by KG Stiles, Clinical Aromatherapist
Whether you use aromatherapy as a stand alone or as a complementary first aid treatment there are several aromatic oils I’d like to recommend you have in your aromatic first aid kit. My recommendations include important details for you to consider when purchasing an oil, such as its Latin name, country of origin, method of extraction and part of the plant used. I also list the best oils to consider when creating a synergistic blend.
Please note: There are many cheap, synthetic copies of aromatic oils, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results purchase the highest quality oils you can possibly find. Use organic, or ethically wild crafted oils whenever possible.
BLUE TANSY – Wild crafted, steam distilled flowers from Morocco. Blue Tansy’s delightful scent is warmly herbaceous with a complex sweetness that to me is reminiscent of apples with a hint of spice. Most people invariably love the friendly and inviting scent of this oil!
Blue Tansy has a high azulene content which gives it a deep, vivid blue color. It can stain so take care! Azulene gives Blue Tansy its characteristic and powerful vascular and bronchio-dialating properties making it a very effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.
Blue Tansy’s natural anti- inflammatory action makes it an exceptionally good relaxant. It soothes nervous tension and calms stress and may be used alone or in a blend for relieving muscular soreness, aches and pains, sprains and strains, arthritis, rheumatism and sciatica.
Due to its bronchio-dilating properties Blue Tansy may be beneficial for allergy and asthma sufferers, blending it with Lemongrass will enhance this effect. Its analgesic properties may also help reduce any swelling or itching associated with allergies. I’ve had great success using Blue Tansy with clients who have suffered for years from chronic allergic reactions to environmental allergens.
Blue Tansy is also known to relieve burns and inflamed or sun damaged skin. My friend Sylla, owner of Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, used Blue Tansy and Helichrysum for relieving the effects of her radiation treatment for cancer.
GERMAN CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita) – Certified Organic, Steam Distilled Flowers, both England and the USA grow and distill lovely oils. German Chamomile is a lovely shade of deep blue – it can stain, so take care. Its aroma is deep, mellow, sweet and haylike.
Keywords: CALMING & ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
As an Anti-inflammatory German Chamomile is my first choice when treating inflamed, irritated skin! It acts as a sedative or pain reliever, for “angry” situations and feverish conditions including, burns, cuts, inflamed joints, migraine headache, teething pain, toothache, injuries, sprains, and swelling, as well as various aches and pains, arthritis, colic, cramps and stress related complaints.
A very relaxing and peaceful oil, German Chamomile quiets the mind and body by calming emotional feeling states. German Chamomile summons sleep and is excellent for insomnia. Use it to relieve tension or stress-related headaches and intestinal spasms.
A revitalizing and comforting tonic German Chamomile stimulates the production of red blood cells and is known to relieve aches and pains. Good results have been reported for relieving distinctly feminine complaints like irregular menses, premenstrual tension, or menopausal upsets, as well as cystitis, rheumatic type pain and loss of appetite.
A highly respected oil for over 3,000 years, German Chamomile has a long history of helping skin conditions, such as dermatitis, boils, acne, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. It balances sebum production, so is useful for helping oily, dry, as well as sensitive skin types. German Chamomile is effective when used in a carrier oil and directly applied to your skin. Use it in a blend for soothing inflamed skin such as acne or barber’s rash. German Chamomile is outstanding for balancing dry, itchy flaky skin conditions. Because of its benign nature Chamomile may be used as a remedy for diaper rash.
Try a synergistic blend of German Chamomile with any of the following aromatic oils: Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, or Vetiver.
EUCALYPTUS ( Eucalyptus globulus ) – A fresh, powerful, and long lasting scent, Eucalyptus has a long standing reputation as an effective respiratory decongestant.
Keywords: RESPIRATORY AID
Eucalyptus is known for its broad spectrum anti-microbial action. Its antiseptic, anti-infectious, antibacterial and anti viral properties make it a powerful remedy to consider for flu, colds, sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, bronchitis, hay fever, and acne
Its bronchio-dilating action helps ease inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes, as well as nasal congestion. Try it for relieving asthma, catarrh and headaches especially when due to any sort of congestion.
Eucalyptus also makes an excellent insect repellent!
Try a synergistic blend of Eucalyptus with any of the following aromatic oils: Basil, Atlas Cedarwood, Himalayan Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon and Rosemary.
ROSE GERANIUM – Wild Crafted, Steam Distilled Leaf, Madagascar. A fresh, slightly rosy scent with a fluid consistency Geranium mixes well with many oils and is known for being useful in regulating physical, mental, and emotional imbalances and extremes.
