ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils are elements that are extracted from plants. The oils themselves capture the plant's scent or "essence. Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil it’s unique healing essence. 

 

Although aromatherapy is a fairly modern term, it’s something that has been in use since the first humans discovered plants.

 

There was a time when you couldn’t just pop into the supermarket or even a pharmacy and buy pills or potions for your headache, period pain, cough or skin rash.

But the elders of your family, particularly the women would be able to tell you exactly what leaves, roots or fruits you needed to pick from the woods and hedgerows to make yourself well again.

 

Here are some benefits of using essential oils:

 

  • Help to ease and manage pain

  • Improve your quality of sleep

  • reduce stress and anxiety

  • soothe any sore joints

  • Ease headaches and migraines

  • fight bacteria, virus, or fungus

  • improve digestion

  • boost immunity

 

There are many essential oils which you can use and various ways to do so and here at One Way Journey we want to share some of those with you. 


Essential oils and aromatherapy may be used with other complementary treatments like massage therapy to improve health and wellbeing, but we advise you to consult your doctor to diagnose and treat any illnesses.

This section of the One Way Journey website is to introduce you to using essential oils at home. We are featuring the most popular and useful oils for family wellbeing and beauty purposes. There are lots of other oils which we have left off the list. Do take care as you experiment with any essential oils. Please be sure to read about the properties and cautions for each essential oil before you decide to use it. And remember that as with many things in life: less is sometimes more!

 

Using Essential Oils At Home

 

Safety First

● Keep well away from children

● Never swallow essential oils

● Use in tiny amounts as advised by your supplier

● Very few oils are suitable for small children. Be sure to check (See List)

● Some essential oils are unsuitable for pregnant women (See List)

● Citrus oils can cause uneven pigmentation of the skin if used in direct sunlight

● Some oils are best avoided if you have high or low blood pressure. (See list)

 

Essential Oils to avoid during pregnancy

Basil, Cinnamon, Clarysage, Cypress, Fennel, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

 

Essential oils to avoid whilst breastfeeding

Mint, Sage, Parsley, Jasmine

 

Essential oils to avoid if you have high blood pressure

Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

 

Essential oils to avoid is you have low blood pressure

Clarysage, Garlic, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Ylang Ylang

 

 

Essential oils to avoid if you have epilepsy

Fennel, Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage, Wormwood

This introduction to Aromatherapy is simply to give you enough information to understand what essential oils do and how you can enjoy using them safely and effectively at home. If in any doubt, do seek advice from an expert.

 

Generally, there are just three essential oils that we believe are suitable for small children: Lavender, Chamomile and Tea Tree and they should be used in a much weaker dilution than for adults. These are also the only three which are safe to use undiluted on the skin  

When you purchase Essential Oils, be sure to buy from a reputable supplier with a fast turnover as they do lose their strength with age. Check that the label says Essential and Pure. Aromatherapy oils and blends are something different, they are already diluted and once diluted, the effectiveness quickly fades. 

Store the oils in a cool dark place, out of the reach of children and pets.

There are many ways of using Essential oils. We are going to focus on just four. 

It is fine to use a mixture of different oils in any of these ways but the maximum amount should add up to the recommended total quota.

 

Bath

Use 5-10 drops of essential oil in a bath of warm water. Stir well to avoid a cluster of drops causing stinging of the skin.

 

Oil burner or Diffuser (electronic or candle heated)

Use up to 5 drops of essential oil in the dish of the oil burner filled with water. Do not use without water, it will be far too strong. In a small room, fewer drops are necessary than a large one. 

 

Massage

Essential oils must be blended with a carrier oil before use in a massage. Carrier oil is a bland, easily absorbed oil, usually extracted or pressed from fruits, vegetables or nuts. Popular carrier oils are:- sweet almond, grapeseed, apricot kernel, evening primrose and olive. The lighter the carrier oil, the more easily the essential oils make it through the skin where they can begin their work. 

 

Use 4-5 drops of your chosen oil/s in 10mls  (2 teaspoons) of carrier oil. The blend can be used for a full body massage or just a hand or foot massage. 

 

Creams

It is also good to use a plain face cream instead of carrier oil. Make your own special moisturiser,  foot cream or hand cream. Use 4-5 drops of essential oil for every 10mls of cream or lotion.

