Aromatherapy is one of the main complementary therapies to be practiced by nurses and other health care professionals in hospital, hospice, and community settings. Written by a nurse, this clinical text highlights how aromatherapy can enhance care and the role health care professionals play in its practice. It examines key facts and issues in aromatherapy practice, and applies these within a variety of contexts and conditions, taking a carefully holistic approach in dealing with the patient.

Aromatherapy has been around for ages, and it has been proven – many times around – that it does wonders for body and soul!

At Mom Knows Best Online Aromatherapy, you can find out all about this art and science. From the basics of aromatherapy to the different essential and carrier oils – you can’t find a better source of information!

Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, refers to a range of traditional, alternative or complementary therapies that use essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds.

Essential oils have been used for nearly 6,000 years, with the aim of improving a person’s health or mood.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing.”

In 1997, the International Standards Organization (ISO) defined an essential oil as a “product obtained from vegetable raw material, either by distillation with water or steam, or from the epicarp of citrus fruits by a mechanical process, or by dry distillation.”

A range of essential oils have been found to have various degrees of antimicrobial activity and are believed to have antiviral, nematicidal, antifungal, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties. Aromatherapy applications include massage, topical applications, and inhalation.

However, users should be aware that “natural” products are also chemicals, and they can be hazardous if used in the wrong way. It is important to follow the advice of a trained professional when using essential oils.

What do essential oils do?

Different oils have different uses and effects.

  • Basil essential oil is used to sharpen concentration and alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. It may relieve headaches and migraines. It should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Bergamot essential oil is said to be useful for the urinary tract and digestive tract. When combined with eucalyptus oil it may help relieve skin problems, including those caused by stress and chicken pox.
  • Black pepper essential oil is commonly used for stimulating the circulation, muscular aches and pains, and bruises. Combined with ginger essential oil, it is used to reduce arthritis pain and improve flexibility.
  • Chamomile essential oil can treat eczema
  • Citronella essential oil is a relative of lemongrass and acts as an insect repellent
  • Clove essential oil is a topical analgesic, or painkiller, that is commonly used for toothache. It is also used as an antispasmodic antiemetic, for preventing vomiting and nausea, and as a carminative, preventing gas in the gut. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antifungal properties.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve the airways during a cold or flu. It is often combined with peppermint. Many people are allergic to eucalyptus, so care should be taken.
  • Geranium essential oil can be used for skin problems, to reduce stress, and as a mosquito repellant.
  • Jasmine essential oil has been described as an aphrodisiac. While scientific evidence is lacking, research has shown that the odor of jasmine increases beta waves, which are linked to alertness. As a stimulant, it might increase penile blood flow.
  • Lavender essential oil is used as an antiseptic for minor cuts and burns and to enhance relaxation and sleep. It is said to relieve headache and migraine symptoms.
  • Lemon essential oil is said to improve mood, and to help relieve the symptoms of stress and depression.
  • Rosemary essential oil may promote hair growth, boost memory, prevent muscle spasms, and support the circulatory and nervous systems.
  • Sandalwood essential oil is believed by some to have aphrodisiac qualities.
  • Tea tree essential oil is said to have antimicrobial, antiseptic, and disinfectant qualities. It is commonly used in shampoos and skin care products, to treat acne, burns, and bites. It features in mouth rinses but it should never be swallowed, as it is toxic.
  • Thyme essential oil is said to help reduce fatigue, nervousness, and stress.
  • Yarrow essential oil is used to treat symptoms of cold and flu, and to help reduce joint inflammation.