Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils distilled from plants to promote a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. Massage, bathing, vaporisation and inhalation are the usual methods of use.
Essential oils are used by Aromatherapists generally in the process of massage. Essential oils are blended with a carrier oil to create a mixture which can be used directly on the body. The blend will depend of the clients needs and condition Often their use is also recommended for bathing and burning in a water solution over a candle to clean and purify the air and to effect improvements in a persons breathing and general well being.
Pure essential oils are extremely concentrated. Before using pure essential oils virtually all will need to be diluted in a carrier oil to avoid any skin reactions and provide the lubrication necessary to help disperse them evenly.
If essential oils are used in skin and body care, carrier oils can also be moisturising, nourishing and protecting. Oils such as baby oil should not be used to dilute essential oils.
The essential oil basics and there uses
Reduces swelling; treats allergic symptoms; relieves stress, insomnia, and depression; useful in treating digestive problems.
Lowers fever; clears sinuses; has antibacterial and antiviral properties; relieves coughs; useful for boils and pimples.
Lessens laryngitis and coughs; fights bladder and skin infections; relieves digestive problems and pain in the joints.
This is one of the most diverse and commonly used oils. Helps to heal burns and cuts; destroys bacteria; relieves depression, inflammation, spasms, headaches, respiratory allergies, muscle aches, nausea, menstrual cramps; soothes bug bites; lowers blood pressure.
Cymbopogon Citratus (Family, Poaceae [Gramineae])
A refreshing, cleansing and stimulating tonic on the body, and added to shampoos aids in adding a shine to the hair. An antiseptic and astringent oil. Sweet powerful 'lemony' aroma which make a good refreshing and deodorising room fragrance. Warning Dilute to 1% and use only 3 drops in a bath as it may cause irritation of the skin.
Citrus Limonum (Family, Rutaceae)
Widely used in beauty care. It cleanses, refreshes, cools and stimulates. Astringent and antiseptic oil. Useful for oily skin. Can be used to lighten dull, stained hands or to tone and condition nails and cuticles. Blends well with other oils. Warning Do not use lemon on the skin in direct sunlight. Dilute to 1% and use only 3 drops in a bath as it may cause irritation of the skin.
Aloysia citriodora, A. triphylla, Lippia citriodora, L. tripohylla, Verbena triphylla
Used in perfumery and liqueurs. Mood uplifting, revitalising and promotes mental clarityand alertness. Warning This is a photosensitising oil, do not use before going into the sun. Can be irritating to those with sensitive skin.
Citrus Aurantifolia (Family, Rutaceae)
Acts like lemon and the other citrus oils, Nice aroma. Warning Do not use lime on the skin in direct sunlight, however if the essential oil of lime is distilled rather that expressed, then it does not have a phototoxic effect. Dilute to 1% and use only 3 drops in a bath as it may cause irritation of the skin.
Tilia europaea. T. vulgaris> (Family, Tiliaceae)
One of the floral absolutes. Used for calming and stress reduction and a tonic for the nervous system. Warning Linden Blossom should not be used over a long period of time.
Litsea citrata, L. cubeba (Family, Lauraceeae)
A cooling oil, used to improve digestion and to promote a restful sleep. Warning Can be an irritant so those with sensitive skins should use small amounts with caution.
Angelica levisticum, Levisticum officinale, Ligusticum levisticum (Family, Apiaceae)
Know in Europe as "Love parsley" it is reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities and to purify and aid in the reduction of cellulite.
Citrus Noblis (Family, Rutaceae)
The fruits were once traditional gifts offered to the Chinese Mandarins - Hence the name. A gentle and calming oil, good for oily skin. Known in France as "the children's remedy" for its mildness - use it in massage for the digestive system and, like Lavender, can be used in massage oil to help prevent stretch marks. Do not use Mandarin on the skin in direct sunlight.
