What is Aromatherapy?
The word aromatherapy means "treatment using scents". It refers to a particular branch of herbal medicine that uses concentrated plant oils, called essential oils, to improve physical & emotional health & to restore balance to the whole person.
Unlike the herbs used in herbal medicine, essential oils are not taken internally, but are inhaled or applied diluted to the skin. Each oil has its own fragrance & a gentle healing action that makes aromatherapy one of the most pleasant & popular of complementary medicines.
Different oils commonly used in Aromatherapy
Key: Oils marked with # are not recommended for use during pregnancy. If pregnant, check with your healthcare professional before using essential oils.
Oil of Bergamot
This oil has a natural deodorizing effect, very effective against depression & anxiety & has a wonderfully balancing effect on moods, helping to promote confidence. Excellent antiviral activity against cold sores, chicken pox & shingles.
Oil of Cedarwood #
A good all-round stimulant valued for its ability to stimulate the circulation & relax the nervous system, while having a tonic effect on the whole body. Its antiseptic & astringent action makes it a popular choice for treating acne, oily skin eruptions & dandruff.
Oil of Citronella #
Refreshing & uplifting, citronella helps combat headaches, fatigue & feelings of depression. Renowned for keeping insects away, it makes an excellent insect repellent, either used in a room spray vaporiser or dropped onto a square of cotton & added to the linen cupboard to keep clothes fresh.
Oil Of Clary Sage #
This oil has a marked relaxing effect on the body & is sometimes described as euphoric. It helps to regulate the nervous system & is most beneficial in treating anxiety, depression & stress related problems. Is said to help lower blood pressure & is recommended for absent or scanty menstruation & PMS & is a renowned aphrodisiac that is said to benefit frigidity & impotence.
Oil of Clove Bud #
One of the most effective forms of antiseptic known, good for flu & colds, will bring numbness if applied topically, so ideal for tooth ache. Warming & energising.
Oil of Eucalyptus #
This oil has powerful healing properties. A good disinfectant & antiseptic, use as an inhalant to help respiratory conditions & diluted for relief of insect bites & sunburn. It is a renowned decongestant, used mainly for coughs, colds, chest infections & sinusitis. It helps alleviate inflammation generally & is helpful in treating rheumatism & muscular aches & pains.
Oil of Geranium #
This good all-round oil heightens emotions, while balancing & toning the body. Refreshing & warming, this oil is good for massage, easing muscle fatigue. Mentally uplifting & refreshing, with a balancing effect to the nervous system, helping to alleviate apathy, anxiety, stress, hyperactivity & depression. Relaxing & harmonising the body & mind.
Oil of Ginger
Ginger is effective in helping to ease painful conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis or muscle pain & improve poor circulation. It helps to alleviate nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, pain & diarrhoea. When inhaled, the warming ginger essence eases mental confusion & helps to relieve fatigue & nervous exhaustion.
Oil of Juniper #
Juniper is physically & emotionally cleansing. It helps to detoxify the body of harmful waste products that contribute to problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis & cellulite & clears the mind of confusion & exhaustion. In addition, it stimulates the appetite, relieves nervous tension & is an excellent disinfectant.
Oil of Lavender
Calming, soothing, a natural antidepressant, while being emotionally balancing. Helps dispel depression & creates a feeling of comfort. This oil is a good inhalant for relaxation, headaches, fainting, a soothing rub for rheumatism & arthritis; its calming effect can help to induce restful sleep. Lavender is a natural antiseptic & can be used directly for relief of insect bites. Also a decongestant, making it invaluable for colds, flu & catarrhal conditions.
Oil of Lemon
Lemon can stimulate the body's defences to fight all kinds of infections. It is beneficial in treating inflamed or diseased gums, mouth ulcers, sore throats & acne. Good for treating nausea & to stimulate appetite, good diluted for massage to aid circulation.
Oil of Lemongrass
Has a general tonic effect on the nervous system & the body in general. It also has painkilling & antidepressant effects, is good for headaches, lethargy and symptoms of stress & beneficial for muscular pain & poor muscle tone. It has fever reducing properties & helps the immune system to fight infections.
