Using Essential Oils in the Laundry

There’s nothing new about giving the laundry the aromatic treatment. Our Elizabethan ancestors dried their clothes and bed linen on rosemary or lavender bushes to infuse them with the smell, and scented the water with orris root.

ClotheslineWe have many more possibilities, because although most of us haven’t seen a rosemary bush big enough to hang our double sheets over, we do have a multitude of essential oils which can be used in the washer, the dryer, or drawers and wardrobes where we keep our clothes. And it’s not just about making our clothes smell sweet, as we shall discover.

If you have a washing machine put 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil into the softener compartment. If hand-washing, put 2 drops in the final rinse water and swish it around. Avoid the resinous oils, and some of the heavier oils such as Rose which tend to cling to the clothes in the wash but are fine when drying or storing clothes.

WasherTo add a delicious fragrance to your wash try Lemongrass or Lavender. If you prefer a more exotic perfume, try Ylang-Ylang or Neroli. If winter colds have struck the household, put Eucalyptus Rosemary, or Pine in the wash. These oils are especially beneficial on bed linen to relieve coughs and catarrh throughout the night. If whooping cough is in the house, use Hyssop and Peppermint. If insomnia is the problem, Marjoram, Chamomile, and Orange Blossom will help to aid sleep if used when rinsing the bed linen or nightware.

To infuse clothes with an essential oil when putting them through the tumble dryer, simply add 2 drops onto a piece of fabric no larger than 4 inches square and pop it in with the clothes. Here are some oils you might try.

Fresh

Lavender; Bergamot
Rosemary; Pettigraine

Floral

Geranium; Neroli
Palma Rosa; Bois de Rose

Romantic

Ylang-Ylang; Jasmine
Rose; Vervaine

Ironing BoardYou may also like to utilize the essential oils when ironing. You can either put 1 drop of essential oil in a plant mister and spray the clothes before ironing, or put a drop on a damp linen cloth and place between the iron and the material. You could also put the essential oils directly into the water compartment of your steam iron, but essential oils are not water soluble and could leave a residue in your iron.

Essential oils can be left to infuse the clothes while they are in the drawer or the closet. Put a drop on little pieces of natural material or cotton-wool balls and place them between the clothes. Here is a lovely synergistic blend:

Clothes Sweetener

4 drops Bois de Rose
2 drops Geranium
3 drops Lemon

Mix in these proportions.

To keep moths away from your clothes use 2-3 drops of one of the following oils. These are particularly useful when coats and woolens are stored away during the summer months.

Moth Repellants

Lavender; Rosemary
Lemongrass; Citronella
Camphor

WardrobeSmall cotton balls with essential oils on them can also be put between the clothes in drawers. Drawer liners made with the essential oils are much nicer than their chemical aroma counterparts and are very simple to make. Cut paper to the size of the drawer –blotting paper or other types of absorbent paper are best- and dot with the essential oils. Then brush over orris root powder, which acts like a fixative, shake off and place in the bottom of the drawer.

Rose in the ladies’ underwear drawer would be appropriate, for example, and a relaxing, calming oil like Chamomile in the children’s nightwear drawer, and a stimulating one such as Grapefruit or Basil for the school clothes drawer. When colds are around, get your family to use handkerchiefs that have been left in a drawer with an antibacterial or disinfectant oil.

Shoe RackShoes should not be neglected. To freshen them up inside, put 2 teaspoons of baking soda into an egg cup and add 2 drops of Lemon, Lavender, or Rosemary. Mix this as well as you can, sprinkle into the shoes and leave overnight. Tap it out in the morning and your shoes will be fresh as new.

Sneakers and athletic shoes can get pretty pungent even if you don’t have a foot odor problem. Follow the method above, but use 2 drops of the following synergistic blends of oils to each teaspoonful of baking soda. By morning they won’t be the same wild things you left there.

