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Aromatherapy


Aromatherapy is an ancient science in which plant extracts, known as essential oils are used for physical healing, emotional balance, and spiritual attunement.

The ancient Egyptians used plant extracts in ointments for embalming and as annointments in other rituals and ceremonies. Ayurvedic texts from early India demonstrate the use of essential oils as medicines. The Greeks & Romans used the oils as perfumes and as enhancements to their religious rituals. In 1000AD, the Arab physician Avicenna improved the distillation process, making the essential oils even more potent and useful in healing.

As essential oils become more readily available it is possible for the lay person to experience their healing and uplifting benefits. For those wishing to study further, there are a variety of aromatherapy certification programs in which the safe use and properties of the oils are studied in depth.

References for home study are provided on the sidebar. If you decide to explore aromatherapy I'm sure you will love it as much as I do!





Safe Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils contain potent natural chemicals and should be treated with respect. Never ever ingest an essential oil without consulting a trained and certified aromatherapist as some of the oils are very potent and others are poisonous if taken internally. As with all chemicals, keep them out of reach of small children. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Store essential oils in a cool, dark place in colored glass bottles. Some of the concentrated oils will dissolve plastic bottles, and all oils will last longer when stored in this manner.
  • Before using an essential oil on your skin (i.e., for massage) dilute it in a neutral carrier oil such as almond oil, or grape seed oil. For example, you might use five drops of essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil, although this can vary widely with different oils and formulas. With hot, spicy oils such as clove, cinnamon, and allspice, use 1-2 drops of essential oil instead. Please consult a good reference book or a trained aromatherapist.
  • Use essential oils sparingly. A little goes a very long way!
  • Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or on small children unless you first consult a certified aromatherapist or a very reputable reference book. Lavender is an exception that can be used on almost anyone!
  • Careful about sun-tanning after use of essential oils. Some make you more sensitive!
  • Do not put essential oils directly on a light bulb or candle flame. They can burn.

This page is not intended as a medical reference. It is for your information and enjoyment. Essential oils, like herbs, are natural medicine and should be used with careful consideration and preferably with the advice of a trained professional.

With these few precautions essential oils can be enjoyed by anyone!






Ann's Favorite Essential Oils

Click on the oils below to read about their properties & usage.


Allspice
Bergamot
Birch (Sweet)
Black Pepper
Cedarwood
Chamomile
Cinnamon
Clary Sage
Clove
Cypress
Frankincense
Eucalyptus
Fir Balsam
Geranium
Ginger
Grapefruit
Juniper
Lavender
Lemon
Lemongrass
Lemon Verbena
Lime
Litsea Cubeb
Mandarin
Marjoram
Melissa
Myrrh
Neroli
Orange
Patchouli
Peppermint
Peru Balsam
Petigrain
Pine
Rosemary
Rose Otto
Sandalwood
Spruce
Tangerine
Tea Tree
Tolu Balsam
Ylang Ylang


Go to Ann's Top Ten Oils

Go to Ann's Favorite Blends





Please note!

The following information is not meant to be a substitute for trained, professional diagnosis and prescriptions. Before using any medication, herb, or essential oil -- consult a trained health care professional. If you are interested in further study, my favorite aromatherapy reference books are listed on the sidebar.



Allspice - Allspice is harvested from the leaves, twigs, and berries of an evergreen tree from the West Indies & Central America. It is used to improve circulation, loosen up the sinuses, and aid in digestion.

Allspice is a very warm oil and should be diluted well. It is uplifting when mixed with orange citrusy oils such as mandarin, tangerine, orange, or bergamot.

Bergamot- is made from the peel of a special breed of Italian oranges. It is frequently blended in perfumes and has a remarkably uplifting effect on the user. It reduces stress, improves the mood and facilitates clear thinking

Birch (Sweet) - The oil is gathered from the bark of a tree native to North America. The Native Americans used this tree in a my different healing capacities. Today the oil is used to relieve muscle soreness, relieve cramps, and reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints. Tray adding this to bath salts for a great post-workout soak in the tub.

