How to use Essential Oils from Trees to Support our Respiratory System and in Skin Care.

One of the many things I love about essential oils is how the effect on our body is connected to the plant itself and that plants action in life. Trees produce oxygen by their mode of respiration which supports us with our respiration, so, it seems natural for the essential oil from trees to support conditions that affect our respiratory system, like colds and coughs. When you breath in essential oils you can feel it in your body immediately, and this is particularly prominent with tree oils such as eucalyptus and pine. You can feel them cleaning and clearing as they pass from the tip of your nose deep down into your lungs. I feel my chest expand, even my posture changes and I will naturally be more open and stand taller – just like a tree.

Eucalyptus trees.

Everything is connected so it goes beyond the respiratory system, but it’s a good example of feeling for yourself in your body, how the oils can support.

Frankincense & myrrh have a less fierce action on the respiratory system, much more calming, helping to bring a gentleness back to your breath. They are a great support for conditions such as asthma, panic attacks, stress, anxiety and for use in meditation.

Click here for links to free gentle breath meditation audios, they are quick, simple and a very practical support for real life.

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Image care of Unimed Living

Frankincense is a great oil to scent the room with when you’re taking a moment to breath gently. Myrrh has a much subtler smell so is not so prominent in a burner, it’s quite sticky too so may be best avoided in diffusers incase it damages. I prefer to massage this into my wrists to support connection with myself. Click here to read my blog on using myrrh in this way.

Frankincense and myrrh are also examples of how essential oils can act on our bodies in the same way they do so as a tree in life. The essential oil comes from the resin that is produced by the tree when the bark is cut or injured. The resin is a sticky, thick, goo that covers the affected area and then hardens to seal and protect the damaged site, it’s a bit like the way humans bleed and form a scab to protect their bodies when the skin is broken.

Frankincense resin.

Can you see why frankincense and myrrh are used in skin care? The resin is healing the tree and the oil that is produced from the resin is used for it’s healing properties on our skin. Frankincense is one of the most popular ingredients in many skin care products. Myrrh is particularly affective in helping festering and difficult to heal wounds, especially in the mouth -it’s useful for mouth ulcers and popular in oral care for this reason (see my blog on gargling with myrrh for more details).  I also like to use myrrh on dry, hard, cracked skin, it’s the base of my blend for scars and usually appears in the skin care products I make -it has recently been working wonders for a client with bed sores.

Benzoin is similar to frankincense and myrrh, it is a tree that produces a resin that is made into an essential oil. It is very protective to the skin but has a very pleasing vanilla like scent that makes it particularly comforting to use for stress and anxiousness as well as in skin care.

I find that even the character of trees confirms how they work on the body. Large, tall strong trees like pines and firs and huge eucalyptus trees with tonnes of leaves are very expansive to the respiratory system, powerfully cleansing and clearing. Whereas the more delicate small trees like frankincense and myrrh work in a gentler way, supporting reconnecting when you feel out of sorts. Both are very powerful but different in action, a reflection of ourselves as humans; we all have different strengths and qualities that offer support in different ways.

Boswellia carteri tree
Boswellia carteri – the tree that produces frankincense essential oil from its resin.

You could not compare the delicacy of a flower that may last a few days or weeks to the strength of a huge oak that could live for generations. One is not better than another, for each brings a natural beauty that is needed. In this same way, we can appreciate each other for our natural qualities, we all have something to bring to this world of value and it is a true gift for humanity when we share ourselves in full.

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions.

A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).

To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.

I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.

Basil (sweet basil) ~ Supports digestive problems, another great oil for a tummy balm blend.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength. 

Basil essential oil

Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.

Caution ~ possible irritant to some in high dose.

Cardamom ~ Gently soothing tummy aches and nausea, supports appetite and is refreshing and comforting. A great oil for children, for travel sickness or for morning sickness.

Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.

Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.

Chamomile

Chamomile (roman) ~ Gentle, soothing and calming, great for very delicate skin, and skin conditions. Relieves itching, and allergies.  See my blog on Chamomile for Skin Conditons  for more details. A great oil for children.

Caution ~ Potential sensitivity to those with ragweed allergy.

Clove ~ Very powerful pain reliever, especially where there is nerve pain. Useful for toothaches and for warming and releasing aches and pains.

Caution ~ Maximum blend strength 1%. Sensitisation possible. Caution with hyper sensitive, diseased or damaged skin. Not suitable for children under 2 years.

Eucalyptus (globulus) ~ Powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains.

Eucalyptus radiata ~ this species of eucalyptus is more gentle than the globulus, so I would use it with children, elderly, or if someone feels the globulus is too fierce.

Frankincense ~ A fantastic skin oil, very good for dry and mature types. Also good for calming and focusing on breathing so very useful in a burner to scent the room and to help calm anxiety.

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Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women.

geranium essential oil

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. See my blog on Lavender Essential First Aid  for more details.

Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.

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Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.

Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.

Lemon essential oil

Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children.

Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds.  Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.

Myrrh

Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.

Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm.

Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin.

Leonardo da vinci flower study

Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.

Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.

herbs

Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

yarrow essential oils

Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. I will be launching my own range of essential oils very soon, in the meantime you can contact me to purchase: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

How to Use Essential Oils in the Car

I noticed my car smelt a little damp when I got in the other day.  This is not surprising considering the #weather in the UK the last few months -which seems like constant rain, and my car is just a little old thing so it doesn’t cut me off from the environment outside.

Anyway, I decided that apart from a clean it needed a little freshening up with some essential oils.  When I first bought the car, I didn’t like the smell, so I chose some strong, fresh, cleansing scents -Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemon -because I wanted something to overpower the current smell and to make an impact.  I literally just sprinkled drops of each oil throughout the various surfaces of the car.  The beauty of these oils is that as well as the refreshing aroma, they will have a cleansing and anti-microbial action in the car.  Later on I got a little lavender bag to hang from the mirror, this is a bag filled with lavender flowers which hold essential oil in them and produce a beautiful scent).  When I turn the car enough for the bag to swing, I get a little whiff of lavender from it. This is the one I have, handmade ‘by sally’ and available at www.bysally.co.uk, but there are plenty around, to choose from.

lilac butterfly bag by sally ~containing lavender flowers which hold essential oil in them to create the scent.
Lilac butterfly bag by sally ~containing lavender flowers which hold essential oil in them to create a beautiful scent.
After quite a while I stopped noticing the scent, so I sprinkled some lavender oil on to the bag to refresh the smell.  Every so often, when the scent fades, I will repeat this, and I will generally choose different oils depending on how I feel. I keep a couple of bottles in the glove box and on a long journey, I might sprinkle 2 or 3 drops of peppermint oil on the bag, as this will keep me perky throughout the drive.

Caution: Make sure you avoid any oils that have sedating properties, as this won’t work well when driving (avoid valerian, carrot seed, clary sage & vetiver).

Using essential oils to freshen the smell of your car is a lovely way to look after you and your environment, and I would say it’s preferable to the usual car trinkets as some of the ingredients I have come across include nasty chemicals.

You can also use lavender bags to freshen and scent your home; I have them in my wardrobe, and various draws and cupboards throughout the house.  Use the same technique of adding drops of essential oil every now and then to freshen them up.

Essential Oils and You

The intention of this blog is to share simple ways to use essential oils in every day life to support, nurture and cherish yourself.

I spend a lot of time at work talking to clients about how to use oils  (I work at a company that sells essential oils), and decided to record some of this advice for a wider audience.  Any feedback or questions are welcome, as I’d like to tailor it to your needs and curiosities and make it as useful as possible.

Essential Oils are a powerful tool that can support various issues from serious illness, to the common cold, to various stressful feelings in daily life to nasty skin conditions.  You don’t need to be able to afford an ‘Aromatherapy’ massage every week to appreciate the benefits of the oils.  If you’ve ever inhaled the essential oil from the Eucalyptus tree, then you will have experienced the very obvious, immediate clearing effect it has on your entire respiratory system, from the moment you sense it at the tip of your nose, right down into the depths of your lungs.  So, do not underestimate the effects a simple scent can have on your well-being, and because of their potency there are some safety issues that do need to be observed which I will cover.

As well as sharing many of the amazing properties of the oils and practical ways to use them I will also be highlighting the importance of You in the equation and the huge difference the way you are can make to the outcome.

For example, there is likely to be a noticeable difference in the way you and your body respond  if you were to (a) slap a bit of oil onto a sore knee each morning, if you remember, before dashing out the door & legging it for a bus or (b) come home, set a comfortable place up on the sofa, support your knee with a cushion and gently massage the oil around your knee for 5 minutes,  perhaps taking a moment to warm the oil before application and maybe even using a blanket to cover yourself so you can rest a while afterwards.

Hopefully you catch my drift, but it’s not necessarily about having lots of time to do these things, as the oils are very versatile, and as with the Eucalyptus effects noted above, they can be very quick to make a difference to the way you feel- just a dot on your chest can help you breath more easily.  I like to keep things simple and clear, and I always like to make sure advice I give to clients is useful to them  in particular.  I find taking a bath a gorgeous way to enjoy the oils, you may not particularly like baths, or you may not have a bath, so then there is another way to find for you to enjoy them…

Remember that the things I share with you in this blog are just tools for you to use to bring a little extra care, fun and nurture to your life and there are many other ways to do this, but the choice to really respect and appreciate how special you are comes from you.  You could bring just as much support and healing to yourself in the way you eat or cook, or the way you exercise or move your body.  Using the oils is just another way of getting to know yourself and what works for you.  For me, it is a really lovely, practical and effective way, to support myself, the scent can make me stop and notice something which helps halt the busy-ness I can get caught in, and choosing the method of using the oil makes me stop and say ‘what do I really want to do?’, instead of just doing the same old thing.  There are so many delicious oils to discover so you get to be creative even if it’s just choosing between lavender or rose in the bath…

Gentle Hermione