Essential oils have been used for 1000’s of years to treat ailments and conditions, so no need to worry about them being a new product to the market.
Over the past 30 years, aromatherapy essential oils have continually increased in popularity, which isn’t that surprising when the public wishes to:
Fight back against the rise of MRSA (the superbug).
Reduce bacteria fighting against antibiotics
Reduce the symptoms of allergies
Avoid potential risk ingredients, such as the preservative parabens in the beauty/cosmetic world
Of course, mainstream medicine has its place and indeed is crucial, but most agree, where possible it’s better to treat an ailment with non medicines .
Hopefully, the hippy dippy image with their ‘Tibetan bells’ believing in the magic of essential oils has now long gone. Fair play to the hippies, but essential oils aren’t magic, quite the opposite really, they’re a science (biochemistry and microbiology cover the studies of the chemical structures of these wonderful plant materials).
So here is the A-Z of how they can help. The list below is not exhaustive but does include popular ailments, conditions and their treatment using essential oils:
ANALGESIC – Reduces pain
bergamot, chamomile, lavender, marjoram, rosemary
ANTIBIOTIC – Combats infection within the body
cajeput, niaouli, tea-tree
ANTIDEPRESSANT – Helps to lift the mood
bergamot, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, melissa, neroil, orange, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY – Reduces inflammation
bergamot, chamomile, lavender, myrrh
ANTISEPTIC – Prevents or combats local bacterial infection
bergamot, eucalyptus, juniperberry, lavender, ravensara, rosemary, tea-tree
ANTIVIRAL – Kills or inhibits the growth of viruses
bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, tea-tree
APHRODISIAC – Increases sexual response
jasmine, neroli, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, vetivert, sandalwood
CEPHALIC – Clears the mind and stimulates mental activity
basil, grapefruit, rosemary, thyme
CYTOPHYLACTIC – Cell regenerator
frankincense, geranium, lavender, lemon, rose
DETOXIFYING – Helps cleanse the body of impurities
DIURETIC – Increases production of urine
chamomile, cedarwood, fennel, geranium, juniperberry
FEBRIFUGE -Reduces fever
bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, melissa, peppermint, tea-tree
IMMUNOSTIMULANT – Helps the body fight infection
RUBEFACIENT – Produces warmth to the skin helping aching muscles
black pepper, eucalyptus, juniperberry, marjoram, rosemary
SEDATIVE – Calms the nervous system
bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, lavender, marjoram, rosemary
STIMULANT – Increases the activity of the mind and body
basil, black pepper, eucalyptus, geranium, peppermint, rosemary
VULNERARY – Helps wounds to heal
benzoin, bergamot, chamomile, lavender, myrrh, tea-tea
The above are fab essential oils to have in your first aid kit, however, remember they must never be used directly on to the skin (except tea tree.) Hopefully, that’s whetted your appetite.
I’d like now to give some thought of how to purchase and use essential oils.
The first thing you need to know is they’re incredibly concentrated, (over fifty times more potent than the original herb/plant) and please, please be careful. If you’re unsure consult a qualified aromatherapist. Essential oils very much fall into the bracket of less is more.
Prices vary greatly as there are a lot of products out there that either aren’t pure or indeed not an essential oil (fragrance oils fall into this category).
Each bottle is usually 10ml, will be sold in an amber bottle to stop sunlight entering and have a batch code and expiry date printed on the label. Additionally, the retailer should be able to produce the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the essential oil if asked as they’re required in UK law.
Essential oils can be used in two ways. (Not all essential oils are suitable for everyone, so please make sure the label is read first).
Aromatically – you can breathe in the aroma by placing a drop of essential oil on a tissue or 4 drops placed in an oil burner.
This can have a profound effect on the mind’s wellbeing through the limbic system.
Topically – add 3 drops to 30ml of carrier oil and massage over the effective area.
Add 3 drops to 10ml of carrier oil or full fat milk and add to bath water.
Used topically, the essential oils enter the blood stream directly having a direct positive effect on the body.
I believe the incredible uniqueness of essential oils lies in their ability to have a positive effect on the mind and body without entering the digestive system. Conventional medication is nearly always taken orally which causes a high percentage of people to encounter secondary digestive health issue. Pharmaceutical companies continually work towards developing drugs that can be absorbed directly through the skin to specifically avoid the digestive system. The biggest and most well know success’ are HRT and nicotine patches.
Until more drug infused patches are developed, why not consider looking a little further into using aromatherapy essential oils to treat your ailments and conditions?