What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy, commonly associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), is the use of volatile liquid plant materials, known as essential oils (EOs), and other aromatic compounds from plants to affect someone's mood or health. Aromatherapy is therapy through smell. The most popular is through the use of burning scented candles and the holistic aproach of massage therapy through the use of essential ois and blends, mists and sprays and also through the use of candles as well.
The main branches of aromatherapy include:
1) Home aromatherapy - (self treatment, perfume & cosmetic use)
2) Clinical aromatherapy - (as part of pharmacology and pharmacotherapy)
3) Aromachology - (the psychology of odors and their effects on the mind)
Aromatherapy is the treatment or prevention of disease
by use of essential oils.
Wiki tells us that "Two basic mechanisms are offered to explain the purported effects." "One is the influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system." "The other is the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils." "While precise knowledge of the synergy between the body and aromatic oils is often claimed by aromatherapists, the efficacy of aromatherapy remains to be proven." "However, some preliminary clinical studies show positive effects."
"In the English-speaking world, practitioners tend to emphasize the use of oils in massage." "Aromatherapy tends to be regarded as a complementary modality at best and a pseudoscientific fraud at worst."
"On the continent, especially in France, where it originated, aromatherapy is incorporated into mainstream medicine." "There, the use of the antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of oils in the control of infections is emphasized over the approaches familiar to North Americans." "In France some essential oils are regulated as prescription drugs, and thus administered by a physician. French doctors use a technique called the aromatogram to guide their decision on which essential oil to use." "First the doctor cultures a sample of infected tissue or secretion from the patient." "Next the growing culture is divided among petri dishes supplied with agar." "Each petri dish is inoculated with a different essential oil to determine which have the most activity against the target strain of microorganism." "The antiseptic activity manifests as a pattern of inhibited growth."
"In many countries essential oils are included in the national pharmacopoeia, but up to the present moment aromatherapy as science has never been recognized as a valid branch of medicine in the United States, Russia, Germany, or Japan."
"Essential oils, phytoncides and other natural VOCs work in different ways. At the scent level they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When applied to the skin (commonly in form of "massage oils" i.e. 1-10% solutions of EO in carrier oil) they activate thermal receptors, and kill microbes and fungi. Internal application of essential oil preparations (mainly in pharmacological drugs; generally not recommended for home use apart from dilution - 1-5% in fats or mineral oils, or hydrosoles) may stimulate the immune system."
Definitions of Aromatherapy materials
- Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through distillation. However, the term is also occasionally used to describe fragrant oils extracted from plant material by any solvent extraction.
- Absolutes: Fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues through solvent or supercritical fluid extraction The term is also used to describe oils extracted from fragrant butters, concretes, and enfleurage pommades using ethanol.
- Phytoncides: Various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes. Many terpene based fragrant oils and sulfuric compounds from plants in genus "Allium" are Phytoncides, though the latter are likely less commonly used in aromatherapy due to their disagreeable smells.
- Hydrosols: The aqueous by-products of the distillation process (e.g. rosewater). Hydrosol used are limited to plants such as rose and camomile since most hydrosols have unpleasant smells.
- Infusions: Aqueous extracts of various plant material (e.g. infusion of chamomile)
- Carrier oils: Typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that are used to dilute essential oils for use on the skin (e.g. sweet almond oil)
Find more definitions at:
- The word was first used in the 1920s by French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé, who devoted his life to researching the healing properties of essential oils after a lucky accident in his perfume laboratory. (In the accident, he lit his arm on fire and thrust it into the nearest cold liquid, which happened to be a vat of lavender oil. Much to his amazement, the burn quickly healed without a scar.)
