From Antiseptic to Aphrodisiac
For more than 6,000 years, mankind has been acquainted with the wonderful effects of natural essential oils, their healing and purifying properties and unique fragrances.
For centuries, essential oils have served as symbols of wealth and were highly valued as gifts. In Egypt, they were used to disinfect the air, provide skin care, and for aromatic baths. In India they believed that scents opened the soul and tuned the mind. Hippocrates recommended daily aromatic baths to his patients and essential oils for healing massage. It is said that he used aromatic fumigation to rid Athens of the plague.
The modern history of aromatherapy began in the early 20th century, when the French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefossé, accidentally burned his hand in his laboratory and dipped it into the nearest jar of liquid, a jar of lavender oil. To his surprise, the burnt hand healed much quicker than usual, with no scars. This attracted Gattefossé’s attention and he began to study the properties of lavender oil in more detail. The results of his research were published in his book, Aromatherapy, still in print.
Scents are an inseparable part of our lives because they have a direct connection with us. Once the nose has gathered information about an aroma, it sends a report directly to your brain. This process bypasses the central nervous system and the areas of the brain that control reasoning. Instead, the nose sends its fragrance facts to a very old part of your brain called the Limbic system.
The Limbic system also directly communicates with glands called the hypothalamus and pituitary. Both of these are considered ”master glands” because they regulate so many body functions. Through these glands, your sense of smell reaches all your various hormones and your immune system. The main areas to where this information is relayed are those body functions that work automatically, not controlled by your will or reason: appetite, digestion, sexual arousal, memory, body temperature and heartbeat.
Each essential oil possesses diverse properties due to its complex composition, but it also has much in common in many other ways with all essential oils:
• Kill bacterial, viral & fungal infections, reduce inflammation
• Beneficial influence on the nervous system, emotions &mental health
• Tone and moisturize the skin and hair
• Renew the body’s mechanism to self-regulate
• 70% remove skin blemishes after burns and injuries
• 65% have antiseptic properties
• 60% act as aphrodisiacs
• 60% decrease sinus and lung congestions
• 50% normalize blood circulation
• 40% have beneficial effect on digestion
• 30% promote elimination of toxins and neutralize poisons
• 30% restore & increase the body’s immune system activity
Because of their high concentration, essential oils should be used with some care; never apply undiluted oil directly to skin or mucous membranes. It should always be diluted with a carrier oil for topical application. Two common oils typically used as carrier oils are avocado and jojoba. Always check first to see if you are allergic to an essential oil before using. Apply a small amount of the diluted essential oil to the inside of your wrist or elbow and watch for a reaction such as redness, itching, warmth or sensitivity to the skin over the next 12 to 24 hours. Phototoxic reactions such as rash or blistering may occur when using citrus peel oils such as lemon and orange during prolonged exposure to sunlight. Ingestion of an essential oil is only recommended after consulting a doctor. Use during pregnancy or in the case of epilepsy should only be carried out under professional medical guidance. Essential oils must be kept tightly closed, in a dark place and out of the reach of children.
1. VIVASAN Product Reference
2. Aromatherapy for Dummies by Kathi Keville, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 1999.
3. Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy: The First Book on Aromatherapy (Paperback)
by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, ed. Robert B. Tisserand, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, England 1993
For more information, contact Lana Nickerson at 775-826-VIVA, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.