Essential Oils for Summer Ailments
How to effectively manage ten common summer ailments with therapeutic essential oils.
As we head into the summer months filled with travel, outdoor projects and activities, it’s important to be prepared for the scrapes, bumps and bruises that oftentimes accompany this busy season. Therapeutic essential oils provide a simple and effective way to manage these ailments and may provide you with additional health benefits.
Therapeutic essential oils can be used to treat sunburn, repel insects, soothe indigestion and heartburn, and expedite the healing process of strains and sprains. Therapeutic essential oils possess a unique molecular structure, which allows them to penetrate cell walls, transport oxygen, nutrients, and the chemical constituents of the oil.
Therapeutic essential oils should always be diluted with an organic carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, olive or peanut. Generally, this dilution is ten drops of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil. With the exception of lavender and tea tree oil, therapeutic essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. When using therapeutic essential oils, it is always recommended that you consult with your healthcare professional. If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid using therapeutic essential oils unless under the supervision of a certified and licensed professional.
The following is a list of ten common summer ailments and the therapeutic essential oils used to treat them.
Athlete’s Foot can be treated with tea tree oil - an antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral. Add 15-20 drops to a footbath and soak your feet for fifteen minutes, three times per day. Be sure to thoroughly dry your feet and between your toes after each soak. Additionally, apply 2-3 drops on a cotton ball and dab the infected area.
Blackheads are caused by clogged pores. A facial steam using therapeutic lavender oil can be particularly helpful in removing blackheads. It can also be very relaxing, so use this treatment before bedtime. If you don’t own a facial steamer, add 5-6 drops of lavender oil to a two-quart pan of water and bring to steaming, over medium heat. Place a towel over your head and hold your face at least eight inches above the steam.
Bruises are a common occurrence during the months of summer. To reduce swelling and bruising; soak a cloth in cold water, wring out access water, then apply 2-5 drops of lavender oil. Hold on the affected area for approximately fifteen minutes.
Burns can be treated with lavender oil using the same method for bruises. Lavender oil is one of the few oils that can be applied directly to the skin. Add 2-3 drops to a cotton ball and dab the affected area.
Constipation can be caused by stress, hurried meals, inadequate roughage, lack of exercise and dehydration. Basil, Marjoram, and Rosemary have each shown the ability to assist with constipation. Each has additional therapeutic properties, which may help with other symptoms. A simple, yet effective, remedy is to apply 3-5 drops of either Basil, Marjoram or Rosemary oil to a carrier oil and massage the abdomen. Use a clockwise rotation as you massage.
Dry Skin is the result of a deficiency in skin lubrication. Relief can be obtained by using Lavender, Rose or Sandalwood essential oil. Lavender is herbal, Rose is floral, and Sandalwood is earthy. Combine with a carrier oil or fragrance-free skin lotion or cream, and apply to the skin.
Exhaustion and Fatigue can accompany busy summertime schedules. Geranium is a comforting and healing oil that assists in bringing balance back into the body. Add 10 drops to bath water and soak for fifteen minutes or combine with a carrier oil and gently massage the skin.
Insect Bites bring itching, swelling and redness. Relief may be found with Lavender or Tea Tree oil. Because these oils can be applied directly to the skin, the easiest method is to apply 1-2 drops to a cotton ball and dab the affected area. If there are numerous insect bites, add 10 drops of oil to the bath and soak for fifteen minutes.
Insect repellent can be made by combining olive oil or witch hazel with Clove or Citronella oil. Use ten drops of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil. Clove can be very irritating, so use with care. Place in a small spray bottle (glass is preferred, but not always practical) and be sure to shake before each use.
Muscle Aches can be eased with Black Pepper, Ginger or Marjoram oil. Add 2-4 drops to a carrier oil and massage the affected area or add a few drops to a compress and apply for 10-15 minutes. These are very warm oils and should be used with care. Avoid getting these oils around the eyes.
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to the sun’s UV rays and results in skin that is red, warm, and tender to the touch. Chamomile or Lavender oil can provide much-needed relief. Add 10 drops to bath water and soak for fifteen minutes or longer or add a few drops to a carrier oil and gently massage the affected area.
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Also see: Understanding Pure Essential Oils
Aviva also offers aromatherapy diffusers.