Many people know aromatherapy as a relaxing massage with oils. But it’s much more than that. You can use essential oils in a variety of ways: in an oil burner, in massage oil, in the bath, in a spray bottle. They can form part of your first aid kit when travelling.
See the wide range of aromatherapy oils at Neals Yard by clicking here.
Lavender oil – there’s so much you can do with it, especially on holiday. You can apply it to stings and bites to ease itching and soreness. You can put a few drops in the bath to relax before bed, or if you can’t sleep you can put some on a tissue and leave it close to your face. The soothing vapours help you to sleep, or you can use it in a spray bottle as air freshener or burn to create a relaxing and soothing atmosphere.
Tea tree is the other must-have oil in my bag. It’s antiseptic and has a strong pungent ‘clean’ smell so it’s great for cleaning – put a few drops in water and clean up your phone, your computer and other surfaces or even your kitchen. Put a few drops in the bucket when you clean your floor or use it in the bathroom to dispel other odours. Tea tree is also antifungal and can be used diluted in water or in oil on athlete’s foot, or a few drops in a bidet or shallow bath are good for thrush. Both lavender and tea tree oils can be inhaled in steam when you have a cold, cough or flu. Boil the kettle and put the steaming water in a bowl with a few drops.
Essential oils can be inhaled in steam, used in a compress or poultice, massaged in, put in the bath, burned in an oil burner, put in a spray bottle, or used in water to clean. They are very strong and should not be taken internally. They should be dispersed with the hand in the bath and some people suggest mixing them in milk before adding to the bath.
Basil oil – just sniffing the bottle can switch your brain on
Bergamot made from the peel of bitter orange fruit and is a delightful smell. It is helpful for anyone feeling depressed or tired and irritable. It is antiseptic and can kill germs in the home
Chamomile is calming and can be used in an oil burner or on a tissue for a fraught young child
Citronella keeps flying insects away so burn a few drops in an oil burner with water and place on the table
Clary sage oil is great for period pains – mix in oil and massage on your stomach. It also eases depression – put on a tissue and breathe in the pungent aroma.
Clove oil is well known for easing severe toothache,but be careful to apply to the tooth because it’s very strong and stings the mouth
Cypress oil in water stems blood from haemorrhoids, particularly after having a baby
Eucalyptus oil is excellent for clearing blocked noses and can equally be put in the bath to steam.
Frankincense oil is known for being uplifting, soothing stress and anxiety, and for its rejuvenating properties on the skin.
Geranium oil is calming and is a great oil to burn or disperse in the bath
Ginger oil helps to stave off travel sickness – just sniffing the bottle will do. It also helps to warm the muscles if you massage it in, and is great for circulation. Dilute very well.
Grapefruit oil is great for jet lag. Disperse a few drops in the bath
Jasmine oil is expensive but very uplifting and relaxing
Juniper oil has a reputation for slimming as it is a natural diuretic. A few drops in the bath can soothe a hangover or in massage oil it can ease aches and pains.
Peppermint oil is an excellent oil for many conditions, but it is incredibly strong so be careful with it. It is excellent for nausea, but most experts do not advise taking internally. Maggie Tisserand in her book Aromatherapy for Women suggests putting two drops in a spoonful of honey and add hot water. You could also put a few drops in an oil burner and breathe in the vapours. Dispersed in water or lotions peppermint soothes and cools hot, red, and sore feet or athlete’s foot.
Mandarin oil in carrier oil helps to prevent stretchmarks and scars.
Rose oil is made from the petals of the flower, and has the most beautiful aroma. It is an expensive oil but it is antiseptic and healing. It is also known to be uplifting and helpful for depression, stress or insomnia. Used diluted in a carrier oil it is particularly effective for the skin, smoothing out wrinkles and puffiness, and moisturising dry or sunburnt skin.
Rosemary oil wakes you up so the best way to use it is to have a bath and breathe in the vapours. It is also good for tired legs – so mix in a carrier oil and massage in. Recent research has shown that rosemary oil enhances cognitive memory.
Thyme helps to ease a cough and can be sprayed in water to the back of the throat • •
Ylang ylang can ease depression, so keep some on a tissue tucked into your clothes so that you can breathe it in, or put a few drops in a bath.