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Essential Oils

Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh is a small shrub-like tree that grows to a height of 20-30 feet (6-9 meters). Belonging to the family Burseraceae, it is indigenous to Arabia, in particular Yemen, and to parts of northeast Africa, including Somalia and Ethiopia. The tree has white flowers and aromatic leaves. The trunk exudes a yellow liquid resin that hardens into solid reddish-colored droplets. Resin collectors make incisions in the trunk of the tree to encourage it to produce larger quantities. (Myrrh oil)

Myrrh, one of the gifts that the three wise men brought from the East for the Christ child, has been used since ancient times in religious ceremonies and is an ingredient of incense. The ancient Egyptians used myrrh for embalming their dead. In herbal medicine, myrrh has a history of use as a tonic, with astringent and healing properties. It was also used as an expectorant and as a treatment for various gastric and oral problems and skin problems.

Essential Oil

Myrrh oil is obtained by steam distillation from the resin that is exuded from the tree. It is golden to amber in color and has a sweetish spicy, medicinal smell. It has strong antiseptic and healing properties. When used in the treatment of respiratory disorders, either in massage or in steam inhalation, its anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal and expectorant properties can benefit coughs, bronchitis and sore throats. It can also be used in mouthwashes and gargles to treat gingivitis, mouth ulcers and oral thrush.

The effects of myrrh oil on the digestive system are stimulating. Used in massage, myrrh can help ease flatulence and stimulate appetite. It can also be used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

In skin care, either in the bath or in lotions or compresses, myrrh can be used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent. It works well on cracked and inflamed skin and can be used as a treatment for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. In baths it can be used for the treatment of leucorrhoea and vaginal thrush. Myrrh is also thought to benefit ageing skin.

Myrrh oil is warming and relaxing and can be useful in the treatment of stress and depression. It is also used as an aid to meditation.

Myrrh oil is used in the cosmetics industry as an ingredient in soaps, cosmetics and perfumes. The pharmaceutical industry uses it in the production of oral preparations such as toothpastes and mouthwashes. It is also used in dentistry.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Myrrh oil is nonirritant and nontoxic when used externally. Warning: Do not swallow mouthwash. Not to be used in pregnancy.

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Essential Oils

Mimosa Essential Oil

Mimosa, a member of the family Mimosaceae, is native to Australia where it is also known as Sydney black wattle. It is a relatively small tree that has sweet-smelling yellow flowers. It has now become naturalized in several other countries in Africa and Europe. The bark of the mimosa tree is used in the tanning industry. It is also valued in herbal medicine for the treatment of diarrhea amongst other things.

Essential Oil

The essential oil is obtained by solvent extraction, which produces a solid concrete and a thick liquid absolute. The absolute is yellow-gold in color and viscous. It has a woody, warm and floral scent. The properties that make mimosa beneficial for therapeutic massage are principally its soothing qualities -it has an uplifting effect on the spirits and can help those who are suffering from fear, anxiety and stress. It is mildly astringent and anti-inflammatory, and it is a valuable component in a skin-care regime, benefiting oily and sensitive skin in particular, but it is very expensive.

Mimosa is used extensively by the perfume and cosmetics industries.

Suitable methods of use

  • Bathing
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

None. Mimosa is non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritant.

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Essential Oils

Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram originally comes from around the Mediterranean. It is an aromatic, bushy plant, growing approximately 2 feet (0.6 meters) high, with small white flowers, tinged with bluish grey. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and is a perennial. It is often confused with pot marjoram, which is a much hardier plant. The herb has a long history of both culinary and medicinal use. Its main medicinal use was for gastric complaints. (Marjoram Oil)

Essential Oil

The oil of sweet marjoram is obtained from the dried flower heads and leaves of the plants by steam distillation. It is yellow- gold in color and has a warm, spicy smell. It is used in the food and drinks industries and in the manufacture of scented bath products, cosmetics, perfumes and household cleaning products.

Marjoram oil has sedative properties and can help in the treatment of insomnia and tension. For those who are distraught with grief, ‘wound up’ with stress or highly emotional, marjoram can work to restore calmness of mind.

The sedative effects of marjoram mean that it is also an anaphrodisiac, that is, it reduces sexual urges.

Used in massage oil, in compresses or in baths, marjoram is valuable in the treatment of arthritis, muscular pain and swelling. It is analgesic and warming. For this reason, it can relieve dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation). Marjoram oil is also an emmenagogue so is sometimes used in the treatment of amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation) and premenstrual tension.

In massage or in steam inhalation, marjoram oil can soothe the pain of sinusitis and headaches, including migraine.

The actions of marjoram oil on the digestive system are carminative (antiflatulence) and antispasmodic.

