Updated: May 15
Kris' favorite essential oils and how she uses them
Oils extracted from aromatic plants have been known as the oldest form of medicine to mankind. Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts date essential oil use as far back as 1550 B.C. Distilled from their respective parts (seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, fruits, or flowers), low pressure and low temperatures during the distillation process are key to maintaining the purity and therapeutic value of these oils.
Other factors influencing the therapeutic value of essential oil (EO's) include: which part of the plant the oil was distilled from, soil condition, fertilizer used, geographic region, climate, altitude, and harvest season and methods. Producing certified pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are expensive because it may require several hundred pounds (or even several thousand pounds) of plant material to extract 1 pound of pure essential oil. So I make sure to use suppliers like Floracopeia, who ensure sustainable agro-forestry practices and deliver the purest oils available on the market today.
Most EO's will average $30 per 15ml of oil, with rare oils (i.e. Melissa oil) going for as much as $100 for 3ml. It's medicine not perfume. The vast amount of oils used are by the perfume industry, where so many plants are being exploited for their aromatic qualities only. Using high pressure, high temperature, rapid processing, as well as the use of chemical solvents often used during distillation (to yield a greater amount in a shorter time), may make some essential oils smell good and cost less - but will lack most, if not all, of the chemical constituents (i.e. Terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones) responsible for its therapeutic affect.
My Therapeutic Uses of EO's
Lavender (Lavandula anguvstifolia) Steam distilled from the flowering top, this analgesic is most recognized for its cell regeneration and psycho-emotional calming or sedative properties. I typically dilute 1-2 drops in 15 drops of base oil to provide a general sense of well-being for my clients. It can also be applied neat (no dilution) on bites/stings, burns, blisters, chicken pox, or diaper rash. Known as an adaptogen, the divine healing properties of this plant will work wherever it is needed most in the body. While traveling in India, I dabbed a few drops on my scarf I was wearing and gentle wrapped it over my nose/mouth to keep calm while navigating the crowds in Delhi - and to counteract the aromas of the stinky fish markets or the funk of Mumbai on a hot day. I've also diluted 6 drops into 1 oz. water in a small misting spray bottle and used it as a linen spray, lightly spritzing my pillow cases and sheets before bedtime. *Good for Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Rosemary (Rosmariunus officinalis). Steam Steam from the flowering plant, this powerful antioxidant is one of my 'top guns' for respiratory distress including bronchitis and sinusitis. It's an arterial vasodilator, also commonly used for low blood pressure, along with anti-inflammatory properties used in arthritis and cancer treatment. I dilute a few drops in use oil and use this primarily in the winter, opening up the sinuses and the conscious mind, and stimulating memory - or I pour a few drops next to my drain during.a steamy shower and breathe deeply. I've also applied it neat to inflamed joints. *Great for Kapha constitutions.
Rose (Rosa damascena) Steam distilled from the flowers, this anti-hemorrhagic, anti-infectious oil has been used for several things ranging from digestive and menstrual problems, to headaches, and skin complaints. I apply this one neat, on pulse points or the soles of the feet (for fast absorption into the body). It provides emotional balance and is good to apply topically to poison ivy/oak to prevent scarring. *Good for Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) Steam distilled from bud and stem, this is a strong antiseptic that helps pull infection from tissues and has been historically used for toothaches and intestinal parasites. I use it primarily to aid in muscle aches and pains as it supports the cardiovascular system and stimulates blood flow in fatigued areas. *Good for Kapha
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbent) Steam distilled from leaves, I use this one for its antispasmodic and cortisol-like action in joints and muscles. Especially good in treating arthritic pain, cartilage injury, bone spurs, muscle pain and cramping, and tendonitis. This one is a key player in my deep tissue massages, and I dilute it 1:1 in a base oil.