Essential Oils: From Plant to Bottle

Here’s a quick guide to our essential oils! Enjoy!

The use of plant essences to influence our mood and sense of well being has been a conscious human activity since the dawn of time. In the past it was closely linked with the art of alchemists and the mystique of priestesses, but aromatherapy is now coming of age. Over the last half century this complementary therapy has proven to be a popular and human friendly alternative to modern pharmaceuticals.

 

Neroli

Neroli is one of the most beautiful floral essential oils. It comes from the waxy white blossoms of the Bitter (or Seville) Orange tree, and is sometimes known as Orange Blossom oil. The name Neroli comes from the popularisation of the oil by Princess Neroli during a plague in 17th Century Italy.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Neroli oil is used primarily as an inhalation for depression and anxiety. It is also helpful in conditions where muscular spasm is associated with stress and anxiety, for example, in irritable bowel syndrome. Neroli oil is also used to treat skin affected by broken blood vessels and redness.

Remedies:

Anxiety and stress – add a few drops of Neroli essential oil in Jojoba base oil and wear it as a perfume. If possible, learn a relaxation technique, so you can associate the feeling of relaxation with the scent.

Intestinal spasms – either use the prediluted Neroli essential oil as above or add 2 drops of neroli essential oil in 1 teaspoon of any base oil. Massage it into the abdomen with gentle clockwise massage strokes, starting at the bottom of the belly on the left side.

 

Mandarin

Mandarin essential oil is derived from the peel of the citrus fruit. In China, where there are various cultivars available, the bright orange fruits are thought to bring good luck. In the northern hemisphere, they are traditionally associated with Christmas, because they are always imported from warmer climes at that time of the year. It is the sweetest of the citrus oils and is known for its mood lifting effects.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Mandarin oil is widely considered to be one of the safest essential oils in aromatherapy, and is recommended even by the most cautious therapists for use during pregnancy and for the treatment of children. It is renowned as a mood lifter, and also for helping reduce anxiety.

Remedies:

Depressive moods or the ‘blues’ – vaporise 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil in a vaporiser to relax and enliven you. Carry a small bottle of Mandarin essential oil around with you, so you can inhale it whenever you need cheering!

Irritable or overtired children – vaporise 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil in a vaporiser in the child’s bedroom, or put 1 drop on the child’s pyjamas. Check first that the child like the smell!

Low energy or jet lag – add 3 drops of Mandarin essential oil into a bowl of warm water and squeeze a facecloth into it. Press the warm tablecloth on your face and inhale the delicious aroma, breathing deeply to revitalise yourself.

 

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil is best known for its ability to help clear nasal or sinus congestion. It is also used to add freshness to laundry detergents, especially for woolens and delicates.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Eucalyptus oil is traditionally used as a decongestant in respiratory infections, because it reputedly thins the mucous and acts as an expectorant, helping people cough up excess mucous. It is also used for aches and pains due to its warming effects.

Remedies:

Blocked sinuses and coughs – add 1 drop of Eucalyptus essential oil into a bowl of hot water. Bend your head over and cover with a towel. Inhale the steam, either through your nose or your mouth. Blow your nose after 4 or 5 breaths, and repeat until you feel some relief from the congestion.

Feverish aches and pains – add 2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to 1 tablespoon of any base oil, and rub onto the affected joints and limbs. Put on your pyjamas and wrap yourself warmly to allow the Eucalyptus oil to penetrate your body. Reapply every few hours until the aches subside.

 

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular oils in aromatherapy. It is clear and usually colourless, and has a sweet herbaceous smell characteristic of lavender.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Lavender oil is traditionally seen as a first aid kit in a bottle! It is useful to have on hand in the kitchen to apply on burns, and to take on picnics as a remedy for insect bites and stings. For those of an anxious disposition, it is supposed to have a relaxing effect, though some sources suggest that too much lavender may have the opposite effect.

Remedies:

Burns – for sunburn and little burns from spitting fat or from ironing, cover the burned area liberally in undiluted Lavender oil as soon as possible. The oil will remove the sting and heat from the burn and the skin should not blister. Reapply if any pain recurs.

Bites and stings – same as above

Nervous insomnia and stress – use 3 drops of Lavender essential oil in a vaporiser and vaporise the room for half hour before going to sleep. Alternatively, put 1 or 2 drops on your pillow or near the neck of your pyjamas. Another way is to add 3 drops to a warm bath, take the bath preferably with dimmed lights or candles just before going to bed.

 

Marjoram

Marjoram or Sweet Marjoram comes from the same family of plants as the majority of essential oil producing herbs, such as Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, Basil, Thyme and Oregano. The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. It is clear to pale yellow colour, with an odour similar to Tea Tree essential oil, but sweeter! Aromatherapists consider the essential oil to be helpful in lowering blood pressure.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Sweet Marjoram essential oil is mainly thought of as a relaxing oil. It can also be applied as an antibacterial agent, although some sources suggest it is more useful for its antispasmodic properties.

Remedies:

High blood pressure – add 3 drops of Marjoram essential oil to a vaporiser and vaporise for a couple of hours. If you dislike the smell, blend the oil with a couple of drops from a citrus oil. Stop using the oil if you start feeling drowsy. At the end of the day, add 3 drops to a warm bath, take the bath and relax in it for 15mins, preferably with dimmed lights or candles. Do not discontinue any medication you may be taking, but monitor and discuss the effects with your doctor.

Cuts and abrasions – add 5 drops of Marjoram essential oil to a bowl of warm water and use to clean the affected area. Repeat twice a day.

 

Vanilla

Vanilla is a sweet flavouring that is rated higher than chocolate. It comes from an orchid indigenous to Mexico, and is cultivated in many parts of the world. The pale yellow flower must be hand fertilised when grown outside the Mexican rainforests, and yields a long green bean like pod. The pods are harvested and cured according to a time honoured practice until they assume a dark, leathery consistency with the characteristic vanilla adour. Vanilla was considered by the Aztecs to be an aphrodisiac, and it was also used to counteract venomous bites and prevent headaches.

Traditional aromatherapy uses:

Some sources suggest the use of Vanilla as a remedy for anger, tension, and irritability; others confirm the traditional use of Vanilla as an aphrodisiac. Its use in comfort foods suggests that it may be stimulating appetite.

Remedies:

Irritability – use 1 drop of Vanilla essential oil as a personal perfume, either on a tissue tucked into a bra strap, or on the inside of your collar. Alternatively add 3 drops of the essential oil to a vaporiser, blending with a citrus oil, such as Mandarin.

Lack of sexual desire – add 1 drop of Vanilla essential oil to a warm bath, take the bath and inhale the warm sweet aroma, allowing your sensual nature to come out and play.

Sweet food cravings – take a sniff of the Vanilla bottle every time you crave sweet food, it could help to curb your appetite.

 

*** Source: Bowles, E. Joy, The A to Z of essential oils – where they are, where they come from, how they work, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 2003

By |2018-07-04T17:08:03+00:00March 12th, 2015|Knowledgebase|
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