In massage or in bathing, marjoram oil can soothe areas of bruising and relieve the pain of chilblains.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Although its sedative effects can be quite marked, marjoram is generally safe to use in appropriate dilution. Warning: Because of its properties as an emmenagogue, marjoram should not be used during pregnancy.

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Essential Oils

Mandarin Essential Oil

Mandarin – or tangerine or satsuma, as it is now also known as, belongs to the family Rutaceae. The tree is indigenous to China, in particular the southern parts, but has been grown in Europe and the United States of America for almost two hundred years. There are quite a few varieties of the fruit, which are grown commercially in Mediterranean countries and also in Brazil, the Middle East and the USA. Both the flowers and the fruit of the tree are fragrant. The fruit of the tree is sweet and appeals to most tastes. The name mandarin has its origins in times of old, when the fruit was a traditional gift to mandarins, high ranking officials, in China.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of mandarin is obtained by mechanical expression. It is orange/amber in color and has a pleasantly sweet citrus smell. It is widely used in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps and cosmetics and also as a flavoring agent in the food and drinks industries.

Therapeutically, mandarin is a calming oil, soothing tension and nervous irritability. It is one of the safest oils to use in aromatherapy and is thus a suitable oil for using on children, who will enjoy the scent of a bath to which mandarin oil has been added. It can help in the treatment of hyperactivity and fretfulness in children.

Mandarin oil is also valued for the beneficial effects it has on the digestive system. Used in abdominal massage, it relieves colic, indigestion and constipation. It can be of great benefit to the elderly in this respect.

Mandarin oil is also a detoxifying agent and can help in the treatment of fluid retention.

In skin care, it is gently astringent and can benefit complexions that are prone to greasiness and/or acne.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Mandarin oil is a very safe oil to use, but as there are doubts as to whether or not it is phototoxic, exposure to the sun is not recommended in the hours immediately after using the oil on the skin.

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Essential Oils

Lime Essential Oil

Lime trees are quite small evergreens, bearing white flowers and bright green fruit. The fruits are smaller than lemons and have a distinctive bitter taste. Limes grow in several countries and are grown commercially in Florida, Mexico, Italy and the West Indies. The tree is a member of the family Rutaceae.

Lime has been used quite extensively in herbal medicine for many years and shares most of the properties of lemon.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of lime is produced by mechanical expression of the peel of the fruit. The oil is yellow/green with a strong, fresh citrus fragrance. It is used for its fragrance in the production of cosmetics, household cleaning products and perfumes. It is also used extensively by the food and drinks industries.

Therapeutically, essential oil of lime is more or less interchangeable with lemon. It is refreshing and cleansing and uplifting to the spirits. It has antiseptic properties and is astringent so can be used in the treatment of greasy and spotty skin. The bactericidal properties of the oil also make it suitable for treating skin infections such as boils.

Lime oil can also help in the treatment of respiratory complaints, such as colds and sore throats, catarrhal coughs and bronchitis.

The oil blends well with a variety of other essential oils and, used in a vaporizer or room spray, will also help to disinfect a room.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Lime oil is phototoxic. After using lime oil on the skin, avoid exposure to sunlight for 24 hours. Generally non-sensitizing, but may cause sensitization in a few individuals.

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Essential Oils

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass is a native plant of Asia, South Africa and parts of South America. It belongs to the family Poaceae. It is a majestic perennial grass, rapidly reaching heights of over 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, and is highly aromatic. Of several varieties that are cultivated, East Indian and West Indian lemongrass are the two main kinds. Lemongrass has been used as both a culinary and medicinal herb in India and Asia. Medicinal use has been mainly for the treatment of fever and infectious disease.

The smell of lemongrass is like the smell of lemons but has a harsher quality. It is very strong and is not to everyone’s taste. In cookery, too, it is not universally popular -it has been said by some to taste like the smell of lemon-scented cleaning fluid!

Essential Oil

Essential oil of lemongrass is extracted by steam distillation from the cut grass. The oil is pale yellow in color and has an intense, lemony smell. It is used quite extensively in industry in the manufacture of various food and drink products and also in the production of household cleaners and bath and cosmetic products.

Lemongrass oil has strong antiseptic, anti-fungal and bactericidal qualities and can be used in the treatment of athlete’s foot, thrush, and feverish infections. Used in massage, its actions are warming and stimulating, and it will help to strengthen and tone weak, tired and aching muscles. It is thus useful for athletes and for those who are recovering, but still weak from periods of illness.

Lemongrass can also benefit the digestive system. Used in massage or in inhalation it can act as an appetite stimulant and soothe an irritated or inflamed colon. The antiseptic properties of the oil will help fight gastric infections.