Black Pepper - Made from peppercorns, this oil is very hot and must be diluted well. It aids in digestion when massaged over the stomach area, improves circulation and is an overall stimulant.

Cedarwood - Made from the wood chips of an evergreen tree, cedarwood oil reduces congestion, relaxes the mind, and is said to promote clear dreams and visions.

Chamomile - A favorite among aromatherapists, chamomile is made from the flowers and leaves of a European herb. It is a soothing and calming oil that helps you to sleep, relaxes menstrual cramps and is known to contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called azulene. It is good in mixtures for the skin as well.

Cinnamon - Cinnamon oil is made from the bark of the cinnamon tree. Research has shown it to be effective in killing off some bacteria and fungi. It is a strong antiseptic and is reputed to strengthen the heart. Use sparingly -- this is a hot oil!

Clary Sage - Clary is obtained from the flowering branches of a special variety of sage. It is known to reduce menstrual cramps when massaged into the affected areas and is reputed to be an aphrodisiac... perhaps because of its abilities to calm the mind and relax the body. In old Europe clary was an ingredient in brewing ales and making wines.

Clove - Clove is a strong antiseptic and is also known to improve digestion, numb pain, and heat the muscles. Dilute clove oil very well. It is hot and can burn. 1 drop in a tablespoon of carrier oil is sufficient.

Cypress - Made from the leaves and twigs of an evergreen tree that is known to live for thousands of years, cypress oil is great for reducing nervous tension, relieving muscle soreness and swelling, and regulating female hormones.

Frankincense - This oil comes from the bark of the frankincense tree, native to the Mediterranean. It promotes sleep, opens up the sinuses, and aids in dreams and visions. It is also good on inflammations, bruises, or burns.

Eucalyptus - The leaves and twigs of the eucalyptus tree are used to make this oil. It is an antiseptic, relieves sore muscles, opens the sinuses, and improves alertness. Try adding a few drops to a morning bath to really wake you up, relieve lethargy, and clear the breathing.

Fir Balsam - Made from the needles of the fir tree, this oil reduces lymphatic congestion, opens the sinuses and uplifts the mood.

Geranium - Geranium oil is made from the leaves and flowers of the rose geranium herb. It is known to soothe insect bites and is used as a disinfectant. It uplifts the mood, and reduces pain and inflammation.

Ginger - Ginger comes from the root of the ginger plant. It is a warm oil that is great for digestion, calming colds, improving mental clarity, and aiding in circulation. It smells terrific too!

Grapefruit - Grapefruit oil is made from grapefruit peels. It is cleansing to the lymphatic system, reduces cellulite and aids in reducing obesity. It improves the mood and is a great cheerful waker-upper in the morning.

Juniper - Juniper oil comes from the ripe berries of the juniper bush that is native to high desert areas. It is an antiseptic and a diuretic. It helps reduce respiratory problems, and cleanses the intestines and tissues when massaged on those areas. It stimulates the kidneys so you may want to avoid it if you have kidney problems.

Lavender

- If you're only going to own one oil, this is it! Lavender is calming and promotes relaxation, sleep, and dreams. It is good to use on hyperactive kids or pets or on yourself when you have an overactive mind.

It soothes a sore throat when massaged around that area, and can soothe a cough when massaged on the upper chest. It is great to ease the pain of burns, the itching of insect bites, the discomfort of diaper rash (5 drops to 1 T carrier oil), and many other types of skin irritations.

Lemon - Lemon oil is made from lemon peel. It helps to break down cellulite. It is cleansing, and helps to uplift the moods. Lemon is a happy oil and a good one to blend in antidepressant formulas.

Lemongrass - This oil is made from the leaves of the grassy plant. Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Thai food. It improves digestion, eases stress, and reduces swollen tissues when used in massage.

Lemon Verbena - Lemon Verbena is made from the leaves and branches of the lemon verbena herb. It is used in perfume, and is uplifting. It is a wonderful antidepressant.

