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Essential Oils

How to Mix Essential Oils

If you make an appointment with a trained aromatherapist, you will find that he or she will take time to ask you in some detail about your lifestyle and your medical history. Diet and exercise, sleep patterns, stress levels, mood, bowel habits, menstrual cycle if you are a woman – all have some relevance as they will help the therapist to draw up as complete a picture as possible of you, the patient, rather than ‘it’, the problem for which you are seeking help. All the information will help in the selection of oils that are likely to be the most beneficial to you as an individual and as a whole.

You will notice, as you read the check some of the essential oils in the website, that several oils may share the same basic property; for example, quite a few have a relaxing effect, while others act as antidepressants. Within each group, there will be one or more that are particularly appropriate for individual cases, when other relevant factors are taken into consideration. Depression, for example, can manifest itself in different ways. A person who feels anxious, agitated and has trouble sleeping at night should be treated differently from one whose depression manifests itself in flatness of mood and lethargy.

Mixing for Both Fragrance and Effect

When the aromatherapist selects which oils to use, he or she will also be considering which ones work in harmony with each other, both for fragrance and for effect. A successful, harmonious blend of oils that work well in combination with one another is known as a synergistic blend. As many as seven oils may be used in combination, but the art of blending is one that takes quite a lot of practice. When preparing blends at home, it is generally better to keep it simple at first and work with no more than four essential oils at a time. If you work with simple blends initially, you will gradually build up a repertoire of blends that you enjoy using. Write everything down as you go along – mistakes should be remembered so that you do not repeat them – and then, gradually, you will find that you are able to add to and alter your recipes. Successful mixing takes a combination of time, patience, expertise and intuition. Remember, however, that it is not necessarily the case that complicated blends are more effective. Often, keeping it simple is better.

How to Mix Essential Oils with Base Oils

Mix your blends in small quantities. Once essential oils are mixed in base oils, they do not last as long. It is better to work with small quantities, making fresh blends each time, than to make up large amounts if you are not certain whether you are going to use a particular blend again in the immediate future. Blending small amounts also makes mistakes less costly.

In order to achieve a blend that is approximately a 2 per cent dilution, use six drops of essential oil to every tablespoon of base oil. For even smaller quantities, use two drops of essential oil to one teaspoon of base. Remember that some base oils have their own distinctive qualities; if you make a blend of essential oils in almond oil, for example, a light base oil that is virtually odorless and suitable for general use, it will not be the same if you use a different base the next time.

Guide for Blending

With time and practice, you will be able to build up your own ‘menu’ of favorite blends. The following may help you in your initial selection of essential oils in blends that you prepare. As a general rule, like blends well with like, so the spice oils can be blended with each other, the oils from the same plant family – for example Labiateae which includes basil, clary sage and hyssop – will work quite well together, the woody oils can be used in combination with each other, and so on. There are other broad guidelines that can be followed as well: citrus oils, for example, have an odor that is short-lived, but they blend well with the woody oils, whose fragrance is more lingering, so you can make blends that have a fragrance that changes in quality as time goes on.

Perfumers consider that a good perfume should have a top note, a middle note and a base note. The top note is the shortest-lived, but probably makes the first impression. The base note is the longest-lived, the last lingering element of the fragrant blend. The middle note is the basis around which the fragrance is built – the substance of the perfume. Thus, in an aromatherapy blend, each oil will have its own distinctive qualities but, put together with others, will form part of a dynamic fragrance, changing its impressions on the individual all the time.

Whilst this might sound a little complicated to the novice, it does serve to make the point that it is more than the instant first impression that counts when blending oils. If you are trying out a blend for the first time give it time. What is your first feeling about the blend? What comes through immediately after the first impression? What is it like after half an hour or an hour? How does it change?

Remember also that the therapeutic qualities of the oils that you choose should complement each other. Think of the outcome you are hoping to achieve.