Basil 

We all love using Basil as a herb in cooking. What would Italian food be without it? But did you know that Basil can be used for much more than making delicious food?

Basil essential oil has many uses and here are some of them:

Commonly used in the manufacture of cosmetics and skin care preparations, Basil is known to enhance the lustre of dull skin and hair. It is widely used in preparations for the treatment of acne and skin infections. You can use it as a skin tonic by mixing 2-3 drops in a 100 ml bottle of pure water and dab onto the skin using a reusable cotton pad.

Use to treat constipation indigestion and stomach cramps by mixing with a carrier oil and massaging into the abdomen or add 5-10 drops to your bathwater, agitating well.

For relief of asthma and coughs and blocked sinuses, add 3-5 drops to an oil burner or add to a carrier oil to massage into the chest and back.

Bathe infections and wounds in a dilution of Basil.

Some people find Basil good for migraine relief and for nervous tension. Its refreshing aroma clears the head and strengthens mental clarity.

Basil improves blood circulation and increases metabolism. For this reason, it may not advisable for use by high blood pressure sufferers.

Pain relief is another benefit of Basil oil. Blended with a carrier oils and massaged into the afflicted part of the body it eases aches caused by arthritis, sports injuries, sprains and headaches.

A dab on a tissue can be a useful item to carry when travelling if you suffer from travel sickness. When feeling nauseous at home put a few drops in an oil burner.

Some oils that blend particularly well with Basil are: Bergamot, Clary sage, Lime, Lemon Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Marjoram, Rosemary and Melissa

Not advised for use by pregnant or nursing women or small children

Tea Tree

You just know when you inhale tea tree oil for the first time that it is going to do you some good. It has that pungent medicinal aroma that you associate with healing. 

 

Tea Tree comes from a small tree native to South Australia. The Aborigines traditionally used it for many illnesses from coughs and sore throats to the antidote to the bite of the Funnel Web Spider. (Allegedly, it is the only known natural cure and grows in the same habitat as that of the Funnel Web, proving that nature always supplies what we need for a healthy life.)

 

Undoubtedly, it is one of the most useful essential oils you can have in your collection but it’s important that you buy it fresh from a reputable supplier and store in a cool dark place. All essential oils lose their strength as they age but tea tree is known to become slightly irritating as it gets older.

 

Usually, Tea Tree can be used directly on the skin as in the case of a wound or cold sore but if you know that you have sensitive skin you might want to dilute it a little.

 

Commonly, people find Tea Tree most useful for some of the conditions mentioned below:

 

Head lice.:Put a few drops in your shampoo bottle. Leave the shampoo on the hair for five minutes before rinsing off.

 

Dandruff: Use in the same way as for head lice

 

Athletes Foot: 3-5 drops in a bowl of warm water and soak the feet or add a couple of drops to foot cream and massage into the affected area.

 

Colds and sore throat: Add 3 drops to the dish of water on an oil burner or 5-10 drops in the bath. In the oil burner, you could also add a drop or two of eucalyptus essential oils to clear the nasal passage. 

 

Cuts and wounds: Put a couple of drops in a small bowl of warm water and bathe the affected area or even use a single drop neat on a small area of skin. Add a drop to your favourite antiseptic ointment to give it an extra boost.

 

Acne and spots: Try making your own face creams and toners too using plain base creams and spring water. 

 

Mouthwash for bad breath or mouth ulcers. (do not drink)

All-purpose anti-bacterial cleaner. (Use a few drops in a spray bottle of vinegar)

Camphor

Cinnamomum camphora (the camphor tree) is a large evergreen that is native to China,  Japan, Vietnam and Korea. It yields blackberries but it is the wood and the leaves of the tree which are used to distill essential oil. I have heard that the tree must be over 50 years old to produce the oil.

Distillation and pressing produce three types of camphor oil: brown, yellow and white. Only the white camphor oil is used in aromatherapy.

Camphor can be quite toxic so it is especially important that it is used and stored carefully. 

 

Years ago, people swore by the use of camphor for coughs and colds and for keeping flies out of the house. 

