Aromatherapy by Denise Whichello Brown


It is vital to use only high-quality pure essential oils for optimum results. It is most unfortunate that many essential oils available on the market today are of poor quality and, therefore, cannot help alleviate health problems. Only five per cent of all essential oils produced in the world are used for aromatherapy.

Essential oils used in aromatherapy must, of course, be as pure, natural and "whole" as possible if they are to have the desired therapeutic effects. Synthetic materials which simulate the aroma and appearance of an essential oil cannot have the same therapeutic properties as an essential oil and should not be used in therapy.

Synthetic chemicals also carry the risk of harmful and unpleasant side-effects, as do synthetic drugs. If oils are referred to as "nature identical" this implies that the oil is synthetic and produced in the laboratory and is, therefore unsuitable for aromatherapy. Synthetic oils also do not possess the "vial force" or "life force" of essential oils which comes from living plants. Nor do chemicals contain the "vibration" of natural living plants.

The essential oils should not all be of the same price. If they are, then you are definitely not purchasing pure essential oils. For instance, pure essential oil of rose will be far more expensive than lavender or rosemary.

Care and Storage

Essential oils are extremely precious and should be treated with respect - they can also be very expensive. They are damaged by UV light and deteriorate more rapidly at the blue end of the spectrum than the red. Therefore, essential oils should be stored in amber-colored bottles (if you do keep your essential oils in blue bottles, then they should be kept in the dark - this is less important if your bottles are brown).

Never buy essential oils stored in clear glass or plastic bottles or decant them into such bottles. They should never be placed in direct sunlight. Remember that amber-colored bottles are most effective for storing essential oils.

Essential oils should never be placed in direct sunlight so avoid sunny windowsills or shelves on radiators - no matter how attractive the bottles look! Essential oils do not like extremism of temperatures. They are highly volatile, which means that they evaporate rapidly. Always replace the caps immediately and ensure that the tops are tightly closed when the oils are not in use. Essential oils must be cared for properly to prevent chemical degradation which will occur with prolonged storage and poor storage conditions.

Pure essential oils will last for approximately three years from the bottling date. In excellent storage conditions (i.e. amber bottles in a cool place with no air space) they will keep for about five years.
Citrus oils tend to have a shorter shelf life due to their high proportion of terpenes, as do absolutes and resins; these thicken even more with age and the smell of the solvent becomes more noticeable.

How to check for purity

Put one drop of pure essential oil on a piece of paper and see if it leaves a greasy mark. If it is pure, there should be no mark. Despite their name, essential oils are not oily.

Usage of essential oils

Gargles & Mouthwashes
Gargles are particularly beneficial for sore throats, respiratory problems, loss of voice and bad breath. Gargle twice daily. Put two drops of essential oil into half a glass of water. Stir well, gargle and spit it out. Do not swallow. Stir again and repeat. You may also use one to two teaspoons of organic cider vinegar or lemon and/or a teaspoon of honey in your gargle. Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is renowned for its soothing action on the throat, and fresh lemon juice is antibacterial, detoxifying and counteracts acidity. Antiseptic oils such as tea tree, lemon and thyme are excellent for treating sore throats. German/Roman chamomile, geranium, and sandalwood will also soothe inflammation. Myrrh and tea tree combined is very useful for treating mouth ulcers.

On a physical level there is a strong action on the mucous membranes of the nose, the lungs, and the respiratory system in general. Conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, colds, sinusitis and sore throats can all benefit enormously.

The inhalation of essential oils has a profound effect on the nervous system, helping to relieve insomnia, anxiety and stress-related disorders and lifting depression and negativity.

On a spiritual level, some essential oils such as frankincense, cedar-wood and linden blossom raise the consciousness and provide an excellent aid for meditation.

~Steam Inhalation
Add three drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl inhaling deeply for a few minutes. Keep your eyes closed to avoid irritation.
*essential oil of cajeput may be used for colds, it loosens up mucus and speeds up recovery.

~Water bowl
Put boiling water into a small bowl and add two to six drops of essential oil. Place the bowl in a warm place, if possible, for max effect (eg: radiator). Close doors and windows for few minutes to enable to aroma to fill the room.

Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil on to a handkerchief and take few deep breaths. This method is effective for relieving nasal congestion (use cajeput, eucalyptus). For stopping panic attacks, use lavender. Place the handkerchief in your pocket and you can continue to inhale the aroma throughout the day. Sufferers of motion sickness will also find this effective.

~Room Spray
Excellent way of purifying the atmosphere. Pour 250ml of water into a plant spray and add 15-20 drops of essential oil. Shake the bottle well and spray the room. You can even spray carpets and curtains. Do not spray on to polished surfaces.