Finally, if you are intending to give a massage to another person or are mixing a bath blend for the benefit of another individual, his or her likes and dislikes cannot be ignored. No matter how you might feel about the blend that you are making, it is the recipient who counts. In order for that person to get the maximum benefit from the oils, the blend should smell good to him or her.

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Essential Oils Health

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils work on two distinct levels, the psychological and the physical. Imagine some of your favorite aromas. How do they make you feel? Certain smells can trigger happy memories of places or people, taking you back to early childhood, to the kitchen at home, perhaps, or to a particular person, such as your mother. Some smells will make you think of a certain time of year – the freshness of spring or the sun-baked days of summer. Other smells that you find enjoyable might be harder to explain – they simply make you feel good. If you are trying to sell your house, the estate agent may well tell you to put a pot of coffee on the stove before prospective buyers come to view, or make some bread or cakes to fill the house with the scent of fresh baking.

Scent of Essential Oils

Smell is a primitive and powerful sense. Not only can it alert us to danger (think of the odor of meat that has gone bad or the smell of a gas leak), it can also trigger memories, alter our moods and either attract us to, or put us off, potential mates. Recent research has shown that human beings have not yet become so sophisticated that the sense of smell has become irrelevant in the process of sexual attraction. No matter how beautiful, intelligent and witty you might be, the object of your heart’s desire will still be affected by your own, very individual smell.

The fragrant essential oils of many plants can have quite a powerful effect on the mind, altering mood quite noticeably when they are inhaled. This is what makes aromatherapy particularly useful in the treatment of mood disturbances such as depression and anxiety and the consequent effects these problems have on the individual’s ability to function properly. Some oils will have a definite sedative, calming effect, whilst others are useful for their stimulant properties, increasing mental and physical energy. Certain oils are particularly good at helping to focus the mind; such oils are often burned in incense, as an aid to meditation. Some oils will stimulate sexual appetites and can be used as aphrodisiacs.

How Do Essential Oils Enter the Body?

There are three ways by which essential oils can enter the body. The first of these is by inhalation, which allows for the oil molecules to enter the body through the tiny capillaries supplying the respiratory organs.

Essential oils can also be absorbed into the body by skin absorption – by bathing in hot water to which oils have been added, by applying essential oils in topical preparations or in compresses, and by massage.

The third means by which essential oils can enter the body is by ingestion. Some qualified aromatherapists will prescribe the use of some essential oils in this way, but on the whole massage is the preferred method of treatment. Ingestion of essential oils is potentially very dangerous and should never be tried in the home.

Enhancing Immune System

One property that many essential oils have in common is the ability to stimulate the body’s immune system, that is, to encourage the body to heal itself. Antiseptic and bactericidal properties are also common to most essential oils eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil being particularly useful in this respect. Many oils (tea-tree oil falls into this category too) have antiviral and/or fungicidal properties.

Antibiotics have for many years been an invaluable weapon in the war against many diseases, but overuse has led to an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Antibiotics also kill off many other, harmless and/or beneficial bacteria, leading to problems such as Candida albicans; or thrush, and they can have unpleasant side effects. When suffering from a relatively minor infection that is likely to respond well to treatment with essential oils, it makes a lot of sense to choose this option rather than resorting to antibiotics

Application Methods for Essential Oils

There are several ways for how to use essential oils. Among these, massage is the most common practice. However, it is also possible to benefit from essential oils by way of inhalation. Moreover, bathing should also be mentioned as people tend to use aromatherapy in connection with spa as well. Let us go deep into detail about these now 🙂

Massage with Essential Oils

This is the main method of treatment used by qualified aromatherapists. Massage allows for a combination of the beneficial effects of the absorption of essential oils through the skin and those of therapeutic massage; as the therapist’s hands work on the patient’s body, circulation and lymphatic drainage will be stimulated and the patient’s muscles will relax. At the same time, helped by the heat caused by the friction of the therapist’s hands on the patient’s body, the oil molecules can enter the body through the skin and will start to take effect on the patient. The patient will gain further benefit as he or she breathes in the fragrance.