The oil is extremely good for clearing the lungs and although some say that it can be good for the skin, we would urge you to take great care.

Other uses for camphor which you are hopefully unlikely to need to know are as a remedy against the plague and as an embalming oil!

Great care should be taken if using this oil, it is very strong. 

People who should avoid it all together are pregnant and nursing women, children and people who suffer from epilepsy and asthma.

For the beginner in aromatherapy, I would say use only in an oil burner or vaporiser and in very small amounts.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang essential oil comes from a fast growing evergreen tree called Cananga. It grows in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and parts of Australia. Ylang Ylang is the name of the blossom of the tree and means flower of flowers.

 

Beautifully sweet, Ylang Ylang is often used in the manufacture of perfumes and is thought to have aphrodisiacal qualities. It is for this reason that in Indonesia there is a tradition of scattering the flowers over the bed of a newly wed couple on their wedding night. 

 

Here are some of the popular uses for Ylang Ylang at home.

 

De-stressing. Use 3-5 drops in a dish of water on an oil burner for mood lifting. Alternatively, 5-10 drops in a warm bath. Mixed with a carrier oil it also makes a heavenly massage blend. Although a full body massage is an enjoyable luxury, a small amount of the blended oil is useful on the wrists or shoulder for a quick pick me up.

 

Hair and skin. Ylang Ylang is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory so makes a great face cream, toner or additive to shampoo for a sensitive scalp. 

 

High blood pressure. This essential oil is known to lower high blood pressure but for this reason, it should be avoided by those who have low blood pressure. Use 3-5 drops in the bath or mix with a light carrier oil or cream 

Bergamot

Bergamot is the love child of the lemon and orange tree and its fruit is a small bitter pear-shaped citrus fruit, bright yellow in colour. It is used to flavour Earl Grey tea. The essential oil of Bergamot comes from the cold-pressed rind of the almost-ripe fruit. 

In the Antalya region of the south of Turkey, Bergamot is popular for making marmalade and for flavouring Turkish Delight but as an essential oil, it is mostly cultivated in Italy and France. It was actually named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardo, Italy. 

Bergamot oil is a popular ingredient in the crafting of perfumes because of it's the unusual spicy, fruity aroma. 

Uses of Bergamot Oil:

Just like lemon oil, bergamot is an excellent natural mosquito repellent. It can also be added to lotion to make a salve to ease the discomfort of insect bites.

Agricultural farmers who are troubled by pests often choose to plant Bergamot among their crops to prevent them from being attacked by insects.

Bergamot is an antibacterial essential oil. Try a few drops in the bath to fight urinary tract and bladder infections.

In days gone by, bergamot was used to combat intestinal worms and it is said to be useful in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes if used regularly, however, we shouldn't forget that the best way of keeping a healthy heart is with a good diet and plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Bergamot can be considered helpful for the treatment of cold sores, chickenpox, shingles, herpes, mouth ulcers, thrush, anxiety and stress.

Like all citrus oils, it is great inhaled as it lifts the spirits but you should take care when going out into the sunshine immediately after using as a massage oil or in the bath as it could result in the patching of the skin

A blend of bergamot, chamomile and fennel in light carrier oil is excellent to massage into the abdomen to soothe tummy ache caused by indigestion and gas.

As with most essential oils, it is probably best not used by pregnant or nursing women and very small children and always dilute it.

Ginger

If you’ve ever eaten any dishes containing ginger, you will know how warm the spice is and therefore you’ll not be surprised to learn that essential oil of ginger has warming properties also. (Do not take ginger essential oil internally, it is much more powerful than the root or powder that is used in cooking.)

 

The fragrance of this oil tells you that you’re going to feel cosy and well when you use it. Here are some uses for ginger essential oil.

 

Joints pain. The heat of ginger essential oil soothes aches and pains of the joints. Use 5-10 drops in a warm bath or you can use as a massage oil on the affected area: simply blend 3-5 drops with 10mls of carrier oil.

For arthritic hands or feet, use a basic light cream to make your own ginger hand cream. You could add some lavender essential oil too for an extra pleasant hand or foot treatment.

 

Period pain. Use a blend of 3-5 drops in a carrier oil and massage into the abdomen. 