(Leptospermum or New Zealand Tea Tree)
Used for years by the Maori's this herbs oil has may qualities similiar to Tea tree. Calming and reduces stress and tension. Relieves aches and pains, relaxes tight muscles. Healing to the skin. Some say that, like lavender and Tea Tree, it may be used neat on the skin.
Tagetes Glandulifera (or T. minuta or T. putuh) (Family, Asteraceae [Compositae])
Very good anti fungal and good for smelly feet! A rather pungent aroma so it helps to blend it with the citrus oils and Lavender.
Marjoram (Spanish & Sweet)
Origanum Marjorana, Majorana hortensis,(Sweet) Thymus mastichina (Spanish) (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
Used by the ancient Greeks. It soothes, comforts and warms. Useful on tired muscles and for massaging on abdomen during menstruation. Used to regulate the nervous system and treat insomnia. Add to After-Sports Rub. It is pleasant in a hot bath, especially blended with Lavender. Warning Do not use during pregnancy. Care must be taken due to its sedative action, so use sparingly!
Thymus Masticina (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
Used in a massage oil for sensitive skin. (Marjoram hortensis, called sweet marjoram, is the commonly used cooking herb) Warning Avoid use if pregnant.
Cryptocarya massoia (Family, Lauraceae)
Used in improving circulation and reputed to have some aphrodisiac qualities. Hightens the senses. Warning Can be irritating to the skin.
Milissa Officinalis (Family, Labiatae)
A popular garden herb known also as 'Lemon Balm'. Soothing but uplifting effect on mind and body. Comforting oil during the cold season and when there is a high pollen count. Large amounts, 300 pounds of fresh lemon balm plants to yield 10ml of oil Most oils you find are Blends. Warning Do not use Melissa on the skin in direct sunlight. Dilute to 1% and use only 3 drops in a bath as it may cause irritation of the skin. The oil has a lemony aroma and sharp, floral-lemon flavor.
Acacia dealbata, A. decurrens (Family Mimosaceae)
An anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory and used as part of a skin moisturising regime.
Artemisa vulgaris (Family, Asteraceae)
Believed to assist in promoting vivid dreams. Used to regulate and balance female cycles. It is also believed to promote one's psychic powers.
Commiphora Myrrha, C. Molmol, Balsamodendrom myrra (Family, Burseraceae)
The sap or resin from a tree rather than a true essential oil. A smokey, mysterious oil, centering, visualizing and meditative. One of the oldest-known perfume materials. Myrrh has a long history of use as incense, especially with frankincense. Add to cream for protecting against cracking and chapping in the cold. Add to gargle and mouthwash. Used as a fixitive in perfumery Warning During pregnancy use Myrrh only in moderation.
Myrtus communis (Family, Mytraceae)
This is helpful in meditation and mood revitalising. Helps to clear the sinus and breathing passages.
Citrus Aurantium (Family, rutaceae)
One of the Beautiful floral oils. It soothes, relaxes, uplifts the spirit and helps maintain confidence. Exquisite aroma. Excellent skincare oil, perfect for ageing, dry sensitive skin and on scars and stretch marks. Sensual properties. Is an aid to improve sluggish circulation, relieves tension, stress and anxiety, useful for apprehension like stage fright. For a really luxurious blend mix with Rose Absolute and Jasmine Absolute oils.
Melaleuca Viridiflora, M. quinquenirvia (Family, Myrtaceae)
This oil has a sweet, fresh fragrance. Strongly antiseptic, it is useful for treating acne, boils and other skin irritations. It is used as a chest rub and is good when vaporised.
Myristica aromata, M. fragrans, M. officinalis, Nux moschata. (Family, Myristicaceae)
Good for the digestion and calming to promote a restful sleep with dreams. Warning Nutmeg oil is toxic if used in large quantities, and can be stupefying.
Citrus Sinensis (Family, Rutaceae)
A Pleasant winter oil. It soothes, restores and uplifts the spirit. A Warming 'jolly' oil. Blend with spicy oils for cheering baths. Add to massage oil for digestive system. Believed to brighten dull complexions. Encourages sleep.
