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Aromatherapy

AromaAromatherapy is utilized to enhance one's body, mind and spirit with botanical essential oils. Plant oils contain both aromatic and medicinal characteristics which have the ability to assist one to relax, balance, heal and rejuvenate.

Your Aromatherapy Advisor is Jennifer Gerlitz




Aromatherapy - FAQ
by Jennifer Gerlitz

Q: What is aromatherapy?

A: Aromatherapy is the use of pure therapeutic grade essential oils to improve one's health and well being. Aromatherapy can be used to help alleviate symptoms of many different ailments.

Q: What are essential oils?

A: Essential oils are botanical extracts that are distilled from plants and trees. The oils are produced in different parts of the plant, i.e.: roots, leaves, seeds, berries, bark, branches, and flowers. In some cases one plant produces more than one oil, as is the case with the orange tree. The leaves produce petitgrain oil, the flower blossoms produce neroli oil, and the peel of the fruit produces sweet orange oil.

Q: What are the most common methods of distillation?

A: Steam distillation, CO2 extraction, solvent extraction and cold pressing are the most common extraction methods. Steam distillation is by far the most widely used extraction method for two reasons. One: it is very economical because large amounts of plant material can be distilled at one time producing a larger volume of oil for sale and two: it is one of the best methods for maintaining the integrity of an oil, as the only thing that the oil comes into contact with is water.

Q: How do I know the oil I am buying is pure?

A: You need to ask questions. What species is this oil? Where was it produced? How was it distilled? Anyone selling essential oils should be able to answer these questions and if not buyer beware. Read your labels, if the oil is diluted it should say on the label. Once you are experienced with the oils your nose will in many cases tell you if something is not quite right. A quick way of checking oils you have at home is to take an oil and put a drop on a piece of paper. Any oil that has not been diluted in a vegetable oil will completely evaporate. There will be no residue or greasy feel and if it is a colorless oil like Lavender there will be no mark on the paper. If you do this with Peppermint which has been extended with menthol the results will be the same so this only works with oils diluted in a vegetable oil (Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, etc.) Also beware of "plant essences" as these are quite often mistaken for pure essential oils.

Q: Why should my oils be pure?

A: If you were simply using the oils to fragrance your home this would not be a big concern. However most people are using aromatherapy to achieve a certain result and this outcome will be affected by the purity of the oils. It is okay to have a diluted oil like Rose diluted to 3% in Grapeseed oil if you are using it for massage or bath purposes. Purity is an issue when you are talking about Peppermint that has been adulterated with menthol. You will notice that the oil smells slightly of alcohol and it will not produce the same results as a good pure Peppermint.

Q: What are the most common methods of use?

A: Inhalation, bath, massage, and compresses are the most common methods. Which method you use is dependant on what the ailment is. For example Tired and sore muscles would benefit most from massage and/or bathing. Congestion would be best treated with inhalation and sometimes bathing. Upset stomach we would recommend inhalation and compress.

Q: Why is it important to know what species of oil I am buying?

A: There are over three hundred different species of Tea Tree oil, the most commonly used is Melaleuca Alternifolia. This is the oil that is most commonly written about and if you were to use another type of "Tea Tree" oil you will not get the same effects when trying to alleviate symptoms.

Q: Why are some oils so expensive i.e. Rose?

A: Very simply because different plants produce different volumes of oil. Rose, for example takes one ton (the equivalent weight of a Volkswagen Bug) of fresh (the petals must be distilled within 12 hours of being picked) hand picked rose petals to produce just one kilogram of pure essential oil. So it is a very labor intensive oil to produce and as such it is a relatively expensive oil to produce. This is another way to judge whether or not an oil is pure. If you find rose essential oil priced at $10.00 for 10 mLs, you can be sure that it is synthetic, or not pure or that you are getting maybe 15 drops of rose oil in a big bottle. These types of oil are expensive but two things to remember, a little goes a long way and they are absolutely worth the price.

Q: Can I use the oils internally?

A: NO. Generally speaking most professionals in the aromatherapy industry do not recommend using oils internally.

Copyright© 2002 Jennifer L. Gerlitz. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission from the author. Contact Jennifer Gerlitz at -
info@scentsability.com

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Oil of the Month
by Jennifer Gerlitz

Here you will find a different essential oil profiled each month. It will cover all kinds of information ranging from common names to historical uses, etc. When the oil profiled is one of our regular line products, it will go on sale for that month. Check back for next months oil which will be listed at the end of this page every month.

GINGER
NAMES: Ginger
FAMILY: Zingiberaceae
LATIN: Zingiber officinale
ORIGIN: Much of the essential oil available is distilled in China, India, and United Kingdom. Ginger is indigenous to southern Asia but is currently found in Jamaica, Africa, Japan, West Indies, and Nigeria.
PARTS USED: Rhizomes or root (fresh and / or dried).

DISTILLATION METHOD: Steam distillation produces the essential oil, CO2 extraction produces products known as either select or total.

MAIN CONSTITUANTS: Very high sesquiterpene content (mainly B-sesquiphellandrene), monoterpenes, aldehydes, ketones, and oxides.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Anti - inflammative, anti-septic, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, analgesic, bactericidal, cephalic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic.

HISTORICAL USES: Ginger has been used for many years for digestive complaints and ailments of the stomach. Because of its analgesic and anti inflammative qualities it has been used for rheumatism and muscular aches. A very popular remedy for nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, etc.

PRIMARY USES: bruises, catarrh, bronchitis, aphrodisiac, arthritis, circulatory stimulant, colds, constipation, cramps, decongestant, diarrhea, digestive, fatigue, fever, hangovers, indigestion, influenza, loss of appetite, muscular aches, nervous exhaustion, poor circulation, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, sore throat, sprains, strains, swelling, tendonitis, tonsillitis, varicose veins.

HYDROSOL: This is a fairly new hydrosol that is supposed to be fantastic! We would think that it would be wonderful for digestive issues (diarrhea, cramps, flatulence, nausea, loss of appetite, etc.) Also a great drink for sore throats is ginger tea with some honey and lemon. Once more information is available, we will update this sheet.

SAFETY: Ginger essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating, and generally non-sensitizing, however it is a known dermal irritant and should be used with caution especially on those with sensitivities and / or allergies to spices. Ginger has been tested topically at a percentage of 4% and produced no reactions however less is better in this case. Ginger is also thought to be mildly photo toxic, so do not use topically 12 - 24 hours prior to sun exposure.

SCENTSABILITY'S OPINION: We absolutely LOVE ginger!! Ginger tea, ginger honey, ginger in our food, ginger in the diffuser, can't get enough ginger! The essential oil is wonderfully warm and spicy with oh so slight citrus top notes. CO2 select is very reminiscent of the scent of fresh ginger, Yum Yum! CO2 total is very deep and complex, quite different than the other Gingers but lovely in it's own right.

