Your Basic Essential Oil Care Kit
Essential oils are one of the great untapped resources of the world. The concentrated essences of various flowers, fruits, herbs, and plants have been used for centuries all over the world, but in modern times we have forgotten the power of these ancient medicines of the earth, preferring instead to use the products of perfume and chemical companies which imitate the natural fragrances and medicinal and cleansing properties of essential oils. Because the essential oils are so sweet-smelling, many people suppose their value is essentially one of charm and fragrance – but this is a mistake. Modern scientific research has proven that essential oils are potent with remarkable medicinal properties. These substances are very complex in their molecular structure and very powerful. The essential oil or oregano, for example, is twenty-six times more powerful as an antiseptic then phenol, which is the active ingredient in many commercial cleansing materials.
Unlike chemical drugs, essential oils do not remain in the body. They leave no toxins behind. And essential oils make much more sense as air fresheners than commercial products, as they cleanse the air by altering the structure of molecules creating the smells, rather then masking the unwanted smells. When we are looking for alternatives to toxic products in our homes and in our lives, essential oils are a convenient, practical and pleasant solution.
YOUR BASIC CARE KIT
Lavender – Tea Tree – Peppermint – Chamomile – Eucalyptus – Geranium – Rosemary – Thyme – Lemon – Clove
If I had to choose the ten most versatile and useful essential oils for the average home medicine cabinet, these would be the ones. Although these oils are chosen first for their medicinal properties and their ability to deal with a wide range of health complaints, you will find that they also feature strongly throughout this article and are useful for a diversity of purposes from skin care to gardening and from home care to celebrations.
The treatments outlined in this section are straightforward yet effective. Other useful additions to your care kit would be Aloe Vera – Witch Hazel – Rosewater. Aloe Vera comes from the leaf of the cactus of this name and is a fine healing agent in itself for cuts, inflammations and burns, as well as being a good carrying agent for the essential oils. It can be bought in gel or liquid form. Witch Hazel is extracted from a shrub and is known for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Rosewater is a by-product of the distillation of the essential oil of roses and is used for its mild antiseptic and soothing properties. But let us now have a brief look at the ten essential oils that
comprise the Basic Care Kit.
Lavender is capable of many important jobs and is a delight to use. Every home should have a bottle of lavender, if no other oil, because it is very effective in the treatment of burns and scalds. Lavender oil is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative and detoxifier which promotes healing and prevents scarring, and also stimulates the immune system and contributes to the healing process by stimulating the cells of a would to regenerate more quickly. Although not known specifically as a circulatory stimulant, lavender oil certainly seems allay the effects of clinical shock and as a mood tonic and antidepressant it helps to deal with the psychological shock of injury. It also has a multitude of other qualities which make it a truly indispensable oil.
The antiseptic action of tea tree is thought to be one hundred times more powerful than carbolic acid – and yet it is non-poisonous to humans. The Aborigines have been using this indigenous Australian tree in their medication for centuries and today tea tree is the subject of a great deal of international research. It’s impressive antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it useful in a wide range of conditions. It is used in the treatment of candida and all sorts of infections, for ringworm, sunburn, acne, athlete’s foot, toothache, and pyorrhea, among other things.
Peppermint has been used by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Chinese and American Indians, no doubt because of its extremely useful health-promoting properties. It is an excellent digestive, it helps the respiratory system and circulation, it is an anti-inflammatory, and an antiseptic. These qualities make it a good oil in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, bad
breath, flue, catarrh, varicose veins, headaches and migraines, skin irritations, rheumatism, toothache, and fatigue. It even helps keep mice, fleas, and ants away.
There are several types of chamomile essential oil. Chamomile German is an excellent variety and its beautiful deep dark blue color, due to its high azulene content, comes as a bonus. Another excellent variety, Chamomile Roman, is particularly good for the treatment of nervous conditions and insomnia. Beware though of Chamomile Maroc (Ormenis multicaulis) which is not a true
Chamomile and cannot be used as such. Although Chamomile is an antibacterial, antiseptic, and disinfectant, it is most valued for its anti-inflammatory properties. These apply to internal
conditions like rheumatism, as well as to external inflammations. Chamomile is indispensable if you have children because it can be sued for teething troubles and in the bath to ease nerves and tetchiness. Chamomile is used in the treatment of burns, including sunburn, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, hay fever, diarrhea, sprains, nausea, fever and all nervous and depressive states. It’s
analgesic, diuretic, sedative and calming properties make Chamomile an extremely desirable oil. For kicking the tranquilizer habit it is invaluable, and in anorexia nervosa it is extremely helpful. As if this weren’t enough, chamomile is used in rejuvenation treatments.