While not all the oils that are used by aromatherapists in practice are recommended for use in the home, there is nonetheless a wide variety of essential oils that can be used perfectly safely by people who lack the aromatherapists’ expertise but want to derive some benefit and pleasure from home massage. Essential oils for massage can be diluted in a base oil, either singly or blended with one or two other harmonizing, synergistic, oils.

Base oils suitable for aromatherapy include almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, and wheatgerm oil. Doubtless you will have your own preferences, but each has its own qualities; avocado, for example, is beneficial to dry skin. Try to establish that the base oil you intend to use has been cold-pressed and preferably is organic and thus as pure and chemical-free as possible. When it comes to the dilution quantities, 1-3 per cent essential oil to base oil is generally a safe option, but if you have any doubts, you can check with an aromatherapist.

Inhaling Essential Oils

Steam inhalation is used mostly for the treatment of respiratory disorders. To prepare, fill a fairly large bowl with very hot water and add a few drops of the essential oil, or oils, of choice. Drape a towel over your head and ‘tent’ it all round the bowl then breathe in the scented steam deeply. Continue treatment for a few minutes, but stop if you feel too hot. Place the bowl on a surface at a height that does not require you to bend over it. Raising your head suddenly, especially if you have been bending over, might cause dizziness. Steam inhalation is beneficial to respiratory ailments in two ways. Firstly, the steam moistens the airways and helps to loosen mucus and clear blocked sinuses. Secondly, the essential oil vapors will enter the bloodstream rapidly and work their own individual ‘magic’, whether this is to promote expectoration or fight off infection.

Dry inhalation is also beneficial with certain aromatic oils and can be useful in the treatment of asthmatics, whose lungs may be irritated by steam inhalation. A few drops of essential oil can be applied to a handkerchief that is then held a few inches under the patient’s nose as he or she breathes in. Alternatively, a few drops can be placed on the pillow (away from the eyes) at bedtime. Eucalyptus oil is a favorite for use in dry inhalation to ease the discomfort of blocked noses. Lavender oil on the pillow will help promote restful sleep.

If you are treating oily skin with aromatic steam, it is pleasant to finish treatment with a refreshing splash of rose water, which will tone the skin. Steam treatment is not recommended if you suffer from thread veins or if you have any inflammatory skin condition.

Steam Facial with Essential Oils

A steam facial, taken in much the same way as a steam inhalation, can be a very effective way of opening the pores and cleansing the skin, particularly skin that is prone to oiliness and spots. There are several essential oils that can be used in this way. It is pleasant and refreshing to finish off the treatment with a splash of rose water.

Caution!

Do not use steam facials if you have broken veins or very sensitive skin.

Bathing with Essential Oils

Aromatic bathing is a wonderful way to treat yourself and do yourself some good at the same time. Bathing with essential oils allows for the oil to be absorbed firstly through the skin and secondly, as the oils evaporate in the steam from the bath, through inhalation of the fragrant steamy atmosphere in the bathroom. This form of treatment has the advantage that, unlike massage, it can be done without the help of another person.

Run a hot bath with the door and windows closed and add a few drops (3-10, depending on the oil or oils of choice) of essential oil into the water. Make sure that the oil is thoroughly dispersed in the water to avoid the possibility of concentrated amounts of oil coming into contact with the skin. Prolonged and frequent use of essential oils can damage the surface of some baths; make sure the bath is thoroughly cleaned out afterwards. To avoid problems with sensitive skin, and also to preserve your bath, dilute the essential oil in a base oil before you add it to the bath. You can also dilute the essential oil in milk.

