SOME INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC OILS
Basil, Ocimum basilicum (European Basil, Sweet Basil) Basil is used for Chest infections, such as Chronic Bronchitis, its a stimulating oil, so is useful for a tired brain. Also used for flatulence, menstrual pains, constipation and indigestion. It is also useful for Rheumatism, gout and muscle cramps.
Safety information. Basil CAN be used in the bath, but Cautiously, as it can be irritating to people with sensitive skin.
Bergamot. Citrus Bergamia. Bergamot is mostly top note, in other words, the smell hits you right in the face. So in 15 mls of carrier oil you can add up to 10 drops of Bergamot (if you're not adding any other oil to the mixture).
Bergamot is very useful for problems with the digestive system, such as flatulence, abdominal cramps, and gastro-enteritus. It's used for agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. It's also good for cut's and wounds, dermatitis, greasy skin and psoriasis.
Please note, that Bergamot is the MOST photo-sensitive of all the citrus oils, so please wait 12-24 hours after using it, to go Sun Bathing or using a sun bed.
Black Pepper, Piper nigrum. I LOVE black pepper. It's used for Bronchitus and coughs and colds,it's a very warming oil, so is lovely for Arthritus, Rheumatism, tendonitis, muscular aches and pain (after a tough sports work out, soaking in a bath with Black Pepper is magic). It's also used for constipation, nausea, fridgity, impotence, Laryngitis and toothache.
Cedar, Cedrus Atlanticus. Please note that there are several "Cedars", but this is the one I choose to use, as do a lot of Aromatherapists. Cedar is treasured for the way it stimulates circulation and the metabolism. It is supposed to be one of the best essential oils for fighting the dreaded Cellulite.
It is also a very powerful antiseptic, and is used for infections of the lungs (particularily Chronic Bronchitis) as well as the Urinary tract system.
It can also be used as a skin tonic and has been known to be helpful with fighting acne.
Safety Information, DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY
Clary Sage, Salvia Sclarea. Clary sage (as opposed to sage, which is a different beastie) is a lovely oil hormone balancing oil especially for women who have irregular menstrual cycles, painful periods, pms, and labor pains and is also used on those who have epilepsy, it's used as a circulation tonic and for haemorrhoids, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, and for wrinkles.
WARNING Clary is not to be used in conjunction with alcohol and recreational drugs as it heightens the effect and one can feel quite nasty.
Clove, Eugenia Caryophyllata, Clove of course is very useful with toothache, and as such it has no rival. BUT here again we have an oils that can potentially be VERY irritating to the skin. Minute amounts ONLY are recommended with use. And of course there are more than one type of oil. The only one that MOST Aromatherapists use, is Clove BUD. Not the Leaf or Bark.
If you DO decide that you HAVE to use it, please do a 24 hour patch test first. Use only 1 drop in a tablespoon (15mls) of carrier oil.
Uses for Clove oil, as mentioned, Toothache, digestive troubles, circulatory problems such as arthritis, rheumatism, and Viral Hepatitis.
Personally I believe, that if you are new to Essential Oils, there HAS to be a better alternative to most of these complaints (toothe ache excepted), and I hope you find it.
Potentially sensitizing, do a 24 hour patch test first, do NOT use on Pregnant women and children.
Frankincense (Boswellia Carteri) is another of those oils that I really like. Frankincense of course has been around for forever. Aside from it's religious use's which continue today, Frankincense is also excellent for Asthma, most respiretory problems, is lovely for aging skin, as it seems to help with the prevention of wrinkles. And of course, if used during pregancy, it has been shown to be helpful with stretch marks. It is also used for muscular and joint pain, such as arthritis and Rheumatism.
Frankincense is also been used to boost a weakened immune system and not surprisingly, stress and depression.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a very balancing oil, for both the skin (hence it's popularity in skin care products) and the emotions. It is also use as a tonic for the body, in particular the liver and kidneys.
