Plants have been cultivated for their essential oils for more 6000 years. Plant essential oils possess healing, cleansing, preservative and mood-enhancing properties. Essential oils are extracts from a variety of plants with powerful medicinal benefits. The oils and vapour of essential oils can have remarkable effects on the skin as well as mental and physical well-being. When applied to our body, they have the ability to travel through our fatty tissue, body cells, blood, lymph, and organs, before being naturally excreted.
History shows that in 1665 when the great plague hit London the power of plants ruled supreme. To curtail the plague, pine, cypress, lavender and cedar were burned in the streets and sick rooms as well as carried as powerful antiseptics to curb the epidemic.
This situation is recorded in a jingle that is still popular to date as a nursery rhyme: ‘ Ring-a-ring o’ roses ( thought to be the red circles that appeared on the body as the first sign of the disease), a pocket full of posies ( Pine, cypress, lavender and cedar, carried to ward off the Plague). A-tishoo! A-tishoo!(the second stage of the disease), we all fall down’ ( or drop dead, presumably).
10 Essential Oils for Headache, Anxiety, Depression & Fatigue
1. CINNAMON( Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Known to be one of the oldest spices used by Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. This spice has a strong, spicy uplifting aroma and taste. The essential oil contains eugenol, a powerful antiseptic and aphrodisiac. Cinnamon is useful for fatigue and depression. It can be used for coughs, colds, flu, stomach ache and diarrhoea. It is equally good for low sex drive and may also help with impotence.
Use: Inhalation and Massage. Cinnamon is best used alone but mixes well with sandalwood.
Caution: Use essential oils in very low concentrations or under professional advice.
2. BASIL ( Ocimum Basilicum)
Popularly called sweet basil this herb has a piercing fresh smell. It was used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians as a general healing cure-all. The basil leaves are mildly antiseptic and can be worn around the ears to keep buzzing and biting insects at bay. The essential oil has strong effects on the mind: It is refreshing, uplifting, increases confidence, and clears the head- so it is particularly good for headaches, anxiety, depression and fatigue. It is also good for bronchitis, colds, fever, gout, indigestion, and reputed to soothe snake bites.
Use: Inhalation, Baths and Massage. Basil mixes well with geranium and frankincense.
Caution: It is a powerful depressant if overused and it also best to avoid during pregnancy.
3. GERANIUM ( Pelargonium adorantissimum)
The essential oil of this plant acts as both a tonic and sedative on the nervous system. It is antiseptic, it soothes and heals the skin, It has the ability to cleanse, refresh and balance any complexion. It induces sleep and alleviates mood. It is the best essential oil for relieving anxiety. It blends well with most other essential oils.
Use: Inhalation, Baths and Massage etc. Geranium mixes well with all oils but balances wonderfully well with rose or patchouli
4. JASMINE ( Jasminum Officinale)
Jasmine has one of the most exotic, rich, romantic aromas, but not overpowering. It used in all the great classic perfumes because of its effect on men and women. The enchanting Marilyn Monroe boasted that she wore only Chanel 5 ( which has strong jasmine note) in bed. Jasmine is a mood enhancer, lifting anxiety and depression.
Uses: Inhalation, Bathing and Massage. Jasmine mixes well with most other oils.
5. JUNIPER ( Juniperus Communis)
Juniper produces small yellow flowers and small purplish blue berries. Both the berries and leaves have a strong aromatic fragrance. Juniper is what adds flavour to gin and liqueurs. For centuries it was burned to ward off evil spirits and later the fumes were used in hospitals to kill germs. The essential oil is very antiseptic, stimulating and relaxing. It is good for stress, fatigue and lack of energy.
Use: Inhalation, Baths and Massage. Juniper mixes well with sandalwood, rosemary and lavender.
Caution: Juniper should not be used during pregnancy.
6. CLARY SAGE ( Salvia sclarea)
A member of the sage family. Clary sage should never be confused with SAGE( salvia Officinalis), which is one of the few toxic essential oils- it isn’t recommended for home use and should never be applied during pregnancy. However, the essential oil of clary sage has numerous excellent uses; it is a euphoric tonic, mildly antiseptic, and gently erotic. This makes it good for depression, insomnia, fatigue, general debility.
Use: Bathing and massage. Clary sage Mixes well with lavender, jasmine, sandalwood or ylang-ylang.
Caution: Both sage and clary sage should be avoided during the early stages of pregnancy
7. THYME (Thymus vulgaris)
This common low-growing wild herb was loved by ancient cultures. Egyptians incorporated the essential oils into their embalming fluids. The Greeks drank a herbal infusion of the leaves after banquets to aid digestion. It is very popularly used in most European countries to rid the home of pests like fleas, moths and all flying insects. The essential oil is an excellent stimulant as well as anti-bacterial. It also helps with fatigue, anxiety and headaches.
Use: Massage and Baths. Thyme is most effective used alone but should be used sparingly as it can irritate sensitive skin.
8. PATCHOULI ( Pogostemon patchouli)
Patchouli has a heavy, sweet-spicy, woody, intense scent. Its essential oil stimulates in small amounts and sedates when used generously. It has an uplifting effect for depression and anxiety and can help alleviate fluid retention.
Use: Inhalation, baths and massage. Small quantities will have a stimulating effect while larger does sedate. Often worn as perfume and used for erotic, sensual massage. Patchouli mixes well with rose, lavender or geranium.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Essential oils should be consumed sparingly and taken as medication. They are so potent, it is strongly recommended that you dilute before consuming or applying to the skin.
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