Sunday, September 30, 2012

Essential Oils (Alphabetical order)

This is one of the research projects I did in order to gain my Aromatherapy Certification. It's a very brief overview of  32 widely used essential oils. Essential oils are so complex it's tough to fit all their uses in one paragraph. So don't think this is at all an end all look at everything these powerful oils are capable of!

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is an antiseptic and expectorant which helps fight off chest infections, colds and sinus congestion. As an antispasmodic it helps alleviate nausea. Because of its uplifting and cephalic properties it helps to relax muscles and fights off migraines along with fatigue. Right along with that it helps boost poor memory. Basil has also been shown to work as an insect repellent and helps alleviate insect bites.

The smell of basil is a bit sweet but with a little zing. Reminds me of an Italian herb garden with its herbaceous and earthy smell.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

Bergamot has antiseptic properties that help cleans cuts and wounds and also alleviates acne. Its antiviral properties help fight off cold sores, chicken pox and shingles. Bergamot has an uplifting scent with can counteract depression. It also works as a diuretic to fight off urinary tract infections.

Bergamot has a citrusy orange scent that is very refreshing and uplifting. I feel it smells even more “orangy” than orange essential oil. Also has a very energizing smell.

Birch (Betula alba)

Birch is known for being one of the best analgesics due to its high salicin content. This helps with pain from arthritis and rheumatism. Birch helps to increase circulation and is also an anti-inflammatory  As a diuretic and depurative, birch is helpful in cases of cellulitis, water retention, obesity and general help for the kidneys.

Birch has a very pleasant, sweet and mildly minty scent. Pretty similar to wintergreen and reminds me of toothpaste. Very refreshing, “clean” and uplifting.

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

As a sedative, Cedarwood helps to reduce stress and nervous tension. Its antiseptic and fungicidal properties help to alleviate dandruff and hair loss. Those same antiseptic properties also help fight off urinary tract infections, eczema and fungal infections. Most people know Cedarwood as an excellent ant and moth repellent.

The oil of Cedarwood doesn't smell much like actual Cedarwood, in my opinion. The oil has a much sweeter and spicier scent. Very pleasant and refreshing while staying a bit masculine. Very rich smelling.

Chamomile-Roman (Anthemis nobilis)

Due to its mild properties, chamomile is popular to use on babies. It’s analgesic properties help with everything from teething, skin conditions (diaper rash), and insect bites. Due to its calming and sedative properties it also helps nausea and headaches in adults and helps to calm babies down and allows them sleep. Also works as an anti-inflammatoryantidepressant and emmenagogue that helps PMS symptoms and just generally balances the female hormone system.

The scent of Chamomile is a bit much for me. Very sweet and flowery, herbaceous and a little woody smelling. A little goes a long way! I have grown Chamomile in my garden so the scent always takes me back to snipping off all those little flower heads.

Cinnamon Leaf (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum)

Cinnamon has very powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that help with conditions such as head lice, scabies and skin infections. Those same properties help with strengthening the immune system so helps to fight off colds and flu's. Cinnamon also helps stimulate the digestive system and fights intestinal infection.

Cinnamon is a delicious scent that is spicy, sweet and warming. The smell takes me back to a crackling fire at Christmas time. A very “edible” scent.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

Clary Sage is extremely beneficial for women due to its strong emmenagogue properties. In general, it helps to balance the female hormone system and also helps with cramps because of its antispasmodic properties. Clary Sage is also a cell regenerator and helps reduce wrinkles and aging skin. The soothing action helps with any type of skin inflammation. As an antidepressant, Clary Sage helps fight off depression, post natal depression, anxiety, stress and tension.

Clary Sage is slightly sweet with a strong herbal scent. Also has an edge to it that is sharp and biting. Has a feminine side that smells like floral perfume.

Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata)

Clove Bud is one of the most powerful oils for analgesic purposes. Most widely known for its help in numbing toothaches but also helps with muscle pain and pain in general. Also works as an antiseptic and cicatrisant to heal wounds, scabs and sores. Its antiseptic properties also help with respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and infectious diseases. The stimulant property helps with nervous fatigue and poor memory.

The scent of clove bud is spicy and sweet—the perfect addition to cinnamon for a lovely Christmas scent. Almost has a bit of a bitter after scent. Very delicious and brings up memories of a warm kitchen with baking cookies.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)

Eucalyptus is well known for its antiseptic and expectorant properties that are very powerful in helping fight colds, flu's, coughs, sinusitis and catarrhal conditions. It is also useful for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma because of its expectorant and also balsamic properties. Eucalyptus is uplifting and helps clear the head.

Most people think Vicks Vapor Rub when they get a whiff of Eucalyptus! Has a strong menthol scent and is also invigorating. Opens the sinus passages right up!

Fennel-sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a great oil for women as it is an emmenagogue and helps balance the female hormone system, specifically estrogen. As a galactagogue it helps promote milk production in nursing women. Fennel is also a cleanser and detoxifier which helps with cellulitis, water retention and helps the liver. Also helps fight off indigestion and flatulence.

