Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Aromatherapy Basics of Lavender and Tea Tree
By Kayla Fioravanti, RA
Until my son came down with a prescription resistant case of ringworm, I had no idea what aromatherapy was or the power of using essential oils. In desperation, I made a trip down the book aisle of the local health food store that would forever change our family. Every book I opened recommended tea tree essential oil for ringworm. I invested in a 10 ml bottle of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) in hopes that just maybe aromatherapy would have some merit. Three days later the ringworm was gone and I was on the road that would eventually end with our family starting an aromatherapy based business and myself, becoming a Certified and Registered Aromatherapist. Now my medicine cabinet, beauty counter and bath products are filled with essential oils.
When my kids ask for medicine for their "owie," they are referring to lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil. They are true believers by way of experience. A few years ago my two daughters decided to play with the light bulb in their lamp late one night. My husband and I responded to shrieks of terror. We discovered that my four year old had put her wet hand onto the light bulb. Her palm had already formed a blister and she was hysterical. I applied a small amount of lavender to my hand and rubbed it into her hair to calm her. I then applied lavender directly onto her burn and wrapped her hand up tight. She promptly fell deeply asleep. In the morning she took the bandage off her hand and was surprised to find she had no pain and no blister. Her wounds had healed over-night. She displayed her hand to me with disbelief and exclaimed, "Look, Mommy! Your medicine worked!" By that point, after years of nearly miraculous experiences with essential oils, I had no doubt that my "medicine" would work.
The Science of Aromatherapy and Skin
Skin, our largest organ, allows substances like essential oils, with small molecular structures and low molecular weight to penetrate. The essential oils are then carried away by the capillary blood circulating in the dermis. Essential oils stimulate circulation to the surface skin cells; encourage cell regeneration and the formation of new skin cells. Some essential oils calm inflamed or irritated skin. Specific essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic, antitoxic, nervine, analgesic, deodorizing, circulatory stimulating and diuretic qualities. The needs of the plant from which an essential oil is extracted will often dictate its aromatherapy properties. For instance, if a plant lives in an environment in which it is threatened by fungus and bacteria it will produce an essential oil that is highly antifungal and antibacterial.
Aromatherapy Emergency Kit
No home is complete without having the two most popular and most commonly used essential oils in the medicine and beauty cabinet: lavender and tea tree. This is because these two essential oils will be the antidote for almost every need.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This oil has been used for many conditions, including dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, insect bites, headaches, migraine, rashes, insomnia, infections, arthritis, anxiety, tension, panic, hysteria, fatigue burns, psoriasis, scars, thread veins, and all problems concerning splitting of dermis and epidermis. Lavender soothes and regenerates cells. It is effective in treating infected hair follicles, pimples, blackheads and light forms of acne. It is good for all skin types and balances sebum. Lavender is an excellent and safe children's remedy for rashes, bumps and bruises and sleeplessness. It is antiseptic, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-infectious, antitoxic, anti-parasitic, restorative, antidepressant, calmative and sedative.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This oil has historic uses for rashes, insect bites, nail fungus, dermatitis, ringworm, head lice, sore throats, boils, congestion, wounds, arthritis, cold sores, and is useful for a wide spectrum of infections. Tea tree encourages regeneration of scar tissue and reduces swelling. As an oil-controlling agent with high germicidal value, it is useful for treating acne. It can penetrate pus by mixing with it, which liquefies the pus, causing it to slough off, leaving a healthy surface. It is anti-infectious, antibiotic, balsamic, antifungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, immuno-stimulant, analgesic and antiseptic.
The next time you have a migraine from your job, or your child is not in the mood to "go night-night", turn to earth's gift of lavender essential oil. If suddenly your face breaks out with one big red pimple on the tip of your nose, apply some tea tree essential oil to the affected area. If you are not getting your beauty sleep, put a small amount of lavender essential oil onto a cotton ball and put it into your pillowcase. If there is a random rash that you can't quite identify, start by using lavender essential oil and if that does not work, switch to tea tree. Normally, one of the two will do the job. You can apply them topically, add to a carrier oil or put a few drops into bathsalts for your bath and begin to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Remember, fragrance or synthetic products will not produce the effects of true essential oils.
Kayla is a Certified, ARC Registered Aromatherapist and the co-Founder and Chief Formulator for Essential Wholesale and its lab division, Essential Labs. Wife and mother of three, she runs her company along with her husband, Dennis. In 1998, Kayla started creating products in her kitchen using essential oils. They turned the profit from their first batch of products into more supplies, and they have repeated the process over and over again to remain a debt free company. In 2000, they started an all-natural aromatherapy-based Home Party Plan. In 2002, they changed their business plan and became the distribution and manufacturing company Essential Wholesale. This was followed by the addition of Essential Labs in 2005. The initial $50 investment from their home kitchen, combined with blood, sweat and prayers, has now become a multi-million dollar organically certified and FDA compliant company.
Kayla is the go-to industry specialist for formulating and supplying information on aromatherapy, natural, organic and pure cosmetics and personal care items. Kayla can be found on YouTube in the Essential Wholesale series Kitchen Chemistry with Kayla where she teaches a variety of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) recipes. Kayla is the driving force behind the Essential U blog, an educational center for aromatherapy, cosmetics, industry standards and business ownership. Kayla is the author of a new book titled: The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy and she has also written the book titled: How to Make Melt & Pour Soap Base from Scratch, A Beginner's Guide to Melt & Pour Soap Base Manufacturing. She is currently writing another book entitled DIY Kitchen Chemistry, Simple Homemade Bath & Body Projects. Kayla's books can be found at www.KaylaFioravanti.com and all online booksellers.
To learn more about Kayla, please visit her blog at: http://www.essentialublog.com/kayla
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