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* What is Aromatherapy
* Aromatherapy in history
* Why certified organic essential oils?
* How do oils work in the body?
* Where do I start?
* How to use essential oils
o Vaporiser/Room Burners/Electric Diffusers
o Steam Inhalation
o Room Freshener
o Skin Care
o Bath Salts
o Hair Treatment
o Do NOT massage if ...
* Caring for your oils - Storage instructions and shelf life
* What to do if things go wrong
Essential Oils List
Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. Bergamia Cold Pressed Italy 10ml
Cedarwood Cedrus atlantica Steam Distilled France 10ml
German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla Steam Distilled England 2ml
Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum anthemis nobile Steam Distilled England 10ml
Eucalyptus Eucalyptus radiata Steam Distilled Australia 10ml
Frankincense Boswellia carteri Steam Distilled Somalia 10ml
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens Steam Distilled Egypt 10ml
Helichrysum Helichrysum angustifolia Steam Distilled Corsica 2ml
Jasmine Jasminum grandiflorum Steam Distilled Egypt 2ml
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia Steam Distilled France 10ml
Lemon Citrus limonium Cold Pressed Italy 10ml
Lime Citrus aurantifolia Cold Pressed West Indies 10ml
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha Steam Distilled Africa 10ml
Mandarin Citrus reticulata Cold Pressed Italy 10ml
Neroli EO Citrus aurantium ssp amara Steam Distilled Italy 2ml
Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis Cold Pressed Italy 10ml
Oregano Origanum vulgare Steam Distilled USA 10ml
Patchouli Pogostemon cablin Steam Distilled Indonesia 10ml
Peppermint EO Mentha piperita Steam Distilled India 10ml
Rose Rosa damascena.miller Steam Distilled Bulgaria 2ml
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Steam Distilled Spain 10ml
Sandalwood Santalum spicata Steam Distilled Australia 10ml
Spearmint Mentha spicata Steam Distilled India 10ml
Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia Steam Distilled Australia 10ml
Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata Steam Distilled Madagascar 10ml
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What is aromatherapy?
Aromatic plants have been used medicinally and therapeutically throughout history. Many common plants have medicinal properties that have been applied in folk medicine since ancient times and are still widely used today. We are now just beginning to research and document the properties of the substances contained within aromatic plants, as well as recognising their abilities to aid in the healing process.
But unlike herbalism, aromatherapy draws on the healing powers of plants that are found only in their essential oils. Depending on the plant involved, these aromatic, dynamic, healing essential oils may be found inside the roots, wood, leaves, flowers or fruit.
Essential oils are extracted from plants chiefly through steam distillation (roots, wood, leaves and flowers) or cold-pressing/expression (citrus oils from peel). You can make your own orange essential oil by squeezing the peel. Try it! It smells fresh and delicious. Orange peel contains large quantities of oil, and is easy to extract, making it one the cheapest oils to buy. In contrast to this is the rose, which has very little oil in the flowers, making it the most expensive oil. It takes between 3,000 and 5,000 kg of flowers (more than one million flowers!) to produce a single kilogram of rose oil. A collector usually gathers 25 kg of blossoms a day. Lavender flowers have a more accessible oil; 3 kilograms of essential oil can be harvested from 100 kilograms of flowers.
Essential oils have been described as the blood of plants, or the vital energy. They are very complex compounds that may contain several hundred different natural chemicals. These are very powerful and concentrated and need only be used sparingly and in small quantities.
In many countries, essential oils are included in the national pharmacopoeia. In France aromatherapy is incorporated into mainstream medicine, and some essential oils are regulated as prescription drugs, and thus administered by a physician. There, the use of the antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of oils in the control of infections is emphasised.
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Aromatherapy in history
We know that the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, Druids, Celts and many other tribes in Africa, America and Australia have made use of various aromatic plants in the ritual, medicinal, scientific and personal aspects of their lives over a long period, dating back to beyond 2000BC.
Yet it wasn't until the dawn of the twentieth century when the French perfumer and chemist Gattefosse published results of his experiments with essential oils and coined the term 'aromatherapy' that the movement as we know it today, really began.
It was taken up by the physician Jean Valnet MD and biochemist Marguerite Maury and gained momentum during World War 1 when essential oils provided ready solutions for healing burned and wounded soldiers.
Almost a century on, as the world wide web speeds information around the globe and science puts proof to old beliefs, aromatherapy as a practice is growing rapidly in reality and stature.
'Essential oils are one of the great untapped resources of the world. Here we have a system of natural help that is far more than a system of medicine, that can prevent illness and alleviate symptoms.'
'These extremely complex precious liquids are extracted from very specific species of plant life and are in harmony with people and planet alike'.