Copyright © 2002 Jennifer L. Gerlitz. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission from the author. Contact Jennifer Gerlitz at -
info@scentsability.com

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Past Essential Oil Profiles
by Jennifer Gerlitz

This profile archive section features [will be growing on a regular basis updated monthly featuring] previous posted Oil of the Month information.  



Bergamot

NAMES: Bergamot
LATIN: Citrus aurantium var. bergamia, Citrus bergamia
ORIGIN: Mainly Italy and the Ivory Coast, however it can be found through out Europe.

DISTILLATION: As with all other citrus oils, Bergamot is cold expressed (in this case cold expression of the almost ripe fruit). A bergapten free version is made through vacuum distillation or solvent extraction. Bergapten free Bergamot should be sold as rectified usually as FCF (furo coumarin free).

MAIN CONSTITUENTS: This essential oil is known to have a hundreds of compounds, the most notable of which are Linalyl (up to 60%), linalol, alcohols, terpenes, sesquiterpenes, furocoumarins (including bergapten) among others.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Analgesic, anti depressant, stimulant, and deodorant. Diuretic, digestive, rubifactent, anti toxic, parasitic, and laxative. Antithelminthic, antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cicatrizant, cordial, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicidal, sedative, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary.

HISTORY: Almost everyone is familiar with the smell of bergamot as it is the predominant smell to Earl Grey Tea. It is used frequently in the food industry for flavoring. It is used as a fixative and to scent cosmetics, fragrances, suntan lotions etc. It was used as a main ingredient for eau de cologne for many years. Italian folk medicine shows Bergamot's use for malaria, fever, and expulsion of worms.

PRIMARY USE: Stress related condition, nervous disorders, headaches, colds & flus. Appetite stimulant, fevers & infections. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, etc. Thrush, insomnia, and infectious diseases. It is calming & balancing and may be helpful for boils, urinary tract infections, cystitis, and flatulence.

MY OPINION: Bergamot is a beautiful scent that has the ability to invigorate and uplift. It is a perfect oil for anyone suffering from the wintertime blahs. A personal favorite.

SAFETY INFORMATION: Generally this oil is non toxic, non irritating, and non sensitizing. Dilute well before use. Contains bergapten and can cause photo sensitization (uneven pigmentation of the skin when exposed to sunlight natural or artificial). There are rectified Bergamot eo's on the market which have had the furocoumarins such as bergapten removed (Bergamot FCF). These oils are viewed as safer for dermal applications

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CLARY SAGE
NAMES: Clary Sage, Clary, Eye Bright, and Clary Wort.
LATIN: Salvia sclarea
Origin: Worldwide. The USA, Europe (central), Russia, Britain. Oils from England, Hungary, France and Morocco are generally considered to be superior quality than others available on the market.

Distillation Method: Flowering tops & the leaves are steam distilled.

Main Constituents: Linalyl acetate, myrcene, linalol, and pinene among numerous others.

Medicinal Properties: Anti depressant, anti septic, astringent, aphrodisiac, anti spasmodic, anti bacterial, deodorant, and sedating.

Historical Uses: Largely used in the Middle Ages for disorders of the kidneys and digestive system. In addition, it was used to assist in regulation of feminine complaints (PMS, menopause, and painful heavy periods). Whooping cough and throat complaints were also treated with Clary Sage.

Primary Uses: Stress related complaints, nervousness, depression, and headaches/migraines. Dysmenorrhoea (heavy, painful menstruation), amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation), menopause and PMS may also be lessened with use of Clary Sage. High blood pressure, cramping, asthma, muscular aches, oily skin, acne and inflammation. A calming, relaxing oil which can assist in a restful night's sleep.

Safety: Non sensitizing, non irritant, and non toxic. However as it can have a sedating effect, use caution with this oil until one is aware of how this oil affects them. Also do not use Clary Sage while under the influence of alcohol as it can dramatically intensify the effects of alcohol and can have stupefying or narcotic like effects.

Scentsability's Opinion: Clary Sage in our opinion, is an "essential" oil for women to have in their collection. An oil that blends well with others like Rose, Lavender, Citrus oils, Geranium, etc. Much less medicinal scent than Common or Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis). Has a slightly sweet, floral scent.

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White Grapefruit

Names: White Grapefruit, Grapefruit
Latin: Citrus paradisi, Citrus racemosa, Citrus maxima var. racemose
Origin: Israel, Brazil, Asia, and Florida. Much of the supply of Grapefruit is from California
Parts Used: Peel of the fruit
Distillation Method: Cold pressed

Main Constituents: May contain up to 98% limonene, along with others such as geraniol, citronellal, cadinene, etc.

Medicinal Properties: Anti bacterial, anti septic, astringent, detoxifying, diuretic, stimulant

Historical Uses: Used in many commercial cosmetics such as soaps, cleaning agents and is widely used in the perfuming industry. Grapefruit is also used a flavoring agent in the food and beverage industries. As with other citrus fruit, Grapefruit has large quantities of vitamin C.

Primary Uses: Very uplifting & invigorating. May be useful with depression, tension, and stress related complaints. Cellulite, water retention, obesity. Oily and/or acneic skin & oily hair and stimulates the scalp. Some therapists recommend Grapefruit as part of a detoxification program when one is struggling with addictions (drug & nicotine).

Safety: A very safe oil, as it is not irritating, sensitizing, or toxic.

Scentsability's Opinion: Ahhhh, the sweet smell of Grapefruit, it is wonderfully cheery anytime and for anyone. Great for folks who are subject to the winter blues or for people who just want a pick me up without heading for another cup of coffee. A lovely oil in the diffuser both aromatically and for helping disinfect the air.

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TRUE LAVENDER
Names: Lavender, True Lavender, Common Lavender, Garden Lavender.
Latin: Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula vera.
Origin: Primarily Lavender comes from the South of France, but it is also in the Mediterranean and around the world.

Distillation: Lavender's fresh flowering tops are steam distilled. Small amounts of concrete and absolutes are produces by solvent extraction.

Main Constituents: Linalyl acetate (up to 40%), linalol, lavendulol, lavandulyl acetate, and terpineol.

Medicinal Properties: Anti biotic, anti septic, anti depressant, analgesic, anti spasmodic, anti convulsive, anti rheumatic, anti - inflammatory.

History: Lavender was the favorite herb to be used for bathing by the Romans. It has been used since biblical times as an anti septic in ointments, a use which continues today. Lavender was also an important part in "Four Thieves Vinegar" which grave robbers successfully used to avoid contracting the plague. During this time it was also used to disinfect sickrooms. Today lavender is being used in lotions, creams, soaps and numerous other beauty products as well as flavoring for foods, alcohol, and soft drinks by the commercial industry.