Origanum vulgare (Family,Lamiaceae)
Quite a useful oil in that is is warming and assists improvement of circulation, digestion, mental clarity and alertness. It relieves muscle aches and pains and assists in increasing physical endurance and energy. But it increases perspiration. It may assist in reducing cellulite. Warning Can be irritating to sensitive skin so only use small amounts.
Mentha piperta (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
Alleviates digestive problems; cleans wounds; decongests the chest; relieves headache, neuralgia, and muscle pain; useful for motion sickness. One of the most important essential oils. It stimulates, refreshes, cools, restores and uplifts mind and body. Add to a massage blend for the digestive system. Excellent for refreshing tired head and feet. Sniff from bottle or one drop on handkerchief to revive during travel. Add few drops to car dashboard to help stay alert, clear thinking and fresh. Blended with Rosemary and Juniper it makes an excellent morning bath. Do not use Peppermint when pregnant. dilute to 1% Peppermint and use no more than 3 drops in the bath as it may cause irritation to sensitive skins.
Citrus aurantium, C. bigaradia (Family, Rutaceae)
Another oil from the same trees as Neroli/orange blossom though Pettigrain is distilled from the leaves rather than the petals. Relaxes, restores, cleanses, and uplifts the spirit. Similar properties to Neroli, it has deodorant properties and helps to relieve anxiety and stress. Lovely aroma. Good in final rinse for healthy hair, (two drops). blends well with Rosemary, Geranium, Lavender and Bergamot as well as with Orange and Neroli.
Pinus sylvestris (Family, Pinaceae)
From the needles, young twigs and cones of the Pine tree. It stimulates, refreshes and cleanses. With a strong, fresh, resinous aroma it has a powerful antiseptic quality and is widely used. It has a deodorant affect and is often used in commercial preparations.
Rosa damascena (Family, Rosaceae)
Known as the Queen of oils. With 'Feminine' properties, emotionally soothing, it tones, cleanses, uplifts the spirit and helps maintain self confidence. Excellent skincare oil, perfect for dry/mature, ageing or thread veined skin. It has been renowned throughout the centuries as having Sensual and even Aphrodisiac properties. Exquisite aroma. Another Expensive oil that needs only a small amount to be affective. It can be a very sticky oil at room temperature and goes solid at relatively high temperatures, but warming in the hands or other more interesting warm places soon makes it more liquid. Seldom used in commercial products, where a cheaper synthetic is used, to the detriment of the appreciation of the properties of the real oil. Warning Avoid using during the first four months of pregnancy.
Rosa damascena (Family, Rosaceae)
A warm, intense, immensely rich fragrance. Rose oil is one of the oldest and best known of all essential oils. It is used in all types of perfumes to lend beauty and depth to the aroma. A drop or two in a massage, facial, or bath oil creates a luxurious, soothing experience. The oil is also used in skin creams, powders, and lotions. It is a romantic, creative, gently cheering oil. Warning Avoid using during the first four months of pregnancy.
Rosemarinus officinalis, R. coronarium (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
Relieves pain; increases circulation; ; relieves pain,
indigestion, gas, and liver problems; lessens swelling;
fights infection; helps alleviate depression. A popular
oil in Aromatherapy where it revives, warms, stimulates
and restores. Excellent for refreshing tired muscles, decongests
the chest feet and mind, allowing concentration. Perfect
in Pre and Post sports rubs to maintain suppleness. Helps
combat water retention and cellulite. Good hair tonic.
An 'ideal pick me up'. Combats fatigue and clears stuffy
atmosphere. Warning Do not use Rosemary when pregnant,
having high blood pressure, or suffering from epilepsy.
It may cause irritation of the skin.
