Essential Oils are used in various
industries. Some of the industries in which they are used extensively are as
- Food and drink industry,
- Pharamaceuticals industry,
- Fragrance and Flavour industry,
- Agriculture and Live stock industry,
- Cosmetic and Soaps industry,
- House hold and Domestic cleaning products industry,
- Petroleum Industry,
word aromatherapy means "treatment using scents'. It is the art and
science of healing and therapy through the use of plant extracts, known as
essential oil, to promote balance in the mind and body. Essential oil like
aromatherapy essential oil are aromatic essences extracted from plants,
flowers, trees, fruit, bark, grasses and seeds.
Aroma can incite your sensory organs
Your sensory organ for smelling something is most powerful. A single whiff
of an aroma can evoke feelings and memories long forgotten. When you inhale
a fragrance, the smell itself bypasses your "thinking brain" and
goes directly to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls
certain impulses. For instance, smelling lavender increases alpha wave
frequency in the back of the head and this state is associated with
relaxation. Due to these reasons, aroma are valuable for the purpose of mood
Historical evidences of
Aromatherapy has been around for a very long time. It is one of the oldest
forms of health and beauty care.
- The oldest use of aromatic oils is known to be as old as 6,000 years
back when Egyptian physician, Imhotep, the then God of medicine and
healing, recommended fragrant oils for bathing and massaging.
- In 4,500 B.C. Egyptians used Myrrh and Cedar wood oils for embalming
their dead and 6,500 years later they preserved mummies.
- Romans utilized essential oils for pleasure and to cure pain and also
for their popular perfumed baths and massages.
- Emperor Nero being indulgent in orgies, feasts and fragrances
employed rose frequently to cure his headaches, indigestion and to
maintain his high spirits while enjoying amusements.
- During the great plague in London in 1665, people burnt bundles of
Lavender, Cedar wood and Cypress in the streets. This was their only
defence to combat infectious diseases.
- Aromatherapy received a wider acceptance in the early twentieth
century. In 1930s Rene- Maurice-Gatte Fosse, a french Chemist, dipped
his burnt hand in Lavender oil. To his surprise the wound healed very
quickly without any infection or scarring. He did considerable research
on various oils and their therapeutic and psycho-therapeutic properties.
- Dr. Jean Volnet, French army surgeon extensively used essential oils
in World War II. It was Madame Morquerite Murry who gave the holistic
approach to aromatic oils by experimenting with them for individual
Essential oils, like spiritual healing
(Reiki, Pranic, Magnified), homeopathic, herbal and flower remedies, have a
life force that vibrates within the body and the benefit exerted is too
subtle to evaluate.
ABOUT ESSENTIAL OIL
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from
plants, herbs and flowers. There are more than 300 types of oils that can be
extracted. The term "100% pure and natural essential oil" is used
to describe oils that contain only the extract of a particular plant. They
are 75-100 times more potent than dried herbs and should be used with care.
They are also sensitive to sunlight and should be stored in dark bottles and
kept in a cool area.
These oils have distinctive therapeutic, psychological and physiological
properties that improve health and prevent illness. All essential oils have
unique healing and valuable antiseptic properties. Some oils are
anti-bacterial, anti- biotic, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, hormone
regulating, anti-depressant, stimulating, relaxing and expectorating. Some
support digestion and have diuretic properties too.
Essential oils get absorbed into our body and exert an influence on it. The
residue gets dispersed from the body naturally. They can also affect our
mind and emotions. They enter the body in three ways: by inhalation,
absorption and consumption.
Some of them are light liquids, insoluble in water and evaporate instantly
when exposed to air. It would take 100 kg of Lavender to yield 3 kg of
Lavender oil; and 8 million Jasmine flowers to yield barely 1 kg of Jasmine
oil. Some of these aroma oils are very expensive. They are used singularly
or in combination to bring about restorative and curative processes in the
mind and body, offering a gentle alternative to medicinal drugs.
USAGE OF ESSENTIAL OIL
All pure essential oils should be diluted in a carrier/
base oil and used. It is your choice and desire as to how you would like to
use them. They may be diffused, applied topically, or added to water for
bathing, cleaning and disinfecting. Most oils may be worn as a perfume,
aftershave, on the neck, the face, the throat, the wrists, the ankles, the
back, behind the ears, over the chest and, of course, on the bottom of the
Every persons sensitivity to oils can vary considerably. If you have a high
sensitivity it is best to start treatment with a lower dose and work up.
Sensitivity can vary according to the herbs used. Some herbs have a mild
effect like that of Chamomile. Others have a stronger effect on the system.
Some herbs, whilst having a beneficial effect in most cases are
inappropriate to us in others, under following circumstances:
- Any herb with a stimulating effect on the uterus is inappropriate for
use during pregnancy.
