Essential oils are plant extracts obttained from steam distillation. You'll hear the term 'aromatherapy' which means using these fragrant oils extracted from aromatic plants.However there's more to it than just a 'pretty smell'.
Each essential oil has a unique chemical composition, which means there are different effects on your body. There are specific chemcial compounds inside particualr oils that work on calming your brain. You're probably familiar with lavender oil being used for stress, first aid, relaxation and to feel calmer.
Essential oils can be applied in diluted form to the skin through creams, gels, sprays and tonics or inhaled through a diffuser in the room. Essential oils are absorbed by the skin and travel through our noses to the brain to the limbic system associated with emotions, instinctive behaviour, motivation, drive, feelings, learning & memory. THis si why you might travel back in time to a childhood memory when you inhale a certian oil eg rosemary, or cinnamon from your granny's kitchen.
Essential oils work on four levels - physical, emotional, mental & spiritual levels.
The word Aromatherapy comes from the French ?aromatherapie? first used by French chemist Gattefosse.
Here are some essential oils to use to help you stay calm and focused - during the pandemic, writing or studying for exams, moving home, getting married or divorced, starting a new business, or dealing with pressures at work:
CHAMOMILE (ROMAN) - Chamaemelum nobile
Good for - nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, skin conditions, menstrual issues, arthritis, hay fever
Psychological & spiritual properties - helps us foster a more 'sunny' disposition, self nurture, let go of self criticism, resentment & the need to blame others
CLARY SAGE - Salvia sclarea
Good for - anxiety, depression, nervous tension, PMT, menstrual issues, muscular issues, aches, pains
Psychological & spiritual properties - clears the mind, dispels illusion, indecision, emotional confusion, releases constriction & allows inspiration to flow
Contraindications - avoid with pregnancy (good during labour though) & hormonal dependent cancer
FRANKINCENSE - Boswellia carteri
Good for - nervous tension, worry, anxiety, depression, insomnia, respiratory issues, muscle stiffness, aches, pains, tissue repair / skin care
Psychological & spiritual properties - helps us to let go of the past, break free of personal restriction & over attachment. Calming & centring it's great for aiding meditation & focusing spiritual contemplation
GERANIUM - Pelargonium graveolens
Good for - nervous system, irritability, headaches, menopausal issues, skin conditions, fungal issues
Psychological & spiritual properties - helps reconnect us with our emotions & capacity for communication. Good for nervous exhaustion especially with those experiencing stress, overwork & a tendency for perfectionism
GRAPEFRUIT - Citrus paradisi
Good for - cleansing, decongesting, cellulite, lymph flow, digestion, bowel function, nervous tension, oily skin conditions
Psychological & spiritual properties - dealing with difficult emotions & comfort eating / the need to feel full, high expectations, anger & self criticism, heavy feelings & disappointment, acceptance of more realistic goals
Contraindications - avoid on skin for 12 hours before exposure to sun or sunbeds
LAVENDER - Lavandula angustifolia
Good for - calms the mind, tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headache, skin conditions & care, fungal issues, muscle discomfort, joint pain, PMT, menstrual issues, arthritis, digestion & bowel function, gently benefits the respiratory system & immunity / infection, hay fever
Psychological & spiritual properties - an ?Aromatic Rescue Remedy? it's indicated as a habit breaker & crisis smoother, calms emotions that overwhelm us, alleviates self-conscious reserve & helps us fulfil our creative potential
LEMON - Citrus limonum
Good for - lethargy, nausea, flatulence, constipation, poor appetite, cellulite, broken capillaries, varicose veins, colds, flu, catarrh
Psychological & spiritual properties - focus, clarity, uplifting, cools emotional confusion & doubt, encourages trust & security, opens the heart centre encouraging release of fear
Contraindications - avoid on skin for 12 hours before exposure to sun or sunbed
ORANGE - Citrus sinensis
Good for - digestive discomfort, flatulence, nausea, IBS, constipation, nervous tension, worry, insomnia, poor appetite
Psychological & spiritual properties - conveys joy & positivity, good for those that try too hard & find it difficult to delegate or think that things are bound to go wrong, helps us to be more easy going & embodies good luck
ROSEMARY - Rosmarinus officinalis
Good for - lethargy, circulation, concentration, study, memory, digestive issues, colds, flu, catarrh, muscular stiffness, aches, pains
Psychological & spiritual properties - dispels apathy & gloom, renews enthusiasm & self-confidence, strengthens self-worth, warms the spirits, makes us bold & remember our true path
Contraindications - do not use at more than a 2% dilution on the skin & avoid with pregnancy, breastfeeding, high blood pressure & migraines
Pick the oils that appeal to you. Make up a blend for use in the bath (12 drops in total added to some full fat milk, honey or a vegetable oil), 20 drops inside an inhalation stick, 6-12 drops in a room doiffuser, 4-6 drops onto a hanky in your pocket, or 3 drops per teaspoon of base oil.
Base oils to apply to the skin include argan, jojoba, calendula, sesame, almond, hazelnut, Kukjui, cacay, macadamia or marula oil. For every 10ml of base oil, add 3-4 drops of essential oil. Store in a small glass bottle. Can be applied to your hands,arms, back, tummy, legs, face, neck. Rememebr to label your bottle with date, essential oisla dn base blend.
Never apply essential oils neat to the skin. They can sting, burn and casue allergic reactions. Do not believ blog posts written by gung ho MLM sellers - essential oils are potent and desrve to be treated with respect. It takes kilograms of raw plant to produce a single drop of essential oil - you would never eat a kilogram of rosemary or lavender buds in one meal would you?
The only essential oilssuitable for use on children of 6 months is chamomile oil and this is exremely diluted eg 1 drop of chamomile into 20 or 30ml of jojoba oil. Instead I recommend you use hydrosols as a mist for young children - more subtle and less skin reactions.
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Author: Wendy Gardner - Glow Skincare
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