Introduction to Essential Oils
- What are essential oils? Essential oils are the aromatic or volatile constituents found in plants. Plants use these constituents as hormones for growth and reproduction, plant pheromones to attract pollinating insects, and as a defense mechanism to protect the plant from predators, bacteria, viruses, or fungal invasion.
- How are essential oils made? The most common method uses steam to pull the aromatic qualities from the plant material. Cold pressing is another method used for extracting oils from citrus rinds such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and bergamot. Essential oils can be derived from all parts of the plant. Flowers have a relaxing effect, resins/woods/barks are heating and move fluids in the body, leaves have a cooling property, and roots can have a very grounding effect.
- How essential oils work- The term aromatherapy is somewhat misleading as it infers that essential oils work exclusively through the sense of smell. Each oil reacts with the body’s unique chemistry to have an effect on the emotions, internal organs, or other body systems. Essential oils work on the body in three ways- psychological effect can help to relax or stimulate in some way, physiological effect happens when the oil is inhaled and a response occurs to the smell, the pharmacological effect is centered on the chemical changes that occur when an essential oil enters the bloodstream.
- How to use essential oils- Inhalation, massage, and compress are the three main ways in which essential oils are used.
Lavender- The essential oil of lavender is soothing and well known for it’s ability to relieve headaches, improve sleep, lift your mood and spirit, as a deodorant, as a treatment for burns, and has natural antibiotic properties.
Peppermint- The essential oil of peppermint is known to have antiseptic properties, treat various digestive problems, relief from mental fatigue, congestion, migraine headaches, cramps, muscle aches, gum disease, and inflammation.
Geranium- Geranium oil is well known for it’s regenerative properties on the skin. Geranium is relaxing to the nervous system, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant.
Lemongrass- Lemongrass oil is a known antidepressant, analgesic, antiseptic, carminative, antifungal, nerve tonic.
Eucalyptus- Eucalyptus oil is an effective analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-spasmodic and expectorant. Eucalyptus is a powerful inhalant in managing respiratory disorders such as unclogging the sinus and nasal passages. It is also a natural insect repellent and can be used to treat allergies, sore throat, bronchitis, colds, flu and arthritis.
Ylang Ylang- The essential oil of ylang ylang is a natural aphrodisiac, helps to normalize sebum secretion, relieves high blood pressure, uplift emotions and melts away tension and stress.
Essential Oil Recipes
Disinfectant wash - Add 4 drops Lavender and 4 drops Eucalyptus to 1 cup warm water. Soak cloth in water for 5 minutes. Use on bites, stings, scrapes and wounds.
Muscle oil - Add 5 drops Eucalyptus, 5 drops Peppermint and 5 drops Ginger to 1 tablespoon jojoba oil. Massage into sore muscles.
Self-confidence oil - Add 2 drops Geranium, 2 drops Patchouli and 2 drops Bergamot to 1 teaspoon jojoba or almond oil. Massage into chest and neck.
Stress - Add 10 drops Lemon, 5 drops Clary-sage and 15 drops Lavender to 1oz jojoba or almond oil. Massage into temples and back of neck.
Study - Add 4 drops Rosemary, 1 drop Peppermint and 1 drop Lemon to an essential oil diffuser or a Kleenex and breathe in to help focused.
Burns - Apply Lavender oil directly to burn.