Essential Oil (or as we call them EO) Properties, Usage, and Safety!
Essential Oils are very powerful substances, and I want us all to be safe. There is just so much more to these oils than their wonderful fragrances. I want us all to get the most out of our homemade creations! I hope these links will prove useful in all of your concocting adventures!
Amni visnaga: antihistamine, antispasmodic
Basil: antiseptic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, may stimulate hair growth, adrenal stimulant, calming, improves mental fatigue.
Bay Laurel: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, diuretic, antibacterial, digestive, stomachic.
Benzoin: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, euphoric, warming.
Birch: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic.
Black Pepper: anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, analgesic, good for blood circulation.
Celery: antioxidative, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, nervine, sedative.
Chamomile, German, CO2: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-allergenic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, digestive, fungicidal, nerve sedative.
Chamomile, Roman: antispasmodic, respiratory distress, analgesic, antiseptic, digestive, nerve sedative.
Clary Sage: anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, nervine, sedative, tonic, helps balance hormones.
Cedar, Atlas: antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, sedative insecticide, tonic, good for respiratory issues, grounding, anxiety, catarrh, hair loss.
Clove Bud: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating, antirheumatic, analgesic, stimulates immune system.
Cypress: antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, deodorant, diuretic, restorative, anti-infectious.
Eucalyptus: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, antiviral, increases circulation, antifungal, antibacterial.
Fennel: digestive, anti-nausea, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, good for bruises.
Frankincense: antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, immune stimulant, calming, elevating to mind, slows and deepens breathing.
Geranium: antifungal, analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, antibacterial, uplifting and balances emotions.
Grapefruit: antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, stimulant, tonic.
Helichrysum: antispasmodic, expectorant, anticoagulant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, tissue regeneration, helps with addiction issues.
Juniper: antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, anti-toxic, antiarthritic, circulatory stimulant.
Lavender: analgesic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, restorative, sedative, relieves nervous tension and irritability. Mother Nature's medicine chest!
Litsea cubeba: antiseptic, insecticidal, sedative, stomachic, disinfectant.
Marjoram: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, helps mental exhaustion, sedative.
Melissa: antidepressant, antihistaminic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, insect repellent, nervine, sedative, stomachic, tonic.
Myrrh: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, revitalizing, sedative, heals mouth sores, good for respiratory, immune stimulant.
Neroli: antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, bactericidal.
Oregano: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, antiviral, bactericidal, fungicidal, stimulant, tonic.
Peppermint: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, expectorant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, antifungal, digestive, invigorating.
Patchouli: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, bactericidal, deodorant, nervine, good for skin, stress, and nervous exhaustion.
Rose: antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic.
Rosemary: analgesic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic, restorative, stimulant, tonic, may stimulate hair growth.
Rosewood: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiparasitic, tones skin.
Sandalwood: antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, tonic, decongestant, insecticide, antifungal, calming, harmonizing, good for skin conditions, nerve pain.
Seaweed: There has not been much study done on seaweed as an essential oil, but Dr. Bruce Berkowsky recommends it for those who are dealing with issues of addiction or are in recovery and who may feel rootless and need a rock to cling to. He likes it combined with cedar wood (for structure) to give protection, stability and security. For myself, it makes me feel very balanced, centered, and grounded. It also tends to make me breathe deeply, the same way that I do when I stand barefoot in the sand at the seashore.
Spearmint: antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, nervine, stimulant, tonic, good for fatigue, nervous strain, stress, takes one back to uncomplicated childhood.
Spruce: anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant, immune system stimulant, antimicrobial, mentally invigorating, grounding, strengthen nervous system.
Tanacetum annum: anti-inflammatory, antihistamine.
Tarragon: antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, mental stimulant, immune system stimulant.
Tea Tree: antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, expectorant, immune stimulant, antiparasitic, anti-infectious, decongestant.
Thyme: antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, immune stimulant, tonic.
Ylang Ylang: aphrodisiac, antidepressant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, euphoric, hormone regulator, sedative, tonic.