Keywords: HORMONAL BALANCE
Geranium’s strength lies in its ability to regenerate tissue and nerves, and assist in balancing hormonal problems for both men and women.
Definitely a first-aid oil every woman should have on hand. Women have used Geranium successfully for years to relieve premenstrual conditions and to smoothly navigate the menopausal period. Its tonifying action helps relieve nervous emotional conditions like anxiety, confusion, depression, lethargy, energy swings and tearfulness.
Geranium has been effectively used to treat an assortment of symptoms, including overcoming addiction, labor and childbirth, enhancing circulation, relieving congestion, detoxification, constipation, fluid retention, indigestion, hormonal imbalances and menopausal difficulties.
Geranium is excellent for skin care and will balance too oily, dry or combination skin types.
Note: Effective research and clinical evaluation has been done in Germany on the main chemical components of a well known German product called KMG. Clinical results were found for its alcohol geraniol which is in Geranium. The properties and effects discovered by these studies are valid regardless of where they are encountered. The results show successful treatment for autonomic nervous system imbalances which stimulates our hormonal production and response. Autonomic nervous system balance is the essential KEY for a healthy body, mind and emotions.
“Vegetative dystony” is the term used to describe autonomic nervous system imbalance and its accompanying symptoms. Manifestations of autonomic nervous system imbalance include common symptoms of headache, hot flashes, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, depression and anxiety. According to Dr. Andrew Weil medical vocabulary for imbalances of the autonomic nervous system practically do not exist in North American medicine. However both Germany and Japan, two modern day industrial giants, acknowledge this condition and use the term “vegetative dystony.”
Our modern day lifestyle promotes our living in a chronic condition of stress and subject to an increasing array of environmental toxins. These two conditions are cited as primary causes for autonomic nervous system imbalances and resulting hormonal disturbances.
Try a synergistic blend of Geranium with any of the following aromatic oils: German Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lavender, Rose and Sandalwood.
Caution: Geranium can lower blood sugar and should be avoided in cases of hypoglycemia.
HELICHRYSUM – Italian Everlasting, Immortelle. Its highly regenerative nature is both warm and fragrant with a slight honey-like fragrance.
Keywords: DEEP HEALING & REGENERATION
Helichrysum is highly regenerative and one of the strongest of all the anti-inflammatory essential oils known. A sacred and gentle healing oil use Helichrysum for tissue repair and healing.
Helichrysum affects all levels of your being – body, mind, and spirit and emotions. Its capacity for healing damaged tissues comes from its ability to actively remove cellular debris from areas of bruising and injury which are then reabsorbed into your blood, resulting in removal of discoloration and less pressure on nerves with subsequent pain relief.
Through enhancing circulation of your blood, lymph and nerve supply Helichrysum acts to aid mending of broken bones and support healthy skin and tissue. Use it to fade old scars and adhesions and heal skin tissue.
I’ve had consistently good results blending Helichrysum with Vetiver to relieve heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat and panic attacks. I’ve heard reports that Helichrysum may help reduce the risk of stroke. Use Helichrysum to enhance any blend for chronic pain relief, including Fibromyalgia, arthritis, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Helichrysum is a very supportive and comforting oil and enhances spiritual and personal growth. Try it in a meditation blend! Helichrysum may be beneficial for resolving old emotional scars that retain active memory loops buried deeply within the subconscious mind, as well as resolve addictions and release coping strategies that no longer serve you!
Try a synergistic blend of Helichrysum with any of the following aromatic oils: Atlas Cedarwood, Himalayan Cedarwood, German Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Myrrh, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Frankincense, Rose Sandalwood, Spikenard and Vetiver
LAVENDER – Highly scented, sweet, floral, and slightly woody Lavender is a universal healing oil and has a beneficial and healing effect on the body, mind spirit and emotions.
Keywords: UNIVERSAL HEALER
Lavender is the most commonly used essential oil and the absolute classic oil for treating burns! During the early 20th century, French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse became interested in the use of essential oils for their medicinal properties. While working Gattefosse accidentally burned his arm very badly! On reflex he plunged his burned arm into large a vat of lavender oil. His burn healed rapidly and there was absolutely NO scarring of tissue! Gattefosse is credited with coining the term “aromatherapy” in his 1928 article supporting the use of essential oils in their whole, pure and unadulterated state. Lavender has broad application and is especially useful for skin care healing, headaches, bug bites, and sore muscles.
Lavender is the most well known and used essential oil and every home and office should keep a bottle of it handy! Distilling at high altitude allows lower temperatures and lower pressure for distillation making it possible for the volatile phytochemicals to come through intact in the final product.
