As far back as 3000 B.C. aromatic
and perfumed oils have been used for medicinal purposes. Ancient Egyptians
used them in the embalming process, and in China Shen Nung spoke of
these oils in his herbal book dating back to 2700 B.C. chronicling over
300 plants and their uses. The Greeks and Romans later used fragrant
oils for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. They found that some were
stimulating and others relaxing. Olive oil was used as the base for
the herbs and flowers used. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, stated
that "The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage
every day". He realized that burning certain aromatic herbs protect
against contagious diseases. Today science has shown that oils such
as cinnamon have antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
Arabian Avicenna, a famous
physician in tenth century Constantinople wrote more than 100 books
and his first book was on the beneficial effects of rose flower. Rosewater
was taken to France where the perfume industry was born. Throughout
the middle ages, many recipes for making essential oils were published
and workers in the industries that used aromatic oils in their processes
survived the plagues that ravaged Europe.
The word aromatherapy was coined
by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist, in 1928. While working
in the family perfumery he burned his arm and thrust it in the nearest
cold liquid, which happened to be a vat of pure lavender oil. The burn
healed within hours without the usual redness, blistering, infection
or scarring. Gattefosse began to research the remarkable healing properties
and many other uses of essential oils.
Because of an increasing interest
in adapting a holistic lifestyle and the recognition of the importance
of combining a balance between the mind, body and spirit, aromatherapy
is becoming and increasing popular choice to achieve optimum health
and wellbeing. Research has shown the emotional and physical benefits
of aromatherapy. Certain oils are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic,
anti-spasmodic, anti-venomous, anti-depressant, sedative, deodorizing,
diuretic, expectorating, digestive and analgesic properties, to mention
a few. Many people practice aromatherapy everyday without even knowing
it. Scented candles, incense, many bath and body products, the simple
aroma of a bouquet of flowers are all forms of aromatherapy. There are
currently as many as 300 different oils promoted as a natural way to
relieve stress, treat a variety of ailments, energize and stimulate
the body and produce feelings of wellbeing.
Only pure essential oils should
be used for therapeutic purposes. There are several methods for using
essential oils. Inhalation (such as diffusion) offers both psychological
and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma stimulate the brain but
when inhaled into the lungs the natural constituents can supply therapeutic
benefits as well. Essential oils can also be applied to the skin and
thus absorbed into the bloodstream. This can aid in health, beauty and
hygiene. Essential oils are not as effective when taken orally as the
process of digestion alters the chemical composition of these oils rendering
them less effective. These oils do not remain or leave toxins in the
body the way chemical drugs do.
Some of the most popular essential
oils and their uses include:
- Basil oil - used for sharpening concentration,
for its uplifting effect on depression,
and to relieve headaches and migraines.
Basil oil should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Bergamot oil - an excellent insect repellent
and may be helpful for both the urinary tract
and for the digestive
tract. It is useful
for skin conditions linked to stress, such as cold sores
pox, especially when
combined with eucalyptus oil.
pepper oil - Common
uses include stimulating the circulation and for muscular aches and
pains. Skin application is useful for bruises, since it stimulates the
- Chamomile oil â€"
useful for burns, eczema, psoriasis, diarrhea and depression.
oil - obtained from
a relative of lemongrass, is used as an insect repellent.
- Clove oil - topical analgesic,
especially useful in dentistry. It is also used an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative,
- Eucalyptus oil -often used in combination with peppermint
to provide relief for the airways in case of cold
- Geranium oil - used as an astringent, antiseptic
and diuretic. Useful for diabetes and menopausal symptoms.
- Jasmine oil - used as an aphrodisiac
oil - used as an antiseptic,
to soothe minor cuts and burns, to calm and relax, and to soothe headaches
- Lemon oil - uplifting and anti-stress/anti-depressant.
- Lemon oil - mood enhancement and help with
- Peppermint oil â€"
useful for indigestion, flatulence, varicose veins and migraines.
- Rosemary oil â€" useful for muscle sprains,
rheumatism, depression and memory loss.
- Sandalwood oil = used as an aphrodisiac
tree oil - has topical
(external) antimicrobial (i.e. antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral,
or antiphrastic) activity and are used as antiseptics, disinfectants,
and in mouth rinses.
- Thyme oil â€" useful for the treatment of
acne, whooping cough and neuralgia.
oil - used to reduce joint inflammation
and relieve cold and influenza symptoms.
- Ylang-ylang oil - used as an aphrodisiac
In addition to essential
oils the use of other complementary natural ingredients are encouraged.
These include cold pressed vegetable oils, jojoba, hydrosols, herbs,
milk powders, sea salts, sugars, clays and certain mud. Products that
include synthetic ingredients are discouraged in holistic aromatherapy.
Also if importance is to watch for perfume or fragrance oils as these
are not the same as essential oils. Theses contain synthetic chemicals
and do not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
Below are some of my favorite
Four blends to combat anxiety:
Directions: Select one of
the blends shown above. Then, choose which method you'd like to use
the blend and follow the directions below:
Multiply your blend by 4 to obtain a total of 20 drops of your chosen
blend. Add your oils to a dark colored glass bottle and mix well by
rolling the bottle in between your hands. Add the appropriate number
of drops from your created blend to your diffuser by following the manufacturerâ€™s
Multiply your blend by 3 to obtain a total of 15 drops of your chosen
blend. Continue by using the 15 drop blend into carrier oil such as
Continue by using the 5 drop blend to one cup sea salt or Epson salt.
Multiply your blend by 2 to obtain a total of 10 drops of your chosen
blend. Continue by using the 10 drop blend in one ounce of carrier oil
such as sweet almond.
Multiply your blend by 6 to obtain a total of 30 drops of your chosen
blend. Continue by using the 30 drop blend in1.5 ounces of distilled
water and 1.5 ounces of high proof alcohol (vodka is suitable). Do not
use isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. You may omit the alcohol and increase
the distilled water to 3 ounces. The alcohol helps the aroma linger
Arthritic Joints Aromatherapy
Directions: Blend all
oils together well and store in an airtight dark-colored glass container.
Gently massage into arthritic joints using a small amount of oil.
Balm for Cuts and Scrapes
- 3 ounces vegetable
carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or infused oil such as calendula
(infused oil of calendula can supply added therapeutic benefit).
- 1 ounce grated beeswax
- 40 drops lavender
- 40 drops tea tree
- 4 ounce wide-mouth
Directions: Place the
beeswax in a microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave using a reduced
power setting if you have one. You can also melt the beeswax in a pan
on the stove using a low heat setting. Beeswax is hard to remove from
pans, so please keep that in mind. In a separate pan, slowly and gently
heat your carrier or infused oil. Pour the warm carrier or infused oil
into a bowl, add the melted beeswax and then stir very well. Add the
lavender and tea tree essential oils and again stir well. Close the
jar and wait until the ointment has cooled before using. Remember
that all bowl, pans and utinensils that you use will be hard to clean
Insomnia Aromatherapy Blend
Directions: Blend the
oils well in a clean dark-colored glass bottle. Add 1-2 drops to a tissue
and place inside your pillow to aid you in falling asleep.
If you prefer to make a diffuser
blend that you enjoy during the hour before bedtime, make a blend with
a ratio of 2 drops Roman Chamomile to 1 drop Clary Sage to 1 drop Bergamot
and add to your diffuser.
Menstrual Cramps Aromatherapy
Directions: Mix oils
well in a clean, dark-colored glass container. Gently message
a small amount into the abdominal area.
Stuffy Nose Aromatherapy
Directions: Blend the
oils together in a clean dark-colored glass container, preferably one
with an orifice reducer (built-in dropper insert). Apply 2-3 drops to
a cotton ball and inhale occasionally to help clear a stuffy nose.
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