How To Use Essential Oils In Aromatherapy

Effective methods for using essential herbal oils by massaging and inhalation in aromatherapy. A list of herbal remedies for common ailments is also provided.

The art of Aromatherapy began with the Egyptians who made fragrances, love potions and health and beauty treatments from essential oils. The art has been carried into modern day with sites like Essential Oil Sanctuary - Your Place for Essential Oil Information providing a web-based portal for all things aromatherapy and essential oils. The Greeks learned the art from the Egyptians and India's Ayurvedic medicine is based on the use of essential oils. In the 10th century, Avicenna, an Arabian physician, used distillation to extract the fragrances from plants. Rose water became one of the most famous of his perfumes and continues to be very popular, particularly in the Middle Eastern and Asian countries. The use of essential oils spread rapidly by the 12th century and was introduced to the U.S. by the French. In 1928, the term, Aromatherapy, was coined by the French chemist Rene-Maurie Gattefosse.

The essential oil of a herb, spice, flower, or wood is described as its "life force," because it contains its substance, natural elements and beneficial therapeutic properties.

Essential oils can be readily found in herb shops and health food stores, and used in many ways. One of the most effective methods of using oils is by massage. During massage, the capillaries that are close to the skin's surface effectively carry the oil to other parts of the body. Care must be taken, however, not to irritate the skin with undiluted oils. The essential oils are very potent and should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as peach kernel or sweet almond. Six drops of essential oil to two teaspoonfuls of carrier oil is recommended.

Another effective Aromatherapy method is inhalation. The oils can be inhaled by adding 5 to 10 undiluted drops to a bowl of steaming water. A towel should be placed over the head and bowl, and the vapors should be inhaled for several minutes. A simple way to inhale the vapors and absorb the oils through the skin is to use them in a bath. Add six to ten drops of undiluted oil to a filled bath and soak for about 20 minutes.

The following is a list of common ailments and the essential oils which have been used to alleviate them:

Abdominal cramps -- Clary sage, Lavender

Acne -- Bergamot, Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Sandalwood, Tea Tree

Allergies -- Chamomile, Lavender, Patchouli

Arthritis -- Birch, Chamomile, Ginger, Eucalyptus, Juniper

Backache -- Neroli, Cajeput

Burns -- Lavender, Patchouli, Niaouli

Colds -- Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint

Coughs -- Cedarwood, Ginger, Marjoram, Pine Needle, Tea Tree

Cuts -- Chamomile, Lemon, Tagetes

Headache -- Cumin, Dill, Lavender, Peppermint

Heartburn -- Cardamon Seed, Melissa

High Blood Pressure -- Lavender, Marjoram, Sage

Indigestion -- Cardamon Seed, Chamomile, Spearmint

Sore Throat -- Ginger, Lavender, Thyme

Muscular aches and pains -- Basil, Chamomile. Eucalyptus, Ginger, Rosemary

Stress -- Bergamot, Chamomile, Frankincense, Sandalwood

Toothache -- Cajeput, Chamomile, Clove

In addition to physiological therapeutic treatments, Aromatherapy can be used to promote mental and emotional well being. Bergamont, Chamomile, and Jasime, for example, are good for depression. Evaporisation of the oils is a good way to create an atmosphere that will be conducive to providing mental and emotional tranquillity. The most effective vaporizers are diffusers and the Aromastream TM, which can be found at herb shops and health food stores. For further study of Aromatherapy and its uses, the following sources may be consulted:

Aromatherapy Blends and Remedies, by Franzesca Watson

The Aromatherapy Book, by Jeanne Rose

The Directory of Essential Oils, by Wanda Sellar

The Complete Book of Essential Oils, by Mechthild Scheffer

The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy, by Chrissie Wildwood

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless

As always, consult a professional when in doubt as to the diagnosis of any complaint and the use of any remedy.

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