By Jana klosterboer
When giving gifts to friends and loved ones, one beautiful and economical way to share is to share of yourself. I love the excitement of giving something that I have made to someone else, and I also love getting something that someone else has put together with me especially in mind.
When considering handmade gifts, often people get stuck, because they think that they don’t have the talent or the time to make something. I can offer personal testimony to the fact that the thought and attention given to another matters so much more than the talent displayed in the gift. The poem (if you want to call it that) that I wrote my dad telling him thanks for hanging in there with me will certainly never win any awards, but it was framed and treasured, foibles and all. My kids have drawn, written and pasted many beautiful keepsakes together for me through the years. All brought tears to my eyes.
This year I will be putting together bath salts, body mists, scrubs and powders, massage oils and room sprays for those people I have on my gift list. I invite you to give it a try also.
The use of essential oils, the volatile (smelly) oils found in plant leaves, flowers, bark and fruits, for health and wellbeing is what aromatherapy is all about. These oils can be absorbed through the skin, the nose or the digestive system.
Think of the fresh scent of pine as you walk through the forest on a warm sunny day, the uplifting aroma from the orange peel of or the pungent, savory scent of rosemary leaves, freshly crushed in your hand. In each of these cases, the “essence” of the plant has been released and you are breathing in the essential oil.
These oils have been shown to have a variety of properties, such as relaxing, anti-inflammatory or uplifting, depending on the plant they came from. Most essential oils are generally considered to be antimicrobical and antioxidant to varying degrees; one job the plant essence plays in the plant itself is to help keep pests, disease and decay at bay.
Recipes From the Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Deck
These recipes are merely a starting place, a safe way to get started. Play around with the ratios and the ingredients. The only thing that I would ask you to adhere to is the total amount of essential oil for each item. More is not necessarily better!
Massage and Bath Oil
Add 10 drops of essential oil for every one ounce of carrier oil. (Carrier oils are non-evaporating oils such as apricot, grapeseed, almond or even olive oil, that “carry” the essential oil.)
Deep Relaxation: 6 drops chamomile, 4 drops lavender oil
Muscle Aches: 3 drops juniper berry, 3 drops lavender, 4 drops rosemary
Lover’s Blend: 4 drops rose absolute, 5 drops sandalwood, 1 drop ylang ylang
Body Mist or Splash
Add 12 drops of essential oil to each cup of filtered water in a non-plastic mister. Shake before each use as essential oils float on water.
Wake Up Call: 5 drops tangerine, 5 drops lemon, 2 drops rosemary
Hot Flash: 6 drops clary sage, 5 drops lavender, 1 drop patchouli
Facial Mist: lavender, rose geranium, neroli, rose in any combination
Add 10 drops essential oil to each cup of salt. Mix in sealed plastic bag.
Relaxing: 7 drops lavender, 3 drops ylang ylang
Cold and Flu: 5 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops peppermint
Skin Soothing: 6 drops chamomile, 4 drops lavender
Add 12 drops of essential oil to ½ cup arrowroot and ½ cup cornstarch. Cover tightly and let stand for 24 hours.
Good Morning: 6 drops tangerine, 3 drops grapefruit, 2 drops lavender, 1 drop ginger
After Hours: 6 drops sandalwood, 3 drops ylang ylang, 3 drops geranium
Foot: 6 drops peppermint, 4 drops rosemary, 2 drops ginger
Many excellent resources for more information on aromatherapy are available. Here are a few of my favorites:
An A-Z Aromatherapy, Davis, Patricia, 1988, Barnes and Noble books.
Aromatherapy for Women, Tisserand, Maggie, 1996, Healing Arts Press.
The Art of Aromatherapy, Tisserand, Robert, 1977, Healing Arts Press.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Worwood, Valerie Ann, 1991, New World Library.
Medical Aromatherapy, Schnaubelt, Kurt, 1999, North Atlantic Books.
Aromatherapy Deck, Aura Cacia, 2007, Frontier Natural Foods Co-op.