Geranium is also great for enhancing memory, and if you are cramming for a test this is the one you want to be diffusing at the time.
It is also know for it's relaxing properties. So if you're under a lot of stress, or if your mind is buzzing a million miles a minute, try putting a drop or two of oil on a handkerchief. ( I know a lot of people recommend tissue paper, but it's my personal feeling that it disappears too quickly) and take a sniff from time to time.
I would not recommend it as an oil to use near bed time however, for in spite of the fact that it is used to calm down an over active mind, it can act as a stimulant and keep you from sleeping.
One other thing that Geranium is excellent for, is as a mosquito and gnat repellant. I have found it, combined with Lavender, to do an excellent job. Smells better that shop stuff too.
Now, there are two basic types of Geranium that most people use, Geranium and Geranium Bourbon. The difference between the two is that the Geranium Bourbon smell more "rosy" than regular Geranium.
Also Geranium Bourbon has been called "Rose Geranium" by those who don't know any better. "Rose Geranium" is Geranium that has been distilled with or over rose. In other words a totally different beastie all together.
Grapefruit Citrus Paradisi. This one is a nice citrus oil for the reason that it is NOT a photo-sensitiser. I have found that this is very useful for those who retain water. Even just EATING a Grapefruit, really helps to eliminate retained water.
It is used for oily skin and hair, and is really nice when used in a toner.
When diffused, it works as an anti depressant, and Those who experience SAD during the winter month have found Diffused Grapefruit to be of some help.
Please note, There are books out there that say that Grapefruit is helpful with cellulite. I haven't seen anything to substantiate this claim. It is my personal choice to use Cedar (Atlas) when trying to fight THAT particular battle.
One other little thing, You don't want to put Grapefruit or any other citrus in the bath. You will feel as though you are sitting in an ants nest. Fire ants. Ask me how I know! LOL
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)A must have if you've got children, or even a spouse that tends to be a bit accident prone. It is the choice of oils for cuts that are deeper than scratches, bruises, etc. It is analgesic and it's healing abilities are quite amazing. I used it on my husbands nose after he sliced it open last year. A scar had been predicted, but of course, there is none.
Helichrysum (also known as Everlasting) is also an excellent choice when using on someone with Rheumatiod Arthritis.
Helichrysum is also used to help calm an Asthma attack, for stress, muscular aches, and is even safe enough to use on babies. NOTE: Helichrysum is EXTREMELY expensive, so try and save it for the biggies. It is also a synergistic oil, which means it works better with other oils than on it's own, and of Course it needs a carrier oil.
Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula vera or Lavandula officinalis. Lavender is about the most gentle oil you could ever hope to find. It is wonderful to use for babies as well as the elderly. It is also the only oil along with tea tree that you should ever use undiluted. Please note: as with anything else, with over use one can become sensitized to Lavender, so use it neat only when necessary. It is used to relieve headaches, stress and insomnia. I always keep a bottle around and use it on the frequent bumps, burns, cuts and scrapes that my children come up with. I'm always amazed at how little bruising appears if I apply immediately and also how fast their cuts heal.
May Chang,Litsea cubeba, used in Aromatherapy for: Acne, dermatitis, excessive perspiration, greasy skin insect repellent, spots. Flatulence, indigestion, Arythmia, high blood pressure, nervous tension and stress-related conditions.
May Chang is a Very strong smelling oil. A lot of people confuse it with Lemon. I personally LOVE May Chang and have used it to help combat Post Natal Depression.
Melissa, Melissia Officinalis. It is also called Lemon Balm. Melissa is one of the most often adulterated oils around. It is extremely difficult to get pure Melissa oil. It usually costs as much as Rose oil.
Melissa is used therapeuticaly for abdominal cramp, indigestion, nausea, pms, anxiety, agitation, headache, migraines, and shock. It can also be used for insect bite and athletes foot.
Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha Or C. molmol, is steam distilled from resin. It is antiviral and anti-inflammatory It is used in skin care to help prevent wrinkles, it is used to treat things like gum infections, and as a mouth wash to prevent infections of the mouth.