Sneaker Tamer Synergistic Blend

2 drops Sage
5 drops Rosemary
3 drops Lavender

Mix in these proportions.

This Article was Adapted from:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All images from Google.com

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Buying Quality Essential Oils

Buying quality essential oils is the most important step of aromatherapy. If your oils are not pure, they can’t perform as well as they should; and can even be irritating to you. Remember aromatherapy works because of the properties of the oils, not the scent.

Lavener Oil With the popularity of essential oils increasing daily, it has become somewhat of a challenge to find good quality essential oils. Many marketers are diluting quality oils down to get more money from them or even worse; they’re passing off fakes as the real thing!

Caution and discernment must be used when purchasing essential oils. The most common thinning procedure combines our beautiful oils with kerosene to water them down, and fill more bottles. This can be dangerous if you are using some of the aromatherapy methods involving heat, not to mention who wants to inhale kerosene or rub it on their skin?

Here are some tips for ensuring you are purchasing quality essential oils.

  1. 1.       Know the fragrance of a true essential oil. There will be links at the end of this article where you can purchase quality essential oils, and I recommend buying from these retailers. If you have access to essential oils locally however, at least purchase one bottle from these sites to have a knowledge of what the oil should smell like for future shopping.
  2. 2.       Know the proper price range. A good way to tell if an essential oil is a fake is to simply examine the price tag. The oil I use as a standard for measuring others is Lavender. If their Lavender oil is in the correct price range, then you should be in the clear. Give everything a sniff as well to ensure that they aren’t trying to pass off a watered down oil for a real one.
  3. 3.       If you’ve already purchased an oil, test its flammability. Essential oils are non-flammable, so if one you’ve purchased catches flame it is either full of kerosene or other awful chemicals.

Ginger OilIf you follow these simple tips you will have a much more pleasant shopping experience, and will be able to use the oils you’ve purchased for aromatherapy (as opposed to just perfumery.)

I also can’t stress tip number one enough. There is only one way to tell for sure if an oil is true, and that is smelling it. The other tips give you hints, but the nose knows.

Remember to always smell oils before you buy them, and if the store won’t allow you to do so; they probably have fakes.

Links for Quality Essential Oils

Mountain Rose Herbs: My absolute favorite place to buy herbs, oils, and even baking soda. I would recommend this company to anyone.

Snow Lotus: This company is a little more pricey, but it is better to get the precious oils from this company because they make 10% dilutions to make them readily available.

All Images pulled from Google.com

Essential Oils in the Hallway

All of the doors of a home open into some sort of hallway. This area is where scents mingle and create the aroma fingerprint of the home. Since they are often windowless with poor ventilation, this aroma can hang around like a smog; and if it is not a pleasant aroma it can leave a bad impression with guests and can bring the moods of the family down.

A Lovely HallwayHallways need something pleasant and fresh, rather than the spice and herb aromas of the kitchen or more heavy scented oils we might use elsewhere. The citrus oils of Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, and Grapefruit are favorites for the hall. Good mixers with these are Geranium and Lavender; lavender is better in the morning, giving an uplifting aspect, while geranium is better in the afternoon when things are winding down for the day. Geranium is a wonderful choice when guests are due as well because it makes them feel good before they even sit down.

If someone in the house has a cold or flu add three drops of Rosemary to the citrus base and use with the desired method. Hallways can also become quite dusty from being high traffic areas, but the essential oils can make dusting and washing walls an (almost) enjoyable task. Simply add a few drops of essential oils to your washing water or one drop directly on your rag, and wash away. A good choice would be one of the oils above or one of the Bacteria Busters.

A Lovely HallwayA nice touch to add to your hallways is a scent appropriate for the season:

Recommended oils for Spring and Summer- Lime, Lemon, Geranium, Pettitgrain, Lavender

Recommended oils for Fall and Winter: Orange, Nutmeg, Benzoin, Frankincense, Cypress

Notice the Spring and Summer oils are light and springy while the Fall and Winter oils are warm and sturdy. The recommended methods of use in the hallway are listed below:

Candles– Light a candle and wait until the wax begins to melt, then add one or two drops of essential oils to the warm wax. Essential oils are inflammable, so be careful to not get them on the wick.