Choose your essential oil or oils according to the desired effect you wish to achieve – rosemary to revive your flagging spirits, perhaps, or chamomile to set you up for a good night’s sleep. Take all the time you need – lie back in the water and breathe deeply – an aromatic bath should be a very pleasurable experience.

A Little Note for Bathing

Don’t use soaps, bath oils or shampoos in an aromatic bath. If you want to clean yourself with soap, or wash your hair, do this beforehand – have a quick shower or wash before you run your aromatic bath.

An aromatic footbath is also a soothing and refreshing way of treating tired, aching feet and will benefit not only your feet but also your whole body. If you only have a shower at home, treat yourself to a footbath from time to time. Lavender, peppermint and rosemary are particularly beneficial at the end of a long day. Footbaths can also help to warm cold feet, and the addition of appropriate oils will stimulate the circulation.

Sitz Baths

Sitz baths, or hip baths, are particularly beneficial in the treatment of menstrual disorders, thrush, cystitis, hemorrhoids and constipation. When treating hemorrhoids or vaginal thrush keep the water around body temperature, but otherwise the water should be quite hot. Tea tree oil is particularly useful in the treatment of thrush.

Compresses

Some problems respond well to treatment with compresses, made by soaking cloths or towels in either hot or ice-cold water – whichever is appropriate – and adding a few drops of essential oil. Cold compresses are useful for treating headaches, fever and pain from recent bruising or muscle strain. Hot compresses, applied to the relevant parts of the body, can alleviate menstrual cramping and muscle and joint pain and can be particularly soothing for chronic pain caused by arthritis and rheumatism. Hot compresses can also be used to treat boils.

To prepare a compress, fill a bowl with either hot or iced water, according to your needs. Soak a folded cloth in the water and wring it out. Add three or four drops of essential oil to the water in the bowl and swirl it round to disperse it thoroughly. Lay your cloth lightly back on the surface of the water, then wring out again and apply to the affected part for treatment.

If you are using a hot compress, place some polythene or clingfilm over the compress with another cloth on top. This will help to retain the heat.

If you are treating headache with a cold compress, make sure that the compress is well wrung out and will not drip. It is important that the essential oil is kept away from the eyes.

Mouthwashes with Essential Oils

Some essential oils can be added to warm water and used as mouthwashes or gargles to combat gum inflammation, bad breath, oral thrush and mouth ulcers. In order to avoid irritation of the mouth, the oil should be first diluted in a small amount of alcohol – vodka is generally recommended. Add two drops of essential oil to a teaspoon of vodka and mix into half a glass of warm water to prepare your mouthwash. Tea-tree oil is safe to add to warm water without alcohol, but this is the exception.

But you should always be careful not to swallow!

Categories
Essential Oils

Nutmeg Essential Oil

Nutmeg is native to the Middle East and the West Indies, and is cultivated in the West Indies, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The tree is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) high and has aromatic leaves. The spice mace is obtained from the covering of the seed shell. Nutmeg is the kernel, which has been dried over heat in its shell. The spice has been used in cookery for many years. Nutmeg has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years, mostly for the treatment of digestive complaints, such as flatulence, indigestion and diarrhoea, and also for kidney disorders.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of nutmeg is obtained from the dried seeds by steam distillation. The oil is white or pale yellow in color. It has stimulant and analgesic properties and is warming in its effect when used in massage. It is beneficial in the treatment of muscular aches and pains, rheumatism and arthritis. It can also help in the treatment of digestive problems, such as flatulence, indigestion and nausea, and can stimulate a jaded appetite. Its effects are calming and strengthening and can benefit those who are chronically tired, depressed and lacking in energy. Nutmeg oil is not recommended for home use as it can, when used in high dose, cause hallucinations and hypnosis. It is unsuitable for bathing as it is a skin irritant.

Precautions

Warning: Use only under the supervision of a trained aromatherapist. Not suitable for bathing. Avoid during pregnancy.