*For relaxation burn oils such as lavender, chamomile, sandalwood or ylang ylang.
*For meditation try frankincense.
*To repel insects use citronella.

Pillow method
For relief from insomnia and to encourage easier and deeper breathing, place a few drops onto a piece of cotton wool and place it inside your pillow case. Lavender and chamomile are both excellent.

Add one to two drops of essential oil to the warm wax of a candle, taking care to avoid the wick since essential oils are flammable.

A-Z of essential oils
Aroma: Light, fresh, citrus.
Color: Green.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Balancing, Uplifting.
Caution: Do not apply prior to sunbathing as it increases the photosensitivity of the skin due to its bergaptene content, which accelerates tanning.

Aroma: Penetrating, medicinal, camphor-like, peppery odor.
Color: Pale yellow to green.
Keywords: Antiseptic, De-congestive, Penetrating, Stimulating, Warming.
Info: Valuable for the respiratory system as an inhalant and a chest rub. Reduces high temperatures. Encourages the expulsion of muss.
Caution: Take care with sensitive skin (although irritation unproven) and use in low dilution.

~Carrot seed
Aroma: Fresh, earthy, slightly spicy.
Color: Amber to pale orangey-brown.
Keywords: Detoxifying, Revitalizing, Stimulating, Tonic.
Info: Useful for skin problems. Reduces scarring, for instance after acne. Improves complexion of the skin. Revitalizes tired, dull, lifeless skin.

Aroma: Warm, woody, heady, sweet.
Color: Orangey-yellow to deep amber.
Keywords: Calming, Detoxifying, Peaceful, Soothing, Warming.
Info: Enhances spirituality and has a stabilizing effect on our energies when they are thrown out of balance. Gives us immovable strength.
Caution: Avoid when pregnant. Do not use on babies and young children.

~Chamomile, Roman
Aroma: Warm, sweet, fresh, apple-like.
Color: Pale blue.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory, Calming, Children, Sedative.
Info: Useful for inflamed joints and tendons. Relieves pain. Beneficial for gout. Combats headaches and migraine. Relaxes muscles. Exerts calming effect on nervous system and mind. Soothes restlessness, irritability and impatience. Useful for insomnia. Very safe even for babies.

Aroma: Fresh, strong, grassy, lemony aroma.
Color: Yellow to brownish-yellow.
Keywords: Clearing, Insect repellent, Refreshing, Stimulating.
Caution: Avoid using on sensitive skin as it may cause sensitization.

Aroma: Woody, balsamic, refreshing; reminiscent of pine needles.
Color: Pale yellow.
Keywords: Astringent, Fluid-reducing, Warming, Tonic.
Info: Recommended for PMS and the menopause. Regulates the menstrual cycle.

Aroma: Fresh, camphor-like, penetrating.
Color: Colorless.
Keywords: Antiseptic, Expectorant, Pain-relieving, Stimulating.
Info: Very useful as an inhalant and chest rub for all respiratory disorders. Decongests the head and chest and helps to expel mucus. Enhances breathing function. Useful for asthma, bronchitis, coughs, colds, flu, sinusitis, and throat infections. Reduces fever, prevents the spread of infection and boosts the immune system.
Caution: Powerful oil not to be massaged into babies and very young children. Store away from homeopathic medicines.

~Fennel (sweet)
Aroma: Aniseed-like, strong, sweet, spicy.
Color: Colorless to pale yellow.
Keywords: Detoxifying, Digestive, Eliminative, Energizing, Fluid-reducing, Warming.
Info: Marvelous for cleansing the digestive system (and all other systems too). Relieves constipation, and nausea. Aids slimming, by curbing appetite yet increasing energy levels. Regulates the menstrual cycle.
Caution: Do not use bitter fennel. Do not use excessively on young children or epileptics. Avoid during pregnancy.

Aroma: Woody, spicy, balsamic, warming.
Color: Colorless to pale yellow.
Keywords: Comforting, De-congestive, Expectorant, Elevating, Healing, Rejuvenating.
Info: Valuable for achieving heightened states of spiritual awareness and bringing one closer to the Divine.

Aroma: Sweet, rosy, leafy.
Color: Greenish.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Balancing, Fluid-reducing, Healing, Uplifting.
Info: Excellent for the menopause and PMS. Balances hormones.

Aroma: Exotic, floral, heady, sensual, rich, warm.
Color: Orangey-brown.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Euphoric, Healing, Uplifting.
Info: Increases sperm count. Excellent for painful menstruation, PMS and menopause. Lifts even the darkest mood. Makes one feel optimistic and confident. Powerful aphrodisiac.

Aroma: Sweet, floral, herbaceous.
Color: Colorless to pale yellow.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Balancing, Calming, Healing.
Info: Harmonizes the nervous system. Relieves emotional stress and anxiety. Combats depression. Excellent remedy for migraines, headaches and insomnia. Calms and soothes and angry spirit.