Oil of Marjoram #
This strongly aromatic oil has a good effect on the female system. It has the strongest sedative properties of all oils & is good to quieten heightened emotions & help treat insomnia. It makes a relaxing, warming & fortifying bath oil. Most of its functions centre around this action on the autonomic nervous system - sedative & tonic.
Oil of Orange Blossom (Neroli)
Tones the heart & circulatory system & its carminative & antispasmodic properties can relieve digestive problems, such as indigestion, diarrhoea, flatulence & stomach cramps. Has a gentle antidepressant effect, helping to promote a bright positive mood. A delightful aroma.
Oil of Orange
As a sedative, orange is good for nervous tension & related insomnia, either blended with lavender, or alternated with lavender or sandalwood. It is also a cheering oil, which enlivens the mind & dispels depression. Orange has a normalising effect on blood pressure & circulation & stimulates the lymphatic system to relieve water retention. Helps fight chills, bronchitis, colds & flu, especially when mixed with cinnamon & clove essential oil.
Oil of Patchouli
This strong, persistent aroma is a good moth repellent. Vaporized it can have a calming effect on irritated nerves. Patchouli has a musky, sensual aroma with an earthy scent. It is astringent, antiviral, antiseptic & anti-inflammatory & has been used for chapped or cracked skin & open pores. It has been used for acne.
Oil of Peppermint #
Refreshing & stimulating, peppermint tones & settles the digestive system. It helps relieve indigestion, flatulence, spasms, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps & travel sickness. It is a valuable expectorant in the treatment of bronchitis, colds & flu & it can reduce fevers. Great for helping relieve tired feet.
Oil of Pine
The clean, fresh smell is stimulating on the circulation. A good rub diluted for muscular aches, pains & stiffness. The invigorating, refreshing aroma helps dispel apathy, relieves mental fatigue & is uplifting when lethargic & listless. Inhalations are wonderful for colds, catarrhal conditions, including hay fever & sore throats.
Oil of Rosemary #
Refreshing rosemary is a circulatory stimulant, which is excellent for low blood pressure, muscle fatigue, poor circulation, aches, pains & strains. It acts as a tonic for the nervous system & is antidepressant. It helps relieve stress-related disorders, mental exhaustion & promotes mental clarity.
Oil of Tea Tree
Primarily an anti-infection oil, tea tree has antifungal, antibacterial & antiviral properties. It is often used for skin problems, such as spots, acne, warts, verrucae, athlete's foot, rashes, insect bites & other skin blemishes. The fresh scent is head clearing & good for respiratory infections, a natural insect repellent, vaporizing it is a good mosquito repellent & excellent for use on blemishes.
Oil of Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang is a sedative, an antidepressant & a tonic to the nervous system. Depression, anxiety, tension, irritability & stress-related insomnia can all benefit from its soothing properties. It helps to rebalance sebum production in oily skin, acne & both dry & greasy scalps. It can also be used to calm irritated skin, as well as bites & stings. It is reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
Using Aromatherapy oil on your skin...
Choose a light cold pressed vegetable or nut oil, such as almond or avocado.
For massage, dilute the essential oil in the seed oil.
For adults: Use up to 5 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (almond or avocado)
For children under 7: Use ½ the strength
For children under 3: Use ½ the strength
For babies: The only essential oils suitable for babies are chamomile, rose or lavender.
Using Aromatherapy oil in a bath...
Fill the bath with warm water before you add the oils.
For adults: Add 5-10 drops of essential oil (up to 3 different oils) to a full bath.
For children over 2 yrs: Use less than 4 drops
For babies: Use 1 drop
Using Aromatherapy oil for a steam inhalation...
Add 3-4 drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water. Bend over the bowl; cover your head with a towel & breathe deeply for a few minutes. You can also use this method as a facial sauna.
Using Aromatherapy oil in a vaporiser...
Add water & then 6-8 drops of essential oil to the vaporiser. Alternatively, add the oil to a bowl of water & place by the radiator.
Using Aromatherapy oil for a hot/cold compress...
Basic measurement - add 4-5 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot or cold water. Soak a folded clean cotton cloth in the water, wring out & apply over the affected area. If using a hot compress, cover the cloth with a warm towel & repeat when it cools.