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Essential Oils for Common Ailments

by Karyn Siegel-Maier

The power of scent as a healing tradition dates back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Chinese.  Today, more than ever, the use of aromatic plant oils has become a popular and effective way to restore balance to our hectic and often stressful lives.

Essential oils can be employed in massage work, the bath, or even inhaled from a tissue.  When using essential oils, always dilute them in a quality carrier oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba oil - about 1 drop of essential oil to every half ounce carrier oil.  For a bath, add 10-12 drops essential oil to a tub of warm water.  For a foot soak, add 6-8 drops essential oil to a bowl of warm water.  For inhalation therapy, 1 drop on a tissue or cotton ball will suffice.

The Science Behind the Scent

Recent studies confirm what herbalists and aromatherapists have long known - plant-derived scents can soothe and heal.  And, each plant has its own distinctive scent with its own healing properties.  For instance, one study found that estragole, a compound found in fennel, tarragon and basil, is "active on nerves" and could ease back pain and inhibit inflammation of the sciatica nerve, the longest nerve of the body which runs from the back down the leg.


Researchers at the University of Northumbria in England discovered that lavender calms the brain and "impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks."  For this reason, lavender has long been used to lull the wakeful into peaceful sleep.

The same researchers found that the scent of rosemary has the opposite effect of lavender and many be useful to enhance memory recall.  The scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors."






Essential Oil Guide


  Insomnia ~ Lavender
  Fatigue ~ Rosemary, Lemon, Clary-Sage
  Muscle Aches ~ Rosemary, Lavender, Basil
  Stress ~ Basil, Lemon, Grapefruit
  Cramps ~ Marjoram, Basil, Black Pepper, Hyssop
  Congestion ~ Eucalyptus, Wintergreen
  Headache ~ Chamomile, Lavender
  Memory ​
~ Rosemary, Lemon, Clary-Sage

  Nausea  ~ Chamomile, Sage, Basil

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