'By taking essential oils into our lives, we find a way to provide family and home with ? protection and pleasure... without polluting ourselves or our environment with chemicals.'
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Why certified organic essential oils?
Organic systems work in harmony with nature, keeping harmful chemicals out of our land, water and air, creating a healthy environment rich in wildlife, woodlands and nutrients.
Organic standards place great emphasis on building and maintaining healthy soil and high vitality crops.
Simply stated, organic products are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows: Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic plants are produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.
Only certified organic products can bear the seal of approval.
The organic seal assures consumers of the quality and integrity of organic products. Organic-certified operations must have an organic system plan and records that verify compliance with that plan. Operators are inspected annually in addition there are random checks to assure standards are being met.
Why does organic cost more? Consider these facts:
1. Organic farmers don?t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.
2. The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.
3. Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.
4. Organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms and so do not benefit from the economies of scale that larger growers get.
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How do oils work in the body?
Tiny molecules of essential oils are taken into the body in two ways ? by osmosis (through the skin) and by olfaction (breathing them in).
Essential oils and osmosis (external application)
When essential oils (dissolved in a carrier oil) are applied externally via massage, the tiny molecules are absorbed through the skin and reach small blood vessels. They are then carried to muscle tissue and joints via the blood stream reaching all the tissues and organs. The oils are then excreted through the kidneys and bladder, skin, and exhaled through the lungs.
Essential oils and olfaction (inhalation)
When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules are absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the lungs, which affects the entire respiratory system, and are absorbed by the olfactory nerves through the nose, where they travel directly to the limbic system that deals with integration and expression of feelings, learning, memory, emotions and physical drives. Once they reach the limbic system, they trigger the release of neuro-chemicals which may be sedative, relaxing, stimulating or euphoric in effect.
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Where do I start?
Today, there are about 300 oils in professional use around the world.
Increasingly, commercial enterprises such as hospitals and medical centres, departments and retail stores, aged care facilities, airlines and other organisations are realising the many of benefits to be gained through judiciously dispersed essential oil blends like lemon (proven to reduce clerical errors) and vanilla (proven to make shoppers linger longer).
For the 'ordinary' user, essential oils open up a plethora of safer, 'green' choices in a world that's daily becoming more chemically threatening.
Most experts recommend that you start with three or four common oils, learning all you can about them, using them and noting their effects until you become completely familiar with what they can do for you. And 'for you' is an important point since the effects of essential oils must always be intensely personal and subjective.
Then, move forward in increments of ? say - two new essential oils until you have command and a thorough knowledge of all the oils that you need to make your family happy and healthy.
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How to use essential oils
Essential oils are used in a number of ways that have developed over time in different areas around the world. Some oils have a recorded use of more than 4,000 years.
The modes of application of aromatherapy include:
* Aerial diffusion: for environmental fragrance or disinfection.
* Direct inhalation: for respiratory disinfection, decongestion, expectoration as well as psychological effect.
* Topical applications: for general massage, baths, compresses, and therapeutic skin care.
Vaporiser/Room Burners/Electric Diffusers
The most common way to create a beautiful atmosphere or disinfect a room is to add essential oils to a vaporiser which can be made from different materials - ceramic, terra-cotta, metal or glass - with two separate parts - the top one for water and essential oils and the bottom part for housing a tea-light candle to provide the gentle heat.
When purchasing a vaporiser opt for one with a large top reservoir so you don't need to constantly top it up. The general rule is about 8-15 drops of essential oil in the water in the top reservoir, depending on the size of reservoir and the size of the room. Ensure your vaporiser is placed on a heatproof stand away from draughts.
As the water heats, the essential oils will be diffused. Keep an eye on the bowl to ensure the water doesn't totally evaporate. If it evaporates before the essential oil has been vaporised, you could end up with a spatter. And never leave the house with a candle burning!
If the idea of burning candles is a worry to you, you can use electrically powered aromatherapy diffuser.
To inhale steam directly, you need a large heatproof bowl and a thick bath towel. Place your bowl onto a solid surface such as a table and fill it with boiling or almost boiling water. Begin by adding 3-6 drops of your chosen essential oil. As that dissolves, add two more drops ? and then again to a total of 6 drops.
Seat yourself safely and comfortably; lean over the bowl and use the towel to seal off the vapours. Breathe in slowly and quietly for between 1-5 minutes. You may want to shut your eyes.
This process of taking the essential oil directly into your nose, throat and chest has strong antibacterial, antiviral and soothing effects.
If you'd like to gain an extra benefit from this procedure, splash your face with cold water afterwards for a skin tingling mini-sauna.
