Essential Oils and aromatherapy have many important benefits for the body, mind and spirit. They made a renaissance in the early 1900’s in France with Margaret Maury a biochemist and wife of the famous ‘nature cure’ doctor. She espoused the use of the oils through the skin with massage so that the essential oils would go directly into the blood. Up to this point the essential oils were taken orally and prescribed by doctors.
Jean Valnet the French psychiatrist who treated patients using essential oils discovered their potency when he and a team of medics had to use Tea Tree Oil in operating rooms it was more effective in reducing bug count than disinfectants.
The words to describe these plant extracts – essential oils – is in fact a misnomer. Apart from the fruit oils such as Lemon Orange and Lime for example these extracts are made up of a myriad of chemicals; alcohols, terpines etc; Each essential oil is made up of up to seventy chemical compounds which is why they impart such health benefits to people. Therefore a mixture of essential oils in a vegetable oil is a very rejuvenating mixture.
Plant extracts from many different parts of the world are the basis for perfume. As they have up to seventy chemical compounds each, the act of blending them is quite an art requiring a good nose for different moods, emotions and personality types. Guerlain the French fragrance house is perhaps one of the best. They started with an endorsement from the Empress in 1828 and have passed this art form down through the generations and still use natural ingredients. Guerlain has a traditional understanding of the natural world vital forces and how they blend.
The olfactory nerve that senses smell is connected to the limbic part of the brain that is connected with mood. This is why probably every house in Scotland has an oil burner. Air fresheners are made with single chemicals called amines and have no health benefits. Smell deprivation has such a bad effect on mood – even NASA sends its astronauts to space with the essential oil of Basil, a renowned brain tonic.
Lavender has to be the universal essential oil and is the only essential oil that can be applied neat to the skin. In particular it is effective in healing skin burns. The immune system also benefits from its use as the oil stimulates the production of white blood cells. A couple of drops on some tissue paper in the car with one drop of peppermint will enlighten the inside of a car on a journey.
Wonderful for depressives this oil is a wonderful tonic for those feeling low. Acting as a major ingredient in cologne sprays the oil also is very good tonifier for the skin and in certain cases of acne it will improve the condition. Do not use in the sun as it will burn your skin as the oil is photosensitive. Bergamot essential oil has an antiseptic effect and is used to treat infections in the urinary tract area.
Relaxing is the first word to be used with patchouli. A couple of drops behind the ear will relax you enough to help bring on sleep. The oil is also excellent against stress that pummels your nervous system. Patchouli will help to bring stress levels back to normal and help you to relax.
Working primarily as an expectorant Rosemary is also a tonic and is a potent force against free radicals in the body. Even the food industry use the oil for it anti-oxidant abilities. The oil is excellent for early morning showers as a pick me up. Clears the mind and gives the body a gentle push to start your day.
Tea Tree Oil
This is the only essential oil that is anti-bactericidal, anti-fungal and anti-viral. I strongly recommend getting it for general use in the house. Athletes foot does not stand a chance against the anti-fungal it contains. A couple of drops around the flu season applied with some body lotion to the skin will boost the immunity of the body.
The addition of sandalwood to any blend of essential oils will make the whole synergy really sensual. Derived from the sap of the sandalwood tree the oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic and acts as an aphrodisiac. Both Rosemary and Sandalwood are good for stretch marks. Australian Sandalwood has been shown top be 25 times more effective than tea tree oil against bacteria that cause the common sore throat.
Aromatherapy Massage Oils
Usually essential oils are blended by drops into 30ml of vegetable oil. Normally therapists use sweet almond oil as it is light to use and on the body. One can use up to ten drops per blend of a selection of five essential oils. Its best to make it up before a bath and then to apply it to the skin and jump into bed and leave the oils seep in to you imparting their benefits.
As regards burners my suggestion is to use a couple of drops of Lemongrass during the day or night to perk you up. Lemongrass is wonderfully powerful as a deodorizer so I think it will be of valuable use and alternative to those using house sprays. For calming effects one should use lavender as it is well liked by everybody and may help you or the kids to get to sleep.
Ralph Quinlan Forde