Aniba Rosaeodora (Family, Lauraceae)
Also known as Bois De Rose. A pleasant and flowery aroma. Relaxing and deodorising. Add to massage oil to help combat tired muscles -especially after vigorous exercise. Has a steadying and balancing affect on nerves, useful during exams. A good anti-depressant and may help migraine and ward off general malaise. Due to the destruction of the hardwood rainforests where the trees come from ensure that your oil comes from Waste Plantation grown wood.
Salvia Officinalis (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
A useful regulator of the central nervous system. May help with menstrual and digestive disorders. Warning Do not use Sage when pregnant or suffering from epilepsy.
Santalum Album (Family, Santalaceae)
Musky, rich, exotic oils not initially strong aroma, but persistent, traditionally burnt as an aid to meditation and much used in religious ceremonies. Creates an exotic, sensual atmosphere with a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Excellent skincare oil. useful for dry and damaged hair and as a body fragrance.
Mentha spicata, M. viridis (Family, Lamiaceae [Labiatae])
Energizing to the mind and body. Use in bath water for it's refreshing effect. Make a facial steam of spearmint oil in a pot of boiling water to help cleanse and refine pores. It is refreshing, cooling, gently vitalizing.
St. John's Wort
Hypericum perforatum (Family Guttiferae)
Now becoming known as a good anti-depressant. It is calming and stress reducing. It is said to lift the mood, is an euphoric and improves mental clarity. Good for reducing aches and pain and menstrual discomfort. Warning St. John's Wort is phototoxic so should not be used before going out in the sun.
Citrus reticulata (Family, Rutaceae)
A sweet tangy aroma. Used as an astringent for oily skin. Tangerine is also used in drinks and desserts. Warning Avoid use in sun.
Artemisia dracunculus (Family, Asteraceae)
Stimulates digestion; calms neural and digestive tracts; relieves menstrual symptoms and stress
Melaleuca alternifolia, M. linariifolia, M.uncintata (Family, Myrtaceae)
Fights fungal, yeast, and bacterial infections; useful for skin conditions such as acne, insect bites, and burns; helps clear vaginitis, bladder infections, and thrush. Powerful antiseptic, antifungal and anti-viral. Good for acne, cold sores, warts, and burns. Ideal for vaporising to kill germs. Useful cleansing agent for skin. Helps combat foot odour and athletes foot. Ti Tree, as it is also known, has a wide range of uses, including some aids related illnesses, and further reading is recommended. Warning May cause irritation to sensitive skins.
Thymus Vulgaris (Family, Lamiaceae (Labiatea)
Long known since ancient times as a medicinal and culinary herb. Vaporise as a household disinfectant. It has a strong pungent aroma and is said that it can ward off rodents and get rid of fleas. Warning Do not use Thyme when pregnant or having high blood pressure. Dilute to no more than 2% Thyme before use. It may cause irritation to sensitive skins.
Vetivera zizanoides, Andropogon muricatus(Family, Poaceae [Gramineae])
Sometimes known as Vetiver. A deeply relaxing, soothing oil for the mind and body. Earthy, smokey aroma, which is more pleasant when diluted. Assists in reducing blood pressure. Sensual properties. Blends subtly with Lavender, Sandalwood and Jasmine.
Gualtheria Promcumbens (Family, (Family, Ericaceae)
Afresh, cleansing minty aroma. Warnings Harmful or fatal if taken internally. As little as one teaspoon can be fatal if ingested by a child. Dilute well, skin irritant. Avoid if pregnant.
Achillea Millefolium (Family, Asteraceae [Compositae])
Has seditive properties. Used for a wide variety of complaints, including chest infections, digestive problems and nervous exhaustion. The Chinese use it for menstural problems and in Scandinavia it is used for Rhumatism. It is also used for skin complaint including acne, reducing scaring for burns and cuts.
Cananga Odorata (Family, Annonaceae)
'Flower of flowers' and often called 'The poor person's Jasmine'. A Sweet Exotic oil, long used for its sensual properties. Soothing and relaxing during times of tension and stress. Ideal for both oily and dry skins and as a hair rinse [2 drops in rinse water].