Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from plants for both physiological and psychological treatment. Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that began when people of early civilizations began discovering the healing properties of plants.
The term "aromatherapy" was first used by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist in 1928. Gattefossé was working in his family's Operfumier business when he accidentally discovered that lavender caused a severe burn on his hand to heal more rapidly and without scarring. Another of his observations was that essential oils in their whole state were more effective than synthetics or any of the isolated active ingredients of the oils. Another French scientist, Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils to successfully treat both medical and psychiatric disorders. The first actual aromatherapy clinics were established in Paris, Britain, and Switzerland by Madame Marguerite Maury.
Essential oils are not oils as we generally think of oils. Most of them have a very light texture and evaporate quickly. Essential oils are found in all the various parts of plants including the bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seed, wood, resin, and balsam. Some plants produce rather large quantities of oil, some have very low content. Take for example one of the most popular oils, rose. There is so little aromatic content in rose flowers that it a ton of petals produces only 10.5 ounces (300g) of rose oil. It's important to note that essential oils should virtually never be applied directly to the skin until mixed in a carrier oil. Carrier oils are pure gentle oils, such as sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil that "carry" the essence to the skin.
Today, essential oils are extracted from the plants used for aromatherapy, making them very concentrated. The two basic ways aromatherapy is accomplished is by applying the oils to the skin and by inhalation. The term "aromatherapy" can be a bit misleading because it's not only the aroma that is therapeutic. The oils also interact with body chemistry directly, thus affecting certain systems and organs.
To treat irregular periods - mix the rose oil in a carrier oil and massage the abdomen and lower back daily.
To treat depression - inhale, or use a rose oil in a carrier oil to massage the chest, neck and face.