Diffusers– These are especially made for use with essential oils. There are all sorts of diffusers, some heated by candle flame and others by electricity, but it is important that the surface of the bowl section is nonporous so that it can be wiped clean and a different essential oil can be used later. The recommended dosage is 1-6 drops of oil in a diffuser bowl full of water.

Light Bulbs– The heat generated by a light bulb can be used to release the molecules of essential oils into the atmosphere. There are various attachments made of nonflammable material or metal which can be used in conjunction with light bulbs; or add 1-2 drops to a standing lamp bulb when it is not switched on and cool. Do not put the oil onto a light bulb which is already heated, as essential oils are inflammable. Make sure to not use more than 1-2 drops or it the oil may run down the bulb into the circuitry.

Humidifiers– Add 1-9 drops of oils to the humidifier water.

Radiators– Add 1-9 drops of oil to a cotton ball and lodge it by the pipe or somewhere where it is in contact with the heat.

Room Sprays– Use a new plant sprayer. Put in warm, but not boiling water, add 4 drops of essential oils per cup and shake before use. It can be sprayed in the air as you would any spray or on the carpets, curtains, and furniture, but do not let water fall on good wood, silk, velvet, or leather.

Water Bowls– Put boiling water into a bowl and add 1-9 drops of essential oils. Close doors and windows, and allow five minutes for the scent to permeate the room.

This article was adapted from:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All Images are Pulled from Google.com

Using the Aromatherapy Basic Care Kit

This post will show you how The Aromatherapy Basic Care Kit can be used to treat a wide variety of health problems, and the proper applications of oils for specific treatments.

Remember to check my previous post about using essential oils safely here before using any of the remedies below.

This is a very large post, if looking for a certain problem try using ctrl+f to find it quickly.

Abdominal Pain: Abdominal Pain should be checked by a doctor if it persists or increases in intensity because it could be appendicitis or another condition that needs to be properly diagnosed.

Upper Abdominal Area: Apply the following oil over the painful area in a clockwise motion.

3 drops Peppermint
2 drops Clove
diluted in 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Lower Abdominal Area: Apply the following oil over the painful area in a clockwise motion.

2 drops Thyme
3 drops Eucalyptus
diluted in 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Abrasions: Clean the area well with 5 drops of Lavender diluted in a bowl of warm water. Apply one neat drop of Lavender and leave to heal.

Abscesses: Make a compress by submerging a gauze pad into warm water and ringing until slightly damp. Apply the following oils and secure to the area of swelling twice a day using a bandage.

2 drops Lavender
2 drops Tea Tree
3 drops Chamomile

Dental Abscesses: Put 1 drop of Chamomile on a cotton ball and apply directly to the abscess. Also rub over the jaw and cheek area with the following oil.

3 drops Lavender
2 drops Tea Tree
diluted in 1 teaspoon carrier oil.

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The Aromatherapy Basic Care Kit

If I had to choose the ten most versatile and useful essential oils for the average home medicine cabinet, these would be they. Although these oils are chosen first for their medicinal properties and their ability to deal with a wide range of health complaints, you will find they are useful for a diversity of purposes from skin care to gardening and from home care to celebrations. The treatments outlined in this section are straightforward yet effective. Other useful additions to your care kit would be aloe vera, witch hazel, and rosewater.

Lavender

This oil is capable of many important jobs and is a delight to use. Every home should have a bottle of lavender, if no other oil, because it is so very effective in the treatment of burns and scalds.Lavender Flowers Lavender oil is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, and detoxifier which promotes healing and prevents scarring, and also stimulates the immune system and contributes to the healing process by stimulating the cells of a wound to regenerate more quickly. Although not known specifically as a circulatory stimulant, lavender oil certainly seems to allay the effects of clinical shock and as a mood tonic and antidepressant it helps to deal with the psychological shock of injury. It also has a multitude of other qualities which make it a truly indispensable oil.

