What is an essential oil?

Essential OilEssential oils are the odorant chemicals extracted from plants. Aromatic plants grow in great numbers but not all of them yield enough essential oil to make it worthwhile to go through the extraction process. Some of them also have a very toxic effect and therefore cannot be used for therapeutic purposes in the practice of aromatherapy.

When one asks what is an essential oil, it is useful to think about their characteristics and appearance. Essential oils are fluidic, odorant, colored and volatile. This means they undergo chemical changes when they come into contact with sunlight, air and heat. They are not water-soluble but will dissolve in pure alcohol or chemical solvents such as fatty or oily substances, petroleum and ethers.

Essential oils have a density generally lighter than water which causes them to float on the surface of water. There are however some essential oils that are heavier and will sink to the bottom. They generally do not freeze, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

Always keep essential oils in cool temperatures, around 5° Celsius. They should be stored in dark glass containers that are tightly capped or sealed to stop evaporation and prevent oxidation. This will ensure they will keep their therapeutic properties for the length of their shelf life.

Essential oils must be kept away from direct sunlight and heat to prevent photocatalytic activity. When purchasing essential oils from a shop it is important to look out for where and how they are stored.

Essential oils are obtained from various parts of a plant including leaves (Thyme), roots (Ginger), seeds (Coriander), flowers (Chamomile), wood (Sandalwood), fruit (Grapefruit) and bark (Cinnamon).

History of Aromatherapy

History of AromatherapyThe history of aromatherapy is a fascinating journey with the Egyptian’s having the earliest records dating back to 4500BC. Then around AD 1000, Avicenna was the first to distill Rose in Arabia which later became known as the world’s center for of perfume production.

The art of perfumery became popular again later in the 12th century in Europe and the beginning of the great European perfumiers began in the 15th century.

The 17th century saw Nicholas Cuplpepper, author his famous book Culpepper’s Complete Herbal: A Book of Natural Remedies of Ancient Ills. This is when the therapeutic properties of essential oils started to become known.

Scientists then found a way of producing synthetic fragrances in the 19th century and the benefits of essential oils and their natural properties unfortunately took a back seat.

Then in the 1920s, the father of modern-day aromatherapy, René-Maurice Gattefossé, coined the term ‘aromatherapy’ after an accident in his laboratory led him to realise the healing benefits of lavender essential oil.

In the mid 1960s, Dr Jean Valnet published the book Aromathérapie which is still used today by many Aromatherapists. Around the same time, Marguerite Maury discovered the benefits of using essential oils through massage.

As you can see the history of aromatherapy has come a long way. This post is just a very brief snapshot but you can find more information about the history of aromatherapy here.

Essential Oil Properties

Essential Oil Properties
Essential oils have many and varied properties and often these terms can be quite confusing. For example what does Analgesic mean? Or terms such as Bechic, Febrifuge, Sudorific?

Well Analgesic means to remove pain and essential oils such as Lavender, Peppermint and Rosemary are known to have Analgesic properties.

Bechic means to ease coughing and the essential oils with this property include Benzoin, Ginger and Sandalwood.

The term Febrifuge refers to combatting a fever and reducing body temperature. Examples of essential oils with this property include Bergamot, Lemon and Verbena.

Sudorific is a term meaning to increase perspiration and some essential oils that will help with this include Fennel, Juniper and Tea Tree.

You can find a full list of Essential oil properties and their meanings here.

Headaches and Aromatherapy

Headaches and Aromatherapy

If you constantly suffer from headaches you know how debilitating they can sometimes be.

Often the cause can be unknown but there are common triggers such as stress, lack of sleep, sinus problems, stomach upsets or excessive alcohol to name a few. Other causes could be spinal issues, eyestrain, dental problems, depression, PMT and some medications such as the contraceptive pill or HRT (hormonal treatment therapy).

Headaches are the result of the membranes and blood vessels around the brain and the scalp muscles tightening or stretching.

Aromatherapy and essential oils can help to ease the pain caused by headaches by aiding in relaxing these tight muscles. Blend the mixture below and gently massage into your temples, scalp and back of your neck. Find a quiet place where you can lay down and relax with your eyes closed, preferably with an eye bag placed over your eyes. Breath deeply and enjoy the aroma of the essential oils and feel them relaxing all your tightness leaving you feeling calm and releasing any pain.

