The essence in flowers
What are essential oils?
How do essential oils work?
The process of extracting essential oils & scents from flowers
Extracting essential oils and scents from flowers may be done in your own home or garden in five easy steps:
Step 1: Pick flowers early in the morning. This is the time when their oils are at their peak. Avoid flowers that are in full bloom, as their scent has already begun to fade.
Step 2: Remove the petals from the flower and place them in a sealed food storage bag. Tap it lightly with a wooden mallet to “bruise” the petals and to allow release of the fragrance of the oils.
Step 3: Place the petals in a glass jar and cover them with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Shake the jar to distribute the oil.
Step 4: Choose a sunny area and place the jar, in order to allow the flower petals to soak in the oil for 24 hours. Shake gently and strain through a double layer of cheesecloth. Discard the old petals, but keep the oil. Repeat the first three steps using the same oil for 3 days, until you achieve your desired fragrance strength.
Step 5: Store your fragrant oil in a glass bottle, but this time, in a cool, dry place.
Voila! Your homemade essential oil, infused with flower essence, can now be used as massage oil, added to your bath routine, as scent potpourri or added to your line up of homemade beauty products, such as soap or lotion. It can also be applied directly to the skin to treat various ailments, such as rashes, bug bites and sunburnt skin.
Top 7 floral essential oils for aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that makes use of essential oils as its major therapeutic agent to treat several diseases. The name Aromatherapy was derived from the word aroma, which means fragrance or smell and therapy which means treatment. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China and India have been using aromatherapy as a natural way of healing a person’s mind, body and soul. It eventually became known as another form of therapy, after scientists discovered the antiseptic and skin permeability properties of essential oils.
In aromatherapy, essential oils are initially used to treat physical and psychological symptoms, bringing about a state of balance. Inhalation, local application and baths are the methods used in aromatherapy, to make sure that the essence of the oils penetrate the skin’s surface. Once the oils are in the system, they work their way to treat the affected area.
Aromatherapy gained a lot of attention in the late 20th century and became even more popular in the 21st century, ever since it established its relevance in treating a wide array of complications and conditions. Overall, essential oils play a relevant role in aromatherapy, because of therapeutic, cosmetic, aromatic, fragrant and even spiritual uses.
Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, known as the founder of modern aromatherapy, has used essential oils to massage patients during surgery.
Inhalation of essential oils result in enhanced emotional wellness, calmness, relaxation or rejuvenation of the human body. This is because the release of stress is correlated with pleasurable scents.
In psycho-aromatherapy, certain states of moods and emotions can be obtained by essential oils, as they give the pleasure of relaxation, invigoration and a pleasant memory.
The top 8 floral essential oils used in aromatherapy are:
Has a spicy, citrus scent that improves feelings of depression and anxiety, giving a calming feel to the mind. It is also known to boost the immune system.
Aside from being known as “the calming tea,” it also soothes the mind, tones down irritability, reduces discomfort and eases an upset stomach.
This essential oil is soothing, uplifting and known to relieve stress and anxiety. It also helps diminish feelings of hormonal imbalance.
This essential oil has a rich, sweet fragrance and is known to reduce fatigue, soothe stress and balance emotions. Helichrysum also serves as a pain reliever.
Its warm, intoxicating and exotic smell makes it an aphrodisiac and antidepressant. It helps instill an optimistic outlook, boosts energy and inspires confidence.
This is a well-loved essential oil, commonly used to promote a sense of balance and calmness. It is known to induce sleep, relieve tension, calm nerves and lessen the symptoms of headaches and migraines.
This essential oil stimulates a poor appetite, alleviates anger and brings about a sense of clarity and peace.
This familiar scent is a potent stress reducer, that brings about feelings of harmony and helps in dealing with feelings of grief, fear, and nervousness.
Useful tips in using essential oils
To ensure proper and safe incorporation of essential oils as part of your daily routine, here are some useful tips:
- Never apply undiluted essential oils directly on your skin as this may lead to allergic reactions. Essential oils must always be diluted with carrier oil.
- Test the oil’s purity. Place a drop of essential oil on a piece of white paper. If a grease stain appears within 24 hours, carrier oil has been part of the mixture.
- Choose organic. Certified, organic oils give the assurance that you are not exposed to pesticides and herbicides.
- Pick the right tools. Look for diffusers that are made specifically for essential oils. These diffusers are designed to break up the particles of an essential oil in a way that makes the vaporized oils easier for the body to process.
- Create oil blends. Oil blends are more personal. Rotating the use of oils also helps prevent overexposure and sensitization.
- Do not ingest essential oils without the guidance of a certified practitioner. Ingested oils can lead to significant harm, so it is always necessary to consult a practitioner who is certified in medical aromatherapy.
- Do not expose to sunlight. Some essential oils, particularly those with citrus scent increase the risk of sunburn or phytophotodermatitis. Thus, these oils must not be used when exposed to sunlight.