1. Be a Natural Beauty
You can get creative by making your own beauty and home remedies yourself. Essential oils drops can be added to butters, oils, waxes, gels and creams to create lovely homemade products. Using 100% natural plant-based skin products is a great way to have wonderful glowing healthy skin and cut down on single use packaging. Aromatherapy turns bath time into a spa ritual simply by adding a few diluted drops to a hot bath and having a long soak. Did you know that if you blend aloe vera gel, a plant based carrier oil such as almond oil and your choice of essential oils together in your blender - it makes the best face or body cream? Its actually quite easy!
2. Live in Aroma Heaven
You can enjoy the beautiful plant aromas in your house or workplace by adding of few drops of essential oils to an oil diffuser, or by making up a spray bottle or even adding a couple of drops to radiator tops and cushions. Nourishing our olfactory senses is a wonderful way to nurture ourselves and the people around us, as smell can directly effect our mood, energy levels and focus.
3. Thrive on Plant-based Natural Remedies
Essential oils have a broad range of healing benefits and can be used for everyday family ailments. See our Aromatherapy Oils in Action section below.
How Aromatherapy Works
The art of aromatherapy dates to ancient Egypt, Greece and China and not only are the volatile oils of plants deliciously aromatic they have been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic properties. The active constituents in the oils enter the body via the skin as the molecules are smaller enough to pass through the protective epidermis, the health giving phyto-chemicals also make entry through the respiratory system and pass straight into the blood stream, and studies also show that the aromas themselves positively affect the olfactory system, which in turn affects the limbic system in the brain. This is the part of the brain that governs mood, memory and behaviour. You only need to think of the smell of a beautiful field of lavender and recall the uplifted calm mood this invokes to appreciate the power of essential oils. The art of perfumery is based on the subtle power of natural plant-based aromas and their ability to effect one’s state of mind.
Healing with Aromatherapy
The therapeutic actions of essential oils are far reaching and the science of aromatherapy functions much like that of herbalism. Each oil has an action such as anti-microbial, digestive, aphrodisiac, sedative etc. The therapeutic action can also indicate the best way to use the oils such as oil diffusion for respiratory conditions (think head over a steaming bowl of hot water with expectorant essential oils of eucalyptus and thyme) or a homemade massage oil for a bad back (think black pepper, marjoram and rosemary diluted in a lovely plant-based oil such as grapeseed) so keeping a home apothecary of best use essential oils can be a healing resource for all the family. The French chemist Gattefosse discovered in the 1930s that lavender oil applied directly to a burn not only speeded up the healing time but also prevented scarring, and he originated the term ‘aromatherapy’ from these observations. Keeping a bottle of lavender oil in the kitchen and immediately applying to a kitchen burn is a great example of practical natural remedies at work.
Essential oils can also be used around the home not just for their aromatic properties but also to prevent a common cold taking hold on the whole family. At the first sign of sniffles add some anti-biotic tea tree oil to the oil diffuser and fill the rooms up with this therapeutic aroma to catch air borne bacteria in its tracks. Essential oils can also replace cleaning products, as they have disinfectant properties. Try some diluted citrus and pine essential oils for a natural anti-bac spray or floor cleaner and pop a few drops onto the paper of your vac bag to perfume the air as you clean. Many more people are now suffering from allergies and cleaning up all the potential irritants to the respiratory system can involve rejecting modern household cleaning products, so arming oneself with some essential oils can bring the anti-bacterial factor to a natural cleaning preparation.
How To Use Aromatherapy
Babies and children respond well to essential oils, but they need to be very well diluted. In fact, most essential oils cannot be applied directly as they will sting and burn the skin. As a rough guide – 10% dilution for an adult and 1% dilution for a child or elderly person. This means using a carrier substance to dilute the oils into. Essential oils are hydrophobic – this means they will not dilute into water, tea, juice, vinegar or normal alcohol bought in an off license. Plant-based carrier oils, oil-based creams and lotions, 90% rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel are all substances that essential oils WILL dilute into. Basically, essential oils will not dissolve into water-based substances, but will dissolve into oil-based substances, or substances that contain water, oil and an emulsifier, so it’s a good idea to read the labels. A surfactant (soap) can also assist the dilution of essential oils by acting as a blending agent to oil and water. Interesting essential oils also dilute into full fat milk (this can be plant-based), so this can form the base carrier for using essential oils in the bath, add to that some Epsom salts and a surfactant and you have the perfect bubble bath milk.
Precautions do need to be taken with essential oils as they can have a powerful action that doesn’t suit every constitution. Check thoroughly which oils have contraindications for children, pregnancy and health conditions and observe carefully if there are any side effects from use such as irritated skin, nausea or headaches. Many oils work well together as a synergy and can be blended safely with a greater outcome. Essential oils are classified by order of ‘note’, this includes a base, middle and top note. This refers to the nature of the volatile oils of that plant and defines how quickly the aroma disperses and the therapeutic action it has. For example, a top note will be uplifting and will disperse quickly, however too many top notes in a blend may leave one feeling too heady and ungrounded. So, a good mix of base, middle and top makes for a well-rounded blend and a more wholistic outcome. Once these factors are considered – the note and therapeutic action of the oils – then using the nose itself is the best way to simply be guided by the aromas that work best together.
The Quality Issue
The quality of aromatherapy products varies enormously. This is because of the manufacture process. Indigo Aromatherapy essential oils are extracted from the plant by method of steam distillation only. There are plenty of essential oils available on the market that have been manufactured using solvent extraction, this often reflects in the price tag. The clue is in the name - chemicals (solvents) are used to extract the plants essential oils, there is evidence to say this can destroy the medicinal properties of the oils and jepodise the purity of the end product. Steam distillation is recommended for quality, purity and effectivity.
Aromatherapy Oils in Action
Anaesthetic - cinnamon, cloves, peppermint
Anti-allergic - chamomile, melissa
Anti-asthmatic - cedarwood, chamomile (Roman), cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender
Antibiotic - tea tree
Antidepressant - benzoin, bergamot, carnation, clary sage, lavender, lemongrass, neroli, orange
Anti-microbial - myrrh, tagetes, thyme
Antiseptic - basil, bergamot, black pepper, cajuput, camphor, cedarwood, cinnamon, cloves, fir, frankincense, lavender, lemon, nutmeg, parsley, rose, sandalwood
Antispasmodic - angelica, aniseed, basil, bay, bergamot, camphor, clary sage, clove, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, neroli, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, sandalwood, tangerine, thyme
Antiviral - eucalyptus, garlic, immortelle, lavender, lime, tea tree
Aphrodisiac - angelica, aniseed, basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, ginger, jasmine, nutmeg, pimento, rosewood, sandalwood, thyme, vetivert, ylang-ylang
Astringent - bay, benzoin, cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, geranium, hyssop. immortelle, juniper, lemon, lime, myrrh, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, yarrow, geranium, immortelle, lavender, mandarin, neroli, rose
Decongestant - cajuput, eucalyptus, garlic, lavender, niaouli, peppermint, pine
Detoxification - cedarwood, grapefruit, lemon, orange, rosemary
Digestive - black pepper, coriander, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint
Expectorant - angelica, basil, bergamot, cajuput, cedarwood, garlic, hyssop, myrrh, parsley, pine, peppermint, sandalwood, thyme
Relaxing - benzoin, carnation, clary sage, geranium, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, ylang-ylang
Sedative - benzoin, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, melissa, neroli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang
Tonic - basil, black pepper, carrot seed, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, ginger, hyssop, lemon, lemongrass, myrrh, nutmeg, neroli, orange, pine, rose, rosewood