THC.

I hope we have given you valuable information about Cannabis Sativa and it’s different components. Hemp oil has been used for centuries now to treat and improve skin conditions and many other concerns without unwanted effects. To learn more about Arianrhod Aromatics use of Hempseed Oil, click here.

Block Odour, Not Sweat – Why Aluminium-free Deodorant Is Best for Your Underarms?

Block Odour, Not Sweat - Why Aluminium-Free Deodorant Is Best for Your Underarms?

Changes in our body mechanisms are noticeable as we grow old. One such change is our body odour (BO) – which we usually only notice when it becomes an unpleasant smell. Healthline.com states “Changes in body odour can be a normal part of development, such as when an adolescent is going through puberty. During puberty, sweat glands and hormones become more active, which can cause BO. If you’ve been working out, excessive sweat may be the culprit. If you don’t wear antiperspirant or practice healthy hygiene habits, sweat can mix with bacteria, causing an unpleasant smell.” Usually, we blame sweating as the culprit for BO. But this is not actually the case. Sweating is our body’s way of cooling down as we become more active in our daily activities. “Apocrine glands work primarily under stress, secreting an odourless fluid. This fluid begins to develop an odour when it comes into contact with bacteria on your skin. These glands don’t start working until puberty, which is why that’s usually the time we start to notice body odor.1” Thus, sweat is not the culprit but rather the bacteria that is on your body during stressful activity. Besides, perspiration is a good indicator that our body is doing enough exercise to burn calories and that’s always a good thing.

So how do we avoid BO when sweating is such an essential part of cooling down our body?

Aluminium-based antiperspirants have become popular commercially in preventing excessive sweat, so much so that almost every antiperspirant you buy in a supermarket will contain aluminium. Typically, antiperspirants work by temporarily blocking your sweat glands and keeping you from perspiring. They also add a pleasant scent to cover up any existing odors. So, if you are working or exercising this prevents sweat and thereby blocks. While this product can help avoid body odour, it doesn’t do much about the real cause of the problem: the bacteria that is causing the bad smell. In reality, what these aluminium-based antiperspirants are actually doing is preventing your body from cooling itself down by blocking the natural mechanism of producing sweat.

Studies have found that aluminium in antiperspirants can be absorbed into the skin as part of the temporary plugging process and cause an oestrogen-like hormonal effect.2 While more research is needed to confirm the effects of aluminium, researches have suggested that aluminium does build up in breast tissue and could cause genomic instability, interference with oestrogen and iron metabolism, and oxidative damage to cellular components.3 Research in these areas is ongoing, but already there is more than enough cause for concern over the long-term impact of spraying aluminium onto your skin.

Arianrhod Aromatics has been addressing this concern with aluminium-based deodorant for over a decade by providing an organic, completely natural, aluminium-free deodorant that allows your body to sweat naturally, minus the potential unpleasant body odour. Rather than blocking up your sweat glands and pouring chemicals on your skin, the Arianrhod aluminium-free deodorants work by using colloidal silver, a 100% naturally occurring anti-bacterial agent. This helps to remove the bacteria on your skin before you start sweating. Iamme added other natural ingredients like the anti-fungal Australian hemp seed oil and sodium bicarbonate to help keep you dry without the potentially harmful side effects of aluminium. Australian hemp seed oil is well known to act as an antibacterial and antifungal agent, part of what makes our aluminium-free deodorants so popular. Even without the aromatic addition of the essential oils in our scented varieties, you will find that our aluminium-free deodorants work very effectively at preventing bad body odours.

Why should you use a natural deodorant? Mainstream underarm products use a combination of chemicals that may not be good to our body. In addition to aluminium, these chemicals may include but not limited to parabens (artificial preservatives), propylene glycol (neurotoxin), TEA & DEA (can cause allergic reactions) and triclosan (artificial antimicrobial chemical). Remember that what goes on your body can end up in your body. There are also questions about the impact of these chemical-based products on your skin in the long run. So while they might solve your BO in the short term, what might be happening to your body that you can’t see right now?

Our aluminium-free deodorants are made using organic ingredients that are known to be very safe for use on your underarms. There is no chemical that traps the sweat, preventing your body from cooling itself. Instead, our deodorants prevent the smells by eradicating the bacteria that combines with sweat and causes body odour. Currently, we have five aluminium-free deodorants with fragrances to suit you!

