Aromatherapy Decoded

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    Part One

    AROMATHERAPY means “treatment using scents.” Essential oils are the building blocks of aromatherapy. There are over 300 of these very special substances that are extracted from variety of plants, herbs, roots or fruits, flowers, trees, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness.

    It is a holistic treatment of caring for the body with pleasant smelling botanical oils, such as rose, lemon, lavender and peppermint. The essential oils are added to the bath or massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or diffused to scent an entire room. Aromatherapy is used for the relief of pain, care for the skin, alleviate tension and fatigue, and invigorate the entire body. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves.

    Let’s talk more specific how certain oils can help you.

    Basil

    IT is beneficial for relieving headaches, migraines and sinusitis. Basil may also calm feelings of nervousness and upset, allowing for relief from mental fatigue and encouraging concentration. Basil essential oil has ability to treat nausea, motion sickness, indigestion, constipation, respiratory problems, diabetes, etc. Basil oil is also a good source of Vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron  and calcium.

    Health benefits of basil essential oil include the following:

    • Cosmetics: Basil essential oil is used topically to massage the skin. It enhances the luster of dull looking skin, as well as hair. As a result, it is extensively used in many skin care supplements that claim to improve the tone of your skin. It is also used for acne and skin infections.

    • Digestion: Basil essential oil is also used as a digestive tonic. Since basil oil has carminative properties, it is used for treating indigestion, constipation, stomach cramps and flatulence. It provides immediate relief from the gas in your stomach and intestines. It is also colic and hence is used for bowel pain.

    • Cold: Basil essential oil is effective in providing relief from cold, influenza and associated fever. Due to its antispasmodic nature, it is used in case of whooping cough.

    • Respiratory: Apart from its usage in cough, it is used for asthma, bronchitis, and sinus infections.

    • Infections: Basil oil is good for treating a variety of infections such as cuts, wounds, skin infections, bladder infections, etc., due to its antibacterial properties. It is also good for viral infections.

    • Stress disorder: Basil essential oil has a refreshing effect and hence it is used for treating nervous tension, mental fatigue, melancholy, migraines and depression. Due to this calming nature of basil essential oil, it is widely used in aromatherapy. Its regular use gives mental strength and clarity.

    • Blood circulation: Basil essential oil improves blood circulation and, thus, helps in increasing the metabolism.

    • Pain relief: It is analgesic and provides relief from pain. Hence, it is used in arthritis, wounds, injuries, burns, bruises, scars, sports injuries, sprains, headaches, etc.

    • Eye treatment: It is ophthalmic and, hence, relieves bloodshot eyes.

    • Anti vomiting: Basil essential oil can be used as an anti vomiting agent in motion sickness and many other vomiting cases.

    Basil essential oil is also a good treatment for itching from bites and stings from honey bees, insects and even snakes. Other uses include curing motion sickness and vomiting.

    Chamomile

    IT is well-known for its strong soothing effect on mind and body. It is excellent for protecting dry skin and can be used to treat the nervous system, headaches, and menstrual disorders and is good for digestion, sore throat, sunburns and insomnia.

    There are two types of Chamomile, namely, the Roman Chamomile which is scientifically known as Anthemis nobilis and the German Chamomile whose scientific name is Matricaria chamomilla. Although the essential oils extracted from both the varieties are quite similar in medicinal properties, yet they differ to some extent when it comes to their composition and certain properties.

    • Antiseptic, Antibiotic, Disinfectant, Bactericidal and Vermifuge: They have very good antiseptic and antibiotic properties, and do not let biotic infections (infections due to biotic factors, such as bacteria, fungi etc.) develop. They also wipe off infections already present. These are good vermifuge too and kill all sorts of intestinal worms. If applied on hair, it kills lice and mites, keeping hair and scalp free from infections and damage.

    n Stimulant and Anti Depressant: Both the varieties have been seen very effective in fighting depression and for raising spirit. They eliminate the feeling of sadness, depression, disappointment, sluggishness, etc. and induce a sort of happy or charged feeling. Even smelling these oils can help a lot in overcoming depression and bring about good mood.

    • Anti-Inflammatory and Sedative: While Roman Chamomile is found effective in calming down annoyance, anger and irritation, particularly in small children, the German variety, on the other hand, is found more effective on adults for curing inflammations, particularly those in digestive and urinary system. They also reduce blood pressure and check swelling of the blood vessels.

    • Analgesic and Anti neuralgic: They have analgesic properties and efficiently reduce pain in muscles and joints, headache, sinus, toothache, bone injuries, etc. They are also very effective in giving relief in the severe pain of Neuralgia by constricting the blood vessels surrounding the ninth cranial nerve and relieving pressure on it.

    • Stomach, Digestive and Hepatic and Cholagogue: Being stomachic, they tone up stomach and set it to proper function. They promote secretion of digestive juices into stomach and facilitate digestion. They also promote digestion. Being hepatic (meaning good for liver), they ensure good health of liver and proper flow of bile from it. They are also cholagogue, meaning they increase secretion of hydrochloric acid, bile and enzymes in stomach, thereby promoting digestion.

    • Antirheumatic and Antiphlogistic: They cure dysfunctions of the circulatory system, stimulate circulation and detoxify the blood of toxins like uric acid, thereby helping cure ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, etc., which are caused due to improper circulation and accumulation of uric. These make them good antiphlogistics, the agents, which reduce swelling and edema.