- The use of herbs over a long period of time (generally more than 12
weeks) is not recommended as the body can build up a resistance to the
herb, making its therapeutic use counter productive.
- Prolonged cumulative exposure to certain natural chemicals may also
have an irritant effect upon the body.
Precautions while using essential oil
Essential oils should be added to the carrier oil using a dropper. Always
mix essential oils in glass, porcelain or aluminum bottles as the oil will
react with plastic. We recommend that you use a separate dropper for each
oil. A dropper allows you to take exact measurement of the oil. When using
droppers, ensure that the oil is only drawn up into the glass stem. Contact
between the oil and the rubber bulb will damage the material. If storing the
bottle with the dropper in place always ensure the bottle is stored
vertically. To clean droppers draw some alcohol into the dropper, repeating
In diffusers or vaporizers
Diffusers are generally made of ceramic or clay. The diffuser has a cave
like opening to house small candles or earthen oil lamps. The top portion of
the diffuser is shaped like a curved cup to hold little water and few drops
of aroma oil.
Fill the top cup with water, add a few drops of essential oil depending on
the oil chosen, then light the candle or the lamp. For the oil lamp to last
long, add castor oil to the earthen lamp because castor oil burns for a very
long time as compared to other oils. Once the water and oil heat up,
evaporation takes place and the whole atmosphere is filled with the aromatic
scent. The process of evaporation continues for nearly five to six hours.
Essential oils are highly volatile and burn easily, because of this they
should not be placed near the naked flame and the bowl of the vaporizer
should be kept topped up with water and not allowed to dry out while the
candle is alight. The usual precautions should be taken with candles in
burners, i.e. Ensure the burner is standing on a non flammable surface, is
not left unattended and is kept away from children and animals.
One can get instant relief from pain, a relaxed and positive feeling
prevails when the right oil is used.
In the bathroom
Four to six drops of essential oil in bath can produce a wonderful
fragrance with a very positive effect. Always ensure that the oil is added
to the bath water after the bath has been run and ensure that the water is
agitated thoroughly to ensure that the oil is fully dispersed. If your skin
is especially sensitive you should dilute the oil with either a vegetable
carrier oil or full fat milk before adding to the bath.
When bathing children use a smaller quantity of oil (1 or 2 drops) and
remember that young children may suck fingers or rub eyes in the bath so do
not leave them unattended.
Essential oils may mark plastic baths so it is essential to ensure that the
oil is properly dispersed and that the bath is wiped down immediately after
For massage the essential oil should be blended with a carrier oil. The
best vegetable carrier oil for use on the skin is Almond Oil as it has a
nourishing effect upon the skin. A good guide to the level of dilution is
about 2.5 to 3.0% essential oil, equivalent to 5-6 drops of essential oil
for every 10 Ml of carrier oil. If a blend of essential oil is used, then
the total quantity of the mixture should not exceed 3%, and it should be
well agitated to ensure even blending of the mixture.
Those with sensitive skin (and for children) should use a concentration of
1% i.e. 2 drops for every 10ml of carrier oil.
Massage improves the circulation of the blood, tones the muscles,
detoxifies and releases trapped energy from tense muscles. The fragrance
triggers a sense of pleasure and well being. The penetration of essential
oil through the skin during massage is high.
The use of essential oils for inhalations can have beneficial effects on
respiratory conditions. Several drops of essential oil are added to a large
bowl, boiling water is added and the rising vapors are inhaled. This should
be done for about five minutes. Care should be taken for asthma patients and
children. During inhalation the eyes should be kept shut to avoid
A drop or two sprinkled on a handkerchief can give a lasting benefit of the
aroma oil. If the oil spills, absorb the oil using paper tissues and remove
it immediately. Essential oils will mark many surfaces. If the oil is
swallowed, seek urgent medical attention, do not try to induce vomiting. If
there is contact with the eyes, wash the eyes thoroughly with cold water.
Seek medical advice, in case stinging persists. If the oil is spilt on
clothing, remove clothing and wash immediately in the normal way.
For Foot Bath
You can immerse your feet in a bowl of luke warm water to which 2-3 drops
of essential oil is added. This is a very refreshing experience after a hard
day's work and if you have sweaty and smelly feet, then foot bath from these
oils can be profitable.
In Pot Pourri
Pot Pourri, as the name suggests is a mixture of dried flowers, herbs,
grass and seed pods. In this, few drops of essential oil are added to the
pot pourri and are kept in a bowl for 4-6 weeks. Another effective method
would be to keep the pot pourri mixture after adding the essential oil in a
closed container overnight so that the oil gets absorbed. The next morning
the box can be kept open and the lingering aroma would fill the area.