Lavender is excellent for skin care and to promote healing. Use it for burns, rashes, acne, eczema and psoriasis. Apply it immediately to burns to prevent blistering, or scarring, as well as speed healing of wounds as it stimulates cellular regeneration. Lavender is useful for relieving headaches, premenstrual tension, as well as promoting restful sleep. It is excellent for balancing hyper emotional states such as shock, anger, impatience and irritability and helps dispel the negative mental states of fear & worry.
Try a synergistic blend of Lavender with any of the following aromatic oils: Clary Sage, Geranium, Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood & Vetiver.
PEPPERMINT – a fluid, colorless oil with a fresh, distinctly penetrating scent.
Keywords: COOL & REFRESHING
Peppermint acts as a regulator and has a relaxing or invigorating effect depending on the circumstance for which you are using it. A good blood cleanser it is both antiseptic and antibacterial!
Peppermint is well known for relieving migraine type headache, as well as headache resulting from weak or poor digestive forces, congestion or sluggish circulation. It is also known to relieve nausea from motion sickness. As well as being helpful for treating acne, swollen gums, mouth thrush, or ulcers and toothache.
Soak your tired feet in a foot bath with a drop or two of Peppermint (disperse oil in water by blending first with a teaspoon of honey or jojoba oil before adding to your foot bath) to relieve tired, swollen ankles and feet.
Peppermint relieves congested sinus cavities, aids concentration and is good for memory retention, restorative for mental fatigue, use alone or in a blend when studying for an exam! Known to clears brain fog when fatigued Peppermint is great for keeping alert!
An analgesic or pain reliever use Peppermint for relieving tummy aches, or sore, achy muscles and joints. May be used to ease a variety of skin irritations, including Poison Oak and Poison Ivy. Add a drop or two to your favorite anti-itch lotion or ointment when treating insect bites and stings. Use as a food flavoring in recipes that call for mint, or add a drop to your favorite cooling summer drink and enjoy a refreshing break in your day!
Try a synergistic blend of Peppermint with any of the following aromatic oils: Basil, Black Pepper, Ginger, Orange, Marjoram and Rosemary.
Peppermint cools by constricting your blood capillaries therefore please use in extremely weak dilutions. Peppermint Oil may aggravate GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), a type of heart burn.
TEA TREE – Strongly assertive disinfectant Tea Tree has a strongly assertive medicinal and antiseptic smell with an undisputed popular reputation as a ‘cure all.’ It has powerful anti fungal, anti viral, and antibacterial properties.
First suggestion for athlete’s foot, nail viruses, and fungal infections. Use in anti acne remedies, as well as to combat flu and other viral infections. Helpful for balancing skin conditions like acne, alone or in a blend. Tea Tree is also an immune stimulant, a decongestant and an analgesic or pain reliever.
In the 1700’s Captain James Cook and his mates when arriving in Australia in the wanted a refreshing herbal tea to drink. They chose the fragrant leaves of a tree. The tree has been called Tea Tree ever since.
French physician Paul Belaiche in 1985 studied Tree Tree’s healing abilities for Candida albicans, a vaginal yeast infection. In most cases this infection can be treated effectively without the side effects common with conventional treatments.
Research has proven it useful for another vaginal infection, trichomoniasis. In 1962 an American study of 130 women treated using it recovered from this infection.
Try a synergistic blend of Tea Tree with any of the following aromatic oils: Black Pepper, Atlas Cedarwood, Himalayan Cedarwood, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Thyme and Rosemary.
VETIVER ( vetiveria zizanoides ) – Wild Crafted, Hydro diffused Root, Haiti. Rich and sweet, honey textured oil that’s wonderfully grounding. Ideal for use alone!
Keywords: GROUNDING, REASSURING
A sweetly grounding and reassuring oil, a heart bottom note I can rely on to instantly relieve anxiety and panic. May use as a mild sedative to aid sleep. The Wild Crafted hydro diffused Vetiver is an excellent example of how this oil should smell. It is a light and lovely oil and keep I keep it close at hand, using it frequently in my aromatherapy practice. Clients readily open to its grounding, reassuring scent!
Vetiver’s nature is restorative and revitalizing. It lends comfort and support in any situation. Vetiver has a balancing effect of the mind and body and stimulates the production of red blood cells to relieve muscle and joint aches and pains. I’ve had great success using Vetiver blended with Helichrysum for resolving Heart Palpitations or Rapid Heart syndrome!
It is also an excellent hair, skin and scalp re-conditioner as it regulates and balances sebum production.
Try a synergistic blend of Vetiver with any of the following aromatic oils: Neroli, Petitgrain, or Orange. Vetiver works well as a stand alone, yet blends well with a variety of oils. Use it whenever you need to anchor a blend, or need a low base note to help your formula sing!