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Aromatherapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment system designed to affect the whole person—not just the symptom or disease—and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain. One could say that aromatherapy is as old as humankind’s relationship to the plant kingdom and so the beginning of aromatherapy is shrouded in the mists of time.

The aroma in a plant is the “essential oil,” the life force of the plant which is distilled from flowers, spices and resins. Essential oils have been used for over 4,500 years for their beautifying and natural healing properties, which stimulate and reinforce the body’s own healing mechanisms.

The aromatic oils penetrate the skin and are absorbed into the bloodstream within minutes, carrying their beneficial effects to various internal organs. They have also been thought to stimulate the immune system, build up immunity and have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They are said to aid in the elimination of toxins from the body while helping to rebuild healthy tissue; the effects can be stimulating or calming depending on the oils used. They have also been said to help strengthen tissues and organs and improve their functions, help restore the harmony between the body and mind which can be sabotaged by the stresses of modern living in a polluted environment. And, the can be revitalizers, affecting positively the way we look, feel and think.

Prices of essential oils vary depending on the oil you are buying. Prices are determined by rarity of the plant/species, growing conditions, and processing and handling. For example, sandalwood is grown in India and can take 30 to 50 years to reach maturity. Jasmine requires 20 days of labor, followed by costly methods of extraction, whereas peppermint is less expensive because it contains more essential oil, it is easy to grow and to tend. A well-trained nose can sniff out a true high quality essential oil.

A list of what is thought to be the top 10 essential oils and their properties

Peppermint: Useful in treating muscle aches, headaches and digestive orders, mosquito repellent.

Eucalyptus: Helpful in treating respiratory problems, colds, coughs and asthma. Helps boost the immune system and to relieve muscle tension. Powerful antiseptic.

Ylang Ylang: Good antidepressant, can help to relax and reduce muscle tension. Aphrodisiac.

Lavender: Useful in treating wounds, burns, mosquito bites and bee stings. Also extremely relaxing and calming to the nerves.

Rosemary: Very uplifting and stimulating. Helps with mental stimulation as well as to stimulate the immune system. Promotes growth of healthy hair.

Clary sage: Natural pain killer, also helps with muscular aches and pains. Relaxing and can be helpful in balancing hormones. Mood swings. Aphrodisiac when mixed with Ylang Ylang.

Lemon: Relaxing yet uplifting, helpful in treating wounds and infections. Makes for a great house cleaner and deodorizer.

Tea Tree: This is a natural anti-fungal oil, also helpful in boosting the immune system and regenerating tissue.
Roman Chamomile: Relaxing and can be helpful with anxiety and sleeplessness. Good for muscle aches and tension. Useful in treating wounds.Insect repellent. Use sparingly

Grapefruit: Joyful and uplifting, helps with anxiety and drug withdrawal.

Patchouli: Repels moths, insect repellent, anti fungal and works well mixed with a citrus oil.

Other uses for oils: baths, inhalants sauna, cool and hot compresses, facial creams and lotions (rose absolute), shampoos or to make your own perfume. Room diffusers, candles and light bulbs.

As always, please be sure to consult your physician or healthcare provider before treatment.