L ola Clark of San Clemente specializes in Western "herbalism." To create her natural skin-care products, Lola Earthworks, she uses plants that grow abundantly here--eucalyptus, elder, dandelion, yellow dock, fennel and yarrow, "just to name a few, as I look out my window," she says. "I also grow over 100 herbs."
She offers seminars on natural cosmetics at Of the Earth, a health-oriented general store in San Juan Capistrano.
This is another in a series of first-person columns that allow people connected to the fashion industry to talk about their encounters.
In my seminars, I describe aromatherapy, which uses pure essential oils, and I explain how they are obtained and used. Chamomile, geraniums, lavender and clary sage are the ones most widely used in aromatherapy products.
I talk about how essential oils are blended and diluted to make creams and massage oils, facial sprays and toners, hair rinses and bath products.
Essential oils don't just smell good, they work on a deeper level. They can be anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and cell regenerating. Some can be detoxifying; they work through the pores of the skin and are said to affect the circulatory and lymphatic system. They also have psychological affects. When inhaled, they can be calming.
If we need a pick-me-up, lemon or rosemary are energizers. If we're stressed, the simplest thing to do is inhale the essential oil from lavender straight from the bottle. Lavender is the most versatile; it aids in healing. Apply it to cuts, burns or scapes.
A lot of people have immune problems. Regular use of essential oils has been known to strengthen the immune system. They can use it on the skin on a daily basis and use environmental fragrances throughout the home and workplace.
People have found relief from airborne illness from eucalyptus and teatree, which is becoming more readily available.
Aromatherapy products are even available at department stores. But you have to make sure these are pure essential oils. I take the time in my classes to define what the differences are between pure essential oils and the synthetic oils that are bombarding the market.
The differences are synthetic oils are manufactured to smell like a particular essence, but they don't have the healing properties that a pure essence can. People who don't like the aroma of a synthetic scent or are sensitive to the smell or have an allergic reaction to it, tend not to have negative responses to a pure essential oil.