Primary Use: Burns and scalds, prevents scarring and as a cell regenerator, it promotes healing. Sedative, detoxifying and stimulating to the immune system. It is also a circulatory stimulant. Calming, diuretic, and insect repellant. Good for respiratory ailments (asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, whooping cough, throat infections). Sinusitis, migraines, convulsions, nervous tension, fainting, insomnia, palpitations, contagious illnesses. Skin conditions (dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, wounds, and mucous discharge). Stress related complaints, ear infections, high blood pressure, general aches and pains. Sore muscles, athlete's foot, yeast infections, dandruff, halitosis, lice, PMS, and abdominal cramps. Many ailments whether mental or physical can benefit from a little lavender.

Scentsability's Opinion: In our experience, lavender is an oil that you should not be without. It is so versatile and blends very well with almost anything. It is very safe and can be used neat (undiluted). It is gentle enough for use with children and the elderly.

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LEMON
Names: Lemon, Cedro (a terpenless version which is mass produced)
Family: Rutaceae
Latin: Citrus limon, Citrus limonum
Origin: Italy, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, South & North America including the U.S.A. (Florida & California)
Parts Used: Ripe yellow peel of the fresh fruit

Distillation Method: Cold expression as with all other citrus oils.

Main Constituents: Terpene hydrocarbons. Very high Limonene content (up to 70%), terpinene, linalol, pinenes, geraniol, citral, sabinene, citronellal are some of the main elements along with others.

Medicinal Properties: Anti-septic, anti-toxic, anti-rheumatic, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, bactericidal, cicatrizant, diuretic, insecticidal, carminative, depurative, rubefacient, and vermifuge, anti-anemic, hypotensive, hemostatic.

Historical Uses: Being very nutritious and high in vitamins B, and C, both the peel and juice are very widely used as seasonings in kitchens all around the world. It has been used in the past for things like scurvy, malaria, fever, infectious ailments, etc. It has been found to be useful in regards to rheumatism, liver congestion & arthritis when the juice from the fruit is used internally. Widely used as a flavoring agent in food & drink (both alcoholic & soft drink) industries. Also used in detergents, cosmetics, soaps, and perfuming.

Primary Uses: Stimulating for liver, gentle, calming, one of the most helpful for disinfecting air in the home using a diffuser. Colds, flus, fever, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, any type of infectious ailment. Acne, pimples, insect bites, weight loss, water retention, cellulite. Depression, nervous & stress related tensions, herpes, sore throats, catarrh. Brittle nails, poor circulation, rheumatism, anemia, varicose veins, and warts. High blood pressure, arthritis, dyspepsia (flatulence, acid reflux & nausea), and boils.

Safety: Photo toxic - should not be used topically prior to exposure to the sun (or artificial sun i.e. tanning beds, etc.). Use in small quantities. Non-toxic, but may cause irritation dermally or sensitization for some individuals. Not recommended for use on sensitive skin.

Scentsability's Opinion: We LOVE this oil. A fresh, clean, uplifting scent that is a great addition to any collection. Fabulous for colds, sinus infections, depression, just an all around wonderful oil.

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SWEET ORANGE
Names: Sweet Orange, China Orange, Portugal Orange, Orange.
Latin: Citrus sinensis
Origin: China, Italy, Brazil, France, Spain and through out North America.

Distillation Method: Cold expression of the peel, there is also a steam distilled oil which is considered to be an inferior quality oil.

Main Constituents: Mainly comprised of monoterpenes, mostly limonene.

Medicinal Properties: Anti depressant, anti inflammatory, anti septic, anti spasmodic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, choleretic, digestive, disinfectant, fungicidal, hypotensive, nervine, sedating, and toning.

Historical Uses: Traditional Chinese medicine has used the dried peel to combat such ailments as anorexia, colds and coughs. Sweet Orange has been used in the food and drink industry as a flavoring agent. It is also used as a fragrance for toiletries, perfumes, detergents and other cleaning products.

Primary Uses: Stress related complaints, nervousness, depression, and obesity and water retention. Constipation, digestive complaints, nausea, bronchitis, cold & flu, upset stomach, diarrhea, drug withdrawal, muscular aches, normal and oily skin. Toning, wrinkles, and chills.

Safety: Non sensitizing (in most individuals, some have developed dermatitis from limonene content), non-irritant, and non-toxic. Photo toxic; do not use topically prior to sun exposure. Dilute well before applying topically.

Scentsability's Opinion: Sweet Orange is a perfect oil for the whole family to enjoy. A clean, crisp, fruity scent that is well received by most. This oil is a wonderful way to help alleviate nausea or to brighten a dreary winter day.

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PINE
Names: Pine, Scotch Pine, Pine Needle, Forest Pine, Norway Pine
Family: Pinaceae
Latin: Pinus sylvestris
Origin: Globally available, U.S.A, Canada, Russia, Finland, Scandinavia, etc.

Parts Used: Needles

Distillation Method: Steam distillation

Main Constituents: High concentration of monoterpenes (anywhere between 50-90%) such as pinenes, and limonene. As well as longifolene, borneol, a-cadinol, bornyl acetate among others.

Medicinal Properties: Anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-rheumatic, anti-microbial, bactericidal, deodorant, decongestant, insecticidal, rubefacient, hypertensive, circulatory & nervous system stimulant.

Historical Uses: Has been used in the past to deter fleas & lice and by Native Americans to prevent scurvy. Said to relieve many respiratory issues. Has been used extensively as a fragrancing agent in many cleaning products, soaps, and bath products. Very limited use of pine oil in the perfuming industry. Also used as a flavoring agent in both the food and drink industries.

Primary Uses: Pine essential oil is reported to have many varied benefits including but not limited to: circulatory, immune, & metabolic stimulant, aches & pains, muscle and joint stiffness. Respiratory complaints such as: sinusitis, catarrh, bronchitis, sore throats, asthma, and coughs. Urinary track infections, fatigue, stress & nervous related complaints, adrenal stimulant, lack of energy, water retention, cold & flu, infectious & viral issues, uplifting and energizing. Lice, ringworm, perspiration, fleas, boils, and scabies.

Safety: Pine essential oil is generally non-toxic & non-irritating in low doses (2% and under). Possibly a sensitizer, which should not be used topically on damaged or sensitive skin.

Scentsability's Opinion: This is an important essential oil for many reasons. A lovely green, camphorous scent which always reminds us of Christmas or a spring walk in the forest. Very versatile and affordable for everyone with a well-received fragrance.