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Essential Oils

Palmarosa Essential Oil

The plant Palmarosa is a relative of lemongrass and citronella, coming from the same plant family, Gramineae. It is also related to ginger-grass – Cymbopogon matinii var. sofia – which is used to obtain an oil that is similar but considered by most to be inferior in quality. The plant grows wild in India and Pakistan. It is now cultivated for commercial purposes in India and in Indonesia, the Comoros Islands, East-Africa and Brazil, all of which produce the oil. The plant has fragrant grassy leaves.

Essential Oil

The oil is obtained from the leaves of the plant, either fresh or dried, by the process of steam distillation. It is pale yellow or green in color and has a sweet floral smell. Palmarosa essential oil is used in the perfume industry as a fragrance ingredient. It is also used in the production of soaps and bath products.

Essential oil of palmarosa is useful in the treatment of stress-related feelings of depression. It calms troubled spirits and lifts the mood, encouraging a more optimistic view of life.

The oil can be used in the treatment of various digestive problems, combating infection and improving digestion. It can stimulate a poor appetite and can help the intestinal flora to return to a state of balance after a bout of infection or following antibiotic treatment. Use in massage or in bathing.

Palmarosa oil is very useful in skin care, where its balancing qualities make it suitable for the treatment of a variety of conditions, either associated with dry or oily skin. It helps regulate the production of sebum and also moisturizes dry skin. It can be used to good effect on mature complexions, reducing wrinkles and improving the skin’s tone and appearance. It will also help reduce scar tissue. Use in facial massage, creams or in facial steam baths.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Compresses
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

Palmarosa is quite safe to use in dilution. It is nontoxic, nonsensitizing and nonirritant.

Categories
Essential Oils

Parsley Essential Oil

Parsley is either grown as a biennial or a perennial, although the latter will not live for many years. It is native to the Mediterranean area, but now grows extensively throughout Europe and in parts of Asia. Parsley is a member of the plant family Apiece (Umbelliferae). In Great Britain, it is a very popular garden herb with many culinary uses. For the purposes of oil production, it is cultivated in countries that include Germany, Holland and France.

Parsley is high in vitamins A and C. In herbal medicine, it is used for problems of the kidneys and urinary tract and also in the treatment of arthritis. Parsley is pleasant to chew on as a breath deodorizer after spicy or garlicky food. It is also a digestive aid.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of parsley is obtained by steam distillation of the plant. Two different oils are obtained – one from the seed and one from the foliage. Parsley oil is used to treat cystitis and other urinary infections. It also acts as a diuretic. It is an emmenagogue so can be used to treat scanty and irregular menstruation.

Massage with oil of parsley can aid digestion, having a carminative and stimulating effect. Parsley oil is also used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. Owing to its possible toxicity if used inappropriately, however, parsley is not recommended for use at home.

Precautions

Warning: Not recommended for home use. Parsley oil can be toxic unless used in strict moderation. It is also a skin irritant. Warning: Not to be used during pregnancy. Parsley oil is an emmenagogue.

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Essential Oils

Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli belongs to the family Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and is tall, bushy herb with large aromatic leaves. It is native to tropical Asia. It is cultivated for commercial use in Asia, India, China and South America. The plant has white flowers and the leaves are hairy in texture. The plant has been widely used in Asia for many years as an incense ingredient. The leaves were used in woven materials to perfume them. Patchouli is also used as an insect repellent. (Patchouli oil)

In herbal medicine, particularly in China and Japan, patchouli is used to treat colds, headaches and digestive upsets, including vomiting.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of patchouli is obtained by the process of steam distillation from the leaves of the plant which are previously dried and fermented. The oil is thick and viscous and is orange-amber in color. It has a distinctively sweet and earthy smell that is long-lasting and, unlike that of other essential oils, actually improves with age, although the fragrance of patchouli oil is not to everyone’s liking – some people dislike it intensely. Patchouli oil is used in the manufacture of perfumes and soaps and is an ingredient in Indian ink.

