Essential Oils and Extracts
Many aromatherapy clients ask about essential oils. Know Your Body Best has created this quick guide for your clients seeking answers about essential oils and their respective uses.
Essential oils should always be used under the direction of a professional trained in the proper and safe use of essential oils.
Essential oils should not be taken orally without the supervision of a professional. Inhalation therapy should be considered only under the direction of a trained aromatherapist. These products should be used only after understanding its properties, proper dilution techniques and its possible contraindications.
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This is a 100% natural, anti-inflammatory herbal extract that targets and alleviates muscular pain. Reduce bruising, muscle tenderness, and spasms. Arnica is often used to ease conditions such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel, bruising, muscle strains and sprains.
Due to the high levels of vitamin E, this oil helps reduce free radical damage, reduces wrinkles and helps restore the skin's lipid layer. Argan oil can help protect against premature aging that has can be impacted by oxidation.
It is a natural anti-inflammatory, both externally and internally and is beneficial to those with arthritic or rheumatic conditions. It can be used for reduce stretch marks during pregnancy
There is long history of the use of basil in Indian traditional medicine. The essential oil is yellowish, with its active principles include methylchavicol, with linalol, cineol, eugenol. pinene and camphor. Basil has been long used for chest infections, digestive problems and jaundice. Some people has considered it an aphrodisiac. During the 16th century, it was used for headaches, migraines and head colds.It has been used an antispasmodic, and by massaging over the stomach, it will ease digestive difficulties. It blends well with other oils, especially lavender and is very good for tired, overworked muscles.
The oil from the Bergamot tree is extracted by simple pressure on the rind of the fruit. The fruit resembles a miniature orange. The extract is us used to treat urinary tract infections, depression and anxiety. In helping with mental states, Bergamot is a valuable oil for the aromatherapist, as it is described as uplifting and relaxing. Very effective in massage oils as it helps lifts the spirits of the receiver. Caution must be taken as Bergamot increase the skin's reaction to sunlight and can lead to sun burns through increased photo-sensitivity.
Better know is Frankincence which was an extract from the Boswellia tree. In Africa, the bark of the Bosweillia tree is used to treat fever, rheumatism and gastrointestinal problems. It is helpful on older skin, as it helps restore some tone and reduce wrinkles. It has a calming effect on the emotions and is valuable in treating respiratory infections.
Useful in inhalation, massage and baths.
Calendula oil, which was used as a healing ointment for cuts, burns, bruises, warts, aches and pains
Cedarwood is a powerful antiseptic, used for bronchial and urinary tract infections. It is used in skincare as a mild astringent, and its antiseptic properties make it valuable in treatment acne. Caution must be taken as it is not to be used during pregnancy.
All of the Camomiles are soothing, calming and anti-inflammatory and as an analgesic, good for dull aches and pains. Used in massage for muscular pain and inflamed joints for such conditions as arthritis, it is useful in treating sprains, inflamed tendons, and bursitis, It is good on sensitive red, dry skin. Camomile is a gentle oil and is excellent for treating children. It is soothing and calming with anti-depressant properties that helps dealing with stress and anxiety.
Cinnamon Leaf Oil
This spicy essential oil has great value in aromatherapy and it fights exhaustion and a feeling of depression and weakness. It has powerful anti-rheumatic properties, is useful in the digestive system, while fighting colds and flu as well.
Used in aromatherapy, it is valuable in the treatment of asthma, as it relaxes the bronchial tubes and helps the anxiety and emotional tension often found in asthma suffers. As it is warming and antispasmodic, it helps digestive problems, especially cramps or colicky pains, Gentle massage of the stomach and abdomen is comforting.
Although this essential oil has been typecast as an insect repellant (especially for malaria carrying mosquitoes), it also has great benefit in clearing the mind, refreshing rooms and for softening skin, while combating oily skin and sweaty feet. Citronella oil has a slightly sweet, lemony smell. The therapeutic properties of citronella oil are antiseptic, bactericidal, deodorant, diaphoretic, insecticide, parasitic, tonic and stimulant. Citronella oil may irritate sensitive skin and cause dermatitis in certain individuals.
Eucalyptus can be used in massage to relieve pain in rheumatism, muscular aches and fibrositis In aromatherapy, this essential oil helps to clear the mind and focus concentration, while reducing swelling in the mucus membranes. It is very valuable in fighting respiratory problems, fighting inflammation and sore muscles, rheumatism, headaches and nervous exhaustion, while boosting wound and ulcer healing and soothing skin eruptions
This warming essential oil is often used for digestive problems, as well as nausea - be that morning sickness or travel upset. It is also of value when treating colds and flu and especially for catarrhal lung conditions and rheumatic pain. It can also be used on the skin to help clear bruises.