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ROSEMARY
Names: Rosemary, Rosemary camphor or Rosemary ct. I or Rosemary var. camphor, Rosemary cineole or Rosemary ct. II or Rosemary var. cineole, Rosemary verbenone or Rosemary ct. III or Rosemary var. verbenone
Family: Labiatae
Latin: Rosemarinus officinalis, Rosemarinus officinalis ct. I or Rosemarinus officinalis var. camphor, Rosemarinus officinalis ct. II or Rosemarinus officinalis var. cineole, Rosemarinus officinalis ct. III or Rosemarinus officinalis var. verbenone

Origin: Spain, Tunisia, and France

Parts Used: Flowering tops

Distillation Method: Steam distillation

Main Constituents: Depends entirely on which chemotype.*

Camphor - monoterpenes (> 30%), ketones (> 25%), alcohols, esters & oxides. Cineole - mainly oxides (1.8 cineole), monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenols, esters, & ketones. Verbenone - mainly ketones (verbenone > 35% & camphor up to 15%), monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, alcohols, esters, & oxides.

Medicinal Properties: Anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-rheumatic, anti-microbial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant, bactericidal, cicatrizant, cephalic, cytophylactic, decongestant, expectorant, fungicidal, insecticidal, rubefacient, hypertensive, circulatory & nervous system stimulant, mucolytic.

Historical Uses: Rosemary is one of the oldest plants used in medicine. Very popular in hair & skin care as well as being used to help alleviate respiratory, digestive, muscular, and circulatory complaints. Rosemary was believed to ward off evil & was used to hold the plague at bay.

Primary Uses: acne, alopecia, aphrodisiac, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, cellulite, chilblains, circulatory stimulant, colds, constipation, cramps, cystitis, dandruff, decongestant, depression, dermatitis, digestive, disinfectant, diuretic, diverticulosis, dry skin, ear infections, fatigue, fainting, fibrositis, gout, hair loss, hangovers, headaches, immunity stimulant, influenza, inguinal hernia, insect repellent, lice, lower abdominal pain, lumbago, mature skin, moth repellent, muscular aches, muscular dystrophy, nervine, normal skin, oily hair, oily skin, osteoporosis, physical exhaustion, raises blood pressure, Raynaud's disease, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, strengthens hair, sinusitis, spina bifida, sprains, strains, swelling, tendinitis, thrush, toning, tonsillitis, vaginal infections, varicose veins

Safety: At this time only the camphor chemotype has undergone any formal testing. At low dose (< 2%) Rosemary camphor is reported to be non toxic, non irritating, and non sensitizing. Rosemary cineole & verbenone appear to be non toxic, non irritating, and non sensitizing. There are conflicting reports about the safety of using Rosemary on individuals with high blood pressure, epilepsy, and pregnancy, therefore Scentsability would recommend extreme caution in these situations and perhaps avoiding them all together.

Scentsability's Opinion: We like all of the Rosemary chemotypes but for different reasons. We prefer Rosemary camphor for muscular aches & pains, for it's ability to help clear the mind and increase mental focus and along with Rosemary cineole as an expectorant. Rosemary cineole is our favorite for dealing with respiratory ailments. Rosemary verbenone is wonderful for skin care and ear infections.

*Chemotype: one botanical species which contains within it other "subspecies" which are the result of a difference in growing conditions (soil conditions, altitude, weather conditions, etc.).

References:

Sheppard-Hanger, S., The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual
Lawless, J., The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils

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ROSEWOOD
Names: Rosewood, Bois de Rose (wood of rose)
Latin: Aniba rosaeodora
Origin: Mainly Brazil and Peru (Rainforests)

Distillation: Rosewood oil is created by steam distillation of wood chippings.

Main Constituents: Linalol ( up to 95%), cineol, geraniol, terpineol, citronellal, pinene limonene.

Medicinal Properties: Anti convulsant, mild analgesic, anti depressant, anti septic, immune stimulant, bactericidal, tissue regenerator, cephalic, and deodorant.

History: In the past Rosewood was used for cabinet making in France. It was also used for building and carving. Currently Japan uses Rosewood for producing chopsticks. Rosewood is commonly found in cosmetics of all types, toiletries, cosmetics, and perfumes. As this tree is grown in the Rainforests, it is in danger of becoming extinct.

Primary Use: Stress related condition, nervous disorders, headaches, nausea, colds & coughs, Immune stimulant, fevers & infections. Scars and wounds benefit as it is a tissue and cell regenerator. Dermatitis, acne, wrinkles, all skin types. Vaginitis and PMS are also lessened with use of Rosewood.

Scentsability's Opinion: Rosewood is a beautiful scent that has the ability to soothe and calm. It is a grounding oil that is pleasing to both the nose and the psyche. A personal favorite that is worth the cost to experience.

Generally this oil is non toxic, non irritating and non sensitizing. Dilute before use.

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SPEARMINT
Names: Spearmint, Common Spearmint, Garden Spearmint, Green Spearmint Latin: Mentha spicata, Mentha viridis
Origin: China, Europe, Russia, and USA,
Parts Used: Leaves

Distillation Method: Steam distilled

Main Constituents: l - Carvone often slightly above 50%, limonenes, terpenes, phellandrenes. Cineol & linalool are also found on occasion, among others.

Medicinal Properties: Anti septic, anesethic, anti spasmodic, carminative, decongestant, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and stomachic.

Historical Uses: Widely used in the food and drink industry as well as in cosmetics, tooth care products, etc. However, Peppermint is more often used as a flavoring agent. Spearmint is a popular culinary herb and was a favorite at bathtime with the ancient Greeks.

Primary Uses: Insect & rodent repellant, anti septic, anti inflammatory, fabulous for digestive concerns (upset stomach, nausea, morning sickness, flatulence, indigestion, colic, etc.). Deoderant, uplifting, revitalizing, cooling, and a wonderful pick me up. Great stress reliver, for respiratory issues (bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, etc.). Colds, flus and fevers as well as headaches and migraines.

Safety: A non toxic, non irritating and non sensitizing essential oil. Always dilute appropriately. Spearmint, like Peppermint is not suitable for use in conjunction with homeopathic remedies.

Scentsability's Opinion: An enjoyable oil for all. A milder, less powerful but equally pleasing alternative to Peppermint. Spearmint is well suited for use with children.

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TEA TREE
Names: Tea Tree, Ti Tree
Latin: Melaleuca Alternifolia
Origin: Only Australia

Distillation: Steam or water distillation of the leaves and twigs.

Main Constituents: Terpinene 4 ol, cineol, pinene, terpinenes, cymene, sesquiterpenes, alcohols, among others.

Medicinal Properties: Anti bacterial, anti septic, anti fungal, anti biotic, anti infectious, immune stimulant, anti viral, parasiticide, cicatrizant, vulnerary, expectorant.