It is used for weeping eczema, cracked and chapped skin, all sorts of Chesty cold conditions, and is a remedy for diarrhea.
One can use Myrrh in the bath, steam inhalation, massage, or diffused in the room.
Palmarosa,(cymbopogon martini). Palmarosa is related to Lemongrass and Citronella, although it doesn't smell as strident.
It is used quite often in skin care products, it stimulates the cells which is valuable in fighting wrinkles. It is also antiseptic and therefore, one of the more valuable oils when it comes to fighting acne as it helps to balance the production of sebum.
It is said to help fight virus, as well as intestinal upsets such as Gastro-enteritis and E-Coli. It is also an aid for sluggish digestion and an appetite stimulant.
It is valuable in a blend to help reduce stress.
Fortunately it is also one of the lower priced oil, as it is very useful in Aromatherapy and it's smell is considered quite pleasant.
Peppermint, Mentha Piperita. peppermint oil is used, primarily a cooling and anti-inflammatory oil. I used it constantly every time we took our dog out in the car, to prevent his being car sick. It worked a charm. So, it follows that it is good for nausea, morning sickness (and I can vouch personally for that too :-). It's also used for Diarrhoea, flatulence, indigestion, menopause, painful periods, headaches, migraines, shock, sciatica, skin irritation and sunburns. Do not store it near homeopathic remedies, as it can cause them to "go off"
Petitgrain Citrus aurantium var.amara,Petitgrain is distilled from the leaves. Petitgrain is good for acne, dandruff, depression, insomnia and stress. One major advantage Petitgrain has over most citrus oils, and is preferred over Bergamot, by some Aromatherapists, is the fact that it's not a Photosensitiser.
Pine, Pinus pinaster is steam distilled. It is a good disinfect, and it is one that I would consider using in place of Tea-Tree, especially for those who have become sensitized or are worried about using Tea-tree too much.
It is used for all sorts of Chesty conditions such as Bronchitis, coughs, colds, catarrh etc. It is refreshing and up lifting, and is also used to help with arthritic and muscular pain.
It can be used as a steam inhalation, massage oil, in the bath (with CARE), and can be diffused.
Rose, Rosa damascena is the perfect oil for women, although men have shown the good taste to adore it too. Whole books have been written about Rose oil alone.
Rose, as mentioned, THE perfect oil for women and gentle enough to use on small children. It is used to balance hormones, thereby regulating irregular menstral cycles, because of this people have said it should be avoided during the first 5 months during pregnancy. However there is no evidence to substantiate this warning.
It is lovely on the skin, helps to soothe dryness, prevent wrinkles, soothing on eczema, and helps tone the skin.
As for the mind. It is used to help against fridgidity (MAN! Writing that is almost as difficult as SAYING it), it is known to be an Aphrodisiac, is uplifting and helps to combat depression. In Patricia Davis' Book, Aromatherapy An A-Z, she also claims it helps to increase the production of semen amongst other things.
The only thing AGAINST this oil is the fact that it is so expensive. Fortunately, only 1 drop per tablespoon is needed and the oil lasts for YEARS. It's one of those oils that gets better as it gets older.
Rosemary is a little difficult to discuss in generalities, as there are 3 distinct types. There is Rosmary Verbeone type, Rosemary-camphor type and Rosemary Cineole, my personal favorite and the one I choose to use most.
Both Rosemary Verbeone and Camphor types contain ketones an as such are to be avoided when using on Pregnant Women and small children.
Myths that are usually associated with Rosemary. One that I'm sure you have heard of is not to use on people who have epilepsy or High Blood Pressure. You will find this is in almost all the literature, especially that written for beginners.
There is in FACT no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to support these claims. In FACT, it seems that Rosemary is the oil of choice to help calm Epileptic attacks instead of the other way around.