    • Anti Spasmodic, Relaxant and Nervine: They calm all nervous disturbances or hyper-reactions which result in convulsions, spasms, nervousness, loss of control over limbs etc. They are nervine, that is, keep the nerves and the nervous system in a state of good health and proper functioning.

    • Cicatrizant and Vulnerary: They are very popular in the world of cosmetics, as they diminish the scars, marks and spots on the skin and on the face (being a Cicatrizant) and also protect wounds, cuts and bruises from getting infected, thus, serving as a Vulnerary.

    • Sudorific and Febrifuge: They induce profuse perspiration (being sudorific), thus removing toxins and agents causing infections and cooling down the body, effectively giving relief in fever, thus serving as a febrifuge.

    • Carminative: Expel gas from the intestines and stomach, and also check gas formation. This also helps relax the body and lower blood pressure. It also ends the chances of other risks from gas, such as trapping of gas in the wind pipe etc.

    • Tonic: They are tonic in nature, i.e. they tone up skin, muscles, internal organs etc.

    • Other Benefits: They are anti allergenic, help cure acne by removing toxins and cleaning Sebaceous and Eccrine glands through sweating, clean up the urinary system and the kidneys through increased urination (being diuretic), detoxify blood and increase strength as they are also fortifying in nature. They can help cure viral infections like mumps, measles, etc. Can be used as in mouthwash, too, to keep away bad breath and eliminate oral infections. German Chamomile oil is a vasoconstrictor.

    Grapefruit

    IT activates solar energy, which increases ones bioelectrical energy allowing for self-purification and transformation of heavy emotions to renewed optimism.

    Health benefits of grapefruit essential oil can be attributed to its properties like diuretic, disinfectant, stimulant, antidepressant, antiseptic, aperitif, lymphatic and tonic.

    • Antioxidant: Like the fruit itself, the essential oil of Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants. Primarily, in Vitamin C. This vitamin, present in grapefruit essential oil, boosts our immune system and fights free radicals. This oil is effective in protecting the body from all harms done by the oxidants, like aging, degeneration of tissues, macular degeneration, loss of vision and hearing, mental and physical sluggishness, nervous disorders, and other such problems.

    • Diuretic: The diuretic properties of grapefruit essential oil keep your body light and free from toxins by promoting urination. It help in removal of excess water, fats, sodium, uric acid and other toxins from the body, and also reduces blood pressure and keeps our heart healthy. Frequent urinations also keep the urinary tract free from infections. It cleans kidneys of calcareous and uric deposits and protects them against renal calculi and infections too.

    • Disinfectant: The antiviral and antimicrobial properties of grapefruit essential oil make it a good disinfectant. It does not only protect the body from new infections but also eliminates the infections which are already there. It is particularly effective on infections of colon, stomach, intestines, urinary system, excretory system and kidneys. It is further beneficial for oral and ocular infections, as well as infections on skin.

    • Stimulant: This oil stimulates, and stimulates well. It has stimulating effects on the body and on the mind. It stimulates brain, makes it active and gives new directions to thoughts, as well as stimulates endocrinal glands and promotes proper secretion of hormones and enzymes, thereby keeping in shape the whole metabolism. It further stimulates nervous system and makes you more active and alert. The digestive system is also benefited from this as it stimulates secretion of gastric juices and bile in the stomach as well as movement of ingested food through intestines. Further, it stimulates lymphatic system, circulatory system and excretory system.

    • Antidepressant: Like essential oils of the most of the citrus fruits, the grapefruit essential oil, too, has great uplifting and relaxing effects on mind. It induces a positive feeling and hope, cures depression and relieves anxiety and stress. This effect is due to two reasons. First, due to its aroma and second, due to its stimulating effects which stimulates certain hormones which have uplifting effects on the brain.

    • Anti Septic: The anti septic properties of grapefruit essential oil makes it fit for application on bruises, wounds, cuts, acne and infections, to protect them from microbial infections. Further, being an anti septic, it prevents wound from catching tetanus or from being septic.

    • Aperitif: If you think you need to eat more to put on some muscles but lack that appetite, this oil could lend you a helping hand. But that does not mean that you need to take it just before the dinner. A regular dose can increase your appetite methodically.

    • Lymphatic: This is the ace property of grapefruit essential oil. It is lymphatic. The lymphatic system plays a vital role in our body. It is involved in the removal of unwanted and toxic substances from the body. grapefruit essential oil ensures a good health of lymphatic system and boosts it up, thereby freeing the body from toxins and fighting problems like cellulite, blood urea, rheumatism, arthritis, gout and renal calculi, etc.

    • Tonic: You must be familiar with the term “tonic.” It comes in packages like hair tonic, health tonic, liver tonic, etc. Now what is tonic? A tonic is a substance that tones up systems. A hair tonic tones hair follicles and keeps your hair healthy and strong. A complete health tonic tones up all the organic systems operating inside, like the digestive system, circulatory system, metabolic system, nervous system and excretory system, etc. and boosts up health and strength. Similarly, a liver tonic tones up liver, improves its secretions and strengthens it. 

    • Other Benefits: Keeps the skin clean. Particularly good for treating oily skin and acne, and gives a refreshing feeling. This oil is also beneficial for treating stiffness and cramp in muscles. (To be continued)

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