You can’t get away from aromas as they’re all around you. Roses in gardens, ginger from Thai food, basil that permeates spaghetti sauce, fresh juices containing oranges, lemons, and tangy limes. Noses are able to pick up hundreds of scents a day, and of those, the aromas of plants, fruits, barks and roots are able to do more than just feed us.
The leaves of the tea tree plant not only heal cuts and burns, but the oil is strong enough to clean stains off clothing. Lavender is a beautiful pale purple flower which yields a clear essential oil that can ward off insects, reduce stress, scent linens, and get rid of bruises.
Did you know that the sodas you drink are flavored with essential oils? That the common vanilla flavor you find in ice cream is made from a dark brown vanilla pod? Perfumes and colognes contain numerous blends of essential oils. High quality soaps, shampoos, bath oils and lotions all include varied essences of flowers, plants and fruits. Now that we’re on familiar territory, you can appreciate what aromatherapy is and how it can help you.
Aromatherapy requires the use of pure essential oils. This needs some explanation so you don’t cause yourself any harm. Although an oil is an organic thing, it must be better understood so you can utilize this natural gift beneficially. As some essential oils are toxic, it’s advisable that you investigate any oils you might want to use in the valuable reference book “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils” [1995 Barnes & Noble Books] by Julia Lawless.
Sweet Majoram, a herb used to ease the respiratory system and ward off colds, should be avoided by pregnant women. The herb allspice can irritate the mucous membranes but in small amounts is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and is reputed to ease depression. Mainly, essential oils should be used in very small quantities and they shouldn’t be used without being diluted.
The most common way to dilute a pure essential oil is with a cold-pressed carrier oil. Carrier oils allow the essential oil to slowly permeate the skin, protecting it from possible inflammation. Jojoba, sesame, sweet almond, olive, rosehip, wheatgerm, evening of primrose, grapeseed, kukui nut, sunflower, hazelnut, safflower, avocado or apricot kernel oils are the most commonly used. Several of the carrier oils can be combined and when essential oils are added, this makes for very nutrient-rich bath oil.
Storing essential oils:
Store in colored GLASS vials or jars. These will usually be either amber or cobalt colored. Make sure essential oils are stored in a cool, dry place. Never store in a plastic container.
How long do essential oils last?
Most essential oils can last from 1 to 3 years. The exception is ANY citrus oil. Citrus oils last from 6 months to 1 or 1 ½ years. Essential oils can last for several years, but the freshness tends to fade. When you buy an oil, write the date on the vial.
Why you don’t use fragrance oils:
Fragrance oils are synthetic and have NO beneficial aromatherapy value whatsoever. Use ONLY essential oils.
Whether you buy bath or body oils or make them yourself, you simply allow your nose to choose for you. Want something relaxing? These oils will help alleviate anxiety: ylang ylang, lemon balm, bergamot, frankincense, lavender and jasmine. If you’re opting for a just a soak, you can simply add about 5 to 10 drops into the warm to hot running water. Should you be looking for a bath oil, then you use a carrier oil AND essential oil[s]. Use about 5-12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
There are various types of diffusers which you can use in your home, office or even your car. Some are electric, while others require candles. A ring-shaped device can be put over light bulbs, and heating coil type diffusers are also sold.
Any of the above-listed carrier oils can be used. However, if you want to make sure the oils dissolve quickly into the skin, grapeseed and avocado will be the best to use. For each fluid ounce of carrier oil, use 10 drops of essential oil. When massaging into the skin, use circular motions in a clockwise direction.
10 Multi-Purpose Essential Oils:
Lavender – skin care, digestive system, circulation, nervous and respiratory systems
Rosemary – skincare, immune, nervous, respiratory systems, circulation
Tea Tree – skincare, immune and respiratory systems
Chamomile, German or Roman — skincare, circulation, digestive and nervous systems
Lemon – skincare [oily], digestive, respiratory, circulation, and immune systems
Eucalyptus – fungal infections, respiratory and immune systems
Pine, Scotch – skincare [oily], circulation, respiratory and nervous systems
Rose, Damask – skincare [dry], circulation, digestive, respiratory and nervous systems
Peppermint – skincare [oily], circulation, respiratory, digestive, immune and nervous systems
Sandalwood – skincare, respiratory, digestive and nervous systems
Where to buy essential oils:
On any Internet search engine type in either ‘aromatherapy’ or ‘essential oils’. However, with something as personal as scents, you should visit a health food store or aromatherapist. You may feel you need to use a certain essential oil, but if you dislike the scent then you’ll want to find another oil that can be just as helpful. Wherever you buy your oils, make certain that the botanical name, country of origin, method of extraction and plant part used are stated on the label.