The modes of application of aromatherapy include:
1) aerial diffusion for environmental fragrancing or aerial disinfection
2) direct inhalation for respiratory disinfection, decongestion, expectoration as well as psychological effects
3) topical applications for general massage, baths, compresses, therapeutic skin care
4) oral, rectal, vaginal interfaces for infection, congestion, parasites, perfumery for body fragrancing, anointments
Herbs & Oils Used /and Why
- Basil is used in perfumery for its clear, sweet and mildly spicy aroma. In aromatherapy, it is used for sharpening concentration, for its uplifting effect on depression, and to relieve headaches and migraines. Basil oil has many chemotypes and some are known to be emmenagogues and should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Bergamot is one of the most popular oils in perfumery. It is an excellent insect repellent and may be helpful for both the urinary tract and for the digestive tract. It is useful for skin conditions linked to stress, such as cold sores and chicken pox, especially when combined with eucalyptus oil. Bergamot is a flavoring agent in Earl Grey tea. But cold-pressed Bergamot oil contains bergaptene, a strong photosensitizer when applied to the skin, so only distilled or 'bergaptene-free' types can be topically used.
- Black pepper has a sharp and spicy aroma. Common uses include stimulating the circulation and for muscular aches and pains. Skin application is useful for bruises, since it stimulates the circulation.
- Citronella oil, obtained from a relative of lemongrass, is used as an insect repellant and in perfumery.
- Tea tree, eucalyptus, sandalwood, thyme oil, and many other essential oils have topical (external) antimicrobial (i.e. antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, or antiparasitic) activity and are used as antiseptics and disinfectants.
- Clove oil is a topical analgesic, especially useful in dentistry. It is also used an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, and antiemetic.
- Lavender oil is used as an antiseptic, to soothe minor cuts and burns, to calm and relax, and to soothe headaches and migraines.
- Yarrow oil is used to reduce joint inflammation and relieve cold and influenza symptoms.
- Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang oil are used as aphrodisiacs.
- Lemon oil is uplifting and anti-stress/anti-depressant. In a Japanese study, lemon essential oil in vapour form has been found to reduce stress in mice. Researchers at Ohio State University reveals that Lemon oil aroma may enhance one's mood, and help with relaxation.
- Rose is used as an aphrodisiac.
- Sandalwood oil is used as an aphrodisiac
Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu
Keep this on hand this fall and winter for colds and flu.
5 drops of Lavender
5 drops of Tea Tree
5 drops of Eucalyptus
Store in an amber or cobalt bottle.
When ready to use blend 5 drops in a teaspoon of
vegetable oil. Rub over swollen glands and neck area.
May be applied once every hour.
The following recipe makes a paste which is rolled to make small round beads which can be made into necklaces or earrings. The warmer they get, the more they smell.
1 ounce powdered benzoin(the gum variety)
1 ounce powdered acacia(the gum variety)
1/2 ounce powdered orris root
1/2 ounce powdered cinnamon
1/2 powdered clove
2 drops vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons glycerine
10 drops geranium essential oil, or essential oil of your choice.
Emotional Balancing oil
4 drops Geranium oil
4 drops Lavender oil
2 drops Grapefruit oil
1 drop Bergamot oil
1 drop Fennel oil
Use his in a burner, on a tissue or to anoint yourself whenever you have
emotional swings or thoughts and feelings seem to be getting out of
HERBAL BATHS FOR ACHES AND PAINS
Agrimony is an herb that can be turned into a bath or poultice by making a decoction. Boil four of the dried leaves of the agrimony in one quart of water and then either enjoy the feeling of aches fading away in a bath, or wrap the decoction in pads of cloth around your feet and legs. This is a fine medication when taken externally. It's soothing and you should feel better quickly.
Knobgrass is another very good remedy for aches and pains. You should apply the leaves directly to your legs and feet, and if you have a bruise or another contusion, the herbs helps them to heal. So it's a fine poultice too.
Allspice (the fresh, whole nugget) is excellent for alleviating aches and pains. It is said to have properties that make it anesthetic in a bath.
Take some of the allspice--a few nuggets--and grind into a fine mash. Add to bathwater and see if your body doesn't relax right away.
Other herbs that may be used in baths are especially helpful to any aches you may feel as a result of being tired........
Read the rest of this great article and recipe at
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