The use of aromatherapy for cosmetic, culinary, practical and medicinal uses has been recorded for centuries. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks are just a few who recorded, sometimes in significant detail, their use of aromatherapy; some as early as 350BC. Today we are far more sceptical and questioning about every aspect of our lives including medicinal cures and it can be frustrating when there appears to be different and conflicting messages especially on the internet. Always try to be aware of the properties of any oils that you use.
If we have a serious medical problem then conventional medicine and Doctors must be our first port of call. Here in the UK we are lucky to have this amazing health service, not perfect but always there when needed. For those aches and pains and troubles that are not serious then trying alternatives is part of the learning process. In the end if it helps and cannot harm then why not try something different.
If you check in your garden then approximately 80% of your plants will be herbs and have some kind of healing property. It is probably safe to say that today’s synthetic medicines have their beginning in plants although our scientific advancements and creation of synthetic alternatives are constantly taking medication to a new level. Whichever way you look at it plants have been part of our lives since the beginning of time and so has the practice of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the extraction of the pure oil and essence of the plant either from flower, bark or leaves. Good quality pure essential oils are strong and will affect you in some way. Over the years there have been, and still are, trials of using pure essential oils in medical scenarios today. For example there have been clinical trials in the fight against MRSA and other developing infectious agents found in hospitals. Some oils were found to kill MRSA and E.coli almost instantly, while a third was found to act over a longer period of time. .
Tea tree has been widely accepted as an effective germ killer including airborne germs so for an effective blend add tea tree to white thyme and red thyme, then add eucalyptus, brilliant for clearing the sinuses, and some lavender to take away some astringency from the combination and you have a very effective mix that in a diffuser or oil burner will help clean the air of germs in a sick room. The tannins found in eucalyptus have astringent properties that reduce mucous membrane inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Eucalyptol, the chemical component of the oil, works to loosen phlegm. In addition, when inhaled eucalyptus fumes open the Eustachian tubes, helping to drain fluid, ease pressure and ease earache.
Lemon is also a strong anti bacterial and an antiseptic. Use cheap or old lemons to clean your wooden bread boards and working surfaces in the kitchen. Make an effective hand wash using pure essential oil of lemon, carrier oil and salt (to thicken the mixture and add and abrasive). Use lemon in your oil burner or diffuser blend to help clean the air.
During the hay fever season roman chamomile essential oil offers some welcome relief to sufferers when inhaled from a tissue due to its anti-allergen effect. It offers similar relief to allergic rhinitis and dust allergy sufferers, bringing soothing comfort to irritated and inflamed nasal passages. In a similar way it calms and soothes the airways for asthma sufferers too. Chamomile is also known to calm skin and even lessen the appearance and irritation of eczema. If you have chamomile in the garden, dry the flowers and store in an air tight container. Make up a Tbag with a piece of light cotton or cheesecloth material and soak in a warm bath to help relieve irritated skin. This is a good option for children. Use pure essential oil of chamomile in massages and for an even better result mix with the Queen of oils, rose absolute, also known for calming the skin.
For scarring and damaged skin tissue there a few specialist oils; frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, rose and helichrysum. Use one or a combination of these pure essential oils for healing scar tissue, whether from a recent wound or older scarring. Also use on stretch marks and acne scars. Never massage in the direction of a scar, massage across the scar tissue in a gentle circular motion. Another skin softener and healer that is used extensively by aromatherapists, especially in a hospice environment, is pure aloe vera gel. With no perfume or colour it is ideal for many applications.
For muscular problems there are a number of pure essential oils that you can consider. If the muscle problems are the result of exercise then try a mix of black pepper, ginger, rosemary and juniper pure essential oils in a carrier oil for your massage. Interestingly black pepper was used by the Romans as an aphrodisiac. When Rome fell to the barbarians apparently the barbarians demanded horses, money and 300 lbs of black pepper. The Romans also carried myrrh to help heal wounds and fennel to ward off evil spirits and kill fleas!
Pure essential oils can help heal the mind as well as the body. For depression use an oil that is both calming and uplifting with the ability to give clarity. The amazing sandalwood is said to reduce tension and confusion whilst giving a feeling of harmony. Myrrh is said to ease negative emotions. Marjoram Spanish is said to strengthen the mind. Jasmine will soothe the nerves and produce a feeling of confidence and optimism, while also restoring energy and rose can stimulate memory function and is an uplifting and beautiful aroma.
If you need a pick me up to help in your exercise routine or just give you enough energy to clean the house, then use any of the citrus pure essential oils. Colour therapy also suggests that you should wear a yellow or orange T shirt to exercise in for added energy.
Let’s not forget the sensual oils such as ylang ylang, sandalwood and of course patchouli. However be aware patchouli in small doses is sensual, in larger does may knock you out!
A word of warning; there is a huge amount written about aromatherapy on the internet and some of it is conflicting and some bordering on dangerous. Please do not underestimate the strength of pure essential oils and carefully research an oil before use. Never put pure essential oil directly onto the skin always mix in a carrier oil first and use sparingly if pregnant, not at all up to 4 months. Plus we all have different sensitivities to smell so test first. If in doubt talk to a qualified practitioner.
MAKE YOUR OWN MUSCLE EASE MASSAGE OIL
This is a tried and tested recipe and has received good feedback to ease back pain and general muscle pain.
100 ml glass bottle with dropper or similar
100 ml Evening Primrose oil
7 drops Pine (Pinesea) pure essential oil
7 drops Rosemary pure essential oil
7 drops Marjoram (sweet) pure essential oil
7 drops Fennel pure essential oil
2 drops Neroli pure essential oil (optional)
The Evening Primrose oil has been chosen as the base because of its benefits for skin. This mix would not be true without Rosemary, said to be beneficial for muscle pain, cramps and sprains. Marine Pine (Pinesea) has been used mostly for its analgesic properties and is said to help ease arthritis. Marjoram is also used for its properties to help relax tense muscles and ease rheumatic problems. Fennel to help with removing toxins released by the massage and adding a couple of drops of neroli will complete the relaxation and ease the muscle pain.
The action of massage in itself can often ease strained or tight muscle and the above mix will hopefully make you feel even better and help ease those aches and pains. It is beneficial to warm a massage blend first for better absorption plus it is easier to get it out of the bottle. Alternatively add a few drops to your bath and soak away the pain.