Aromatherapy Headache Blend

30ml sweet almond or apricot oil
15 drops Lavender essential oil
10 drops Peppermint essential oil
10 drops Rosemary essential oil

Usually headaches are not linked to any serious disorder however if you suffer chronic headaches or you constantly wake up with an extremely painful headache or if they interrupt your sleep you should seek medical advice.

Aromatherapy Essential Oils – Manuka

This wonderful essential oil, originating from New Zealand, is very similar to Australia’s Tea Tree oil. Click here for the full profile for Manuka Essential Oil.

Facial Clay Mask for Acne

facial clay mask acneIf you suffer from acne or even just the occasional break-out, try this new facial clay mask recipe, especially for acne.

Facial Clay Mask for Acne

Do you want to find out how to make personalized Aromatherapy Gifts?

Imagine seeing the look on your friend’s and family’s faces when you give them a special aromatherapy gift that you’ve made yourself!

This inspirational guide shows you step by step, how you can easily create wonderful presents using essential oils, herbs and many other natural ingredients, some of which you may already have in your kitchen or garden.

Apart from saving you money on expensive presents, your gifts will stand out from the rest. You’ll never be short of gifts ideas with these safe and natural recipes and you’ll always find something for everyone (including yourself!)

Even better, as it’s a downloadable ebook you can have it today (with no need for delivery fees) ! It’s just $12.99 USD.

Read more: Aromatherapy Gift ebook

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PS. If, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with Aromatherapy Gifts I will refund 100% of your money. Just notify me within 60 days, no questions asked.

Aromatherapy for Beautiful Hair ebook

Facial Clay Mask for Mature Skin

A new addition to the facial clay mask recipe page is the Facial Clay Mask for Mature Skin.

Please find the new recipe here – Facial Clay Mask for Mature Skin

Aromatherapy helps ease physical, emotional pain

Guest post by Jack Bleeker

Acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga and aromatherapy are all known forms of alternative therapies. For mesothelioma patients, such complementary therapies can ease their pain and bring them peace. Specifically, aromatherapy is known to boost physical and psychological well-being. The distilled and highly concentrated plant-based oils are blended by professional aromatherapists to provide relief from pain and other symptoms of cancer patients.

The use of perfumed oils dates back thousands of years to ancient times. René Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, originated the term “aromatherapy” and discovered the healing effects of Lavender oil when he burnt his hand and subsequently used the extracted plant oil to ease the pain.

Although there is no available scientific evidence that aromatherapy cures or prevents diseases such as mesothelioma, studies and physicians at mesothelioma clinics have discovered that the alternative treatment, when used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation, can be an asset to a cancer patient’s treatment plan.

In Britain, there have been reports of reduced anxiety, depression, tension and pain in cancer patients who receive aromatherapy massages. Studies have also shown that breathing the vapors of peppermint, ginger and cardamom oil, among others, relieves nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation. The use of essential oils has even been known to alter the psyche of an individual and relieve depression. Studies have also shown that the effect in which essential oils play on the mind can ease depression, stress and anxiety. Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Lemon are specifically known to relax the body.

Aromatherapy may be administered in several ways. The oils may be inhaled indirectly via a room diffuser, inhaled directly through an individual inhaler, or by an aromatherapy massage, where diluted oils are rubbed onto the body.

Many patients who face incurable cancers, reach a place where they lose hope. Unfortunately, for those diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is no cure and patients are left with a bleak mesothelioma prognosis. In order to fight their condition, mesothelioma patients must keep their hopes high, and the proper incorporation of aromatherapy may allow them to do so.

Jack Bleeker, Mesothelioma.com

Aromatherapy In Your Diet – book recommendation

In this aromatherapy book, ‘Aromatherapy In Your Diet’ by Daniele Ryan you will discover the therapeutic benefits of everyday foods. This book contains many recipes, menu suggestions and food ideas so you can enjoy the health benefits of aromatherapy without using essential oils.

Daniele lists over 100 beneficial foods, which can have immediate healing effects. These range from herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary and mint to fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds and cheeses. As well as giving the nutritional breakdown of each food, she describes its therapeutic uses and suggests delicious ways of including it in your cooking.

‘Aromatherapy In Your Diet’ also includes a section which looks at the 12 systems of the body and how to maintain the health of each of these systems.

An excellent purchase for anyone interested in aromatherapy and in improving their health through their diet.

Eating these foods delivers their unique healing and health-giving properties straight into your body where they can begin to work immediately.

More recommended Aromatherapy books