An aromatherapy massage, with sweet-smelling essential oils, is an irresistible treat, but you can also give yourself the benefit of their subtle powers at home. Leigh Richmond, one of the UK’s leading aromatherapists who has created a range of her own blends, has compiled these lists of suggested oils for The Beauty Bible.
First aid kit
These ten oils will help with physical ailments. Keep them in your bathroom and use them either in your bath, or as a burning oil, or massage them in to your skin, diluted in a carrier/base oil; in the case of aches, pains or bruises, use them as a compress diluted in warm water.
These oils should be seen as complementary to conventional medical care. If you have a serious problem, always consult a qualified practitioner. Leigh advises against using them in pregnancy.
Eucalyptus Antiseptic, warms up respiratory system, helps alleviate colds, coughs and chestiness, flu, congestion, fever, sinusitis and sore throats.
Geranium Most effective in regulating and balancing extremes on both physical and emotional levels, especially PMT, depression and post natal depression (don’t use if breastfeeding); is said to help treat endometriosis.
Ginger Helps treat digestive disorders, spasms, appetite loss or disorders; also effective for colds, flu, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism and arthritis; strengthens immune system.
Juniper Stimulates the circulation, helps to purify and detoxify the blood; stimulates a sluggish liver; brings mental clarity, powerful in diffusing negativity.
Lavender Known as the universal panacea of essential oils, this balances and regulates the nerves; effective in treating depression, insomnia, exhaustion; highly antiseptic, so good for burns, blisters, bruises and bites (in compress form); helps soothe and alleviate pain.
Lemon Highly antiseptic, so helpful in alleviating symptoms of colds and flu; purifies and de-toxifies blood; helps lower blood pressure, stimulates the brain and helps you focus.
Peppermint Powerful decongestant effective in all kinds of nasal colds/stuffiness; calms digestive disorders and nauseous migraines; refreshing, helps clear mental fog.
Pine Alleviates respiratory problems, coughs, colds, flu, eases muscular aches and pains; refreshing, brings mental clarity.
Rosemary Beneficial in sluggish circulation, rheumatism, muscular aches and pains; also hair loss and dandruff; stimulates memory, enlivening mind and sharpening powers of recall.
Tea tree Versatile anti-bacterial and anti-viral oil useful in treating colds, flu, skin conditions and viral infections such as warts, herpes, thrush and candida, and athlete’s foot.
First aid for stress and emotional problems
Essential oils can be very beneficial, effective treatments for emotional problems. Whether these are the result of grief and bereavement, stress at work, or a life-changing decision, the many devotees of essential oils know that they can help you through those ‘can’t cope, can’t sleep’ times which affect most of us at some stage.
Chamomile Calms and soothes the nervous system, allaying fear and anxiety; good for phobias, depression, obsessive behavioural patterns and insomnia; ideal for children (in low dosage), and hypersensitive people.
Clary sage Will help lift the dark clouds of severe depression, bringing lightness and peace; strengthens nerves, so good for anxiety, fears, over-sensitivity to other people, paranoia, obsessive behaviour. Use in a blend with a grounding oil such as sandalwood, vetiver or juniper.
Frankincense Very spiritual oil, bringing tranquillity; good for excess and addictions, obsessive behavioural patterns, allaying unexplained fears and phobias; helps promote insight, peace, mental calm. Use with a grounding oil.
Jasmine Uniquely uplifting effect on emotions, aphrodisiac; good for alleviating anxiety, post natal depression and labour pains (apply as compress).
Juniper Good for depression, stops you being over-vulnerable to other people’s problems and taking them on board as your own; quells negativity, especially in stressful environments.
Lavender Highly effective against depression, regulates nerves, brings greater clarity and peace of mind; effective against insomnia.
Neroli Gently soothes, calms and allays fears; best used for nervous conditions, anxiety, depression, phobia, shock and insomnia; also good for calming hyperactive or anxious children.
Rose Known as the queen of essential oils, this balances emotional disorders, promotes inner poise and confidence; acts as a gentle opener for repressed painful emotions, especially grief.
Sandalwood Calming, balancing and grounding; ideal for getting problems off your chest; gives impetus to cope with difficult and stressful situations.
Vetiver Known as the oil of tranquillity, deeply relaxing, beneficial for anxiety, stress and insomnia; helps promote inner calm, poise and confidence; helps you cope in times of major upheaval and grief.
First aid for pregnancy
Choose from neroli, frankincense and chamomile, with jasmine and rose (only in the last trimester) in moderation. Massage blends of chamomile and neroli or frankincense and rose onto the stomach to help prevent stretch marks. Use two drops of neroli to five of chamomile or four frankincense and one rose in 10ml of carrier/base oil (almond – unless you have a nut allergy – grapeseed or peach kernel); try adding in the contents of a capsule of vitamin E.
Combine two, three or four of these oils using two drops of each in 10 ml of carrier/base oil, (10ml of carrier/base oil is enough for a facial, 20 ml a full body massage). Or you could use up to five drops of the oil you feel you need most with a drop each of the other essential oils.
- If you are using clary sage or frankincense, do not drive or use heavy machinery afterwards
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children
- Store in a cool, dark place