Here are some of our favorite online stores that carry good Essential Oils:
Here is a list of Must Have Essential Oils to Keep around the house:
Tea tree oil: anti-microbial agent, respiratory aid (great for cleaners, laundry and the first aid kit)
Lavender oil: calming, pain relieving, respiratory aid
Orange Oil (sweet, or regular): Invigorating, natural solvent/degreaser. A must have for cleaners/laundry/aromatherapy
Peppermint oil: Pain relieving, invigorating, respiratory aid, pest detourant (spiders and mice) An absolute must for the first aid kit, bath, and aromatherapy
Eucalyptus oil: Respiratory /congestion aid, invigorating
Lemon Oil: Invigorating, antiseptic, natural solvent/ degreaser
Specific Aromatherapy Applications
Pain: Often applied through massage oils, lotions, liniments, or compresses, essential oils reduce pain by different mechanisms:
Numbing: Some oils - such as clove , frankincense, chamomile, lavender, and lemongrass - dull pain by numbing nerve endings,
Anti-inflammatory: chamomile, geranium, juniper, lavender, marjoram, myrrh, rose, and tea tree diminish pain through anti-inflammatory actions.
Heat: Some oils – e.g., as bay laurel, bay rum, black pepper, cinnamon, clove bud, ginger, juniper, peppermint, and thyme - relieve pain by producing heat and increasing circulation.
Brain: Some oils - such as frankincense, ginger, and lemongrass - interfere with the brain’s processing of pain signals.
Neurotransmitters: Oils such as birch (containing aspirin-like compounds), cayenne, and ginger hinder the production of neurotransmitters that carry pain messages from nerve endings to the central nervous system.
Relaxation: Using chamomile, clary sage, lavender, lemon, lemon eucalyptus, lemon verbena, marjoram, melissa (lemon balm), myrtle, and petitgrain (a citrus-related plant) may help relieve pain through relaxation.
Insomnia: Sleep-promoting oils - including bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, melissa, mandarin, neroli (orange blossom), rose, sandalwood, and tangerine - can be inhaled, rubbed on the skin with massage oil or lotion, or used in bath water.
Headaches: When inhaled, a variety of oils - including lavender, melissa, peppermint, basil, chamomile, lemongrass and marjoram - can relieve headaches of different origins.
Stress: Some oils - including bergamot, chamomile, lavender, lemon melissa, marjoram, neroli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, and valerian – relieve stress (even slowing brain waves).
Depression: Antidepressant qualities are found in some oils such as angelica, bergamot, cardamom, chamomile cinnamon, clary sage, clove, cypress, lavender, lemon verbena, lemon, melissa, orange, neroli, petitgrain, rose, and ylang-ylang (a tropical Asian tree).
Stimulation: Many oils - including angelica, basil, benzoin (from a southeast Asian tree), black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cypress, ginger, jasmine, peppermint, rosemary, and sage - will stimulate and keep you alert.
High Blood Pressure: Oils have been shown to lower blood pressure, including neroli, orange, melissa, tangerine, rose, ylang ylang, geranium, and clary sage.
Bacterial Infections: Oils isolated from bay laurel, cinnamon, clove bud, garlic, oregano, savory, and thyme are powerful antibacterial agents (albeit potential skin irritants). More gentle antibacterial oils include bay rum, benzoin, cardamom, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium lavender, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, myrrh, myrtle, pine rose, sage, and tea tree.
These oils can treat infections of the skin, bladder, bowel, ear, gum, sinus, skin, and throat. The nature of the infection will determine whether the oils are inhaled or rubbed on the skin.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be treated with baths, sitzbaths, and massages using certain essential oils. For example, a massage oil containing niaouli, cajeput (both a type of tea tree oil) or sandalwood can be rubbed into the abdomen and kidney region of the lower back.
Cuts and wounds can be treated with sprays or salves that contain essential oils isolated from eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, tea tree, or basil.
Viral Infections: Often ingredients in cough drops and cold and flu medications, many oils also have antiviral properties. These oils include bay, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon bark, clove bud, eucalyptus, garlic, geranium, holy basil, juniper, lavender, melissa, lemongrass, lemon, marjoram, myrrh, oregano, rose, rosemary sage, tea tree, and thyme.
In conclusion, get well with smell!
Resources: For more information, consult the following: Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils by V. G. Cooksley, Prentice Hall (1996); Aromatherapy: The A-Z Guide to Healing with Essential Oils by S. R. Masline and B. Close, Dell Publishing (1997); and Aromatherapy for Dummies, K. Keville, IDG Books
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