For the Month of April, I was thinking about what Scentsations could share with it’s customers. So many of the fragrance products we carry are essential oil and aromatherapy based, I thought “this would be a good thing”. I do not claim to be an aromacologist however, I have been using, growing my own herbs and selling essential oils for 17 years. I have mint, oregano, sage, parsley, thyme, aloe vera and rosemary all growing in my yard or in pots. It is part of my daily life. I dry it, throw in in dishes I am cooking and even give tons of it away. Therefore, daily I will be choosing an essential oil and going over why people who believe in aromatherapy use it. Some of the ones I will be featuring will be lavender, lemon, orange, tea tree, peppermint, frankincense, patchouli, jasmine, rose and thyme. I will be sharing with you some of my “secret” blends for remedies from sunburn, mosquito bites and even fire ant bites.
So what is aromatherapy and why do some people utilize it in their daily lives for health, wellness and peace of mind?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. Essential oils, or aromatherapy oils, are the fragrant essence of a plant. These highly concentrated liquid oils are the foundation of aromatherapy, which is based on the idea that the aromatic oil from a plant has healing properties. Essential oils are extracted one of two ways – either by steam distillation or expression, or pressing. Distillation is the most prominent method used to extract aromatherapy oils, however. This technique involves steaming the plant matter until it breaks down. The byproduct of this breakdown phase is the plant’s fragrant oil, which is cooled, separated from the water and finally filtered into its pure essential oil.
Essential Oils are natural concentrated essences derived from plants, bark, roots, seeds, stems, flowers, leaves, fruits, etc. and are usually steamed distilled. They differ from fragrance oils which are normally made up of a number of synthetic imitations of essential oils creating a fragrance that will smell like a flower, herb, plant or other fragrance. Do not confuse the two!
I sell many essential oil based products in the store including, oils, Root Candles and Lampe Berger. There are many different modes of application of aromatherapy: aerial diffusion, direct inhalation, and topical applications.
- Aerial diffusion is usually applied via an oil burner but I have some people that also add some in a pot of boiling water on a stove or a few drops on a warm light bulb. This method is generally used for fragrancing and aerial disinfection. Lampe Berger is also an aerial diffuser so are reed diffusers.
- Direct inhalation like in a humidifier or steamer is particularly helpful for decongestant, for respiratory cleansing and also as a soothing peace of mind. remember when you were a kid and mom fired up the humidifier with the Vicks? The inhaled aroma of essential oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function but we will discuss that in a minute.
- Topical applications like massage oils, baths, compresses and skin care. Aromatherapy has many benefits, but it is imperative that safety precautions are taken when handling essential oils. While they may seem harmless (they are extracted from plants, after all), many need to be diluted before applying directly to the skin.
Please be sure to read all labels for warning and cautions. Do not get essential oils in your eyes. Flush with lots of water if you do and seek medical help. Keep them away from children who may not know what they are for, just that they smell great. If you are using on your body as a topical application, make sure you are using the appropriate carrier oils. Use only the suggested amount; misuse can lead to headaches and/or nausea. If you suspect you’ve used too much, drink plenty of water and get some fresh air. Essential oils have wonderful medicinal benefits, but if used improperly the effects can be hazardous to your health.
Aromatherapy is said to have been around for centuries. Little is known about the history of aromatherapy, or where it originated specifically, but the Egyptians are credited with developing one of the first distillation machines to extract oils from certain plants — cedarwood, clove, cinnamon, to name a few — which were used to embalm the dead. The practice of using infused aromatic oils as a mood enhancer, however, is thought to have roots in China.
The Greeks also played a role in the history of aromatherapy. Megallus, a Greek perfumer, developed a fragrance he called megaleion, which consisted of myrrh. The “father of medicine” Hippocrates is said to have practiced aromatherapy (before it was dubbed so) for healing purposes. Greek mythology claims the gods were gifted with the knowledge of perfume and fragrance.
The actual term “aromatherapy” first originated in 1937 when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse invented the word after a burn incident spurred his curiosity about the healing power of essential oils. On the heels of Gattefosse’s “discovery” that lavender oil helped to cure his burn, French surgeon Jean Valnet used essential oils to help heal soldiers’ wounds in World War II, proving the medical benefits of aromatherapy.
Now that you have a brief background…there are literally hundreds of essential oils that have a wide variety of uses in aromatherapy. The ones that you will favor and choose to use is a personal option. The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be a professional to begin finding happiness and enjoyment from the advantages of aromatherapy immediately. You can use them many ways:
||Light bulb rings
|Steam (3 to 6 drops in 2 cups water in pan.)
|Household Cleaning agents
Check back tomorrow as I highlight Lavender, my #1 selling essential oil. If you have any suggestions, recipes you would like to share or thoughts, let me know! Be sure to follow us if you want to know when I post new essential oils.