History: Use of this oil dates back hundreds of years with the aboriginal people of Australia. Used in soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, shampoos, cleaning products, colognes, and toiletries.

Main Uses: Cuts, burns, scrapes and any type of skin abrasions. Cold sores, cankers, and infections. Helps stop the spread of colds and infectious illnesses. Lice, fleas, and parasites. Thrush, cystitis, vaginitis. Asthma, bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis. Blisters, athlete's foot, abscesses, warts, herpes, bug bites, and dandruff.

Scentsability's Opinion: Tea Tree is a desert island oil. If you were stuck on an island and could only have one oil... this would be it. So versatile, every home should have at least one bottle.

A very safe oil. Non toxic, non irritating, may cause slight sensitivity in some individuals. May be used neat (undiluted) on skin.

Copyright © 2002 Jennifer L. Gerlitz. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission from the author. Contact Jennifer Gerlitz at -
info@scentsability.com

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Review of Suzanne Catty's "Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy"
Healing Arts Press - ISBN 089281946-4
Reviewed by Jennifer Gerlitz

This important book, one of the first of many on the subject no doubt, is ground breaking in the respect that very little has been written to date on the subject of Hydrosols. Hydrosols are an extremely important part of aromatherapy as is explained in the book, which is both highly informative and humorous. An excellent book for practitioners wishing to gain more insight to the physical, emotional, and spiritual use of these "wholly waters" and for anyone who wishes to gather information about what is and isn't a true hydrosol and how they work. This book sheds much light on these gifts from nature, which have often been over looked in favor of their essential oil counterparts.

For those who are new to the subject of aromatherapy, an overview of what is aromatherapy and distillation methods are covered briefly. There is also discussion of natural vs. synthetic chemicals, the importance of therapeutic grade products, and the importance of water not only for the human race but also for all living things including Mother Earth.

A great deal of time is spent covering the crucial topics of storage and preservation of these products, which one would hope will lead to more efficient storage, shipping, and transporting and less preservatives in hydrosols. The author aptly points out that even the unpreserved Budweiser beer has a shelf life (110 days for those who are wondering!). There are some wonderful suggestions for preserving these wonderful waters and for monitoring their efficacy and stability.

Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy includes monographs of more than 65 different hydrosols covering each in such detail to include information about aroma & taste of the hydrosol, stability & shelf life through the use of pH monitoring and finally the many properties &amp; applications for these wonderfully aromatic waters. The author shares her own experiences maintaining and controlling hydrosol stock over 5 years. In addition to the 65 different hydrosols profiled in the book, the author has provided a most promising list of newer hydrosols that she has been made aware of since the beginning of this project. I must say that the list is truly fascinating and holds some very exciting possibilities for the industry.

Filtration systems are discussed briefly and the author lists pros and cons for the various systems and the occasions in which you might use them. She also explains how it is possible to extend the shelf life of hydrosols via filtration in some instances. Packaging and handling are again addressed as they are major contributors to the early demise of many a water. Each hydrosol profiled in the book has a pH range, which the author contends is a very valuable tool in monitoring the shelf life (pH of < 5.0 generally have a shelf life of 2 years and pH > 5.0 around 1 to 1.5 years). There is also discussion of the exceptions to this "rule" which I appreciate as so many books contain "just the facts" and many have since debated and derailed some of these universal "truths".

Methods of use are covered listing some standard aromatherapy application methods like baths, compresses, and use in beauty and skin care products such as masks, scrubs, shampoos and such. Internal use is also described here which I am sure will be cause for much debate. I feel that this is definitely an area for the individual to investigate and become well versed in so that they may make their own informed opinion. Speaking of debate, there is a section in the book regarding the use of hydrosols with animals for UTI's, respiratory ailments, digestive complaints, etc. I am not familiar enough with animal aromatherapy to have an opinion regarding this section of the book, so I would leave it to the individual to form an opinion.

Probably my favorite section in the book is the large section in the back which contains a great many recipes for the use of hydrosols both for therapeutic use and for pure pleasure. Also contains information regarding cooking with hydrosols. A wonderful starting point for those who aren't comfortable in selecting hydrosols for specific issues or for those who need some inspiration and new ideas.

Hydrosols contains a large directory of suppliers (some of whom I personally know and love and they offer fabulous products) from around the world, which is very helpful indeed for those wishing to expand their selection beyond the standard Rose, Orange Blossom and Lavender waters.

I think this book is a very comprehensive look at the wonderful co product of distillation and look forward to the development of this aspect of aromatherapy. I would very strongly recommend this as a reference book on hydrosols and their many uses and intricacies to practitioners and anyone with an interest in aromatherapy as it is in my opinion the most comprehensive work to date on hydrosols.

Copyright © 2002 Jennifer L. Gerlitz. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission from the author. Contact Jennifer Gerlitz at -
info@scentsability.com

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Jennifer Gerlitz Biography

Jennifer Gerlitz, President and CEO of Scentsability Aromatherapy, has been a practitioner of aromatherapy for over eight years. Scentsability was established in October of 1998, its' clientele base ranges from the person next door to the United States and as far as Africa. Scentsability has enabled Jennifer to assist others in their search for pure essential oils and a high quality line of aromatic products. Scentsability products can be found through out the Alberta region through various venues (hotel spas to college campuses that offer the Aromatherapy courses). Her knowledge base has accumulated from several avenues; currently completing the International Certification through Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy (overseen by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt) and Professional Aromatherapy Certification through Mount Royal College, hundreds of client inquires and requests and co-hosting along with presenting at a national Hydrosols - Master Class. It is one of Jennifer's beliefs that due to the ever-changing technology, overwhelming information sources and vast products in this field that the learning phase is continuous and has been a part that she has thoroughly enjoyed.

Jennifer has had the pleasure of being invited to speak at Wellness Week hosted by the Students' Association of Mount Royal College and on two occasions at the University of Calgary. She has been asked to also complete several reviews of aromatherapy products and information and has been interviewed by Lorraine Bruce at The Fulcrum to help inform the public about aromatherapy facts and falsehoods. Thorough her work with Scentsability she is able to keep up to date on information that is constantly being released in this field and as well as enable the business to grow and develop not only new products, but new opportunities for her clientele.

Scentsability in working closely with United Aromatherapy Effort (UAE) and has had the recent honour of adopting a New York firehouse to assist those affected by the devastation of September 11, 2001. This program allows Jennifer to donate products, web links and advertising to support the cause.

Jennifer was once asked "Why aromatherapy?", she responded, "because aromatherapy is my passion, it is something I truly love to do and it makes such a huge difference in the quality of people's lives."

