Aromatherapy is the art and science of using plant extracts to treat a variety of health and beauty 
problems. It is a complex science dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Archaeologists have discovered 
essential oils in animal fats in mummy’s tombs along with distillation pots. The Chinese and Indian 
cultures also used aromatherapy in the early ages. It is the basis of the Indian art of Aryuveda. It enjoyed 
popularity during the Renaissance. 

Modern day aromatherapy was “discovered” in 1937 by French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse when 
he burned his hand while working in the laboratory. He immediately applied pure lavender oil and was 
amazed at the beneficial result in rapid wound healing.

Essentia; oils are prepared from the stems, barks, flowers and berries of plants, fruits and vegetables. 
They are used by the plants for infection control, humidity control hormonal effects, wound healing and 
attracting and repelling birds, insects and animals. They are sourced all over the world ,with some rare 
and expensive oils coming from Morocco and the Middle East. The cost of oils varies widely, depending 
on their source region and the method of preparation. 

Essential oils can be steam distilled, expressed or produced through supercritical CO2 extraction. This 
last method results in a that is very close to the raw material. Essential oils can be used in a variety of 
ways. They can be applied topically, as skin is somewhat permeable. When used topically, heat and/or 
massage will increase the absorption of the oils. They can also be inhaled through the nose and mouth, 
which nis the fastest method of absorption. They can also be ingested, but great care must be taken, as 
many oils can be toxic to the liver and kidneys, and they may interact with medications.

Inhalation through the nose or mouth introduces oils to the olfactory system, which includes organs and 
cells relating and contributing to the sense of smell. Airborne molecules interact with the olfactory 
system and immediately impact the brain. The limbic system, or emotional brain, is directly connected to 
the part of the brain that controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing memory, stress levels and 
hormone balance. This relationship explains why smell often triggers emotions. For this reason, essential 
oils have profound psychological and physiological effects. 

You can use essential oils for a variety of health and beauty concerns.

Here is a list of common essential oils and their applications.

  • *Lavender: minor burns, insomnia, pain relief, wound care
  • *Tea Tree: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal,viral infections
  • *Peppermint: headaches, fever, nausea, fatigue
  • *German chamomile: inflammatory skin problems
  • *Bergamot: mild anti-depressant and tonic, stimulating
  • *Rosemary: stimulating, detoxifying, anti-infection
  • *Neroli: uplifting
  • *Eucalyptus: respiratory infections
  • *Ginge: nausea, inflammation
  • *Lemongrass: anti-fungal
  • *Basil: insect repellant, anti-parasitic
  • *Black pepper: detoxifying , swelling

When using an essential oil, with the exception of lavender and tea tree oils , they must not be applied 
directly to the skin. A carrier oil is required. Some good oils are sweet almond, grape seed, apricot 
kernel, jojoba, hemp seed, avocado and rose hips oils.

The essential oil should not exceed 3-5% of the solution. When using on infants, it should not exceed 
.25%. For toddlers, it should not exceed .5%. Proper aromatherapy treatment begins with a complete 
consultation . You do not get the oils you like, you get the oils you need , like medications. Aromatherapy 
is more than sprinkling a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, although that can be effective at times. 
An accomplished, effective aromatherapist studies for a long time to perfect the art and science.

Much research has been done on aromatherapy by the food, flavoring, cosmetics and tobacco industries. 
They are most interested in flavor, mood alteration and preservative qualities some research on toxicity 
and safety has been published in trade journals, but much is proprietary.

There are some problems in researching essential oils. 

Essential oils are not standardized.

It is difficult to conduct blind studies with essential oils.

It is difficult to get approval and funding for research into essential oils.

It is difficult to determine what caused the outcome.

The FDA does not regulate essential oils and concentrations and quality varies widely.

In summary, essential oils are a powerful and highly effective method of treating skin and health 

problems. They should be used with caution under the direction of a trained aromatherapist.

To quote Helen Keller:

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived.” 

Carmel Buckley