Patchouli oil has various therapeutic applications. It is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and can be used in skin care to treat acne, oily skin and open pores as well as minor sores that are weeping and reluctant to heal. It is also beneficial in the treatment of athlete’s foot, chapped and painful skin and eczema. Patchouli is particularly beneficial to ageing skin and will also help prevent scars and stretchmarks.

When used in a massage blend, particularly in abdominal massage, or alternatively in a warm compress, patchouli can relieve constipation and combat flatulence.

In massage oil or in room vaporizers, patchouli oil is an effective room deodorizer. Used in this way, it can also be used to strengthen the spirits when exhaustion has set in and will help restore a sense of calm and determination in stressful times. The oil also has aphrodisiac properties and can benefit in particular those whose desire or sexual performance has been adversely affected by stress and fatigue.

Patchouli oil can also be used as an insect repellent.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Compresses
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

None. Patchouli oil is nontoxic, non-sensitizing and nonirritant.

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Essential Oils

Peppermint Essential Oil

There are several different varieties of mint: peppermint and spearmint are the two that are used in aromatherapy. Peppermint is a perennial herb, a cultivated hybrid grown all over the world. It is easy to grow and spreads rapidly from underground runners. Some gardeners find this aspect of an otherwise useful herb rather irritating. The peppermint plant is bushy, growing to approximately 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height, has soft, fragrant green leaves and small, white flowers. Peppermint belongs to the plant family Lamiaceae (Labiatae). Peppermint is grown commercially for production of its essential oils in several countries, including England, France, Italy and Russia. Peppermint is one of the oils for which an organic option is easily available. (peppermint oil)

Peppermint has a long history of use in herbal medicine. There is evidence that the herb was used by the ancient Egyptians, and in various countries it has been used as a treatment for various complaints, including indigestion, colic and flatulence, nausea (in particular during pregnancy), headaches and sore throats. The herb is often drunk in an infusion, as peppermint tea.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of peppermint is produced by the process of steam distillation. The herb is harvested while in flower and the leaves, stems and flowers are used in the process. Peppermint oil is pale greenish-yellow and has a strong, fresh minty smell. Essential oil of peppermint is widely used as a flavoring ingredient in the food and drinks industries and by the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries as a flavoring and/or fragrance in toothpastes, soaps, mouthwashes, bath products, perfumes and colognes.

Peppermint oil has various therapeutic uses and can be used to treat disorders of the respiratory system and the digestive tract as well as musculo-skeletal pain, in addition to being a valuable oil to use in skin care.

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the oil can benefit muscular pain and neuralgia, particularly when used in massage. Peppermint oil will also help to stimulate the circulation.

The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil can also help to ease the irritation of pruritis when used in bathing. Peppermint oil is astringent and will be of particular benefit to oily skins. It is, however, irritating to some sensitive skins and should be used in dilution of no more than 1 per cent in a massage blend. Three drops are quite sufficient for bathing.

As a digestive aid, essential oil of peppermint works effectively in massage to stimulate a sluggish digestion, to relieve dyspepsia and nausea and also to ease stomach cramps and colic.

Used in steam inhalation, peppermint oil has a marked anticatarrhal and expectorant action and can do much to relieve colds and bronchitis. In a mouthwash, it can deodorize bad breath.

Peppermint oil refreshes the mind as well as the body and will help to lift the spirits, give courage and focus and clear muddled thoughts.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Compresses
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Mouthwashes
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

Nontoxic and generally nonirritant if used in appropriate dilution. A small chance of sensitization in some individuals. Warning: Avoid during pregnancy. Do not swallow mouthwash.