Like lemon oil, lemongrass oil is beneficial to oily skin and can be added to a facial steam bath to help cleanse blocked pores.

The oil is an effective insect repellent and can also be used as a general-purpose deodorizer and air freshener, either in a spray or vaporizer.

Suitable methods of use

  • Inhalation
  • Massage
  • Skin care
  • Vaporizer/diffuser

Precautions

Lemongrass is non toxic but can irritate broken or sensitive skin. Use carefully and in low dilution. Warning: Some therapists recommend that essential oil of lemongrass is avoided in early pregnancy.

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Essential Oils

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon trees are evergreen, growing to a modest height of approximately 20 feet (6 meters). The tree is native to Asia but is now grown extensively in Europe, especially around the Mediterranean. The lemon tree belongs to the family Rutaceae. The fruits are bright yellow in color when ripe, and both the flowers and fruit of the tree are highly fragrant. Lemons are rich in vitamins A, B and C and have for centuries been used as ingredients in cookery. Roman women in ancient times would take a drink made with lemon juice to relieve the nausea of morning sickness in the early months of pregnancy. The flavor of the fruit is sharp and the smell is sweet and fresh. Lemon juice used to be given to sailors as a treatment for or preventative measure against scurvy and has for many years been a favorite component of homemade cold ‘cures’. Lemon is an ingredient in many commercially produced sweets and other confections and is used widely by the pharmaceutical industry, the perfume industry and the cosmetics industry. Lemon is also used as a fragrance in many proprietary household cleaning agents.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of lemon is extracted from the rind and skin of the fruit when ripe by expression. The oil is clear and has a light, fresh scent. It has a stimulating effect on the circulation and is beneficial to those who suffer from cold hands and feet and chilblains, either used in baths, footbaths or in massage blends. It has a cleansing and toning effect on the skin. The oil has antiseptic properties and is astringent, and it works well in the treatment of greasy, spot-prone skin and minor skin ailments such as boils and pimples.

In massage or inhalation, lemon oil’s antiseptic properties will help combat respiratory infections such as colds, influenza, and bronchitis. In addition to this, it will also help strengthen the body’s immune system.

Used in a vaporizer or spray, lemon oil is an effective insect repellent and will also help to disinfect the room of a sick person, at the same time refreshing the atmosphere and lifting the spirits.

Lemon oil is perfect for times when too many late nights and poor eating habits have given you a feeling of sluggishness or when a hard day’s work or a long journey have left you feeling weary, sweaty and grubby. It is very much a ‘fresh start’ oil and gives an invaluable boost to the body and the morale.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Lemon oil is photo-toxic so should not be used prior to exposure to the sun. Apply in moderation and in low dilution as occasionally sensitization can occur.

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Essential Oils

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender belongs to the plant family Lamiaceae {Liberate). It originally comes from the area around the Mediterranean but is now grown worldwide. It is commercially cultivated in France, Italy, Tasmania, Great Britain and many other countries. Lavender is an evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves and flowers, and it is a great favorite in herb and scented gardens. It has a long history of use – the ancient Romans used it in bathing and it has been used as a disinfectant, an antiseptic and a sedative. The dried flowers of the plant, sewn into a small pouches or bags, make delightful drawer fresheners. Lavender toilet water has been a popular product for many years.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of lavender is obtained by steam distillation from the flowers of the plant. The oil is clear or faintly yellow and has a sweet floral odor that blends well with many other oils. Lavender is one of the most useful oils to have in the home as it is extremely safe and pleasant to use and has many functions.

The actions of lavender on the emotions are gently sedative and relaxing. It is beneficial to those whose low spirits are combined with a feeling of anxiety or vulnerability, imparting a feeling of calm while at the same time strengthening the spirits. It is a soothing addition to a massage blend and can help in the treatment of insomnia. Used in abdominal massage, lavender will help to ease flatulence and the discomfort of trapped wind in the digestive system.

The mild analgesic properties of lavender make it suitable for the treatment of headaches and muscular pain. One of the few essential oils that can be used neat, lavender also has antiseptic properties and can be dabbed directly onto stings and insect bites and will reduce the pain of minor bums, scalds and scrapes, combating infection at the same time. In addition to this, the oil promotes healing and will help to reduce scarring.

When used in bathing, lavender oil is beneficial in the treatment of genito-urinary infections such as thrush and cystitis. In steam inhalations, it can do much to ease spasmodic coughing and will help to fight throat infections and soothe laryngitis.

Skin conditions that can be treated with lavender oil include eczema, acne, psoriasis and athlete’s foot. The oil has a deodorizing and antiseptic effect when used in a mouthwash.