 

Muscle pain. A blend of ginger and marjoram is ideal for sports aches and pains.

 

Colds and coughs. 3-5 drops of ginger oil in an oil burner helps to clear the airways and move mucus.  Use 5-10 drops in a warm bath to ease away the chills and aches that accompany a cold.

 

Digestion. Used as a massage oil or in the bath, ginger can aid digestion and help with constipation.

 

Skin. Ginger as a face wash or toner can add a radiant glow to the skin. Some say that it can help reduce cellulite.

Lavender

Everyone needs to have Lavender Essential Oil in their home all the time. It is probably the most useful and yet gentlest of all the essential oils. Lavender is one of the very few oils which is so mild it can be used directly on the skin without harm. So, a single drop on an insect bite or cut can be just the job!

Use in the bath for relaxing the muscles and promote restful sleep or in an oil burner to relieve the stresses of the day.

Lavender is well known for helping with a good night’s sleep which is why our elders and ancestors used to make little fabric bags filled with lavender blooms to tuck under their pillows or fold into their nightwear in a drawer. Today, we are more likely to dab a drop od essential oil of lavender onto out pillow.

A lavender massage before bed is perfect for an infant who is fretful at night. (See instructions for massage mix and remember to make the blend much weaker for small children. 1 drop lavender in 10mls carrier oil)

As lavender does induce sleepiness, it’s best not used before a long drive or before going to work. Keep it for the end of the day.

Lavender is helpful in relieving anxiety in pets too.Use in an oil burner for dogs and cats who are fretful when they hear fireworks.

 

Below is a list of uses for Lavender Essential Oil.

  • Acne and spots

  • Anxiety 

  • Burns (mild)

  • Cold sores

  • Cuts and scratches

  • Eczema

  • Fungal infections

  • General wellbeing

  • Insect bites & bee stings

  • Insomnia

  • Psoriasis

  • Promotes hair growth

  • Sunburn

  • Stress headaches

Rosemary

If you often feel sluggish and struggle with the ability to concentrate, Rosemary could be the essential oil for you!

 

However, if you have high blood pressure it’s best left alone as it does ramp up the metabolism.

 

Use sparingly in the bath or in a massage oil or cream as it can be irritating to the skin. So, if you would normally use 10 drops of essential oil in your bath, start with just 5 of Rosemary until you get a feel for it.

 

Generally, though, you should not be afraid of Rosemary. As with all essential oils, if you use it with care it can do a great deal of good. Let’s look at some of the popular uses for Rosemary.

 

Concentration: Use up to 5 drops in a dish of water with your oil burner. If you are driving long distances or after a tiring day, try adding a couple of drops to a cotton wool pad in the front of your car, perhaps in an empty ashtray or open compartment. The warmth from your engine or heater will release the power of the essential oil into the air and you will inhale it, feeling fresh and alert. 

Please do not rely on it to keep you awake though. If you feel sleepy while driving, do pull over and rest.

 

The ancient Greeks and Romans discovered that using Rosemary strengthened the memory and so if you are studying for exams this could be helpful to you.

 

Mental energy: By inhaling the fresh, invigorating fragrance released by Rosemary essential oil, you will feel more alert and enthusiastic about tackling the mundane stresses of everyday life.

As well as using the oil in a burner, you can make a hand or foot cream or massage oil. 

Research suggests that Rosemary could be helpful in staving off the effects of dementia.

 

Hair care: Rosemary has long been used to help stimulate hair growth. People who suffer from patchy baldness may find that long term use of this oil corrects the problem. Make up a blend with a carrier oil and massage into the scalp. Leave on for five minutes before shampooing.

 

Insect repellent: Some organic gardeners recommend using a water spray containing rosemary oil on their crops to rid their fruit, vegetables and flowers of garden pests. 

 

Low blood pressure: Rosemary stimulates the circulation so if you have low blood pressure, blend a few drops with some carrier oil (see the introduction to aromatherapy section) and use to massage the hands, feet or even the head, thereby making your hair shine into the bargain! Or use 5 - 10 drops in the bath. (Start with a lesser amount of drops and add up to 10 next time if you feel comfortable.)

 

Inflammation of the joints: Make up a blend with carrier oil or cream and massage into swollen joints.

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