Very useful in treating injuries, geranium is a valuable astringent and haemostatic. Promoting healing, it is used in a variety of commercial skin preparations. Stimulating the lymphatic system, it is used in massage creams for the treatment of cellulitis, fluid retention and oedema of the ankles.
Golden jojoba oil helps problem skin and hair. It is used for dry, flaky skin and helps reduce wrinkles and treats psoriasis, acne and neurodermatitis. Golden joboba treats dry, itchy scalps and dandruff. Massage a couple of drops of oil on to the scalp and massage it in. After ten minutes under a hot towel wrap, shampoo and condition your hair. It is a good body lubricant and massage oil and helps skin to heal minor cuts, bruises and burns.
The important distinction of grapefruit oil compared to other citrus oils is that it is not a photosensitiser. It does not contain some of the furocoumarins that have this effect.
Useful in lymphatic massage, this is a valuable oil to treat fluid retention, cellulite and other conditions where toxins are not being effectively eliminated.
Jasmine is considered the King of Oils, not due to its delicate flower but from the masculine scent of the oils that is extracted Jasmine acts upon the male disorder such as an enlarged prostate and is considered to help strengthen the male sexual organs.
As it impacts the emotional and physical levels, it helps alleviate issues rising from anxiety, tension, depression and fear. It has a gentle, deep penetrating effect on the skin, making it an excellent massage oil.
Juniper has been considered for many years to be an effective diuretic and antiseptic which are very important in aromatherapy. It has been used for thousands of years to protect from infections and should be considered to improve elimination of toxins.
This is the most versatile of all essential oils. With a range of properties from analgesic, antiseptic, bactericidal, antidepressant and decongestant.. It is calming and soothing and has the ability to bring balance to the mind or body. Used in massage oils, it helps relieve muscular pains. Best used in a massage oil blended with another such as marjoram or rosemary to name two. Lavender is excellent for the relief of local pain and reducing inflammation and toning the system generally. The essence of lavender is for balancing and normalizing which makes this oil versatile and important for therapeutic applications.
Lemon oil has some very important properties as it helps stimulate the body's defenses to help fight off infection.. Stimulating white blood cells, it assists increase the body's ability to fight off disease while increasing circulation.
It is very effective against stress and it is useful against insomnia and stomach issues.
Lemongrass has been found to have a soothing effect on headaches but should be diluted in a carrier oil before use as it could cause damage to the skin.
Lemongrass Oil helps relieve pain in muscles and joints. It is known to help toothaches and headaches resulting from viral infections. It is usually used to treat general body pain resulting from strenuous activities and athletics.
Beneficial to the immune system, lime oil is know to help address respiratory infections and relieving pain in muscles and joints. It offers revitalizing properties for tired minds and banishing the feeling of apathy, anxiety and depression. In vapor therapy, lime oil can be used to lift depression and energize a tired mind, while easing breathing and assisting the digestion. Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or diluted in the bath, to help with painful muscles and joints, respiratory problems and cellulite, as well as when colds and flu strike.
Mandarin has a calming effect on the intestines and is used for digestive issues. It is one of the oils safe for use during pregnancy as it will not harm the mother or fetus. It is excellent in massage for the prevention of stretch marks.
The outstanding property of marjoram is the warming action for both the mind and body. However, it can dull the senses and cause drowsiness. This is a remedy for insomnia but one should be aware of its sedative properties. It is very useful in massage as it acts upon the capillaries below the skin, helping sooth tired muscles after heavy, physical exertions.
Melissa's main property is that it is soothing to the body and mind. It is one of the oils used to treat allergies whether it appears as a skin or respiratory problem. Inhaled, Melissa helps relieve asthma and coughs. It offers calming properties, helping lower blood pressure. It has helped people in shock and distress as it has uplifting properties.
Myrrh has been valued for anti-inflammatory, healing and anti-septic properties. Myrrh is effective for wounds that are slow to heal and offers excellent anti-fungal properties.
It is used as a massage oil but caution must be used as it is not indicated for use with pregnant women.
Once diluted properly in a massage oil, bath oil or skin cream, Neroli is considered one of the more beautiful scents in aromatherapy. Excellent for treatment of anxiety, Neroli is an anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, anti-septic and aphrodisiac and acts as a gentle sedative. It is valuable in skin care as it stimulates the growth of new cells as Neroli has rejuvenating effects. One of physical effects of Neroli is its ability to relieve spasms in the smooth muscle in areas of the body like the intestine. It has shown to help those suffering from diarrhea due to anxiety.This has shown to be effective in treating depression in older, post-menopausal women.
Orange blends well with many spice oils like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove. It is a great oil to battle insomnia but for long term treatment, it is recommended to switch the oils. Although it is wonderful in a winter bath, more than 4 drops can lead to skin irritation.