Lavender oil is also an effective insect repellent.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

None. Lavender is extremely safe to use, even on babies and infants. Some aromatherapists recommend that it is avoided in early pregnancy if there is a history of miscarriage but otherwise it is very safe for pregnant women.

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Essential Oils

Juniper Essential Oil

Juniper, an evergreen shrub/tree native to several countries in the Northern Hemisphere, belongs to the family Cupressaceae. The tree has needles that are bluish-green in color and produces small, round black berries. The berries and needles of the juniper tree have a long history in traditional medicine and have been used to treat urinary disorders such as cystitis, various respiratory disorders, gout and rheumatism. It was also believed in medieval times to have magical properties against the black forces of witchcraft. Extracts of juniper are used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of parasitic infections. It is an ingredient in many perfumed products.

The berries of the juniper tree can be used in cookery and are also used in the process of making gin, giving the drink its distinctive perfume and flavor. Juniper is cultivated for commercial production of the essential oil in Italy and the Balkan countries.

Essential Oil

Juniper oil is produced from the berries and also from the needles and twigs by the process of steam distillation. The oil is pale yellow in color, and has a pleasingly fresh and woody, warm, sweet fragrance. It is a traditional component of incense and has many uses in aromatherapy. Its diuretic and antiseptic properties make it useful in the treatment of bladder disorders and fluid retention. It also helps in the elimination of toxins, in particular uric acid, making it useful in the treatment of gout. In massage it will also help rheumatic problems and menstrual disorders and is warming and stimulating.

Juniper is beneficial in the treatment of stress and anxiety as it has a calming effect on the emotions and will help promote positive feelings.

Juniper oil can be used in skin care for the treatment of greasy, blackhead-prone skin and acne. Its action is astringent, cleansing, detoxifying and toning. Facial steaming will be particularly beneficial.

The fragrance of juniper combines well with many other oils, for example cedarwood, cypress, pine, lavender, geranium and citrus.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Warning: To be avoided during pregnancy. May cause skin irritation in some individuals – dilute well.

Categories
Essential Oils

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine, a member of the plant family Oleaceae, originally comes from the northwest regions of India. It is an attractive climbing plant with delicate, pinkish-white flowers that exude a heady and delicious perfume. It is now cultivated for its oil in several countries, including Morocco, Egypt and France. Jasmine has been a mainstay of the perfume industry in France for many years now, in spite of the expense involved in the process of extracting its precious essential oil. The sensual qualities of jasmine have long been appreciated, as have its applications in skin care. It has also been used in the herbal medicine of East and West alike for the treatment of a variety of complaints.

Essential Oil

Essential oil of jasmine is very expensive, simply because it is yielded in such small quantities. An astonishing amount of flowers is required to produce a small quantity of oil. The oil is extracted from the flowers of the plant, either by the process of enfleurage, a process still preferred by a very few perfume producers in spite of its labor intensiveness, or by solvent extraction. In spite of its expense, jasmine oil is highly esteemed in the perfume industry and is also an ingredient of many soaps, bath products, shampoos, etc. In addition, it is used to some extent by the food and drinks industry.

The oil is amber-brown in color and quite viscous. Its odor is rich, sweet and strongly floral. Few people dislike the scent of jasmine, and it is widely appreciated for its powerful aphrodisiac qualities which affect both sexes. It is sometimes used as an ingredient of incense. Beware of cheap imitations!

Therapeutically, jasmine is valued for its antidepressant properties. Jasmine is useful in the treatment of emotional pain and stress-related depression. It induces a feeling of calm relaxation and can lift the spirits considerably. When used in massage, it will bring comfort to those who are sad or worn down by the burdens of life. It is beneficial during childbirth – diluted and massaged into the area of the lower back it will help to relieve pain and relax the mother-to-be. In sensual massage, jasmine will increase the pleasure of both partners, and it can be beneficial in the treatment of loss of libido or impotence, especially if this is stress-induced.

In skin care, jasmine is balancing and gentle. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable for the treatment of irritated and inflamed skin in particular, but all skin types, dry and greasy alike, can benefit from jasmine.

Jasmine makes a delicious addition to a vaporizer in a room, giving it an air of cheerful calm, and it has also been recommended for helping to lift the spirits of new mothers who are suffering from fatigue and ‘post-baby blues’. Jasmine combines successfully in many blends -the ease with which a harmonious blend can be created using jasmine oil adds to its versatility. The fragrance works particularly well in combination with citrus oils. The fragrance of jasmine oil is so powerful and long-lasting that, although it is costly, a little really does go a long way.

Suitable methods of use

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

Precautions

Jasmine is generally nontoxic and nonirritant but can produce an allergic reaction in some extremely sensitive individuals.