“Physician, heal thyself,” the proverb instructs, as relevant today as 2000 years ago. Today we have more tools and techniques for maintaining our own health and well-being than ever before; and, as the cost of healthcare soars out of reach, preventive medicine and home remedies gain importance. The more we can prevent illness and heal ourselves, the more we can reduce the strain on the healthcare system, helping reduce the extortionate cost of medical treatment.
Essential aromatherapy stands out as one of the most effective and most widely neglected elements in our repertoire of everyday wellness practices. One noted naturopath points out, “Among all the natural healing practices to enrich and enhance our daily lives, skilled use of essential oils and fragrances certainly ranks as the easiest, least expensive, and probably most beneficial.”
The Essential Aromatherapy Essentials More or less in order of everyday value
1. Lavender, uniquely feminine-The most useful, adaptable, and feminine among the aromatic essentials. Nature has adapted lavender to assuage, alleviate, or cure the vast majority of women’s most persistent, pervasive health complaints. Named from the Latin word for cleansing, lavender works wonders on skin and miracles on hair; in fact, many naturopaths strongly recommend lavender as a safe, natural alternative to harsh chemicals for the treatment of lice and ringworm. Just as importantly, lavender relieves and prevents urinary complaints while it promotes healthy digestion and circulation. Lavender also relieves stress and anxiety, and it numbers among Nature’s greatest sleep aids.
2. Chamomile, soothing as a lullaby-Sweet, vaguely fruity, chamomile, a natural tranquilizer, has grown exceptionally popular among makers of herbal teas because of its soothing and calming properties. Many women claim chamomile stands-out as the only aromatherapy essential effective against pre-menstrual symptoms. Women report chamomile not only relieves the physical discomforts of menstruation-particularly bloating and cramps; they say it also diminishes irritability and mood swings. Biochemists suggest chamomile’s benefits for women probably result from its exceptionally high concentrations of phyto-estrogens, the female hormones in plants.
3. Sage, opens the doors of perception-The indigenous People of North America exalted sage above almost all other healing plants, using it in all of their cleansing rituals and including “a good saging” among all their rites of initiation for boys becoming men, girls becoming women, young men becoming warriors, and young brides preparing for childbirth. Comparable with some religions’ last rites, saging rituals frequently prepared the elders for taking their places along the great spirit path. Piquant, provocative, and decidedly earthy, sage very quickly passes the blood-brain barrier, stimulating the brain’s right hemisphere, which regulates imagination, emotion, and the entire psychic register associated with mysticism and spirituality.
4. Patchouli, all-purpose skin care-Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and nutrient rich, patchouli ranks high on the list of aromatherapy essentials for all-natural skin care. Patchouli essential oil relieves skin complaints literally from head to toe, working well as an acne treatment, because it kills bacteria which contribute to break-outs, and working equally well as an athlete’s foot remedy, because it kills the athlete’s foot fungus. Just as soothing as it is cleansing, patchouli relieves chapping and eczema; and it works as well to clear-up oily skin as it helps restore natural emollients to dry skin.
Lemon: The Most Essential Aromatherapy Essential
As the legendary folk song goes, the lemon tree is very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet; the fruit of the poor lemon may be impossible to eat, but it makes up for its flavor appeal with its cleansing, healing, and energizing powers. As a general rule, lemon goes with just about all things aromatherapeutic, and innovative domestic managers have yet to find a household task that does not benefit from liberal doses of lemon. Lemon does everything from disinfecting your cutting board to removing free radicals in your vital organs. Just as your grandmother advised, “Pearls with everything, dear,” so Mother Earth counsels, “Lemons with everything.”