During Bed Time
Sprinkle 2-3 drops on the pillow cover or on a tissue that can be placed
under the pillow or cushion cover and inhaled just before sleeping or while
sleeping. This can be very useful in treating headaches, stress, tension and
in boosting confidence. Some of the essential oils act as an aphrodisiac
Both cold and hot compresses are profitable. Add 2-3 drops of aroma oil to
a bowl of hot (depending on how much of heat you can withstand) or warm
water and dip a hand towel or piece of cotton to enable it to absorb the
mixture then squeeze out the excess water and place the towel or cotton on
the area to be treated. Leave the compress on the area for 2 hours as it can
be quite beneficial.
Oils like Lavender are usually used for this procedure. This oil provides
relief when used over bruises, for skin problems and premenstrual syndromes.
To make a cold compress, add 6 cubes of ice to a bowl with 2-3 drops of
essential oil and dip a hand towel or a piece of cotton to absorb the
mixture. Thereafter, squeeze out the excess water and place the towel or
cotton on the area to be treated. Cold compress is highly helpful in
treating burns, sore feet, hangover, sprains and headaches. After a facial,
the use of hot and cold compress alternately helps the skin.
For oral intake
It is an accepted practice abroad to take essential oil orally as it is
safe. However, care should be taken in this case and it should be taken
under supervision or guidance of an experienced aromatherapy practitioner.
Few oils can be taken internally in prescribed dosage for a particular
problem like indigestion, under the guidance of a qualified therapist only.
For beauty treatment
Aroma oils have been used as an application for the skin from times
immemorial. As they are highly soothing in treating and enhancing the
natural beauty of the skin. These oils can be safely incorporated in
facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, scalp treatment, hair wash, hair
treatment along with other creams and oils.
In room sprays
There is a call for protecting the environment and this is becoming a prime
concern worldwide. Aerosols are being discouraged due to their ozone
Essential oils are natural and hence they could be used liberally to
deodorise a room, freshen and scent your bathroom, living-room, bedroom,
dining-room, office cabin, etc. Merely add 10-12 drops of aroma oil to half
a litre of water and spray the mixture with the help of a spray bottle.
As Insect Repellents
Essential oils are excellent fragrant dispenser and non toxic insecticides.
Just 2-3 drops of essential oil can be used on pillow covers, mattresses or
used mosquito mats (this can be electrically reused) or apply them on the
exposed skin after blending with carrier oil and before going to bed to
repel insects. Vaporisers are insect repellents used normally in the form of
mats or other types of vaporisers kept for repelling insects. One could
reuse the used mats by adding 2-3 drops of essential oil.
In the light bulb ring
A small ceramic or metal ring that can be placed on top of a lamp's
lightbulb. Simply put few drops into the ring to fill a room with aroma.
Always start on a cold light bulb and be careful not to drop the oil
directly on the hot light bulb when refilling.
In Electric Nebulizer Diffuser
These are expensive type of diffusers. Use an adjustable air flow to
vaporize the oils into microscopic droplets. Many people consider these to
be the best because the oils are not exposed to heat and they don't affect
the properties of the essential oils.
In Plug-in Pad Diffuser
These consist of a small plug in heating element and a scent pad - Similar
to room deodorizer that use a gel air freshener. Put a few drops of oil on
the pad and plug in.
STORING ESSENTIAL OIL
Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Many oils are sensitive to Ultra Violet light and should be stored in dark
glass bottles. The oils should be stored OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Some oils
are toxic if swallowed neat. Essential oils should never be stored in
plastic bottles. The oils should not be stored with the droppers in place as
the vapors may corrode the dropper. If stored properly essential oils, can
be kept for about 2 years or more. Some citrus oils, eg. lemon, orange and
lime will not keep for as long.
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can
be harmful if not used carefully. By treating essential oils as medicines
and following the steps outlined below, you will be well on your way to
safely enjoying the many benefits that aromatherapy can offer.
These safety guidelines are not a complete safety reference for the proper
use of essential oils. When in doubt, consult your physician and/or a
qualified and trained aromatherapy practitioner.
Do not use undiluted essential oils on the skin. Some oils can cause
sensitization or allergic reactions in some individuals. When using a new
oil for the first time, do a skin patch on a small area of skin. Place a
small amount of the diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow and
apply a bandage. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any form of reaction. Some
essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those suffering from
asthma, epilepsy, or with other health conditions.
When using essential oils, use the smallest amount of essential oils that
will get the job done. Do not use two drops, if the job is done from one
drop. Not all essential oils are suitable for use in aromatherapy. Keep
essential oils away from the reach of children. Keep them out of the way of
Essential oils should not be taken internally and should only be taken
internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a
trained and qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
The information contained in this web site is not
intended as diagnosis, treatment or prescription for any disease, nor is it
presented as an alternative to regular medical attention. If medical
attention is indicated, please contact a health professional. Information
may have errors or can be outdated. Some information's are from historical
sources or represent opinions of the author. User assumes all risk of use,
damage or injury. We are not liable for any consequential, incidental,
indirect or special damages.