Fennel has a very strong black licorice scent. Sweet but a little spicy as well and smelling it makes your tongue get that “coated” feeling.

Fir Needle (Albies siberica)

As an antiseptic, fir needle helps fight off urinary tract infections. It is very beneficial to use with respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma. Fir also has expectorant properties that help in conditions of coughs, colds, the flu and sinusitis.

Fir Needle smells like you just walked into a forest. Very strong pine scent. Uplifting and sweet. Very earthy with a woody and sappy scent.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Frankincense is very helpful in skin care. It helps decrease the signs of aging and reduces wrinkles. Medicinally, it helps heal infected wounds and inflamed skin. Frankincense has expectorant and balsamic properties that help with respiratory conditions such as asthma, catarrhal conditions and cough.

The scent of Frankincense is light and sweet but a bit spicy and also a touch of floral.

Geranium (Pelargoneum gravedens)

Geranium is great for skin care due to its antiseptic, astringent and cell regenerating properties that help with acne, aging skin, dermatitis, cellulitis, burns and wounds. Geranium also has properties that help with several female concerns such as menopause, infertility and endometriosis. Depression can also be eased by using Geranium due to its uplifting abilities.

Geranium has a very strong floral scent. Sweet but at the same time has a bitter undertone. Smells like a very strong floral perfume.

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger can help with all types of different nausea and digestive complaints due to its  antispasmodic, analgesic and stimulant properties. Everything from the flu, morning sickness, travel sickness and upset stomach can be soothed with ginger. Its antiseptic properties can also help fight off a sore throat and tonsillitis.

Ginger has a very warm and spicy scent. Very uplifting and delicious smelling. Almost has an undertone of citrus to it.

Grapefruit (Citrus paradise)

Great for stimulating the lymph, grapefruit helps fight off cellulitis, refreshes dull skin and as a drainer also helps with obesity and water retention. Toxic build-up in the body can be expelled by using grapefruit as it eliminates waste in the body.

Grapefruit has such a cheerful scent. Citrusy, bright, uplifting, sweet and juicy. You can’t help but smile when you take a whiff of grapefruit. Gives me a very contented and happy feeling.

Hyssop ( Hyssopus officinalis)

Hyssop is a great expectorant and antispasmodic which helps with asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. It also has balsamic qualities that help to soothe a sore throat. Soothing, vulnerary and cicatrisant properties of hyssop helps heal wounds, bruises and eczema.

Hyssop has a sharp almost minty smell but with a tang. Also very earthy and herbaceous.

Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Juniper works great as a cleanser and detoxifier that helps with conditions such as acne, dermatitis and eczema. It’s a great help in getting rid of built up toxins in conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and uric acid. As a diuretic it works to fight off urinary tract infections. Juniper also is considered a nerve tonic that helps with nervous tension and mental fatigue.

Juniper has a bright and sweet aroma but with a little pizzazz or zing. Also has a very fresh and outdoorsy smell.

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

Lavender seems to be a cover-all in the world of essential oils! It is one of the few oils that has antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral AND anti-fungal properties. Its antiseptic and cytophylactic properties help heal burns, bruises, wounds and eases conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, colds and catarrhal conditions. Great to have in the first aid kit! Its antispasmodic, calming and cephalic properties help fight off headaches, migraines, nervous tension and        insomnia. Also works as an emmenagogue to fight off PMS and soothe menopause.

The scent of Lavender is very much like the little purple flowers that the oil comes from just on a much more powerful level. Sweet, florally, herbaceous and a bit tangy. I feel it has a bit of a nip to it.

Lemon (Citrus limonum)

Lemon works as a great antiseptic and immuno-stimulant to boost the immune system during infectious diseases and promotes the formation of leukocytes. It is also an antiviral that again, helps with low immune systems and specifically the herpes virus. As a stimulant and tonic it is a great help to the liver and gall bladder. Cellulitis, obesity and water retention can be eased due to its draining and lymphatic properties. As an antidepressant lemon fights off anxiety and depression.

Lemon is one of my very favorite smells. So citrusy and juicy! Very sweet and bright. It’s like bringing a little bit of sunshine inside on a cold dreary day. Such a cheerful, refreshing and uplifting scent.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass has deodorizing properties that help reduce excessive sweating. Lemongrass is very popular in natural mosquito repellents  As an astringent it helps with acne and to tighten the pores. Can also be useful during digestive complaints because of its digestive and stomachic properties.

The scent of Lemongrass is, like its name, a bit lemony but sweeter and without the tang that lemon has. It’s a refreshing and sweet smell.

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)

As an antiseptic and balsamic, myrrh is great for aging skin and reducing wrinkles. Along with being an antiseptic myrrh is also an expectorant and anti-inflammatory which is great for asthmatics, catarrhal conditions, coughs, lung conditions and sore throats. As a fungicidal it is useful in treating thrush.

The scent of myrrh is a complex one. At first whiff it is sweet, but the after smell is medicinal and reminds me of a dentists office. Also a little spicy and minty.