Rosemary Cineole, is a lovely smooth oil, gentle enough for even the most cautious of Aromatherapists to use on children and pregnant women, the other two (verbenone and camphor are not to be used on young children or pregnant women).
This oil is lovely for sore and tired muscles, is an uplifting or stimulating oil, great for chesty coughs, bronchitis, etc. It is analgesic, and stimulates the central nervous system, to help combat depression, mental fatigue and nervous exhaustion.
Rosemary is also used often in skincare on oily skin and on the hair to rejuvinate lifeless hair, combat dandruff and oily hair.
Sage Salvia Officianalis, as a tea, gargle or used as the herb, Sage is quite invaluable. I have used it often for a gargle when I've had a sore throat, the relief is instantaneous, although not of long duration. As an essential oil however, I urge EXTREME caution. It is extremely high in thujone (it's main component, which is, of course, a Ketone, check the chemistry page), and therefore would be easy to poison someone or yourself with it. I don't recommend that anyone other than a professional, experienced Aromatherapist use it.
It's theraputic uses are as follows: Muscle aches and pains, anti-viral and is reputed to be effective agains the Staphylococcus aures and Streptococcus bacteria.
Safety Data, NEVER NEVER NEVER on pregnant women or children.
Sandalwood Santalum Album. Sandalwood is of course steam distilled from wood. It can be used in the bath, by inhalation, or massaged into the skin. It is used for wrinkles, dry and cracked skin, for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, oily skin, acne, an aphrodisiac, it's antiseptic and slightly astringent. It is used for menstrual problems, eczema, mental anxiety, sunburn and asthma.
It is truly a wonderful oil and so diverse. It smells yummy in aftershave, and in perfume, and seems to be a truly relaxing oil.
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi), is a calming peaceful oil. Use it to help calm hysterical grief, for addiction, anger hysteria and stress.
It is a balancing oil and can be used in skin care products for both oily and dry skin. It is also one of the few oils that seems to be really effective against dandruff.
It is the root of this plant that is steam distilled to produce the essential oil. The odor is very unusual. It's one of those that can be rather hard to get along with.
Apparently it is one that does well when working with Chakra energy, but having very little experience with Chakra's I cannot confirm or deny.
However, as someone who uses Reiki, I will say, that it is a very helpful oil when performing Reiki, especially on someone who is emotionally overwroght. Also, with long distance healing, which can be rather difficult, Spikenard can be very helpful.
Tea-tree,Malaleuca Alternifolia. Tea-tree is wonderful for wounds , it's antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. In other words it's great to use for athletes foot, acne, boils, insect bites, depression, and stress related problems. Colds, bronchitis and sinusitis.
Now a word of CAUTION about Tea-tree. Tea-tree is a possible sensitser. In other words people can and do become allergic to it.
VALERIAN Valerian, Valeriana officinalis. One thing one will notice right away is that Valerian has a rather strong smell. Alright, it stinks. However it's theraputic value lies in the fact that it is extremely calming on those who suffer from a nervous condition, anything like migraines, insomnia, stress, nervous stomach, etc.
Valerian is very powerful and NEVER use more than one drop. If you use another rather strong smelling oil (such as a citrus oil), it might help improve the smell.
Ylang-Ylang, Cananga Odorata. Ylang-Ylang is an dreadfully adulterated oil. One really has to be careful with this one. Ylang-Ylang flowers are distilled three times. The oil from the first distillation is called Ylang-Ylang Extra,The next is called Ylang-Ylang 1 (or sometimes, Superior), then Ylang-Ylang 2 and 3. Both 2 and 1 are frequently used to adulterate the Extra and No.1. You have to find a reputable supplier and hope for the best.
If you're buying something that just calls itself Ylang-Ylang, it's probably no 2 or 3.
Now on to the uses for Ylang-Ylang. Ylang-Ylang is a very soothing, calming and balancing oil. It is used for palpitations, diabetes, anxiety, depression, fridgidity, impotence, insomnia, and oily skin.