Element 5. Describe a variety of applications for essential oils

Use of Essential oils

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Air Freshening

This is a very easy and effective way to use oils. It allows the natural fragrance of the oils to be released into the atmosphere. Essential oils are highly volatile and burn easily, so they should not be placed near a naked flame. The bowl of the burner should be kept topped up with water. Never leave a burner unattended and keep away from children and animals. We encourage the use of electric vaporizers which are safe, easy and very effective. Whichever way you choose you will need to add up to 8 drops of oil(s) in total. Alternatively, you could add 10 drops of oil to water spray bottle filled with Tap or rose water; this is ideal to use in toilets and cars to clear bad smells. The plastic spray bottle is also great to use for general house cleaning simply add 30 drops to a 5000ml spray bottle filled with tap water. I recommend pine needle, thyme, any citrus oil, basil etc for a really clean and fresh yet highly antibacterial effect. Remember to gently but thoroughly shake/agitate the bottle before each use, as the oils will always float to the top. Some people use a dispersant, but I have never bothered with this, as shaking is cheap and effective.

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Baths

Add between 4 – 8 drops of essential oil to a drawn bath. It is advisable to mix the oils in a little base oil or full fat milk before placing in the bath, this will avoid direct contact with the skin as some oils can be irritating to the skin. One of the most wonderful ways to experience aromatherapy is to have a warm bath with you favourite oils and surround yourself with candles. This will cleanse the body and the aura and guarantee a perfect nights sleep. I suggest you try some of the following oils frankincense (boswellia carterii) sandalwood (santalum album) rose otto (rosa damascena) jasmine (jasminum officinale) or ho wood (Cinnamomum camphora), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia/officinalis) chamomile german (chamomillia matricaria)

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Inhalations

This is an age-old method of treating ailments of the respiratory tract. Add 2 -6 drops of oil to a bowl of hot water cover head with a towel and breathe in for a few minutes. Suggested oils: myrtle (Myrtus communis), eucalyptus (various types), cedarwood atlas (Cedrus atlantica, cajeput (Melaleuca leucadendron), benzoin (Styrax benzoin). This will help clear nasal passages and ease a sore throat but may not be suitable for some asthmatic. This is also a good way to give the face a real deep cleanse. To get children to use this method I turn it into a competition counting how long they can stay under the towel, I suggest myrtle (Myrtus communis) as it is similar to eucalyptus in properties only gentler and calming, where eucalyptus is stimulating.

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Compresses

Add 5 – 10 drops of essential oil to a small bowl of warm water to relieve ear/toothache, muscular/arthritic/rheumatic pain. Use cold water for headaches, sprains or swellings. Simply soak a piece of clean cloth in the water, wring out, then lay the cloth on the body part, repeat, keeping the cloth cool or warm as required. A compress is ideal on long flights if you are prone to swelling. Use one of the many dishes that come with the meal for the oil and water, lemongrass (Cymbopogan flexuosus) is ideal and will also promote digestion, which is often affected sitting in airplane seats for long periods of time. Ginger (zingibar officinale), black pepper (piper nigrum), rosemary )Rosemarinus officinalis) are all ideal oils to use for muscular aches and pains. An oil that I have started to use more recently is origanum; while this oil is on the contra list and is not an oil that I would use on a regular basis for painful muscular pains this oil has proved to be extremely effective.

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Massage

This in itself is wonderfully effective in assisting with many commonly experienced ailments. When combined with essential oils you have an incredibly potent treatment. There are many doctors now recognizing the benefits of natural therapies, with aromatherapy slowly but surely taking its place as a highly regarded therapy. It is generally agreed that a 2.5% concentration of essential oils in a suitable base/carrier oil is sufficient for an adult, and 1.25% for children under 7, the elderly or during pregnancy.

So how do you work out a 2.5% concentration? Easy- whatever the size of your container i.e. if your bottle is 100ml, simply halve that (which is 50ml) and that is the number of drops to use. So, if you had a 60ml bottle you would add 30 drops of essential oil. This is very simply but it works, the number of drops is the total number used not the amount of each oil in the blend. To achieve a 1.5 concentration, you halve these drops

Storing of Essential oils

Essential oils should be stored in a cool dark area away from electrical appliances in dark glass bottles. The kitchen or bathroom are not good places as the temperature fluctuates considerably, however the wardrobe or linen cupboard is a good place and will lightly fragrance while also deterring moths. Always ensure that oils are out of the reach of children and replace lid immediately after use. It is best to avoid using plastic containers for your essential oil blends as the oils can melt the plastic, although if you are using products in the bath or shower it may be better to make up small amounts in plastic. Eclipse sell a range of shower gels in plastic, we have been making this product for many years and I have never had a problem with the plastic containers being destroyed, the only problem would be if you were wishing to re-use the container using a different oil blend as the previous aroma tends to adhere to the plastic.