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Lime - Lime oil is made from lime peel. Like lemon it is purifying, eases stress, and improves mental clarity. A clean-smelling oil.

Litsea Cubeb - This is made from the fruit of an evergreen tree and has a lemony scent. It is good for rest, sleep and dreams. It improves digestion and mental clarity. I love mixing it with sandalwood and using it before sleep to aid in the dreaming process.

Mandarin - Mandarin is made from the peel of the mandarin orange. It is a happy and uplifting oil that can be used to calm irritability, and create a relaxed alertness.

Marjoram - Marjoram oil is made from the flowers and upper leaves of the herb. It is a vasodilator (opens up blood vessels) that improves circulation, opens the sinuses and can really put you to sleep.

Melissa (Lemon Balm) - This is a wonderful antidepressant made from the flowers and leaves of the Melissa/Lemon Balm herb. It can be used to ease menstrual cramps and relieve aches and pains. As with all oils, be careful during pregnancy. This is one of the more well-known ones to avoid during that time of life.

Myrrh - Myrrh comes from the bark of a tree. It was used by the ancients in the embalming process and in modern times is it used to heal wounds. It promotes meditation, dreams, visions, and restful sleep.

Neroli - Neroli comes from the fragrant blossoms of the orange tree, and is frequently used in the perfume industry. It boosts the mood, and helps one overcomes fears and stress.

Orange - Orange oil is made from orange peels. It is cleansing, uplifting, and relaxing all at once. It also tends to repel insects.

Patchouli - You'll either love or hate this strong earthy smelling oil which comes from the leaves on an Asian plant. Said to be an aphrodisiac, it promotes well-being and reduces stress. It is a grounding and uplifting oil that is wonderful smelling when mixed with the citrusy scent of bergamot.

Peppermint - Peppermint oil comes from the leaves of the well-known herb. Along with lavender, this is one of the aromatherapy "must-haves." It improves digestion, opens the sinus passages, sharpens the sense and improves mental clarity. It improves stamina, relieves aches, pains, and cramps, repels insects and is an upper. Dilute it well or it will make you skin feel icy cold. If this one doesn't wake you up, nothing will!

Peru Balsam - Made from the bark of the Peru Balsam tree, this oil stimulates and improves circulation, warms the muscles, and reduces stress. It smells divine when mixed with citrus scents.

Petigrain - Petitgrain is made from the leaves and twigs of the citrus trees. It is calming and improves mental clarity. It is a low-cost alternative to the orangey oils.

Pine - Pine oil comes from the needles and small branches of the pine tree. It purifies the lymph system and helps to reduce cellulite. It uplifts the mood and increases alertness. It stimulates the adrenals so if you are already overdosed on adrenaline you might want to avoid this one.

Rosemary - Another one of my favorites, rosemary is distilled from the herb. It wakes you up, improves circulation, purifies the lymph, opens the sinuses, stimulates the heart and adrenals, improves alertness and reduces muscle stiffness and pain. It is a great bath oil and is reputed to be good for the hair. Try putting a few drops in hot oil treatments if you like.

Rose Otto - Rose is the eternal symbol for beauty and love so it is no surprise that this oil, diluted from thousands of sweet smelling damask rose petals, is also reputed to help heal the heart. It is excellent for the skin, uplifting for the mood, and balances out the female hormones. It reduces grief and sorrow and has been the scent associated with visions of the Virgin Mary.

Sandalwood - Sandalwood oil comes from the inner wood of the sandalwood tree. It is an insect repellent and is used for assisting in sleep, dreams, visions, and emotional release. It is a very masculine fragrance that smells great!

Spruce - I love this oil made from the bark and branches of the spruce tree. It brings relief from colds and other sinus congestion, relaxes the muscles and disinfects all over.

Tangerine - Tangerine is made from the peel of the tangerine fruits. It is a happy and uplifting oil that can be used to calm irritability, and create a relaxed alertness.

