A to Z of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process. Essential oils are ‘nature’s own pharmacy’ and ‘the life force of plants’. Each essential oil can be used either alone or in combinations to create a desired effect. From an array of oils present as a part of aromatherapy treatment, it is important to understand the each oil and its effect. I am listing down the key A-Z of Aromatherapy
Anise, star (Illicum verum)
It has a sweet, fresh smell. It can be used for cramping, digestive problems and spasmodic coughs. Caution as the oil is toxic, it is best used under professional guidance.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
Hot, dry, spicy oil with a great warming effect. Black pepper is good for increasing energy and best for its pain relieving qualities. Helpful for arthritis, stiffness, poor circulation, rheumatism and muscle tone. It is also a powerful digestive stimulant.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Has a tonifying, strengthening and warming effect, helping to create feelings of well-being and calm. It’s excellent for treating tension and depression, particularly due to hormonal problems. It also prevents excessive sweating.
Dill (Anethum Graveolens)
It has a fresh and grassy fragrance to it and today there are many countries that grow Dill for essential oil extraction so care must be taken when purchasing these oils as the constituents and even aroma varies from country to country. It helps in sedative, wound healing, digestive, constipation disinfectant and Antispasmodic.
EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus Radiata)
Eucalyptus is a classic anti viral and expectorant used in aromatherapy treatments. It is useful for bringing down fevers and treating the symptoms of summer colds. It can also be used for easing muscular aches, pains and strains, wound healing and insect bites.
Fennel, Sweet (Foeniculum dulce)
Has a very sweet, fresh smell, reminiscent of aniseed. Very useful for treating indigestion and flatulence.
German Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita)
German chamomile is a good oil to have on hand for summer. Use to treat inflamed, irritated skin including dermatitis, boils, acne, nappy rash, eczema, psoriasis and dry itchy skin. It can also be used to relieve the pain associated with burns, sprains, cramps and insect bites.
Ho Leaf (Cinnamomum camphora)
It has a clean, sweet, floral-woody scent. It is balancing and calming, useful during times of stress. It can be used for a number of skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Jasmine absolute (Jasminum officinalis)
This is an uplifting essential oil. It can relax both physical and emotional tensions, and create a sense of enjoyment. It’s beneficial for treating hot, dry and inflamed skin, especially if it is linked to emotional stress. Caution: One of the more extravagant oils.
Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
Lavender can be used in a wide variety of situations including minor burns, sunburn, rashes, bruises, wounds and insect bites. It is helpful for easing sore muscles and headaches. Apply to minor burns as soon as possible to ease the pain and prevent blisters.
Mandarin Oil (Citrus reticulata)
Has an extremely sweet smell. It is one of the most popular citrus oils, mandarin oil is a top choice to ease anxiety and raise your spirits. It is also used to help gastric complaints.
Niaouli (Melaleuca vividiflora)
This essential oil claims respiratory allergies. It is vitalizing and when used topically it can provide relief for oily skin. Some people also find it works well on minor hemorrohoid problems. It helps in acne, bronchitis and cough.
Orange, sweet (Citrus sinensis)
Has a sweet, refreshing pleasant odour. It has a relaxing and uplifting effect and is therefore used to treat stress, nervous tension and depression. It is also useful on dull and tired skin due to its toning properties.
Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
A drop of peppermint essential oil rubbed into the soles of your feet can help bring your temperature down if you are suffering from the heat. Peppermint is also useful for headaches due to digestive issues and sinus congestion as well as relieving the nausea associated with travel sickness. Use peppermint to help keep you alert when you feel mentally fatigued due to the heat or driving long distances.
Rose (Rosa damascena)
It is one of the most expensive oils and is most used for its beautiful fragrance. It is an excellent anti-depressant and very calming on the nervous system. It is anti-inflammatory, cooling and soothing, so it is beneficial for hot, dry, inflamed or itching skin. Due to its soothing properties it is excellent for treating stress related conditions.
Sage, Spanish (Salvia lavandulaefolia)
Has a herbaceous and camphorous smell. It is good for digestive problems, inflammation and for relieving muscular aches and pains.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This oil is an excellent germicidal and antifungal, so helps with athletes foot, verrucas, warts and other skin infections. It is also excellent for cold and flu relief. It is added to lip balm, dental products and soap.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
This oil has a woody, earthy, almost smoky smell. It both calms and strengthens the nervous system. It is excellent in cases of depression, many stress related conditions, debility and insomnia. Most appropriate when feeling overwhelmed or under pressure.
Wintergreen (Betula Lenta)
It has a minty and sharp aroma. Wintergreen is a native of Canada and Northern America. Wintergreen essential oil is extracted after a period of fermentation of the leaves to change the properties of the constituents. It used for muscular aches and cramps, sprains and Neuralgia.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
As one of the floral essences, ylang-ylang is excellent for soothing the body physically and mentally. It has a relaxing, sedative effect and is a pleasant oil to use in a burner to scent your home. It is said to have aphrodisiac powers. It helps in depression, nervous tension, insomnia, fear high blood pressure and spotty skin.
Rupal Shabnam Tyagi
Aromatherapy practitioner and Perfumer
Founder & Director – Wikka