Integrity of the product is one of Jennifer's constant and probably largest hurdles to overcome. "We are on a never ending search for the best quality and this is a very volatile market where the product can change drastically from year to year." In order to supply the products, she has done/does continuous research on the oils, the companies that supply them and their process / integrity of distillation. In order to judge this she has taken the above-mentioned courses, uses several suppliers (Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Turkey) to verify the purity and has participated in the amazing art of distillation.

The goal of Jennifer Gerlitz and Scentsability is to encouraging people to take an active role in the promotion of their health and well being, as well as, teaching others how to help themselves through the use of aromatherapy.
© 2002 Jennifer L. Gerlitz

Contact Jennifer at: Phone 403.590.9264 - Fax 403.590.9264 - Canada
Office Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Closed Sundays & Holidays.

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Additional Articles


Aromatherapy - Methods Of Application
by The N.A.H.A.

Methods to apply essential oil for health and wellbeing Massage blends
Aromatherapy massage blends* offer you an opportunity to explore unique base or carrier material. For blending into a base or carrier oil a dosage of 2.5 - 5% is recommended.

A 2.5% dilution = 15 drops per ounce with an average 'swing'** ratio of 10 - 20 drops per ounce. A 5% dilution = 30 drops per ounce which is currently considered to be a more 'clinical' dilution of essential oils. A 5% dilution has a 'swing'** ratio of 25 - 35 drops per ounce. Much research in current years has shown that "less is better" when utilizing essential oils. Therefore a 2.5% dilution is an appropriate and recommended dosage.

TERMS: A Blend can be defined as the end product of combining 3-5 different essential oils (e.g. Geranium, Clary sage and Lavender) into a carrier or base material (e.g. creams, cleansing bases, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel etc.)

TERMS: A Synergy can be defined as the end product of combining 3-5 different essential oils (e.g. Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Laurel) without the use of a base or carrier oil.

** Swing ratio is what I have always used depending on the strength of the essential oils chosen. At times when a blend contains highly aromatic essential oils I recommend to reduce the overall drops by 5. At other times when the blend is constructed with highly volatile or with less powerful aromatic essential oils, I recommend to increase the overall drops by 5. The swing ratio allows us to more completely customize our blends without getting to caught up in exact drops.

A 5-10% can be beneficial for acute conditions especially in such cases as: acute constipation, muscular aches and pains, arthritis, and migraines.

Baths

Bath therapy with essential oils can have profound effects on the healing of skin disorders, alleviating muscular aches and pains, enhancing respiratory functions, reducing levels of stress, as well as increasing and supporting blood and lymph circulation. Essential oil baths or Aromatic bathing can begin to facilitate healing on numerous levels both physiologically as well as psychologically. Dosage is recommended at 5-10 drops in a full body bath depending on which essential oils you choose. Customize drops based upon choice of oils. The water should be warm but not hot and the essential oils should be added to the bath either once the individual is in it or right before the individual is getting into the water. Always suggest the swishing around of water in order to disperse concentration of essential oils in the water.

One can also dilute essential oils in powdered milk, sea salts, milk, and carrier oils to reduce any possibility of irritation.

(NOTE: If an individual gets red blotches or irritation on the skin while bathing this means that too much essential oil was added to the bath. Should irritation occur, recommend a light cream without essential oils, the irritation should dissipate within an hour.)

One can utilize essential oils neat in the bath or add a blend (approximately 1-2 tablespoons). Blends can be used to treat dry, cracked skin.

Aromatic baths with Epsom salts or sea salts

Epsom salt baths are highly effective in aiding and supporting the body in detoxing. Epsom salts aid the elimination of waste material from the skin as well as reduce muscular aches and pains by aiding the elimination of uric acid build-up. Epsom salts support and enhance the bodies&#146; immune response by stimulating lymph and blood circulation. Use 5-8 drops of essential oils per cup of Epsom salts.

Foot and Hand baths

Foot and Hand baths can be utilized in the treatment of: arthritis, athletes foot, poor circulation, low energy, stress, nail fungus and other skin disorders of the hands and feet. Dosage: 5-7 drops of essential oil in a basin of warm/hot water. Let feet or hands soak for 10 - 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salts for added benefit.

Inhalations

Inhalations can be utilized for the treatment of a variety of respiratory disorders as well as emotional states. They are most effective for treating nasal or chest congestion where there is an excess or deficiency of mucus. (E.g. Sinusitis, bronchitis, hay fever, post nasal drip etc.) Inhalations range in methods of application and consist of the following:

a. Steam Inhalation

Bring 2 cups of water to boil, reduce heat and let water cool for 5-10 minutes. Add 2-5 drops of essential oil (or a combination of 2-3 essential oils). Inhale vapors for 5-10 minutes. You can also place a towel over your head to increase concentration. Inhalations can be used 2-3 times a day in treatment of specific respiratory disorders.

REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED TO AVOID IRRITATION!

b. Handkerchief or tissue paper can be used as a wonderful tool for inhalations.

Dosage: Place 2-4 drops of essential oils on the tissue or cloth. Hold cloth in the palms of your hand and take 2-3 deep inhalations through the nose. Suggested time: 7 times a day or as needed to keep sinus area clear.

Another variation on this theme is to place 2-4 drops on your pillowcase during the night. This will keep the sinuses open throughout the night and if you have trouble falling asleep with 'eucalyptus' then add a drop of lavender to aid sleep!

c. Aerial dispersion via electronic glass diffusers

"The nebulising diffuser consists of two parts: an air pump and a hand blown glass expansion chamber (nebuliser) with special internal tubes and baffles. As air is pushed from the pump into the glass chamber the essential oil 'breaks' against the baffles where by the essential oil is discharged into the atmosphere in a fine mist of micro droplets. Aerial dispersion is best utilized in short durations. Recommended time usage: 15 minutes every two hours. The ionized micro droplets will stay suspended in the air." ( Jan Kusmirek)

Aerial dispersion or electronic diffusion is best used for: Respiratory ailments, environmental fragrancing, energy sedation or stimulation, emotional upsets, and to clean the air of bacteria and microbes.

d. Clay candle or electric pottery diffusers

This type of diffuser is useful in the treatment of emotion upsets or simply to provide a pleasant atmosphere. A very simple method of 'environmental' fragrancing. This method of diffusion however, lacks the medicinal value received by aerial dispersion. Use to enhance and beautify the home or office.

A variation on this theme includes the wide range of clay diffusers available in retail stores. Such diffusers include: clay car diffusers, clay necklaces, glass necklaces, small room clay diffusers. These are all useful in creating an aromatic environment as well as to enhance emotional well being. They are not of medicinal value in treating chronic or acute respiratory disorders.

e. Water spray - Essential oil spritzer

Another fantastic way of utilizing essential oils is to make a water spray or a floral spritzer. In a 4-ounce container of water, place 10 - 15 drops of essential oils. Make sure to shake the contents before each use. A water spray can be used to fragrance a room, clean the air or you can create a mosquito repellent.

