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Monday, May 22, 2006

Essential Oils for Beginning Aromatherapy

The ancient science of healing, relaxing and energizing oneself with the use of the volitile aromatic compounds produced by plants is called Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the marriage of two words "aroma" and "therapy" that mean "fragrance" and "healing" respectively.

Essential oils, extracted from plants and its parts form the crux of aromatherapy. These oils stimulate the brain, effect our body hereby improving our mood, relaxing and rejuvenating us. Extracted in various ways, they are highly concentrated and great care should be used when applying to the body. They should be blended with carrier oils such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, etc, for best results. All these oils are suitable for use in an aromatherapy diffuser.

If you are new, then explore this world of aromatherapy at home with a handful of inexpensive oils. To avoid allergic reactions to essential oils, perform a skin test before you indulge yourself. Take a drop of the oil on a cotton swab. Apply it to the inside of your wrist or inner elbow. Cover the area with a bandage and avoid washing for 24 hours. If there is no itching or redness, oil is safe for external use.

Here are a few essential oils that any beginner can start with:

Lavender Oil - Most basic and very important oil in aromatherapy. Helps in relaxation, calming and balancing of mind. Acts as antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, detoxifier and sedative. Soothes cuts, burns, bruises and insect cuts. Relieves stress if blended with your usual bath oil.

Rosemary Oil - Acts as stimulant for mental health and physical body on low energy days. Relieves muscular strains, sprains and headaches. Alleviates fatigue, congestion and prevents scar tissue formation if the Verbenone chemotype is used.

Bergamot Oil - Oil for refreshing and upliftment. Acts as antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, analgesic, sedative, expectorant and deodorizer. Could be slight irritant to skin.

Peppermint Oil - A great mental stimulant and digestive aid. Eases headache and fatigue. Behaves as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic and expectorant.

Tea Tree Oil - A versatile antiseptic that is very gentle on the skin. Remedy for infections, ringworm, sunburn, acne, athlete's foot, gum disease. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic oil.

Lemon Oil - Great for dispelling a somber mood, lemon oil can be used to treat insect bites, alleviate tension, headaches and stimulate immune system.

Tangerine Oil - Works well to create a bright, uplifting atmosphere. It's soothes and calms insomnia and promotes digestion.

Flower Oils - Great stress relievers. Add floral oils like rose and jasmine along with carrier oils to your bath oils for a soothing massage.

Geranium Rose Oil - Eases stress, acts as antidepressant, adrenal, hormone balancer, detoxifier, sedative and antiseptic. Helps during PMS.

Clary Sage Oil - Relieves PMS. Soothes and relaxes mind and body. Works as antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, aphrodisiac and sedative.

Clove Oil- Relieves toothache pain, asthma, sinusitis. Avoid using it directly on the skin. Acts as antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic and disinfectant.

Eucalyptus Oil - Cools the body in summer and warms in winter. An effective treatment for candida, diabetes, sunburn, congestion, cough and neuralgia. Also works as antiviral, antiseptic, stimulant, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. Eucalyptus Radiata, or Narrow Leaf Eucalyptus has been called 'the aromatherapists designer oil' because of its pleasant aroma and broad range of effects.

These essential oils will go a long way to starting you off in the right direction in aromatherapy; you can get a feel for what works for you and what scents you like and explore from there. These oils, though very wonderful aromatically and therapeutically, are not exotic, and their cost is relatively low. is an online guide to Aromatherapy, alternative medicine, essential oils, recipes, synergies, blends, oil profiles and products.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Peppermint Oil for Health

Peppermint oil is a popular flavoring for many otc items such as toothpaste, tea, gum and other pepper-minty items. It has also been used to treat headaches, skin irritations, anxiety associated with depression, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence. It is also widely used to treat symptoms of the common cold such as sinus and bronchial congestion.

Peppermint oil has been taken internally to help symptoms of indigestion - Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, helping the body to digest fats. (Also of interest, Peppermint oil may help the body break down gall stones - hard deposits of fat in the gall bladder which prevent the proper digestion of dietary fats). Peppermint oil should not be taken this way if symptoms of acid reflux are present, as it may relax the sphincter muscle that can allow stomach acid back into the esophagus. Peppermint may also help with bloating and flatulence by relaxing the muscles which help releive these symptoms.

A number of studies have shown enteric coated (will not break down in the stomach) capsules of Peppermint oil to improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrom, or IBS. The results we're quite signficant, though there is uncertainty as to the reason for the symptom releif. Peppermint oil may help eliminate 'bad' bacteria which have been implicated as the cause of IBS by some doctors.

Further, peppermint oil may have immediate effects on the symptoms of motion sickness - a drop or two of the oil may be taken directly, in tea, or for children, on a cube of sugar.

It is important to note that many of the studies have been done with extracts of peppermint oil itself, but there is no reason to believe the complete oil will be any less effective, if not more so. It's just science's way of wanting to find out exactly WHY the oil works. Peppermint is a powerful oil - if applying topically, it should always be diluted (it has had wonderful effects on rashes and skin irritations caused partially by being in a hot environment - peppermint oil is considered cooling). If taking internally, dropped into a warm cup of water will prevent one from feeling the oil's somewhat 'spicy' effect - though others appreciate this sharp minty result. As always with essential oils, go slow and have fun.

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