This oil has a variety of therapeutic properties, however this oil has too many hazards to be recommend as a general aromatherapy oil. To be avoided during pregnancy, it can cause skin irritations and therefore should not be used in massage.
Patchouli has some valuable uses for the treatment of skin disorders as it is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic in effect. It helps re-generate cells with fungicidal properties. Excellent for treating acne, tinea infections and some skin allergies. It is helpful for all forms of depression, anxiety and stress related conditions.
This oil stimulates the brain and cause wakefulness, not necessarily the properties needed before bedtime. Using it well diluted in massaging the stomach and abdomen in a clockwise motion to help relive digestive upsets with its antispasmodic action on the smooth muscles. When used in steamers, it can cleanse and decongests the skin. Cold compresses of Peppermint applied to the forehead and temples relieve headaches. Peppermint should not be used if any homeopathic remedies are being taken and must be stored away from them as it affects these medications.
Considered one of the first essential oils distilled in ancient Persia, and among aromatherapy, it is considered the Queen of Flowers. It is used for treatment of any female disorders or their reproductive system. Rose oil has a positive effect on the uterus as it is cleansing, purifying and regulating. Most important are its effect on an emotional level as it is a gentle, but strong anti-depressant. It has been long associated as being an aphrodisiac. Rose oil is very good in skincare and may be used on all skin types especially dry, sensitive and aging skin. Due to its astringent effects on the skin and circulation, it helps lower the redness caused by enlarged capillaries in the face.
Rosemary essential oil is used extensively in aromatherapy due to its versatility as a welcome aroma in so many popular combinations. The oil blends well with frankincense, lavender, clary sage, cedarwood, basil, thyme, citronella, lemongrass, elemi, geranium, chamomile, peppermint and cardamom.This is an excellent oil for tired, stiff and overworked muscles. A good analgesic, it is effectively used before training or competitive events. Rosemary oil should never be ingested should not be used by pregnant, breastfeeding, or nursing women, nor people with epilepsy.
Rosewood is a very safe oil that is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing and is an excellent immune system stimulant.
It has mild analgesic properties and has a steadying effect on the nerves, with a calming effect. Among its useful properties is that being antiseptic and antibacterial, it is effective on sensitive, acne-prone skin. An excellent cell re-generator, it is good for older skin to diminish wrinkles, sun damage and even stretch marks.
Sandalwood is a very good pulmonary antiseptic and is good for dry, persistent and irritating coughs. It is one of the best essential oils for the treatment of chronic bronchitis and can be used for soothing sore throats. Sandalwood can be used for dry and dehydrated skins in warm compresses, but it also effective on oily skin with its antiseptic and slight astringent properties. It has held a longstanding reputation as an aphrodisiac and is used in many cosmetic preparations.
St. John's Wort Oil
St. John's wort oil may be applied to the skin to treat a number of issues from scrapes to bruises. St. John's Wort Oil is also antiseptic, antiviral and astringent, making it effective for treating wounds. Other uses include pain relief from muscles that ache or are tired from exertion. St. John's Wort oil also has sedating affects. However, applying St. John's wort directly to the skin is risky as it can cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.
Tea Tree (Ti-Tree) Oil
Tea tree oil offers anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties and is a very powerful immune-stimulant. It is usually not a skin irritant but there are cases where people have become sensitive.
There is a myriad of uses for tea-tree oil. Inhalations are good for catarrh and sinusitis using burners and vaporizes. Some creams incorporate Tea-tree oil for rashes. Tea tree oil has been used in baths and massages prior to surgery and massages afterwards to lower post-op shock. (using the oil post-op with massage means avoiding the operative site or scar) It has been used to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm and Candida.
Thyme is an excellent pulmonary disinfectant as it treats, colds, coughs and sore throats. It may be used as an inhalant for nose, throat and chest infections.
Very effective for fatigued people, it stimulates the production of white corpuscles to strengthen the body defenses against invading organisms. Thyme helps revive the body and mind.
Vetivert oil has many uses in skin care, especially for oily skin and acne.This is an immune-stimulant, helping us cope with stress. Vetivert is valuable in massage as it is very relaxing. It can be used in baths to help those suffering from stress, anxiety, insomnia or depression.
The most important physical property of Ylang-Ylang is its ability to slow down over rapid breathing and heartbeats (tachycardia). These symptoms may appear when someone is overstimulated due to fright, or anger and Ylang-Ylang can be helpful under these conditions, however medical advice should be sought if this continues in the long term. Due to its balancing action, it is useful on both oily and dry skins. Ylang-Ylang is an effective anti-depressant, aphrodisiac and sedative as it has a calming and relaxing effect.
Prolonged use in high concentration can lead to nausea and headaches.