Compress

This method of application is best used in treating such conditions as: muscular aches and pains, varicose veins, sprains, bruises, menstrual cramps and respiratory congestion. It is also a wonderful way to relax from a long day at work. Use a cold compress for recent conditions (as listed above) and a hot compress for long standing conditions as well as menstrual cramps. Dosage: To 1/2 liter of water place 5-7 drops of essential oil (or a combination thereof), swish water around and then place a face cloth or a piece of linen or cotton fabric into the water. Wring towel out and place on area to be treated. Allow the compress to cool/heat to body temperature prior to removing.

Salves

Salves are useful in treating muscular aches and pains as well as respiratory conditions and skin rashes.

How to make an aromatic salve:

To make a salve simply use 1 &amp; 1/4 cup vegetable oil (e.g. a combination of Sunflower, Calendula herbal infusion and Echinacea herbal infusion or simply 100% sunflower or apricot kernel or olive oil) with 1 ounce of beeswax. Melt this down in a double boiler at medium temperature. Once the beeswax and oil are fluid, remove from stove. At this point you can pour the fluid into small glass jars and customize each salve with desired essential oils. Let the salve cool and harden. You can now use your salve. If the salve comes out to hard or thick you can melt the mixture down again and add more oil. If the salve is too fluid or thin you can melt it down and mix in some more beeswax.

Example recipe for Respiratory salve:

MATERIAL NEEDED:
Double boiler
1/2 cup measuring cup
1/4 cup measuring cup
A stainless steel fork

PREMAKE SYNERGY - 25mls

Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) 7mls
Melaleuca alternifolia (T tree) 5mls
Mentha x piperita (Peppermint) 5mls
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) 7mls
Citrus limon(Lemon) 1ml
You can also add in a drop of Niaouli and a drop of Cypress.

RECIPE

1oz beeswax
1/2 cup Sunflower oil
1/4 cup Echinacea herbal infusion
1/4 cup St. Johns wort and Calendula
1/4 cup sunflower oil and borage oil
1 tsp. of honey

In the double boiler, place the beeswax and all the oils. Allow the water to come to a boil so that it effectively melts the beeswax. Stir occasionally with fork. *Make sure it is stirred well.

Once all the material is melted then take it off the heat and set aside for a few moments.

In a 2oz salve jar place the salve mixture and then add 4mls of the Respiratory synergy. Seal immediately with cap then shake for a moment. Set aside and let harden. **The Recipe will make 5 -2oz jars and 2-1oz jars of salve.

Use this salve for coughs, colds, sinus congestion, and flu. Definitely use at the onset of a cold/flu.

Mouthwash

Mouthwashes with essential oils can treat canker Dosage: 1-2 drops of essential oil in a cup of water or 5 parts water: 1 part apple cider vinegar. Gargle with the water and then spit out. (Do not swallow.) Usage: 2-3 times a day as needed.

Creams and gels

Creams and gels are fantastic for the skin, they are able to effectively deliver both oil and water into the skin. Gels are also wonderful for varicose veins and muscular aches and pains or with conditions needing a cooling delivery system. The standard dilution rate is: 2.5% (15 drops per ounce).

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing public awareness of the benefits of aromatherapy. The NAHA is actively involved with promoting and elevating academic standards in aromatherapy education and practice for the profession. It is also actively involved in furthering the publics perception and knowledge of aromatherapy and its safe application in everyday life. Their website is
www.naha.org

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Aromatherapy Remedies
by Beverley Von Marksfeld-Fuhrherr

Aromatherapy and Anxiety

Anxiety is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as:" troubled state of mind; uneasiness". Most of us have experienced feelings of anxiety at one time or another and it is often a normal healthy response to external stressors. These feelings of anxiety are usually relatively short-lived and are resolved once the external situation has been dealt with. For instance it is quite normal to feel anxious before standing up in front of a roomful of people to give speech or before that all important examination however, when anxiety is excessive (the response is out of proportion to the situation), prolonged or experienced without any objective, external reason, it becomes a problem. When anxiety becomes a problem it can, in addition to the feelings of uneasiness, manifest in a number of different physical symptoms which include migraine headaches, allergies, insomnia, digestive problems and tense muscles. When the underlying problem of anxiety is not dealt with these symptoms could develop into more serious illnesses.

Essential oils can be very helpful aids at times like these. We are fortunate in that a wide rage of essential oils can be effective in dealing with states of anxiety and therefore the final choice of the most appropriate oils will depend on the individual's lifestyle, personality and individual preference for the aroma of the different oils. The essential oils most often suggested include bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, geranium, juniper berry, lavender, lime, marjoram, melissa (true), neroli, patchouli, rose and ylang ylang. In addition to using the essential oils one could consider avoiding stimulants such as tea, coffee or alcohol as well as incorporating some sort of relaxation technique such as tai-chi, yoga or meditation into their lifestyle.

Aromatherapy and Depression

According to The Merck Manual of Medical Information, depression is a feeling of intense sadness. This feeling may be the result of a resent loss or some such sad event but is out of proportion to the event and persists beyond an appropriate length of time. They go on to say that depression is the second most common psychiatric disorder after anxiety. An episode of depression typically lasts for 6 - 9 months but in 15 - 20 percent of suffers can last for 2 years or more.

The causes of depression are not fully understood. While there are a number of factors which may make it more likely for one to experience depression, (heredity, a side effect of medication, an introverted personality and emotionally upsetting events) it may also arise or worsen without any apparent or significant life stress. Women appear to be twice as likely to suffer with depression than men are.

Symptoms will typically develop gradually over a period of time (days or weeks). The symptoms include feelings of mild sadness to intense feelings of guilt and hopelessness. One may experience difficulty in thinking, which would include the inability to concentrate. There is a lack of decisiveness and a loss of interest often with a diminished involvement in work and recreation. Other symptoms can include headaches, insomnia or excessive sleep and decreased sexual drive. In severe depression in addition to the above there is a withdrawal from activities, the physical symptoms get worse and one can entertain suicidal thoughts. People suffering from severe depression should consult their doctor.

Essential oils can help to lighten and uplift one's mood. Just the right blend applied in massages, baths, diffusers and personal perfumes can all be helpful at such times. When deciding which essential oils to use in a blend there are a number of things to consider and as many symptoms as possible should be taken into account.

