At some point we have all experienced aromatherapies. We associate fragrance with memories. These days we need to find all the happy memories we can at this time. And it is always important to find time for ourselves. Take some time out and enjoy an essential oil!
So many products contain a scent these days. Aromatherapy is a type of plant therapy like using herbs. Most essential oils are for external use.
Scents have been used through the centuries for medicinal and religious purposes and more. Although, the term aromatherapy was not used until the early 1900s.
The Chinese and the Egyptians show records of scented herb use about the same time. The oldest surviving medical book on plants and how to use them comes from China. The Egyptians used Myrrh and Juniper in their embalming ritual.
Ayurveda has textbooks that are still used today. Sandalwood was used in massage in ancient India.
Experiment and find a few you enjoy. Every scent is not appealing for everyone. And it may depend on your mood at the moment.
Essential oils are found in various parts of plants:
- Leaves – eucalyptus
- Berries – juniper
- Flower – lavender
- Grass – lemon balm
- Petals – rose
- Zest - lime
Lavender is the most common essential oil for relaxing. It is my main go to. It is used in sleep aid products such as nasal strips and vapor rub. This floral has a calming and soothing quality. It is used to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and treat insomnia. As a topical it helps with panic attacks.
It can be used in your diffuser, bath and for massage. Add it to your shampoo, lotions or skin care products (as long as you have no skin reaction).
Chamomile is a tea I enjoy sipping in the evening before bed to unwind. It can also be found in an essential oil to do the same. The oil may be a bit stronger, it smells sweet and fruity.
If you grow your own, you can make the tea. Otherwise, the oil can be put in the diffuser, your bath or as massage oil. It is used for stress, depression, insomnia or irritability.
Bergamot is another one of my favorites. It has a citrus scent somewhat like an orange. You might recognize it if you have ever had a cup of Earl Gray tea.
It is used for depression, anxiety, stress and loss of appetite. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
It can be used in the diffuser. If added to the bath or with a massage you will need to avoid the sun for a couple hours after using it. It makes the skin sensitive to the sun.
Geranium is another, sweet floral, I like. It can be strong and overwhelming for some. It can be used in a blend.
It is calming and balancing oil used for anxiety and depression when in small amounts. It can uplift mood. Use in diffuser, bath and for massage. (This can cause skin allergy).
Jasmine has a sweet floral fragrance that helps with sleep. It can also be strong. Use a few drops in diffuser. It helps with stress and can uplift the mood.
It can be used in diffuser, bath or for massage.
Rose is a floral that also gives a calming and relaxing feeling. It is used for anxiety, depression and stress.
I have a room spray. Can be used in diffuser, bath or as massage oil.
Sandalwood I like. I have a hard time finding this. It is probably more common as a blend. It is a woodsy, sweet floral scent.
Used for depression and stress. It has been used for centuries in spiritual rituals. It is calming and grounding. It can be used in the diffuser, bath or massage.
Patchouli has a pungent, earthy fragrance shown to reduce anxiety. It’s earthy and grounding can be overwhelming for some.
Clary Sage is an earthy scent with a little floral and fruity tone. It is found to reduce stress and increase sleep. Also helps with nerves and high blood pressure. It is helpful in balancing and supporting chakras. It blends well with a variety of other oils.
Where to Buy Essential Oils
I have been shopping at Festival Foods, it is now in our area, and I have found that they have a whole section devoted to organic items. There are detergents and cleaners, shampoos and skin care items. There are also shelves devoted to essential oils with a nice selection to choose from.
There are no testers, so you need to know what scent you want if you are using for aromatherapy. Prices vary.
Otherwise, there are many retailers in the area and on-line. Aromatherapy is a growing industry. Purchase from a reputable grower. Some products may be diluted and poor quality.
How to Use
Make sure that the essential oil you choose can be used on the skin if that is what you want it for. There are a few that may cause skin irritation if applied directly to the skin. And there is always a chance that an individual may be allergic.
If you have never applied the oil to your skin before you may want to place a few drops on your wrist and watch for a reaction. Just to be on the safe side.
- A few drops can be warmed in your palms by rubbing them together. Inhale deeply a couple times. This may be done before meditation.
- Added to your diffuser to fill the air with the steamed scent.
- You can also add scents to blend or purchase blends for added benefits.
- Some essential oils may be added to your shampoo, lotions, skin care items (if no allergies) or place a couple drops directly on wrist. (Herbs Used Today in Skincare).
Essential Oil Methods
Depending on the plant part, extracting the essential oil, determines the method used. The fragrance of the plant comes from its essential oil. In order to harvest the oil, it needs to be extracted from a part of the plant. There are different methods of doing this.
Steam distillation is the most common method. As the name implies, to separate the oil the plant is steamed, and pressure combined release the oil. After going through a condenser and cooling the layer of oil is collected. This method is common with lavender and geranium.
Water distillation is done for flowers that are fragile like the rose. Here the petals may become damaged with a more aggressive method. The petals are put in distilled boiling water. This way the extracted oil doesn’t overheat. The oil is then cooled down and separated.
Expression is common for oils from citrus fruits such as orange and lime. The whole fruit is pressed collecting the juice and oil. The oil layer is separated later.
Warning: Allergies may occur when applying essential oils directly to skin. Be careful and test a few drops. Do your research.
Disclaimer: No endorsements for pay or otherwise are included in this blog.
This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.
If you have a health condition or concern, please consult your doctor.
https://www.aromaweb.com/ accessed 06/07/2020
https://www.youngliving.com/en_US accessed 06/07/2020