I’ll start this post by saying that by no means do I claim to be an expert herbal medicine guide to essential oils or herbs; I will however claim to be an enthusiast.
If you’ve been following along for a while then you know that I recently made the decision to upgrade my education and become a nutritionist, which is the perfect complement to my culinary education. But there are days when I ask myself “Bianca why would you start school during the summer months”, it still escapes me, but I digress. I have loved the learning process, knowledge is power and I feel myself growing stronger by the day!
Every module has taught me something new; but my favorite so far has been botanical medicine. The idea that Mother Nature provides everything we need to be healthy certainly balks at big pharma- and I love that; but it’s also pretty amazing when you think about it, medicine is all around us.
Botanical medicine is the art of healing with plants and herbs; also known as phytotherapy (phyto is Greek for plants) or botanical medicine. And this blanket term encompasses homeopathy and aromatherapy (healing with essential oils). The herbs can be taken as tinctures, teas, baths, extracts, oils and juices to treat ailments, from coughs and cold to heart disease. But, and there is a but, it’s important to check with your primary caregiver before you embark on an herbal regimen, as herbs can interfere with other medications.
Today I want to talk about essential oils and aromatherapy; and what consists of a basic essential oil kit. The first meeting with an aromatherapist will start with a diagnostic to determine such things as background, health, emotional state and lifestyle; and is often used in conjunction with massage (bonus!) where the aromatherapist will create a blend of oils tailored to your needs. Everyone has a different reaction to aromatherapy massage, some feel energized, while others may feel dead tired- just depends.
The following four oils are considered the most versatile of all the essential oils. Take note of both the common name and Latin (botanical) name; the same plant may have a multitude of common names, but only one botanical name; just keep that in mind.
Herbal Medicine Guide To Essential Oils
- Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
This essential oil has calming and soothing effects; and is used to treat skin conditions, aches, pain, conjunctivitis and sore eyes.
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus australiana or radiata)
Quite an effective decongestant, and used to treat respiratory problems, colds, flu’s, aches and pains.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Known to have antiseptic and soothing properties; and is used to alleviate headaches, insomnia, indigestion, colds, flues, depression, premenstrual pain (ladies!), insect bites, stings, sunburn and boils.
- Tea Tree (Melaluca alternifolia)
Antiseptic and anti-fungal, tea tree oil is often used to treat sore throats, cuts, acne, athlete’s food; and can protect against colds and flu’s.
Now the world of herbs and oils is a large one, and this barely scratches the surface; but I will say that I have stocked my natural remedy pantry with the aforementioned oils- if anything I’ll be ready for an impromptu massage!