In Aromas Talk, information is shared with readers on featured Essential oils. This is updated periodically.
Essential oils are very concentrated potent essences from plant material. They should never be applied to the skin without a carrier oil, unless instructed by a qualified Aromatherapist.
Never ingest an essential oil.
Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus
Considering Essential oils, just off the top of my head there are 2 that I would recommend that everyone should have in their home first aid kit. One of these is Lavender(Lavendula officinalis) essential oil. The use of Lavender has been recorded for more that 2500 years, predating chemical medicines. Lavender is used in baths, burners, massages and inhalations. Lavender is one of the very few oils that can be used on the skin ‘neat’ as in not mixed with carrier oil. It is used to help heal cuts & grazes, for inflammation as in those from burns (keep a bottle in the kitchen), boils, acne, dermatitis, eczema- it soothes sunstroke, insect and animal bites. Just 2 drops in 15 ml unscented lotion to help heal stubborn blemishes & pimples, a drop on minor burns and scalds will relieve the pain, speed healing (and leave no scar), take the sting out of insect bites with one drop, massage one drop onto each temple and at base of head on the neck to relieve migraines & headaches. For relief from a cold add a few drops in a warm bath & afterwards dab one drop under each nostril- the fumes will help to clear the mucus, for congested sinus relief put 3-4 drops on a cotton pad and gently inhale during the day & tuck the cotton in your pillow case by your nose which will help while you sleep.
Lavender is probably one of the most studied essential oils. The results of these studies clearly indicate beneficial uses of lavender oil.
Lavender oil is a natural antiseptic- can be used to cleanse wounds. When applied externally it is a mild pain killer. Lavender oil works on many skin conditions, try it for relief of eczema instead of hydrocortisone.
In Aromatherapy Lavender is widely used for its calming affect, it has been shown to help people go to sleep more easily and to sleep more restfully. Small amounts of lavender oil produce an invigorating/calming affect.
Lavender oil is one of the several essential oils that are said to boost a person’s immune system by stimulating leukocytosis (production of white blood cells). Regular use can help your body fight off common illness.
Lavender’s antiseptic properties are especially suited to combating halitosis and excellent for a skin antiseptic. It may be used on many skin conditions including- dermatitis, eczema, acne, psoriasis and is effective against skin parasites-lice & scabies.
Please remember: Before using any essential oil, talk to a qualified Aromatherapist.
For your individual aromatherapy needs and questions contact Margo Goodman, Certified Aromatherapist, at Energy Matters, 250-837-4244, Welwinds Therapeutic Spa, 250-837 6084 or email under "contact us".
"Zest" by Margo Goodman
The second essential oil that is a 'must have' in your home first aid kit is Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia).
Tea tree is well known in and comes from the state of New South Wales in Australia. Tea tree now grows in other parts of the world as well.
Tea tree is one of the most studied essential oils. There are more than 30 species of "paper bark" trees. Australia's aborigines have used poultices of tea tree leaves to treat cuts, wounds and skin infections for centuries. After the First World War the plant received serious attention because of its medical uses. In 1923, Dr. A.R. Penfold, an Australian scientist, studied the essential oil of the tea tree and discovered it to be 12 times stronger as an antiseptic bactericide than carbolic acid.
After much research, tea tree oil was recognized as a powerful disinfectant, nonpoisonous and non-irritating according to a British medical journal(1933). During the Second World War, military medics used tea tree essential oil on wounds to disinfect them and speed healing without damaging tissues. In 1983, skin-sterilization trials were conducted in Australia. The results were amazing. Swabs were taken on unwashed hands, the bacteria count showed over 3,000 per 20 inches; after washing with soap, the count was over 2,000 per 20 inches; after washing with tea tree oil the bacteria count was less than 3 per 20 inches. Just a single drop is needed. And it is even great in the dishwater!
Tea tree oil is a powerful antibiotic and can be safely used for a wide range of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Tea tree oil is used to prevent pus forming, to treat boils, carbuncles and skin diseases as well as respiratory infections.
Tea tree essential oil can be applied safely to the skin 'neat'(no carrier oil). It can be used for acne, abscesses, athlete's foot, herpes, oily skin, rashes, warts, diabetic gangrene, impetigo, ringworm, sweaty feet, wounds that are infected, cold sores, insect bites and stings and even in a scalp massage for dandruff. Because of its anti bactericidal properties it can be used in inhalers and diffusers for asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, chest infections, chilblains, catarrh, coughs, hay fever, headaches, mouth ulcers, neuralgia, pneumonia, sinusitis, TB, tonsillitis, whooping cough, ear-nose & throat infections. Tea tree oil has many more uses.
As always, do not self-diagnose or medicate. Do not apply essential oils to the skin without the advice of a qualified Aromatherapist and never ingest essential oils.
Always seek the advice of your doctor to diagnose, and a qualified and certified Aromatherapist for information on essential oils.
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of evergreen flowering trees and shrubs in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. This group of trees dominate the forests of Australia. There are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus, found mostly in Australia. Some species were brought to other countries by Sir Joseph Banks, botanist, in 1770 and are also found in Africa, Europe, China the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Mediterranean Basin, the Americas, New Guinea, Indonesia & the Philippines. Only 15 species grow outside of Australia.
Eucalyptus' are also know as 'gum trees' because of the sap that oozes from the bark of the trees. The Eucalyptus trees create a mist-like fog of grasses which are vaporised volatile compounds(terpenoids), and leave a blue haze over the forests.
A mature Eucalyptus can be a low shrub to some of the tallest trees(200+ ft). In general terms the trees are arranged into either Forest trees, Woodland trees, Mallees, Mallet, Marlock and Morrell types.
Eucalyptus leaves are covered with oil glands of which these oils are extracted by steam distillation. The essential oil extracted from the leaves contain compounds that are powerful natural disinfectants for both bodies and hard surfaces.
Marsupial herbivores such as koalas and possums are tolerant of such compounds as the eucalyptus is one of their main food sources. For koalas the compounds are the most important factor in leaf choices. The small oval leaves, usually seen in floral arrangements are from the young trees. The mature trees have the long narrow leaves, as shown in the picture above.
Eucalyptus globulus is the most common eucalyptus oil used in aromatherapy. A few others are also used such as E. smithii, E. radiata, E. citriodora and E. dives.
The Aboriginal peoples of Australia were the first to use eucalyptus leaves medicinally to treat fevers and infections. Used as a traditional remedy in Australia for respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and croup. For asthma the leaves are smoked for relief.
Eucalyptus has analgesic, antineuralgic,antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, balsamic, cicatrisant,decongestant, deodorant, depurative,diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycemic, parasiticide, prophylactic, rubefacient, stimulant, vermifuge and vulnerary properties.
Some of the areas eucalyptus is used for are: for skin care- burns, blisters, cuts, herpes, insect bites, insect repellent, lice, skin infections, and wounds. For muscle, joints andcirculation: muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains & more. For respiratory- helps with asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, throat infections. For genito-urinary system- cystitis, leucorrhoea. For the immune system- chicken pox, colds, epidemics, flus, measles. For the nervous system- debility, headaches, neuralgia.
Eucalyptus essential oil needs to be mixed into a carrier oil before applying to the skin. It can be used in a diffuser, just add 3-5 drops in a little water in your diffuser. This is a good oil for use in a sick room, to help with breathing and general all over healing.
Remember, do not apply essential oils to the skin without the advice of a qualified Aromatherapist and never ingest essential oils. Always seek the advice of your doctor to diagnose, and a qualified and certified Aromatherapist for information on essential oils.