Natural Living Articles - Aromatherapy Recipes
Aromatherapy Recipes & Uses
Lavender is probably the most versatile essential oil available and therefore one of the absolute “essentials”. Fortunately, it’s also a fairly inexpensive oil and can be obtained for a good price in a pure form. Lavender is one of the very few oils that can be applied directly to skin (for adults and older children) without dilution, but it is also nice in a vaporizer, in a bath, in a spritzer, in a foot bath, through steam inhalation or dry inhalation. It’s the catch-all remedy and is safe even for the youngest family members.
Headaches: Mix 5-6 drops with cool water. Dip clean cotton cloth (a facecloth works fabulously) into solution, wring gently and use as a compress across forehead or around neck. Refresh the cloth in the solution as required. This works even better if you have the opportunity to lay down in a dark place while you apply your compress.
Diaper Wipes: Combine ¼ Cup of Aloe Gel, 1 Cup Water, 3 drops lavender essential oil, 2 drops tea tree oil. Mix well and pour over homemade wipes. Reusable flannel cloths are a roll of paper towel cut in half work well. This is an antibacterial, soothing solution without the harsh chemicals and alcohol often found in commercial wipes. For more info on diapering, click here.
Burns: Apply lavender oil directly to burn area. If burn is severe, contact professional advice immediately.
Linen Spray: Lavender has been used in many societies for its ability to help people relax and unwind at day’s end. Add 10-15 drops to ½ Cup of Water in a small spritz bottle. Spray sheets, pillowcases or bedding with a light mist just before crawling in for the night. Alternatively, try 1-2 drops underneath a pillow. This is great for children’s rooms as well as adults and provides an incredibly relaxing bedtime smell.
Insect Bites: Apply 1 drop directly to insect stings or bites or place 2-3 drops on end of q-tip and dab bite to ease pain and discomfort. If you know or suspect the insect was poisonous, be sure to contact professional help immediately.
Depression or Anxiety: Place 5-6 drops on cotton or linen handkerchief and inhale as needed. This is a wonderfully mobile little trick as it can be tucked into a pocket or purse and is only ever a reach away. For children, this can be a great way to connect to parents when separation is required for a small stretch of time. Let them know that anytime they feel overwhelmed or in need of connection, they can take a whiff of the little cloth and know that you are thinking of them too. (Try this for first days of school, etc.)
Room Freshener: Use a diffuser, a spritzer or place a few drops on the vacuum bag before vacuuming to freshen a stale room or to help clear the air after an illness. Dried lavender used to be burnt in hospital wards to clean the air as it contains antiseptic properties and is known for it’s balancing effects. It is also well-known for it’s uplifting and soothing qualities and could help purify the air after an unpleasant discussion or argument.
Synthetic lemon scent is often added to chemical cleansers to denote freshness and cleanliness. The real lemon essential oil is a fabulous addition to homemade, non-toxic cleaners as it is an antiseptic and rejuvenating disinfectant (and much better than all that synthetic stuff). Lemon is also known for its ability to stimulate the immune system and neutralize acid (great for heartburn!). All citrus oils are photosensitive which means you need to avoid sunlight if you apply it to your skin – even in a diluted form. To prolong the life of lemon essential oil, store it in the fridge.
Dishwashing: Add 4-6 drops of lemon essential oil to a sink full of soapy water to do dishes. It adds a fabulous scent which makes washing dishes a little sunnier for the dishes, your hands and your mind.
Insect Bites: Like lavender, lemon essential oil can be applied directly to insect bites to relieve itching and reduce or avoid swelling. Be sure to avoid sunlight for at least 6 hours after applying though.
Room Freshener: Use lemon essential oil in a diffuser or spritzer to purify the air. Lemon blends well with lavender for a fresh, light air cleanser.
Sweet Orange is one of my favourite essential oils and is often favoured by children as well. Like lemon, orange essential oil is a disinfectant and a great addition to homemade cleaning solutions. It is the only citrus oil that is considered relaxing and stimulating and is often recommended for children’s evening baths (no more than one drop in a tub though as it can be rather harsh for young skin). As with all citrus oils, it is photosensitive and should not be exposed to light (especially sunlight when on the skin) and can be stored in the fridge to minimize the light and temperature sensitivity.
Diaper Pail Deodorizer: Add 10 drops to a cotton pad and place in the deodorizer compartment of your diaper pail for fresher smelling change area.
Diaper Spray: Fill a spray bottle with a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. Add 10-15 drops of orange essential oil, shake well and keep beside the change table. Spray diapers as you throw them into the pail to await wash day. This solution is also a great disinfectant for wiping down the change table area – and it leaves the room smelling so sweet.