Baths are one of the easiest and most pleasurable ways of using essential oils. An aromatic bath can refresh you ? body, mind and spirit. Add 10 drops in a tablespoon of carrier oil into your warm to very warm bath, swish the water around to mix the oils in. For maximum benefit soak for at least 10 minutes.
After your bath make up a lovely massage blend and massage all over your body to prolong the benefits of the bath and nourish and moisturise your skin.
Essential oils are an ideal way to disinfect or fragrance any room. Your whole house doesn't have to smell like bathroom spray. Not only will your room be fragranced beautifully but you will also benefit from the therapeutic properties of the oils. Simply add 20 drops of your favourite essential oils into a MiEnviron spray bottle half-filled with water, shake vigorously and you're away! Can be used to spray on bedsheets and pillows but make sure not to spray on polished furniture, as some essential oils can damage the polished surface. Store the bottle in the fridge.
There are lots of ways to germ proof and fragrance your home with essential oils. A few drops of something you love in the bag (or on the filter) of your vacuum cleaner will diffuse fragrance as you clean. Similarly, you can add a trace of scent to dusting cloths, clothes washers, floor cleaners and polishes. Furniture polish is not the same without lavender. And the list goes on.
Fill a bowl with warm water and add 2-6 drops of the required essential oil. Stir well. Then take a soft, clean cloth, soak it throughly, wring and place gently but firmly on the affected body part. Repeat the procedure until the discomfort is relieved. Be very careful not to allow the fluid into the eyes, nose or mouth.
Many essential oils have lots of uses when applied directly to the body. But oils are very highly concentrated, so it's never wise to put them on the skin without first mixing into a moisturiser or oil.
This is one case where a heavier oil will come into its own. If you're caught short, explore your pantry for olive, grapeseed or safflower oils. Use 6-8 drops of your selected essential oil into two teaspoons of your carrier oil.
There are two exceptions to the rule of 'don't apply direct.' These are lavender which can be used for cuts and minor burns and tea tree oil which can be applied topically to insect bites, cuts and scrapes.
Add 15 drops to a cup of epsom salts or any other mixed salts (sea salt, himalayan salt, bicarb soda).
Add 8-10 drops of essential oil per shampoo for a therapeutic treatment. Add only 2 drops per shampoo or rinse to simply perfume the hair.
Massage with the use of essential oils is deeply relaxing, invigorating and improves your well being. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil to about 30ml (~2 tablespoons) of carrier oil for a full body massage. You can use a single essential oil or mix two or more together, to suit your condition. It's recommended to blend massage oils at half strength for children, pregnant women and the elderly. And only 2-4 drops in 20ml for babies.
Do NOT massage if ...
* The person is suffering cancer, a serious heart complaint, epilepsy, a fever or an acute infection.
* He/she has just eaten a big meal.
* You're tired and tense. Massage is a gift you make to another person and to do that you need to be in top spirits and full of energy.
* The area you are intending to massage covers varicose veins or a deep vein thrombosis. This would be potentially very dangerous.
* You are intending an intimate massage but have not checked that the diluted oils you are using are safe for the genital area.
Stay tuned for more information on massages and massage blends.
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CAUTIONS - General aromatherapy cautions
The Miessence certified organic essential oils have been carefully selected for maximum therapeutic benefit, and are all certified organic, which means you don't have to worry about chemical contaminants such as pesticide residues. They present no risk to you, provided you adhere closely to the dosage instructions and follow any cautionary advice and stated contra-indications.
Because of their concentrated nature, essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted or "neat" form. Used to excess and/or inappropriately, these may cause severe irritation or provoke an allergic reaction. Instead, essential oils should be blended with a vegetable-based "carrier" oil (a.k.a., a base, or "fixed" oil) before being applied. The exceptions are lavender and tea tree oils. Common carrier oils include olive, almond, hazelnut and grapeseed. A common ratio of essential oil disbursed in a carrier oil is 0.5?3%, depending on its purpose. Some essential oils, including many of the citrus peel oils, are photosensitisers, increasing the skin's vulnerability to sunlight.
You should not take essential oils internally unless specifically directed by a qualified health care professional.
Existing health conditions
If you suffer from epilepsy, high blood pressure, alcoholism or a progressive neural disorder, please consult a qualified natural health provider before using any essential or essential oil product.
The following are important safety warnings:
Epilepsy : Avoid fennel, hyssop and sage.
High blood pressure: Avoid hyssop, rosemary, sage (all types) and thyme.
Alcoholics or anyone who is drinking alcohol: do not use Clary Sage.
People who are allergy-prone should try this test before using a new oil.
Step 1: Put one drop of carrier oil onto your breastbone or behind your ear and leave for 12 hours. If you have no adverse reaction to this, continue on to Step 2.
