In flowers, herbs and plants are powers to heal. And this is why ancient civilizations relied heavily on these natural resources in many forms. A peak into the history of aromatherapy takes us back—6,000 years back. The Egyptians used plant and herb oil extracts for mummification. Even the ancient Chinese, Greeks and Romans used these oils for medicinal and recreational purposes. But the term aromatherapy came into being in the 21st century. Aroma is fragrance and therapy means treatment.
What exactly is aromatherapy? It is the practice of using oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being, as per https://www.aromatherapy.com/. The extracted oils are called essential oils, as essence lies in the cells that give the plant its fragrant properties.
The oils are for external use, that is absorbed in the skin through massages or vaporizers and perfumes, spread into the environment through diffusers, sprays and other methods. Their core function is to stimulate the brain and most have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Aromatherapy, if undertaken for specific healing, should be done under the guidance of a certified therapist or doctor. For regular use, it can help in mood enhancement, pain relief and stress management.
How to use
Essential oils are used as skincare products, insecticides, house cleaners and mood stimulators.
- Skincare/personal care: They help in issues related to acne, blemishes, scars, pigmentation, skin/nail/toe infections,lice, dandruff and hair health.
Essential oils must not be orally consumed. They are highly concentrated, need to be diluted and used with carrier oils such as coconut, jojoba, olive, sesame, castor and more.
- Home care: The oils can be mixed with water and sprayed all over the house to kills insects and bugs. They can also used in diffusers. You can even spray some oils over your shower curtains, laundry machine or toilet. Add some oil on smelly shoes and socks.
- These oils are best stored in cool, dark, dry places, preferably in a glass container as light, heat, air and moisture all affect the stability.
- Do not use it on eyes, ears and open wounds.
- Keep out of children’s reach
- Use only 1-2 drops at one time
Some brands that have been personally tried:
Healing the emotions and physical ailments, Delhi-based Nikki Kapoor started Navarasas after going through a life-changing experience. She began experimenting with essential oils when her pet dog Duchess ended up with leg problems. She also worked on her own sickness and has helped many with her formations. Some products from this home-made brand are make-up remover, relaxant essential oil blend, face wash and bath oil.
The face wash was a soothing yellow colour and left the face smoother. The bath oil is a blend of Rosehip Seed, Fractionated Coconut, Lavender, Sandalwood and Rose Essential Oil. This is used after the shower on damp skin. Relaxant can be applied on tired muscles or throbbing areas. This is a blend of many essential oils such as lavender, valerian, spearmint. She can also offer customized perfumes and oils.
Delhi-based Rupal Tyagi trained in London and has been practicing since 2003. Her brand Wikka has a wide range of products such as Basil Walnut exfoliating scrub, Jasmine Body Freshener, Sun Protect 30+ with Green Tea Extracts, Chamomile Body Nourish, Soothing Face wash with Vitamin E. Wikka also offers bespoke fragrances and fragrance solutions for personal, corporate, retail and hospitality sectors.
A tip to remain fragrant in winters: Dry rubbing is helps feel joyful in winters. Take a 50:50 ratio of almond and olive oils (total around 10 ml). Mix 10 drops of citrus essential oils such as lemon or orange. And add 3 drops of clove oil. Now massage yourself with this. Or take a few drops of essential oils on a towel. Rub it thoroughly all over the body, strokes going from the feet to the heart, so that the entire body is stimulated. This is a good disinfectant and body warming technique, you don’t lose the body’s natural oils as well.
3. Cedar Oil by Pachouli Wellness Clinic
These are available at Pachouli Wellness Clinic in Delhi. The founder, Preeti Seth has over two decades of experience in wellness. Pachouli Cedar Wood essential oil is extracted through the process of steam distillation from wood pieces of the cedar wood tree. It promotes hair growth, releases muscle spasm, tightens muscles, reduces acne and pimples, flushes out toxins from the body, cures toothache, regulates menstrual cycle, improves metabolism, reduces hypertension, UTI, improves metabolic rate and is used in fat loss as well. It also helps in sinusitis, cold, cough and chronicle headaches.
This sweet smelling oil helps in regaining emotional balance and can remove pathogens from the air. One can take 5-8 drops in a diffuser burner or vaporizer to make the air around fragrant. It clears the environment and relaxes the body. It can be added to the bath or massaged.
Belonging to the mint family, rosemary essential oil helps in toning the skin and replacing damaged tissues. It helps in hair growth as it stimulates hair follicles. It helps helps in controlling dandruff and making the hair dark and lustrous.
Eucalyptus has anti-fungal and insecticidal properties. So this helps with lice. To treat acne and blemishes, you can add 1 drop with few drops of water or moisturizer. If you are suffering from cold/cough/sore throat, put a few drops in a vaporizer and inhale. You can add around 5 drops in a carrier oil and rub your throat and painful areas with this.
Tea Tree oil helps in healing acne, bacterial infections, chickenpox, cold sores, congestion and respiratory tract infections, earaches, fungal infections (especially Candida, jock itch, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus), halitosis (bad breath), head lice, MRSA, Psoriasis, dry cuticles, itchy insect bites, sores and sunburns, boils from staph infections.
The tea tree is known as melaleuca. Tea tree oil has been widely used in Australia for almost 100 years. Studies show that it kills many kinds of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It can also be used in the household for cleaning products, diffusing it in the air.
As face wash, you can mix a few drops with honey. Make your own skin oil by adding five drops of tea tree oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil, along with five drops of lavender essential oil. Rub on eczema ridden areas regularly. For removing warts and skin tags, rub the oil directly for a month on them. Mix with frankincense oil and raspberry seed oil and rub on skin lesions to get relief.
A calming and relaxant oil, lavender exudes subtle fragrance. It is refreshes tired nerves and relaxes the muscles. It can used as a bath oil or kept in cupboards to fill the clothes with light scents. A few drops can be rubbed on the pillow for a good night’s sleep. It can be put in the bath to relax sore muscles. Diffuse it daily for calmer environs.