For most of my life I've been involved in herbalism both professionally and in my daily life. To me herbalism - whether practiced by a home herbalist, professional herbalist or someone who just enjoys herbs - embraces all uses of herbs from adding interest and colour to gardens to healing illness.
One very popular and beneficial way to use herbs is utilizing their essential oils for massage, healing, and to provide a pleasant and aromatic atmosphere in the home. Although the term 'Aromatherapy' was not adopted until the twentieth century, the use of essential oils for healing has been known for thousands of years. Around two thousand years ago Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, understood the benefits of aromatic baths and massages for restoring mental and physical health.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy are not only distilled from herbs but also from trees, flowers, and bushes. I frequently use these delightful oils when prescribing treatment for my patients and at times the treatment wouldn't have been successful without their addition. Balancing mind, body, and spirit is so important for treating all conditions whether the primary concern is physical or mental. All cases must be treated holistically.
Following are some wonderful remedies made with essential oils.
To clean scrapes and cuts add 2 drops each of the essential oils of tea tree, bergamot, and lavender to 90mls of filtered or distilled water.
For minor burns add 10 drops of the essential oil of lavender to 90mls of almond carrier oil.
To ease aches and pains add 20 drops of of lavender, 15 drops of orange, and 10 drops of marjoram to 90mls of olive or sweet almond oil.
Bruises can be treated with 20 drops of lavender, 10 drops of sandalwood and 15 drops of juniper added to sweet almond oil.
To help induce a restful sleep add 2 drops each of lavender, sandalwood, and orange to a warm bath or to 90ml of sweet almond oil to use for a relaxing massage.
Some of my favourite blends include these for babies:
To help heal and prevent nappy rash add 20 drops of lavender to 90mls of olive oil and apply at each nappy change.
For cradle cap blend 20 drops of cedarwood to 90mls olive oil and apply after each bath or whenever baby's hair is washed. Dry the scalp well before applying.