For instance if the person is restless one would include the more calming essential oils such as, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Clary Sage, Lavender, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang in the blend. On the other hand however if the sufferer were lethargic it would be more useful to include some of the more uplifting essential oils such as Bergamot, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Tangerine, Orange and Rose in the blend. Neroli can be a wonderful addition to any blend if the person is suffering from anxiety as well as depression. As so many different essential oils are useful in fighting depression it is also important to take into consideration each individuals own personal smell preferences.

References:
Robert Berkow, Mark H Beers, Andrew J. Fletcher The Merck Manual of Medical Information Merck Research Laboratories, 1997
Beverley von Marksfeld-Fuhrherr Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201 courses 1999.

 

Aromatherapy and the Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection of the lining of the nose, sinuses, throat and large airways. There are many different viruses, which cause colds and why some people are more susceptible to colds than others isn't entirely known but this time of the year often finds people battling colds and their uncomfortable symptoms. People under prolonged stress are often more susceptible to colds.

Symptoms of the common cold start 1 - 3 days after infection. The first symptom is usually a discomfort in the nose or throat. Then the sneezing starts and one has a runny nose with copious watery secretions. Although a fever doesn't usually develop with a common cold there is sometimes a slight fever when the symptoms are beginning. Many people will also develop a cough. Symptoms will usually disappear in 4 - 10 days although a cough can often last into the second week. Most colds are readily diagnosed based on the typical symptoms, however bacterial infections and allergies can cause similar symptoms. The same viruses that cause colds can also cause symptoms similar to influenza. A high fever usually suggests that the infection is not a simple cold. Traditional treatment is that one should stay warm, comfortable and drink plenty of liquids.

Prevention is always better than cure - and while the cure for the common cold still eludes us - here are a few ways in which essential oils can be used to make the cold sufferer more comfortable and help support the immune system fight off the virus.

Colds are spread through the air when the infected droplets are coughed or sneezed into the air so your first line of defense should be to get a blend of essential oils into the air around you. Vaporize, diffuse or mist spray your blend into the room around you. The right essential oil blend can help to clean the air around you so that you don't re-infect yourself or infect others around you.

Tip: As a preventative measure diffuse or mist spray a germ busting blend of essential oils. This could help prevent colds from developing.

A drop or two of your cold fighting blend can be added to a tissue to be sniffed as needed. Adding your blend to a warm bath can help not only relax one but also to clear up the congested passages. Add your blend to a base cream or carrier oil and apply to the chest, upper back and sinus area.

Check below under the section Ways Aromatherapy Can Be Used for the correct number of drops of the blend to be used depending on the method of administration.

To make up a mist spray - fill a spray bottle with 125ml distilled water or hydrosol and add 18 drops of your essential oil or blend to this. Shake well before using. Spray into the room or around your head and shoulders - do not spray directly into the face.

There are quite a lot of essential oils you can consider using when suffering from colds - these include:

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) - has mucolytic properties
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) - has expectorant and decongestant properties
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) - has antiviral properties.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globules) - has antiviral, decongestant, expectorant and mucolytic properties.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) - has antiviral and expectorant properties
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) - has antiviral and decongestant properties
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) - has expectorant and mucolytic properties
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) - has expectorant properties
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) - has antiviral and antiseptic properties.
Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia) - has expectorant and antiviral properties
Lemon (Citrus limonum) - has antiviral, decongestant and calming properties.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) - has antiviral properties
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) - has antiseptic properties
Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) - has strongly antiviral and decongestant properties
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) - has expectorant and mucolytic properties
Pine (Pinus sylvestris) - has expectorant properties
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - has expectorant, decongestant and mucolytic properties
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) - has antiviral properties
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - has expectorant properties
Oregano (Thymus vulgaris) - has antiviral properties

The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home Edition,
Merck Research Laboratories, 1997

Headaches, Migraines and Aromatherapy

All of us suffer from headaches from time to time and their causes are myriad. Emotional disorders, head injuries, fever, intracranial vascular disorders, dental disease, diseases of the ears, nose or eyes, environmental conditions can all cause headaches. The most common type of headaches appears to be muscle tension headaches and migraines.

Tension Headaches generally seem to begin in the morning or early afternoon and steadily worsen during the day. Often there is a steady, moderately severe pain above the eyes or in the back of the head. A feeling of tight pressure as if there were a band around the head may also accompany the pain. The pain may spread over the entire head and sometimes down into the back of the neck and shoulders. Tension headaches can often be prevented or controlled by avoiding or understanding and adjusting to the stresses that bring them on. Essential oils can be helpful in assisting one to overcome and avoid headaches by relaxing one physically and emotionally and helping to reduce stress. They can also be helpful with some of the underlying causes, which can lead to headaches such as constipation, digestive problems, PMS etc.

Essential oils, which have been found to be helpful in combating or easing headaches, include lavender, peppermint, rosemary and marjoram. There are a number of different ways one can use essential oils to achieve this effect.

Many people find a special recipe of their own to work with, however when you feel a headache there are a number of things you could try.

  • Take a soothing, relaxing bath
  • Massage the temples, head, neck and shoulders
  • Apply an icy compress to the head
  • Inhale a drop or two of essential oil from a tissue

Migraine Headaches a recurring, throbbing intense pain which usually affects one side of the head, but sometimes both sides. The pain begins suddenly and may be preceded or accompanied by visual, neurological or gastrointestinal symptoms. Although migraine headaches can start at any age, they usually begin between the ages of 10 and 30. Sometimes they will disappear after the age of 50. Migraines are more common in women than in men. Migraine headaches are generally more severe than tension headaches. They occur when arteries to the brain constrict and then dilate (narrow and then widen), which activates nearby pain receptors.

There appear to be three characteristic groups of symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances, which may occur at the beginning of an attack. They can take the form of flashes of light, spots or patterns before the eyes or sometimes partial loss of vision.
  • A severe throbbing headache which usually starts on one side of the head and may last for several hours
  • Nausea and vomiting are often present.

Aromatherapy is most effective when used as a preventative measure. Regular massage with essential oils particularly to the head, neck and shoulders may be helpful. Often once a migraine attack has begun some sufferers may find the smell of most essential oils to be overbearing and sometimes that can't bear to be touched.

  • A cold or warm compress (whichever gives the most relief) made up with equal parts of lavender and peppermint can be helpful. Change frequently as the temperature of the compress changes.
  • Extremely light massage of the temples with lavender might be helpful
  • As some migraines appear to be due to a restricted flow of blood to the brain, a hot or warm compress made with sweet marjoram applied to the back of the neck may help to increase the flow of blood to the head.
Beverley Von Marksfeld-Fuhrherr owns the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy and has many years of experience as an alternative health care professional. She is an Aromatherapist, massage therapist, Reflexologist, Reiki master and educator - maintaining a private practice and offering home study courses at www.westcoastaromatherapy.com

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