By Debra Duncan
Essential oils are becoming extremely popular as more and more people are embracing natural remedies for their health and wellbeing. They are gentle yet effective healing remedies that help bring balance to our mind, body and spirit.
There are a number of health and wellbeing issues where essential oils can be of great benefit. Some of these include: sleep challenges, skin complaints, respiratory conditions, muscular and joint discomfort, mood and emotional issues just to name a few.
One of the things I absolutely love about essential oils is how versatile they are. One oil can have many different benefits. For example Rosemary is known to improve memory, digestion, peripheral circulation as well as being a tonic for the lungs, and also promoting hair growth. It is antimicrobial and until quite recently hospitals in France would burn sprigs of Rosemary and Juniper to prevent the spread of infection. As I said, so many uses, so versatile!
Essential oils can safely be used by the entire family to promote health and wellbeing. Having said that, they are powerful and need to be treated with respect. Essential oils are up to 70 times more potent than their herbal equivalent.
When using essential oils there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration. Some oils are not recommended for children under a certain age. I don’t recommend using any oils at all with children under 3 months of age. If using topically, it is important to know the recommended dilution guidelines for different age groups and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. In relation to pregnancy, breastfeeding and certain health conditions, there are also some oils that should be restricted or totally avoided. Some essential oils can also interact with certain medications so if you fit into any of these categories it is a good idea to speak with a certified Aromatherapist first.
When used properly they are a wonderful healing addition to your natural medicine cabinet.
One of my favourite ways of using oils throughout the day when out and about is an aromastick (an aromatherapy inhaler). My kids often take one to school for a cold and cough or if they are feeling a bit anxious about something. An aromastick with Cypress and Lemon or Juniperberry and Wild Orange is great for the sniffles. For respiratory conditions where there is a lot of coughing I find a combination of both inhalation and topical application works particularly well. In this instance I will usually diffuse oils in the home and make a chest rub which helps tremendously. Steam inhalations (age 5+) with a couple of drops of oils are also an effective remedy for congestion and cough.