Aroma: Clean, crisp, fruity, refreshing, light.
Color: Pale yellow to greenish-yellow.
Keywords: Alkaline, Antiseptic, Detoxifying, Fluid-reducing, Purifying, Tonic.
Info: Ideal for obesity and detoxification. Recommended for cellulite.
Caution: Avoid strong sunlight immediately after treatment.

~Marjoram (sweet)
Aroma: Sweet, warming, woody, camphoraceous.
Color: Pale yellow to light amber.
Keywords: Calming, Digestive, Pain-relieving, Sedative, Warming.
Info: Recommended for relieving constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach cramps and ulcers.
Caution: Avoid during pregnancy (although adverse effects are extremely unlikely).

Aroma: Warm, balsamic, medicinal.
Color: Pale yellow to reddish-amber.
Keywords: Antiseptic, Anticatarrhal, Healing, Rejuvenating.
Info: Rejuvenates mature and winkled skin. Heals cracked, chapped and weepy skin. Beneficial for wounds that are slow to heal.
Caution: Avoid during pregnancy (although there is no research to support or reject this).

Aroma: Fresh, floral, haunting, refreshing, light.
Color: Pale yellow.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Sedative, Stress-relieving.
Info: One of the most beautiful and effective oils for treating stress. It is an expensive oil but worth the investment. It is also a renowned aphrodisiac.

Aroma: Cool, piercing, menthol, minty.
Color: Pale yellow.
Keywords: Cooling, Digestive, Pain relieving, Stimulating, Tonic.
Info: Recommended for all digestive problems. Alleviates nausea and travel sickness. Excellent for pain relief.
Caution: Store away from homeopathic medications and do not use in conjunction with homeopathic treatment. Avoid using when breastfeeding as it halts lactation. Take care with sensitive skins (although irritation is rare). Do not use on babies and young children.

Aroma: Sweet, heady, intoxicating, heavenly, rich.
Color: Various.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Balancing, Rejuvenating, Uplifting.
Info: "Queen" of oils has a remarkable effect on disorders of the female reproductive system. Releases past traumas. Rose instils harmony and positivity.

Aroma: Clean, strong, slightly camphoraceous, herbaceous.
Color: Colorless to pale yellow.
Keywords: Diuretic, Pain relieving, Restorative, Stimulating.
Info: Excellent for poor circulation. Useful for constipation and food poisoning. Reduces cellulite. Traditional ingredient of hair care preparations; encouraging hair growth, relieving dandruff and combating head lice. Awakens brain and improves memory.
Caution: Do not use extensively in the first stages of pregnancy (although side-effects are highly unlikely). Do not use extensively on epileptics.

Aroma: Sweet, floral, woody.
Color: Colorless to pale yellow.
Keywords: Balancing, Rejuvenating, Warming.
Info: Highly rejuvenating for the skin, combating prematurely aged skin and wrinkles.

Aroma: Sweet, warm, woody, lingering.
Color: Pale yellow to yellow.
Keywords: Aphrodisiac, Healing, Soothing, Uplifting.
Info: Renowned for its balancing effect on the nervous system, gently soothing away anxiety and tension. Combats insomnia. Recommended for meditation.

~Tea Tree
Aroma: Sharp, strong, medicinal.
Color: Pale yellow to almost clear.
Keywords: Anti-fungal, Antiseptic, First aid, Stimulating.
Info: Ideal as a gargle for throat infections. A must have for skin problems in every household. Valuable for acne, boils, burns, cuts, herpes, itching, spots, and smelly feet.

Aroma: Strong, antiseptic, herbaceous.
Color: Pale yellow.
Keywords: Antiseptic, Energizing, Stimulant.
Info: Stimulates the circulation and it may be used to raise blood pressure. Excellent booster of immune system. Restores appetite. Excellent (as a gargle) for throat, mouth, and gum infections.
Caution: Avoid taking during pregnancy. Take care with sensitive skin. Do not use excessively in cases of high blood pressure. Do not use on babies and young children.

Aroma: Earthy, smoky, woody aroma, reminiscent of roots and wet soil.
Color: Amber to brown.
Keywords: Calming, Protective, Tranquilizing.
Info: Gives a sedative effect. Useful for deep psychological problems. Excellent for those who feel out of balance or ungrounded.

~Ylang ylang
Aroma: Exotic, heady, sweet, floral, seductive.
Color: Pale yellow.
Keywords: Antidepressant, Aphrodisiac, Euphoric, Soothing.
Info: Deeply relaxing, releasing anxiety, tension, anger and fear. Restores confidence. Promotes hair growth. Brings peace to troubled spirits. Extremely sensuous and powerful aphrodisiac.