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What Are Essential Oils

Essential oils are volatile oils, that are extracted from parts of the plant. Essential oils can be used for therapeutic treatment. It is best to use essential oils as external remedies only. They blend well with oils and ointments suited to external application, which are absorbed readily through the skin and vaporize easily for inhalation. When inhaled they can affect an individual's mood or feelings and at the same time cause physiological changes in the body. Essential oils stimulates certain systems of the body while relaxing others. It is necessary to take care and caution while using these oils.


A Few Safety Guidelines

Sensitive Skin: A few essential oils may cause skin irritation, for those people who have very sensitive skin. Put a few drops of the essential oil mixed with the base oil on the skin, and put a plaster on the same. Leave for a hour. If irritation or redness occurs, reduce the concentration of the oil by adding more of the base oil.

Some essential oils are photo toxic, they cause skin pigmentation when exposed to direct sunlight. Angelica root, bergamot, cumin, ginger, lemon, lime, loveage, mandarin and verbena are few such essential oils

Neat Application Essential oils must always be applied by diluting it in a carrier oil. Oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, sandalwood can be used directly.

Avoid hyssop, rosemary, sage and thyme if suffering from high blood pressure

Avoid fennel, hyssop, rosemary and sage essential oils if suffering from epilepsy, as they have powerful action on the nervous system.

During pregnancy its best not to use any essential oils, because of the sensitivity of the growing child.

Avoid angelica oil in case of diabetes


Aromatherapy Essential Oils


Essential Oils oils are used in the following manner for therapeutic treatment

  • Massages

  • Baths

  • Vaporization


Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin, they should always be mixed with carrier oils such as Almond oil, Grape seed oil, Apricot oil and Evening Primrose oil.

They should be diluted in the ratio of  5 to 20  drop of essential oil to 100 ml of  carrier /base oil.

Different essential oils have different properties.


Add  7 to 10 drops of essential oil to the bath water and enjoy a relaxing and refreshing  bath.


A vaporizer / diffuser is used for this purpose. Water is put into the cup and a few drops of essential oil is added. A candle or oil wick is lit under the cup and the vapors of the essential oil spread into the room spreading a beautiful aroma.

Essential oils are often described by their "note". The three categories of classification are top note, middle note and base note, and these terms relate to the rate at which they evaporate - or how long the fragrance will last.

Top Notes are the most stimulating and uplifting oils. They are strongly scented, but the perfume lasts only for approximately 3 - 24 hours.

Examples of  top note oils are:

  • basil

  • bergamot
  • clary sage
  • eucalyptus
  • lemongrass
  • neroli
  • peppermint
  • sage
  • thyme.

Middle Notes are the next longest lasting, at about 2 - 3 days, and affect the metabolic and body functions. The perfume is less potent than that of top note oils.

Examples of middle note oils are:

  • chamomile
  • fennel
  • geranium
  • juniper
  • lavender
  • rosemary

Base Notes are the slowest oils to evaporate, lasting up to one week. They have a sweet, soothing scent and a relaxing, comforting effect on the body.

Examples of base note oils are:

  • cedarwood
  • clove
  • frankincense
  • ginger
  • jasmine
  • rose
  • sandalwood


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The information on this page has been compiled from published sources. Oswal Syndicate does not seek to give advice, for the use or sale of any product for medicinal purposes, you should seek advice from your health-care practicioner.

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