Deodorant Fragrance Free Aluminium Free

- For the purist who doesn’t want any smell at all and just wants to block the BO. Grant, one of our customers, said "Been using this for years and haven’t had BO for the same time. Doesn’t stain clothes."

Deodorant Fresh Fragrance Aluminium Free

- For the person who always wants to stay fresh as the morning breeze. If you find yourself feeling flat during the day at work, our fresh fragrance will pick you up!

Deodorant Gentle Fragrance Aluminium Free

- Moms would love this as they juggle their work and daily chores but still want to keep fresh when they welcome their loved ones home.

Deodorant Oakmoss Fragrance Aluminium Free

- Hit the gym or feel free to sweat playing your favourite sports. Our most popular fragrance for men who want to be performing at their best but still smell great all day long.

Deodorant Nimbin Fragrance Aluminium Free

- Show off the confident woman in you. Kirsty personally loves this product and said "My all-time favourite deodorant. I’ve tried so many & this one smells gorgeous, works & is long-lasting."

 

Block odour, not sweat. Arianrhod Aromatic champions clean living with natural products that don’t break the bank.

Try our aluminium-free deodorants today.

Essential summer guide for healthy, vibrant skin

Skin Care Without Nasties - Your essential guide in keeping your healthy and vibrant skin this summer!

Are you prepared for the long-awaited summer vacation? Before you head to the beach, we have handpicked a list of essential items that will help protect your skin using natural and where possible, organic, products made in Australia. This blog is not just your “Instagram worthy guide to the essentials of summer getaways” posts. But also, the definitive guide for skin-worthy products you can use while having fun at the beach. Yes, we can have fun and be worry-free at the same time! Are you ready for a hot summer at the powdery white sand of Queensland’s Whitehaven Beach or pristine waters of Western Australia’s Turquoise Bay?

Protect Your Skin with Natural Sunscreen Lotion

We get it – nobody goes to the beach and hides under a tree forever. Whether it is to enjoy the cool waters, sun-bathing for the perfectly tanned skin or taking photos with your friends, you will be outside most of the time.

Your skin is your body’s first line of defence, and it is constantly exposed to the environment. Sun exposure can take its toll on your skin pretty quickly and can lead to different forms of skin damage, including cancer. One of the most common effects of sun exposure is premature ageing1, but perhaps the most concerning impact is melanoma and other skin cancers. Melanoma alone is the third-most-common skin cancer diagnosed in Australia2 and the number one most common cancer in under 29 year-olds3.

Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, and 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of it, so protecting your skin while you are out in the sun is so important. The problem with traditional sunscreens, though is that they are full of chemicals that are harmful to your body4 and damaging to coral reefs5.

There are natural ingredients available like shea butter and silk amino acids that have natural sun-blocking properties6.

While there is no evidence to suggest these are a complete replacement to a broad-spectrum sunscreen, especially if you are out in the sun all day, it is worth combining them into your morning routine. On days where you will be out in the sun but perhaps not in the water, the sun protection these ingredients provide may be more than enough. 

Our Sativa Lush Whipped Butter has ultra-rich, moisturising properties and anti-ageing protection for all skin types – all year round! This ‘crème de la crème’ is made with richly moisturising ingredients such as sausage tree extract, hemp seed oil, cupuacu butter, mango butter combined with shea butter and silk amino acids that both contribute to moisturisation but also offer some protection for your skin from the sun. Feel the lushness of this therapeutic blend of floral and citrus fragrance which leaves your skin feeling like silk and smelling like royalty even under the hot sun.

Enjoy swimming with Recycled-origin Swimwear

It’s the bikini buying season, and we all want to have fun in the sun. An essential product, of course, is your swimwear. While popular brands might be on top of your list, check out these swimsuits made from recycled fishnets. You heard it right! And no – these products don’t resemble any fishnets you’ve ever seen.

Ghost fishing nets, which are lost and left in the ocean, make up 10 per cent of plastic waste in the sea and these nets take about 600 years to decompose.7

As the Seapia brand puts it “One of the biggest improvements in fashion these days is transparency and accountability – what price are we paying to look and feel good? Using a fabric produced from recycled fishing nets and other post-consumer plastic waste, designed and made in Sydney and using organic packaging and sustainable products throughout the process, our hope is to leave as small a footprint on our beaches as possible8.