Tea Tree

Tea Tree BlossomsThe antiseptic action of tea tree is thought to be one hundred times more powerful than carbolic acid- yet it is non-poisonous to humans! The Aborigines have been using this indigenous Australian tree in their medications for centuries, and today tea tree is the subject of a great deal of international research. Its impressive antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make it useful in a wide range of conditions. It is used in the treatment of candida and all sorts of infections, for ringworm, sunburn, acne, athlete’s foot, toothache, and pyorrhea, among other things.

Peppermint

Peppermint LeavesThis herb has been used by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Chinese, and American Indians, no doubt because of its extremely useful health-promoting properties. It is an excellent digestive, it helps the respiratory system and circulation, it is an anti-inflammatory, and an antiseptic. These qualities make it a good oil in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, bad breath, flu, catarrh, varicose veins, headaches and migraines, skin irritations, rheumatism, toothache, and fatigue. It even keeps mice, fleas, and ants away!

Chamomile

There are several types of chamomile essential oil. German Chamomile is an excellent variety and its beautiful deep dark blue color, due to its high azuline content, comes as a bonus. Another excellent variety, Roman Chamomile, is particularly good for the treatment of nervous conditions and insomnia. Beware of Chamomile Maroc (Ormensis multicaulis) which is not a tue chamomile and cannot be used as such

German ChamomileAlthough chamomile is anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and disinfectant, it is most valued for its anti-inflammatory properties.  These apply to internal conditions like rheumatism, as well as external inflammations. Chamomile is indispensable if you have children because it can be used for teething troubles and in the bath to ease nerves and tetchiness.

Chamomile is used in the treatment of burns including sunburn, psoriasis,   eczema, asthma, hay fever, diarrhea, sprains and strains, nausea, fever, and all nervous and depressive states. Its analgesic, diuretic, sedative, and calming properties make chamomile an extremely desirable oil. For kicking the tranquilizer habit it is invaluable, and in anorexia nervosa it is extremely helpful. As if this weren’t enough, chamomile is used in rejuvenation treatments.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has been distilled from at least 1788 when two doctors, John White and Dennis Cossiden, distilled Eucalyptus piperata for its use in treating chest problems and colic. This was in Australia where the Blue Mountains of New South Wales are so called because of the extraordinary blue haze that exudes from the resin of the eucalyptus gum, Eucalyptus Leavesand envelops the whole landscape. In such a powerfully aromatic environment, the medicinal qualities of this ancient tree would be hard to miss.

Eucalyptus is a marvelously versatile and useful oil. It cools the body in summer and protects in winter. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic, diuretic, analgesic, and deodorizing. Research has proved its antiviral properties as well. It is best known for its effectiveness against coughs and colds but is equally effective in the treatment of cystitis, candida, diabetes, and sunburn, while also being useful in veterinary care and as an insect repellent. There is a wide range of eucalyptus varieties, any one of which would be a useful addition to the Basic Care Kit.

Geranium

Geranium is one of my favorite oils because it works profoundly on the emotions and is useful in many medical conditions -and smells wonderful while it works so hard. The oil is not extracted from the species Pelargonium -Geranium Robert or “lemon plant”- which is very often displayed in abundance in Greek restaurants.

Rose GeraniumGeranium will make chilblains disappear overnight and brings a radiant glow when used in skin care. More importantly, it is a vital component in the treatment of endometriosis , is very effective for menopausal symptoms, diabetes, blood disorders, throat infections, and as a nerve tonic, and works as a sedative. It is reputed to help in cases of uterine and breast cancer and if nothing else, would certainly help the patient to relax and cope with the pain.

