Humans have been benefitting from aromatic plants for thousands of years, but we can all thank the baby boomers for the modern aromatherapy movement. Not ones to rest on their hippie laurels, the boomers began using aromatherapy as a medical and scientific study in the English-speaking world in the 1970s.
Most people assume that the normal response to smelling oils is strictly emotional, but there are many physical responses that happen when essential oils are inhaled. Responses like fat burning, appetite suppression, easing of muscle spasms, improved digestion and more.
I believe in a multi-faceted approach to healthcare. Traditional medicine has it's place, but so does mental healthcare and other holistic, all-natural remedies. Aromatherapy has helped me with my restless leg syndrome (so does my weighted blanket FYI), mood swings, depression and an alarming number of other fun issues that have come my way since my 40s and the onset of menopause.
I’m not going to get into the process of how essential oils are extracted and distilled, but if you’re interested, there's a lot of great information here on the How Stuff Works page.
Let me start off by saying that essential oils can be quite pricey, depending on the oil. Given that every drop of concentrated essential oil requires a significantly larger portion of fresh herb, fruit or flower, it’s not surprising. For example, it takes 50 or more lemons to produce one 15ml bottle of lemon oil. That being said, if you are looking for quality results, you’ll need to start with quality products. Since you are only using drops at at time, a tiny bottle will last for a very long time. When buying your oils, look for the following to ensure the highest quality:
Look for the botanical name on the bottle. Quality oils will always display the common and botanical name to avoid confusion with similarly named oils. (Lavender = Lavandula angustifolia)
Buy only pure oils, no added ingredients should be present. Avoid synthetic oils. I use Edens Garden Essential Oils.
If possible, go organic. Though organic doesn’t necessarily mean a better oil, they are better for the environment.
Avoid natural fragrance, fragrance oil, fragrance, or perfume. These are unnecessary additives if the oil is pure to begin with.
Essential oils don’t have a grading system, so ignore claims of “Grade” when buying. Listing a product as Grade A is merely a sales tactic. Sticking to the above criteria will ensure you are selecting a quality product.
There are many ways to use essential oils. The most common are simple application – mixing 1 or 2 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil and applying directly to the affected area; diffusion – using oil burners, electric diffusers, or room sprays; and inhalation – inhaling essential oils directly from the bottle or by applying to a cotton ball, or inhaler stick.
Always research the application and use of essential oils. Using them improperly could lead to serious harm, so take the time to find out how to use them safely.
Here are my top 10 recipes for peri-menopausal, menopausal, and post menopausal symptoms. I have used all of these along with traditional medical treatments and have had moderate to enormous relief of symptoms. I really don't know if it was the medicine, the aromatherapy, or the combination that worked, but I did feel much better so I'm not going to look a gift horse :)
These are essential oil combinations that worked for me and not a “prescription” for using oils. Please check with your doctor before trying any of these suggested oils.
*Most recipes below require a carrier oil to properly dilute the essential oil. Suggested carrier oils are Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil and Baobab Oil. I use Baobab and Jojoba oil in all of my aromatherapy mixtures but you can substitute them for any carrier oil.
Aches and Pains
10 drops lavender oil, 6 drops helichrysum oil, 4 drops eucalyptus oil, 2 tablespoons jojoba oil, 1 cup Epsom salts, ½ cup coarse sea salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 dark-glass pint jar. Combine the oils in a large glass bowl. Add the Epsom salts, sea salt, and baking soda and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into your jar. Add ¼ to ½ cup to a hot bath.
3 drops clary sage oil, 3 drops bergamot oil, 2 drops Roman chamomile oil, 2 drops geranium oil, 1 10ml rollerball bottle, baobab oil. Add all of the essential oils to the rollerball bottle, then fill with baobab oil (or carrier oil of your choice). Shake to blend. Apply to pulse points or breathe it straight from the bottle.
2 drops fennel oil, 4 drops cardamom oil, 4 drops grapefruit oil, 1 10-ml rollerball bottle, baobab oil. Add all of the essential oils to rollerball bottle then fill it up the rest of the way with baobab or other carrier oil. Shake to blend. Apply to pulse points and neck or breathe it straight from the bottle.
4 ounces filtered water, 1 teaspoon vodka, 20 drops clary sage oil, 20 drops geranium oil, 20 drops peppermint oil, 1 4-ounce spray bottle. Combine all ingredients in the spray bottle and shake to blend. Spritz on as needed for a cool down.
4 drops geranium oil, 3 drops clary sage oil, 3 drops cedarwood oil, 1 10ml rollerball bottle, baobab oil to fill. Add all of the essential oils to the rollerball bottle, then fill it the rest of the way with baobab oil or other carrier oil. Shake to blend. Apply to pulse points or simply breathe it in straight from the bottle.
2 ounces jojoba oil, 10 drops ylang-ylang, 5 drops fennel oil, 5 drops cedarwood oil, 1 2-ounce dark-glass bottle. Add all of the oils to the glass bottle and shake to blend. Massage a dime-sized amount onto your lower abdomen.
Restless Leg Syndrome
2 ounces jojoba oil, 10 drops lavender oil, 5 drops marjoram oil, 5 drips helichrysum oil, 1 2 oz. glass bottle. Add all of the oils to the bottle and shake to blend. Massage the mixture onto legs just before bedtime or whenever symptoms begin.
Source: Harrison, Jimm. Everyday Healing with Essential Oils. New York City: St Martin's Press, 2019. Print.