Step 2: Dilute one drop of the essential oil you want to test in half a teaspoon (5ml.) of that same carrier oil you've tested and put that blend behind your ear or on your breastbone. If you have no reaction after 12 hours, you can assume it's safe to use that essential oil.
Opinions vary. Some experts believe you should not use oils at all when you're carrying: others say there a few problems. But the consensus from the majority of experts is that you should use your essentials oils only at half strength during pregnancy and completely avoid the emmenagogues (medicines that can increase menstrual flow and therefore may prompt contractions).
These emmmenagogic oils are best avoided during the first five months.
* Clary Sage
Note: Although lavender and Roman chamomile are very gentle emmenagogues and lavender is a mild diuretic, you can actually use these two throughout your pregnancy UNLESS you have had a previous miscarriage. If in doubt, don't!
Sometimes you'll read a direction on an essential oil (generally a citrus) that says something like; 'This oil can cause skin photosensitization when exposed to the sun'. What that actually means is that this oil can/will make the area of skin on which it's applied become very sensitive to sunlight for up to 12 hours.
If left exposed that spot will be prone to sunburn and it can become red and itchy. Cover it and you should have no problem. Those with extremely sensitive skins should also beware and do an allergy test as a matter of course.
Photo sensitising oils include:
* Sweet Orange
Oils to avoid
Not all essential oils are beneficial to humans. Here are some which you should definitely avoid.
Bitter almond . Boldo leaf . Calamus . Camphor (yellow) . Horseradish . Jaborandi leaf . Mugwort . Mustard . Pennyroyal . Rue . Sassafras . Savin . Southernwood . Tansy . Thuju . Wintergreen . Wormseed . Wormwood.
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Caring for your oils - Storage instructions and shelf life
Essential oils are precious gifts from nature, and can be a substantial financial investment. To ensure their therapeutic properties are maintained for the life of the oils, please treat them with care and thoughtful handling. Proper storage is the key.
Sunlight, heat and oxygen are the main culprits of oxidation and degradation of essential oils. Essential oils are best kept tightly sealed, in amber glass bottles, in a dark, cool place where temperature fluctuations are kept to a minimum. Always keep them safely locked away from children.
When stored under proper conditions essential oils will last from 6 months (citrus oils) to several years. The shortest shelf life oils are the citrus oils, which are the most prone to oxidation. To avoid the damage caused by temperature variations citrus oils can be stored in the refrigerator. Once citrus oils start to turn cloudy or smell rancid they should be disposed of.
Most essential oils will keep for approximately 1-2 years, if stored correctly. When stored at low temperatures, some oils, like rose, will solidify. They will liquefy again once they reach room temperature, which you can do quickly by holding them in your palm to melt the waxes gently. Some oils like myrrh, sandalwood, frankincense and patchouli improve or "mature" with age.
Ideally, you should store your oils upright, tightly sealed, away from direct light and protected from damp and humidity. The beautiful Miessence aromatherapy storage chest is ideal for this purpose. Sustainably harvested and hand-made by local craftsmen (by friends of Julie in the R&D department :-), each storage chest features wooden dividers to hold the bottles in place, and is finished with brass fittings.
If you don't have a storage chest, a cool, dark, dry place out of reach of children is best. The high shelf in a pantry or closet is a good start.
Ideal storage conditions are more difficult to achieve when traveling in the car with our oils. That's when they can be inadvertently exposed to sunlight and high temperatures and become very tempting to small children who discover those delicious smelling little bottles.
The best method is to transport them in your storage chest, inside an insulated bag aided by a fridge pack in hot weather. It's easy enough to seal the zip from against small exploratory fingers and your oils will stay cool and out of sight.
Being volatile, essential oils will evaporate if the bottle is left open for long periods. Be sure to replace the cap tightly when you have finished with them. When using essential oils from the bottle, to avoid contaminating the oil, don't touch the top of the bottle or the inside of the lid.
Essential oils are flammable. Never leave open bottles near sources of ignition such as cookers, fires, candles or any naked flame.
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What to do if things go wrong
Keep essential oils away from the eyes.
If you do get some essential oil in the eyes, rinse immediately and for a long time with clean, cool water. Put a couple of drops of Sweet Almond Oil into the eye to soothe. This same remedy should also be applied if incorrect oils used in an intimate massage cause extreme discomfort to the genital areas.
Never take essential oils internally.
Do not swallow them. If they are accidentally swallowed, drink plenty of milk and consult your doctor.
The information contained in this booklet is for educational purposes only, and as such is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or administer in any manner to any physical ailments. In any matter relating to health, please always contact a qualified health practitioner. Essential oils are not a replacement for orthodox medicine.
References & Suggested Reading
Aromatherapy and Common Ailments, Shirley Price
The Aromatherapy Book, Jeanne Rose
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