Le Bun’s, another Australian swimwear brand, is famous for it’s no-waste attitude to manufacturing. It was featured in Fashion Journal Australia, amongst many others, on the topic of sustainable production9.

Your swimmers provide protection from the sun, for the areas they cover, and choosing an option like Seapia or Le Bunscan help make a difference for our oceans while looking after your skin at the same time.

Keep rehydrated with water!

Most mature adults lose about 2-3 litres of water per day from their internal body water supply. This water loss may increase, especially during hot weather or summer days.

As a large portion of our bodies are made from water, we must have enough of it to function at an optimal level. Our body uses water in so many ways! Water helps regulate our body temperature, remove toxins through perspiration and regulate bowel movements. Water is also vital for lubricating joints and protecting the brain. Drinking water plays an important role in our daily functioning. Keeping hydrated can relieve fatigue, naturally, relieve headaches and improve the skin’s complexion. It is believed that up to 80% of Australians are chronically dehydrated10.

Drinking water will keep you hydrated and promotes good skin circulation. If swimwear and natural lotions protect your skin from the summer heat, water helps you maintain a healthy and pro-active body.

If you love the beach, the pool or any other summer sports, you will need to remember that water is the most powerful resource to keep yourself active. Plus, water is a natural suppressant for hunger. Perhaps vital if you are trying to lose weight this summer and struggle with the temptation of sumptuous beach BBQ.

Avoid Lip Dryness with Rejuvenating Lip Balm

It is essential to keep your lips soft, smooth, hydrated and healthy during the summer and protect them from sun damage. Surprisingly though, 70 percent of beachgoers who lather sunscreen onto their skin will overlook one spot on the body: their lips11. Without protection, your lips can get burnt, crack and become very sore. Continually drinking water is vital to healthy lips, and applying a hydrating lip balm will help to keep the moisture in and soothe any soreness.

Dry, cracked lips can be hard to repair. They are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body, especially under the summer heat. You put on a hat to protect your head – don’t forget to put on lip balm for your lips.

Our Manuka Lip Balm is excellent for summer days – for those painful, dry, cracked lips you hate to have. It is a rejuvenating balm packed with jojoba oil and calendula oil. Keep those smooth lips all summer days. For vegans, we recommend our Vegan Hemp Lip Balm. A rich lip balm with water repellent properties to soothe and moisturise dry and chapped lips. Add gloss to protect your lips from any harsh environment and be sure of the quality. Again, look for ingredients that provide natural sun protection where possible.

Soothe your Skin with Natural After-Sun Body Lotion

Lip balms are essential for sunburnt lips, but what about the rest of your skin?

“We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun. But what about the role of after-sun care? It gets far less attention – but it’s essential to healthy skin. And while using a broad-spectrum sunscreen is vital, we shouldn’t rely on sunscreen alone to give our skin all the protection and care it needs from the sun”, said Jurlique’s Ultimate Beauty Expert, Rebecca Nicholls. So, how do you give your skin the after-sun care it needs? Have a cool shower or bath. This helps to soothe your skin and prepare it for the next step. Apply a nourishing and comforting after-sun lotion to help keep your skin moist and supple.

Our Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion soothes away sunburn with its cooling Aloe Vera and Cucumber blend. The added Meadowfoam oil and silk amino acids provide a barrier that prevents loss of moisture and provides some protection against small amounts of further sun exposure. Next, the Kigelia extract breaks down the build-up of melanin to go a long way in counteracting the damage done by the sun’s rays. These natural ingredients help to protect and soothe your skin after the effects of overexposure to the sun.

At Arianrhod Aromatics, we use only the best quality ingredients with proper regard for the environment and most importantly, our products do the job they claim they will do on the label.

Enjoy the sun this summer, but make sure you are taking care of your skin so it can continue to take care of you for many years to come! Remember:

  1. Sunscreen – Choose based on your sun habits, natural options are better, but if you are in the sun a LOT, choose an appropriate SPF rated sunscreen.
  2. Swimmers – They do protect your skin from the sun and can be good for the environment too.
  3. Hydration – Drink lots of water!
  4. Lip protection and recovery – Use a good quality lip balm to lock in moisture, protect from the sun and help your lips recover after sun damage has occurred. Browse our lip balms.
  5. After-sun recovery – Give your skin the best chance to recover from sun damage with natural ingredients like Kigelia with our Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion.