Categories
Essential Oils

Scots Pine Essential Oil

Pinus sylvestris, more commonly known as Scots pine, is a tall evergreen native to Britain where it was long ago the main species in the Great Forest of Caledon, covering much of Scotland. Now the Scots pine is grown worldwide and is cultivated commercially in several countries, including Austria, the countries of Scandinavia and the United States. Scots pine belongs to the family Pinaceae. There are other varieties of pine that are cultivated for their oils, for example long- leaf pine and dwarf pine, but Scots pine is the one most commonly used in aromatherapy.

In herbal medicine, young pine shoots were used in bathing to treat several complaints, including rheumatism, poor circulation, skin problems and nervous fatigue. They were also used in steam inhalation for a variety of respiratory disorders. Pine was much appreciated for its insecticidal properties and was used around the house to repel parasites.

Essential Oil

The essential oil is obtained from the needles of the tree by the process of dry distillation. It is colorless generally but can be tinged with yellow. The oil has a strong, clean, balsamic smell. The fragrance of pine oil makes it a strong favorite in the production of many soaps and other bath products. It is also used extensively as an ingredient in household cleaning products and disinfectants as well as in insect repellents.

Therapeutically, oil of pine is versatile and quite a safe oil for home use. Its effects are refreshing and stimulating. It is particularly useful in the treatment of many respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis, influenza, coughs, colds and also asthma. It is an effective expectorant and is also antiseptic, antiviral and bactericidal. It can be used to treat respiratory tract infections either by massage or in inhalation. Steam inhalation is particularly beneficial as the steam helps to loosen excess mucus in the airways and unblock the sinuses.

Pine oil is valuable in the treatment of urinary tract infections, particularly when used in baths or sitz baths. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties combat infection while the patient’s spirits are soothed by the refreshing fragrance.

Hot compresses of pine and massage with essential oils both work well to relieve the aches and pains of disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Pine oil also benefits poor circulation. It is a good oil to use in the treatment of post-illness fatigue or exhaustion brought on by stress, replacing tension with relaxation and fatigue with refreshment.

Pine oil used in a room spray, vaporizer or diffuser will disinfect the air, creating a fresh and healthy atmosphere.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Compresses
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

Pine oil is generally safe to use. It is nontoxic and generally nonirritant, provided that it is used in dilutions of less than 2 per cent. A small minority of people may become sensitized. Avoid using pine on people who already have allergic skin conditions. Warning: Some therapists recommend that you avoid using essential oil of pine during the first three months of pregnancy.

Categories
Essential Oils

Cabbage Rose Essential Oil

There are two main varieties of rose that are used for the production of essential oil for aromatherapy. Rosa centifolia, or cabbage rose, and Rosa damascena, damask rose. Cabbage rose, also known as French rose, rose de mai or rose maroc, is believed to have come originally from Persia but is now cultivated commercially, mostly in Morocco and France. The plant is approximately 8 feet (2.4 meters) in height and produces a mass of fragrant pink blooms. Damask rose, also known as Turkish rose and rose otto, is thought to be indigenous to China but is now cultivated mainly in Bulgaria and France for its oil. It is a smaller plant, which also produces abundant pink blooms. Of the two varieties, cabbage-rose oil is more widely available for aromatherapy use. Rose otto can be prohibitively expensive.

Roses were widely used medicinally in ancient times in the East for a variety of ailments, which included fever, skin problems, digestive and circulatory problems. They were also valued for their aphrodisiac properties. Symbolically, the rose signifies love and has done so for many hundreds of years. Rose hips are still valued highly for their nutritional value: they are particularly high in vitamin C.

Essential Oil

Steam distillation of rose petals is sometimes used to produce essential oil of rose, and for many years the principal method of extraction favored by the perfume industry was enfleurage. Essential oil of rose is extremely expensive, however, and an alternative is the absolute. First, a concrete is obtained through solvent extraction of the rose petals and then, once the solvent has been removed, the absolute is separated from the concrete using alcohol.

