Aromatherapy - The ancient art of healing with herbs and oils.

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Aromatherapy - The ancient art of healing with herbs and oils.  

undefinedThe first question I am asked about using Aromatherapy is, Does it Work? My answer is often – Do you want it to work! Many are skeptical about the healing properties of essential oils but it is not surprising since we are brought up to believe that the only thing that is going to make you better if you are ill, are tablets and antibiotics from the GP. What we forget is that many of the remedies prescribed by the GP’s have their base in herbs and plants. One such example is Asprin which was originally derived from Willow Bark, used for its pain-relieving properties. Of course, modern medicine has made great leaps and bounds in helping people and each has its place in modern society.

Now, I am not going to argue here, whether the old or modern medicines are better or worse for you, you need to make that choice yourself. However, I hope to try to clarify a few misconceptions about Herbs and essential oils and their use.


As with Modern Medicine, Herbs and Essential oils do contain chemicals, Natural Chemicals. They are the makeup of the plant, the same as our bodies are made up of natural chemicals such as magnesium, iron, potassium along with other minerals. Essential oils may also contain chemicals which, in large doses, could potentially cause harm such as Limonene (found in the peel of most citrus fruits) but, Limonene is also used to make medicines. It is used to promote weight loss, treat cancer and bronchitis. It is also a known ingredient in medical ointments as it aids the penetration of creams into the skin and as a fragrance in various products. The same as modern medicines the correct dosage is needed if you are using herbs or essential oils as a medicine. 


Many of us use the plants, from which essential oils are made, in our cooking and have the plants in our gardens to pick fresh. Common plants, or herbs, are Mint, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Sage. We use Rosemary with Lamb, Mint in the accompanying sauce, Lavender as an aid to sleep, Thyme and Sage in our stuffing mix.  Essential Oils can also be used in cooking or blended with a base oil and other oils for baths, compresses, and massage.


undefinedMint (or Mentha) is a popular herb and has several benefits which include acting as a cooling agent, aids digestion, weight loss, nausea relief (as does ginger), depression, fatigue and the treatment of asthma. There are many products on the market that use Mint such as breath fresheners, chewing gum, toothpaste, and shampoos.


Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6. It can be used as a tea for headaches and was traditionally used to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory and boost the immune and circulatory system as well as promote hair growth.

undefinedSage has many antibacterial properties. It is used for digestive problems, loss of appetite, Flatulence, gastric discomfort, diarrhea, bloating and heartburn and memory loss. More recently it has also been used to lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is also known for the benefits of reducing hot flushes in menopause and painful menstrual pain. I also use a tea of Sage or Sage and Thyme when I have a cold or a sore throat. The tea can also be used when cold to gargle to relieve throat soreness due to its antibacterial properties.


Lavender, most people know about Lavender and use it for headaches and sleeping but, Lavender has many other uses. Lavender has balancing and normalizing functions for the body and emotions and can be used to ease muscular aches and pains in a bath or for massage.  It can also be used to treat colds and flu due to its antiseptic properties particularly when used in an inhalation blend to clear the sinuses. A few drops of Lavender Oil in a cold compress on the temples is soothing and relieving for headaches.  Lavender can also be used in your cooking, a few drops in your biscuit mix adds a lovely floral touch.

REMEMBER, to research the herbs or oils you wish to use before using them medicinally. You should be aware of the side effects particularly if you are pregnant or taking medication from your doctor. Always consult a herbalist or aromatherapist if you are unsure.

I hope you have found the information here useful If you are interested in learning more about the healing benefits of herbs and essential oils you can contact me for further details and also details of my on-line course and workshops coming soon.

Cundefinedhristine Craven

Complementary Therapist, Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Meditation and Yoga Teacher


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