Myrtle (Myrtus communis)

Myrtle has a short list of properties but works powerfully in those few areas. As an antiseptic it is great for the respiratory system, infectious diseases, and sore throats. Also great to fight off urinary tract infections. As a balsamic and expectorant myrtle helps soothe asthma, coughs and bronchitis.

Myrtle smells sweet but has a medicinal tone as well. Added in there you can find some floral notes as well as a little sharp edge.

Orange-sweet (Citrus sinensis)

Orange oil works as a digestive and stimulant to help with various digestive issues and flatulence. Also helps to stimulate the lymph system which helps fight obesity and water retention. As a sedative orange helps with hysteria, insomnia and nervous tension.

The scent of orange oil is softer than I would have imagined. Still citrusy, though, and juicy. Underneath the sweet smell you can perceive a little waft of tartness.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)

Palmarosa is another oil with a short list of properties, but important nonetheless. It is an antiseptic and cell regenerator that helps with acne, dermatitis, dull and mature skin, scars and stretch marks.

Palmarosa smells extremely florally to me like a strong perfume. Sweet but with a tinge of bitterness as well.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

Patchouli oil works as a fungicidal that helps with dandruff and various fungal infections.  As a tissue regenerator it helps with skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, chapped skin and wrinkles. Also is an antidepressant that helps with anxiety issues.

Patchouli has an extremely earthy and woodsy scent. I would describe it as a bitter earthy aroma. Also has a sweet yet biting edge.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Most people know peppermint to work as a digestive that helps with nausea and vomiting. It also is a cooling oil that helps fevers and sunburns. As an antiseptic, antispasmodic and decongestant is also helps to alleviate conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and catarrhal conditions. More properties of Peppermint include analgesic, cephalic and anti-neuralgic which help to fight off headaches and muscular pain. The stimulating and refreshing side of peppermint helps to counteract depression.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn't know the minty freshness of Peppermint. It is cool and stimulating like a blast of cool air. Gives the nostrils a bit of a tingle.

Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)

Ravensara doesn't seem to have been studied very much, but it seems to work as an antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic. It helps to soothe respiratory conditions and strengthens the lungs.

The smell of Ravensara is sweet with a little side of spice. Also a bit medicinal smelling with an undertone of fruit.

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is another of my favorite oils. It has many properties including antiseptic and cytophylactic that help conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, burns and wounds. It’s also an analgesic that soothes arthritis, muscle pain and some types of headaches. Rosemary works as a regulator and rejuvenator to fight against aging skin, wrinkles, dandruff and hair loss.  Respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma can be eased due to its antiseptic and   antispasmodic properties. Rosemary also helps to stimulate the brain and memory and helps with depression.

Rosemary is a delightful scent that is woody and herbal smelling with a hint of pine. Also smells a bit medicinal but not in a bad way. I find Rosemary to be very uplifting and refreshing.

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Sandalwood has healing and soothing properties that are useful for acne, dry skin, chapped skin and cracked skin. Its antiseptic and antibiotic actions help in cases of a sore throat, infectious diseases, cystitis and gonorrhea. As an antidepressant it fights off           depression and nervous tension. The analgesic and rubefacient qualities of Sandalwood are useful in cases of arthritis and rheumatism.

Sandalwood is a pleasant smell that is sweet and broad with a little bit of a masculine side. A little spicy, yet clean smelling.

Spearmint (Mentha cardacia)

As a cleanser, Spearmint helps with acne. As an antiseptic, antispasmodic and decongestant it helps with conditions of asthma, bronchitis, nausea, sinusitis and catarrh. It is also a calming oil with cephalic properties that can help certain headaches and migraines. 

As a mild febrifuge it can help to reduce a fever.
Spearmint is a lovely minty smell that is sweet and refreshing. Not as powerful as peppermint and has a bit of a flowery side to it.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea Tree is almost as well known as lavender and for good reason. It has many useful properties including as a cicatrisant, vulnerary and anti-fungal to help with things like abscesses, acne, skin irritations, rashes and dandruff. The anti-fungal properties also help with athletes food, Candida, fungal infections, ringworm and vaginitis. The antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties are also very useful for fighting off the herpes virus.

Tea Tree’s scent is a clean one with a distinct menthol and medicinal aroma. Has a bit of a spicy edge as well.

Thyme-Red (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is a very powerful antibiotic and antiseptic that does wonders in fighting off colds, flu, sore throats, infectious diseases and intestinal diseases. It is also a tonic for anemia and works as a great analgesic for arthritis, rheumatism and to increase circulation. Thyme’s stimulant properties help with cellulite, poor circulation, obesity, depression and a poor metabolism

Thyme has a very spicy and powerful smell. Reminds me of an Italian pizza kitchen. Also has an herbal side to it.

Bethany :)

*Disclaimer: In order to protect myself from people who might take this information and go a little crazy...I must say the following: I am NOT a doctor. I take no responsibility for what you do or not do with this information. My opinions and writings should not take the place of a  doctor...consult one of those if you need medical advice. Pretty much...please use common sense and I strongly suggest you do your own research as well. It's empowering!

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