Tea Tree - Made from the leaves and twigs of the tea tree, this oil is a strong disinfectant. It heals the skin, soothes insects bites, opens the sinuses and relieves pain.

Tolu Balsam - Made from the resin and bark of the tolu balsam tree, this is a calming oil that smells divine.

Ylang Ylang - This heavenly scent is made from the flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree. It reduces stress, increases joy and loosens tight muscles. Mix with a little bergamot and lavender for a heavenly sleep!






Ann's Top Ten

If you can only buy a few oils, try these:



Lavender - calms, heals burns, soothes bites, eases colds


Bergamot - uplifts and calms


Peppermint - energizes, aids in alertness, eases muscle pain


Sweet Birch - improves circulation, eases pain and stiffness, calming


Ylang Ylang - calming, good for sleep & dreams, smells divine


Patchouli - grounding, earthy, calming


Spruce - awesome smelling, clears sinuses, calms, eases pain


Citrus - grapefruit, orange, lemons...good for moods & purification


Eucalyptus - wakes you up, clears sinuses, eases pain


Rosemary - wakes you up, clears sinuses, eases pain


And don't forget the almond oil to blend with your oils!








Safe Ann's Favorite Blends

Here are a few of my favorite simple formulas to use at home:



Facial Toner

Masculine Toner / Aftershave

"Wake up" Massage or Bath Oil

"Sleepy Time" Massage or Bath Oil #1

"Sleepy Time" Massage or Bath Oil #2

"Ooh Ooh - Fix My Muscles" Massage or Bath Oil

"Make it Better" Massage or Bath Oil

"Dreamy Dreaming" Massage or Bath Oil



Go Back to List of Oils



Facial Toner

Ingredients Preparation/Use
8 oz witch hazel
(a natural astringent found in drug stores)
10 drops peppermint oil
10 drops lemon oil
Mix all ingredients and store in a pretty glass bottle with a cork! Apply sparingly to the face with a cotton ball for deep cleansing. Avoid eye areas.


Back to List of Blends



Masculine Toner/Aftershave Splash

Ingredients Preparation/Use
8 oz witch hazel
(a natural astringent found in drug stores)
10 drops patchouli
10 drops sandalwood
10 drops of spruce
Mix all ingredients and store in a glass bottle with a cork! Apply sparingly to the face with a cotton ball for deep cleansing. Avoid eye areas.


Back to List of Blends



"Wake You Up" Massage or Bath Oil

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops orange or grapefruit oil
10 drops peppermint oil
10 drops rosemary oil
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use for a refreshing morning massage or put a little in the bath to wake you up!


Back to List of Blends



"Sleepy Time" Massage or Bath Oil #1

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops patchouli
10 drops bergamot
10 drops ylang ylang
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use for a calming massage before bed, or put a little in a relaxing bath.


Back to List of Blends



"Sleepy Time" Massage or Bath Oil #2

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops lavender
10 drops ylang ylang
10 drops spruce
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use for a calming massage before bed, or put a little in a relaxing bath.


Back to List of Blends



"Ooh Ooh - Fix My Muscles" Massage or Bath Oil

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops spruce
10 drops sweet birch
10 drops eucalyptus
10 drops of lavender
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use to massage or in the bath after a real workout to ease sore muscles.


Back to List of Blends



"Make it Better" Massage or Bath Oil

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops spruce
10 drops ylang ylang
1 drops clove
20 drops of lavender
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use to massage or in the bath when you have a cold or allergies. Massage on neck, chest, and back, especially.


Back to List of Blends



"Dreamy Dreaming" Massage or Bath Oil

Ingredients Preparation/Use
1/2 oz almond oil
10 drops sandalwood
7 drops litsea cubeb
5 drops bergamot
5 drops patchouli
5 drops ylang ylang
Mix all ingredients and store in a dark glass bottle. Use to massage or in the bath to promote sleep, dreaming, and good visions.


Back to List of Blends




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