Imagine a relaxation after a busy working day, a good night sleep in which you fall into with ease, getting rid of migraines and toothaches easily, refreshment for the entire body during hot summer days or disinfected air that helps you get rid of flu and allergy symptoms as well as a mental boost instead of caffeinated one which is on your disposal for achieving better focus and productivity or waking up more easily … we can go on and on. What gives all these mentioned benefits and values that affect body, mind and spirit can be summed up in two magical words – essential oils.
From the total of 250 essential oils used in aromatherapy today, we could say that a lavender was the originator of this discipline by accident in 1920. A French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse got burned his hand and used a lavender oil on a wounded spot in his laboratory, because it was the first close at hand. The wound healed quickly and no scar was visible. Along with tea tree, lavender is the only essential oil that can be applied directly to the skin, in smaller quantities. Other essential oils must be mixed with base oils such as coconut, olive, almond or sesame (for massages) and jojoba or avocado oil (for perfumes).
Essential oils are considered to be the mere essence or the soul of a plant, obtained by distillation or cold pressing processes and have great therapeutic effects on our mood, health and immunity. How this could not be when about 150 kilograms of lavender flowers are needed for one litre of lavender’s essential oil, about 3,000 lemon fruits for lemon essential oil, four tons of fresh flowers for immortelle’s essential oil and five tons of rose petals for rose’s oil. These last ones, along with chamomile and lemon, are one of the most expensive essential oils.
The essential oils’ scents come in earthy, floral, fruity, herbal, spicy and woody versions, and their fragrant notes in upper, middle and base. The upper fragrant notes give the first impression of the scent, evaporate quickly, act on the head area (against headaches, colds, for better concentration) and include the essential oil of lemon, orange, eucalyptus, bergamot, basil and Roman chamomile. Middle notes are those that determine the scent, affect the middle part of the body (digestion, stomach problems, lungs and bronchi) and include some Mediterranean oils: rosemary, sage, lavander, tea tree and all floral: rose, geranium, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Base notes last the longest, fix the upper and middle notes, act on the lower part of the body (against back pain, bladder inflammation, reproductive organs), and include mostly scents obtained from trees or bark: pine, myrrh, pine, cypress, cedar, cinnamon, pepper, clove and patchouli.
We could therefore rightly say that fragrant notes made of the best essential oils interweave in all areas of life.
You can use them in massages, baths, compresses, cosmetics, in the sauna, for mouth and throat rinsing, as repellents or sprays for disinfection (mixture of water, alcohol and essential oil), while their most common use is in direct inhalation or indirect – by using aroma lamps and diffusers. The difference between these two methods is that the aroma lamp heats a mixture of water and essential oils, thus losing some therapeutically properties, while diffusers disperse them cold into the air, so they are rather effective.
Depending on the intention you want to achieve, you can put the combination of essential oils inti them:
- For preventing viral and bacterial infections use Ravensara and tea tree. If you add eucalyptus to the mixture, it will have a beneficial effect on respiratory problems and if you mix everything with grapefruit or lemon, you will get an antiviral mixture for refreshing and disinfecting air, especially in a kitchen.
- For better concentration and work, use essential oil of mint, lemongrass, sage or rosemary (which also reduces cortisol level in a body).
- Lavender, orange, petitgrain, Roman chamomile and ylang-ylang will help relieve stress and nervousness
- Refreshment during summer hot days will be achieved by a combination of mint, lemon and camphor.
When applying essential oils for cosmetic purposes, it is necessary to pay attention to the phototoxicity of some oils because in combination with UV rays they cause skin blemishes. That includes all citrus oils: grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, bitter orange but not sweet ones, while immortelle helps with skin pigmentation.