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Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Updated on August 10, 2015

Aromatherapy and Its Origins

Through history Aromatherapy has been used to uplift mood and spirit. There are many herbs and flowers that are used in Aromatherapy and shared in Herbalism as well. Many cultures believe that Aromatherapy can be used for healing various ailments. Much of what is written today about Aromatherapy is derived from ancient texts that go way back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome. Uses of essential oils are also mentioned in the Bible. In later centuries, such as the Dark Ages and all the way into the Renaissance, Aromatherapy was well practiced and refined.

The term Aromatherapy wasn't created until 1937 by a French chemist-perfumer named Rene Maurice Gattefosse. He had an accident in his lab in 1910 where he burned his hand. He used what he had available to soothe the burn which was 100% pure lavender oil. Over a period of time he found that the lavender oil healed his hand with no scaring and eased his pain. He also discovered essential oils can be absorbed by the body and that they combine with the body's chemistry.

I use this to burn essential oils.
I use this to burn essential oils. | Source

Ways to Use Aromatherapy in Healing

There are so many herbs and flowers used in Aromatherapy and ways to use them because of their healing properties. They are hailed in Folk Medicine and in what is considered Alternative Medicine today. Aromatherapy can be used by three different methods:

1. Inhalation- Through steam from a bath, vapors from a diffuser, or from making a simple spray by adding several drops of essential oil to alcohol and spring water.

2. Internal Use- Through a tincture of essential oils which is diluted with spring water or alcohol. However, there can be dangers using this method because of possibly being poisoned by allergic reaction, drug interaction, or overdose. Only consult with a certified Herbalist and your doctor prior to taking anything internally.

3. Direct Application- Through massage with essential oils or a compress. When using for massage or compress you must dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil like olive oil or jojoba oil because the essential oil itself is too concentrated for direct application.

It really depends on what you prefer and what you find the most convenient and or pleasing at the time of use.

A List of My 10 Favorite Essential Oils

Here is a list of essential oils that I have been using for years. I think they are the most practical and useful of the essential oils. I have listed them in alphabetical order along with their common uses:

1. Chamomile (Roman)- treats earaches, skin irritations, menstrual cramps, and depression. It's anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

2. Eucalyptus: Used for arthritis, bronchitis, colds, flu, sinusitis, fever, headaches, and poor circulation. It's anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and analgesic.

3. Juniper Berry- Kills airborne germs and purifies the air when used in a spray or diffuser. Used for colds, flu, gout, hemorrhoids, acne, and to remove toxins.

4. Lavender- treats insect bites, burns, migraine, insomnia, depression, stress, and respiratory infections. It's antiseptic and antimicrobial.

5. Oregano- Used for digestion, cold, flu, coughs, croup, bronchitis, earaches, menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract infections, and headaches. Can be taken orally to kill parasites. It's antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial.

6. Peppermint- Useful in fighting cold and flu symptoms. Soothes the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial.

7. Rose- Helpful for insomnia, post-tramatic shock disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. It is an aphrodisiac. It is also very therapeutic with all female hormonal issues and skin issues as well.

8, Rosemary- Lowers blood pressure, soothes gastrointestinal problems, and relieves headaches. It increases blood circulation to the brain. It is also used to treat rheumatic and muscular pain.

9.Tea Tree- Used for respiratory infections, sore throat, bladder infection, ridding lice, wounds, and other skin issues. It is anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, antibacterial, and antiviral.

10. Vanilla- Used as an aphrodisiac, fever reducer, antidepressant, sedative, controls hyperactivity, and regulates hormones. It's anti-carcinogenic and is an antioxidant as well.

Mint from my garden.
Mint from my garden.

What to Look for When Buying Essential Oils

When you are shopping for essential oils it is of the utmost importance to look for them being 100% pure and natural. There are fraudulent claims with some companies promising the "real thing". Buyer beware because if the oils are artificial or crude they can be toxic and dangerous when applied to the skin. Anything that has perfume oil or fragrance oil on the label should be avoided because they should not be used for a therapeutic purpose. What should be listed on the label is pure, organic, natural, and 100% of name of the plant or flower. Having a good reference book such as Essential Oils Pocket Reference by Gary Young always helps. Whether you purchase your essential oils at the local health food store or online it is important to keep in mind quality before price. Shop around and you will find what you desire in both.

Do You Think Essential Oils Heal?

What is your opinion, does Aromatherapy with essential oils treat illnesses effectively?

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© 2014 Panorea White


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