Eucalyptus has been distilled from at least 1788 when two doctors, John White and Dennis Cossiden, distilled Eucalyptus Piperata for its use in treating chest problems and colic. This was in Australia where the Blue Mountains of New South Wales are so called because of the extraordinary blue haze that exudes from the resin of the eucalyptus gum and envelops the entire landscape. In such a powerfully aromatic environment, the medicinal qualities of this ancient tree would be hard to miss. Eucalyptus is a marvelously versatile and useful oil. It cools the body in summer an protects it in winter. Its is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic, diuretic, analgesic, and deodorizing. Research has proved its antiviral properties as well. It is best known for its effectiveness against coughs and colds but is equally effective in the treatment of cystitis, candida,
diabetes, and sunburn, while also being useful in veterinary care and as an insect repellent. There is a wide range of Eucalyptus varieties, any of which would be a useful addition to a Basic Care Kit.
Geranium is one of my favorite oils because it works profoundly on the emotions and is useful in many medical conditions – and smells wonderful while it works so hard. The oil is extracted not from the familiar, brightly colored geranium, but from the species Pelargonium-Geranium Robert or “lemon plant” – which is very often displayed in abundance in Greek restaurants. Geranium will make chilblains disappear overnight and brings a radient glow when used in skin care. More importantly, it is a vital component in the treatment of endometriosis, if very effective for menopausal problems, diabetes, blood disorders, throat infections, and as a nerve tonic, and works well as a sedative. It is reputed to help in cases of uterine and breast cancer and if nothing else, would certainly help the patient to relax and cope with the pain. Geranium has many applications from frostbite to infertility, and its antiseptic and astringent properties contribute to its general usefulness. Its delightful floral fragrance makes it a pleasure to use, either on its own or as a
contributory oil in blends.
Rosemary is both a physical and mental stimulant, which makes it a good oil to have in the morning bath, while also being excellent in the treatment of all muscular conditions, making it the perfect oil for a bath after a long, tiring day. This antiseptic oil is used in the treatment of muscular sprains, arthritis, rheumatism, depression, fatigue, memory loss, migraine, headaches, coughs, flu, and diabetes among other conditions. It is also very useful in beauty treatments being used in hair care and acne and cellulite remedies. For the sportsman, cook and gardener, rosemary is invaluable.
There are many types of thyme, some of which can be used safely in all situations and some which cannot. Thyme has notable antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic, and diuretic properties and should be ‘used with great care’. Overuse of it can stimulate the thyroid gland and lymphatic system. Like many good things, it must be used in moderation. It should never be applied to the skin undiluted and should not be used on children unless it is within the chemotype Thyme Linalol. Thyme is a vital component of the Basic Care Kit because of its powerful antiviral properties. When flu is around it is a wonderful oil to have on the room diffuser. It assists in the elimination of toxic wastes from the body. It is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including whooping cough,
warts, rheumatism, neuralgia, fatigue and acne. It is also extremely useful in antiseptic powders, hair and skin care regimes, and cooking. Just to make it a perfect all-rounder, thyme will discourage all manner of parasites and insects from invading your home.
When our adventurous seafaring ancestors sailed the high seas, fresh lemons saved them from getting scurvy. For modern stay-at-homes, the essential oil of lemon is just as useful as a water purifier. This antiseptic and antibacterial oil will perform many tasks when used in blends, including treating verrucas, insect bites, and tension headaches. It has a tonic action on the lymphatic system and a stimulating action on the digestive system. It will assist you to slim, help disperse cellulite, and keep wrinkles at bay. Its contribution to synergy makes it particularly useful in blends, while it is indispensable as a fragrancing and flavoring agent.
Clove oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic and is a good oil for the prevention of disease and infection. Being a spice it can easily be incorporated into your cooking. It is best known as a quick cure for toothache although it is equally useful in digestive problems and muscular disorders. It can be used in the treatment of asthma, nausea, and sinusitis, and as a sedative. Clove is a
powerful oil that has been used for the sterilization of surgical instruments. It should not be used undiluted on the skin.
Not all natural plants or plant products are beneficial to health. Deadly nightshade can be poisonous and stinging nettles sting. The following essential oils should NOT be used under any circumstances: