In essential oils, nature has given mankind a powerful and diverse healing kit, which can be used for treating anything from depression to indigestion or joint strains. All of which is backed up by scientific evidence explaining how the oils work.
The value of essential oils has been known for more than 6000 years, not only for their amazing healing properties but for their ability to bring energetic balance back to the body and mind, and promote emotional wellbeing.
There are probably around three hundred essential oils used by aromatherapy therapists in their treatments but the average household could fulfill its needs with just eight.
The most effective way to use oils is on the skin and not, as some might think, taken internally.
Essential oils are composed of tiny molecules which can easily be penetrated by the skin. When the essences are inhaled they enter the body, via the cells that line the nasal passages. These then send messages to the brain which directly affects the emotions by working on the limbic system, which also controls the major functions of the body. The oils enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is known to have said ‘the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage daily’. He also recognized that burning certain substances offered protection and healing for both body and mind.
Essential oils are economical to use, as no more than a few drops (diluted in 1 teaspoon of oil) are required in any blend. They can be used as massage oils, in baths, saunas, diffusers, candles, added to shampoos, face and body lotions or oils.
Always dilute essential oils into a carrier oil such as almond, olive, rapeseed or coconut oil.
Lavender is a brilliant all-round essential oil. It is the perfect remedy for both body and mind. It is the only oil that can be used neat on the skin without dilution. It works wonders on burns and scars and should form an essential part of your first aid kit. Lavender acts as a mood tonic and anti-depressant; it relaxes yet uplifts and also alleviates insomnia. It will leave your skin soft and glowing.
Chamomile is another essential oil known to have sedative properties. It is most valued for its anti-inflammatory properties but is also anti-bacterial, antiseptic and a disinfectant. It is used for all nervous and depressive states because of its calming and sedative properties. It can also be used for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, sprains and strains, asthma, hay fever and sunburn.
Geranium works profoundly on the emotions and is both a sedative and nerve tonic, helping users relax and even cope with pain. It is very beneficial for menopausal problems, blood disorders, diabetes, frostbite, infertility and many other health disorders. Added to coconut oil, or your usual face cream, it will make your skin glow and appear more youthful!
Rosemary is both a physical and mental stimulant and great to use in the morning to kick start your day. It is used for treating depression, fatigue and memory loss. It is excellent for the sports person or keen gardener as it is great for muscular strains, tired muscles and joint problems. It can also be used as a cellulite remedy.
Tea Tree is an exceptional antiseptic, ant-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which makes it useful in a wide range of conditions. It can be used to treat fungal infections, sunburn, acne, athlete’s foot and toothache amongst many other ailments.
Peppermint has many health-promoting properties. It is an excellent digestive aid, helps both the respiratory and circulation systems, it is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It can be used for indigestion, bad breath, flu, catarrh, varicose veins, headaches, toothache and fatigue.
Eucalyptus is renowned for treating colds and respiratory problems. It is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic, diuretic, analgesic and deodorising.
Lemon is anti-bacterial and antiseptic. It has a tonic action on the lymphatic system and stimulating on the digestive system. It aids in weight-loss, cellulite dispersion and will keep wrinkles at bay.
The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy: Carole Mcgilvery
The Fragrant Pharmacy: Valerie Ann Worwood