Clogged heads and coughs.

This season of colds and flu is one of the worse we have seen for a few years. There seems to be no magic solution to keeping the virus away. Washing our hands and maintaining good personal hygiene is one of the simplest and best deterrents of contracting the dreaded lurgy.

Nearly all essential oils contain antibacterial properties some though are better than others. Rosemary is a handy oil to have on a tissue for those times you are travelling on public transport. It was used in those very funny looking nose cones they used during the black plague to protect the medical staff of the day. Lavender is a great anti bacterial and can also be placed on a tissue to use as a bit of a face mask when people are sharing in a small space.

To unclog the head before bed to help to get some sleep try dropping a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil on the shower floor after running hot water for a minute or two. The oil will disperse into the steam and clear the sinuses and relieve coughing for a period of time. This process can be used on children in the middle of the night when you would rather be asleep yourself, leave them in their PJ’s and steam up the bathroom to create relief from the symptoms.

A simple chest rub can be made by using a carrier oil such as almond and adding some Lavender oil. Lavender has a bonus of giving a restful sleep and is gentle for children.



What is Rosemary essential oil for?

Rosemary was believed by both the Greeks and the Romans to be a sacred plant with magical powers. In the Middle ages it was burned to fumigate sickrooms. The herb is grown for essential oil use in the south of France, Italy, Spain, Tusisia and America.

Rosemary is a pretty little flowering bush that is cultivated as a herb for culinary and medicinal purposes. Extracted by steam distillation, the essential oil has a brisk and refreshing aroma – a great ‘study aid’ for students. Rosemary is often applied to the body via massage for the temporary relief of muscular aches & pains It is useful to treat fatigue, colds, flu and rheumatism.



Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint was used by the Egyptians and Israelites for its cooling effect. Hippocrates prescribed it as a stimulant and diuretic. Peppermint comes from a small plant widely grown in temperate climates, peppermint contains menthol which gives it a cooling effect on the skin.

Peppermint is known oil for its bracing, invigorating, fresh menthol aroma and is often used as an inhalation to ‘clear the head’. Steam distilled from the herb to yield a refreshing, minty aroma that relieves nausea associated with travel sickness and digestive upsets. Peppermint is applied to the body via massage for the temporary relief of muscular aches & pains.

How to use Aromatherapy oils

Bath – A warm aromatic bath is a luxurious therapy for the mind & body. It will ease tired and sore muscles (Peppermint or Rosemary) after physical activity. An aromatic bath is also very relaxing and one of the best ways to de-stress. (Choose your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend). Mix 6 drops of essential oil with Dispersant and add the mixture to the bath water.

Compress – a warm/hot compress offers great relief for aching sore muscles. Mix 6 drops of peppermint or rosemary with 6 drops of Dispersant add the mixture to the bowl of warm water. Place a small towel and place over the area.  Repeat as the towel becomes cooler. A cool compress with Lavender or Peppermint applied on the forehead can help with tension headaches. Take care not to let any liquid get into the eyes.

Massage – great for easing tired and sore muscles (Peppermint or Rosemary), or for relaxation (choose the person’s favorite aroma), or just to impart a caring touch to someone in need. Mix 1 drop essential oil for every 2 mils of massage oil. A full body massage will use around 20mls of massage oil so add 10 drops of essential oil.

Spray or spritz – a safe natural way to perfume your home or office, or to make a refreshing personal perfume. Mix 10 drops of essential oil or an essential oil blend with 10 drops of essential oil or an essential oil blend with 10 drops of Dispersant and add the mixture to a 250ml spray bottle. Fill the bottle with the mixture to a 250ml spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water and shake lightly before use. An antiseptic spray can be made using Tea Tree essential oil.

Perfume – apply 1 or 2 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend directly on your skin in the same places you would normally apply a perfume. Avoid lemon, bergamot, lemongrass, May Chang and another citrus due to skin sensitivity issues.

Vaporiser – fill the vaporiser with water and add 6-10 drop of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend. Great for relaxation or just to fragrance your home or work environment. Electric vaporisers are recommended for safety reasons.

Inhalation – very effective for helping to clear blocked respiratory passages in the nose and chest. Add 6 drops of Eucalyptus to a bowl of hot water place a hot towel over your head and breathe in the vapor. Breathe in through the mouth (and out through the nose) for chest congestion, or in through the nose (and out through the mouth) for nasal congestion.

