Within the world of alternative medicines, there are many options available. Although some people may not put much trust in some of these alternative methods, others are reaping their benefit daily from simply giving them a chance and having an open mind. This is the category I fell into. I had heard many good things about aromatherapy from my local massage parlor but never thought anything of it. As time went on, I ended up purchasing an aromatherapy kit for my girlfriend that diffused the oil and water into the particles of the air. After the first night I was blown away with what had happened but didn't want to make my final decision so quickly. Two weeks went by and still the same positive effects were being seen. This sold me and my girlfriend on it! Now we were sleeping better, our moods had enhanced, and as such, our positivity and happiness had increased all from the simple implementation of aromatherapy! There are many methods for implementing these oils but first, lets cover the oils themselves. The below are the most popular essential oils according to aromatherapy.com and I can personally vouch for their efficacy.
Bergamot is a citrus-scented essential oil extracted from the Citrus Beragamia tree, a native of Southeast Asia, but can now be found primarily in Italy and along the Ivory Coast. It is a popular aromatherapy oil and widely used in perfumes and colognes. Extraction and Application: Bergamot is extracted by pressing the oil from the rind of the fruit. Bergamot can be used as incense or in a vaporizer. It can also be diluted with bath water or blended with massage oils. Aromatherapy Uses: Bergamot is used to treat stress, depression, anxiety, anorexia, and a number of infections including skin infections like psoriasis and eczema. It is used to stimulate the liver, digestive system and spleen, and provide an overall lift to those suffering from a general malaise. Caution: If applied directly to the skin in its pure form, Bergamot can potentially burn the skin especially in sunlight. It is advised to stay out of the sun when using this oil.
Cedarwood is a woody-scented essential oil that comes from the Juniperus Virginiana tree native to North America. It has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, and is thought to be one of the first essential oils ever extracted. Extraction and Application: Using steam distillation, the oil is extracted from cedar woodchips. Cedarwood aromatherapy oil is yellow in color and can be applied via vapor inhalation, as a massage oil blend or mixed with facial creams. Aromatherapy Uses: Cedarwood oil is often used as a calming agent to help alleviate stress and anxiety. It provides a spiritual lift. It also plays a role in aiding respiratory problems as well as skin issues. Use Cedarwood to help ease urinary tract infections, too. Caution: In its highly concentrated state, Cedarwood can irritate the skin if applied directly to it. It also should not be used during pregnancy.
Chamomile, widely known for its soothing characteristics (particularly in tea), is extracted as an essential oil from the leaves of the flowering plant of the same name. There are two types of Chamomile plants, the Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile. The aromatherapy oil can be extracted from both varieties, but healing properties are slightly different. Extraction and Application: Chamomile oil is extracted from the flowering leaves via steam distillation. Both varieties of Chamomile can be blended with massage oils, used in steam or vapor therapy or mixed with lotions and creams. The Roman variety of Chamomile can also be used in mouthwash as an analgesic. Aromatherapy Uses: Many of the following properties are consistent in both Roman and German Chamomile, unless noted otherwise. Chamomile is a powerful calming agent, as well as antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant and overall mood lifter. The German variety is often better suited to battle inflammation, specifically urinary tract and digestive inflammation. Both also have analgesic properties and can help to eliminate acne. Caution: Avoid during pregnancy and if allergies to Ragweed are present.
Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus tree, native to Australia. It has a powerful scent and is easily recognizable. As an essential oil, Eucalyptus is an effective agent against respiratory diseases. It also has the ability to enhance concentration. Extraction and Application: Eucalyptus oil is steam distilled from the leaves and twigs of some Eucalyptus trees (there are more than 500 varieties). Aromatherapy Uses: As mentioned above, Eucalyptus is a powerful treatment against respiratory issues. In addition it is used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic and stimulant. It also has cooling properties, which gives it deodorizing characteristics; therefore, it helps fight migraines and fevers. This cooling capability also helps with muscle aches and pains. Caution: Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid using Eucalyptus, as should individuals who suffer from epilepsy. Ingested in large doses can be fatal.
Sweet-smelling Jasmine is extracted from the Jasminum grandiflorum, an evergreen with origins in China. Jasmine is an expensive oil that has powerful healing properties; it aids with everything from depression to childbirth. It is known most for its relaxing properties. Extraction and Application: Extracting Jasmine is a little different from other essential oils, which are primarily steam distilled. Jasmine is obtained via solvent extraction, which means it results in a concrete substance rather than oil. It then must go through an extensive process whereby the flowers are placed over fats to absorb the fragrance. This process takes a number of days and yields a small amount of oil. Hence the reason Jasmine is one of the most expensive essential oils. Add some drops of Jasmine to your bath or to the vaporizer, or blend it with your favorite massage oil. Aromatherapy Uses: Jasmine has been known to ease depression and childbirth, in addition to enhance libido. Its great for respiratory problems, addiction issues, and reducing tension and stress. Caution: Overall, Jasmine is a fairly safe essential oil as its non-toxic. It can cause an allergic reaction, however. Pregnant women should avoid Jasmine.
- Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Toshiko Atsumi, Keiichi Tonosaki. Psychiatry Res. 2007 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597)
- Evaluating Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Sleep in Children with Autism: A Pilot Study. Tim I. Williams. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16951722)
- Aroma therapy for dementia. L. Thorgrimsen, A. Spector, A. Wiles, M. Orrell. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12917949)
- Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. William N. Setzer. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19831048)
- A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. George T. Lewith, Anthony Dean Godfrey, Philip Prescott. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16131287)
- Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients: results of a pilot study. Gaye Kyle. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648093)