Geranium has many applications, from frostbite to infertility, and its antiseptic and astringent properties contribute to its usefulness. Its delightful floral fragrance makes it a pleasure to use, either on its own or as a contributory oil in a blend.

Rosemary

Rosemary BlossomsRosemary is both a physical and mental stimulant, which makes it a good oil to have in the morning bath, while also being excellent in the treatment of all muscular conditions, making it the perfect herb for a bath after a long tiring day. This antiseptic oil is used in the treatment of muscular sprains, arthritis, rheumatism, depression, fatigue, memory loss, migraine, headaches, cough, flu, and diabetes among other conditions. It is also very useful in beauty treatments, being used in hair care, as well as acne and cellulite remedies. For the sportsman, cook, and gardener, rosemary is invaluable.

Thyme

There are many types of thyme, some of which can be used safely in all situations and some which cannot. Thyme has notable antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic, and diuretic properties and should be used with great care. Thyme FlowersOveruse of it can stimulate the thyroid gland and the lymphatic system. Like many good things, it must be used in moderation. It should never be applied to the skin undiluted and should not be used on children unless in the chemo-type Thyme Linalol.

Thyme is a vital component of the Basic Care Kit because of its powerful antiviral properties. When flu is around it is a wonderful oil to have on the room diffuser. It assists in the elimination of toxic wastes from the body. It is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including whooping cough, warts, rheumatism, neuralgia, fatigue, and acne. It is also extremely useful in antiseptic powders, hair and skin regimes, and cooking. Just to make it a perfect all-rounder, thyme will discourage all manner of parasites and insects from your home.

Lemon

When our adventurous seafaring ancestors sailed the high seas, fresh lemons saved them from getting scurvy. For modern stay-at-homes, the essential oil of Lemonslemon is just as useful as a water purifier. This antiseptic and antibacterial oil will perform many tasks when used in blends, including treating verrucas, insect bites, and tension headaches. It has a tonic action on the lymphatic system and a stimulating action on the digestive system. It will assist you to slim, help disperse cellulite, and keep wrinkles at bay. Its contribution to synergy makes it particularly useful in blends, while it is indispensable as fragrance and flavoring agent.

Clove

Clove oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic and is a good oil for the Whole Clovesprevention of disease and infection. Being a spice, it can easily be incorporated into your cooking. It is best known as a quick cure for toothache although it is equally useful in digestive problems and muscular disorders. It can be used in the treatment of asthma, nausea, and sinusitis, and as a sedative. Clove is a powerful oil that has been used in the sterilization of surgical instruments. It should not be used undiluted on the skin.

Be sure to view my previous post on safely using essential oils here.

For uses of the Aromatherapy Basic Care Kit click here.

This article is a collection of excerpts from:

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All images pulled from Google.com

Safety when Using Essential Oils

Essential Oils are highly concentrated chemicals with complex structures. They are powerful, so care must be used when working with them.

Ginger OilMany drugs come from the volatile compounds found within plants; and, like drugs, if used too frequently, or at the wrong time, they can do more harm than good.

Unless you are certified in aromatherapy, essential oils should be used externally only due to many being toxic if ingested.

The following oils should only be used in moderation and for short periods at a time:

Basil, Bay, Camphor, Juniper, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Hyssop, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Thyme, Valerian, Tuberose

A few oils are phototoxic which means they can cause senstivity to sunlight. Be cautious with them on the skin if you are exposed to sunlight frequently.

They are listed below:

Angelica, Bergamot, Citronella, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, Lemon Verbena

Lavender and Nutmeg OilsIt is a good idea to not use any essential oils during pregnancy unless under the care of an experienced therapist, but these oils should particularly be avoided:

Angelica, Basil, Birch, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Yarrow

Although most essential oils can irritate the skin when undiluted, these oils are particularly irritating. Make sure to dilute them very well before using on the skin:

Angelica, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena, Nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint

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