The essential oils of both cabbage rose and damask rose are yellow in color, while the absolutes are deeper in hue, being orange-red. The absolute is almost solid at room temperature, becoming liquid when the bottle is held and gently warmed in the hand. Both essential oil and absolute have a rich, deep, sweet floral smell. Beware of imitations: synthetic copies of rose oil abound and it is also quite frequently adulterated before being sold.

Rose oil is extensively used in the perfume industry. Being an ingredient of more than a third of the fragrances. It is also used in the manufacture of toiletries and cosmetics and sometimes as a flavoring agent. Rose water – a by-product of the steam distillation process – is used in cookery and for cosmetic purposes.

Rose oil is a pleasant and safe oil to use in aromatherapy and is suitable for a variety of uses. It is expensive, but its strength ensures that one or two drops added to a blend will transform it. Cabbage-rose oil and damask-rose oil have similar properties and effects.

Rose oil relaxes and strengthens, imparting a feeling of calm and well being. It is beneficial to use in times of stress and will bring relief to many stress-related conditions, soothing frustration and irritability and lifting the spirits. It can be used to good effect on children and is enjoyed by most people in massage blends or in bathing. Rose oil is also delightful to blend with other essential oils in a vaporizer.

In the treatment of gynecological problems, rose oil can be particularly beneficial. It is useful in the treatment of premenstrual tension and in menopausal difficulties such as heavy menstrual bleeding. Its effects are balancing, and it can also help to regulate infrequent or scanty menstruation. Like jasmine, rose oil has aphrodisiac qualities and can benefit both sexes by increasing libido.

Rose oil can also benefit the respiratory system and can be used to treat coughs and allergy-related respiratory complaints.

The effects of rose oil on the digestive system are detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and strengthening. It can be used to treat constipation and nausea and is also thought to have a tonic effect on the liver and gall bladder.

Rose oil is an extremely valuable oil for skin care. It is anti-inflammatory and soothing, which makes it suitable for the treatment of dry and itchy skin, and it will also help to tone a tired complexion. It is suitable for use on sensitive and ageing skin.

Rose oil also has a beneficial effect on the circulation.

It is important to point out that although rose oil is very costly, a little of this intoxicating fragrance goes a long way in a blend.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

Safe to use; nontoxic, nonirritating and non-sensitizing. Warning: Use of rose oil during early pregnancy is not advisable unless under the supervision of a trained aromatherapist.

Categories
Essential Oils

Myrtle Essential Oil

Myrtle is a large bush, growing to a height of as much as 15 feet (4.5 meters), which is native to North Africa but now growing throughout the Mediterranean area. It is an evergreen plant with shiny leaves and bright white blossom. Both leaves and flowers are fragrant. In ancient times, myrtle was sacred to the goddess Aphrodite, and it is still worn as a symbol of purity by some brides to this day. Like tea tree and eucalyptus, myrtle is a member of the plant family Myrtaceae. Myrtle oil is produced in several countries, including France, Morocco, Italy and Tunisia.

In traditional herbal medicine, myrtle has been used for respiratory and digestive disorders and also in skin care.

Essential Oil

The essential oil of myrtle is obtained by steam distillation from the twigs and leaves of the plant. It is pale yellow to orange in color and has a clean fresh smell. The oil is used in the perfume industry, particularly in the production of eau de Cologne. It is also used as a flavoring ingredient in some commercially produced savory foods.

Therapeutically, myrtle oil is used in aromatherapy for the treatment of respiratory complaints and also in skin care. Myrtle can be used to combat problem catarrh and coughing associated with this. It is also a useful treatment for sinusitis. It is bactericidal and an effective expectorant. Use in steam inhalation for best effect. The oil will also boost the immune system against colds and influenza.

In skin care, myrtle is useful for its astringent and bactericidal properties and can be used in skin preparations to treat oily skin and acne.

Myrtle has a clarifying and uplifting effect on the spirits. It can help those who are feeling low and distracted by worry.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

None. Myrtle is nontoxic, non-sensitizing and nonirritant.