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Aromatherapy For Natural Health
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Aromatherapy for Natural Health

An Introduction...

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative therapy that is becoming more and more popular. Very basic blends can be used at home with a good starter kit and a good book.

Aromatherapy is basically the use of essential oils to improve a person’s wellbeing or mood. The essential oils are collected from the plant via a distillation process. The distillation process used for essential oils extracts the lighter phytomolecules and because of this they have a different structure to other herbal products.

Some oils are more accurately called ‘absolutes’ because they have been through a particular form of extraction which brings more components into the oil than is possible with steam distillation.

The absolutes include jasmine, tuberose, rose, maroc, narcissus, cistus and hyacinth as well as a few others and are made from the most delicate and fragrant of flowers. The most delicate and fragrant flowers are the most difficult to extract and typically steam distillation is much too harsh.

The essential oil of a plant can be taken from the flowers, the leaves, the bark, the roots, the fruit, the seed the grass and the resign of a plant depending on which plant the essential oils are being extracted. For example in the case of lavender, the essential oil is taken from the flower, in the case of patchouli it’s from the leaves and from ginger it’s from the root.

The essential oil comes from specific species of plant groups, the best way to describe this is that there are over three hundred varieties of tea tree in Australia but only a few species produce the oil with medicinal properties.

The use of essential oils through aromatherapy can include using a blend of oils mixed in a carrier oil or base oil for massage designed for a specific purpose, like for example, relaxation or for uplifting. Essential oils are either inhaled or are absorbed through the skin and work by stimulating the part of the brain which is linked to smell.

Carrier or base oils can include, sweet almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, macadamia and hazelnut. Certain medical conditions can require the use of avocado, wheatgerm, carrot extract oil, evening primrose and borage oil. Rosehip oil is generally used for regenerative purposes and more exotic carrier oils are being rediscovered by aromatherapy.

When choosing a base oil, almond is usually the easiest to obtain and I would always try to opt for a pure one, perhaps labelled ‘organic’ which means that it would have been produced without pesticides.

One of the great things about aromatherapy is that there are so many ways to use essential oils. You can simply put a few drops onto a cotton ball and place on a warm radiator, or put a few drops into a bowl of hot water or into your warm bath. Or you can make up your own blend with a carrier oil and massage yourself if you don’t have someone to do it for you. You can, of course, visit an aroma therapist as many offer aromatherapy massages which are, from my experience, absolutely wonderful!

Aromatherapy can be used to help in so many areas, for example, anxiety, stress and insomnia and also for concentration, clarity and confidence to name but a few.

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