Is there a difference in quality?

Quality is essential when selecting your essential oils. When buying oils consideration of the intended use for the oil needs to be made. For example, are they going to be dispersed in the air for mood or spiritual reasons or are they being applied to the skin or simply used to clean the bathroom?

Do not confuse fragrance oils with essential oils these oils are entirely synthetic and have no medicinal, cosmetic or cleaning properties. In fact, they can cause irritation or allergies in people sensitive to chemical solvents.

Retail branded oils unless stated otherwise are not of the same quality as that of a practitioner or therapeutic grade oil.  For the uninitiated, the cheaper the oil is in comparison to others of the same type, in general, is a good indication of the quality of the oil.

Essential oils and their medicinal qualities are affected by where they are grown. Some locations are highly prized as they are pristine and produce superior oils.

Extraction processes also affect the quality and intended use of the oil, as explained in How are the oils extracted?

How are the oils extracted?

There are several methods of extraction Distillation, Enfleurage, Maceration, and expression.

Distillation is the extraction of the essence by steaming, it is the most popular method in use today. In this process, the plant is placed in a deep vat and steam is passed over it. The essence evaporates along with the water. This product is then cooled, and the essence is separated from the water. Steam distillation has several grades of oil produced from the process as it can be repeated a number of times. Using eucalyptus oil as an example it has several grades of purity – Medical, General Use and cleaning. The first grade is from the first extraction and is usually very clear. The second grade is golden and is the second extraction and the third grade is very brown and is from the third extraction. As each extraction level occurs the heavy chemicals are the ones remaining and are condensed hence the darker colouring. In a future post, more will be explained about the natural chemicals found in essential oils and their properties in healing.

Enfleurage is a method used to extract flower essences which tend to disappear in distillation. Jasmine and Rose are two such examples and are priced according to the volume of flowers or petals required to make the essence. These oils tend to be reasonable more expensive than general oils that are distilled. Wooden frames with a glass plate on top are covered with warm natural grease. Petals are laid in a thin layer and are replaced every few days until the grease is saturated with the essence. The grease is then washed with alcohol to obtain the extracts and the remaining fat can be used to make soap.

Maceration involves soaking flowers in hot oil until their cells rupture and the oil absorbs their essence. Some essential oils are extracted in a similar way by using solvents, like petroleum, eather and butane, in extractors which look like a coffee percolator. These oils are usually very cheap and have little to no medicinal value.

Expression is the method by which the essence is separated from Lemons, orange and lime peels. The peel is pressed and the liquid falls on sponges that are later squeezed to obtain the essence.

Indians are spending billions of dollars on beauty products made with common kitchen ingredients — Quartz

Indians are going back to their roots—at least when it comes to looking good and smelling fresh. Buoyed by the popularity of herbal brand Patanjali Ayurved, promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, soaps, shampoos, and lotions infused with traditional ingredients are now outshining regular personal care products, according to a new report by consumer insights firm…

via Indians are spending billions of dollars on beauty products made with common kitchen ingredients — Quartz

Where do essential oils come from?

Pure essential oils are oils are obtained from the bark, roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, and resins of trees and plants. Initially, humans would have only chewed the medicinal plant life to gain wellness. As we advanced we moved onto teas which we still use today. The teas depending on the time of evolution could have even been cold water extracted rather than made over a fire. This cold extraction method is still used in homeopathic flower remedies. Herbs for internal use are often extracted using heat, water, and alcohol.  Essential oils are different to herbal extractions as they are Distilled, Enfleurage, Maceration, or Expressed. This means there are no additives in the end product making essential oils one of the purest end result of herbal processing.

What are Essential Oils?

They are Magic Essences – Essential Oil is a pure and natural living substance and is the “essence” of the plant or flower and contains the concentrated power of its vital life force. The term “oil” is a misleading name for essential oils as they are not oily at all. They are volatile essences that evaporate quickly if left exposed to the air.

As they are extracted from plants, each oil has the same individual chemical composition of the plant from which they are made. Every oil has different medicinal actions, fragrance, colour and spiritual or emotional application.

Note: A fragrance oil is not normally a natural extraction from a plant.  More about how to select quality natural extracted oils in future posts.