Neroli essential oil comes from the blossoms of orange trees and is another of my personal favourites. It is best known for it’s relaxation benefits and received it’s name from the 17th century Italian princess Anna Maria de la Tremoille, Princess of Nerole who used the fragrance everywhere from her stationary to her baths. It is often used in treating depression and I used it after the birth of our baby to help ease those “baby blues” as my hormones regulated themselves from pregnant to lactating state. Neroli is quite safe for use during pregnancy and is often recommended for PMS symptoms. Neroli is one of the more expensive oils and is therefore often sold already diluted. Be sure to buy from a reputable source.
Mama Love Bath: Mix 7 drops of Neroli with 3 tablespoons of honey or 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil, add to warm bath, sit back, relax and pamper yourself – you deserve it!
The Pity Party Romp: Place 2-4 drops in a diffuser or aroma lamp when you’re feeling a little sorry for yourself, a bit depressed or just out of sorts. Have a good cry if you need it and breathe the scent of Neroli deeply.
Tea tree essential oil is probably the most powerful disinfectant of all the essential oils. It is fabulous added to cleaning solutions (for more information on homemade cleaning solutions, read Clean House, Clean Planet) as it has antiseptic, germicidal and antiviral properties. The oil comes from an Australian tree and is often used for treating acne. It has a distinctly disinfectant smell and blends very nicely with lavender.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Shake ½ Cup of Borax and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into toilet, give it a quick scrub with the toilet brush, close the lid and leave for several hours or overnight. Scrub again, flush and delight in your sparkling clean, fresh-smelling bowl.
Diaper Wipes: Combine ¼ Cup of Aloe Gel, 1 Cup Water, 3 drops lavender essential oil, 2 drops tea tree oil. Mix well and pour over homemade wipes. Reusable flannel cloths are a roll of paper towel cut in half work well. This is an antibacterial, soothing solution without the harsh chemicals and alcohol often found in commercial wipes.
Diaper Pail Cleanser: As you empty your pail into the wash, pour ½ cup of vinegar and 6-8 drops of tea tree essential oil into the pail. Give it a good swirl and wipedown, then pour the excess into the washing machine with your diapers (sometimes I leave the solution in until it’s time to set the diapers for the second cycle and then add it). For more information on cloth diapers, click here.
Germs BeGone!: Tea tree is fabulous for getting rid of sick germs. Add 3-4 drops to a diffuser during and after an illness in the house to minimize airborne germs.
Soap: Add 25 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of neutral liquid soap and mix well for an antibacterial handwash. For a more pleasing scent, replace 10-15 of the drops with an equal amount of lavender essential oil. This is a particularly great soap for after gardening or in the bathroom.
Peppermint is an extremely potent oil that should be used with caution around children and pets and is best avoided during pregnancy and while using homeopathic remedies (it will cancel out the effects of the homeopathics). It has the distinctively cooling mint smell and is a fabulous remedy for nausea, digestive issues, and headaches. Be sure to dilute this oil well and use minimum amounts as it is very powerful.
Cooling Bath: Put 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, mix well and add to a lukewarm bath just before getting in. What a great way to cool down on those dog days of summer (unfortunately peppermint’s cooling action is also stimulating so this makes a terrible bedtime bath).
Achy bones massage: When the achy joints phase of an illness overcomes, put 2 drops of peppermint oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and ask a loved one for a nice, easy massage.
Bloated Belly Rub: Put 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and rub clockwise onto a belly plagued by indigestion.
Eucalyptus oil is best known for its healing scent as it is an amazing decongestant that has been added to many over-the-counter medications. It’s a must for relieving chest and sinus congestions and is also a great insect repellant and fever reducer. Eucalyptus, though it is smells quite strong, is quite safe for young children as long as it is diffused rather than applied directly. Some asthmatics, however, have reportedly had attacks triggered by the strong smell of eucalyptus and therefore it is not recommended for those suffering from asthma.
Fever reducer: Fevers are a wonderful way for the body to rid itself of infection and though they can be difficult to experience or watch in loved ones, they are actually a wonderful sign that the body has a functioning immune system. When they reach incredibly high temperatures, though, fevers can result in febrile seizures – an experience that can frighten both child and parent. If a fever is becoming extreme it can be brought down a degree or two with the following method. Of course, do not hesitate to contact your health provider should you be concerned and/or other symptoms are present. Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 2 cups of lukewarm to warm water and mix well. Dip a clean cotton or linen cloth (facecloth works great) into the solution, wring and apply to fevered leg. Repeat as necessary and comfortable.
Congestion unclogger: Place 3-4 drops in a diffuser to help relieve congestion and purify the air when a family member has come down with a stuffed up nose and clogged chest. Alternatively, 3-4 drops can be added to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. This mixture can be added to a bath or rubbed on the chest of older children and adults.
Insect Repellent: Place 1-2 drops on the brim of a hat, pant hems and/or shirt cuffs to ward off insects. They can’t stand the strong smell of eucalyptus.
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