I woke up today and the house felt stuffy. I had a feeling for Lime (Citrus aurantifolia). This is an oil I have just recently discovered and I love its sharp, tangy, sweet, fruity aroma. Lime belongs to the Rutaceae family alongside oils such as Lemon, Grapefruit and Orange. They contain Limonene which gives them their distinctive flavour. Lime is good for relieving musculoskeletal tension, it aids digestion such as cramps and spasms. It also supports the circulatory system as it is bactericidal and antiviral. And, it promotes a sense of well-being, helping with anxiety and stress. Citrus fruits are grown in sunny climates so these oils help lift our spirits. It blends well with oils such as Sandalwood, Ginger, Lemongrass, Frankincense and Patchouli. But today I’ve put 2 drops in my oil burner along with a drop of Sweet Orange, a drop of Lemon and one drop of Eucalyptus globulus (odour eater) to freshen up my space and give me some well needed energy.
Some essential oils are classified as hypertensive (stimulating) or hypotensive (relaxing) and therefore when absorbed into the body can affect our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. For example, Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is a hypertensive oil. It has a clean, refreshing, camphoraceous aroma containing oxides which stimulate the nervous, digestive and reproductive system. It is cephalic which means it’s good for your head; it stimulates memory, helpful for mental fatigue, headaches and lethargy. One drop in your palm (rub together and breathe in) before an exam can be clarifying. It is not recommended for those with high blood pressure. On flip side, Ylang ylang (Canaga odorata) – a sweet, heavy oil, is hypotensive. Containing sesquiterpenes it is calming, balancing and relaxing. It regulates the flow of adrenaline therefore reduces blood pressure. If you are feeling stressed, frustrated, angry or panicky, 1-2 drops of this oil in an oil burner or on your pillow at night will smooth and balance your hormones. These oils go beautifully together. Combine 1 drop of each in a burner and get the best of both worlds. Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week!
Ah, the sweet scent of rain! One of the fastest ways to get essential oils into your body is through inhalation: the sense of smell. When the essential oil molecules travel up our nose, they send a message to our brain and nerves, this response is then passed into the bloodstream and respiratory system. Our nose contains olfactory cells which are connected to the Limbic system – the area of our brain which deals with memory, emotions and instincts. This is why the sense smell is so profound and effective as it can trigger a memory, which in turn can trigger many different emotions. Aromatherapy aims to create positive memories using the power of smell, to send our brain positive messages, to create positive emotions and help us relax. Relaxation is a stress buster promoting good physical and mental health thus enabling a stronger immune system. If you are in a relaxed state, you can deal with life in a positive way. So today, make sure you go outside and take a deep breath…..
What is Aromatherapy? Aromatherapy is the controlled use and application of natural plant essences called essential oils. These oils are extracted from different parts of the plant, for example, Geranium uses the flowers, Frankincense – the resin, Mandarin – the peel. The oils are absorbed into our blood stream through the skin or by inhalation. The plants and their oils have complex chemical structures, sometimes thought of as the *life force*, which interacts with the chemistry of the human body: pharmacologically, physiologically, and psychologically. We don’t know exactly how this chemistry works fully but we know the oils have therapeutic properties and can produce a healing effect. For example, Lemon (Citrus limon) contains limonene which is antiviral and bactericidal, cleansing and stimulating the immune system, lowering blood pressure and reducing pain and inflammation.
This oil has a mildly spicy, fresh citrus aroma and is found in Earl Grey tea too!
It is a wonderful balancing oil, helping reduce feelings of anger, frustration and agitation, calming the nervous system and balancing our emotions.
Due to presence of alcohol naturally occurring within the fruit, it has anti-fungal and antiviral properties which will help combat symptoms of colds and flu. Use it neat on a cold sore by adding one drop on a cotton bud making sure you put it directly onto the affected area.
To help relax and create a feeling of calm, you can also add Bergamot to a warm bath, combined with Lavender and Chamomile (2 drops of each).
Bergamot is phototoxic therefore avoid sun for at least 24 hours after use. It is not recommended for people with fair skin or lots of large moles.
It is Mental Health Awareness week and there are many oils which can help lift our emotions, and alleviate anxiety and stress. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a beautiful oil with a fresh, sweet, mildly camphoraceous aroma. It is easily available online or from most pharmacies and health food shops, and can be used in a variety of ways to help relieve tension and soothe the nervous system. You can add 6-8 drops into an evening bath, or put 1-2 drops in a oil burner with with teaspoon of water (or 6 drops into a diffuser), or just add a drop to your pillow at night. Any of these methods will help you relax, and promote deep, restful sleep.