Essential Oils for Specific Ailments – Part 2

Emotional/Psychological

Insomnia: Lavender, marjoram, clary sage, chamomile, sweet orange, sandalwood or cistus can relax you and help you achieve a deeper, more refreshing sleep.

Depression: Citrus oils like sweet orange, pink grapefruit, neroli, tangerine, bergamot, and florals like rose, geranium, ylang, ylang and jasmine in particular, are especially helpful     [Read more…]

Essential Oils for Specific Ailments – Part 1

Physical/Physiological

Digestion: Sweet fennel, peppermint, lemon or ginger can help relieve indigestion. Chamomile can be used to relieve stomach cramps. Coriander, peppermint or cardamom can help relieve constipation.

Respiratory: Eucalyptus, myrtle, naiouli, peppermint, rosemary or cajeput can bring relief from congestion due to colds, flu or allergies.

Infection: Tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme, oregano, savory, clove, lavender & palmarosa are all strong anti-infectious oils that support the immune system. Some of these oils can be skin irritants so use with extreme caution. Consult a professional for best results.      [Read more…]

Aromatherapy for Health & Wellness: An Overview – Part 2

How Essential Oils Work in the Body

Essential oils have a fine molecular structure that can easily penetrate the outer layers of the skin, pores and the olfactory system carrying vital information to the blood, organs, tissue, memory, and emotional centers of the body.

Once within your system, essential oils work to re-establish harmony and revitalize those systems or organs that are malfunctioning or out of balance. Their effects are many and varied but they are well known primarily for their antiseptic properties, their role in stimulating healthy cell renewal, and their ability to restore balance and harmony to both body and mind — stress relief in particular.     [Read more…]

Safety Tips & Precautions for Working with Essential Oils – Part 2

Continuing on our last post, following are 7 additional safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Take extra care not to get oils or vapors in the eye. If you accidentally get some in your eye, soak a hankie or paper towel in a fatty carrier oil (i.e. sweet almond, sunflower, safflower, or even olive oil) and wipe the eye gently with it to soak up the essential oil. Essential oils are not water soluble but are readily absorbed by fatty substances. If you only have access to water then go ahead and flush the eye with cool water. Just be aware that relief may take a little longer!
  2. Avoid using essential oils while under medication, or if you have a health condition like high blood pressure, epilepsy or even asthma, unless they are used under the guidance and supervision of a trained health care professional
  3. Don’t ingest essential oils unless you are under the supervision of a medical doctor or a trained and certified aromatherapist or naturopath. Safe ingestion of oils requires significant training and experience, do not attempt this on your own!!
  4. Certain oils should be avoided during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, and some essential oils should be avoided altogether due to their toxicity. Oils that are safe to use during pregnancy include Rose, Neroli, Jasmine Absolute, Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Sandalwood, Frankincense, and all citrus oils. To be safe, it’s probably best to avoid these oils during the first trimester too.
  5. Oils to avoid altogether include Ajowan, Arnica, Boldo, Buchu, Calamus, Camphor, Horseradish, Jaborandi, Mustard, Pennyroyal, Rue, Santolina, Sassafras, Spanish Broom, Tonka, Wormseed, and Wormwood. It is highly unlikely that you will readily come across these essential oils, but if you do, avoid them because they are highly toxic. Also, most essential oil marketed as Wintergreen is not true Wintergreen and should be avoided as well.
  6. The following essential oils are known to be either mucous membrane or skin irritants and should be used with caution: Allspice, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Pimento, Savory, and Thyme (except for the Linalol variety).
  7. Always stay within the established guidelines for dilutions in all aromatherapy applications (see our blending guidelines or refer to our recommended reading list for more information on this topic).

Read more at Safety Tips & Precautions for Working with Essential Oils – Part 1.

Safety Tips & Precautions for Working with Essential Oils – Part 1

Pure essential oils are entirely “natural” substances. The fact that they are natural doesn’t mean that they are all good for us or that they can be used in any quantity or manner. Just as certain herbs and plants can be toxic or even poisonous, there are essential oils that are toxic or can be toxic if they are not used in accordance with generally accepted guidelines.

Anyone who practices or wants to practice aromatherapy should be fully aware of certain hazards and precautions involved in the use of essential oils. Below is a summary of the main safety concerns and precautions to keep in mind.

  1. Always use pure, unadulterated essential oils. Purchase them from a trustworthy and reliable source who can verify their authenticity.
  2. Keep oils stored in dark bottles, tightly sealed, and away from sources of heat and light to prolong their potency and lifespan.
  3. Keep essential oils out of reach of young children at all times.
  4. Many essential oils can be highly irritating to the skin if applied undiluted. Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to skin. Lavender and Tea Tree are the exception to this rule. These two EOs can be applied “neat” (i.e. directly) to the skin for the treatment of minor burns, cuts, scrapes or other skin eruptions, except in individuals with extremely sensitive skin.
  5. If you are sensitive or highly allergic, perform a skin “patch” test before applying any oils. Place a drop of the essential oil in question on your upper chest area or in the crook of your arm. Wait 12 hours for signs of a reaction. If redness, itching or swelling occurs, avoid using that essential oil.
  6. Some citrus essential oils especially Bergamot, can cause photosensitivity of the skin if used prior to exposure to ultraviolet light. Oils to avoid on the skin if you plan to be out in the sun for awhile are Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Lime (cold-pressed), Lemon (cold-pressed), Grapefruit (cold-pressed), and Lemon Verbena (distilled Lime, Lemon, and Grapefruit oils do not pose this hazard). If you apply one of these oils to your skin then avoid UV exposure for at least four hours.
  7. Some essential oils may be harmful if used in their undiluted state over a prolonged period of time. If you use essential oils on a regular basis, it’s best to vary the oils you use every few weeks to avoid over-exposure to the chemical constituents of any specific oil.

Read more at Safety Tips & Precautions for Working with Essential Oils – Part 2.

Methods for Using Essential Oils & Blends

Each essential oil has its own unique properties and benefits. Used individually they can be very effective, but when blended with two or more complementary oils, their combined effect is more powerful than that of each individual oil. This is what’s commonly known as a “synergistic blend.” Depending on the desired results, either inhalation or direct application is suitable. Direct application is good for the physical body and will help with things like pain management, circulation, digestion, relaxation, and skin conditions. When applied by a professional massage therapist, benefits can be deep and long lasting. Essential oils can also be effectively used in massage therapy to release emotional blockages.

For inhalation, there are a couple of methods commonly employed to dispense the essential oils, including hot and cold diffusion, misters, hot baths or inhalers. A diffuser or mister quickly fragrances the air and is excellent for scenting a room to enhance mood, aid in respiration, increase alertness, or clear out unwanted odors.     [Read more…]

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Like the use of dried or fresh herbs in herbalism, aromatherapy draws on the healing powers of the plant world, but instead of using the whole or part of a plant, it uses only the plant’s essential oil. Essential oils are approximately 75-100 times more concentrated than dried herbs, which is why only very small amounts are typically needed to be effective.

In aromatherapy, inhalation, topical application, massage, and baths are the principal methods used to introduce essential oils into the body. Through these methods essential oils work to improve health on many different levels including physical, emotional, energetic, cellular, and spiritual.     [Read more…]

Guidelines for Using or Blending Essential Oils

Most essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil in a 2 – 5% concentration for direct application (topical or massage). The majority of body care applications fall within the 2-3% range while more therapeutic applications call for higher concentrations in the 4-6% range. Applications for infants, young children, pregnant women, and the elderly should be made at a lower concentration (1%).

Here are some guidelines for different dilutions:     [Read more…]