Top Tips for Self-Care in the Holiday Season

The festive season is the time for giving, but are you giving too much of yourself? It is only natural that we want everything to be perfect.  Whether it’s the exact right gift for your mother-in-law, a vegan dish for you brother’s new girlfriend, or just wanting everybody to be happy, it can be very stressful and exhausting when you give so much of yourself.

Just as on an aeroplane, where you must place your own oxygen mask on before you help others, during Christmas you must first give to yourself before you can give to others. It is important that you take care of yourself and your body over the holiday period, so here are our Top Self-Care Tips to help the holidays become less taxing and a far more joyous experience.

Tame the stress

The festive season is a peak time for stress, but it can be managed. Begin with being realistic about how much you can achieve, make and do. Set limits on time you have available and what you can do in that time. Know that it is ok to say no. Saying yes to everyone’s requests can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed and far from joyous.

Take the pressure off yourself, lower your expectations of what you expect of yourself.  We often place too much pressure on ourselves to make others Christmas happy. Satisfying everyone’s needs and wants is not always possible. Friends and associates will understand if you cannot be part of every festive activity, they feel the same pressure too.

It is important to know that it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. Take time to remember why this time is important, as festive stress can make you feel cheated of the joy and the full experience of this magical time.

Don’t go over-indulging

When we think of Christmas and we think of all the yummy food or enjoying a few drinks with friends and family, but over-indulging can leave you feeling bloated, lethargic and downright yuk. Our holiday eating and drinking free-for-all and unconscious grazing all day on the ever-abundant supply of food and drink means that we can become unaware of how much we have really consumed, this is a recipe for excess.

Body image expert, Sue McDonald, suggests that we should also look at why we are overeating, is it a method of dealing with inner feelings or a way of managing the stresses that arise from Christmas celebrations. For some, food and alcohol is used to self-soothe, to numb our feelings and cope with the events and issues that arise at this time of year; however, in the end, excess will only add to your stress and the guilt you experience.

The key here is to not ditch our usual healthy habits, but instead be mindful of what and how much you consume. Giving yourself permission to eat whatever foods you wish, is also a clever tactic as it generally reduces your inclination to overeat.

Sunshine and Sunburn

Christmas in Australia means summer, fun in the sun, dehydration and sunburn. During the day we should be careful not to become dehydrated by ensuring you keep your water intake up, especially when consuming alcohol. When drinking you can become dangerously dehydrated without knowing it, a good tip is to try swapping out every second alcoholic drink with water.

If the beach is calling you, take care to avoid being sunburnt by wearing a hat and sunscreen, and seek shade during the hottest part of the day. After a day in the sun, look after your skin by using a good quality body lotion designed for sun-kissed skin. Sativa Skin Solution’s Nourish After Sun Body Lotion is perfect as it soothes your skin with cooling aloe vera and cucumber, and heals and hydrates with the power of Kigelia and hemp seed oil.

Put yourself in Timeout

Before it all gets too much, take some ‘you’ time. Just having a little alone time will help keep things in perspective, reduce stress levels and allow you to enjoy the celebrations more.

The old saying that “in order to care for others you must care for yourself first” is appropriate and it is good to make time to do something you enjoy. Take a nap or find a quiet space to enjoy a cuppa and a book. Book a pedicure, massage or facial to pamper yourself and release tension. If these are not possible simply taking a few deep controlled breathes can work wonders towards restoring your inner calm.  

Get your Solid 7

With all the excitement and stress of Christmas it is easy to fall out of your usual sleep routine, but a solid night’s sleep always helps put things into perspective. Try to make sure you get a minimum seven hours sleep at night and get to bed at your usual time. If you are having a little trouble nodding off, then you could try our MagHemp Sleep to take you off to the land of nod. Simply apply to your feet before bed and allow the magnesium to relax your muscles while the gentle blend of essential oils will soothe you and lull you gently off to sleep.

The festive period does not have to be an overwhelming and stressful time. By taming your stress, mindful consumption, taking care in the sun, having some time out and getting a good night’s sleep you can survive and enjoy this wonderfully festive time of the year. By following these tips, you may find that Christmas can be the joyful time you dream off.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

You can find the products mentioned here at www.arianrhodaromatics.com

Thanks to:

Sue McDonald,
RC., RNC.

The Fit
Therapist

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