Part 1 - Past & Purpose
Essential Oils are organic compounds extracted from plants with tremendous healing properties, are highly concentrated and have a strong aroma. Oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree and just one drop can have powerful health benefits. They are typically created through the process of distillation which separates the oil and water based compounds of a plant by steaming.
In order to get One single 15ml bottle of essential oil it may take 30kg of raw plant material.
Using essential oils for healing purposes is a holistic treatment seeking to improve physical, mental and emotional health. It is difficult to pinpoint where the practice originated, as for over 5,000 years many different cultures have used these healing plant oils for a variety of health conditions.
In 1928, French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand. He then decided to further analyse the properties of lavender oil and how it could be used to treat other types of skin infections, wounds, or burns. Gattefossé’s main goal was to help injured soldiers during World War I. With this, the ‘modern science’ of aromatherapy was born. The use of essential oils began to spread especially with practitioners of alternative medicine, massage therapists and beauticians throughout Europe. Trained professionals in aromatherapy become popular world wide in the 1980s. It is a great non-invasive way to treat a variety of medical conditions and can generally be used safely in combination with many other therapies. Essential oils are composed of very small molecules that can penetrate the cells and some compounds in essential oils can even cross the blood / brain barrier. Numerous hospitals are acknowledging the benefits of essential oils and are using them in the treatment of anxiety, depression and infections in hospitalized patients. A 2009 study found that pre-operative patients who received aromatherapy were significantly less anxious about their surgery than controls.
Aromatherapy has a variety of health benefits. Essential oils have been used in traditional medicine to help better manage anxiety, they also have antibacterial or anti-fungal benefits, many oils when massaged on the skin can heal or help treat skin conditions, burns or cuts and scrapes. Others may help boost the immune system, help with insomnia, aid with digestion; and are even being used to fight cancer.
Using Essential Oils
As a general ‘rule of thumb’ is a mix of 6 drops of essential oil with 10ml of a carrier oil.
Be mindful of age and sensitivity - for those with sensitive skin reduce to 3 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil, the same being suggested for those over 65. For children reduce again to 2 drops essential oil into 10ml carrier oil and for babies, toddlers & pregnant women use 1 drop in 20ml of carrier oil.
Using a hot, warm, cool or cold essential oil infused compress is an easy and safe way of attending to a variety of common issues. Simply add 6 drops of essential oil to a bowl of water, swish and add a cloth and squeeze well prior to use. Repeat as the cloth cools /warms and reapply. Compresses are not recommended for children under 2 years.
Hot Compresses are excellent for boils and similar infections that require ‘drawing out’. Only use hot tap water, (just enough to handle), dip, squeeze and re-apply as the cloth cools; and repeat 3 or 4 times during the day.
Warm Compresses can be used for chest and nasal congestion.
Cool Compresses are used for fevers, menopausal hot flushes and for ‘hot days’. Swab the body, face, arms and legs with cool cloth and drape cloth around the neck if desired. Cold water straight from the tap is perfect for a cool compress.
Cold Compresses are great for insect bites and headaches (squeeze cloth very well when using near eyes). Use a cold compress (add ice to keep water cold) for acute injuries; such as sprains and strains, bumps and bruises (best applied within the first 24 – 48hrs of injury occurring). Apply to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time, removing for 10 minutes then reapplying again.
Vaporizers / Diffusers create an ambience to a room for pleasure and health benefits.
A variety of diffusers are available to add your personal choice of scent. When using an ‘oil burner’ where a tea candle is used to create heat to warm a top section that holds water, add about 6 drops of essential oil. Due care must be taken to prevent fires; remember essential oils are volatile and flammable.
A safe and easy DIY overnight diffuser / inhalation alternative is to place a small amount of salt or Epsom Salts in a bowl and add 10-15 drops of essential oils.
Generally steam inhalation is used to treat bronchial and sinus congestion, sore throats, colds, coughs, bronchitis, influenza. Add up to 6 drops to hot water, cover head with towel, close eyes & inhale for up to 5 min. Repeat as necessary
If time is an issue inhalation can be as easy as adding a few drops of essential oil to your pillow or onto a tissue / handkerchief.
Boost your bath with essential oil benefits and relax the body and the mind, detoxify and restore the body and pamper the skin.
Add essential about 6 drops of essential oils to milk or vegetable oil prior to adding to the bath water then swish well; and enjoy your soak. Alternatively, for sore muscles, add essential oil to 2 cups of Epsom salts.
Reduce essential oil quantity for children and the elderly to 4 drops of oil to bath water. For toddlers and pregnant women, add only 2 drops of suitable essential oil per bath.
• Direct Application
By recommendation from a professional
The information provided in this website is for information purposes only, so does not take into account your objectives and needs and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Individuals requiring diagnosis, risk assessment, treatment, or who have specific questions are urged to contact their health care provider for appropriate care.